Benefits of Proper Training: Knowing HOW TO Reach Your Goals

“Why do you train?”

It’s a common, yet confusing question. Each of us have slightly different goals when it comes to training. This is why we must approach training (and choosing a trainer) with a glass slipper approach: one size most definitely does NOT fit all….

COMMON TRAINING QUESTIONS:

What’s more important, cardio or weights? Honestly, there is a scientific theory based on how the body works and then there is one’s own knowledge of how their own body works. The muscles of the body are particularly designed to move the skeleton of the body. If the muscles atrophy and are no longer used, we can no longer move, period. While some of us may think the muscles are designed to help us look good in bikinis or fill out our jeans….they actually serve a more functional purpose. In order to gain strength (I’m not talking size at this point) we must place a certain amount of pressure upon the muscles in order to force them to adapt. The absolute GREATEST thing about being human is that we have been created to adapt. In order to create the needed pressure for the aforementioned adaptation we need some resistance training. Here is where it can go haywire for some: resistance training and body building are NOT the same thing. Training for muscle growth is vastly different (in both training and nutrition) from training for fitness, overall health and better strength. What would I consider resistance training for our purposes?

  • Weight training (obviously)
  • Resistance Bands
  • Exercise ball
  • Body weight exercise
  • TRX/suspension training
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Barre
  • Dance
  • Kickboxing
  • Boxing
  • Martial Arts

Honestly, I’m sure there is more but these examples will suffice for our purposes. These activities all help to build lean muscle and therefore allow the body to burn at a more efficient rate, meaning you’ll have a higher metabolism. Various workouts, such as kickboxing, dancing, body weight, etc. can actually help with cardiovascular health as well as maintaining and building lean muscle and are favored among those strapped for time and seeking more efficient workouts. So, where does all the confusion come in? In my opinion, it’s due to far too many opinions being thrown out there…..

One thing that is always remarked upon is weight training and women. I hope at some point we will get over this, but alas, we have not. Weight training will not make you BULKY. Women lack the needed testosterone to get super big. As a matter of fact, the women who compete in body building (the huge muscles) have to work far harder at gaining and maintaining muscle growth of that capacity. Nutrition and supplementation have to be spot on 24/7 and these athletes devote their lives to growth. Which is why people like me tend to lean towards bikini comps :) Case in point:

flat abs before                      weight training abs

So, the pic on top was taken at the tail end of a cardio rush, where I was simply doing cardio (running, kbox, etc) with no weights. The pics on bottom were 4 weeks later(2 weeks and 2 more weeks) after I picked up heavy weights again. See the point? Now, here’s the rub: weight work brilliant FOR ME. They happen to be my go-to and when I’m prepping for pictures, a show or even just the water park, I stick to weights and have minimal cardio. This is my gig nad by challenging and listening to my body I have found what truly works. It’s backed by the exercise science and my routines are pretty old school. I don’t throw in all this super crazy stuff….I lift things up and put them down LOL!

THE WEIGHT LOSS FIX:

What I always try to remind my clients is that our goals are not the same. My goal at times is to put on muscle and drastically cut fat. Theirs can be that the doctor told them they have to lose 50 pounds stat! These are 2 very different goals and should be approached differently. When you are just beginning a weight loss journey consider this: just move it. I really don’t care the type of cardio weight loss clients choose, it just has to be done consistently. I know Fitness Magazine had an article about how HIIT training can cut body fat faster, but I also know from experience that jumping repeatedly with over 200 pounds on your frame is not an activity you will keep up with! So, when you’re at the very beginning, JUST MOVE! Now, once you start to get your footing and you’re very focused on nutrition (water and greens will get you anywhere you want to go), start adding resistance training in order to bump up the metabolism and keep the skin tight.

MOTIVATION:

Here’s the deal with the M word…it is short-lived, but necessary. Where do I find motivation? EVERYWHERE! I can find it in past pictures (I mean, if my body did it once it can do it again!), old pics (AH!, I don’t want to go back THERE!), YouTube videos, magazine articles, movies, etc. I also keep plenty of fit friends in my circle and all up on my social media. When I decided competing would be in my future, I started gaining friends who were already doing what I wanted to do. That’s a key component to constant motivation right there. So think of your life a little different. I may not get paid big bucks to keep my booty in shape for a movie, BUT I train like I do…..so I’m ready when the call comes ;) Change your perception and make good choices on who you surround yourself with on a daily basis.

Now we’re moving forward, but I warn you not to get distracted and lose momentum! Think like a freight train, not a kitty cat….

Much fit love,

Michelle

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

 

The Bikini Body Equation

OK, I have to admit that I am no mathlete….however, my parents were totally right when they told me I would use math every day.

Don’t let the title fool you, you don’t have to be set on wearing a bikini to feel better all over. What I really want to talk to you about is a feel good formula that is often overlooked today.

The 80/20 Rule

It’s actually pretty basic. For 80% of your time, try to keep 80% of your foods as close to nature as can be. Eat real food people! Don’t give me that bull about it not being convenient. Really, peeling a banana is a huge inconvenience? Perhaps washing that apple just takes too much energy….yeah right. Eating healthy is easy and affordable, so long as you stick to the basics.

Produce:

Pick the cheap stuff! When produce is in season, it will be marked cheaper at your local market. Ears of corn 10 for $1? SCORE! Grab them up and roast, grill or even microwave them. During the warmer months, citrus fruits and lighter veggies are all in season. Pick mindfully and enjoy abundantly.

Stock up on frozen veggies. Vegetables are usually picked at the peak of freshness and then flash frozen so they do retain nutrients. If the produce aisle is looking ragged or they don’t have what you need, consider stocking up on frozen ones instead. Bonus: if you always have some veggies in the freezer, you can always have veggies on hand.

Grains:

Keep them whole and close to nature. For abounding energy and overall health, plus the addition of a flatter belly, try ditching bread 80% of the time. The whole yeast/gluten/sugar combo (even in whole grains) can wreak havoc on the digestive system, therefore affecting the metabolism. When choosing grains, head for quinoa, brown rice, oats, bran, millet, barley, etc. These are utilized more readily and assimilated for energy easier in their closer to nature states.

Proteins:

Keep them lean and try to have them later in the day. Fish is an excellent source of protein for overall health and you can consume it several times per week. I eat fish almost every day from a variety of sources, as variety is key to a healthy diet. Turkey, chicken and lean red meat and game are also good sources of animal protein. Plant protein can also be consumed in tofu, tempeh, hemp, brown rice, etc. Know what works best for your body and vary it up.

Fats:

I actually eat lots of healthy fats. I mean, if eating an entire avocado a day is wrong, then I don’t want to be right! Stick to healthy, close to nature fats such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, natural nut butters (especially almond), etc. These help to keep skin hydrated and supple, just remember that portions should be smaller.

The final key to being ready to strut in your bikini (or shorts, jeans, dress or suit)….

Confidence:

I encourage this 100% of the time. The people who make an entrance, make an impression and ultimately make an impact have confidence, not perfection. None of us have a perfect body or skin. Even super models (as blessed as they are) do get air brushed. Considering the fact that we don’t walk around with portable airbrushing machines, let go of your insecurities and hold your head high. The number one way to do this is to stop comparing yourself to others. The second way to this is to stop judging others. When a judgemental thought about someone else pops into your head, send it packing! When we judge others, we tend to feel judged as well.

Here are my top tips to boosting my own confidence. Hey, I speak in public for a living and spend loads of time in spandex :) Steal what works for you!

  1. Try on EVERYTHING! I actually still shop for clothes in person, not online. Even the same company can make jeans that fit totally different. Don’t tie yourself to one size, think more of fit.
  2. Throw away the scale. I’m tired of this fight….let it go, you’ll feel better once the withdrawal lets up.
  3. Adopt a personal mantra. Mine is a powerful Bible verse: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
  4. Workout to feel good and increase, not decrease, energy.
  5. Eat foods that nourish your body and your body will return the favor….just give it time :)

Hopefully these few tips will help you on your road to health and wellness. Beware of quick fix detours and remember to never give up!

Michelle

 

michelle3

 

Bikini Comp Meal Plan and Workout Split

Whether you’re planning on strutting your stuff in a glittery suit on-stage, walking the beach with your loved one, or simply sliding into your fave Summer shorts with no hassle, this meal plan and workout split will cover the bases! Remember that your food is your #1 source of fuel and calories give you energy! You can’t starve your way to a sleek physique people. Eat the proper foods at the proper time and you will see results! Tighter, clearer skin and leaner, stronger muscles take a little time, but can totally be obtained through a little practice, patience and what I like to call gusto! If you’re in comp season, this is your gig for the next 8-12 weeks. If you just want to feel and look better, treat your food and workouts like a job, Monday though Friday keep it tight and leave a little room for treats in the weekend….just don’t get crazy :) Gentlemen, you can make this plan your own by adding to the portion sizes so you get enough calories to fuel the muscle your growing! So grab a partner and let’s go!

Bikini Comp Meal Plan:

Upon waking: 6 ounces hot water with the juice of 1/2-1 whole lemon. 16 oz pure water.

Breakfast: 1/3 cup dry oats (quick cooking), 6 egg whites, 1 scoop Vanilla whey protein (I love BSN Lean Dessert). Mix it all together for some Bikini Comp pancakes, top with berries and enjoy a cup of coffee, skip the cream and sugar.

Mid-Morning: Juice 5 carrots, 1 small green apple and a 2 inch piece of ginger. Drink cold and have a handful of almonds.

Lunch: 2 cups mixed greens, 5 ounces salmon (either grilled or from the can), cherry tomatoes, cucumber, peppers all drizzled with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon. Serve with 1/2 baked sweet potato, spiced up with salt-free spices (like Ms. Dash)

Afternoon Snack: the ultimate beauty smoothie :) In a powerful blender combine 6 ounces water, 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 handful spinach, 2 celery stalks, 1 kiwi, 1 small green apple, juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 (OK, I usually do 1/2) avocado. Optional: add 1 tablespoon chai seed and ice to taste, stevia if you like it sweet!

Dinner: Slim soup. This gives you muscle repairing protein and more veggies to help combat bloat. Find the recipe HERE.

Bedtime Snack: 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with about 20 crushed walnuts. Option 2: 1 scoop whey protein in water. Finish it off with some herbal tea and rest well!

Bikini Comp Workout Plan:

I adhere to a 6 day regimen, with Sundays being my active rest days.

Monday Wake up: 15-20 minute HIIT

Monday Weights: Glutes and Legs, particularly hamstrings

Tuesday Wake Up: 15-20 minute HIIT

Tuesday Weights: Biceps, Back and Boxing drills

Wednesday Wake Up: 3040 minutes yoga

Wednesday Weights: Heavy Shoulders and Abs

Thursday Wake Up: 15-20 minutes HIIT

Thursday Weights: 2nd Glutes day with a focus on light weights/heavy reps and plyo

Friday Wake Up: 15-20 minutes HIIT

Friday Weights: MMA Strength Conditioning

Saturday Wake Up: YOGA

Saturday Weights: for this workout I’ll either do 100′s (which I do about every 4 weeks) or a track workout

Sunday: YOGA

Now, it’s a great week if I get ALL of this in. Some days I may wake up super sore, or have had a bad night’s sleep. On those day I may opt for yoga or barre. I simply try to never STOP moving, even if my schedule or circumstances change. If competing isn’t on your radar, try a 3 day split with weight work M/W/F and some cardio of choice T/Th. You’ll see results and feel better in no time.

Just remember to always honor your body and that the MOST results are found in the kitchen! So stay clean to get lean and as always, have a healthy day!

Michelle

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