Strength and speed: butt and leg workout

Happy Friday, my friends! I cannot believe that Christmas is less than ten days away! With Christmas around the corner, I’ve been crazy busy with holiday preparation.

When life gets busy, with the holiday season in full swing, finding the time to fit in your workout can be challenging. That’s why I default to metabolic workouts in December. This style of workout workout is specifically designed to maximize your workout afterburn, keeping your metabolism revved all day long.

As a mini Christmas present, I’m sharing one of my go-to metabolic strength workouts. This workout is perfect for leg day.

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How much weight should I lift?

You walk into the gym, ready to work out. You head over to the weight section, look in the mirror and realize you have no idea what to do, even though you know you’d like to be weight lifting. Sound familiar?

When I first started lifting weights, I had no idea what to lift. I’d follow along in workout videos and just pick up exactly what the instructor used. When I stopped getting results, I had no idea why.

I’ve recently been getting lots of questions from women who are not super comfortable in the free weights section of the gym. Braving all the bros working their biceps leaves them feeling intimidated, not knowing how to approach the weight rack. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series on Mastering the Weight Room.

At the end of the series of blog posts, you’ll be confident in approaching that free weight section with ease.

I've recently been getting lots of questions from women who are not super comfortable in the free weights section of the gym. Braving all the bros working their biceps leaves them feeling intimidated, not knowing how to approach the weight rack. That's why I've decided to write a series on Mastering the Weight Room. At the end of the series of blog posts, you'll be confident in approaching that free weight section with ease. This week we are tackling step 1: deciding which weight you should pick up :)

This week we are tackling step 1: deciding which weight you should pick up 🙂

Selecting the correct weight

When you’re getting ready to workout, all you need to do is ask yourself three questions to choose the appropriate weights.

What are your goals?

Your goals determine how heavy you need to lift, so it’s important to identify what’s most important to you.

For most women, 10-12 reps will be ideal. This rep range is ideal if you are looking to tone up and lose some body fat. If you’re looking to gain endurance, increase your reps (12-15), and if you’re looking to put on lean muscle, decrease your reps (8-10).

weight

Rule of thumb: if you’re looking to put on lean muscle, you want to lift heavier and complete fewer reps.

What part of your body are you working?

Depending on whether or not you are working your upper or lower body determines how heavy you should lift. In general, women have more muscle mass on their lower body, so this requires heavier weights. With your upper body, you’ll likely lift less weight. When I’m lifting for my upper body, I grab a set of weights that is 2-5lbs more than I “think” I can lift. I’ll perform as many reps as I can with that weight and drop down as needed.

weight lifting

This is why I recommend having two sets of dumbbells, one heavier for your lower body and one lighter for your upper body.

What type of workout are you doing?

I can generally squat with 45lb dumbbells with good form but that doesn’t mean I automatically grab the 45lb DBs whenever I am going to squat.

If I am doing a more metabolic style (think, HIIT or strength training on an interval timer) workout, I’ll definitely use lighter weights. For the majority of my workouts, using weights ranging from 5-20lbs should be perfect.

woman push upWith these three questions, you’ll have your bases covered. Be sure to check in with yourself after each set. If the weight gets too heavy or light, be sure to mix it up so that you can still hit your allotted number of reps.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series. If you have questions or things that confuse you in the whole weight lifting realm, let me know in the comments below!

What’s one thing about weight lifting that still confuses you?

My five go-to protein foods

You come home from work, ravenous, ready to eat absolutely anything in sight. You open the fridge and stare blankly at the brightly lit shelves, trying to make a decision of what to eat.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, I thought so. Just about every day, when I get home from work, I do the exact same thing! I used to struggle with choosing healthy foods when I was crazy hungry. But when I started stocking my fridge, freezer, and pantry with these five protein foods, everything changed.

Let’s back up a little.

Why protein?

Protein foods are essential to your health and wellbeing.

  • Protein keeps you feeling full for longer
  • Protein foods take more energy to break down than carbohydrates or fat (burning more calories)
  • Protein is needed to build important molecules in your body, like hormones
  • Protein helps regulate blood sugar and hunger pangs

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Working out while sick – my three rules

You’ve got a 6am workout scheduled. You go to bed early, your clothes are set out, and the coffee will be ready with plenty of time to sip before you hit the gym. But when your alarm pings, your throat is sore, your body feels heavy, and you’ve got a cough. As you lay in bed, you go back and forth on whether or not you should get up. You mentally go through your list of all the reasons for or against working out while sick.

I’ll answer that question once and for all. These are my three guidelines to working out while sick.

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Single Serving Chocolate Cake: high carb + low fat

It’s Friday night and you’re itching for some chocolate. Still slightly full from a tasty Thanksgiving dinner, you need a sweet treat that won’t throw you completely off track for days to come.

You are not alone. So many times, I’m hit with a crazy craving for something chocolatey, chewy, and delicious but have zero options in my apartment. Cookies and crackers are not in my apartment, so on the occasion that I want something in the baking realm, I get creative.

This recipe is the result of chocolate craving I had a few weekends ago. I hadn’t gone grocery shopping and had to make due with the things in my pantry (so all those fancy Pinterest recipes were not gonna work).

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Mindfulness when shit hits the fan

You’ve got family coming over in an hour, the turkey is nowhere close to done, and you still haven’t showered. There’s no way you have enough wine to get through this day. Hello Thanksgiving 2016. I don’t know about you, but that situation does not sound like one conducive to working on my mindfulness.

Sure, practicing mindfulness is all well and good when life is going your way. We know there are tons of benefits, so it can be pretty easy to incorporate into your daily life on most days. But what about those days when everything goes wrong?

Here’s how I stay mindful when life gets tough.

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Your Thanksgiving Workout – Turkey Day Travel HIIT

Gahhhhh! Can you BELIEVE it is one week from Thanksgiving?! I am SO excited to head out to California to be with my family and friends in just a few days.

I LOVE Thanksgiving. Frankly, it’s refreshing to have a holiday that focuses on family, love, and appreciation instead of exchanging presents. In my family, Thanksgiving is a weeklong affair. We do Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday with my dad’s family and then Saturday night is another Thanksgiving meal with mom’s family. To break things up, Andrew and I escape our families and head up to the mountains on Thursday night to digest and relax with the pups.

Heading up to the mountains is one of my favorite traditions, but it does make getting a workout in a little more challenging. Because we leave straight from Thanksgiving dinner, I’m not able to pack equipment, so I take my workout bodyweight.

That’s where today’s Thanksgiving workout comes in!

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My survival nutrition strategies (and why create yours)

You’ve got a work deadline tomorrow, your electric bill is due, you barely slept last night, and the dog is sick. On top of it all, you’re beyond stressed about the results of the election. It feels like the walls are closing in. With all this emotional stress, you stop eating in a way that’s in line with your goals, because sometimes it feels like all you have to look forward to is your next treat.

Life gets really tough, and all we want is to make it a little bit easier. So, we slip into bad habits, whether that’s overeating crap, skimping on sleep, or killing ourselves at the gym to numb the pain.

Please tell me I’m not alone!

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Three lunge variations you still haven’t tried

It’s workout time! You look down at your lower body lift workout plan. The lunge, squat, deadlift, leg curl, and all the usual suspects are on the docket. You want to work your legs and booty but are feeling a little bored.

Been there?

Yeah, me too! As a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, I love my workouts. They sometimes are the highlight of my day! But the truth is, sometimes they can get a little boring when you’re doing the same thing over and over. This is when variations can save the day!

Using alternate variations of a specific exercise can add some variety into your workout AND keep you motivated to push hard.

Today, I want to help you add some variety into one of my favorite exercises.

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As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing. Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Why I’m against clean eating

Spoiler! I won’t teach you how to “eat clean” but if you want to learn how to enjoy your life without falling off track,  New Year, New You could be for you! 

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing.

I was overweight and then I started eating clean. The weight fell off!

Before starting to eat clean, I could never attain a six pack.

With clean eating and exercise, I was able to drop to [insert super low number]% body fat!

Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

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