Long before moving to sunnier climes here on the heat-drenched coast of eastern Spain (insert rayban cool dude whatsapp emoji), I used to clamber into my Hyundai i10 - at the time with 16kg more timber on the trunk - and trundle along the roads, cruising over speed bumps with the rolls of flabby flesh ricocheting up the midsection and almost causing several blacks eyes… The excess weight around the middle part of my body was an issue and change was needed!
Fast-forward three years and with a shaved off midsection unrecognisable like a downtown bald Mexican chihuahua, I look down and not only am I grateful to finally see the tips of my toes (amongst other anatomical members of the body…), but I reflect on my journey to the clean, lean and fitter me.
Les Mills Bodycombat (you guessed it!) has been the jab-cross-hook flab attack kick-butt way to pummel the pounds out of Spanish customs and excise to the back and beyond of Timbuktu (apologies, unwanted fat has to land somewhere, right?). Soul-searching for my inner warrior, fighting through intense Bodycombat workouts and engaging in the upbeat choreographies has enabled the ricochet effect of activating all muscle groups in my Core HQ, firing up through the midsection to build strength, stamina and coordination. Realising that core control through posture, drawing in my abs through slow and subtle contractions whilst executing key martial arts movements practised in Bodycombat has truly ricocheted from my legs to my arms.
That moment people look at you and go “wow” you’ve changed, “wow” look at you! And you stare at them (insert pondering whatsapp emoji…) like what are you seeing that I’m not? The answer comes when packing in the punch, swerving your body, hips, heels and thigh, your elbow at 90 degrees, push-pulling the knee and slicing the opponent with the blade of your foot in a Taekwondo side kick. Boom! That’s when you discover your core muscles in activation mode: cruise control, core control. When you finally become acquainted with Mr rectus abdominus, Mrs latissimus dorsi, their internal and external oblique infants, the father-in-law of erector spinae, aunt and uncle transverse abdominis, and neighbours iliocostalis and multifidus (insert crying emoji and try saying all those after a jug of sangría, just leave the erector alone!), you realise that the all-time crunch and sit-ups just do not cut the proverbial mustard.
From my experience and observations as a Les Mills instructor for Bodycombat, variety is the key; variety is the spice of life. This, my friends, is why I urge you to try any group fitness activity programme to give you the chance to experience a range of movements that allow you to fire up power, strength, agility and coordination through your midsection. It’s my belief that alternating the core training and exercises may also reduce your risk of injury: day-to-day living requires a strong and flexible core. Our office jobs, driving time, chilling out on the sofa humming “Winter is Coming” as we binge on episodes of Games of Thrones… all the while, we weaken our midsection (insert awkward smile emoji - reverse psychology…). A strong body, creates a strong mind: fuel for any long, arduous winter period! Your torso is your control centre of power: power in the mind as well as the matter (physically speaking, insert flamenco-dancing chica emoji).
How many times a day are we demanding our bodies to bend, turn, twist, crouch down, lift up, reach over, carry, push, pull, laugh, cry… A rock hard core equips you with the strength and power to execute these tasks. And when you come to train, you’ll notice the difference be it running, walking, kicking, punching, or simply picking up your ever-growing child when you get home (insert hand-slapping forehead emoji - quit feeding them chicken nuggets and fries!). Strengthen your midsection muscles and you become the engineer to bridge the gap between twisting, turning, power punching, breathing and maintaining a sturdy upright posture with your body’s mast pole: the spine.
So, my advice is the following:
● Coordinate the midsection magic to allow those family of muscles to work in tandem (what does this require? Mental strength: tell yourself, yes I can work it, yes I can control those movements. I can, I will).
● Workout at the gym or at home applying a range of core activation exercises: if you want those bad boy muscles marching, find the beats, savour the rhythm and them fire up!
● Minimise injury when carrying out everyday chores and tasks by focusing on building core strength.
● Ditch the Netflix subscription and check out a Les Mills programme (preferably Bodycombat, of course, but combined with Les Mills Bodybalance and Bodypump you’ll be core controlled in no time!).
● Note how not once have I mentioned having a “six-pack”… who cares about the rips. Be you, believe in yourself and not what media marketing and pumped-up gym buffs visually lead you to think. Core control starts in the mind; quality, not quantity.
● Insert bicep-flexing emoji
Or get in touch with Rebecca who will build a programme specifically for you!