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. 

Monday Motivation: Balance and Moderation

How many of us ate until we were stuffed and enjoyed every minute of it? I did!!!! Yes, my husband eat clean at home, but we enjoy splurging at family gatherings. With the holidays advancing, I’d love to approach this often controversial topic: balance and moderation. We here these terms used in vague and generic ways in the fitness industry, but I’d like to discuss this in no uncertain terms.

How much is moderation? Well, for some of us it is a lot less than we think it is. For example, we had 2 thanksgiving feasts in one day. My dad has to be careful with certain foods because of inflammation issues, so we cooked pretty healthy for lunch. I made a g-free, almond-crusted sweet potato casserole, and healthier green bean casserole, but we still ate traditional stuffing with the turkey….you see, we knew our limits. None of us wanted to feel wretched later either. haha….The food was good, and we enjoyed some of our favorite foods without overdoing it. I even had a slice of  pecan pie. (gasp).

Micah’s family is much more diverse, they oftentimes have up to 3 types of stuffing, a salad, and several casseroles, and several turkeys….yes, I said several turkeys, there’s a lot of Aulers, Coulters, and Williamses when you throw us all together. I didn’t pig out on everything, but I definitely enjoyed a variety. This brings me to my point. There are many people out there that think that moderation is avoiding everything….really??? This accomplishes nothing. You get so wrapped up in what you’re eating that you can’t enjoy any of the festivities. Does it mean trying everything, no, you don’t have to try everything. Moderation is using self-control, and knowing where your limits lie, and purposing in your mind that you will be back to your healthy eating habits the next day.

Some healthier options for getting rid of those leftovers include: fixing a fresh salad to go with turkey, making a turkey chili, drinking water with your leftovers instead of sodas. There are lots of options. Micah and I have made healthy food choices a lifestyle, so getting back to our regular routine wasn’t a stretch. It’s not about crash dieting, it’s about healthy habits.

Motivational Monday: what challenge do you face?

So, it was a tough week last week. Learned a lot, laughed a lot, and cried a lot, but definitely am better for it.If you haven’t figured out by now, it’s been a pretty rough six months for me. There, I thought I would just spell it out for you. It’s been difficult to get workouts in when you carry a lot of responsibility, but a word to my procrastinating friends, it is worth every second. Between all the fixer-upper projects around the house and Micah finishing school, some days, I feel like my brain and heart want to explode. One thing God has taught me through all this is perseverance, and to keep pressing on, no matter what anyone else says, what He says matters more. Here we are, 20 days from the finish line, and I look at how many prayers have been answered, how many tears have been shed, and how much this time of growth has been a blessing. My challenge to you this week is look your obstacle straight in the eye. Stop pretending it’s not there, stop trying to get around it; work through it. It could be not wanting to confront an eating habit that is wrecking your health. It could be not making any time to exercise. Whatever it may be, you can either decide to give up, or you can become stronger through it. My next advice is practical. Write down steps to your goals. I’m not exactly perfect at executing these plans myself yet, but there are tools out there that can help you. Stop saying you can’t keep a planner or even write down long term goals. Just stop it. The book, Home School, High School, and Beyond by Beverly Adams-Gordon has great resources, not just for high schoolers, but for anyone who needs a little direction, I’m an artsy type, so I need a lot of it. She helps you break down your long-term goals into short-term goals of 5 years, 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, and quarterly goals, and even weekly goals. My point is, it is worth the time, effort, and resources, to look at ways to overcome obstacles. There are tons of organizational forms on Pinterest. There is something out there that will suit your unique personality, but the first step is just do something, even if it involves notebook paper and a pencil, start writing down what you want to accomplish. It’s worth it. Hiding does not make the obstacle your facing go away, but creating a battle plan helps you to overcome it. There, that’s my motivational soapbox for the week. Anything worth having is worth working hard for.