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If your goal is to build abs of your dreams, knowing the right moves is only the first step. To help you maximize your next core workout, we talked to Barry’s Bootcamp instructor Charlie Mejia about what he wishes more of his clients would correct.

“I see people focused on finishing the exercise as fast as possible without understanding what’s going on, or more so what muscles are responsible for what movement,” Charlie told POPSUGAR.

Too many of us are guilty of rushing through the motions without being mindful of the exercise. And you’re actually doing a disservice to yourself each time. Not only are you running the risk of injury but you’re also not working your body to its fullest potential, meaning it’ll take you longer to see those abs if you continue to do the moves improperly.

An easy way to get the most out of each exercise? Charlie says, first, slow it down and pay attention to your breaths.

“It’s most important to strive for controlled movements,” he said. “It’s one thing to do an exercise, but another to control a movement. Exhaling is an easy way to activate you abdomen.”

In the same way your midsection engages when you cough, exhale with every contracting move. The more mindful you are of your breathing during ab exercises, the more effective they will be.

“In order to maximize results in whatever ab routine you may be practicing, control your breathing and engage the muscles you should be using.”

Charlie also continued to explain how exercise is only 20 percent of the battle when it comes to ab goals; serious abs equal a serious diet.

“There is no ‘one-diet-fits-all’ program,” he said. “Everyone’s body is just a bit different, so find a meal plan that works for you and your lifestyle. It’s about sustainability!”

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