|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 June 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
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 May 3, 2013 at 12:15 AM||comments (1)|
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!