“Who will bring me to the strong city? Give us help from trouble, For the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly.” Psalms 60
Every week, I try to write just a little about what I’m working on heart-wise, as well as with my fitness. You see those awesome people above? They are the best thing I get to be a part of every day on this earth. This week, however, I am feeling utterly overwhelmed with the needs of each of those 7 kids and their different and unique stages of life and academics. Our schedule is about as peaceful as a snowman in July. Nod to Frozen. Give me a break, people, I rarely have time for grownup movies! Lol. A good chick flick with friends, chocolate and jammies sounds like a slice of heaven right now.
Let me give you a tiny one minute example of my kids and their ages. As I picked up kids, ages 7-17, yesterday and was navigating busy roads with construction going on, my eldest son turned loud music on and was dancing in the front seat, two middle kids, aptly, in the middle row were arguing over who had more leg room and the injustices of crossing “The Personal Line,” one heaven-sent child was staring out the window doing nothing (Can I get an Amen? Lol) and, suddenly, my little boy bellowed earnestly and loudly from the back, “Mommy! Do Pandath have Whiskerth (Translation: Do Pandas Have Whiskers)?” I mean, who knows, but I certainly cannot even figure out 2+2 in that environment! It was, of course, an urgent question, because a little girl in school had criticized the panda he had painted for…. having whiskers. And, we all know what those bossy first grade girls can be like- calculating and scathing! 🙂 As I pondered and wrestled through their needs this week, like cattle through quicksand, I really believe God was encouraging me to do three things- 1. Set tiny, achievable goals and stop looking at the whole, like a wide-eyed person with a dinner setting, fork and knife in hand, being served grilled dinosaur whole. Write down the two major areas that each of my kid’s need help with, one heart related the other school related, and chomp off tiny bites 6 days a week (tiny tiny goals, like read for 10 minutes with Joseph every day), 2. Every struggle isn’t an obnoxious distraction or meaningless battle but is building them into who they are and 3. I can’t do it all. And, I have to be at peace with trusting God to fill in my gaps after I give it a whole hearted effort. Moms, we are human. Our best efforts will never be perfect enough. So, we have to let go, pray for help a lot and trust.
You know Elasti-girl from the movie The Incredibles? Yeah, that’s a super awesome quality, except when it’s…….. your abs because of 7 pregnancies! Is it sad that even though my youngest is 7, I would still describe myself as post-partum when it comes to abs? Those babies literally tore my muscles up, a lot like the ground being torn away by the giant metallic claw of the steam powered shovels when the Panama Canal was built! One of my dear friends, who is stunning and a fitness rockstar by the way, is trying to convince me that your body can never quite be the same again, no matter how much work you put into it, and it’s just a good idea to have a tummy tuck, like she did. She may be right but since it costs some major coin and surgery is always my very last option, falling right after the one that reads “Option 123: Back a 6.5 thousand pound African Elephant up and have it sit on you for five minutes to see if it will flatten your abs,” I think I will try aggressive ab workouts first. If she ends up being right, I owe her a beer! All in the name of healthy abs, of course. 🙂
My advice on most things is start small or “aim small, miss small.” Set tiny goals and slowly build. It’s truly amazing what can be achieved with this approach! Think about it, if you write one quality page a day for a year, you have a book! Or, if you add two laps every time you swim, and start at 10, you can build up to 100 in roughly 3 months (swimming 3 times a week). Not bad!
I researched and read and researched and read. It seems to me that the best way to do this is to start with 5 basic exercises that you can do at home to begin to warm up lethargic abs, increase to 7 home exercises the second and third weeks and, then, shift the ab workout intensity and do gym work for the rest of the 3 months. I will give you the first three weeks below. In a couple weeks, I will give you the more intense ab gym workout.
First 3 weeks of my three month ab challenge:
Workout abs 4 days a week, schedule it. Want to do this with me? 🙂
Week 1, warm up the abs week:
1. Bicycle Crunch- 2 sets of 20
2. Plank- hold for one minute or build up to one minute x2
3. Flutter Kicks – 2 Sets of 10 reps (count 4 of these kicks as 1)
4. Vertical Leg & Hip Raises- 2 sets of 10
5. Leg Raise- hold for one minute x2
Week 2 and 3, push the abs a little further. Start with 2 sets and work up to 3 (The last two are new exercises and amounts have changed):
1. Bicycle Crunches- 3 sets of 15 reps
2. Plank- hold 1 min X3
3. Flutter Kicks- 3 sets of 15 reps
4. Vertical Leg & Hip Raises- 3 sets of 15 reps
5. Leg raise- hold for a minute X3
6. Clothespins- 3 sets of 15 reps
7. Ab Wheel – 3 Sets of 12 Reps
Credit: Workouts above were meshed together from what I know, http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/top-5-exercises-for-killer-abs.html by Alex Stewart, Fully Raw Kristina and acquired knowledge over time from many people who know a lot about the body and have the body themselves to prove their commitment!