Viewing posts categorised under: Workouts

1/2 Marathon Training Updates + Nutrition Tweaks

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Nutrition Recap Uncategorized Workouts

OK I might have failed on those weekly training recaps I spoke about... OOPS! Never the less I am back with a little update of how the last month of training has gone, a few nutrition changes i've made & how I am feeling overall. Let's dig in!!14330080_697935553693035_9048511778216656836_nLast we spoke, my schedule looked like:

  • 2x a week run (one long run & one speed or tempo)
  • 3x a week total body lifting (sticking with a program my coach wrote)
  • 1-2x a week cross training on the bike or swimming (triathlon future?)
  • 1-2x a week yoga (restorative)
While nothing has drastically changed, a lot actually has...
  • Running: I have upped my mileage from less than 15 miles a week to 20-25. I have felt REALLY good on the road lately & have naturally leaned towards wanting to do so a bit more frequently. I am TRYING to stick with only running twice a week BUT a 3rd day has slipped in on occasion. Physically I am feeling ok minus a recent knee flare. I'm going to take it easy from now until race day, as I am not going to get any faster 2 weeks out. The best I can do is rest the knee & see how the day goes!
  • Strength Training: *Sigh* This has me a little frustrated but as previously mentioned, I knew it would take a hit with the extra running. I am still loving lifting BUT it's changed a lot. A month ago I was doing heavier barbell movements in low rep ranges. Example my workout would start with 4 sets of 3 rep back squats or 1 rep max of bench press. With the extra running my central nervous system isn't feeling recovered enough to work on max effort lifts. Instead I am doing a lot more dumbbell & kettle bell work which is a fun change. I am also only going heavier on my legs twice a week. This stinks a bit BUT I wasn't recovering enough from those heavy days 3x a week to have a quality run. I can't have it all, sad I know. However it's still just as important for me to maintain strength training during this time, even if it looks a little different. I am doing a lot more upper body, single leg training & hips/glute work. The key to staying injury free.
  • Nutrition: Damn running! It makes me chronically hungry, which is exactly why I DON'T recommend it as an optimal option for fat loss. I run a lot & I want to eat a lot, it's that simple. The problem? It's very easy to overeat, no matter how many calories you burn through exercise. I have absolutely increased my calorie intake to maintain my weight & fuel my runs. It's not the time to undereat or diet so I am trying to include quality foods to stay more satiated. I have also upped my carbs & more importantly protein! Why protein? I want to maintain as much lean muscle mass as I can & protein is my best way to do so.
  • Body: I don't weigh myself these days so I can't say in terms of lb change. I actually feel as though I have gained a slight bit of weight but who knows OR CARES. As mentioned, I tend to get HUNGRY running & the mix of that with my body never reacting well hormonally to the stress, well it can leave me feeling puffy. Do I like it? No BUT I'm trying to be honest with myself with what I am eating, drinking & keep that balance in check. It's easy to say "I deserve to eat those fries because I ran 10 miles" but I really don't like that mindset. Instead I NEED to eat quality food because my body is recovering. I also don't have to EARN a glass of wine or dessert through exercise so I don't feel the need to justify that either.
I thought I'd give a little sample week of my workouts & day in the life of eats just for fun! This was a day's worth of eats on an upper body lifting day:Breakfast: Roasted sweet potato & broccoli topped w/ goat cheese, eggs & hot sauce. Totally digging the savory breakfast & love getting veggies in to start the day!image1

Lunch: I grabbed a salad from this awesome local shop called Good Greens. My newest addiction! This big box included baby kale, spinach, quinoa, edamame, beets, carrots, pumpkin seeds, feta & chicken. SO GOOD!


Afternoon Snack: Plain greek yogurt bowl w/ pumpkin & gf pumpkin O's (yay Trader Joe's!). I usually have an afternoon snack to hold me through PM training sessions & not leave me hangry by dinner time. Nothing good comes out of hangry...


Dinner: Steak salad bowl, which we enjoyed using leftovers that we grilled on Sunday night to make a hearty dinner salad. Steak, sautéed asparagus, onions, tomato, gorgonzola & balsamic dressing. A great way to end the day & took about 10 minutes to whip up. My fav!


**I think I ended the evening w/ a little Halo Top Ice Cream. That sounds like me.. ;) This day felt great on the food front, as it include all my nutrition non-negotiables! Protein at every meal, lots of veggies & plenty of H20. I also like to include grassfed beef &/or salmon 2-3x a week in addition to pasture raised eggs. Yay high quality fats!

Workouts Lately:

Monday: Upper Body Lifting Day 

1. Incline Bench Press: 4x8-10

2. Pull Ups: 3x5-8

3. Incline Hybrid Flyes: 3x10

4. BB Bent Over Rows: 4x8-10

5A. Strict OH BB Press: 4x8

5B. DB Lateral Raises: 4x10

6A. Straight Bar Tricep Pressdown: 4x12-15

6B. OH Tricep Extension: 4x10

6C. Cable Bicep Curl: 4x10

6D. Cable Bicep Rvs Curl: 4x10

Tuesday: Run + Lower Body Lifting Day

AM: 6 Mile Run

PM: Leg Workout -

1. BB Back Squats: 4x12

2. Leg Press: 4x30 - 20 Wide Stance, 20 Close (OUCH!)

3. BB Front Squats: 4x8-10

4. Walking Lunges: 1:30 minutes on/45 seconds restx3

5A. Lying Leg Curls: 4x12

5B. Glute Kickbacks: 4x12

Wednesday: REST DAY! WOOHOOThursday: 45 Minute Bike Ride + Upper Body Lifting Day (Similar format to Monday but w/ flat presses & arnold presses)Friday: Lower Body Lifting Day (Similar to Tuesday but w/ straight leg deadlifts sprinkled in)Saturday: 12 Mile RunSunday: And again we rest!In total 4 strength days + 3 cardio days + 2 total rest days = 1 happy Emma! I could have squeezed in a yoga day but I didn't. No biggie!So that's a wrap as to what's been going on with me lately! With the race 2 weeks away I'm excited to accomplish a goal & see what I will be aiming for next.Are YOU in tune w/ how to adjust your diet based on your activity & top goals? Let me know in the comments below!

Are you OUT EXERCISING your fat loss? Plus 5 ways to stop!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Nutrition Uncategorized Workouts

3Fat loss is simple right? Move more + eat less = scale down. Follow this simple template & all will be right with the world...You look at this equation & say ok move more. How can I burn ALL the calories, sweat it out hard & make the fat drip away the quickest? I got it! The more days I workout, hours I can fit in cardio sessions & calories I can cut will definately get me in my skinny jeans asap. Because after all, 1 pound is equally to 3500 calories. Therefore if I can only eat 1000 calories a day & spend an hour on the elliptical (which says I burned a 500...lies btw), mathematically that means I will lose 3lbs a week. Perfect, I can handle that for a month or two no problem!Maybe that works for the first week. You drag yourself into the gym every single day & sweat it out on the treadmill. You eat your egg whites for breakfast, tiny salad for lunch & a bit of chicken with broccoli for dinner. You step onto that scale & SCORE! Down 4lbs!!Yet come week 2 you find yourself struggling to get in quality workouts because you are fatigued. Duh! You aren't feeding your body enough so why should it give you energy to burn away? Next you are not just a little hungry in between meals, you are STARVING. From the second you get up to when your head hits the pillow. H-A-N-G-R-Y! Heck you may even wake up in the middle of the night in need of sustenance. Sure you fight it off for a day or two but let's be real? Eventually you succumb. And you not only eat a normal amount of food, you eat twice that. All that exercise you are doing is making your body scream for nutrient replacements. Insert the binge on crappy fast food, sweet treats or at minimum oversized portions. But wait? I'm exercising a TON. Cardio all day long. That burns a lot of calories so eating a bit more is fine. Wrong! Because you have now down regulated your metabolism by trying to starve it into submission PLUS burned all your muscle via that lovely treadmill. Muscle = faster metabolism, which you worked ridiculously hard to kill.Ok I say all this in a harsh sounding tone. I know! But after YEARS of doing this myself I am super passionate about helping people understand HOW to get the results they are working so hard for. Which rarely involves listening to the stupid magazine covers telling you the perfect 1200 calorie diet paired with how to get your bikini body in 2 weeks. *insert eye rolling*

Intro into running, because I desperately wanted to "tone up".

Intro into running, because I desperately wanted to "tone up".

Let me tell you my personal experience now that a rant is out of the way. Back when I was in the constant "must lose last 10lbs" cycle, I assumed that the more I exercised, the more weight I would lose. The best way to burn calories? Running of course! Or cardio of any kind would do. As I usually ran as much as I could until my knees hurt, then jumped on the elliptical on my "rest days".Heck I even decided the best way to lose that weight would be to run a marathon. All that running HAD to result in weight loss. So I did it. I ran 40 miles a week & watched my watch tell me how many calories I burned with every mile. On paper I should be losing at least 2lbs a week!To fast forward a bit let's just say instead of losing 10lbs marathon training, I GAINED 10lbs. And I can promise you it wasn't 10lbs of lean sexy muscle. In fact I had the most cellulite i've ever had, no muscle definition & felt quite "soft" all the way around. Skinny fat is what I would call it. So how did I gain 10lbs while marathon training?
Marathon Finished! Super proud BUT a good 10lbs heavier & no muscle.

Marathon Finished! Super proud BUT a good 10lbs heavier & no muscle.

A few simple facts:
  1. I was only doing cardio & lost a significant amount of muscle mass. Muscle mass is GOLD when it comes to a speedy metabolism & being able to eat enough to fuel my recovery.
  2. I was hungry ALL the time! Yes I burned 400-1000 calories on many a run. Guess what? One burger balanced out that equation quickly. You can easily out eat any amount of exercise. But I couldn't help it. I was hungry ALL THE TIME. So I ate. Not unhealthy foods but too much, too frequently. I earned it right?
  3. I was training for performance, yet attempting to eat for aethestics. My goal was to run a marathon. That was the focus, the training & I really needed to do was eat to support that. Yet instead I tried to starve it! You need to create a deficit when trying to lose body fat but NOT when you are trying to perform at a sport. Those are two SEPARATE goals!! Can they be balanced? Yes, sometimes you can work to find that small caloric deficit that meets both needs, but it's tough. And often not sustainable.
  4. I was causing havoc on my hormones! That much physical stress in the form of exercise plus dietary stress majorly impacted my hormones. I actually had blood work done & my cortisol was threw the roof! I was waking up in the middle of the night, exhausted midday, cold all the time, lost my period & my body was in no place to function efficiently. AKA fat loss stalled. PLEASE NOTE: these are all BIG warnings signs of overtraining!!!
Now I am not JUST bashing cardio. Overtraining happens in so many different ways including high intensity cross training, heavy duty weight lifting, crossfit, HIIT workouts & even intense yoga. Stress is stress & MORE is not always better. This is why I encourage clients to decide what their TOP goal is.~ Is it performance such as I want to train for a race & need to provide my body sufficient fuel to do so. ~ Is it fat loss? ~ Muscle gain? ~ Maintaining your current weight while enjoying your lifestyle?There are different optimal training programs to achieve different goals. Burning the candle at both ends all the time won't get you there.
Strength training a few days, very little cardio, balanced diet & feeling great.

Strength training a few days, very little cardio, balanced diet & feeling great.

So how did I recover from my marathon weight gain? This is the awesome part. I worked out MUCH LESS! I went from spending 10+ hours a week on the roads running to maybe 2-3 hrs at most in the gym. Most of my workouts did not include any huffing, puffing or sweating bullets. Instead I lifted weights a few days a week to build muscle & did a few shorter but intense cardio sessions that didn't overstimulate my appetite. Plus took a lot more walks & enjoyed time recovering.Due to that balance of building muscle & not creating havoc on my hormones, I was able to keep my hunger & cravings in check. Therefore able to live relatively comfortably in a small caloric deficit, aka I saw a steady
Muscle is that you?

Muscle is that you?

decrease on the scale while not feeling miserable. Which was much easier to maintain over the time needed to drop fat, actually see muscle definition & feel much more energized in & out of the gym.Magic? Nope not at all. Just counter to what seems to make sense, the tabloids have told us & fighting that all in mentality. Let's recap the take aways for how to AVOID overexercising yourself out of fat loss goals:
  1. PICK ONE GOAL: performance, fat loss, muscle building or maintenance. There is no right answer & it will change over time. BUT there are more efficient ways to achieve each. If you just need to de-stress & that's what working out is for then GREAT! Do what makes you happy & never feel bad about that. But understand your top priority so you have realistic expectations.
  2. KEEP HORMONES IN CHECK: if you are performing at a high level of intensity & not putting it back into your body. It will at some point rebel. You can't use & abuse it into submission.
  3. MUSCLE RULES: this is the best tool you have in the body composition game. The more you have or can at least maintain, the more calories your body burns at rest. Cardio builds endurance & heart health but NOT muscle. Aka lift something!
  4. THINK LONG GAME: if you are trying to lose fat, it didn't come on overnight & won't disappear that way. Bummer I know. But find the exercise balance & dietary intake you can maintain comfortably for the duration needed to hit your goal. Not to mention you can see yourself sticking somewhat close to after. AKA if you can't see yourself eating that way in a year, it's too restrictive. Find a better balance.
  5. MAINTANENCE IS OK: you don't always need to be in diet mode. Even if you still want to or need to lose body fat, it's ok to hang out in maintenance for a bit. In fact it's a must! If I sign up for a face & train for it, it's with the understanding I may lose a little muscle & not be as defined as I'd like. BUT my goal is to fuel performance. That is awesome!!! Fat loss is something I can come back to IF & when I want to. We shouldn't stay in a deficit all the time & it's important to exercise for fun! Not just to change our physical appearance.
Ultimately my #1 goal of fitness is HEALTH.
Balanced & simply maintaining :)

Balanced & simply maintaining :)

To keep me moving into my old age, my heart ticking, my brain stimulated & my inner competitor challenge. Whatever your method of moving, it shouldn't be solely focused on fat loss. What's the fun in that?There is nothing wrong with having aethestic goals but thinking that you can abuse your body into looking the way you want, well it won't ever happen. Nutrition rules the physique world, fitness keeps you strong & empowered. Take care of your body, it's the only one you have. If you have a specific goal & aren't sure the optimal path to get there, invest in yourself by finding a coach. We are all too harsh on ourselves so having an unbiased guide is well worth the investment.What's your WHY behind your fitness program?Healthy_Balance02

Life Lately in Food, Fitness & Seasonal Change.

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Nutrition Recap Recipes Uncategorized Workouts

fallThe fall season is finally creeping into the hot & humid weather. Well technically it is fall, but the 91 degree heat index today doesn't quite make it feel like a crisp fall day. Such a tease after a few days of cooler temperatures! Either way those cool days flipped a switch in my internal seasonal clock. My taste buds are leaning towards hearty warm foods over cold salads, my desired forms of exercise is beginning to shift & even my sleep clock feels a bit different. I love this change & fully embrace mixing up the normal routine depending on what feels natural given the time of year. We all need a bit of change from time to time! What does that mean for my food, fitness & general routine? Here is a snippet of life lately in food, fitness & seasonal change.foodfitnessFood:While I am still enjoying salads, they are now being filled with warmer toppings & heartier ingredients. Roasted starchy vegetables such as roasted winter squash varieties, sweet potato & beets have been thrown in the mix. I've swapped out the crisper romaine & spring mix for heartier arugula, kale & spinach as my salad bases. This time of year also means swapping out berries for delicious apples or pears. These also make a delicious addition to the daily salad.

Beets, apple, walnuts, goat cheese, caramelized onion & roasted turkey.

Beets, apple, walnuts, goat cheese, caramelized onion & roasted turkey.

The crockpot has also been a mainstay on the counter top. As nothing beats a slow roasted piece of meat, a delicious chunky stew or flavorful thick soup to come home to on a fall evening. These main meals have also been accompanied by warmer sides such as risotto, quinoa, roasted fall vegetables & sweet potatoes.
Herb roasted pork loin, mushroom & sage risotto, roasted parsnips & carrots, salad with pear & goat cheese.

Herb roasted pork loin, mushroom & sage risotto, roasted parsnips & carrots, salad with pear & goat cheese.

Breakfast has also been mixed up a bit. During summer months I tend to embrace cold foods such as hard boiled eggs, cold leftovers (weird I know), yogurt bowls & smoothies. Lately I cannot get enough eggs in every form. Oatmeal has made a comeback in addition to savory bacon & breakfast scrambles.
Eggs over sauteed breakfast chicken sausage & kale. Plus a side of plantains cooked in coconut oil.

Eggs over sauteed breakfast chicken sausage & kale. Plus a side of plantains cooked in coconut oil.

As I look at how my intake has changed, I absolutely notice trends. The top being my carbohydrate consumption has increased in the form of oatmeal, apples over berries, winter squash over summer varieties, rice instead of green beans & more. But wait...does that mean I'm going to add the dreaded winter weight many gain during hibernation? As long as I am mindful of my consumption, absolutely not! In fact I've found my body responds well to switching it up from season to season. My body is often much smarter than me when I bother to listen. Without consciously thinking about it, the temperatures decrease & my desire to get outdoors to run increased. At the same time my body started gearing me towards a slightly higher carbohydrate intake to balance the new addition of cardio to my routine. Smart right? Instead of worrying about keeping tight control over my fall food changes, I will simply make sure I still get in balanced meals full of protein, healthy fats, lots of vegetables & whole food carbohydrates.Fitness:As mentioned I have suddenly had the running bug pop out of nowhere & grab hold tightly. Now that it's not 1,000 degrees outdoors I am enjoying increasing my mileage while being smart about doing so gradually. I have battled my fair share of running injuries from stress fractures to severe tendinitis. Many a tear has been shed after having to bow out of races I signed up for or waving goodbye to my husband as he ran with our running group. This time around I am taking it slow, focusing on having fun & have no lofty goals to run a big race anytime soon. No easy task for me & something I keep having to remind myself of. My instinct is to jump from my first 5K distance in 3 years to "hey maybe i'll run a 1/2 marathon in a month". Seriously Emma... Anywho I am putting some limitations on the distance for now & just enjoying the fresh air & fun with friends.
Beautiful morning group run by the river.

Beautiful morning group run by the river.

Another reason I have no desire to overdo the mileage is because I love lifting heavy things. That has not & will not change. What has changed is my frequency, program & intensity. In the past I have made the mistake of picking up a new activity such as running & simply adding it to my already full workout schedule. Previously I was lifting 5-6 days a week, 2x HIIT workouts & a day of power yoga. If I tried to maintain that routine & added 3 days a week of running in I can guarantee over training or injury would occur. This time around I am sticking with 3 days of total body lifting, 3 days of running & 1 day gentle yoga. My runs also vary from a medium distance steady state run, a sprint day & a long run over the weekend. If I ever have a week I feel as though I'm under recovering, one of these will be the first to go!
Front squats for fun!

Front squats for fun!

Yoga is also become a mandatory addition & no longer an "if I feel like it" once a month activity. I have to stretch frequently & move my body in more restorative ways. I finally got real & admitted it doesn't happen as much as needed alone. Sunday is yoga day & I still take time each night to improve flexibility & mobility during the week. If you are going to ask your body to work hard, it's a must to take time for self care. Another lesson learned through multiple mistakes.

Foam rolling those hard working legs.

So that's a little update about life in my world. I also love using this time of year to reevaluate goals you might have set at the beginning of the year. Many make those new years resolution only to never look at them after a few weeks. Take a few minutes & consider how you have or haven't progressed towards those goals. Any you can check off? Still want to nail before the end of the year? Or may have taken a backseat or a total change in direction? That's ok no matter where you stand! It's a great opportunity to change with the season & decide an intention for these last few months of the year.Happy Fall! Any fall activities or recipes you are excited to transition into?

Top 5 Training Mistakes & Tips for Effective Workouts

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness Workouts

TipsEvery single person that has stepped foot in a gym was a newbie at one time or another. Heck even Arnold Schwarzenegger experienced his first time lifting a weight & putting it back down without knowing what to do next. It can absolutely be intimidating & unfortunately I see a large portion of the population not getting the most bang for their gym time buck. There is nothing I hate more than seeing someone working hard or hearing about the hours spent without seeing any results. Hard work & commitment should pay off right?

Top 5 Training Tips for Effective Workouts

Common-Gym-Mistakes1. Focus on Compound Movements: unless you spend 7 days a week in the gym, it's not the best use of time to spend a significant portion of your workout doing bicep curls or tricep kickbacks. Ask my clients how many arm or ab days we've had? Answer is none! This is pretty universal whether you are looking to lose fat or gain muscle. Start with the full body movements such as squats, hip hinges, rows & presses. If you have extra time & want to throw in a few curls at the end, by all means feel free. But if you are like most people with a limited workout window, get in the big moves for the most results.bicep-curl_02. Total Body Workouts Over Split Routines: Body part split programs that are broken down into chest, leg & arm days are popular among the body building world. People like the feeling of going in & smashing their legs to "feel the burn". Yet muscle burn doesn't equate to calorie burn or muscle built. Another side effect of working one muscle to fatigue is creating a great deal of soreness. This intense discomfort may linger for days, causing you to skip the next few gym sessions or a planned run. If you are planning to spend 3-4 days a week lifting weights, I would recommend using a total body program for beginners or an upper/lower split for intermediate athletes. Hit the big moves with a day of rest in between. This will work each movement pattern multiple times a week for plenty of stimulus. You will also get better at each lift by performing them more frequently. All while achieving amazing results!20130424153625-back-squat-35-of-your-body-weight3. Never Progressing in Weight or Repetitions: I often see the same gym goers doing the same workout, year in & year out. They never change aesthetically because they stop challenging their bodies. The body is amazing in it's ability to adapt to whatever we throw at it. It adjusts to doing the same repetitions at the same weight & has no reason to work harder to produce change unless we push it to. Progressive overload is the name of the game in order to see continued results! Challenge your body & don't just go through the motions mindlessly. If you are spending the time, you might as well make it count for something right?Fat-Guy-with-Pink-Dumbbell4. Going in Without a Plan: Glance around any gym & you will find many a person wandering from machine to dumbbell. A few reps here & a set there before sneaking out the door, hoping to not be noticed. Serious kudos for showing up & giving it a go! That is often the hardest part & most important first step. However not having some sort of plan usually ends up in a relatively random workout that won't really do the trick. Plus having a guide to follow will build your confidence & give you focus. Whether it's a basic online program or better yet custom built by a trainer. Having a to do list for the day is a great start to becoming an experienced lifter.il_fullxfull.381514743_63r75. Not Tracking Workouts: Playing guessing games with what exercises you did last week at what weight is no way to spend you gym day! Heck I sure can't remember exactly how much weight, sets or repetitions I did 2 hours ago! Much less 2 weeks ago. Keep a simple journal on paper or an app on your phone to track your workouts. This goes along with having a plan & progressing over time. Looking at your journal will guide you to increasing your efforts week to week. It's also very motivating to see how much stronger you've gotten over time. Not all victories have to be on the scale!I can tell you that I've absolutely been there, done that with most of these gym offenses when I started out. The mainstream magazines & online articles don't help to clear up the confusion either. Their job is to sell magazines & a catchy cover of "5 exercises for sexy abs" is more appealing to our instant gratification instincts than "a simple systematic 3 day a week workout". However I don't want anyone to give up on strength training or waste countless hours of the day following bad advice.a35224d27293b74a4bf73ef7915693d0What's been your personal gym faux pas you've learned from?Have questions or interested in a custom plan? Email me: lifting! 

All About That Base…Booty Exercises For All!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness Uncategorized Workouts

Time for some real talk fitness chat, shall we?I have yet to meet a single lady that doesn't describe her desire to have lovely lean legs. Plus who wouldn't be thrilled with having a perkier booty, right? Which as much as I am happy to guide a client to achieve those goals, the bigger issue is the rampant problem across the general population with weak glutes. Yes I did in fact just describe weak glutes as a rampant problem plaguing the wonderful everyday person across our country.Why is this such a negative? Weak glutes are caused by our lack of actually engaging our lovely big beautiful muscle group better known at the buttocks. We spend our days driving in cars, sitting at desks & often parked on the sofa come evening hours. Unfortunately if you don't use it, you lose it! Which can be responsible for a host of other issues when such a major muscle group stops firing. These imbalances puts more dependency on the low back, knees, hips & other muscle groups that now have to bear the brunt of our daily movement. This can absolutely lead to irritating pains such as achy knees all the way up to serious injuries in the low back. I can attest to this personally from my many running injuries which I can attribute to absolute lack of glute functioning. Guess where that lead me? In pain, sidelined & beyond frustrated.The great news is all of these issues can be prevented, improved & even resolved with a little bit of work building that booty. There is a huge variety of great exercises to improve glute strength but first things first. Before you add tons of weight, make sure they are activating properly with the basics. Here are a few of my favorite basic booty moves with a couple progressions to build up to:Favorite Beginner Moves:

Banded Clamshell - Can start without band, then add above the knees for more of a challenge. Abs tight & contract that booty raising the knee.



Banded Lateral Walk - A band can be placed at the feet, ankles, below or above the knee. Take a big step out with a smaller step in, moving laterally.


Banded Lateral Walk

Banded Quadrupled Donkey Kick - Focus on squeezing that glute with a pause at the top of the motion before bringing the leg back down.


Banded Donkey Kicks

Banded Glute Bridge - Feet hip distance apart with a strong push through the heels. Do not let your knees cave in at the banded area. Tuck your hips under at the top & squeeze tightly before lowering back down towards the ground.


Banded Glute Bridge

Favorite Booty Exercises:

Barbell Glute Bride or Hip Thrust - These are my absolute favorite with a ton of variations available. Find which movements makes your booty burn the most to ensure you are getting full activation.


Floor Barbell Bridge

Barbell Hip Thrust - My Favorite!


Single Leg Bridge - can be done as hip thrust on bench.

Weighted Hyperextension: These are also great if you have access to a hyperextension machine at your gym. Start without weight then progress by adding a plate or dumbbell across the chest. Another tip is to point your toes in & really squeeze the booty on the way up. Don't swing!!


Hyperextension 45 Degrees

Deadlift Variations - Another awesome exercise you can easily progress from light weight to heavy. Challenge yourself & don't stay at a light weight forever. This movement is one of the more difficult to learn, as it's hinging from the hips, not squatting down at the knees. Hinge forward & focus on pushing hips back to the wall behind you. I promise your booty will see the benefits as well as increasing hamstring strength.


Single Leg Deadlift


Kettlebell Deadlift


Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Squat Variations - Last but not least of course the squat. An all time classic total body compound movement that should be enjoyed by all. Again there are a million variations but start with a dumbbell goblet squat & box squat. Work on form & squat depth. The deeper you get with proper for the more glute activation you'll achieve.


How to incorporate these into your weekly routine? I typically perform 2-3 glute focused exercise at least 3 times a week for optimal growth. Often I am working out that booty 5 times a week, as I've found women can work the glutes with higher frequency & see amazing results.

Any favorite booty boosting moves you love?

4 Reasons You Should Strength Train + How To Get Started!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness Uncategorized Workouts

girls-get-your-guns-why-women-should-lift-weightsI remember the first time I toyed with the idea of lifting weights in the gym. I had all the typical concerns women share from intimidation, to fear of getting bulky & overall simply not knowing what in the heck I was doing. It's really hard to break past that initial barrier of starting a completely new activity with all that stacked against you!

My serious lifting face apparently..

My serious lifting face apparently..

However several years later I can promise you from personal & professional experience that it is oh so worth it. Feeling strong, empowered, confident, healthy & finally seeing the physique changes that chronic cardio wasn't providing me was worth every awkward attempt in those early days of lifting. So in lieu of creating more confusion & intimidation, today I want to try & keep this really simple! I will get more in depth in future posts on the ins & outs of lifting but let's start out with WHY you should push past the hesitation & pick up a dumbbell.Top 3 Reasons You Should Strength Train:1. It Works: Whether you are looking to shed fat, increase muscle mass, look "toned", run faster or just be able to haul groceries without pulling your back out of whack. Lifting weights is proven by science over & over to be oh so effective for all of the above & much more. The more muscle mass you hold, the more calories your body is burning at rest. Yay increased metabolism! To be straightforward, if fat loss is your goal you need to incorporate weight training into your routine. Still skeptical? I always ask the question has what you've been doing to reach your goals been working? If not, what can trying a different way hurt!440x380_ac2. It Builds Confidence: One of the aspects of lifting I love is you can measurably track progress weekly that has nothing to do with the scale. It builds the mindset of going in to GAIN strength, power & flexibility as opposed to focusing on hitting the elliptical to LOSE weight. Who doesn't want to be more instead of less? From one week to the next you can track that you did 1 more rep, lift 5lbs more or eek closer to that push up. It's extremely empowering to set small goals & knock them out every single session. It's also very scalable to different body types, ages, ability levels & training style preferences so that you can walk out of each session feeling stronger then when you walked in.Benefits-of-Exercises13. It's A Built In Health Booster: Beyond aesthetics, lifting weights boasts so many NECESSARY health benefits for men & women of all ages. Ladies as we get older that bone mass is easy to lose, causing a huge array of health problems. Lifting weights not only helps to maintain bone density, it helps to strengthen joints, tendons & surrounding muscles to sustain healthy function. Simply doing cardiovascular activity can actually severely decrease muscle mass leading to injury. Not to mention the daily benefits from lifting, when you notice it doesn't hurt your knees to climb the stairs or squat down to pick up your child.

Everyone-Starts-Somewhere-e1370227089363Where to Start: This part can get rather technical so I will attempt to break it down as best as my science nerd self can do. Disclaimer, there is NO perfect workout for every person. Same as there is not ONE diet that is ideal for all. Customization comes in based on so many individualized factors that I won't bore you with in this post. This is why I highly recommend starting with a trainer, even if just for a handful of sessions to get started on the right track Starting at your level, based on your body & with proper form is key so you feel encouraged & empowered lifting. Yes, I started out with a trainer at 18 & guess what? I still work with a trainer today so I practice what I preach.

Beginner Lifting Template: For a beginner trying to lift 2-3 days a week I recommend a total body program to hit all the major movement patterns listed below. There are an infinite amount of exercises that can be used but here are some basics.
  • Quad Dominant: Squat, Step Ups, Split Squat & Lunge Variationsbootcamp-squat-hold
  • Hip Dominant: Deadlift, Glute Bridges/Hip Thrust, Back Extensions & Bird Dogs Variations
  • Horizontal Push: Push Ups, Bench Press Variations (barbell or dumbbell/ flat or incline)
  • Horizontal Pull: Bodyweight Rows, Single Arm DB Rows, Chest Supported Row & Barbell Rows.
  • Vertical Push: Dumbbell or Barbell Military Press (seated, standing, one-arm etc)
  • Vertical Pull: Pull Ups (assisted, chin up, overhand etc) & Lat Pulldown (underhand, wide grip etc)
  • Anterior Core: Front Plank, Stability Ball Rollout0905-poster-glute-bridge-march
  • Rotational Core: Side Plank, Pallof Press
*Recommended 2-3 days per week on non-consecutive days.Sample A Workout - Bodyweight:1A. Glute Bridges - hip dominant1B. Pull Up - Band Assisted - vertical pull2A. Squat - quad dominant1006-pushup2B. Push Up - horizontal push3A. Step Up - single leg quad dominant (I do a single leg/unilateral movement every workout)3B. Inverted Rows - horizontal pull4A. Plank - anterior core4B. Side Plank - rotational core*Start with 1A & complete 10 reps then immediately begin 1B. Complete 10 reps then rest in between. You would ideally complete 3 rounds in that manner then move on to 2A & 2B. Repeat.Sample B Workout:1A. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift - hip dominantweighted-bridge1B. Close Grip Lat Pulldown - vertical pull20100615-lose-last-10-pounds-5-600x4112A. Goblet Squat - quad dominant2B. DB Incline Chest Press - horizontal press3A. Dumbbell Walking Lunge - quad dominant single leg3B. Dumbbell Overhead Press - vertical push9025fb86fbbddc5ebed9afc2622aecf14A. Single Leg Romanian DeadliftSingle-leg-deadlift - hip dominant single leg4B. Single Arm Dumbbell Row - horizontal pull5A. Plank - anterior core5B. Side Plank - rotational coreHow to Build Your Program: This template may seem complicated at first glance so here are a few factors to consider when choosing exercises, sets to complete, repetitions to do & how to pair movements together:
  • Pair movements that are opposing - aka a push with a pull or upper with a lower.
  • The last 2-3 reps should be hard - if you aren't struggling lift heavier or more reps.
  • Master body weight before loading - if you can't body weight squat don't add a barbell.
  • Stick with a program for more than a week - master movements & add weight over diversity.
  • How many repetitions & sets is truly goal dependent - to start try 2-3 sets of 10 reps.
  • Short on time? Split it up into different days to hit all movements during the week.
fitness-motivation-quote-6Final Thoughts: The fun thing about strength training that there are a world of options, variations, styles & exercise selections to keep you from ever getting bored or plateauing. Don't be overwhelmed by fancy programs or complicated routines. My biggest tip is to start with the basic movement patterns & strive to progress every session. There are tons of professionals out there to help you get started so don't hesitate to reach out! Whether it's a one time consult, online customized program or hands on training. There is nothing that makes a trainer more excited to do then watch a newbie blossom in the gym. The quick progress you can make physically, mentally & emotionally will amaze you!!Do you strength train? Why or why not?