IIFYM: Part 2 Are you doing it right?

images4MRCJONZWe have all heard the phrase “IIFYM brah!” and have seen the endless number of Poptart pictures on Instagram. IIFYM has been huge in the diet and workout industry as of lately. Even my first post on IIFYM has seen the most hits out of all the ones here on my blog. I personally shift back and forth from eating things I WANT to eat and eating things I SHOULD eat when it comes to macro tracking. First let’s start with the three macros one tracks when dieting or bulking: Fat, Protein and Carbs. There are a ton of sites and ways to calculate your macros and calories. From IIFYM.com to the plethora of google results you can get just by typing it in, it might be hard to choose the right formula.

Fret no more! Direct your attention to this article written by a good friend of mine: Scott Herman Fitness Now this isn’t a shameless plug or a bit of spam. I’ve known him since we were in high school and his fitness success has exploded on the internet. You can find him on Youtube as well and follow all his free workout videos.

By calculating the correct number of calories and macro percentages based on your goals, you will find that losing weight or gaining weight can be very easy.

One of the biggest takeaways from IIFYM however is what you put into your body. Many of these IGers will swear by IIFYM and because they are lean and “make gainz” IIFYM and eating poptarts and pizza must be right. Here is where I disagree. There are so many chemical in today’s foods that by eating whatever you want as long as it fits your macros, can set your body up for self destruction later on. Why do I say this? Another good friend of mine recently beat cancer by changing his diet and incorporating raw greens juicing and healthy organic foods into his diet. He is a professional bodybuilder and admits to eating fast food at least once a week as his cheat meal before his cancer diagnosis. After cancer, he realized that more should go into what you put into your body. Forget about all the conspiracy theories and people who go for media drama and hype, there are a number of chemicals that are banned in other countries but not here in the US (for those readers who are outside of the US, check online to see if any other chemicals your nation might use are considered harmful).

By raw juicing and eating organic, grass fed beef and chicken, you can rid your body of the harmful chemicals that are snuck into your foods. While it’s great to look lean and cut, what good is that going to do you if you decrease your future quality of life? Be smart about this folks!!

Now I don’t claim to have vast amounts of knowledge in dieting and nutrition. However I’m sure this photo will prove that I have made great progress in trying to understand health and fitness:

 

transformation

While it might be fun to eat poptarts and pizza, please consider the damage you may be causing to your body. Instead, focus on clean foods that will round out your macros while allowing yourself to cheat once and a while so you don’t binge on snack foods. If you have any questions on counting calories or macros, comment below and we will get back to you right away!

As always, following along on Instagram and come on over to our Facebook page Fitness by Claire

 

Cool Avocado Cream Sauce

untitled4

The other day I was looking for ways to incorporate avocado into my recipes. I don’t normally like avocado, I think it’s more of a texture than a taste issue for me. My husband however, loves it. So I decided to browse Pinterest for ways to include avocado and came across some Avocado Cream Sauce. It was perfect. The consistency came out a little thicker than I thought it would but I think it’s because I used some genetically enhanced avocado because it was HUGE!

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 cup of no fat greek yogurt
  • juice of one lime
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. of cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. chop up avocado and put into food processor or blender.
  2. add yogurt and lime juice and blend until smooth.
  3. add cilantro and salt to taste

Here is a photo of mine, but please excuse the pathetic look to it, the bowl was full and in two days it looked like this:

photo 2 (2)

We used the last bit of this to make a chicken salad last night that has cranberries, pecans and cashews. Stay tuned and happy Monday!

Muscle Group of the Week: Leg Workouts

First I want to apologize for going so long between posts. I know not too many people read this but it seems my frozen turkey debacle was a big hit on thanksgiving. My find of putting the turkey in a cooler while it thaws was a gem and it worked perfectly. I wish I had saved my pictures of our Thanksgiving meal but I did hang on to the homemade apple pie we had!
photo
Needless to say the pie did not last long. Eventually I hope to add it to the recipes section on here. I feel those are lacking in quantity and quality.

Now, on to leg workouts. Today I will post a handful of pictures that explain pretty well how to perform these exercises. As always, you should aim to do 3-4 sets with 8-12 reps. Going heavy on leg day is a good idea because they are such a large muscle group. They can be hard to build muscle in so by going heavy you are really creating work for your body.

Sumo Deadlifts
b0c6165834567cb5393f80a7a18d7dd0
Sumo Deadlifts are great because they work the quads, hamstring, glutes and your back. Deadlifts in general are a compound exercise that should be in everyone’s arsenal.

Deadlifts
1978ba3fb3ee211fc8743a876bb0760f
As you can see in the picture, deadlifts work more than just the legs. If you have never done deadlifts before, be sure to start light and watch some videos on proper form. This is one exercise where if performed incorrectly, you can really do some damage.

3384c1b6f3c0feae1a33dcbdf8081206

This image shows many other exercises that all should be incorporated into your workout. The front and back squat should be required. They really target the quads and will give nice development to them. Leg press is another great way to fatigue the quads. Again, if you’ve never done these, go light for the first few times. If you can complete 12 reps for 3-4 sets then it’s time to up the weight. Leg extensions and leg curls are a good superset to really fatigue the muscles as well. Try to do 15 reps if you do these towards the end of your workout. You can also pyramid any of these sets. Start light and go 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15. It’s guaranteed you’ll have trouble walking the next day!

One group people neglect is the calf muscle. If your gym has sitting or standing calf machine please add these in to your workout.
photo
Another thing people don’t do is vary the angle of the calf muscle. Just keeping your feet pointed forward only targets the main muscle, the gastrocnemius. Pointing your toes inward and outward will develop the Soleus and Plantaris.
calf

Please whatever you do, just don’t let this happen to you. Friends don’t let friends not lift legs:
tumblr_m6ou97nZtU1qzmh66o1_500

Upper Body Exercises For You!

Pull-ups

The Proper Pull-up (Regular Grip)
Grab the pull-up bar with your hands placed about shoulder width apart and your palms facing away from you. Pull yourself upward until your chin is over the bar and complete the exercise by slowly moving to the hanging position.

Pull-ups (Negatives)

If you cannot do any pull-ups, you should try “negatives”. Negatives are half pull-ups. All you have to do is get your chin over the bar by standing on something or having spotter push you over the bar. Then, you slowly lower yourself all the way down – let your arms hang grasping the bar fully stretched. Keep your feet up and fight gravity for a count of 5 seconds. This will get your arms used to supporting your weight.

Assisted Pull-ups

This is the first step to being able to perform pullups. Using the bar that is 3-4 feet off the ground, sit under it and grab with the regular grip. Straighten your back, hips, and slightly bend your knees while your feet remain on the floor and pull yourself to the bar so that your chest touches the bar. Repeat as required. This is a great way to start out if you cannot do any pull-ups at all. You can also do this on a pair of parallel bars that are used for dips. These are also great to do after you can no longer perform anymore dead-hang pullups. This is a good replacement for the Lat Pulldown machine as well

One Arm Dumb Bell Row

one arm dumb bell row

Follow these steps to perform this exercise:

Stand to the right of your weight bench, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your palm facing in. Place your left knee and your left hand on top of the bench for support. Let your right arm hang down and a bit forward. Pull your abdominals in and bend forward from the hips so that your back is naturally arched and roughly parallel to the floor, and your right knee is slightly bent.
Tilt your chin toward your chest so that your neck is in line with the rest of your spine. Pull your right arm up until your elbow is pointing to the ceiling, your upper arm is parallel to the floor, and your hand comes to the outside of the ribcage. Lower the weight slowly back down.

Keep these tips in mind as you perform this exercise:
Concentrate on pulling from your back muscles (right behind and below your shoulder). Don’t just move your arm up and down. Although your arm is moving, this is a back exercise.
Think of your arm as a hook that connects to the weight and is pulled by the back. Keep your abs pulled in tight throughout the motion. Don’t let your back sag toward the floor or hunch up. Pull your shoulders back and down to set the shoulder blades.

Diamond Push Ups

Diamond Push Ups

Find a place with an open space. Get a mat to start this off or just do it normally anywhere. It’s best to start somewhere with a soft floor in case you can’t handle the pressure. Move both of your hands under your chest (breast area) and make a pyramid-like with your hands. Your pointing fingers should touch and your thumb should touch on the bottom which forms a pyramid, also known as a diamond to most. Slowly adjust and push your body down while you are at the diamond position. Make sure it is straight to avoid injury and back strains

Dips

Dips

What are Dips?

Raise yourself on 2 supports with elbows locked. Lower your body until your shoulders are lower than your elbows. Push yourself up by straightening your arms.

Variations for Dips:
Parallel Bar Dips. Parallel bars that are 55cm/22″ apart. My Squat Rack has 2 removable parallel bars I use for Dips.

Bench Dips. Feet elevated, hands on a bench. Avoid. The torso position is unhealthy for your shoulders, especially when you do them weighted.

Benefits of Dips.

Push-ups have your feet planted. Dips move your whole body through space. Dips are harder and thus superior to Push-ups because you have to balance your body. Other benefits of Dips: Build Strength. Dips build lockout strength: straightening your elbows. This helps the Bench Press & the Overhead Press. Build Muscle. Dips will develop your triceps & chest muscles.

Rehab.

Try Dips if you can’t do the Bench Press because of a shoulder injury. Dips work similar muscles, do them if your shoulders can take it.

But always apply the following rules on Dips:

Squeeze The Bar. Put your thumbs around the bar & squeeze it hard. The more force you apply to the bar, the stronger you are. Look Forward. Don’t look straight forward, don’t look the floor. Look to a point slightly in front of you.

Breathing.

Take a big breathe while hanging with locked elbows & hold it. Lower yourself & come back up. Breathe at the top, not during reps.

Chest Up.

Don’t let your shoulders roll forward. Keep your chest up & shoulders back. It’s easier on your shoulders. Bend Your Legs. And cross your feet. Letting your legs hang means less strength in my experience. Squeeze your glutes on the way up.

Break Parallel.

Your shoulders must go lower than your elbows. Deeper stretches your chest more, but your shoulders might not agree with it. Lock Elbows. Drive out of the bottom until your elbows are locked. Squeeze your triceps. No partial Dips

Want more fitness tips? Follow me on Instagram and on Twitter

Fitness Facts: Sleep

Fitness Facts: SLEEP:
🔹Sleep is a crucial factor for any fitness goal, whether it’s weight loss, general health, or muscle gain.
🔹7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended, while any more or less can be unhealthy.
🔹On average, people that get enough sleep are less over weight, have less lifestyle disorders & diseases, and live longer than people that are sleep deprived.
🔹The human body releases a large blend of chemicals & hormones during sleep, almost all with the purpose of rebuilding and recovering the body.
🔹During sleep, the pituitary gland secretes more growth hormones than during waking hours. Growth hormones aid in fat loss, muscle building, & cell regeneration.
🔹Sleep suppresses appetite and raises metabolism, while allowing the body to rest and recover.
🔹Lack of sleep can raise levels of cortisol in the blood, which can lower metabolism, slow down healing, increase stress, and decrease the body’s ability to build muscle mass.
🔹Poor sleep is more dangerous to women than to men. Women have higher risks of cardiovascular problems when they don’t get enough rest.
🔹A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day increases the body’s ability to fall asleep quicker & deeper! Try to exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime for the best results.

Fitness Facts: Running

Fitness Facts: RUNNING:
🔹Running is a great form of cardio & can provide many benefits when combined with a regular strength training routine.
🔹Frequent running can boost the immune system, decrease stress, lower anxiety & depression, lower blood pressure, increase metabolism, & bring more circulation to the brain.
🔹Running a mile can burn between 100-400 calories, depending on the length of time, the weight, & activity level of the runner.
🔹Outdoor running generally burns more calories than on the treadmill, due to the forward propulsion that is needed on ground. Air & wind resistance also plays a part outdoors.
🔹There are 2 primary benefits of treadmill running: once the pace is set, the runner has to keep up with the machine, while outdoors the pace can pick up or slow down periodically. The other largest benefit is the decreased pressure on the joints.
🔹Moderate impact on joints can be a good thing! Running in moderation decreases the risk of bone related diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis.
🔹Because the body hits the ground with 2-3x it’s body weight during running, the most predominate site of injury for runners is the knees. To prevent injury make sure to wear appropriate shoes, stretch before & after the run, stay hydrated & nourished, and focus on proper form.
🔹Basic form tips: Torso should be straight up, not leaning forward. Relax the shoulders away from the ears. Lead with the hips (Don’t let the hips lean back- especially on an incline). Keep the knees low (Don’t let them come up too high toward the torso- this will minimize the impact on the knees when the feet land). Arms should move forward & back- don’t let them cross the midline of the body.