The Essential Body Part Women Ignore

One of the weakest areas in many women’s bodies are their hips. Many of us sit for a good portion of the day, which forces our hips into a crunched position. Maintaining a seated position for long periods of time can cause the muscles in our hips to shorten and tighten – particularly our hip flexors.

The role of our hips in day-to-day life is often overlooked. Our hips do SO MUCH. Hips are responsible for helping you maintain balance, walking correctly, lifting your leg and controlling the position of your knee.

Strengthening your hips can help you avoid injury and also assist in the prevention of osteoarthritis. The best way to keep injuries or arthritis at bay is to strengthen your hips. This is a quick hip workout you can do to start strengthening this forgotten – but necessary – body part.

Side-lying leg raises, with your toes pointed down, are an excellent movement to strengthen your hips.

Side-lying leg raises, with your toes pointed down, are an excellent movement to strengthen your hips.

***This workout uses a mini band for the lateral walk. These bands are inexpensive, very versatile and can be purchased from numerous locations. This is the band I use for training clients. (Disclaimer: if you click on this link and purchase a product linked from this site, it could result in a small amount of money for me.)

Strong Hips Workout:

10 Squats with Side Leg Raises

10 Reverse Lunges (per leg)

10 Single-Leg Glute Bridges (per leg)

10 Supermen

15 Side-Lying Leg Lifts (per leg)

15 Side-Lying Leg Lifts With Toe Pointed Down (per leg)

30 Sec. Plank

10 Wall Squats

30 Sec. Lateral Band Walk – per side

Repeat for a total of 3 times.

Finish up with some stretches – particularly the cobra stretch!

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Personal Trainer's Top 3 Tips for Exercising

I’ve been a personal trainer for many years, and there are three tips that I wish the general public knew: 1) don’t let an old injury or sore body part keep you from exercising 2) you know your body best and 3) all exercise is beneficial – even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes!

If you have a sore knee, you don’t need to forgo exercising altogether. There are so many knee-friendly modifications that can be made for your workouts. It would be worth hiring a personal trainer for one or two sessions to share modifications for popular workout moves. 

Sore lower back? Avoid exercises that require you to have both of your feet/legs hovering off the ground (if you are lying on your back); opt for a plank rather than lying double leg lifts. Again, research back-friendly workouts or hire an exercise professional to share some modifications.

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I have had dozens of clients come to me with a variety of physical ailments – plantar fasciitis, artificial hips, artificial knees, rheumatoid arthritis, broken arms and legs, etc. We always find a way to keep them active while being conscious of the injured area. (In some instances, we are able to strengthen and improve the functionality of a chronically injured body part!)

You Know Your Body Best

No matter how experienced an exercise professional is, he or she does not know your body as well as you do. If a movement hurts, stop. Tell the individual that you don’t want to do that movement or explain the discomfort you are feeling. There are so many exercise modifications that it’s easy to substitute another movement.

I want clients to tell me when something is painful, uncomfortable or if they don’t feel the movement. On many occasions, I’m able to identify a muscle weakness because of their feedback. We can then focus on strengthening that body part.

Exercise – Even If It’s For 5 Minutes

Moving your body is beneficial. If you only have 10 minutes, work out for 10 minutes!  Being active is the overall goal, so fit exercise in wherever you can. We are working out to improve our overall health, which means any and all activity is welcome.

Many times, a client will tell me she didn’t exercise because she only had 20 minutes. A 20-minute workout is all you need on most days. I have several 5, 7, 10 and 20-minute workouts on my workout page. Check them out if you are needing a fast workout!

You can be active even if you have an injured body part or have limited time. However, remember that you know your body the best! If you need modifications or have questions, please comment below or email me!

If you are interested in doing a low-impact workout or one that is modified for sore knees or wrists, check out some of my favorites:

Wrist-friendly Bodyweight Workout

Best Workout for Bad Knees

Back-friendly Ab Workout

Low-Impact, Full-Body Workout

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DietBet – A Good Way to Lose Weight?

One of my clients participated in several DietBet weight loss challenges, and I was intrigued by the program. I thought an extra motivator might help me curb my love of sweets and help me drop a few pounds that I had gained during the winter.

DietBet is a program where you pay a fee and have a set time period to lose four percent of your body fat (or more - depending on what program you sign up for). If you reach your goal, you get your money back and a share of the pot. You submit beginning and ending weigh-in pictures with an app-generated word next to the scale (as well as full body pictures on the scale). The rest of the experience is up to you.

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I think this type of program might be a good catalyst for many people, but this is what I didn’t like about it:

1. I was focused on a number – not overall health. As I got closer to my final weigh-in date, I cut back on my calories to reach a number. However, I had no intention of continuing my eating habits once the competition was over. Instead of making sustainable changes, I was just doing short-term calorie restrictions. Consuming too few calories actually slows down your metabolism, so this approach was completely wrong.

2. I couldn’t wait to be done, so I could splurge on some of my favorite treats. A week of splurging demolished anything I accomplished in the previous month. Plus, it reinforced the yo-yo eating habit that is detrimental to our bodies.

3. I found myself delaying social activities until I was done with the competition. This is not a sustainable lifestyle. In fact, it’s what’s wrong with restrictive diets and drastic changes to your lifestyle. Your eating habits should be sustainable.

4. Sustainable, healthy weight loss should be slow and maintainable. This competition made me feel like I was sprinting during the last week. I was trying to reach a number that was not accurate. It’s what I weighed at one point during one day.

Verdict: I think this challenge works for some people, but it was disastrous for me. Not to mention I lost my $30 – I was .2 pounds away from my goal. Sigh.

What I learned about myself is that I am happy to eat healthy but need some wiggle room. If I am too strict with my diet, I rebel. I lost sight of my overall health goals because I was so obsessed with a silly number on the scale. I became everything I hate about fad diets.

If you have tried DietBet or are considering it, comment below. I want to hear about your experiences!

Want to start exercising or need a new workout? Check out some of my favorite workouts:

Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Feel the Burn Dumbbell Workout

Low-Impact, Full-body Workout

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How to Get Rid of Those Flabby Underarms – Best Triceps Exercises

Many of us want to banish that fat on the back of our arms that we not-so-lovingly refer to as bat wings, lunch lady arms or turkey wings. As a personal trainer, triceps are the muscle group that I hear the most complaints about. Everyone wants toned, ripped triceps muscles.

Triceps do so much more than you realize. They work in coordination with other muscles to perform tasks like pushing a door shut or doing a push-up. They are also used in smaller scale movements such as writing. While the biceps bend your elbow, the triceps help extend your elbow. Triceps also make your upper body stronger, which means you can throw a ball or shoot a basketball with more force.

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Beginners Guide: Eating & Drinking Before Exercising

The quickest way to derail a workout is to suffer from that queasy, I-just-ate feeling. When is the ideal time to eat and drink before a workout? What should you eat?

Snacking and hydrating yourself before a workout can provide you with the extra energy boost you need to power through a workout. Figuring out when to snack and drink can seem tricky. I have had many clients come to a workout saying, “I skipped lunch. I wasn’t sure when it was too late to eat before working out, so I just didn’t eat.” Their workouts suffer – or sometimes come to a crashing halt - because they lack the energy they need to last the entire workout.

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The Science of Exercise: Benefits for Your Mind and Body

Exercise provides amazing benefits for our bodies and minds. People who participate in regular exercise, have an up to 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 35 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke as well as 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Those are some pretty impressive statistics…but there’s more!

Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression, and it can help reverse the effects of stress on us and our aging process.  Studies have also found that regular exercising can help individuals with asthma, as it reduces the airway inflammation.

Exercise does amazing things for our bodies and minds. People who participate in regular exercise, have an up to 50 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 35 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke as well as 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer. Those are some pretty impressive statistics…but there’s more!

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When to Breathe During Strength Training Exercises

Recently, a client asked me about the timing of her breathing during a strength training workout. When should she exhale? Inhale? The easiest rule to remember during a strength training workout is to exhale when you are exerting force and inhale on the recovery. That’s easy to master – in theory. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what is the exertion portion of certain exercises. Let’s look at some popular strength training moves and identify when you should exhale and inhale.

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Can Too Much Cardio Hurt Your Weight-Loss Goals?

I had a client who participated in a doctor-monitored weight-loss program. She hit a plateau and was trying to figure out what was going on with her body. The weight-loss program coordinator suggested that she was actually doing too much cardio, which was harming her weight-loss journey.

I hadn’t ever really given it much thought until the client mentioned it. After our conversation, I began researching if too much cardio could negatively impact your strength training and fitness goals. In a nutshell, yes, too much cardio can negatively impact your fitness journey.

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Why You NEED to Change Up Your Workout Routine

I once had a co-worker proudly boast that she had been doing the same Jane Fonda VHS step workout everyday for years. Yet, in the same conversation, she said she couldn't understand why she wasn't progressing in strength and cardiovascular gains. She wasn't interested in what I had to say, but the solution was an easy one - change up your workout routine!

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Three Ways to Measure Your Fitness Progress

The scale or a measuring tape should never be the only markers you use to determine if your fitness routine is working.   Your cardiovascular health, your muscles' flexibility and your overall strength are often not visible with those measurements.  That's why I believe in creating benchmark exercises or benchmark workouts. 

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What is Dynamic Stretching?

f you've read any fitness magazines or perused online workout videos recently, you've likely encountered the terms "dynamic warm-up" or "dynamic stretching." A dynamic warm-up is a method of stretching at the beginning of a workout that moves your body through various range of motion movements that are similar to a lighter version of your workout.

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Top 12 Fruits/Veggies To Buy Organic

The dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists are a great way to ease into buying organic produce.  These lists reveal the  most pesticide-laden produce items as well as the 15 produce items with the least amount of pesticides. The lists guide you in what products you'll want to buy organic and what products you can opt not to if you are tight on money or lack selection in your local grocery store.

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Why Are My Muscles Crazy Sore Two Days After a Workout?

Have you ever felt like your post-workout soreness was worse two days after your workout? You know the soreness I'm talking about - when it's hard to sit on the toilet or you feel every muscle in your abs when you laugh. If you are experiencing more intense soreness on day two following a workout, you are likely experiencing Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

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