fitness

Happy New Year, Everyday.

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We are on our 2nd day of 2019, and I hope you've had a wonderful start to your new year.

The new year is always an exciting time. It's an opportunity to review your last year; what you've done well, and where you can improve. It's full of possibility. Dare I say, even a bit of magic?

But I have a little secret for you; did you know it's possible to experience this same magic on a daily basis?

Every morning, you are given a new day. Another 24 hours to get one step closer to your goals. And really, that's what progress comes down to. It's the little things, done day after day, that make the difference. Consistency is king when it come to making progress, no matter what the goal is. And each day you're given a fresh start to go for it.

Every morning, you are given another opportunity to grow, improve, show gratitude, and live joyfully.

Every morning, you are given another chance to dare greatly and take MASSIVE ACTION.

This is what I see in every sunrise. 

Every new morning can bring the same motivation and magic as every new year.

XOXO -

Jules

"Yesterday ended last night, today is a brand new day. And it's yours." - Zig Ziglar

5 Tips to Navigate the Holidays

This time of year isn't always the easiest. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, people tend to struggle, so I had some thoughts I wanted to share on the matter.

1. What you do the majority of the time is what matters most, not what happens over a few holiday events. So, if leading up to your holiday parties and events, you're eating well 80-90% of the time, and getting 3-4 workouts in per week, you're going to be just fine. 

As I like to tell my clients, 80-90% compliance done consistently is ALWAYS going to be more effective than inconsistent perfection.

2. Do YOUR best, and "best" is going to look different for everyone. For myself, I like to stick to my foundational health habits to get me through this time of year. I know that if I'm at least accomplishing these things, I'll be able to bounce back and get into my routine with more ease.

- Build each meal around a quality protein and LOTS of non-starchy veggies.

- Move daily.

- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

- Prioritize sleep.

3. Keep moving daily. This doesn't mean I'm expecting you to hit the gym and crush a high intensity workout every day. It can be as simple as getting out of the house and going for a 20 min walk. I know each one of you can commit to a walk, at the very least.

Really, what I want is for you to move your body in a meaningful way daily. And that can look however you want it to. Just move.

4. Avoid going off the rails with your diet. It can be incredibly difficult to swing the momentum back in the direction of health and wellness when you've let yourself go completely. It's not impossible, but again, much easier to get back to your routine when you've practiced eating moderately.

5. NO GUILT. Regardless of how the next two weeks play out, the absolute last thing I want for any of you is guilt and shame surrounding your food or activity choices. Your progress will not be made in a single workout or single meal. It is a cumulative effort. What matters most is what you do once the events are over. All those other days, the days where there are no events, and you're living normally, those are the days where progress is made or lost.

Regardless of how the next two weeks play out, I want you to enjoy the hell out of them. Enjoy each bite, enjoy the time spent with the ones you love, and enjoy having a break from the normal day-to-day.

And for those of you who struggle actually being around your family this time of year, or for those who might feel their loneliness exemplified by lack of family, I am truly sorry. Stay strong, and please know that you are not alone. You will get through this and life will be back to normal soon.

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” - Brene Brown

It’s in the darkness that our light can shine the brightest.

XOXO -

Jules

The Single Leg RDL

The Single Leg RDL is a killer movement for your hamstrings and glutes, while also challenging your stability. It helps to eliminate strength imbalances between your two sides, and is an awesome booty builder.

Unfortunately, form on this movement can be quite difficult for some. You’ll often see people lose their neutral spine position, unable to keep the non-working leg straight, etc. I like to teach the Single leg RDL with no weight to start, and will often use a dowel or monster band for external feedback.

Learn the movement.

Grab a thin monster band and loop it over your shoulder and under the foot of the non-working leg. Think about pressing into the band with your foot as you go through the ROM.

The feedback provided by the band makes finding the proper position much easier. It’s just like throwing a band around your knees on a squat.


Challenge stability, then load.

Focus on mastering the movement by controlling stability first, and then you can work on loading with heavier weights. I like to use the following progression:

1. Ipsilateral Single Leg RDL

This first variation challenges stability without challenging rotary control.

2. Contralateral Single Leg RDL

The second variation challenges stability AND rotary control.

3. Single Leg RDL

Once control has been established and form is locked in you can start to challenge with heavier loads.

I’m using kettlebells, but these movements can be done with dumbbells, a barbell, cables, sandbags, bands, etc.

Now get out there and show me your Single Leg RDLs. Use the hashtag #liftandlovelife so I’m sure to see your posts.

xoxo -

Jules

How to Build a Workout that Works

During our team meeting last week, the topic of program design was brought up. “What is your go-to when laying out a program?” There was also a side discussion as to our titles if we were characters on Game of Throne. So I have to thank Brian "Bmurr" Murry of House Brosville, Ruler of the Gainz Train, Lord of Pull Ups, and Lats of the Dragon, for bringing up the topic. I love talking shop, so this got the juices flowing and inspired this week’s blog.

When it comes to designing a program, there are countless different philosophies, but based on my education background, and the 12 years I’ve spent in this business, I’ve found what I find works best. However, as I tell my clients, nothing is set in stone. The client’s needs and goals will dictate the structure of the program, as well as other factors. A person who can only train twice a week will have a completely different program than a person who can train four times a week.

Regardless, this is my basic workout layout, and I adjust as needed.

Soft tissue release

  • Foam roll, lacrosse ball, etc.

  • Can be client specific or general, it is completely dependent on the need. I always recommend lacrosse balling the arches, and a total body foam roll, at the very least.

Dynamic warm up

  • Assuming the client has no limitations, my dynamic warm up begins as follows:

    • Lateral squats

    • Kneeling hip flexor stretch

    • Elbow to instep

    • Sumo squat toe touch.

  • I always start with those 4, in that order. I want the hips open before moving down the chain.

Activation

  • Rapid response (neural activation)

  • Prehab – specific activation drills needed to prevent pain and/or aid in recovery from on injury.

  • Glute and core activation

Plyometrics or Olympic lifts

  • You always want the most neurally demanding movements first.

  • When programming Olympic lifts, I will give a second warm up, if you will, to reinforce mechanics, before going into the actual lift.

    • RDL - light weight, 2-3 sets

    • Front squat (if cleaning) - light weight, 2-3 sets

    • OH squat (if snatching) - light weight, 2-3 sets

    • High pull, light to moderate weight, 2-3 sets

Primary lift(s)

  • The main focus of the workout. This is where I program the “big” lifts; bench, squats, pull ups, and deadlift variations.

  • I will often pair this with another release or activation movement.

Secondary supersets

  • Following the primary lift(s) I will give 2 secondary supersets of 2-3 movements, typically complementing the primary lift.

Accessory work

  • This is where the vanity work comes in, or if clients are looking for variety, fun, etc.

Finisher

  • Depending on the goal.

There you have it; my basic workout layout, but almost every program I create looks just a little bit different than the last. It all depends on the goal of the workout, and the overarching goal of the program.

So, what does this baby look like in action?

1. Soft tissue release and dynamic warm up (see above).

2. Activation – rest as little as possible.

            Scap push up – kneeling 2x15

            Plank 2x:30

            Clamshells 2x30 ea

3. Primary lift – no rest between exercises, rest 60 seconds between rounds.

            Barbell deadlift 1x10, 1x8, 1x6, 1x15

            Banded monster walks 4x20 ea

4. Secondary – rest 30 seconds between exercises, 60 seconds between rounds.

            Superset 1:

            Lat pulldown 3x10-12

            1-leg RDL 3x10 ea

            Superset 2:

            Push up 3x AMRAP

            Glute bridge – weighted (DB/BB) 3x20

5. Accessory – rest 30 seconds or less between exercises and rounds.

            90/90 bicep curls 3x15 ea

            Ab rollout 3x10

            Tricep press down 3x15

6. Finisher – Perform 10-20 kettlebell swings at the top of the minute, every minute. The remaining time in that minute is your rest. Perform 5-10 sets.

Try using this layout to create a program for yourself, and feel free to share; I’m always here to help.

XOXO –

Jules

How to Hit Your Training Goals

I've seen it all too often in the years I've spent in the fitness industry; people who feel they've tried it all and nothing works, they just can't reach their goals. It's incredibly frustrating, and one of the reasons people may seek out a coach, like myself. Over the years I've found not being able to achieve one's fitness goals usually comes down one, or a few, things.

What’s your motivation and where are you at?

Why do you want it? Why do you really want it? What do you like about what you’re currently doing? What would you like to change about your current routine? What could you do better? What are you not doing that could be beneficial? Re-assessing your motivation can drastically change the way you view your goals, or may make you change your goals altogether. Maybe you haven’t reached your goal yet because you just don’t want it anymore, and that’s ok. Just set your sights on something else.

What does success look like to you? 

Maybe you’ve reached a plateau. Maybe you’re bored or stuck or need to change your training. Or maybe, what you define as success is unrealistic. You need to be honest with yourself. You have to be realistic. Now, I’m not giving you the go-ahead to be lazy, or not push yourself, but there’s nothing wrong with being reasonable and making sure you believe your goal is achievable, based on who you are as a person, and what else is going on in your life. Side note, it's actually quite difficult to truly reach a plateau, so that's most likely not the reason you haven't achieved your goal yet.

Consistency is key.

The key to progress is consistency; consistency in healthful food choices, and consistently getting your workouts in. You could be given pretty much any program on the planet, and if you do it consistently, you're going to see changes. Again, let's be honest, were you giving your all during your workouts? How many of those workouts did you get in over the course of this particular training phase? And, this is always a touchy subject, but what about your food choices? Maybe you were near perfect Monday-Thursday, but what did your Friday-Sunday look like? Because I promise you, if you're getting every workout in, and eating "really, really well," you would have seen results.

Re-focus your goals.

We’ve re-evaluated your motivation. We’ve discussed what success would look like for you. You've reflected on your consistency in training and nutrition. Now it’s time to re-focus your goals. Ask yourself; why do I want it? What do I expect to get out of achieving this? What are the sacrifices I’d have to make? Can I make those sacrifices? Can I be consistent?

Break it up.

If you have more than one goal, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself, or your body. Break your goals up. Which one will take the longest? Which one do you want the most? What about your time? Will your new goal(s) and other aspects of your life, such as family and career, interfere with one another? These are all things that are very important to take into account.

Re-evaluate periodically.

It’s important to avoid attempting an unrealistic goal, boredom, or hitting the elusive plateau, by re-evaluating your goals and where you’re at periodically. Use the steps from above, as well as progress photos, body weight, BF%, and circumference measurements, to re-assess and make sure you’re still heading in a positive direction.

Remember though, the ultimate goal of any program is progress, not perfection, and to be the best version of you.

XOXO -

JULES

Too Tired to Workout?

This is a question I get asked all too often, and I completely understand the feeling. While your initial reaction to feeling pooped at the end of your day might be to skip your workout and head home, I wouldn't recommend it. Unless you're sick or you've been over training, a lower intensity workout is better than nothing. Something is always better than nothing.

Just go. 

Depending on what my workout was 1-2 days before, I often feel stiff and sore, which isn’t the most encouraging feeling when I’m going into another workout. It isn’t until I get going in my warm up that I start feeling good. That being said, start by just getting yourself to the gym. That alone can be enough to get you amped for your workout. 

Get moving.

Next, do a dynamic warm up. Get your blood flowing. Roll out, dig in with that lacrosse ball, stretch, brisk walk on the TM, corrective exercises, etc. If you feel up to your full workout once you're warm, go for it. If not...

Bring down the intensity.

If you’ve warmed up and you’re still feeling rundown, cut out any explosive moves (plyometics or Olympic lifts). If that’s not enough, dial down the intensity of the rest of your workout by decreasing sets, reps, and weight, and increasing rest time between sets.

Make it earlier.

Having been in the fitness industry for over 10 years now, I can tell you that most people perform significantly better in the morning, or mid-day, before they’ve killed themselves all day at work. The day's stress hasn't come into play yet, so you’ll be able to give everything you’ve got to your workout, which will increase the speed at which you see performance gains and body composition changes. 

Commit. 

Lastly, if you are going to workout after work, you have to make it a priority. Put your workout in your calendar as an appointment, bring your gym clothes to the office with you so you can change there, and leave with the mindset of going to workout. If weekdays really are a struggle for you, shoot for 2 workouts during the week and get 2 more in on the weekends. Make sure you’re taking periodic breaks during your day to get up, away from your desk, and stretch or go for a little office walk, stay hydrated (goal is at least 2L H2O per day), and eat healthy protein based snacks. These things will help keep your energy up throughout the day, and increase your chance of making it to the gym after work.

Bottom line, If you want the results, you have to put in the work. But I always want you to be kind to yourself; if you really need the rest, take it.

XOXO -

JULES