I need an ab… just one… PLEASE?!?

Who hates a flabby gut?

Duh, Shae, everybody!

I hate mine that is for sure. So… what are we going to do about it?

I’ve heard millions of things about millions of techniques and applied millions of tips to millions of moves, and I will continue to blog about all of the differing information I hear even after I tell you this: Running gives you abs.

Running.

Yeah, I know, who’d have thought?

Well, my friend Ashley R. (the greatest personal trainer and motivator for working out ever) thinks so, and I think she’s right.

Ashley R. used to run track and pole-vault. Her entire undergraduate career consisted of six-days-a-week workouts mixed in with way too much homework and a whole mess of credit hours. It did pay off for her. She entered into to her master’s program with a sweet set of abs as well as a nice GPA while not once suffering from the dreaded “Freshman 15.”

However, after missing out on that workout routine while in grad school (where sports have no place), she noticed something equally remarkable and annoying.

All the hard work she put in to making her body the perfect track body went the way of sleeping for most grad students. Gone. Her abs lost definition. (Those bloody muscles are still there, and she looks fabulous, I don’t care what she thinks!)

Does this prove that running gives your abs definition? Well, no, of course not. We’re all different; and there are other factors to consider (like how much sugar and sodium we eat). However, her recognition of the difference in her abs now from before proves it to her (and to me) that running is a necessary workout to get defined abs.

But what about crunches? I know. And crunches also suck. :(

Livestrong provided an ab workout for “6-Pack Abs.”

According to the article, crunches are the classic exercise for shaping and defining the torso for visible six-pack abs, but they’re boring… Like… really, really boring. And who enjoys doing crunches anyway? Not I, my friends.

Instead of doing plain crunches, try a couple of these to spice up your ab routine.

Reverse crunches: The reverse crunch takes the traditional crunch and switches it around to activate a whole new set of muscles. Lie on the ground on your back. Put your arms at your side, situating them with your palms down. Lift your legs upward, bend your knees in a 90-degree angle and pull your knees toward your chest while tightening your abs. Pause for a second, then lower your legs back to the floor.

Stick crunches: (I have never heard of these.) Lie down on your back with your legs straight on the ground. Grasp a broomstick or a barbell with no weights attached to it. Position your hands approximately your shoulder-width apart and hold the bar above your chest with your arms straight. Pull your thighs up until they make a 90-degree angle with your hips. Tighten your abs and slowly pull your upper torso off the ground while keeping your thighs still. Your goal is to bring the barbell or broomstick to meet your feet. Once you’ve gone as far as you can, lower your back to the ground.

Kneeling Cable Crunches: Doing kneeling cable crunches helps to increase the resistance of your crunches but, unlike traditional weighted crunches, doesn’t put you at risk of straining your neck or crushing your ribs. Kneel 2 to 3 feet away from the front of a cable station’s pulley. Keep your knees approximately 6 to 12 inches apart. Grab the pulley’s bar, palms facing down, and pull the bar down to the ground using your upper torso — keep your knees straight.

Stability Ball Crunches: Your body works extra hard to stay stable on the ball, which helps activate more muscle fibers in your abs. Lie down, face toward the ceiling, on the stability ball with your back flat on the surface of ball. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your thighs level with your torso. Tighten your abs and your buttocks and lift your upper torso up by 6 inches, doing the traditional form of a crunch.

And, in the end, it’s all about what you eat!

According to WomensHealthMagazine, there are 12 foods to eat for your (best ever) abs.

Almonds, and other nuts with skins intact, which I have a problem with because almond skins are toxic. You should always clean and remove skins from certain nuts.

Superpowers: Build muscle, reduce cravings (Nuts also have omega-3 fatty acids)

Fights: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, wrinkles, cancer, high blood pressure

Beans and legumes

Superpowers: Build muscle, help burn fat, regulate digestion

Fights: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure

Spinach and green vegetables

Superpowers: Neutralize free radicals (molecules that accelerate the aging process)

Fights: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis

Dairy products (Fat-Free or Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, etc.), but of course I’m trying to stay away from dairy so I’ve really only been eating yogurt… except for the occasional cheese-y dish… and ice cream… Sigh.

Superpowers: Build strong bones, fire up weight loss

Fights: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer

Instant oatmeal (Unsweetened, Unflavored) Are you kidding me? I have to have apples and cinnamon and, no, I do not have patience to do it myself. Boo.

Superpowers: Boosts energy, reduces cholesterol, maintains blood sugar levels

Fights: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity

Eggs I love eggs!

Superpowers: Build muscle, burn fat

Fights: Obesity

Turkey and lean meats

Superpowers: Build muscle, strengthens the immune system

Fights: Obesity, various diseases

Peanut Butter, really, shouldn’t this be under the nut category? I think so.

Superpowers: Build muscle, burns fat

Fights: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease

Olive Oil, cook with it every day!

Superpowers: Lowers cholesterol, boosts immune system

Fights: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure

Whole-grain breads and cereals

Superpowers: Prevents the body from storing fat

Fights: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure (and hunger)

Whey, the nursery rhyme had it right!

Superpowers: Builds muscle, burns fat

Fights: Obesity

Berries

Superpowers: Protects the heart, enhances eyesight, prevents cravings, and improves balance, coordination, and short term memory

Fights: Heart disease, cancer, obesity

So… run a couple miles a day (sprints and stuff, too), do a lot of non-boring crunches AND eat all of that stuff, and then, get great abs.

I’m just looking one (just one, please??!?!).