In Pursuit of a Magnificence Midsection!
By Leo Robert. Former Mr. Universe Pro
When I travelled to England to compete in the Mr. Universe contest, I came across a well established belief within the European fitness culture. The midsection was considered to be the “line of health”. I have always thought this notion to be a very revealing one indeed. Consider that many of your vital organs reside in this area. They are responsible for digestion, storing nutrients, filtering and neutralizing wastes, regulating blood sugar levels and a myriad of other functions necessary to sustain life. It is no wonder that the midsection was so fondly referred to as the “line of health”.
Now imagine if you will, that these vital organs are supported by weak abdominal muscles and must function beneath layers of excess fat. Common sense tells us that your body will not respond well to this environment. Your system will feel sluggish and energy levels will remain low, leaving you feeling tired most of the time. Besides no matter how well your overall physique may appear, a poor midsection can be a distracting feature.
When I first began to train, my goal was to attain better health , gain more energy and rid myself of a thick waistline. I believe that many men are self-conscious of their midsections and I was no exception. As we begin to reach middle age, a flabby midsection can also compromise our health in other ways including lower back pain, stress on the prostate and being at a greater risk of heart disease.
Lets face it, a well-defined midsection and trim waistline are aesthetically pleasing. From a bodybuilding perspective, it is the focal point of your body’s overall development.
I began training regularly three times a week in the privacy of my home. I soon realized the relationship between exercise and a healthy diet. Success became dependent on both. I cut down on all my fats, began eating fish, poultry, eggs and consumed lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I also realized the importance of drinking eight glasses of water a day to flush out toxins and hydrate my body to achieve optimal performance.
For my first year, I specialized on my midsection muscles while still maintaining a standard workout. I also included aerobic training which involved jogging and bicycling. The inches began to melt off my waistline and my energy level soared! After I was satisfied that I had reached a stage where most of the fat was gone and the muscles looked defined, I chose to begin to build the abdominal muscles. Strengthening my abdominals also benefited my lower back. It had actually become stronger. I noticed a change in the way I was able to do squats and how a strong lower back stabilized me even while doing arm curls.
After several years of bodybuilding, I as well into developing the ultimate midsection. By using weight resistance during all my mid-section exercises, the muscles soon responded. In addition, I reached a point where I was doing up to 1,000 sit-ups on an abdominal board within thirty minutes. During my competitive days, I used to spend hours working out these muscles, doing sit-ups, side-bends, leg raises from a chin-up bar with iron boots, etc. To me, having a well developed midsection was and always will be the essence of good health.
During my era of bodybuilding competition, frequently we were acknowledged for outstanding body parts better known as muscle groups today. Judges often paid specific attention to my midsection, particularly at the Mr. Universe contest where they actually came up on stage to examine physiques more closely. During those days, seven judges sat a separate tables with the eighth judge seated behind them who was responsible for tallying the scores. They were not permitted to communicate with one another or influence each other in any way. One of the judges that night actually chose to pinch my midsection. He was amazed by what he described as "paper thin skin over well chiseled muscle mass".
One last tip I would like to share with you, try to remember to contact and tense your muscles when doing your midsection exercises. For an example, many guys who train at home rely on sit-ups as part of their routine. During your reps, be sure not to raise yourself back to the starting position by using your feet (which are normally tucked under a couch or held by a roller on an abdominal board.) With all your abdominal exercises, you must isolate your midsection muscles through concentration and tense them so that they will contract and respond to the exercise. And finally try side bends to rid yourself of a heavy waistline and reduce those love handles. When done properly this is one of the best exercises for slimming the waist.
Enjoy a healthy lifestyle and be the best you can be. Go for the magnificent midsection you so rightly deserve!