Body weight training for results

Body weight training for results

As soon as you go into any store and see any kind of fitness magazine, the first thing you see is usually some buff dude in a gym holding a 100 pound dumbbell. So it’s no surprise that the majority of people think lifting weights is the ONLY way you can see results.

This is simply not true.

While weight training with with equipment is a VERY needed element for long term fitness…you can seriously tax your muscles, add some variety, see some great results and lose some unwanted lb’s with your own body weight.

To get the best results of body weight training, I recommend taking a group fitness class in a gym, or take a personal trainers boot-camp. Many boot-camps are equipment free since it would be very difficult to travel with gym equipment.  If you are in the Charleston area, I host boot-camps on Saturday mornings, and you can get more information by sending me a message via this website or keep tabs on my Facebook fitness page HERE.

To do proper body weight training-break up your body parts and THINK about how you would work them in a gym. Bench press? Push-ups. Back Squat? Air Squats. Lunges. Jump squats. Shoulders? Variations of plank movements. Tricep pushdowns? Dips off a bench or on the floor. You get the idea. Write down your workout-break it down into 5 moves, done for 1 minute, take a break. Repeat for the duration of your workout.(This is just an example, and actually how I usually structure my group workouts most of the time.)

BODYWEIGHT TRAINING BENEFITS

  1. Free
  2. Versatile, many different variations
  3. Can be done anywhere
  4. Improves movement
  5. Improves relative strength
  6. Can improve reactive strength

The following are some of my favorite body weight moves that will definitely break a sweat and leave you sore!

  1. Push ups. There are SO many variations of a push up. Never under estimate the power of a push up. There is beauty in the simplicity of this move. You’re engaging your core. Your glutes are squeezed. Find that perfect plank with your hands directly beneath your shoulders (for a standard push up) and go to town. There are also tricep push ups, plyo push ups, wide push ups, side to side push ups, 1 hand push ups….the list goes ON. The muscles worked are core, shoulders, chest, and endurance because your heart rate will go up. As you can see, it’s one of my favorites because of all the variations.
  2. Squats. You can seriously work your legs and butt with no equipment. Think outside the box. Air squats, jump squats, side to side squats, pulse squats, plie squats, bulgarian split squats, sumo squats…etc. Not to mention the variety of lunges you can do to work your legs (alternating front lunges, plyometric lunges, reverse lunges, curtsy lunges) A five minute leg circuit could look something like this: *1 minute per move, than repeat 5 times depending on how long you want to train your legs*

A. Air squats

B. Jump Squats

C. Alternating front lunges

D. Jump Squats

E. Bulgarian Split Squats

*Just an example, or sub out some moves with some I mentioned above.*

3. Pull-ups

You never know what you can find at a public park! If you see a pull up bar-use it.

One of the biggest mass builders for the back, pull-ups are also one of the most versatile. They also work your shoulders and your accessory muscles such as the biceps.

How to Modify the Pull-up:

  • Varying grip element (towel, thick rope, offset grip)
  • Modifying linear movement; you can perform side to side movement, you can perform a leg lift or L-sit with each rep to also work your abs.
  • Overload the movement with a bookbag between your feet.
  • If you cant get your body above the bar-have a buddy hold your feet to give you an assist on the way up, than perform a negative i.e. very slowly come down from the bar with control. Yes; pull-ups are tough, but the only way to get better at them is to keep doing them. Over time you will be able to do them if you put in the work and stay consistent.

4. ABS!

Not much to say here…google some abdominal moves; there are so many to pick from and can be done EASILY with no equipment. Crunches, a multitude of plank variations, full sit ups, side planks, side plank pulses..this list goes ON!

Even though these moves and workouts can essentially be done for free: I must stress the importance of a trainer. There is a sequence that these workouts should be done to get you the best results, even with no equipment. Not to mention: teaching proper form.  There is a rhyme and reason for everything that we do as personal trainers. I encourage you to reach out to me and ask me anything. That’s why I’m here. 

In Health-Demi

Most important element of your fitness journey is…

Most important element of your fitness journey is...

SLEEP.

That’s right. It’s not nutrition, not your workout, or how much water you are drinking.

Although they all play an extremely important part of your health and fitness journey..SLEEP is your money maker.

Let me first preface this: If you are apart of the crowd that thinks “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”…don’t even bother reading. Your quality of life will suck, and when you’re dead-you are just dead. This is all about living a life full of health and vitality.

“Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.”

Well, seems pretty important I would say…just by reading that alone.

Think of it this way; take a triangle and flip it on it’s head. At the very top is SLEEP, next layer is HYDRATION, next layer underneath that is NUTRITION, and the itty bitty point of the bottom of that upside down triangle is…YOUR WORKOUT.

I know for many that can come as a surprise. I always tell my clients this and they are always surprised/shocked.

This is an example of an ideal day: You wake up refreshed because you got your 7-10 hours of sleep (everyone is different). Energy is already up and you feel ready to face the day with a pep in your step. Mentally-you have your goals and you are ready to demolish them. You hydrate throughout the day. You eat sensibly, because when you DON’T sleep well-your body releases the hormone ghrelin AKA the hunger hormone, causing you to be-you guessed it-hungry. The hunger is there not because you are actually hungry, but simply because you did not get enough sleep. This where overeating of the wrong types of food comes into play. When this hormone is secreted, your body wants energy in the form of sugar and starchy carbs to combat that lack of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. Ironically, this is also the same hormone that is secreted when you get the “munchies” when you ingest marijuana. ‘Food’ for thought. (pun intended) 

Anyway-if you slept well, this hormone stays in check and is only released if you are truly hungry, but it’s very controllable and a normal part of your day. You will also be more motivated to work out and your performance WILL increase.

All of what I just mentioned…your ENTIRE day will be better and you will reach your goals faster if you get the proper sleep you need.

**That is exactly why SLEEP is the most important part of your fitness regimen. Your workout (if it’s an hour) is only 4% of your day. 2% for 30 minute workouts. Your recovery begins as soon as that workout is over and you are in your stretch/cooldown. Your recovery continues with your post workout nutrition and hydration and goes right into the NEXT night of sleep. During sleep is also where your muscles recover. When you are weightlifting for example: you are creating micro tears in your muscle fibers. This is the feeling that makes you “sore” the next day. Sleeping good, eating properly, and hydrating enough are what heals these micro tears and helps your muscles to become stronger for your next workout.   Stronger muscles will lead to more muscle mass and therefore less body-fat.**

Did you just hear what I just wrote above?! Read it again.

If you are wanting to maximize your fitness potential according to your goals, the recovery is where it’s at. When you recover with good sleep, hydration, and nutrition, you become STRONGER and more fit.

The understanding of this cycle is of the UTMOST importance for you to reach your goals and keep them for the long haul.

As always feel free to ask me anything. I train in the Charleston area and would love to pass this and much more information to you if you are in need of a personal trainer. 

In Health-Demi

“When will I see results?”

How long until you will see results

This is a question that I get asked ALL.THE.TIME.

And I get it. I was the girl who would workout, eat good, and get some good sleep, and I would weigh myself every single day! I would find myself very disappointed because sometimes my weight would go up, or there would be very minute changes. One thing you must know is:

THE SCALE IS A BIG FAT LIER.

(for the most part)

The scale is great to give yourself an overall glimpse of how your diet and workout are working for you BUT only as one simple tool, because it does not give you the whole picture of how you are progressing. That number does not represent how many pounds are fat and how many pounds are muscle are on your body at any given moment.

THIS IS WHY I MEASURE. 

Body measurements are more trusting and can give me and you a more accurate glance of how you are moving along. It can give us a baseline for body fat percentage, where we can measure every 4 weeks to make sure we are progressing and moving in the right direction. Keep in mind even measurements can vary in ways that are “not desirable” at the moment because it can measure water retention as well as differences in your body composition that is very common in the beginning of a workout program. What matters most is that we keep a general baseline that includes a combination of the scale AND measurements every 4 weeks.

Most people will tell me that their clothes are fitting differently and are looser. THAT is what I am looking for. That tells me that you are not just losing body fat, but you are putting on muscle. I had a client in the past that over 3 months of solid training with me: lost ONLY 3/4 of a pound. Do you know how devastated she was?! THEN we got to measuring. Sure enough she lost 22 overall inches! Can you see now how much the scale is SO not the end all judge here? The scale is just a tool. This woman’s clothes were so loose on her! Those numbers tell me she put on muscle and boy did she get strong! When she saw how many inches she was down, her happiness could fill that gym times ten. She was happy and I was so proud of her.

So getting back to it: you know you can’t spot reduce. Think of yourself like an onion. Every day that you eat good, workout, and sleep good-a SLIVER of that onion comes off your entire body at once. It will take time to get to any problem areas. But it is doable! You just have to stay consistent.

Here’s JUST AN EXAMPLE of what can be typical as far as when you can see results. Of course everyone is different; so please keep that in mind. This represents someone who is watching their food intake and hydrating properly, working out most days of the week, and sleeping well in general every night.

  • Week one: Most people start to see some change in the scale (usually up to five pounds) during this week. You’re likely to feel better, but not see major changes in your body.
  • Week two: During week two you’re likely to start to see changes in the way your body looks and feels. Exercise starts to feel easier and your clothes will start to feel loose.
  • Week three: Week three is when you start to feel momentum in your weight loss journey. If you’ve been consistent in your plan, your body is responding well and you start to feel like the program is successful.
  • Week four: By week four it is very possible that you’ve lost enough weight (safely) to be a different clothing size.

Again, remember this is all very relative and different for everybody. I will be talking more about all of this in-depth in the coming weeks and really breaking it down so please stay tuned. Feel free to ask me any questions you would like me to cover in the comments or send me a message via the ‘contact me’ tab on this website.

In Health-Demi

Power of the kettlebell swing-another glute and leg killer

Power of the kettlebell swing-another glute and leg killer

I know it seems like the easiest thing to do. You just swing the thing, right? Well, no. There are a lot of cues and mind to muscle connections you should be making because the 2 hand hold kettlebell swing is great for building explosive power, leg and glute strength, stamina, balance, and total body strength. When done correctly, it can be part of a great rehab program if you are recovering from injuries and cannot do a proper squat for whatever reason, or just a great addition to your fitness regimen in general. I LOVE them.

First thing to think about-pick the right weight. If you are new to the world of kettlebells, start light to perfect your form and work your way up a little at a time. I like to add about 50-100 heavy swings toward the end of my leg workouts as a burnout so to speak, as they gas my lungs and tax my muscles in a great way every time.

OK-so you have your kettlebell that you want to work with, great! Think of these physical cues first:

-kettlebell is on floor in front of you, you are standing up right behind it.

-with 2 hands; squat down; chest up eyes forward; grip the handles and stand straight up, squeezing your glutes and tightening your core while it hangs.

-with soft knees, shift your body weight into your heels-lower your rear end towards the back and do a forward fold AT YOUR HIPS with a straight back, like you are going into a deadlift.

-with THE POWER OF YOUR HIPS: EXPLODE with a hip SNAP until the momentum and power carries the KB forward in front of you and repeat. The kettlebell should stop at around eye level as the kettlebell is just coming along for the ride…repeat and go into swing city and keep that core tight while squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement every swing.

Sounds easy right? Well with practice you will find that it doesn’t get easier, your technique gets better.

Common mistakes:

-You use your arms to assist the kettlebell coming forward with your hip snap. WRONG. Your arms are there as just an assist in holding it-nothing more. When the kettlebell is in the air in front of you: THINK OF IT AS BEING WEIGHTLESS. There is a second in the movement when it weighs absolutely nothing, because it is being powered through the air with the power of your hipsnap and your glutes. This is why it is so effective in so many ways.

-Hunched back: you are just asking for an  injury. If it is difficult for you to keep a straight back when you go into your forward hinge and going through your hip snap: you probably need to lighten the load.

Performing the perfect kettlebell swing places all the emphasis on the posterior chain—the major muscles on the backside of the body from the heels to the base of the neck, primarily the hamstrings, glutes, and low back. Think of the posterior chain as the body’s powerhouse. These muscles are big movers. And unlike little movers (like calves, biceps, triceps, and deltoids), the big movers are capable of moving big weight and burning massive amounts of calories. Win win all around and a great addition to your workout regimen!

Yes, I know there are many different types of swings, but this is the one I like to do, and is also the swing I train my clients to do for fitness.

As with everything, if you are at a gym and need more advice, don’t be afraid to ask a trainer for tips. Watch some videos online and practice, practice, practice. Always start light! Soon you’ll be a kettlebell swinging pro with great legs and glutes to prove it.

In Health-Demi