Eating Too Much Before a Workout
This might seem obvious, but there is a fine line between eating recently enough to have steady energy for a workout, and being too full. You really can’t have eaten too much and get a great scoop of the abs.
So what should you eat before Pilates?
The shortest answer is that many people depend on a small snack, something with a little protein, healthy fat, or complex carbohydrate. Stay away from simple sugars like those in soda and candy bars. They cause blood sugar to go up and down too fast.
Have your snack not too long before a workout, along with eating healthfully throughout the day.
For a snack, a few nuts are one of the more commonly reported choices, as are protein smoothies. Of course, you have to be the judge of the actual exertion level of your workouts and what you really need.
Doing Pilates Exercises Incorrectly
In days gone by, when many of us learned to do sit ups and crunches, we learned to do them wrong. We learned to do them in a way that shortens the rectus abdominis muscle, making it pooch out at our middle instead of being the nice, long, flexible muscle it’s supposed to be. The many forward bending exercises we do in Pilates will give you beautiful abs if you do them right, but if you do them in a “crunchy way,” you won’t get the real core strength you’re looking for, and your belly will stick out. If you think this might be you, start correcting your form by reading How to Pull Your Abs In. Then, practice with Pilates chest lift.
Learn About the Abdominal Muscles
Retaining water can make you look and feel fatter than you are. The amount of water our cells retain has a lot to do with the balance of sodium and potassium in our body fluids. Too much salt (sodium), the curse of modern diets, is often the easiest cause of water weight to fix.
Mary Hartley, RD, the Director of Nutrition at Calorie Count suggests we limit sodium to 2300 mg per day.
Fluctuating hormones can also cause water weight gain. PMS, for example, is famous for causing water retention. Also, your body might respond to irritants like toxins and foods it is sensitive to, by retaining water in order to dilute and flush the toxins out.
Even if you are retaining water, it is still important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of pure water. If don’t have enough water in your system, your body will hold on to water. Drinking enough water will help your body flush out toxins, balance minerals like sodium and potassium, and maintain blood pressure.