Happy Easter!

I am in Amelia Island, Florida celebrating with my brother, Dad, step-mom April, cousins and Grama.

DAD

We have haven’t had as much sunshine as I’d like, but I lament to say I wish I had a few more days here (with family) before heading back to Boston.

Despite the rain, this week has been full of highs and lows.

Highs: family time, Porsche event and hanging out with my BFF Jordin from college.

Porsche

This was taken at Tom Wood Porsche for the launch of the new Carrera 911.

Lows: finding out I sprained my SI joint, dealing with pain and having rain in Florida.

But I won’t let a little rain or pain kill my vibe!

I have TONS of awesome fitness info to share with you this week including but not limited to: how to work around back/hip pain, bodybuilder’s lighting secrets, great fitness reads and two epic fat loss transformations!

If you want to train with me in person this week, I’m subbing a Barry’s Bootcamp chest, back and abs class this Wednesday at 5:20 p.m. and a Cyc Fitness class at 6 a.m. Friday!

I’m still working on my novel and making strides. I am pumped for my first small group writer’s workshop I’m attending one week from this Tuesday (but who’s counting the days anyway?!). The book is coming along and I’m beginning to write query letters to literary agents even as I edit.

This week I will release the first of a four part series on fat loss tips for spring, very similar to my “100 Fat loss Tips for Summer” series last year.

Make sure you check it out. If you want to be notified when it is published, sign-up for the #Daretomove Motivator and you will be the first to know when it is out.

I am also continuing to work on my mindset ebook I have decided to call “Conquer from within: 25 mindset tips to love yourself.”

Here’s the cover shot, beautifully captured by Jess McDougall of Jess McDougall Creative.

Cover shot

This weekend I am thankful to be moving well after suffering through some terrible back pain last week that stemmed from: groin issues last weekend, lack of foam rolling and lack of stretching.

Oh, and my hips are off by about an inch.

Make sure you take time to stretch before and after your workouts. I attached a video of some of my favorite dynamic stretches to try in the “Exercise Spotlight” section below.

One more thing! This week I have added two sections to the Update– “Product Spotlight” and “Fashion Spotlight.” I have added these two because they are things I am passionate about and things I feel like talking about!

Important note for those fitness gurus out there, the “product spotlight” has nothing to do with any affiliate programs, it is simply something I am currently using that I want to chat about!

Cheers!

Training:

Last Sunday I felt some severe pain in my low back. I had spasms during a spin class and resolved to teach off of the bike. Unsure of exactly what caused it all, I think had something to do with tight hamstrings, hip flexors and an overstretched groin from the cossacks I did before sprinting last Friday.

Either way I went to the chiropractor and on Wednesday my  ultrasound results showed fluid in my hips and a sprained SI joint among a few other things.

Long story short, I had to slow down and listen to my body. Below are a few workouts you can try and things I did that did not hurt me.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest (taught Cyc off the bike)

Wednesday: bodyweight circuit and shoulders

Here was my workout:

  1. Set a goal # of push ups (mine was 100, via sets of 10)
  2. Set a goal # of chin-ups, about 1/2 of your push-ups (mine was 50)

Complete steps one and two in alternating sets.

Mini-pump circuit (3 rounds):

  1. Brian Weller’s explosive lunge to single-arm shoulder press (see exercise spotlight) 6/arm
  2. seated hammer curls 12 reps
  3. chest fly 12 reps
  4. seated overhead shoulder press 12 reps

Try to use the same set of dumbbell for the entire workout. I used 12.5 pound dumbbells.

Thursday: Glute pump/mini circuit

After *finally* getting my back adjusted on Wednesday I felt like a new person and could moderately load my body again to do some glute work.

Here was my quick circuit:

  • 30 goblet squats with a heavy dumbbell
  • 30 glute bridges, 30 sec hold, 30 1/2 bridges (start at the top, come down halfway, then go back up)
  • three point rows: 15 reps per side
  • palof press 12/side
  • hollow hold 30 sec, flip over, 30 sec long lever plank
  • (THREE ROUNDS)

Friday: rest

Saturday: total body circuit with moderate weight

  1. I did 3 sets of four, 1.5 chin-ups with bent legs

2. The following circuit three times:

  • 15 bulgarian split squats/leg with moderate dumbbells (I used 20b DBs)
  • 32 goblet squats with a 30 lb dumbbell
  • 10 standing overhead presses
  • 30 frog thrusts with 20 pound dumbbell on the hips
  • 10 release push-ups

3. The following circuit three times:

  • farmer carries up three flights of stairs (30 lb DBs)
  • inverted rows on the treadmill (10 reps)
  • push-up to crunch on the physio-ball (10 reps)
  • physio-ball crunches only (8 reps)
  • 1.5 bodyweight squats (8 reps)

All I can say is, VOLUME TAKES TIME.

Sunday: rest

Nutrition:

I was thankful to find out I miscalculated how many weeks out I was from my bikini contest and I actually had three weeks starting today!

Last week was a planned lower calorie week, at about 1200 every day except yesterday.

Honestly this was not that difficult because my activity level dropped significantly. I did not powerlift after Sunday, did not teach my Monday spinning class nor my Thursday and Friday Barry’s classes.’

The biggest challenge I faced with nutrition this week was adapting my intermittent fasting lifestyle to my family’s schedule.

It is true, as much as I hate to admit it and as much as I try and fight it, an intermittent fasting lifestyle is what works the best for me during my work week in Boston.

I wake up hungry at 3:30 a.m. and I teach a class at 5 a.m.only to workout myself or teach another class afterward.

After my 6 am or 7 a.m. classes I begin what I jokingly call “feeding time” and pretty much eat the remainder of my calories for the day in one sitting. Or, I eat 500 calories then and 500 calories around noon.

The pros? You get to eat a LOT in that sitting, and don’t have to worry about making food or eating the rest of the day.

The drawbacks? If you have dinner or lunch plans, you have to plan for that, and when your body used to a large about of calories in the morning after a long period of fasting, you get hungry waiting.

I enjoy this eating habit because it works for me with my current schedule.

Down the road when I am not teaching at 5 am, and not bikini prepping, I will not follow this because it can be hard to eat a lot in one sitting at times and is not a good way to eat if you want to have a fun social life.

****Please do not take the above information as me telling you that people should intermittent fast for weight loss because it is not true.

All that matters for fat loss is calorie intake and protein intake. There is no special time of day, amount of meals, nor type of food that will make you lose fat. I intermittent fast because of the schedule I have with my body who is used to eating at 3:30 a.m. and must be fed a lot to train myself and others for three hours only to be hungry again by 7 a.m.

I ate cookies yesterday (if you follow me on snapchat you saw them). It’s about how much you eat and making sure that you prioritize protein that matters for fat loss.

Check out this article on Intermittent fasting. It is a great piece discussing Alan Aragon’s research on IF.

As far as my “3 weeks-out progress” check-in… see below (no filters).

IMG_7800 (1)

I also I decided to share a real-life video from Friday this week. This is after two days of NOT intermittent fasting (spacing small meals out and eating with my family), having a wicked awesome spray tan, eating carbs and not lifting for 24 hours.

This is a prime example of how instagram can deceive you… in the video below I am 121 pounds! A heavy weight compared to 114 pounds last time I competed. I feel bloated and gross, but this lighting was TOO good. Be careful because videos like this will make you think you should always look shredded etc, when it may just really be good lighting!

This week I ate my favorite all time egg beaters and oats, some tilapia, some protein shakes, cabbage, apples and broccoli during the week. Then with the family I had some of my mom’s pizza, some cookies with my grandma, some bread at dinner and cake for my cousin Tommy’s birthday.

Flexible dieting is crucial for staying sane!!!

Also, I have never been so glad to be WRONG about the timing of an event! The extra week I didn’t know I had (until my competition) allowed me to indulge a little more over Easter weekend than I initially thought.

I have an article coming out soon (hopefully) about “The biggest thing I love-hate about bodybuilding.” hint? It has to do with nutrition.

Exercise Spotlight:

Due to my lack of mobility this week from back pain caused by a sprained SI joint I want to share an old video with you featuring some of my favorite mobility drills.

One of my favorite people to follow for mobility flow ideas is Ryan Steenrod, on Facebook for his “2-minute drills!” Check him out to find some really helpful videos for moving better and avoid annoying joint pain at work!

Next exercise: the slow eccentric push-up to opposite arm and leg reach.

The exercise below features a slow eccentric (slow lower down) with a slight pause, into an explosive upward movement. At the top of the plank you lift your opposite arm and leg keep full tension in the body and squeezing the glute extra hard!

We did these in my Barry’s Bootcamp class on Chest, Back and Abs day.

Tip: When I lower slowly to the ground I create as much tension in my body as possible. I even think about pulling my inner thighs together and PULLING myself down to the floor to engage as many muscles as possible in the plank and to involve the core as much as possible.

Try these in your warm-up for the Wednesday workout listed above!

Next exercise: the “Brian Weller- explosive lunge to press”

I did this exercise in Barry’s Bootcamp class with Brian Weller a little over a week ago.

This exercise is great because it helps you practice “fast hips” which involves great control of the posterior chain (all of your back muscles). It also involves some major glute squeezing and power.

This exercise is good for more than simply practicing good hip extension, it involves the core, as the core muscles must be engaged to keep you stable enough to press one weight overhead with one arm while also staying  balance.

The exercise takes it another step further and adds a little shoulder pump  too, as you do single arm shoulder presses with each thrust forward.

Try 3 to 6 reps per side and make sure you press with the arm opposite of the leg lunging forward. And, as always, exhale as you press!

What I’m Reading:

  1. Do This Hip Mobility Combo! via Todd Bumgardner
  2. 5 Fat Loss Mistakes People Miss via Nick Smoot
  3. Gains on a Budget: What to Eat via LFTed Life, by Nathan Barna
  4. Building the Squat from the Bottom via Tony Gentilcore
  5. 7 Nutrition Facts the Internet is Lying to you about via Lahey.org
  6. How the Best Train their Glutes via Bret Contreras
  7. “I need to Eat More to Lose Fat” via Mike Vacanti
  8. Total Core Training for Lifters via T-Nation by Eric Bach
  9. Love, Lunges and Life-Lessons: and Ode to Training via Kevin Mullins

Fashion Spotlight:

One of my favorite things to shop for (besides sweaters & boots in the fall and bikinis) is spring clothes– and in particular, rompers.

I am not positive but I think I own at least 18 rompers. I brought four with me this weekend to Indy/ Florida!

I wore the one below Saturday and my cousin is wearing my black one (we share clothes now!!!)

brookieandme

This one below is an absolute favorite. I wore it to dinner Friday night, and interestingly enough, even though it has a HUGE cut-out in the front, it did not appear risqué at a family restaurant.

However, a drunken 70 year-old told me I had “beautiful golf shorts” on as we left the restaurant LOL.

I found it a Nordstrom and felt the need to share the ROMPER LOVE, because it’s so fun!

romper

Not many people know this but as much as I love to shop, the only time I actually dress myself is when I’m in workout clothes.

When I’m in cute, regular clothes chances are my outfit, or parts of it were not chosen by me. More often then not I am wearing accessories bought by my mom, shoes or dresses from my step-mom or something my friend Karly sent me from Trunk Club. I’m lucky to women with great style!

But it was me who found this cute spring romper! So I thought I would share the great find, by Zoa.

The shoes I wore with this romper were actually the fourth pair I own from Louise et Cie. I adore this brand and first found out about it from Trunk Club Chicago. My step-mom sent me these and I LOVE them.

LetC

Product Spotlight: Derma E Hydrating Mist

hydraurlanic acid

Featuring hyaluronic acid (a humectant, aka a moisture binding ingredient) this mist is perfect for people who travel often.

I found it at Whole Foods a few weeks ago. I was browsing for some new organic skin care products for my sensitive and puffy eyes (I had an allergic reaction to eyelashes again) and a lovely flight attendant from London recommended I try this mist.

She swore by it!

I put it on after I wash my face in the morning and multiple times throughout the day.

It leaves my feeling dewy and refreshed all day long. If you have dry skin and/or you travel often I would look for this product at Whole Foods or online!

Client spotlight(s):

Krystina’s 12 week transformation!

Krystina M 1-12You may remember reading about Krystina two weeks ago when I featured her rocking an adorable bikini on her honeymoon with some badass confidence. I wanted to show you her 12 week transformation.

It is important to note that Krystina is quite possibly more active than I am and had struggled for years with how to properly refuel with al of the activity in her life. She is a runner who is falling in love with lifting and during her program we had to figure out how to get her to lose fat but still eat enough to support her activity level.

Cutting out running completely wasn’t an option because it’s the one main thing she and her husband love doing together. Cutting out Barry’s wasn’t an option because let’s be honest, it’s too fun!! She is not chest pressing 30 pound dumbbells in class when she rocks double floor at Barry’s.

There were several really cool moments throughout her journey but here were some of my favorites:

  • she texted me to tell me she felt empowered to know that she really didn’t need to eat as much as she used to and on less calories AND she PRed in a half marathon!!!
  • She achieved 13.7% body fat by the end of the Dare to Eat program
  • She was inspired to start working on her own blog.
  • She never restricted– in fact she had a Union Square Donuts last Thursday!

We took the same approach I used to my own leaning out process (described here).

More often than not late night texts were exchanged with me saying, “Yess please add more calories today” or her emailing me saying “I added in three hundred more calories today after my run.”

Krystina is in such good tune with her body we always listened to it and gave it what it needed!!

Congrats, Krystina!

Kerry’s 12 week transformation:

Lacy 1-12

Kerry is a working mom with a husband overseas. She loves to lift heavy! Throughout her Dare to Eat program she continued doing Bret Contreras’s Get Glutes program.

Her motivation to lean out was her husband, who will soon return from deployment. She never missed a check-in and approached her program with great curiosity.

One main reason she did so well is because she is as consistent as the sun! She ate almost the same thing every day because it fit her routine and she trained heavy three times a week.

Kerry found a new love in Quest protein powder and Questbars and said that the accountability factor of one-on-one coaching in the Dare to Eat Program is what helped her the most.

She lost six founds and several inches.

Congrats, Kerry!!

How to train a Bullrider:

WBR

Meet my client, W. He isn’t a professional bull rider; he’s a regular guy that picked up the hobby. W is one of those guys who wants to be really good at everything he tries.

We met in Aspen over Christmas break and after the holidays he told me he thought I could help him get stronger for bull riding. I said “absolutely.”

Integral parts to a bull rider’s program?
-front squats
-farmer carries
– deadlifts
-towel grip chin ups
-frog pumps and lots of adductor work.

He is hoping to stay on for the whole 8 seconds before he heads into sailing season!

Lookin’ good W!

Ashley’s Deadlifts:

Ashley is only a few weeks away from her big wedding day.

She completed the Dare to Eat Program last summer and lost 13 pounds. Then she did the Group Programa nd continue to lose inches and five more pounds!

When she first started lifting she had one 15 pound kettlebell and a 30 pound kettlebell. She started deadlifting and squatting with those weights.

Now here she is deadlifting 175.

We are working on her form more and more but the cool part is that she dared to go after this! She dared to try! And being brave enough to try this is helping her get the toned arms and firm glutes she always wanted to have for her wedding dress.

I get goosebumps just thinking about how far she has come!

Way to go Ash!!!

 

#DARETOMOVE

 

 

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