Shape-up Saturday: Hamstrings and Glutes

Hi There! This was originally intended to be Wednesday’s post, but when I got sick (for the first time in 6 months), this post got postponed until now. I know, I haven’t posted a workout in awhile. But that’s because I’ve been trying new things, and different resources to workout. Rarely, do I ever train this way anymore, but sometimes, it’s nice to tack on a couple of extra minutes of toning power, and this workout should only take about 5 minutes. The only equipment you need is your own body weight or a resistance band.
Frog Squat Lifts: This sounds funny I know, but it’s a butt burner, and will help get rid of that cottage cheese on the back of your legs if you clean up your diet.  Start out feet wider than shoulder width apart, with the band anchored under your feet and one end in each hand. Stand ing tall with your abs contracted and hips pulled under you. Hinge forward, and with a flat back, and keeping tension in the band, squat down like a frog, keeping your heels on the floor and stopping when your hands are a few inches from the ground. contract the muscles in the legs and glutes and push hips forward to return to standing. Repeat for reps.
Fire Hydrant Kicks: Start on all fours, abs engaged. Hold one end of the band in each hand with the middle looped on your left foot. Bring your left knee out to the side of your elbow and press against the band up and away from you, keeping your core steady. Bring your left knee bacyk towards yours elbow and repeat for reps! Repeat move with the other leg.
Glute Bridge with Band: Lie on your back, with both knees bent Place the band over your upper thighs and anchor it on both sides with your hands. Scoop your abs in, contract your glutes and lift your hips off the floor. Hold for a 3-count and lower. Repeat for reps. Make it more difficult: perform a single-leg bridge.
I loved creating this workout and hope you will enjoy it too, and although I’m a personal trainer, you’ve chosen to do this at your own risk. When in doubt, ask your physical therapist or doctor.
Keep pressin’ on weekend warriors!
Julie

Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Toner and $50 Goceries

Ohhhhh Boy,

What a whirlwind weekend…I’m beginning to think that’s normal for me! LOL. Now that I’ve finally recovered. I’m planning for vacation….vacation, that magical, wonderful land of adventure… anyway. It’s one week away, I think I’ll make it! I thought it would be fun to give you a sneek peak at one of the moves from the PiYo Challenge I’m going to be doing over the next 60 days! I’m so excited about doing this program, because after teaching the live version, I’ve experienced much better fitness levels. It’s going to be like Christmas in July! hehehehe….Anyway, after finishing Les Mills, my body is ready for a change of pace. PiYo combines strength and flexibility and cardio, and allows you to get a great workout without all the pounding on your joints, because let’s face it, even the toughest of us needs to take a break. You are not invincible, so be teachable. PiYo takes moves from pilates and yoga, and cranks up the speed, and is totally modifiable, so yes, common sense is welcome. πŸ™‚ One of my favorite things about this class is that the music is fun, but it’s also clean too, so the kids can tag along. I also love that Chalene Johnson understands those who’ve been injured because she’s recently recovered from an injury too.  Today, I want to show you a video of a running lunge. This is a move that I love to tweak and use in my classes, and it give you some serious toning bang for your buck in the legs and glutes. I’ve had clients tell me they can see a difference after a week of this! I thought it would be nice to share. Add a few sets of this onto the end of your next lower body workout for a change of pace.

I like to change up my workouts often. Even if it’s tweaking a move each time, I think it’s the little things that can make a big  difference…you don’t have to do a completely new workout each time, but variety keeps your body from overtraining.
If you’d like to join us, reach out to me via this form: I’m interested in PiYo  I’d love to meet and interact with more of my readers, and see more of them actively taking steps to be active and eat better! I’ll be there for you to encourage you every step of the way, and so will the rest of the group!

Oh, and as not so much of a side note. Here’s what $50 of groceries looks like this week!

I can’t resist a deal on Brussel Sprouts or Watermelon for that matter! Tip: Buy produce (that you know you and your family will eat) that is on special each week. You’d be suprised at how much money you’ll save! 
That’s all for now! πŸ™‚
-Jules

Workout Wednesday: What I learned at PiYo Training!

Hi Friends!
I hope you’re having an awesome week! Once again, my intent to write a Monday post has been foiled, but hurray for workout Wednesdays! As many of you know, I went to an instructor certification workshop last weekend. The certification is for the PiYo Live format that is the same brand as the new PiYo workout that’s going to be released later this month! I can’t wait!!!! I’m so stinking excited…LOL…I taught this format awhile back and loved it then, but  now I love this format even more because it’s more teachable, and there’s more flexibility with teaching styles and how to teach a class. This is a great format for someone who’s board with what their doing or desperately needs to cross train…or wants to strength train, but is a little intimidated by other forms of resistance training. (Only you and your doctor know what is best before you begin a fitness program, so check first!)
So, what exactly is PiYo? PiYo is a fuzion format of pilates, yoga, and fitness moves that are taught to the flow of upbeat music. Example: You might see a down-dog-to-plank-to-burpee-up in a sequence. Some moves are static/isometric, while others have more of a flow. I loved this workshop, and oh, I felt my abs and glutes the next day!
Here’s an example of what a more advanced sequence of Piyo would look like:
Want to try PiYo moves before the home workout launches? I’m offering a sneekpeek group for those who want to try a simplified PiYo move each day, and make some new friends! To sign up, go to PiYo test group and ask to join the group! πŸ™‚ That’s it!

The presenter, Amanda was so nice, and made all of us move out of our comfort zones, by having us focus on cuing…which is tougher than you think, those of you participants who snarkily say in your heads, “I could teach THAT class”….it’s tougher than you think…Just because someone doesn’t teach your format…i.e., cycle, kettlebell, or zumba…doesn’t mean that it’s any less difficult…I loved how my muscles felt so much stronger 3 days later…after the DOMS wore off…of course, I did 3 hours worth of exercise…Have you tried PiYo? How do you like bodyweight training? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 
-Julie

Workout Wednesday: When Your Hard Work Pays Off and Dealing with Negativity from Others

Wow, so, it’s Wednesday! This week has flown by, and in some ways I’m relieved. Micah’s settling into his new job, and our schedule is beginning to stabilize (as if it’s ever been that way) once again. This week, I’ve been encouraged so much by my colleagues who’ve decided to take place in my accountability/challenge group this month. Let’s face it. No matter who you are, you can never become complacent and decide you’ve got it all together. I’m constantly learning myself. I just want to share what I’ve found with others and maybe, just maybe, make someone’s life better for it.

Today is actually more of a motivational post than a workout post. I would like to deal with a tough topic. Everyone tries to sell people of the highs of achieving your goals, but what really determines your long term success is how you handle failure…that’s right FAILURE. I found this out not too long ago, and it’s changed my perspective on how I do things in general. Don’t get me wrong. I still strive to do everything to the best of my ability, but I’ve learned to accept failure with grace, learn from it, and move on.

I recently got the honor of  having my pic featured in Oxygen Magazine’s “Sporty Girls” section doing what else but my favorite “glutes” move.

it’s me! πŸ™‚

This definitely made me realize that I’m setting an example for others, and is pushing me to go further.  My goals may not be someone else’s goals…respect the health goals of others…. Cheer them on. We’re all in this together, right?….Ok, so that person may have not lost “x” amount pounds, but they started healthier habits and gained muscle. There are too many people out their with the mindset that they need to lose more poundage, so they cut back on foods, and that works for awhile, but the “bucket theory” doesn’t make you healthier, and give you more muscle tone or make you stronger. There are hundreds of ways (it seems) that people attempt to do this, so let me dispel some myths with a lesson it took me years to get through my head: lean muscle make your metabolism run efficiently long term, and one can’t expect to fuel up with junk after one trains, and build muscle…just doesn’t work. It’s 2/3 eating smarter, 1/3 eating less. This is me leveling with you the reader, because I don’t want you to fall for the ridiculousness of diet fads, like I did years ago. I believe in macros, but if you reach your macros by filling up on junk, then you’ll look like what you eat. That being said, there are no excuses, in this United States, for eating unhealthy. This is what I got from the grocery store today for $30.

That being said. There are lots of resources out there to teach you how to fuel your body the right way.
I love Tosca Reno’s book, Just the Rules, for learning about the types of foods and principles to eat by, so you don’t go crazy. and the program 21 Day Fix.
   I also love the Eat Clean Diet: Stripped, by Tosca Reno, and Skinny Ms.com for some amazing recipes! What’s your favorite clean eating recipe? I’d love for you to share! πŸ™‚

Workout Wednesday: Glute Bridges

Hi There!
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing a strength training move tutorial for the abs….well, today, it’s time for a lower body strength training move! Lower body is my favorite to train, but it wasn’t always that way! (No pun intended.) I love lunges, and plie squats, but bridges are probably my favorite move. Now, I know there has been a glute craze recently, but there are far more reasons to strengthen the largest muscle group in your body other than getting rid of cellulite! Here are 3:
1. To prevent back pain – your glutes are part of the posterior chain of muscles that include the erector spinae (the muscles that run vertically along side your vertebrae) and your hamstrings (backs of your legs). If one link in this chain is weak, then your back health is greatly put at risk, because the largest muscles in your body can’t do the job…think about it.
2. To burn more calories – muscle builds calories. The larger the muscle, the more calories you burn, but steady state cardio will not build muscle. Strengthening the glutes will burn more calories, because you need lean muscle to burn calories, even at rest…no muscle…no burned calories…no glutes, less calories  burned…Make sure you strength train the rest of your body too!
3. To protect your knees – I love squats and lunges, but depending on how they’re performed, a too much emphasis can be placed on the front side of the knee or the quads…Your muscles support your joints, and your hamstrings need to be strengthened as well. Glute bridges also strengthen your hamstrings, and your strength for certain movements, such as running will come from your glutes, not just your quads.

The how to: lie on your back. Feet flat on the floor hip width apart. (Feet should be about 12 inches from your glutes.) Pulling your navel toward your spine, press into your heels, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor…keep squeezing your glutes as you pause at the top.
Slowly lower your hips back to the start but don’t quite touch the floor. This is a great move to incorporate into the beginning or end of a workout!

Once you master the beginner version try this more advanced version! Just plant one heel into the ground. contract abs and glutes, and lift!

What’s your favorite lower body strength training move? Let me know in the comments below! Want better muscle definition, contact me to find out about a plan to help you get there!

Happy Hump Day!
Julie

Fitness Friday: The Truth About Glutes Training.

For those of you who’ve read my post on Monday, there seems to be a recurring theme this week. Glutes training…yes, I said a dirty word…lol. We North Americans of the protestant variety have this outlandish ideas that training this group of muscles is taboo…When people ask me what I’m training on a particular day, and I reply “glutes”…there are often snickers, winks, and creepy looks. eewww…The thing is, for women this muscle is sooo important – to metabolism, overall body fat, back pain relief, and so much more. The thing is, this group of muscles is the largest group of muscles in the body. The larger the muscle, the more calories it burns…do the math. These muscles are responsible for hip extension and hip rotation. They are very important. Have you ever noticed people who carry all the weight on the front of their body. (i.e., gut). They tend to have a much greater tendency for low back pain, all because they have weak glutes. The muscles in the front of their bodies over compensate for this, and as a result, the whole backside of their posterior chain is weak and prone to injury. Training legs, and glutes 2x a week will help with this. It doesn’t have to take hours, it can take minutes of your time. Here’s a tough workout, but it will help you get your glutes in shape. Remember my article on supersets, well here’s the chance to apply that knowledge! Drink lots of water and eat your veggies and protein, and you’ll be on the right track!

Warm-up: Do 20 small plies with heels close together and hips tucked under. This is not a large movement. Bend your knees, maintaining abs and hips, then straighten legs, contracting glutes. 

Side Lunge to Curtsey: Standing with feet together. Step right leg out to one side. Lower, really pushing hips back, then push off right leg to return and curtsey lunge back with your left leg. This one works wonders, in my personal experience, and targets the entire leg area. 
 
Squats: Use a squat machine, or squat with a resistance band or dumbbells.  Keep your feet wider to engage the glutes. Lower to parallel, then return to standing, squeezing glutes.

Jump Squats: Lower into a 3/4 squats. Lift off explosively, contracting glutes. Land with knees bent. Make it Easier: If you’ve never performed plyometric movements, substitute this for body weight, full-range squats. 

Hamstring Curl on the Ball: Lie on your back, with feet on an exercise ball. Dig your heels into the ball and curl your legs towards you, contracting your hamstrings and glutes. Slowly curl the ball away from you, maintaining lifted hips. 

Hip Thrust: Yes, I just wrote that on paper… grow up. Sit on the floor with a weight across your hips and shoulders against a bench or chair. Squeeze glutes and lift hips to parallel with floor, pause, then lower, but don’t touch the floor. 

Book Review: Ultimate Booty Workouts

Hi There! 
So I started a new lower body program today, and I’m super excited!!!! (Glute days are my favorite days to train, as all my friends know.) So while many pics of extreme bubble butts are circulating pinterest and tumblr…there are many pics of flat butts that are glorified(i.e. runway models). So let me be the first to say, a particular friend of mine, Jessie, in college, used to always say “Bertha” when I turned around…but okay…enough jokes. 

If you’re looking for a lower body transformation workout… let me say it. Ultimate Booty Workouts is for you. While most people would tease you if you kept this book on your coffee table, let me just say, it is no joke. This gem of a book was written by Tamara Grand of http://fitknitchick.com/ . Tamara is so knowledgeable! This book was written by a woman who knows her field and understands the importance of adding variety to workout routines, while mastering the movements involved in pursuing this particular goal. There are no fad exercises here. The workouts were well thought out, with detailed explanations and cuing. The nutrition guidelines are simple, no complex meal plans, but a list of healthy foods to give you an idea where to begin. The program goes through 3 4-week phases, and there are also cardio guidelines and ideas. This is hands down the most comprehensive book I’ve ever read on the topic. (And believe me, I’ve read a few; which comes with being a fitness coach/personal trainer for 5 years.) My workout buddy and I have challenged ourselves to complete this 12-week program. I’ve even taken my own measurements today.  The other refreshing thing about this book is that there is not one solitary endorsement of plastic surgery, AND she explains the HEALTH benefits of glute training, such as increased metabolism and reduced lower back pain, which are way too often overlooked in articles on the topic. Thank you, Tamara for writing a book that I will continue to use as a resource for years to come! You can order this awesome book on Amazon.com

Go break a sweat!

Julie A


Workout Wednesday: New Year’s Fat Blaster

Happy New Year all! SOOO I’ve been looking forward to the New Year with great anticipation! This marks a new chapter in married life for Micah and I as he has completed his biotechnology degree and I plan to start working on a degree in nutrition. πŸ™‚ Call me a nut, but I actually enjoyed college for the most part. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a fitness model…lol, and today I’m the model for all of the pics in this workout. (Just a little 411 for those of you who’ve never met me in person.) A little tangent before I go into the tutorial for the workout: I’m so thankful that I’ve had people to spend Christmas and New Year’s with. There are many people who spent both these holidays alone, and I realize how blessed I am to have wonderful friends and family to spend both of these days with!
Today’s workout consists of the tabata method, and will knock out those problems areas, and count as a little cardio. So set your timers, and push through this one. It’s tough, but it’s over with in only 12 minutes if you push through it.

 Knee-ups:

Jump Rope: hop as quickly as possible. Focus on small skips. If you don’t have a rope, pretend you do.

Reverse Crunches: Use your muscles, not momentum. Your lift at the top won’t be a large movement at first.

 Side Traveling Squats: Beginners, don’t squat as low, and use a chair. Squat halfway, then reach right leg to the side. Stay low and bring left foot in same direction. Squat down lower, then stand halfway. Continue in the same direction, but during the next round, travel the opposite way. Use your best judgement on squat depth.

Glute Bridges: Heels must be pressed into the floor with feet about hip-width apart. Squeeze your glutes and pause at the top.

Dolphin – Shoulder Plank: Squeeze your shoulder blades through the movement. If you have weak shoulders, swap this for another shoulder exercise.

 Oh and last but not least, here’s the cute little graphic. If you like this workout, feel free to pin it!

 Some advice: During squats, you know your limits and what is safe for your knees, so you know how low you can go. Use your glutes, it takes stress off your knees. You should be squeezing your glutes during bridges also. During jump rope, keep your knees slightly bent, and really pull your lower abs in during reverse crunches, and dolphin planks.

Enjoy this one, it’s tough!

Disclaimer: Although I’m a fitness professional, not all workouts are suitable for everyone. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise/fitness regimen.

Wednesday Workout: A Fast and Serious workout

Happy Hump Day!!!
It’s been tough getting back into routine, more so workout-wise than eating-wise. Lately, I’ve been getting my arts and crafts on. Due to a tight budget, a lot of our Christmas gifts will be handmade this year, since I’m very artsy; we know a lot of people doing this as well this year. Unfortunately, this can be time consuming. Here’s where this workout comes in. It’s a 12-minute workout that will have your muscles screaming and heart pounding. It also involves  3 tabatas. You can make this an all body weight workout or add resistance to the squats and bridges. Let me tell you guys a secret, I gain weight in my lower body, but this format has gotten my legs back in shape quickly. Like 4 weeks quickly. So give it a try and let me know what you think!

Single-leg Burpees: (you may use regular burpees if too difficult.) Instead of hopping both feet back. Lift one foot off the floor and hop the other foot back. Be sure to keep your back straight and not rounded as you return to standing.
Bridges: Lie face-up, feet flat on the floor. Put your weight into your heels and lift your hips. Make sure your abs are tight and squeeze the glutes before lifting your hips off the floor. You should not feel this in your lower back. Want a challenge? Try single-leg bridges.
Squats: (Beginners, sit a chair behind you.) Feet shoulder-width apart. Sit back with your chest and shoulders lifted. Lower as close to parallel as possible.
Side Hip Lift + Kick: Get on one side with bottom knew bent and top knee bent. Prop up on elbow. Make sure you are in line from your head to your bottom knee, then lift your bottom hip off the floor. While hips are lifted, kick top leg in a straight line with the rest of the body. Lower and complete reps on one side.
Jump Rope: Keep knees slightly bent while jumping or shuffling. Use a fake rope if needed…hehe
Plank: Keep hips from sagging as you lift up on to your elbows. Keep weight in the heels. Don’t let your hips sag and don’t forget to breathe.
This workout will not only work your glutes and legs, but your shoulders and abs as well.
Let me know if you have questions!

Good morning!

First of all, Happy Veterans Day! I’m so thankful that there are brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us all here in the US!

Today being Monday, I’m back in my workout and food routine full steam. Today is lower body day on my personal calendar, but it’s also a day on which I have to teach a really challenging group fitness class! Not that I mind the challenge, but it can be tough discerning how much I need to push myself when I have a challenging class to teach later. So I said to myself, “Self, you should just put 3 exercises together and do the whole circuit 3-5x…” So there you have it. I took two of the most effective lower body exercises, the squat, and the bridge, and paired them with an easy-to-do ploymetric (explosive) move, the jumping jack and got a great workout! This workout is a quickie toner for your thighs, glutes, and calves! The key here is adding the pulses, squeezes, and presses at the end of each set. pulses really involve the gluteus maximus, while squeezes target the inner thighs, and presses target the outer thighs. I hope you enjoy the workout. Warm-up by marching in place and perfoming 15 kick backs for each leg.Here’s the tutorial:

Squats:
Put your arms out in front to help keep your balance, put your weight in your heels as you sit back. Newbies, put a chair behind you. Pro’s, add some weights or a resistance band. Oh, and keep your gaze up. Squeeze your glutes to stand up.

Split Squats:
Keep your weight in your front heel, then lower straight down as low as possible. Squeeze muscles and stand. Repeat.

Glute Bridge:
Put your weight in your heels.Squeeze your bum before lifting, this makes sure the glutes are doing the work.

Jumping Jacks:
Keep your knees and toes the same way…and absolutely no pidgeon toes. This will hurt your knees.

Here’s the workout:


 ENJOY and keep perservering! You will reach your goals!