Friday, November 28, 2014

How to Master the Dreaded Pistol Squat

One of the biggest complaints I have gotten from my clients when I choose to make a pistol squat a part of their fitness regimine, is "But I cannot do a pistol squat!"


Fair enough. Pistol squats are one of the most difficult squats to perform because not only are you adding in the factor of balancing your entire body from falling, you are also using your entire (insert your body weight here) pounds of bodyweight.

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What is a pistol squat? 

A pistol squat is basically a one-legged variation of your normal squat exercise that involves balancing your body weight onto one leg as you squat downward. (pistol not included)

Some people enjoy this difficult feat by taking a step further, like this gal. Holy shit! Do not try this at home.. or gym!

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Why do a pistol squat?

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  • Improve strength and flexibility.
  • Eradicates imbalances between the two sides of the body.
  • Improve mobility in the knee, ankle, and hip joints
  • Pistols build monstrously strong legs without needing to go to the gym.
  • Pistols simultaneously train strength, balance, and mobility with just one exercise.
  • Promote good barbell squat technique because they force you to sit back, maintain good posture, and keep the whole body tight
  • Reduce the stress on the lower back making them great for those with back problems
How to do a standard pistol squat?

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  1. Stand with arms extended out in front.
  2. Balance on one leg with opposite leg extended straight leg forward as high as possible.
  3. Squat down as far as possible while keeping leg elevated off of floor.
  4. Keep back straight and supporting knee pointed same direction as foot supporting.
  5. Raise body back up to original position until knee and hip of supporting leg is straight.
  6. Repeat and continue with opposite leg.
How to master the pistol squat? 

Try a variation or modification of the pistol squat. Just like yoga, this move takes time to work your way into- especially if you are a beginner.
Here are 3 great variations or modifications to practice with that will help you to build strength to do the real thing:

1. Bench or Chair Variation

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Using a bench or a chair, you can get your technique just right by squatting down as low as you can, barely touching the chair or bench. If you lose your balance or fall, you will have the bench right there to catch you. This is a great way to help build strength and practice the pistol squat.

2. Assisted Variation

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Using a pole or even a wall is my favorite way of easing into the pistol squat. It sort of gives you the idea of what to expect without the risk of possibly hurting yourself if you weren't to use the pole or wall. Think of it as leverage.

3. Counterbalance Variation using Weights

Pistol-Squats
 Photo: Bret Contreras

Using a weight plate, doubell, or even a medicine ball, you can counterbalance your body while performing the pistol squat. Keep it mind that this may work against you as you will then be adding even more weight to your squat. But, when done correctly, this can help build your strength and balance tremendously.

Get Lean for 2015!



Did you overindulge for Thanksgiving? Come join my DietBet and bet that you can lose at least 4% of your starting weight. And if you do, you win money! Who's in???

Where Does the Fat Go When You Lose Weight?

When you lose weight, have you ever wondered where the hell the fat actually goes? Sure, it "burns up," but it is a little more scientific than that. Actually, it is quite interesting!

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Fat is a store of energy. When you need energy, you break down the fat. That breaks down into a component called free fatty acid and goes into the liver for energy. When you have a lot of excess fat, it generates so much free fatty acid, the liver can't handle it, so it stores it.

When people consume more energy or calories than they can burn, guess what happens? The fat cells become larger. And when people burn more calories than they consume and lose weight-they shrink!

When we lose weight or body fat, we lose it from all over. This is the main reason why spot reduction is a myth!
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Fat cells (aka adipocytes), store excess energy from foods in the form of fatty acids called triglycerides. As the triglycerides are stored within a cell, they force it to expand, increasing the cells diameter.
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Humans carry about 10 billion to 30 billion fat cells. People who are obese can have up to 100 billion. Though we can increase the number of fat cells in our body, when we lose weight, we don't lose the number of fat cells. Tragic, right? 

The size of the cells shrinks, but the capacity to expand is always there. Meaning, it is easier for you to gain that weight back! The only way to remove the fat cells would be through a liposuction procedure.

Whether or not your fat cells shrink or become larger ultimately depends on your diet and fitness.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Am Thankful for My Fit Pregnancy


When I became pregnant, the last thing that I thought about was my body and the changes that it would go through. I wasn't worried about stretch marks (I hardly even used cream most of the time) and I was not worried about gaining weight. But, I did make it a point to keep up my healthy routine from the moment we found out that I was pregnant. 


I went to the gym 5 days a week. I ate clean mostly (except for the occasional chips & queso dip from Tijuana Flats). I actually ran 3 miles the day that I went into labor, on my due date. I understand that not all women are capable of doing these types of things during their pregnancies because some of us tend to have a very difficult time. But if you can, then go for it!

I really made it a point to take care of myself. Not just for me, but for my unborn baby. It is so different when there's another life to think about. I wanted nothing but to feed myself the best nutrients possible since studies show that what you eat during your pregnancy will ultimately affect what your baby desires to eat someday. Cool, huh?

I made it a goal to bounce back, but I went at my own pace. I am so happy with myself and the female body. Our bodies are capable of bearing so much pain and force to create, sustain, and birth a human life. That is so freaking awesome! Your body is a brilliant machine.

Treat your body the way that it deserves to be treated. After all, it's the only place you have to live. 

A Very Fit Mommy Thanksgiving

Hello ladies! Happy Thanksgiving :)

I hope that all of you guys are having a wonderful day! My family and I celebrated our Thankgiving dinner last night in which I cooked a quite yummy feast! We invited a couple of our good friends over and had a blast. 

It was our first Thanksgiving to have our son with us (out of the womb lol) so I wanted to make it super special. 

I made a cajun herb turkey, corn casserole, and bacon wrapped green beans!

Here are my recipes:

Cajun Herb Turkey


Ingredients:

  • 1 15lb. Whole Turkey
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup softened salted butter (use REAL butter)
  • 4 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Thyme
  • 2 tbsp. Sage
  • 2 tbsp. Rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. Chives
  • 2 Tbsp. Parsely
  • 2 Tbsp. Tony Chachere's Cajun seasoning
  • 1 Cajun flavored marinade injection kit
Directions:
  1. Two days prior to roasting, inject the turkey with the cajun flavored marinade. My favorite places to inject are the breasts to help keep things moist and flavorful because if the white meat is good, you know the whole bird will be absolutely delicious!
  2. Prior to roasting, set out the raw turkey to room temp for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Peheat your oven for 325 degrees.
  4. Mix softened butter with herbs, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning until well blended.
  5. Using your hands (or a glove), take a quarter sized amount of the butter mixture at a time and rub it beneath the skin of the breast. 
  6. Next, rub some of the mixture all over the outer skin of the turkey.
  7. Place your turkey in a roasting pan and pour the entire can of chicken broth around the base of the turkey.
  8. Tent your turkey with aluminum foil.
  9. Place the turkey in the oven and set your timer for 4 hours. On the last hour or so, remove the aluminum foil to brown the skin.
  10. When done, let sit for at least 30 minutes prior to carving.

Corn Casserole


Ingredients:
  • 1 box Jiffy
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 15oz. can cream corn
  • 1 15oz. can corn
  • 4 tbsp. butter
Directions:
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 greased glass pan.
  4. Bake for one hour.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans


Ingredients:
  • 1 package smoked bacon
  • 2 cans WHOLE green beans
  • Sea salt/Pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Cut bacon strips in half and drain the cans of green beans.
  2. Preheat oven 350 degrees. 
  3. Take 4 whole green bean pieces and wrap them in the strip of bacon, like a bundle.
  4. Lay in a row on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Why Are We Fatter Than Ever? These 12 Graphs Tell All!



recent article on Authority Nutrition has explained why people are getting fatter than ever-in just 12 simple graphs. The numbers do not lie!

1. People Are Eating More Crap than Ever

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Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Fast Food, Weight Gain and Insulin Resistance.Whole Health Source.

This graph says it all, though we pretty much already knew this. We are eating more junk food. Why? It is cheap, easy, and fast.

Instead of making our own food at home, we go out.

At the turn of the 20th century, people were eating mostly simple, home-cooked meals. Around 2009, about half of what people ate was fast food, or other foods away from home.

This graph actually underestimate the true change, because what people are eating at home these days is also largely based on processed foods.

2. We Eat Too Much Sugar.

 
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As addictive and terrible as it is, Americans cannot seem to get enough sugar in their daily diets. I have friends who sip Coke and then complain about their weight. But.. they won't give up the soda. Why? Sugar is a drug. It has been proven time and time again to become a habit. Your body gets a little and it craves more.

Numerous studies show that eating excess amounts of added sugar can have harmful effects on metabolism, leading to insulin resistance, belly fat gain, high triglycerides and small, dense LDL cholesterol… to name a few.

There is also a plethora of observational studies showing that the people who eat the most sugar are at a much greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

3. We Love to Overindulge During the Holidays

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Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Why do we Overeat? A Neurobiological Perspective.2014.

It is no secret that we love to overindulge on the holidays. Although weight gain does not happen overnight, we tend to think its simply ok to splurge this one time because it is Thanksgiving or it is Christmas, etc. We may even think, oh it is just a few pounds!

The problem is that sometimes people don’t lose all the weight back. They might gain 3 pounds, but only lose 2 after the holidays are over, leading to slow and steady weight gain over time.

In fact, a large percentage of people’s lifetime weight gain can be explained just by the 6 week holiday period.

4. Obesity Skyrocketed After the Low-Fat Guidelines Were Published

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Source: National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2008: With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults. 2009 Mar. Chartbook.

Scientists once believed fat, especially saturated fat, to be the main dietary cause of heart disease (although this has since been disproven).

This led to the birth of the low-fat diet, which aims to restrict saturated fat. Interestingly, the obesity epidemic started at almost the exact same time the low-fat guidelines first came out.

But it does seem likely that putting the emphasis on saturated fat, while giving processed low-fat foods high in sugar a free pass, may have contributed to negative changes in the population’s diet.

There are also massive long-term studies showing that the low-fat diet does NOT cause weight loss, and does not prevent heart disease or cancer.

5. Food is Cheaper.. But Still Not REAL.

 
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Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Why do we Overeat? A Neurobiological Perspective.2014.

The decreasing price of food is triggering obesity at its finest. You see an ad on tv, "99 cents for a taco or cheeseburger!" Not only does that sound tasty, but the price is super appealing as well.

Let's get one thing straight: yes, whole foods cost more. But you get what you pay for. This is why real food is not cheap. People complain on a daily basis about how much organic food costs, but come on-what would you rather fuel your body with: a bunch of cheap fake shit or real good shit?

6. Sugary Soda & Fruit Juice Consumption Has Increased

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The brain doesn’t “register” liquid sugar calories in the same way as it does solid calories and if you consume a certain number of calories from a sugary drink, then your brain doesn’t automatically make you eat fewer calories of something else instead.

That’s why liquid sugar calories are usually added on top of the daily calorie intake. Unfortunately, most fruit juices are no better and have similar amounts of sugar as soft drinks.

Studies have shown that a single daily serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage is linked to a 60.1% increased risk of obesity in children.
 
7. Increased Junk Food Variety Leads to Weight Gain
 
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Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Why do we Overeat? A Neurobiological Perspective.2014.

Variety can be a villian when it comes to junk food. The graph above shows a study where rats were split in 3 groups… one group got regular healthy chow, the second group got one type of junk food, but the third got multiple types of junk food at the same time.

This reminds me of our day in age in America.We go to a conveience store or the supermarket and there are aisles upon aisles of JUNK! So much shit to choose from, its not even funny. We pick up a bag of chips, then come cookies, and oh-don't forget the ice cream!

This is a recipe for disaster.

8. Our Occupations May Be Leading to Decreased Daily Activity

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Long gone are most hard manual labor jobs and say hello to the desk/office! This graph shows that due to most occupations, we are not burning as many calories during the day. Why? Technology is taking over. Nowadays, there is a machine to do everything for you. Why use a human?

Also, people are stuck at their desks for 8 hours, working on their computers, and not getting up to go anywhere.

9. We Are Consuming More Oils, Thanks to Junk Food.

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Believe it or not, butter is not your enemy. This graph shows that people are getting further and further away from eating natural fats such as butter or lard and rather reaching for processed oils that are hidden in most junk foods.

10. Your Social Life May Be Contributing to Weight Gain

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Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Why do we Overeat? A Neurobiological Perspective.2014.

These days, people go out to eat in big groups. Why? For the social aspect, of course! Hardly anyone eats alone these days. However, eating in groups can often trigger you to eat more calories per sitting. Why? You are too busy socializing! This is why you drink so much when going out to a bar-next thing you know, you are drunk as a skunk. You are talking and chatting away, having a great time, and not really paying attention to how much you eat or drink.

The other graph shows that people eat more on the weekends which is when most people go out to eat versus cooking at home.

11. We Skimp on Sleep.

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Source: Cauter EV, et al. The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism. Medscape, 2005.

Sleep plays a huge role in maintaining your weight and keeping your body working properly. Not getting the adequate amount of sleep can screw up your hormones and make you feel hungrier than you really are. The longer you stay awake, the hungrier you are more likely to get.

 12. We Eat More Calories Than What We Really Need.

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Source: Dr. Stephan Guyenet. Why Do We Overeat? A Neurobiological Perspective.2014. (Data from CDC NHANES surveys and USDA food disappearance data)

As you can see, caloric intake has increased over the years, leading to our fattest population ever. We no longer care about or rely on the true amount of calories that our bodies need on a daily basis. We eat without direction, but for pleasure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This Woman Drank One Gallon of Water Daily for 4 Weeks... Her Results Will Shock You!


Sarah Smith is a 42 year old mother of two young kids in the UK who has openly admitted to not drinking enough water, just like anyone else. She admits, "Usually I start my day with a cup of tea, then I might have a glass of water with my lunch and one with dinner - that's about a litre of liquid in 24 hours. It feels like plenty, but apparently it's not nearly enough."

After years of suffering headaches and poor digestion she spoke to a neurologist about her regular headaches and a nutritionist about her poor digestion, and both told her that she should be drinking up to three litres of liquid a day for her body to function at its best.

When Sarah read a recent survey suggesting that at least one in five women in the UK consumes less than the recommended daily intake of water, she decided to conduct an experiment. What would happen if she drank the recommended amount every day for a month?

Week 1

The photograph of Sarah, below, taken the day she started this trial demonstrates perfectly - and rather frighteningly - what a lack of hydration does to a face. Dark circles, wrinkles, dry lips, etc.
This Woman Drank 3 Liters Of Water A Day. Her Final Results Shocked Everyone!

Sarah states, "I usually have a wee three times a day: when I get up, before I go to bed and at some point in the afternoon. By the end of my first day of drinking more water, I have had six and my usually sluggish bowels are much more lively."

"I'm enjoying lots of cups of tea. My husband says that's cheating, but I tell him the British Nutritional Foundation says 'moderate amounts of caffeine do not cause dehydration, so they do count towards your fluid intake"

She also noticed sudden skin breakouts, which were a result of the toxins being eliminated from throughout her body. However her headaches were already gone and her previous joint stiffness first thing in the morning was vastly improved. Water is vital for lubricating the joints.
Week 2
This Woman Drank 3 Liters Of Water A Day. Her Final Results Shocked Everyone!

Sarah states, "My complexion is improving and my skin tone is more even. I still have wrinkles under my eyes, but they look less crepey and shadowy than before."

"The blotches on my face are diminishing, and the shadows around my eyes are less pronounced. I feel pleased when my sister-in-law tells me my skin looks clearer than it did a week ago. I have a busy week with lots of time away from home, so I stock up on half-litre bottles of mineral water I can carry around in my bag. A week's worth costs just over £8. If I spread my water intake over the day, that's half a litre when I wake up, another with breakfast, one with lunch, one in the afternoon, one with my evening meal then another before bed. It sounds like a lot, but I'm finding it manageable"
"Today, I've noticed my breath smells less 'breathy', maybe because I've ditched tea - I decided water was better for me. I'm certainly not missing the sweet, milky taste it left in my mouth."

On top of all of this, Sarah also noticed that her tummy was flatter than she expected it to be. She figured she would have been super bloated from drinking all of the water! She also had another migraine free week!

Week 3
This Woman Drank 3 Liters Of Water A Day. Her Final Results Shocked Everyone!
"The dark rings and wrinkles under my eyes have virtually disappeared, and my skin looks plumper and more nourished. My friend, who is a beauty therapist, says this is because the water is helping my skin cells regenerate more efficiently.

I've noticed I've stopped rubbing my eyes when I wake up in the morning. They used to be dry and full of sleep, but not now. All this extra water must be keeping them moist.

I'm eating less because drinking water with meals makes me feel fuller quicker. I used to snack, but I was reaching for food when I was actually thirsty. Studies show 37 per cent of people mistake thirst for hunger.

When I put on eye make-up, my eyes seem less wrinkled. When I rubbed an eye-shadow applicator over my eyelid, it used to drag the skin with it, too, but now my skin seems to have more elasticity."

Week 4
This Woman Drank 3 Liters Of Water A Day. Her Final Results Shocked Everyone!

After her last week of her experiment, Sarah states "I genuinely can't believe the difference in my face. I look like a different woman. The dark shadows around my eyes have all but disappeared and the blotches have gone. My skin is almost as dewy as it was when I was a child. The transformation is nothing short of remarkable."

"I feel fitter, leaner and healthier, and my husband and friends tell me I look ten years younger. Who in their right mind would not want to try something which gets such incredible results?"
Photos: The Daily Mail
Do you have trouble drinking water throughout the day? Here is a little secret trick to help you drink more water.. and it is super easy to do! Click the image below to find out what it is!

URLSmall

The 1,000 Calorie At-Home Workout

Splurged on Thanksgiving dinner? No worries! Here is a workout to get your body sweating, heart pumping, and your adrenaline rushing!


The 1,000 Calorie At-Home Workout

*Warning: It won't be easy. If you physically are not conditioned to complete this workout in one sitting, then please do not try. Do each move fully and vigorously, to your ability*

Instructions: Repeat the following set three times with one minute of rest in between the sets.

Warm Up: 10 Minute Jog/Sprint Intervals (jog 1 min, sprint 1 min, repeat)

100 Jumping Jacks
100 Mountain Climbers 
100 Crunches
50 Squats
50 Burpees
5 Minutes of Jumping Rope
5 Minutes of High Knees

Cool Down: 10 Minute Jog/Walk Intervals (jog 1 min, walk 1 min, repeat)

Now, here is your printable and pinnable image to save and keep!



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

9 Habits of People Who Stay Fit

Getting fit is one thing, but staying fit is a whole 'nother ball game. To stay fit, you must continue what you've been doing to get fit and make it a lifestyle change, not just some one time thing and it's done.


Here are 9 habits of people who stay fit:


  • Eat.. real food. Skip the low-fat/fat-free/sugar-free chemical shit storm and just eat real food-in moderation. With that being said, stay away from prepackaged and processed junk and focus on food with the least amount of ingredients in them-meaning, aim for foods in their most natural state.
  • Get sleep. Sleep is your body's time to repair and heal-especially as you are working out. Then, you need all the recovery you can get and night time is just the right time for this since the goal is to stay active as much as possible during the day.
  • Make a plan. If you have a plan, studies show that you are most liekly to succeed.. or at least try. This is true in the case of anything, not just fitness! Set out a specific time to workout, how many minutes to do, and what you will be doing during that time.
  • Work out at home if you can't get to a gym. If you have cable, it probably comes with a whole slew of secret workout classes you can do on-demand. This is a great option for when you want to be active but don't want to leave your house. You can also use Netflix, YouTube, or purchase a set of workout DVDs.
  • Drink a gallon of water daily. Water regulates all of your body's processed to function at the best rate possible. Skipping this or skimming, as most people do, will not only affect how you look and feel, but it will affect your workout and recovery as well.
  • Mix up your routine. Do yoga one day, interval training the next, and a light jog the following day. If your fitness routine doesn't bore you, you're more likely to stick to it. Also, this helps to keep your body guessing! If your body gets used to a certain activity, you may find yourself in a slump. 
  • Instead of skipping a workout, focus on how great you'll feel after. Working out isn't always fun while you're doing it, but the endorphin high you get after — or the myriad other benefits, like a sound night of sleep — are.
  • Exercise even if you only have 15 minutes to do it. A short gym routine is better than nothing if you're really strapped for time or just plain exhausted. If you don't have time to get to your gym but have 15 minutes before you have to shower to go meet your friends for dinner, do jumping jacks to Taylor Swift or something. You'll feel better, especially if you spent your day sitting at a computer listening to Taylor Swift andthinking about how you should really leave work in time to get to the gym. (But then, well, didn't.)
  • Exercise when you're sore. Don't do intense weightlifting by any means, but a light jog or brisk walk as part of an "active recovery" can help alleviate sore muscles more quickly than sitting on your duff doing nothing.
  • Merry Christmas From My Family to Yours!


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