“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”- Jim Rohn
Spring has arrived, which means summer will be here before we know it. Many folks begin to focus on weight loss goals in May. So I just wanted to put out a gentle reminder…
If you have weight loss goals…
🐢slow and steady 🐌
…is the healthiest and most sustainable way to go.
How slow and steady? To preserve most of your muscle mass (not just for looks **)around 0.5-1.5 lbs per week is a general recommendation. But YOUR body will let you know if you’re losing weight too fast for YOU.
Here are some signs:
frequent or constant hunger
weak immune system/ frequently sick /can’t get well
anxiety and/or depression
**Why is muscle mass important?
Quality of life and independence (especially as we age)
If you have bands and dumbells/kettlebells, you can do this one at home!
Making home training a little more challenging usually means: increasing reps, doing more unilateral (single-leg or single-arm) work, and shortening your rest periods. Enjoy!
A1. DB Deficit Reverse Lunge 3X 10-12 each A2. Bird Dog Row 3X 10-12 each B1. Paused Sumo DB Deadlift 3X 15-20 (Pause for 2 seconds before you touch the floor) B2. Single-Leg Hip Thrust 3X 12-15 each C1. Z-Press 3X 8-10 each C2. Lateral Raises 3 X 10-15 D1. Band Gluteator 3X 10-12 (band above the knees. Drive knees apart.) D2. Standing Pallof Press 3X 30 seconds
The band I use here for the Gluteator is from BC Strength. I use the S/M Level 1 band which is the easiest of the three offered right now.
When we are looking at the task as a whole, it can feel like a huge, overwhelming weight hanging over our heads. This leads us to put it off, when in fact, the best action we could take is to get started now.
Diving in without a plan could leave us feeling frustrated and even more overwhelmed than before.
Planning out our project means we can both start and finish it. Our plan places us in control and breaks down the big project into smaller, more manageable steps.
Accomplishing one step at a time keeps your momentum going so that you can finish your project once and for all.
How does this relate to fitness?
Deciding you want to become stronger without a plan will lead to disappointing and likely random results. Choosing to become stronger and beginning a structured, individualized workout plan suited to your goals and abilities and executed consistently will lead to results.
If you’re a beginner with the goals of performing 10 full chest-to-floor bodyweight push-ups and squatting your bodyweight, those are absolutely attainable goals that can be worked toward with a plan. Having shorter term goals along the way (2 push-ups, then 5 push-ups, etc) will keep you motivated and excited to keep going.
What’s the big project or goal you haven’t tackled yet? Cleaning the house counts as a big project, imo.
This circuit is perfect if you’re short on time and want to get in some strength training + cardio.
Also, if the seasonal change is killing your motivation, incorporating circuits into your workout program might help. Circuits = no rest periods between the exercises. So you won’t be tempted to drag out those rest periods scrolling your phone, chit chatting, etc.
Doing the workout with no interruptions and getting it over and done with will feel GOOD.
If you want to make any of the first 6 exercises more difficult, just add more weight. You can also add weight to the clamshells by holding a dumbbell in place on the top hip.
The workout (repeat for 3-4 rounds):
20 chair squats 15 romanian deadlifts 15 lateral squats (hello inner thighs!) 10 reverse lunges each side 30 knee banded glute bridges 15 single leg glute bridges each side 30 knee-banded seated hip abduction (10 sitting straight up, 10 lean forward, 10 lean back) 30 knee-banded clamshells each side (lose the band if it’s too challenging)
🍴MACRONUTRIENTS (macros) are the nutrients your body needs in large amounts. There are three major macros: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Technically alcohol is the fourth.
🔥A CALORIE is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. When the word “calorie” is used when talking about food, we are usually using a casual definition of calorie. But we’re actually referring to kilocalories, which is what you see on nutrition labels. A kilocalorie is the equivalent of 1,000 calories.
🥩PROTEIN is vital to muscle building as well as many other processes. Animal sources of protein include: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy. These deliver all the amino acids your body needs. Plant sources of protein include: tofu, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, nuts, and more. While plant based sources often lack one or more of the essential amino acids, a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can provide you with all the nutrients you need.
🍚CARBOHYDRATES are your body’s primary energy source. Sources of carbs: Fruits, vegetables, grains, and potatoes.
🥑FATS are essential for hormone function. Sources of fat: butter, oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and other foods.
🍷ALCOHOL is not needed in our body. If you’re counting calories for any reason, you can’t forget these! 1 gram of alcohol has 7 calories.
🧮HOW do these calories add up?
Total Calories = (Number of grams of protein x 4) + (Number of grams of carbs X 4) + (Number of grams of fat X 9) + (Number of grams of alcohol X 7)
I made sourdough pumpkin earlier in the week and knew we wouldn’t be able to finish it before the bread became dry. I hate wasting food. I love having dessert daily. So, I made this bread pudding from the sourdough pumpkin bread.
Super easy. Sounds like a fancy dessert, but it’s definitely more like down home comfort food. My 7 and 9 year olds devoured it and said the caramel sauce was their favorite part. I used monk fruit sweetener and milk to lower the calories and it was delicious.
The salted caramel sauce is simple to make as well. I just googled salted caramel sauce and picked a recipe with great ratings. If you have an extra set of hands in your house, your forearms will thank you as they will get tired from the constant stirring. We put the leftover caramel sauce in a glass jar to keep in the fridge and have with leftovers, ice cream, apples, and anything else that comes to mind.
Let me know how you like it if you make this! We’ll definitely be making it again soon! Probably several more times if I’m honest.
I think my next Fall themed dessert will be Pumpkin Tres Leches 😋
🧠 Become an effective goal setter with SMART goals
When we first start thinking about our goals, what we usually come up with are broad terms or vague ideas. “I want to look good.” That’s a start, but if we really want to succeed we have to get more detailed and make a plan.
🏝 Let’s say we have a client named Kevin and he wants to feel more confident on an upcoming beach vacation. We ask Kevin more questions and discover that what he actually wants is to lose 10 pounds of extra weight for his vacation in three months. He’s 37 years old, 5’11”, weighs 200 pounds, and has no medical conditions. Here’s how we can make Kevin’s goal SMART:
👉🏻Specific- Kevin would like to lose 10 pounds in 3 months. ⚖️Measurable- A scale can be used to measure overall weight loss. If there are other body composition goals, these changes can be measured and tracked as well. 🧗Attainable- A 10 pound loss in 3 months is an attainable goal. 👍🏼Realistic- At his height and weight, 10 pounds in 3 months is attainable for Kevin. ⏱Timely- 10 pounds can be lost in 3 months at a steady and sustainable rate.
💪🏼If you have a goal of your own in mind, get started with your plan by asking yourself these action-oriented questions:
❓What is my goal? 📆 When would I like to have this goal accomplished? 💰 What do I need to accomplish this goal? (Support from friends/family, money, time, gym equipment) 🤒 What are some possible challenges I could face on my journey to reach my goal? (missing workouts, holiday goodies, out of town trips, etc) 👟What steps can I take each day to keep moving in the right direction?
😁Answering these questions will serve many benefits. Not only will you be developing a plan of action, but you’ll also feel empowered, focused, and motivated.
If your goals are to either build muscle or lose fat, it is a good idea to increase your protein intake. Protein is one of the three macronutrients (others being fats and carbohydrates). Our bodies use protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals in the body. It is also an important part of building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Protein for Muscle Building
If your goal is to get the most out of your resistance training in building muscle and strength, you should make protein intake a top nutritional priority. In a review by Brad Shoenfield and Alan Aragon, they conclude that a daily protein intake of 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is a range to aim for to maximize muscle building. That’s 0.72-1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
If you typically eat four meals each day, you would aim for each of those meals to contain 0.4g/kg/meal to reach the minimum of 1.6 g/kg/day. Using the upper daily intake of 2.2g/kg/day would mean that each of your four meals should contain 0.55 g/kg.
Sometimes hitting your protein target with just your meals can be difficult. You might find yourself needing to supplement with whey protein and that is normal and okay.
Protein for Fat Loss
Protein intake can help with fat loss, but you do not need to consume as much protein for fat loss as you would for muscle building. If your goal is to lose weight, your first priority is to make sure you are creating a consistent calorie deficit. This means you are eating fewer calories than you are expending. There is no one-size-fits-all diet that will ensure this happens for you. The best weight loss diet for you will be one that you can stick to over time in that calorie deficit.
Weight loss typically happens quickly at the beginning, but then most people will notice this process start to slow down. Your body will try to defend against the weight loss, because from an evolutionary standpoint losing weight is a threat. This is called adaptive thermogenesis. To break through this weight loss plateau, or metabolic slowdown, you will want to increase your metabolism. A higher protein diet can help accomplish this for a couple of reasons:
In addition to resistance training, eating a higher protein diet will help increase muscle mass, which in turn will increase your basal metabolic rate. The higher your basal metabolic rate, the more calories you will burn over the course of 24 hours because muscle burns more calories than fat.
Protein has a higher thermic effect than other macronutrients and the process of digesting protein requires more energy.
Protein helps us feel full more so than carbohydrates and fats for fewer calories. So, if your diet is high-protein you will consume fewer calories while feeling fuller and chances are you won’t be thinking about food all day.
For fat loss purposes, you can aim for 0.7-1 gram of protein per pound of your goal weight.
Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2018) 15:10. 10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1 [PubMed]
Did you know that your abdominal muscles are just one part of your core? Your core is actually defined by the structures that make up your lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, including the lumbar spine, the pelvic girdle, abdomen, and the hip joint.
Your core is made up of three systems: the local stabilization system, the global stabilization system, and the movement system.
Local Stabilization System
Muscles that attach directly to the vertebrae. These muscles contribute to spinal stability by increasing intra-abdominal pressure, generating tension in the thoracolumbar fascia which increases spinal stiffness for improved neuromuscular contril.
Pelvic floor muscles
Global Stabilization System
Muscles attach from the pelvis to the spine. These muscles transfer loads between the upper and lower extremities, provide pelvis and spine stability, and stabilize and eccentrically control the core during functional movements.
Portions of internal oblique
Muscles that attach the spine and/or pelvis to the extremities. These muscles are mostly responsible for concentric force production and eccentric deceleration during activities.
Why is it important to have a stable core?
Your core is the origin of all movement and where the center of gravity for your body is located. An unstable core during movement will not allow for optimal stabilization, force reduction, force production, or transference to occur throughout your body. An efficient core is not only vital for proper movement and balance throughout your body, but it is also important for injury prevention.
Strength vs. Stability
Do we want a strong core or do we want a stable core? Well, we want both. But often exercises that stabilize the core are underutilized and that can cause problems. If the musculature of your core movement system is strong, but the stabilization system is weak, your body will not be able to optimally use or transfer forces.
Strength exercises are not as efficient as isometric exercises at improving core stiffness. Stiffness is important for stability. When the muscles of our core contract, stiffness is created.
What is a strength exercise? A crunch, leg lifts, or side bend.
What is an isometric exercise? It is a hold. It is a static contraction of the muscle without visible movement. For example: plank, side plank.
About the Exercises in the Video
The dead bug exercise is a popular way to build core strength and stabilization. It especially targets the transverse abdominis and spinal erectors.
Mountain climbers are a full-body exercise, which means it can get your heart rate up quickly. As you perform the move, your shoulders, arms, and chest work to stabilize your upper body while your core stabilizes the rest of your body.
This exercise helps strengthen the muscles of your anterior chain (the front half of your body) while stretching the muscles of your posterior chain (the back half of your body). What does this have to do with your core? If you do not properly engage your core, you will not be able to perform the exercise effectively with proper form.
The bird dog strengthens the abdominal muscles, lower back, glutes, and quads while also challenging your balance which helps strengthen your stabilization system.
The side plank strengthens the oblique abdominal muscles, which are very useful as core stabilization muscles. It also activates gluteus medius.
Bear Shoulder Taps
Bear with shoulder taps challenges the shoulders, chest, core, legs, arms, and back. In trying to minimize movement in your trunk, you are working to strengthen your stabilization system.
I’m sure everyone would agree that jumping straight to a barbell back squat is not a good idea if you’re a beginner. Here’s a video progression to work yourself up to where you are comfortable with a barbell back squat:
So, how should a beginner progress their squat?
Here’s a great squat progression sequence:
Double kettlebell front squat
Barbell front squat
Barbell back squat
So that’s my favorite progression for squats. If you’re a beginner and you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!