Tag Archives: strength training

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. (more…)

Get Ripped Like Summer 2015’s Biggest Blockbuster Stars

mad max workouts

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.

Turkish Get Up Full-Body Kettlebell Workout

Hot Pursuit

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.

Lower Body Blitz Workout (more…)

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.”

ig-hollyquote

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

EMBRACE  CHANGE

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.

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

4 Super Effective Leg Workouts from Gerren Liles

leg-workouts-lunges

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…)

The No-Squat Lower Body Workout in Just 5 Moves

lower-body-workout-no-squats

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…)

4 Effective Ways to Make Your Body Weight Workouts Harder

bosu workout

Strength training is a progressive thing: as you progress and grow stronger, the intensity and resistance of your exercises will evolve to continue to challenge you and keep those results coming. There are very specific variables that effect how hard an exercise is that you can use to increase that intensity incrementally. You can’t always just add more weight, so here are four other ways to ramp up the results of your body weight workouts.

How to Strength Train Without Weights

Change the angle: The steeper the angle of your body toward your exercising muscles, the harder the exercise will be. Example: elevate your feet during push-ups to make them tougher, or place your hands on a stair to decrease the angle for an easier modification of a standard pushup.

Decrease the stability: Reducing your contact with the floor instantly works more muscles groups to keep you balanced. You can do this by lifting one foot or hand off the ground, or getting off the floor completely with an unstable surface like a bosu, a balance board, or a stability ball. (more…)

Workout Splits are Key to Creating the Physique You Really Want

workout splits

If you’re new to the gym this spring you’re quickly figuring out that fitness has a language all its own. You have the bootcamp class going for AMRAP while the guy at the squat rack is bragging about his one rep max. As you rest before attempting the next set of dips, another woman asks to “work in” on the assisted dip machine. She asks you, “Is it chest and tri day for you, too?”.

You stare at her thinking, “Are my triceps supposed to have a special day?”.

Workout splits, or how often you work a particular muscle group, can be one of the most confusing parts of a new strength training regimen. With the emphasis on high intensity programs in gyms and online training programs most people are training every muscle, every workout. The idea of a workout dedicated to just upper body or a specific muscle group seems foreign, even outdated, but making sure a muscle has adequate rest and attention is key to creating the physique you really want. Whether you’re new to the weight room or thinking about your first figure competition, there is a split that is right for you! (more…)

The Hottest Fitness Trends to Rock Your Body in 2015

fitness-trends

Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.

What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?

Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.

1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.

Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics. 
 (more…)

The One Thing Women Are Doing All Wrong at the Gym

women wrist weights

When you think weight lifting, you think big muscle groups: quads, biceps, abs. When you think this way, you’re already on your way to injury. So many of us step up to the weight bar thinking we are ready to rock our reps without properly focusing on key joints and smaller muscle groups. A major area that most women don’t think about is their hands and wrists. It’s these very areas that cause a ton of post-lifting pain, especially for beginners who are just starting a strength training routine.

You should absolutely continue to warm up big muscle groups and major joints, but don’t forget the small stuff either! Weight lifting, when done improperly, can be dangerous, and women especially should take extra care to maintain the health of their hands and wrists. Proper hand and wrist care is important whether you are a regular gym fanatic or simply use your hands for daily tasks like working at a computer.

Try This: Yoga Poses for Computer Wrists

Experts from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recommend the following:  (more…)

The 5 Best Moves Every Woman Needs for Strong, Toned Arms

Women often neglect strengthening their arms simply because they don’t know which exercises to do, but building arm strength is important for a number of reasons. A woman with strong arms can help…

1. Prevent osteoporosis

2. Strengthen the spine

3. Improve posture

5 More Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

Plus, who doesn’t love toned arms?! Allow me to take you through my five best arm exercises for women. All you need for this routine is a pair of dumbbells and a few short minutes in your living room, hotel room, or wherever you may have a few spare minutes!

dempsey triceps

OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

— Begin standing with your feet shoulder distance apart.

— Hold a dumbbell with both hands in a heart-shaped grip (it should feel like you’re cradling the dumbbell).

— Bring the dumbbell behind your head, bending your elbows.

— Engage your core and extend your arms straight, reaching the dumbbell overhead.

— Slowly return to the starting position. This is one rep. Complete 8-12 reps. (more…)