Showing posts tagged with: training

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!

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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...

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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!

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**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!

Weekly Recap: Fitness, Food & Realizations

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Nutrition Recap Uncategorized

I have had a few questions from folks regarding my post last week about training for another 1/2 marathon, my training plan, nutrition & body composition expectations along the way. In attempting to write up my thoughts I decided why not bring everyone along for the ride! Hence the birth of my weekly recap series where I will talk about my previous weeks training, recovery, nutrition & what I am learning along the way. This is all on the experimental side so some aspects will go great & I am sure to have falters throughout. That's how you learn right!312698_2552222655352_721545244_nSo first, without turning this into a short novel, let me chit chat about my running history & goals this time around. I started distance running about 5 years ago when I first moved to Savannah. I was NOT a runner & use to skip almost every running related soccer practice in high school. I couldn't run a mile without stopping for a walk break so it's never been something that has come easy to me. So WHY run? Honestly I was in need of finding a community to meet people my age in a new town. When a co-worker invited me to a run group I decided that was a great time to put myself out there & try something new.396757_679506038216_1320755491_nFast forward through the next few years, I did successfully train for a 1/2 marathon, ran a few more of those plus 5K & 10K races & ultimately decided to train for a full marathon. WHY? Yes great question... While I could say I wanted to challenge myself, I will be real. I met a man running & would have followed him anywhere. Well apparently for 26.2 miles to be exact. Guess it worked out since that guy happens to be my hubby BUT  I won't pretend I ran a marathon solely based on my own ambition. Regardless we survived! YAY! Minus my body being beaten to death & I spent the next 2 years out of distance running while dealing with stress fractures, tendonitis & an overall weak body from too much cardio. I took a big step back, got in the gym, lifted heavy shit & swore that my running days were long gone. The funny thing? All those body composition goals to get lean & be fit were achieved much more easily when I stepped AWAY from the chronic cardio. Crazy huh?strengthYet over time I missed the open road, getting out with friends & running side by side with my husband. It was quality time together & that mattered. It wasn't about proving anything or trying to lose weight. As I often do the opposite when training for a long race. This time was just for fun & with the focus on my fitness still being in the gym. With no training plan or goals in mind I hit the road for a few runs on the weekends with the CREW. I started with 3-4 miles & within a month or two I was back up to 8-10. I simply listened to my body each run & stopped when it said too much & pushed when I was feeling good.File_000(6)The cool part? Even after taking YEARS off from running I jumped back in with much more ease than I ever had in the past. WHY? I am strong, fit & a more balanced athlete. In fact I've been running faster with much less time spent in my running shoes. I completely contribute that to my strength training regiment without a doubt.Ok so that's the nitty gritty ghosts of my running past. I finally decided last week to bite the bullet & sign up to run the Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 Marathon in November. This is our local big race most people train for so why not jump on board. The group I run with has follows a 3 day a week plan that I have complied with each year. However this year I have a different plan in place. WHY? Not because they don't know what they are doing. BUT I am in my body & have found through repetition that I don't hold up well to tons of running. Not to mention I LOVE lifting & refuse to ditch the days that keep me strong in favor of more mileage. So with that in mind I plan to focus on a train smart, not harder approach to 1/2 marathon training.rundesignMy goal? Honestly I would love to just finish this race injury free. If that goes well I'd like to run a PR at the Charleston 1/2 Marathon in January. BUT one race at a time shall we. So my basic run less approach includes these primary workouts:

  • 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)
My REAL challenge? Not doing too much this go around. I am totally a full speed ahead person when it comes to training. The issue with that is you CAN'T DO IT ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!! I yell that to myself as a reminder. What does that mean?I cannot gain running endurance, speed & time spent WHILE gaining significant strength or muscle in the gymThat makes me a little sad but I could tell the truth behind that during today's workout. After a weekend spent running, swimming & biking, my lifts were weak today. I had to drop my weight significantly & that will continue while I am doing so much endurance & muscle wasting activity. Does that mean all is lost? Nope! I will continue to lift & switch up my plan a bit to include beneficial running specific movements. More on that in another post...Next..I cannot maintain my same exact body composition, eat the same & increase my performance output.I have worked HARD over the past few years to build the muscle that I have. It doesn't come easy for us ladies & certainly hasn't for me. The truth is when I run, I lose muscle mass. That "toned" look softens a bit as I lose muscle in lieu of long mileage. Am I happy about that? NO! However I AM realistic that I cannot have them both all the time, so I am making a choice to choose performance over body composition. Everything comes in seasons & once I get done with a race or two I will have a new focus to work on. That also means I have to increase my food intake to balance my training. More carbs often means a little bit more weight on the scale. Why? Muscles hold onto water more when you increase carb intake. Notice I said WATER, not BODY FAT. Regardless the scale will go up & that's ok. Not going to sweat it. I am also NOT going to eat in a calorie deficit. That will not maintain my muscle or help me run faster. EAT for performance NOT DIET.So with those two things in mind this is what last weeks training looked like:Monday: Strength Workout #1 + 45 Minute Bike Ride (not intense)Tuesday: 6 Mile Run + YogaWednesday: Strength Workout #2Thursday: YogaFriday: Strength Workout #3Saturday: 10 Mile RunSunday: 90 Minute Bike Ride + Swim (learning how to so not intense)Last week felt great BUT I can tell today my body is a bit more tired then i'd like. I will work towards recovering better through sleep, nutrition & foam rolling over the coming weeks. I will also take a rest day when I need to! I love being active in some way most days BUT I am totally ok skipping a workout when my body needs it. File_000(1)On the food side? Here was our meal plan for last week:Monday: Chicken Verde Enchiladas w/ Salad & Cauliflower RiceFile_000(9)Tuesday: Crockpot Shredded Chicken w/ Green Beans & Roasted Fingerling PotatoesWednesdayChile Verde Pork w/ Cauliflower Rice, Refried Beans & SaladThursday: Chicken Sausage w/ Purple Potatoes & Kale File_000(7)Friday: OUT - We eat at a BBQ joint most Friday's. Creature's of habit! I get a pork salad<3Saturday: Hubby cooked a Julia Child Beef Daube w/ Vegetable Risotto & VINO!Sunday: Ate at Jalepeno's Mexican Restaurant. I had chicken fajitas, black beans & guacamole.I made a few updates to my normal eating this week & honestly think my running has been better for it. I often eat meat + vegetables for dinner without a serving of carbohydrates. I just like the lighter dinner since we often eat on the later side. However this week I consciously added in beans, sweet potato, potatoes & rice to my dinners. I will continue to monitor my performance, energy & how my pants fit, then adjust accordingly.9a93beb59f07a02590ce9f4e11493ba9All in all I am excited to have a fun goal & people to enjoy it with. I am all about finding the fun in fitness these days while I push my body in challenging ways. One week down!Please let me know via comment or message if you have any questions about my training, nutrition, recovery or how it might apply to your goals! I want to hear from YOU!!! Have you ever trained for a race & struggled with not being able to HAVE IT ALL?

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

Weekly Recap – Food, Fitness & New Goals!

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Fitness goals Habits Recap Uncategorized

The past week has certainly been a busy one with some definite highlights & challenges. I thought it would be fun to recap some of my favorite weekly recipes, workouts & just daily happenings. Here is a peak into my weekly routine:Meal Plan: We always put together a weekly meal plan prior to going grocery shopping. This has become a standard part of our Sunday routine, which I kind of adore. We have fun with it looking through recipes, magazines & cookbooks. At least when we have the time & feel like doing so. We usually stick to it fairly closely but life happens so we adjust where needed.1509797_511151369038122_993562066922873960_nNotable Eats:

Sweet Potato Bowl: This is one of my favorite combinations I make on a regular basis. No matter how many times I've had it I always find myself saying "yum" with each bite. I chop & roast sweet potato in delicious coconut oil. Saute some kale, throw in a bowl w/ sweet potato & crumbled goat cheese. Then simply top it with a sunny side up egg & it's a bowl full of happiness.

sweetpotatobowlimage1Fish Tacos: We stuck to the menu on Sunday & threw together some easy but tasty tacos. We used frozen cod that we simply seasoned & tossed in the oven. I also made quick pickled red onions & jalapenos from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine. These turned out great & I used them for multiple meals throughout the week. Love that magazine! We topped the tacos w/ the pickled veg, avocado, tomato & a spicy yogurt sauce (frank's hot + plain greek). On the side we enjoyed a cabbage lime slaw which is oh so easy. Recipe to come!

fish tacosimage1Good Ole Turkey Sandwich: Yes I know, why is a turkey sandwich notable eats? For me, I eliminated gluten from my diet a few years ago due to digestive issues. I initially ate a good bit of gluten free replacements but soon realized they were often less healthy then the original & not very good. Therefore sandwiches don't happen much in my world. I truly don't miss them but every once in a while the craving hits. So in my post-workout window I grabbed some gf bread, applegate turkey, kerrygold cheese & lots of dijon for a much enjoyed sandwich. Plus a salad for extra veg.

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Workouts:

Sunday - Power Yoga Basics Class: I have been making it a priority to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine. I'll be honest, this doesn't always happen. I am hit or miss on my love for yoga & usually choose a lifting session or run over sweating it out on the mat. However I never regret going & have to remind myself how good the stretch feels afterward. Yay for making it this week, my body & brain was appreciative.2015-06-07 11.32.51Monday: Leg Day - I try to start my week off with my more challenging workouts. The reason being I have more energy early in the week as opposed to on a Thursday afternoon. I find that quite common with clients as well so I front load my workouts to leave me room for flexibility based on energy as the week wanes on. Something you might consider! This workout included movements such as barbell squats, lying leg curls, hyper extensions, leg press, bulgarian split squats & a little core. Tough!

Tuesday: Run + Upper Body - I woke up super early with time to kill so squeezed in a 2 mile run before training clients. I want to work on increasing my running endurance again but I'm starting off slow. That afternoon I took a break from work to lift some heavy weights & set them back down. My fav! This compound day included pull ups, push ups, bench press, barbell rows, farmer's walk & a few other movements thrown in the mix. I'm having shoulder issues so having to be cautious which makes me less then enthusiastic on these days. I love training shoulder..boo!runimage1

Wednesday: Cardio Intervals + Arms - I was able to hop right out of bed & hit the gym, my preferred method of training. I did 30 minutes of intervals on the step machine which I find quite boring but cardio accomplished. I then hit some bicep & tricep action via dumbbells before heading home for a long puppy walk. Nothing too strenuous, as every day doesn't need to be full throttle fitness.

Thursday: Leg Day 2 - I am working hard on my legs so today was round 2 for the week. I used some of those booty moves I posted in a previous blog along with paused squats, deadlifts, lunges & more core action. I felt a bit tired today as per usual on a Thursday so kept the weights lighter but higher rep. Love leg days even when I am tired!2015-06-11 16.21.20-6

Friday: HIIT - I did a 25 minute circuit that was quite challenging. It included sprints, dumbbells & a lot of body weight moves such as burpees & lunges. I was huffing & puffing throughout but tried to limit my rest time as much as possible. These workouts should not be done everyday & it's important to work yourself up to higher intensity levels. However they can be an awesome addition to any program & are a great way to get in a time efficient workout. Plus they keep me from getting bored which is always a plus.

Saturday: OUT OF TOWN - We went to Knoxville for a good friends wedding this weekend. I didn't worry about any formal workout but we did walk a LOT. My favorite way to stay active & see a new city while on vacation. I also knew we had rock climbing & a hike on the agenda for the next day so extra rest was just what my body needed.

Plus as always I enjoyed lots of walks with my partner in crime throughout the week. Obsessed..2015-06-17 08.41.08-2Travel + 4th of July: As mentioned we enjoyed a lovely weekend in Knoxville Tennessee to celebrate a friend's wedding. I haven't been to the Knoxville area since I was a kid but had heard great things about the food & outdoor scene. I love searching out new restaurants while traveling & seek a menu that is unique. We do our best to avoid any chain restaurants because what' the fun in that. Although yes I do fall victim to the road trip Chick-fil-a in a pinch. I like their new grilled nuggets as a dipping device for the array of tasty yet less than healthy sauces.

11054399_962367262056_5865018844922753982_nThe wedding itself was beautiful & we had a blast celebrating the occasion. I have to get better at taking a few worthy foodie photos while traveling, as we enjoyed a few notable meals. We also greatly enjoyed the dinner at the wedding which included a delicious fruit & cheese table during the cocktail hour. I loved the soft brie & could have easily enjoyed just a plate of cheese for dinner. However I did take full advantage of the delicious dinner buffet filled with colorful roasted veggies, potatoes, green salad, lime chicken & steak. Not bad options in terms of staying fairly healthy right?

2014-09-20 08.16.21The whole wedding weekend made me feel quite nostalgic & I couldn't help but reminisce about my wedding, which is coming up on a 1 year anniversary. It blows my mind how time flies as I feel like I just met this guy, much less have already been married a year. <3

Back Home + July-August Goals:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past month of travels, celebrations & special occasions. That's what summer is for right? However I  have to admit to being ready to get back to my routine. A few too many meals out, extra glasses of wine & skipped workouts leaves me feeling a little less than on top of my game. Everything goes through seasons & I am ramping up for a back on track late summer session.

Training: I'm planning on starting a new training program focused primarily on building strength in my squat. While I exercise for a wide range of reasons I like setting a goal to train for. It drives my motivation to put in the hard work & seeing results feels worth every early workout session. This months goals are specific & I am excited to check them off my weekly list to stay accountable:

- 2x per week squat focused workouts. (heavy, light, back & front squats are all tools)

- 2x per week outdoor runs. (I have missed running & want to ease back into it for fun!)

- Stretch for 10 minutes a day, my hardest habit to maintain!

you-are-what-you-eatNutrition: I have no proclamations of doing a diet, detox or any other temporary quick fix plan. I simply want to focus on being mindful, adding food back in that make me feel good & getting creative in the kitchen. Nutrition goals this month include:

- Try one new recipe based on an in season ingredient every week.

- Save wine for the weekends, aiming for 2-3 glasses total each week.

- Make 1/2 my plate non-starchy vegetables at 2 meals per day. Love those greens!

I plan to check back in next month on how I did with these goals, how I tracked them & set new ones. Anyone else care to join the monthly goal challenge?

What are your goals nutrition & fitness goals this month?

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.

Clamshell-Exercise

Clamshell

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Floor Barbell Bridge

Barbell Hip Thrust - My Favorite!

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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!!

Hyperextensions

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

Single Leg Deadlift

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Kettlebell Deadlift

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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.

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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?