Cardio? You mean lift weights faster!

Inspired by my sisters goal to run her first half marathon I want to talk about cross training  today. When I suggested this idea to my sister her first reaction was “crossfit? Ewwww, no”! First and foremost, cross training is definitely not crossfit. It could incorporate crossfit, depending on what you’re training for, but they are not one and the same. First of all, what is crossfit? Seems like every other person these days is wearing knee high compression shocks and throwing around bumper plates like no tomorrow. Well, according to the internets (always credible) it is a program developed to offer a full-body workout that combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected. Cross training however refers to an athlete training in sports other than the one that the athlete competes in, with a goal of improving overall performance. Cross training for a long distance runner would be quite different than cross training for a hockey forward. For instance, people have asked me what my 1 rep max is, can I do a muscle up, how long can I hold a flag pole? Honestly, I don’t know. None of those things, while Impressive, are of any benefit to my sport. I train for size and shape, any strength work I do is only so that I can further up my reps, so I rarely do anything less than 6 reps, and that’s with a pyramid set. Since this post is essentially dedicated for my sister I’m going to give some tips on how you can both build your lower body, while still improve speed and endurance for all my runner out there.

Improved muscle strength allows runners to develop more power, as well as providing more stability to joints, which helps to reduce injury risk. Weight training has also shown to improve running economy. Research has shown female runners training more than 20 miles a week included weight training three times a week for 10 weeks. These runners then performed treadmill tests at 6:30, 7:00, and 7:30 minutes per mile. They used 3.8 percent less oxygen at the fastest pace, increasing to 4.0 percent and 4.5 percent at the slower paces. A control group of runners who did not weight train showed no improvement in oxygen use. Improved running economy means you can run faster with the same oxygen uptake. I’m light of this evidence I would suggest changing up programming to incorporeal both high volume (20 + reps) for muscle endurance, focusing on those slow twitch fibers (which women tend to have more of than men), and explosive movements to improve overall speed and fast twitch fiber recruitment. Start with some low weight high volume squats, back or front barbell loaded. Our quads are a huge muscle group and provide a powerful extension of the leg, but our glutes give us that great pushing power (why hockey players have infamously large butts). Aim for 5 x 20. I’m between sets superset with  24 jump squats for explode power. Next move onto single leg elevated glute bridges, be sure to lift the hips nice and high to really emphasize the tension in the hamstrings ( 4×15). You can superset your bridges with Glute/ham raises (4×24). Lastly pyramid narrow foot leg press drop setting down for 8, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30). Slow and purposely for the first 3-4 sets, then rep out the higher volume with an explosive tempo. Finish off your training with some conditioning, such as prowler sled sprints or intervals on Max incline on the treadmill. This should be some serious weight training cardio ladies! This type of training is more similar to a cutting phase for a bodybuilder, and should be seriously taxing, without adding much additional mass. Don’t fear the weights, bulking is purposeful and intentional, it doesn’t happen by accident, and make sure not to neglect your upper body either, now go get some 😉
Your fitbetch,
JP xo

Back by popular demand, booty.

So I threw out a feeler on my Instagram account jessicapark18 , to see what’s the masses wanted to hear about, turns out its mass. More specially, how to get that phat ass. Being a little white big with a big ol booty I get this question a lot. Call it what you will; the thick thigh life, the squat movement, it’s all about that bass. At my last gym I was one of very few females trainer, so many male trainers would come to me with this exact question, since females seem to be in pursuit of those lovely lady lumps. My simple answer, volume and variety. But for you I’ll get a little more in depth. everyone seems to think the answer is squats, lots and lots of squats. And sure, that’s great for muscle endurance, but we want to get size ladies. Also, the glutes are made up of three different muscles. Gluteus min, med and max, and don’t neglect those hamstrings, since they also attach up into the inferior public ramus, giving that nice lift, giving you glutes that salute. People have asked me if I had to accredit my legs to one exercise, what would it be. It’s a tough question, but if I had to go for best bang for your butt it would be the dreaded Bulgarian split squat, follows my some serious volume high foot leg press. It’s always good to switch things up, heavy barbell and dumbbell training are going to give you some great mass, but volume and cables are go make give you great shape and burn. It’s important to hit all the angles, and to train both your slow and fast twitch fibers, so that means pairing your heavy compound movements with explosive conditioning as well. I also find its great to utilize pre fatigue. Sometimes when executing certain movements, like a squat you might not properly engage your vastis medialis (lower inner thigh) because other muscles compensate, or you fit failure in another aspect. By utilizing pre fatigue you can force your body to use those weaker points. Using all these principles I’ve designed a sample workout for you. Keep in mind this is a generalized lower body, booty building routine, it won’t fit for everyone, and most routines can’t be utilized for more than 4-6 weeks before your body plateaus.

Dumb bell Bulgarians, pause for 2 seconds at the bottom 8,10, 12, 15 superset with
Barbell weighted Glute bridge 4x 12 superset with
Stability ball hamstring reverse curls

Plies squat, deep if you have elevated steps or blocks, pause for 2 seconds at the bottom
8, 8, 10, 10 superset with
Straight legged deadlifts 4x 12

Hamstring curls 8, 10, 12, 15 zero rest, super set with
Leg press, feet placed high, 4×12 superset with
24 jump squats (ooooh baby this will burn)

Enjoy my lovelies, make that booty your betch, cause it’s about to make you it’s betch for at least the next two days. Hurts sooooo good 😘

Your fitbetch,
JP, xo

Little victories and Big burgers

Like most weekend for me the one was spent mostly I the gym. It was eventful in a few ways that bring me great happiness. One of my online clients made a post, and I couldn’t be more proud. She has fully completed 2 weeks of her 6 week training program and is already down 8lbs! It brings me so much joy to see her succeed. For someone who’s never spent any time weight training that can be a relatively scary experience. Also, as a trainer and a coach it’s nice to see the time and effort your out into programming pay off, since people are putting a great amount of trust into your expertise. In addition, and old colleagues from my lime at lululemon contacted me. When we worked together I was new to competing and only had been body building for less 2 years. Not only is it always rewarding for someone to notice your progress, but also very touching when they reach out to you for help. DS had been a long time cross fitter, yogi and all around athletic, but she’s recently gotten more interested in the sport of bodybuilding. She wanted my opinion on diet, isolation work, programming and just generally how to get started. As a lululemon associate you deal with a great variety of athletes and I very touched that she reached out to me for advice. I truly love this sport and what it has brought into my life. Body building has brought me strength and self confidence I didn’t know I possessed, and I remember getting started myself. The thought of helping someone else achieve that both excites me and humbles me, as I’ve still got a long journey myself. In addition, after I finished my last Friday evening client she went to a social in her building, LB being my dearest and most loyal client raved of my services and even managed to land me two new clients. Often when I feel I may not be when’re I “should” be in life, or perhaps I undervalue how must I’ve invested into this lifestyle it’s weekends like this that remind me of not only how far I’ve come, but why I love what I do. One of my professors I university once told me, “it doesn’t matter what you do, if you love, you’ll be successful”. At the time I thought that meant if you love it you’ll be good, and if you’re good that means financial success. I think now I reliaze being successful is getting up every day and doing what you love. To me helping others is always what I found meaningful. In university persuade counselling, to me that was a way to help others feel better emotionally. However, the gym has been my therapy for years, and I can honestly I’m mentally stronger thanks to the hours I’ve out into myself. It’s helped me respect my body, my time and my value significantly more. Lastly, I woke up this morning to a beautiful message from my coach. He was thanking me, not the other way around. He himself derives great pleasure from furthering others, and worked with a great variety of athletes. He wanted to thank me and my teammates for always going above and beyond, grinding away the hours in the gym and always surpassing expectations. Who wouldn’t be motivated by such a beautiful and touching statement. My team has become my family in a city far removed from where I was raised. They’ve also offered me love and support in a lifestyle that isn’t always easy and can isolate you from your peers and coworkers. When I quit the clubs for gym, gave up alcohol for protein shakes, and  skipped froyo for broccoli and chicken I quickly learned who was there for me, and not just cause of continence. The lifestyle makes dating and social settings tricky at times, especially around competition time. My first year competing I had no team, now I have a family I can be proud of, who inspire me, and a coach who could basically be my surrogate father. So, while the highlight of my weekend my be eating a burger I solemnly swear was almost as large as my face, I can say that the last few days have been a beautiful reminder and a personal success in my journeys. May you all find the joy in the little victories.

Your fitbetch,
JP xo

Here comes the gain train!

Well today was the big day. About once every 6 weeks I get to check in with my coach. Since he’s based outside of the city it’s always a bit of an adventure for me. This man is my rock. That’s the thing with a good coach. He’s my mentor, he sees what I cannot when my judgement is clouded, he guides me not only in my nutrition and training, but with my stress, my sleep my health. He’s also incredibly cool, covered in tattoos, and smoking hot, 6’4 ish, 250 lb. One hug from this giant and all my anxiety melts away. 6 weeks prior, at my previous check in coach gave the go ahead to up alI my calories, all my carbs, my fats, it was like Christmas come early, quite literally as it was just around the corner. Here I am now, 6 weeks later hoping that I hadn’t abused my dietary freedom, and wouldn’t  have to deal with the repercussions. Turns out while my weight has steadily increased, my body fat had not, even dropped at some points. Sweet baby Jesus, gains! All the gains! Since my body has been responding so well I even go the go ahead to keep it! Yup that’s right, another 5 weeks of eating my face off and lifting heavy ass things. I was fully mentally prepared to go into diet mode, so once again coach had placed another gift in my lululemon clad lap. With my birthday approaching and an impending visit from my sister it was nice to know I had a few more cupcakes, burgers and maybe some Pinot in my future. Again, this is one of the reasons it’s so valuable to shop for a quality coach. While I felt fat and soft, turns out it was all in my head, I was right where I needed to be, and on track to reach my goal weight without excessive fat gains. But the reason I’m on track is thanks to my coach. Without him I’m the type to question whether I’m making the right choices, underrating  for fear of blowing up, overeating for maximum gains. We tend to be poor judges of our own progress, especially since we see every inch of ourselves every single damn day. I also can’t begin to stress the importance of experience. I’m part of a team which includes 4 coaches in total. I had a very specific question for my coach today, and immediately he reached out to another head coach, since they share different expertise. For my first year of competing I did it on my own. I did well, but there are some things that research and knowledge can’t give you, and that’s decades of experience in the industry. On that note I’d also like to emphasize the importance for anyone shopping for a coach. Experience. Who have they worked with? What’s their success rate? Credentials? A lot of people do one show and consider themselves a prep coach, being an athlete does not make you an expert. My team has a wait list, and any good coach is worth the extra time ladies. Your body and your health are the most important things in your life, without them what else do you really have, so take care of them. Don’t trust just anyone with your health. I’ve seen some serious metabolic damage from excessive cardio, and starvation diets, which your body shuts down. This leads to a whole other slew of health concerns, and like yoyo dieting, each time the rebound will be worst and the weight loss will be harder. When done the right way prep doesn’t have to suck, I promise you this. The whole process is part of learning your body, loving your body, and respecting it. Find someone who respects it too.

Your fitbetch,
JP xo

Is he gym he new club?

While I can certainly say my new gym is perhaps  the friendliest gym I’ve ever visited in the city, outside of small privately owned studios. It may just be the fact that the staff aren’t overwhelmed with a massive revolving door of members, or because at least 90% of the male members appear to gay. Well one particular member seems to have extended an extra effort to get friendly with me as of recently. As a woman in a gym I’ve perfected my resting bitchy face, otherwise you might spend half your rest time being chatted up my random strangers or regular members. When it comes to gym etiquette I’ve seen it all. There are definitely those that look good to go to they gym, and go to the gym to look good. I mean full makeup, hair extensions and all. There are your serious athletes who are there to work, there are your social butterflies there for the interaction, and then there are your run of mill gym creeps, looking to pick up. I’m not saying any of these types are right or wrong, the gym can be a playground for many people. I think the important thing is to be able to differentiate the right and wrong times to approach someone. There are a lot of great reasons to date someone from your gym. For instance, you know they share your hobbies and your values, you know they’re disciplines, you know basically any given evening what they’re up to, and you likely share the same schedule and lifestyle. Not to mention that people who like to lift like to eat, so bonus, a man who can cook. There are also cons, such as you have to see them every single day, weather you want to or not. They can be a massive distraction if you’re there to work. For some people the gym is “their thing” or their home, so you lose your personal space or some of your independence. So, when faced with the problem of being ask out at your regular haven what is a fitbetch to do? Do you run the risk of being that girl, yes that one who sleeps with members. Do you take a chance on a potentially great thing? Do you become the cold girl that no guy dares talk to? In my experience it’s served me best to keep to myself, however it doesn’t mean a girl doesn’t occasionally like some flattery. I’m nice enough if you come across as genuine and sincere. Some tips I would suggest for the guys out there; Don’t talk to me mid set. Don’t talk to me if my headphone are on (if I remove them that’s an in). Do ask to work in. Don’t steal my equipment. Smile in passing. Nobs of respect are accepted. You may offer a spot or a lift off, but only if I appear to be genuinely struggling, if I can get that shit up I don’t need your help bro. Lastly, smiling and small chat are permitting when leaving the floor, make sure it pertains to my workout, and only if you’ve seen me enough times to not come across as preying on new members. Cheers ladies, to lifting your own damn weights and doing you betch.

Your fitbetch,
JP xo

From greens to gains

My sister recently took up the paleo diet. While I’m not a huge fan of straight paleo for various reasons, there are a lot of benefits to modified paleo. One particular important factor is knowing your body though. Being in the competition field you really learn to understand your body, what works for you and what doesn’t. You’ll also learn that not everybody is the same, because one cookie cutter diet doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s why I caution jumping on and off the plethora of diets out there on the Internet. Personally I’m very sensitive to dairy and wheat. I’m not lactose intolerant, nor do I have celiac. There is a major difference between a sensitivity, an Intolerance and a disorder. Im also carb sensitive, if I eat bread for instance I feel tired, lethargic, and straight up puffy, not a good feel. However, if I eat fats like nuts and meat I feel fine, I have energy, and I don’t feel bloated or heavy. Any of this sounding familiar? I don’t advocate cutting carbs necessarily, but knowing when and how to use them, and which ones work best for you. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get back to the beginning shall we? I’ve had clients jump on detox diets, cleanses and all sorts of nutty things. The plain truth is your body doesn’t store toxins, that’s what your liver is for, and it’s pretty damn efficient. Sure drinking nothing but juice will make you feel light, but only cause you’ll drop ten points in water weight, water will do that too, but that’s a short term fix. You also run the risk of metabolic damage, cause your body will start to adjust to a lower caloric load, and when you up your calories and bring back in solid food your body will start storing like mad, thinking starvation could come again any time. It’s taken many years of evolution to get us here, one master cleanse isn’t going to undo your genetic code. One thing I do recommend however is resetting your insulin sensitivity. Once a week, typically Sunday’s I juice a concoction of bochoy, lemon, ginger, celery, kale, spinach, aloe, wheat grass, and a little Apple for taste. I promise you it will not be pleasant. But research has shown just a few hours of abstaining from carbs is effective in resting insulin sensitivity. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, so this is one scenario in which you want to be considered sensitive ladies. I usually drink this potion throughout the day and break my fast around 8-9 with nuts, lean meat and steamed veggies, while simple it will taste like the best damn thing you ever had. This is not true fasting cause your providing your body with nutrients throughout the day, just specifically targeting lo GI foods to increase your body’s response to insulin, there for maximizing your body’s ability to grow muscle and not fat, both anabolic responses. So ladies, looks like your mothers were right all these time, just cause you’re all grown up doesn’t mean it’s time to skimp on the greens, and I promise it will do wonders for your skin.

You Fitbetch,
JP xo

Poppin bottles.. of water that is!

This week has been particularly social for me, and with dates and parties always comes the inevitable pressure to drink. Now, when prepping for a show any alcohol is an absolute faux pas.  But even on normal terms there is no place in my diet for such sinful indulgences. Alcohol is especially damaging to any girls fitness goals for a number of reasons. For starters there is the obvious, empty calories, and I mean a lot, your typical beer sits around 130 ish, and if you’re into mix drinks that number increases drastically depending on your choice of mix. Ok, so now I know what most of your are thinking, vodka , soda, lime, voila! Calorie conscious, plus hydration, clever me. Well not so much, thenext big factor is estrogen, many of you are probably unaware of balancing your hormones, up until a year ago  I was completely ignorant to it. One thing that alcohol does that’s particularly harmful to women, especially those who carry their weight on their butt, thighs, hips and arms (all the common trouble spots, especially with age) is throw your estrogen way out of whack. As your androgens and estrogens become unbalanced it becomes much harder to shed pounds in those areas. Next, oh yes there is more, is alcohols ability to inhibit FAS. I’m certainly not doing to dive into a biochem lesson here, God knows I didn’t enjoy taking it then, so why to torture you now,  but FAS is incredibly Important when it comes to the liberation and metabolism of fats. So yes, that’s right, the more you drink the less able your body is to burn your muffin top, double whammy! And last but certainly not least, how motivated are you to get up the next morning, eat clean and kill your workout after a night of debauchery? Lets just say I’ve had clients cancel for fear of puking on the gym floor. I myself once had a hangover so bad that I legitimately questioned weather I had somehow insured my head while drunk, cause there was no way a hangover could be so bad… But alas, if deadlifts and banging weights make your head spin, and your still running on a stomach of alcohol, or worst yet, a greasy hangover meal, you can’t expect to feel like your fabulous self. Your workout should be the only thing thing making you want to puke or pass out, not a nasty hangover. Don’t get me wrong ladies, we all indulge occasionally, and there is always a time and place for champs and celebrations, but pick and choose your battles, your friends will always support your goals and your decisions to do what best serves those goals. Cheers, I tip my bcaas to you betches who party responsibly!

Your fitbetch,
JP xo