Work IT Wednesday: Ab and Cardio HIIT

We are ALL short on time right?

You can still get a great workout using a properly designed HIIT sequence.

I am in a constant battle with my abs, so I designed this sequence to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

It’s easier if you have my FAVORITE APP, Tababta Pro. If you aren’t into apps, make sure you have a stop watch or a watch that you can see the seconds tick off :)

tabata pro

What you will need:

  1. A jump rope (real or imaginary)
  2. A workout mat
  3. A bar/captains chair for leg raises (alternate will be given)

Set your timer for 40 seconds of WORK and 10 seconds of REST. If you need a break between rounds you can set PREPARE to 30 seconds.

10 moves, 4 times through and you are DONE!

The Workout:

  1. Jump Rope
  2. Forearm Plank
  3. Jump Rope
  4. Hanging Leg Raise (if none available, do leg drops on back)
  5. Jump Rope
  6. Bicycle Crunch
  7. Mountain Climbers
  8. Dead Bug
  9. Burpee
  10. Full Sit up with Twist

It’s super simple and ab focused with a cardio component. This way, you get more done in less time. Genius right?

Give it a try and let us know how you do in the comments BELOW!

Have a healthy day,

Michelle

Strong camp 110 Photo by Paul Buceta for Strong Magazine

Why Am I NOT Seeing Results? Probably the MOST Important Reason Yet

Welcome back to the blog!

Hopefully, the first in this series served you well. IF you haven’t seen it, you can check it out HERE.

Now, another reason you may not be seeing results lies in who you surround yourself with, especially when working out. Read on to see what I mean…

Strong Camp 50 Photo by Paul Buceta

Every day when I’m at the gym I have a hard time tuning out everybody around me. It’s just a part of who I am. I’m not nosy, but I do like to be aware of my surroundings (safety and a bi-product of my ministry job). So, I notice things. One thing I have noticed lately is an overwhelming amount of people getting help….from completely under-qualified people. I see the slightly pudgy guy following the slightly (only slightly) more muscular guy around the weight. I see gaggles of girlfriends teaming up on each machine. I see ladies blindly following the advice of husbands or boyfriends. You know what I don’t see? Any change since August…..

Am I saying that it’s bad to workout with your BFF or love of you life? Of course not. Many people enjoy the company and some can use the spotter (correct spotting technique is a whole other blog post though….). A workout BUDDY can provide motivation and that last push through a hard set. They can also take photos at just the right time (which is why I have locker room ninja selfies….#lonerforlife), but they should not always dictate your workout. So, let’s read what to look out for and how you can get educated and get he help you need on the cheap.

Strong Camp 21 Photo by Paul Buceta

Her are a few people to be warned about:

  • The meat head boyfriend who like watching you do squats while he slings weights around for 50 sets of biceps. This guy is usually big on muscle and testosterone but knows NOTHING of training the female body OR fat loss….I mean, most of the time you can tell he doesn’t believe in fat loss and that bulking is a 24/7 job.
  • The BFF who gets ALL of his/her info from magazines. Don’t get me wrong, I love fitness mags. They can be super inspiring; however, they shouldn’t be considered the Bible of fitness and not everybody really needs the latest celebrity workout.
  • The Know It All. These men/women are usually in slightly better shape than their friends (BTW, they like it that way) and maybe they even studied to be a trainer, worked as one through college, or maybe even competed. They think they know more than you about everything gym and nutrition related, but they really don’t have the education to back it up. That doesn’t matter because to your naked eye their physique means they know more. FALSE.

Now that you have spotted the trouble makers in your life, how do you make sure they have YOUR best interest when they offer to “train” you? Simple steps:

  1. If your friend puts you on a piece of equipment (they love to use equipment man) ASK them exactly what this is to be used for. In other words, “Why am I doing this?” should be a common question. To grow muscle or tone up is not an answer. The equipment in the gym has a purpose and YOU need to know what it is. Are you widening or thickening the muscle? Is this working on pure mass or power too? Knowing the WHY of each exercise helps you retain the exercise better, recruit the correct muscles, see results and maybe even help somebody else one day.
  2. If your friend is doing the lifting for you, call them out. I saw this the other day with a group of ladies. The “leader” put one lady on a lat pull down weight she could NOT pull down….so, the leader pushed it to her chest and “helped”. This helps no one people, but it does make your friend feel better about their own abilities. Always lift with weight that is challenging, but that you can maintain good form.
  3. Ask if you can have some input in the next workout. Does your buddy ALWAYS have you on chest and arms? Dude, you don’t want chicken legs! If they don’t let you have some input, drop that time with them. You would be better off on your own.

What if you just realized you are getting the short end? Have no fear! There are plenty of ways to get the help you really need without spending all of your hard-earned cash (cause you’ll need that for clothes, shoes and that spray tan).

Strong Camp 48 Photo by Paul Buceta

Check out online resources. Bodybuilding.com is a GREAT website for all the FREE info you can handle. There are even free trainers and printable workouts. You can pick something for your goal and your current fitness level. Check out my page HERE to follow my workouts and see which trainers I have enjoyed in my years as a member there.

Also, there are plenty of trainer (myself included) who offer training plans online that are tailored to your goals. And guess what? They’re pretty cheap! For about the cost of that gym membership you can get 3 workouts a week.

Personal training isn’t as expensive as you might think, especially if you get some buddies to split the cost. I have small groups that pay $20 a session for face to face time with me in my private gym (no looky-lous here). This also comes with nutritional guidance for most cause I’m cool like that :) Gyms like Lifetime Fitness have trainers who specialize in groups as well. Don’t think you can’t afford a great trainer based on gym trainer prices.

Hopefully, these tips will help you see results a bit faster. Remember, YOUR goals matter, so go get ‘em!

Michelle

P.S. If your BFF is a GREAT trainer, hold on tight to them and value their input :) They are a rare breed.

Supp Thursday! Product Review, News, Views and anything else I can think of :)

Happy Thursday!

Hope ya’ll are feeling fine today.  I’m on very first ISACleanse (is that a thing? That’s what I’ll call it) which I will detail you on BELOW. For now, let’s get to some reviews and tips shall we?

HEADS UP! I’m doing a fat burner review

So, I’m not a HUGE fat burner fan (except for the ones I have sculpted into fat burning furnaces…..AKA, muscles), but it is a question I get asked ALL THE TIME. So let’s tackle it.

Good to know: fat burners were originally created to help competitors and avid body builders garner more energy for workouts while living a low-carbohydrate lifestyle. The body digs carbs for energy and when you eliminate them to shred the body, it can retaliate with LOW energy and even rebel at the gym. SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!!! But it is. While the original intent of fat burners and stimulants was to give a boost to the fit masses, studies now show that more and more average Joe’s (don’t roll your eyes, unless you’re cranking away HOURS in the gym per day then you fall here. Accept it and be proud!) are turning to so-called fat burners for weight loss. Weight loss was not the original intent of fat burners and ANY product that promises HUGE results with little effort should be approached with caution.

So, is there a fat burner I CAN use?

There is one stack (I dig stacks since no ONE supplement works awesome all on its own) I have been trying and totally dig for many reasons. It is the BLISS Weight Loss Stack from 1st Phorm.

Even though I am in the fat loss phase of competition, I still only take 1 pill a day.

What’s so special?

Well, they don’t try to make you believe this is a miracle drug. In this pack you get 3 products:

  1. Thyro-Drive which utilizes a mixture of amino acids and herbs to increase thyroid production. BE CAREFUL HERE: anytime you mess with hormones (like….when you eat) you can set yourself up for success or failure.
  2. Bliss which is a highly functioning thermogenic (what you think of when you think about fat burners) that uses all the heavy hitter in lower doses to decrease the risk of the jitters.
  3. Downtime PM is my FAVORITE since rest and recovery is where I struggle the MOST. With this product you get your melatonin and also your valerian root and black cherry (for soreness), PLUS digestive enzymes and even MACA root (for sexual health). It is magic! I kid….no such thing. It does help to promote more restful and deeper sleep though.

You can check out the links above and read up on the info (they provide EVERYTHING you need) if you’re interested. Men, they have you covered with the Commander pack.

One thing I HAVE to address is the customer service of this company. I have heard from the founders (after entering the athlete search) and after my purchase of the above product I received an email from Kit Kitson just checking up on me and seeing how I liked it. They didn’t know I was a blogger or trainer and were not trying to butter me up (mmmm, butter), but they even offered help with training and meal planning if I needed it :) . That’s a pretty awesome thing to witness…..a company that goes above and beyond.

1st phorm

 

THE CLEANSE!

So, my awesome contest prep coach (Busy Mom Gets Fit) suggested I give Isagenix a try during prep. If you know me then you know I’m a research junkie so I spent the past 4 weeks pulling up everything I could behind the company and ingredients. Most of what I found was super awesome, so here I am on my cleanse day :)

What is it?

It’s a very simple nutritional cleanse backed up with research on intermittent fasting. I am also a huge fan of intermittent fasting and have seen great results. The Isagenix cleanse takes it a step further by taking your fasting day and replenishing the body with nutrients. Fasting itself is highly beneficial and now you can fast and do a great rewire to your entire system.

Since I’m just starting I’ll be giving YOU updates on progress (including some pics you WON’T see on my INstagram) and keeping you up to date on what it’s all about. If you’ve already been doing research and want to cheer me on by completing a cleanse yourself, then jump on it HERE….or you can just get more info.

I mean, if Lori Harder does it, why don’t we ALL do it? LOL

Lori Harder

 

For now, I’m taking my fasted self downstairs to fix a cup of tea :) So far, so good.

Rock on with your day and I’ll see you back here next week!

Michelle

 

Why Am I NOT Seeing Results? ….a blog series to get you where you want to be

Hello Fit People!

This particular series will last 4 blogs (crazy right?) and will be posted weekly. So you get a month to learn what could be hold you back from your very best self.

If you are one of the MANY ( I have high hopes) who have continued on with those New Year’s goals long after that the groundhog came out of his hole, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

But here is the million dollar question: Are you where you thought you would be? Are you struggling with your goals already? Are you asking yourself, “Am I there yet?” Have no fear. I’ve been in this game long enough to know a thing or 2 about habits and hangups that could be holding you back from your goals. How do I know? Cause I have them too :) But if I stayed with them I would never be where I am today.

BTW, these are in NO particular order, so tackle what is relevant to you right now.

Strong Camp 90 Photo by Paul Buceta for Strong Magazine

1. You think the food will just work itself out.

Here’s the deal, you HAVE to be aware of what you are eating, period. Even the guy that ate Twinkies for the study was AWARE of how many Twinkies he was eating. In my opinion, that’s probably why that little experiment worked. Know what you’re eating and know how much. The only reason that person at the gym seems to have more definition than you is most likely because they know what they are eating and they track their food.

Choose the style that works best for YOU. Macros rock my world, but close into my competition I prefer a pretty simple diet of eating similar foods every day. This is just because it is easier to be prepared. I’m not a fan of just counting calories as we can often fill those calorie requirements with foods that do not serve us very well. You know what I’m talking about ladies. How many of you eat MORE carbs (cause girls love carbs!) and run out of calories for your protein? The body works better in balance of all 3 macronutrients so give it a fighting chance. Track your food and know what works for you.

2.You really like your “cheat” meal……like REALLY.

Do you know why “cheat meals” were termed? Body builders would run out of stored glycogen (carbs get stored as glycogen in the muscle fibers and are used for energy during heavy lifting workouts) due to low carbohydrate diets. When glycogen is depleted, strength can fade. So, the bodybuilder began to implement refeeds (which are actually PLANNED days of eating more carbohydrates to refuel the glycogen stores) and some, cheat meals.

Here is the problem……90% of the gym population are not bodybuilders (not that we aren’t working hard, but really) and yet we try to eat like one. This can be particularly true with those just starting on a strength training program. We can get all geared up and hop on a deprivation diet which is followed by a cheat meal, which turns into a cheat weekend, which causes shame and we get back in line on Monday to start the cycle again. Sound familiar?

A treat is warranted if you have been withholding calories AND especially if you have been withholding macronutrients (I don’t believe EITHER should be very low, even in weight loss), but it should be contained to ONE small treat per week with the goal of refueling a system, not bingeing to good glory because you deserve it…….

NEXT WEEK we will tackle some common mistakes in the gym and figure out how to make your membership work better for you :)

Stay Strong!

Michelle

 

It’s Heart Health Month!

Today, we are revisiting a post I wrote for our local paper a couple of years ago. The facts still hold true and these are the hearts that are so often forgotten…..

Have a Heart

            In this month dedicated to healthy hearts, let’s not forget the smaller hearts around us….the kids. Now you may not have children residing with you anymore, but chances are strong that you do have grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, nephews, honorary children, or even neighbors whose lives can benefit from a little extra caring. Most parents and guardians give little thought to the food and lifestyle choices of the younger ones in our lives. The truth is that we need to pay particularly close attention to the details in order to help this generation lead a fuller, longer life. The Center for Disease Control issued a statement in 2010 that this generation of children (infants to 18 year olds) would be the first generation to suffer massive physical illnesses and not outlive their parents. I understand that’s a really strong statement; however, the CDC bases this statement on the number of overweight and underactive children in our culture. You see, now most children eat a diet primarily consisting of easy to obtain junk food and they park in front of the TV for hours on end. The good news is that the children in your life do have a chance if just a few changes are instilled.

Let’s tackle movement first. Children mimic what they see on a daily basis. So, it stands to reason that if they see you moving about, they’ll be more apt to do it as well. Your attitude towards physical fitness plays an important role in children’s future health and wellness. Set a maximum time limit for watching TV or playing video games. In our home, TV and video games are a no go Monday through Thursday. They aren’t allowed so that more time is free for moving, playing, cleaning, and other activities. My kids are also very fortunate to spend time with me at the Y. There, they can join in the classes or play games with the highly trained Kid Care staff, as opposed to just sitting there watching movies and playing video games. Set aside some time during the week to go for a walk, visit a park, or even play indoor games such as charades or Twister. Put on some music and challenge your kids to a funny dance off. If you’re lucky enough to have a Kinect for the Xbox I do support use of this system in moderation and have written a professional take of the product on my blog at www.michellecfitness.com

The challenge for your family’s physical fitness this week is the park challenge! Super easy and the City of Baytown has over 40 local parks to choose from. The best part? It’s 100% free! So, once you find the park for you, challenge your family to a relay race and get going!

  1. Run the perimeter of the park 3 times.
  2. 10 incline pushups (feet on ground, hands on bench).
  3. 10 jump squats (squatting low and then jumping as high as you can, catching yourself in a squat)
  4. Monkey bar madness!!!!! Yep, go across on the monkey bars and have a good laugh
  5. Bench step ups (10 on each leg)
  6. Triceps dips (sit on bench with fingers facing forward, then dip your seat towards the ground and press through the back of your arms to come back up)
  7. Run around perimeter again, sprinting as fast as you can!
  8. To amp it up a bit, have your kids on the lookout for challenges too. Just remember to approach this workout with an open mind and a sense of humor.

Most of us know that children can be notoriously picky eaters.  It takes a little time to expand the palette so don’t give up! Keep offering new foods, and make sure your attitude about healthy eating is in line with the attitude you want your kids to have. Remember, they mimic what they see! Here are some tips from the American Heart Association on tricks to dealing with picky eaters:

  1. Start by introducing healthier elements into foods that your child already likes. For example, offer blueberry pancakes, carrot muffins, fruit slices over a favorite cereal, chunks of bell pepper in a potato salad, or shredded veggies over rice.
  2. Include your kids in the prep work. By being involved in grocery shopping and food preparation, your kids will have more ‘buy-in.’ If they feel some ownership over the meal, they may be more likely to eat it.
  3. Don’t buy unhealthy foods. Out of sight, out of mind. If the chips and cookies aren’t around, your kids can’t eat them. They may resist at first, but when they get hungry, they’ll start munching the carrot sticks. Keep healthy foods on hand — 100 percent juice instead of colas or sugary drinks, and a bag of apples instead of a bag of chips.
  4. Schedule snack time and stick to it. Most kids like routine. If your kids know they will only get food at certain times, they’ll eat what they get when they get it. Try to have snacks incorporate two food groups. For example, offer cheese and whole-grain crackers or apple slices with low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese.
  5. Have healthy finger foods available. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them foods they can handle. Fruit and veggie chunks (raw or cooked) are great finger-food options.
  6. Repeal the “clean your plate” rule. Kids know when they’re full, so let them stop. Overeating is one of the major reasons we get too many calories.
  7. Encourage kids to “eat their colors.” This game works well with younger kids. Food that’s bland in color often also lacks nutrients. Eating a variety of brightly colored foods provides more nutrients in greater variety.
  8. Don’t cut out treats altogether. Think moderation. A scoop of ice cream or a serving of Oreos is all right occasionally. If you cut out all the goodies, your kids will be more likely to overeat when they do get them. Make sure to moderate the treat consumption.
  9. Veg out at the dinner table, not the TV. Eating in front of the TV is distracting, and kids may not notice that they’re full because they’re wrapped up in the show. Eating as a family is a great time to catch up.
  10. Be a good role model. The best way to influence kids is by example. Don’t expect them to eat spinach if you won’t touch it.


Be sure to allow children the freedom to make their choices, but within the ranges you set for them. Get the junk food out of the house and limit play time with the electronics. Put these practices into place little by little and you will notice a happier, healthier family.

As always, feel free to catch me at the Y or email me at michelle@michellecfitness.com

In health and fitness,

Michelle Carlson NASM-CPT, CES, Youth Training Specialist

heart health month

Check out the STORE for great options on improving the health of your ticker.

If you live in the Houston area, I will be leading a walk/workout THIS Thursday at noon HERE: Burlington Coat Factory 16311 FM 529

 

Working out when sick: Do or Don’t

Hello people!

Today’s topic can be one of the MOST confusing when embarking on a fitness program, so I’m going to try to level the field by giving you a few human anatomy and physiology facts when it comes to working out and illness. Ready for the ride?

cold season

First, let’s all acknowledge the fact that germs are everywhere. You really need to stop trying to hide from germs (because you can’t really control that) and start thinking about your actual immune system. When you workout your immune system actually fires up to see what the heck is going on. It doesn’t know if you’re being attacked by a vicious virus or if you just really hate the stairmill. A quick scout of the body will send a message to the brain that certain hormones need to start releasing faster, others slower and oh yeah, we need to start repairing those muscle fibers ASAP. Working out when your immune system is compromised can result in slower recovery for this reason. Your body is efficient and will deal with the main threat first.

Second, we live in a world FULL of people. I always ask that people keep other in mind should they choose to work out while sick. If you’re a little unsure as to what is acceptable, check it out below:

STAY HOME:

  • If you have a fever.
  • If you have drainage that is yellow or green (gross, but seriously)
  • If you cannot control a hacking cough
  • If you find yourself dizzy just standing up
  • If you are having trouble breathing
  • If you feel achy in your joints

These are for your own safety as well as the safety of others. If your sickness (at this level) persists more than 3 days, see a doctor asap.

GIVE IT A TRY:

  • If your nose if stuffy but you don’t feel a lot of pressure
  • If you’re just moving a bit slower
  • If you haven’t had a fever
  • If your cough is containable
  • If your mucus is clear

Sometimes it can just be allergies or sinuses. If you choose to workout while feeling under the weather, make sure to wipe down equipment before and after use. You don’t want to pass your germs and you certainly don’t want to give your immune system anything else to handle.

Always walk with caution and if you feel too sick to workout, skipping one or two days to recover will NOT derail your progress. If you find yourself sick all the time, take a look at your fuel and your workout to determine a culprit.

You can stay in tune with your immune system by taking a high-grade, whole foods multivitamin, a good probiotic and making sure you are getting enough Vitamin C each day.

Stay moving, stay healthy

Michelle

It’s Review DAY!!!!!!!

I have been promising product reviews FOREVER! Sorry, real life gets busy sometimes :)

Today I have a LOT of products on hand to review, all of which will fit easily into your fit-friendly lifestyle AND many of which may even make it better.

Let’s start with FOOD!

Come Ready Bars

Come Ready Nutrition

OK, I found these bars just about a week ago and have been so excited I bought lots of boxes and started acting like Santa. These things are the BOMB. Come Ready Nutrition does one thing: BARS. They don’t dabble in lots of other things and spread themselves too thin. They seem to commit to making the BEST tasting bars with the least amount of junk on the market. Taste-wise, I will give a quote from my son who said “I like them way better than Quest bars”. I know I’ll get shot for that one. They really are superior in taste AND texture. I have really well-defined jaw muscles and don’t need a super chewy bar to work them out AFTER my workout. At 190 calories, these bars are great as snacks, pre and post workout nutrition, or an on-the-go breakfast option.

Where can you grab some?

They are just beginning to pop up in your local Costco, where you can get them for cheaper than $1/bar (now you see why I’ve been giving them away). Of course, if your Costco doesn’t have them, check out Bodybuilding.com

Lean Body Whey

Lean Body for Her Whey Protein

Everybody loves some Jamie Eason! She’s super cute, very encouraging, AND a Houston gal at that! She has teamed up with Labrada Nutrition (a Houston based company) to create a line of products specifically for us gals. The whey protein (in chocolate and vanilla) is high quality whey without the HUGE overhead and expense. It blends well with just about anything, including hot coffee. The taste is very clean, with no nasty after taste. I use it post workout, and sometimes pre-workout on very busy days. The Peanut Protein has really been blowing me away and is better taste, texture and mixability than PB2. If you are on a high protein diet (says the figure girl) OR you struggle with getting enough protein in your diet, check it out. No filler, no artificial sweeteners (which can cause bloat) and made with all natural ingredients.

Where do I get some?

Check out Bodybuilding.com for the best deals on this exclusive product.

Labrada Anti Bloat

Lean Body for Her Anti-Bloat

This product was created to take the bloat away for those of us who can suffer with water retention or not-so-smooth gastrointestinal functions. Is that an ok way to put that? :) While the ingredients are good for combatting bloat, it should be noted that this is NOT a probiotic and should only be used on occasion. Also, if you have a big function coming up and need to drop weight FAST…..you should have started a while back. Don’t rely on any pill or potion for quick results. The Anit-Bloat system is created to be gentle on the body, however it should be noted that some of the ingredients (as in MANY anti-bloating products) have been known to cause anal leakage in some individuals. Always test your tolerance.

Where do I get it?

Bodybuilding.com

Theatrim

Purus Labs Theatrim

Let me preface by stating that I do not condone the use of “fat burners” to aid in weight loss. I do, however, know that fat burners are used and have a place in certain stages of contest prep and/or fat loss. I also know that people LOVE fat burners, so I may as well let you know when a decent one hits the market. Please note: NO pill will get you to your goal, that’s all you baby.

Theatrim is created on the base of Theacrine,a compound that has been shown to decrease appetite and increase overall body fat loss. Purus Labs (a Dallas based company) is committed to the research and testing behind each and every product. Persoanlly, I found that this product did help with focus without giving me the fat burner jitters. My appetite seems the same (always on) but who know? Perhaps I could have eaten more…..LOL

Where can I get some?

The Trainers Edge has the BEST prices….and some pretty awesome athletes ;)

LAST THING!!!!!

Better Bodies Tights

Better Bodies Tights

OK, I have been skeptical of Better Bodies clothing since day one (so sorry). I bought my first pair of tights a few weeks ago and I am HOOKED! These are the BEST tights I have ever owned. It feels as though you are wearing nothing, but not in a creepy way. It just feels as though they are a second skin. They move with you during your workout and NEVER go where they are uninvited. I don’t have to pull and tug on them during my workouts and I can always count on them making me feel and look just a little tighter. It may be in my head, but it works! I highly recommend any fitness enthusiast to have a few pair of these tights in their wardrobe. Just so you get a size idea, I wear a Medium and the waist band is a bit loose. I will probably grab some smalls as my prep goes on.

Where can I get them?

Elite 1 has the BEST prices on tights! I got mine on sale for $49 and they are worth every single penny.

I hope you get something out of these reviews!

If you have a product you want me to review, let me know in the comments or my emailing michelle@michellecfitness.com

Keep living fit!

Michelle

Work IT Wednesday! Kettlebell HIIT Workout

Welcome to mid-week mania!

Here’s a short Kettlebell HIIT conditioning circuit I use to tighten and tone everything in a brief period of time. Pick a couple of different weights and hop to it!
NOTE: you can use a single dumbbell if you do not have access to a kettlebell

 

Set your timer for 40 seconds of WORK and 10 seconds of REST. You will repeat this circuit 3 times with a 30-60 second rest between circuits. Let me know how you do in the comments below!!!!

THE WORKOUT:

KB swings (weight stays in heels)

KB swing hops (moving forward and back)

Turkish get up left side

Turkish get up right side

KB around the world (keep waistline TIGHT)

High Skips, holding KB overhead

Figure 8 KB squat

V-UP (use the bosu for an extra challenge)

Make sure you have water and some AMINOS to keep you going.

Strong Camp 95 Photo by Paul Buceta

WANT MORE???? Would you like to SEE these workouts on video? Let me know in the comments.

What Bodybuilding has taught me this past year

Hello people! Happy Monday :)

Take a moment today to remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as you go about your daily activities please.

OK….so as I was pounding away on the Arc cardio trainer today, I began to think about how life has changed for me this past year. Yeah, I know we are well into 2015, but my calendar of life doesn’t really heed to the regular years, so play along.

I have to be SUPER honest with you as I continue. I have been seriously bodybuilding for only about a year now…..though I’ve loved it forever and thought I was doing it for a while. As it turned out, that was just a thought LOL. In light of my brand new livin it lifestyle, I wanted to share what Bodybuilding has taught me over the past year and hopefully clear up some confusion in the process. Oh, and share some awesome pictures taken by Paul Bucetta at Strong Camp.

Strong Camp 78 Photo by Paul Buceta

1. EVERYBODY benefits from strength training, but bodybuilding is NOT for everybody.

Bodybuilding is a lifelong sport. It is like football, tennis, soccer, or triathalons….You train for life. Everybody should be doing strength training (which is what I was doing prior to opening my eyes) as we benefit greatly from it, BUT bodybuilding takes a physical and mental stamina that many are not willing to give. It doesn’t make you any less of an athlete, but bodybuilding is a chosen sport.

Strong Camp 24 Photo by Paul Buceta

2. Mom and Dad were right….I do use math every day.

Bodybuilding is also a science (go team science!) and therefore, it requires math. There is a science to reps, sets, weights and all of your dietary intake. This part is not for the passers-by or the faint of heart. You have to hold a commitment and tenacity to figure this stuff out :) And guess what? I love my math now because proper math gives me results.

Strong Camp 40 Photo by Paul Buceta

3. It really is a lifestyle…..not a 12 week program.

I started the way a lot of people do: with a short-term goal wanting long-term results! True bodybuilding requires a commitment to a consistent lifestyle that offers a front row seat to amazing things beyond all imagination…but I may be a bit biased.

Strong Camp 62 Photo by Paul Buceta

4. My faith increases as my humility increases.

Contrary to popular belief, bodybuilding is full of some of the most humble people I have ever met. You see, your body can knock you down at any time. Bodybuilders understand the science behind the fact that we are never 100% the same each time we walk into the gym. This is true if you really challenge yourself. You can have awesome strength gains one week and have to drop the weight the next. It doesn’t mean it’s not working, it simply means you’re human. Bodybuilding hasn’t made me to feel better than others, but rather reminded me that we are all created equal and each given the opportunity to thrive and live to the absolute fullest.

Strong Camp 96 Photo by Paul Buceta

5. I am not definable by numbers.

Putting muscle ON the body (i.e. bodybuilding) requires numbers. It requires calories, reps, sets, pounds, rest, more calories, etc. The number on the scale, the number on my jeans (well, right now it’s tights), and even the number on the weight rack does not determine what I have to contribute to the world. Numbers are fleeting and ever-changing. That’s the great thing about science…we know that happens as fact. Bodybuilding has taught me the patience to get through the changing tide and the perseverance to keep going.

Strong Camp 66 Photo by Paul Buceta

So, maybe you feel like you want to be a bodybuilder…..it works for some. It takes heart, dedication, discipline, and a willingness to NOT listen to those around you who say you’re too crazy, committed, insane, busy, or over-dedicated. One thing I can tell you is that you will never meet a more humble group of people who have your back no matter what.

Strong Camp 119 Photo by Paul Buceta

P.S. There’s a lot more than 5, but I figured we would start there :)

Check out Strong Camp at www.strongfitnessmag.com

 

 

IMPORTANT READ: Habits that hold you back from your goals.

Happy Thursday to you Fit peeps!

Today’s post has been burning me up for a while, as I find that MANY of us (self included) set totally attainable goals but struggle with reaching them due to ingrained habits that hold us back.

SOOOOO, today I’m going to point out your faults…… JOKING! I’m going to go over some of the most common habits we don’t even realize we have that are holding us back. Did that make sense? Either way, let’s move on…

GOALS:

I can’t overstate this (though you may think I do); YOU MUST get laser focused about your goals. Phrases like “I want to tone up” are akin to saying “I would like to not jiggle when I walk BUT I’m not in the right frame of mind to sacrifice anything to that end”. In today’s age, we have a lack of true goal setters in our midst. We mostly have those who think it would be awesome…..so long as they don’t have to get uncomfortable and life doesn’t have to change. Be a GOAL REACHER, by pinpointing your EXACT goal and taking the necessary steps DAILY to reach it.

GOAL

Your goal should be PERSONAL to you.

TREAT MEALS:

It is my honest opinion that there is far too much opinion out there (see what I did there????). So, I’m going to try to cut through the opinion cycle with a little science.

“Treat” meals are actually supposed to be well-planned re-feeds for those who are possible losing weight too quickly, placing their precious muscle in danger. Today however, anybody who sets foot on a treadmill will use the term “treat meal’ to justify ANY call to succumb to their wavering taste buds. Now, I’m not saying you need to live a life of deprivation in any way at all….you need a life of moderation. Too many treat meals will take you further from your goal, not propel you to it. Allow yourself small treats (which you track) and you will see results without the deprivation effect….or the backlash binge eating and weight gain effect.

cheat meal cats

NO MEAL TRACKING:

Imagine this….you’re driving down the road headed to the most fabulous weekend getaway you can think of when your car stalls out in the middle of the highway. You cannot remember the last time you put fuel in your gas tank OR what grade fuel you even used….You took the useless gauge out of the dash because it had a tendency to remind you of something you had to do, and you are just SO over that. So now, you have no ride, no way of getting to your destination and when a stranger pulls over to help you tell them of your wisest idea NOT to track when you put gas in your car and they leave you on the side of the road just to protect the gene pool. You see what I’m saying here? Don’t tell me you don’t have time or just don’t want to track your food. If you WANT results, you will suck it up and get it done.

ALCOHOL:

This is a biggie. Alcohol is filtered through your liver. Did you know that your liver is one of the largest organs involved in losing fat? True story. Your liver is where fat cells go to be processed and transported through the burning process, but your liver is now to overwhelmed to think about your fat because it will be trying to burn through your “I had such a rough week at work I NEED a little mini-vacay!” binge. It can take your liver up to 3 full days to work through 2 glasses of wine. Beer and hard liquor take even longer. That’s DAYS where your body is all but unable to burn fat. Want results? Give up the alcohol for 6 weeks and see what happens. If you can’t fathom that…..perhaps now is the time to reach out for help :)

ONLY WORKING OUT:

Your results lie in your movement all around…and so does your health. It’s easy to get caught up in simply working out for an hour or so, then spending the rest of the day sitting. Even if you have a desk job, fit in regular bouts of movement. Stand and stretch every 30-45 minutes, WALK to talk to a coworker instead of emailing, walk to the printer, take a walk at lunch or take a work time lunch class, park farther away, think outside the box and get the body moving.

GIVING UP BEFORE YOU REALLY GOT STARTED:

Why do other people deserve to reach their goals, but you don’t think you do? YOU CAN DO THIS! It takes time, it takes effort, it takes energy, and you will get uncomfortable…..BUT you are worth the time, energy and effort so dig your heels in and make things happen. One last piece of advice…don’t rely on Dr. Google. Stick with real professionals and get the help you need.

Now, go be awesome!

Michelle

Gym Time