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Strength will get you a sexy back

June 8th, 2015 No Comments

When you’re wearing a bathing suit, the most exposed part of your body is your back, so we gotta get it looking good!  Plus, strength in your back body will improve your posture.

I’m a firm believer in “Repetition = Definition” but you can’t define muscles that you don’t have.

By using heavier weight in your workout, you’ll build the muscle first and then you can tone it.

In this video of an angled row, I’m using that philosophy to build back muscle.

In a normal seated row, you will usually feel tension in your neck and you pull.  By raising the angle of your arms, we take your neck out of the equation entirely!

Go for 3 sets of 10 reps.  In between, throw in some lunges to keep your heart rate up while your back and biceps are resting.

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A bikini body is not JUST about cardio

July 7th, 2014 No Comments

We always say, “I gotta go burn off that dinner from last night.”  Even though I know better, I still say it…. It sounds better than, “I really need to lift off those margaritas.”

The truth is that staying lean is just as much about lifting weights as it is getting your heart rate up.

When you’re heart rate is in it’s resting zone and you’re…let’s say laying on the beach, muscle keeps your body burning calories.  Lifting weights will help you build this muscle in a way that cardio can’t.

Finding time to hit the gym seems harder in the summer because our free time is allotted for more leisure activities.  As it should be.  But since we want to look good laying out, strolling foreign streets, dancing at our friend’s wedding, we need to exercise to stay toned and keep our metabolism revved up.

This BURN100 series coves all the bases for you in 10 minutes!  You’ll see Brett Hoebel using heavy dumbbells and doing cardio moves.  Remember, when using heavy weights, form is crucial so you don’t pull anything.  Keeping your abs engaged and shoulders back will also make each move more productive for your muscles.

For more quick workouts (that are great to do while traveling), click here.

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More than a sports bra

November 4th, 2013 No Comments



How cool is this sports bra? It’s function might jump out at you, so I’ll tell you why I like.  When I lift weights or jog, I put my iPhone under the strap of my sports bra.  Not a good idea for so two reasons: falling on the ground and sweating into the speaker.  I’ve cracked several and actually broke the speaker once.

This Colosseum sports bra solves my problem!

I can’t seem to find it online for you to buy, but you could always call a store and order it.  I know Luke’s Locker in Houston would do that for you.

Otherwise I’ve noticed sports bras getting a little more stylish and even sexy in their cuts.  Check out these from Onzie.

Onzie sports bra 1 Onzie sports bra 2

Onzie sports bra 3


I actually have the top one in a different fabric.  It offers enough support and is super cute under tanks with no back (My fave way to cut up my SC tees.)

Browse the Onzie selection here.


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Less reps, more weight. What does that do for you?

September 9th, 2013 No Comments


The answer: builds strength. And not necessarily bulk.

As women, we want to maintain a lean figure so we do more reps and less weight. Using this tenant in your workout, you will gradually get stronger until your body plateaus. When your muscles know what to expect and learn the routine, they are no longer challenged and loosen up.

Incorporating heavy weight training days will confuse and challenge your muscles so you can continue to build strength.

Here’s what you you do:

  1. Warm up set with your normal weight to bring blood flow to the muscle group. 15-20 reps.
  2. Moderately heavy set so you can complete 10-12 with proper form.
  3. Heavy set. 5-8 reps, or as many as you can do with proper form.
  4. Drop set. Start with heaviest weights, do as many as you can. Then immediately drop the weight to something lighter and complete as many reps as you can. Do this 4 times until you’re down to about 5 pounds and burn out the muscle group with reps.

Ok, so if I apply this to a workout, say my “back and biceps” day, I would do this circuit 4 times. Notice dow I give my back a rest when I switch to biceps.

  1. Assisted Pull ups (all 3 grips, 9).
  2. Seated Rows (70)
  3. Squat-row combo (35, see pic above and explanation here).*
  4. Bicep curls (17.5)
  5. Bent over row on a bench (30)
  6. Cable row with a lunge (30, see pic below)*
  7. Lat pull downs (75)
  8. Bicep presses (15, Push weights out in front of you instead of pulling up).

For an breakdown of the back exercises, go here. Number in the parenthesis notes my heaviest weight. The * marks exercises that will get your heart rate up.

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Time to get your butt in bikini shape

April 1st, 2013 3 Comments

If you haven’t already been sunbathing over spring break :)

In this video I show you 4 exercises other than your basic squats and lunges that you can do to tone up your glutes.  Reader Anne wrote in and said that squats and lunges cause pain in her knees, and she would love to know glute exercises that didn’t.  Between my trainers and a physical therapist, we came up with these 4 that are great at isolating your glutes.

You can do them with or without weights.  As I am trying to build up a little muscle back there, I use heavier weights:  10-20 lbs.  I also have to be mindful of my lower back which inhibits me from going heavier, but you can!

Also check out this squat-row combo  and this video for more ways to tone up your glutes.

Finally, I have to apologize for the production value of this video. The girl who helped me was so sweet to shoot it, but it didn’t come out the way I had hoped.  As the years pass somehow it’s getting harder to find people to help me shoot these things…..

(Video head to toe: bead head hair, Nike top, Lululemon pants, Reebok shoes)

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Training my body to burn fat not sugar

August 20th, 2012 3 Comments

When I think fat, the gym is THE LAST thing that pops into my mind.  I see bikinis and cupcakes….and wine. (How did I forget that one in the pics?!)  I want to eat cupcakes, drink often, and look good in a bikini, all of which screams to me crazy CARDIO, not a nice and steady aerobic workout where I barely break a sweat!

As Hilary my nutritionist tells it, I would be wrong.

My second thought is to lift weights and build lean muscle because it burns 35-40 calories a day, while fat only burns 5.

Hilary says I’m getting warmer!!

While I hate to admit it, and I have even been hesitant to accept it, Hilary’s philosophy on staying lean makes sense.

70-80% of your exercise should be Aerobic

20-30% should be Anaerobic.

Aerobic means keeping your heart rate in zone 3**.  For me that is 145-165 beats per minute.  Anything over that is zone 4-5, anaerobic crazy cardio.  If we as women do too much cardio we train our body to burn sugar, not fat.  This would be ok if we didn’t eat any fat I suppose, but fat is important to keep us full and our blood level stable.  In other words, keep us from being cranky bitches.

Now let me explain from Hilary’s METABOLISM perspective.

Your metabolism is like fire and it needs oxygen for fuel.  Intense cardio workouts that keep you breathing heavy don’t let you to take in oxygen without blowing it out instantly.  A steady zone 3 workout, however, allows you breath in oxygen and let your body use it as fuel for your metabolism.  So the more oxygen you get in there, the more capable your body will be to burn fat.

Here’s the new schedule she has set for me.  I’m not a fan, but I’ll try it.

  • Monday & Wednesday:  BLAST class, Spinning, or weight lifting with sprinting intervals at the end.  Objective: get muscle groups fatigued to SORENESS.
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday:  Zone 3 – jogging, bike, treadmill, elliptical for AN HOUR! How boring. Plus Yoga if I want.
  • Friday:  Lifting weights in Zone 3 and fatiguing muscle groups that did not get attention.

**Knowing your heart rate and VO2 zones is KEY to all of this.  If that’s over your head (I’m right there with you), get your heart rate monitor and have it set to your body.  The Age/Heart Rate Zone chart is based on averages, not the size of your own heart, which is what it’s all about.


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This week’s challenge: Add instability to your lifting exercises

April 30th, 2012 No Comments

There are several benefits to adding an element of instability to your workout.  You are:

  1. Forced to keep your core engaged, which you should be doing while lifting anyway.
  2. Strengthening your abs.
  3. Working on your balance.
  4. Improving your posture.

By implementing a ball, bosu, or disk, you are throwing off your center of gravity and therefore working on both stability and strength.  Women tend to have better balance, but men can be stronger in their core, as you’ll see below.


I find using disks more challenging than standing on a bosu ball.  Start off with two discs, placing your feet in the center.  When you find that becomes easy after several workouts, try balancing on one.  You will be able to lift more weight on two discs.  Your whole body will work harder with lighter weight and one disc.  Decide what your goal is and then implement the discs and weight.

Using a full ball is REALLY hard, in my opinion.  I can barely balance here!  You really have to squeeze with your knees and inner thigh, tighten your core, and pull your shoulders back.  Try it without weights first and see if you can hold it for 1 minute.  Marco saw me doing this and decided he needed to show me up.  Using the handles, he found his positioning on the ball and was able to stay up for a while.  Very impressive!

Instead of using a bench, you can also substitute a ball.  Place the ball under your shoulders, squeeze your glutes, and press through your heels to create a table top.  As you press, you’ll find your core engages more to keep you on top of the ball.

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