The key to running with power is developing a rock-solid core.

You’ve probably been to group fitness classes, all of which seemed to be some version of cardio exercise that ends with a series of crunches. Despite all my education in exercise science, it took me years to break out of this workout doctrine because it was all I had ever known. Once I became a personal trainer and started coaching people, I quickly realized that we were getting it wrong—it was time to shed the traditional routine and do something radical. It was time to create a program that would deliver the results we were all looking for.

It might come as a shock that the Core Envy program does not include crunches. I’ve intentionally omitted them because they don’t utilize a significant percentage of your core musculature. While it feels like you’re working hard when you’re 70 reps into a grueling round of 100 crunches, you are predominantly working a single muscle group—the rectus abdominis. In actuality, the true “core” of the body includes countless other muscles.

I’ve focused on exercises that recruit more of the muscles in the core, therefore burning off calories faster by elevating your heart rate. Keep in mind, however, that in order to truly maximize the fat burn around your belly, these sculpting workouts need to be paired with cardio. Working the core in a functional, progressive manner will give you nice, lean muscles that will be on display once that layer of fat is burned off by doing cardio and cleaning up your diet. You don’t want to spend months burning off a spare tire to reveal, well, nothing underneath.

While core exercises are not the most effective way to burn subcutaneous and visceral fat off your belly, they are the answer to toning the muscles underneath. Spot reducing fat from your body is not realistic, but spot-toning your muscles most certainly is. If you put repetitive stress on your core muscles by doing sculpting exercises, you will improve the strength, power, endurance and coordination of those muscles. All of these benefits are just lovely side effects of sculpting a gorgeous, enviable core.

ONE-WEEK WORKOUT:
This program is adapted from Core Envy. “RPE” means the rate of perceived exertion on a scale of 1 to 10. Ten is all-out, while one is very easy. All cardio and aerobic workouts can be performed as runs—or on a bike or elliptical machine.

Monday—High-Intensity Cardio Workout (22 min. total)
Warm-up:
5 min. at RPE 4
Main set:
1 min. at RPE 7 / 1 min. at RPE 5
1 min. at RPE 8 / 1 min. at RPE 5
1 min. at RPE 9 / 1 min. at RPE 5
Repeat set
Cool-down:
5 min. at RPE 4

Tuesday—Core Exercises (1–2 sets of Exercises 1–9)

Wednesday—Rest

Thursday—Core Exercises (1–2 sets of Exercises 1–9) and Aerobic Workout (22 min. total)
Warm-up: 5 min. at RPE 4
Main set:
4 min. at RPE 5
4 min. at RPE 6
4 min. at RPE 7
Cool-down: 5 min. at RPE 4

Friday—Low-Intensity Cardio Workout (45 min. total)
Warm-up:
5 min. at RPE 4
Main set:
35 min. at RPE 5–6
Cool-down:
5 min. at RPE 4

Saturday—Core Exercises (1–2 sets of Exercises 1–9)

THE MOVES:

Move 1—TVA Activation
Move 2—Side Plank
Move 3—Superman Series
Move 4—Single-Leg Kicks
Move 5—Sliding Series
Move 6—Hip Bridges
Move 7—Twisting Side Plank
Move 8—Reverse Tabletop
Move 9—
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