I grew up playing sports. I still give my mom a hard time because whenever I see someone who dances really well, I always ask why I wasn’t able to take dance. Her response? ‘When did you have time??’ So I know what you’re thinking; oh gosh, not ANOTHER blog post from the naturally athletic personal trainer who thinks they can help me. Well guess what, I’ve yo-yo’d like the best of them, and I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve also been able to maintain and completely change my physique, and the physique of my clients, so I’m gonna say I think I can help.
Now, a little background here, I became a personal trainer when I wanted to first make a change for the better and push my body to the limits. I started looking at personal trainers in my area and how much they charged and I was like ‘what the heck? Forget that, I’ll just be one myself!’ and that weekend I signed up for a class.
While I’ve been a personal trainer, I have learned a couple tips and tricks to take your fitness game to the next level, no matter where you’re starting from. These are tips and tricks most people pay for, but I’m giving them to you for free because hey, homegirl likes to help people reach their goals. So let’s get started, shall we?
1. Weights will NOT make you bulky
Okay so I just have to get this one out of the way because I still hear this myth. I promise you, lifting weights does not, I repeat, does NOT, make you big and bulky. Do you know what does? Testosterone and steroids. Combining weight lifting sessions and cardio is the number one way to change your body composition. Weight lifting even just twice a week can reduce body fat by 7%!
You know what I do the first workout session with my female clients? I take them out with all the big boys, cause you know what? The men don’t own the gym, and weight lifting is a necessity if you want to “tone up” or “see definition”. Do you know what happens when these women I take out onto the floor realize they have every right to be there as the men? They turn into freaking beasts! It is SO powerful! They feel like freaking Wonder Woman (who, by the way, loves lifting weights and doesn’t like cardio). So, lift the weights, babes. You won’t regret it.
2. How to ‘pull in your core’
This is probably the number one question I get, even from people who have been athletes their entire lives. I always ask, “do you know how to pull in your core?” The number one response is no. So, here’s the easy way to remember it. When a trainer says ‘pull in your core’, ‘bellybutton to spine’, or any other phrase they use but I can’t think of right now, it’s as easy as this: what do you do when someone’s about to sucker-punch you in the stomach? You flex, right? You get all tense and tight? That’s exactly it! That is exactly what you want to do whenever you lift weights. And I mean, whenever. Heck, you can even practice while you’re driving.
Why does this even matter? Do you want a thinner midsection? This can help because you’re working your core. Your core is the most needed set of muscles that you need to function. Want a better golf swing? Focus on your core. Want better balance? Focus on your core. Want to lift heavier? Focus on your core. Like the word itself, having a strong core lets you do more powerful and explosive movements. And those types of movements, my friends, escalate your fitness game.
3. Focus on Unstable Environments
This relates to tip number 2! Unstable environments require you to work that core, and believe me, you’re gonna feel it! Some examples would be:
-single leg anything (squats, deadlifts, bicep curls, hamstring curls, etc)
-Bosu balls (those weird blue half balls)
-TRX (those yellow things with black handles)
When you do something unstable, it literally forces your body to contract your core and stabilizing muscles to keep you upright. With these, start sloooowwww and focus on correct form
4. Alternate Between Slow Movements and Explosive Movements
In working out, there’s two different ways you can lift weights; you can go slow and to a tempo, or you can do quickly controlled movements (explosive). During workouts, I would recommend incorporating both, and here’s the reason why. Slow tempo-d movements increase your muscles time under tension. That’s just fancy talk for you’re going to feel it more and you can focus more on the muscle group you’re working. And it’s gun hurt. Have you ever had someone make you hold your squat at the bottom for a couple of seconds before standing up? If not, go ahead and try it and let me know what you think. It’s fun, I proooomise (*wink wink* you’ll thank me later).
Now, for these types of exercises, try to give yourself set seconds that you’re going to get to. So, like, take 3 seconds to get down to the bottom of your squat or bench, and then take 3 seconds to get all the way back up. And don’t cheat on the seconds! I’m talking like 3 Mississippi’s, If you count Mississippi-less-ly, nothing good comes from it (Friends fans anyone?).
Now that you know how to do your slow tempo-d exercises, try getting those explosive movements in there as well. These could be anything plyometric, or where you’re exploding up to the top of an exercise. This could even be something as simple as jump roping in between sets. The reasoning behind these movements is 1. it gets/keeps your heart rate up, and 2. it’s working on your quick twitch muscle fibers. Oh, and it’s great for endurance. We want that. No one wants to walk up stairs and feel like they just ran a marathon. Has anyone ever gotten to the top of a flight of stairs and like held your breath so people didn’t know how out of breath you were? No? Me either…
5. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough
Okay so I’m a nutrition specialist and here’s what I have to say about this tip: too many people are eating too little calories because they want to lose weight. Let me tell you something, my friends; no one should ever eat below 1,200 calories. Ever. Eating 500 calories a day is crazy talk. I’ve had 500 calories in one of my meals. If you want to do this the right way, either get in touch with a certified nutritionist, or nutrition specialist. The difference between the two is I’m a nutrition specialist, but legally I can’t tell you exactly what you should eat. I can give you guidelines and examples/ideas, but only a certified nutritionist can plan out an exact meal plan for you.
What is the Best Plan for You?
I like working with my clients and their nutritional goals. So what I say is do what’s going to work for you and what you’re going to be able to stick with long term. Do you love eating nuts as snacks and could leave the bread? Maybe try Keto. Do you love your bread and could care less about fats? Maybe try carb cycling. Love to indulge once in a while? Maybe try IIFYM (if it fits your macros).
The key is consistency, and sticking to eating the good foods majority of the time. Do I eat kale for fun? Absolutely not. I like my chocolate just like the next person. Do I have it once in a while? Heck yeah! And I make sure I consistently eat enough for how much I’m working out. If you feel lost in this area, you’re not the only one. Hit me up with any questions and I would love to help!
Just remember, consistency is key here, no matter what. That includes fitness and nutrition. You don’t want to kill it in the gym, and then go home and ruin it by eating 14 donuts and a slice of pie. When you’re at the gym, give it your all. Make yourself feel powerful! Make yourself proud! And just remember, you got this. No matter the slip ups or the feelings of weakness/distress, you.got.this. Tell it to yourself. Do your power poses, and start again. How do you elevate your fitness game?? ? What tips/tricks are you going to try? I wanna know!!
Until next time babes!