When it comes to dialing in your physique, being consistent with your cardio and ab routine is a big piece of the puzzle. Morning cardio offers a host of benefits if you can successfully add it to your morning routine.
- Sleep: One of the keys to successfully including morning cardio into your routine is getting enough sleep the night before. This means you must find a way to fit 7-9 hours of sleep into your routine so that you have enough energy to do your morning workout. For most people, this means they need to be more conscientious about what time they go to bed.
- Prep the night before: If you’re not a morning person, getting up early to do cardio is hard enough so make it easier on yourself by preparing your gym items the night before. Have your workout clothes and any gym equipment you need laid out the night before. You don’t have to pre-mix your pre-workout but leaving a shaker full of cold water can make it easier on yourself the next day when it comes time to mix your morning pre-workout.
- Take it slowly: If you’re new to morning cardio, start with a light workout and gradually increase the intensity.
- Make it a habit: if you’re going to successfully add morning cardio to your fitness program then it needs to be part of your daily routine. Once you view it as a standard part of your day, you don’t have to think about it as much, it’s just something you know you’ll be doing every day. It can help you out if you keep progress of your morning workouts when you’re starting out so that you keep yourself accountable.
We connected with IFBB Pro Sadik Hadzovic to get his tips for a successful morning ab and cardio routine before a big contest.
Duration: 20-25 minutes
My favorite machines are the stair master and the spin bike. We’re just getting into the cardio because I’m relatively lean still. We do moderate-paced cardio for 20-25 minutes, 5 days a week. One thing that makes cardio a lot easier is if you have one of your best buds to make you laugh during the process. Also, every Tuesday I’ve been having a burger with fries, and that’s what keeps me going during cardio. When you’re burning a lot of calories, you can put some back in.
Here’s a little secret, maintaining a small waist has a lot to do with diet and nutrition. But there are a few hacks I picked up along the way. Invest in a waist trainer, they’re cheap, help you keep your core tight, and they make you sweat. I think that’s one of the keys to why my waist is so small, I always do this pre-contest.
I get a good sweat doing this because I’m being mindful. I don’t just step, I contract, I try to feel my muscles on every single step. I try to keep my heart rate up during this. I don’t cover the clock when I do cardio, time is a part of life, it’s a reminder that you need to work every second. Because you’re going to run out of time one day and while you’re fresh and have a body that functions, make every single moment count. If I feel good and fresh during my cardio, I’ll do a few extra minutes, but I don’t want to do an hour of cardio a day. I don’t want to over-cardio and I don’t want to over-diet, don’t kill your gains.
- Heavy Cable Crunch
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Bench V Ups
Abs is something I like to keep fun. I pick three of my favorite movements and I cycle them for about four sets each until I’m feeling the burn. Some mistakes to be mindful of for these exercises, on the cable crunch some people just move their back. Get your elbows to your knees and crunch, you really want to get into those abdominals. When you’re doing the hanging leg raise, I like to use grips so that I don’t get too much forearm involvement and I’m focusing on my abs.
When you’re doing the circuit it’s ok to take a little rest between sets, maybe 20-30 seconds, and then you go again.
The great thing about ab training is you can hit them almost every day. I personally hit abs 3-4 times a week and alternate with my calve training. On days when I’m not doing abs, I’m doing calves. It’s a very hard muscle to overtrain.
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