Post Pregnancy Fitness - Part 2

In the last post I shared some general tips about post pregnancy fitness and getting those pre-baby abs back. Now it’s time to get a bit more specific and take things up a notch to flatten that tummy and strengthen the core.

When it comes to exercise, routines can be as simple or as complex as you like to make them. Personally I believe that exercise should be simple, fun , and efficient to ensure that you will stick with it! Here is a simple core training program of 4 simple moves that you can follow and wont require you to do a single crunch! I call it the Core 4!

Exercise 1

Targets the Transverse Abdominus. The Transverse is a deep abdominal muscle that basically acts like an internal girdle to help pull all of the core muscles in tight. Either standing or lying only the ground simply take a deep breath and draw your navel in toward your spine. As you feel your abs begin to tighten, hold that position for about 10-15 seconds and release. Breathe normally the entire time – don’t hold your breath! Repeat 3-5 times working up toward 10 repetitions.

Exercise 2

Targets the Oblique muscles which are located on the sides of the stomach. Sit on the ground and bend your knees with your heels touching the ground. Lean your upper body back slowly until you feel tension on your abs. If you feel a strain on your low back, sit up straighter. Clasp your hands in front of your chest and slowly rotate side to side moving your hands toward the ground as you twist. Twist all the way to the right and all the way to the left and return to center. That is one repetition. Shoot for 10-12. As you get stronger, lean back further, lift your feet off the ground or hold a light medicine ball for resistance.

Exercise 3

Works the “lower abs”. There really is no such thing as the lower ab but I am referring to that “pooch” area all women want to eliminate. When you work your abs from the bottom up the resistance is closer to the lower portion of your abs and consequently more of the work is being done there. To work from the bottom up lay on your back and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle with your shins parallel to the floor. Slowly roll your hips up ward off the floor bringing your knees toward your chest and return to the starting position. Perform 10-15 slow repetitions.

Exercise 4

The Plank for core stabilization. The plank is a great exercise to strengthen the entire core. Simply lie face down on the floor. Then prop yourself up on your forearms and toes lifting your body off the floor. Gently pull your navel in toward your spine to create a straight back. Maintain normal breathing and try to hold this position for 10 –15 seconds. Add time with each workout until you can hold the plank for 60 seconds.

You will note that these 4 exercises work the entire core through both stabilization and movement. There is a great piece of exercise equipment on the market called the Ab Coaster which allows you to do all of this on one simple machine. The Ab Coaster mimics the hanging leg raise exercise which is considered to be the gold standard in core training because it requires you to stabilize the core while moving through a range of motion. The problem is that most people don’t have the strength to do it. Now they can with the Ab Coaster. Check it out at HERE


The human body is amazing and it will begin to recover from pregnancy within days. Noticeable change will begin to take place 4-6 weeks postpartum provided you are following a sensible eating and exercise plan. The key is to get started and begin to build momentum. Start with a couple days a week and go from there. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect, but takes positive steps daily. Your body and your baby will be glad you did!


Post Pregnancy Fitness - Part 1

It all started about 20 years ago. I was fresh out of school and had just landed my first job as a personal trainer at a local health club. My first client was a young lady in her early 30’s just looking to “get in shape”. There I was, my very first workout, with my very first client on my very first day! I was so excited. About halfway through the workout things were going great, she was working hard, feeling the exercises in all the right places and having a good time. I was so happy. Then it happened – we finished a set of lunges and she turned to me and said “I don’t feel so well” and she ran into the locker room. I felt terrible. Had I pushed her to hard, was the workout not appropriate, what happened? She came out of the locker room looking green and told me she had enough for the day and was going home! I couldn’t believe it – I thought I was so well prepared and I blew it on my very first day. I was so dejected.

That night I went over the workout again and again in my head trying to figure out where I went wrong. After a long night of thoughts racing through my head I finally fell asleep and woke up the next morning to try again with another client. Just as I got to the gym, I got a phone call from yesterdays client and she told me she found out she was PREGNANT! That’s why she had gotten ill the day before during our session. I thought to myself – phew – it wasn’t me after all! Thus began my career as a trainer in which I worked with many female clients both during and after pregnancy.

Working out while you are pregnant is generally very safe and in fact recommended in most cases. Of course it is always best to check with your physician for the proper guidelines. The same is true of post partum fitness routines which will be the focus of this article. Most of the women I have trained or spoken too want to get back in shape quickly after pregnancy and especially want to flatten those ABS! In this article I will share my top 5 tips and then in part 2 we will get more specific about those ABS! So Here we go.

1. Patience

Every client is different and every pregnancy is unique. However the most common concerns post pregnancy are losing that ‘baby weight’ and getting the stomach back in shape. The good news is that both of these concerns are attainable with some patience, dedication, and hard work! It is important to remember that your body went through 9 months of changes and you aren’t going to get it back overnight. It is a time to enjoy your baby first and foremost and then to begin a sensible routine of healthy eating and exercise.

2. Understand What Happened to your Abs

During pregnancy your abdominal muscles (rectucs abdominus) separate. The basic purpose of this to allow the growing fetus to come forward, not backwards which can cause strain on the low back. Though it sounds like a big deal, this is completely normal and in most cases the muscles return to their normal state post partum. This separation is known as diastasis and is generally detectable after about month 5. The problem occurs when the muscles separate too much (generally caused by weak abdominal

muscles) which can lead to low back, pain, sciatica, inflammation etc…. The great news is that this separation begins to close within days after delivery. A sound core training plan will have those abs back in shape before you know it – though you should allow at least 6 weeks for a full recovery.

3. Start Slowly

Generally speaking the best way to tone up post baby is with a routine consisting of cardio vascular exercise, total body strengthening, and proper nutrition. Depending on your pre-pregnancy fitness level and how well you maintained it during pregnancy you should begin with a low to moderate cardio-vascular exercise program (walking, elliptical, swimming) 3-4 days per week for 20-30 minutes. Total body strength training should also be performed using moderate weights and repetitions 2-3 days per week. There are also several “mommy and me” routines available which allow you to tone up while spending quality time with baby!

Speaking specifically about the core it is important to perform exercises that not only strengthen the superficial muscles that you see (rectus abdominus and obliques) but also the deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominus and the low back.

4. Regain Control of your Nutrition

Often during pregnancy women become a bit more lax about their diets. They may have cravings for something salt or sweet and within moderation its generally ok to indulge. It’s never a good idea to restrict calories during pregnancy buy now that you are trying to drop that baby weight its some to get a bit more disciplined. It is always best to check with your physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician for the eating plan that is best for you. Generally however, I would recommend a diet that is high in fiber, and rich with whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. The meal plan should also consist of moderate carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle building and be low in fat. There are so many theories out there on nutrition but ultimately we all have to find what works best for us as individuals.

5. Have a Well Rounded Routine

Once you have clearance from your physician to begin exercising its best to start slowly and focus on all components of fitness. Many women want to jump right back into the cardio routine but don’t neglect strength training and flexibility. Start with 3x per week and increase from there.
As mentioned above Cardiovascular exercise should be performed for 20-30 minutes at a moderate intensity. This could include walking, elliptical machines, swimming etc. Basically anything that will moderately increase your heart rate and keep it there for 20-30 minutes. If this is too much in the beginning you can break the 20-30 minutes up into 10 minute segments to reach a total time of 20-30 minutes. As you get in better shape strive for continuous exercise and gradually increase the intensity.

Next perform some basic strength training exercises to tighten and tone the muscles. You can start with basic body weight exercises such as push ups, squats and lunges. Try for 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets. A routine might look like this. Start with 10 reps of body weight squats. Rest 30 seconds. Move to the ground and perform 10 push-ups (on your knees is fine to start with). Rest 30 seconds. Perform 10 alternating lunges. This sequence is one set. Rest for about a minute and repeat 2-3 times. Once you can complete this routine 3 days per week you can increase the intensity and complexity of your strength training with the help of a certified personal trainer.

Round out your routine with the Core 4 program described in the next post and some gentle stretching.


Enjoying life with your new baby is one of the greatest experiences in life. However, its also important that you take care of you so you have the strength energy and vitality to keep up with your growing bundle of joy. The tips above will get you stared and in the next article we will get a bit more specific. Now go play with your baby!


Small Space. Big Impact.

Small Space Big Impact

One of the biggest challenges facing the fitness industry is SPACE. One of the single largest fixed costs for a fitness club or studio operator today is rent. Because space is so expensive we have seen a shift in the way many clubs are designed. Every square foot is carefully planned to maximize efficiency and eliminate waste. In fact, this was one of the key drivers to the rise of the Studio Market! Operators figured that if they could eliminate low usage areas and include only those that produce the most profit, it would be a win! They were right! In fact, according to IHRSA, since 2010 boutique studios have become the fastest growing segment of the industry.

Ask any fitness equipment manufacturer what one of the most common objections they hear is and they will tell you “I dont have the SPACE”. However it’s not about the space - it’s about the space for the RIGHT THINGS. If you knew that a piece of equipment or program was what your members wanted, you’d find the space - or they will go somewhere that did!

In the last 5 years or so the industry has also been overtaken by the FUNCTIONAL TRAINING movement. Functional training is supposed to mimic activities of daily living and provide exercisers with the strength and mobility to be more active and productive in their everyday tasks. It’s certainly great exercise, but because of the dynamic nature of functional training, it requires a lot more of that precious SPACE! Examples include Medicine Ball Throws, Tire Flipping, and Battle Ropes. When exercise is done on stationary machines the space requirement is fixed and predictable. Functional training throws all of that out the window and the space needed can be massive.

The payoff can be there, but you have to consider the amount of space you are giving up for one or two people to do one movement. For example, if you have members looking to flip tractor tires - a very popular exercise - you might have to devote 30-40 yards of space to ensure that they can get an effective workout and not endanger your other members who may be using the space for stretching or core work. Battle Ropes can pose the same challenge, requiring 20-30 feet of distance for just the rope! This type of training is certainly EFFECTIVE but from a space perspective it certainly is not EFFICIENT! What’s a club to do?

Fortunately for the industry certain manufacturers, like The Abs Company, recognize this dilemma and are focussed on equipment and programming that addresses these critical issues. In short they are focussed on equipment that requires a SMALL SPACE but makes a BIG IMPACT! Additionally such products solve the three biggest issues surrounding functional training: SPACE, SAFETY and FACILITY DAMAGE.

Space
Exercisers have been flipping tires for decades. This type of training is extremely dynamic and provides users with strength, power and aerobic fitness in one exercise.
It’s one thing if you have the ability to use tires outdoors but when you bring them inside it’s another story. The TireFlip 180 and TireFlip 180XL require a space that is only 5 feet wide and 4 feet long! In less than 20 square feet you can perform all of your Tire Flipping movements! That is a huge space saver! Additionally the anchor points on either side of the unit allow you to perform battle rope or elastic resistance exercises allowing you to set up a 3-4 person circuit training workout in a fraction of the space you would normally need. Finally, the ability to add plate loaded resistance eliminates the need for multiple tires in a facility by giving you a training range of 100-240 lbs !

Another innovation from The Abs Company revolves around the ever popular Battle Rope exercise. Again this dynamic workout is extremely effective but you have to devote 20-30 feet of floor space just for one person to train! The all new Battle Rope ST® solves this issue with its revolutionary design (see inset)

Safety
One of the biggest challenges with functional training is safety. The moves are not typical for the average user and without proper instruction, injury can occur. Tire Flipping is no exception with most injuries occurring when the unstable tire starts to roll away from the user. They can get injured as their body ends up in an awkward position trying to regain control. Additionally there is always risk to the unsuspecting exerciser who can have the tire fall or roll on top of them while they are simply lying down to stretch! Again, the TireFlip 180 solves this issue by moving in a defined and fixed path of motion. Safer for both the user and the exercisers around them!

Facility Damage
Finally, many of the functional moves today put the actual facility at risk for damage! When tires are leaned up against a wall or continually flipped onto the floor it can’t help but damage the surfaces, leaving your beautiful facility looking worn! The TireFlip 180 solves this issue because the tire never hits the floor, instead landing on the raised bumpers which also help users get a comfortable grip on the tire for more effective flipping. When members are launching the medicine balls into your walls and onto your floor damage ensues. The Ab Solo allows users to fire the medicine balls into a padded return for a fun safe and effective functional core workout!

It’s no secret that today’s members are looking for something different. They want functional movement and they want an experience. Whether you own a big box club or a boutique studio it’s imperative to find a way to give them what they want while keeping the realities of the business and facility in place. Products that require a SMALL SPACE but make a BIG IMPACT are the answer!


Efficient Equals Effective

Efficient Equals Effective

We recently had an article published in the National Fitness Trade Journal that really highlights our core concepts when designing a successful fitness space.  Take a look at the full article here Efficient Equals Effective

 


Are You Listening?

Over the weekend I was at a party and was talking with a friend of mine who is in sales in another industry. He was telling about his frustrations from a recent meeting with a prospect. As my friend learned more about the company and their needs he shared with him some possible solutions. The prospect was looking at them and admitted that his customers would benefit from them but kept saying “But I don’t like that.” I could easily see why my friend was frustrated. After all, there is NO I in Customer!

As business owners and managers, the path to victory is actually quite simple. Listen to our customers and solve their problems! If you can solve their problems better than your competitors, you win. The issue is often that we let our own opinions or ego cloud our judgement. We simply aren’t listening. Let’s take a look.

What is listening? To truly listen we must understand the information we are receiving. This is very different from hearing - which is simply the reception of sound! It’s important to also understand that listening is not solely audible. We can listen through our eyes and our observations. It’s no secret that some of our customers are much more vocal than others. They have no problem telling you their opinion, or letting you know about this problem or that one. Often times, because they are vocal, their opinions become magnified and can blow a situation or need out of proportion.

A common example in the health clubs is hearing from a member or even a trainer things like, “EVERYONE is asking for more open space”. “NO-ONE is using the machines any more”. Most times such statements of extreme are a clear indication of bias. Sure there are trends that we need to be aware of but that’s why its important to rely on observation and data. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and for the last 10 I’ve been hearing how no-one is using selectorized machines anymore. However data shows that over 40% of members incorporate these machines in every workout! Simply looking around the fitness floor will confirm that they are used regularly by a large portion of the members at any given time.

The other common issue in today’s fitness industry is the bias towards catering to the personal and small group training segments of our membership. Understandably, this is an area clubs want to focus on because there is more revenue per member here. With the proliferation of low price memberships clubs have to make up that revenue from non-dues sources. This is where classes and training really come in. So once again, if we are hearing the business need for increased revenue as opposed to listening to the data, we could make short term decisions that can negatively affect the long term result. The data tells us that the average club has training penetration rate of 8-12%. That means that only 8-12% of the membership uses training services. Or that 88-92% DO NOT! So should your club offerings ignore these members? I hope not. If you keep this segment of the membership happy and successful, they keep coming back. If they keep coming back you have a greater opportunity to turn them in to training clients!

Finally lets take a look at what YOU like. We all have our biases toward things that we personally like, or things that work for us. Often times part of our job is to use our expertise to help guide the direction of the club. However, we are not everyone. We can can't pick only what we like, as we may be at a very different place in our fitness journey. If we are going to be in charge of equipment selection and programming for a club that has thousands of members then we have to try and think like thousands of members. It’s never wise to try and be everything to everyone, but if you are opening the doors to all, then they all need to be considered. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the new member, the scared member, the intimidated, not just the super fit and lifelong exerciser!

Remember, the beginner only becomes the intermediate and the advanced if they stick with the program and make fitness a permeant part of their lives.

At The Abs Company we believe that FITNESS CHANGES LIVES. I’m sure that you believe the same thing or you wouldn’t be so passionate about the industry. To truly change a life we have to meet people where they are and then guide them along the path. It’s not about US - It’s about THEM and if we take the time to really listen we can help them WIN. In turn we will also.

We have a complete selection of core based functional training equipment to server your members wherever they are in the fitness journey. We are LISTENING and here to help. Just ask!

 


HIIT Me!

You can’t read an article about fitness today without seeing something about HIIT training. What is it? Is it good for you? Do you have to do it? Lets take a look.

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. Basically it’s the concept that you do shorter periods of work but at a much higher intensity. Then you rest and repeat. There are several protocols to choose from but some common ones include 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest (Tabata Style Training) or 60 seconds of work with 60 seconds of rest. You get the idea. The typical HIIT workout lasts about 30 minutes. The key is that your work periods are at a higher intensity than if you were to just sustain exercise for 45-60 minutes.

HIIT Training – though surging in popularity is not new. It’s been around since the 70’s and has been used by elite athletes for decades. Like many things in fitness, the concept is being recycled with the growing popularity of Cross Fit, Bootcamps, and Small Group Training. The benefits of HIIT Training are real and when compared to longer steady state exercise include:

  1. Shorter, more efficient workouts.
  2. Improved Cardio Vascular Fitness.
  3. 2X Increased VO2 Max (Cardio Vascular Capacity)
  4. Decreased Insulin Resistance which significantly aids in weight loss.
  5. Increased Body Fat Oxidation
  6. Increased Cognitive Function.

Sounds pretty good right?! So the conclusion many fitness experts are coming to is that everyone should be doing HIIT Training. But should they? The benefits are undeniable but there are risks to be considered as well.

Beginners or people just returning to exercise have shown an increased risk of coronary events (heart attack or stroke) due to high intensity exercise. There is also increased risk of musculoskeletal injury due to the intensity of the exercise. All exercisers, new and experienced, should receive physicians approval prior to beginning a HIIT protocol – or any exercise routine for that matter.

One of the factors that is not spoken about often enough is the enjoyment of the exercise. Studies tell us that if we are to achieve long term adherence to any exercise program then we have to enjoy it. One of the risks of HIIT Training is that, due to the difficulty of the training and the discomfort experienced by many exercisers, they just don’t enjoy it. In general most people simply don’t want to work that hard and many beginners who start a HIIT Training routine too soon, simply quit.

So the best recommendations seem to be this: Develop a baseline fitness level and exercise routine. This would include 3-5 sessions per week of 30-60 minutes doing activities you enjoy. Yes it’s important that you elevate your heart rate and include all components of fitness (Strength, Cardio, and Flexibility) but the key in the beginning is to establish routine. It’s easier to do this with activities you enjoy!

Once you have done this and exercise is becoming a regular part of your life, start with one HIIT Session a week. Work up to 2-3. Keep in mind that due to the increased intensity of the work, your recovery time increases as well. Make sure you give your body adequate time to rest in between HIIT workouts (generally 48 hours). Employ some active rest – lower intensity workouts and some actual rest – no workouts!

In a later post we will discuss some of the common HIIT Protocols but for now keep it as a PART of your fitness routine. At The Abs Company we believe that Fitness Changes Lives. It will only change your life if you do it! So find what you enjoy, make it a habit and then experiment with different types of exercise and training routines. Remember – there is no BEST way to train. We are all different, physically and mentally, so you have to find what works for you. We are here to help….. just ask!


Fast Weight Loss?

Intermittent Fasting

This time of year people around the world make resolutions for improvements in their life. Not surprisingly the number one resolution year after year is to lose weight. Studies show that over 24% of New Year’s Resolutions revolve around weight loss. It’s well documented that what we really want is FAT loss which is where the true benefits lie. For the purposes of this article, let us agree on that simple point.

The greater debate revolves around the best way to achieve this fat loss. Some people will tell you it’s exercise as simple as walking. Others will tell you about interval or high intensity training. Many experts will tell you that nutrition is the key and there is no shortage of new diets and diet advice coming out all the time. The reality is that the best recipe for long term health is the combination of diet and exercise. Diet alone doesn’t strengthen your muscles and bones. Exercise doesn't provide your body with the nutrients necessary for health and energy. Therefore it’s obvious that the combination of the two is best.

In this article we will focus on the nutrition side of the equation and the popular topic of Intermittent Fasting. If you are not familiar with the term it simply refers to a pattern of eating that involves periods of feeding and periods of fasting. It is much more about WHEN you eat, not WHAT you eat. It’s not a new concept as humans have been fasting since the dawn of creation. At that time it was often out of necessity because there simply wasn’t food to eat as readily as it is today.

Intermittent Fasting has been studied for years and the benefits are numerable and undeniable. Here are a few key benefits:

  • Increase in Growth Hormone up to 5x. This is beneficial for both fat loss and muscle gain.
  • Decrease in Insulin levels. When insulin is lower the stores of body fat become more accessible for energy. The less times you eat, the less insulin in your system.
  • Fat Loss - because you are taking in less calories your body starts to burn fat. On average people have seen decreases of up to 8%.
  • Increased Metabolism - studies have shown increases of up to 15%
  • Reduced Inflammation - Inflammation is a key driver of many Chronic Diseases.
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Disease - Studies show as reduction in LDL (bad) Cholesterol and Triglycerides.
  • Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
  • Improved Brain Health by increasing certain brain hormones. This may be beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimers Disease

That list of potential benefits is powerful but keep in mind that research is constantly evolving so there will be more evidence to come as the studies become longer and more detailed in Intermittent Fasting. The bottom line is that the benefits come from the reduction in calories. If you eat massive amounts of food during you feeding periods you may not see the benefits. At the end of the day there is still no getting around the simple equation of calories in vs calories out. If you are burning more than you are taking in you lose weight - period.

So if the benefits of Intermittent Fasting sound good, the next question is HOW do you do it? Keep in mind that before starting any new diet or exercise program you should consult with your physician to be sure its appropriate for you. That being said, here are a few of the common protocols.

16/8 Method:

This is the most common protocol for Intermittent Fasting and where it is recommended that most people start. Simply you are eating only 8 hours during the day and fasting for 16. For example If you have your first meal at noon then you would have your last meal by 8PM. If you can’t wait til noon and have your first meal at 10am then your last would be at 6PM. In general you would eat 2-3x during this 8 hour period. You can drink non caloric drinks at any point in the day and this will often satisfy feelings of hunger.

24 Hour Fast.

This approach is a bit more demanding but very effective. As it sounds you are taking complete 24 hours periods where you don’t eat anything at all. So if your last meal is at 8PM on Monday, you don’t eat again until 8PM on Tuesday. It’s challenging to go for this long at first with no food but you do get used to it. Again - non caloric liquids are recommended. The 24 hour fast is particularly beneficial if you know you are going out socially and don’t want to watch your diet at the event. For example if you know you have a party Saturday Night then make your last meal Friday Night so that you can indulge a bit more at the party.

Warrior Diet

This plan has been around since the late 90’s and basically allows for a 4 hour feeding period and 20 hours of fasting. Typically you are eating one large meal each day and perhaps a few small snacks if needed during the 4 hour period. Typically the meal is at the end of the day. The upside of this is that you are typically taking your 1500 -2000 calories in one meal so you have a bit more latitude on what you are eating. In general it should be healthy but but you can binge a bit more here on carbs and possibly even a sweet.

 

There are several more methods of Intermittent Fasting available but the key is that you maintain the periods of eating and fasting. The results are real, both from a fat loss and health perspective. If you think it sounds like something for you give it a shot. Research more and then start with 1-2 days per week on the protocol that fits you and see what you think. There is a little discomfort at first but that is true with any area of improvement. I suspect however that it could become a new way of life for you!


WHY this year will be different

WHY this year will be different...

This time of year there is no shortage of articles around goal setting, motivation, and resolutions. It’s no secret that people who have a plan of action on how to actually achieve the goal they set have a better chance of success than those who don’t. This is true in finance, personal development and of course fitness!

Most people set a blanket goal and leave it at that. “I’m going to get in shape this year.” “I’m going to eat healthy.” These general statements, though well intentioned, give no clear path to success. Those willing to go a bit further and THINK about how they will accomplish these goals not only make the goal more specific but put some daily action steps behind them. For instance they may say “I’m going to get in shape this year and lose 10 pounds by exercising for 30 minutes per day and by bringing a healthy lunch to work each day”. You can clearly see how person 2 will have a greater chance of success. They have some actionable, measurable steps and a definition of what success actually looks like.

When you look at the study of goal achievement however, one thing stands above the rest when it comes to success. That one thing is figuring out the WHY. WHY do you want to accomplish this goal? What is the true motivation? If you can really dig deep and find the WHY, the HOW becomes very clear and you will not lack the motivation to put in the work.

Let’s take our person above who started out just wanting to ‘get in shape’. Then they progressed and made the goal measurable and actionable. They are going to lose 10 pounds by exercising for 30 minutes per day and by bringing a healthy lunch to work each day. Now lets add the WHY. At first they may say they want to feel better. Perhaps they want to look better. Two good reasons but generally they will fade quickly. However, what if they said they wanted to accomplish this goal because they just became a grandparent and want to have the energy and vitality to keep up with their new grandson? That’s a powerful why!

The more powerful your WHY, the more likely you will be able to overcome the feelings of doubt that may set in while trying to achieve your goal. When laziness or procrastination rear their heads, you will remember your why and cast them aside. WHY is an extremely powerful force and one that can help you to crush your goals!

So think about the goals you set for yourself this year. Go back and attach a WHY, and then a HOW. This simple formula will start you down the path:

This year I want to XXXXXXXX.

WHY I want to accomplish this:

HOW I will accomplish this: (List 3 steps)

Once you achieve your goal, go back and do this again for your next goal. The momentum you will create will make you unstoppable! Best of luck and let’s make 2018 the year you truly change your life from the core!

 


Lifecycle of a Member - Part 3

KEEP MEMBERS ENGAGED!

This is the third and final blog post in our series about the “Life Cycle of a Member.” As we know, our clients and customers do not join the gym or the studio at the same fitness level as everyone else. It is important to appeal to members who are at the beginning of their “life cycle” in fitness - with equipment they can master and succeed with, such as selectorized machines, treadmills, and Ab equipment. After they achieve some level of success from the beginner level, you can take them through the “life cycle” to more advanced training.

Certainly the holy grail in fitness today is non-dues revenue. With the proliferation of low priced high volume clubs, owners need to find ways to generate additional and ongoing revenue to achieve profitability. But how do you induce the member who joined your club for $10-20 to now spend $50, $75, $100 or more per month? Take your offerings up a notch! Gone are the days where a person will shell out $50+ per hour to have a trainer stand next to them while walking on the treadmill or count to 10 as they exercise. Trainers and training programs need to provide a “wow” experience to justify the investment. Most importantly they need to deliver RESULTS. This is where cross training, high intensity and functional training become critical. At some point, even the beginner, who starts at the lowest level in the life cycle of training, will be interested in pursuing these more intense programs.

Along this same line of thought, there are other ways to keep members interested and engaged at your facility. It is important that facilities offer unique equipment and expertise that is special and unique, and not easily accessible to members on their own. Many such products exist today including the TireFlip 180, Battle Rope ST, Woodway Curve and Vicore TerraCore. These items deliver that WOW factor and truly stand out in the facility. Getting a good workout on products like these are things members talk about, things that keep them coming back for more. Just type one of them into your social media platform to see what I mean! How cool is it to see your member posting about the awesome workout they had on the latest piece of equipment YOU offered them? That is the best kind of “advertising” -- it’s real and you don’t need to pay for it!

If we are to reach our goal of operating profitable facilities while helping as many people as possible to achieve their fitness goals, then we need to think about ALL our members and prospects when designing our clubs and ordering equipment. Let’s not rush to eliminate this thing or that just because it’s hot and exciting right now - just because it’s what WE would use or the trainer said so. Think like your customer -- whether the beginner, the moderate exerciser, or the elite -- Let’s keep the entire “lifecycle” of the member in mind -- and make sure we accommodate them all.

Health truly is our greatest asset. As fitness professionals, facility owners, and equipment manufacturers we can work together and make a difference in people’s lives!


Life Cycle of a Member - Part 2

THINK ABOUT THE BEGINNER

This is the second blog post in our series about the “Life Cycle of a Member.” As we know, our clients and customers do not join the gym or the studio at the same fitness level as everyone else. There are a myriad of levels, and our job is to help clients succeed at every level.

Most fitness professionals get into the business because of a desire to help others. We want to help others succeed, to feel better about themselves, and to help them improve their most valuable possession - their health. However, if we truly want to accomplish this goal, we must think not only about the fitness enthusiasts but also beginners. For example, beginners are typically intimidated by the latest and greatest high intensity program. Beginners will hopefully grow to appreciate these programs later in their “life cycle” as a member, but that appreciation typically occurs much later in the process.

Unfortunately for beginners, the growing trend in gyms today is LESS equipment and more open floor space for functional movement. There is no denying this type of space is important but it’s also fair to say it doesn’t serve everyone at every stage of their cycle as a member.

Think again about the beginner. Many are not confident when they join a gym or studio. They overcome fears and insecurities and muster up the courage just to step into your facility. Their feeling of intimidation is real. You try to make them feel at ease, ask them a bit about their goals and most likely you hear the common answers. They want more energy. They want to feel better. They want to look better. They want to do something about ‘this area’ (patting their belly!).

At this point the enthusiastic trainer or salesperson tells them about all of the great offerings in the club from nutrition, to functional and cardio and cross training programs. They take the prospect over to the ‘turf’ area and see the “expert” members jumping around, hoisting kettle bells and launching medicine balls. Whoa! How does a beginner feel when they see these sophisticated movements? Do they feel like they could do that too? Perhaps. But most likely this beginner sees something they don’t feel they could be successful doing, and their feelings of fear and insecurity come rushing in. Have we increased the likeliness that they will join our club or studio? Quite the opposite. The beginner can feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the prospect of doing all these types of activities that they feel are “beyond them.”

What if instead this same member was taken to an area where there were selectorized machines. Just select a comfortable weight, sit down and push. Or walk on a common treadmill and push START. Or visit the ABS area where they could try a user friendly machine that helps them work ‘this area’ (see above). How are they feeling now? Encouraged. Empowered. Like they could be successful and fit in here. Have we increased the chances of them joining? You tell me.

Now we have a member who can WIN in our facility. We have areas where they can come to the club and be successful. When we have a member who is successful and fits in, guess what else we have? A member who keeps coming back! A member who truly becomes part of our ‘club’. After a member truly feels he or she belongs, then we can introduce them to all the other incredible things inside the facility. Offer them other services, ranging from classes, to group and personal training. Some people may be ready for this from day one but clearly not the majority as evidenced by the fact that PT penetration rates in clubs struggle to top 12%.

We will finish up our discussion about the “Life Cycle of a member” in our next blog post, so stay tuned!


Life Cycle of a Member - Part 1

ARE YOU CONSIDERING THE LIFECYCLE OF A MEMBER?

The Abs Company founders have a combined 40+ years of experience in the fitness business as personal trainers, health club owners and exercise product developers.  Our experience has helped us to see how a typical health club member or personal training client changes over time as they use our services and gain better health.  We call it the “life cycle of a member,” and we believe it is important to keep this concept in mind when building or designing a gym or personal fitness studio, and especially when purchasing exercise equipment.  We will explain this concept over a series of blog posts, and this is part 1 of the series.

As fitness professionals, we love to work out. We love going into a new club for the first time and seeing what they have to offer.  We love attending industry events to check out the latest offerings, and we’re guessing by the fact that you’re reading this blog that you feel the same way!  We are fitness geeks and we love it.

Unfortunately, most of your members and prospects do not feel the same way. Sure there are the hard-core fitness enthusiasts that share our passion -- the passion of a committed professional -- but many of your members are stepping into your club for the first time in a long time - or ever!  What are they feeling?  What are they looking for? How often do you stop and think about their experience and what it is like for them when they arrive at your club?  As an experienced fitness professional, sometimes it’s not easy to remember what it’s like to be a beginner.   But it is important to try to recapture this feeling so that we can better understand what our clients and customers are going through when they come to our facility.

Most likely these members are nervous, intimidated, or feeling uncomfortable.  They are probably unfamiliar with fitness and training.  It might be hard for us to understand this kind of cautious feeling, because we love fitness so much.  But surely everyone knows how it feels to be in an uncomfortable situation.  It’s something you tend to avoid, and you are not enthused about repeating it!

These are very real feelings and when it comes to our appearance or physical ability, these feelings tend to become magnified.  It’s personal, not business.  And when it’s personal, it becomes emotional.  It’s no wonder that the majority of people don’t exercise and certainly no surprise that over 50% of those who do start, tend to quit in under 6 months.

If we can get new members to overcome the problems that so many of them face when first joining a club or studio, we are sure these dismal statistics can be reversed. Our goal is to keep members coming back for more, and to find continuous success and good health by using our services.  More on how to do this in our next blog post - Stay tuned!


What About Me?

Imagine that you’ve decided that this is going to be your time to finally take charge of your health. You’re going to drop those pounds and get your energy back. You’re going to trade in your old habits for healthy ones. This is going to be your year!

You’re not sure where to begin so you decide to check out your local health club. Surely they will have what you need and you’ll be on your way. You muster up the courage and head down to the club to start your new life! When you walk in the door you’re nervous as you’re really not sure what to expect but you are hoping the club staff will show you the way!

After a short discussion about your goals the well intentioned staff member takes you over to the turfed are and you see things going on that you’ve only ever seen on TV! High energy, fit bodies are jumping, sprinting, hoisting weights and launching medicine balls. This, they tell you, is the path to fitness. Its called Small Group Training. As fun as it looks and as fit as the participants are, you cant help but ask yourself…. Can I do that? Am I ready for this? What about me??

This is the exact experience many of health club members face when they first decide to join a club. Sure the training methods of today will get you fit – perhaps more fit than you’ve ever been. However you have to stay in the game long enough to realize those results! The problem – as the industry data confirms – is the the High Intensity Training methods that are so popular today, often turn people off from exercise after they have tried it. The reason is obvious. Most people don’t want to work that hard and most people do not want to experience the discomfort that this type of training subjects them to.

In business its important to meet people where they are and then show them the path to where they want to be! If you jump right to the end, the majority of people just wont be ready. And even if you convince them to start, most wont finish. It’s no surprise that still today 50% of new members will quit within 6 months of starting a fitness program!

At The Abs Company we believe in the Lifecyle of a Member! This simple concept has guided our innovations for the past 10 years. We have equipment that will appeal to the beginner as well as the advanced exerciser. The facts are indisputable that the majority of people don’t exercise – period. The true path to success in the fitness industry is going after this group – not the hard core dedicated exercisers that will show up no matter what. If you can convert the non-exerciser to a lifelong fitness enthusiast not only do you help them change their life, but your business thrives as well! A win win. Lets get together and talk about how we can help you Change Lives from the Core!


The Abs Company Top Ten Nutrition Tips

Have you heard the saying that Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym? Here at The Abs Company we certainly believe there is truth in this statement. Of course we always stress the importance of training variety for maximum results. This is the reason we offer many types of Ab and Core training solutions – to keep those muscles guessing and improving.  You can check some of those out here!

We believe in getting as much out of our nutrition as possible from whole foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be the staple of any healthy diet and are key to staying lean so you can have that flat, strong and sexy waistline you desire.

HERE ARE OUR TOP 10 NUTRITION TIPS THAT ARE A GREAT COMPLEMENT TO YOUR TRAINING REGIMEN!

1. EAT EGGS.

Research shows they do not raise cholesterol and are the bodies most absorbable form of protein. Strive for 7 per week.

2. EAT THE BLUE AND PURPLE.

Foods like blueberries and eggplant contain anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that battle inflammation.

3. OLIVE OIL SHOULD BE YOUR PRIMARY SOURCE OF FAT.

It contains oleocanthal which fights everything from Alzheimer’s to certain cancers. Olive oil has also been shown to fight the risk of heart disease.

4. EAT BEANS.

People who eat 2/3 of a cup per day can lower their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 5 percent. Peas, beans, and lentils are great sources.

5. WALNUTS ARE THE KING OF THE NUTS.

They are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids. Eat 2/3 of a cup per day.

6. IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO LOSE WEIGHT RELY ON PROTEIN AND FIBER.

Try for 30 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber at each meal.

7. DRINK GREEN TEA.

A cup of green tea at breakfast will help you avoid an energy crash later.

8. AIM FOR 1 GRAM OF PROTEIN PER POUND OF BODYWEIGHT EACH DAY.

If you’re looking to build muscle, lean cuts of beef, white meat chicken and eggs are great choices.

9. EAT FOODS RICH IN FIBER AND OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS.

They are your best guard against heart disease and hypertension. Foods like whole grains, pistachios and beets make the grade.

10. THE BEST FRUITS FOR FAT LOSS ARE BLUEBERRIES, APPLES, PRUNES AND PEARS.

Due to their high flavonoid content they burn more fat, reduce fat absorption and boost energy.

For more tips like this, or information on core and functional training solutions


Do Supplements Matter?

We’ve all heard the adage that Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym. Here at The Abs Company we certainly believe there is truth in this statement though we also strongly believe in training variety for maximum results. This is the reason we offer many types of Ab and Core training machines – to keep those muscles guessing and improving. More on this in future posts.

When it comes the the nutrition side of things one of the hottest topics is, by far, supplementation. People ask me all the time – should I be taking supplements and if so what should I be taking?

I am a firm believer in getting as much of our nutrition as possible from whole foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be the staple of any healthy diet and are key to staying lean so you can have that flat, strong and sexy waistline you desire. However, it’s also no secret that our foods today don’t contain the nutrients they once did so I also believe there is a place for supplements in the typical western diet.

When people ask me what they should be taking, I keep the list very short. I know there are tons of choices on the market but I think

THIS SHORT LIST OF 3 WILL COVER THE NEEDS OF MOST PEOPLE.

1. VITAMIN D

A daily multi will fill many of the holes left by the typical diet. Especially important are adequate levels of Vitamin D. This is perhaps the area most people are most deficient and it can lead to many of the ailments we commonly see including osteoporosis, high blood pressure and certain cancers. New research is even showing promise in aiding in weight loss for those that are Vitamin D deficient. The common recommendation is 400IU per day though most research today shows that intake of up to 1000IU can be especially beneficial.

2. PROTEIN

Throughout time there have been many recommendations as to how much protein we need. They have varied from .5 grams per pound of body weight all the way up to 1.5 grams per pound. For the average person I like to recommend 1 gram per pound of body weight. This level of protein intake will ensure adequate amounts to maintain and increase lean muscle which is the key to fat loss. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat so the more muscle you have, the higher your natural metabolism will be. However, taking in this amount of protein without supplementation can often be difficult especially for those leading very busy lifestyles. I find that adding one shake per day containing 25-35 Grams of Protein (I prefer Whey) will dramatically help most people reach the desired levels.

3. CREATINE

Creatine is an organic acid that occurs naturally in the body.It is our body’s main source for explosive energy – up to about 10 seconds of work. Moreover it has a vasodilatory affect on the blood vessels – helping them to dilate and increase blood flow to working muscles. Sure the body will naturally replenish the stores of creatine but this takes time and thats where supplementation can assist. By saturating the muscles with ‘extra’ creatine, the stores will stay high allowing you to work harder longer. For anyone that trains, and that should be everyone looking to achieve that lean waistline – this is a huge benefit. There are several types of creatine on the market but most of the positive research has been done using creatine monohydrate. Typically a dose of 5 grams per day is sufficient for most people and the loading phase is not necessary, especially for people looking to use the supplement long term. There has not been research showing that cycling your use of creatine (starting and stopping intake) is more beneficial than regular supplementation.

There you have it – 3 supplements to aid in your quest for a strong, flat and defined midsection, and more importantly your long term health!


The Abs Company Joins Association of Fitness Studios

NEWS RELEASE

The Abs Company – Latest Industry Leader to Join AFS

(OAKLAND, CA, CHESTER, NJ, February 17, 2017) – The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) today proudly announced and welcomed the addition of The Abs Company to its membership and sponsorship ranks.

One of the fitness industry’s most identifiable brands, The Abs Company makes high quality, innovative commercial abdominal and functional training exercise equipment focused on the development of core strength. Abs Company products include brands such as Ab Coaster, TireFlip 180, Ab Solo, X3S Bench, and the Abs Bench and are used in over 10,000 commercial fitness centers and in millions of homes in 40+ countries worldwide.

“We at AFS couldn’t be happier to welcome The Abs Company into our Community,” said Josh Leve, AFS founder and CEO. “Any time an industry leader like The Abs Company sees value in what we’re doing, it’s both humbling and energizing. We look forward to working hard to earn and reward their support.”

The Abs Company is committed to making exciting, unique equipment for all levels of fitness training, from beginner to elite, to keep members and clients excited and coming back for more. The Abs Company also assists studios and health clubs in the design and layout of space dedicated exclusively to core training, one of the primary reasons why people join a fitness facility. This is especially important in the studio space where revenue per square foot is a high priority.

“We fully understand the studio space and we’re impressed with AFS and the benefits they provide to the industry,” said Sean Gagnon, President of The Abs Company. “We look forward to working with Josh and his team to enhance the profitability of studio owners throughout the world.”

Industry research has shown that innovative Ab and functional core training equipment is a powerful marketing tool for studios and health clubs, helping facilities attract and retain clients. Core training is important at every level of fitness, and The Abs Company makes a range of products to keep members engaged as they move from beginner to advanced, a concept they call The Lifecycle of a Member.

Gagnon went on to say, “Studios and clubs are focused on adding equipment that people want to use. It’s not about having space, but about having space for the right things. Ab machines are a key part of that attraction. Our Core Based Functional products complete the story.”

More information on The Abs Company can be found at http://theabscompany.com/.

About AFS

The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) is the only membership community dedicated solely to the business of fitness studios. AFS provides studio owners and developers a wide array of business-specific products, services, and benefits that enable them to more effectively manage and grow their businesses, building on the passion, compassion and courage they’ve already shown. www.afsfitness.com


What Super Bowl 51 Can Teach You About Your Fitness Routine

This past Sunday we witnessed what will perhaps go down as the greatest Super Bowl of all time! Going into the game the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Not only was the world championship on the line but a win for the favored Patriots would make Coach Belichick and QB Tom Brady the winningest tandem of all time!

It wasn’t going to be easy though. The Atlanta Falcons were coming off a 11-5 season and their QB Matt Ryan was the NFL MVP! They were coming to play!! Right from the opening drive they showed that and by halftime they were leading 21-3. With 8 minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter they extended their lead to 25 – 28-3! Most thought the game was over and New England had no chance for victory. In fact, no team had ever overcome more than a 10 point deficit in the SuperBowl.

So what does all of this have to do with fitness? After the game there were countless interviews of all of the players and coaches who all recounted the night’s events. When you boil all the comments down, 3 themes emerged and it is these themes that you can apply to your fitness goals to get the results you are after.

1. Evaluate and Adjust:

When the Patriots found themselves down by 25 they had to change their approach or they were going to lose! They changed their play selection, protections, coverages etc. When you are pursuing a fitness goal you must do the same. Look at what you are doing and objectively evaluate whether or not it’s working. If you aren’t getting the results you are after, make some adjustments. If you always do steady state cardio, try intervals. If you always lift free weights, try machines or body weight. If you always eat 5 meals a day, try intermittent fasting. Just like with the Patriots, small adjustments can make a BIG difference.

2. Focus on the Details:

Anyone successful will tell you that one of the biggest keys is to consistently do the little things well. It’s not about the big moves and there is no secret recipe. It’s the consistent execution of the small details that will lead to success. At the end of the game they asked Coach Belichick how they did it and he said “We just kept grinding it out!” The same is true of your fitness routine. There is no secret. Stay consistent. If you plan to work out 3x per week then do it. If you need to stretch daily to improve your flexibility – do it! If you commit to not eating past 7pm – do it. Whatever your commitments are to your fitness goals, consistently honor them and you will see results – period!

3. Never Give Up:

When you are starting out on your fitness journey the end result can seem so far away! You may be doing well for a while and then you hit a setback, you get injured, or you just plain fall off the wagon. It happens. You will also hit plateaus and feel like you will never get there. Good news – You will if you just keep going! One thing is for certain, if you give up, you’ll never reach your goals!

As the game got more and more out of hand many people stopped paying attention or flat turned it off. However, those that stuck it out were treated to one of the most improbable comebacks they will ever see. It was indeed the greatest comeback of all time. However, when you break it down, the recipe for success really wasn’t that difficult! Adjust, Focus on the Details, and Never Give Up! Apply these same principles to your fitness goals and you too will come away with the victory!

Click HERE to learn more


Get To Know MMA Champion Claudia Gadelha

1. What motivated you to get started in mixed martial arts?
I came from humble beginnings – I was very poor with few opportunities in Brazil, and no future. I discovered BJJ, and saw that if I dedicated myself to BJJ training and the philosophy of BJJ as well, that it could totally change my life for the better…and it did.

2. What are your interests outside of fighting and the martial arts?
Other than fighting, I enjoy planning and talking business for my career, and MMA Gym ventures. I like going to the beach and skateboarding. I like to always keep my body and my mind in motion.

3. What is your normal workout routine and your routine before a fight?
I train 6 days per week, with 2-3 sessions per day. The training intensity goes up a lot in Fight Camp, with 3 hard sessions per day.

4. What is it your favorite way to train?
My favorite thing to do to train is Jiu Jitsu. I love it.

5. How much cardio versus weight lifting?
I tend to do 75 percent cardio, and 25 percent strength training.

6. What is your eating regimen normally and before a fight?
I eat every 3 hours all year round. I try to eat clean, but definitely indulge in some chocolate…in moderation of course. However when fight camp starts I eat totally clean and healthy with no “junk” at all.

7. What’s your favorite exercise or routine?
My favorite non-fight training exercise is running – outside for sure!

8. What keeps you motivated to workout?
I love to workout! It makes me feel so good during and after. I really feel satisfied after a good workout..and have that great feeling of accomplishment when I’m done.

9. What are the best exercises to tone your abs? What type of equipment do you like to use?
I like to use the X3S to work my abs. I only do X3S type of movements for my ab training.

10. What is the best piece of advice you can give to a person trying to get in shape?
Start small but START. Do a little more today than you did yesterday. Be consistent and Stay Motivated. Believe in yourself and stay very committed! Follow your dreams..and you will make it there!


Detox to Lose Body Fat

The tummy area is always a tough spot when it comes to weight loss and it sometimes needs a little help to give it the kick it needs to become tight and toned. There are many methods out there that are natural boosters to losing the belly fat. Using detox methods flushes the body of what it doesn’t need and more times than not, helps to improve the body’s normal functions to make a job like digesting food “supersized”. Here are 5 detox ideas that can help to burn belly fat.

1. Detox Water – This water goes by many names, from detox water to weight loss water as well as fruit infused water. The ingredients can be changed to focus on other areas of health that you would desire, but for belly fat, the best formula to use is cucumber, lemon, and mint. Combining these ingredients in water pulls the antioxidant from the fruits and herbs into the water for faster absorption into the body. The fruits boost the metabolism and flush the body of toxins; and water is a gut buster, as well as the most important fluid you will ever need for detoxing the body. The detox water is not limited to just cucumber and lemon, but this is the one that is popular for belly fat.

There is also the orange, strawberry and mint mixture. To make the water just add a few mint leaves, a handful of fruit slices like strawberry or a medium cucumber and lemon or orange slices, making sure to use the whole fruit. Add all these ingredients to a pitcher of water and let it sit for about 12 hours or overnight before drinking. Keep this in the refrigerator for the best results.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar – This method has been hailed from the east to western hemisphere as the ultimate fat burner and it gets this attention because it actually does work. With the combination of lemon juice and cayenne pepper, it aids in better digestion and cuts fat – especially stubborn belly fat. The mixture of the lemon juice and cayenne is optional though, and if you prefer just the apple cider vinegar it works well by itself. The vinegar has an acid called acetic acid that can supress the appetite and also aids in digestion, cuts water retention and burns belly fat.

3. Green Tea – This tea can be used to incorporate into smoothies or just to drink by itself, whether hot or cold. Green tea is packed with many vitamins minerals and antioxidants as well as polyphenols that give the body nutrients, flush the digestive tract, and boost the metabolism and immune system to fight infection. There are many recipes that incorporate green tea, but it can be had by itself as just tea. For better results, it is best not to add any artificial sweeteners as this reduces the effects the tea will have.

4. Ginger – This is a root that many use to enhance food flavors, but it can be used as a detox to flush the body of toxins, cut sugar cravings, and burn body fat. Ginger can be enjoyed as tea or infused in water with other fruit and herbs, like cinnamon, to pull its properties into the water.

5. Plain Water – All the previously mentioned methods are great and do work, but many overlook the benefits of drinking just plain water. Having a glass of water half hour before eating, when waking up and before going to bed has shown a drastic improvement in weight loss particularly in the belly region.

It goes without saying that exercise is very important to help these methods work even better. Although they are great stand-alone methods, exercise is a great way to naturally burn the body fat and propel the fat-burning process. What detoxing will help to do is prepare the body for shedding of fats. Combine that with exercise to help the pounds roll off.

The Abs Company core and functional training equipment can help with that! We’d love to help you design the perfect core and functional training space for your home gym or fitness facility. It’s what we do!


TIREd of your training routine?

We all have, at some time or another, decided to make our way down the path of exercising but seem to hit a block when it comes to really targeting the tummy area. At times it seems like all the cardio and ab exercising just doesn’t seem to be working and you are at a loss as to why you are not getting the desired effect. One important thing to remember is that the body – especially the tummy – is built in the kitchen too, not solely in the gym. The right diet is imperative, in addition to exercise, to really getting the flat tummy you always wanted. Here are some simple diet tips that will be extremely helpful to help burn belly fat.

Eat all natural foods – the body does give out what you put in it and eating highly processed foods can slow the body down. Processed foods give the organs a more difficult job because the body has to work twice as hard to break down the compounds in these foods. In general stick to foods that are as close to their original source as possible.
Eating More Protein – Protein is one of the most important foods needed to help in losing weight. In addition to helping to replace damaged cells in the body, protein is also responsible for cutting down your appetite as well as boosting metabolism. The other great benefit of eating protein for weight loss and especially stomach fat is that proteins like fish are filled with omega three fatty acids which boost metabolism. Studies have shown that for the average person 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient. This equates to roughly 30% of your daily caloric intake.
Cutting out sugars – Sugars in the diet are very unhealthy for the body and hinder the burning of belly fat. Sugary drinks like sodas and artificially sweet drinks have glucose and fructose components to them and this actually slows down the body’s metabolism. In essence, adding sugar to the diet actually helps to increase belly fat! The liver is also susceptible to damage from the overworkit gets from breaking down sugars for the body’s use.
Cutting out Carbs – Similar to sugars, carbohydrates break down to a sugar and as mentioned earlier added sugar may cause belly fat. Reducing Carb intake will cause the body to more efficiently learn to rely on fat as a fuel source. In general keeping your carbs to around 35-40% of your daily intake is a good recommendation. This may vary depending on activity levels.
Eat fiber rich foods – Foods rich in fiber help you feel fuller longer. The “soluble” type of fiber, which absorbs water, forms a kind of gel inside your stomach, slowing the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. Lower blood sugar levels mean lower insulin levels — and that means your body is less likely to store fat.
Belly fat is very stubborn, but it is not impossible to burn, making simple changes to your diet. What we eat is very important to how the body reacts. The Abs Company has you covered when it comes to Core training. We have all the products you need to tone and strengthen your core in a safe and effective way. But also try making a change to the way you eat and see if this doesn’t make a drastic difference in how you look and feel. Let us help you find the right combination to get the abs you deserve!


Healthy Tips to Burn Belly Fat

We all have, at some time or another, decided to make our way down the path of exercising but seem to hit a block when it comes to really targeting the tummy area. At times it seems like all the cardio and ab exercising just doesn’t seem to be working and you are at a loss as to why you are not getting the desired effect. One important thing to remember is that the body – especially the tummy – is built in the kitchen too, not solely in the gym. The right diet is imperative, in addition to exercise, to really getting the flat tummy you always wanted. Here are some simple diet tips that will be extremely helpful to help burn belly fat.

Eat all natural foods – the body does give out what you put in it and eating highly processed foods can slow the body down. Processed foods give the organs a more difficult job because the body has to work twice as hard to break down the compounds in these foods. In general stick to foods that are as close to their original source as possible.
Eating More Protein – Protein is one of the most important foods needed to help in losing weight. In addition to helping to replace damaged cells in the body, protein is also responsible for cutting down your appetite as well as boosting metabolism. The other great benefit of eating protein for weight loss and especially stomach fat is that proteins like fish are filled with omega three fatty acids which boost metabolism. Studies have shown that for the average person 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is sufficient. This equates to roughly 30% of your daily caloric intake.
Cutting out sugars – Sugars in the diet are very unhealthy for the body and hinder the burning of belly fat. Sugary drinks like sodas and artificially sweet drinks have glucose and fructose components to them and this actually slows down the body’s metabolism. In essence, adding sugar to the diet actually helps to increase belly fat! The liver is also susceptible to damage from the overworkit gets from breaking down sugars for the body’s use.
Cutting out Carbs – Similar to sugars, carbohydrates break down to a sugar and as mentioned earlier added sugar may cause belly fat. Reducing Carb intake will cause the body to more efficiently learn to rely on fat as a fuel source. In general keeping your carbs to around 35-40% of your daily intake is a good recommendation. This may vary depending on activity levels.
Eat fiber rich foods – Foods rich in fiber help you feel fuller longer. The “soluble” type of fiber, which absorbs water, forms a kind of gel inside your stomach, slowing the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream. Lower blood sugar levels mean lower insulin levels — and that means your body is less likely to store fat.
Belly fat is very stubborn, but it is not impossible to burn, making simple changes to your diet. What we eat is very important to how the body reacts. The Abs Company has you covered when it comes to Core training. We have all the products you need to tone and strengthen your core in a safe and effective way. But also try making a change to the way you eat and see if this doesn’t make a drastic difference in how you look and feel. Let us help you find the right combination to get the abs you deserve!


Functional Training with the X3S Bench

While there are many types of workout routines designed for different kinds of athletes, an overall workout regimen that targets functional fitness should be at the core. When functional training is the foundation, focused workouts become easier, and whole body strength is magnified.

What is functional training?
Functional fitness exercises are designed to both develop individual muscles and train them to work together. The movements mimic things your body does naturally on a daily basis, and expands on them to create a stronger, more stable core and body.

Doing functional exercises as a base of your workout routine teaches all of your various body parts to work together smoothly. This helps to make you more efficient in your activities of daily living. A simple example would be a shoulder press movement. Many machines would have you do this while sitting down. However, is that how you would generally lift something in real life? No. Typically if you had to lift something overhead you would typically perform this while standing – as if putting something away on a high shelf. This requires all of your muscles to work synergistically to accomplish the task.

Another great example would be the squat. When you sit down or get up from a chair, dip to pick up something from the floor, or crouch down to speak to a child, you are working the same muscles that squats train. Therefore regularly performing a squat as opposed to a leg press would make you more efficient at the movement!

A simple way to incorporate functional training into your routine.
The X3S is an ideal machine for this kind of workout, since it already operates on the principle of full body workouts. It doesn’t take much tweaking of your exercise routine to thoroughly exercise every part of your body, adding strength, flexibility, and muscle mass.

Using the X3S Bench can help you blend a variety of functional exercises into one smooth motion, exercising your legs, abs, and core. You can add weights or dumbbells to enhance focused exercises, and workout with a trainer or without.

By using upper and lower body muscles at the same time, you build core stability, promote strength and flexibility, and increase endurance. This can have a terrific effect not just on your hours at the gym, but in your day to day activities.
Clubs across the country are getting great results with the X3S Bench. We’d love to help you bring the X3S Bench into your facility, or talk about other Core and Functional Training options. If we can be of assistance please contact us anytime!


As Fitness Gets Smarter, People are Getting Fatter. Why?

The fitness industry has been exploding with innovation in recent years. Advances in the areas of Wearables, Artificial Intelligence Training programs, Smart Devices, Fitness Apps and  a range of new training methods such as Cross Fit, HIIT, and functional exercise have taken the industry by storm!Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.57.05 PM

With all these advances, you would think Americans must be losing weight and obesity rates are going down.

Sadly, the reverse is true.  Recent studies show that American obesity trends are holding steady for men, while obesity trends are actually growing for women.

The million or billion dollar question obviously is WHY? How can there be so many advances in fitness and fitness technology yet the collective results are worse?

As with most research you have to look at it with a critical eye. The major issue – as always – is that most people are simply still sedentary. They aren’t using the advances and therefore are not getting the results.

So much of the fitness industry is dedicated to chasing the minority percentage of people that actually enjoy exercise, enjoy sweating and really are motivated to obtain results. These people are the ones drawn to the HIIT Training, fitness wearables and the latest forms of group training.

What about the beginners, those that feel uncomfortable or self conscious in an exercise setting? What is being done to help these people. Far too often fitness facilities don’t treat them any differently than the seasoned exerciser. They show them the same equipment, or worse yet , the same classes and training routines.  Research from the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) clearly shows that when beginners are exposed to HIIT type training, the majority quit within 3 months. Why? Quite simply it wasn’t enjoyable and in most cases it was just too difficult.

Another solution that is popular today is the growing trend of Small Group Training. This is evident in the explosive growth of the fitness studio market. Whether it be strength training, group cycling, or yoga, you can find a new studio on virtually every street corner. Many health clubs are also starting to put separate studios within their facilities. There is strong evidence that the group dynamics can lead to increased adherence but there is no getting around the fact that if a person doesn’t feel comfortable within the group, they won’t stay.

At the end of the day fitness professionals need to decide what business they want to be in. Are they in it to help all people change lives through fitness? Or do they want to specialize in the ultra fit and highly motivated? There is nothing wrong with either approach but the evidence is clear that trying to live in both worlds with no distinction is failing!

At The Abs Company our purpose is to Change Lives From the Core and we firmly believe that Fitness Changes Lives. In order to accomplish this we offer solutions that are appealing to the beginner and advanced exerciser alike. It is important to give all exercisers the chance to ‘win’ and be successful regardless of fitness level and allow them to progress along the lifelong journey to fitness. By doing this we hope to play our small part in reversing the obesity trend. We’d love to show you how our solutions can help your facility or you personally. Reach out and we’d be happy to discuss your needs!


Snap Fitness Showcase - Snap Fitness Wyoming

Look What Snap Fitness Wyoming, MI is doing to help retain membersScreen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.42.51 PM

Understanding the importance of what members really want, Snap Fitness Wyoming created this Core Strength Zone in their club. A dedicated area where members can go to do their entire core workout. Hear what trainers and members are saying about The Core Strength Zone in this interview with trainer Russell Fox:

Interview with Snap Fitness Trainer, Russell Fox

 

TAC: What do your personal trainers think of the Core Strength Zone?

Fox: My trainers love it, its been a huge hit with both my members and my trainers. I really like the Ab Solo because it takes the boredom out of doing crunches. I also really like the Ab Coaster CS3000 because it really targets the lower and middle abs and the obliques. It is a great piece of equipment in my opinion. My members like the fact that they can do all their core work in one designated ab area.

TAC: How did you implement the new Core strength Zone into you club?

Fox: Instead of putting the equipment all over the floor, I put them in one dedicated area of my club. My members love it! We use it as an ab circuit, and I also use the Core Strength Zone as part of my club tour for prospects.

TAC: Anything else you would like to share with other club owners about the benefit of a Core Strength Zone?

Fox: Now our new members know exactly where to go to work their abs. The Core Strength Zone is easy and fun to use, especially the Ab Solo. It’s like a game for your abs and it never gets old!!
Let us help you design a solution for your core training area and take take your gym to the next level!  


Core Essentials

Foundation Building for a Stronger, Happier You

Your core muscles form the flexible, sturdy connection between your upper and lower body. Weak or inflexible core muscles can impair how well your arms and legs function, and will result in a lack of strength when it comes to moving, lifting, pushing or pulling. A strong core enhances balance and stability, increases strength, and reduces the chance of injury or falls. Nearly every typical daily motion moves through the core, even if you don’t realize it.

In the Home

Getting out of bed, taking a shower, putting on your clothes, and bending down to tie your shoes all involve movements that travel through your core. So does loading the dishwasher, mopping the floor, or taking care of children.

At Work

Physical jobs that involve bending, reaching, lifting and pushing obviously use your core muscles. However even desk jobs involve your core; muscles in your entire body are engaged even while sitting, answering phones, typing, or filing.

At Play

A game of Frisbee can engage your core; so can a romp with the family dog. Playing with the Wii can use all kinds of muscles, and so can simply spending time in the garden, weeding or fertilizing.

Sports

Obviously those who are athletically inclined depend on a strong core to help them excel. Running, swimming, cycling, rowing, hiking, tennis, golf, baseball, basketball, football and bowling all require the use of muscle groups that are connected through your core. (insert following image)

Drawbacks of an Underdeveloped Core

Lack of core conditioning can lead to muscle soreness, strains, back pain, and more. It can also slow your response in times of emergency, keep you from doing the things you want to do, and cause you to become tired too easily when you are having fun.

How can core training equipment like the X3S Bench Help?

Dedicated core training equipment can be instrumental in developing a strong core, especially a multi-functional unit like the X3S Bench. The X3S is designed to give a complete, no-impact core workout that also involves your abs and legs. No matter what your current lifestyle is, you can enhance your strength and flexibility, reduce the chance of falls or injuries, and improve your health and fitness level simply by using the X3S Bench to work on your core.


Functional Training and Your Core

One of the hottest topics in fitness today is Functional Training. Proponents will tell you that isolated movement is out and functional is in. Let’s take a closer look!

Functional training provides the strength, stability, power, mobility, endurance and flexibility you need for everyday activities in your life. We all use basic functional movement patterns everyday, such as pushing, pulling, squatting, rotating, carrying and gait patterns (walking and running). At the center of all these movements is your CORE.

Lots of people use this term but what does it really mean? Some think the core is a sleek six pack, when in fact the abdominals are only a fraction of your core. There are 29 muscles that have attachments within the core area, which is essentially the entire center of your body. Basically, think of your core from your torso down to your hips. These muscles allow functional movement in any direction. Core muscles create a solid base for your body, allowing you to stay upright and stand strong on your two feet.
One of the primary goals in training should be to strengthen the core. Functional vs Isolated movements are simply the vehicle to get the the end result. The benefits of a strong core are many and include:

1. Reduced Pain and Prevention: A strong core stabilizes you and works like a natural brace for your joints.
2. Makes You Look Taller and Thinner. When you strengthen your upper back and shoulders, the muscles are pulled back and down, removing any trace of a hunch.
3. Delays the Aging Process A strong core keeps your body aligned, so that you can function properly.
5. Improved Performance. Stabilizing your core hones your fine motor skills, so you can react quickly and stay balanced on unstable surfaces.

Functional vs Isolated Core Training
The case can be made that you work more muscles with functional core training than isolated core training such as crunches, and that you work in a larger range of motion utilizing more muscles. Proponents will also tell you that functional training is more beneficial because you are mimicking the activities of daily living. There is certainly some truth to this and any exercise that allows you to work multiple muscles at once is certainly efficient! With people being as busy as they are efficiency in training is certainly attractive. The Abs Company recognizes these benefits and we are proud to have offerings in this space such as the all new X3S Bench and TIREFLIP 180.

It is important to note that before someone embarks on a program designed to incorporate Functional Core Training, it is important that they have a certain level of core strength to begin with. This is where Isolated movements come into play. Exercises like planks, The Vertical Crunch, and The Abs Bench certainly can assist here. These are extremely user friendly and can build some of the foundational strength necessary to succeed in more complex functional movements.

At the end of the day, we believe that there is now and will always be a place for both functional and isolated movement. Strengthening the core is essential to lifetime health and fitness so this end result is really the key that matters. Continuously challenging the body through a variety of exercise types is what keeps you moving forward and keeps you improving. There isn’t a need to chose one over the other. Instead incorporate lots of variety in your training you will build the core strength that will allow you to reach all of your health and fitness goals!


Enjoy the Burn or They May Not Return

When introducing a new client or member to your club it is critical to balance the future of their success with the joy of working out. The idea of NO PAIN NO GAIN is well known but it does have a dark side, especially with the older population. There is also the “feeling stupid factor”, when a new member attempts a new group class or tries to use a new machine that is too advanced for their fitness level. They fear looking stupid or, worse, may get hurt, and never come back again.

A recent study shows that, regardless of the effectiveness of a training program or regimen, if your customer is not finding enjoyment in exercise, they will likely not continue. So how do you balance the idea of effective training (no pain no gain) against the idea of making exercise enjoyable so that your members do return?

Studies show that the number one area most people want to improve is their waistline/belly/abdominal area. If you want to create more enjoyment and motivate your members to return, you should start right there. You can begin by having them perform an isolated ab crunch on a product such as the Abs Bench, or by having them perform a seated crunch on a machine such as the Vertical Crunch. These fixed movement isolated machines are easy for beginners to perform (and therefore overcome the “feeling stupid factor”) and deliver a burning sensation that will sent a positive message that exercise is truly effective and that these machines really are working their abs.

One thing you should NOT do…..never have a new client or member take a cross conditioning class prior to establishing a basic level of core stability first. Everyone new to exercise should focus first on core stability and total body isolated strength training to build a strong foundation. The key to balancing the burn with enjoyment is to build the core first to limit the risk of muscle strains, extreme pain and injury.

The Abs Company has helped over 10,000 clubs around the globe design and implement designated core training areas that lets club owners give members what they want! We’d love to do the same for you.


The Abs Company Acquires Impact Fitness

The Abs Company started the new year with a bang with the acquisition of Impact Fitness.  Since then we’ve been working hard preparing to roll out our all new line of functional training equipment.  The introduction of the X3S Bench and the innovative Tire Flip 180 have already been a huge hit!  We wanted to make sure we share the news with our loyal customers – so we’re including our Press Release below.  Stay tuned for more exciting new functional training products that will complement our already proven core training products that The Abs Company is known for!

FLANDERS, NJ., Jan. 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Abs Company announced today that it has acquired Impact Fitness LLC, a functional fitness equipment supplier. Impact will join The Abs Company portfolio of leading commercial brands such as Ab Coaster, Ab Solo and Abs Bench.

Founded in 2013, Impact Fitness offers a growing line of functional training equipment largely serving the commercial fitness market and the growing category of functional fitness and Cross Training. Its product portfolio includes Impact Cages, cage accessories, Functional hand held equipment, Boxing and The Tire Flip 180, a unique training device that puts a new lift on an old exercise.

“With the addition of Impact, we will expand our stable of brands serving the commercial fitness market, including health clubs, hospitality, education and military, as well as consumers, with a wide array of core and functional fitness training equipment, while continuing with The Abs Company’s outstanding customer service and support,” explained Abs Company President, Sean Gagnon. “We believe the combination of these brands will position our company for the explosive growth in the functional, Cross Training  and boxing categories. The Abs Company / Impact Fitness combination enables us to approach the market with a broader and deeper product portfolio, and improve our ability to address the faster growing segments of the fitness market,” Gagnon added. “With the addition of Impact’s functional training footprint, we can meet current and future demand to further improve our competitiveness and leadership position within the fitness industry.”

The Abs Company is the leading supplier of innovative consumer and commercial abdominal exercise equipment and assists Health Clubs in the design and layout of space dedicated to core training.  The Abs Company products include brands such as Ab Coaster, Ab Solo, and Abs Bench, which are used in over 10,000 commercial fitness facilities in over 40 countries around the world.

Core training remains one of the primary reasons why people join health clubs.  The desire to have a flat firm, well defined midsection is still top of mind for anyone wishing to improve their overall health and fitness.  Having a dedicated Core Training Area excites and catches the attention of members. To fill this need, The Abs Company has developed a diverse line of abdominal products.   Whether a Club needs to upgrade an existing ab/stretching area or create a new area from scratch, a Core Training Area can be customized to meet any Club’s specific needs, space and budget.  

With the acquisition of the Impact Fitness line of products, the Abs Company can now meet the ever growing trend toward functional training. The Impact Fitness brand adds innovative core and full body functional training products creating a unique combination of isolated core training products and total body functional training equipment providing our customers with a single source for the latest fitness trends.

 


Introducing the X3S

Ever wondered what would happen if you could combine functional core training and isolation training in one simple, space saving workout machine? Surprise – such a thing not only exists, but exceeds all expectations. It’s called the X3S, and it’s the missing link when it comes to ab, leg, and core conditioning.

The X3S is the carefully designed chair-bench combination machine you’ve been looking for. Based on rigorous cross conditioning, MMA fighter and Pro Boxer training requirements, the X3S design provides a simple, effective routine that includes a complete and challenging abs, legs, and core workout.

Basic crunches on the floor, full sit ups, and full standups will push users to new goals regardless of fitness level. Your clients can use it solo or with a trainer, and incorporate dumbbells or Medicine balls to increase intensity and expand training benefits to their entire body.

All steel construction ensures durability, and EZ Adjust leg pads make this machine fit any height. Foam covers keep every workout comfortable, and clean-up is fast and easy. Minimal assembly means users can be working out in minutes, and the compact, portable design lets the X3S store easily to save even more space.

Looking for maximum results in minimal space? You don’t have to expand square footage to accommodate this machine. The X3S weighs only 56 lbs. and has a compact space saving 40” by 29” footprint.
The X3S is the perfect addition to women’s, men’s, or mixed training gyms and workout facilities. It focuses on the all-important muscle groups, with the ability to switch seamlessly between ab, leg, and core workouts.

The combination of exercises tones and tightens bodies, improves strength, posture and flexibility, and is popular with those training to box or fight MMA style, as well as providing a solid workout routine for those who simply want to stay fit and look fantastic.

Bridge the gap between abs workouts and full body functional training with the X3S – it’s the link that’s been missing in your core training area. Add one or more machines to your facility and find out why it’s an instant favorite!


Abs Workouts

Core Stability

Abs Workouts

Core Stability:  core sta·bil·i·ty

noun:

  • the capacity of the muscles of the torso to assist in the maintenance of good posture, balance, etc., especially during movement.

 

In other words, Core Stability is the single most important factor when it comes to physical performance and good health. Without it, you are more prone to injury.  Lack of core stability leads to poor posture and lack of balance, which leads to even bigger problems such as back and joint pain.  Core Stability is key for every sport and athlete.  It’s what allows a kickboxer to move quickly from kick to punch, it’s what allows a gymnast to balance on a beam and every person who practices yoga is well aware of the importance of core stability.

So how do we increase our core stability?  Use a combination of abdominal exercises, both isolation-type core exercises using machines like the Ab Coaster or Abs Bench, and functional core exercises such as Russian twists with a medicine ball or using a machine like the X3S Bench.   

In addition to using isolated and functional core training exercises, you must also promote core stability with lower back strength training.  The lower back is a key part of developing core stability.  Target these muscles using a back extension machine such as LumbarX or by performing isolation back extensions during a yoga session.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE >


The All New X3S Functional Core Trainer

X3S BENCH MAXIMUM RESULTS, MINIMUM SPACE

When it comes to core training the debate rages on as to whether isolation orfunctional training is better. There are certainly merits to both sides of the discussion but what if you could have BOTH in one simple, effective and space saving machine? Now you can with the all new X3S Bench from The Abs Company.

Check out the X3S
The X3S Bench combines three movements, lower body, upper body and isolated core training into one motion while eliminating the rest period in between exercises. Not only can you train your complete core but the X3S also allows you to train your quads, glutes and hamstrings with one simple compound movement. It is total bodyfunctional training in a compact space in the gym. The X3S Bench can also challenge any fitness level with the use of dumbbells or weighted balls for a total body workout.


Core Resolutions

In a recent study, people from around the world were asked the following question:

If you could change one body part, what would it be?

The results were astonishing… but not really. Intuitively you know the answer but do you think it would be the same for both men and women?

Havas Worldwide, a global marketing and communications firm, conducted a worldwide study asking over 10,000 people from 28 countries this very basic question.
As you can see from the image above, both men and women listed their TUMMY as the number one body part they would change. It wasn’t even close.  Tummy won in a landslide.  For men, changing their tummy is 6 times more important than the next body part, and for women tummy is 3 times more important.

This study is groundbreaking for anyone in the fitness business because it shares valuable insights into the mind of your customers.  Knowing exactly what area of the body men and women want to change is like getting inside information on what programs they are looking for.  Rather than “selling” to your customers, you will be giving them what they already want. Remember this survey was done with a random group of people which explains why some said they would not want to change any body part.  But if you were to repeat this study with your members (people who are motivated to change their bodies) you could bet that the number one response would be TUMMY, and the percentage would likely be even higher.

The study confirms the importance of Ab Focused marketing.  Think about it, every NEW YEAR the number one Resolution is WEIGHT LOSS. This study confirms the area of the body they want to improve by losing weight, the tummy.  Both men and women want to improve the same part of their body..their bellies.

The Abs Company has helped over 10,000 clubs around the globe design and implement designated core training areas that lets club owners give members what they want! We’d love to do the same for you.

Happy New Year!


Introducing all new Accessories to the Abs Company line-up!

The Abs Company has been creating innovative core training equipment for 20 years. Being in over 10,000 clubs worldwide, we've learned a thing or two about what our clients want. They want more! More easy to use, effective ways to work their core.

We are excited to now offer a selection of core accessories to enhance the overall core training experience without the need for a huge budget or a ton of space. Providing everything from Medicine Balls to the new X3S Bench!

Click here to check out the new Accessory line up!


The Most Effective Way to Use an Abs Bench X2


Many people today continue to erroneously believe that proper ab training requires a high number of repetitions to be effective. But there’s a better way, a simpler way, and here it is:
Train the upper abs separately from the lower abs, and train the upper abs first. Work the upper abs like you would other upper body groups with similar number of reps for the upper body. And once the upper abs are exhausted, and cannot be used to synergistically assist the lower abs, turn your attention to training the lower abs separate from the upper abs. Phil’s routine has been modified below to make it more user friendly for the average member. The premise is the same however – Tire out the upper abs then burn out the lower. Give it a shot!

Here is the workout:

  1. Upper abs 4 sets 20 reps.
  2. Lower abs 2 sets 20 reps. That’s it.

This workout takes so little time that you could even work this muscle group 3 or 4 times a week. The best way to perform this workout is to find an abs machine where you can do only an upper-body quarter crunch, without engaging your lower abs at the same time. A machine that uses upper and lower abs in the same exercise will not work and defeats the purpose. The exercises must be separate.

That’s why the Abs Bench X2 is the perfect abdominal machine for this routine. It allows the user to perform forward crunches (upper abs), as well as reverse crunches (lower abs), separately (or together) on the same machine.

For the uppers abs we want you to perform ‘half reps’ for a total of 20. What we mean is come only half way up, return and repeat. This will keep your abs under constant tension while only engaging the upper abs! Recover for one minute and repeat for 4 x 20 reps. As you get stronger decrease the amount of rest between sets or increase the resistance by adding 5 pounds to the upper bar on the Abs Bench X2

Remember the body responds to progressive exercise. Now that upper abs are exhausted your upper abs cannot synergistically kick-in to assist lower abs with the reverse crunch exercise on the Abs Bench X2.  When you try to train your lower abs before the upper abs are exhausted, the upper abs and hip flexors will compensate and “help” perform the exercise, causing the lower abs not to work hard enough. Once the upper abs are exhausted, when you lift your legs during your reverse crunch exercise on the Abs Bench X2, you should feel little or no assistance from the upper abs. You will instantly feel your lower abs working.

Perform 2 sets of 20 FULL Repetitions on the lower crunch. Rest 1 minute between sets. We recommend having some resistance for the lower crunch right from the outset. Again, as you get stronger reduce the rest between sets or add more resistance. Remember – progression is the key!

Trying to work all of the ab muscles at the same time is less efficient and can take a long time. It also results in needless extra stress on the spine. Using the protocol described above allows you to train your abs more efficiently and more frequently. And the Abs Bench X2 makes it easy to perform this workout all on one machine. Variety Abounds You’ve heard it said that variety is the spice of life. They same is true of your training. By constantly challenging your body with new stimuli you force it to continue to adapt and improve.


What a Difference a Tour Makes

Why don’t they join?

It’s no secret that in order to run a successful health club business you need to continually gain new members. Attrition rates have stayed steady for many years and we know that over half of members are gone within 6 months of joining your club. Therefore it is critical to constantly have new members joining the club. The key to gaining new members is understanding why they do and do not join. Do you know the number one reason that a member will not join your club? If you guessed price or location you would be mistaken! The number one reason prospects leave your club without joining is that they don’t think they will feel comfortable there – that they won’t be successful. Research tells us that one of the top things prospects want is a flat stomach. You don’t even need the research because the prospects themselves will tell you this in their interview. If you overwhelm them with all of the things they need to do to achieve this, how do you think they will feel? Perhaps like they won’t fit in there? That they won’t be successful?

A New Perspective

If a prospect walked into your club, told you exactly what they wanted and you showed them you have it, would they join? Of course they would! Let’s go back to our prospect who told you they wanted to flatten their stomach – they wanted to strengthen their core. Instead of talking to them about the diet and cardio, what if you said “That’s great. We have a dedicated area in the club just for this – it’s called the Core Strength Zone. Let me show you!” And then you take them over to a few fun and effective ab machines such as the Ab Coaster or Ab Solo, and show them how it’s done. Don’t you think this will take the tour in a whole new direction? Now the prospect says to themselves – she listened to me, they have what I want here, I bet there are a lot of other great things this club has to offer! The prospect will now feel more comfortable and open to seeing what else your club has to offer. This approach doesn’t just go for people who talk about getting a flat belly. It’s what you could be doing for every prospect that comes through the door. Instead of a standard tour showing the things that you feel are important, customize the tour and gear it to what THEY want to see (based on their initial interview) and watch your closing ratios climb!


Profiting From Your Existing Members

Many club owners I speak with focus their non dues revenue around personal training and the ever growing Small Group Training. The member who uses a personal trainer is typically their most valuable member to the club, so naturally owners want to provide offerings that cater to this profitable group. This includes equipment selection and programming options. Though a sound plan on the surface, it has an inherent flaw. What percentage of your members participate in training? If you are a non studio facility the national average is around 10%.

That means 90% of the membership is not using these services yet the club is not being designed for them! It is this 90% that will typically spend less and be most likely to quit. If the equipment and program offerings at your club are being dictated by the needs of the personal training community you are risking the other 90% of your membership. That’s a horrible risk.

It is imperative that club owners listen to the needs and wants of this segment of the membership and make sure that they too feel comfortable and successful in the club. A great way to accomplish this is to create dedicated spaces in the club that the average member wants to use and can do so successfully. One example is the selectorized strength circuit. Though not overly popular with the training population, the general membership still flocks here because they know they can get an effective workout and be successful doing it. Another great option is having a Core Strength Zone – a dedicated area in the club for your members to train their abs and strengthen their core. Such an area can include 3-4 popular Ab Machines and some open floor space as well for non equipment based exercises. We have installed such areas in clubs world wide and members love it. The idea is to create a space where members can focus on a body part that is important to them and allows them to train in a comfortable, non intimidating environment.

It’s clear that providing your members and prospects with areas of the club where they can feel comfortable and successful will help you to grow and retain membership. It’s also clear that non-dues revenue is critical for the long term success of most fitness centers. Let’s bring it all together to create a well oiled, profitable operation. We know that some members will be coming in for the latest fitness activities such as small group training and high intensity interval training. We know others will want to work one to one with a personal trainer. Having these offerings inside the club walls is critical or they will seek them out elsewhere as the industry has seen. The question remains how do you increase the usage of these services to the 90% of members that are not currently participating? The answer lies in providing yourself with ample opportunity to offer training services to that other 90% of the membership. You can do this if they are coming to the club and are being exposed to it. They will only keep coming to your club if they are feeling comfortable and successful. Areas such as your strength circuit and Core Strength Zone do just that which is why we call them The Gateway. They bring the members in, keep them coming, and give you the opportunity to engage them in all the other great fitness options your club has to offer! Don’t ignore this very important aspect of club/member dynamic and you will stay on the road to success.


How the Ab Solo was born...and how it can help YOU

When Sean Gagnon, VP of the Abs Company, first saw the Ab Solo at a trade show, he knew it was another hit ab product like the Ab Coaster.  He saw an effective ab machine that was intuitive to use and turned the boring ab crunch into a fun and exciting exercise.  Understanding the growing trend to offer more innovative Ab Machines for members at health clubs, Mr. Gagnon pushed his company to acquire the rights to the Ab Solo when he heard that the owners wanted to shut down their business.  Gagnon began discussions and a deal was made for The Abs Company to acquire the rights to the Ab Solo brand in 2013.

Out with the Old, In with the New Ab Solo

The Abs Company spent several months researching and implementing a new Ab Solo design, making the product more compact, sleeker, quieter and with fewer moving parts.  The new design features and air filled lumbar support pad that is comfortable for the user and also provides a pre-stretch to maximize full range abdominal contraction.  Three mulit-color “touch targets” were added to promote oblique training and to provide an opportunity for personal trainers to interact with clients while exercising on the Ab Solo, for example calling out a sequence such as “black, red, throw, red, yellow, etc.”  The redesigned unit also includes a counter/timer which gives instant feedback for counting reps or timing intervals.  

The new Ab Solo was launched in the 4th quarter of 2013 and many clubs have installed the unit and are raving about the new design.  Not only do members love using the product, but with a smaller footprint and fewer moving parts, the new Ab Solo also takes up less space and requires less maintenance – two huge benefits for health club owners.  

For health clubs that own the original Ab Solo, The Abs Company offers a special promotion of a trade-in credit for upgrading to the all new Ab Solo.  Many clubs have already taken advantage of the deal and are reaping the benefits of the new design.  Just one more way The Abs Company is leading the way in innovative core training.


All New Vertical Crunch Machine

We couldn’t wait to show you the all new Vertical Crunch machine.  The space saving Vertical Crunch provides a complete abdominal workout — upper, lower and obliques in one machine. The linkage system allows beginners to easily sit and perform an effective crunch motion.  Plate loading allows for increased intensity for advanced users and the built in weight storage keeps your fitness floor neat and orderly. Its free swivel seat allows the user to seamlessly change from rectus abdominus to obliques without pausing the workout.

Check it out!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw_jduVyssY


Our Latest Innovation - The Abs Coaster FT!

Check out the latest innovation in the Ab Coaster line up.  The Ab Coaster FT.   FT stands for Functional training and that’s exactly what this machine delivers. Your body moves independently and the FT allows you to strengthen and tone your core in the way the body was designed to move. Guaranteed to give you a burn like you’ve never felt before!

Check it out!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y3k2gnENLg


What Fitness Pros Think of Target Abs

The all new Target Abs Bench from The Abs Company provides a great total core workout in a space saving design. The interactive targets show you exactly how far to reach so you know you are performing the perfect rep every time! Not only effective, but FUN!  You won’t even know you’re working your abs.  Touch them with your hand, or advanced users can add resistance with a medicine ball. The reverse grip handle adds a whole new dimension allowing you to train the lower abs in a fun and effective way. The Target abs bench has no adjustments – just get on and start training those abs!


10 Reasons You Need a Dedicated Ab Training Area

Every person – members and future members – want to improve their midsection, and they all desire a lean, defined waistline. So it only makes sense to provide a separate area of your club that is focused on the core. Several successful Club chains have already figured this out and are now dedicating space specifically for core training. It is proving to be smart business because members love to work their abs. Still not convinced?

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Club Needs a Dedicated Core Training Area:

1. Everyone Wants Great-Looking Abs
Men want to get rid of the love handles and beer belly and to develop a lean six-pack. Women want a flat tummy and a slender waistline. Installing a dedicated Core training area in your Club will instantly appeal to your members’ desire to have great-looking abs.

2. Surveys Show that Health Club Members Love Ab Machines
Recent IHRSA surveys rank Ab machines as a top activity that your members value the most in their Health Club, right up there with treadmills, elliptical machines and free weights. The American College of Sports Medicine also released its top trends for 2015, and once again Core training is on the list.

3. Abs Sell
The next time you are in the supermarket, check out the headlines on the covers of popular magazines. Many of them feature articles about getting a trimmer waistline, such as: • How to Get Flat Abs Fast • Blast Belly Fat • Two Weeks to a Tighter Tummy • Six Pack Secrets The magazines use Abs and belly headlines because they help sell Millions of copies. People want great-looking abs, so marketers use abs to sell. With a dedicated ab training area, your Club can do the same thing.

4. Dedicated Ab Training Areas are Becoming Popular at Successful Clubs
Ab training areas are becoming mainstream in several club chains across the country. Both Planet Fitness and Retro Fitness offer a special area or circuit dedicated solely to ab training, and the trend continues to grow. More clubs are jumping on board everyday because members love having a dedicated zone for core training.

5. Training Variety is Key
There are many ways to train the abs and, like any muscle group, the key to improvement is Variety in Training. Installing a dedicated ab circuit area provides your members with a place to work their abs many different ways with different types of machines.

The last 5 reasons your club needs a designated core zone! Should we do this?

6. Members Want to see Results

Before you hire another salesperson or run more generic ads with price discounts in the hope of increasing sales, you should first consider this: People care about seeing results, and they love to work on their abs. Appeal directly to the needs and desires of your members by installing a dedicated ab training area and showing how to get great-looking abs.

7. You can offer Short-term Ab-focused training programs
Increase your membership and generate more revenue from existing members by offering short-term ab-focused programs in conjunction with a dedicated core training area. This will enable you to deliver to people what they really want: great-looking abs and a slender waistline. By offering short-term ab-focused programs to prospects without the long-term membership commitment, you will attract people who probably never would have stopped by your club. These programs also work for your members who need a little challenge to get them back on track. Just make sure your member price is less than the nonmember price.

8. Ab Machines are “Silent Salesmen” that help Close Deals
A dedicated Ab training area with innovative Ab machines can become your “silent salesmen” to help new prospects get excited about joining your Club. Think about the key decision moment for new prospects – the Club Tour. People understand the Cardio area is for your heart, the Strength area is for your muscles, and there are rooms for fitness classes such as Spinning, Zumba or Yoga. Most clubs have all of these things. Now, imagine showing them an area in your Club dedicated to core training. What better way to complete your Club Tour right before you begin reviewing various membership options.

9. A Thin Waistline Means a Healthy Heart
A slim, strong waistline is not just about looking sexy. Many studies show that a healthy waistline also is an indication of heart health. In other words, where fat is located on your body matters when it comes to health risks. Researchers have found that people who have high amounts of fat in their abdomens compared to other parts of the body have higher risks of cancer and heart disease. The bottom line: You are not just selling vanity when you are selling abs—you also are selling good heart health.

10. Ab-Focused Marketing Works
When you focus your marketing message on what people want, you can dramatically increase the number of sales you make. That means, focusing your Health Club marketing on showing your members how they can achieve a lean, sexy waistline with a dedicated ab training area in your Club.


The Abs Company Story

The Abs Company was founded in 2006 by Don Brown and Sean Gagnon. Prior to The Abs Company, Mr. Brown started and owned a small chain of Health Clubs in New Jersey and Mr. Gagnon was one of his lead trainers and a partner in the chain. Sensing a need for a single source Ab equipment provider, Brown and Gagnon decided almost 10 years ago to focus on providing innovative core training products for the commercial fitnesAdd Medias market.

Don Brown has invented some of the most successful fitness products in history. In 1994, he invented the AB ROLLER® and revolutionized the way people perform crunches. According to Mr. Brown, “I was trying to help my club members perform crunches properly – to eliminate the stress and strain on the neck and back.” Twenty years later, the Ab Roller is one of the most popular exercise products in history, with sales exceeding $1 Billion worldwide.

Brown also invented the AB COASTER® and again revolutionized another exercise – the hanging leg raise. The Ab Coaster is now a key piece of core training equipment in more than 10,000 health clubs worldwide.

Ab training has grown exponentially since Brown and Gagnon started the business. IHRSA member surveys show the most popular fitness products used in health clubs today include: Cardio equipment, Free Weights, and Abdominal Machines. For decades, health clubs have dedicated space to cardio and weight training, and now more and more clubs are also dedicating space to abdominal training.

The Abs Company has assembled a complete line of innovative and effective equipment, with brands including: Ab Coaster, Ab Solo, Abs Bench, Target Abs, and more. The Abs Company also provides assistance to owners for designing an area in their club for dedicated core training.

Innovative ab equipment can be a powerful marketing tool for Health Clubs. According to Sean Gagnon, “Ab machines are popular in Health Clubs and are a main reason why people workout there. To attract new members and to keep existing members, Health Clubs are focused on adding the equipment that people want to use. Ab machines are a key part of that attraction, and The Abs Company is the one-stop shop for innovative core training products.”

The Abs Company has released several new abdominal training products for 2015, including AbCoaster FT and The Vertical Crunch.  The new products are intuitive, fun and effective machines that are perfect for a dedicated core training area in your club.  According to Brown, “Innovation is key. Health Clubs can attract and retain more members by offering innovative and effective equipment.”

Abs Company products are used in over 10,000 commercial fitness facilities in over 40 countries around the world.


Ab Seduction

The next time you are in the checkout line at your supermarket, take a look at the covers of the fitness magazines on the racks. The headlines scream out to you: “Flat Belly in 7 Days,” “Shrink Your Belly Fast” and “Secrets for a Sexy Tummy.”  Publishers use these headlines to get people to buy lots of magazines. How does this work? The answer lies in human beings’ basic desire to look their best, and flat abs area part of that package. The bottom line for marketers is this: the promise of a flat midsection is one of the most powerful motivators when it comes to health and fitness. Health clubs can use the same type of marketing strategy utilized by magazines. Several successful club chains have already followed suit.

For example, a Planet Fitness owner in New York decided to give members what they wanted — an area in the club dedicated to core training. When Planet Fitness corporate saw the results of member excitement, the company decided to recommend that all of its new clubs add this area.

Another major health club chain, Retro Fitness, has created an area in its clubs called “Retro Abs” so that its members can work on core training in a dedicated area of the fitness center. Many other independent club operators are doing the exact same — setting up a dedicated space in their club with innovative abdominal machines where members can focus on core training. If you want to use this strategy to increase your sales closing ratio, here are a few things for your club to try:

  • Start focusing on abs when marketing. Let members know that you can help them lose weight and earn flat abs.
  • Create a dedicated ab area in your club just for ab machines. The more variety, the better. When touring prospective members always finish the tour with, “And this is our ab area, where our trainers can focus on ab training and the importance of losing belly fat.”
  • Before leaving the club, get your prospect to try an innovative ab machine. Once your prospect feels their abs burning, they will be hooked.
  • Show “before” and “after” photos to prospects of some of your members who have lost weight. Then focus on the positive side effect of losing belly fat, such as a healthier heart, greater energy and more.

These successful health club chains understand that catering to their members is the key to good business. Giving your members what they want will help retain membership rates and also increase new memberships. Ab-focused marketing works.