Fit Tip: get your quads, hams, & glutes in summer shape!

Ok....this is for all you late starters and procrastinators......SUMMER'S HERE!!!!! That means the beach, shorts, short skirts and dresses. You can still get those quads, hams and glutes summer ready in the next three to four weeks if you follow my recommendations to the letter and really put 100% into the program.

Firstly, you'll be training your lower body for three non consecutive days per week. Split your upper body up over the remaining 2-3 days. Secondly, you'll be throwing some high intensity cardio between cycles. This will help tighten and tone up those legs plus help burn off any excess fat and rev up your metabolism. Finally, this program only works if you do....so put away the cell phone for the 45-60 minutes required, crank up your power music and give it your all! Take the selfies of your tush after.

Here's what you're gonna do: barbell squats followed by lying leg curls, followed by dumbbell walking lunges. Do three cycles of those movements for 12-15 reps, then get on the StepMill (not StairMaster) and crank out a hard 7minutes of speed intervals.Rest for 2minutes then do dumbbell stiff-leg deadlifts followed by leg extensions, followed by jump squats w/ body weight ... all for three cycles of 12-15 reps. Then back on the StepMill for another 7mins.

Finally, dumbbell plié squats followed by barbell bridges (fire up those glutes!), followed by leg press burnouts (a.k.a. sheer hell). Do the first two movements for 15-20 reps. For burnouts, use a light weight (or no weight) on the leg press. Do one rep then hold the bottom position of the movement, with legs tight, for 8-10 seconds. Then do two reps and hold again. Continue while adding a rep each time, up to 10 reps on the last round. That equals one set of the exercise, people!!!!  Do 3 rounds of that cycle.

Then finish up on the StepMill with 15 minutes of intervals.

Let's get those quads, hams and glutes banging for the summer!!!!

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Fit Tip: effective cardio

Let's face it, 90% of the people who go to gyms go to use the cardio machines - treadmill, elliptical, upright or recumbent bike.......
They spend an inordinate amount of time strolling on the treadmill or elliptical...pedaling lazily on one of the various bikes, while watching tv or reading a magazine or newspaper.

NEWS FLASH!!!! That's NOT effective cardio. Effective cardio has an anabolic effect on the body, meaning you burn fat and condition muscle. After doing effective cardio, you should be sweating profusely and gasping for air. And here's the kicker.....it shouldn't take more than 45 minutes!!

Effective cardio can be done in one of two ways - interval training or, as I like to call it, beast training. Interval training is best done on a StepMill or elliptical. Basically, this means you alternate fast "all out" bursts with periods of a slower "recovery" pace. Ideally, 2 "all out" minutes followed by 1 minute at a less strenuous pace.

Beast cardio involves using several cardio pieces or calisthenic movements done as a circuit. My favorite circuit -  2 "all out" minutes on the erg rower -> 2 minutes on the Versa Climber -> 2 minutes of jump rope -> 15-20 burpees -> hanging knee raises ... then rest for 90 seconds. Oh yeah, then repeat 4-10 times more depending on your conditioning.

So put away the magazine, stop watching the Food Network, crank up your fave workout music and do some Effective Cardio!!

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Fit Tip: mommy fitness

As a mom, you've got to fit exercise in between doing the toughest job in the world. Due to the nature of your "work," your 'me time' is very limited. Sleepless nights; taking care of yourself, a baby, and the rest of your family; being off a schedule. All are factors that disrupt your daily routine. Hence, you have to make the most of every minute, including your exercise time.

Short, brief, intense bursts of exercise will trim away the post-baby body fat, tighten post-baby muscles, and give you the energy to do everything you need to do on a daily basis. Not to mention, you're increased strength will allow for an easier time lifting and holding your child (think: multitasking will now be a breeze!).

 If you can only get two days / week at the gym, do some outdoor fitness activities (weather permitting). Go for long, brisk walks while pushing the stroller. If possible, throw in some "interval training" by pushing the stroller uphill. 

As for those two gym days, full body circuit training is the way to go! With one circuit, do upper body, lower body, and abs; and in the other, switch the order to lower body, upper body, abs. (ex: circuit round 1 - bicep curls, squats, crunches; circuit round 2 - lunges, pushups, hanging knee raises... keep switching the upper / lower body order for each round)  

Cardio work should be done in an interval fashion. 40-45sec low intensity, 1:30-2mins high intensity, and repeat.

No workout (cardio or weights) should take you more than 45mins to 1 hour. I know you're tired, but keep the intensity up and you'll reap the rewards. 

Food should be clean and meals should be small and frequent (5-6 meals/day). 

 

For those moms without a gym membership  -- 

If you're at home and the baby is taking a nap, fit in a quick circuit training session. Try some lunges, squats, pushups, situps, planks, side planks, and jump rope. You can even fit in your favorite exercise video. Investing in a set (or a few sets) of dumbbells will go a long way. Don't forget to get creative with your workouts. For example, use your furniture to your advantage. Grab a stable chair, or a couch, and do some dips for those triceps. Creativity and a routine are key - but don't be afraid to mix it up a bit. Get your baby involved. Do pushups as the baby lays on his/her mat. If you're out in the park, do burpees in between pushing your kid on the swings. You get the idea...

And most importantly...Remember, do not exercise until you've been cleared by your doctor!!!!

 

PS- Happy Mother's Day!

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Fit Tip: Sun's Out, Gunz Out

Summer's almost here and that means short sleeves or no sleeves. So, let's get those gunz in perfect shape for the beach, BBQs, and fun summer activities. Get ready...you're going to be training arms three times a week (on non-consecutive days), with a varied low-volume, high-intensity approach. 

DAY 1

  • Barbell curls (2 warm-up sets: 15 reps; 2 working sets: 8-12 reps)
  • Incline Dumbbell curls (2 working sets: 8-12 reps)
  • Machine preacher curls (2 working sets: 8-12 reps)
  • Triceps pressdown w/ rope (2 warm-up sets: 15 reps; 2 working sets: 8-12 reps)
  • Lying ez-bar tricep extensions (2 working sets: 8-12 reps)
  • Dips between 2 benches (2 working sets: 15-20 reps)

 

DAY 2

  • Seated dumbbell curls (2 warm-up sets: 15 reps; 2 working sets: 10-12 reps)
  • Standing straight bar cable curls (2 working sets: 10-12 reps)
  • Dumbbell hammer curls (2 working sets: 10-12 reps)
  • Straight bar tricep pressdowns (2 warm-up sets: 15 reps; 2 working sets: 10-12 reps)
  • Lying dumbbell extensions on incline bench (2 working sets: 10-12 reps)
  • One-arm overhead dummbell extensions (2 working sets: 10-12 reps)

 

DAY 3

  • Dumbbell concentration curls (2 warm-up sets: 15 reps; 2 working sets: 12-15 reps)
  • Barbell 21's (2 sets)
  • Overhead double bicep curls w/ high cable (2 working sets: 15-20 reps)
  • Dips between benches (2 warm-up sets: 15 reps; 2 working sets (weighted, if possible): 15-20 reps)
  • 2 dumbbell tricep kickbacks (2 working sets: 12-15 reps)
  • Diamond pushups (2 sets to failure: as many reps as possible!)

 

Work hard. Work smart. Keep your rest periods short, your form very strict, and your intensity high. ...and those gunz will be ready for the summer showdown.

 

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Fit Tip: get your abs summer ready!

Getting your abs summer ready requires doing more than just a few sit-ups everyday. It involves a 3 part approach – diet, exercise, and cardio – that should be followed for at least 10-12 weeks to get the maximum results (that means start now!)

Diet: Eat clean. Cut the carbs; switch them out for fibrous carbs (such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, green beans, etc…) Keep your protein lean, opting for grilled chicken, grilled fish, lean steak, ground buffalo, and whey protein. Eat 5-6 small meals / day.

Oh…and don’t forget to cut back on the alcohol!

Cardio: Do 30-60mins, 4-5 times / week. If you choose to do 60mins, break it up into 2 sessions of 30mins each. This will keep your metabolism running hot. If you’re like the rest of us busy folks, and feel like you just don't have all that time to go twice, do your first session early in the morning (or before work) and then once more after work. Make the sacrifice.

Oh…don’t just stroll along on the treadmill. Cardio should be work! Go for intervals or sprints. Work it hard!

Exercise: Train your abdominal muscles 3 times / week with the focus on your lower abs, upper abs, and obliques. For obliques - avoid side bend exercises with heavy weights (my pet peeve); they are highly dangerous and ineffective! Instead, choose to do side planks and various rotation exercises with cables. For lower abs (everybody’s problem area) – reverse crunches & hanging knee raises ... all done with the emphasis of bringing your pelvis closer to your rib cage (don’t just pump your legs up and down, but focus on tilting your pelvis). For upper abs – crunches & situps will torch the upper portion of your abdominal wall.

Here’s a great routine that can be done 3 times / week to chisel, define, and get your abs summer perfect

⚫Hanging knee raises (using ab slings)

⚫Crunches on physio ball

⚫Reverse crunches on the floor

⚫Rotating side planks (side plank position, upper arm bent, and bringing that elbow towards the floor)

⚫Ab rollouts using physio ball

Do these exercises as a circuit 4-6 times, 20-30 reps / set. Keep your rest periods down to 30-45 seconds between sets. Enjoy the burn, enjoy the results.

 

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Fit Tip: You can't flex fat!

Can’t flex fat, baby! Too many guys, in the quest for getting “huge” consume lots of extra calories thinking their muscles will get bigger faster. They eat lots of junk food, thinking it will result in rapid weight gain.  Guess what?  It does! …but it’s not all muscle.  Even when consuming extra calories, the food should be kept relatively 'clean' and junk food kept to a bare minimum.  It makes no sense packing on all that extra weight that you’ll eventually have to work even harder to work off…you’re giving yourself extra work

Even in the “off season” your abs should be fairly visible, and there should still be some noticeable vascularity in your arms and quads.  As a bodybuilder, you should want to look good all year round, not just during contest time or in the summer.  Even though you’re trying to gain size, you should still focus on staying fairly lean.  Tip: Do cardio 3 times a week for at least 30 mins and keep your weight training fast-paced with 35-60sec rest between sets.  Keep in mind at all times that you want to “muscle up,” not bulk up with useless adipose tissue. 

STAY LEAN AND MEAN!

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Fit Tip: a fit pregnancy

Pregnancy is not a time to give up on your fitness goals, but rather
modify them. You are no longer the primary concern, and neither is
gaining muscle and losing fat. The primary concern is for the baby
growing inside you, and for staying fit and healthy while going
through your gestational period. This encompasses not only your diet,
but your cardio and weight training regiment.

Don't stop lifting weights, but be mindful of how your body feels.
Listen to your body!! If you're feeling unduly fatigued on a
particular day, make the necessary adjustments - poundage, time at the
gym, intensity, etc...  Be aware of your joints when lifting. Because
of hormones and the change on your center of gravity, your hips and
lower back are more susceptible to injury.

Don't stop doing your cardio. Instead of killing it on the stepmill or
versa climber, opt for walks on the treadmill or the elliptical at
moderate intensity. When doing cardio, don't let your heart rate get
above 150 beats per min. Again, listen to your body!

Fuel up with high quality foods. Eat to satisfy and know that eating
for 2 is enough. Stick to fresh fruits, clean complex carbs, and lean
sources of protein. If possible, also substitute your protein shakes
for real food. Eat several small meals a day. Remember, pregnancy is
not an excuse to overindulge. Pregnancy is not the only time you'll
experience cravings, so treat these cravings as you would at other
times - everything in moderation.


**Don't be afraid to exercise during pregnancy. Staying fit throughout

those 9 months is extremely beneficial. You will have more energy and

experience less discomfort during your pregnancy, as well as reduce
the risk of health complications (such as high blood pressure or
diabetes). Fit women tend to have an easier delivery. Losing the baby
weight becomes much simpler and faster.

I have actually had clients working out in the gym up until the day
before their delivery!!

**Very important: Listen closely to your physician. Remember, staying
fit and heathy is the main objective.

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Fit Tip: squat like a pro!

SQUATS ... The most productive exercise ever!!!!! It builds your quads, glutes, hamstrings, upper back, and lower back. 

When you squat, don't place the emphasis on the weight, but rather, focus on the technique, tempo, and depth.  

In order to do a proper squat, place the bar high on your traps, with your shoulder blades pinched together with your chest lifted. While maintaining your torso as erect as possible, slowly (take at least 8-10secs) lower your butt towards the floor, while keeping your weight centered over your heels. Lower yourself towards the floor until the tops of your quads are parallel (or slightly lower) relative to the floor. Pause for a 2-count at the bottom of your squat, then drive to the erect position without locking your knees at the top. Repeat for desired number of repetitions (preferably between 10-25). 

Squat hard, squat deep, squat often!  You'll get the results you desire. 

 

 

Fit Tip: a diet designed for results (+ bonus sample meal)

 "Abs are made in the kitchen." We've all heard this quote ...and if you haven't, then now you have it! There's a lot of truth to this statement. Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand when it comes to getting the results you want. Yes, that means if you workout consistently, but don't stick to a carefully constructed meal plan, your goals will be that much harder to obtain (and when you're already putting in all this hard work, why let it go to waste?!).

One of the most important factors to consider when planning your diet is protein intake. For maximum benefits, stick to lean sources of protein - chicken, fish, ground buffalo, whey protein, and egg whites. These options are all fairly low calorie, so you build muscle while staying trim!

Getting your diet right is hard, especially when it's new. You may find yourself devoting an enormous amount of time to figuring out what foods to eat and when. This is completely normal. Meal choices should be determined by your specific goals - do you want to bulk up, trim down, etc... Below is a sample meal plan I've specifically designed for those who want to stay trim and build muscle simultaneously. *Note: this is a guide to help structure your meals, as well as give an idea of what you should be eating, when, and how often.

SAMPLE MEAL PLAN

Day 1
Meal #1
- egg whites
- steel cut oatmeal + cinnamon + raisins
- plain yogurt
- turkey bacon

Meal #2 (mid-morning)
- almonds
- protein shake

Meal #3
- chicken
- steamed vegetables or big salad
- sweet potato or potato

Meal #4
- protein shake
- almonds
**can substitute this combo for: plain yogurt w/ honey + almonds

Meal #5
- steamed vegetables or big salad
- steak or ground buffalo

Day 2
Meal #1
- 3 egg whites + 2 whole eggs
- grits or cream of wheat
- turkey sausage

Meal #2 (mid-morning)
- almonds
- protein shake + flax seed oil

Meal #3
- fish
- rice or baked potato
- steamed vegetables or large salad

Meal #4
- protein shake
- walnuts

Meal #5
- steak
- steamed vegetables or big salad

 

*** Place emphasis on protein an fibrous veggies

**** Drink a lot of water (10-15 glasses/day)

 

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Fit Tip: women & weights ...the truth!

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Many women believe that lifting weights is for men, or merely for those who want to get "big" ...and even those who do pick up some weights, tend to stick with the light ones.  It's time for the misconception to come to an end! It's time for the truth! ♦♦♦

Ladies, don't be afraid to train hard and heavy (heavy for you).  You won't get bulky. You won't look like a guy!  You will, however, end up with nice, strong muscles, a sexy look, and increased confidence!  So next time, don't run away from those dumbbells (unless that's part of your cardio, of course).  Don't get shy near the squat rack.  Add some plates to that barbell.  Get STRONG, get FIT, get the body you want!

 

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Fit Tip: negatives for positive gains

Lifting weights. The term itself, "weightlifting," can be misleading. Most people I encounter - at the gym, in exercise videos, and even on social media - are more concerned with how much they lift rather than how they lift, and ignore what is arguably the most important portion of the exercise. What if you were given the proper information that would maximize your gains and reduce your training time? Would you take it? ♦♦♦ 

Muscles are stronger in the eccentric range of their motion. In layman's terms, you can lower more than you can lift. By accentuating the eccentric, or negative part of each exercise, the muscles remain under tension and the joints in proper position (aka injury-free training). This means do not relax the muscle and drop the weight when you lift it. Instead, lower the weight slower, with control between each rep. Due to the increased time under tension and increased intensity of the exercise, you'll see results faster!

 

Remember: intensity leads to immensity

 

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Fit Tip: fit a workout into your busy schedule

 "I really want to work out, but I don't have time."  Free time is hard to find, especially when you work all day (or night...and maybe even weekends!), have to cook, clean, and take care of a family. Even if you don't have some of these responsibilities, there's always something to do. When do you find the time to workout when it feels like you have no time?   How can you do cardio and  weight training when you don't even have time to get to the gym? ♦♦♦ 

If you're limited for time, break your workouts into smaller sessions.  Split up your cardio and the weights if necessary, or combine them if you have a little more time. Maximize your time by doing a full-body workout every other day, or work individual body parts every 3-5 days.  Make your full-body workouts more efficient by implementing basic exercises that work several muscle groups simultaneously. (Ex: bench press - works chest, along with shoulders and triceps.  Ex: squats - works glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs, and lower back, and also provides an added cardiovascular benefit.)

Here's a sample week - 

 MONDAY 

a.m. -- 20mins cardio + 30-40mins weights (back & abs, or full body workout)

p.m. -- 20-30mins cardio if you have time

TUESDAY 

 a.m. -- 20mins cardio + 30-40mins weights (chest)

p.m. -- 20-30mins cardio if you have time

WEDNESDAY 

a.m. -- 20mins cardio + 30-40mins weights (legs or full body workout)

p.m. -- 20-30mins cardio if you have time 

  

THURSDAY

a.m. -- 20mins cardio + 30-40mins weights (shoulders & abs)

p.m. -- 20-30mins cardio if you have time

FRIDAY 

a.m. -- 20mins cardio + 30-40mins weights (arms or full body workout)

p.m. -- 20-30mins cardio if you have time

 

SATURDAY + SUNDAY 

- cardio / family time / rest day (you choose!) 

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Fit Tip: the proper nutrition for maximal performance

Eating: healthy. Training: game on. Results: variable.  This is for those of you who work yourselves to the max, but aren't seeing the results you want.  Let's get your PERFORMANCE NUTRITION on point! ♦♦♦

Always keep food portion in mind. Taking in the proper nutrients is mandatory, but if you eat too much (or too little!), it'll throw you off. *Eat for the activity you're going to perform within the next 3 hours! If sedentary, eat less...if active, eat more. *Never consume more than you're willing to burn off!*

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Fit Tip: make your cardio effective for fat loss

Losing fat ..everyone wants it, and they want it fast! But how can it be done most effectively? CARDIO! ♦♦♦

 

Too many people are either overdoing their cardio, or not doing it well enough to get results. ♦♦♦ Burn fat with high-intensity, fasted cardio -- first thing in the morning, with nothing more than some coffee & BCAAs in your system. Get some intervals going -- 25-35mins of high intensity activity (think: stepmill, elliptical, rower). Don't just stroll along on the treadmill! DO WORK!! GET RESULTS!!

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Fit Tip: building several muscle groups simultaneously w/ 1 exercise

Excited to finally start sharing my awesome fit tips with you guys!! Stay tuned...every Sunday I'll be posting tips to help you get the most out of your training & diet to help you really achieve your goals! ♦ ♦♦ 

 

First FIT TIP -- Use basic multiple joint exercises & work 1 large muscle group w/ the assistance of several smaller muscle groups. (ex: do squats or lunges instead of leg extensions; do bench presses or pushups instead of the pec machine flys). ⚫Benefits: Burn more calories, stimulate metabolism, & get STRONGER and LEANER. 

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