|Posted on October 8, 2013 at 5:20 PM||comments (66)|
Here's the bad news: most people will get fatter and less healthy as they age. One ginormous reason for this is that for every decade over the age of 25, resting metabolic rate (the body's ability to burn up calories while at rest) drops by 2-4%. If you follow this trajectory, this means that someone who is able to torch 1500 calories a day by just sitting on a sofa and doing little else at 25, will only be able to burn about 1200 calories a day doing the same activity at 55. Yikes!
And now the good news: you don't have to be like most people. It turns out that a huge factor in this metabolic decline is due to the loss of lean body mass, specifically, muscle. Calorically speaking, muscle is extremely expensive to create and maintain. By gaining and preserving muscle mass, resting metabolic rate improves. A lot. Yay!
And why do you want to maintain a lean, fit body? Well, besides looking good naked, you will gain these benefits:
And this is just a partial list!
(Laird Hamilton: 49 y.o.; Gabrielle Reece: 43 y.o.)
If you are wondering how to start building and preserving that muscle, here is your answer: muscle is most effectively and efficiently created and maintained through intense exercise such as resistance training, circuit training, interval training (like my 15 Minute Fat Burner Workout!), sprints and basically any exercise that works a bunch of muscles done near your maximum heart rate. Of course, if you're new to exercise, you will want to ease into an exercise program and work your way up from lower intensity exercise to more intense levels of exercise.
In addition to stimulating your muscles for growth through exercise, you will need proper nutrition in the right portions at the right times to build and fuel these new muscles under construction. This means eating protein, veggies and some healthy fats with every meal and limiting starchy carbs to meals right after these intense exercise sessions.
(Ernestine Shepherd: 77 y.o.)
Aging does not have to be a drag! In fact, it can motivate and inspire you to be your best physically, mentally and emotionally. You now know the secret to aging like a badass and creating a physique like the one you had when you were 25 . . .or better!
|Posted on September 5, 2013 at 8:00 AM||comments (1)|
Summer is coming to an end and for many of you that means returning to some sort of a regular routine. That includes a regular fitness routine. Maybe you've fallen of your fitness program a little (or a lot!) and you want to get back on plan. Thinking that you are starting over can feel daunting and overwhelming, so, instead, think of coming back on plan as more of easing back into your routine. In this post, I will share some easy to implement strategies to get you back on track to achieving your fitness goals. To make the transition even easier, instead of adopting these tips all at once, just adopt one habit, practice it for a couple of weeks and then adopt another one. This is far less overwhelming and you're more likely to stick with it and make continued progress!
Here are some guidelines to get you started:
1. Add in more protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables into your diet (and you will naturally reduce your starchy/sugary carbohydrate consumption). Most people eat WAY too many starchy and sugary carbohydrates (sodas, candy, chips, grains, pastas, breads, etc). One way to naturally reduce the consumption of these particular carbohydrates is to eat more of the other lean-eating-friendly macronutrients. Choose from lean protein sources such as lean cuts of beef, chicken, bison, fish, eggs (and, if you tolerate it well, dairy). If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, check out last week's post Plant-Based Diets: Vegetarians vs. Starchatarians for protein guidelines and suggestions. For healthy fats, choices include avocados, olive oil, organic and minimally processed nuts and nut butters. Eat lots of vegetables and some fruits. There are lots of choices for you here, choose steaming and sauteeing with non-stick spray when cooking them or eat them raw in a salad (green smoothies are a quick and easy way to incorporate vitamin, mineral and fiber rich green leafies and some fruit into your diet). I am a big proponent of eating organic, minimally processed foods whenever possible.
2. Eat every 2-4 hours. It's easy to get caught up in your busy day and forget to eat. The problem is that by the time you do remember to eat, you are famished and want to eat everything and eat well beyond the point of satiation! Eating every 2-4 hours will help keep hunger in check and keep fuel flowing in your body. These don't have to large or complicated meals. One of my favorite go to in a pinch meals is a protein bar (I love Quest bars) and a handful of almonds. When you are short on time, or away from your kitchen when it's time to re-fuel, this is a great alternative to not eating or, worse, eating fast food! Keep these protein bars and nuts in your car, desk drawer, purse or wherever you might be when it's time to eat.
3. Exercise for 4 Minutes. Most people think they don't have enough time to exercise. The truth is, it's something that we must make time for. I find the best way to get some exercise in quickly and with desired results is to do some form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). It can be done anywhere, anytime and with no equipment! One of my favorite forms of HIIT training is called Tabata. It's 4 minutes of intense training and it's fat-burning effects keep on giving long after the workout is done! If you like the sound of this and would like to learn more about (and do!) tabatas, you can download a copy of my 15 Minute Fat Burner Workout when you subscribe to my free newsletter here. Keep in mind that "high intensity" is relative to your body, so what is high intensity for one person maybe someone else's warm-up and vice versa. Start where you are and progress from there, the good news is that it works no matter what fitness level you're starting from!
Pick a strategy and get started! One good practice will lead to another and before you know it, you will be back on a regular fitness program and on your way to achieving your fitness goals!
|Posted on August 27, 2013 at 2:20 PM||comments (1)|
People choose to eat a plant-based diet for a variety reasons. Some people choose it for health reasons and others because of religious or animal rights beliefs. Whatever the case, there is more to eating a plant-based diet than “just not eating meat”. When it comes to fat loss and maintaining ideal weight, vegetarians can run into problems if they don’t consume enough protein, fruits and vegetables. Sound strange that a vegetarian may not consume enough veggies? It’s not that strange. I have known individuals who consider themselves vegetarians, but they mostly consume refined starchy carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pastas, etc). While, technically, they are eating a plant-based diet, refined and starchy carbohydratesare not an ideal food choice to make up the majority of one’s diet. I refer to individuals who follow this eating plan as starchatarians.
A good plant-based diet should include vegetables and/or fruit, healthy fats and protein with every meal. If you include some animal products in your diet such as eggs, dairy (if you tolerate dairy well) or even fish, then you’re getting complete proteins. If you are strictly vegan, getting complete proteins is more challenging but completely do able. Complete protein plant-based foods include soybeans, quinoa, hemp seed and buckwheat. There are other sources of protein such as nuts and seeds that can be combined to form a complete protein, too, and they don’t have to be eaten together, just during the same day. Also, protein powders are a great way to supplement your protein needs. Choose from hemp or pea proteins.
The bottom line is that if you follow a plant-based diet and you want to lose fat and keep muscle, the key is to ensure that you are a true vegetarian or vegan and not a starchatarian. Increase the amount of protein foods, healthy fats and fruits and vegetables (especially the green leafy ones!) and decrease the amount of grains and sugary carbohydrates you eat. And when available, always choose organic and the least processed foods possible!
Nutrition is personal and the key is finding an eating plan that works for you and your body.
If you would like help putting together a nutritional plan to meet your fitness goals, please check out the services I offer or contact me with any questions you may have. I can design a training and nutrition program tailored specifically for YOU!
|Posted on June 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM||comments (7)|
If you love doing the Insanity Pure Cardio workout like I do and you would like to try it with a simple yet challenging variation that will supercharge your fat-burning efforts, this post is for you!
First off, if you are doing the Insanity workout, it's best if you have an intermediate to advanced fitness base. Even Sean T and the folks at Beachbody (with whom I have no affiliation, by the way) have added a disclaimer stating that the workout is not for beginners. And for good reason. It's called Insanity for a reason, after all. The recommendations below are intended for the seasoned Insanity user (or for someone who has a good base level of fitness). If you are new to fitness and would like to get the benefits of this type of training (scroll down this page to read about them below), subscribe to my newsletter here and you will get a free copy of my 15 Minute Fat Burner Workout. It includes modifications for beginners all the way through advanced exercisers.
Ok, here's what you need to know to do this new-fangled version of Insanity Pure Cardio:
What you will need:
What you will do (while following along with the DVD):
*I feel compelled to say something about the movements that have a squat component ("Stance Jacks" and "Frog Jumps"). Instead of getting the butt down (like a plie), please get the butt out (like stick it out behind you!) and make sure your knees don't collapse in toward each other (no knock-knee action), press the knees out. If you have trouble getting your butt to do work, please check out my post on activating your glutes.
Why do it:
There it is. Get after it and leave me a comment below to let me know what you think!
|Posted on June 9, 2013 at 10:20 PM||comments (1)|
A few years ago I read this quote from former supermodel, Cindy Crawford:
They were doing a full back shot of me in a swimsuit and I thought, Oh my God, I have to be so brave. See, every woman hates herself from behind.
Sadly, I find this last statement to be true too much of the time. I mean if a drop-dead gorgeous supermodel doesn't like her butt, I can pretty much guarantee that the average woman is not throwing a party for her backside. The butt is primarily THE body part women complain about the most, say they want to improve the most and usually have no idea how to go about it. The good news is that the booty is really responsive to proper training and the confidence boost that shaping a nice booty gives to women is pretty great. And it's not just a vanity thing. Creating a nice booty is a process and there are skills to master. Like lifting weights. There are still a lot of women who find weight training intimidating. Teaching women how to lift correctly fixes that pretty quickly. I personally think it's a tragedy for a woman to go through life never experiencing how empowering it feels to squat or deadlift (both great booty exercises!) some heavy weight. When training is progressed properly, women feel confident not intimidated. They feel strong, competent and sexy as hell. Instead of hating their body parts, they appreciate and fall in love with them. Oh and they get a nice booty as a reward for all the effort they put into their training, too. Not too shabby!
It is so much fun hearing my clients tell me how much they love their new and improved booties and about all the compliments they get. I will never get tired of helping women achieve beautiful backsides because the gratitude, happiness and confidence it generates is downright addictive. I guide, teach and motivate my clients, but they are making the choice every time we train to improve something they were previously dissatisfied with and they are the only ones that can do that for themselves. Every time they master a new exercise, increase how much weight they lift and improve their body composition, they are creating positive change for themselves. I can't think of a better way to show love for oneself than that! It is inspiring to watch and very satisfying to see the progress.
It takes so much energy to hate on a body part. That energy could be used, instead, to effect change of the body part. If you find yourself complaining or fretting over some aspect of your body, do something about it! Focus on how capable and strong your body is now. Because it is capable and strong, it can become stronger and transform into a form you love. Take a small step in the direction you want to go and you immediately steer yourself toward an outcome you want. It feels so much better to love your body than to hate it. I highly encourage you to find this out for yourself!
|Posted on May 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM||comments (7)|
I am working with one female client who wants six-pack abs and another female client who wants a flat tummy, but with less muscular definition. Another client wants a fuller, more bubbly booty and another one just wants hers to sit higher and tighter. What a lot people don't think about is how much they want their new and improved physique versus how much they don't want to change their current lifestyle. Changing your body requires a change in lifestyle and depending on your specific fitness goal and your current commitment level to fitness, that change may be slight or significant. For example, someone who was previously a junk-food-eating-couch-potato who wants to prepare for a figure competition will have to undergo a lifestyle revolution. Someone who is relatively fit and who wants to tighten and tone up a bit more will have a much easier transition. Even someone who has a long journey ahead of them needs to start somewhere, and those changes should be small, do-able and progress over time. I'm not a big fan of big drastic changes suddenly when we're talking about lifestyle changes and long-term results.
A good place to start when setting your fitness goals is to ask yourself these questions:
1. How much shape and definition do I want? (i.e. "tone" or "sculpt")
2. How lean do I want to be? (well-defined and chiseled or firm but softer)
3. On a scale from 1-10, how important is it that I reach these goals? (1= not important at all, 10= most important)
4. What new habits am I realistically willing to adopt to achieve this goal? (making adjustments to current diet, commit to a consistent training program)
5. What habits am I realistically not willing to give up? (favorite food, happy hour)
Answering these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you really and truly want. When you know what you really want, you can make a sensible plan you can stick with and set yourself up for success. No matter how fit you become, if living the lifestyle that got you there doesn't make you happy, the reality is you will be a fit person who is unhappy. I know for me, having a really fit body and maintaining it is one my most favorite things! But what do you want? How fit is fit enough for you? Because it's your body and you're the one who must live in it, your opinion is the only one that matters. Choose to be fit AND happy!
|Posted on May 3, 2013 at 12:15 AM||comments (8)|
I love the butt! It's my favorite body part to shape, firm and lift. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it is made up of a group of muscles that are very responsive to training. Of course, as with anything in life, good results rest on a good foundation and good practices. You may already be doing exercises specifically to create or re-shape your backside but you're not seeing results. It's frustrating, I know! Here are the top 5 reasons why your dream booty remains just out of reach and some help to make the most of your training:
1. Your butt is turned off! I'd say 9 out 10 people I screen for glute activation, have lazy butts. If your glutes aren't working, you can squat, lunge and do hip extensions all you want, but you won't be working the booty. Do you generally feel these exercises in your legs (quadriceps and hamstrings) and not your butt? or do you suffer from low back pain (even when not exercising)? If yes, chances are very good that your butt is turned off. Glute activation is achieved through specific stretching and activation exercises, try these:
Hip flexor stretch (pic on the left): kneel on one knee (put a folded towel or yoga mat under your knee for comfort) and keep your kneeling hip over your knee, do not lunge forward. Tuck the toes on the foot of the kneeling leg under and push your hips strongly forward (again, no lunging). You should feel an intense stretch in the front of your hip and possibly in the front of your thigh. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds for each leg. Once you gain some flexibility here, you can increase the stretch by leaning your upper body back, while still keeping your hips directly above your knee and pushing your hips forward. Repeat this stretch 3 times on each leg and do them at least 3 days a week.
Hip lifts (pic on the right): start by lying on your back, feet a little wider than hip width apart. Pressing into the ground through the heels of your feet and contracting your butt (squeeze your butt muscles together) raise your hips high off the floor. Imagine trying to touch the ceiling with your hip bones. The butt remains contracted through the whole lifting phase and give an extra squeeze at the top before lowering the hips back to the floor. You may initially feel this in your hamstrings or low back, if this is the case, practice contracting your butt before lifting your hips off the ground to wake-up the glute muscles. Over time you should feel the work (burning sensation) in your butt, that's good! Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions a minimum of 3 days a week.
2. You sit a lot during the day. This sitting business is actually enemy number one when it comes to glute activation! When you sit, your hip flexor muscles become short and tight and your butt muscles become long and weak. It's a good idea to get up and walk around a bit throughout the day. Better yet, do the stretching and glute activation exercises described above!
3. You're doing it wrong. Learning good form also means learning where your weaknesses lie. If, for example, you have really tight calves (and if you wear high heels regularly, I'm talking to you) getting the necessary bend in your ankles to do a proper squat (a great butt shaper!) will be challenging if not impossible. Aside from that, even with no mobility restrictions, bad form could happen to you because no one ever taught you good form! Get someone qualified to teach you proper technique. Otherwise, you are wasting your precious time and energy in the gym and likely setting yourself up for injury. No bueno.
4. You're not lifting heavy enough weights. Some women are afraid that lifting heavy weights will make them bulky. Let me shut this fear down right now. Women do not naturally produce enough testosterone to produce the kind of muscle you see on female body building competitors. Most men don't have enough naturally occurring testosterone to produce THOSE results! The very heavy volume of training serious body builders do PLUS the steroids they take make a body like that. It's a monumental undertaking. Even to achieve the far more feminine, yet very well-toned physiques of bikini and figure competitors takes a lot of heavy weight training, time and very careful nutritional planning. You will not hulk out! The only bulkiness you need to be concerned about is the bulk that comes from excess body fat. Excessive body fat will make any body bulkier. Smart nutrition and the right resistance program will make a lean, toned, tight figure. I promise!
5. You're doing too little or too much. Knowing how many sets of how many repetitions and how much weight make all the difference in the results you get. Putting these variables together in a way that helps you achieve your specific goals is called program design. If you're trying to build a butt, for example, your program design should include lifting moderately heavy weights (enough weight to make the last couple of repetitions really difficult to perform, but still using good form) for 8-12 repetitions and performing 3-5 sets at least 3 days a week. There are different variables for leaning out/improving muscle endurance and different variables if you want to build more strength and power for athletic performance. Do you know what your training program is designed for? If you're just winging it, you may be moving around and getting some physical activity, but it's a gamble as to whether or not you will get the results you want. My strong recommendation here is don't just work out randomly, train for a specific result! If you are in the San Diego area and would like a program designed just for you, check out my Best Beach Booty training programs here.
I am happy to answer any questions you have about this article, just leave a comment below!
Happy booty training!
|Posted on April 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM||comments (8)|
I sometimes forget that there are people out there who believe we end up with the bodies we have out of pure luck--good or bad. Sure, we all have genetic pre-dispositions to carry more or less fat and more or less muscle, but barring any rare (and they really are rare) medical conditions, everyone has the ability to improve their body composition and appearance. Every person who has a great physique had to first believe they were capable of having a great physique and then they had to act on that belief. It means they had to let go of any excuse preventing them from pursuing the body of their dreams. It means if they had a significant amount of fat to lose and/or strength to gain they probably had naysayers tell them it would be impossible--and they chose to ignore them. It means they decided to do something different because what they've been doing wasn't working for them. It means they stopped complaining about the body they didn't want and got to work on the body they did want. The difference between the lucky ones and and the unlucky ones is determined by the choices they make.
So, will you plan nutritious meals ahead of time or will you wait until you're starving and hope for the best? Will you show up at the gym ready to train or will you skip it and sleep-in instead? And when summer arrives will you be bummed you didn't achieve your fitness goals or will you congratulate yourself for putting in the effort it took to become one of the lucky ones? The good news is the choice is yours.
|Posted on April 18, 2013 at 9:40 PM||comments (7)|
Have you ever started a very low calorie diet all enthusiastic and sure you were going to crush it, lose a bunch of weight and live happily ever after? Day one started off pretty good: you confidently breezed through breakfast with half of a grapefruit and three bran flakes and you heroically survived lunch crunching on celery sticks and half a can of tuna. You skipped the handful of almonds you're allowed to snack on because you're hardcore and believe the fewer calories you consume, the faster you will lose weight. Then dinner rolled around and suddenly you turned into the human equivalent of a vacuum cleaner, sucking up everything edible in sight--especially if it contained a lot of fat, sugar and/or salt. What happened? You battled hunger and lost. Hunger always wins because it's a survival mechanism that lets you know it's time to get some calories to fuel your body. Getting too few calories makes your body think you're starving and it kicks into calorie conservation mode and slows your metabolism way down. It's preparing for a famine. This is bad news if your goal is fat loss.
Your body requires a minimum amount of calories to survive (1200 calories for sedentary women and 1500 calories for sedentary men; but, of course, you are not sedentary or you are about to become active soon!). If you don't get the minimum amount of calories you need for the day (and this does vary according to factors such as height, weight and activity level), your body takes over. You experience this take-over as hunger and, in many cases, it escalates to extreme hunger that cannot be ignored. If you attempt to do battle with extreme hunger, you will ultimately lose. You will experience defeat as a feeding frenzy that racks up a huge number of calories. Your body will recoup the lost calories plus interest.
The good news is this doesn't have to be the case! Here are some ways you can avoid a battle with hunger and boost your fat loss efforts:
Start adopting and practicing these habits one at a time. It doesn't have to happen overnight. Just start. Make feeding your body quality fuel on a consistent basis a top priority and you will avoid hunger battles and be in line with your fat loss goals.
|Posted on March 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM||comments (5)|
Jim Rohn said, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. When it comes to fitness, I find this to be very true. Take me, for example. I spend a lot of time in a gym with others who make fitness and nutrition a top priority. I look forward to spending time with my clients and other personal trainers because we chat about and, more importantly, act on our shared interest of fitness. I’ve also had periods in my life where I hung out with the not-so-fit and not-so-nutrition-conscious crowd. Freshman year in college was one of those times. The five people I hung out with the most enjoyed fast food, late night pizza and fried cheesesticks (which, I admit, taste pretty great). Being the social creature that I am, I joined my friends as we foraged for the greasiest, saltiest and sugariest (I know that’s not really a word . . .) snacks around campus! I managed to put on the famous “freshman fifteen” by the end of the year. No bueno. That summer, while I was away from my "freshman fifteen friends", I joined a gym, took aerobics classes (it was the early 90’s), got introduced to resistance training and clean-eating. I started hanging out with the resident gym rats and the director of the aerobics program. I read fitness articles and books like Perfect Parts by Rachel McClish (still a good read). That same summer, not only did I lose the freshman fifteen, but I was looking toned, lean and fit. I also became a certified aerobics instructor. That took place in 3 short months. Could I have done all of that if I didn’t have the support and encouragement of my gym rat friends and my aerobics program director/mentor? Maybe, nothing is impossible. However, I know it would have been a lot harder to change my habits and find the motivation without their influence.
Here’s the thing: humans are social beings. I find the more social a person is, the more likely he or she is going to fit in with whatever group they are currently with because they will find common interests and connect with people. That's what social people do! Connection feels good, so we seek it with our friends, acquaintances and even strangers. Knowing this, we can choose our circle of five consciously. This is powerful. If you’re hanging out with people achieving what you want, keep hanging out with them, you will help each other tremendously! If you’re not, then ask yourself: Whose habits and fitness levels do I aspire to adopt? Where do these people hang out? Find them and make friends with them. One easy way to do this is to join small group personal training sessions, where you train with other motivated individuals who share similar goals as yours. Many personal trainers and gyms offfer this option (including me! You can learn more by clicking here) ask around and find a good fit for you. The camaraderie, motivation, built-in accountability (you wouldn't dare flake on your friends!) and even some friendly competition can really inspire you to take your fitness goals to the next level. Does this mean you have to drop your current circle of five immediately? Maybe, but not necessarily. Just start adding in more time with the new and improved circle of five and see what happens. After all, a person can never have too many good friends