How To Get The Perfect Butt

squats lunges jumping jacks

Getting the perfect butt isn’t about just doing squats. To get that full roundness you’re looking for, you have to take into consideration the three different muscles that make up your butt. This diagram describes how each muscle works and what exercise to do to activate them. My suggestion is to take the basic idea, and make your workout plan incorporate different types of the same exercise for each category so you can experience full benefits of your workout. For example, to activate your gluteus minimus, the diagram recommends squats. You can include sumo squats, wide stance squats, narrow stance squats, split squats, etc. To get the gluteus medius going, you can add jump squats, jumping split squats (or Russian hops), box jumps, or jumping rope. Different ideas for lunges include reverse lunges, curtsy lunges, and lunge hops. Check out different glutes and hamstring workouts here to get more ideas!

Advertisements

Health Benefits Of Lemon

lemon for weight loss

Remember to take advantage of any “shortcuts” like drinking lemon water, now that you’re back on track with your fitness this new year! There are so many health benefits of lemon that it’s hard to list them all, but my favorite one is its helpfulness in fat loss. Lemon naturally cleanses and detoxes the body, which is exactly what we all need after the holiday festivities. It’s also nice because if you’re tired of the taste of plain water, a few lemon slices really perk it up and make it easier to stay hydrated. My personal favorite time to drink lemon water is first thing in the morning or right before bed, with hot water and honey. It’s calming, delicious, and washes away that stubborn fat. Just in time for spring break!

The best way to stay motivated to keep up with your goals is to plan a deadline to have them accomplished by. Plan a spring break somewhere warm, a rewarding photoshoot, or something that will keep you excited to be fit! It will help you remember that everything you do will be worth it 🙂

Check out more Detox Recipes here and also How To Stay Motivated With Your Fitness Goals!

xoxo

 

Green Goodness Detox Juice

detox recipe

The benefits of juicing are so incredible that I’ll write an article on that later, but here’s a recipe for a detoxifying and slimming juice that will energize you and leave you feeling (and looking) amazing!

Ingredients:

2 celery stalks

2 stalks of asparagus

1 green apple

Handful of kale

1/2 a cucumber

Juice or blend ingredients and enjoy!

3 Exercises To Perk Up Your Boobs

chest exercises

I have seen so many girls focus so much on getting a nice butt and legs that they forget about their upper body. Don’t be one of those girls. An essential part of beauty is proportion, and to have an amazing lower half with only a decent top half is a shame. Most women don’t need to do a LOT of muscle building in their upper body, but a little definitely goes a long way.

One of the places most neglected by women when workout out is their chest. Doing chest exercises is something I definitely recommend, whether you think your boobs are too big, too small, or just “fine.” If you are trying to tighten up your chest area, these exercises are just what you need. They will burn extra fat, make your boobies perky and firmer, and give you the kind of lift that some people pay a plastic surgeon to do. You don’t need to use very heavy weight for these exercises if you only want to tone. Say you’re like me, and would like to build your chest more (maybe because you don’t have very big “twins”), lift heavier weights with sets of 6-8 to really get some definition. These exercises work your pectoral muscles that sit beneath your boobs, so when they are toned, they lift whatever is sitting on top.

These are very basic exercises that I personally use because they WORK.

  1.  Pushups. Yay!! Everyone loves pushups! (Not) If you can’t do a pushup on your own, start with your knees on the ground and aim for 3 sets of 10. These work wonders to your chest muscles, so DO THEM. You will be happy when you see the results.
  2. Chest press. You can use the chest press machine if your gym has one, and if it doesn’t or if you work out at home, use 5-15lb dumbbells. Simply lie on your back on the floor or on a bench, hold the dumbbells close to your body above your upper chest with fingers facing away from you, and press up. Repeat.
  3. Chest fly. Same for this exercise, use the chest fly machine if your gym has it, otherwise lie on a stability ball, a bench, or the floor and use 5-10lb dumbbells. Start with your arms straight above you and perpendicular to the floor, lower them to each side to form a T, then raise them back up to the starting position.

As you become comfortable with these exercises, start doing them from different angles. The chest press should be done on an incline bench, a decline bench, and also a flat bench to get all the benefits of the exercise. The chest fly can be done with any of these angles as well, and you will get a better workout if you use them all.

You can pair these three chest exercises with arms, back, or shoulders (although I do chest and arms together) or with a HIIT workout.

Good luck!

If you liked these exercises, go check out A Great Shoulders Circuit For Women, as well as an awesome Lower Body Circuit for your next leg day!

 

How To Reach Fitness Goals

inspiration

I know from experience it’s really easy to make goals and then hope they somehow happen without having to change your behavior. Change is uncomfortable, and it’s not easy. Change requires a lot of dedication and willpower. But change also gets you results. Once you start seeing results, I can tell you it becomes addictive. It’s easier to stick to your diet and workout plan if you can actually see it working.

If you haven’t seen any change yet, remember if you want something you’ve never had, you’ve gotta do something you’ve never done.

What areas of your diet or workout have you been neglecting or slacking on? How can you take that next step that will put you closer to your goal? Take the time to examine what changes you can make in your daily ritual, and plan a way to make them happen. When you see your results, you will see how every sacrifice is 100% worth it!

xoxo

Also, learn The Best Way To Set Goals and How To Stay Motivated here 🙂

10 Fat Loss Secrets For Women

10 Fat Loss Secrets for Females

If you are looking at yourself this year and realizing that you have not gone anywhere, or worse, taken a few steps backwards regarding your fitness goals, it’s time to make the commitment to making 2014 your best year yet. If you have progressed a little, but you’ve just plateaued and don’t know how to get out of it, this is for you too!

These are some secrets I have learned from fitness guru Flavia Del Monte, trainer Vince Del Monte, one of their trainers Ryan Watson, and also through personal experience. Last year for me was an amazing year. I reached fitness goals that I never really thought I would accomplish, I made a LOT of changes in my daily habits that made an incredible impact on my life and happiness, and I see myself as a whole new person. Using these lessons I’m about to share with you, I completely changed my life.

These secrets aren’t just about quick and easy fat loss. They’re about KEEPING the fat off. They’re about small changes that are easy to incorporate into your everyday life. They show you how to bust through plateaus and be the person that you really want to be.

Secret #1. Set a deadline. It is so easy to say “tomorrow, tomorrow,” if you don’t have anything that’s pressuring you to make the change today! The best way to make yourself reach your fitness goals and start taking action is to make a deadline. And make the deadline something that really motivates you — it can be a photoshoot, a bikini contest, a vacation somewhere warm, or whatever you can think of that will really make you stick to your plan.

Secret #2. What Gets Measured, Gets Managed. Measure your thighs, arms, waist, and hips. Take those before pictures. Weigh yourself. (But don’t get too caught up on the number. 125 lbs of muscle and 125 lbs of fat look completely different.) It’s been proven that once you start seeing results, your motivation will double! By measuring yourself, you can track every single change that happens, and you will get that reward so much sooner than if you rely on pictures or the scale alone.

Secret #3. Replace One Habit At A Time. Don’t expect yourself to completely change your lifestyle overnight. You are much more likely to get discouraged and quit. Instead, do this: every month set a goal to change a different habit. By the end of the year, you have twelve new habits adopted that won’t ever go away! It takes 21 days to develop a new habit, so a month is the perfect amount of time to get each one well established. And remember, habits won’t simply be broken, they must be replaced.

Secret #4. Tell Someone Your Fitness Goals. If you have not only yourself, but someone else to hold you accountable for your goals, you are much more likely to stick with them. Set goals with a friend or loved one and accomplish them together! Or you can start a blog with your story and use your readers to hold you accountable. Whatever you think will work for you. Get great advice on setting goals here.

Secret #5. Eating Too Little Will Make You Fat. So many girls think they have to starve themselves to be in shape, when really a low-calorie diet can eat your muscles away and store fat in your midsection. Instead, eat small protein-filled meals every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism up and energy high.

Secret #6. HIIT Is The Fastest Way To Lose Fat. The only kind of cardio I ever do anymore (besides plyometrics) is HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. All you need is a few sessions of 20 minute a week, and you can watch the fat melt off. It’s amazing. You can perform HIIT on all sorts of cardio equipment, like the ellipticals, treadmills, bikes, and of course the stairmaster (which is the hardest and my favorite).

Secret #7. Keep Your Heart Rate Up High. Keeping your heart rate up means you’re burning more calories. Unless you want to really build a lot of muscle, you don’t need to work out ONE muscle group at a time. Of course you need to section of groups of muscles per workout for recovery reasons, but on an upper body day you can easily do hammer curls and reverse lunges at the same time, burning twice the calories and making your workout worth it!

Secret #8. Have A Plan. Always make a workout plan BEFORE you get to the gym. Don’t get there and draw a blank about what exercises to do because you feel like everyone’s watching you and are wondering what you’re doing, and then just go on the treadmill because you don’t know what else to do. I used to do that, and it completely defeats the purpose of going to the gym! Have a plan written down or on your phone, imagine it out in your head so you know where to go and what to use, and then do it!

Secret #9. Eat Proteins And Fats For Breakfast. Prevent the mid-afternoon crash (and following Starbucks break) by having ground beef and eggs for breakfast. It sounds weird, I know, but it literally changes your day. I like to add a little salsa to mine for extra flavor sometimes, but even by itself with peppers and onions it’s delicious!

Secret #10. Eat Carbohydrates After Your Workout ONLY. This was one of the most eye-opening lesson I learned last year. The only reason why our body needs carbs is to refuel and repair after a workout. We can really only use a small amount of carbs before they are stored as fat. So for rest of the day, stick to proteins, fats, and lots of veggies. This is definitely the biggest secret to staying lean all year round, hands down.

Hopefully these secrets impact your life the same way they did mine, and soon you will be able to see enormous results that will make you wonder why you never thought of these secrets before 🙂

Good luck with your goals this year, and let me know how you’re doing so far!

Also check out the Post-Holiday Diet and How to Set Goals for more great information to get your new year off right 🙂

xoxo

Post-Workout Nutrition

protein shake or post workout nutrition

So you kicked butt during your workout, you come home, and now what? Most people know that they should have protein after a workout, but a little known fact is that your body is the most sensitive to what you eat directly after a workout. That means your post-workout nutrition will have more of an effect on your hard work than at any other time of the day. Even if those foods are technically good for you.

Don’t spoil your workout with a peanut butter sandwich, or a plain salad. Wait, that’s what you’ve been having? You’re gonna need to read this.

What you need to know about post-workout nutrition:

  1. Lean protein is your best friend. Stay away from fatty sources of protein like peanut butter and beef, and stick to ground turkey or chicken.
  2. You also need slow-digesting carbohydrates for at least two reasons: 1) you’ve probably depleted your glycogen stores and they need to be refilled with glucose (aka carbs); 2) protein can’t be shuttled to your muscles without carbs helping out. Some good carbs to eat are brown rice, sweet potatoes, and of course lots of vegetables!
  3. Stay away from fats! Even healthy fats like nuts and avocados. Fats digest more slowly, and they will hinder your muslces’ absorption of protein. The idea is to get protein to the muscles as quickly as possible so they’ll repair before you become catabolic (Being catabolic means not having enough food/energy in you, so your body starts breaking down your muscles for energy instead. This backfires for any kind of muscle growth or toning, so you want to stay away from this as much as possible. It’s very easy to become catabolic directly after a workout, or even during one, so that’s why you should have protein as soon as possible.)
  4. Try a protein shake. Protein shakes are awesome because they get that protein in you immediately, giving you time to prepare a post-workout meal without having to rush. Always use 100% Whey Protein. My favorite is actually the one the girl is holding in the picture above. You can find it at any supplementation store.

When you get home:

This is what I usually prepare for a post-workout meal, or a quick and easy meal at any time of the day!

Carbs: I like to stick with just vegetables. Broccoli, celery, green beans, green, red or yellow peppers, and of course garlic for its flavor and health benefits. You can also add red or black beans, lima beans, or pinto beans for added fiber and protein.

vegetables

Protein: Ground turkey, drain the fat and add olive oil if needed. Not pictured here, but I also like to add a few egg whites at the end to give the meal a little more protein and some moisture. Ground turkey and vegetables can quickly get dried out.

ground turkey

The end result of your post-workout meal will look something like this:

ground turkey and vegetables

Just remember that your post-workout nutrition is essential for getting to the next step in your fitness goals! You can never out train a bad diet. Play around with this recipe as much as you like, adding anything that does not include sodium, and let me know in the comments below what you come up with!

If you liked this, check out Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken and Easy Turkey Burgers. Also, really drop the pounds with my effective Juicing Recipe!

Thanks for subscribing, liking, and sharing!

xoxo

3 Healthy AND Delicious Vegetable Side Dishes

One of the most challenging things for many people who are adapting to their new healthy lifestyle is enjoying their food. They are used to rich-tasting, cheesy, salty, or fried foods, and have the incorrect idea that healthy food has to be bland and boring. I can tell you first-hand, if your food is tasteless, it will be very hard to stick to your nutrition plan.

Although it is true that you should stay away from sodium (which is found in many tasty seasonings), and fast-digesting carbohydrates (like white pasta and rice, and potatoes), there are many other ways that allow you to enjoy vegetables, and flavor your food without the guilt trip!

Here are three healthy and delicious vegetable side dishes that will spice up your meals and impress your friends!

1. Mediterranean Roasted Broccoli And Tomatoes

low-calorie side dish12 medium size florets  (about 4 cups) 

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1  tablespoon lemon juice
10 pitted black olives, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed  (optional)
Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Toss broccoli, tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, 10 to 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine lemon zest and juice, olives, oregano and capers (if using) in a large bowl. Add the roasted
vegetables; stir to combine. Serve warm.
2. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
low-calorie side dish

8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets, (about 1 head)
4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
4 teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1  teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
 Freshly ground pepper, to taste
 Snipped fresh chives, for garnish
 
Directions:
1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)

2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.
Tip: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.
3. Mediterranean Lima Beans
lima beans and tomatoes2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups  chopped fresh or frozen onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1  teaspoon dried oregano
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
2  14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2  10-ounce packages frozen baby lima beans,  (4 cups)
Directions:
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in oregano, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, tomatoes and lima beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are fully cooked and the mixture is heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Enjoy the new spice to your meals! Let me know how you do in the comments below 🙂
If you liked these recipes, check out Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken and Easy Turkey Burgers for some great entrees to pair with these healthy and delicious side dishes!

How To Make Effective New Year’s Resolutions

how to make effective new year's resolutionsWe all want to be successful, rich, and happy, with fulfilling relationships and exciting careers. But why is it that some people achieve those things, while most of everyone else does not? Surely it’s possible to have all those things otherwise we wouldn’t know that we wanted it.

The real question is, what separates successful people who have everything they want in life, and everyone else who can only dream of those things?

You can read any book or watch any interview of a successful person (not necessarily a celebrity, but someone who has attained a well-rounded level of wealth), and they will tell you the secret.

What separates successful people from wishful thinkers is goal setting.

They start with New Year’s Resolutions, but they definitely don’t stop there. They have lists of milestone goals (big events that can be marked in their life), long projects, lifestyle goals, and smaller goals that they want to achieve. But goals are only words on paper until they are attained. Successful people follow an action plan that guides them through the steps to reach each goal.

And they never quit.

2014 is a chance for you to get on the path that you really want to be on and never look back. You have to know what you want and have dogged determination to get it. Trust me, you will never look back and regret breaking old bad habits that held you back and the things you had to give up to gain something much better later.

It’s always 100% worth it, IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.

What if you don’t really know what you want? Maybe you know you want something better but you just don’t have a clear picture of it yet. It’s time for you to sit down and do some thinking. There’s no way for you to go anywhere if you don’t have a end in mind! Imagine trying to drive somewhere but you have no idea where you’re going. It’s impossible. You need a destination to type into your GPS in order to get the step by step directions that will lead you there.

New Year’s Resolutions are the destination you put into your GPS. They have to be precise and exactly what you want. If they’re too vague, it’s like putting “restaurants” instead of where you really felt like eating, and being led to McDonald’s instead of The Melting Pot.

Here are some amazing tips for setting New Year’s resolutions from a professional self-development coach, Lucio Del Monte. These are really helpful in obtaining a well-rounded life and achieving real happiness. Money and fitness are not the only things to think about!

Set New Year’s Resolutions in each of these four categories:

  • Physical
  • Career/Business/School
  • Relationships
  • Spiritual

Physical goals include all areas of fitness, diet, and sleep. Choose a few specific and doable habits or goals, and don’t make it too hard for yourself. The key to achieving goals is to set actual activities rather than ideas. For example, say, “I will go to the gym at 7:00am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday,” instead of, “Get in shape.” See how the first one seems very achievable, rather than the second one is so vague that it seems impossible.

For your Career/Business/School goals, ask yourself what is the next step you need to take to advance in your job? in school? If you have your own business or you want to start your own, what are some improvements you can make? Who can you contact to help you with these goals? What are your specific financial goals and how will you get on the path of achieving these goals? Again, set specific activities that you will DO, not intangible ideas.

Relationship goals apply to your family, friends, and significant other. How can you improve your relationship with your family? Can you spend more time with them? Do you have friends who are a good influence on your goals? Are you getting quality time with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse? What specific activities can you plan so that you can have the opportunity to get closer to these people in your life? Maybe you can go out to dinner or a movie every Tuesday night at 7pm, or have a girls’ night every other weekend with your mom and sister. It may sound like a very structured life at first, but it will be so rewarding when you see problem areas in your life improve.

Spiritual goals involve your inner self. How would you like to improve your personality and strengthen your character? This is the opportunity for you to really sit down and define your core values. What are the qualities in your role models that you want to mimic in yourself? What kind of adjustments can you make to improve yourself and also be a good influence on others? If you are religious, you can examine your faith and see if you are a good representation of it. What can you do differently that will have a positive effect on your life? Remember to come up with activities that will help you reach the ideal you have in mind.

Having a few goals in each category will help you keep a balanced life and improve all areas of your happiness. Behavior change is unnatural, so it will feel a little weird at first when you take on these new habits, but it will pay off!

In order to KEEP your New Year’s Resolutions, review them every week or so, and have pictures or other things that remind you of those goals. For instance, the lock screen saver of my phone is always a goal that I want to attain, whether it’s physical fitness, or keeping to a diet, or aiming to have more adventurous fun in my life. I change the picture often enough to keep my attention, and I find it works really well!

At the beginning of every month, review last month’s goals, cross off the ones you did (my favorite part!!) and WRITE NEW ONES. Keep making new goals every month that follow the main plan you have for yourself. Before you know it your life will be changed for the better in so many ways.

Good luck! Thanks for liking and commenting! Also SUBSCRIBE for more helpful ideas on how to stay motivated and keep your New Year’s Resolutions all year round 🙂

Need a couple nutrition resolutions? Check out The Best Morning Ritual Ever and great dinner recipes to try!

3 Types Of Squats You Have Not Been Doing, But Should

We all know you gotta do squats to have a great butt. But did you know that certain variations of the squat can tone your inner thighs, build your glutes more, and slim your quads? Most people only do the traditional squat and think they’re good, when actually they’re really missing out on some other great benefits that different squats offer.

1. The Sumo Squat

how to do a sumo squatThis exercise does an amazing job toning your inner thighs while activating your glutes. This is my new favorite exercise because I’ve gotten the best results from it!

I recommend using a 20lb to 25lb dumbbell, or a 45lb barbell held with arms straight down. Remember your knees should always be lined up with your toes to prevent knee injury.  Do 3 sets of 15-20.

 

 

 

2. The Split Squat

how to do a split squat

The split squat also really engages your glutes in ways that the regular squat does not because it’s a unilateral exercise. This means it works one side at a time, making your backside proportioned and well rounded.

Go as low as you comfortably can, using a 5lb to 15lb dumbbell on each side. Do 3 sets of 15.

 

 

 

3. The Front Squat

how to do a front squathow to do a front squat The front squat is an exercise not many people know about, but it’s great for your quads. If you’re trying to build them, these are your new best friend! If you want to just tone and define your thighs, use a lighter weight (like the 10lb or 20lb barbell shown) with 3 sets of 20-25. Make sure you position the bar on your anterior deltoids as shown, and follow the tips in the picture. Remember to always keep your knees behind your toes when doing any squat!

Have fun incorporating these exercises into your workouts! Good luck, and enjoy the benefits afterwards!

For more lower body exercises that really work, check out the Workouts page and The Best Lower Body Exercise For Women!