Posts Tagged ‘fitness training’
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
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
There is a species of gym-goer that must be addressed, and this article is meant for exactly that person. Is that person you? Are you a mom who has tried to be fit mom, a man who has tried the fitness workout of the week in your muscle mag, or that chick that diets and cardios herself like crazy to be the ultimate fit chick?
For years and years you have been told by many fitness articles, hot fit workout pictures, instructional workout videos, and so on, not to be that gal/guy who will work out hard, but not smart. You are taught to grind out workouts, but never really made to understand a pragmatic approach to your personal fitness to make any progress. The saving grace of that gal/guy is that she/he does workout hard and keeps at it. Being that gal prevents people from ballooning up to a bloated version of no energy, saving us from our own DNA, yet, it does not teach us how to be optimal with even less work than the “that gal/guy approach.”
The gyms of the world are not only filled with that gal/guy, the gyms of our world, especially in American fitness culture, they are filled with the blood and money-sucking fitness vampires whose biggest concern is customer retention rather than your best and most practical approach to fitness. Their advice is more of a strategy most often delivered with the intention of giving you the most impractical approach to fitness advancement, so that you will be chasing your tail and ever-spending as you chase your quest for the better physique. On top of it, society is telling us women, “Hey, if you’re too muscular, you’re too manly.” Hence, “that gal” syndrome ensues.
That girl says “I don’t want to get too muscular.” The key word being “too.”
What that girl (which describes 90% of the women who own gym memberships) doesn’t realize is that muscle burns fat, and you won’t gain it doing 2 hours of cardio every day. I’ll return to this point and complete it shortly, but keep it in mind and read on.
First off, when you go to a gym, the sales people are not trainers, and the trainers are salespeople. Remember that. Most especially in corporate fitness facilities, you will see this business model because it is the foundation and driving force of fitness industry revenues in a gym. Gyms are businesses, and the people who run them have to do good business to keep up with the competition.
Now I’m not saying you should view corporate gyms with a paranoid perspective of conspiracy, but what I am saying is that it is important to learn to think for yourself when it comes to advancement of your own personal fitness. It is important as fitness consumers to stay informed on not only the latest or oldest tried and true technologies, but it is just as important to improve with what TRULY works for each of us individually. Everyone is different, but yes, there are some rules of thumb for everyone in fitness that are universal. As well, you will notice that those universal fitness truths are contrary to a lot of the workouts that we are instructed to do in the “business” of fitness.
Again, fitness industry business moguls are not the enemy. They are what they are. We need to be responsible fitness consumers and practitioners and actually learn what works for us and work smarter to get there. For instance, men, there is more to life than that pompous trainer who insults you during workouts happens to state. Ladies, no, there is no such thing as a woman being “gross” or “masculine” because she has muscle.
In fact, when women see me in a fitted dress, they all compliment the way I look. No woman likes having cellulite or flabby arms. Women love backless clothes and pretty dresses, but we loathe back rolls and bra roll fat hanging over.
We want to be fit moms, fit chicks, fit hotties. We all want something like this. It’s inviting, energizing and we live a fuller, more expressed life in a fit state. We have the energy to.
When you have a leaner physique (yes, with muscle) you do not struggle with these things. Muscle on women is good, “too much” muscle is unattractive, but yes, again I’ll say it, muscle on women is good.
There is a great response to that girl. “If you ever get leaner than you want, or more muscular than you want, that is an easy problem to solve. Eat more fat and carbs, cut back on the training a bit.”
The “I don’t want to get too muscular” line is a psychological defense mechanism to justify training and dieting half-assed. It is a method of self sabotage- an excuse to fail and a reason to do it the way that the magazines and fitness DVD’s instruct us to. For whatever reason, we are afraid of thinking for ourselves and taking the alternative routes to test what is best for us.
That girl likes working out. She enjoys going to the gym. She would like to look like a fitness model or just a lot better than she appears now, but she is not sure how to do it or even if she can do it. So, she constructs an internal monologue, “I want to be in-shape, in better shape than most women, but I don’t want to get too muscular.”
The fear is not in becoming too muscular, the fear is aimed from and at a disappointment in herself. But, if she makes it okay to fail, if she makes okay to not achieve her goals, then she will not be disappointed in herself. Sound twisted? It is, and it’s confusing. It’s so bamboozling that we just give up altogether whereupon we can escape back to our so, so health with the reasoning that justifies it. On top of that, we can feel better doing it like our co-workers who bring bagels to work and drink beer after work. We can get “comfortable” again, sitting in the bowels of mediocrity and non-compelling drive that requires us to think more. After it is said and heard enough times, it becomes true.
To overcome the psychological self sabotage, you must be honest. I looked at pictures of the top fitness models when I was a chubby girl, and I had to be honest with myself at some point. I was capable of being that fit, but I was just not willing to do what it took to achieve it. That admission of my fitness mindset freed me to achieve a lesser goal, and I then could realize, “Ok, I am being mediocre about my health. I feel like crap, and I am actually willing to half-ass it here, not think for myself, and just sit with my own lame energy.”
Once I admitted it, my journey began. I was actually thinking for myself right then, rather than being a rat following the scent of cheese only to find out it was a foam object set in a trap. Our lack of thought allows us to live in illusions and maintain a level of complacency that will never allow us to be progressive in our health and fitness. We continue relying on the masses (which are driven by philosophies that will have us chasing our tail), and we do the 2 hours of cardio a day and a bunch of aerobics classes, and then we are dumbfounded at our lack of progress, so we eat more, and eventually, we work out less, and ultimately we get worse.
The root of this psychological defense mechanism is the fear of failure. Because we are often afraid to fail, we set an incredibly high standard, determine it cannot be reached, come up with excuses it cannot be reached and don’t even try. The only way to change this is to think for ourselves. Try learning to adapt to your own individual fitness needs by measuring your body’s response to certain workouts. If you want to get more fit, live longer and play with your grandkids in the park without breaking a hip, the key to your best fitness is in thinking for yourself. Study, Do, Observe your body’s response, and Progress accordingly.
Be well, Be You, BE PHENOMENAL.
-Nita Lee Marquez
Fitness Empowerment Author
Miss National Fitness
IFBB Pro Fitness Athlete
Proud Mother of Three
After the birth of my daughter, with the proper nutrition and a consistent weight training/cardio routine, I sucessfully lost 75 pounds (40 from pregnancy, plus an additional 35 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight) and 20% body fat. I am not only a fit mom, but I am also aspiring to become a licensed nutritionist, and I’m even helping transform my family’s fitness habits. We are a fit family!
I am in the best shape of my life at 37 years old. I’ve proven to myself that it doesn’t matter how old you are, if you have had children, or if you don’t have model perfect genes. With hard work and clean eating you can absolutely attain the physique you have always dreamed of and bring your health and quality of life to a whole new level!
This journey hasn’t been easy for me with a baby and husband to take care of, a household to keep in order, and running my own skin care business. It has been difficult at times to keep a consistent workout schedule, as well as spending countless hours in the kitchen, planning and cooking meals for my family.
Our health is very important to me and, above all, I want to set a good example for my daughter. My fitness transformation has been a wonderful experience even with all the challenges, and I offer many thanks to the support from my husband for that. My husband is also an amazing father! He has always been there when mommy needed to squeeze in a workout, or stay late for clients at work. On top of all of this, he has gotten into the fitness lifestyle with me. He himself has also benefited from a cleaned up diet full of veggies, lean protein and complex carbs, losing 25 pounds in 5 months!
My incredible fitness trainer, Jamo Nezzar of Jamcore Training, has been the core of my fit physique success. He is a constant source of workout inspiration, exercise and nutrition guidance, fitness knowledge and overall fitness motivation. He has helped me in so many ways to become more powerful, not just in fitness, but also in other areas of my life. Through getting more fit, I gained more power in my life in all aspects. I have discovered a strength in myself that I never knew existed, and I attribute that to the habits and determination that I retained throughout my fitness journey. Because of the advancement I found in my fitness lifestyle, I feel strong and confident, and I look forward to each and every workout with my trainer as well as my solo workouts.
I want to continue the fitness lifestyle forever! Thank you Jamo, for changing my life in such a positive way. You are more than a fitness coach. I am thankful for your impact on my lifestyle choices for being more fit, setting goals, and learning to develop the habits and determination to reach them.
On December 3, 2011, I reached my ultimate fitness goal, competing in my first NPC Bikini competition! It was an unbelievable experience, sharing the stage with some incredibly fit women.
My goals for 2012 are to continue to condition my physique and possible do another show in May. I would also love to earn a degree in nutrition and to help others change their body and their health through better food choices. Cooking and collecting recipes has become a hobby of mine! I love transforming unhealthy, fat-laden recipes into clean, delicious meals that fuel your energy and keep your metabolism running at it’s peak. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless! Here I will share quick & easy recipes to support a fit lifestyle, as well as training (based on my own experience) and motivational tips. Thanks
Please join me and Nita Marquez in the Fitness Empowerment Movement on the following links on Facebook:
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 past few holidays have been fairly easy to get through as we have been living in Los Angeles away from the family, since it’s just me and the kiddos out here. That being the case, we are usually traveling during the season of giving. The hustle and bustle doesn’t seem to support fitness goals, so a few years ago, I started some holiday habits that have helped me to stay prepared for fitness among chaotic times like these.
These tips have helped me to learn more about fitness every season, and even get leaner some seasons. There is no gift greater to me than my health and longevity, so I strive to make choices that help me to still enjoy my time, but have more of it in the long run to enjoy!
From fatloss during the holidays, to having more energy, these few little tips have helped me to emphasize that age-old adage that having an “attitude of gratitude” adds to all the joys of the holiday, and not to mention, that eases up the tension that tends to build at this time of year when I do have to go to the malls.
1) Every day is a gift, not an obligation, so on weekends when we have Christmas prep to do, I wake up in the mornings and go out for a walk or I run beside my kiddos while they ride their bikes. Fitness Energizes Everything, but also, it keeps our spirits up! Enjoy the holiday, kick it off with a little workout with the family!
2) Drink water, it will keep your system cleansed, heighten your energy levels, help your mood, and curb your cravings!
I carry a 1-liter bottle of water at all times (BPA-FREE, OF COURSE), and I just refill it throughout the day to keep up the effects of feeling fit and empowered. Fit moms usually have some kind of items on hand for the kids to stay fed, why not carry around a bottle to keep yourself prepared?
3) There is nothing I won’t do to avoid those sweets in the holiday season, but I keep them to a minimum and stay fit by keeping protein around the house at all times.
No matter where we travel, I can always walk to the store (although, I’ll drive if it’s too cold!), and get some eggs to boil. I personally love tabasco on mine, but paprika and Himalayan salt is also very good for stimulating the metabolism on your eggs.
4) I keep deli cold cuts rolled up and in the fridge or around the house for the little ones (I don’t eat poultry, but they love it!), and that keeps those little fit kids super fit with protein-enriched snacks instead of cookies and pies everywhere.
I can’t control the other environments’ provisions of food, but where we are sleeping and waking and working out, I always keep protein around for all of us!
5) My favorite way to start a holiday morning: the Peppermint Chocolate Protein Breakfast Shake! Yummy!!!
2 scoops of MRM Dutch Chocolate Protein Powder
1/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup reverse osmosis water (I use alkaline water)
1/8 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup oats (dry)
3 drops of peppermint extract
a tad of ice
Instructions for Nita’s Favorite Fitness Shake:
combine ingredients in a blender and blend medium to puree for 45 seconds. If you want more consistency, add ice. For more liquidy consistency, add water. lastly, DRINK UP AND ENJOY your fitness protein power packed with deliciousness!
Fit Moms! At Christmas time, use that fit mind for family first fitness tools as well as for sprinting through the mall to shop for everyone! Sometimes, the best gifts come through the things we give up. So make this Christmas a protein-packed power Holiday for you and your fit family and love the joys of the holidays in strength, while giving up some of the sweets. (I didn’t say all of the sweets had to go, just cut back a bit, and work out a little more ) America’s Hottest Fit Moms, YOU ARE WORTH THE WORK! BE PHENOMENAL!
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!
Listen, moms, I’ll be the first mom to agree that fitness for mothers does not come easily, as our whole lives, every second of the day is dedicated to someone else: kids, bosses, employees (if you’re a manager or business owner), and general life requests of others. We mothers take not only big bites, but we practically inhale those bites (no pun intended)! We are busy! There is no doubt that children are the priority, and they always will remain so to their mommies, but as their mothers, it IS OUR DUE DILIGENCE to teach them about balance. Thus, we have to make time for ourselves. Me, personally, I get up at 4-4:30 daily and I either hike or workout at the gym at 5-6am. I like the quiet time, the personal space, and the freedom and ability to focus on just ourselves. The early morning workouts are generally very peaceful and focused, as I have no one requesting that I go into mommie-mode, or that I return a phone call, text or email, or go to any meetings. It’s my time for me, Mom-time. I personally love getting up before the rest of the world. The reality is that not all moms are like me.
The reality of fitness for me has not always looked this way. I wasn’t always crazy about getting up that early, as some other fit moms or fit-moms-in-training may also not enjoy the early mornings. What can we do to stay fit that we don’t have to wake up at 4-6am for? What can we do that adds to our schedule and also adds to our time with our kids? There are so many great workouts I did over the years that my children enjoyed with me, and things that my children did for my workouts to help me train for my competitions!
There are realistic solutions for fitness for busy moms. Today’s blog is all about those solutions.
1) You don’t have to sit down for dinner EVERY night, on summer and spring evenings you can take a walk to your local park and have a light meal from a picnic basket.
2) When you have dinner together, play carb counting to make it fun to learn about healthy eating.
3) Start talking at dinner with your family about protein and why it’s important
4) Workout together! Go to a rec center or a community gym and do a circuit training workout together
5) Go to the track together, time each other’s sprints, or even have races!
6) Do walking lunge contests with each other to see who can do the most without giving up!
7) Exercise together by playing together! They don’t have to be the only ones playing on the monkey bars! Have fun being fit mommy!
My favorite game is “can’t” -When the kids say that they “can’t” do something, I make them do push-ups, and I do them too, so that no one feels ridiculed, but they get the point that “can’t” is a bad word in our house
9) Learn some fun plyometric workouts you can do together in your back yard or on your front sidewalk!
10) If you have a two or three-story home, do a tag-team step-run in sets of 10!
These are quick, easy, cheap and accessible workouts that put the family first, while they build the fitness level of the whole family as everyone spends time bonding and hopefully laughing a lot even if you’re breathing heavy!