Blog Archives

5 Ways to Squat

Did you know you can target different parts of your legs by changing the positioning of you feet and where you place your weight? Here is a video explaining how your footing matters.

1. Weight on toes: Works more quadricep
2. Weight on heels: Works more hamstring and glutes
3. Wide stance (Plie Squat): Works more inner thigh.
4. Regular stance: Works neutral (all areas equally)
5. Narrow stance (Sissy Squat): Works more outer thigh.

For a complete leg workout using squats do the following exercises. Can be done with or without weight.

WEIGHT ON HEELS
20 Plie Squats
20 Regular Squats
20 Sissy Squats

WEIGHT ON TOES
20 Plie Squats
20 Regular Squats
20 Sissy Squats

X 2-3 Sets

squatting with wood under toes Tip #1: Wear flat shoes (like Reebok’s CrossFit Nanos) for leg day so you don’t shift your weight on your toes accidentally.

Tip #2: You can add a piece of wood, or small weights under your heels or toes to help you shift your weight where you want it.

Tip #3: Muscle needs to be broken down to repair and get stronger. Too much rest time can be counterproductive.

Tip #4: It’s better to go light, and go DEEP (as long as your knees can handle it) than it is to go heavy and squat shallow. Besides, if you are weaker the deeper you go, that just means THAT is where you need strengthening the most! If you avoid going deep, you are not strengthening the muscles required for deep squats.

 

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Shapely Shoulders Workout

shoulder workout

When it comes to women, arm muscles are not all created equal. Big biceps can be manly and make your arms look thick if you aren’t lean. Triceps need to be tone, but you don’t really notice them until you are waving goodbye. Shoulders, on the other hand, now that’s one muscle group that is very exposed and looks great when it’s developed nicely. Get ready to pull those sleeveless shirts out!

This was my shoulder workout this week. I did 3-4 sets of each exercise, 10-12 reps each.

Military Press 45lb barbell, 50lb
Push Press 55lb, 65lb
Split Jerk 65lb, 70lb, 75lb
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 15lb DB
Upright Row 55lbs Barbell
Lateral Raise 5lb DB with straight arms (10-15lbs with bent arms) I prefer straight
Rear Delt Raise (also called Rear Delt Fly) 10lb DB

If you like my top in the picture above, it’s the Braided Tank by DAactive, with a belt-in sports bra.
Super high quality fitness apparel that wears great, doesn’t fade and looks super sharp!

daactive

What’s Keeping You From the Gym? 5 Things that Could Be Holding You Back

If SO many people want to get fit, why aren’t they all members of a gym? I believe there are 5 main things keeping people from the gym. Since some of these reasons could be a sensitive topic for some of you, I decided to mix in some fun cartoons to lift your spirits and help make receiving these tips a little more fun – because, in reality, we can ALL relate to at least one of these issues.

1. PRIDE: “I’m out of shape and embarrassed.”

Fat & EmbarrassedIf I had a quarter for everyone who has said “I just want to lose 10lbs before I join a gym”, I’d be RICH! I am not sure why people feel they need to get in shape BEFORE they join a gym, but that is such backward thinking. That’s like saying I’m going to try to get smart before I enroll in school. Really?

My grandmother once said, “a church is a school for sinners, not a place for saints”, and that concept also applies to the gym. The gym is not a place for the fit, it’s a place to GET fit – and STAY FIT. It’s the place you go to get fixed. Unfortunately, people’s perception of the gym is that it’s a place for bodybuilders and fit people. Do you think they were BORN fit? Of course not. They once started out just like you. If you think you are “too fat” to be seen in the gym, or too out of shape to take a class, that is EXACTLY where you need to be – and I promise you, they will welcome you with open arms!

2. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: “I don’t know what to do.”

Go to a professionalOf course you don’t know what to do. Did you get a personal training certification? Did you study exercise science? I bet you have a different expertise – we all do. I tell you what, if you are in the auto repair business, I promise to come to you to get my car fixed, if you promise to come to me (or a fitness professional) to get your body fixed. Honestly, if you knew what to do in every specialty, you wouldn’t need your mechanic, accountant, doctor, lawyer, teacher, preacher, tailor, realtor, banker, builder, repair man…

The point is, it’s totally understandable that you may not know exactly what to do. That is what fitness professionals are for. The awesome part is, you won’t need them forever. A good trainer is like a good teacher – they’ll teach you everything you need to know to eventually “graduate”.

3. MONEY: “I can’t afford it.”

maintenance

We all fuss when we have to spend money to have something fixed. Whether our body breaks down, or our car does, it’s no fun to spend money on maintenance. We sure like buying new things, but we hate fixing old stuff – including our old out of shape bodies. However, as valuable as your car is, don’t you think you are that much more valuable? Besides, leaving your body broken will actually cost more in the long run. The same way ignoring a simple issue, like a tire that’s out of balance, can cause a lot of big ticket damage (like uneven wear on your tires and damage to your suspension), ignoring your body now can cause a lot more damage down the road. If you really want to save money, you can’t afford NOT to invest in your body.

4. TIME: “I don’t have time to go to a gym.”

fitness cartoonThis is one of my favorite Randy Glasbergen cartoons of all time. We act like we actually have options when it comes to getting fit, but do we really? What are the alternatives? Poor health, feeling bad, muscle deterioration, weight gain, health issues, low energy, loss in strength and stamina, depression, and even death.

You will succeed when you esteem your body as high as your most prized posession. You make time to work so you can get paid. You make time for TV, or other simple pleasure, so you can relax. You make time to eat because you don’t like being hungry. So, you need to make time for fitness if you don’t like feeling unhealthy. It’s not about if you HAVE time, it’s about whether you decide to MAKE time. Your health should be a priority – because, without it you have nothing.

5. AVOIDANCE: “I prefer working out at home alone.”

funny treadmill cartoonFirst, I must say, there are some people who do very well working out alone. However, in my experience, most people do not. Even if someone genuinely prefers to workout alone, they may not be successful at doing so.

The real question is, why do you prefer working out alone? Many times it’s the result of one of the above excuses I’ve already addressed. Some people just like running, or an outdoor activity. Sometimes it’s purely out of convenience. Your fitness success isn’t just about you doing what you prefer, or what’s convenient, it’s about what you need to get results you want. This means what you WANT and what you NEED may be 2 different things. I like to lift weights, but my body needs cardio and stretching. If I only did what I wanted, I’d be fatter, bulkier, have poor stamina and have very tight muscles. Ha! 🙂

In addition, most people do better with a support system. Whether that support system is a gym, a workout buddy, a running group or a weight loss support group, most people need a certain level of accountability. If you are working out in private, there is a chance you are doing so because it’s a little easier to fail in private.

If you really want to get to the heart of this question, you have to honestly ask yourself more questions like, “Do I like working out alone because it’s less intimidating?” “Do I like working out at home because it’s more affordable?” “Do I prefer working out alone because no one will notice how out of shape I am?” “Am I avoiding the gym because I had a bad experience before?” The list of possible reasons is endless.

While having a home gym is great, and it can work for some people, there is a reason a gym setting is valuable. More equipment, more personal attention, more guidance, more options, more people to see you (for accountability), more support, more motivation, and fewer distractions (like the phone ringing, dryer going off, baby crying, etc). Again, this doesn’t mean working out at home alone is a bad thing, but it may not be right for you. To find out if it’s what you need, you have to be completely honest with yourself. Do you really think you’ll reach your goal at home alone? If you aren’t 100% sure, then you may need to get out of your comfort zone and do what you need to do to reach your goals this year.

 

Top 5 Tips Every Fitness Newbie Should Know

5 common fitness questionsAs a gym owner I get a lot of questions, but there are 5 questions that stand out because they are the most common question every member has at one point or another. Since each of these questions are very good questions, everyone would benefit from knowing the answer.

So here it goes! Here’s my Top 5 best questions from fitness newbies!

1. What do I eat before a workout?

what to eat before a workoutSteve addresses this in great detail in yesterday’s blog, What to Eat Before a Workout: Common Sense Tips. What you eat depends on what you are doing, which Steve explains well. Generally speaking though, a good balance of carbs, fat and protein will power most people through a moderate to vigorous strength workout. However, our body requires little to no food before cardio (I explain more in the next question). Also, it’s helpful to have an idea of how many calories you burn (energy required) during your strength workout. Since I burn 250-300 calories during weight training alone (not including cardio), I limit my calories to 250-300 calories prior to weight training so I give my body no more than it needs to make it through the workout. Here are some foods I like to eat before workouts:

Breakfast:

Late Afternoon (before you hit the gym after work):

  • The rest of my lunch (split up your lunch and eat half at lunch and half an hour before you leave work).
  • Chobani Greek Yogurt Cup
  • Designer Whey Protein Bar (or half a full protein bar, which are normally too high in calories)
  • 300-calorie Einstein bagel thin sandwiches
  • Banana and peanut butter (if I’m in a bind, I grab this from our smoothie bar for a quick calorie fix)
  • Hand full of almonds and a green apple (or your favorite fruit)

2. What do I do first? Cardio or Weights? 

What First? Weights or CardioTo do any powerful workout, like weight training, plyometrics, sprinting, or other explosive movements that require instant strength, you need to eat prior to your workout to fuel you through it. However, your body doesn’t need food for cardio, like running, jogging, walking, elliptical, etc., and can use stored fat for energy (which is why we love to do it – BURN THAT FAT!). With that said, you should do weights before cardio if you are doing them at the same time. Eat a small meal, or healthy snack, 45 minutes or so before going to the gym. Hit weights first. By the time you finish your weight routine, you will likely be through all the calories so that, come cardio time, you will tap into fat stores for a good fat burning workout. If you do cardio first, your cardio will just burn off your food (instead of fat), and you won’t have the energy you need to lift at the ideal intensity. Get more suggestions and tips on ways to pump up your workout from my blog, 20 Gym Boo Boos.

3. Which is best, high reps or low reps? 

How many reps should I do?Aside from power lifters, bodybuilders and athletes who are training specifically for a sport, most people can follow a pretty generic format and get great results. The fact is, high reps vs low reps are a bit relative. I’d recommend doing 12-15 reps for most beginners. These are high reps in comparison to bodybuilders, who may do only 8-12 reps, and powerlifters often do only 1-8 reps. I personally do 3 – 4 sets of 12-15 reps for upper body and 18-20 reps for lower body. However, doing the right number of repetitions is meaningless if you are not working out at the correct intensity. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) lays out how to determine the right intensity for you. For example, if all you can do is one rep using all your might to move that weight one time, you are working at 100%. So, in order to do more reps, you would need to reduce your weight until you can get the number of reps needed. Based on research, the following rep continuum has been established to help us know where our intensity should be.

60% relates to 16-20 reps
65% = 14-15 reps
70% = 12-13 reps
75% = 10-11 reps
80% = 8-9 reps
85% = 6-7 reps
90% = 4-5 reps
95% = 2-3 reps
100% = 1 rep

If you follow this intensity scale, 12-15 reps can feel a LOT different than just playing the guessing game. Unfortunately, many people are just going through the motions. And, while that can keep you healthy and active, it’s not going to give you the results you want.

Test yourself. If you are approaching 15 reps and you can do a few more, you likely need to increase your weight or decrease your rest time. The idea is to tear down the muscle so we can build it back up stronger. So, if you wait for your muscle to fully recover, you aren’t wearing it down like you should be. And, just because a weight is difficult, it doesn’t mean you can’t do more reps. In other words, your muscles can burn and you can be tired, but you still might be able to lift a few more reps.

If you are worried about bulking up, then it’s even more important to keep your rest time low and your reps on the higher side. Sadly, women use that as an excuse to lift too light. According to the rep continuum, you would have to reduce your weight a little to get more reps, but many women are reducing it a LOT – and working out at a much lower intensity than they are capable of. I go deeper into this topic in my blog, High Reps vs Low Reps.

4. How many days a week should I train? 

map out your workout scheduleThis depends mostly on your schedule. You tell me – how many days CAN you train? Then you break it down from there. You want at least one day of rest after weight training. So, the fewer days you train, the more body parts I’d train each day. The more days you can train, the more I’d break up body parts so I am able to train every day without training the same body part 2 days in a row. For instance, if I only can train 3 times a week, I’d do 3 full body workouts every other day. Or, I’d do upper body one day, lower body the next and then a full-body that final day. But if I were to train 5 days a week, I’d break it up even more, where I did individual body parts every day. Ultimately, your training schedule depends on how much time you have to train, as well as what your goal is. Read How to Set an Effective Training Schedule for more tips.

5. What should I eat after a workout?

I think once you read Steve’s What to Eat Before a Workout blog, you’ll understand this even more. The short answer is protein, protein, protein! Basically, the focus needs to be on giving your body what it needs to start repairing the muscle that you just broke down in your workout. You can either have a protein shake immediately after your workout, or you can have a high-protein meal. If you are eating your meal at night, I recommend a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat meal like a white meat, green veggie and a healthy fat (like olive oil or avocado). Read Does Your Diet Need More Muscle? to learn more about how much protein you need and what to put in your shakes for best absorption.

Now you have the basics, it’s time to put it to the test! If you learned something new today, be sure to share this with your friends – because the more people who know, the faster they’ll get results! Knowledge really is quite powerful!

What’s Weak Will Become Strong

Weaknesses

Do you have muscles you hate to train? Why do you hate that body part or exercise? Normally it’s because that’s a weak area, or that particular exercise is hard for us.

When something is tough, we tend to avoid it. And, when we are great at something, we tend to do it more. That’s how runners get trapped into only running, or body builders get hooked into only lifting. People simply like doing what they are good at.

That sounds harmless at first, until you realize what you are really doing. You are neglecting your weak areas. For me, my weak spots are legs and flexibility. For many women, it’s upper body strength. For many men, it’s cardio. For some people, a weakness is something they just aren’t good at – like aerobics or something that takes coordination – but avoiding it is not the answer.

Practice makes perfect – and working what’s weak will eventually make you strong.

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