Fitness star Cass Olholm reveals 'secret' behind her abs

Fitness star Cass Olholm reveals 'secret' behind her abs

There’s no magic number of sit-ups you can do to get washboards abs.

Just ask Aussie fitness trainer Cass Olholm, 31, who said it’s one of the most popular questions asked from her legion of Instagram followers.

The mother-of-one, who is also a nutritionist and weightlifting coach, said people often think that to get a six-pack it involves daily crunches.

But that’s not the case.

“My ‘secret’, if you want to call it that, is performance-based training where I set myself performance-based goals,” Cass told

Fitness star Cass Olholm reveals 'secret' behind her abs

The 31-year-old said she focuses on what her body can do, 'rather than what my body looks like'. Photo / Instagram / @CassOlholm

“My focus is on what my body can do, rather than what my body looks like.

“If you put your body in a certain environment it is going to want to adapt to become more efficient within that environment. So, the way my body looks is simply a by-product of my training.”

She said people often find it surprising that the primary “ab” exercises are core-to-extremity movements.

“These are exercises where a considerable amount of core strength is required to remain stable, controlled and balanced throughout the movement,” she said.

“Movements like the overhead squat and dumbbell single-arm overhead reverse lunge can help give you greater results than any number of crunches will.”

Cass said, for example, when she is drawing barbells up over her head with power and force, her core is constantly activated and engaged to keep her stable without movement.

“So your trunk is constantly being worked,” she said.

However Cass, originally from Cairns, wanted to make one thing clear.

“Having visible abs isn’t an indicator of health.”

She said there are other factors involved such as having a low body fat percentage and where your body stores fat.

“Where it stores and comes off, that is genetics.

“But it’s also really important to understand that health isn’t just physical, it is also mental and emotional.”

The 31-year-old said her training style changed considerably when her now-husband Jake introduced her to strength-based training about nine years ago.

Although she grew up having played a variety of different sports and comes from a competitive running background, Cass said she never felt more challenged than when she switched to lifting.

“I had zero upper body strength and I could barely do push-ups on my knees, let alone my toes,” Cass said.

“Being thrown so wildly out of my comfort zone made me want to get stronger and see what I was capable of.

“I showed up consistently, I put in the hard work and sure enough, I started to see progress and I could perform movements I never thought I would be able to.”

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She now trains roughly five times per week, with each session going for no longer than an hour – and that includes warm-up and the setting-up of the equipment.

“When it comes to training I’m a big believer in quality over quantity,” she said.

Her sessions are a mix of functional movements, Olympic lifting and high-intensity exercises.

“One of the major changes I found when I started strength training is that as my strength and confidence in my training grew, so did my strength and confidence outside of my training in everyday life.”

Cass said she wanted to support and inspire others to “discover and feel this for themselves”.

She not only went on to open her own gym The Ground Australia with Jake, but she was also asked to join fellow Aussie trainer Kayla Itsines’ Sweat team as a trainer.

Kayla, who boasts 13.6 million Instagram followers, is the co-founder of the popular fitness app.

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“The opportunity to become a Sweat trainer and be able to empower women through fitness in such a large capacity was something I had always dreamt about,” Cass said.

“I just pushed my chair back, put my head in my hands and just started crying, tears of absolute joy,” Cass said about the moment she was asked to join the team.

“I now have three programmes available on Sweat, and a whole lot of new exciting stuff coming next year.”

If you’re wondering how she manages all this with a toddler, she said it comes down to having a “good calendar and to-do list”.

“I can’t wear the hats I need to wear or perform all the roles I need without training. I make it a priority because it allows me to show up as the best version of myself in all areas of my life.”

And as for wanting to make a lifestyle change, Cass said: “The most important thing is to find a style of training that you enjoy.

“When you love it, you make it a priority and it becomes part of your lifestyle.”

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