Workouts to get in TOP shape for summer

Hello there!

The warm breezes have already started and our air conditioner is getting zero breaks right now…..the countdown to SUMMER is here!

We have less than 6 weeks to summer and I am pumped!

I get excited at the prospect of a fun summer every year, but this summer will prove to be particularly memorable.

How about you? Are you entering into warmer weather ready to take on the season? OR do you perhaps feel as though you wish you had a few more weeks to prepare?

Have no fear!

Today I have some workouts for YOU to implement over the next 6 weeks that will help to tighten your muscle and shed excess fat. All you need is consistency and a bit of a tweaked nutrition plan (see more below).

ENJOY! Oh, and cut your body some slack……it’s been there for you all along. So learn to work WITH it, not against it.

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THE PLAN.

Here’s the deal; you HAVE to lift some weights in order to get that tight and “toned” look you say you want. So, that’s what you’ll be doing.

Three days a week, you’ll be hitting the iron. Monday and Friday will be lower body days, while Wednesday will etch in the upper body.

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday will be cardio days, adapted to get the most results in the minimum effective dose.

The CARDIO.

Your cardio will be performed in a 2-1 ratio of work to rest. If you are not quite ready for this intensity, try a 1-1 ratio and build up. IF you stay consistent, you’ll feel better in no time.

The minimum effective dose is 20-40 minutes of this type of cardio. If you have a lot of fat to lose, opt for 40 minutes. If you’re just starting out, try 20 and move forward as you can.

Some examples are as follows:

  • Treadmill climb. Warm up for 5 minutes, then set the incline at a level 3 and speed between 3.5-4.5. Walk this for 1 minute. Lower the speed to 3.0-3.5 and take the incline between 12-15. Walk this for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration of your workout, finishing with a cool down walk for 5 minutes.
  • Step mill. Start with a 3-5 minute easy warm up at a level 3. Take it to a level 6-8 for 1 minute and then a level 8-10 for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration and end with a 5 minute cool down.
  • Tread Jog. Warm up 3-5 minutes. Take the speed to a fast paced walk for 1 minute, then jack it up to a jog for 2 minutes. Repeat for the duration and end with a cool down walk.

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THE WORKOUTS

Lower body days you will focus on ALL the muscles of your lower body PLUS a little bit of abdominal work. Warm up for 5-7 minutes beforehand.

SQUATS. 1 set of 20 reps to warm up, then 3 sets of 10-15 as heavy as you can.

LEG PRESS. 3 sets of 10-15 reps

DEADLIFTS (bar OR dumbbells). 2 sets of 10-12 reps

LEG EXTENSIONS. 3 sets of 10-15 reps

LEG CURLS (seated or lying) 3 sets of 10-15 reps

CALF RAISES. 2 sets of 15 reps

BACK EXTENSIONS. 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps (no weight added)

PLANK 60-90 second hold, 2-3 sets

Make sure you foam roll, stretch, and cool down before you leave.

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Upper Body Day will give you a well rounded physique and bring balance to your entire body. With tank top season right around the corner, this workout will build muscle and confidence.

Warm up for 5-7 minutes. I recommend foam rolling beforehand.

BENCH PRESS (or dumbbell chest press) 1 set of 15 reps, 3 sets of 10-12 reps

SEATED DB OVERHEAD PRESS 3 sets of 8-10 reps

DB ROW 3 sets of 10 reps

LAT PULLDOWN 3 sets of 10 reps

DB CURLS 2 sets of 10 reps

TRICEP PUSHDOWN (or seated dip) 3 sets of 10 reps

CAPTAIN’S CHAIR (or hanging) LEG RAISES 3 sets of 10-30 reps

Make sure to foam roll, stretch and cool down.

mc-7059 Need help with the weight? Check out THIS POST on how heavy you should go.

NUTRITION

All the workouts in the world will not help if you aren’t fueling properly.

Instead of focusing on taking away, try to focus on upgrading your nutrition. Make pre and post workout meals your top priority for the first week. Your macros surrounding your workouts should have higher carbs and fewer fibers and fats. My go-to of the moment is cream of rice mixed with a scoop of whey protein. I eat it cold pre and post workout and it tastes like pudding :) Other options include whey protein shakes (some, Like LABRADA offer the perfect ratio of carbs, fats and proteins ready to drink), raisins, rice cakes, toast, lean lunch meat, etc. A pre-workout should be taken in 30-45 minutes prior to hitting the workout. Post workout protein uptake usually happens within 30 minutes, BUT research has shown that the body is susceptible to greater protein uptake up to 2 hours post workout. In other words, don’t let that be a stressor.

Protein intake does NOT need to exceed your need. In order to create a lean physique you do need an adequate amount of protein. Try eating protein at every meal to ensure an adequate intake. Vary your protein for maximum satiety. You can try chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meats, game, whey, casein, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. Take the time to explore and see what works best for you.

Drink PLENTY of water throughout your fat loss phase. I suggest aiming for a gallon a day for most (your tea and coffee intake can count towards this), but start where you are and add daily.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember, the body needs TIME to change. You can expect GREAT improvement with this workout plan in just 6 weeks, but ONLY If you are vigilant and consistent. If you have a lot of fat to lose, know that these 6 weeks will give you a large jumpstart, so don’t get discouraged. Be kind to your body and it will return the favor.

See you soon!

Michelle

 

 

Welcome 2014

 

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Hello Fit PEEPS! Welcome to 2014!

This is it right? This is the year that it will happen. What adventures have you planned? And are you ready for them? I’m going to take you on my very own adventure once a week. Each week you’ll be able to follow my journey to the big stage in Figure Competition and I’ll be giving you an unfiltered view of the prep work. So, let’s get started :)

Last night I met with my Figure Coach, the gorgeous Brandi from Metroflex in Houston (I recommend them if you’re in Houston or Plano!). Before I move on, I know the question of “Um, you’re a trainer why did you hire somebody?” might be on your mind. The answer is pretty simple: I wanted somebody with this particular specialty AND hiring somebody with the industry know-how to make some changes in my body. Sometimes, even the smallest of changes in your training and nutrition will yield BIG results.

OK, so I was thrilled to discover that my body type will work well for Figure :) with a few adjustments. I have about 18 weeks before my show in May and we laid out the game plan. I ordered my meal plan since we all know by now that the food is EVERYTHING! I’ll be eating 6-7 meals per day and ingesting 2 gallons of water as well. My meal plan will actually be tailored to my blood type (research shows this to be a great way to lean out safely), and it will be gluten-free. Why gluten-free? Again, it boils down to research. Gluten can promote inflammation and since I struggle with that already and I am a woman, it will be beneficial for me to give it up. I also plan to drop ALL sugar, even the healthy alternatives of Stevia and Xylitol. Why? RESEARCH! Do you see a trend here? By dropping all sugar my body will eventually stop craving it which will make prep a little easier.

Training wise I will be focusing on building my shoulders and back while conditioning the rest of my body (especially legs). This means my workout split will change as I will have 2 heavy shoulder days per week and 1 heavy back day (these can change as we progress) along with fasted cardio and conditioning for the whole body. May sound like a lot, BUT I am in a position to take the slow and steady route and make sure I stay safe and injury free :) .

So, prep has already begun! I woke up this morning and did some fasted cardio + conditioning in the form of kickboxing (MY FAVE: Turbo 55), have refueled and am planning a great family day. My journal is already inked with supplements, workout, and food intake. I plan on earning every step and coming home with some bling to display :) My first NPC seminar is THIS weekend in Plano, TX. We’re picking up a new dog, so it all works out. AND my Musclemania seminar is the 25th of this month at Metroflex (seriously, check them out!).

Wish me luck and stay healthy in 2014 y’all! Train hard!

Michelle

1,2,3,4, Get Your Booty Off the Floor: The Workout to Combat Saggy Butt Syndrome

No matter your age or background, a tight and round rear view is something most of us aspire to. Tight, powerful glutes are a sign that you work for your physique and were by no means, simply born with it.

As we age, gravity takes its nasty toll and we end up with saggier bottoms than a diaper ad. We moan and complain about the crease between the glutes and hamstring (wait, that’s not supposed to be there!?!?! Nature would say yes, but I strive to defy that…) and wail about panty lines. Interesting fact: if your glutes are fit and tight, you won’t get panty lines since the panties won’t have copious amounts of fat to dig into. Now, if you suffer from HORRIFIC panty lines, buy the right size people! That info was totally free, please use it.

Lucky for you, I happen to be one of the most butt-obsessed people out there. Get your mind out of the gutter…I mean in terms of shape, form and function. I’ve seen them all and have struggled with my own battle of gravity. So now, I bring to you indispensable booty wisdom and a workout deemed to round out even the flattest of rears. Enjoy :)

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Saggy Butt Solution

After a proper warm up consisting of moving the joints to their full range and getting some blood pumping in the lower half, perform this circuit with minimal rest between moves. Once you master the moves, add some weight to make it more challenging.

Sumo Squats: 20x

Plyometric Plie’: 20x

Donkey Kicks: 20x each leg

Bridge Lift on Floor: 20x

Step Up: 20x each leg

Pop Squats: 20x

Rest for 30-45 seconds between each circuit and aim to complete the circuit 5 times. For all you mathletes that means 100x for each exercise. Add this circuit in 2x per week and you’ll thank me in a couple of months :)

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Workout Descriptions

Sumo Squat: Stand with feet about 4 feet  apart in a wide base, toes turned out very slightly and weight in heels. Push your butt back and lower your butt down, pressing body weight through heels. Come to knee level then squeeze your butt and stand tall. Add weight by holding weight in front OR by wearing a weighted vest.

Plyometric Plie’: Stand with feet in a wide stance as above, and turn toes out towards opposite sides of the room, weight in heels and forefront of your feet. Tuck your hips under and lower the tailbone towards the floor. Once hips are level with the knees, explode up pressing from heel to toe, then land soft and back into your plie’.

Donkey Kicks: From all 4′s, flex your right foot and push the heel up and away from the body as if slowly kicking in a door (cause we ALL know what that feels like), return and repeat on same side.

Bridge Lift on Floor: Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat on floor, slightly wider than your hips with heels as close to hips as is comfortable for your knees. Press down into heels and lift hips straight up, squeezing the butt tight. Slowly return to start and repeat. If you do not focus on squeezing the butt, your quads will take over, so focus and press straight up, not back.

Step Up: Find a tall step OR even 2-3 stairs (depending on your height). Place one foot right on top of the step, weight in heel. Press down through top heel and squeeze glute to step all the way up, then lower down with control. Repeat on same side and focus on that particular glute. Try not to press off the floor with the other leg.

Pop Squats: Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, toes and knees facing forward. Lower down into squat (bonus points for getting to knee level every time) then explode up, landing with knees soft and feet together. Jump back out into squat position for 1 rep. Stay low in your squat and keep knees soft when you land, abs in super tight. These should move fast once you get the hang of them. Need more of a challenge? Hold a dumbbell at your chest OR wear a weighted vest.

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Remember to FEED YOUR MUSCLE with quality foods that keep it lean and mean. Oatmeal, egg whites, whey protein and plenty of veggies will help to combat the overcoming pull of gravity, so load up!

Peace, Love and Lunges,

Michelle

 

Tis the Season! Pumpkin Pancakes and Leg Work

Breakfast can be a tricky time for some people, but with the right ingredients and a little planning you can make it through with flying colors and bright energy.

These pure protein pancakes are SUPER for carb cycling days (low carb days) and are ready in under 5 minutes. BONUS: you can make them in bulk ahead of time, store them in serving sizes in the fridge and be enjoying them within 1 minute.

PURE PUMPKIN AND PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients (just 3!):

1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree, not the pumpkin pie mix

1/2 cup pure egg whites

1 scoop low sugar whey protein (I dig MetRX Vanilla whey OR BSN Lean Dessert Cinnamon for this recipe)

Mix together and cook on non-stick griddle. These will start your day in a filling way and eliminate some carbs as well as excess fat. The protein gives them sweetness BUT if you must have them sweeter try a little drizzle of local honey. Serving size is 3 pancakes.

pumpkin pancakes

LEG WORK:

Your legs offer a vehicle on which you stand your ground AND move forward in life…so make your leg workouts count! Here is a shorter leg workout I use when time is of the essence OR I just feel like I need an extra burn for the day. It’s great to do for those who enjoy running, but don’t want to overwhelm the legs that work so very hard for them.

NOTE; ALWAYS WARM UP

20 kettlebell swings (no KB, no problem! Use a dumbbell or a gallon of milk, just make it work)

50 alternating step ups (I use 20 pounds dumbbells in each hand, you may choose the weight)

20 pop squats (feet on either side of a step with no risers, squat then explode up and land on step. No step? Do it on the floor)

100 walking lunges….you read that right and you can do it!

10-15 Sumo Squats (wide stance, toes out slightly, send butt back and down)

10-15 stiff-legged dead lifts

Make sure the weight you choose for each exercise challenges you and up it after a while. Do 3 total rounds of the circuit and add this workout to your weekly routine 2-3 times to help rid the thighs of cellulite and garner more strength than you thought you had :)

leg work

Peace, love and lunges!

Michelle

 

You need to know this lady: ASHLEY HORNER

“Of course I’ve had negative people come into my life…..and they don’t stay long”

Each week I’ll be introducing you to an athlete that will help fan the flames of your dedication. This week is the beautiful Ashley Horner. She is a wife, mother, author, competitor…and she’s even an Iron Man finisher (she’s doing another in May 2014). You can follow Ashley on these sites:

Website: http://ashleyhorner.co

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

Bikini Morning Ritual and a Sample Meal Plan for Tight Skin

My rituals, or habits, play the biggest role in how my body looks and performs on a daily basis. There are a couple of things that are engrained in my daily behaviors which help me to get the most out of my nutrition and gym time.

THE GREEN SHAKE

I cannot stress enough how important this is. It brings my body into an alkaline state, making my supplements more efficient and my energy levels skyrocket. It’s best if you have a high-powered blender (Vitamix), but if not, simply run it through several times. I make mine in large batches and drink it over a 3 day period.

IN BLENDER (in this order)

2.5 cups pure water

3 cups fresh, washed spinach

Run blender on low/medium for a couple of minutes

ADD

2-3 cups romaine, washed

1 cucumber (washed and chopped)

Run for a minute

ADD

1 green apple, washed, cored and chopped

1 pear, washed, cored and chopped

2 kiwi, washed (skin can be removed OR left on for more fiber)

Run for a minute

ADD

1 banana

Small handful of parsley (if desired. Parsley is excellent for cleansing the blood)

Juice of 2 lemons

Blitz it good :)

Feel free to add the flesh of 1 ripe avocado if your diet is in need of healthy fats. If your skin is looking dull and lackluster, avocado will help.

Add more water as needed to suit your tastes.

Drink 16 ounces every morning. If you’re still hungry, opt for oatmeal.

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Sample Bikini Ready Meal Plan:

Upon waking drink 6 oz hot water with the juice of 1 lemon

Coffee or tea is fine, sans sugar or flavored creamers

Breakfast: 16 oz green smoothie, oatmeal if desired

Snack: Small handful of almonds or walnuts, 1 orange

Lunch: 2-3 cups mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. 1/2 baked sweet potato, 4 oz baked or grilled fish (or canned tuna or salmon)

Snack: 1 scoop whey protein in 8 oz water. If this falls post-workout ADD 1 piece whole grain bread OR 1 banana OR 1 cup grapes

Dinner: 2 cups steamed veggies, 4 oz baked chicken or turkey, 1/2 cup whole grain rice OR quinoa, small side salad if desired (lemon juice over).

Snack before bed, if hungry: 4 oz low-fat (2%) cottage cheese OR 1 scoop casein protein in water

Follow this plan tight (6 days on, 1 rest day with a treat…not the WHOLE day people) for 4 weeks to notice changes.

Omit breads, crackers, pastas and sweets during meal plan days. Save things like this for treats :)

Michelle

Meal Plan for Bikini Comp Rounding Out

Ok, so some people out there have the blessing of junk in the trunk…….personally, I don’t :(

Any junk in my trunk has to be strategically placed there! I’m an easy gainer everywhere (meaning I can gain fat or muscle pretty easily) except my rear, so my workout split and meals have to help me round out without rounding everything. Confusing? Absolutely! But worth it in the end…hahahaha, pun not intended, but funny anyway. If you are among the blessed, cut down on fats instead of increasing….score one for flat butt ladies. Let’s move on shall we?

Rounding out for Bikini Comp*:

Pre-workout. Hot lemon water upon waking. Smoothie, 8 oz water, 1/3 cup cooked oats, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop whey protein.

During workout. AMINOS!!!!! I dig Optimum Nutrition.

Post workout/breakfast. 1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water, blueberries, strawberries, any berry…..1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 eggs.

Mid morning snack. My green drink.

Lunch. 2 cups salad, 1/2 avocado stuffed with tuna salad, drizzle 1 whole lemon over.

Afternoon snack. Apple and peanut butter OR protein shake and small handful of almonds (if I’m lower carb that day).

Dinner. Grilled salmon steak (or just grilled/broiled fish, no need to get fancy), 2 cups veggies, 1/4 cup rice or baked sweet potato.

Late night munch (before bed if hungry). Protein “ice cream”. I mix 3/4 scoop protein (casein would rock here) with 6-8 ox coconut/almond milk and 1 tablespoon chia seeds. Mix well, place in freezer at least 1 hour before you need it!

 

Glute rounding moves:

I have found bilateral training to be a great way to round out glutes. Here are some of my fave moves…

Sumo squat with wide stiff leg dead lift

Walking lunges (I honestly do 200 or more a week)

Step Ups

Curtsy Lunge

Bulgarian Split Squat

Pop Squats

Skater Lunge

Glute kick back

The Jane Fonda (otherwise known as a bridge or hip lift)

Blend these together, mixing reps for best results.

Need more workouts? Check out my YouTube page for free workouts and nutrition advice, follow me on Twitter for weekly booty calls or check me out on Bodybuilding.com for motivation.

 

 

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

 

* Just a note: I do NOT eat the same thing everyday unless I’m just shy of my goal. You can feel free to mix it up, so long as your macros stay in balance.

 

Bikini Competition Prep: 21 Day Plan

Like I’ve said before, maybe your goal is to compete OR maybe you just want to look and feel better in your jeans. Either way, we can all learn a little something from training the way fitness, figure and bikini athletes train: like it’s our job.

This week marks a new program for me and will last for the duration of 3 weeks. I love short duration programs as I usually make the most changes then. Why? Because I can commit better to a diet and exercise program as long as I know it won’t last forever:) I’ll outline the new program for you, then give you a peek into the things I refuse to give up…at least for now.

First off, I am “sweating it out”. What exactly am I sweating? Fat? Calories? Feelings of insecurity? No, it doesn’t work that way. In forced sweat workouts what we’re trying to do is really two-fold. First, we’re sweating out toxins in the body that hinder the utilization of fat for energy. Your 2 biggest culprits here are alcohol and sugar (hence why it is SO important to abstain from both during these 3 weeks). Second, we’re sweating the stored water on the surface level of the skin. This is another reason why this phase doesn’t last long and shouldn’t be a part of your daily life. The water between muscle and skin is great to have as it plumps the skin and makes it all youthful (you know you’ve gone too far when you no longer look youthful), but in the quest for seeing serious definition, as in a competition, photo shoot, film part or reunion, ditching the water will allow more of the muscle to show. Take a look at the basic principles of the Tight Skin Diet while you’re here though. There is nothing worse than definition and loose skin! With the TSD you can maintain tight skin through proper nutrition.

sweating it out

What else? Well, due to the new workouts and proficient sweating, my water intake has gone from 1 gallon to 1.5 gallons. About half of that has lemon in it. I’ve also upped my protein by about 10 total grams per day and this will slowly go up with time. I’m still getting in plenty of fresh veggies too, as that is key to great skin and great health. SUCK IT UP AND EAT YOUR VEGGIES! My carbs have increased in that my afternoon snack is always oatmeal, usually with a banana. This snack enables me the necessary energy for my second workout. Do you have to do a second workout? Of course not! But eat some oats and that can be an option for you ;)

I do struggle with ditching some things. First of all, I won’t give up my green shake every morning. That’s not a bad thing not to give up, really, so I just refuse. It makes my skin glow and has eliminated unsightly pimples at the age of 35, thank you very much. Also, I won’t give up my coffee…or my half and half. Shameful, I know, but I do have an addiction and I’m seeing how far I can get while holding on to that pet. I did give up alcohol and my beloved Gummy Bears (yes, you read that right), so I figure I’ll ride the cream and coffee train for a bit longer. I have cut back though :)

So, if you want to change your body, add some definition or just try something new, consider following in the steps of someone who has done it…I mean, they’ve actually accomplished it so why not?

Until next time, live healthy!

 

Michelle