Jenn Aguirre is a NASM-certified personal trainer with a passion for ongoing study in pre- and post-natal nutrition. She's been a high-level trainer wherever she's worked, and as if that wasn't impressive enough, this Long Island, NY-based bodybuilder also won the first figure contest she's ever entered in 2016.
The proud owner of Aguirre Fitness in Henderson, NV, this 45-year-old trainer and mother of two is committed to educating her clients about sustainable fitness, not unrealistic seasonal body shapes. She believes that achieving defined muscles and noticeable abs is as much about being mentally ready for the challenge as it is about hitting those rep and macro goals.
So, here are five ways to get those abs popping well into the summer, and don't forget to try Aguirre's results-based training.
Be the “architect of your own destiny”
All physical changes begin with a desire to work towards your goals, and Jenn Aguirre is truly a warrior and a survivor of life. She says her formative years were subject to mental and physical abuse from her father, and later in life health complications like Crohn's disease and colitis threatened to undo the progress she's made with her body, but through sheer determination, This muscular brunette proved that no matter the challenges, people can strive to be the best version of themselves. "I think having a support system is imperative, but at the end of the day, 'you' is all you need," says Aguirre. "Be the architect of your own destiny."
It's okay to screw up or miss a workout
Maintaining photo-worthy abs is a serious commitment, but life often throws obstacles in our way. As a result, we all miss a training session from time to time due to work demands and family commitments. The key, however, is to make sure that one skipped workout or one skipped meal doesn't result in two or three, because that's when negative routines form. As a coach, Jenn Aguirre believes that daily or weekly check-ins are a great way for many people to take ownership on the path to lasting change.
"There's a motivational component to knowing that you have to check in with your PT and knowing that no matter what, you'll get a positive response," says the fitness pro, who boasts of being followed her heroes, Jay Cutler on Instagram. “I explain to my clients when they first join that this is a judgment-free zone. Even if they screw up, they need to share all the details so we can work through it together. These audits are more important than ones where someone followed the plan perfectly.”
Find your "why"
Deciding to get great abs for a temporary beach vacation can be a misguided approach to getting in shape, says Aguirre, who understands that the underlying cause of wanting to make physical changes often stems from insecurities about the nature and type The way we look or perceive ourselves is driven to see. Rather than focusing on a short-lived goal like looking great for a wedding, Aguirre says people need to understand "why" they're even trying to change themselves. From the understanding that exercise is good for your self-confidence, it should follow that all positive changes should be pursued with the desire to make them last. For example, a temporary approach to getting in shape won't teach you much about your unhealthy eating habits since you'll return to the same negative behaviors after the party.
"If they don't really enjoy the process and see it as a lifestyle, I won't work with these people," says the certified personal trainer. "I want them to dig deeper. I am more inspired by people who want to change their lives and have sustainable and aggressive goals. The best tip I can give you is to enjoy the process. Know why you are doing it. Set long-term goals and short-term goals to find motivation every day.” Excitingly, Aguirre is still feverishly pursuing her own goals and plans to compete in the NPC High Roller Royale on September 10th.
Ab workouts don't have to take forever
Once you get your head in the game, workouts can be short and sweet. "I don't think you need to do long abdominal exercises," says Jenn Aguirre. "I think some basic exercises are crunches, which work the spine's full range of motion, on an exercise ball. I like reverse crunches. Also training the (TVA) transverse abdominal muscles: learning how to press down by practicing planks and vacuum. It is also very important to train your lower back. For example, I'm a big fan of reverse hyper extensions.”
Keep the tension up for a great ab workout
Practice tightening your abs by controlling your breathing. As you inhale you create tension and this is released as you exhale. Learning how to contract and relax your abs is a great way to keep them in shape. "I try to keep constant tension on my abs throughout my workouts," Aguirre shares. "Sometimes I do my core exercises before a cardio workout and now I vacuum every day." Try to activate your TVA (transverse abdominis) muscle. This creates the coveted vacuum effect.
Jenn Aguirre Ab Workouts (4 sets each)
Standing gastric sucker: 6-10 repetitions. Hold the pose as long as you can.
Abdominal sucker lying down: As above, 6-10 reps. Hold the pose for as long as possible.
Reverse Crunch: 15 repetitions.
Reverse hyperextension: 12-15 repetitions
Plank: 4 repetitions. "Hold on as long as possible," says Aguirre. "If you want to make it more challenging, you can take turns doing opposite arm and opposite leg, reaching and holding each for five seconds.
"For inclines, you could do an alternating side plank with a side crunch superset with Russian twists," says Aguirre. "Four sets of 10 reps on each side for the plank and 20 reps on each side for the Russian twists."
Kneeling rope crunch: 15 repetitions.
Stability Ball Crunch: 15 repetitions