Friday, October 26, 2012

5 ways to get stronger WITHOUT lifting weights. (you heard me)

5 ways to get stronger WITHOUT lifting weights. (you heard me)

Consider the pullup: It's the standard by which all body-weight exercises are measured. And even the most hard-core lifters will agree that there's no better muscle builder for the upper body—with or without weights. The reason for its effectiveness: It takes full advantage of the scientific laws of motion and leverage, placing your body in a position that forces your back and arms to lift your entire body weight. Call it applied science at its finest.

Now imagine if all body-weight exercises were as challenging as the pullup. You'd be able to build muscle anywhere, anytime—at home, on the road, or even in a public park. Physical science makes it possible. So with that said...the Five Laws of Body-Weight Training.

1) The Longer Your Body, The Weaker You Become

The science: By increasing the distance between the point of force (your target muscles) and the end of the object you're trying to lift (your body), you decrease your mechanical advantage. Think of it this way: An empty barbell is easy to lift off the floor if you grab it in the middle. But try moving a few inches in one direction and it instantly seems heavier—even though its weight hasn't changed. The same is true of your body: Lengthen it and every exercise you do becomes harder.

Apply it: Raise your hands above your head—so your arms are straight and in line with your body—during a lunge, squat, crunch, or situp. If that's too hard, split the distance by placing your hands behind your head.

2) The Farther You Move, The More Muscle You Work

The science: In physics, "mechanical work" is equal to force (or weight) times distance. And since your muscles and bones function together as simple machines—they form class 1, 2, and 3 levers—the same formula applies to your body. It's the most basic of principles: Do more work, build more muscle. Of course, in a weight-free workout, you can't increase force (unless you gain weight). But you can boost your work output by moving a greater distance during each repetition.

Apply it: Each of the following three methods increases the distance your body has to travel from start to finish, increasing not only the total amount of work you do, but also the amount of work you do in the most challenging portion of the exercise.

Hard: Move the floor farther away. For many body-weight exercises—lunges, pushups, situps—your range of motion ends at the floor. The solution: Try placing your front or back foot on a step when doing lunges; position your hands on books or your feet on a chair when doing pushups; and place a rolled-up towel under the arch in your lower back when doing situps.

Harder: Add on a quarter. From the starting position of a pushup, squat, or lunge, lower yourself into the down position. But instead of pushing your body all the way up, raise it only a quarter of the way. Then lower yourself again before pushing your body all the way up. That counts as one repetition.

Hardest: Try mini-repetitions. Instead of pushing your body all the way up from the down position, do five smaller reps in which you raise and lower your body about an inch each time. After the fifth mini-repetition, push yourself up till your arms are straight. That counts as one repetition.

3) As Elastic Energy Decreases, Muscle Involvement Increases

The science: When you lower your body during any exercise, you build up "elastic energy" in your muscles. Just like in a coiled spring, that elasticity allows you to "bounce" back to the starting position, reducing the work your muscles have to do. Eliminate the bounce and you'll force your body to recruit more muscle fibers to get you moving again. How? Pause for 4 seconds in the down position of an exercise. That's the amount of time it takes to discharge all the elastic energy of a muscle.

Apply it: Use the 4-second pause in any exercise. And give yourself an extra challenge by adding an explosive component, forcefully pushing your body off the floor—into the air as high as you can—during a pushup, lunge, or squat. Because you're generating maximum force without any help from elastic energy, you'll activate the greatest number of muscle fibers possible.

4) Moving in Two Directions is Better Than Moving in One

The science: Human movement occurs on three different geometric planes:
1. The sagittal plane, for front-to-back and up-and-down movements
2. The frontal plane, for side-to-side movements
3. The transverse plane, for rotational movements

Most weight-lifting movements—the bench press, squat, curl, lunge, and chinup, to name a few—are performed on the sagittal plane; the balance of exercises—for instance, the lateral lunge and side bend—occur almost entirely on the frontal plane. This means that most men rarely train their bodies on the transverse plane, despite using rotation constantly in everyday life, as well as in every sport.

Case in point: walking. It's subtle, but your hips rotate with every step; in fact, watch a sprinter from behind and you'll see that his hips rotate almost 90 degrees. By adding a rotational component to any exercise, you'll automatically work more muscle—since you'll fully engage your core, as well as the original target muscles—and simultaneously build a better-performing body.

Apply it: Simply twist your torso to the right or left in exercises such as the lunge, situp, and pushup. You can also rotate your hips during movements such as the reverse crunch.

5) The Less Contact Your Body Has With the Floor, the More Your Muscles Must Compensate

The science: The smaller the percentage of an object's surface area that's touching a solid base, the less stable that object is. That's why SUVs are prone to rolling, and tall transmission towers need guy wires. Fortunately, humans have a built-in stabilization system: muscles. And by forcing that internal support system to kick in—by making your body less stable—you'll make any exercise harder, while activating dozens more muscles.

Apply it: Hold one foot in the air during virtually any exercise, including pushups, squats, and deadlifts. You can also do pushups on your fingertips or your fists.

CREDIT: Men's Health online

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The more I read this, the more I realize how true it is. I'm changing. Every year I evolve. Last year's goals are not this year's goals. Right now, I'm not so focused on every flaw I have or how I'm not this or that. Instead, I'm trying to focus on being happy. I just want to be happy.

I watched a video Jamie Eason posted on FB a few weeks ago when she was having a bad day. She was sad because her husband lost a job because of some racey pictures she had taken in her past. She is the same age as me. She has a phenomenal body. She has always inspired and motivated me. But recently she got me thinking. She said that even though she had a great body, was getting on the covers of all kinds of magazines and sounded like she had it all - she wasn't happy. I'm not sure why she wasn't happy, only that she said she wasn't. And I've heard this story time and time again from models and other seemingly "perfect" people who are unhappy. I started to think maybe it was time to stop stressing over trying to obtain MY "perfect" body and start LIVING with the one I have! Because aging is inevitable. One day, I will look back on these days and wish I had the body I have now. It makes me think....

And what will I really have accomplished if I achieve the body of my dreams?
 And to give you an example, Dana Linn Bailey is pretty much my dream body.
She is SMOKIN' hot!!
I've watched some of her training videos and she really is awesome.

Sure, I would be super ecstatic if I had a body like hers. BUT, what would I use it for? I mean, I'm not going to be in the fitness industry. I'm not going to try and get on magazine covers or win figure competitions. So WHY why why why why is it important? And the answer just isn't. I'm far happier when I can enjoy dessert with my family once in a while. When I don't have to stress about making sure I'm swallowing all the right supplements, getting my macros just right, eating enough protein and timing my meals just right, bringing food with me everywhere I go. All so that I can try to achieve a body that will ultimately do absolutely NOTHING for me except probably give me an ego boost. I think if I keep my focus a little more chill about my body, and just eat and exercise for health, I will be the most happy.

That one little saying made an impact. "sometimes the things we can't change end up changing us"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

how to shape up that butt

"I like big butts and I cannot lie...."
Well, I do. Not BIG butts. Not FAT butts. Nice round, muscular butts.
This is one of the reasons I use strength training as the main focus of my workouts. Because, while any and all forms of exercise are good for your health, not all are going to help you get a but like this:
In fact, some workouts get you a butt like this:
It's funny to me how a company trying to sell fitness clothing would choose a model with a saggy flat butt to show off their gear!
I'm on a little butt kick today because I got a HUGE compliment yesterday. I asked my husband to tell me what he liked best about me and he said my sense of humor and my butt! I never expected that in a million years! Sense of humor, yes. Butt, no. So I thought that made me "qualified" to share my butt shaping tips with y'all ;)
Look at this picture:
skinny and flat
So, how do we avoid the flat saggy butt? Here are some suggestions:
1) Take it easy on the cardio. It does nothing to help the flat and saggy issue.
2) Stop sitting so much
3) We all know that squats and lunges help our butts. But many of you (like me) have done more than your fair share of squats and lunges over the years. Your body needs change from the same old same old. Try these VERY helpful variations:
All of the following are included in my arsenal of butt shaping exercises
  • single leg squats - hold onto a chair if you're a beginner
  • bridge butt lifts - I do tons of these (single leg it if you can and use a ball!)
  • step ups - the key here is to only use your front or stepping foot. Don't push yourself up with the foot that remains on the floor.
  • split squat/single leg static lunge
  • single leg bent knee touch downs
  • get on the treadmill at MAX incline and walk. GREAT butt exercise.
Remember, you don't even need weights to do these movements. But don't just go through the motions. Use SLOW and CONTROLLED movements so you feel the burn. It can be just as hard as using heavy weight!
4) Drink a whey protein shake with BCAAs and creatine after your workouts. This will help you build your butt. You can't be in "diet" mode.

Don't go for skinny. Go for muscular and strong. Which do you think you're husband would prefer?


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

happy happy joy joy

I don't know if this is a fluke, but I'm gaining weight!!!!!

It can't be a fluke though because I am in the leanest part of my female cycle right now. Meaning, I'm not bloated, holding onto water, etc. My stomach is nice and flat, I don't feel blubbery, and strangely, I am still able to fit in my size 2 skinnies. Which can only mean that I'm gaining MUSCLE!!

I can't tell you how excited I am, but I'm sure you can probably guess. I don't remember the last time I weighed myself. It's been a looooong time. I got so frustrated seeing 112 all the time, no matter how much I eat, that I just gave up. So on a whim, I decided to just check it out. I'm up to 117lbs!! Up 5 pounds! Woot!

My new training schedule and workouts have definitely busted my plateau! Thanks Jimmy! Although I haven't been following the macro nutrient rotation very closely (this is always my biggest problem) it seems as though I'm doing just fine.

Today, my mom AND my niece are going to the gym with me today. It's always so much more fun to workout with someone. Not that we workout together, per se, just that we are all there at the same time. It's like silent support, if that makes any sense. Oh, and I have to tell you, Chelsea lost 2 pounds last week!!! I'm SO stinkin' proud of her! And she was excited about going to the gym again, which made me totally happy. I hope she joins.

Things are DEFINITELY going good here!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This is not a picture of me. But I feel it closely resembles me because the girl in this picture is "skinny fat". She is obviously small, and I bet she looks great in skinny jeans (other than having no butt), but at the beach, she's a hot mess! This is probably the result of cardio and dieting.

I, too, feel like a hot mess at times. I don't like my legs. I have big hips and skinny legs. I've got what are affectionately referred to as "good birthin' hips".

And, of course, like 99% of women on the planet, I have cellulite. So I was looking for inspiration. I found a little here:!/2011/05/these-legs-were-made-for-running.html It was about how even the most in shape people have cellulite.

And from there, I went here:
I shared this link yesterday, about the woman with 3 kids who has run 20 marathons. She says even after all that running, she still has cellulite. But she doesn't care. Her attitude is very inspiring.

Hats off to the dedicated ones who are running with cellulite concealed beneath their under armour running tights, and not caring one single bit.

My problem is that I DO care. If that makes me superficial or vain or whatever the word - so be it. It bugs me more than ANYTHING in the world - having cellulite. I hate it and I want to get rid of it. It's always been my goal to shape my legs so as to make cellulite less noticeable. After running and dieting all those years ago, and just ending up looking worse, I started training with weights in hopes of building muscle that would push up against my skin and iron out the lumps. But, as you all are well aware, I don't gain anything very easily.

My mom is forever trying to convince me to give up. "Genetics just aren't on your side with this one." I'm destined to be lumpy, no matter what I do. Her doctor even gave HER this same advice. Well, I call BS on that one. I don't care what some doctor told her 30 years ago. I don't believe it. I think there is something that can be done. A lot of hard work in the weight room and enormous control in the kitchen. I believe if I can get myself to consistently stay on track with those two things, I will win.

What do you think? Can it be done? Especially when one has such a hard time gaining muscle?

And on a totally unrelated note...

I really like these sarcastic cards on Here's one of my favorites, since it applies to me so

and here is one of my own creations. Haha....
I'm sure this is how a lot of people feel. -

Monday, October 8, 2012

I want something better...

Why don't I do this?

Because it will NOT get me this ...

Dana Linn Bailey...
This chick is bad ass!
I love her.
She is MY inspiration.
Check out this video
And, in my effort to be fair, here's some inspiration for you runners

You can find her blog here:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is this goodbye?

I don't like where this blog is going.

Somewhere along the way, I've started paying more attention to my fitness blog than my family blog (which is the first blog I started many years ago - back in 2008, I think). And, even though I feel like I have a lot to say, I don't think that much of it is anything you want to hear. Mostly, I rant about what happens to be on my mind at the moment and it usually isn't very insightful or helpful. At the time I'm writing it, my hope is that somewhere out there is a faceless, anonymous person I am helping somehow. But the truth is, I don't have much of a following.

At first, I was ok with this. Because for the most part, I was just journaling my progress and adventure into fitness. With the hopes of inspiring people along the way. But I don't think I've made enough progress to be inspiring. And so it just seems that I spew a lot of the same information over and over again.

Now that I'm busier and actually have a career that I am trying to grow, I have less time to blog about my thoughts on fitness endeavors. It seems almost frivolous. It's not that I've lost interest in fitness or improving my body or helping others - it's not that at all. I just feel that I need to start investing that time to other things that will ultimately be of more value to my whole family vs. just myself.

Plus, as I said, I don't like the direction I'm taking with this blog. I've looked back on some of my more recent posts and I feel they cast a negative shadow, and I don't want that. I don't want readers to think I'm a negative person in general. Because I'm not. I definitely have my days where I might be feeling a bit sorry for myself or when I'm on a rant. But that isn't who I am. And I find myself going down that road too often anymore.

So, that being said, I think I'm done. I know I said before that the posts would probably slow down, and they really haven't. But I haven't come up with any good topics or content in a while. And that is probably an indication that I need to focus on other things.

I will miss it. And I will miss the few comments I get. And I'm sure I'll be back to rant. Whether anyone reads or not. It's a good outlet for my frustrations and thoughts. Sometimes, my mind is just so FULL that I need to get some OUT, so I feel like I can relax. Do you ever get that way? I mean, I have so many thoughts that at times it's hard to fall asleep at night! I lay there and think....for hours! I don't know why I do that! But journaling helps get things off my mind. I really need to just start making daily "to do" lists. Because most of my thoughts are of the many things I want/need to get done. There is always so much....

I will still be thinking of you. Especially my main commentor (I'm always wondering how you are doing, Amanda). You were always my biggest source of motivation and a huge support when it seemed like no one else cared. It has meant so much to me that someone half way around the world who doesn't even know me can be so there for me when I need it the most. I hope we can keep in touch! Stop back every now and then.

And to everyone else, thank you for reading, and putting up with my mindless banter.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I think I found my next window sticker....

Why is it that you never see any window decals with weight on it? Like, 330lbs. 180lbs. 50lbs. Probably because A) no one cares B) no one cares and C)...what was C again? Oh yeah, NO ONE CARES!

I had gotten a free window decal from once. I think it must have been inside a package of supplements I bought at one time. It's been sitting in a basket in my kitchen for months. Every once in a while I take it out and think "should I put it on?". Then I shake my head and throw it back in the basket. I don't know what it is, I just can't bring myself to put it on the car.

It's not that I'm ashamed to like body building. Quite the opposite, really. I don't know, maybe I just don't want to advertise it too much. I don't generally like to draw attention to myself in ANY way. I don't like to seem overly proud of myself for anything either. My mom is ALWAYS bragging up EVERYTHING I do. It's really embarrassing. And when she constantly tells me how good I am at something or how beautiful, wonderful, talented, yadda yadda yadda I am, I say "No I'm not". I always tell her she biased. What mother doesn't think their kids are the best everything? I know what I'm good at, partially good at and not at all good at.

She'll tell me I don't give myself enough credit. I'll say "No. I'm just a realist". I know that even though I love body building, I certainly don't look like I do. And maybe that's why I don't want to display the decal. Because I'd be the toothpick getting out of the van with the decal.

And, my husband would never drive the van again.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

This is my schlep

I came across this blog yesterday (not even sure how) called the Arty RunnerChick at I typically don't read runner's blogs. But I couldn't quit reading it. I was fascinated by this girl's love for running. I don't want to say she sounds obsessed because I myself have been painted with that brush - just not for running. But she indeed loves it......really REALLY loves it.

All the talk of fartleks and garmins and what-have-you. It's a different world than mine. Runners have their own set of rules and crazy training regimens. And I believe her when she says that she thinks runners are born with a runner gene. Just the way I believe people are born to be.....whatever they are good at. But I don't necessarily think you have to be GOOD at something to be born for it. You just have to have a special love for the thing. I don't think I was born to lift weights. I really just prefer to lift over any other fitness option out there. And it seems to work well enough for me. If I was born for anything, I still haven't found what it is yet.

I'm guessing that with my body type, I would probably be more suited to be a runner, but I just don't enjoy it. I want a more athletic body - one that gains muscle easily. I look more like the twiggy runners I am so desperate NOT to look like. But, it is what it is, I guess.

My husband ACTUALLY told me that I've lost so much weight I look like I'm 2 seconds from death! There's an ego boost for me! Yes, those exact words. I had no idea he was so concerned about my weight! I've just got a really fast metabolism. I mean, I probably eat more than he does 9 times out of 10. I've cut WAY back on my workouts (only 3 days a week at 30-40 minutes a crack). There's really not much else I can do, aside from laying on the couch and eating french fries and cake all day. And I just refuse to go there. No need to clog my arteries to gain 10 pounds.

Maybe I have hyperthyroidism. At my last doctor appointment, he told me that my weight was a "bit" of a concern and asked me if I was trying to lose weight. Funny that he didn't suggest hyperthyroidism. Or, is that kind of thing visible from a blood test? Because I did have blood drawn and there was no note of anything amiss.

My point to telling you that whole schlep is that, I don't think any one person can say for sure what will give someone else body they want. A lot of people (myself included) will hand out basic information like any of the following:

"running will make you skinny!" - I hardly EVER run. And I'm skinny. There are people who run....and run.....and run....and run, and always look the same. And there are people who run just as much and look emaciated and unhealthy. It all just depends on the person. Sometimes I wonder if I should just start running 10 miles a day for like 3 months and than all of a sudden quit. I'd probably gain weight lightening fast.

"running will make you fat!" - this is about the most absurd thing ever. Of course running isn't going to make you fat. In fact, if you are fat, running is probably what you need! It's the overkill you have to be concerned with. If you plan on running marathons into your twilight years - than have no fear. Run like Gump! For the rest of us, once we get sick of all the running and stop....hello fat! Nice to see you again! Yes, this happened to me after my one (and only) half marathon. I gained 10 POUNDS! Now you understand my comment from the previous paragraph.

"lifting weights will make you gain weight!" - I lift weights. I STILL can't gain weight. Sure, you're definitely going to gain more muscle lifting than doing cardio, but the rate at which you gain is totally dependant on YOU. Some people add mass fairly quickly. While others have a harder time.

"lifting weights will give you a toned defined body" - to some extent, this is absolute truth. But I have religiously lifted for years and I STILL don't have the body that I feel is worthy of all that time and effort. It goes back to my theory that since every body is different, every form of exercise will produce different variations in results. That is why some people can eat pizza and ice cream and still look ripped while others need to eat clean for months to get that way.

The only thing that I personally could say absolutely works is "lifting weights will make you smaller". And if I said that, I would probably have a bunch of people telling me I'm off my rocker! People lift weights to GAIN, right? I wouldn't tell all the huge bodybuilders that if they lift weights, they will get smaller! Obviously, that isn't the case for them! But I lift weights, and I'm small. Those are the results I've gotten. And basically, those are pretty desirable results, from a female's perspective. Muscle is smaller, more compact, than fat. So when you lift weights, you DO actually get smaller. Women simply don't have the testosterone needed for bulk. Although, (depending on your body type) you might get bigger at first. Because you are adding muscle underneath the fat. But soon you have a blazing fast metabolism that will melt off the fat - producing the new smaller, more muscular you.

But you see, that's why fitness is not a one size fits all deal. I can't truthfully be writing a blog that tells you how to get the body you want because what works for me, might not work for you.

Yeah, you feel sorry for me right? A tough problem to have, being too skinny. Well, it's actually a real drag when it's not what you want. But I have an unyielding determination to go after what I want. And life has proven over and over to me that when I want something bad enough....I get it. I have what a lot of dream seekers lack......PERSEVERANCE. I work hard for what matters to me. No one will ever be able to convince me that they work harder. Success? It's in my genes ;)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Howdy y'all!

I'm baaaaaaack!

Ok, so I wasn't gone all that long. But still, it seems like forever to me.

Everyone in my household has been sick the last week or two and a few days ago, I started getting stuffy and thought "oh crap!". Luckily, I think the worst is over. I never got the cough everyone else had. Just bad sinus pressure and stuffy/runny nose. But today I am already feeling better. That was the shortest cold ever! I'm still feeling stuffy, but it's not nearly as bad.

So today, I got to play "trainer" again. My niece has asked me to help her out and of course I was more than willing! I love this stuff! It's only the second day (just started on Sunday) I am making her work hard! And she is taking everything I dish out. What bad ass! She says she hasn't done any real exercising in about 5 years, but she really knows how to push it. Through exhaustion and the burn....she pushes. It's very inspiring! I'm the one that is supposed to be motivating her and pushing her but her dedication and strong will is motivating me! If she can do it, I better be able to!

She works a full time job, is a college student and has very little free time. But she's smart. And devoted. This is how I know she will be successful in everything she does. The number one best way to assure success with workouts when you are as busy as she is, is to SCHEDULE IT. And that is what we have done. Before we even started, we found time in her busy schedule for her to squeeze in 4 workouts a week. Sometimes it's in the morning, sometimes it's in the afternoon. But it doesn't matter when you do it, as long as you do it, right?!

I am so excited to see how her strength and fitness improves in the next 3 months. And her body as well. We have set a 3 month goal because it's possible to make a total change in that amount of time. With hard work, some sacrifice and a LOT of dedication - it will happen.

And I am just totally flattered every time I get asked for advice or help with anything diet or fitness related. It makes me think, yeah, I am fit and it shows! People notice that what you are doing for yourself is working and they want to do it too! In fact, just the other day at the gym, a woman approached me and asked me to show her the exercise I was doing. After I showed her, it was very difficult for her. She was really surprised at how hard it was. I guess I made it look easy ;)

The same is true for Chelsea. Even a weight that would be really light for myself, she might struggle with. I am a lot stronger and more fit than I give myself credit for. Sometimes you have ah-ha moments like these and it's just what you need to fire up that motivation. Those days when I think that I'm a cupcake because I don't squat 180lbs or I can't curl 40lbs for 10reps, I need to remember that it's progressive and I'm doing the best I can for my ability. We are all on different levels so it's ridiculous to compare yourself to other's abilities. The #1 thing you should focus on is giving YOUR 100%.....not someone else's.

I super proud of Chelsea because she is giving 110% of HER best. And she is going to reap the benefits.