Posts Tagged ‘Building Strength’
Many people are aware that squats can give you great glutes, wonderful toned legs, and an overall more beautiful physique. What most people don’t know is that squatting with inappropriate form can compromise your knees and back, making you prone to injuries. In my famous “Hundreds Workout,” squats are one of the main components. However, I would also like to share with people that they are not only important, but that it’s important to use proper form and technique. In addition, did you know that proper form can also help you get more toned abs? Read on…
There are five rules for the movement before, during and in completion of a proper squat.
- The proper squat is done while pressing through the heels (“toes up” is a good rule of thumb for beginners to associate the feeling of pressing all their weight through the heels).
- “Core Tight” before you start, after you start, all through the movement, and when you complete the set movement and are replacing the weight on the bar. Tightening the core is the foundation for this movement’s safety, because it reinforces all the mechanics in the body, as the core itself is the foundation (or it should be, anyhow, but most people don’t use their core, which is why they have back problems).
- “Chest up/Shoulders back” as you move! The proper squat starts with the core tight, torso tall, chest up, and shoulders back for proper form PRIOR TO BEGINNING THE MOVEMENT, and continuously through the movement.
- Make sure that your knees are not bent and leaned forward so much that your knees are NOT extended beyond parallel to your toes. A 90-degree angle, a right angle in other words, should be your target for your leg movement, dropping your butt back as you drop into the squat, with a goal of keeping your chest as high as possible.
- Inhale through your nose as you drop down into the squat and exhale through your mouth as you “explode up” out of the lowest point (the seated position) of the squat, returning to the standing up tall position.
The best way to begin learning proper form on most standing leg exercises is on the smith machine, which is a weight training machine that imitates a squat rack and a barbell, with the support that is needed to keep us from falling or putting undue stress on the joints. Remember to keep the core tight, chest up, shoulders back, as this combination supports the back. The smith machine is a very effective way to learn proper form of squats for beginners. Once you have learned the proper squat technique, it’s best to start off with very light weight (or even no weight at all), as you move forward by performing your own proper squat on the squat bar, free-weight style. It’s always great to have an experienced trainer or workout partner with you when you perform these exercises, so that they can be available to check your form, and support through spotting if necessary.
I have always struggled with keeping my legs and glutes firm, so I hope this article will help anyone out there with the same issues. Great tips are also available at siouxcountry.com for these and other great exercises. Be on the lookout- Workout videos will be returning to nitasworld.com! Meantime, you will see that I’ve linked this article to two other sites that share exercise videos for men & women. Be aware that there is always support available through chat threads online. You are never alone on the journey of fitness.
Be well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
A lot of people have asked me over the years how to get “legs of steel.” The fact is NOTHING will shred your legs up like doing these three things:
- eating lean (85% of the results you get in the gym come from your food intake- i.e., “diet”)
- combined with weight training for maximum output (going to failure, whether its with a moderate weight- not super light, or a heavy weight for sets of even 8, as long as you are going until you cannot do even one more full rep)
- sprinting (HIIT-high intensity interval training- see my other blog for detailed explanations of HIIT by clicking here)
First, you can learn more about lean eating, sprinting and weight training by researching on the internet, or checking out the dieting tips category in the nitasworld.com blog (click here). Of course, we talk a lot about clean eating and sprinting both in my book FIT FOR COMBAT with Nita Marquez, so ordering a copy for yourself to have on hand is not a bad idea for reference’s sake. It may be helpful for those of you who like hardcopy materials to scribble notes onto.
For the purposes of this article, we are talking about the hundreds workout, as I vowed to share my secret to keeping conditioned legs and glutes via spelling out the hundreds workout. My famous Hundreds workout is what works best for me in maximizing the effects of my leg workouts during all my year-round weight training regimens. It’s called the Hundreds Workout (you’ll understand why shortly- read on) and I do it once every week, in addition to my regular leg weight workouts. So, that amounts to two workouts for my legs alone on weights each week. If you’re a beginner, perhaps you should do the Hundreds Workout every other week, in addition to your regular weight training routine for legs. *Remember, the Hundreds Workout is a CONDITIONING WORKOUT- It is not intended to grow, develop, or reduce leg size. It is meant to condition the detail, for a more sculpted look of your legs that you can’t get through cardio or basic weight training for maximum output.
*Nita Marquez Hundreds Workout:
25 Leg Extensions x 4
25 Leg Curls x 4
25 Hip Abductors x 4
25 Hip Adductors x 4
25 Squats x 4
25 Calf Raises x 4
Do a moderate weight that you don’t have to reduce throughout the workout, so that you can complete the whole set without a “drop-set” style of training. Yet you want it to be heavy enough so that you can still feel it burning excessively by the 15th rep, making it difficult to finish the last ten reps of each set.
That’s it. By the time you’re done with my Hundreds Workout, you should feel exhausted, and ready to hit the jacuzzi, which won’t be a bad idea. The hot water and jets can be helpful to loosen up the muscles after this massive thrashing & conditioning workout you’ve just done. Always remember to have a fast-assimilating protein after your workout! If you’re unsure of what to buy, check out the store here to see some protein shakes I recommend. Of course you can always research online, too, checking out blogs & threads at siouxcountry.com.
Best of luck leaning out those legs, friends & fit moms! Be Well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
One of the things I have found to be tried and true in the life of training to be a Fit Mom, is that I can fit my kids into my fitness NO MATTER what age they are. The other thing I found to be tried and true fact is that you can do anything you want, but you can’t all of it right now, a common disappointment to those of us who want to rush it all and do it all, like the commonly over-achieving Fit Mom tends to attempt to do.
Fit Moms have a nack for balancing tons at once- we are the ultimate multi-taskers. We don’t need to be reminded to go to the gym, or to take care of our children, to balance checks, pay bills, stay motivated to work hard, or things that we are known for our brilliant management of.
However, it’s important to our health that we remember the soothers in life, as these are the things that will keep us capable of our most awesome of awesomeness for the long term, while also helping us stay sane and even happy. After all, happiness is the whole point of living, right? The two main things we fit moms tend to neglect, but can stand to pay more attention to are:
- Rest- Sleep is necessary for our bodies (muscles and organs) to recouperate, and that recouperation is when our recovery from usage takes place. Sleeping 6-8 hours nightly is often difficult for us to force ourselves to do. When people don’t sleep enough, we burn out our health, and lose our patience easier. Keeping it all together for the long term requires proper sleep. For without proper recovery, we can cause health risks and moodiness that make it impossible to enjoy our lives.
“Sleep deprivation has been proven to lead to… weight gain… increases in inuslin resistance (which leads to diabetes)…” says Dr. Ann E. Rogers, who has studied the effects of sleep with test subject groups and individuals.
- Affection- Being adored, adoring ourselves, and adoring others amps the “yippee” chemicals in our brain. Whoever said a cocktail was the only way to wind down and smile at the end of a long day? Taking the time to hold our children, our companions, or our friends & family for long embraces actually stimulates the secretion of endorphines, which lead our brains and bodies to experience joy. ASU’s Associate Professor, Kory Floyd, has studied the effects of affection extensively. People’s organ capabilities, blood pressure, weight management, and overall health can be managed better with affectionate behavior.
“Affection can be a simple, non-pharmaceutical, cheap way to reduce stress.” Floyd has found that there are direct associations between being an affectionate person and a lower risk of depression and stress.
Thus we see that no matter how healthy we eat, how much we exercise, how much we extend to our children, and no matter how many tasks of responsibility we cover in our daily lives, we could be actually limiting ourselves, and our years, if we are not taking care to rest and embrace on a daily basis as well! Sleep and Love, life’s combo remedy to help longevity!
Enjoy & Empower! Be PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
Believe it or not, cellulite is not a result of just being fat or flabby. Cellulite is a major stress to most women, because we are the only ones who really get cellulite. The dimply, loose, cottage cheese appearance of those areas of cellulite are not even caused just by age.
The reality is that cellulite is a result of the bands of connective tissue in a woman’s body running in a different direction than our skin. By nature that skin can stretch, disconnect and collect fat more readily than a man’s body. Some people think it’s a matter of the nature of things, and that maybe God himself made us to collect fat more easily for the purposes of carrying life within us. Whereas, a man’s connective tissue runs more along with the skin, allowing for better binding from the skin to the connective tissue, which in nature would directly affect their bodies support to muscularity, rather than fat storage. Some would say that it’s because by nature men were intended to be hunter gatherers. Who knows?? The bottom line is they don’t get cellulite.
In the fact that men are generally more muscular, and traditionally are hunter gatherers, I wonder if there may be some truth to the lifetime(s) of conditioning that you see in people whose bodies don’t typically carry cellulite. What I’ve noticed over the years for myself, as opposed to the women in my family, is that because I cross train (weight training combined with running, hiking, plyometrics, and dance/gymnastics) and eat a high protein diet, I have conditioned my body for a more muscular toned look. Whereas the women in my family are all very beautiful and soft-skinned, and they all retained their youth quite well through the aging process, they still struggle tremendously with cellulite. Since I’m genetically pre-disposed to cellulite (yes, the cellulite is going to happen, but how bad it can get is often contingent to our genetics), I still fight it, but the fact is because I weight train, I am constantly working the muscles for conditioning, so I appear to have very little cellulite in comparison to my genetic precedents.
Cellulite is a result of the direction of connective tissue in a woman’s body. You cannot change the direction of your connective tissue, as it will always run opposite the skin. Nothing will ever change that we can get cellulite. Also, you cannot alter the genetic ancestry you possess within your family’s lines. If the women have tons of cellulite, you are inheriting that genetic code. However, there are things you can do to condition the genetic code you have toward cellulite, and I know because I have done it myself.
If you weight train, you increase connective tissue activity so that it does not worsen, but can get better with age through constant conditioning. In this case, it’s a lifestyle to workout daily, not an option. That’s the reality. In addition to weight training, you have to do other things to exercise so that you are stimulating collagen production (which also aids in skin health and the ability to visibly reduce cellulite). If you get your body used to doing the exact same things with the muscles all the time, then the lack of versatility causes complacency within our muscles and connective tissue. Thus you must always be changing activities, mixing and matching, along with your weight training (which should be your core focus if you want to reduce cellulite).
Cardio and interval training help your body in the fat burning and high-calorie burning department, and they enhance weight training on whatever level you do any of this. Thus, what I have learned for myself is that running, sprinting, dancing, plyometrics (jumping and explosive and agility training), hiking, step mill, stairmaster, elliptical, and hanging out walking at events with my kiddos, have all been really effective. Effectively, all of the aforementioned activities coinciding with weight training have helped me to condition my genetic code in such a way that I don’t struggle as much with cellulite as the women in my family, and I’ve struggled even less with the war on cellulite as I have gotten older (I’m now 39).
On top of the collagen and the connective tissue activity stimulation, some other ways that women can avoid cellulite with cross training is through the ongoing stimulation of better circulation. The better the bloodflow, the better your skin and muscles. Also, working the explosive fast-twitch fibers of the muscles creates a more conditioned appearance and can also support your efforts to reduce cellulite’s gross appearance. In addition, with good diet, you can decrease the amount of subcutaneous water retention. When you retain water from poor diet (too many processed foods or too much sodium or dehydration) or you’re too inactive, your body will retain water and fill those open cellulite pockets between the connective tissue and the muscle.
The exercise cross-training is key, but also diet has a very hearty role in the reduction of cellulite. Higher protein diets rich in leafy greens and raw foods tend to stimulate all the same things mentioned above: circulation, collagen, less water retention, better digestion (so as not to retain excessive toxins), overall glow of the skin and muscular nourishment. It’s as important to eat healthy as it is to exercise when it comes to reducing cellulite. As well, it’s as important to drink lots of water as it is to eat healthy and cross-train. Too little water causes dehydration, and dehydration causes water retention, which causes more dimples in cellulite.
Weight training combined with cardio, interval training (you can find articles on interval training right here at nitasworld.com!), plyometrics, running, sprinting, elliptical, step mill, stair masters, dancing, and whatever other effective high-fat-burning exercises are the foundation for cellulite reduction. Couple this activity regimen with high protein and leafy greens and lots of water (a gallon a day is rule of thumb) and you will reduce cellulite!
Remember you can’t get rid of cellulite, but you can condition your body to have less of it with this lifestyle. That’s why you rarely see cellulite on competitive physique athletes. Those who live the lifestyle look sculpted and toned year round.
I believe that my lifestyle has altered this for me and I continue to smoothen the areas of my skin that seem to be camping areas for cellulite. Though I will continue to be at war with cellulite because of my body’s inherent predisposition to cellulite by virtue of the natural direction of my connective tissue, I see that my active lifestyle continues to change and improve the appearance of my body, and I love living fit because of it! Additionally, I feel better, happier with my appearance, and more confident and energized.
Now one last thing I tell everyone, BE HAPPY. Joy can help reduce the amount of cortisol (the body’s toxic product of stress) we manufacture. Cortisol manages to make us hold toxins, stifle digestion, retain excess water, and overall, it leads us into an easier cellular breakdown (which causes aging AND cellulite- yuk!). So the final key to cellulite reduction, and quite possibly more important than cellulite reduction- SMILE! Be Well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are Worth the Work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
Bodybuilders don’t run, and nor do obese people. But I’m not a bodybuilder, or an obese person. I’m a fitness chick, a fit mom, and a fitness personality. My goals are obviously different from a bodybuilder’s goals, and definitely, I have a different lifestyle choice than a person whose main goals involve constant fulfillment of my taste-bud compulsions.
At this stage in my life, my goal is always to become truly fit and achieve prime longevity. As one point in my career as a fitness competitor, I was running a lot and lifting weights with an extremely high carb, high protein diet, and only then I was starting to resemble a bodybuilder. People who didn’t know better thought I was one.
But you know what kind of fit physique athletes have a lot of muscle, and are really lean, with Olympic level stamina and power? Women’s Fitness competitors.
They run. They run a lot. They do weekly sprints, middle-distance, plyometrics anything that will get their heart to the bursting point.
And if these women can carry body-toned muscle around, while running and with the power and stamina to do our fitness routines—well they are worth at least probing into the minds of. Where I learned about my own fitness interval training from was from my ex-husband, who was basically my trainer before I met my trainer of 13 years, Tim Sparkes, at Die Hard Gym in Arizona. My ex-husband was a former track and football star in high school and college.
What I learned from my ex-husband is that I was doing my running all wrong. First of all, I jogged, and I did so very lazily. I loathed the cardio work, so I dragged myself through it. It didn’t matter that I was a fit mom, a fit chick, or a fitness athlete in training. I was thinking about my cardio conditioning the wrong way, as most of us do for the first few years of our fitness quests.
Just about every fitness center has some serious runners as members. These “fitness” people log 20 to 40 miles a week and are in great cardio vascular condition—but most of them look remarkably average. They do not have much muscle and many of them are skinny fat. Sure they have strong hearts, but some of them store more body fat and subcutaneous water than the person who is walking into a gym for the first time. These runners are not in poor health, but their shape is generally not of the optimal fitness aesthetic grade considering the fitness workload they are undergoing. I believe in running, I do. I also like working out smarter, and distance running for fitness is definitely the harder path, if you’re trying to look better and even feel better.
The best explanation for this phenomena may be controversial, but the facts are right in front of us. Cardiovascular exercise DOES NOT WORK to lose body fat long term, period!!
Why is this? Let’s take a hypothetical individual: Female, 30 years old, 145 pounds, sedentary. She decides she wants to be fit and “get toned” (keep in mind, everyone has a different idea of this word, so it’s subjective). So she takes up running on the treadmill for an hour a day 5 days/week. Nothing else in her life changes, her diet and lifestyle remain the same. In the first week she loses 5 pounds. If she maintained her consistency 5 days a week, would she lose 250 pounds this year? Of course not, and why is this?
Firstly cardiovascular activity is very efficient at chewing up muscle tissue, the steps are as follows:
1. Conversion from fast twitch muscle fiber to slow twitch muscle fiber, by
acquiring mitochondria and relinquishing contractile protein. Smaller fiber, less
2. Excessive Cortisol released in response to the damage to the fiber as a result of the exercise. Cortisol acts as a natural analgesic, but severely hampers protein synthesis and muscle repair. It also damages the immune system, and ultimately will contribute to all of our deaths – so I’m not sure why anyone would do anything that would accelerate this process.
3. It has been shown that high volume cardiovascular exercise can completely deplete satellite cells in muscle fiber, which means no new fiber can grow or existing fiber be repaired, and as we age, we have a natural propensity to lose muscle as well as bone density. Muscle helps our metabolism and enhances bone density.
4. Growth Hormone levels decline with high volume cardiovascular exercise, which also hampers the repair process. Low growth hormone also accelerates aging.
5. To sum it up, you can’t train all day, and you can’t stop eating, but you can always build a bit more muscle, so quit the cardio and concentrate on the weight lifting.
Secondly, after all these details about how cardio fitness training eats up muscle, you must know that the first week of ANY fitness program, and likely the first month even, you will lose weight with rapid results. That’s water weight dropping off because you are actually getting off of your butt. That’s not the “weight” you are losing, it’s the water. You are not really getting more fit, but your body is filtering out a bit so that it can set a better foundation for you to start getting fit.
Your weight-loss will look more like 8-12 pounds monthly if you’re doing it right and if you expect it to stay off. If you’re an athlete or you’re training for an athletic event, your body requires more training than average, and more extreme dieting than average, but that’s not average for a person who is just trying to lose weight and just starting to get fit.
That was a very strong argument for not doing cardio. But I need to be able to keep up with kids, work, training clients, caring for my household, and still having stamina in the gym. Cardio conditioning is a must for me. Plus, I need strength and power.
The solution was to train like a professional female fitness athlete—specifically, one that always wins the fitness routine portion of the contest. And what does the fitness athlete woman do? Sprints.
For women who run, but they want a great physique:
With high-intensity interval training you “sprint” on any cardio exercise for short bursts that go for less than two minutes, and then you slow to moderate, and sometimes even low-intensity pace for a short burst. You want to go high intensity to kick your heart rate way up, and then you drop the intensity to less your body rest, while not giving your heart rate enough time to drop out beneath a fat-burning zone. If you do this for short bursts of time, you don’t give your heart rate a chance to drop severely, and therein, you are able to keep your body burning fat, burning calories, and staying hard at work, even though you won’t feel like you’re working hard while your body recovers during your lower-paced durations.
Like cardio, this too can strengthen your heart, and keep you from feeling sluggish. On the other hand, in comparison to cardio, interval training burns fat for longer periods of time. You will burn fat for up to 13 hours post-workout with intervals, whereas with cardio at a constant moderate rate will only burn fat efficiently for up to 2 hours post workout. So, why would you spend more time and burn less fat, much less want to gamble the possibility of kicking out cortisol? This is why many fitness professionals who know what they are doing will not recommend long dull high, low or medium-intensity periods of cardio.
The best way to gain cardio conditioning and maintain muscle is to do what all fat-burning physique athletes does—sprints.
As sprinting becomes the core of your cardio conditioning program and distance running becomes the ‘functional’ training, so you do it for form, awareness, and monitoring. It’s a means for measurement when needed, but it’s not necessary for the actual progress.
When I started doing sprints in the morning for my cardio, my strength gains in the gym accelerated a little bit and I started to get leaner without really trying, and my husband noticed an extreme difference in how my body was responsive to my diet and weight training. My lines and cuts in my muscles showed up and they never had before I started sprinting. My workouts were more exhilarating and I could produce more within them because my fitness level and stamina was increased through sprinting.
Now I was able to get more in my fitness routines, I could run with my daughter in her stroller for better bursts so I wasn’t gasping for air. I was stronger than I would ever need to be on the fitness stage or in the gym. I had burst speed and explosiveness and I had the stamina and endurance to keep up with any of the guys at the gym.
So, I am not advising the novice to average fitness person to sprint, but I am encouraging those of you who run– just try this for 6 weeks and see how rapidly and extremely your fitness levels, your energy, your stamina, and your physique changes. See how lean you get and watch a sculpted physique appear that you never knew you had.
As for the fitness enthusiast who is new to the world of fitness and fit physique training, try intervals, we have more blogs on the Fat Burning Workouts categories to your left here in the blog at nitasworld.com. Check it out. Be well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL! You are worth the work!
-Nita Lee Marquez
America’s Hottest Fit Mom ™
Fitness Empowerment Author
Miss National Fitness
Proud Mother of Three
The fitness of a woman who is trying to stay fit but live a normal life doesn’t change in one day of eating poorly. If you’re wondering why you gorged yourself on Christmas day, and how you can get that lean fit physique back, fit moms & fit chicks, and fit guys: There is a perfect combination that is simple and very doable to help you get that beautiful progressively fit contour back in your body lines. There are a lot of solutions out there, but this is by far the most optimal, practical, tried and true method of fitness execution that you can possibly reach your fitness results through. When you think about the way you feel normally, and then you think about a day after drinking a whole lot of alcohol, you think of a hangover. Yes, we can all relate to that word: hangover- the consequence of “too much.” With food, it’s no different. We are very naturally wired to be moderate, and thus, even with food or fitness, our body sounds off alarms when moderation is botched. Thus, the food hangover.
Fitness Buffs are familiar with this, as we’ve all experienced food hangovers in our quest for perfect dietary balances. We have eaten perfectly for weeks on end, training for our stage presentations in fitness competitions. Then, the second we come off stage, GORGE! We proceeded to eat like garbage disposals for the next 24 hours. It’s part of what people do to learn balance. ”The path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” Thus, as a fitness personality myself, having gone through this in my first few fitness competitions (yes, it subsided with repeated episodes that taught me it feels like utter crap, so I quit doing it), I have learned what my colleagues in the fitness competition industry do. We have all, our entire fitness population of athletes, gone the gorge route, and felt like crap the day after. It’s a load up of sodium and sugars and fats and foreign things that our bodies are not used to on a daily basis that makes our fitness levels, mental acuity and energy feel completely extinguished. Fitness people know that it’s just a food hangover, and we know how to cure it, based on our own experience.
Hydration is key here. I normally drink about a gallon of water a day, so I stay hydrated. Yet, the day after an episode of gorging, I have learned that water will balance my body back to it’s normal fitness state within a day, when combined with even mild activity. When you drink a lot of water, you flush out the toxic buildup of those excessive properties you added in when eating too much.
So, whether you are fit, or whether you are somewhat out of shape, if you’re experiencing a food hangover, water and walking will fit your body back into it’s normal mold. Take a walk in the morning with some water in your system. Flush by drinking approximately 4 liters of water if you are not one to hydrate extremely on a daily basis. If you’re into fitness, chances are you drink a lot of water, so you will want to double your normal intake in that case. For me, I normally drink a gallon (because it’s normal for my fitness lifestyle, and athletes typically acquire that 1-gallon habit), so if I eat too much, I’ll take in 1.75 or 2 gallons of water for a day after eating in a way that was not only excessive, but also not fitness oriented in it’s ingredients. Everyone has cheat days, and they should. Those girls who walk around eating perfect all the time, well, they’re never happy. Being “perfect” isn’t the key, it’s “perfect balance” that impacts our fitness lifestyle in the most effective and empowering ways.
You are worth the work. Be Phenomenal.
-Nita Lee Marquez, Fitness Empowerment Author, IFBB Pro, Miss National Fitness, and Proud Mother of Three
America’s Hottest Fit Mom(TM) is the brand trusted for Fitness Empowerment for Everyone! As the brand’s creator, a lot of people would not think that I struggle with diabetes. Few people are aware that I am a fit mom who has a little boy who is diabetic.
When my son was born in 2002, they had to remove his pancreas, consequently leaving our little boy diabetic at the tender age of only 8 days. JDRF has been a wonderful resource for us, and so has Phoenix Children’s Hospital and UCLA when it comes to junior diabetes. As we had many diet adjustments that needed to be made in our family, the good news was that since I was a fitness competitor and a fitness personal trainer and nutritionist, I was well-versed in health and nutrition. Learning how to care for a diabetic child however was still a curve ball for me as a mother, no matter how educated I was in fitness and nutrition.
It didn’t run in my family, so diabetes was something new for me as a fitness personality, and of course with my little baby boy, I was extra nervous. Over the years however, we as a fitness oriented family have really become educated and experienced with the medications and regimens and dieting balances of having a diabetic in our life, especially with him being the youngest of three children. My daughters, each along with their father and I were immediately educated on the facts about dieting (carbohydrate and protein ratios) realities and how insulin needed to be administered and how blood sugar needed to be checked regularly in order to keep my son healthy. As I always tell my children about all aspects of our life and the learning curves within it, it’s always an adventure! So it had been with my boy, and he is a healthy nine-year-old now who is at the top of every subject from school to sports. He does capoeira and gymnastics and he just loves to dance! Overall, diabetes has become a regular part of our daily life, and we live with it just fine. We’re as normal as it gets for any family, and fitness is still at the center of it all.
This is yet another reason why I started America’s Hottest Fit Mom. I know there are other mothers out there who care about the fitness of their whole family, but they may have a health challenge in the family or one may arise, so it’s important as a fit mom to not just keep ourselves fit, but also to learn how fitness can either prevent or help us manage health challenges that may arise, whether it’s our children, our parents, grandparents, or our spouses we have to care for. Fitness is not just about going to the gym and dieting to look good, it’s a lifestyle, and in this day and age of video games, the internet, and processed foods, we as fit moms have to be that much more on top of our health and education and lifestyle game when it comes to our families, so we can raise our children to be prepared and fit to live long and strong. I’m really hoping that more mothers who are fitness oriented will send in stories and ideas and tips (click HERE to join America’s Hottest Fit Moms Group on Facebook), so we can help one another. Fitness for mothers is important, but fitness for our families is everything!
Today, as a way of bringing more awareness to diabetes for a November diabetes awareness call, I wanted to give everyone a few tips we use with my boy here at home that helps the whole family stay supportive to him, and also helps us all get more healthy every day too.
When we grocery shop, we read the labels together. Here’s why:
- We have to know what the amount of carbohydrates in each food is.
The amount of carbohydrates my son should be having per meal is not more 24 grams at one sitting, as the amount of carbohydrates raises his blood sugar levels. It’s important to watch the carbohydrate ratio in each serving because diabetes is instituted by a body’s incapability to manufacture the amounts of insulin required to balance out blood sugar levels per the amount of carbohydrates that are being consumed. For my son, we try to keep his blood sugar levels between 80 and 150 (and 150 is on a high end, 120 blood sugar is better, but 150 would be at the high end of a “safe” zone for my son’s particular case).
- We can tell which foods have corn syrup (all corn syrup is bad for you, no matter what you hear)
- We can talk about which foods have hydrogenated oils (hydrogenated oils are very unnatural and have been proven to eventually cause heart problems as they clog arteries over consistent consumption for long periods of time)
- We can see which foods have protein
We try to keep a high protein diet intake to help counter the processing of the carbohydrates and avoid sugar crashes. When protein is balanced with carbohydrates, it can have a positive impact on the way carbohydrates are used within the body (as they are also taken into the glycogen stores of the muscles).
Even if you’re not a fitness enthusiast, a fit mom, or even fitness curious, this article is a must read, as it will change your life forever should you heed it’s advice, and your life will be longer as well if you follow this one rule. This article will give you power in all aspects of your health and wellness. Read on to hear not only facts, research, and fitness tips, but you must read this because it could literally save your life, or someone close to you. While this is a blog specific to America’s Hottest Fit Moms(tm), fitness enthusiasts and the fitness curious, I do not limit the material to diet and exercise. There are sometimes life or death matters that will affect how you live forever as well as how long that life is. Today’s topic could have literally saved someone’s life at an event I attended yesterday.
When thinking about fitness, most women (and men) think of the way they look, or they think fitness is all about working out and dieting. Yes, certainly there is merit to all ideas of fitness that women and men concede to. What many fitness enthusiasts do not realize is that there is one necessary component to fitness that matters in women’s health and wellness that is neither diet or exercise. Hydration is the heart of any fitness program. Water detoxes, replenishes, cleans our insides making them efficient for digestion and continued energy for working out, even if you’re just walking. There is no substitute for the importance of water. Water is fundamental to your life, at all times. Today, I had two conversations with fitness clients about the importance of hydration for ALL of life’s functionality, from our physical to even our psychological efficiency. In making such a statement about dehydration, I have noted some cases below that are real scenarios that I have actually been witness to that prove the statement to be inpenetrably true. Yes, while water is an absolute necessity in your fitness goals, I also wanted to address the absolute need for complete hydration as it pertains to your other bodily functions, longevity, digestion, energy levels, and so on.
Cases in point:
1. Injured Muscles: For me, as an IFBB Pro Fitness Athlete I have had only one injury and it was a few years into my athletic career. When preparing to go on stage to perform my fitness routine, I was severely dehydrated, as many athletes tend to be, which is normal for the day of the event. You see, we athletes in the competitive physique world often have to dyhydrate in an effort to get our cuts in our bodies to show up on the stage. The lighting tends to smooth out your look, and back then, well, the more cut you were, the higher you were scored in your physique round. The overall judgement on our presentation for the fitness shows was contingent to your body round combined with the fitness routine’s athleticism (flexibility, explosiveness, endurance, entertainment).
I always came in really lean, but at one particular show I had gotten so dehydrated and because I wanted to come on stage looking exceptionally ripped. I dehydrated to look more ripped than usual to a physical point of appearance that we call “dry” in the competitive fitness world, I actually ripped my calve muscle on my right leg, and when I collapsed (just twenty minutes before the fitness show was set to raise curtain), I was then attended to by paramedics. The diagnosis was that severe dehydration had impacted my muscles to the point that my calve literally just ripped during a step. Had I not been so dehydrated, I would have succeeded in my career without any injuries, as this was my only time of ever getting hurt in all these years of being a competitive fitness athlete.
2. Digestion and Gastrointestinal Health Dangers: Another extreme case comes to mind from my industry (bodybuilding and fitness), but I want to share that one with you last, as I wrote this blog today knowing that someone literally died from dehydration, but first, let me give you a normal scenario regarding someone I know who is not in the fitness industry.
My aunt went to the doctor recently, as she was having extreme conditions of pain due to gastrointestinal issues. The cause: dehydration. She drinks nothing but coffee and diet soda all day. She could not recount the last time that she had more than one or two cups of water (if any) throughout the day. The doctors said that her conditions were “extreme” because she had likely been dehydrated for months. Thus, it’s fair to conclude that you are having an extremely negative impact on your body’s ability to digest. Other results of dehydration and insufficient digestion are lowered metabolism, toxic buildup (which to more issues in other areas of the body), and sleeplessness.
3. Muscle-cramps: There are a lot of people who I know that don’t work out like a “fit mom” or like an extreme athlete. Some people just don’t exercise much. In such cases, even dehydration with minimal activity have caused major issues like back and muscle spasms, and extreme foot cramps.
4. Halitosis: EEW! Bad breath’s number one cause is ongoing dehydration. If you don’t mind offending everyone with bad breath, be my guest. If you’re not drinking enough water, it causes the worst odor inside your mouth, and the longer you go, the farther your bad breath will travel. Yes, dehydration causes stinky breath. If you don’t want to drink water, if bad breath doesn’t offend you, well, then go ahead and pass gas in a crowded room and fog it up. When you have a conversation with bad breath, that’s basically what you’re doing.
5. Energy Levels: My neighbor recently started getting into drinking more water. He went out and bought four stainless steel BPA-free water bottles to refill every day, and at the tender age of only 28, he said that he has never had more energy in his life, than since he started drinking four liters of water every day. He goes to a place that sells reverse osmosis water, alkaline water, and mineralized structured water. Water has literally given him a better quality of life. He now has more energy to go for bike rides occasionally (on a bike that’s really expensive and used to just sit on his patio and collect dust!). His work ethic has revved up, according to him, too, and he feels more creative with his art as well. That’s a great testimonial.
I have another male client that said the same thing when he started training with me recently. He said that not only did he feel weight coming off, but he also felt very energetic. He said he literally crapped the toxins out for about two weeks after increasing his water intake and starting to work out. After that, he noticed a major rush to his energy throughout the days and especially at work. Again, water cannot be disputed as increasing energy and quality of life.
6. Cellulite: Taking in more water can help release toxins and clean out garbage that is stored in the fat cells that comprise your cellulite. More water equals less cellulite.
7. Skin: You can literally anti-age because water increases the retention of youth through maintaining certain functionality in your body that shows up on your skin.
More water = Less wrinkles
8. Fatloss: Your body is will be less likely to hold toxins, slow metabolism, and store fat with increased water intake.
9. Headaches: There have only been two times in my life that I have ever had a headache. Once was during a case I suffered of Viral Meningitis. The second time was when I was dehydrated because I had gotten sick from a flu. Even for a week after I overcame the flu bug and was able to go back to the office (I worked at a marketing firm), I had a horrible headache because my body had gotten so dehydrated during the spell of illness.
10. The extreme case- Death: A man who was competing in a bodybuilding show here in Los Angeles yesterday died of a heart attack, and doctors attributed his heart failure to severe dehydration. Sadly, I would agree that there are a lot of things that could have contributed to this man’s heart failure, but the reality was that the dehydration was the hair that pulled the trigger.
Dehydration can kill you, literally. While there is no doubt you can get away with drinking only sodas and juices for many years, eventually, the lack of water wears on your system. Or, if you are not in perfect health already, then not drinking enough water can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak. Your health, wellness, vibrance, fitness, metabolism, appearance, and your life literally depends on consistent water intake.
I recommend at least 1/2 gallon a day for women to start, but eventually, 1 gallon should be your regular intake ladies. Women’s fitness has come so far, and we can look so much more intensely fit than we used to be able to because of technologies and updated information about fitness and exercise and diet (especially on a higher protein diet, a woman’s body looks so much better).
For men, I recommend 1-2 gallons daily, depending on your size and your fitness goals. At minimum though, any man should be taking in a gallon of water daily.
As for how to take it in, many people do what I do, which is to always have a BPA-free gallon jug of water filled and on my person at all times. Other suggestions for maintaining a healthy water intake for overall life fitness and wellness are that you can carry around a 1-liter BPA-free container filled with water and continue to refill it with alkaline or reverse osmosis water throughout the day, at least 3 times. That’s what I do when I cannot carry my big jug, but either way, water is a life source, and not having it can be death. Please fit moms, know that this is a heartfelt push for life from America’s Hottest Fit Mom products and services. All the products and services and fitness knowledge in the world helps nothing when you are not taking in enough water. Mothers, impact yourself, your children and your whole life by hydrating highly. Be well, Be you, BE PHENOMENAL!
There is one obvious fact I have found over the past 21 years of learning to live fit, and that is that no matter what, cellulite is part of nature. Can you filter the appearance of cellulite off of your body though? Yes, you can literally get rid of cellulite. The thing that causes cellulite to bunch up and give that ugly cottage-cheese pocketed look to our skin is that there is subcutaneous water and toxins stored up in that pocket which give it that gross puckered look that we all loathe to see in that overhead light in the mirror.
Cellulite is the dimpled orange-peel-like appearance of skin that has weakened connective tissue that stores toxic/fat/subcutaneous water in pockets just under the skin. Unfortunately, yes, cellulite is genetic, but fortunately, it can be dispelled. There are four different solutions that, when combined, have helped me to avoid the appearance of cellulite even after having children.
When you don’t hydrate enough, your body holds onto that much more water to be sure that it maintains proper hydration storage in the event that you don’t take in enough water again for an extended length of time. So, the answer to that is to drink more water. If you’re only drinking a couple of glasses per day, then increase it to 3/4 gallon. I’m 4’10 and I take in one to two gallons daily. I don’t hold excess water when I’m doing this, and no one thinks I have cellulite. Well, when I’m not drinking enough water, I notice it creeping back up on my upper outer thighs. Since my mother has it really badly, I’m a prime candidate. In other words, the way your connective tissue aligns with your muscle with your skin and overall elasticity wherein the toxins and water and fat can be stored, well, that’s just genetic. So drinking enough water can help you evolve your body, but note that once it’s gone, you still have to hydrate, because your appearance of cellulite may go, but your body’s propensity toward holding it will still be there. So hydrate consistently and ongoingly to eliminate cellulite from appearance.
Couple dehydration with excessive salt intake, such as that taken in from soups, canned foods, frozen processed foods, fast food, and all sauces & dressings. Well, salt will cause water retention to. Excessive sodium occurs in just about everyone’s diet in America. We love our processed junk, the stuff with salt added, and we just can’t leave the dressing and sauce alone! Sodium can be avoided, though. There are a lot of dry rub seasonings, as well as Himalayan salt, which can help you bring down and minimize your sodium intake & lessen your water retention, which will reduce cellulite buildup in those cellulite-concentrated areas of your body.
On top of that, once your body is in a really toxic state, if you give it more toxins, those will target the cellulite-prone areas of a woman’s body. For women, cellulite buildup is generally in the thighs, the backs of the legs and butt, and sometimes, in the stomach. So, hydrate, take in less sodium, and do your best to clean up the food intake. I’m not saying you have to be perfect, but take baby steps in eliminating daily intakes of crap like processed boxed or frozen foods. Stay away from canned foods and fast foods, and if you’re going to cheat, just do it once a week. The less toxic intake, the less your body has a chance to store.
Finally, the fourth step to avoiding cellulite on your legs, butt, thighs and stomach is to work out! Circulation causes the bloodflow needed to cause the toxins and excess water to dissipate and eventually, with consistency, those toxins, fats, and water excesses, will filter their way out of your body. As your fat pockets can not go, the garbage that’s in them can be forced out of the body to eliminate the nasty gauged look of cellulite. Love yourself, You are Worth the Work! BE PHENOMENAL!!
I was speaking with a woman at the gym today who is an attorney (obviously a very sedentary job), she genuinely loves to take care of herself, and I found it interesting that she was a very avid workout enthusiast. I mean, where does an attorney find the time!? It’s just like being a mom, THE RESPONSIBILITIES NEVER SLOW DOWN The point is, she was someone so busy, I thought it would be a very impressive blog because she had a wonderful energy and she looked great, and in working out, isn’t that what we’re all after?
Being a mother, we have to manage our time effectively as well as our choices as to how we spend that time, because we have other lives which are completely reliant on our efficiency with our time. What I thought was interesting about Sandy, the attorney, was that, like I said, she is BUSY! Yet, she still makes time to work out and feel and look great. How does she do it?
At one time she was a runner. At another time she got into kickboxing and MMA training. The reality: NONE OF THESE METHODS OF FITNESS WORKED WELL FOR HER and they took up a lot of time. “When I started weight training, I immediately noticed my arms were getting tone, and MY BUTT! Wow!” I loved hearing that because women are always saying “I don’t want to use weights because I just don’t want to look bulky.” The reality: there is nothing more effective on your body’s toning ability than weight training. If done correctly, with the right form and technique, weight training is SAFER, MORE TONING, AND MORE FATBURNING IN THE LONG RUN THAN CARDIO. (see more at nitasfitnessdirectives.com)
Even more beneficial, you don’t have to weight train for 2 hours a day to get results. 30 minutes three times a week is a good start, and for mothers, this a manageable time structure and a good ongoing method of training. We spend 30 minutes three times a week watching tv or doing something else that’s mindless and unfulfilling and ineffective for ourselves. If motherhood is about time management, weight training is the perfect answer to create a fitness regimen through.
Reality: Weight training tones more than anything else, it helps strengthen our bone density (osteoporosis occurs in many women with age- weight training can help!), it is a great way to burn fat, you can do it and see results in just 1.5 hours weekly.