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Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

Vital Stats

In the fitness community, I’m most often recognized because of my big weight-loss transformation. I went from 185 pounds to a little less than 130 pounds. It took me a few years to get to my lowest weight, but I followed the motto that slow and steady wins the race and I never gave up. I know it was this attitude that helped me place second the 2013 Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Competition.

Sometimes, I look back and can’t believe how far I’ve come. I don’t even remember the girl who had never stepped foot in a gym and gorged on pizza, chips, and ramen all day.

But I’ve decided my transformation work is not yet done—in fact, it’s only just begun! I’m on a second transformation journey, and this time I’m putting my happiness and my health first. I’m transforming my body from skinny to strong, and my mind from unhealthy to happy.

Before

After

Why I Decided to Change … Again

Believe it or not, when I weighed 185 pounds, I was one confident girl. I loved my body and never thought of myself as fat. I was who I was and that was that. I wasn’t defined by my body’s appearance. But that self-confidence changed the moment I decided I should lose weight. It seemed as though the more weight I lost, the more self-conscious about my appearance I became. I reached every weight-related goal I had set for myself, and yet I was never good enough.

At 125 pounds and with barely enough body fat to function, I competed for the first (and last) time with anxiety that I was “too fat” to be on stage. I had become so progressively wrapped up in numbers and body fat percentages over the few short years of dieting, that I was mentally destroyed.

I also noticed that my training started to suffer. I first began working out to be healthy and because I loved the way it made me feel, but I had lost sight of those reasons. I trained to burn calories and stay as thin as possible. If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run. I started to hate outdoor runs because I was forcing myself to do them. I allowed my training to control me. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed in exchange for doing whatever it took to stay thin.

Along with a severely distorted body image and training that was running me into the ground, my relationship with food started to become extremely disordered. Gone were the days of using food for fuel. If my food wasn’t weighed out to the gram and if I didn’t prepare it myself, I refused to eat it. There were days that I had full-blown anxiety attacks because I couldn’t log something in MyFitnessPal.

“If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run.”

I began taking hours of my day to try to configure my food so I would hit my macros just perfectly. If I didn’t, another anxiety attack would ensue. To say I was obsessed is an understatement. I restricted myself with calories, types of foods, and situations. God forbid I would eat a cookie!

I felt like I was drowning, like I was just barely holding my head above water. Everything I had loved so much in the beginning—the healthy eating, the workouts, my body—now had complete control of my life. They were no longer positives. They had become negatives, weighing me down with each passing day. I knew I had to change. It was only a matter of time before I broke down completely.

That’s when I decided I wanted to find strength.

Letting Go

The first thing I had to change was my mindset. I had to let go of the unhealthy habits that were slowly suffocating me. My negative body image was, and still is to this day, the hardest thing to let go of. I found it much easier to allow for self-hate than to find self-love. Sadly, I think this is true for many people. But I had to let go.

I had to let go of having visible abs 24/7. I had to let go of desperately trying to maintain 12 percent body fat. I had to let go of the number on the scale. Most importantly, I had to let go of the idea that I would only be happy if I was lean. I wanted to be happy when I looked in the mirror, and I knew it wouldn’t come from a certain size. It had to come from letting go and loving myself no matter what.

“I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made.”

I still remind myself of where I started. That girl sitting on her ass eating ramen all day is 180 degrees from where I am today, and she always will be. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made. Whether I stay the size that I am now or gain or lose a few pounds, I love who I am. My worth is no longer based on what the scale says in the morning.

I don’t have “fat days” or “fluffy days” anymore, because quite frankly, I don’t care. I refuse to let something like three pounds of water destroy my day. I know now that I’m healthier than I ever was at 130 pounds. My hormones aren’t out of whack, I’m not moody or depressed, I don’t have random headaches, I’m not constantly fatigued, and I don’t feel weak.

Unfortunately, there’s a widespread belief that equates health to six-pack abs. This might be true for some people, but for the majority it’s not. I can lift more, sprint faster, and am healthier now than I ever was. There is beauty in strength. I don’t just say it, I know it.

Letting Go

I wanted my fire for exercise to burn like it did when I first started lifting, so I let go of the forced daily runs and extra HIIT sessions to “make up” for calories. I began to utilize conditioning work 1-2 times per week instead. I added back my short outdoor runs, but much more infrequently, and never because I felt pressure to burn a certain number of calories. I threw my heart monitor away.

I also discovered powerlifting. When I finally dropped the light-weight, high-rep stuff I was doing to stay thin, I started following Wendler’s 5-3-1 program and quickly fell in love. My strength skyrocketed, and when I decided I wanted to take my training to the next level, I signed with The Strength Guys. Now, the spark is back when I’m in the gym. I feel the fire again.

Squat

Strength Training Program

I follow an intense, block-periodization powerlifting program created by my coach, Jon Stewart. It’s high volume, tailored to correct my weaknesses, and uses movements and load intensities built for progression. I’m on six-week cycles of five-day splits. I have one day of light conditioning and one day of complete rest. Mobility is a vital component of my current program because my training pushes my body to its limits.

Each day and week I use different sets, reps, and weight with a specific rest time, exercise tempo, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to follow. Days one and three look on week three of my program.

  • Mobility TrainingMobility Training Mobility Training
    30-40 minutes

Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.

Pause Squats have the lifter descending to the bottom position of the squat and freezing. The bottom position is held for three seconds, maintaining tightness in the muscles and correct technique, before returning to the starting position.

Compensatory Acceleration Training (C.A.T.)

is lifting sub-maximal loads with maximum force. For more details check

elitefts.com

.

  • Mobility TrainingMobility Training Mobility Training
    30-40 minutes

Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.

Reset Deadlifts are performed the same as a standard deadlift, but the lifter will put the weight completely on the floor and reset their hip position between each rep.

Letting Go

The hardest physical aspect to change for me was my diet. I had developed such rigid views and habits around food that it was almost more of a struggle to let them go than it was to keep them. I packed away my food scale and deleted MyFitnessPal. I started incorporating foods that I hadn’t allowed myself to eat in years. I stopped restricting. I re-learned how to eat, not from a clock or scale, but from what my body was feeling.

At first I thought I would feel free without the calorie counting, stress, obsession, and anxiety, but I didn’t. I would take two steps forward and three steps back, wondering if I would ever be able to change. It took years to develop my disordered relationship with food, and I knew it wasn’t going to take a week to fix it. So, I trusted the process just as I always had, kept working at it, and didn’t give up.

Today, around 70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food that allows my body to perform at its optimal level. This includes things like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.

70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.

The other 20-30 percent of food I consume is made up of things that I crave, or that I just plain want—no explanation or condition necessary. There is no special time, day, or place for these foods. I allow myself the freedom to eat them when I want them. Some days I’m at a 50/50 split, some days it’s 100/0, but on most days I stay right around 80/20. It all balances out.

I don’t restrict, I listen to my body’s needs and wants, and most important, I consume everything mindfully and in moderation. Through all of the extremes, I’ve found balance to be the key component in my physical and mental health. It’s also been the key to my happiness.

Sample Day

I don’t have a meal plan to follow because the foods and amounts I eat change on a daily basis. I don’t weigh or measure anything, so all quantities below are estimated. I don’t know my caloric intake or macro breakdown, but I would guess I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200-2,700 calories per day. Here is what I ate yesterday:

Greek Chicken Wrap

Final Thoughts

Throughout my second transformation, I’ve found myself spending more time with friends and family. They couldn’t care less what I look like—my abs make no difference to them. As long as I’m healthy and happy, they’re happy too.

It’s funny because these are the people I pulled away from when I started my downhill slide into disordered eating and thinking. I sheltered myself from everything that wasn’t fitness related, even friends and family. But when I finally let go of the obsession and the stress, I felt free.

During this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.

The fitness community is full of extremes. We work out until we can’t move. We eat diets of tilapia and broccoli. It takes a strong individual to endure what we put ourselves through. But during this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.

I want to be somewhere between the overweight college girl and the underweight girl on stage, somewhere between the girl who ate pop-tarts for every meal and the girl who ate lettuce for every meal, somewhere between the girl who never stepped foot into the gym and the girl who wouldn’t leave it until she’d burned enough calories. This middle spot is where I’m happy and strong. It’s where I found my balance.

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Fitness 360: Karina Baymiller, Petite Powerhouse

Karina Baymiller may have had 6-pack abs, but she wasn’t happy. Learn how she let go of her obsession with image and built a healthier, happier, stronger body and mind!

Perfect Legs: Karina Baymiller’s High-Rep Plyometric Leg Workout

Leg day is so nice, you better do it twice! I go heavy on legs early in the week and then finish them off with this powerful plyometric workout.

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Karina found out through relentless experimentation that good things come to those who are patient. She tried every plan in the book and perfected her own formula!

Originally posted here –

Skinny To Strong: Karina Baymiller’s Complete Fitness Journey

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4 HIIT workouts to try now

4 HIIT workouts to try now So you want to be one of those super-fit (and perky) people? Set a goal and time frame and train using these HIIT workouts.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with active recovery sessions. These short, intense workouts burn high levels of calories and improve athletic capacity.

How: Try the following routine over two to four weeks and complete two times per week. Make sure you record whether you reached the program goal or not. 

a.Workout 1: Incline sprints (lvl 35)
30-second maximal output then drop incline and actively recover for 2 min x 5 sets

b. Workout 2: Incline sprints (lvl 35)
45-second maximal output then drop incline and actively recover for 2 min x 5 sets

c.Workout 3: incline sprints (lvl 35)
45-second maximal output, drop incline and actively recover for 1.5 min x 5 sets

d. Workout 4: Incline sprints (lvl 35)
45-second maximal output, drop the incline and actively recover for 1 min x 5 sets

Insider’s tip: Try this instead of long steady-state cardio sessions and watch your fitness levels soar!

 

 

 

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How to lose fat

Want to up your fat-burn potential? Try these top tips…


If you’re ready to get serious about fat loss, do yourself a favour and steer clear of fad diets and calorie restricting. Instead, try these super-easy tips and tricks to help you become the best version of you!

Refuelling hazard

Ever felt ravenous after a workout? Make sure you come prepared – bring a protein shake or healthy snack to consume post-workout. I’ll save you from making decisions that will hamper your results.

Ditch the boyfriend

Don’t panic – it’s only for the workout. Men usually burn more calories than women in the same workout due to being heavier, in addition to which Mother Nature acts to protect women’s role as child bearer, which means we maintain adequate body fat for nourishing healthy babies. Doing your partner’s workout, then, might end up with him shedding pounds but you only shedding tears. Go solo, girl!

Turn on the afterburners

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is the term given to the body’s attempts to recharge and restore itself immediately after a workout, a process that results in additional calorie burn. Research has shown that high-intensity interval training leads to greater EPOC than steady cardio workouts, so turn up the dial with alternate bouts of maximum effort and rest for serious results. Try the Tabata format – eight periods of 20 secs full-out work followed by 10 secs recovery.

Muscle up to slim down

Building lean muscle mass will speed up your metabolic rate and promote fat burn – so get strength training. Compound exercises that use bigger muscle groups will be most effective – like squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings.

Running on empty

Exercising in the morning before your first meal is a great way to shed fat. Research shows that fasting (which is essentially what happens overnight as we sleep) leads to increased adrenaline and reduced insulin levels, creating an environment that is more conductive to the breakdown of fat for energy. If you’re not used to this, though, ease yourself in and remember to stay hydrated.

Team tactics

When it comes to fitness, it’s easy to fall into a rut by doing the same workouts over and over – especially if you’re partial to studio classes. So give your fat-loss hopes a sporting chance by joining a football, hockey or tennis club. Not only will variation keep you motivated, these sports incorporate the need for repeated bursts of effort (interval training) that we know burns fat.

Up and down

Alternating your exercises between upper and lower body in a circuit format results in an extra calorie burn because your cardiovascular system has to work harder. Peripheral Heart Action training, as this is known, challenges the heart to keep pushing blood from one part of the body to another, in order to deliver oxygen to fuel the muscles. A routine like this also allows you to move straight from one exercise to the next, as muscle groups get a chance to rest, so you can get your workout done quicker.

Explode the fat

Also known as jump training, plyometric exercises involve stretching the muscles prior to explosively contracting them. Think burpees, box jumps and jumping lunges; all of which result in high calorie expenditure, making them a valuable weapon in your fat-loss armoury.

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How to get single-digit body fat, safely

While it’s unlikely most gym-goers will be wrapping themselves in bin bags and heading to the sauna, obtaining the coveted single-digit percent body fat has become a badge of honour. Previously reserved for bodybuilders, male models and the truly dedicated, men off the street are now using pre-competition fat loss logic for jaw-dropping abs. So what’s the answer? Can this extreme body be maintained in a safe, sustainable way?

(Related: The 5 workout mistakes you are probably making)

Well, yes it can. Providin it’s done safely. It’s also important to note that ‘living’ with such a low percentage of body fat isn’t always practical nor is it entirely safe. For example, some body fat is necessary for your body to function efficiently. The International Journal of Sports Psychology and Performance found male bodybuilders dropping fat for competitions also saw their testosterone levels tank. More worryingly, the subjects’ heart rates dropped to a meagre 27 BPM – a recipe for dizziness and cardiac arrest.

(Related: Is cardio necessary for single-digit body fat?)

man with muscle in gym

Easy hacks to lower your body fat

It’s inadvisable to become obsessed and allow your body fat to drop too far, but if you’re aiming for around 8%, it’s achievable with hard work, diet and exercise. Our expert PT Jason Patmore, gives his tips on dipping below double figures, with no dehydration needed.

Reduce your carb intake and eat more protein (oh, and fat doesn’t make you fat)

The latest nutritional guidelines have shown that fat is in and carbs are out for a while now, but many are stuck on the old staple that carbs are necessary before a gym sesh. Dead wrong if you’re gunning for single digits.

“People need to get it out of their heads that fat makes you fat,” says Patmore. “Carbohydrates release insulin, and when insulin levels are raised the body is actually prevented from using fat as fuel. The goal is to reduce your body to that state.”

(Related: 4 health benefits of a low carb diet)

Cutting body fat means training your body to use fat stores as fuel, something it won’t be doing while you’re burning through pre-workout pasta. Patmore recommends a high-protein breakfast without carbs before hitting to the gym, only using carbs after training to improve the protein synthesis process – this is the reason most protein shakes have a mix of both protein and carbohydrates.

(Related: Your most common protein shake mistakes)

Your session is going to suck because of the low energy reserves before your body adapts, but, if you’re set on that lonely number it’ll all be worth it to watch the fat melt away. Eating your carbs later in the day is more beneficial in a low-calorie diet, as the journal Obesity (Silver Spring) has shown that carbs in the evening reduce hunger pangs and improve weight loss.

(Related: Here are 5 easy ways to get more protein into your diet)

man with single digit body fat

You can’t target fat loss

One of the biggest body-fat myths around is that you can “spot reduce” fat by targeting certain body areas. For example, if you want six-pack abs, you’ll be able to target subcutaneous fat (belly fat) specifically for faster results. But Patmore knows better.

(Related: The best workout to lose weight)

“Can you spot reduce?” he asks incredulously. “Your body will pile on or lose fat, but spot reducing is a myth. Certain areas of your body are more likely to store fat, so general fat loss will equate to losing flab in certain areas more than others.” No targeting your double-chin, we’re afraid: push through the pain and watch it melt away with the rest of your body.

(Related: These are the best cereals for fat loss)

The best exercises that will burn fat

(Related: How to cut out 600 calories from your diet, safely)

Operating at a calorie deficit, carefully managing your carbs and harvesting fat-stores during workouts will begin to drag your body fat down below the decade. All that remains is to roll up your sleeves and get on with the workouts – and for this, Patmore recommends upper and lower-body supersets followed by a steady-state run.

(Related: The HIIT dumbbell workout)

3 sets of each of the following supersets, 15 reps of each with 2 mins rest between supersets, should kick your fat-loss journey into overdrive. We’ll see you on the cover of the mag next year.

Upper-body superset

 

Goblet squat

Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, clasping a kettlebell in each hand in front of your chest with palms facing each other.

(Related: How to perform the back squat effectively)

Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, keeping the kettlebells in the same position and ensuring you don’t round your back by tensing your glutes throughout. Drive back up and repeat.

Dumbbell shoulder press

Sit on the bench holding two dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip.

(Related: These are the 10 best dumbbell exercises for men)

Press the weights up above your head until your arms are fully extended. Return slowly to the start position.

Lower-body superset

Dumbbell bench press

Lie on a flat bench holding two dumbbells over your chest with an overhand grip.

(Related: 3 reasons you’re not benching bigger numbers)

Push up until your arms are straight, then lower under control.

Dumbbell split squat

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand facing away from the bench with one leg resting on it, laces down.

Squat down with your standing leg until the knee of your trailing leg almost touches the floor. Push up through your front foot to return to the start position.

(Related: How to get bigger legs without lifting weights)

Finisher

 

Steady state run

Run at 65% intensity for 5km.

Increase the effort by adjusting the treadmill to an incline

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How to get single-digit body fat, safely

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Grind To Grow: Try Your Squats And Presses With Kettlebells!


I’ll never forget the first time I squatted with a pair of 32-kg kettle bells on my chest.

It felt like an elephant was sitting on me. The pressure in my gut was immense, and I could barely breathe. Afterwards, my abs were almost immediately sore. I was shocked, because as a competitive weightlifter I could front squat, butt-to-ankles, more than 400 pounds. But these two 70-pound balls of iron made me feel like I was fighting for my life!

Click Here! For 5 Steps to looking 10 Years younger

I quickly learned that kettlebells are unjustly overlooked as strength equipment; they are often only favored as endurance tools for high-rep ballistic movements like swings and snatches. They’re equally adept and providing muscular overload on slow, heavy lifts like squats and presses.

Why? It’s simple: Your body knows that to get stronger, as well as to continue burning fat, it must adapt. Heavy kettlebells give it a challenge that is uniquely difficult to overcome. Because of their odd shape, kettlebells actually make the body do more work than traditional implements such as barbells and dumbbells. Sub them out even just for a couple of movements you already do, and you may be surprised at the benefits you receive.

The Toughest Squat You’ve Never Done

The reason the double-kettlebell front squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head. In this arrangement, the barbell becomes virtually one with the lifter, making it easier to move the external resistance. This allows you to move much more weight.

With a kettlebell, it’s almost the opposite. In the rack, the weight rests low, against the outside of the forearms, with the elbows pointed down rather than out. The bells try to pull your body forward and off-balance, which forces your entire midsection to reflexively contract in order to keep you from folding in half.

If you’ve been lifting—or just reading about lifting—for a few years, you’ve probably heard this same argument used as a reason to do barbell front squats rather than barbell back squats. But the truth is that the simple substitution of two kettlebells—or even just one—for a barbell means your midsection will take even more of a beating. And this has benefits beyond building core strength.

To start with, you’ll become a better squatter. Because the spine is protected due to the increased reflexive core activation from the rack, lifters can usually squat deeper with kettlebells than they would with a barbell. The difference here is one you’ll likely feel on your backside for days after the first time you try it, so consider yourself warned.

Kettlebell Exercises
Watch The Video – 0:44

Grind To Grow

The increased stability demands upon your core musculature during the front squat are also present in other slow kettlebell lifts—or “grinds,” as they’re often called. Look at the double kettlebell military press, for example: The increased demands placed upon your core mean your body has to work harder to stabilize your joints so your prime movers—the lats and delts, in the case of the press—can do their work.

The upshot, as with the front squat, is that you’ll need less weight to make all types of muscles work more efficiently—particularly the crucial stabilizer muscles around the shoulder and other joints. Efficiency, in this case, means they’ll do what they’re supposed to when they’re supposed to do it. To pick one painful example for many lifters, a strong rotator cuff stabilizes your shoulder joint so you can safely bench press. A weak or injured one, on the other hand, keeps you from benching heavy, or from doing it at all.

Double Kettlebell Military Press

I’m also of the opinion that one of the causes of what are commonly called workout “plateaus” are actually stabilizer muscles that are weak or don’t work properly. Faced with a heavy load that might damage the joint, your body intuitively protects itself by shutting down the nerve force to the bigger muscles—the prime movers—that traditionally do the work.

You may have heard similar logic used to tell you why you should train with free weights rather than with machines. Yes, it’s true: Core and joint stabilizer activation happen to a certain extent with any training tool, but both are more intense with a kettlebell, due to the increased muscular activation from the offset handle. Consider them the freest of free weights.

You Only Need One

“Resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other.”

Want to know what’s even tougher than a double-kettlebell grind? The same movement loaded unilaterally. Working one side of your body at a time, as with a single-kettlebell military press, requires your body to make all the muscles on the side opposite of the load—and especially the core musculature—contract to keep you from being pulled over sideways.

Another interesting result from training with a single-kettlebell is that you can even-out strength imbalances from side-to-side. Often, side-to-side imbalances are responsible for holding back your progress on traditional bilateral exercises like the barbell squat, deadlift, and military press. Many people find a single-kettlebell front squat to be much more challenging on the core than a double front squat. The same thing holds true for the military press.

If you find you have a strength imbalance, resist the urge to let your stronger side set the pace. Train both sides to be relatively even with each other, both in the number of reps and the amount of weight you put over your head. You may feel like you’re holding back at first, but don’t be surprised if your big barbell lifts get stronger as a result.

Grind to Burn

Strength is a worthy goal on its own, and it’s more than enough reason to try kettlebell squats and presses. But getting stronger is also essential for burning fat and getting leaner over the long term.

Think of it as a cycle. The increased muscle activation and range of motion you experience from doing deep, difficult squats and overhead presses demand that more muscles work harder than they would otherwise. When you work harder, you burn more calories. And since training the core, especially in an integrated manner while standing, makes the body stronger, you’ll be able to lift heavier and work even harder in the future—which burns even more calories. And so on …

The downside, if there is one, is that kettlebell grinds are known to leave bruises—on your ego. I think you’ll be just as surprised as I was at just how hard they make you work. But stick with them, and you’ll also be surprised by the fruits of your labor: A stronger midsection, a more powerful and defined body, and more strength you can put to good use.

Swing For The Fences: Kettlebell Training – Burn Fat And Build Muscles!

Make the kettlebell swing your 1-stop shop for increased muscle size, definition, fat loss, and the heart of a racehorse!

Kettlebell Explosion: Harness The Power Of The Kettlebell Swing

Don’t try to learn the kettlebell swing by watching it get butchered in your local gym. Use these drills to nail this powerful movement once and for all!

Meet The Squats: 7 Squat Variations You Should Be Doing

In the old days, there were two kinds of squats: ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Today, you can shop around between multiple versions of the movement. No more excuses. Get off the machines and give the squat a shot!

Contributing Writer

Click Here! for 5 Steps to looking 10 years younger

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Abs – the ultimate workout

If you’ve spent the last decade crunching to coax those elusive abs out from under your spare tyre, it’s time to listen up.

Crunches alone will not miraculously melt away your middle. (Here’s why you should get up now. Before it’s too late!)

Without a concurrent HIIT program to burn the blanket of body fat enshrouding your six pack, the fat will remain and, as the muscle beneath it develops, you may look bulkier.

The problem with crunches, apart from big questions about their role in vertebral degeneration, is that they focus almost exclusively on rectus abdominus (the exterior abdominal muscle).

If your goal is a strong, toned tummy you need to be optimising your workout time with exercises that blast your entire core, not just the outside. Contrary to common belief, the core is not a single muscle or organ, but comprises pelvic floor muscles, external obliques, internal obliques, rectus abdominus, multifidus, erector spinae and transverse abdominus (TVA). Got that?

Plus: Lower back carpet burn is not a good look.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) plus Isometric Abdominal Training (IAT)

Short, sharp, intense bursts of cardio rip the fat right off the top of your abs, while the strategic series of static muscle contractions in IAT will give you more precision than Michelangelo’s David.

HIIT can gel with your current training crush

Whether you run, cycle or rollerskate, you can step it up to ab-blasting level in just 15 minutes. Believe it. Instead of running at moderate pace for 45 minutes, sprint as fast as you can for a number of seconds, then wind back to a lower intensity for the remainder of the minute, and repeat until you hit the 15 minute mark. For beginners, try 10–15 seconds/60 seconds; intermediates can step up to 15–30/45–60 and advanced exercisers should aim for 30/30.

Uh-uh-uh, let us finish.

It’s totally worth doing the IAT bit. You can’t see it, but when you hold a plank or other isometric pose, muscle fibres are pulled from both ends of the contracting muscle – not just one section – meaning your body recruits more muscle fibres than if you were changing the joint angle. Think decline static holds, side bridge, plank and lying leg holds. Your abs will develop those fine lines you do want, and get stronger. Snap.

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Top butt-lifting exercises

The ultimate butt workout builds a perky butt that not only looks the biz in skinnies but is structurally sound to facilitate optimal biomechanical function (free and resilient movement to you and us). You had no idea how important your booty was, right?

Try: Barre  

The Barre class trend is sweeping the nation with the ballet-based workout becoming available at gyms and Pilates studios across the country. The classes aim to increase core strength, develop long, strong limbs and increase flexibility. If you don’t have access to a Barre class, you can channel some of the signature moves in your own workout.

How: You need to complete a range of butt-lifting exercises!
a.    Supine glute bridges – 20 reps with 20 small pulses at the top
b.    Single-leg glute bridges – 5 each leg (ensure hips are level)
c.    90-degree back extension – 10 reps (squeeze at the top)
d.    Cable kickbacks – 10 reps each leg

Try to contract your glutes throughout the entire exercise. Keep the movements small and controlled to focus on the constant tension.
Why: Most people have under-developed glute muscles and struggle to activate their glutes properly during exercises. This can result in not only a flat derriere, but also injuries, which is why glute isolation work is important.

INSIDER’S TIP: You should aim to do these 10 times per week if you really want to build a booty.

 

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4 foolproof fitness tips

Get the most out of your workouts with Sheena-Lauren’s summer workout tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming your best self.

1. Train first thing in the morning

“Wake up and work out before your brain figures out what is going on,” says Sheena-Lauren. You will be less likely to skip a workout than if you leave it to the end of a day. “There is less chance for ’things’ to pop up during the day, and often we have less energy at the end of a day, so we tend to dread a workout we could have conquered in the morning.”

2.  Eat well and fuel your body

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“When it comes to building lean muscle and tone and stripping fat, it’s important that you have the energy to undertake the intensity of cardio required and are giving your body adequate amounts of nutrients and protein to build muscle tone. “Don’t let all that hard work in the gym building tone and shape be undone because of poor nutrition choices,’’ Sheena-Lauren says. Prepare for success by shopping on Sunday and preparing Sheena-Lauren’s fit food recipes – there are more in her e-book, Eat like a Warrior Queen.

 

3. Make it a thing

When you’re the only one who knows about what you intend to do, it’s easy to pike when the going gets tired, busy, rainy or hungry for a chocolate éclair. By recruiting one or more friends for the challenge, you’ll not only be less likely to back out of a workout, you’ll experience the challenge in a way you wouldn’t if you did it solo. “Studies indicate that joining forces can increase fitness success dramatically,” Sheena-Lauren says. “Just remember to choose your workout buddy wisely. Ensure they share similar goals, are at a similar fitness level and are just as committed.”

4. Bliss out on recovery Sundays

Active recovery Sundays are not a nod to laziness. Training too much or failing to take time out for simple pleasures is as counterproductive as under-training. To maximise the benefits of active recovery Sundays, make sure you don’t let them slip by in a blur of chores. Consider it a KPI to do something good for your body – whether it’s a massage, a yoga class, a swim or beach walk.

Workout: Sheena-Lauren

Photography: Damien Bowerman

 

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The 7-minute workout

Sculpt in 7 Minutes!

Your best body in less than 10 minutes, you say? it can be done- Wahoo’s 7 Minute Workout app shows us how.

Whether you’e a full-time mum or busy office worker, we’re pretty sure a short and sweet workout  you can get done in under 10 minutes will sound appealing. Well good news, it can be done. If you’re prepared to go hard and give it your all, it is possible to have an effective workout in 7 minutes, and with Wahoo Fitness’ 7 Minute Workout, which combines aerobic and resistance training to work your heart as well as your mules, you don’t need to leave the house to make it happen. This high-intensity form of training is popular for a reason, but you need to work hard if you want to see results.

Try the workout here to reap serious rewards asap!

 

Perform each move for 30 seconds at a time with a 10 second rest in between each. Try to do as many as possible in 30 seconds. keep going for seven minutes in total.

Kit you’ll need: Chair/step

Squats, Areas trained: Bottom, Quads

Technique

Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your toes pointed slightly out.

Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and bend at the hips to lower until you are parallel with the floor.

Push back up to th orginial standing poisition and repeat.

Step-Ups {onto a chair), Areas trained: Bottom, Legs

Technique

Stand in front of the chair.

Step up onto the chair with one foot, followed by the other.

Pause and then step off with the opposite foot first.

Repeat, changing sdes with each rep.

 

Side Plank, Areas trained: Core, sides

Technique

Form a straight line with your body on its side, resting on one forearm with your feet stacked on top of each other.

Hold for 30 seconds.

 

High knees, Areas trained: Legs, Bottom, Core

Technique

Run on the spot lifting your knees as high as possible.

Swing your arms as if you were running normally.

 

Tricep Dips, Areas trained: Triceps

Technique

Sit on a chair with the heels of your hands on the edge.

Slide your bottom off the seat and support your weight with your hands.

Bend your elbows back and slowly lower your bum toward the floor while keeping your elbows tucked in.

Push back up to the start and repeat,

 

Lunge, Areas trained: Legs, Bottom

Technique

Stand with your shoulder back and relaxed, and your chin up.

Take a large stap forward with one foot.

Bend both knees to about 90-degree angle, with your back knee just about the floor.

Push back up to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite leg, alternating legs with each rep.

 

Jumping Jack, Areas trained: Bottom, Legs, Core

Technique

Start with your feet together and arms at your sides.

Slightly bend your knees and jump up in the air.

As you are jumping kick your legs out and bring your arms up and out to for a ‘star’ shape.

Land softly and repeat exercise.

 

Press-up Rotation, Areas trained: Chest, Triceps, Core, Sides

Technique

Starting in a plank poisition with your hands directly under your shoulders, bend your arms to lower your chest towards the ground.

Push back up to the start.

At the top, rotate your body into side-plank position with one arm on the ground and the other extending towards the celing.

Rotate back to plank position.

Repeat, this time rotating to the opposite side, continue to alternate with each rep.

 

The 7-minute workout

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Talla Amini – top of her class

My name is Talla Amini and I am a bikini and fitness model . I was born and raised in Naples , Florida . I grew up dancing in ballet and then started to play tennis and since then I always had that feel of wanting to be acting and spend my extra time being physical that would challenge me .

After a few years once I got into high school , I was the one out of the two woman that chose “bench press” class as we had a few options to choose from . I was the one out of two that loved it , and since then I fell in love with gaining strength . It was one hour devoted to chest press and leg press and I found it very motivating !

After high school I went to study education at the University of Washington to become a first grade teacher and receive my bachelors degree there. During this time of studying , I worked at at many gyms doing part time work .

From this experience , my motivation to get in shape increased rapidly , which later turned into me having the desire to compete !

In October of 2013, I did my first bikini competition which I placed in the top among 21 athletes which even made more excited to compete ! I then competed in other shows taking first at a few shows and staying in the top three .

In 2017, I took what I felt was my lowest placing at the Emerald Cup but since then I have been determined and driven to have my comeback in 2018 and the best that I can do.

Stats

Age: 30

Height: 5-5

Competition weight: 115 pounds

Instagram: 

Facebook

 

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