You are here
Home > Posts tagged "author" (Page 2)

Family And Fitness: How James Grage Combines The Two

When it comes to reasons for missing the gym, family often floats to the top of the list. Think for a moment about the conversations you’ve had with friends or co-workers about fitness. When trying to rationalize why they can’t find the time to train, and recounting all the commitments they have, family tends to play a key role. They might say they don’t want to take quality time away from their spouse or kids to focus on themselves, and that they can’t be that selfish. What they need to know is that focusing on fitness won’t hurt—and will likely even improve—connections with their loved ones.

Need proof? Look no further than James Grage, co-founder of BPI Sports. With a wife, two kids, and an ever-growing business, he can’t be as mono-focused on training as he was in his 20s, but that doesn’t mean he can’t train at all. They key is learning how to strike a balance between training, nutrition, fitness, and the rest of your life. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

“I see a lot of people who have similar obligations really struggle when it comes to finding a balance,” says Grage. “They feel like ultimately something suffers. But it doesn’t have to. Fitness isn’t just something we do in our house—it’s our way of life.”

Wanting to devote as much time as possible to your family is admirable, but don’t use it as an excuse to relish in your unhealthy ways. Commit to fitness, get your family involved, and lead by example. Not sure where to start? Follow these Grage-approved steps.

1 Reframe Your Mindset

Before you make any physical changes, you need to change your mindset. If you keep thinking your moves toward a healthier, fitness-focused lifestyle are a burden to your family, you’ll undoubtedly fall off the wagon. No one wants to better themselves at another’s expense—especially not at the expense of loved ones. Remind yourself that that’s not what you’re doing. You’re creating a healthy change for everyone. Get excited. Making healthy habits something fun that everyone can enjoy is crucial to the success and longevity of your new lifestyle. It’s not an obligation; it’s an opportunity.

“Making healthy habits something fun that everyone can enjoy is crucial to the success and longevity of your new lifestyle.”

2 Make Meal Prep Fun

Meal prep doesn’t have to mean hours slaving over a stove and filling up Tupperware by your lonesome. Make meal prep a family affair, and get everyone involved. When you cook meals at home, explain the importance of a balanced diet to your children.

Make sure you have as many healthy options as possible available on hand, and limit the sugary cereals and candy bars that might line your pantry and fridge—for example, trade in those brownie bites for pre-cut celery and peanut butter or air-popped popcorn. This will help you realize that clean eating is a lifestyle choice, not a short-term sacrifice. “My wife and I don’t diet,” says Grage. “That’s just a horrible word that sets people up for failure and makes all of your life-long changes sound like a short-term remedy. Instead, we just eat healthy and take care of ourselves.”

“Make meal prep a family affair, and get everyone involved.”

Even when he’s really dialing in is nutrition for a shoot, James doesn’t resort to dieting. Instead, he just thinks of it as another stage of discipline in his eating. This way, he avoids the all-too-common yo-yo dieting. “Year round I eat well, and even at 40 I’m always no more than 4 weeks out from photo-shoot shape,” Grage explains. “When I’m done with the shoot, I don’t ‘fall off a cliff’ with my program—I just go back to my maintenance plan.”

What helps him maintain his lifestyle? Family support. “The great thing about it is my whole family eats this way,” he says. “My meals don’t isolate me—they bring us all together. This way, I’m also teaching my kids healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. That’s when habits start, when you’re young.”

3 Exercise Together

While you don’t want your children positioning themselves under the squat rack or hanging around the heavy weights, it’s still possible to teach them about the importance of exercise on a regular basis. Grage always finds ways to include the most important people in his life in what he feels is the most important part of his day: his training time.

In addition to being a way to blow off stress and reinvigorate your body, exercise can be a powerful bond between you and your children. It is for James. “My 7-year-old son loves doing jumping jacks and push-ups with me,” he says. “I’ve never forced it on him. He wants to do it because in our house we make fitness fun. That’s the key to making anybody want to do anything. Make it enjoyable.”

“In addition to being a way to blow off stress and reinvigorate your body, exercise can be a powerful bond between you and your children.”

Not sure how to get your children involved? Follow these tips to get them tuned in at any age:

Pre-school: Nothing’s more motivating than your tot cheering you on. Young children can serve as motivational coaches whether you’re pushing them in their stroller around the track, or they’re stretching alongside you during your post-workout cool-down. Don’t be afraid to teach them basic bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, bodyweight squats. Take advantage of any daycare services your gym offers and talk to your little ones about why it’s so important for mom and dad to be in shape. They’ll feel more involved and excited to be a part of your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Elementary School: Once your children are a bit older, they’ll be able to take on an even more active role in your fitness journey. Have them run with you for a few minutes or perform a few basic exercises or—if they’re bitten by the fitness bug—consider running sprints. End the day with stretching, deep breathing, and maybe a walk for a few minutes to cool down. Your encouragement and example might even pique their interest in team sports where they’ll learn about fitness, commitment, and sportsmanship.

Middle and High School: If your children are a bit older, consider taking them to the gym with you. Different gyms have different policies, but many allow teenagers to attend if accompanied by a parent. This is an opportunity to work one-on-one with your child and teach them a bit on proper form, setting goals, and possibly incorporating their training into helping them perform better at team sports. Consider setting up a rewards program to help them reach certain goals. The benefits could be greater than you realize—even positively affecting their schoolwork. According to a report by The Institute of Medicine, children who are more active have greater attention span and perform better on standardized testing than their less-active peers.

Perhaps more importantly, these changes will stick with them later on down the road. “My kids may or may not continue a health and fitness lifestyle when they’re older, but they’ll know the difference between good and bad lifestyle choices,” says James. “From there they can choose, but I believe it’ll be an easy choice for them. They don’t feel like they are missing out or deprived. As a family, we still have our indulgences. We’ll go get ice cream on the weekend or order the occasional pizza.

“At the end of the day, when it comes to getting my family excited to go do something physical, I never have to twist their arm or bribe them. They are always ready to do it. That’s the environment that my wife and I have created.”


Recommended For You

Scrawny To Brawny: 5 Steps To Big Gains

Hardgainer hell is no place for any serious lifter. Pack some quality mass on your skinny frame with these 5 get-big steps!

ASK THE MASTER MOTIVATOR: HOW CAN I MOTIVATE MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER TO WORK OUT?

All too often, life partners don’t commit to being gym buddies. It doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how to motivate your spouse to spot you in life and in the gym.

ASK THE MASTER MOTIVATOR: HOW CAN I STAY PUMPED FOR A LATE-NIGHT WORKOUT?

With all the things that come up in a day, evening workouts can sometimes get lost in the mix. Learn how to stay on track and push through any workout, no matter the time of day.

About The Author

Bodybuilding is the reason I am who I am today. I am more confident in myself, actually looking for the next challenge, and inspiring others.

New Ways To Build Bodyweight Strength!

Over the last few months I’ve been getting more emails than ever, but often the same questions keep coming up. And for every person who writes to me, there are probably 20 more thinking the same thing but just not bothering to type out a message.

That’s a big part of why I love to publicly answer questions I get from my readers! In this edition of Ask Al, I discuss everything from how to get better at pull-ups, to how to use speed to your advantage, to why I’m such a big sellout.

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have a question about how to keep growing and progressing in the difficult world of bodyweight training!

QI’ve been training pull-ups for almost a year now. When I first started I went from 2 pull-ups to 10 in only a few months. I’ve been stuck at 12 reps for the last two months. What should I do?

What you’re experiencing is common. It’s simply a matter of diminishing returns; the better you get at anything, the harder it gets to continue progressing. Be prepared to put in the time and effort if you want to take your pull-ups to the next level. It might feel like you’ve been at it a while, but in the grand scheme of things a year is not a very long time. Having said that, here are a few methods you can experiment with to hopefully increase your reps:

Pull-up supersets

Try doing a set of Australian pull-ups immediately after a set of standard pull-ups. Take a long break, then repeat the superset again. It’s a great way to keep working your pulling muscles beyond failure once you can no longer perform any more pull-ups. You can do this 3-4 times in a single workout, but make sure you give yourself a few days rest afterward.

The rest-pause method

After a brief warm-up, do as many pull-ups as you can, and then continuing to hang on the bar for a few seconds. After you catch your breath, try to do one more, then one more, and then maybe even one more. You might be surprised at how many extra reps you can squeeze out this way, and you will get an amazing forearm pump from all the extra hanging!

Pyramid sets

Start with one pull-up, then come off the bar and take a short break. Next, perform two pull-ups, then after another break, do three. Continue this pattern until you reach the point where you can no longer add another rep. Then start working your way back down.

QI work a job where I spend several hours a day loading boxes and moving things. I want to start training calisthenics, but I’m worried about overdoing it. What do you recommend?

Well the good news is you’ve probably built a decent base of strength already just by being active on a regular basis, but it’s great that you want to do more. I recommend starting with just one or two days each week of bodyweight work to give your body time to adapt. Try doing your workouts on days where you don’t have to work, so your muscles have recovery time. Ideally if you have two consecutive days off, do your workout on the first day and then take a rest day the next day.

Since you’ll only be able to train a couple of times per week, full-body workouts are going to be the best way to go. You might eventually build enough strength and stamina that you can add in more days of training and possibly train calisthenics on the same days that you have work, but you will see how that goes as you progress. Be patient, respect your body, and give yourself recovery time when you need it.

QI read somewhere that it’s best to exercise slowly when practicing calisthenics for strength, but I see most people cranking out their push-ups as fast as possible. Which is the right way?

Though some coaches insist on slow, deliberate reps for strength training, I believe that there’s room for variety when it comes to rep tempo. Super-slow training can definitely help build control and stability, especially when you’re working through the sticking point on certain difficult exercises, but it’s not the only way to approach your training.

For example, explosive movements like jump squats and clapping push-ups are better for building power. In my opinion, it’s good to practice your exercises at different tempos. Once you’ve honed a move, you should be able to control it and make it graceful at any speed.

QI read an article you wrote that basically said training certifications are a bunch of crap. It seems a bit hypocritical to now offer your own cert with the PCC. I mean, really, a certification in bodyweight training?

I’m flattered you’ve been following me closely enough to have read those earlier writings. You actually remind me a lot of myself—I’m always questioning everything! I bet we have a lot in common. And you’re right, there are a lot of crappy PT certs out there. That’s part of why I wanted to do the Progressive Calisthenics Certification. Though it may seem unnecessary to you, with the current popularity of calisthenics training, the demand for a bodyweight strength certification was undeniable. It was going to happen eventually with or without me, so I figured, who better than me to teach it?

Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” By leading my own certification, I can personally make sure that quality knowledge is bestowed and high standards are upheld. PCC has a physical test to establish a baseline of competency in performing the fundamental exercises, something that is lacking in almost every mainstream fitness certification. It’s scary that there are personal trainers out there incapable of doing proper pull-ups or even bodyweight squats, and who got certified simply by memorizing and regurgitating information. That’s why a theoretical understanding of exercise will never be enough to pass the PCC!

I’ll still be the first one to tell you, however, that just having a certification—even the PCC—doesn’t mean that you are going to be a successful trainer. I can help point people in the right direction, but it’s up to each individual to take the journey for themselves. In fitness and in life, we’re all personally responsible for our own success or failure.


Recommended For You

STRETCHING FOR STRENGTH

Reports of stretching’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. In this excerpt from Al Kavadlo’s new book, the bodyweight training chief helps you build an effective, personalized practice!

BODYWEIGHT BUST! FOUR BODYWEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS DEBUNKED

Don’t believe that high-level calisthenics are only for athletes who look a certain way. Everyone can benefit from the unique challenges that come with bodyweight training!

ONE-ARM PUSH YOURSELF!

Sometimes the toughest strength moves don’t involve any iron at all. Heed the call of the one-arm push-up and discover how tough progressive calisthenics can be!

About The Author

Al Kavadlo, CSCS is one of the world’s leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics.

Your Perfect Body: Visualize, Then Actualize!

What motivates you during a workout? Not before—not “Oh, my god, I’m so excited to go to the gym right now.” I’m talking about when you’re standing just outside of the power rack. You’re about to get under a bar stacked with 45s that could staple you to the ground in less than a second. What do you think of?

Suddenly all the rules change. That little scare your doctor gave you about what could happen if you don’t exercise isn’t enough to make it happen. It’s no match for the big scare of being crushed by hundreds of pounds if you don’t crush it first. You need something more powerful and direct to turn your flame into a raging fire.

Look at a video of pretty much any record-setting squat or bench press, and you’ll see the lifter camping out for at least 15 seconds or so, and sometimes far longer, as they prepare themselves to make this transformation. And that’s in an ideal scenario, with a crowd watching and urging them on, and a long-awaited triumph in their crosshairs.

In training it’s different. No one is watching, except for maybe a slightly nervous spotter or workout partner. It’s all on you. And if you want to make it through this set and eventually lift something even heavier, you’ll need more than just good form and a good pre-workout to make it happen.

The Image of Strength

Arnold famously saw his biceps as mountains, and pictured himself lifting tremendous amounts of weight with those “superhuman masses of muscle.” But what often gets overlooked in that anecdote is why he favored this type of image. As he told “Muscle Builder” magazine back in the day, it was all about losing himself.

“When you think of biceps as merely a muscle, you subconsciously have a limit in your mind. When you limit yourself to that, it is very hard to get there, and nearly impossible to go beyond,” Arnold said. “But when you think about a mountain there is no mental limit to biceps growth, and then you have a chance of going beyond normal mental barriers.”

If you want to make it through this set and eventually lift something even heavier, you’ll need more than just good form and a good pre-workout to make it happen.

I’ve been in this position many, many times over the course of my training career, and I’ve learned what puts me in the max-strength headspace. Mountains aren’t enough for me; I need to go animal! There are a few scenarios that I envision, but here’s a classic one.

I’m not a fan of house cats—in fact, I’m allergic to them—but I admire big cats, and especially lions. A male lion in his prime embodies strength, power, and aggression. And just as important, we’ve all seen enough images of lions in our lives to be able to recall one vividly on a moment’s notice.

When I walk toward the power rack, I see the lionesses move aside. I get under the bar, look the water buffalo straight in the eye, and then we go to war! Nine times out of 10, the pride gets fed, but sometimes that damn buffalo gores me. When that happens, I step back and tell myself I’ll get him next time. And I mean it.

Are animals not your thing? Make it more personal. Imagine a situation where everything you hold dear is on the line. Picture someone holding a gun to your head, or worse, to the head of someone you love. You don’t have a choice; you simply must pump out those extra reps in order for this nightmare to end.

After the set, picture yourself kicking the crap out of that guy. I promise you, if you let yourself go to dark places like this, you will be rewarded for your efforts.

You don’t have a choice; you simply must pump out those extra reps in order for this nightmare to end.

Get Big On the Big Screen

Intense visualization isn’t for everyone. And even the most imaginative of us need to mix things up, so we don’t get too far out there. Enter videos.

Last March, Bodybuilding.com held an NCAA-style bracket tournament of the best and most motivating training montages. It ended up being Rocky films versus Rocky films all the way through. Everyone has their favorite, but “Rocky IV” ended up with the crown.

Over the last 29 years, countless strong people have channeled these six minutes to find new levels of strength and unbridled intensity.

Rocky IV Training Montage
Watch The Video – 06:27

If you’re partial to fight imagery, like I am, something more brutal might be necessary before you head out to the weight room. I love the scene from “Immortals” where Theseus leads his army into battle and runs full speed at the enemy. This one’s good if you have a lot of reps ahead of you:

Epic Battles from Immortals
Watch The Video – 03:43

A max-strength day? The first fight scene in Troy is great before a big weight. A terrifying opponent falls, and there’s never a doubt who will prevail.

Troy: Achilles vs Boagrius
Watch The Video – 02:03

The New Classics of Motivation

Part of Rocky’s charm, of course, is that when the movie came out, he stood alone. To paraphrase an old country song, he was motivation before motivation was cool, before “fitspiration” was a thing. Today, countless online videos are made specifically to help you—or at least the person in the video—train harder.

Looking for an extra inch on your arms? Then command your biceps to grow like YouTube sensation CT Fletcher does.

I Command you to Grow!
Watch The Video – 07:19

Had it up to here with haters? Then dedicate your workout to them, like Kali Muscle does. If it can help a man move 275 pounds with just his arms, it must be powerful stuff!

Kali Muscle 275-lb. Barbell Curls
Watch The Video – 01:17

Everyone has their own trigger; the trick is finding it. What makes a heavy weight turn into a light one for you? Is it a classic like “Pumping Iron,” one of Ronnie Coleman’s old school videos, or are you “Driven Beyond Strength” with DeFranco?

Are you one of those rare ones who can get motivated by something as simple as a big number or the goal of looking swole for an upcoming event? Let us know in the comments!

Recommended For You

Time To Grow: Manipulate Time Under Tension, Rest, And Load For Gains!

If you think you have to lift heavy and rest light to grow, you only heard half the story. Use these science-backed recovery and time-under-tension tips to build muscle!

Sit Down To Grow: The 4-Minute Calf Workout

If your calves are struggling to grow, it’s time to train beyond the muscles you can see. Hit this often-forgotten muscle group and start growing from within!

Know When To Hold It: How To Breathe While Lifting

Maintaining proper form can mean juggling a lot of thoughts. Don’t complicate it further by obsessing over breathing patterns.


About The Author

John Paul Catanzaro is one of Canada’s leading health and fitness authorities. He is a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist.

Strong-Arm Tactics: James Grage's Superset Arms Workout

Life isn’t always fair. Losing 50 pounds of hard-earned muscle and living with chronic pain isn’t fair, but fair is just another four-letter word that starts with “f.” I didn’t choose to be critically injured, but I don’t use my injury as an excuse. Your life and your body are what you make of them. Today, we’re going to make a pair of badass arms.

This workout, like any other, is more mental than physical. Training is about your ability to tune in to your body, focus on each and every single rep, and make every one count. That’s where growth occurs. When you’re uncomfortable, and it hurts, you force your body to adapt. Believe me, this workout will force your biceps and triceps to adapt.

Strong Arms Workout: Overview
Watch The Video – 12:17

Strong Arms Tactics

This workout is built on two supersets and one giant set. Each superset begins with a biceps curl and finishes with a triceps extension. The final combo is a giant set finishing with back-to-back triceps exercises.

I don’t really like to rest; I like momentum. When I do these supersets, the intensity is high and my heart rate is elevated. I want to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. Too many times I see people go to the gym and just check sets off their lists. Make sure you train with focus and intensity. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you hit a wall, rest-pause, shake it out, and get right in your head again.

This workout starts with a short cardio warm-up. It lasts just long enough to get some blood flowing and get you mentally ready for the work ahead. I take this time to visualize the upcoming exercises.

“Each superset begins with a biceps curl and finishes with a triceps extension.”

I then warm up with chin-ups to prime my biceps and push-ups to prepare my triceps. I don’t do them to fatigue—just enough to stimulate the muscle. In between the push-ups and pull-ups, I do some light stretching.

Don’t take your warm-up lightly. Injury is no joke, unless you want to take a couple months off from training. There’s no need to jump in too fast, because trust me, we’re going to kill the workout.

Strong Arms Workout



Recommended For You

FATE, FITNESS, AND FORTITUDE

BPI Sports co-founder James Grage survived a devastating car crash and rebuilt a competition-worthy physique against all odds. This is his story.

DEFINE YOUR OWN DESTINY

He asked for a Jack LaLanne weight set at age 15, stepped on stage at 25, and built himself back up after a devastating car accident that very same year. At age 39, James Grage refuses to slow down.

ASK THE MASTER MOTIVATOR: “HOW CAN I MOTIVATE MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER TO WORK OUT?”

All too often, life partners don’t commit to being gym buddies. It doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how to motivate your spouse to spot you in life and in the gym.

About The Author

Check out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.

6 Reasons To Shape Up For Summer

Quick, do a digit check. Are all your fingers and toes accounted for, or have a few succumbed to the cold? I can tell you that this has been a brutally chilly winter for most of the upper Midwest, and my region isn’t alone. Records have been shattered all across the United States for cold, ice cover, and snow totals. Right now it seems impossible to imagine warmer days.

But, make no mistake, summer is coming. Soon it will be time to crawl out of our cozy hibernation nests, peel off the polar fleece we’ve been donning like battle gear, and reveal our pasty, dry skin to the warm basking glow of a spring sun. Finally, Vitamin D in its glorious, non-supplement form! You can almost feel it.

So what’s your game plan? Hot chocolate and blankets are just what the doctor ordered for frigid nights, but if you’ve gotten used to skipping the gym and hoarding comfort food, it’s time to change things up. Reignite your fire for fitness and get your head back in the game.

Here are a few reminders about why you should get going with your training and diet again. After all, spring and summer are going to be here in the blink of an eye.

1 Wedding Season’s Upon Us

June is a major month of note. Not only does it signal the first day of summer, Father’s Day, and the oh-so-notable Flag Day, but it’s also the most popular month for weddings. If you’re among those getting laced up in white, hitting a training program now will help you head down the aisle with extra confidence and, depending on your goals, an extra layer of lean muscle.

“Try a new lifting routine or kick up your cardio with high intensity interval training on a Stairmill.”

Use that save-the-date stuck to your fridge to inspire you to push forward, even if your new fit body is not for your own wedding. Try a new lifting routine or kick up your cardio with high intensity interval training on a Stairmill. Start with one minute at level 8, or 30-45 seconds at level 10, followed by brief rest periods for a total of 20 minutes. Shock your system into growth by trying German Volume Training (GVT), which pushes you to do 10 sets of 10 reps on one exercise. The more you ramp up your training routine now, the faster you’ll see results.

2 Smaller Clothes Are Coming

“Picture yourself running in shorts and a tank top. How does that make you feel?”

I promise I’m not poking fun at your winter weight. With warm weather around the corner, it’s just a matter of time until layers start coming off. Whether you’re ready for it or not, the time for that teeny-weenie bikini is fast approaching.

As you look out your window at the snow-covered ground, sunbathing on the beach might sound like a far-off dream. So take a step back. Picture yourself running in shorts and a tank top. How does that make you feel? Awesome, or anxious? If you’re not feeling great, remember that winter is the perfect time to get in gear. You might be more apt to don a cute new sports bra or running shorts when you’re feeling fit. Be the first one in your town to hit the ground running and looking mid-summer awesome when it’s only April.

Set a concrete goal. Sign up for a local event, 5K, 10K, or an obstacle race. Start training for strength and endurance now. Alternatively, have you ever thought about competing in a physique competition? Start taking a peek at local and regional competitions that are happening this year. Competitions that are 16 or 20 weeks out will give you a hard deadline while putting extra training gas in your tank.

If you’ve never felt comfortable wearing shorts, work hard so that this is the year to feel great in them. If you’re self-conscious about your skinny arms, make this the year of the muscle shirt. Plan jogs outside or go rollerblading for the first time in years. Grab some friends to set a pace for yourself and make it a cardio get-together. The more positive people you have around you to cheer you on, the more successful you’ll be.

2014 should be your year to shine, not cover up!

3 Spring Break Is Upon Us

Got a winter getaway trip planned? Time to get your butt in gear! You don’t want to have to worry about the pounds you’ve packed on while you pack luggage. If you’re planning on site-seeing, start now with 30-minute walks on the treadmill and tinker with the incline to mimic being outside. If you’re planning on snorkeling, get in the pool at your gym three days each week and push yourself for a calorie-burning, lap-swimming workout. Changing your cardio workout styles can not only lean you out, it can also prepare you for the vacation activities you’ve spent so much time saving up for. Don’t let it go to waste, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

“Get in the pool at your gym three days each week and push yourself for a calorie-burning, lap-swimming workout.”

4 Spring Is The Season Of Love

Are you single? Why not utilize your time now to find your best and most confident version of yourself? Nothing is more attractive than someone who is strong, confident, disciplined, and goal-oriented. Put your best foot forward by buckling down on your training and diet routine. Already got someone special? Plan couples workouts and get to the gym together. Not only can you push each other, you can get in and out of the gym in a blink by supersetting exercises. One person can do sets of squats while the other person does kettlebell swings, then you can switch. Low-rest, high-intensity workouts will strengthen your bodies and the health of your relationship.

5 Your Friends Need You

Many people have already fallen off the wagon for their 2014 goals in your life. Why not give them a boost by leading the way?

Working in groups or having someone to keep you accountable for your goals often creates a solid emotional boost to the recommitment of goals. Be the catalyst in the lives of people around you by electrifying your social group with your enthusiasm to get back on the wagon.

“Working in groups or having someone to keep you accountable for your goals often creates a solid emotional boost to the recommitment of goals.”

Try a hip-hop dance class with your friends if you’ve always been curious. Find a training program online, or hire a trainer to bring you through a group workout. Set up a circuit routine the gets everyone involved—think biceps curls, planks, step-ups, and Swiss ball hamstring curls. Follow it with 5-10 minutes of hard incline cardio. If you’re a competitor, get together with a friend who shares your passion, and increase accountability by practicing posing and stage routines.

6 You Owe It To Yourself

Yes, winter can be brutal and can make the idea of training debilitating. When it’s 0-15 degrees outside, you don’t care much to venture outside the house. I get it. I live in Minnesota, where 2014 brought 44 nights below zero already, twice as many as we normally get in a year! Even so, you owe it to yourself to follow through on the goals you set—no matter the weather.

Give yourself the power and momentum to push forward and start your spring and summer seasons with the body and health you’ve always dreamed of having. Find inspirational members on BodySpace and ask them questions about how they got to where they are. Go to a big fitness expo or competition and talk to the people in the world of fitness. How do they keep their own fire aflame?

Follow your favorite athletes through social media and read inspirational books like “You Are a Badass,” by Jen Sincero, which is one of my personal favorites. Education and inspiration are crucial to your success. The motivation to keep going is available everywhere when you look for it and are open to it.

You’re just as worthy of your efforts now as you ever were. 2014 has barely started. It’s way too soon to give up on yourself. Start now or start again and make it the best year of your life!


Recommended For You

5 STEPS TO OVERCOMING FEAR

Fear is a normal emotion, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. In fact, it can fuel your goals. Take the reins and use fear as motivation.

6 MOTIVATION JUMP-STARTS

It’s easy for motivation to ebb and flow, and even hit an all-time low. Skip the mea culpas and learn how to max out on motivation.

4 SOCIAL MEDIA SANITY SAFEGUARDS

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Resist the urge to let online personas define your real life worth.

About The Author

Abby has experienced a variety of events that led her to embrace an underdog role. She hopes to offer a different perspective on health and fitness.

Fitness 360: Samantha Ann Leete, Nutrition Program

Samantha’s nutrition program is simple and effective. It’s also full of food that actually tastes good! Just like she programs her workouts, Samantha programs her nutrition so the macros aren’t always the same. Her meal plan goes hand-in-hand with her goals. Whether she’s trying to lean down for a competition or build some muscle in the off-season, she knows the right combination of food to help her reach her best self. Here’s her plan!

Samantha Ann Leete Fitness 360
Watch The Video – 13:58

Nutrition For Life

Samantha’s nutrition plan consists of clean food that makes her mind and body feel good and complements the huge amount of effort she puts in to her exercise regimen.”They say you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. I think that’s totally true,” she says. “Nutrition transforms how you feel, how you perform in the gym, and how you look.” To Samantha, nutrition is not only vital to her success as a bikini competitor, but also to her general health and well-being.

“I believe in balance,” she says. “I don’t think you need to go to any extremes to reach your goals.” Samantha practices what she preaches. She eats smaller-portioned clean meals every 2-3 hours. She prepares her food for the week so she doesn’t have to worry about how much to eat or when, and has a solid macronutrient profile for fat loss and muscle-building.

“Eating food that you enjoy will help you stick to your nutrition plan you’re on for a long time.”

“Having a healthy relationship with food is important to me,” says Samantha. Sometimes, it’s too easy to have negative associations with food, particularly if that food is considered “bad for you.” Samantha maintains that she never wants to feel bad about the food she eats. “Sharing a delicious meal with a loved one, trying new foods, and liking taste with the emotion of an exciting event are all really positive things about food. I don’t want to miss out on any of those.”

Samantha has two great pieces of advice for anyone wanting to live a healthier life: Enjoy the food you eat and create a nutrition plan based around your goals. Eating food that you enjoy will help you stick to your nutrition plan you’re on for a long time. If you hate every meal that you eat, you won’t be able to eat them for long.

“I believe in making small changes and replacing old habits with new habits that will help you perform and feel better,” says Samantha. “Moderation is key!”

Samantha’s Meal Plan

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 290 Fat: 2.2 g Carbs: 44 g Protein: 24 g

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 210 Fat: 1.9 g Carbs: 19.6 g Protein: 25 g

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 333 Fat: 4.5 g Carbs: 29.2 g Protein: 35.9 g

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 240 Fat: 13.8 g Carbs: 8 g Protein: 22 g

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 393 Fat: 19.4 g Carbs: 24.8 g Protein: 29.8 g

Directions
  1. Mix all ingredients.
  2. Spray coffee mug with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Pour ingredients into mug and cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Place in microwave 30-60 sec and top with peanut butter.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 308 Fat: 11.3 g Carbs: 15.6 g Protein: 36.4 g


Recommended For You

ROOM TO GROW

Brandan Fokken doesn’t just practice being fit for a few months out of the year. He’s dedicated his entire life to fitness and is now reaping enormous benefits. Read his inspiring story!

FITTER FASTER

Sara’s once all-consuming fitness program left her running ragged and almost killed her enthusiasm for exercise. Learn how she revamped her routine and found a healthy medium.

HARD CORPS MUSCLE

Carl Roberts won our 2012 Military Transformation Challenge, and now he is a personal trainer, helping to propel his clients forward with their fitness.

About The Author

Cassie Smith is a writer/editor for Bodybuilding.com and former professor & college athlete. Find out more about her right here.

Top
Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

%d bloggers like this: