Spring Break is just a week away, which means it is the perfect time to know what is needed to be physically fit and get that perfect bikini body.
One of the top body insecurities women complain about are the abdominal muscles. In the eyes of women, the perfect bikini body cannot exist without a flatter stomach.
However, second year graduate student and fitness graduate assistant Julia Pohlman discourages doing repetitive crunches every day.
“It is the fat that’s over top the muscle that creates the problem,” Pohlman said. “You could have a 6-pack under that but it is not going to show if you have the fat.”
She recommends doing plank workouts to strengthen the core as well as exercises on a fitness ball and cardio. Just doing one or the other will not get the results. Getting the heart rate up with cardio and core exercises will decrease belly fat.
Pohlman also recommended turbo kick classes, such as kickboxing, which targets the muscles in the core while giving the body a good cardio workout.
With this type of exercise, there are also many misconceptions.
“With cardio, some people think they can run all the time, and they will just jump on the treadmill and bust it out three times a week,” Pohlman said. “But it is important to switch it up.”
To switch up the cardio, try the rowing machine one day, the elliptical another. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center has a vast amount of cardio equipment, including the stair step and stationary bikes which will target different muscle groups. Working different muscles groups will prevent the body from plateauing or becoming too used to the workout.
According to Pohlman, another important component that pairs with cardio is strength training. This does include the pesky abdominal muscles but focuses on the entire strength of the body.
Strength training boosts the metabolism. That means, Pohlman said, that if the metabolism is higher from strength training, the body will burn more calories even when the body is at rest while watching television or lying around.
There is another component to being physically fit that many people forget about. Stretching is common in the routine of a dancer or a professional athlete, but not as often for the average person or college student.
“I think the average person is uninformed about the need to stretch, and people just don’t do it because its boring,”Pohlman said, “People think, ‘Well, stretching isn’t going to get me the bikini body that I want. Why would I spend 10-15 minutes stretching,?’ But it is so important.”
Nicole Koontz, assistant director of Ball State’s adult physical fitness program and instructor in exercise science, said stretching will improve blood pressure, weight, soreness and circulation.
Ball State University dance instructor Susan Koper said she believes dance helps cover all of the basic needs of the body, including stretching.
“The older I get, I feel, the more important it [stretching] is to me,” Koper said. “After I take class and I do stretches, I feel physically and emotionally better.”
When performing stretches, Koper, Pohlman and Koontz all agree it is important to hold them for at least 30 seconds. Although the total amount of time varies in different studies, the 30-second mark is when the muscles have just begun to relax and expand. Koontz said that holding the stretch for 30 seconds is ideal according to her research, butPohlman said that holding it for about a minute would be even more beneficial.
For some good workouts that cover all three components of being physically fit — strength training, cardio and stretching — there are many online such as P90X on Youtube. Also, the rec center offers Zumba, Turbo Kick, Pilates, and yoga classes that focus on the different components.
Spring Break is just around the corner. Today could be the right time to start a routine bikini body workout.