Agogie Life Partnership

Agogie Life Partnership

I am SO excited to announce my partnership with Agogie, Wearable Resistance! I found this brand organically through a wellness email newsletter that I subscribe to. Ironically enough, the email this brand appeared in was an old one, and during the beginning quarantine, I had committed to catching up on ALL of my emails (don’t ask me if my inbox ever hit zero) . In another lifetime, I might have skipped over the headline advertising wearable resistance leggings, but given the fact that we are all trying to get creative with our methods of staying active and fit while gyms are closed and everyone is doing their best to stay home, I was intrigued by the concept. I wound up ordering the pants that week, and fell in love with them as soon as I put them on. I wrote an honest review on my Instagram, which the leadership at Agogie read and liked, and the rest is history!

Agogie has found a way to sew resistance bands right into the leggings, so there is added resistance with every single movement that you make. There are two levels of resistance available, +20lb and +40lb. One of the things I love about the concept of wearable resistance is that it works to activate your muscles and strengthen your natural movement patterns while you are just living your life, so the things you are already doing can simply be done with a little more oomph – cleaning your apartment just became your new favorite workout! As an added bonus, low impact consistent resistance helps strengthen stabilizer muscles, which can rehabilitate tendons and joints.

I will cut right to the chase and let you know that my discount code “MADDIE” will get you $20 off at checkout! I give you ALL the deets below, but check them out for yourself – they have options for both men and women!

It makes sense that Agogie will become a go-to for athletes when they train (to take an example, Agogie is to a track athlete what the baseball donut is to a batter warming up during a game to help with speed), but what about other people? Agogie wants to use its platform to not only enhance training for a variety of existing athletes of all levels, but also bring the concept of fitness to a community of people who wouldn’t normally indulge. I am so thrilled to be a part of this mission since it so closely aligns with my personal fitness goals through my blog! For example, for a long time I have been trying to get my mom into the gym with me. Whether the reason be that she doesn’t have time, she feels uncomfortable with other people seeing her while she works out, or that she doesn’t want to touch communal equipment, I have not yet been successful. Once I discovered Agogie, I decided that I HAD to get my mom to try them. I did successfully get her into the pants (I may or may not have had to bribe her with the promise that she would get a feature on my blog & Instagram), and we started with just a walk around my parents’ upstate house so she could get a feel for them. By the end of our walk, she was doing squats for fun! The pants solved a lot of the barriers to entry for her when it comes to the fitness world:

  • No need to worry about having extra time, because the pants give you the opportunity to add resistance to your day-to-day activity
  • No need to worry about the discomfort of entering the fitness world as a beginner and facing judgment from others in a gym
  • No need to learn and operate equipment, because the bands themselves effortlessly work without you having to do anything other than moving your body as you normally would.
  • *Less* of a need to worry about the the risk of injury that comes with heavy weight training and use of machines. The leggings are low impact, and are about as risky as body weight activity. I do want to stress that body weight activity is still risky! A wise person (I don’t remember) once said, “treat every weight like it could hurt you.” Whether it’s the 5lb plates that you are adding to your squat bar, or the weight of your own body – always take the responsible precautions because it is important for the health of your body!

After my momma tried the +20lb leggings, I asked her about her experience. Here’s what she said:

“When I first saw the leggings, I thought they might be uncomfortable, but boy was I wrong! I wore them the whole day and they felt like regular yoga pants! The support was evenly distributed and the placement of the resistance bands was so perfect that I couldn’t tell they were there at all. They also looked flattering, and no one could even tell they were different. The following day, after my walk with Madeline, a quick squat workout, and then wearing the pants the rest of that day, I could tell that my legs had been worked out, but not to the point of being uncomfortably sore. I put them in the washing machine and hung them to air dry and they still looked as good as new. I would definitely recommend these pants, and I can’t wait to try the +40 lb version!”

Here’s my review (on the +40 lb resistance):

Function – These do EXACTLY what they promise – create more of a challenge for body weight movements. I immediately noticed the added difficulty on my morning walk and run, but the effect was amplified when I did my stairs workout and body weight leg workout. The leggings are great for moves that have a lot of range of motion in your legs, and also when your leg straightens out entirely at some point during the move. Bonus, they proved excellent for abs (especially leg raises).

Look: I was the most concerned about this, but honestly, I think they look normal! They have a bit of a jogger look and the fabric scrunches, more so at the bottom. The stirrups at the bottom leave a hole by your achilles, and the rest of the pant travels into your show, so it felt kinda like a baseball uniform (not that I know what that’s like at all) (and this is also not a bad thing). You can also wear taller socks if you don’t love the look of the bottom of the pant.

Comfort: They’re obviously not as comfortable as your favorite pair of buttery leggings, but I didn’t find them particularly uncomfortable at all. The waist band is tight to help hold the pants up, but it is also thick enough to properly disperse the pressure so it was very comfortable. The leggings are designed very well. The ankles are also tight to keep them from riding up, and I found the elastic around the ankle to be the least comfortable aspect of the legging. Aside from that, once I had them on for a few minutes, I hardly even noticed the difference (until I started moving, obviously!) The fabric is also light and breathable, so I didn’t feel like I was overheating at all during my workouts.

Overall, I think that these leggings really do add enough resistance to make body weight exercise and day-to-day activity significantly more challenging. I think it’s great that Agogie makes two different levels of resistance, so the +20lb version can be worn all day, to add subtle challenge to daily life, and the +40lb version can be intentionally worn during a body weight workout, bike ride, run, or any other activity that utilizes primarily the lower body. In addition to the weight training that I already do, Agogie has already become another integral part of my lifestyle, and I find myself reaching for them every week as soon as I get them out of the wash!

Don’t forget that my code “MADDIE” will get you $20 off your order at checkout! I hope you love these pants just as much as I do, and are as excited as me to see what this brand continues to revolutionize in the future of fitness!

New Recomposition Nutrition and Lifting Plan – Part 1

As many of you know, late September 2017 I had surgery on my shoulder to repair a torn labrum, an injury I had incurred in October of 2016.  My injury, journey through physical therapy to try to avoid surgery, and then coming to terms with the surgery and dealing with recovery is a long story in and of itself, so I won’t get into it here (but maybe I will write a separate post on it if anyone’s interested?)  Post surgery, however, I was in a sling for a month and a half, and once the sling came off I was able to get back into the gym but my workouts were very limited to basically only certain machines for the lower body.

Fast forward about 3 months from that point and I was finally able to start holding heavier weights in my hands and am starting to get back the mobility and strength in my shoulder to support a squat bar.  I was so excited for this progress that I had a burst of motivation to totally revamp my nutrition and fitness regimen to incorporate more variety and intensity in my lifts.  With great timing, one of my best friends also came to me asking for nutrition/fitness help and wanted me to build him a program where he would be gaining muscle but losing body fat “simultaneously.”  (Simultaneously is in quotations because fat loss and muscle gain wouldn’t literally be happening at the same time, but rather during alternating days based on calorie intake for that day.  More on this soon.)  I started my research with my go-to for fitness related help, On The Regimen.  This was actually where I had first heard about recomposition, so it seemed like a logical place to start.  My research took me a couple of new sites that I’ve since added to my “go-to” list, including Lean Gains and Barbend.  After a few days of research, I think I got a pretty good handle on the principles behind recomposition, and I’ve summarized some main points below.

I want to preface the rest of this post with a reminder that I am not a trained nutritionist or personal trainer, and I encourage everyone to do their own research when trying to decide how to best exercise and fuel their body.  Also, and even more importantly, listen to your body because it will always tell you when something is/isn’t working for it.

What is a recomposition plan?

A recomposition plan, in a nutshell, is one in which you eat higher calories and higher carbs on lift days (refeed days), and lower calories/carbs, and higher fat on rest days.  By alternating higher calorie days with lower calorie/deficit days, your body cycles through muscle gain and fat loss, resulting in either a slow cut or lean bulk.

What are the benefits?

A recomposition plan allows you to lose body fat without compromising too much muscle gain, or gain muscle without also gaining too much tag-along fat.  If one of these two things isn’t a priority for you, a recomposition plan might not be worth it, plain and simple.  It also allows for refeed days, which are good for people who have difficulty eating a caloric deficit all week and waiting for that one (usually anticlimactic) cheat meal, aka #brunch.

What makes recomposition difficult?

In my opinion, what makes this type of plan so difficult to follow is that it requires a lot of planning – you have to have a variety of different food items on-hand to be able to get the correct spread of macros on any given day, and you can’t just eat the same stuff every day because your macros change daily.  You have to pay attention to whether it’s a lift or rest day before deciding your day’s meals, and once you start eating for the day it would be difficult to switch your day from lift to rest and vice versa.  If you’re really committed to your regimen, don’t often eat meals out, and are fairly efficient at counting macros (or are willing to take the time to learn), then I would suggest this type of plan if it fits your goals.  This type of plan is similar to iifym in the sense that there aren’t any foods that are strictly off-limits, but it takes it a step further because there are some things that it would be pretty difficult to in practice actually fit your macros.

Slow Cut vs Lean Bulk

Body fat revolves around a very simple calories in vs calories out equation.  If you start a recomposition plan that overall has a weekly deficit, you’ll be on the road to a slow cut.  If your plan has an overall weekly surplus, you’ll be geared more towards a lean bulk.  The choice is yours.

Deficit days vs Refeed Days

The recomposition program is built around the idea that a caloric deficit burns fat, and a caloric surplus helps build muscle.  By eating maintain/surplus calories on lift days, you’re providing your body with enough fuel to build muscle, and by eating in a deficit on rest days, you are putting your body into a temporary period of fat burning mode.  Deficit days deplete the body of the hormone leptin, which regulates energy balance by communicating to the brain that we are satiated and can metabolize energy as normal.  Refeeds replenish leptin.  The macro spread you eat on deficit/refeed days matter, too.  Due to the thermogenic effect of food (essentially the energy it takes for the body to break down food), a refeed with a high percentage of calories from protein will yield the least amount of fat storage.  Protein has a higher thermogenic effect and it causes the body to expend more energy to break down and use/store.  In other words, if you’re eating a surplus amount of calories, proteins take the longest to break down and are therefore the least efficient macro for the body to store as fat.  By also eating higher carbs on refeed days, you have the energy you need to sustain your workouts, and you’re fueling your body with the macronutrient that’s most easily broken down by the body for energy.  Since you are eating higher calories on these training days, fats are kept to a minimum to decrease the chances of the extra calories being stored as fat by the body (since fat is the easiest macronutrient for the body to store as fat).  Increasing healthy fats on deficit days makes it easier to achieve well-rounded nutrition, and the likelihood is low that any of these fats will be stored by the body because you aren’t providing enough calories to have a surplus that would require storage.

Refer to the article I referenced for most of this information here.

Regarding “Cheat Days”

As of now, I haven’t incorporated a traditional “cheat day” into my plan.  My “refeed” days, or the higher calorie lift days, contain enough calories to sustain a day in which I am not hungry, and allow for enough carbs to have something sweet if I so desire or to have a starchy carb like potatoes or pasta.  The only issue I have with not having a cheat day built into the plan is that it makes it tough to enjoy a guilt-free meal out, or a real baked good.  Since the high carb days are low fat, you’re forced to be very conscious of the tag-along fats that are often present in baked sweets and restaurant meals.  For now, I am managing fine.  Undecided yet on whether I will incorporate a real cheat meal into the plan.

On Intermittent Fasting

After you eat a meal, insulin and fatty acids are elevated in the body and your body is in the “fed” state, during which the body is primarily relying on glucose oxidation for energy and fat burning is placed on hold.  After 12 hours (and if you don’t eat again), the body begins to run out of fresh glucose, and is more likely to switch to fat storage for energy, and you are thought to be in fat burning mode.  During the 12-16 hour time interval of a fast, your body is considered to be in the golden age of fat oxidation, and low intensity activities (i.e. incline walking on the treadmill, cycling, etc.) will selectively use fatty acids to fuel activity.  In contrast, higher intensity activity (i.e. sprints, spin class) will cause your body to seek glucose for a big burst of energy.

Now that the technical information is out of the way, I want to say that I am a huge fan of intermittent fasting, especially on rest days when I am eating fewer calories.  I find that BCAAs in the morning give me the boost I need to get through my workouts without having the calories to break my fast.  Ever since I started intermittent fasting (7-ish months ago?) I find that I am less bloated and I feel more satiated after my 1.5-2 standard meals for the day because each one has more calories in it.  That said, if there’s a day that I am really hungry before the time that I wanted to break my fasted state, I eat.  Although it took a little while to really get used to intermittent fasting, by no means do I feel like I am depriving myself or starving myself, and I actually find now that I don’t start getting hungry until later in the day.  Intermittent fasting certainly isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s worth trying for a bit until you get used to it, and seeing if you can benefit from it.

How do I get started?

  1. The first thing that has to be done is calculate, to the best of your ability, your best estimate of your maintain calories.  This is going to help because then you’ll have a good idea of what your deficit and refeed day macro spread should be.  I used the On The Regimen calculation to get a base, but I also compared that with the average calories burned per day that my fitbit estimates.  Once you’re into your program for a few weeks you’ll be able to calculate more accurately how many calories your body burns daily and you can adjust your plan accordingly (i.e. if you are losing body fat more rapidly than you originally thought you would, maybe you burn more calories than you originally calculated.  Likewise, if you aren’t losing body fat but thought you built a plan that would cause you to do so, maybe you overestimated how many calories you burn daily.  These estimates are fairly intuitive if you pay attention to your body).
  2. Next, decide whether you want to have a slow cut or lean bulk plan.  This will determine how steep your caloric deficit will be on rest days, and how you will structure your refeed days (i.e. maintain, or surplus?)  I am creating a Part 2 post to get into the details of my lifting plan that I will post shortly!
  3. Determine your macro spread.  First, you’ll need to decide how many calories you want to eat per day (training v rest) and then compartmentalize your calories into macros.  I stick with the idea that you should have about 1g protein for each lb of body weight, and then your carbs and fats are fairly negotiable based on the things you like to eat.  My protein intake doesn’t change much between training and rest days, however, my carb/fat macro spread basically switches.  On training days, carbs are about 57% of the day’s calories, and fats are about 15%.  The rest is protein.  On rest days, carbs are about 15% of the day’s calories, and fats are about 45%.  The rest is protein.
  4. The last step is meal prep!  Plan ahead with your weekly shop and meal prepping – it will make this type of plan so much easier and less stressful.  List out the sources of protein that you like and have available to you, and then figure out how much of them you’ll have to stock up on to feed you for the week.  Getting enough protein during this type of plan is important because since you will be in a caloric deficit for certain days out of the week, you don’t want your body to start breaking down its own muscle.

Once you’ve figured out your maintain calories, decided on your macro spread, and got down some sort of meal prep plan, you’re as ready as you’ll ever be!  Are you considering starting a nutrition plan like this, or do you need more information before you can get started?  Let me know in the comments, or email or DM me with your questions!

Part 2 to come soon, which will detail my fitness regimen to go along with my new spread of macros.  Stay tuned!!

 

A Word About Jonnie Candito and His Six Week Strength Program

Whether you’re looking to power lift, strength train, or if you’re just getting into the world of weight lifting, Jon Candito is a name you should become familiar with.  Jonnie Candito is the creator and CEO of Candito Training, and he is “one of the strongest pound for pound collegiate athletes in the nation,” taken from his website.  Jonnie Candito is an internet presence that I respect more than most, not only for his amazing achievements in the world of power lifting, but also because he promotes a “no nonsense” approach towards spreading knowledge of strength training by offering very informative and helpful videos (on his website and Youtube channel), as well as free strength programs on his website.  Jonnie Candito helped me with my squat form via his “How To Squat With Perfect Form” video, and his “Candito 6 Week Strength Program” helped me push past plateaus I was experiencing in my squat and bench.  This post will focus primarily on the 6 Week Strength Program, because this is what I have firsthand experience in (I recently completed this program), but I suggest checking out his website for other options and video tutorials.

A quick note: the 6 Week Strength Program is ideal for intermediate lifters.  If you are more of a beginner lifter, Jonnie Candito recommends his Linear Program, which is “ideal for beginners” but “can be very useful for more experienced lifters as well.” (Taken from Jonnie Candito’s website.)

First and foremost, you can find Jonnie Candito’s free strength programs here.  Download the PDF and the Excel spreadsheet for the 6 Week Strength Program (or the PDF for the Linear Program if you prefer that one.)  Jonnie himself offers in this PDF a clear and thorough understanding of this program, so in addition to providing a brief summary here, I also advise you to read through the PDF before you begin the program.  I will also offer you my own amateur review of the 6 Week Strength Program, a couple of tips to think about when you’re getting started, and a link to another review of this program by Izzy T. Narvaez of Powerlifting to Win.

Candito 6 Week Strength Program: The program is split into 6 weeks (with an optional 7th, see the PDF for details), with each week having a focus.  This is called periodization, which is beneficial because it helps to prevent plateaus before they even have a chance to develop.  Each week also builds on the prior week, keeping the “bigger picture” in mind with regard to balancing both strength and muscle mass, and helping to prevent injury.  The program also uses an upper/lower split within each week emphasizing compound movements (as opposed to isolation exercises) which are more stimulating.  This helps prevent injuries because “you will use better form having shorter, more goal oriented workouts.”  The exercises you will do in the upper/lower split are effective and superior to other filler exercises.  For example, if you can effectively squat deep on lower body day, there should be no need to do a leg press accessory exercise that same day.  Accessory or optional exercises should offer something that a main compound move doesn’t.

Candito tailored this program to each individual user by creating a formula, based on your own personal one rep max, to determine the weight you should be lifting each week.

The Exercise: The main upper body compound move is the bench press, so each upper body day you will be benching.  In addition to the bench press, on upper body days you have to choose 3 additional required accessory movements.  Therefore, in total, you will be doing at a minimum 4 exercises on upper body days.  With regard to the three additional required accessory movements, Candito explains which muscle group you should target (back, shoulders, and biceps), and he gives examples of moves that would be considered accessory moves for each muscle group.  These 4 exercises are the only requirements on upper body days, but you have the option to throw in two extra optional exercises if you’re feeling up to it.  Something to remember here is that since you are consistently doing the 4 required exercises, these are intended to be improved over time.  Optional exercises, however, can act as a cool down, or as a bonus for areas which need emphasis.  Candito also lists examples of optional exercises in his PDF.

There are two lower body compound moves in this program which will be done each lower body day: squat and deadlift.  These two exercises together hit the entire lower body, and are a great workout in itself.  These two are the only required exercises for lower body day, and follow the Excel spreadsheet and PDF for guidance on how many optional lower body exercises you have each week, and for examples of both explosive accessories for lower body, or hypertrophy movements.

Candito allows for customization to the program with the optional exercises, but you can effectively complete the program just doing the 4 required upper body lifts, and the two lower.  Only do additional optional exercises if you feel up to it, and if you feel as though you can complete them safely with good form.  Time also plays a factor here.  It is not a good idea to rush through the compound moves just to have time to throw in additional optional moves.

Thus completes the very brief overview of the program.  Candito’s PDF offers much more useful information regarding the program, including substitution exercises and helpful tips, and I wouldn’t recommend starting the program without reading it for yourself.

Why do I recommend this program? The short answer to this question would be that it worked for me – numbers don’t lie, and I certainly surprised myself throughout the program, pushing past plateaus in a way I didn’t think I could.  Candito mentions in his PDF the psychological factors involved in the success of this program.  It is designed in such a way that presents you your progress as early as two weeks into it.  The exercises are also designed to be difficult and challenging, but certainly not impossible.  There are consistent confidence boosts throughout the program, and weight doesn’t increase each workout.  I find that when I try to increase the weight a little bit each workout, every day becomes a demotivating struggle/competition between the current workout and workouts of the past.  I found that the methodology of increasing the weight and ultimately hitting a PR (personal record) at the end of it was very effective.

In addition, I love the fact that Candito offers not only a complete workout, but also an Excel spreadsheet to aid in planning and documenting the program.  The Excel doc really helps because I was never unsure of what weight to use or how many reps/sets to do.  I wasn’t constantly at odds with myself to meet my own personal weight and rep goals.  In addition, the program adjusted my goals based on my progress and capabilities.  I felt pushed to succeed, but never pushed in a way that made me feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or injury prone.

Lastly, the structure of the program (upper/body split and focus on compound movements) was really helpful to me in achieving my fitness goals.  I consider myself a busy girl – I work, go to school, and still consistently make it to the gym.  On most days, I don’t have time to spend over an hour at the gym.  The compound movements are more stimulating to the body, hit larger amounts of muscles than isolation exercises, and lead to a shorter but more effective workout.  Candito mentions in the PDF that the exercises in this program run between 45-60 minutes, and this is perfect for anyone who feels as though time is often running short.

Some tips for those seriously interested in starting this program: For one, use the Excel doc! It is impossible to complete this program without documenting progress and using the provided spreadsheet to figure out how much weight to use each week.  Second, and Candito also mentions this in his PDF, don’t modify the main compound moves (unless modification is necessary due to a bodily limitation or injury, of course).  The program is centered around these main compound moves for a reason, and though Candito allows a lot of modification with regard to accessory moves and optional exercises, the main compound moves should not be messed around with.  Candito does offer in the PDF alternatives for those who really do not want to bench or deadlift in the standard form.  Lastly, this program is doable but challenging.  Like I already said, it definitely works for someone who is busy, but consistency is key.  Start this program when you know you will have 6 weeks of access to the gym, and start when you are fairly certain you can be consistent for the full 6 weeks.

Lastly, I would like to stress that I am not a professional, and the advice offered in this post is simply my opinion and testimony of my experience with this program.

Want more information? Take a look at Candito’s website and Youtube channel, both linked above, and also take a look at this review of Candito’s 6 Week Strength Program, written by power lifter Izzy T. Narvaez of Powerlifting to Win.

I hope this article helps all of my fit and fab readers! Have a suggestion or comment about Jonnie Candito or Candito Training HQ? Share them below!

Coney Island Beach Workout? ABS-olutely!

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Yesterday was such a beautifully sunny day, and lucky for me also my day off from the gym, so I decided to take a trip into Coney Island for a walk on the boardwalk and an ab workout on the beach.  On days that I’m not at the gym but still want to get some sort of workout in, I usually try to do abs or cardio, or both!  Additionally, I much prefer to spend these days outside when I can, and an outdoor workout for me is more fun and interesting than doing something indoors.

That said, in addition to the benefits I just mentioned of exercising outdoors, working out on the beach is particularly beneficial because the sand and water provide different and unique challenges for your body.  Sand is constantly moving around and shifting, causing your body to do more work to remain balanced.  Yoga and Pilates become more difficult and engage more muscles when done on sand when compared with being done on flat and unchanging surfaces.  Jogging and running on sand is also more beneficial than doing so on pavement because it requires more range of motion from your muscles causing them to work harder, and the soft sand is kinder on your joints.  Swimming in the ocean is also a great workout, especially when working against waves and currents (but no rip tides please!)  These types of conditions cause your muscles to constantly adjust and be in motion, engaging you more than if you were to remain inside.

My choice of beach exercise yesterday was abs.  I have multiple different ab routines, and I like to vary this workout as much as possible to get the best results.  Before I detail yesterday’s routine, however, it is important to remember a few key points before venturing out in the heat into a public area like the beach to exercise.  It is HOT out there, and you won’t have the luxury of a nearby waterfountain or an air conditioned rest to replenish your resources.  Please remember to bring an ample supply of water, as well as an umbrella to shield the sun, and sunscreen.

Yesterday’s workout consists of 9 exercises, broken into subsets of 3, and each subset is repeated for 3 sets.  I shoot for 20-30 reps for each set, but as this exercise is long and intense, you might want to start smaller and work your way up.

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

Subset 1 consists of these three exercises: 

  1. Regular crunches with legs extended up, and at a 90 degree angle (as illustrated in the picture above)
  2. Knees still at 90 degree angle, lay legs down to your left, allow your hips to rotate left, and crunch the right obliques
  3. Same as number 2, but legs should go to your right side, and crunch the left obliques

Subset 2 consists of these three exercises: 

  1. Keep your legs straight up and allow them to form a 90 degree angle with your torso.  Keep your arms flat at your side, and lift your legs and hips off the ground.  Your legs should go straight during this move without bending or changing the 90 degree angle at all.
  2. Go into a side plank.  For this move you can keep the arm closest to the sky straight up, or leave your hand on your hip.  Allow your hip to touch the ground, while still remaining in side plank position.  Then lift up so your hip moves back into side plank and extend past side plank.  This completes one full rep.  This is an oblique move, and you should make sure you feel it on the side of your abdominal facing the floor.  Flip over and repeat on the other side. (This move is illustrated in the picture above).
  3. Get back into the position of the first exercise of this subset with your legs straight up.  This time, instead of leaving your arms at your side and lifting your legs, extend your arms upwards and bring your fingertips towards your toes, lifting your back off the ground as much as you can.  (This move is illustrated in the picture above).

Subset 3 consists of these three exercises: 

  1. Bicycle – lay flat on your back with your hands behind your ears, elbows to the ground.  Bring your right elbow to your left knee, keeping your right leg straight and not touching the floor.  Flatten back and legs out to starting position and then bring your left elbow to your right knee.  Flatten back and legs out, and this completes one rep.
  2. Lay flat on your back, and leave your hands under your butt for lower back support.  Slowly raise your legs off the floor, keeping them straight, until they are perpendicular to the floor.  Lower back down slowly, and this completes one rep.
  3. Sit up, bend your knees, and clasp your hands together.  Lift your heels off the floor and touch your fists to the floor, alternating the left and right side.  One rep consists of you touching  both sides.  The straighter your legs are for this one, the harder it gets.  Keep your feet off the floor for this whole exercise!

I do each subset three times before moving on to the next subset.  That’s a total of 9 exercises, 27 sets, and over 500 reps! This is a great workout to start with, but please never stop varying up your exercises and incorporating your own flair into your workouts.  Do you have a favorite ab workout?  I’d love to hear about it and incorporate it into my routine!

Stay fit and f-AB-ulous, all!

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