Glute Training – The Benefits of Strong Glutes

3-Gluteus-MusclesDid you know that he Gluteus Maximus is the single largest muscle in the human body? Attached to the Gluteus Medius and Minimus, the three muscles work together to abduct, rotate and extend the hip. Strong glutes add many benefits including better posture, injury prevention and enhanced athletic performance.

Better Posture – Tight, shortened hip flexors, weak, over-stretched hip extensors and glutes that β€˜forget’ how to activate properly all contribute to bad posture. This can cause forward tilting hips which then give the appearance of a ‘gut’.

Strengthening the glutes with exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts will help create balance and in return improve posture, reduce the look of a protruding belly and even add an inch or two to your height.

Injury Prevention & Pain Reduction – If your glutes are weak then other muscles will be used to pick up the slack. These muscles are then at risk for becoming overstressed, resulting in pain and compression in the lumbar spine, hips and knees. Weak glutes can also lead to poor alignment of the entire lower body putting you at great risk for injury.

Protect your hips and knees and reduce injury by incorporating exercises such as hip thrusts to your routine.

Enhanced Athletic Performance – Strong glutes are key for accelerating, decelerating, changing directions and creating explosive power. Endurance and speed are improved with proper glute training as well.

Safer & Heavier Lifting –While a strong core is imperative to keeping a sturdy, stable spine during heavy lifting, the glutes play a major role in safely transferring force across your body resulting in more power and reduced risk of injury.

Fat Loss & Maintence – The Glutes and Hamstrings are two of the largest muscle groups and training these muscles using compound movements such as squats and lunges will have you building muscle and burning fat while continuing to burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout.

 

 

Fitness Competition Prep – 10 Tips to Save Money

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As promised, a follow up to The Cost of Competing in Fitness Competitions with some great tips on how to save yourself some money!

  • Save on your suit – There are a few ways to save on your suit. You can purchase a used suit (most have only been worn once) or buy an off the rack suit or a basic custom suit and bling it yourself! You can purchase wholesale stones (hello eBay) andΒ  glue them to your suit and save quite a bit. A basic custom suit runs about $150 while a custom blinged out suit can add another $100 easy. The more bling, the higher the cost.
  • Save on Hair & Makeup – this one can be tricky and I only suggest using someone other than the official provider IF they have experience. Stage makeup is very different than your every day make up and if not done correctly can be a total disaster. Hair is not as tricky, but again, you want to use someone with experience doing hair if it’s an area you lack in. Hiring or enlisting a friend who has experience in these areas can save you up to $250!
  • Shoes – don’t impulse buy! Shop around online on places like Amazon and eBay and guaranteed you will find yourself a better deal then by purchasing from a shoe store.
  • Jewellery – stores like Ardene’s and Claires have a hue selection of accessories that wont cost you a fortune. Aldo Accessories has beautiful jewelry as well but the prices are a little higher. (I paid $50 for a pair of earrings and a bangle)
  • Hotel – plan for a two night stay if competing out of town. There will be a ‘Host Hotel” where athlete meetings, spray tan, hair and makeup take place however you are not obligated to stay at this hotel. While it does make things easier to stay at the host hotel and most will offer a discount to competing athletes, you can save by booking at a cheaper hotel, I just recommend it be close by.
  • You also have the option of sharing a room with another competitor to help cut costs. If you do not happen to know of anyone else competing, find fellow competitors on Instagram or Facebook and ask! (search the show, ex: #PopeyesFallClassic) While this may sound a little crazy and awkward you may just be surprised at how many other competitors are traveling alone and wouldn’t mind saving on room costs!
  • Food – most of your meals should be prepped anyhow but once the show is over you may want something different or a treat so plan ahead and prep this meal and pack snacks.
  • Mani/Pedi – do it yourself!
  • Supplements – shop online and use coupon codes or stock up on a sale.
  • Shop in Bulk – your meal plan will most likely include eating a lot of the same foods so buy what you can in bulk or again, stock up on a sale for items that wont expire anytime soon.
  • Competition Coaching/Training – you can save big here by hiring an online coach HOWEVER, do your research, ask around and only chose this option if you have experience in the gym! If weightlifting is new to you hire a trainer, even if its just for 6 weeks to learn proper form and technique and how to use the equipment before enlisting an online coach to guide you through prep. Depending on where you are at when you start competition prep, the length of time you will need a coach/trainer will vary. If you have been working out for some time but just need help getting stage ready, 12 weeks is usually enough time.

Things you DO NOT want to skimp on!

  • Nutritional Coaching – as someone who has their fitness nutrition certification I felt pretty confident during my prep doing my own nutrition plan then once I hit 3 weeks out I started to panic because I had never had to deplete or manipulate water and sodium intake and when researching there were so many options I was totally overwhelmed. I hired myself a coach and he guided me gracefully through the last few stages to get me super lean and it was the best decision I ever made. Nutrition is key both during and after prep so unless you have experience here, leave it to someone who does.
  • Stage Tan – while many will tell you that you can save by getting your spray tan done elsewhere or doing it yourself, please let me explain, it’s not that simple. First off, you want to be the right shade and trust me, if you rely on yourself or someone else, you will think you are dark enough and you wont be. Stage tans are ridiculously dark and you do not want to be up there standing out because you are pale (or green) in comparison. The official tan provider is your best option and will also offer free touch ups which will be needed! Did you know that sweating will turn your tan green? Yup. So please, leave it to the pros, they will take care of you πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

The Cost of Competing in Fitness Competitons in B.C.

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So you have decided you want to compete in a fitness competition and want a rough idea of what it’s going to cost you to do so. Well, I’ll be in honest in that competing is not cheap, there are ways to save money and we will go over that in another post but first, here are some things to consider when deciding to compete in B.C. and a rough estimate of what they may cost you.

 

 

Membership $100

  • you must register and pay to become a member of the association. To join the BCABBA it will cost you $100

Show Registration $100

  • you will pay $100 to enter a show. If you plan to enter more than one category it will cost you an additional $50

Tanning $150

  • depending on the official provider of tanning/hair & makeup, the spray tan alone will cost you roughly this amount.

Makeup $125

  • again, this is the estimated cost if using the official provider of the show and dependent on who that provider is.

Hair $125

  • same as tanning and makeup, estimate of cost if using the official provider.

NOTE – if you chose to have the official provider do all 3 (tan, makeup & hair) they will offer you a discounted rate bringing your cost down slightly.

Suit $150 +++

  • you can pay as little as $150 for a custom suit with an upwards to well over $1000 depending on what you want and how much you are willing to spend. You can purchase off the rack suits for your show but make certain they fit the rules for your category.

Shoes $40+

  • if you are competing in bikini or figure you will need heels! cost depends on where you buy and the style you choose. I was able to get mine on sale for $65 which isn’t bad considering I can wear them for my future shows.

Jewelry $25+

  • again, depending where you shop and what you buy. The basics are bracelets and earrings. I purchased my bracelet and earrings from Aldo Accessories (great selection) for $50.

Those are definitely the musts, however the list does not end here. There are many other things to consider when competing and the prices will vary depending on many different factors.

  • training
  • nutritional coaching
  • posing coach
  • supplements
  • meals (although these can be simple as you may eat a lot of the same things, it can add up)
  • travel costs, hotel, gas, food etc
  • manicure/pedicure
  • hair removal for show day (waxing)
  • haircut/color/style
  • hair extensions
  • bikini bite (suit glue)
  • photography
  • show tickets for family & friends

So, as you can see, competing is not cheap, it is however, totally worth it!! I will be following up with a post on How to Save Money When Competing so be sure to check back for that. πŸ˜‰

 

Competiton Prep B.C. – Women’s Physique with Amy

May 7th, 2016- BCABBA’s Kelowna Classic. My first ever show- what a ride. Being who I am- of course I chose Women’s Physique to compete in. If I was going to go through with it- I was going to hit that stage packing more muscle than I’ve ever had in my life.

amy

Photo by P.Tography

I started out 5 years ago at 250 pounds and miserable. I hit the stage at 147 pounds and loving life. I worked for it. Every second of everyday. Sure I wasn’t shredded like the other women- but I guarantee I was 10000000% more proud of myself. I worked for 6 months- everyday- never cheating on my diet- and I placed an honorable 3rd place! As a first ever competitor- bringing home a trophy is a big deal.

But that wasn’t the win for me. The win was getting on that stage after losing 100 pounds and for the first time ever, actually being proud of myself for what I had accomplished. I didn’t just get up there for me. I got up there for my kids- to show them what hard work and determination can do for your life. I got up there for all of the men and women on social media and in the gym and on the streets that have watched my journey, supported it, and started one of their own because of it. I got up there to prove myself and my nay-Sayers wrong. But most of all- I got up there because I deserved it. I worked for it, I sweat and cried and bled for it.

The experience, the energy, and the sheer passion of every human being in that theater amy stageabsolutely radiated from every corner of the building. People laying down all over backstage waiting their turn on stage. Rice cakes and Nutella galore, the smell of spray tan and bikini bike wafting through the air- absolute perfection. I think the best part for me is the family dynamic that the association provides. The support the association provides is like no other- But the support between athletes- there are no words to describe it. I met and made friends with countless athletes over social media and I was blessed enough to have the chance to run into a bunch of them backstage. I had a TONNE of people see me in the halls of the hotel or backstage and make a point to stop me and tell me that they followed my journey over Instagram- and show me nothing but love and support. What an amazing feeling. I will always and forever cherish my friendships with each and every one of them.

The hardest part- my constant switch up of coaches. I had a hell of a time getting one coach to have the time or knowledge to stick with me and get me to where I needed to be. I did a lot of research and self teaching to get myself to the stage. Getting to know what worked for my body and what didn’t was trying- but an absolutely amazing adventure. Now that I know- prep for Popeye’s Fall Classic 2016 will be amazing. I am currently packing on muscle, eating TONNES of clean food, lifting some crazy heavy weight, and creating a whole new physique. I’m going to be the image for each and every single woman and man out there that doesn’t believe they can do it. The time is now. Find yourself. Find your dream, your spark, your fire. Chase it. Don’t ever let go. Once you let go of your “thing”- you let go of your soul, of what makes you, you. Push. Harder. Everyday.

#skyhighbaby

Follow Amy’s journey to Popeye’s Fall Classic on Instagram @Muscle_Nuggett

Fitness Competition Prep in B.C.

Photography by David Aboody

Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  Photography by David Aboody

Last January I decided to compete in my first fitness competition and so of course, I spent a lot of time searching Google for any and all information on Fitness Competition Prep, with my main focus on Bikini Competition Prep since that was the category I would be competing in.Β  While I was able to find a TON of information on prepping for a fitness competition, I found it difficult to find information relevant to competing in B.C. and more specifically as a BCABBA athlete.Β  So, I have made it my mission, as I prep for my next competition, to share as much information as I can in regards to preparing for and competing in B.C. as a BCABBA athlete.

That’s not it however, I have decided that while I may now have some experience in prepping for a fitness competition, there are many others out there who do as well, and some have a lot more, so I have reached out to them and have some pretty exciting content coming. My main goal is to leave no stone unturned, cover every category there is and help you prepare for your first fitness competition!

We are #TeamBC and as you will see on the BCABBA’s Mission statement, “We do more for others as a team than any one person can do”

Stay Tuned …

xo

 

 

7 Tips on How to Avoid Workout Burnout

05-04-14_happy_exercise_shutterstockI wanted to do a quick follow up post to my last one, Is it Workout Burnout? so that you can learn how to avoid and prevent workout burnout from happening to you. Not something that just happens to beginners, even the most experienced athletes can become burnt out the when they ignore the signs and keep pushing.

Staying consistent in your routine is the key to success so avoiding exercise burnout is important if you have goals to reach. Here are some tips on how to avoid workout burnout;

  • Ease into it – if you are new to working out you’ll want to take it easy at first and allow your body and mind to adjust. 2-3, 30 minute sessions per week is a good place to start, gradually increasing over time.
  • Keep things fresh – avoid doing the same routine every session, this will get boring fast and boredom decreases motivation.
  • Switch it up – your routine should have minor changes every 4 weeks and should change almost completely every 8-12 weeks. Not only is this to keep things from getting stale but is also key in breaking plateaus.
  • Rest – rest days are just important as training days. While at rest your muscles heal and grow and strength improves. You also lower your risk of injuries, reduce fatigue and avoid burnout.
  • Reward yourself – set goals and when you hit them, reward yourself! Lost the first 5lbs, get yourself a deep tissue massage. Hit the gym all 5 weekdays this week? Treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant.
  • Get a gym buddy – having someone join you during your workouts is not only great for motivation and accountability but can make your sessions that much more enjoyable.
  • Play – the gym is like a playground for adults and guaranteed, there are going to be some machines or accessories you will have a lot of fun with. Play around, learn new things and have fun with your workouts!

 

Is it Workout BurnOut?

burntoutGym life is going great, you’ve been giving it your all, making it in to the gym as much as you possibly can and the results are starting to show. It’s an amazing feeling and you can’t believe you waited so long to start and all you can think about is your next session.

Then one day you find yourself a little moody and the littlest things start to annoy you. You shrug it off and keep on training even though your a little tired because you haven’t been sleeping very well the past few nights. That of course is the reason why your workouts now leave you feeling fatigued instead of energized and you seem to be sore longer than usual. Next thing you know, your usual gym session time rolls around and for the first time you dread going.

If you nodded your head yes while reading that then you are, or are, on your way to workout burnout. The main signs of burn out include, but are not limited to-

  • sudden feelings of moodiness
  • feeling sad or down
  • having troubles sleeping or sleeping too much
  • increase or decrease in appetite
  • muscle soreness that lasts longer than usual
  • exercise leaves you feeling fatigued and not energized
  • feel unmotivated
  • you’re getting sick frequently or taking longer to recover

Now what? Well, the good news is, you can get back to that euphoric state that exercise gave you but first, you need to listen to your body and take a time out. Exercise burnout not only takes a toll on you physically, but mentally as well and it’s important that you give both body and mind some time to relax to avoid making things even worse. For many avid gym goers, this wont be easy, missing a day in the gym leaves you feeling guilty and anxious. The thing is though, your body is going to appreciate it and in this time, heal, allowing you to accomplish even more when you get back to it.

So how long do we need to rest for? This is completely individual, for some it may be a few days where as others may need a little longer. I do not suggest you stop all forms of fitness completely, but you most definitely need to take it down a notch (maybe two) and allow your body to heal. During this time it also important to work on your mental well being and take the time to remind yourself this is for the best and not beat yourself up over it. Remind yourself why you started working out, why you loved it so much and why you want it to be a positive part of your life. Then, when the time is right, ease back into it and enjoy it and the countless benefits it has to offer. β™₯