Holiday Calories and Workouts

It’s that time of year where if you allow it, everything can get in the way of you getting your workouts in.

The average person gains 7-12 pounds during the holiday season.

Of course a HUGE part of that is in the food that is everywhere but just as key is the lack of consistent workouts.

Put at its absolute most basic, you gain weight when you take in more calories than you expend. And if you are eating all kinds of yummy treats (more calories) and not burning anything extra it’s easy to see where those pounds just creep on. Not don’t misunderstand me; you CAN NOT out work a bad diet. [Read more…]

Do You Wanna Be “That Girl”?

Today I want to talk you about greatness. I don’t mean change the world greatness. I mean personal greatness. I know that sounds lofty but hear me out. I saw this picture and quote on Facebook (see below) last week and it got me to thinkin…..

I have several clients that have been with Booty Boot Camp for 1 year, a few just made 2 years and a few more still are coming up on 3 years. If you watch them in class they’re kinda awesome. They’re working hard but they’re fast, use more weight and have impeccable form.  Most of them also have run several half-marathons, too-many to count 5 and 10k’s, some have done triathlons and even full marathons. These are regular women, most are moms, work full-time, have spouses. The younger ones are building their careers and starting their families. They’re just like you basically.

When new ladies come in to try out BBC they often notice these dynamos and will ask “did they come in fit?” “Have they always been small?” “Maybe this is too much for me….” [Read more…]

I’m A Baby When It Comes To This…(help!

This is going to sound strange but I can twist an ankle, sprain my back, jar my knee or tweak my shoulder and if I get any of these injuries while competing in an event or trying a new exercise move, it’s all good. I ice, stretch and move on. But schedule an appointment for pain, as in a Doctor’s office and I am a TOTAL baby! LOL! I admit it; I’m a medical-pain baby.

Today I get a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap!) and I know in my head it’s not that big of a deal but the other side of my head is still freakin out. So at 8:15 think of me :).

In honor of lower backs I want to tout the benefits of doing lower back exercises. You may not know this but a strong lower back is just as important to having a flat belly as direct abdominal exercise. I know that may sound strange but the two muscles groups actually work together, when once relaxes the other engages so you want them to have an equal amount of strength.

Here are a few other benefits to having a strong lower back:

1. You use your lower back muscles ALL. THE. Time. Seriously, if you’re not lying down, you’re using them. If you don’t make sure they are strong enough to handle all that work, expect lower back pain later on in life.

2. If you sit in a chair all day for work staring at a computer you put your back under even more stress. In fact, back pain is one of the leading causes for employee absenteeism. Fortunately, you can help out that situation just by concentrating on sitting up straight.

3. Also, strong lower back muscles will help you stand up straight as well and that make you look better, more confident and thinner!

The great thing about most low-back exercises is that they can be done almost anywhere and without equipment.

The superman is just one of my simple favorites. You can start by doing 2 sets of 10. Make sure to pause for 1-2 seconds at the top of the move.

 

Alright, I’m positive I’ll be back later this week totally a-ok but I had to let my nerves out a little this morning.

Workouts For Your Workday (printable workout)

A couple of weeks ago I asked you what you wanted me to blog about next and one popular one was quick workouts you could do at work. So I made some for you.

There are 3 different workouts one to fit every type of workplace. But don’t stop at the office. These are also great anytime, quick little calorie burns to help you reach your goals that much faster and to just leave you feelin’ good. [Read more…]

5 Must-Do Butt Exercises

We all want a nice booty, right? It’s always the best accessory in your clothes, summer or fall.

So here’s the truth: your nutrition does have a LOT to do with the shape of your backside. It doesn’t matter what the condition of your booty is now and what your goal is. In order to make a difference (lift, smaller, more muscle, shape, maybe GET a booty if you currently don’t really have one to speak of….). Nutrition will, in fact, support that goal and help you reach it.

BUT, you also need to throw in some serious resistance training to get some strength and shape (yes, even if you want a smaller bum) and that’s what I’m going to talk with you about today.

Incorporating the following 5 exercises in your regular strength routine will help you burn fat, shape and firm your booty, sculpt surrounding muscle groups, and rev up your metabolism. [Read more…]

Sexy Arms Workout

When you think of nice arms, you probably picture tight, lean arms without any excess jiggle. You probably picture arms with definite curves and shape vs an arm that appears to be more tubular shaped.
Now some women like a super cut athletic look, almost a little on the muscular side, and some like the “long lean” look with soft definition. Surprisingly, both are achieved with pretty similar methods (in the beginning at least).
Now how do you get ‘em? Biceps curls, Triceps dips? Yes, those are a part of it but you’re probably forgetting a muscle that makes all the difference – your shoulders, your side delts to be exact. You see, your side delt muscle actually takes up the top third of your get Michelle's arms at Elk Grove's Booty Boot Camparm and is one of the main things that give you that “separation” in your arms so that you have shape. Again, you can make that definition as strong or as soft as you prefer but either way, you’re gonna want to work those muscles if nice arms for the summer is your goal.

 

[Read more…]

How To Avoid The Late Night Munchies

 

One concern that I often hear a lot from my clients in Booty Boot Camp is the fear of eating late.

I think it’s safe to say that we have all heard the advice to not eat after a certain time, say 7pm. Most of us have come to believe that if we do eat past that magical cut off time, our weight loss efforts are doomed to failure.

But this is simply not true as a cut and dry fact. There’s more to it than that.

One thing you must understand is that it is not necessarily just that you are eating late that’s the problem. What you eat AND if it fits into your overall calorie allotment for the day is what you really need to keep an eye on. If you graze all night, you will definitely be over your calories for the day, and your diet efforts could be shot.

Consider this; after a full day of healthy, portion controlled eating,
night time grazing is more about satisfying an urge to munch as opposed to true hunger. Wouldn’t you agree?

So what can you do?

First, you need to re-commit to yourself to the bigger picture; the process of making lifestyle changes, not just putting yourself on another diet. If night time munching is one of the reason that you’ve put on weight over the years, then it is obviously one of the things in your life that needs to change.

Does that mean you’ll never again sit down to a big bowl of buttered popcorn after dinner?

Of course not. You and I both know that to say we are cutting something we truly love out of our life forever is a recipe for failure.

This is about you getting control over your actions. You deciding when you will have a late night snack and

not just marching into the kitchen like some food crazed zombie.

Next, you need to get control -this can take on more than one form:

  • Adjust your meals and snacks throughout the day so that you have a few hundred calories to "play" with at night. In other words, give yourself some leeway. Maybe eat a slightly smaller lunch so you can have a slightly larger dinner.
  • Try saving your last snack of the day for your after dinner munching.
  • Note: Just be careful not overload your night time calories, your metabolism will stay more active and your weight/fat loss results will be faster if you spread your calories as evenly as possible throughout the day.
  • After a healthy dinner and snack, sip on your favorite calorie-free flavored water, even if you’re not thirsty. Just having flavor on your tongue can keep you for reaching for a diet killing treat. You can also try chewing on gum.

Change is not easy. Give yourself time to make the adjustment to more balanced eating. Strive to make small changes every day and over time you will get to your goals.

4 More of the Worst Exercises Of All Time

 

4.) Fly Machine            

If your goal is to tear your pecs and destroy your rotator cuff, then I highly recommend that you add this exercise to your routine. I think the chest fly machine actually gets even more play than the bench press, which is considered to be the most popular exercise for guys.

The problem is not only the destruction of the major muscles of your body, but the elimination of the main stabilizing muscles surrounding your shoulders. So when you decide to pick up something overhead, like moving your plates from the dishwasher to the overhead cabinets, your muscles will be shaking and your arms will get tired faster than you can count to one-1. Men also tend to use all the weight in the weight stack, helping cause shoulder impingement and even biceps tendinitis.

21 Century Training Upgrade:For strong, stable shoulders focus on performing an equal amount of pushing and pulling exercises. In the beginning, I want you to perform more pulling exercises (pull-ups, rows, deadlifts) than pushing exercises because you’ve probably been neglecting your rear shoulders and upper/mid muscles. The best pushing exercise you can do is any push-up variation, as it not only safely trains the entire front side of your body, but also engages your upper back musculature in a way that the bench press does not. Furthermore, the push-up is much safer. Have you ever heard of someone dying from falling on their nose while performing a push-up?

5.) Elliptical Machine

Look-if you are really, really overweight and haven’t exercised in over a decade, then I think an elliptical has some use. Especially when you consider that walking and running inflicts up to three to seven times your body weight of force back into your body. So, if you weigh 100 pounds, every step you take when you walk sends 300 pounds of force back into your body. Think of squatting 300 pounds of weight on your back, that should give you a general idea of why when you first start your workout program you have a lot of knee or ankle aches.

So, it’s true that it is a low-impact alternative to running on a treadmill, but because you don’t move your legs as much on an elliptical as compared to the treadmill, you won’t burn as many calories, meaning you don’t burn your fat.

Also, it promotes hyper-extension of the knee. If you haven’t seen a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fight, imagine being put into a knee bar, or in other words, bending your knee the opposite way it’s supposed to bend. Now, add the extra forces on your knee and PRESTO, you have multiple knee injuries.

Think about it-look at all the people who are using the elliptical and most of them have one thing in common, they are reading magazines and area still overweight. Even the ones that have been there since the gym opened. You know who I am talking about.

At the end of the day, you can read a magazine while on an elliptical.
But do you think reading on an elliptical will help you lose weight
when you’re not even breaking a sweat and you’re not even focused on
what you’re supposed to do?

Trust me, I have been there. I used to convince myself that the elliptical was for my clients with  torn up knees. But then I decided one day that the best thing was for them to lose some weight. I prescribed some corrective stretching, used a foam roller, so the muscles around the knee could support itself much better, and worked on hip and ankle mobility to take pressure off of the knees so that they could get back to doing more strenuous activities pain-free.

I want to leave you with this question. How hard is it for you to do a report for work when you are watching TV, reading a magazine, and listening to music at the same time?

Hopefully you said a long time…maybe even NEVER. Now, don’t you read a magazine, or watch TV or listen to music, or even all of the above: and you expect this same recipe to help you lose weight?

21 Century Training Update:For optimal results during your cardio training, you must focus on intervals, when you have prepared your body enough. They burn 9 times more body fat than aerobics-meaning what you’re doing now on the treadmill (walking or jogging for 20 to 45 minutes). This will result in greater improvements in your conditioning than long, slow, boring cardio, and give you a lean, sleek, stream-lined body.

6.) The Sex Machine-Abductor/Adductor Combo

Ah, the sex machine…this one just makes me smile. It certainly takes me back to the days where the meatheads would shamelessly gawk at this outrageously good-looking gal who did 1,000 reps on the adductor/abductor machine to fit into her "skinny jeans."

But, I can assure you, this machine had nothing to do with her nice body-rather it was a combination of genetics, a clean diet, and being a tri-sport athlete that did the trick.

You see, most women seem to think that this exercise can somehow, magically pinpoint their thighs to blast away the fat like a laser-guided missile.

I have heard many women ask,"What exercise can I do to get rid of this flab inside my leg?" But it all boils down to the same thing; get on a training program, and choose multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises, and you will blast the flab away like a torch melts steel.

Spot reduction is a myth. I know you know that, but you want to try to find the easy way. Although you can work your butt off by doing adductor/abductor machine thousands of times for thousands of reps, no amount of direct inner or other hip-thigh work will burn that ugly fat covering that sexy toned musculature every one wants to see, so let it go, baby. If there were an easy way, I’d let you know because I’d be the first one on it, trust me.

Again, start consuming lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and veggies every 2-4 hours while chugging water like a fish.

Then you need to get off this time-wasting machine and get real thigh-blasting, fat burning, total body workout!

21 Century Training Upgrade:The best exercise for your inner and outer hip/thigh will come from side plank variations, any and all single-leg exercises, and especially lateral lunges. Lateral lunges stretch and contract the sides of your thighs at the same time, giving you everything you need in one move.

7.)Leg Press Machine

I know the simplest way to do things is normally the best, but when it comes to working out, the easiest way isn’t the best. So many people prefer the leg press. I mean, what’s wrong with it? You get to lay or sit on your butt, depending on the exact type of leg press machine being used, put a bunch of weight on it, and work your leg only half the way. Don’t forget it is an easy way to break your back.

So you want nice legs? Oh, and flat, sexy abs? No problem. Just squat! Sorry you can’t squat lying down, I know that would be easier, but then it wouldn’t be work, would it?

Squats don’t just work your legs, but require your whole body to work together. The problem is that since it works almost your entire body, you need to put in supreme effort and be ready to sweat. If you aren’t willing to work, then you’ll get crap results, not just from squats, but from any exercise, period.

The leg press, like I said, could easily break your back. You become hunched when the weight comes down. A hunched back can’t take weight like a straight back can. Don’t confuse straight as in straight up and down. Rather, in an extended, stretched position. With such a position your back can tolerate huge loads and support almost an infinite amount of weight. The hunched back, on the other hand, creates abnormal stress in certain parts of your back and can easily give you a bulging or herniated disk.

Too much weight + Poor form = Back Injury. So if you are really choosing the leg press over squatting, then you don’t know squat, pun intended.

21 Century Training UpgradeThe best and safest exercises for your lower body are a healthy combination of double-leg and single-leg exercises using free weights and body-weight-based exercises. Be sure to perform an equal amount of knee-dominant lower body exercises (e.g. squats and lunges) and hip-dominant lower body exercises (e.g. deadlifts and single-leg hip extensions) to make your knees, hips, and back bulletproof. In fact, most people are very knee-dominant and could benefit from starting with performing a greater number of hip-dominant movements to balance out their lower body musculature.

You’ll notice one common trend among all of these crap exercises: they all involve MACHINES!

Machines, like I said earlier, are meant for the average person, and no one fits into the average. Free weights, yes, the dumbbells, barbells, bands and cable machines are really meant for you. Yes, they take more effort, but effort means work, and work means losing weight.

So get off those silly contraptions and focus on whole-body movements using any of the tools for your body besides machines. Not only will you be a fat-burning monster, you’ll end up with a body that would impress even the Greek statues. Don’t forget-because you are working on whole-body movements, you won’t end up hunchbacked by the time you’re fifty and you will have a confident aura about you.

Remember, "Average is Not Enough"

Sarai Jones

P.S.
What other exercises do you see people doing in the gym that make you cringe? What other exercises to you absolutely hate? What exercises have gotten you (or your clients) hurt in the past? Please share your personal experiences by posting a comment to this blog post, thanks!

3 Of The Worst Exercises Of All Time!

 

In the past, I’ve shared my top secret exercises to help you lose fat faster by doing total-body exercises that use tons of muscles in each move that you do.

Whether it’s compound movements for your upper body (e.g. push-ups, pull-ups, rows, dips, etc.), lower body (squats, dead-lifts, lunges, etc.) or core (plank holds and rotational core exercises) these "many muscle" exercises provide the biggest bang for your buck during your workouts requiring MINIMAL time, but giving you MAXIMUM results.

Today though, I want to talk to you about something different. Today, let’s bring our focus on the WORST exercises you could ever add to your training routine.

I believe that a lot of women turn to these "easy" exercises because they just don’t know what else to do or are intimidated by the free-weight room at their gym.

You’ll never see me perform these movements because it’d give half the results in double the time and probably hurt me in more ways than one.

I truly believe that sometimes learning what NOT to do is just as beneficial as learning what you SHOULD do.

So let’s get to the three exercises that you would never want to do in your life!

1.) The Abs Machine

Crunches and sit-ups aren’t necessarily deadly; but because most people do them all the time, it creates a lot of bad force on your low-back and neck which will cause you many awkward pains ranging from your neck to low back.

Do you want to know whats worse?

When you add weight and use a machine that isn’t specifically made for your body. It’s made for the average person on about 5’6". Even if you are 5’6", do you have the exact same arm/back/leg length that the machine was made for?

With all those factors it’s no wonder that it trains you in an unnatural front and back motion. Plus you are in a seated position that demands minimal use of your core, meaning even more room for injury.Now add to that that we already mimic a crunch in life. For example: look at most people who stand or sit with poor posture, don’t they resemble someone before a sitting crunch or someone on an ab machine? Add even more crunches and sit-ups and you’ll just get triple the disaster on your back.

You may be saying, "But I feel the BURN!" And I’ll say, there’s better ways to make your abs work, rather than literally tearing up your spine. It’s a high risk exercise, only meant to be used for certain circumstances.

Remember, your core is meant to stabilize you when you are standing and when you are moving so you can stand nice and tall from your hips and to your shoulders in any way you can move (front to back, side to side and if you rotate).

21 Century Training Upgrade: For rock hard, Greek goddess abs, focus on plank stabilization exercises like from, side and back planks, as well as ground based rotational core work like chops variations and upper body twist. Also work on your diet. Without the diet, you’ll never see the washboard abs that you can do laundry off of.

2.)The Back Machine

As you can tell, I am not a fan of the abs machine, so it figures that I am also not a fan of the reverse of it, the back machine. This is another exercise you should avoid for more reasons than I have fingers to count on.Here’s just one:

You probably already use too much "back" on most movements because your butt and hips aren’t working like they’re supposed to. Meaning they are too weak to do what they are supposed to do, so other muscles have to take over.

An easy way to think about it is when you are moving a heavy couch that needs 4 people to lift it. First four people lift it, then say one person decides not to hold it up anymore, so now there’s only three people lifting. How much heavier is it for each person? Now imagine another person decides to stop lifting and you only have two people holding the couch. Imagine how your back is now. Your butt and your hips are those two people that decided to rest. Your back and arms are left over, trying to take the slack.

So instead of focusing on your back, let’s focus on strengthening your hips, especially the front part of your thighs by focusing on squat based movements that really get you using your butt, big time.

21 Century Upgrade: For a strong, stable back, work on deadlift and good morning variations while simultaneously focusing on the corrective stretching and self-massage of the Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip (LPH) complex, meaning you back, butt and front/back/inner/outer thighs. A prone cobra or airplane as it it sometimes called is also a great exercise to improve your back endurance while also improving your upper back strength and stability.

3.) The Leg Extension Machine

This exercise is a personal one for me. When I first started lifting weights, I abused this exercise like few others.

Most women love to abuse this machine like crazy. They see the pictures of the lean sculpted fitness models sitting on this and think this is the machine for them to bring out those cuts in their legs.

Here’s the truth-if you want knee replacement surgery, use this exercise 3 times a week for a year. If you don’t want your knees to be wrecked and have horrible stabbing pain that will lead to arthritis, avoid this machine like the plague.

21 Century Training Upgrade:For strong, stable knees, focus on both knee-dominant (lunge, step-up, and single-leg squat variations) AND hip-dominant single-leg exercises (single-leg hip extension, deadlift, and good morning variations) to keep the strength of both legs the same AND to help keep the front and back thighs and your inner and outer thighs balanced between each other. With balanced muscles comes stability, and with stability comes strength.

5 Times The Fat Loss With Circuit Training!

 

"I don’t have time to workout" I hear this all the time in my training business. You may have been guilty of saying this yourself when it comes to starting an exercise routine.

And no wonder. In the past, the cornerstone of most resistance training workouts has been performing exercises in a straight set format. Essentially, this means you perform a certain number of reps for a given exercise and then you rest anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes based on your training goals before repeating this set a certain number of times based on your goals. For more of a fat loss and lean muscle gain emphasis shorter rest periods are ideal. For more of a strength or power emphasis, longer rest periods are prescribed.

So what’s the problem with this format?

Well, let’s just say that 3-5 minutes is the average rest period between sets when using this format, and that 3 sets is generally the norm. Using these numbers, one exercise for one body part would take about 15 minutes to complete. That means in an hour you would have only completed 4 moves. That’s it. This might be ok if mass and strength are your goals, but if you are looking to burn some serious fat and reveal some sexy muscle, as most of us women are, this just won’t cut it.

A much more effective and time-efficient approach to ordering your exercises is utilizing the alternating set format. Here you’ll perform one exercise, rest for a short period of time, then perform another non-competing exercise, rest for a short period of time, and so forth. Alternating sets allow you to work different areas of your body when you would otherwise be resting with the straight set format. Plus, by working another area of your body with a non-competing exercise you allow your body to recover from the previous exercise(s).

The result is improved training economy and density: more work accomplished in less time, the cornerstone of any sound fat loss program.

There are several ways to perform alternating sets outlined below:

Supersets: Alternate between two different non-competing exercises (e.g. upper body and lower body such as push-ups and lunges)

Tri-sets: Alternate between three different exercises (e.g. push, pull, and lower body
Circuits: Alternate between four or more different exercises

Though supersets and tri-sets are excellent alternating set options, I believe circuit training is by the far the best option time and time again. To demonstrate why,let’s examine my favorite circuit training template using timed set intervals:

50-10 Five Exercise Circuit: You will alternate between 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for all five exercises in the following 5-minute circuit:

Exercise#1- Alternating front lunges

Exercise#2- Dips

Exercise#3- Split squat

Exercise#4- Inverted pull-ups

Exercise#5- Alternating side planks

Perform this circuit up to four times for a 20-minute total body fat burning workout.

Do the math,in the same 15 minutes that it took to get in three sets on the bench you could have gotten in three sets of five different exercise for a staggering total of 15 work sets! And because you have four full minutes before you repeat an exercise your intensity level will not suffer at all.

To recap, the key to creating the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss is to perform each exercise with maximal intensity while separated by brief rest periods in order to accumulate a high volume of total body work in the shortest amount of time possible. Circuit training provides for the best of both worlds and is thus simply unmatched for simultaneously maximizing fat loss and sexy,lean muscle gain. Use the following template I use with my many boot camp clients for some killer, yet simple fat loss circuits:

Exercise#1- Double-Leg

Exercise#2-Push

Exercise#3-Single-Leg

Exercise#4-Pull

Exercise#5-Core

I’ll be posting a video later this week showing you a great circuit you can perform anywhere, so stay tuned.

Stay focused!

Sarai Jones

www.getfitwithsarai.com