by Emma Hammond 0 comments
There is nothing that makes me happier than walking in the gym to see a floor full of motivated people of all ages working out. I absolutely believe that showing up & doing SOMETHING is better then sitting on the sofa. However I also tend to see the same hard working face, walking through the same workout routine 5 days a week year after year. And guess what? They look exactly the same year after usually. Often still talking about wanting lose that last 10lbs or look more "toned" or whatever their goal may be.Frustrating right? It breaks my heart every time I see people being consistent, working what they perceive to be hard & putting in the time to no results. Ready to change that? Me too! First up, my Top 6 Common Mistakes I see gym goers making that are stealing their results. Ask yourself, is this you?
1. Not Following a Program: You walk into the gym & blankly look around at the equipment like a lost puppy dog. With no rhyme or reason you do a few curls here, maybe try out that ab machine there, 10 reps no 20? After 20 minutes of a miscellaneous mash up "workout" you hit the door. Kudos for showing up but I can promise you there are more effective ways to use that 20 minutes. Decide what your #1 goal is & find a program that fits.
2. Never Changing Up Your Plan: Wait didn't you just say stick to a program? Well yes..but it is also important to mix it up in an smart & progressive way. I see the most consistent faces in the gym hitting the same 5 machines in a row or getting on the elliptical at the same pace for 45 minutes Monday through Friday. Your body adapts to that & is not going to push to make the changes you are seeking.
3. Not Challenging Yourself with Heavier Weights: Not to hate on the pretty pink dumbbells but if you are lifting a weight you could repeat all day, it's not heavy enough. Yet again, you have to challenge your body! You don't need to go to failure every time but as a general rule the last few reps should be VERY difficult. Please don't be afraid to get bulky, that is all diet & you will not wake up tomorrow looking like the Hulk. And if you do, try to get a better hairstyle..
4. Focusing on Small Muscle Groups Over Compound Movements: I understand that everyone enjoys the burn of some ab work, tricep dips & manly bicep curls. BUT those are small muscle groups that can be worked within then more beneficial compound movements. It's fine if you want to throw a few of those exercises in at the end but the bulk of your workout should be big muscle group movements like squats, pulling, pressing & hip hinging. Unless you are a professional body builder, please ditch the abs & arms day.
5. Too Much Cardio: I'm going to leave this response a little short because this isn't the post for a cardio rant BUT doing tons of cardio every week is not going to make you "toned", feel sexy naked, have a fast metabolism, bone health & so on. In fact, doing too much will make it impossible to achieve any of that. Yes even if your goal is fat loss! Doing some is fine but balance it with strength training & gear cardio towards interval workouts for you best body yet.
6. Constantly Searching for the "Perfect Plan": You try a plan for a week & say "I don't see any difference" so you jump ship & find a new one. Results takes time, embrace the process! There is NO perfect program & many different formats can work amazingly. Especially if you are a newbie gym goer. Find one that fits your goals, lifestyle, time availability & that you can stick to. Give it a try for MONTHS, not days or weeks! I promise it will pay off.
- Write down you TOP goal. Yes I know we all want to lose 10lbs, build muscle, run a race & so on but having too many goals leaves us spinning our wheels. Decide what is most important for the next 12 weeks to start an action program to get you there.
- Talk to a Professional: even if you can't workout with a trainer, run coach or yoga instructor 3 days a week, we are here to help! Set up a consult to discuss what you'd like to accomplish, your health history, current activity level, lifestyle & let them guide you to a realistic plan you can feel good about.
- Analyze Your Lifestyle: I don't know how many times new clients start with me & say I have to workout to lose these last 10lbs. When I ask about their diet, sleep & stress? It's a hot mess. As the phrase goes, you can't out exercise a bad diet but the same goes for stressful lifestyle factors. Total picture!
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
The day has come in which you've decided enough is enough, it's time to get healthy. Monday morning starts day one of the new you!You clean out the pantry, throw out the donuts, set your alarm for 5am spin class & you are ready to go! This new diet is going to be awesome & in a month you'll drop all the weight gained over the past few years.You even have your first cheat meal planned out & can't wait to dive into a juicy burger, fries & soda. You can deal with this temporary healthy eating for just a month right?.....In full disclosure I have absolutely said all those things, made the proclamations & thrown out all the junk food. I've promised to hit the gym every day until a given date, no excuses allowed! Guess what? It usually lasted until around noon on Monday when my belly started growling & I rationalized eating a greasy sandwich because "I worked out this morning". I can truly say this approach never once worked for me. Even if I did stick to a perfectly crafted plan, the second I was stuck in a social situation or unplanned circumstance, it became all or nothing. I usually went all in with the standard mindset of "well I already blew my diet, so might as well eat all the food".Either I ate the cheese dip appetizer, enchiladas & margarita or I would sip on water & politely pretend to not be hungry. Funny how there isn't an in between allowed. Well after years of feeling like a failure I decided to try something new. What could it hurt?Don't get me wrong, there are a few people that can flip the switch on bad habits & truly overhaul their lifestyle. Yet I'd say 9 out of 10 times that isn't the case & most people succeed by taking baby steps over an extended amount of time. If you have been struggling with healthy eating (whatever that definition may mean to you) or exercise for health these are a few tips to making small changes for long term results.1. Mindset: I really believe mindset is the biggest piece to the puzzle. You can buy all the clean food, hire a trainer & check off all the boxes on the way to skinny. However if your goals aren't internally motivated by something more than skinny jeans, it's unlikely you'll sustain the change. Instead take a hard look at:
- Why it's so important to you to make a lifestyle change: low energy, can't play with kids, getting sick often, feeling uncomfortable in your own skin or preventative health? Find what matters in the big picture of life as opposed to short term aesthetics. Write that down to remind yourself when times get hard & motivation is low.
- How long did it take you to put on weight or lose fitness capacity: taking a look at how you got here in order to set up realistic expectations for goals along the way. If you don't deep down believe you can achieve a goal that you set too high, you will make a half-hearted attempt before giving it up.
- What are the barriers to success you've encountered in previous attempts: so you've tried this diet thing before & tripped over the same stumbling blocks. Learn from that!! It's the best thing we can get out of our failures is to learn so we don't repeat. Figure out what keeps getting in the way of your much deserved healthy & happiness in order to work on ways to overcome.
- Don't label foods as good or bad, or completely off limits for life. As soon as we give food that kind of power it consumes us. Instead decide you are CHOOSING not to eat a few foods for now, as they are not going to help you achieve your goals. Again go back to the internal reasons such as "eating this isn't going to allow me to chase my kids around the park without huffing & puffing". Not "I'm not allowed to eat this because I'm on a diet". See the difference? None of your favorite foods are being ripped off the shelves forever, take away the desperation & know they are always there for a better time in your journey.
- Do stick to foods you already eat, enjoy & know how to prepare. I'm not saying don't try new foods! Of course you should for a multitude of reasons. However start with simplicity. Don't plan to cook a fancy kale dish with 20 ingredients when you know you don't have time or the interest in lots of cooking. Instead make simple swaps to your current diet & incorporate new methods over time. Currently eating a burger with fries every night? Try simply dropping the bun to start with. Like broccoli & eat it frequently already? Sub the fries for a vegetable you enjoy. Small changes add up! Once you start to succeed you'll feel more than capable of additional upgrade.
- Make quantifiable goals, not general statements. For example with a client last week I asked what his nutrition goal was for an upcoming business trip? He said to drink less beer. I simply replied that's a great goal, how much beer is "less"? He was slightly disgruntled with having to give an actual number but it's really important. We can always justify "less" or i'll do "better". But what does that actually mean? As I can certainly rationalize that I drank less wine then I did at that one dinner which I don't remember much of the evening... Yea that doesn't mean I succeeded in my goal.
- Walk more. Yep this one is direct. I have so many people tell me walking doesn't matter much & isn't strenuous enough to make a big difference. Well that is completely wrong my friends. Daily movement can make a huge difference! If you are out of shape then that 30 minutes a day of walking is the perfect place to start.
- Try something new! Don't like running? Stop forcing it! You may not be enthusiastic about starting a fitness routine when you are out of shape or are feeling self conscience about your body. However there are so many different ways to get fit that I encourage everyone to try new activities. Hell dance in the living room for 20 minutes a day if that makes you happy & raises your heart rate. It's a start!!
- Schedule fitness like it's any other appointment. Again don't just say I'll exercise "more". What does that mean. Start with realistic goals of a few days a week, write it on your calendar or Google whatever & check it off when accomplished. We set aside time for work, kids, laundry, tv & so much other daily tasks yet aren't prioritizing health that allows us to do those things. Stop letting exercise be an if I have time endeavor. Your too important for that!
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
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 Quadrupled Donkey Kick - Focus on squeezing that glute with a pause at the top of the motion before bringing the leg back down.
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.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.
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!!
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.
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?
by Emma Hammond 0 comments
I 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!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!2. 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.3. 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.
Where 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 Variations
- 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 Rollout
- Rotational Core: Side Plank, Pallof Press
- 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.