December 2006

By Rohit Chopra

How many times have you dreamed of a tighter, flatter stomach? How many sit-ups have you done in your lifetime? Are you ready to try something new? Pilates training sessions focus a great deal on the muscles surrounding the abdominal area. And since the program works deeply into the core muscles of the body, the result are longer, tighter muscles and a leaner, flatter you. If other exercises have not given you the results you are looking for, Pilates for abs might be worth a try.

Getting Started with Pilates for Abs

The good news about Pilates for your abs is that mat classes can be easy to find and fairly economical. There is also a host of good videos and DVD’s that can teach you the basic principles of Pilates and get you started on a program. Many of the Pilates exercises for abs can be done with basic mat exercises. The key to this program is to focus on quality of movements instead of quantity of repetitions. So instead of 50 sit-ups in a routine, you may only do a dozen repetitions of particular exercises. While it may seem that you are not working these muscles as hard, rest assured that the work you are doing is more precise and hitting deeper muscles than many other exercises you might have tried in the past.

Pilates Equipment for Abs

If you would like to intensify your workout for maximum results, resistance bands or a Pilates ball can add exercises to your regimen to keep it interesting. The Pilates ball specifically will work your abs with Pilates exercises, as well as improve your balance, coordination and concentration. The Pilates ball is a mainstay at most studios and fitness centers, and can be purchased for home use for around $30. It comes in three sizes to accommodate the size of the users.

Pilates bands can add resistance to some of the mat exercises that you might already be doing to intensify the effects of those motions as well. These bands come in two different resistance strengths, and can be purchased for $5- 10. The great thing about the resistance bands is that they are versatile and completely portable, so you can take them with you anywhere to keep up on your workouts.

Besides the improvement you will see in how your abs look, stronger abdominal muscles also provide better support for the lower back. That can mean less aches and pains from lifting, carrying and even sitting in front of your computer. So when do you want to start seeing leaner abs on your own body? Give Pilates for abs a go, and see where the results lead you.

About the Author: Author is publisher of fitness site for Pilates. Checkout articles on Winsor Pilates and Home Gyms


The Law Of Attraction And Weight Loss: Can You Think Yourself Thin?
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Metaphysics & Brain science merge and prove that positive thinking and goal setting literally create your body and your entire life experience
On recently broadcast special edition of CNN’s Larry King Live, Mr. King interviewed a panel of “mind experts” about how the thoughts you think literally turn into the events you experience, the material things you possess… AND even the health of your body.For years, “positive thinking” and goal-setting were often criticized as “pollyanna” and “the law of attraction” was relegated into the category of “new age” fluff.On the recent Larry King show, panel experts Bob Proctor, John Assaraf and others who were featured in the movie ‘The Secret’ explained that recent breakthroughs in neuroscience along with understanding mental laws, reveal why goal setting, the “law of attraction” and “positive thinking” all work, regardless of whether you look at them from a metaphysical or a scientific perspective.Scientists have even identified specific parts of the brain, such as the reticular activating system (RAS), which works with the visual parts of our brain to call our conscious attention to things that are important to reaching our goals and to filter out those things that are unimportant.The RAS is activated by “programming” goals into our sub-conscious minds. Our sub concscious mind is the “power center” and THIS is the mechanism that explains why goal setting and positive thinking are now being accepted as scientific methods for change.We are discovering that our brain is cybernetic in nature, which means that it is literally like a computer, waiting for a program to be installed.Here’s the kicker – the subconcsious is completely neutral and impartial – it will carry out any instructions you give it.Unfortunately, many of us are still running negative programs we picked up from others as children when our non-conscious minds were totally open and impressionable, or which we developed over the years as a result of repetition of our own negative thinking.

As it turns out, our own thoughts, repeated daily, are one of the primary ways that our “mental computer” is programmed on a sub-conscious level, which is the level of beliefs, habits and automatic behavior.

To change your results, you must overwrite old negative programming and install positive new programming into your subconscious.

This can be achived through such techniques as written goal setting, positive self-talk (affirmations), and mental imagery (visualization).

In the 1970’s, the Soviets and East Germans were the first to formally use structured mental rehearsal, and at that time, they dominated in several olympic sports. This was reported in great detail in Charles Garfield’s landmark book, “Peak Performance.” Today, virtually all elite athletes use visualization extensively, as we now know that the brain cannot differentiate between real practice and practice that is vividly imagined.

If you are getting more of the same negative results in your life – such as the same health problems, or the same body fat continues to return even after you lose it, then you have probably been un-consciously running old negative programs and re-inforcing them with negative thought patterns.

You can begin the positive mental reprogramming process by writing down your goals, changing your internal dialogue and taking a few minutes to relax, quiet your mind and perform a session of visualization or mental rehearsal every day (seeing yourself in your “mind’s eye” not as you currently are, but as you ideally would like to be).

These methods, repeated often enough, will begin to program the non- conscious portion of the mind, which is the same part of the mind that controls your heart beat, digestion and new cell production, all on “automatic pilot.”

In the last decade, neuroscientists discovered that you have the capacity to create an almost infinite number of new neural connections in your brain when you run new thought patterns.

The Old neural pathways are like grooves in a record, and if you are struggling with your health related behaviors or behaviors in any other area of your life, you have been playing the “old records” over and over again.

If you were to carve a new groove into that record, it would never play the same way again. the old pattern would weaken and the new one would take over. Brand new, positive thoughts, feelings and images begin to create new neural patterns.

Psychologists estimate that it takes 21 to 30 days to establish a new pattern in your brain. During this time, the focus on sticking with your practice and repeating your new thought patterns is critical.

Is this easy? For most people, no it’s not. In fact, controlling your thinking and keeping it constructive may be one of the most difficult challenges you have ever faced. Fortunately, writing goals and reading affirmations can help get you started.

You can take some of the pressure off yourself by simply accepting that negative thoughts and self criticisms will pop up from time to time. Just observe them, without mulling over them or adding to them, and change the polarity of the thought by quickly repeating one of your positive affirmations or by changing your mental pictures.

So is there something to this whole “positive thinking” thing?

The philosophers and theologians have been saying yes for the entire span of recorded history: “As you think, so shall you be.” Variations on this proverb can be found in every spiritual and philosophical tradition.

But… if you are the left-brained, “prove-it-to-me” type, you dont have to go on faith anymore. Scientists are beginning to prove more and more convincingly that thoughts are powerful things. Even Larry King seemed impressed with what his panel of “mind mentors” had to say.

So how soon are you going to begin your mental training right alongside your physical training? When are you going to learn how to harness this power locked up inside your mind?

Guess what? You’re already using this force every day because you cannot turn it off. Whatever you are thinking and picturing in your mind repeatedly on a daily basis is already on it’s way to you, so it’s simply a matter of HOW you are using it, not IF you are using it.

What do you say to yourself every day? Do you say, “I am becoming leaner, healthier and more muscular every day?”… or do you say “I am a fat person – Ive tried everything, nothing ever works?”

The fact is – you can think yourself thin and healthy or you can think yourself obese and ill. Maybe not in the literal sense…but most certainly as the critical part in the chain of causation…

You see, there’s a lot of talk these days in the personal improvement world about law of attraction, manifesting, intention, visualization, affirmations and of course, positive thinking.

Without understanding that there is an orderly, scientific basis underneath all of these things, many people will simply remain skeptics, while on the opposite extreme, others may get the idea that you can sit around meditating and visualizing, then expect a mystical “law of attraction” to kick in and then “poof!” a great body materializes out of thin air… along with the perfect relationship, a nice bank account and fantastic career success.

What really happens is “Positive thinking” and related methods quite literally re-program your brain, which in turn creates new behaviors that move you physically toward whatever you have been thinking about and focusing on.

So success is achieved through positive thinking + positive doing…. attraction + action. There are two sides to the coin. Without paying attention to both, you may continue to struggle… often against nothing but yourself.

If you want to transform your body or any other aspect of your life, then you have to change on the inside (the mind) first and then everything else will follow.

This process of *scientific* goal setting and mental reconditioning through emotionally charged mental imagery (visualization) and internal mental dialogue (affirmations) is the very first thing I have always taught my clients and the first thing I wrote about in my book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle You can learn all of these techniques in detail in chapter 1. Learn more about the psychology of body transormation inside the Burn The Fat ebook:

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder and author of the #1 best selling e-book, “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to burn fat without drugs or supplements using the little-known secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and turbo-charge your metabolism by visiting:

Living with arthritis can be life changing but it’s not a life sentence. Here are a few suggestions that may make things easier.

Eat a healthy diet. This is reckoned important when you have arthritis – as well as providing your body with essential nutrients it will help you maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing stress on your joints. Even losing a few pounds can make a difference that you will notice.

Your diet should avoid red meat, cream and dairy products such as cheese. Try instead to eat foods from the following groups – fruit, vegetables, pasta, white meat, fish and brown rice.

It’s also a good idea to try to eat ‘oily’ fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel – these provide omega-3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids) which are thought to ease arthritic symptoms.

In the home. Don’t be afraid to change things to suit you – let your family know which tasks you find difficult and which you can still manage easily. Use mobility aids where you need them – hand rails, lever taps, trolleys for moving things around and long-handled sponges for bathing all rank high on simple aids to keep you mobile and independent.

Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Having arthritis isn’t your fault! Occupational therapists can help you to find new, easier ways of doing everyday tasks. They are specially trained for this – so why not take advantage of their knowledge?

Pain management. Pain is a western taboo, yet the stark fact is that arthritis can be a very painful condition. Modern analgesics can help a great deal, but research shows that keeping active, looking after your joints by taking warm baths or, where appropriate, applying cold compresses to affected joints and perhaps considering therapies such as osteopathy can all give significant relief from pain. Also get sufficient sleep – pain is harder to manage if you are tired.

Live an independent life. Not so easy if you suffer from acute arthritic conditions but help is available. The mental lift that any person affected by the mobility problems that arthritis can cause is well worth the effort of trying to stay in control of your life.

Again, tell family members that yes, you need help but don’t require babying. Check out the internet for arthritis support groups in your area – you may be surprised at the support available.

Make use of technology. Don’t feel that by using a powered aid such as an electric scooter or wheelchair to get around you’re ‘beaten’. It’s an adaptation to a condition and you have no need to feel guilty about wanting an easier life. You paid your taxes, didn’t you?

The many aids for those experiencing problems of mobility is today far more extensive than you may realise. From the powered scooters mentioned above to kitchen utensils with thick, grippy handles – the choices are endless. And the best thing is that these items are not made with ‘invalids’ in mind – just people whose life has changed.

That change may not be perceived by the arthritis sufferer to be for the better – indeed, it would be patronising to suggest that arthritis improves anyone’s lot – but at least it can now be adapted to and indeed combated, giving the person concerned a realistic approach to living with this sadly common condition.

Steve Dempster writes fiction, copy and articles such as the one above. For more information on mobility aids, see http://www.electric mobilityworld. com