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. (more…)
Blockbuster movie season has officially begun. Though there are many, many reasons to see the following films, these action-packed summer movies feature some of the hottest celebrities in the world. If you use A-listers as your guiding light at the gym, see how can you combine your workout with your favorite new movie.
The secret? Almost all of these stars rely on strength training to get trim, lean, toned arms, legs, booties, and bellies. Strength training is not only one of the biggest trends in fitness this year, it’s one of the very best things you can do for your body. Yes, even women. Even two days of weights a week will make a difference in how you feel and look. If you need inspiration to get started, this list has a lot of muscle.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Everyone has been talking about Age of Ultron lately, and why shouldn’t they be? The sequel to 2012’s The Avengers has certainly earned its buzz. Wondering how you can get in superhero shape yourself? Grab a kettleball and wield it like Loki’s hammer. I mean–try not to hurt anyone or yourself–but your arms will thank you later.
The buddy-comedy Hot Pursuit stars two of the hottest actresses in the world: Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. It would be stellar to have either of their bodies, but to match their workouts, you’re going to want to focus on your squats. It is safe to say that both sexy ladies have very nice backsides. Work those glutes, guys.
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:
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.
WOMEN CAN BULK
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.
STRENGTH DOESN’T HAVE TO BULK
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.
PULL vs. PUSH
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.
FORGET THE EXCUSES
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.
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
3. Reverse grip pulldown
4. Chest press
5. Overhead press
images by Lauren Milner Photography courtesy of Westin
By Gerren Liles, AcaciaTV trainer
I’ve got the moves to chisel and sculpt your legs to perfection. Now that the weather’s warm, get ready to show off your gorgeous gams in a short skirt by doing 1-3 sets of each of these 4 exercises, 2-3 times a week.
ALL OUT LUNGES
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Step your right foot back about a stride’s length then bend both knees until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Immediately stand back up and swing your right leg forward a stride’s length, bending both knees as soon as your foot touches down.
Next, jump up in the air and switch leg positions, bending both knees again as soon as your feet touch back down. Use your arms throughout to both power and balance your movements.
Repeat 8-15 times. (more…)
I love squats because they are functional and efficient. Squats strengthen the muscles that keep us mobile and independent. Every time we sit in a chair or use the bathroom we are squatting. When we can no longer do those things on our own we are in trouble.
So imagine the challenge for those who cannot do squats as a form of exercise. I encounter people all the time who can’t perform a squat, because of injury or chronic conditions, include squats as part of their exercise program. It can be a frustrating situation for both client and personal trainer. While this does present a unique challenge it doesn’t mean they have to resign themselves to a lower body workout of machine driven exercises like the leg extension.
Machines can have their place in a strength training program; however, some of them do put the body in an unnatural position. They don’t mimic real world movements. We live in a 3D world and are meant to move in multiple planes. Strength training is most effective for most people with movements that mimic real life motions. Also many clients have limited equipment at home. By necessity, programs must be designed that utilize simple tools like resistance bands and their own body weight.
If squats are painful or have been forbidden by your doctor, there are still many exercise options for your lower body. Try this workout combination for an effective leg workout sans squats. Do 2-3 sets of each exercise, 10 – 12 repetitions per set. (more…)