Training with Nicholas


I am a grade 11 French immersion student at École Notre Dame High School in Red Deer, Canada. I live in a small town about 25 minutes away from the school, but the commute is worth it. I have many hobbies like painting and woodworking, although personal fitness takes up a large portion of my time. I am the youngest of three brothers which has always pushed me to be better to be able to compete with my brothers. Since they were able to compete at a high level in their sports, it has really motivated me to work towards doing so as well. Fitness has been a part of my life for a long time, and trying to improve myself everyday so that I’m not the same person as yesterday is what keeps me going.

Part of my fitness journey has been driven by my need to be able to win in physical contests against my brothers, my willingness to give myself an edge against others in sports and, of course, aesthetics. Exercising can help improve confidence by giving us something we can control about our lives and by exerting ourselves, and it has been proven to help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. During the school year I’m usually involved with many sports which helps keep me in shape. This doesn’t allow me to have an off season til the summer. Working out during the on season last year led to me over exerting myself which caused a painful burnout leaving me unable to do sports or any exercises. Since the start of quarantine, I haven’t been able to play any sports other than just playing football with my brothers at a local field, so finding workouts that match the intensity of sports is crucial for maintaining my stamina. Nowadays, it seems like everyone wants abs or a flat stomach. Looking at all the famous male and female celebrities we admire, there are very few who don’t look like they live at the gym.

An important message to remember is that even though they might have a flat stomach and/or defined abs, it does not mean you must have those in order to look good! Working out should be to become healthier, and although some exercises can help define certain muscles, the overall goal should be to keep your body healthy and strong! Also, a lot of celebrities have specialized trainers and dietitians with whom they consult regularly, which can help them attain certain goals quicker than others.

So now the question is; how can you get abs or a flat stomach without breaking the bank with gym memberships and nutrition specialists?

I’m going to share my core workout with you today. The workout may be a bit intense but if needed, you can simply lower the amount of repetitions or the amount of sets to a comfortable range. Many people when working out their core focus solely on their abs, thinking that is all they need to focus on. From a fitness standpoint, there are two important things to remember when doing ab workouts. One, it is important to workout all of the muscles in your core which can help you in other workouts. Oftentimes, people neglect working out their lower back muscles, which can lead to injuries in the future. Two, in order to start seeing definition around your abs, you must reduce the amount of fat in front of them.

Fun fact; ab workouts are only effective if maintaining a healthy body fat percentage and eating in healthy moderation! So, simply doing sit-ups everyday will unfortunately not give you the results you want. That does not mean that you have to join any crazy diets or do anything drastic. You just have to eat a balanced, healthy diet and try not to over indulge in unhealthy foods. Eating unhealthy food is allowed, just try not to eat it every meal.  Another important thing to remember is while exercising, listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right or hurts, stop and try to correct your form. Feeling sore after a workout is normal, but it should not be unbearable. Also, the most important note of all; STAY HYDRATED. Drink lots of water before and after you workout, as well as throughout the day.

Try and complete this entire exercise, but adjust it as you need so that it can be done in under an hour. Spending over an hour working out isn’t conducive to many peoples’ schedule so I made this workout to fit an everyday lifestyle. To make this exercise easier, you can either decrease the repetitions, decrease the sets, or both. Repetition ranges I would recommend trying are 10, 15 and 25. For the number of sets you can do, I recommend 1, 2 or 3 sets. Take breaks as needed, especially the first time around, but try and push yourself as you go to take less breaks in order to make the workout more effective. If you would find the need to make this harder you can always add weight to the exercise. For example you can hold a watermelon while you do russian twists just to add a little bit more muscle strain which will help you get stronger over time.

One word of advice is to not overdo it. You don’t want to lift much over 10 lbs unless you have worked your way up to a higher weight over many weeks. Another important tip is not to give up on working out when you don’t see results after the first week or two. It takes time to achieve your dreams so never give up and keep on grinding.