Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Flexible Dieting

Flexible Dieting 101 !
Many people have the notion that eating "clean foods" will ensure weight loss. However in order to lose weight, you must have a calorie deficit. Eating quality food is critical for maintaining a healthy balance of micro and macro- nutrients, but you CAN have things you want without derailing your progress. When you are practicing flexible dieting, you want to keep the following tips in mind.
-How MUCH you eat is just as important as what you eat.
-Your foods should reflect your goals.
-We are all human and you WILL make a mistake.
-Be consistent over the long term and you will see results.
Eating to support your goals is not about restricting, depriving, or cutting out your favorite meals. Flexible dieting is simply the scientific approach to dieting. You can choose the foods you want to eat as long as it falls under the macros that you need for the day.
What makes flexible dieting better than following a strict meal plan? A typical dieting approaches do not allow any sort of flexibility and it usually takes a lot of food groups away. Think about the Atkins diet that eliminates all carbs But what happens when you crave something sweet that you "shouldn't" have? You hold that craving and you lock it away. But it never goes away, it grows in size, till it becomes an all consuming force. You break. You end up bringing on the foods that you have been craving. This can simply be avoided if you know that you can have it in a smaller portion.
Traditional dieting approaches fail for two main reasons:
1.)Restrictive & expecting perfection.
2.) Un-sustainable & no long-term approach.
So whether it be a cookie, a dinner party or a holiday, the flexible dieter realizes that they can enjoy themselves, and afterwards get back on track. They have no need to go on an all out binge, because they can flex whenever they like, and so don’t need a big release.
The thought process of a "diet" usually creates this overall tension in a person because they already have this thought of "when is my cheat meal?" Having this mindset can ruin your results before you even start. You start to amp up this one day out of the week to go overboard and that one day can undo everything you worked for in the week. Start to take a results driven approach to your nutrition. Foods are not forbidden but you DO need to be accountable for them. Tracking your macros is a great way to remain accountable and ready to take your training to a new level.
This approach is also sustainable for LONG term. Can you maintain a "fad" diet for the rest of your life? Probably not and at some point you will have to stop dieting to see changes in your body. It also allows you to have the foods you really enjoy and want to eat. This will help you to stay on track and want to eat to fuel your body !
Start by planning your macros- Protein, Carbs and Fats. Then, get a food scale and measuring cups. Track and log your food in a macro counter such as MyFitnessPal. Plan for success !

Monday, May 30, 2016

Easy tips to keep you on point !

Have you started a "diet" but your not losing any weight or body fat ? Have you thought about some of your nutritional decisions that might be ruining your diet without you even knowing it? All it takes is a few simple missteps in your diet, and suddenly you’re putting your metabolism into overdrive.
I have a few common errors that people make when dieting that might be putting a damper on your goals!
1.) You are hungry so instead of eating something with a higher nutritional value like fruit, veggies or protein, you reach for the can of diet soda FILLED with artificial ingredients. Little do you know, sugar substitutes can sabotage your weight loss efforts.Consuming artificial sweeteners caused dopamine levels to plummet and promoted an intense craving for real sugar. There is a good chance that you might even CRAVE sugar. Fix this behavior by turning to water instead. Try to drink at least 4 liters of water a day. Use fresh lemon or cucumber to make it a tastier drink.
2.) Are you drinking enough water ? Even mild dehydration can send your metabolism into a stalling place. Water is involved in every type of cellular process in the body, and when you’re running low, all these processes run less efficiently. That includes your metabolism. Staying hydrated keeps your metabolism moving and aids in proper digestion. Get in the habit of drinking a glass of COLD water before each meal. You will feel fuller and it will help you stay on track with your hydration!
3.) Don't fear fats in your diet.Fat not only has been found to improve mood, strengthen the immune system, lower the risk for heart disease, combat inflammation, speed up recovery and improve performance, but eating the right types also can help burn more calories as you chew. Try to get about 20 to 30 percent of your total daily calories from fat. Fill up on healthy fat sources like avocadoes, olive oil, nuts and fish.
4.) You want to lose weight so it makes sense to cut your calories, right? Leptin and ghrelin, play a significant role in keeping metabolism up and hunger down. Leptin, made by fat cells, sends signals to the brain to eat less and ramp up calorie burn, while ghrelin tells the brain that you’re hungry. When you slash calories to shed weight, ghrelin levels spike and leptin levels plummet. Instead of cutting calories for longer, cut carbs for a short period, focusing primarily on protein and veggies. Even if it's just 2 days out of the week, this can greatly influence your metabolism and body composition.
5.) You chew gum like it's your day job. If you are constantly chewing gum, you are sending a signal to your body that you are "eating" and you start to get cravings for food since your not actually eating. Instead of chewing gum drink a cup of green tea instead of chewing gum. Green tea boosts the release of cholecystokinin, a potent hormone that contributes to the feeling of satiation.
Take all these tips and use them to help you stick to your diet without compromising your efforts.

Eat like a Nutritionist .. the easy way!

Train like an athlete, sleep like a baby and eat like a nutritionist. The last part, eating like a nutritionist requires you to COOK healthy meals and eating healthy meals needs the proper cookware!
The best thing you can do is keep it simple. It is much harder when you have ALL the cooking equipment that you don't know how to use. When I prepare food, I like to limit my recipes to 5-10 ingredients with minimal prep and cook time. Usually I cook in bulk and make meals throughout the week from the foods I make.
The following are three essential pieces of equipment for any kitchen, big or small. These multifaceted pieces are also small enough to store without taking up too much counter space. I’ve included a quick, healthy recipe with each piece of equipment to get you started.
First is a good grill pan. Grill pans work best on gas stoves, they can be used over electric burners as well. They are great for small homes and in the winter when grilling out is not an option. My go to meal of all time is chicken and veggies. I make sure to make enough that I have leftovers for the week to make other meals.
Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to 1/4-inch thick) or 1/2lb of your favorite cut of steak
3 large bell peppers (cut into 1-2” pieces)
1 sweet onion (cut into large wedges)
5 Tablespoons olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
How To: Heat up gill pan, use oil and place chicken on the pan with your favorite seasonings. Cut up veggies and place in olive oil and seasonings. Cook the meat for about 4-6 min per side. Once cooked, let it cook but place the veggies on the grill pan and cook until soft. Combine and enjoy !
Second best kitchen item is a good blender or magic bullet. This mini blender is a handy tool when you need a quick smoothie without all the mess. Most blenders come with individual serving-size blender cups, so you simply load your smoothie fixings into the cup, screw on the blade, clip it into the motor and within seconds, you have a healthy snack. Smoothies are a go-to option for maximizing calories and nutrients without a full meal that requires longer prep time. With the right balance of ingredients, smoothies can be a complete post-workout snack.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened frozen berries (e.g., raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1/2 medium banana
1 Tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup fresh baby spinach or frozen chopped spinach
1 Tablespoon hemp seed
2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk
How To: Place all ingredients in Magic Bullet and blend for 30-45 seconds. Remove from motor and enjoy straight from the cup.
My all time favorite is the food processor. This makes life super easy and simple when you want to "recreate" a leftover for a healthy bake. Hours worth of cutting, chopping, dicing, and julienning can all be done in literally seconds with the help of a food processor. With the right attachments and blades, a food processor can be your all-in-one tool for meal prep.Cauliflower rice is a healthy alternative to heavier grains and increases your fiber and veggie intake for the day. All you need to make fluffy cauliflower rice is a food processor and a sauté pan.
Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower
2 Tablespoons olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
Preferred seasonings (see below)
How To: Cut cauliflower into 1-2'' chunks and place in food processor. Pulse into small, rice-sized pieces. Heat sauté pan over medium heat with preferred cooking oil. Pour cauliflower into sauté pan and add desired spices and herbs.Stir constantly until slightly translucent, about 3 or 4 minutes.
These three kitchen essentials will transform your meal prep. Not only will you be able to prep faster and more efficiently, but each tool may inspire you to create new, delicious, healthy recipes for your weekly menu. No matter how small the space is, these essentials will make any space feel like a professional prep kitchen.Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fun Little Do ANYWHERE WOD

Here is a nice and spicy workout you can DO ANYWHERE !

For time:
400 Meter Run
21 burpees
21 sit ups
21 DU or 63 singles

400 Meter Run
15 burpees
15 sit ups
15 DU or 45 singles

400 Meter Run
9 burpees
9 sit ups
9 DU or 27 singles

Have fun with it and enjoy some time outside !!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What is YOUR definition of STRONG ?

What is your definition of being strong ? Many people relate strength with how much you can lift overhead, pull off the ground or squat. Being "strong" instills a level of confidence in your that many people don't understand. Strength is personal and subjective. To find real strength, you have to break down barriers, overcome limiting beliefs, and exceed your own expectations. It requires stamina and endurance of a different kind as you’re tested relentlessly from many different angles. Here is a list of what I learned about being STRONG !
-It's uncomfortable, you need to dig deep and learn to grind! Strength enables you to tough it out and get up again after setbacks and mistakes. Strength gives you the drive to start fresh after a downright awful day. The hard part comes when you realize how much hard graft, consistency, and focus are required for success. True strength involves acknowledging the commitment it takes to apply the knowledge, skills, tools, and confidence you need to navigate unfamiliar situations and challenges. Whether it’s a performance, health, or life goal, strength builds the strongest version of you. If you persist and remain dedicated through the bad times as well as the good, you will discover the true depth of your strength and achieve things you never thought possible.
-What happens when you suddenly have a change in your schedule and plans? How you learn to adapt to changes is important. Not everyday will feel great, but you need to embrace the changes that are happening and roll with the punches. Training is much like this. Some days the bar feels light and others it is a challenge to just move it an inch. You need to get a sense of how to modify and change your reaction. If you give up what does that prove? The strongest people in life take attack change head on and make the situation work for them. Don't get stuck in the struggles but embrace them for what they are. Focusing on the negative will only cause you to not see the positive opportunities !
-Embrace yourself and your life.t takes a great deal of strength to stay true to your beliefs and values and not get swept along with the hype. I hope ‪#‎justbeyourself‬ becomes popular, as it’s vital to your happiness, health, and success in life. In a world of filters embrace the uniqueness that you have.You might be struggling to reach your goals is because you created unrealistic expectations. You might lack the satisfaction of success because they are always striving to become something your not, perhaps driving yourself in to destructive habits.
This pressure to be something you’re not is creating an epidemic of adrenal fatigue, orthorexia, overtraining injuries, and low self-esteem. To be yourself in a world where you’re encouraged to be anything but is a sure sign of your true strength.Become best mates with your body. Have the courage to be open and honest about your vulnerabilities. Share mistakes, and admit when you fucked up. In essence, just be real, and if you’re ever in doubt on this journey, follow your gut instinct, because it’s often right.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Lifting Taught ME

My top 5 lessons i learned from lifting weights !
1.) Humility
We ALL start out as beginners and we all need help from time to time. Many people do not like to be corrected because we feel inferior or discredited, but honest self-evaluation is the first step in any program and it is essential in life. We all can have the dream of going Pro in whatever sport we train or want to get noticed on a team. You cannot hide from the truth in the weight room. Can I lift this weight?Who can squat more than me? Can I broad jump my height? The feedback is undeniable and immediate.
2.) Feedback and Goal Setting
In order to get better, you need to know HOW you are training and WHERE you are going. Clear standards and feedback are essential for development. It is sad that now our society chooses to give ALL athletes an award, somehow that diminishes the drive to get better. Competition is not a curse word. With the right priorities, competition is fuel to achieve more. The weight room offers a structured environment for competition to flourish. The competition may not always seem fair, but fairness is an illusion that holds you back. There are no victims in the weight room, just people trying to be better today than they were yesterday.
3.) Patience
You will hit a plateau. In the first six months you make impressive gains. then those gains start to slow down or stall completely. No matter how hard you work, these plateaus will be a constant presence throughout your training career. Even harder is watching others continue to make gains while you’re stalled out. It may take time, but if you focus on the process and remain patient, success is likely.You need to take a step back, re-evaluate your form, tempo, assistance work, nutrition, sleep, and other variables to come up with a plan to attack your goal.
4.) Mental Toughness
Not everyday will be a good day. Some days you will find yourself questioning everything you are doing. Those days will make you stronger in the end. That level of maturity is a beautiful consequence of time spent in the weight room. Making the gym a habit will get you there everyday and having a support team can be a huge motivating factor on getting through a tough workout. The days when you grind it out are the days where you are made.
5.) Have Fun
Training is an opportunity for self-improvement. At the end of the day, athletics are games. If you are so serious that you lose the passion of fun, your limiting your potential to get better. Do what you ultimately enjoy doing and have fun doing it.

WWE great Triple H (Paul Levesque) once said, “The gym teaches you everything you need to know about life.”

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reverse Dieting

Reverse diet. What is it? A reverse diet is a term used within the bodybuilding and competitive weightlifting communities is commonly used to describe a period after a calorically restricted eating during which you slowly work to increase calories back to a maintenance level. Using this strategy, and by assessing progress weekly and tracking increases in body fat in comparison to lean muscle mass, athletes can recover their metabolisms and increase calorie intake with minimal increase in body fat.
Why would you want to do this ? The theory behind the reverse diet is that after prolonged periods of restricted caloric intake the athlete’s metabolism adapts to operate more efficiently. Meaning, the athlete is able to operate at a lower energy expenditure and burn fewer calories.This will make dieting and losing fat in the future if needing to drop weight again. If the proper dietary adjustments aren’t made to account for this slow down, the body will store those extra calories in the form of fat.

Benefits of doing a reverse diet are to help increase your metabolism so you can build back strength. A reverse diet may also be implemented to accelerate fat loss and avoid a fat-loss plateau when dieting. By making small and calculated increases to calories, the metabolism is often able to adapt to the increase with a corresponding uptick in metabolic output and thermogenesis. The incremental additions in calories enable the individual’s metabolism to burn more energy as a result of increased energy input.
Also, a reverse diet may be implemented in an attempt to increase an individual’s metabolic capacity and stretch the ability to intake calories while holding at a maintenance weight. The benefits would be similar to a “bulk” which occurs when an individual consumes more calories in order to increase strength and muscle mass. Except that the moderate calorie increases and regular assessments would help the athlete to avoid the unwanted body fat gain that often accompanies a bulk.
By increasing calories incrementally, a reverse diet allows your metabolism to reignite and catch up to the surplus calories. If too many calories are introduced too soon, the body will, in essence, attempt to store these calories for the next time you expose it to an extreme calorie deficit. This can lead to rapid weight gain and potential long-term metabolic damage.
Although the process of reverse dieting is a test of patience and self-control, I believe the physical and mental benefits are worthy of the investment. I recommend hiring a knowledgeable coach to help you through the process and to make the proper adjustments, as well as to hold you accountable.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Flexible Dieting 101

Flexible Dieting 101 !

Many people have the notion that eating "clean foods" will ensure weight loss. However in order to lose weight, you must have a calorie deficit. Eating quality food is critical for maintaining a healthy balance of micro and macro- nutrients, but you CAN have things you want without derailing your progress. When you are practicing flexible dieting, you want to keep the following tips in mind.

-How MUCH you eat is just as important as what you eat.
-Your foods should reflect your goals.
-We are all human and you WILL make a mistake.
-Be consistent over the long term and you will see results.

Eating to support your goals is not about restricting, depriving, or cutting out your favorite meals. Flexible dieting is simply the scientific approach to dieting. You can choose the foods you want to eat as long as it falls under the macros that you need for the day.


What makes flexible dieting better than following a strict meal plan? A typical dieting approaches do not allow any sort of flexibility and it usually takes a lot of food groups away. Think about the Atkins diet that eliminates all carbs But what happens when you crave something sweet that you "shouldn't" have? You hold that craving and you lock it away. But it never goes away, it grows in size, till it becomes an all consuming force. You break. You end up bringing on the foods that you have been craving. This can simply be avoided if you know that you can have it in a smaller portion.


Traditional dieting approaches fail for two main reasons:

1.)Restrictive & expecting perfection.

2.) Un-sustainable & no long-term approach.

So whether it be a cookie, a dinner party or a holiday, the flexible dieter realizes that they can enjoy themselves, and afterwards get back on track. They have no need to go on an all out binge, because they can flex whenever they like, and so don’t need a big release.


The thought process of a "diet" usually creates this overall tension in a person because they already have this thought of "when is my cheat meal?" Having this mindset can ruin your results before you even start. You start to amp up this one day out of the week to go overboard and that one day can undo everything you worked for in the week. Start to take a results driven approach to your nutrition. Foods are not forbidden but you DO need to be accountable for them. Tracking your macros is a great way to remain accountable and ready to take your training to a new level.


This approach is also sustainable for LONG term. Can you maintain a "fad" diet for the rest of your life? Probably not and at some point you will have to stop dieting to see changes in your body. It also allows you to have the foods you really enjoy and want to eat. This will help you to stay on track and want to eat to fuel your body !


Start by planning your macros- Protein, Carbs and Fats. Then, get a food scale and measuring cups. Track and log your food in a macro counter such as MyFitnessPal. Plan for success !

Thursday, May 19, 2016

4 Reasons to Log your Workouts !

4 Reasons Why You Should Log your Workouts !!
It will help you monitor your progression
-Let me ask you this: Do you remember EVERYTHING you did today? Chances are NO. Your memory is not as good as we like to think it is which is why writing all your weights and exercises is great to look back on in training. With an accurate training history in your training journal ,you know exactly what you are supposed to be lifting this week because you know what you lifted last week.Having your results in hand leaves no doubt when it comes to planning your workout and checking for progression.
It keeps you accountable
-You know when you keep that dreaded food log and you don't want to eat anything bad because you know that someone will be reviewing it ? This is the same way, except you are your own accountability buddy. Being able to look back on your workouts will help you to maintain a reference point on a few factors such as how you felt, what you did, and monitor your progress.
It keeps you motivated
-There are fewer things that give you a sense of pride quite like looking back at your workout history.Over the long haul of trying to accomplish your goals in the gym it can be easy to lose sight of all the progress we have already made.It's always nice to look through the pages of your training journal and feel satisfaction and pride to remind you not only how far you have already come, but just how capable you are. Celebrating the smaller moments are important. You shouldn’t have to wait until you have hit your final target or that elusive PR to recognize the little moments of success along the way.
It builds character
-Is there anything more frustrating than falling into the same traps and setbacks over and over? Yet we seem to keep making them and don't change our behavior. A powerful benefit of having a workout history is that you will start learn a lot about you, your workouts, and how you best respond to them. If you had a bad day, what happened in your workout? Did you push through or did you let it defeat you? The more detailed you can be in your training journal the better off you can identify your weak and strong points in yourself and your training.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Breakfast ANY time !


I love breakfast! Any time of the day I love to eat it and I am finding new ways to make it jam packed with healthy carbs that are NOT boring and bring better combinations to stay on track !

Here is my latest:

Healthy Breakfast bake !


-1 scoop @evlsports whey protein
-1/4 cup quinoa
-1/4 cup dry oat bran
-1 apple sliced
-1/2 zucchini
-3 egg whites
Mix and bake for 5 mins in microwave..and BOOM you have yourself a HUGE healthy bowl!




Be sure to go to my instagram @burdafitness_sara for more workout tips, healthy meals and motivation!




Sunday, May 15, 2016

Take it Outside !

The sun is out, nice weather is on it's way and it's time to take advantage of this beautiful time of year. If you are like me, the winter months can put a damper on your spirit and mood. Going to the gym in the cold to get sweaty then go back out into the cold is not one of the funnest moments. Plus being stuck inside all day can really make motivation dwindle. However, the summer months can put life back into your fitness routine and give you that motivation you need to stick with your training!
Exercising outdoors has many physical and mental health benefits that will improve the quality of your training and overall well-being, but here are seven awesome reasons to get outside and enjoy the outdoors !
1.) The sun is shining and your getting your Vitamin D which will increase your mood and energy levels ! Two positive things that training outdoors can do. Not to mention that gyms can sometimes be dark and gloomy. By training outside you can add variety to your training and increase your intensity because it is more "fun" than traditional cardio.
2.)No mirrors.
We’ve all done it: wasted a little too much of our training time studying our reflections and taking gym selfies. But not only can mirrors be a distraction, they may also hinder your form. It’s cheap! No need for expensive memberships or equipment when you’re in the great outdoors. In the warmer months, all you need is your bodyweight and a park bench or a wooded trail to give you a killer workout. Not to mention that you now have NO excuse to workout because the universe created the best gym and it's right in your backyard.
3.) You can get creative when training outside. Make working out fun again by challenging yourself to explore your local playground for possible workout equipment. I’m a big advocate of getting outside to train. Structures such as park benches, picnic tables, stairs, trees, and hills can be used as props to enhance the workout. You can add variety and train like a kid again using the monkey bars, climbing a tree or just exploring a trail run!
4.) Training outdoors can connect you to nature. By being one with the outdoors, you will experience more positive energy and calmness. Ever take a walk in the sun and feel at peace? That is your time with the universe to hold onto your serenity.
5.) Make it a social event. Connecting with friends outside the gym is great for motivation and creating a positive environment. Everyone can enjoy the company of friends while taking time to get in a great workout. Surrounding yourself with people of similar interest is key to sticking to a program.
6.) You have the potential to burn more calories.Running outside means no speed controls; however, the natural terrain combined with the wind causes more resistance than a treadmill.To make your route even tougher, you can incorporate hills and stairs. Add in sprints to your routine or even tabatas every mile!
7.)No mirrors. We’ve all done it: wasted a little too much of our training time studying our reflections and taking gym selfies. But not only can mirrors be a distraction, they may also hinder your form. When working outside, you’ll be more focused on how you feel rather than how you look. This can be your BIGGEST benefit. I know that how i appear in the mirror can influence my training. Without a mirror to get in my way I have more control over how I feel vs. how I look !

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Myth around Superfoods

Superfoods List: The Best Foods That Burn Fat And Help You Lose Weight!
Are you ready for the truth on weight loss ? You might have heard to eat your Superfoods to loose weight ! What is a Superfood and how does this work!!!
“Superfood” is a term given to a select few extra special foods that are considered to be infinitely better for you than all other foods. From improved health and disease prevention to burning fat and helping you lose weight faster, these superfoods are clearly THE KEY to every beneficial physical improvement we want to make to our bodies and should therefore be a part of our diets. RIGHT ?
Here is a list of the most amazing, most beneficial, most effective, most important, most healthy and of course most super superfoods in the entire history of the planet.
The Top 5 Foods That Cause Fat Loss
1. No
2. Foods
3. Cause
4. Fat
5. Loss
The 4 Best Foods For Building Muscle
1. No
2. Foods
3. Build
4. Muscle
Wait .. What? I am sorry to tell you that there are no such foods that will magically make you lose weight or keep your muscle. There are foods that have more of an impact on this process but none that are directly related to doing either of the two things listed. The reality is:
There is no single food that will cause you to lose fat.
There is no single food that will prevent you from gaining fat.
There is no single food that will cause you to build muscle.
There is no single food that will make you healthy.
There is no single food that will prevent or cure a disease.
There is no single food that will make up for an inadequate overall diet or workout program.
The truth is, you can eat every superfood that has ever been included on every one of those lists and then proceed to consume all of them every single day for the rest of your life. And guess what? You could still very easily be a fat even obese… even morbidly obese, un-muscular, unhealthy person with numerous diseases and medical issues.
If you want to lose weight, the one and only thing that causes fat loss is a caloric deficit. Consume fewer calories than your body requires to maintain its current weight which is a “caloric deficit” and your stored body fat will be burned as the alternative fuel source.
What you need to aim for is the super healthy lifestyle list!
- Diet: The kind that is designed around allowing you to consume the total amount of calories, macronutrients, micronutrients and water that you need to support your specific goals and overall health, all of which is put together in whatever way is most preferable, enjoyable, convenient and sustainable for you as possible.
-Workout, the kind that is designed with your specific training needs and goals in mind, built around the proven fundamentals of what is optimal for reaching those goals.
- Sleep and reduce stress
-BE CONSISTENT !
There you have it ! I just dispelled a myth of superfoods and now you have a super healthy lifestyle list to follow !

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

You are Unique

No two people are alike, which means everyone has a different set up that fits the individual needs of the athlete/lifter. The perfect program, the perfect lifting technique, the perfect anything, is the one that’s specifically designed for you. Learning what works best for your individual body type is important when learning technique for lifting.
Many times people watch videos of other athletes who are training and they "try" to copy the movement pattern. This can become a problem because you need to take into consideration that the athlete has many differences in height, weight, and performance level. Sometimes when you get fixated on a certain athlete, it can break down your own performance level because you then give up when that didn't work for you. There is a reason why. You are different!
Watching form and technique is a great tool to learn cues and how it should look. Now we need to take one step further and find out what works for YOU and your body type.There are common points of performance associated with each lift, but every athlete has a bit of wiggle room within these guidelines. Two people can look dramatically different doing the same lift and both be absolutely correct. So, if your technique looks vastly different than the person lifting next to you, how do you know whether you’re different or just plain wrong?
The way you move plays a huge role in understanding this concept. The length of your body segments will inevitably change the look of a correctly executed lift.Your skeleton is a limiting factor for how you perform a lift. Some people have an ideal hip and femur arrangement which results in a naturally more comfortable approach to the squat and press. Don’t try to force yourself into a below parallel squat with a narrow stance if your body was not built for such range of motion.
Past injuries can also have an impact on your training. Sometimes you can work around injuries and sometimes you can’t. Think about your shoulder. If you had a shoulder injury and your range of motion is not 100% back to normal, front rack and overhead training will become bothersome. When dealing with an injury, assess the range of motion that causes you pain and find exercise variants that allow you to continue training without causing further damage.
One of the biggest mistakes an athlete can make is not respecting their individual training set up. If you have shoulder restrictions and can’t low-bar back squat or snatch, do high-bar squats and Russian swings instead. Do not limit yourself to one training aspect because it's "programmed" that way. A good coach will be able to help you move throughout a range of motion that yields the same effect without inflicting pain throughout the movement.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up too easily and switch exercises just because something doesn’t look quite right. Instead, take a moment to examine why your movement is different. Do you need to work on mobility? Maybe your set up can be tweaked slightly for better movement quality. Do you lack the stability to maintain the movement ?These are all things you should work on. If you want to be your best, skip the easy route. Seek guidance from an experienced coach who can help identify if your deviations from “normal” are standing in the way of your goals or are in fact putting you on a path for success.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Are You Having FUN ?


Are you having fun? Really ask yourself this question. Are you having fun in life? Do you enjoy what you are doing? Does it make you feel good at the end of the day? If you answered no to any of the above questions, it might be time for you to re-evaluate your current situation and start doing things that you really enjoy.
In the fitness industry, the idea that you should do things you don't like because they are good for you can be good and bad. When you start to follow the trend of people you are taking away your individual style and character to become YOU!
If you find that over time, your motivation slowly wanes or you feel like you’ve lost your training passion, take a step back and have a moment with yourself to consider this question, “Am I having any fun?” In the beginning of ANY program, you are motivated and ready to attack each workout. But then there is a shift when your PR's are far and few between, your "should" turns into "have to go" and you just feel BLAAHH when you train. This is a HUGE sign that you need some time away from the weights.
Taking time off or taking time to do something different is important for your body and mind. Strip away the program, the gear, the diet, and the expectations you set for yourself. Force yourself to take an extended rest period and allow yourself to just be. If the thought of skipping a few workouts makes you freak out, that’s exactly why you need to take a break. Use this time to figure out what makes you happy on both a physical and emotional level. Think about the last time you were active without the sole purpose of exercise. Sometimes all you need is one small shift to reroute your attitude and return to your programming with a refreshing appreciation for fun.
Prioritize your health and your happiness.Figure out what the healthiest version of yourself looks like and make that your training goal.When you find what makes you happy, do it. Movement should make you feel good, and when fun is the focus, it doesn’t really matter what you do. Choose a path, follow it without guilt, and don’t make excuses. Life is too short for fitness to be so serious.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fix your Posture !

Are you aware of your posture ? Did you know that poor posture can lead to more issues and potentially injure you? If your posture is poor from hours of sitting at a desk or standing incorrectly, then not only will it ruin your snatch, clean, deadlift, and squat, but you’re also setting yourself up for a long list of injuries: shoulder impingement, labrum tears, rotator cuff issues, lower back problems, disc issues in general, hip flexor tendonitis, knee and ankle issues.
Postural alignment is the basis of proper movement. If your postural alignment is off, your movement patterns suffer. A large portion of the most common postural issues and also some of the most easily reversible problems stem from sitting down too much, particularly if you’re leaning forward and hunched over a keyboard. When you sit for prolonged periods of time the group of muscles responsible for hip flexion are in a shortened position. Spend enough time with these muscles like this and they start to adjust to their new length and even develop a preference for staying that way. Your body will adjust to any demand you place upon it and all it’s doing by shortening these muscles is helping you maintain the position that you’ve demonstrated you really like being in.
Anterior pelvic tilt ruins your core control and hip extension.Tight hip flexors can contribute heavily to hip flexor tendonitis, particularly when you try to use them in a flexion heavy activity like running. Having your pelvis tilted anteriorly will also lengthen your abdominal muscles into a less than ideal position, which can lead to poor abdominal control and poor core stabilization. This scenario, when compounded with the additional pressure exerted on your lower back from the poor pelvic position, can cause a whole lot of lumbar pain.
Probably the second largest set of issues from poor posture is at the shoulders. Want to do a simple test? Stand up and let your hands hang down by your sides naturally. Just let ‘em hang hang wherever they will. Now take a look at your palms. For the most part your palms should face each other. In other words, your thumbs should point forward and your palms should face the midline of your body. When your shoulders sit in internal rotation, then the muscles responsible for producing that motion your lats, teres major, pec major, subscapularis, and anterior deltoid suffer a similar fate to your hip flexors in chronic flexion. They get shortened and locked down at that length because it’s the easiest way for your body to maintain that wonderful hunched position.
Proper postural alignment can be attained by doing the following:
Stand up and flex your glutes. This should help tilt your pelvis posteriorly (reversing the APT we’ve been talking about).
Now flex your abs just a bit, only enough to maintain the pelvic position so you can relax your glutes.
Now stand up tall as if a string was pulling the top of your head to the ceiling. Twist your thumbs all the way out so they almost point behind you while pulling your shoulder blades back a bit.
Now relax your arms and try to maintain that shoulder position by using only the muscles in your upper back.
Proper postural alignment is the basis of all movement. If your posture sucks, your movement suffers and you might get hurt. Fix your posture and you’ve just taken a huge step in unlocking the full athletic potential of your body. You may also avoid some injuries along the way.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Big weights... Little body !

Like many people when I first started to learn about fitness, lifting weights was NOT part of my workout plan. I was all about that cardio life and zero about picking up anything heavier than ten pounds. Flash forward 5 years and now my goal is a #300 squat. Very far from my previous goals of doing endless amounts of cardio.
I didn't step foot into a real weight room until I had a friend that introduced me to "bodybuilding". At that time in my life I was struggling through an eating disorder and had no desire to get "bigger". Little did I know it lead me on a journey I would never trade for anything in the world, Picking up the weights and being able to press them overhead was POWERFUL. For the first time in a long time the weights gave me instant gratification of a job well done. I was hooked, and that's and understatement.
My journey then lead to a figure competition and now to the powerlifting lifestyle of just lifting heavy and being strong. Training is who I am, it's what I love and is what I need as an outlet. Lifting gave me my confidence back. Nothing can compare to that “I can take on the world” feeling when something intimidates me but I do it anyway. I’m anxious – sometimes a little, sometimes a lot – every time I approach the barbell especially on my AMRAP set days. And the weight is always a little scary but if it doesn't scare you it's not shaping your mindset. It seems silly, but I’m surprised by how heavy-heavy lifting is.
You learn focus. There is so much to think about in executing a lift and so much danger in over-thinking it. If I let my mind wonder during a deadlift or squat, it’s all over. In that magical, in-between space of thinking/not thinking, there is freedom. A focus that’s meditation. As my core tenses, my mind relaxes. And when it’s really going right, I can’t think about anything else, and I’m not really thinking about anything at all. I just am.
I also lift because I want to take care of myself. The thing about lifting heavy stuff with our muscles is that it also makes our bones, tendons, and ligaments better equipped to handle whatever we dish out. I fully intend to carry my own groceries, move furniture myself, be able to change a tire and move anything that stands in my way. Having the freedom to be able to take care of yourself is what makes life worth living.
I don't worry about if I can or cannot lift the weight. I attack it like any challenge in my life. I make a choice to do my best and not let it defeat me. I brace myself for anything that can happen and I execute with passion and peace of what I have grown to love... the weight of the bar and the strength my body has.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stop looking for the EASY way and just do it !

It's pretty simple and there is no gimmick to getting stronger in the gym, it takes time and dedication. Many people want a combination of getting stronger and leaner with a good body composition along the way. No matter you goal, from Power lifting, Crossfit, or just remaining healthy to thrive in life, it all comes down to getting stronger and leaner through training.
As a bonus, when you focus on those two simple goals, other training objectives like improved mobility, agility, endurance, and injury prevention fall into place.When it comes to making the most of your efforts in the gym, forget trying to find the easy way. Put the effort in to make it worth your time.
If you want to get leaner and stronger, follow these tips that are used by so many people who are willing to strive for more.
1.) Lift Weights. Forget thinking weight training will make you bulky. Stop lifting 2 lbs. and start lifting heavy weights. Lifting weights is about you and the bar. Focus on proven, multi-joint, large range-of-motion movements like squats, rows, deadlifts, presses, pull ups, and leg presses.
2.)Do cardio for your heart but don't over do it for weight loss. Don’t get too hung up on the type of cardio you choose. Just pick an exercise that you enjoy and want to do. Walking, jogging, rowing, cycling, swimming, skating, and hiking are all good options. Variety helps motivation and reduces the likelihood of injury, so switch things up from time-to-time. HIIT or sprint-style cardio is useful as well, but keep in mind that this type of work is fueled by the same energy reserves as your lifting sessions, so proceed with caution.
3.)Get a handle on your diet. First ask yourself if you know how much you are eating. Do you track it? Do you know what your body needs to perform well? Make sure you’re ingesting an appropriate number of calories per day, and focus your attention on macronutrient ratios. Get these two basics in check and your diet will begin to fall into place to support your training and body composition goals.

Don't get so caught up in the latest fad diet or workout trend. When it comes to training goals, if you really think about why you want to train it will usually come down to two things, I want to get stronger and look good doing it.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My TOP Fitness Motivation Tips !

My top fitness motivational tips !
-Say the words ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ often
The word ‘I can’t’ will often translate directly into ‘I didn’t,’ so try to replace your vocabulary with positively charged words. Set a positive intention for each day and believe that you can do it. A positive approach often leads to positive results. Start your day with a positive mantra and use it all day long. Keep it somewhere you look often and read it throughout the day to remind you of all the things you have that are blessings in your life.
-Love who you are
Try not to be negative about yourself. Ask yourself if you would ever say what you say to yourself to a friend. If you wouldn't say it to a friend then why are you being so harsh on yourself. Stop looking in the mirror and thinking ‘I need to change.’ Even if your goal is to lose a lot of weight, it doesn’t mean you should look at your self in a negative light. The fact that you realize you need to take care of yourself is a step in the right direction.
-Do what you enjoy
A lot of times people try to "fit" into a certain type of training that is most poplar at that time. If you are trying to fit into something you don't enjoy, then why do you feel you would stick to it? Choosing exercises you enjoy doing are part of the journey to getting better. Now that doesn't mean you should never do things you don't enjoy, just always follow it up with something you do!
-Make a reward that is not food related
People use food as a reward for going to the gym.WHY ? That's a little counter productive and it can create restrictive eating. You should create a reward that has more value to you. A new pair of shoes or a new workout outfit to wear. Food should be used as fuel and not as a reward to your training.
I hope that these fitness tips will help you along your journey. You have so much to look forward to when you start to train and learn to make it a part of your day instead of a chore !

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Enough of the Fitness Divide !

Why does there have to be so much hate ? Hate in the fitness community is REAL. It's a shame that this is occurring because so much knowledge can be passed to each other if you take the time to listen to the methodology behind each training style. Are you a bodybuilding who cringes at CrossFit? Or maybe you are a CrossFit athlete who thinks bodybuilders are "fake" muscle. Maybe you think powerlifting is for "fat" people who just want to lug around heavy weights and don't look like they workout. Opinions are ok, hate is not.

Not understanding everything about the mindset or methodology of a sport is no reason to dismiss the benefits it has to offer. I’m going to guess it’s because you have been told that training separate body parts is incorrect, that isolation exercises are an ineffective use of time, and that bodybuilding nutritional practices are irrelevant to you as a CrossFit athlete. Or your on the other end of the spectrum and you feel that CrossFit is all about "cheating" reps and momentum that doesn't shape the body into equal proportions. If your a powerlifter/strongman, you are smashed between the two, not really fitting into any category. It's a sad place to be and it takes a tough skin to defend what you practice.

Enough is enough with the madness. I think we should look at the benefits of training throughout many fitness domains and why they can increase your performance across ANY fitness category you enjoy partaking in.

Nutrition is a valuable asset that you can learn from bodybuilders. There is a science to how many bodybuilders become leaner for a show. It's not magic and it's mostly diet. Learning how to eat for performance during your training season but also how to lean out for competitions, might give you a competitive edge over your opponent. Nutrition is the building block of success in fitness. You can't out train a bad diet.


Become disciplined. There is no denying that bodybuilding has a lot of discipline. Countless days of counting macros. Eating chicken for breakfast and even eating fish cold from a baggie on show day. Of course this is the most extreme but you can learn to hold your nutrition to a higher standard. If you are not willing to put in the work, don't start to make noise about those that do.


How much ya bench? There is an ongoing joke that Monday's are international chest day. Isolation movements for your chest are part of a training split that bodybuilders and powerlifters train consistently. Why would you need this in CrossFit? Did you ever think that the bench press is a functional movement? If your training is geared towards being better at life, and being able to deal with emergency situations, then being trapped under something, or someone, is one of those situations. Benching is a functional movement that has benefits beyond building a gorilla chest.

Finally, enough with the bicep curl jokes. Isolation movements are not evil and can help with prehab and rehab. Making sure you are filling in the gaps in your training can prevent injury.
Isolation work can also be relevant when bringing up a weak link in the body, and can be used to help rehab and fix post-injury muscle imbalances .Bicep curls strengthen the tendons and provide elbow protection. The bicep curl is not just recommended, but is necessary to be as fit as possible for the task at hand, and to stay away from injury.

Alongside the knowledge you gain on nutrition, discipline, isolation movements, and body part splits as discussed above, the deeper you dig, the deeper you will realize our bodybuilding brothers have yet more to offer us. This includes insights on time under tension, work ethic, cutting weight for competition, and how you can incorporate it into your functional fitness culture. Let's stop the divide and join forces !