Blog

Three possible Reasons You’re Not Losing The Weight: The #TruthBomb Edition.

Are you tired of busting your ass day in and day out, following all the rules, doing everything humanly possible, and still not seeing the results you desire?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it, working so hard and getting nowhere?…You eat “clean”, maintain just the right energy balance, hit your macros, do cardio, and lift weights just like you’re supposed to, only for the number on the scale to remain right where it was when you started…It really can get you down and make you question:

“What am I doing wrong?”

“When will the weight come off?”

“Is this even worth it?”

Well, I’m here to tell you, yes, it IS all worth it, and give you three reasons as to why you may be stuck. So, before you get disheartened and decide to throw in the towel, take a look at these possible culprits. You just might find the answer to your weight loss woes.

1. Consistency and Time:

Consistency is the most important factor in weight loss. Period.

Why???

Because, you are what you consistently do!

You didn’t gain weight overnight, or in a week, or a month. A year, perhaps, or five, maybe 10+…The truth of the matter is, it took some serious time to get to where you are.

Ever how long it’s been for you, your total weight and body composition are a direct result of thousands of different factors that have adapted over your total lifespan.

For instance, if you spent the last 8 years of your life eating sugary desserts a few times a week, not sleeping well, hitting the bar at happy hour instead of exercising, and getting stressed out at work, your health, your weight, and your energy levels reflect those actions.

Now you’ve decided to make a healthy change and you’ve been working hard….and that’s AWESOME!…But, it’s been a couple of weeks and you aren’t seeing the results you expected.

Why???

To be blunt, you can’t expect a few weeks of healthy choices and effort to undo years of bad habits. It takes time…Don’t! Give! Up!

Realistically, a true weight loss transformation should take about one-quarter of the time that it took to gain the weight in the first place.

Yep! That means, if you spent the last 8 years in an unhealthy spiral of weight gain and crash dieting, then you can expect it to take at least 2 years to get back to a healthy weight.

I know that’s hard to hear, but don’t get discouraged. Even if the scale isn’t moving, that doesn’t mean you’re not making progress. Focus on the small wins along the way.

Did you work out five days this week? WIN!

Did you limit your sugar intake to less than 30g every day? WIN!

Are your energy levels up? WIN,

Can you lift more weight than last month? WIN!

Have you been drinking more water each day? WIN!

2. Recovery:

Recovery is the second most crucial factor that impacts weight loss. It is so important that I actually devoted an entire blog post to the subject, Post Workout Recovery: Everything You Need To Know To Get Those Gainz, (it’s a pretty good read, hint…hint). But, to summarize, recovery is about how long and deeply you sleep, how well your hormone system bounces back from daily stressors, how well you refuel your body’s nutrients and how well your body adjusts after working out.

As important as this is, many people with a weight loss goal do a great job exercising, but fall short in the recovery department.

It is not during your actual workout that the “magic” happens. It is during the recovery from your workout, and not creating the proper environment for positive adaptations to occur during the one to three days following a training session renders the entire workout a waste.

Essentially, a regimen of 60 to 90 minute workouts, four to five days a week, combined with an appropriate diet, should lead to weight loss. If it doesn’t, recovery may be the problem.

Take a look at your post workout down time. You may need to tweak your recovery and troubleshoot any problems to jump start your weight loss again.

3. Carb Tolerance:

Ahhh, carbs! The macronutrient we all love to hate…

If only they weren’t so delicious and the research about them so confusing!

Today, it seems everyone is asking the same three questions.

“Are carbs good or bad?”

“What kinds of carbs are best?”

“When should I eat them?”

Unfortunately, the right answers can be a bit murky. But, there is some interesting research that offers some insight into carbs and weight loss.

According to a recent study, there is a link between a person’s genetic ability to produce amylase—the enzyme in saliva that breaks down carbs—and BMI. It turns out that some bodies genetically do a better job of regulating carbohydrates than others (likely due to a number of genes, not just amylase…but).

What this means is, If you’re on the “lucky end” of carb-genetics, then a slice of cheesecake registers as lower on the glycemic index in your body than most and you may be satisfied for a week after just that one slice On the other hand, if you’re at the “not so lucky end,” that one piece of cheesecake has a HIGHER glycemic index and it goes right to your love handles. Oh, and you’ll dream about that slice of cheesecake every day thereafter, increasing the likelihood that you’ll binge on carbs in the near future.

So, in other words, life isn’t fair.

Being carbohydrate intolerant could be what is derailing your weight loss.

If you suspect this is the case, here are some simple guidelines:

• Don’t cut out carbs totally.

• Get carbs from veggies and other foods low on the glycemic index.

• Take a probiotic supplement.

• Try an “ultra-low” glycemic index carb supplement like Ucan to curb cravings, but ONLY if absolutely necessary.

And, there you have it, #TruthBomb dropped!…I hope you found this information helpful. The road to sustained weight loss can be long and winding. Don’t give up! Stay consistent, recover properly, and make sure your carb tolerance is in check. Exercising a little patience and making some minor adjustments can make all the difference in the world.

How To Dominate Your Goals This (And EVERY) Weekend:

Happy Friday, everyone!

Take a deep breath!…Breathe in a sigh of relief!…You did it! You survived another busy week! Now, it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy a well deserved break from the hustle and bustle of that thing we call adulting.

Weekends are great! I mean, you, work hard all week, you deserve a day or two to play, right?  But, if you aren’t careful, the weekend can turn into a major limiting factor when chasing after your fitness goals.

Hey, I get it! You work hard all week, staying dedicated to your job, your family, your workouts, and your nutrition, (it can get overwhelming and exhausting) so when the weekend rolls around with all of its delicious and relaxing temptations, you’re more than ready to take a break and indulge.

Believe me, I’m with you! A little indulgence is a good thing. And, let’s be honest, you’ve earned it! But, completely ditching your fitness and nutrition routine for the entire weekend can really offset your hard earned results, and no one wants that!

So, I’ve put together a list of suggestions to help you stay on track, while still enjoying some much needed time off.

Check it out!

1. Be Flexible With Your Nutrition, But Stick To Your Guns:

It is very important to fuel your body with wholesome, nourishing foods for both your health, and to ensure success in your fitness endeavors. But, it is also important to indulge every now and then, equally for you health, as well as your metabolism, AND your sanity. Making sound nutritional choices isn’t so hard Monday-Friday when you’re working and your meals are more than likely already planned out, but when Saturday and Sunday roll around with time off, birthday parties, dinners out, drinks with friends, etc, it’s so easy to just throw in the towel for a couple of days and engage in a junk food free-for-all!

Now, I’m not against a little weekend indulgence, but completely ditching your nutrition routine can totally slow down your progress, which is why I highly recommend keeping Calorie splurges to 1, maybe 2 (depending on your goals, specifically) over the weekend.

It’s totally ok to enjoy a high Calorie meal out, party, happy hour, or whatever over the weekend, but make sure you’re still nourishing your body properly the majority of the time. For example, when you know you’re having dinner out, be sure to have a wholesome breakfast and lunch beforehand. That way, you’ll be less likely to overdo it at dinner. Never restrict food in an effort to save Calories, carbs, etc for just one meal. Although it may seem like a good idea, it’s a recipe for disaster.

2. Don’t Drink Your Calories:

This one ties closely in with number one. It’s super easy to overdo it when calories are consumed in liquid form, and they’re usually from sugar. I suggest sticking to water or sugar-free beverages, like unsweetened teas and coffee. Try to limit sodas, juices, and other sugary drinks (ideally, you should do this 7 days a week, but…). Also, if you drink alcohol, try to limit your consumption. Alcohol is surprisingly high in calories, and depending on the drink, can be super high in sugar, as well.

I’m not telling you NOT to drink, because an ice cold Blue Moon sure does taste good, but throwing back an entire 6-pack on your own certainly won’t help you uncover your own six-pack…Just sayin’!

3. Don’t Forget Your Fitnesses:

This one actually starts on Friday!

Did you know, Friday workouts can really help set the tone for the rest of the weekend, and help ensure that you stay on track with your fitness goals?

Weekends can be tough, especially when you’re exhausted from the long week, but sticking to your workout routine is one of the best ways to guarantee success in the long run.

The same goes for Saturday. Even though it’s your day off, and you’ve got plans, make time to workout! Don’t abandon your routine. Stick to it, then move on. I mean, a one hour workout is roughly 4% of your day, so you’ll still have plenty of time for fun adventures, not to mention the energy to enjoy them and the satisfaction of knowing YOU DID IT!…You got up! You laced up! And, you got it done!

4. Reward Yourself With Something Other Than Food:

You survived another week, go you! This is definitely a reason to celebrate, and it’s totally fine to reward yourself. But all too often the go-to prize we choose to give ourselves is a weekend junk food binge.

Switch things up, and reward yourself with something that you can’t eat. Get a massage, buy a new outfit, or lay down and watch your favorite movie.

Having something to look forward to over the coming weekend will help keep you motivated during the week to work hard and stay committed to your goals.

5. Plan and Prep Your Meals For The Upcoming Week:

Setting aside a little bit of time to plan and even prep meals over the weekend can be very beneficial in the long run.

For one thing, it gives you one less thing to think about during the week. Deciding what to eat every day is tough, especially if you’re busy. Pre planning and prepping meals is an amazing time saver, and it allows you to focus on other things like your kiddos, your job, and your goals.

Another positive result is that it will put you in mindfulness mode regarding your diet, and mindful eating is the ultimate key to success!…Just planning nutritious meals will get you thinking about eating right. This can have a dramatic effect on the choices you make the rest of the weekend.

6. Make Time To Relax:

Relaxation is soooo important to your overall health and well being. A little ME time over the weekend will allow you to recharge, so that you can refocus, leaving you ready to resume your busy lifestyle when Monday rolls around again.

Honestly, It’s not a bad idea to schedule a little ME time during the week, as well. But, to avoid a midweek burnout, make sure to fit in at least a couple of hours (or more) over the weekend, to just relax…Your body, your mind, and your soul will thank you.

7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up:

Ok, so this one isn’t exactly about staying on track, but…

Let’s say you do totally ditch your fitness and nutrition routine for the ENTIRE weekend…Hey! It happens! We’re human, shit comes up!…Don’t beat yourself up over it. You haven’t failed. You aren’t a bad person. You’re not gonna wake up Monday 10 pounds heavier with high blood pressure and diabetes. Bloated with a little indigestion, maybe, but not derailed or defeated.

So, what do you do in this situation?

Move on from it, of course!

A couple of days of overindulging won’t ruin you, just like a couple of days of diet and exercise won’t achieve your goals. Any time you overdo it…and you will, at some point…just pick up where you left off and keep moving forward! Take things one day at a time. True results come from genuine effort, not perfection.

And, there you have it, 7 simple ways to take charge and dominate Saturday and Sunday…Because, the weekend doesn’t have to become your weak end!

The Best of Both Worlds: The Importance of Incorporating Both Aerobic and Anaerobic Workouts Into Your Programing.

There’s an age old debate in the fitness world, and it all comes down to one simple question:

Which is better, aerobic workouts or anaerobic workouts?

If you’re someone who enjoys low-intensity endurance work, like pounding it out with a long, slow run or jog, then you’re in favor of aerobic-type workouts. However, if you prefer pumping iron in the gym (or home gym), or busting out high-intensity sprint intervals, then you air on the side of anaerobic workouts.

In truth, everyone has their own preference, and that’s ok! Being different is what makes us unique individuals, but only engaging in one type of training can actually be counterproductive to your overall health and fitness. Ultimately, it is very important to develop and follow programs that utilize both aerobic and anaerobic work…Just as it is necessary to be a well-rounded person, it is equally as necessary to take a well-rounded approach to fitness.

So, what’s the difference?

Well, first, let’s define the terms “aerobic” and “anaerobic”:

  • Aerobic – occurring with the use of oxygen, or requiring oxygen. Thus, aerobic exercise refers to any moderate physical activity that places demands on the oxygen-using pathways that supply blood to your working muscles, i.e. walking, running, jogging, biking, swimming, etc. During aerobic workouts, oxygen is flowing through the body and to the muscles which result in the production of more blood vessels (to carry that oxygen). It also increases the size of blood vessels. These changes help more nutrients and oxygen get to the muscles and then take waste away. All of this supports recovery and muscle growth.
  • Anaerobic – occurring without the use of oxygen. Thus, anaerobic exercise refers to any physical activity that is performed without muscles having to be supplied with oxygen, i.e. any type of intense weight training. Anaerobic activity is short-lived compared to aerobic workouts because the lack of oxygen triggers a production of lactic acid. The buildup of lactate is what causes fatigue and forces you to take a break from the exercise. But, the more you engage in these kinds of workouts the greater your tolerance will be to high levels of lactic acid, thus improving strength and muscle endurance.

There! Now we know the difference…

Next, let’s talk about muscle fibers.

There are two types,

  • fast-twitch muscle fibers – contracts quickly and is used mostly in intensive short-duration exercises. They include Type IIa muscle fibers and Type IIx muscle fibers.
  • slow-twitch muscle fibers – contracts slowly and has a high capacity for aerobic glycolysis. They include Type I muscle fibers.

Each of these two types of exercise recruits a different type of muscle fiber.

Aerobic exercise mostly relies on slow-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers are important because they produce a steady, low-intensity, repetitive contraction, which allows you to do steady endurance work, like running or swimming, for long periods of time before fatigue sets in. Aerobic workouts increase the size and number of Type I muscle fibers, which, in turn, improves endurance performance.

Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, relies on fast-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers are selectively recruited for high-intensity, short-duration work. They contract quickly, yielding short bursts of energy, and they are recruited in high numbers during brief, intense exercises such as sprinting or weightlifting. Anaerobic workouts increase the size and quantity of these powerful muscle fibers, which improves the power and strength of muscles and also increases hypertrophy (size).

Now, let’s discuss the metabolic changes associated with both aerobic and anaerobic workouts.

Aerobic workouts trigger important metabolic changes in muscle tissue, including an increase in mitochondria and the protein myoglobin. Mitochondria—the powerhouse of the cell—are necessary for creating ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary source of energy in muscles. Myoglobin, on the other hand, brings in the oxygen needed for that process. These changes are what improves the aerobic capacity of muscles.

Some of the metabolic changes triggered by anaerobic workouts include increased breakdown of glucose—the process known as glycolysis. This kind of exercise also boosts levels of ATP, as well as CP (creatine phosphate), which can be quickly changed to ATP and used for energy. Levels of creatine also go up, which helps supply energy for muscle contraction. These factors are what improves the ability to get through those last grueling reps of intense training sessions.

Finally, let’s talk about changes in body composition.

All of the changes from aerobic activity lead to a better ability to burn fat. Greater blood flow to the muscle tissue, more oxygen transport, larger numbers of mitochondria, and a jump in the levels of enzymes used to metabolize fat all let muscles better access fat and burn it for energy. This is what leads to fat loss throughout the body.

High-intensity anaerobic workouts that last between 45 to 75 minutes trigger important hormonal changes, including a boost in the production of testosterone and growth hormone. These along with other hormones are necessary for increasing muscle size. And the more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn naturally,

So…

For best results, I recommend combining BOTH aerobic and anaerobic training into your workout routine each day.

Now, I understand how difficult it can be, especially when you have a busy schedule, but taking the time to engage in a well-rounded fitness program will make all the difference in your overall health and fitness level.

My week at a glance: (For example purposes, only!)

This is what my workout week looks like, right now…Keep in mind, I switch up my routine often, (about every 6 weeks or so) to keep my workouts from becoming stagnant, and to prevent my muscles from becoming “bored” and plateauing.

Monday & Friday

  • Fasted Cardio: 20 min Spin followed by a Plyo routine
  • Rest & Snack
  • Strength: “Leg Day” (routine: from my own “Tone and Sculpt” program)

Wednesday

  • Fasted Cardio: 20 min Spin followed by a Plyo routine
  • Rest & Snack
  • Strength: glute specific (routine: from my own “Booty Sculpt” program)

Tuesday & Saturday

  • Fasted Cardio: 20 min HIIT (circuit designed by me) followed by core training (routine from my own core program)
  • Rest & Snack
  • Strength: Biceps & Triceps (routine: from my own “Tone and Sculpt” program)

Thursday

  • Fasted Cardio: 20 min HIIT (circuit designed by me) followed by core training (routine from my own core program)
  • Rest & Snack
  • Strength: Back & Shoulders (routine: from my own “Tone and Sculpt” program)

Sunday

  • Rest Day!!!

Post Workout Recovery: Everything You Need To Know To Get Those Gainz

Trick Question: Do you know what ACTUALLY initiates increases in both muscle size and strength???

Hint: it’s not the actual workout, itself. Although, yes, your workouts ARE very important!…The type, frequency, duration, periodization, the amount of resistance used, the types of exercises performed, the WAY in which the exercises are performed (form IS everything!), and the gradual progression from simple to complex (i.e. light to heavy) are ALL necessary aspects to be considered when your goal is hypertrophy (growth)..BUT…The most important component to focus on, and NEVER neglect, is post workout recovery!

Let me explain…

It is not in the gym (or the home gym), during training, where “gains” occur. Rather, it is post training, during periods of rest and recovery.

See, during intense training sessions (i.e. weightlifting) muscle tissue is torn, cells are damaged, and (for lack of a better word) “injury” occurs.

As traumatic as this all sounds, it is necessary to the growth process, because after work (training) comes rest (recovery), and it is during THIS time that specialized cells, called satellite cells, are recruited to repair the damage caused during training.

Basically, these little guys fuss to one another and to damaged muscle fibers, which is what leads to muscle growth…BOOM, GAINZ!…But, in order for this to occur, some very important factors have to come into play.

1. Rest-It is very important to make sure you’re getting enough rest between workouts, as well as between sets/exercises DURING your workouts–anywhere from 30 seconds-3 min or so, depending on the type and intensity of the workout–In terms of between workout rest, whether you engage in active rest or take 1-2 full on rest days per week, you’ve got to give your muscles time to heal, so that they can recover and grow…Also, it’s important to note, you should never train the same muscle groups two days in a row. You need to allow at least 1-5 days between muscle groups, depending on the muscles being trained, the type of training, and the amount of resistance being used. Finally, make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of quality sleep each night. Sleep is the number one most important factor in your overall health and wellness. Put simply, you can make up a missed workout (or not), but you can never recover lost sleep. Be sure to aim for 7-9 hours per night to ensure you’re healthy, well rested, and ready to take on whatever life (and training) throws at you.

2. Nutrition-Muscles cannot grow without proper nutrition. Despite the plethora of misinformation on the internet damning certain macronutrients while praising others, and vice versa, all three macronutrient groups are equally as important as the others, and each contributes to muscle growth and repair, as well as overall health and wellness, in it’s own way.

• Carbohydrates are the quickest form of energy. They contribute to the production of ATP–energy naturally made by muscle tissue–and glycogen–stored sugar in the liver that is released when you need more energy, after ATP stores have been depleted–This is very important to sustaining enough energy to finish your workouts. Plus, increased glycogen production dramatically decreases post workout recovery time…WIN!

• Fats are necessary to manufacture and balance hormones, like testosterone and other growth hormones…That’s pretty important!…They’re also used for energy. Did you know that fat is actually the most energy-dense macronutrient?…Yep! It sure is!…It’s true that carbohydrates provide us with the quickest source of energy, but fats provide us with the longest lasting, most stable source. Plus, fats support a variety of healthy functions in the body, such as blood vessel health, the reduction of information, improvement of triglycerides and cholesterol, increased metabolism, and improved cardiovascular and nervous system function.

• Next up, protein, everyone’s favorite macronutrient!…And, for good reason…Protein is very important to muscle repair and growth, in that muscles are largely composed of amino acids, the building blocks of…protein! The more protein synthesized, the more contractile proteins created, which in turn leads to increases in both strength AND size….Hello, hypertrophy!!!!…Not to mention, the amino acids that make up protein are also responsible for everything in our bodies! Our structure, hormones, enzymes, and immune chemicals ALL rely heavily on protein.

• Finally, overall caloric intake. Just as important as getting adequate amounts of all three macronutrients is, providing your body with enough energy (Calories) each day is imperative to muscle repair and growth. Not only does your body burn a certain amount of Calories naturally through basic life functioning + physical activity each day, but just having a higher % of lean body mass takes that “natural burn” to the next level. It takes a lot of energy (Calories) just to maintain muscle. Thus, you have to provide your body with the energy necessary to a) keep up with basic life functioning, b) support your physical activity, and c) maintain your lean body mass while initiating muscle growth. It’s a hard job growing muscle while sustaining basic life functioning. That’s why our bodies need to be nourished properly each day, so they can keep up with the demands we place on them.

3. Hydration-This one goes without saying, as muscle cells are comprised of 75% water. Water is essential to life. It is water that dissolves both organic and inorganic nutrients and transports them into, and away from, our cells. Water is also important to the synthesis of proteins and glycogen. Basically, everything to do with muscle repair and growth, as well as life in general, is dependent on water…So, yeah, “ Stay thirsty, my friends”…Drink your water!

4. Therapeutic Modalities – post workout therapies can play a huge role in enhanced recuperation after training, which leads to improved performance and max results. Although some are pretty advanced and strictly in the domain of sports medicine physicians, licensed physical therapist, and/or certified athletic trainers, others are much more simple and can be safely applied by coaches, personal trainers, and individuals, themselves.

• Diathermy- a form of high frequency heat that penetrates injured tissue deeper and more effectively than other forms of heat therapy. Unlike other forms of heat therapy, it does not produce static swelling at the treatment site.

• Electrostimulation – involves electrodes that create a contraction of the surrounding musculature, reducing edema by pumping fluid out of the affected tissue. Most effective when implemented immediately after diathermy and followed by cryotherapy and elevation.

• Cryotherapy- the application of cold, usually in the form of ice or “chemical ice”, in body tissue for the purpose of pain relief and decreased swelling. Ice is simple, inexpensive, and effective and can be applied without professional assistance.

• Heat Therapy – heating pads or hot showers are best when followed up with ice, since heat alone causes static swelling. This therapy should only be used for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, followed by active stretching, then followed by 10 to 15 minutes of ice and more stretching.

• Ultrasound- loosens or breaks up scar tissue and tight fibrous adhesions due to injury.

• Hydrotherapy – The use of water for therapeutic means. Contrast showers, contrast baths, and whirlpools are all effective means of hydrotherapy…Contrast baths and showers alternate between hot and cold bursts of water for two minute periods directly following workouts, to help improve circulation. Whirlpools can help improve circulation and render a relaxation affect post training. These should be avoided if any type of joint swelling is present.

• Cryokinetics – involves ice application followed by progressive active exercises. For best results, apply ice directly after leaving the shower. This therapy is very beneficial in reducing contracted, tightened muscle tissue, as well as pumping these tissues free of accumulated training-induced waste products (lactic acid).

• Leg Elevation – used to reverse hydrostatic or columnar pressure after a long day of standing or training. This method can be particularly effective prior to training. For best results, elevate your legs for about 20 minutes, keeping them perpendicular to the floor while lying on your back.

• Ongoing Professional Assistance – many forms of therapy are available to individuals at a moderate cost and are highly recommended. They include Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy, Rolling, Neuromuscular Reeducation, Trager Mentastics, Acupuncture/Pressure, and Alexander Technique.

And, there you have it! If you want to “get those gains”, your workouts are important, but the recovery process is adamant…So, beast hard!…And recover harder!

5 Things To Quit…RIGHT NOW:

If you ever find yourself doing ANY of the following, it’s time to stop, once and for all…

1. Trying to please everyone – You can’t. You’ll NEVER be able to make everyone happy, no matter what you do! But, you ALWAYS have the power to make yourself happy, so do that, daily!

2. Fearing change – Change can be frightening, but it can also be wonderful! Without change, there is no progress. Be open, and treat each new experience as an exciting adventure! Don’t be afraid to try new things. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn from your failures and celebrate your victories, but never stop moving forward.

3. Living in the past – If you can’t let go of the past, how can you expect to have any kind of future? The past may have been great, or maybe it wasn’t. Either way, move on! Cherish the good memories, and learn from the bad ones. Live in the present, so you can look forward to the future, even if that future is a mystery…It’s like George Harrison said “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”.

4. Putting yourself down – Just stop it! Being unkind to yourself serves no purpose, whatsoever. You are an amazing human. Own that shirt! No, you aren’t perfect…No one is!…You are the only you there ever was, or ever will be, and I think that’s pretty freakin awesome! Realize your potential, embrace your weaknesses, and build on your strengths. You have so much to offer. Never forget that!

5. Overthinking – You can sit around all day, compiling literally millions of different scenarios in your head about any given situation, and still never come close to what’ll actually happen. Overthinking doesn’t do anything but cause unnecessary worry and stress, and “ain’t nobody got time for dat!” Learn to take things with a grain of salt…and, sometimes a shot of tequila…it’s ok to go with the flow. Situations almost always have a way of working themselves out, anyway.

in the end, you’ve got to do what is right for you. NOTHING on this list will enrich your life or serve you in any way. Make it a point to stop doing each and every one of these things, and I guarantee your entire outlook will change right before very eyes.

Booty Gainz 101: Everything You Need To Know…Because Sometimes, Squats Just Aren’t Enough

Common FAQ: “How do I build the perfect butt?…You know, like the ones on Instagram?

Well, first and foremost, let’s address those Insta Booties…And, you might wanna take this with a grain of salt, but about 90% of the time, they’re not legit.

Now, I’m not saying those girls don’t train hard just like everyone else, nor am I saying that they don’t have beautiful photo worthy bodies (er, booties), or that the advice sometimes offered with the posts is total shit, BUT—and this is a hard pill for many to swallow—when it comes to social media, things aren’t always as they seem…

Thanks to the magic of lightning, posing, and digital enhancement, a.k.a. PHOTOSHOP…(not to mention all the aspiring Doctor 90210s of the world–but that’s a whole other ballgame)…anyone can create the illusion of the “perfect” peach anywhere, anytime!…All it takes is the right angle, under the right light, and the simple click of a mouse with a little crop here, a little drag there, and…voila!…you’ve got a butt big enough to make Sir Mix-A-Lot wanna pull up tough!

It’s just how it is…

But, that does not mean you can’t work hard and achieve the body, or booty, that you desire…It just means you’ve got to be realistic and understand what can, and can’t, be done…As with all fitness goals involving a change in body composition, it requires hard work, dedication, persistence, and patience…If you want that booty, you’re going to have to work for it!

So, where should you begin?

Well, first let’s start off by discussing the muscles involved, the glutes. They are the muscles that give us that nice curvy bottom, and they include

1.the gluteus maximus

2.the gluteus medius

3.the gluteus minimus

A lot of our daily movements, like walking and running, include these muscles, as well as balance and stability, but most people never train them, specifically, resulting in masses of weak-assed individuals…pun totally intended!…See, the thing is, the glutes are different than, oh say, the abs, in that when you train them, it IS possible to achieve hypertrophy—growth in muscle size.

Let me put it into perspective…

If you want bigger biceps, do you train your triceps?…No!…You add to your workout specific exercises that will activate and overload your biceps. Thus, in order to grow and shape a nice rump, you have to target the three main muscles that form it.

Ok, now that you know you can grow your glutes, let’s talk about how to do it!

The secret is to target each of the glute muscles and progressively overload them with high intensity. This can be accomplished by:

1. Performing more reps with the same weight,

2. Increasing the resistance (weight) load and performing the same amount of reps,

3. Adding more sets of work to a specific muscle group with the same weight.

Since the best rep range for growth is between 6-12, it is best to start off slowly (with a lower resistance) and progress.

Ok! Now that we’re covered the basics of booty gainz, let’s talk about the best types of exercises for the job!

The most common piece of advice I hear people give one another is…”If you want a bigger butt, just squat, lunge, and deadlift more!”…Don’t get me wrong, squats, lunges, and deadlifts are ALL great exercise! They definitely hit the glutes, BUT they also target a lot of other muscles, like the quads, hamstrings, abs, and others. Although some people may build a beautiful butt from just squatting, deadlifting, and lunging, one size does not fit all, and this approach may not work for everyone. For those who may need a little extra help, hitting those glutes directly is going to be a game changer!

If you want to really build an awesome booty, you need to hit it directly with exercises that cause the highest percentage of muscle activation. Since the glutes are most activated when the hips are near full extension, it is best to focus on exercises that target the glutes, specifically, while achieving this full range of motion.

A few of my favorite booty shaping exercises include:

• Side Plank Abductions

• Hip Bridges

• Kettlebell Swings (with an emphasis on hip thrust with glute contraction)

• Single-Legged Elevated Hip Thrusts

• Bent-Over or Quadruped Hip Extensions (Donkey Kicks)

•Firehydrants

• Standing Hip Abductions w/ Band

• Pistol Squats (I’m still working on those)

Most of these exercises achieve a 70% or greater maximal voluntary muscle contraction (MVIC), giving the glutes their highest percent of muscle activation…The higher that percentage, the more you’re working those glutes, thus the faster you’re moving toward a juicy, plump peach that’ll make ‘em all shout “Baby got back!

The takeaway here is, if a bigger booty is your goal, you’re going to need to incorporate a targeted, glute specific workout into your routine at least once a week. BUT, it is also very important not to neglect your legs, because, after all, they ARE all related. So, for best results, try dedicating your Leg Day routines (1-2 times a week) to exercises that also hit the glutes, like:

• Heavy Barbell Squats

• Single-Legged Deadlifts

• Split Squats

• Box Squats

• Curtsy Lunges

• Leg Extensions

That way, you’ll end up with a beautifully sculpted lower body all the way around!

One final thing, nutrition. When growing and shaping those glutes is a goal, you’ve got to be sure you’re giving your muscles something to grow on. You can’t starve a peach tree and expect it to bear fruit, after all….You’ve got to eat!…Muscle hypertrophy (growth) and maintenance requires energy (Calories) and nutrients (all three macronutrients, that is!). Although everyone’s specific energy and micronutrient needs vary, it is very important to fuel your body with wholesome, nourishing foods daly. Minimally processed whole grains, lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy (as long as you don’t have an allergy or intolerance), and friendly fats are all important components of a well-balanced diet.

Well, there you have it! If booty gainz are what you’re after, step away from the squat rack for a little while, and devote some time to the glutes and ONLY the glutes! And, remember, don’t neglect your nutrition…You gotta nourish to flourish…Ultimately, the butt you want IS within reach, you just have to train, and eat, for it!

Need help developing a routine? My At-Home Strong Booty Script program ($29.99) is just what you need! Set up in four easy to follow phases, it is specifically designed for shaping and toning the glutes! Starting off with body weight exercises and progressing to heavier resistances, it includes a detailed, step by step exercise how-to guide, making it suitable for those of all fitness levels!

Contact me today to get started!

Finding Support Within Yourself, Because Sometimes, That’s All Ya Got:

#TruthBomb: The more consistent and experienced you become with your health and fitness, the more “extreme” and “excessive” you will be perceived by others.

Please know, if you are healthy, strong, and LOVE what you’re doing, you are NOT extreme or excessive…You are PROGRESSING!…If you’re working hard and feeling good, then you ARE living your best life, and THAT! IS! EVERYTHING!

Those around you, even those closest to you, are not always going to support you. Some might even try to discourage you out of pettiness, jealousy, spite, or contempt. They are the ones who see how far you’ve come and all that you’ve accomplished, and it somehow makes them feel inadequate. They’ll call you “obsessed”, “selfish”, “unhealthy”. They’ll do anything in their power to make you feel bad and deter you from your goals…Don’t let them!…Realize, the problem isn’t with you, it’s with them, or WITHIN them, rather…

Others, on the other hand, simply won’t understand, because they haven’t been there to see all that you’ve overcome to get to where you are. They are the ones who only see the present with no knowledge of the past. They may see you where they, themselves, want to be, forgetting that everyone, even you, had to start somewhere. They’ll often ask, “Why do you do what you do?”, in regards to the way you eat, workout, and live life, in general…Be honest with them. Tell them you do it for YOU!

Don’t get me wrong, there WILL be people in your corner, people who genuinely want to see you succeed…cherish and hold onto them…BUT don’t rely solely on the validation of others to give you a sense of adequacy. Learn to find support within yourself, realize your own potential, and be damn proud of EVERYTHING you accomplish!…And Please…Please…PLEASE don’t let ANYONE make you second guess yourself…EVER!

You may wanna take this next statement with a grain of salt, BUT…

In regards to your health and fitness goals, YOUR opinion is the only one that really matters, and YOU are the ONLY one who can decide what YOU truly want, because YOU are the ONLY one who knows what’s best for YOU!