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Abs are Made in the Kitchen: Clean Eating vs. Strength Training

Clean Eating Strength Training

People are finally starting to understand that strength training – not cardio – is the best way to build the shape and definition you want. Hurray! So many hours on the elliptical, saved!

Well, now we’re here to tell you that nutrition is even more important than strength training when it comes to seeing results. How can that be?

You may have heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Or, perhaps, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” These rules of thumb survive the test of time because they’re true. But what exactly do they mean?

Your food won’t magically build muscle without you having to lift a finger; only resistance training can do that. But in order to see that hard work you’re putting in at the gym, you need to focus on what you’re putting in your mouth.
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The Perfect Sports Bra Fit: What the Experts Say for Any Size

sports bra

We all have that one sports bra. The one you’ve had since high school, full of holes with no elastic left. While it’s supported you through the years, over time, it’s lost its ability. But like an old boyfriend, you keep it around because it’s comfortable.

Sports bras are supposed to be your boobs’ best friend, but an ill-fitting one can turn into their worst enemy. Too small, and it will smash and suffocate while on and be nearly impossible to take off. Too big and it won’t do anything for you at all. Either way, you’re setting yourself up for an uncomfortable workout that may even do damage to your body.

According to Renelle Braaten, founder and president of ENELL, who creates state-of-the-art, high-quality performance sports bras for women C cup or above, “An ill-fitting or unsupportive sports bra, especially while engaging in sports or strenuous activity, can cause premature sagging of the breasts and stress on your back muscles,” she told She explained that this can cause breast, back, shoulder, and arm pain. “It can also cause headaches, indentation, scarring, chafing and/or improper posture.”

It’s such a problem, in fact, that many women cut their workouts short or skip them entirely. This isn’t news to ladies, however, as we have been coming up with our own ways to deal with poorly fitted sports bras over the years. Some girls wear regular bras under their sports bras to get the support and coverage they need, while some double up on two sports bras in an attempt to stop bouncing and avoid blacking out their eyes.
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Drunk Munchies are Real! 3 Ways to Combat the Morning After Bloat

drunk munchies

You’re trying to lose weight, but you still deserve a social life, so you start your night out with a plan — because fail to plan, plan to fail, right? You’ll have a low calorie cocktail or two, you’ll drink lots of water in between, and you’ll steer clear of those the appetizers you know your friends will order.

But before you know it, you’re having a great time and that plan goes right out the window. While your night is amazing, the next morning: not so much. You wake up feeling bloated, sick and remorseful. What the heck happened?

Drunk munchies are real. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people eat more calories and make unhealthier food decisions on days that they drink. Read: fried, greasy foods consumed well after dinner time.

It makes sense because, as we all know, alcohol lowers your inhibitions. We’ve all woken up thinking, “why did I do/say/eat/text that?”. It’s because alcohol causes us to focus on immediate gratification (yummy, fatty food) rather than long term goals (yummy, flat tummy).
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Do Fasted Workouts Work? What Skipping Breakfast Means for Your Fitness

superfood supplement powder

You may or may not have heard of fasted workouts, or probably more likely, fasted cardio. Fasted workouts are just that: workouts that are done in the morning on an empty stomach.

The idea is, if you get your sweat on before you break the overnight fast with breakfast (yes, indeed, that’s where the name comes from) your body will go immediately to burning its fat stores instead of wasting time burning through the calories you ate for breakfast.

It sounds good in theory, but doesn’t this go against everything we know about the “most important meal of the day”?

Let us first look at how breakfast affects your morning workouts in general:


Your body uses the food you eat to power it to do the things you love, and all nutrients in your food are used for different purposes. This food, however, must be digested and broken down for those nutrients to do their jobs, which can take hours. Leaving time for this can be nearly impossible if you prefer to workout first thing in the morning, but it’s always been encouraged to consume at least a little something, preferably quick burning carbohydrates which break down quickly for fast energy.
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The First Women’s Strength Nation LIVE Event Motivates Women to Take Back the Weight Room

holly womens strength nation

Sunny San Diego was the backdrop for the first Women’s Strength Nation LIVE event April 10 – 12, 2015 and Diets In Review was there every step of the way. The kickoff was part of the launch of Westin Hotel and Resort’s new Westin Wellness Escapes, a series of weekend-long events devoted to helping you live your best life, even on vacation.

Hosted by celebrity personal trainer and fitness expert Holly Perkins, CSCS, the weekend was full of enlightening information to equip women with everything we need to walk into the weight room, confident and ready to work.

The mission of Women’s Strength Nation is to improve the ratio of women to men in the weight room. In order to do that, WSN provides you will all the tools you need to confidently walk into the gym and crush it every single time. Using strength training as a metaphor for building strength inside and out, we learned that in order to illicit change, you must have adversity. Like your muscles, you must be torn down before you can be built back up. When met with resistance and adversity, either in terms of weight vs. your muscles, or life vs. you, in the words of Holly Perkins herself “how you show up for this is how you show up for everything.”


Through individual and group exercises, group workouts, workshops and lectures, we learned the indisputable science that supports strength training’s affects not only on the body, but also the mind. We learned how a woman should train differently than a man, despite the fact that all the information out there is written for a man and a man’s body.

With so many takeaways from the weekend, it’s hard to choose which to highlight. Here are just a few nuggets of wisdom:

Kelly Womens Strength Nation


Change, positive or negative, is the biggest stressor: marriage is stressful the same way divorce is and a promotion is as stressful as a job loss. Our bodies crave homeostasis, to keep the status quo. Everything in our beings wants us to stay the same. The purpose of fear is to maintain that homeostasis. Whether in the gym or in your life, your body will naturally resist. To overcome, just breathe, acknowledge this, and do it anyway.


The women can’t bulk myth was busted. Rejoin, easy gainers! Women can bulk (if they want!) — it just takes a very specific physiology and/or a specific type of training. It has to do with testosterone and yes, some women have more than others which gives them a propensity to bulk, so no, you aren’t crazy if you fit the bill.


That being said, you can get stronger without getting bigger (they are not synonymous) you just need proper programming. To find the best program for your body type, pick up a copy of Holly’s new book Lift to Get Lean. It’s a female-focused strength training bible, and in it Holly shares four unique programs for each body type and goal type so you can bulk (or not!) how you want.


Pulling mechanics are very important for a woman’s body, which is why you need to do three times as many pulling exercises as pushing ones. It has to do with our evolution from the days when we walked on all fours, and the muscles it takes to keep us standing upright.


In the end, we learned to let go of the excuses that have been holding us back for so long and why it’s vital, as women, not to dim our lights to make others feel comfortable, but rather it’s our responsibility to let our lights shine to motivate and inspire other women to do the same. Together, thirty perfect strangers laughed, cried, shared, and bonded — and will forever be connected. We are strong. And so are you.

stronger she became quote

Here are three things we learned from Women’s Strength Nation LIVE! that you can work into your next workout:

The 3 rules of strength training

1. Technique trumps everything

2. Manipulate your speed of movement

3. The last 2 reps should threaten #1.

The 5 form cues to make every exercise a full body exercise

1. Pull up your arches

2. Push out your knees

3. Tuck your butt

4. Brace your core

5. Anchor your shoulders

5 essential exercises for every woman

1. Leg press

2. Deadlift

3. Reverse grip pulldown

4. Chest press

5. Overhead press

Also Read:

How to Strength Train Without Weights

4 Effective Ways to Make Body Weight Exercises Harder

5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners

images by Lauren Milner Photography courtesy of Westin