I don’t look at the body as a sex symbol or in vanity. To me, the body is like a clump of clay that can be sculpted into different shapes by applying science – and, like clay sculpted into a pitcher, our body is better used when it’s in good shape. A potter will cut away the excess, dig out the junk and squeeze the clay until it takes shape. If clay could hurt, it probably wouldn’t like the process very much. It would likely say “OUCH!”
In fitness, calorie management and training are the sculpting hands and much work is required to mold you in the best shape. One of the things I’m enjoying most, is one of the things I hate most – learning to set limits, stick to a plan and remain disciplined when I normally would cave. We live in a society where no one likes restrictions. People eat what they want to eat, buy what they want to buy and do what they want to do. When did restrictions become a bad thing? We need boundaries. We need to practice more self-control. It’s healthy and it makes us strong.
I’m loving living with more limitations, forcing myself to do what I don’t want to do to get to where I want to go. It’s hard work, but it makes me proud. I’m learning to control my flesh and not let it control ME! I’m learning I can do so much more than I thought I was capable of.
You may look at my suit and think WOW, that’s beautiful!! A bikini contest must be like a beauty contest, but it really isn’t. It’s more like a science fair. I am nothing more than one big science project.
I’m not competing to win a trophy, because I think I have a good body, or because I want to be on stage. I might not even PLACE! I can’t go on stage hoping to win a $40 trophy, or seeking praise from people. That is not what makes me who I am. A trophy can’t define me. It mustn’t. It’s the training, the self-discipline, the process and what God teaches me along the way that means more to me than a bronze sculpture or a medal. It’s finishing what I started to become the best version of me I can. That’s what will make me a winner, trophy or no trophy. It’s me against me – and I plan to CRUSH the old me!!
The truth is, I really don’t want to compete. I don’t care about the stage (terrified of the stage is a more accurate description lol). I am not comfortable being in a bikini in front of hundreds of people – I don’t even walk to my car from the beach without a cover up on! I dread standing next to a bunch of other girls to be “judged” – don’t we get judged enough every day? Lord knows, I know ALL of my flaws already and could just slip the judges my own list of all my shortcomings and save them time.
I’m competing, first, because my husband has been dying for me to do this with him for years – and I admit, dieting and training together has been a lot of fun. Second, I am competing because it’s forcing me to break through plateaus, push my limits, reach my goals, and step out of my comfort zone. It’s an incredible amount of work and a time where God is growing me in ways I never thought possible. The same way your muscles can’t grow unless you put them under pressure, I personally can’t grow if I constantly am avoiding the challenges of being under pressure.
My body is NOTHING – it will fade away like a dying flower. Learning to not be controlled by it is teaching me so much about myself and about how much more we need to let God be in control – not out stomach, not our laziness, not our selfish ambitions. Learning to die to flesh and live in the spirit both require a lot of discipline – and I plan to run this race of life to the best of my ability!
“…I discipline my body and bring it to submission, so when I have preached to others, I myself should not disqualified“ 1 Corinthians 9:27
The Bikini – Sewn In The Sun
Cara will help you pick out the cut, color and design that will best enhance your physique. She’s AMAZING when it comes to knowing exactly what will look best on you. She’s got mad skills!!
Visit their site, or stop by their store!
763 N Alt A1A Suite D, Jupiter, Florida 33477
Shoulders are one of the most shapely muscles on the arm – and my favorite body part to work. Here is my workout I did yesterday. It was awesome!
LIFTING SET: 30 seconds to 60 seconds rest between sets for toning and sculpting. Up to 2 minutes if training for power.
DUMBBELL CIRCUIT: No rest between exercises, quick rest between each completed round.
You have the power to sculpt your body with the foods you eat, as well as the type of exercises you do. Before I address how to sculpt your body with how you eat, let’s talk about how you train.
Sculpt Muscle by How You Train
“The more muscle your workout requires, the more muscle you will gain…”
While protein is very important for sculpting a fit body, supplementing without the proper training will not get you the results you want. How you train greatly determines what you store for energy and what you use for energy. With intense movements, your body will likely store more energy as muscle. Your body is smart. The more muscle your workout requires, the more muscle you will gain, or keep. – And don’t worry ladies, you won’t be a beef-cake bodybuilder, you will just look super fit. It takes a LOT of work to look like a man! 😉
On the contrary, if you are a marathon runner, you are more prone to burn both muscle and fat as energy, and store fat, because muscle is not needed as much for low to moderate intensity workouts. While running a marathon is quite grueling, it doesn’t require a lot of explosive power, it requires endurance. Of matter of fact, a runner’s body considers muscle as unnecessary added weight. However, fat is a good source of energy for long runs, so that is why your body is prone to storing fat. If a runner wants to maintain muscle, they need to pump up their muscles in the gym (and pump up protein) in addition to their running program to encourage their body to keep muscle.
Sculpt Muscle by How You Eat
Now that you understand the importance of how you train, let’s dive into your eating. As you’ve heard before, “you are what you eat”. Fat and carbs makes fat bodies. Protein make fit muscular bodies. That is why it is so important to get enough protein if you want to maintain, or add, more muscle mass. Your body is always burning calories from a combination of fats, carbs and protein. If you eat carbs and fats, but are low on protein, your body doesn’t just stop burning protein. It still burns protein, but it burns stored protein (muscle). The same goes for fat stores. If you are short on fat or carbs, your body will burn stored fat to turn it into the fuel it’s missing.
If you are like me, and don’t want your body to burn muscle, then you want to keep a steady stream of protein in your diet so your body can feed off that – and not feed off your precious hard-earned muscle. If you want to GAIN muscle, then you need to give your body more protein than it needs so it stores more protein (muscle). *Use the protein calculator, below, to learn how much protein you should get a day.
Just the same way our body stores fat and carbs as body fat when you eat too much of it, your body can store excess protein as well. However, you still have to watch overall calories if you don’t want to gain weight, because too many calories is still too many calories – and it can cause you to gain weight, whether it’s coming from muscle or fat. Understand, if you eat more calories than you burn, you WILL gain weight – whether it’s muscle weight or fat weight.
So, the trick to a lean muscular physique is to eat a low-calorie, low-fat, moderate-carb, high-protein diet. This will encourage your body to burn fat stores to reduce body fat, while storing (or maintaining) protein to sculpt muscle. 🙂
What’s Your Number?
Click HERE to use GNC’s Protein Calculator to help you decide how much protein should be in your diet.
It’s easy to walk into a gym like ours and completely be overwhelmed with equipment. To be honest, it would even intimidate me if I was seeing it for the first time. As a result, many members don’t venture out much. They just use what they know – no matter how little that is. So, it’s time to start working out with more purpose, so you can get the best results possible.
In Tuesday’s blog, “How to Set an Effective Workout Schedule” I talk about varies ways to break up body parts so you can design a workout based on your schedule. Well, as promised, today I will be giving you a hit list of exercises you can use in your routine.
First, in this list, I categorize exercises by body part, with the largest muscle groups first. When you are lifting weights, you don’t want to work your small muscle groups before you work your large muscle groups – because your small muscles will be too tired to lift the heavier weight required to work the larger ones. Large muscle groups include chest, back and legs. Small muscle groups typically refer to all your arm muscles.
Next, you’ll notice that in each group, I first list one exercise that doesn’t require equipment (if possible). I also list alternative machines or tools to help you find what works with what you have access to. Now realize, there are SOOOO many more, but these 50+ exercises are the most common – and good for starting a beginner to even advanced routine.
If you are doing a full-body workout, you may only choose 2-3 exercises per body part, and only do 2-3 sets of each (depending on your time). If you are working out several times a week, and breaking up body parts more, you may do all the exercises in each specific body group for that day for 3-5 sets to add intensity, and extend the length of your workout.
Lastly, rest time is super important. You can take a very basic workout and majorly boost intensity if you reduce your rest time. We use the GymBoss Interval Timers (set at 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off) at our club so our members are being pushed to work hard and rest little.
So that brings me to reps. You can do 12-15 reps for upper body and 15-20 reps for lower body OR you can use the interval timer to go as hard and fast as possible and not even worry about counting. Just remember, if you could do a few more reps, you likely need to up your weight.
Top 50 Exercises:
OK, so here you go! Here are 50 different exercises mentioned below with some tips to help you design your workout schedule. (PS: It’s actually more than 50 exercises, but TOP 50 sounded better than Top 51. Ha!)
Squats (Air Squat or Barbell Squat, hits all muscles)
Leg Press Machine (hits all muscles)
Walking Lunges (dumbbells, quads and glutes)
Leg Extension Machine (hits quads)
Leg Curl Machine (prone/lying, seated and/or standing, hamstrings)
Straight Leg Deadlifts (Dumbbells or Barbells, for hamstrings)
Weighted Calf Raises (or Calf Raise Machine)
Do at least 1 exercise per body part (quads, hams, glutes)
Handstand Push Up or Pike Press
Military Press with Barbell or Shoulder Press Machine
Arnold Presses or Shoulder press with dumbbells
Rear Delt Raise (or Reverse Fly or Reverse Pec Dec Machine)
Do at least 1 press, 1 raise (front or lateral) and the rear raise.
Remember to read: “How to Set an Effective Workout Schedule” for help on scheduling your workout schedule for the week.
Have fun, train with confidence & #getafterit!