Mel Collie | 2 Reasons to Stop doing Crunches (and what to do instead)
Ok, my last post was on adrenal fatigue…and one of the things that makes us tired is over training at the gym, usually because we’ve bought into the marketing idea that flat abs will make you happy, more desirable and sexy…
So, if you believe that to be true (it isn’t by the way) I would love to share some facts with you about crunches..
1. You can do loads of them , many about 22,000 of them, which burns a pound of fat, thats all. How long does it take to do that many crunches? You tell me…I can’t be bothered to even work it out. However, a point of your lovely fat contains 3,500 calories. Still doing crunches?
2. Ok..you’ve got a LOT of time on your hands. But, heres the thing, this is time you could spend doing other stuff that actually makes you happier which = improved self esteem, and when your self esteem bank account gets a boost, it tends to mean that the next time it gets a knock back, you won’t feel it as much because you’ve got some reserve in the bank account, hugely powerful stuff when you are worried about what other people think of you and your body.
3. Sit ups can give you neck ache and back ache, when done badly. I recently had a couple of friends staying for a couple of days and one of them had a baby recently, 3 years ago in fact. Her line alba hadn’t yet knitted back well (Google: diastis recti, it will tell you all you need to know) and she was doing a well intentioned Pilates class twice a week, but at a big brand name gym in a class with lots of people, it hadn’t really helped her out, she’s now considering surgery. . I spent 2 years going to similar classes in a gym. You won’t get individualised attention. It isn’t geared towards that. She wasn’t to know, not her fault at all. I know physics and chiropractors recommend Pilates, but also know that they have clients coming to them with pain from going to Pilates sessions at gyms because of the amount of people in each class who have certain things going on that a one size fits all class won’t be covering. Crunches will not help a post pregnancy belly at all, it will create more problems for the muscles and pelvic floor, find someone who has been on a specific course on the issues that need to be addressed. Check out Hypopressives, a brilliant way to get the body back to alignment
So what can you do instead if you are a lover of sit ups?
Theres so many exercises, my top favourite is to learn how to breathe from your lower belly first to reduce cortisol levels , which when elevated, sit in the belly tissue, so you can exercise harder for longer, but if you are stressed, and have a continual high stress lifestyle , you may just find that belly fat sits around you for a lot longer than you originally intended. Breathing and doing less, working out smarter, not harder, is the key, which means a change in mindset, and that isn’t easy.
It may be easy to accept it, realise it, but then to actually implement it and stick to it is the hardest bit. You need to check yourself every now and then, make sure you haven’t slipped back into old patterns.
Exercises that you can do instead of loads of crunches are (and remember , always, with each repetition, to be in the moment and fully focused , as when you do that, you are sending signals to your brain about alignment to help each rep be very effective. Reps done without focus, when the mind wanders to other things because you are bored, then your alignment suffers and your results will reduce. True story!) :
Cartwheels and many variations of them
Kettlebell swings (or use a dumbell)
Go for a walk everyday, get outside and breathe, get some sunlight on your skin and get some laughter and love in your life
That doesn’t mean, if you don’t have one right now, that you should look for the perfect partner, but look inside yourself for your own self acceptance, do the exercise that you love to do, not whats trendy or what others are doing, it might not work for you.
Find your own blueprint, then you may find that you choose what foods and what exercises make you feel awesome, you choose to nourish yourself, rather than beat yourself up.
Helping women be themselves and love who they are in her 1:1 studio in Llanberis, North Wales, UK. By appointment only.