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GURLS Pump that BOOTY!

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I have noticed at the gym and on social media, that many females don’t get the respect of hard-training athletes like most men do. I would love to blame it all on you guys out there for being sexist and disrespectful, but unfortunately, I feel if we as females don’t get the respect we want from our male gym counterparts, it is largely our own fault. So many women have fallen victim to the mindset that we don’t have to train hard to get “Toned” Or maybe most think there are certain exercises that are MAN exercises and there are those that are “Girl” exercises. Let’s get something out of the way here – when it comes to changing our bodies men and women are the same. We can make our fat bigger or smaller, and we can make our muscles bigger or smaller – that’s about it. Men have the ability to do this on a much larger scale due to the hormonal differences. Women, if you think you are going to train your arms heavy and hard and wake up one day and have biceps like Arnold, you’re not.

The “Toned” look that we all desire is a result of increased muscle mass, and decreased body fat. Our muscles usually have to get BIGGER to achieve this look. In this article, I am going to share some of my views on how to get that athletic, yet “Feminine” figure that so many of us are after.

First off, what do we as a society look at and consider, “Feminine?” 36-24-36? Maybe not those numbers exactly, but that type of body shape still holds true with most. Now how do you make this athletic-looking, without detracting from the female shape? Each person is different of course, but choosing certain body parts to emphasize over others can really help here. For example, it seems acceptable for a woman to have round and shapely deltoids, but if the biceps and forearms, as well as traps, are too developed, it’s seen as “Manly.” So wisely choosing which body parts to maximize and which ones to minimize can go a long way. Here are my three key principles for looking strong, athletic, and yes, like a woman!

1) Maximize your shoulder to waist ratio. For those that have teeny-tiny waistlines, this could be very simple. Maybe just training deltoids first in your schedule is all that is needed. For those of us that are not 24 or less in the waist, this might take quite some effort. I feel deltoids MUST be trained first, very hard, and frequently to get the desired look. Back width also plays a big role in making the waist seem smaller than it really is, so it is a close second. Keep in mind that this part of it is exactly the same as what a bodybuilder would try to do, so one shouldn’t get caught thinking they have to do “Girl” exercises or feel restrained from doing heavy weights. I have personally been as high as 55 lb dumbbells for both overhead presses and laterals trying to get my delts to grow. I also don’t understand why most females don’t strive to do wide grip chin ups, other than they are hard. Don’t shy away from hard heavy exercises for delts and back.

“We are not going to get those perky round glutes by doing leg kickbacks and butt squeezes!”

2) Pump up that butt! How many women have said in the same breath “I don’t want my butt to get any bigger, but I don’t like the way it sags. As a woman I can tell you they mean they don’t want their rear to get any “Fatter”, and “Bigger” means “Fatter” in their minds. So many women have given in to the idea that it is just a genetic trait that can’t be changed. Well, guess what? Glutes are just like biceps – you guys out there know if you want impressive arms, you have to train progressively on certain exercises and force the muscles to develop. Girls, it’s the same for us. We are not going to get those perky round glutes by doing leg kickbacks and butt squeezes! We have to do exercises that allow for progression in weight and reps both. If you’ve been doing say walking lunges with no weight for the past year and still aren’t happy with the way things look from behind, you need more stimulation. Add some weight to the exercise and PROGRESS! You want the glutes to get bigger while simultaneously stripping the fat away. Have you ever seen a girl with a really tight butt and think it’s still too big? Probably not.

“I believe you are what you eat, and someone that eats 2000 calories of mostly protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, will look much different than one that eats 2000 calories of crap carbs and greasy fats.”

3) Control your body fat! I will admit that a woman who is 20% bodyfat with no muscle, looks smaller and better in clothes than one with the same amount of fat and much more muscle. To have that athletic look, most of us end up in the 12-15% range. I will cover in detail my methods of fat-loss in upcoming articles, but in a nutshell, I will tell you to eat your protein and veggies. I believe you are what you eat, and someone that eats 2000 calories of mostly protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, will look much different than one that eats 2000 calories of crap carbs and greasy fats. I don’t believe it’s about the numbers, it’s about the quality of the foods. Cardio is also a key element in body fat reduction and control. This is where people differ the most I’ve found. Some women can get by with 20-30 minutes 3-4 times per week. I often have to do 6-7 days a week and usually for 45-60 minutes each time. I have trained some girls that have had to do double sessions 7 days a week to achieve 12% body fat. So go with what works for you and your body type.

I hope you ladies reading this are ready to go to the gym and hit it hard and heavy. Keep in mind that heavy is a relative term, if 5 lb dumbbell presses are all you can truly do, push them hard and you will get stronger. In the process, you will earn the respect of those around you that are doing the same. It is not where you are at now, it’s about where you are going! And I hope that the guys reading this will show some gym etiquette to those ladies that may not be as strong as you, but pushing just as hard to get better.

Health & Fitness

5 Moves to Target the Lower Abs

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It’s no secret that not all exercises that target the lower abs are created equal; some are more effective than others. For anyone that’s wanting to target the lower abs, it can be very frustrating, to say the least. However, targeting and strengthening the lower abs is possible. The trick is finding the best moves for you to build muscle and flatten or chisel the stomach the way you desire.

Also: Why the Glute Bridge Is Great for After an Abs Workout

Move 1: Rolling Plank
The plank in itself is a great move for the stomach area as a whole. However, this rolling plank works the entire core including the lower abdominal. It will also build strength in the lower back.

Here’s how to do it. Start in a plank position with the body making a straight line from feet to shoulders. Rotate the body to a right side plank and hold for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then repeat on the left side. 10 reps are recommended, 5 on each side.

Move 2: Hanging Leg Raise
Deep muscles are worked during this move as well as the lower back and abdominal area. The only equipment necessary is a chin-up bar. Simply hang from the bar with the feet together and knees bent slightly. Bend the knees and raise the hips at the same time and lift the thighs up to the chest. Pause then lower back to the start position. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps each.

Move 3: Roll Up
The classic roll-up still can’t be beaten when it comes to the best move to build muscle in the lower tummy. Lay flat on your back, arms stretched straight above the head. Slowly bring them straight up, and raise off the floor to touch the toes. Slowly lower back down. Do 3 sets, 10 reps each.

Move 4: Leg Drop
Lift both legs to the ceiling. Make the abdominals tight then lower the legs slowly until they are a few inches above the floor. When the lower back starts lifting you’ve gone too far. Then raise them back up, and repeat. Do 10 reps and 3 sets.

Move 5: Scissors
Lift both legs straight to the ceiling. Lower the right leg until it’s just a bit off the floor, then switch legs. Do the move quickly with no breaks. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps each. For added benefits lift the head and shoulders off the floor.

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The importance of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water

Alkaline for the Body

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I am sure that many of you have been told of the importance of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water. What is not as often mentioned is just how alkaline foods and water work to ensure optimal health.

Also: How can I Stay Motivated when it comes to Home Exercise?

To begin with, the consumption of an alkaline diet regulates the body’s PH factor. The body’s PH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. When the body’s PH is kept at just above 7.0 a variety of bodily functions work more efficiently. The resulting health benefits are both numerous and of great importance.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water is an excellent buffer against cardiovascular disease. Alkaline diets are great for reducing inflammation, the result of this is often the lowering of both cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water lowers the chronic pain effects for a variety of ailments. Another benefit of an alkaline diet’s inflammation lowering qualities is a great reduction in chronic pain symptoms. Alkaline foods and water can provide significant relief for chronic sufferers of chronic back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, and joint pain.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water provides protection of bone density. Alkaline diets provide excellent mineral balance which facilitates bone growth and health. In addition, alkaline diets promote the production of growth hormone and the absorption of Vitamin D which provides further protection for bones.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water reduces the risk of cancer. Alkaline diets provide an abundance of antioxidant protection against cancer. Also, alkaline environments are not conducive to the growth of cancer cells.

– A diet high in alkaline foods and water prevents the development of diabetes. The pancreas is a bodily organ provided with the task of regulating the body’s blood sugar. The pancreas is dependent on an alkaline environment to function properly. One study, focusing on the effects of alkaline water on blood sugar, showed that just a month of drinking alkaline water can bring the blood sugar of diabetics to a normal level.

The health benefits of eating a diet high in alkaline foods and water cannot be understated. I am sure that after reading just a few of these benefits you will agree that making a conscious effort to incorporate alkaline foods and water into your diet is well worth the effort.

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Prevent Muscle Loss During Fasted Cardio with BCAA Supplements

BCAAs to Start Your Day

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Photo by Nicole De Khors

One of the most popular forms of extreme fat loss is fasted cardio. Usually done in the morning, this exercise method consists of working out the body anaerobically on an empty stomach, as opposed to full of calories from prior meals. The benefit of fasted cardio all lies in the specific targeting of fat reserves. More specifically, after eating a large meal, insulin levels are raised within the body. As cortisol levels are very high in the morning, they will target muscle cells with the increase in insulin. However, during a fasted state, those high cortisol levels in the morning can be utilized to target fat reserves as opposed to the muscle as the insulin levels will be greatly diminished during that fasting time. As explained by Men’s Fitness, “if you are fasted, insulin is low and cortisol will then go after body fat reserves”.

Also: Increasing Longevity Through Better Nutrition

For those looking to optimize their fat loss while still maintaining all of their hard-earned muscle, fasted exercise is not the only part of the equation. A healthy amount of Branch Chain Amino Acid’s to start your day will help to maintain all of that muscle that has taken so many dedicated hours in the gym to pack on. BCAA are essentially the very building blocks of muscles themselves. According to Layne Norton, experienced bodybuilder, and Ph.D., “BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis”. So not only can this aminos help to you to maintain your muscles, it can also provide your muscles with a greater capacity for growth by targeting the actual muscle cells. But within a fasted state in the morning, we are primarily concerned with the rate of protein breakdown that may occur. Lucky for us, BCAA supplements can answer for this too. BCAA’s are also very capable of decreasing the rate at which protein breaks down. As explained again by Dr. Layne Norton, this can be explained by the aminos “decreasing the activity of the components of the protein breakdown pathway”.

In short, starting your days with a BCAA supplement is a great way to ensure that your muscle gains are not lost during fasted exercise. BCAA’s are one of the most well-researched supplements on the market and therefore finding a wealth of knowledge on them is not difficult. A simple search engine will guide you through a host of well documented and researched information. Additionally, these supplements are easy to find at any local supplement store or more simply online.

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