Browsed by
Month: May 2015

5 Common Misconceptions About Females & Lifting

5 Common Misconceptions About Females & Lifting

I’ve done posts similar to this before but I thought it would be a good idea to address again since I’ve been hearing the word “toned” far too much lately. There has always been a bias towards females and lifting weights. As a personal trainer, I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book when I ask a female client or friend why they don’t want to lift weights (or heavy weights for that matter). The words “manly” & “bulky” come up often which we shall address in this blog post.

Misconception #1

The heavier I go, the bulkier I get.

This couldn’t be further from the truth and I have experimented with my own body to prove that. When I started lifting weights, I did what felt comfortable. I used maybe 10b dumbbells max. This is what my body looked like.

FullSizeRender

I was certainly heavier than my non-lifting body but to blame that on the weights is unfair since I also binge-drank every weekend and did not have control over my nutrition at all. Fast-forward to this year and here’s where I stand with my nutrition in line, no alcohol & lifting HEAVY. (Current squat max is 245lbs, bench is 135lbs and I can deadlift 265lbs). It is CLEAR that my waist is smaller and my body fat in general has decreased.

IMG_3805

Misconception #2

Weights will make you look like a man.

I don’t think some people realize how hard it is to gain muscle. Even if you tried your hardest there is no way you are going to look like a shredded bodybuilder after lifting weights unless you are eating a crap ton of food/protein & also taking supplements for years and years. It just is not in our genetics to be built like a man and building muscle takes serious amounts of time. We lack the testosterone in our bodies to even naturally gain that much muscle so you can throw that excuse out the window.

bodybuilder

Misconception #3

I just want to lift baby weights and get more “toned”.

I have gone on rants about the word “toned” before so let’s clear that up- what exactly do you think “toned” is? More definition in your body, right? Well that definition my friend is muscle growth. In order to see those lines in your core, or “toned” arms or legs, you must lift weights to grow the muscle. Hypertrophy is the increase in size of the skeletal muscle which is a result of lifting weights- and not the baby weights. To put it simply, let’s say you start by lifting the baby weights and MAYBE you see some results in the first few weeks of your training, then it seems your body comes to a halt or pause. No more progression…what gives? It’s called Progressive Overload. You must continue to increase the demands on the musculoskeletal system in order to increase muscle size, strength, and endurance. Your body will adapt to that baby weight at some point so in order to keep progressing you must go heavier. Heavy weights will overload the muscle, allowing you to get “toned” faster. Who doesn’t want that?

31y0djRv9SL._SX300_

 

Misconception #4

I just need to run more, or do more cardio. That will make me lean.

Cardio is certainly important for heart health, however when it comes to getting lean or losing weight, it actually takes 2nd place to lifting weights. When you have more muscle on your body (from lifting weights), your body has to work harder to feed those muscles, therefore you burn more calories throughout your day as opposed to someone who simply does cardio. If you enjoy running, I’m not telling you to stop running, but I am telling you that ALSO lifting weights will increase your metabolism and probably help with your runs as well. Not to mention it will increase your bone density and set you up for a long living, healthy body as you get older. If you perform steady-state, long-duration cardio 5-6X per week you may be lean, but you are probably also lacking muscle and have stubborn fat in certain areas. Here is an example of what my body looked like when I ran between 20 and 40 miles per week (no lifting). Next to my heavy lifting body with 3-4 HIIT cardio sessions per week. Huge difference, right?

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRender-2

 

Misconception #5

I have to perform all of these crazy lifting movements that I am just not comfortable with. I can’t do that!

I think people tend to complicate weight lifting, yet I totally understand why with the volume of endless of information on the internet. It can be confusing when a beginner is looking to increase their strength or lose weight yet they aren’t sure how to perform a movement or don’t know where to start. There’s SO many different exercises you can do and so many fitness guru’s telling you to do 100 different things when in reality you should start with the basics. Squats, deadlifts, bench, military presses lunges, etc. While every person should have an individualized plan to help them achieve their goals efficiently, you don’t have to overcomplicate your workout. Here at SD Evolution we provide our clients with personalized training programs based on their goals, body & availability. If you are interested in your own 12 week training program visit our website www.sd-evolution.com or email us FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com for more information.

FullSizeRender-1

 

 

I hope that I have swayed your thoughts about females and lifting weights after reading this article. Lifting has indefinitely changed my life. My physique, confidence and mentality have all changed postively since incorporating this lifestyle and I can only hope it does the same to my clients & readers.

 

Alessandra

 

 

5 Misconceptions About Flexible Dieting

5 Misconceptions About Flexible Dieting

Flexible Dieting seems to be slowly taking over the fitness world. “Bro science” aka clean eating used to be the only method bodybuilders, competitors and your average Joe trying to shed some pounds would turn to when it came to losing weight. There are a lot of misconceptions about what flexible dieting truly is, and we can guarantee it’s probably a lot different than what you think.

e248ba000854d57355e65040556ca24c

I remember seeing on Instagram a year or so ago all of these top fitness accounts posting these crazy looking pancakes, desserts, donuts & ice creams, yet they were claiming that eating these things didn’t hinder their progress, but it actually helped them. Up until the end of last year, I was a strict clean eater. I would have weekly cheat meals but that was the ONLY time I would consume something that wasn’t chicken, fish, or veggies. It was a constant struggle and my cheat meals would usually be all-out binge fests resulting in a terrible bloated stomach. This was the only lifestyle I knew that would help me achieve my goals. So how were these top fitness moguls eating all of these delicious treats yet still making progress in the gym? Turns out there’s way more to it than what is shown on social media. Here’s the top 5 misconceptions about #IIFYM or #FlexibleDieting:

#1) You can eat sugary, processed foods all day long. 

This one is my favorite and simply exists because people on Instagram usually only post the exciting stuff they fit into their diet. Obviously beautifully decorated bowls of ice cream and gourmet donuts are fun to post on your account, however what you don’t see is all of the “boring” vegetables, chicken, and fish that are also eaten. Nutrient-dense foods provide a base to any diet, and your Instagram-famous fit chick or muscle-man is most-likely omitting posting these meals. We suggest 80% of your diet comes from nutrient-dense sources leaving you with about 20% of freedom.

 

#2) It’s a diet. 

It is extremely important to know there is nothing about Flexible Dieting that resembles a diet. You are not restricting food groups or any foods whatsoever. Flexible Dieting is more of a lifestyle that is sustainable for long periods of time. With a diet like Atkins, clean eating, etc, there always comes a point where you “cheat” on your diet or fall off the bandwagon. Since Flexible Dieting allows you to have such freedom, there is really no reason or want to cheat or go back to your old ways.

 

#3) Flexible Dieting may give you abs, but it is not healthy. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth and kind of relates to #1. Fitting in balances portions of what you may consider “not healthy” options of food does not mean you are ruining your insides. Many people see just the junk foods of flexible dieters so they assume that their entire day looks like that when in fact whole foods consume most of the day. Fiber is a staple in anyone’s nutritional intake including those who practice flexible dieting. In order to hit your fiber goals for the day (at the very least 25g), you need to be consuming foods like fruits and vegetables which are high in fiber.

 

#4) Flexible Dieting won’t work the same for me as it does for other people.

“The ultimate ignorance is the rejection of something you know nothing about yet refuse to investigate.”- Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Flexible Dieting is based on pure science. In a sense, the diet you are following currently is a macro-based diet- simply because every single food you eat is made up of macronutrients. Your plain chicken is mostly protein and a little fat, your brown rice is made up of carbohydrates and your almonds are most fat with some carbs. Just because you aren’t tracking your numbers, doesn’t mean your diet doesn’t consist of macros. There is no golden rule that means you need to incorporate junk food into your diet, however if you do fill your day entirely with nutrient-dense “clean” foods, and screw up on the weekend but still make it fit your macros, guess what? You didn’t ruin your progress OR cheat your diet. Flexible Dieting is whatever you want it to be, and with the correct numbers for your body based on your weight, activity level/BMR, it WILL work.  Need help calculating your numbers? Send us an email: FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com.

#5) It takes too much time and effort to track everything I eat.

I’m not going to lie to you, this method does take time and effort however if you want to achieve a goal, chances are it’s going to take some work. If losing weight or gaining muscle is something important to you, why wouldn’t you put your very best effort in to reaching that goal? I can also guarantee you that you do in fact have time to take maybe 2 minutes before or after each meal to write it down or log it in your app. Those hours you spend scrolling on social media can be easily cut down- it all comes down to how much you want it.

So there you have it folks- Flexible Dieting totally deconstructed. Before you judge someone based on what you see on Instagram or Facebook, take a step back and educate yourself on the topic first. It may just be something that may not only interest you, but change your current outlook.

 

 

 

 

 

How to track your macros & what apps are best!

How to track your macros & what apps are best!

What the heck is a macro? You’ve seen #IIFYM, #macros, and #FlexibleDieting posted all over social media by now yet some of you are probably totally clueless (just like I was) about what the heck these people are talking about. Well today is your lucky day because we are not only going to break down this new lingo for you but we are going to share with you how to track these “macro” things.

To make it simple, a macro is short for macronutrient. What is a macronutrient? Well there are 3 of them that make up all foods and are substances that you need to live! Macro means “big” so it should be pretty easy to remember that you need these 3 specifically in large amounts. The 3 macros are protein, carbohydrates and fat. These are absolutely essential for you to live your life (duh) and if you check out your nutrition labels they will inform you what foods consist of what macronutrients.

PCF

Each individual requires different amounts of macronutrients because everyone is built differently! Not only that but someone who is more active requires more calories than someone who is generally sedentary. This is why that diet that your BFF did last year worked amazingly for her yet the scale didn’t budge when you tried it. The principle of specificity in relation to training states that the training should be relevant and appropriate for the sport in which the person is training for. In my opinion, your diet should follow those same guidelines. There is not one magic set of numbers that is going to work for everyone just like there is not one type of exercise that is going to benefit everyone. Being individualized for your training AND diet is the key to success.

We calculate our client’s macros based on their current weight and activity level through a chart that we send them. They pick a level at which they think best describes their daily life and depending on their goals (fat loss, muscle gain or maintenance) we pick a starting set of numbers for them to follow. It is important to know that your macros may change quite often over time especially if your activity level changes. So say you get a new job that requires you sitting at a desk all day when you used to be on the move for most of you day- your macros will need to be adjusted. We also adjust clients’ macros based on how their body responds to the starting numbers. If the client is achieving their fat loss goals or wants to increase their metabolic capacity we may reverse diet them or slowly increase their calories (and carbs and fats) over time to minimize weight gain, yet allow them to eat more food. To see what we offer as far as macro-based nutrition plans visit our website SD Evolution -we would love to help you get started!

Now for the point of this blog post- how do you track your macros??

There are two apps that we recommend to our clients:

My Fitness Pal (the more well-known app)

MyMacros+ (a newer app)

Both are great sources to keep track of your daily food intake! We find that My Fitness Pal has a greater food database so this app may be a little easier to use if you are just starting out however setting your macros to exact numbers may be a little challenging. Here is a website that explains how to set your exact numbers since My Fitness Pal only allows increments of 5g.

Once your numbers are set-up, it’s now time to get to tracking! However many people refer to the percentages chart instead of where it shows you your total grams per macro. Here is the screen that you should be referring to to see your daily totals of protein, carbs & fat in grams:

1 IMG_3428

*Note: Many clients get confused and refer to their percentages. Make sure you are viewing the “Nutrients” tab and checking grams! (The macros tab just gives you your percentages).
What we like about the MyMacros+ App is that it allows you to name your meals (ex. breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, etc) and it shows the macro breakdown PER meal as well as your totals for the day, along with what you have left!

IMG_3295 IMG_3296 IMG_3297

 

Tracking you macros is seriously made easy with apps like these, allowing you to reach those fitness goals faster than ever before. As always, if you have questions regarding this topic or Flexible Dieting please email us at FitnessTeam@sd-evolution.com. We would LOVE to help!

-Alessandra & Josh

 

Fitness Friday: Happy May!

Fitness Friday: Happy May!

Hello Fitness Warriors!

Can you believe we’re already 5 months into 2015?? Pure craziness. 5 months ago many of you set goals for yourself, and whether you achieved them or not, I always use the start of a new month as an excuse to set the bar even higher. The weather is now officially getting warmer and that is always something that tends to motivate me. So today, even though it is the end of the week, it is May 1st and I challenge you to set some new goals for yourself to achieve this month!

I actually want to share with you what I have come up with for my personal goals. As many of you know I began focusing on a more powerlifting style of training for the past 6-7 months. Changing my focus from aesthetics to just strength has not only changed my mindset but it allowed me to get the results I was stressing so hard to achieve before. When I stopped focusing on perfecting my body, it was then that I started to make the progress I wanted. I have discussed what exactly powerlifting is and why I have become sort of obsessed with it in a guest post on our friends Nick & Anthony’s blog: The Bacy Bros so definitely check that out to get a little more of a background on it. To sum it up, powerlifting consists of performing the three main lifts: the squat, bench press & deadlift. I perform these three lifts 3X per week as well as some accessory work. Up until yesterday, I was powerlifting simply for fun and because I enjoyed it. It is constantly challenging for me and I love how it pushes my mind and body in ways that simple bodybuilding couldn’t do. (NO I’m not hating on bodybuilding at all! I just needed something new!) I created a DUP or Daily Undulating Periodization block for myself and fell in love with the feeling that lifting over double my bodyweight gave me.

 

powerIMG_3288

I have officially decided to compete in powerlifting this week and I couldn’t be more excited! This is my new summer goal for myself and my first meet is set for July 19th through the RPS Federation. It is a Push/Pull meet so I will only be deadlifting and benching but I think it will be a great starting point for me. This sport is certainly as not as glamorous as my past bikini competitions, but it is safe to say it has become a passion of mine. I will be documenting my progress and entire prep on this blog and through YouTube so stay tuned for some Vlogs as well!

REvPS

I think that goal setting is something that everyone should do on a regular basis. I not only set bigger goals like this one, but smaller goals for myself to achieve throughout the week. It can be something as small as sticking to my macros, hitting a small PR on my squat, or even making a special healthy recipe for dinner. By having these small achievements, you are constantly setting yourself up for success with your larger goals.

What are you going to achieve this month? Let us know and comment below or tag us on Instagram or Twitter @sd_evolution

 

Have a great weekend you guys!

Alessandra