Workout Structure at Any Level

When it comes to workout structure, most people are at a loss as to what they should be doing, how often they should be doing it, and how to individualize to meet their goals. It’s common for people to go through the motions without actually knowing how to work their body properly. In order to help shed some light on the subject, I created three templates to offer structure to those at a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level.


 

Beginner Workout Structure

  • Upper Body can be worked in a variety of ways. Making sure you target it on it’s own, one day a week will increase your ability to tone, tighten, and build lean muscle mass in your chest, back, shoulder, triceps, biceps, and traps.
  • Core and Cardio are a vital part of your routine. They ensure your cardiovascular system is healthy, create a solid foundation for you to build upon, and allow you to burn some extra calories along the way.
  • Lower Body is more important than people give it credit for. Increasing strength and mobility in your lower half will help you avoid injuries, pain, and weight loss plateaus.
  • Active Rest is the most commonly skipped part of a fitness routine. People assume they need to constantly workout to achieve their goals. Instead, these days make or break your routine allowing you to make time for mobility work, work/life balance, and mental & physical focus for the rest of your week.

 

Intermediate Workout Structure

  • Back and Biceps being worked together is simple science. They are the prime upper body muscles that activate in pulling motions. Working them on their own day allows you to isolate them as a pair, but work both in a complimentary fashion.
  • Core and Cardio are a vital part of your routine. They ensure your cardiovascular system is healthy, create a solid foundation for you to build upon, and allow you to burn some extra calories along the way.
  • Chest and Triceps  are two of the prime upper body muscles that activate in pushing motions. Pairing them together allows them to be fatigued while working together. Isolating them in this type of structure helps to work them safely and effectively.
  • Legs and Shoulders are best trained together when the majority of movements done are compound. Although on opposite ends of the body, isolating them on their own day can allow you to be effective and avoid injury.
  • Active Rest is the most commonly skipped part of a fitness routine. People assume they need to constantly workout to achieve their goals. Instead, these days make or break your routine allowing you to make time for mobility work, work/life balance, and mental & physical focus for the rest of your week.

 

Advanced Workout Structure

  • Back and Biceps being worked together is simple science. They are the prime upper body muscles that activate in pulling motions. Working them on their own day allows you to isolate them as a pair, but work both in a complimentary fashion.
  • Core and Cardio are a vital part of your routine. They ensure your cardiovascular system is healthy, create a solid foundation for you to build upon, and allow you to burn some extra calories along the way.
  • Shoulders and Calves are best worked together when more advanced in fitness. Although not used together for any motions, they pair up nicely allowing for maximum isolation of each muscle group.
  • Core and Cardio are a vital part of your routine. They ensure your cardiovascular system is healthy, create a solid foundation for you to build upon, and allow you to burn some extra calories along the way.
  • Chest and Triceps  are two of the prime upper body muscles that activate in pushing motions. Pairing them together allows them to be fatigued while working together. Isolating them in this type of structure helps to work them safely and effectively.
  • Legs  are the biggest powerhouse muscle group of the body. When you get to an advanced level, you will need an entire workout dedicated to them.
  • Active Rest is the most commonly skipped part of a fitness routine. People assume they need to constantly workout to achieve their goals. Instead, these days make or break your routine allowing you to make time for mobility work, work/life balance, and mental & physical focus for the rest of your week.

 

Contact me for more advice, tips, or questions on setting up work structure individualized to your specific goals!

How You’re Sabatoging Your Success

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s highly likely we are all getting in our own way. It’s a hard topic to discuss because even I’m insecure about the things that hold me back. But it’s time to clear the air and get out of our own heads. 

  1. Don’t measure your success based on other’s success. You absolutely should have role models but in most cases role models are those well versed and experienced in their area of expertise. If you could do all the things they can, or look the way they do, or achieve the recognition they get- then you’d probably pick someone even higher up in the industry to look up to. Measure your success only on yourself. Always strive to be better than yesterday and be happy knowing you’re working towards progress. 
  2. Your body’s physical and mental responses are out of your control. You might have cellulite, problem areas, anxiety, or just stubborn insecurities that won’t budge regardless of your hard work. Many of these things are controlled by chemical responses your body naturally has. If you are overwhelmed or frustrated, dissecting the issue won’t solve it. Your body recognizes stress and frustration and the longer you hold onto these things, the more your natural response will counteract your hard work. Easier said than done, but let it go. Accept yourself knowing you are putting your efforts in the right direction. 
  3. Bad days. We all have them, and throwing in the towel seems like the simplest thing to do. But don’t, don’t you dare. Science revolves around constants and variables. If you can create constants in your life, variables will have a more obvious reaction. Sticking to your fitness and nutrition goals for several days in a row and then having a few bad days is a difficult cycle for your body to handle. But don’t for one second think that the good days weren’t good, the hard truth is that your good days loose their momentum when bad days occur regularly. The best part of macro counting is the ability to fit in things you crave. Focus on making each day count so your body is confident in it’s constants and can adapt as you add in variables. 
  4. Second guesses ruin everything. Maybe you question yourself, maybe you question your trainer, or maybe you question if you should add in more modalities. It’s human nature to question things, but this can also hinder your ability to give 100%. If you lack confidence, you lack intention. If you lack intention, you lack focus. If your focus is blurred you run the risk of aimlessly going through the motions. Believe in yourself, research if necessary, and set an intention you can commit to.
  5. One-size-fits-all plans. Having and individualized plan means all your special circumstances, strengths and weaknesses, and goals are taken into consideration. Following a generic plan might help you get started, but in order to see specific results- you need a plan specified to your unique needs. Don’t run the risk of looking back and wishing you had a more well researched and scientifically founded plan sooner. 

If you have questions about your individual path to success, send me an email and we can talk them through! My email is balancebybrittany@gmail.com and I’d love to hear from you!

Getting Gung Ho! About Your Health

I recently re-read a book called Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. The book’s sole purpose is to breakdown the process of getting people on board in business. While reading it I couldn’t help but notice how applicable the outlined process applies to personal health. The following is my interpretation on how you can begin the process of becoming “Gung Ho!” about your health.


 

Being Proactive About Your Health is Worthwhile Work

  1. There are so many reasons why your health is worthwhile to work at, but at the top of the list is that you matter- you make the world a better place. Your existence brings value to those around you and although it might not be voiced as it should, you are appreciated. Good health allows you to enjoy your life, those around you, and all the other great things about life.
  2. You are not working at your health alone. Those you surround yourself with are most likely working on their health as well, and if they are not- you are now an ambassador to them and can get to work together. As the product of those you surround yourself with, make sure you are working toward a common goal of good health.
  3. Create values to guide your efforts. Make plans focused on proactive health, make decisions with the bigger picture in perspective, and take action to live your values as a reflection of the worthwhile work your health is to you. 

 

You Are In Control of Achieve Better Health

  1. Take control of your health by making sure you have an individualized plan that caters directly to you and your goals. Having a program developed for your physical fitness, as well as a nutrition outline reflecting your individual needs will ensure that you are taking control of the power you have to better your health. 
  2. Having this control means your thoughts, feelings, and priorities are acknowledged, respected, and acted upon. Conceptualizing your expectations and working backwards from them will ensure you are using your control effectively.
  3. Creating structure to use your control in an efficient way will allow you to have a solid platform to build on. Once there, you must always challenge yourself to always take it to the next level. You are capable of using your control in more ways than you might think to be possible, all you need to do is try.

 

Encouragement and Support Create Longevity in the Process

  1. Surround yourself with those who are actively working towards better health themselves, those who support your goals, and those that help you continually challenge yourself. Having active and passive support influences will help you maintain your control, keep it focused on your values, and deter anything that might prohibit your success.
  2. Focus on progress. You may not achieve success, conquer a goal, or crush an insecurity each day- but you will be making progress constantly. That, in itself, deserves to be celebrated. Each day that you stick to your values is a day your body thanks you for.
  3. Use enthusiasm to keep up momentum. A lifestyle change comes from believing in the process even on the toughest days. Having faith that your values are guided, your control is focused, and that you are supported and believed in will help maintain the enthusiasm you need to constantly move forward. 

 

The process of becoming Gung Ho! about your health might seem tasking but it beats the alternative by a long shot. You’ll never look back and regret getting started. Know your value, take control, and believe in the process.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at balancebybrittany@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you!

Ready, Set, Snack!

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they snack. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know what’s really good for you. Here’s a list of snack ideas that will leave a good impression.

  • Greek Yogurt- Look for one with low sugar and high protein.
  • Hard Boiled Eggs- Try one whole egg and two egg whites to keep the fat low.
  • Protein Shake- Blend in some spinach or kale with fruit.
  • Veggies and Humus- Don’t eat right from the humus containers- it’s too tempting.
  • String Cheese- Look for low-fat.
  • Fat free Bean Dip and Veggie Chips- Trader Joe’s is a good place to buy both these things
  • Cottage Cheese- Add a bit of fruit if you want some extra carbs!
  • Beef or Turkey Jerky- Look for low-fat and low sodium.
  • Edamame- Pre-cook some and eat throughout the week.
  • Protein Bars- Try and look for one that has equal or more protein than carbs.
  • Pumpkin Seeds- It’s that time of year, try making your own!
  • Trail Mix- Easy to buy or make on your own, destine to keep you full and energized.

Snacks can really make or break your day. They keep you full and focused. Beyond food, I use tea to keep my stomach full and my hands occupied. This is my favorite variety pack, trying something new is great to distract you till your next meal.

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Top 5 Reasons Females Should Resistance Train

Women: Seriously, start lifting weights. Heavy weights. Get off that elliptical and starting resistance training.

In my opinion, here are the top five reasons why females should resistance train:

  1. Lifting weights is empowering: I have never felt like the weaker sex leaving the squat rack. Being able to bench my body weight made me realize I’m the only one I need to lift myself up when I’m down. You are in full control of how hard you push yourself which will build not only physical but mental strength.
  2. You won’t get bulky: You know what does make you bulky? Years of yoyo dieting. When your body doesn’t understand what’s going on, it has a tendency to store excess nutrients as fat. Once you train your body correctly, thus creating structure, it will respond by building muscle and burning fat.
  3. Food is fuel: The more you body needs fuel, the more food you can eat. Who doesn’t want to eat more and lose weight? Building muscle through resistance training will help to increase and regulate your metabolism allowing you to have a higher caloric intake as a maintenance level.
  4. Cardio sucks: If we’re all honest, we hate cardio. The occasional run is great to clear your head, but beyond that it’s torture. Why suffer through it when you can transition into resistance training and see more, long lasting results?
  5. Muscles are awesome: Having a booty is the best! Being able to see new muscles every now and then helps to keep pushing you through your workouts. The strength that comes along with can change the way you and others see yourself.

I could go on and on about why resistance training is the best. I can honestly say it changed my life! I thinking everyone should at least give it a shot to change theirs!

Mental Health Hacks

Wellness isn’t all squats and protein shakes. A crucial part to success in finding metal balance with your life. Allowing your goals to cross over into metal proactive health will help your actions transpire into a lifestyle. The following are a few ideas to try out to add variety to your days while keeping you on track to your goals!

Yoga: Social media has created this ahhhmazing safe and creative environment to challenge and commit you to your yoga practice. If you’re honest with yourself, we can all find space to roll out our yoga mat and practice. Maybe it’s a weekly routine on Sunday or maybe you can try out a #30daysofyoga challenge! No matter where you start, try to start. Winter may be long, but so are your legs and they could use a bit of a stretch, right?

Local Fitness Classes: Try any and all free workout classes at least once. You won’t know whether or not it’s a good fit for you until you try it! Sometimes the best place to start is in a group setting. With all age and skill levels, it’s easy to try to find out for yourself!

Volunteer: Wether it’s a structured position or just using your skills and talents to benefits others, seek out opportunities to better yourself by bettering others. Nothing makes metal health stronger like working with others, for others! You’ll never know the difference you can make till you try it.

Try Out all those Pins on your Pinterest Boards: Having the most pins does not equal success. Trying out those pins, learning along the way, and maybe finding success is the ideal way to make the most of these time spent and organized boards. Take the time, make a budget, and try out some of these recipes, workouts, cleanses, and proactive health tricks.

Set Weekly Minor Goals: You know deep down what your goals are, but how are you going to achieve them? Make them realistic by writing them down. Once they are set in stone, create an outline or baby steps to achieve them. If your goal is to eat healthier, make a meal plan for the week. If you goals is to lose thirty pounds, make a weekly goal to lose a pound a week. Whatever your passive goals are, making active goals to get there.

Pick a Day Each Week to Meal Prep: Nothing makes eating healthier easier that having a plan. Once you have a plan, set aside a day to prepare food for the week or a few days. Making this a habit will allowing you to feel confident and prepared when it comes to eating healthier. Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Hire a Personal Trainer or a Wellness Coach: Maybe I’m pumping my own tires a bit, but truth is hiring a personal trainer is the best thing I ever did. Yes, that’s right. Even I had a fitness and nutrition coach for a bit. Beyond program development, they hold you accountable and motivate you along the way.

Sleep Yourself Skinny

Waking up for work at four in the morning has brought my awareness to the value of sleep, better yet- my dependency on sleep. While it might seem like a vow of commitment and a great jump to your day, waking up too early might do more harm than good. It’s common knowledge that not getting the proper amount of sleep can impair your mood, memory, cognitive function, immune system, and overal health. But what you might not realize is that your sleep also has a huge impact on your metabolism. 
 
Your metabolism does a large amount of work while you are sleeping. While you are sleeping your body finishes utilizing or storing major macronutrients. By cutting your sleep cycles short, you sell your body short on the time it needs to finish digestion before you start again the next day. When you shorten the length of time your body has to utilize nutrients, it will store them by default. If you spend time counting and prioritizing macronutrients, you can see immediately while it’s important to give you body ample rest. 
Beyond the science of digestion during sleep, you also have the fallout issues from not sleeping enough. When you are tired, your body craves high energy foods- carbs, sugar, and fat. When you cave and eat these foods your body feels the need to store them because it is so low on energy, and worried it will not have enough to make it through the day. So instead of giving you body fuel for the day, it will likely pack these high calorie treats away. Furthermore, when you don’t give your metabolism time to rest, it begins to slow its pace and effectiveness. When this sort of metabolic damage happens, you can slowly diminish your body’s ability to utilities all good ingested.
So do yourself a favor, and make sleep a priority. After all you put your body through, the least you can do is allow it adequate rest so you can keep challenging yourself to accomplish great things. 

Your 1200 Calorie Diet is Damaging Your Metabolism

Without getting too science-y, I’d like to explain why your extremely low calorie diet is hindering your nutritional success.

I’m going to start with a hypothetical situation: a 23 year old female started college at 130lbs and now weighs 150lbs, in order to lose weight she has decided to skip breakfast, have a small salad for lunch, and a bit of fruit and cottage cheese for dinner. She eats about 1200 calories a day with hopes to lose twenty pounds in a month before spring break.

This hypothetical situation is all to common amongst those trying to shed some extra pounds. The thought that eating a low caloric intake will make you drop weight, is not only wrong but it does just the opposite. When you deprive your body of the nutrients it needs, it goes into starvation mode and begins to store all nutrients consumed because it is unsure of when it will receive nutrients again. So instead of using ingested calories for energy, it stores the nutrients as excess fat.

It doesn’t matter what type of food or macronutrient makeup the food has, when you under eat your body will store any and everything.

Try to avoid metabolic damage by fueling your body in correlation to it’s daily output. In order to understand your bodies needs, I suggest you calculate you basic metabolic rate. Once you have an idea of your bodies needs you can add in factors like activity, exercise, and energy demand to figure out your caloric needs.

Click here to read a post that covers all the basics.

Click here for a step by step guide of how to make a lifestyle change, and begin flexible dieting.

 

Beyond the science behind it, extremely low calorie deficiencies put intense stress on your body which will also hinder your weight loss results. When forced to function on a low caloric intake, you body will compensate by slowing down and storing any and all energy it receives.

When it Comes To Your Nutrition, Pointing The Finger Will Get You No Where!

Why take responsibility for your health when you can put the blame on something else? In today’s society, it’s so common to point the responsibility on outside factors instead of holding your own choices responsible. The following is a list of common sources that are blamed for you inability to lose weight, followed by an explanation and an opportunity to change your thinking about the topics and instead hold yourself accountable for your health.

Wheat/Gluten

Maybe you’ve read The Wheat Belly, maybe you haven’t. I won’t discredit that the book is full of many great educational points but it is missing the point of positive proactive health. Instead of pointing the finger at wheat/gluten, take responsibility for what you choose to consume. Wheat/gluten does not make you fat, eating more carbs than your body can use as energy will make you store any excess nutrients as fat. When given the option, choose to consume carbs from a variety of sources including wheat/gluten, as long as the energy to consume through food correlates with the energy you expend throughout your day.

The Whole 30/ 28 Day Fix/ Or any short timeframed challenge

So you’ve done or heard of someone who’s done The Whole 30/28 day fix/or any other trendy cleanse and they lost a ton of weight! That’s awesome! Do you want to know the magic secret? Instead of choosing high calorie/ low nutrient foods, they choose low-calorie/ high nutrient foods. That’s it, plain and simple, they over fixed their diet. Soon after the 30 days, they go back to the poor quality foods and gain all the weight back. Again, it’s all about your choices. If you choose to make a “quick fix”, expect to have your “quick results” to disappear soon after. If you’re considering a quick fix, take a lifestyle change into consideration. Choose high quality foods to fill the majority of your diet and add in a few extra things to match your energy output.

Clean Eating/Paleo

“Do you wash your food before you eat it? Because unless your eating clean, Paleo food you’re going to get fat.” This over-hyped, nutrition concept has become mainstream with the past year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating clean or Paleo, but it lacks the individualization of portion sizes. Eating clean or Paleo only works when eating in correlation to your energy needs. It’s not the food themselves that are to blame for your weight gain or inability to lose weight, it’s the amount consumed. As long as you match you caloric intake with your caloric expenditure, there’s no reason to rule out any foods or food groups.

Red Meat

Red meat may be high in fat and cholesterol, but eating it does not make you fat and have high cholesterol. Does eating a Cheeto turn you into a Cheeto? No. Blaming foods is ridiculous, especially when you have the choice to control your consumption. Red meat is fine in moderation because your body does not need much fat or cholesterol regardless of what food in comes from. Red meat is not at fault for your excess body weight or high cholesterol. When planning out your meals be aware of all the foods you consume that contain fat and cholesterol and match them to your individual bodies’ needs.

Low Fat/Low Carb

Tracking carbs and fat is great! Everyone should have carb, fat, and protein goals daily! Depleting one macronutrient to an extremely low-level of intake may have some positive results but unfortunately they will be short-lived. As soon as the depleted nutrients are consumed again, the body will again store them as fat if they are over consumed. Fat and carbs are not to blame, consuming them in a disproportion to your bodies’ needs will cause any excess nutrients to be stored as fat. Plan your macronutrient intake to directly relate to your bodies needs.

Fasting

Refusing the body of the nutrients it needs maybe help you to empty your stomach and deplete water stores in your body but beyond that, fasting has minimal health benefits. Your body needs regular feedings to stabilize your insulin levels and keep your metabolism working. The longer you restrict your food intake, the longer your stall your metabolism. Beyond religious or doctor recommended fasting, there is no need for it. Instead choose to fuel your body appropriately to keep your blood sugar stable and metabolism working and optimal levels.

Genetics/Metabolism

Being overweight does not run in your genetics nor does having a low metabolism. You have the choice in life to either go down the path of least resistance or chose to be proactive about your health. You are never predisposed to being over weight and out of shape, your choices and lack of action send you down the same path that your genetically related family went down. Use your voice, take action, and don’t hide behind other people who have made poor choices.

Cutting out foods or food groups, labeling foods as good or bad, and depriving yourself of variety are all extreme choices when it comes to changing your nutritional intake. Make the choice to fuel your body according to your caloric needs and let the rest be soft guidelines instead of rules or restrictions.

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.

Finding my own voice has been a challenge, and sometimes I feel like it’s fallen on deaf ears. Who I am and how I am is something I’m constantly working on. I’m proud of myself for sticking to my guns and being independent. I now know I can hold my own; I take care of myself, I’m responsible for every facet of my life from bills to healthcare to flossing daily, and I still haven’t reached my full potential. That makes me very happy, I make me really happy.

But there are also quite a few other things that make me happy:

I love the refreshing feeling of running into someone you haven’t seen in a while. Even though you don’t keep in touch, you’re able to identify with them, share thoughts and opinions, and see progress in them and in yourself. I have had many of these random occurrences in the past week and just need to say that I appreciate these moments; they keep me grounded.

I adore my best friend. I feel at this point our lives are transparent to each other. She has no problem telling me that I am being ridiculous and I have no problem telling her she needs to walk away from the past. We disagree, we roll our eyes at each other, and we let each other learn our own mistakes. But every Sunday we reevaluate where we are at and where we want to go. If you don’t have a friend like that, I recommend you get one.

I thoroughly enjoy spending time with my mother and both my grandmothers. In my younger years they seemed worlds away from anything I could relate to, but now I see they are just from a different era. As much as I love technology, social media, and the advantages I grew up with, I’m jealous of the simplicity and personal connections they had. Their combine perception has helped me see true value in friendship, relationships, and setting goals. I never really appreciated my education much until the moment I saw my mom crying at her own graduation after receiving her diploma. In that moment I realized she had set aside her goal of further education to raise a family, then went to school part-time for 8 years, and finally accomplished one of her life long dreams, something I completely took for granted. (Love you mom! I know you read these!)

More than you’d expect, living alone has made me so happy. Having all my things organized how I like them really makes coming home relaxing. I’m not saying it’s always clean but having the space to organize it all has been a much-needed breath of fresh air after having roommates for so long. All the food in the fridge is mine, my drain is never get clogged because of someone else’s hair, and the only person’s toothpaste I have to wipe out of the sink is mine. It’s been eye-opening to realize how it was just a combination of several really little things that had been stressing me out in the past.

Fitness and nutrition have really become my niche. I look forward to my daily workouts and have enjoyed every second I’ve spent educating myself on nutrition. At this point in my life I am the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been. It’s really been a lifestyle change. Getting certified in nutrition and as a personal trainer has allowed me to finally work in the industry I have pursued for so long. I love my work and the people I work with, seeing the light in their eyes when they learn new things, see and feel progress, and accomplish their goals confirms my purpose in this industry.

I never thought that I would feel myself growing up but I do, I feel it
everyday and it’s a good feeling. I love progress; I need to feel it in order to be content in life. Some areas improve sooner than others and some areas you have to wait for. Either way, I’ll take it!