It’s April and I couldn’t be more excited! Warm weather is on it’s way and I have a few trips/vacations planned soon, so I am in a great mood.
Speaking of warm weather and vacations, several of our clients have been on, or are about to go on Spring Break and they were asking for workouts that they could do while on vacation! Since a lot of them won’t have access to a gym or any type of equipment while they are gone, I put together 2 full-body workouts they can do while they are on vacation!
Keep in mind that the workouts I have put together are for the “lowest common denominator.” That is, I made them as simple and easy as possible, so that they work for everyone. You can easily up the intensity of difficulty of these workouts by adding weight, adding reps, adding rounds, holding the position longer, etc. So if you do the workouts and don’t find them to be super challenging, make sure you adjust according to your ability level.
Alright, I won’t keep you waiting any longer… here we go!
Workout 1:10 breaths in rockback
Follow this warm-up:
A1) Wall Sit (wide stance, then narrow stance, then wide stance) x 20 seconds each
A2) Plank x 5-10 seconds x 2-3 times
A3) Side Plank x 5-10 seconds x 2-3 times
Rest minimally between exercises, and rest 1 minute between circuits. Repeat twice for a total of 3 circuits.
B1) Glute Bridge or Single Leg Glute Bridge with 3 second hold at the top x 10
B2) Walk-Out x 6-10
B3) Shoulder Blade Retraction with Dynamic Blackburn x 10
Rest minimally between exercises, and rest 1 minute between circuits. Repeat twice for a total of 3 circuits.
Workout 2: 10 breaths in rockback
Follow this warm-up:
A1) Body Weight Squat x 12 (can add weight if available)
A2) Walk-Out with Shuffle/Push-up/Turn-and-Reach x 8
A3) Split Squat/Stationary Lunge x 8 each leg
A4) Slow Mountain Climber x 6-10 each leg
A5) Birddog with 5 second hold + 1 diaphragmatic breath x 4 each side
Repeat circuit 2-4x for a total of 3-5 circuits resting as needed between exercises and sets.
Hope you enjoyed these two body weight workouts that can be done at home, in a hotel room, or anywhere you may be!
Women hire trainers far more often than men do. It’s a proven fact. Women are more likely to ask for help, and they’re more likely to trust that what they’re being told about fitness is the truth. Trouble is, most of the information available for women, both online and otherwise, is garbage. For years, women have been misled, and they’re constantly being told to do the wrong things, for the wrong reasons. This has to stop.
There are three major issues common to just about every woman I’ve ever coached. They start exercising because they want to get “toned,” they want to improve their health and longevity—and feel better in the process—and they want to make more time available because their lives are so busy. In my experience, there’s only one thing that can make all of this happen the way women want: Strength training.
What the Hell Do I Know?
I’m a strength and conditioning coach, and I’ve been doing this for a long time. When you meet me for the first time and hear about my powerlifting career and coaching experience, you’ll probably assume I make my living training athletes—meaning men. In reality, I pay my bills by training women. Since 2001, I’ve helped hundreds of women achieve their goals with some very simple solutions—and what I’ve found is that the vast majority of these women have come to me with similar concerns.
What do you want when you hire a trainer or start an exercise program? You want to “tone,” or “get toned,” right? Most women don’t even know what this means, much less what it entails. What you need to know, before you go any further, is that there’s no such thing as toning. When you change your body composition, you’re doing one of three things (that you’re mistaking for toning): You’re building muscle, maintaining muscle, or losing muscle. That’s it.
You want to build muscle. When you do, it’s going to make you look more firm and more defined—and you’ll look like you’ve shrunk, because you’ll be losing body fat. This isn’t toning. You’re making your muscles fuller, and you’re making your body dense—and not in a way that has any negative connotations. You’re not going to “get all bulky.”
Racing Against Time
Most women I start working with know what they want, but they have no idea how to get it—and everything in this regard starts with the amount of time they have every day. Women are mothers, they’re business owners, and they have families they want to take care of. Society, at least in a traditional sense, demands these things of women, and it’s a fact of life that a huge percentage of the female population will eventually encounter this situation.
Society, however, isn’t finished. Today, the average woman is expected to have a job and a career, she wants to have a family, and she wants to look amazing while she’s doing all of this. You’re being pulled in twenty different directions at any moment of the day or night, so the last thing you need is to be stuck on the elliptical machine at your gym for two hours every day. It’s simply not necessary when strength training can get you better results in a fraction of the time.
Strength Equals Good Health
You want to look good, to feel good, and to be in good health while you’re doing it, but too many women—and, unfortunately, their trainers—seem to misunderstand the process by which all of this happens. Too many people seem to have bought into a boot camp mentality, where looking and feeling good entails beating yourself into the ground on a daily basis. This type of training is completely counterproductive for what you’re trying to accomplish.
An intelligent strength training program will improve your posture, address osteoporosis, help control and regulate your blood sugar, promote good movement patterns, protect your bone density, and give you the stability you need in all the right areas.
Most women don’t know how to control the middle of their bodies. Through years of improper training—or by relying solely on modalities like yoga, too much of which will make you too limber in your spine while neglecting to teach you how to brace your middle—a lack of stability will cause mobility and lower back issues. This stems from a lack of core stability, and strength training is the solution.
Strength in Practice
The idea here is to train like an athlete, using big movements like deadlifts, squats, and pull-ups—when appropriate. I’ll typically start women off with bodyweight movements to teach them how to control their bodies. Even with this, I’m talking about big moves here, with not very much isolation work. We’ll also throw in some explosive work, like medicine ball throws. This is essentially powerlifting combined with training for athleticism.
This type of training will build you a basic, general strength base, which is essential if you’re planning to move on to anything more advanced. Start with your bodyweight on all these major exercises, then advance to deadlifting and squatting with a kettlebell or dumbbell.
This is the most efficient way for you to train, because strength training gives you more for your investment than anything else you can do in the gym. It increases your metabolism, it builds muscle mass, and it actually burns more calories over a longer period of time than doing cardio. Smart strength training, done within your means, will also improve hormone optimization, which is essential if you want maximal results from any program.
“I thought I was supposed to feel exhausted…”
Again, it’s a common misconception, and not only among women, that training has to wipe you out and exhaust you—and that if you don’t leave the gym feeling this way, your session wasn’t a good one. By what criteria are we judging this, though? What results are you really looking for out of your exercise program? Do you want to feel exhausted all the time, or do you actually want to walk around feeling good and healthy?
Looking good doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. If your goal is overall longevity—and to look and feel your best—you don’t have to train yourself into the ground every day. If you’re so exhausted that it’s affecting your quality of life and giving you health issues, is this really beneficial for what you want over the long haul?
Getting the body you want, and the health you deserve, isn’t about getting tired. It’s more a function of getting your blood sugar under control through proper training and nutrition. Ironically enough, training to exhaustion will actually throw your blood sugar off. If you’re working so hard that it’s having a negative effect on your hormones, you’re not going to get anything you want out of your programming. You won’t have optimal performance, and you won’t even come close to the body composition you think you’ve been working so hard to achieve.
Strength and Self-Worth
When one of my clients does her first pull-up, or she sets a personal record in the squat, this is an event that causes a change. It tells a woman there’s something she can do that other people can’t. A lot of the women I train are now stronger than their husbands, which is a very interesting situation, to say the least. This gives them the confidence to know they can take care of themselves, and it works miracles when it comes to self-worth and self-esteem.
Many of my female clients come from backgrounds where they’ve done things like run marathons. What they don’t understand, at least at first, is that what they’ve been doing is giving them the opposite of what they want. I’ll take a woman like that and start with bodyweight movements. Very quickly, they’ll look and feel better, so we’ll give them a little bit more—and then some more after that. It’s almost like you’re being tricked into lifting weights.
In fact, I don’t even tell some women that I eventually want them to lift. We’ll do four weeks of bodyweight movements before anything more serious, and their bodies start to change, because that was all they needed. Then we’ll give them a kettlebell to work with for four weeks, and things change even more. After a while, I’ll start hearing things like, “I’m shrinking! I’ve lost a full dress size!” This is when you’ll start to enjoy going to the gym. You’ll feel better when you leave, you won’t be exhausted anymore, and you’ll sleep better, too. That’s what a good strength training program will do for you.
Tired of All the Bullshit?
If you want to learn more about every aspect of women’s fitness from some of the best coaches, trainers, and nutritionists in the world, make plans now to attend Train Like a Girl. This is the biggest, and by far the best, female training seminar in recent years, taking place on May 18-19th in Lexington, KY. With presenters like Julia Ladewski, Molly Galbraith, Mike Robertson, Kiefer, and myself, it’ll be well worth the trip.
Life is nothing but a series of patterns. When you do the same thing every day for enough years, these patterns show themselves, and your sphere of influence begins to make more sense. In the fitness industry, this manifests itself in the mistakes you see people making, because few mistakes are made in isolation. When you see one client headed down a shaky path, chances are she’s not alone.
I make my living helping women look and feel better. When they come to me, they’ve reached a point where they know they need help. And when I ask them what they’ve done to themselves to necessitate my intervention, similar threads emerge. In other words, every single one of them says the same damned thing:
“My diet isn’t bad. I’m a very healthy eater. In fact, I think I eat way too much!”
There’s something else connecting all these women: They all eat the same crap day after day. One of the first things I do when I work with new clients is ask them to bring me a list of the foods they’re eating. Invariably, their daily menu will consist of crackers, yogurt, peanut butter, and celery sticks—and that’s before I actually start digging.
I’ll eventually get most of the women I work with to confess to bingeing on foods like ice cream at least every four or five days. We’re not talking about a small dish of the stuff, either. These women seemingly eat gallons of it, and they can’t understand why they can’t stop.
I know the reason, though. It’s a very simple one:
Most women consume a diet of low-density food that’s low in fat and high in carbohydrates, causing their bodies to desperately crave fats and sugar. That’s what your diet of pretzels and peanut butter is doing to your body.
What’s happening here is that your body isn’t getting what it needs on a regular basis, so it starts craving what it’s not getting. This is the part you need to learn if you ever want to be successful. Not eating enough for long periods of time will cause your body to slow down and become more efficient. This is because your body doesn’t care what it looks like. It cares only about survival.
When you deprive yourself for several days, then binge eat, you’re turning your body into a fat storing machine, because this brand of “nutrition” slows your metabolism to a crawl. You’re essentially turning your Ferrari into a Prius, whereby your body becomes too efficient and learns to survive on the least amount of resources possible. Simply put, most women aren’t eating enough food to hit their basic minimum requirements for the energy they need to expend each day.
And yet, everyone still does the same thing.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for most people. All it requires is a touch of discipline, and a large measure of common sense. For most of my clients, the problem is solved by gradually adding fat and protein to every meal. At the same time, we pull out almost all of their simple sugary starches. Eventually—and sometimes immediately—we use The Carb Nite Solution to turbocharge metabolic repair.
This simple step is usually all it takes. Most women, when starting The Carb Nite Solution and stopping this madness, see rapid results. They’re able to eat more food, and those cravings disappear.
What’s the first step, then? With most clients, I take the counterintuitive approach of telling them to simply start eating as much as they can. This entails throwing in a couple of eggs, a piece of bacon here and there, and some salmon and broccoli. The idea, here, is taking someone who’s metabolically deranged—and trust me, this probably applies to you—and making repairs to their metabolism by making sure they’re no longer undernourished.
Your body needs fat for a wide range of functions, including—and especially-hormone production. If you’re cutting fat out of your diet, you’re going to crave a lot more sugar. Your body will want to manufacture things, and it’s going to want sugar for this purpose. When you can’t produce the hormones you need—serotonin and melatonin, among others—everything’s going to be off, including your moods and your ability to sleep.
Once we’ve made the appropriate dietary adjustments, the next step involves asking clients how they feel. Most times, when there’s a problem, it pertains to digestion. Most women aren’t accustomed to the volume of fat and protein they need, because they haven’t been eating it, so they’ll need some help.
For example, when you don’t eat a lot of meat—or you’ve stopped altogether for a period of time—you’re at risk for a zinc deficiency. That’s what happens when, like most women I start working with, your diet consists of 70 percent starches. Since zinc is necessary for the production of stomach acid, some women aren’t properly prepared for what happens when fat and protein are added back into their diet—and they’ll run into problems like constipation and diarrhea.
When these issues arise, we’ll add some digestive enzymes or digestive support—typically something containing HCL and/or ox bile for acid support—to their regimen. If you act on my suggestions and find you’re really in bad shape digestively, you may need to seek out a functional medicine physician. When you think about it, however, that’s a very small and temporary price to pay to stop being metabolically deranged.
You Might Be Training Too Hard
We’ve seen women drop a full clothing size in as little as four weeks through a combination of a real food approach and basic exercise—which may be as simplistic as walking. I don’t advocate beginning this sort of metabolic repair with hard exercise, because hard exercise can actually make losing fat harder by overwhelming an already metabolically damaged body.
The rationale here is simple. If your body’s metabolically damaged, and you’re not processing blood sugar properly and not breaking down fat for energy, training hard is like driving a car that’s out of tune. If your car has bad brakes and a bad transmission, but you try to take it up to 100 miles per hour on the highway, what’s likely to happen? You’re going to compound the damage.
Your body works the same way. It’s far more effective to allow the nutritional changes to sink in, letting your body recharge and put its resources into healing itself, as opposed to simply producing more cortisol.
Breaking it Down
Just eat real food. You need to be consuming stuff like bacon, eggs, salmon, grass-fed beef, and chicken, and you need to be avoiding refined sugars. Your diet shouldn’t consist of snack foods. They’re not meals. Get away from pretzels, crackers, popcorn, celery sticks, and peanut butter. Stop being afraid to eat foods that have fat in them, and stop avoiding animal products.
Your best bet? Try The Carb Nite Solution, where you’ll be eating meat, vegetables, and fish, followed by a solid carb-laden meal every week. This alone will have you showing huge improvements in the way you feel, the way you look, and your overall health. And once you’re no longer metabolically deranged, you’ll see a huge difference in the way you’re capable of exercising, too.