Love Your Legs: All About That Bass
More than losing weight or being a specific size, several clients have shared with me that they just want to feel confident enough to wear those jeans or that dress. Well great legs are certainly within everyone's ability to attain, and you don't even have to sit on those ridiculous machines working your legs in and out for 1000 reps at a time.
Whether you're trying to lose weight or become a stronger athlete, to do either you have to move your legs more. And to move your legs more, there are certain exercises that everyone should do to tone, strengthen, and most importantly, decrease risk of injuries that often occur with a sudden increase of activity.
If you want to skip all the nerdy Personal Trainer Speak, skip below to the video to see my entire butt workout. But if you have a specific issue that may be butt-related, read on to see how adding these exercises to your routine will help you!
Love Your Butt!
Your derriere is not just for balancing a glass of champagne - it is a collection of muscles that work together to help the rest of the leg move to propel you forward and up. Any movement that requires hip extension, that is to move the legs from a bent to a straight position, requires the engagement of several muscles that hang out back there.
To strengthen and shape, a combination of resistance exercises that target the biggest muscle, the gluteus maximus, and the smaller underlying gluteus medius can help the butt maintain that rounder, lifted look. But here's the thing: no two bodies, and therefor, no two butts are the same. Muscle size does not dictate strength so not everyone's muscles will look the same, even if they can perform exactly the same way. Still, doing these moves will definitely help prevent that dreaded "pancake butt" that no one wants to have!
The first page of a fresh calendar year is symbolic of so many things in life. There are 365 blank squares before us, waiting to be filled. And before the pages get cluttered with school events and doctor's appointments, we have an opportunity to schedule something for ourselves first!
Our resolutions may be big or small, vague or deeply personal, but they all share one common fault: Without commitment and accountability they are just empty wishes, vanishing into the air. How are some people so successful in achieving their goals, while others never make it beyond posting their resolutions to Facebook?
I am not anti-resolution, but for some time I have taken up an issue with the inflated importance placed on the changes we wish to make... just once a year. In reality, it's winter, it's cold, and we are under the same time constraints with the same limited hours of daylight on January 2nd as we had on December 21st. It's easy to make really big plans for ourselves in the midst of winter break. But then we're thrown back into the mix, probably still feeling the effects of New Year's Eve, and wondering, "Wait, so just how am I going to do this?"
So while there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a New Year's Resolution, I want to help you re-think how you approach your goals. Because it's not enough to just say "I want to _____ in 2015," you need a plan with concrete steps to follow and complete at pre-determined intervals. It is the same approach I encourage clients to take when beginning or making a change to their workout routines, and can be implemented any time of year.
First came "The Baby Food" diet. Then, just "The Baby Diet". Both of these diets are rooted in one basic principle: The time and care we take to make sure our children eat balanced, nutritious meals needs to be spent on our own plates as well!
But if images of dull pureed lumps of vegetables make you turn as green as your child's peas, then fear not. Even if you have children that are still enjoying their meals from a food processor or a jar, you can feed everyone the same foods, just prepared in slightly different ways.
My "Whole Family" Diet is based on the idea that the family needs to eat together at least a few times a week, with the same foods on everyone's plate. When we take as much care to feed ourselves the same foods as our children, we eat healthier and take in more nutrients. When our children see that their plates are the same as ours, they are more likely to grow up with a more developed pallet and an appreciation for good foods, especially when they reach the age where they can help in the kitchen and take ownership of the food they prepare.
Bonus: All of these meals can be prepared in about 30 minutes!
My Top Five Holiday Survival Tips
It's that time of year again! We're running around trying to get everything done between work deadlines, holiday parties, and traveling to see everyone before the year is over. It feels like everywhere we turn there is another batch of cookies to bake or begging to be consumed. And no matter how deep a clean the house just received, it's mere minutes before it looks like it's been stampeded through by a herd of muddy elephants.
Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be OK.
I want to offer you my tried and true Holiday Survival Guide. Because even though I am a fitness professional, I too struggle to find even minutes to exercise some days. But here's the thing; even if I don't do everything I want to do, sometimes just carving out a few minutes for squats and push ups is all I need to stay on track with my own fitness. Here, I'll tell you how you can not only maintain your own routine, but set yourself up for success come January 1st!
1. Use your calendar to schedule your workouts. By booking yourself ahead of time, when you get that email or pop-up notification, you'll know it's time to tie up your shoes and hit the road or the gym. Even if it's just twenty minutes that you take at home in between morning appointments and picking the kids up from school, that's plenty of time to do several body weight exercises and keep the muscles engaged. That is far better than just giving up on sweating altogether from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve. Plan a small amount of activity for at least 3 days a week, and try to carve out one solid hour for yourself on the weekend. Take that hour to go to a yoga class, take a long walk in the woods, or sweat it out hardcore on the bike. Whatever suits you.
Jen Raby Fitness Newsletter!
Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? No? Oh... well this is awkward...
Well it's not too late! In addition to my blog posts featuring the information that I feel is most important for leading a healthy, balanced, active lifestyle, I want to include you in my newsletter where -
I know there are a lot of gyms to work out in, and it seems like there's another trainer's number on an ad or poster at every corner or bus stop. But I'm not here to just meet with you and take your money. I want to deliver as much as I can to enhance and enrich your training experience through one-on-one interaction and education. This is the best way, I feel, to empower and encourage my clients to take on the challenges that lay ahead and make lasting positive changes. One way for me to do this is through a newsletter with your suggested content. So sign up below and leave a comment on this blog to let me know what you'd like YOUR newsletter to contain!
Diet and Exercise Part II: Safe Gains
Energy balance - the amount of food that you take in compared to the number of calories you burn - is perhaps the most vital component of living a fit, active, healthy lifestyle. Consume too many calories without enough activity, and you gain weight in the form of increased body fat. If you don't consume enough calories, you will not have the energy to support the physiological adaptations to exercise, or more simply put, muscle growth.
Last week I talked about safely cutting calories through simple, sensible food choices while increasing one's activity level by a moderate amount to eliminate 500 calories a day and lose one pound per week. For basic weight loss, this is the best approach to help retrain the body's metabolism and ensure that one eats enough to sustain a certain level of activity. But what if weight gain is the goal? If someone wants or needs to build muscle mass, she needs a caloric surplus.
The old adage, "you can't have one without the other," applies to many things: Peanut-butter and jelly, love and marriage, and in the fitness industry, diet and exercise. But for some reason, there are people out there trying to split diet and exercise apart, claiming that one can either eat anything so long as they burn enough calories, or that if you eat specific foods in specific proportions at specific times of the day, you will never have to break a sweat again in order to lose weight.
Well, OK. You CAN lose weight by either increasing caloric output or decreasing your intake, but is losing weight synonymous with being healthy? What does that number on the scale mean, anyway? Let's take a look at a few physiological factors that impact what your true healthy weight range might be.
Since I started my own fitness journey, I have maintained a philosophy that when it comes to dieting, a "diet" is never the way to go. Having spent a year in Germany and time in other European countries, not to mention having worked in Spanish, Southern, Steak-house, and Italian restaurants, I have had way too many amazing plates to ever want to deny myself delicious foods.
Restriction has never been my thing. Rather, when I knew I had to make some changes to improve my overall health, I decided the best way to do it was to look at what I needed to add, not what I had to take away. Looking at the recommendations for fruit and vegetable servings alone from the old food pyramid, I realized that if I met my daily requirements I would simply be too full for a lot of the other junk I was eating at the time.
The food pyramid has changed over time, which can get a little confusing.
When The Going Gets Tough
Over the weekend I coached a client through a local 5K. We were not looking to break any land speed records. Our goals were simple: No throwing up, finish strong, don't die.
"No Pain, No Gain" is a saying that has been thrown around forever. But what does that mean, exactly? More importantly, what should it mean? After all, any new training program is going to be challenging. There will be sweat, soreness, and for some people, a lot of swearing. Truly, if there were no discomfort during any workout, then working out would not do much for us at all.
Whether you have been working out for as long as you've been able to move, or you are just getting started on your fitness journey, many people face the temptation of going all out to achieve the results they are after. Of course that is what people think makes the most sense: Move more, burn more, improve faster, lose more weight.
But you can't drive very far when your gas gauge is in the red, and your body can only push so hard for so long before it, too, will leave you stranded in the middle of the road. That, of course, is the worst-case scenario, but here are a few tips to avoid burnout from over-training: