All Hail, glutes that salute!

Hello beautiful people! I hope you’ve all enjoyed a productive and enjoyable weekend. I know I am as I currently write this from my bath tub, as I deep condition my hair, oh how I love to multitask. Always one for wanting to please the masses, I asked my editor, aka my sister, what she’d like to see this week. Her response, “hamstrings and booty! I ain’t the only one trynna get a butt”. So here it is, another training post about that cake. First and foremost, I wan to start with why a lot of you might not be getting ahead, or in this case “a behind” when it comes to Glute training. It’s mind muscle connections. Most women will do squats, or kickbacks or whatever else they believe is gonna build those lady Lumps. But if you’re not properly engaging those glorious glutes you’re probably just going to end up with over developed quads, abductors and some tight hip flexors. I would recommend staring out with some bands, or light machine work and mobility just to get those buns warm and firing. A few things you can do are 2 sets or kickbacks, adductor work, laying clams, x men walks and terminal knee extensions. This will get the glutes and accessory muscles firing so that when you start hitting your heavier lifts you will really feel the burn. I’d just take a few of these exercises, and cycle through them with little two no break for 2 rounds, ensuring the muscle are full and warm. Remember, weight isn’t important here, the squeeze is. If you are into foam rolling and trigger point release, save this torture for after your workout. While dynamic stretching has been shown to improve mobility and reduce injury, static stretching will reduce your power and strength. Once you’re good to go I would focus on posterior chain work, you want to lift heavy to build muscle, but I’m also a big fan of super sets and drop sets to really get that booty pump, as previously discussed, that pump sensation is why triggers a threat signal to the muscle to grow, we are bitty building, not staring training, but that falls into a whole other post, I’m generalizing in this particular case. Some key hamstring and Glute exercise I’d recommend from my toolbox are long stance walking lunges, Bulgarian split squats, supine hamstring curls, reverse hypers, deficit cable split squats, deficit sumo squats and wither a Bulgarian or Romanian deadlift. Keep, in mind you’ll want to start out with using a heavier exercise, like the single leg dumb bell Bulgarian split squat, which will pre fatigue your targeted muscle group, and then rep,out the burn with an adds sorry like the curl, focussing on tension, squeeze and burn. Each individual is different so you can custom design a plan based to your needs, strengths and imbalances, but remember it’s more about feel that weight, the weight will come. Patience my ladies, one rep at a time.

Your fitbetch,
JP xox

Bloat and other uncomfortable topics

Given its something I deal with myself, and seems to be a common problem among a lot of women I decided to discuss the topic of bloating. I eat what would be considered a “clean diet” and still have dealt with this extensively in the past. It can be extremely frustrating when dieting and one day you’re tight and lean with a 6 pack and another day you look 6 months pregnant, full keg. It can be stressful as well if you don’t know he source of bloat, cause what if your body decides to hate you on a big day like a shoot or a show. I’m a big advocate of knowing what works for you, some people have iron stomachs and others have the temperament of a teenage girl. So what to do? Well first let me define what I consider bloat, so we’re all on the same page. I’m referring to a distended, sometimes even painful, abdomen, or even waking up flat and slowing becoming distended over the day. I’ll start with everyones most loved and hated food. Carbs. Sweet, deliciously carbs. As previously discussed some people are very carb sensitive.  With regard to this type of bloating, the common cycle goes that you feel fine up until you eat a carb meal, and then the bloating starts up soon after. In my previous experience I became very carb sensitive after removing them almost entirely from my diet in an effort to lose weight. Then once I reintroduced them into my diet, even a quarter cup of rice or quinoa resulted in full, distended belly, pain and gas. Within an hour of eating my stomach distends to the point where I barely fit my pants, and it remains this way for the rest of the day and didn’t go away till the next day. I’ve actually managed to eliminate that problem my slowly reintroduce carbs and cycling, however it definitely took all the fun out getting to eat carb foods, even “clean” ones. I’ve figured out which ones work for me, but for most people the culprits tend to be sugar alcohols, dietary fibers, or so-called resistant starches (like those found in beans). On that note, like the sequel to carbs, there’s sugar. It’s offspring. Sugary foods can cause excessive bloating. The reason for bloating is bacteria in the intestines (and not colon) digest the sugar and produces gas. This is also common for diets super high in slow digesting fibre, which results in a buildup of bacterial gas in the colon itself as they sit your system for a extended period of time. And moving forward with this line of thought, next is the uncomfortable topic of constipation. If you’ve noticed that your stomach bloats and as the day progresses you get a ‘tight’ belly with abdominal pain this may be the issue. The gas formed as a by-product of digestion gets trapped behind the lowly moving byproduct. This continues to building up over the day, and you feel the bloating. Luckily the fix for is scenario is much easier than removing carbs (le sigh). Change your diet by slowly increasing more of insoluble fibres such as veggies and nuts. Drink lots lots and lots of water (and pee all the time :s). Lastly I’d like to talk about something near and dear to my dieting heart. Aspartame, specially in diet drinks and gum. I have a huge sweet tooth, as you certainly know, and I occasionally “treat” myself to diet pop and loooooooove dessert gum. However, I noticed when I’m cutting, my gum habit increases, resulting in bloat. Aspartame, like over artificial sweeteners, lingers in the stomach because it cannot be digested, and after enough build-up they act as a platform for the fermentation of bacteria, leading to production of gas. And just to make it a double whammy, gum can make you swallow air, which then gets trapped in your belly, causing pressure, bloating, gas. So as if constantly shewing gum wasn’t unladylike enough, you both look and feel like a cow. So there you are ladies, again, I’m not a anti carb advocate, just know your body and know what works!!

Your fitbetch,
JP xox

Dieting and delicacies

With all the talk of dieting and fat loss lately I don’t want anyone to get the idea that dieting has to be hard, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’m currently loving my prep. My energy is great, my lifts are phenomenal and I get to see my body change every week. While I still stay consistent with my meal plan, I truly enjoy my food. I get nut butter, toast, banana, lean protein, veggies and sweet potato mostly, and while that doesn’t exactly sound like a pizza and ice cream (cause it’s not…) it doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. I have a killer sweet tooth and I like to stay away from artificial sweeteners for health reasons, so today I thought I’d share one of my favourite prep approved healthy Brownie recipes that are always a hit at the gym, and a great dairy free, gluten free, low cal alternative when you just need something that tastes good.

2 baked sweet potatoes
2tbs coconut oil
Cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa
Pinch salt
1 egg or equivalent in egg whites (whole egg binds better)
Tbs baking soda
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or any fun add in of choice. Chocolate is slightly less prep approved…

Bake mash potato till it starts to ooze golden deliciousness, allow to cool slightly and bash.
Add egg and coconut oil to soften into a smooth texture. Mix in dry ingredients. Of adding chocolate chips allow to cool first or they’ll melt and you’ll just end up with extra chocolatey “brownies”.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, I tend to check frequently and insert a tooth pic to see if the inside is still too mushy.

I have a tendency to play around with recipes. These “brownies” do come out prettying foot, you can add some coconut floor or almond meal of you want a more solid texture. I just keep mine simple since I can basically use it as a sweet potato substitute without crashing my diet. I can promise I’ve never had a single complain and frequently get requests for this recipes from moms of picky eaters, those who don’t do gluten or dairy, And friends of the paleo inclination.

Your fitbetch,
JP xox

Tender love and reverse dieting

Sorry to keep you all in suspense (I know it must have ruined your weekends) but as promised, here is my follow up on metabolic damage.  So if you’re one of the many unfortunate individuals who’ve either fallen into the hands of bad coach or just made some mistakes along the way this may have happened to you. I’ve seen it most predominantly in the form of post show rebound, Either your coach realized your crash diet has resulted in starvation mode, or you get some advice from other competitors, friends, doctors, or your own research, and you decide that you need to eat more and ease up on the exercise. Sure, this will alleviate some stress on your body, but the result is you blow up like a balloon. With your metabolism it into current state it’s unable to deal with the unprecedented caloric intake, and it hold on to everything for fear of starving again! I’ve seen girls gain about 15 pounds in mere day. Yes, physiologically its  impossible to gain that much fat in such a short time; it’s almost all water, but it is a sign your metabolism is in trouble. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to correct your metabolism is that It doesn’t work like a calculator. Eating less and exercise more comes down to calories in/calories out kinda math. This just isn’t so. Unfortunately you can either eat less and exercise less, or eat more and exercise more. This can seem like a frustrating answer to someone who’s been trying so hard. It’s kinda like how all lifters hate rest day. Sometimes the answer is counterintuitive. However, this is the only way to decrease the stress on your metabolism while not gaining weight in the process. If your situation is more severe, you’re only option is the eat less, exercise less approach unfortunately. I’m going to focus here a little on the moderate cases. Severe cases should consult a physician to have hormones and adrenal function tested. For your general lost show diet it’s not all that different than prep. Just moving in a different direction.  Spend 2-3 weeks in an “eat less, exercise less” phase, then change directions towards an “eat more, exercise more” approach. Keep up cardio, slowly reducing sessions over time. Also take time to lower physical stress indicators, like cortisol, through yoga, massage, sauna, naps, walk, cuddle, girl time, whatever is good for your soul as I like to say. Your body need nurturing and love. Much like someone sick or injured, it takes time and care to get things back on track.

Your fitbetch,
JP xox

Diet fails, why you might not be losing weight

As I continue to prep, and competition season is well under way in the OPA, I see a lot of girls getting ready to step on stage who may not be ready. A close friend of mine and a client recently decided herself to re commit to a prep and wanted to pick a show in July. As both a friend and a coach I advised her to aim for August or even October. people act like all the gain happen during prep, but the truth is that the work should be done before prep starts. Prep is all about leaning out, shaping, tightening. Once the layers are shed you need to have a solid foundation under there. If you haven’t been delight in your off season then your weaknesses will really start to show as you lean out. Keep in mind ladies, this isn’t just a bikini contest, it’s still body building after all. It’s not enough to just eat salad and do a ton of cardio, cause sure you’ll be lean, but then what differentiates you from all the other skinny betches out there? This brings me to the real topic I wanted to discuss today. Metabolic damage. I’ve seen so many coaches who either prescribe cookie cutter plans, or just lack the knowledge to do better, put their clients on hours of cardio a day and the poor girls eat nothing but spinach, dry tilapia and asparagus, and 1200 cal a day! And sure, if it’s your first prep, this is going to rock your system, but not in a good way, you’ll lose weight, and then once your start to increase your calories again, if not done effectively you’ll ballon for no reason, getting fat on minimal calories. This also comes with acquired food intolerances, lethargy, and a lot of tears and frustration. This leads to lack of motivation, low libido, overtraining, and worst illness. Competing should be empowering, not detrimental  to your physical and mental well being. These poor women often feel they’ve done all the right things but can no longer respond to diet and training the same way. So let me explain why crash dieting doesn’t work, and how to avoid this kind of debacle. As we start to diet we get feelings of hunger naturally, your energy falls, and you find yourself craving salty, fatty and sweet foods. This is the first sign the body is starting to move into a metabolic compensation. So at first weight loss comes easily, but then over time you start to notice that your fat loss slows down. You may even notice you even start gaining weight.nothing is more frustrating than committing yourself 110%, stepping your ass off, only to have the opposite of the desired effect. In turn, hunger, energy, and craving issue keeps getting worse. Your body is pleading for help. When nothing is working, coaches will assume maybe your cheating on your plan, not doing your HIIT, and then I’m response they start cutting calories further and ramping up your gym time. Again, this is another shock to the system and might work at first, but this strategy has no long term longevity. A few weeks later and you’re stuck again and your body becomes even more sluggish. Your body is literally fighting your efforts. This is the point of metabolic resistance. Accompanying symptoms often include, loss of periods, irritability, insomnia or fragmented and unpredictable sleep patterns. Loss of libido. Many people describe a feeling of being wired on this inside, but tired on the outside. For some people it might lead to or further exacerbate feelings of anxiousness or depression, or both. Worst of all, in addition to all this mental disarray, you start to look heavy, bloated, tired. The opposite of string, lean and happy, your original goal. The endeavour to challenge yourself, and be a better you has backfired despite good intentions  and dogged perseverance. So ladies, is this is you, better to rethink your approach. Remember, above all – health first. Stay tuned, as this post has become lengthy enough, for my next instalment of how to repair metabolic damage and utilize reverse dieting to prevent post show rebound.

Your fitbetch,
JP xox