Posts Tagged ‘toned-physique’
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
There’s been a lot of talk about something called The Ultimate Body Applicator, also known as a body wrap. Made by It Works Global. You may have seen the ads for them. They might go something like this, “Firm, tighten, and tone in as little as 45 minutes!” “Lose weight immediately!” “Get your sexy back!”
I’ve done a lot of research on them and I’ve tried and tested them and I’m hoping to answer a lot of questions that people have, such as: Do they really work? How do they work? Is it a scam? Will I really loose inches in only 45 minutes? How long does the weight stay off? Is it just water weight? How many inches will I lose? How often do I need to wrap?
I’m going to start by saying that in my experience the wrap does in fact work and is not a scam. I’m a mother of three and I’m very active and healthy, and I try to live and lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s taken me almost 2 years to get back to my pre baby weight. I was very disappointed when I noticed the more weight I lost the looser my skin got. It started to sag and would hang over my tighter jeans. I was extremely uncomfortable with it to the point that I was thinking of getting a tummy tuck and cutting off what was left. My cousin had a good experience with a wrap, and I was so excited to try one. My first wrap I only lost .5 inches, but I saw tightening and toning immediately. That was it for me. I was sold. I am so glad to have found the Ultimate Body Applicator. It kept me from having to spend a fortune, and having to get cut open by a doctor. I have lost a total of 5 inches, which may not seem like much, but it sure has been a confidence booster for me. I feel much better about myself, and am not self-conscience anymore. I feel beautiful!
The average inch loss is 1-3 inches per wrap. Some women lose more, some lose less. Everybody is different. I’ve seen as much as 7 inches lost with just one wrap.
It is NOT water weight you’re actually encouraged to drink as much water during the wrap as you can, as well as for the next 72 hours. The applicator should not be compared to or confused with a diuretic. You don’t want to sweat while the wrap is on as this could clog your pours.
How does the wrap work? The body applicator is worn for a minimum of 45 minutes, (I’d suggest 1 to 2 hours), and it actually continues to process or detox for 72 hours after it is removed. You can put the applicator on any part of your body to spot reduce and see immediate lasting results. It’s a very strong detox, so it’s not recommended to do more than one area at the same time. The body applicator is infused with an all-natural botanical formula that causes the pores in the skin to open and allow the product to penetrate the skin and into the deeper layers getting right to the fat cells where it forces toxins out. Those toxins are then picked up by the blood stream and filtered through the kidneys and essentially are eliminated through your urine. This product is perfect for shrinking fat cells. It also works as an anti-inflammatory and helps with overall skin appearance, to give your skin a youthful look. Everybody’s skin processes differently. Some medications store in your cells for a long time and it may take longer to process. This is a healthy cleanse for your body. You are actually feeding your body something healthy!
How long do the inches stay off? It’s like any diet. If you lose a bunch of weight and then go back to your old ways you’ll what? Gain it all back, right? Same with this, except your results will last 2-6 months. So.. Drink a little more water, a little less pop, add some fruits and veggies to your diet, and try to eat three meals a day with small snacks in between. As long as you’re trying to be healthier the inches will stay off indefinitely.
Three things can happen with a wrap. One – You’ll see measurable results. The Ultimate Body Applicator is successful for the majority of users the very first time it’s used. Second – Nothing may happen. Although most begin to see improvements and inch loss after the first application some may take 3-4 applications to achieve optimal results. Those who are on medications and/or who have toxic systems (not regular) may fit in this category. Third – You may gain inches. If this is the case DO NOT be alarmed! This is actually a good thing! The Applicator will cause the toxins in the body to get stirred up, which will initially cause the body to bloat and produce an apparent gain in inches. Drinking a large amount of water within the next couple of days following the use of the Applicator will allow the body to flush the toxins and many have then seen a significant inch loss as a result!
Inch loss is not the only benefit from the Applicator. It also defines, tightens, tones and firms the skin, and visibly enhances the body’s contours. It also diminishes the appearance of cellulite and skin slackening. Improves the elasticity, moisturizes and vitalizes the skin, leaving it smooth and flexible with a youthful and fresh appearance.
With the Ultimate Body Applicator results are progressive. With each treatment you will be more pleased with your results. Every 72 hours, or at least once a week application is recommended for continuous, progressive results and for ongoing maintenance. The more consistent and diligent you are in applying the Applicator the better the results!
Additional products are available to help you get the best results from the applicator. Other products may also help by increasing metabolic activity, suppressing appetite, reducing fat and carbohydrate intake, to become more regular, and increase energy.
I hope that I’ve answered any questions you may have, but most of all I hope that I’ve done the Ultimate Body Applicator the justice that it deserves because it truly is a wonderful product.
If you’d like more information about The Ultimate Body Applicator or any of the other amazing products you’re welcome to contact me. I’m also looking for distributors in other areas to help spread the word.
like my business and see that “my it works” for you!
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
Hollywood’s Anti-Aging Secret: The Natural Way to Fat Loss, Youth, and Fitness Longevity for Everyone
Two years ago Dr. Patricia Wexler let one of Hollywood’s fat loss and anti-aging secrets out of the bag–Growth Hormone. “Actresses use it to slim abdominal fat and increase muscle tone and libido,” Wexler said.
Actresses with insider connections to discreet doctors may inject their way to a youthful, fit and sexy body, but you can boost your own growth hormone naturally without any side effects by exercising smarter, Fit Moms and friends!
Human Growth Hormone is naturally secreted by the pituitary gland to regenerate cells, strengthen bones and make the immune system stronger. Its biggest effect, the ones the movie stars are after, is fat burning, which leads to a lean, fit, sculpted and beautiful physique, of course. Growth Hormone turns your body into a fat burning machine. Most women produce less than 10 nano grams of GH per milliliter of blood. A nano gram is one-billionth of gram, which means a little GH goes a long way.
The natural way for all you Fit Moms and Friends to boost your natural GH levels, and get the same effects as the starlets, is to ditch the pink dumbells and treadmill for sprints and real weights. Yes, weight training can lead to fat loss, Fit Moms, without leading you to a “bulky” physique (which is a common misconception that Fit Moms and most of our female friends have yodeled for years!). Weight training is the key to fat loss, anti-aging, and even well-maintained weight loss! Fit Moms and Friends, read more to learn the key to unlocking that potential in your body through weight training and sprints!
The results of an experiment on the effects of sprinting on women published in Oxford University’s journal Acta Physiologica found “Women elicited a greater response of serum GH to sprint exercise” than men. They always say men are the stronger gender physically, but it seems that in this trend, nature is possibly trying to bring ladies into a balance in this sense. Even the body’s nature is to bring balance between the sexes! The swedish scientists who conducted the experiment concluded, “this may contribute to explaining the earlier observed muscle hypertrophy in women in response to sprint training.” If you want toned, shapely legs, Fit Moms and Friends, well, even the doctors and scientists are suggesting that you run sprints. If you don’t run, then look at our other fat burning articles on interval training, which will yield similar results.
Yes, this is Empowerment for Everyone- Mother nature has in some ways leveled the playing field. We Fit Moms can get stronger with this work as we continue to do it, without gaining the muscle that a man will. Women cannot get big, bulky muscles from natural GH, but they get larger percentage increase from GH boosting exercises than men and a few extra nanograms will deliver a flat stomache and tight butt fast.
The quickest way to boost GH is to run sprints (as I stated earlier, check the fat burning category of articles at http://nitasworld.com/blogs for further articles on interval training, which will deliver similar results). The research shows that they key to effective sprints are the intensity, the speed you run, not how many you do or how far you sprint. When I use the word “effective” I am relating the “effective” results of sprinting or interval training to how well this exercise style will burn fat, helping the body look and feel sculpted and lean and beautiful, which is what every woman is striving for when we do any workout. Am I right, Fit Moms? I mean, seriously, which one of us wouldn’t kill (or sprint) to have Selma Hayek’s killer calves, and that Fit Mama’s fit and sexy thighs?
Do you think that it’s inconvenient to do sprints? Well, it takes less time than cardio to burn the calories you can burn in just a few minutes of sprinting, so time is not an issue, Fit Moms. And all you skeptic friends and fit moms are sure to realize that location is easier with sprints than going to the corner store. You already take your kids to half the places you can sprint, fit moms, and all the pet owners take their “kids” (pets) to the other places. None of this is rocket science. Not one of these places is an inconvenience Fit Moms and Friends, because you already go there!
Fat burning Sprints can be done anywhere: An empty parking lot, a low-traffic residential street, the play ground on the weekends at our kid’s school, the park while the kids play, or the sports field or running track at your teenager’s high school at night or on weekends. If you haven’t sprinted recently, don’t jump in head first running as hard as you can the first day, start by doing strides at a pace faster than a jog for four repetitions of 50 to 100 yards. Gradually increase the speed you sprint until you can do four of them all at all out racing speed. When you can do four at full speed, add an extra sprint every week. To make sure your intensity stays high, use a stop watch to time your sprint workout and push yourself to get them done in less time.
By running sprints three times a week and adding some negatives to your weight training, you can boost your natural Growth Hormone levels, burn more body-fat than you do with cardio, and save more time while you preserve your joints and bones, since sprinting is better for your bones and joints than jogging.
Here is a clip of my business partner and co-author JD Johannes running sprints:
As good as sprints are, the scientific research shows the super GH booster is lifting heavy weights.
An experiment conducted at the University of Virginia found, “For each incremental increase in exercise intensity, the fractional stimulation of GH secretion is greater in women than in men.”
That means the heavier weights you lift, the more GH your body produces. The biggest boost in natural GH came when women used weights that were heavier than they could actually lift. When you use a weight that is heavier than you can lift up with good form, but that you can control on the way down, your GH levels skyrocket. These types of lifts are called negatives and
an experiement published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that heavy negatives boost natural GH more than anything else. Pull ups, curls, squats, lunges and other types of weight training are really effective for this type of effect, and all these exercises will help you get a sculpted, toned, beautiful physique.
And Dr. Patricia Wexler does not approve:
“Human Growth Hormone is unsafe. I know dermatologists and actresses who use it to slim abdominal fat and increase muscle tone and libido. But it can accelerate also a hidden cancer to grow. It can cause funny bone spurs to grow and enlargement of the heart … just to name a few of the many reasons why I consider it unsafe.”
Women get more out of sprints than men. More GH, etc. “Women elicited a greater response of serum GH and insulin to sprint exercise. This may contribute to explaining the earlier observed muscle hypertrophy in women in response to sprint training.”
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
“The findings suggest that the acute metabolic and GH responses in the 90/70% condition were more favourable compared with the 70/70% condition, and a significant correlation between the optimal ECC load and 1RM per BM-ratio was observed.”
Heavy eccentric load produces best hormonal response…heavy negatives
University of Virginia, Journal of Applied Physiology
“For each incremental increase in exercise intensity, the fractional stimulation of GH secretion is greater in women than in men.”
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
Fit Moms looking to burn calories, burn fat, and get leaner, listen up. Cardio is cardio because, yes, it's generally good for strengthening your heart, and if you have medical conditions that prohibit you from high intensity workouts, exercise of all types should take place more safely through caution so as to fit those needs for a low to moderate intensity. Test your limits, fit moms, but be aware of your body.
Speak to your physician to see if you're as fit of a mom as you think. Note your body's current limitations, they may not stay where they are in terms of your fitness level, because with time and consistent exercise you will adapt. However, whatever fit mom's limits are at this time, pay heed. Don't over-do it fit mamas! Moderation and consistency is key until you grow into your capacity to challenge yourself with intensity. But eventually, sooner than later no doubt, you will want and need to challenge yourself with some intensity. Cardio alone will not do the trick when it comes to burning calories effectively, much less burning fat.
Cardio, is not the be all end all to losing weight, despite the common misconception most fit moms, and people in general seem to have. Keep in mind I am not shunning cardio, but I am simply telling people that if you are working hard already, mom or not, you lift or do various other activities, you want to burn fat specifically. If you are trying to burn fat specifically, there is a more intense, effective, time-efficient and fat-burning workout than cardio. As I said, Cardio is not the Be-all End-all!
When I am training fit moms, or anyone other types of clients who are working to get into their most fit condition, we are hitting the track, the treadmill, and a lot of fit moms step or do the eliptical. They are either warming up on the scene or doing high-intensity interval training. While I have encouraged people to do intervals when they are wanting to gain lean muscle and break down fat at the same time, I also suggest people start small and build up.
Starting off slowly in any exercise program is always heavily advised so as to issue protection from injuries. When you do a high-intensity interval training workout, however, you must have already gotten to a point where you have the ability to go hardcore, and you want to break through a threshold or fat-barrier.
Look fit moms, chasing kids is definitely cardio at times, and sometimes even anaerobic, but know that your greatest strength physically is going to come from true intensity, so work your way up. You are worth the work, and the fat-burning information and fitness instruction is available to you. If you’re looking for strength, go hardcore, but if you’re just looking to lose fat and burn some calories, this is the story… start off slowly, but start doing intervals immediately. Condition your body to the process of changing intensities. If you can’t go really hardcore, then stick to the machines like the stepmill or the bike or even the elliptical.
As you are the catalyst to fatburning in just getting off the couch and doing something at all, you obviously have a work ethic with
which to reach your goals, and you know that you can and will go as hard and long as you need to in order to reach that goal. With
high-intensity interval training you can go for less time, more intensity (in spurts) and stay consistent in your body’s abilities
to use fat for fuel, which is what everyone wants.
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, which moms who are fit or not can all totally understand. We need the energy to do all that we have to for our kids to keep them moving, motivated and constantly evolving. We can obtain the right energy levels from proper hydration and interval training.
On another note beyond what has to do with energy increase, 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.
True fitness professionals understand and push the many benefits of interval training workouts over cardio. From energy gains to fat loss, and from high calorie burns to lower impact on joints, intervals are the supreme workout when weighed against cardio. An added benefit for us fit moms: intervals will target cellulite better than cardio ever could!
Work safe, start slowly when needed, but work smart and work your way up into higher intensity levels. Challenge yourself, Be Phenomenal Fit Moms & Friends, You are Worth the Work!
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!