There is a lot in the media and magazines recently about well being and maybe ‘well being’ has become a bit of a buzz word. Everyone strives for a longer, healthier and happier life. There is one thing that could make my business come tumbling down and that is my own well being. I need to be fit and healthy to last the whole wedding day and have amazing enthusiasm and energy to capture every single photograph until the time I go home. I need to walk and climb hills as I go through the woods taking portraits shoots. So not only for my own self-esteem and how I look, but I need to be fit and healthy for my own photography business.
During one of my first classes with Emma Deegan from Emma Deegan Dance Academy I found the stomach exercises very hard and couldn’t really get down that much ( you can probably see that the photos show that). I liked to show you a photograph in a few months when hopefully I have lost weight and have such stronger stomach muscles.
How different are Emma’s stomach muscles. So I ask Emma if she could provide some advice on how important stomach muscles are. For me it is important to have strong stomach muscles so I can carry my heavy camera equipment.
So I asked Emma…
‘Why is it important to have strong stomach muscles?’….It is important to have strong abdominal muscles for many reasons:
One of the most important factors is that strong abdominals result in correct support of the lower back – so anyone with lower back issues should always consider the significance of working on the strength of the core in order to support a weak lower back. Working on the core trains the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together, which in turn ultimately leads to better overall balance and stability due to the support your core provides for your spine – so the supporting of your body weight is not just placed on the bones. Your core muscles are also connected to your legs, which therefore can mean that your core can have an impact on the way you stand, sit, squat etc. There’s a lot to it – but these factors are most significant!
‘Why do people find it hard to do stomach exercises?’…The initial struggle with the ‘doing’ of abdominal training and strengthening exercises is often because those muscles have not been trained before. It may simply be the ‘mind over matter’ factor – the pain can be too much for some to handle and it can really take some willpower, determination and getting used to! Another struggle could be a weak back – if you are trying to gain core strength with a weak back, the first few sessions can be really tough as you are trying to train your core to support your back, so the back can initially take more strain that it is used to – this will begin to fade as the abdominal muscles get stronger and firmer.
‘Why it is hard to get a flat stomach?’…It can be difficult to obtain and retain a flat stomach for various reasons. One reason could be eating too much too close to a workout. Everyone is different, so this is not a question of a ‘one size fits all’ approach – not at all. For me, personally, eating a snack rich in good fats/protein and natural sugars works well to ensure that I have enough energy to properly perform but not so much food that I feel sick during a workout and don’t perform at my best. For instance, I would eat a generous handful of nuts such as cashews, peanuts or almonds (or a mix of all three!) and a banana. I find that this gives me the perfect balance for the exercise I undertake. I will then of course ensure that I eat a good balanced meal after my workout – usually consisting of complex carbs (such as sweet potato), protein (usually fish for me out of preference – salmon/trout/tuna/sea bass etc) and lots of veggies (I usually opt for vegetables rich in iron – such as kale). I always go by the ‘darker the better’ approach when it comes to my greens. I will usually also have some baby corn/courgettes/green beans/carrots with the dark greens.
Another factor that might impact chances of attaining a flat stomach is abdominal bloating – perhaps from a digestive problem you don’t even know you have? Constipation/gas/food intolerances can all be reasons that you simply can’t obtain that flat tummy.
‘Why do most women want a flat stomach?’…I think women have always felt a certain amount of pressure to have a flat, toned stomach which is fuelled by, predominantly, social media. At this point in time – where we are right now in 2017 – there is a huge emphasis on being ‘muscular’ and having an ‘athletic’ body shape. The health and fitness industry are constantly drawing the focus for both men and women to have muscles. Muscles are increasingly being seen as ‘sexy’. However, as any normal person would understand, this is ALWAYS going to be extremely subjective and purely down to personal preference. One man might love a bit of belly fat on a woman, where the next man might find a six pack sexy. What I’m saying is, social media does a very good job of pushing unrealistic expectations at, particularly women as to how their bodies should look. Whereas – we should be disregarding these expectations and throwing them to the kerb. Ultimately, you know deep down what makes YOU happy – this is where you should be focusing your attention. If you are happy with a bit of belly, or a peachier bottom, then GREAT – you should embrace this and, likewise, if you love yourself with a cracking set of abs and firm, muscular thighs, again – GREAT. Essentially, one size certainly does NOT fit all and you have to find your happy – make yourself your priority and learn to love yourself more, rather than striving for unrealistic goals set by ‘society’. Who wants to listen to ‘society’ anyway? Do the right thing for you.
Thank you Emma for sharing your view on having strong stomach muscles and I look forward to working with you over the next few months to be happy with the way I look.