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Beginner’s Guide to Abdominal Exercises and Getting Fit: Part 1

By Garrett Braunreiter, GHF's Success Coach

Abdominal exercises are critical for achieving your fitness goals and this article includes ideas for improving your abdominal muscles and getting in the best shape of your life.

The very thought of going from zero fitness and marshmallow softness to improving your stamina, firmness and energy with abdominal exercises can seem overwhelming - enough to make you want to lie down. But even against the odds and the tide of excuses and a history of couch-potatoness, you can start. And you can continue.…into a regular routine of very effective abdominal exercises. If you're at this point in your life, you're the right candidate for transformation. This abdominal exercises plan just may be your best bet.

Change is an all-or-nothing proposition. You either do it, or you don't. You can't just abdominal exercises for 3 times one week, once the next week, take a couple of weeks off, go twice a week, and so on and expect to reap all the benefits. Only a handful of people can get into a regular abdominal exercises routine by suddenly beginning to exercise. Something just clicks inside and they workout with energy, and they enjoy it. But for the other 95%, getting into a regular routine with abdominal exercises is not so easy.

For these people, beginning an abdominal exercises program comes in stages, step by step, many of which happen before you even slip on your workout shoes or enter the gym. The very fact that you're reading this article means that you're already in one of the important first stages. And continuing to exercise regularly is also a process of change, a cycle of smooth sailing and bumpy seas.

Fortunately, there are techniques that you can use to help you move to the next level. Just be aware that the stage you are in changes all the time. Of course, once you know where you are, it's easy to see what's next. Here's how to get there….

Step 1: I don't want to do abdominal exercises

If you are at this stage, you may be wondering what could possibly be done to get you to budge beyond it. Other people might be pressuring you, but IT'S UP TO YOU--you're the one who has to tie your shoes and actually do the abdominal exercises. And you don't even want to make the effort to think about it. Two things can offer a push: Acquiring knowledge and whining.

Acquiring knowledge involves being open to facts and opinions concerning your state of fitness (or lack of it) and both the benefits of abdominal exercises and the health risks of not exercising. The source of the information can be external--others observing that you don't exercise, loved ones confronting you about it, family members giving you newspaper or magazine articles about exercise. Or it can be internal--watching TV or movies about sports, reading about exercise, learning about the psychology of why people don't do abdominal exercises.

In some cases, simply soaking up the incoming information can at least make you more likely to start thinking seriously about abdominal exercises, even if you have no intention of doing anything about it. It could be, however, that despite the good efforts of your friends and relatives, the fact still remains that you don't want to do abdominal exercises. And right now you simply may not be interested in gathering information.

So maybe you need to try venting and whining. This involves giving vent to the problem. You may complain about what happened the last time you tried to do abdominal exercises ("Oh, that cramp I got! I was sore for days!") or all the things that kept you from working out ("I wanted to, but Janey had a dentist's appointment").

All this talking and complaining about the problem helps. It at least gets you thinking about exercising. It gets the wheels turning so that getting fit becomes a problem to be solved. That is, if you CHOOSE to look at it that way. Here's my rule for complainers: You have exactly TWO MINUTES to vent and complain. Ready? Go... (Tick, tock, tick, tock...) Okay, done. NOW GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

It may seem that nothing is happening in the I Don't Want to do abdominal exercisess stage, but the more you acquire knowledge and vent and whine, the more their effects can accumulate.

Step 2: Thinking about doing abdominal exercises

When you've reached this point, not only are you more aware that a problem exists, you're also seriously considering doing something about it. This is great progress, even if you haven't actually made a commitment to start doing abdominal exercises.

In this stage, you're considering the pros and cons of starting with your abdominal exercises, even if you haven't quite gotten yourself to plug in the treadmill. You're at the point where you might increase your physical activity or you might decide you're not quite ready for prime-time--or any other time--abdominal exercises workouts and give it up for now.

In this stage, you know where you want to go and you may even know how to get there. But you can't quite cajole yourself into following through with any abdominal exercises action. Acquiring knowledge and venting/whining can be helpful here, as well as two other techniques: role modeling and reinventing yourself.

Role modeling goes beyond acquiring knowledge. Here you closely observe someone you know, someone in the public eye or even some fictional character who might inspire you to fitness. You might chat with a friend who does abdominal exercises regularly, or watch sporting events like the Olympics. Who would be role models you respect and like? Pick some activity you might enjoy and watch a master of it. Once you open yourself up to the possibilities, you may be inspired to begin with your abdominal exercise program.

Reinventing yourself involves looking at yourself in a different way. This is the time to return to the power of fantasy. Try imagining yourself as an athlete or a dancer, or just someone who is really in shape. This is NOT silly; every champion from every walk of life had FIRST in his mind a dream of what s/he wanted to become.

Imagery could involve mentally picturing yourself as more flexible or thinner or whatever else abdominal exercises could help you with. Take three minutes, sit down, lean back, close your eyes and fantasize about anything physical that you want to try, like doing abdominal exercises, skiing, roller-blading, etc. Just do it.

When it's over, how does it feel? If you imagined skiing, could you feel the wind? The crouch? Did you see the hill, sun, snow, trees, other skiers? Could you feel the thrill in the pit of your stomach and your head when the run was through? Make it happen in your mind. The brain is extraordinarily powerful. You can if you think you can, just like the Little Engine that Could.

Also, you can use imagery to conjure up a picture of yourself benefiting from exercise. Think of the thing abdominal exercises could help you with that is most important to you. Could your joints be more flexible? Would you be happier 10 pounds lighter? Close your eyes. Imagine yourself moving as you would like to move. Watch this in the theater of your mind for however long it interests you. When you grow bored, stop, whether five seconds have passed or 10 minutes. Repeat this two or three times a day.

It's even possible that performing certain movements in your mind rehearses the motor pathways so that when you do try the actual abdominal exercises movement, it'll be easier.

Good luck: I hope you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of an effective abdominal exercise program. And don’t forget, click here to take our FREE Fitness Analysis for a free sample strength training program (with abdominal exercises) and for the book, Big Fat lies!

Beginner Ab Exercise Guide Part 1
Beginner Ab Exercise Guide Part 2
Beginner Ab Exercise Guide Part 3

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