Posts Tagged ‘women’

1, 2, 3 Lift!

For many women, and some men, targeting the butt during exercise is priority. From an anatomical standpoint, the butt consists of three muscles known as the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. When you want to create a fuller, rounder butt, you need to work these muscles with weight training exercises. You can use free weights and the weight of your body to achieve this goal.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

  • REDUCE your hips and thighs, and melt away those stubborn saddlebags
  • SHAPE your gluteal muscles to get you a perfectly round derriere
  • LIFT your bum so it looks great from every angle
Reduce, shape and lift your bum with the following exercises:
1. Lunges – Performed correctly, the lunge is excellent for reshaping the butt. Options include static, dynamic or step-ups.
2. Donkey Kicks (or kickbacks) are an excellent butt isolation movement.
3. Squats (or split squats) are a staple!
4. Butt Lifts – are very effective and work the hamstrings and lower back as well.
Wonderbum Womens Lift

Wonderbum – Women’s Lift

You may also wish to consider undergarments that lift and enhance your derriere! Having never tried one of these before  we decided to try Rounderwear.  Being a bit of a tom boy myself I was drawn to wonderbum women’s lift and couldn’t wait to give it a try. We ordered online and it arrived in a couple of days! Stress free! I am a firm believer in clean eating and exercise to deliver my fitness goals and I didn’t have much faith in the undergarment industry to deliver results BUT wouldn’t you know… it actually works! What a pleasant surprise! It took all of my hard work and lifted it just a little bit higher. Happy days are here again!  I’m no longer a skeptic. We’re still working hard at the gym but it’s nice to know that there’s a little extra support there when I need it!

Thanks Rounderwear your product kicks ass!

Your friends at Socially Fit.

The Organic Outcast

Kristin (age 14) ready for Halloween

I’m a  Mom to two beautiful daughters, age 6 and 8, who recently started the 1st and 3rd grades. Now that they’re older, I’m looking at returning to the workforce sometime in the next year, preferably as an Operations Manager or CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) of an investment advisory firm. As a stay-at-home Mom, my days are split between training, cooking, ferrying the girls to school & back, housework  and general parenting. I’m toying with the idea of obtaining the NASM certification to become a Personal Trainer and am making plans to compete in early 2013 in at least one fitness competition (Physique category) in Venice and/or San Diego, CA.

I did not grow up in a physically active family, but my younger brother and I had bicycles  and skateboards and were able to play outside year-round in San Diego, where I grew up. I wasn’t overweight in middle school but couldn’t run an entire mile, which was a requirement every Friday in PE class. Friends encouraged me to try out for the local soccer team, so I played soccer for 2 years in my early teens. I learned that short bursts of fast running were much easier for me than longer distance running, and saw the remaining ‘baby fat’ melt off. In high school I chose aerobics and basic weighlifting as my elective classes, because they were fun. My passion for fitness really kick-started in late high school, so in college I took 2 semesters’ worth of classes to become certified as an aerobics instructor at my university. I started team-teaching a weekly walk-in aerobics class while training in the university weight room after classes. Fast-forward 15 years, after having two children and a variety of desk jobs with long commutes; I hardly recognized a picture of myself taken at a friend’s wedding. I had neglected my health for far too long, and it showed. THAT was the catalyst to work hard over a period of 2 1/2 years to get to where I am now. At 36 years old, I can honestly say that I am in the best physical shape of my life, inside and out.

Kristin 2009 (before)

The physical changes brought about by fitness are the easiest to see. Mentally, I am also much stronger – seeing the limits I can push past and blow right through is an affirmation that I truly can do anything I put my mind to. Spiritually, I am also a stronger person. My personal motto is: Be stronger, kinder, fitter, and happier than yesterday. I’ve been ‘eating clean and training dirty’, as they say, for long enough now that this is simply my lifestyle. I go to the gym at roughly the same time every morning, eat the same basic meals every day and rarely deviate from the plan, even through injury, illness, and unforseen events. I bring my own food to parties and family events, tailor vacation and leisure time around nutrition and exercise and encourage my family to do the same. Health, strength and overall well-being are critical, so I make time for them. Each and every day the only person I am in competition with is myself the day/week/month/year before. I want to live to see my children grow and thrive and have success in whatever endeavors they undertake. I also want to personally enjoy the journey along the way!

These changes didn’t come about easily. It was tough, especially for the first two years. I was the only person in my family committed to eating healthier and going to the gym. I hired a personal trainer at the local YMCA, whose fitness and nutrition plans were, sadly, overly intensive and restrictive. My family was proud of me for losing 20 pounds in less than two months, but didn’t think I needed to lose weight and didn’t understand. I still had far too much body fat for good health, so I kept training daily on my own and cooked separate, healthier meals just for myself. I started bringing my own food to family/social events/parties, which raised eyebrows. I insisted that my young children not be given sugary treats by other family members and tried to balance their diets, too. I also eliminated processed food and junk like artificial colors, high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats. That’s where I came up with the name for my website (The Organic Outcast) because that’s how I honestly felt at the time. Eventually, family members started to realize that I had changed my entire lifestyle, as well as my childrens, and some started to accommodate our changing needs. My husband started training and eating healthier this year for the first time in decades after seeing my success, and he has lost nearly 50 pounds since hiring a personal trainer in March of this year.

After initial month of solid training and nutrition – down 13 lbs

The only limits in life, are the ones that we imagine, and the hardest obstacle to overcome is…me! Sometimes I worry that I haven’t accomplished enough fast enough, and make the mistake of trying to compare myself to others further along than me. Changes come slowly, and it’s easy to feel discouraged at times. The saving grace is that everyone feels this way, at least at some point. The key is reminding yourself that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint, and that it will take time. I find that taking frequent progress pictures (at least monthly) and reviewing them periodically to see the changes wrought helps enormously. The scale can be fickle, especially if you’re putting on muscle with strength training, so take measurements and also judge your progress based upon how your clothing fits.

I celebrate the little victories constantly – personal records made, new muscle growth perceived, increased strength, etc. Two major accomplishments do stand out, because both inspired me to dig deeper, push harder, and accomplish more. The first was running (and finishing!) my first 5K race in May 2010 at the age of 33. When I started training, I couldn’t run a mile. I couldn’t even run for two minutes straight. Several months later, I finished all 3.1 miles at a slow yet respectable running time of 34 minutes and 24 seconds. The second accomplishment I’m most proud of is more recent – several months ago I not only bought a bikini for the first time in over 15 years, I wore it to the beach. In public. Without self-consciousness. I then took a picture and posted it on Twitter for the world (OK, a few thousand folks) to see. I still have a long way to go to meet my personal fitness goals, but have learned to be comfortable in my own skin, even if there are scars and stretch marks on it now.

Progress pic taken Dec 2011

At the moment I train 5 days per week, with an active rest day on Wednesdays where I only stretch and do low-intensity cardio, and also on Sundays, where I stay out of the gym. My training days start with either volume or heavy weight training (either upper or lower body), followed by 30 minutes of either the stepmill, treadmill, or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training, such as jump rope/plyometrics). My daily supplements include a food-based multivitamin, the branch chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine & valine) and glutamine, a conditionally essential amino acid, to aid in muscle recovery; I lift quite heavy for my size. I rarely drink protein shakes, but one of my daily meals is a pudding made by mixing whey protein powder and Greek yogurt.

My good friend and trainer Trent, who also devised my training plan, set my macronutrient (protein, fat and carbohydrate) ratios to fit my current fitness goals, and I stick to those for each of my 5 daily meals. Breakfast is usually one whole egg scrambled with egg whites, oatmeal, berries, almond butter, and coffee and doubles as my pre-workout meal. Lunch (also my post-workout meal) is tuna or salmon mixed with broccoli, sweet potatoes and avocado. Meal #3 is protein pudding made with chocolate whey protein powder, plain Greek yogurt, shaved coconut or coconut oil, brown rice cakes, and fruit. Dinner is chicken or turkey breast (grass-fed beef sirloin on heavy leg training days) with asparagus, brown rice and extra-virgin olive oil. On rest days I eliminate the brown rice from dinner. Meal #5 (right before bedtime, at 9:30-10pm) is 2 whole eggs scrambled with egg whites and spinach/kale/chard, topped with cultured cottage cheese. I also drink 12 ounces of water with every meal to help meet my daily goal of 100 ounces of water. Every week I also have one high-carb meal – not a cheat/treat meal, simply a meal where I eat more carbohydrates than usual. Belgian waffles and cracked wheat sourdough baguettes are my favorite choices. This meal is usually eaten on Monday afternoon or evening and also doubles as ‘carb-loading’ to help fuel heavy leg training early the next morning.

Kristin (NOW)

Now that I’ve greatly increased muscle mass and strength, along with improving my overall cardiovascular health, my personal fitness goal is keeping the lean muscle mass I have while leaning out in preparation for upcoming fitness competitions. I will also absolutely keep motivating and supporting other folks on their own fitness journeys, via social media, as well as in the gym, daily. Starting out is always the toughest part. Remind yourself of the reasons you chose to improve your health and fitness (children, medical issues, improved quality of life, etc.). Don’t be intimidated by others you perceive as fitter/leaner/healthier than you – EVERYONE had to start somewhere, even that well-muscled man at the gym who looks like he eats 45-pound iron plates for lunch! Surround yourself with like-minded folks who will encourage and support you, and do the same for them in return. Ask for help from professionals, such as reputable personal trainers, and do your own research as well. Take small steps at first, because they lead to big changes. After six weeks of eating healthier and training regularly it becomes a hard-to-shake habit. Keep at it, and after six months it will become an integral part of your lifestyle.

My self-imposed mandate is to spread the word to women that we NEED to add strength training (i.e., weightlifting) to our fitness plans. The benefits are myriad, including improving bone density, cardiovascular health and building lean muscle mass, which in turn speeds up metabolism, leading to increased fat burning capabilities. I desperately want to de-bunk the ridiculous myth that if women train with heavy weights they will look like men. This is NOT TRUE!!! The majority of my heavy training is with free weights that weigh more than I do. No bulk, just lean muscle mass. I am 5’3″ and wear a US size 2Petite. Women do not naturally produce the amount of testosterone that men do, limiting how much muscle mass our bodies can build.

I love interacting with others, especially on Twitter, which is one of my favorite places to share health and fitness tips, motivation and insights. I absolutely love social media for bringing together folks from so many different cities, countries, backgrounds, etc. and allowing us to share our stories and lift each other up. I can honestly say that interaction has helped me further along with my own personal fitness journey than I’d ever thought possible.


I can be reached via, Twitter (@OrganicOutcast), Facebook (The Organic Outcast), and Email ( I also plan to start blogging again very soon on my website,

We Are What We Lift

Progressive resistance is crucial to any women’s strength-training program. Once your muscles adapt to a given exercise, you need to increase either the resistance or the number of repetitions to promote future gains. Begin with a weight that allows you to do a minimum of eight repetitions of a particular exercise. Once you are able to complete 12 repetitions with that weight, you should increase the weight by about five percent. At this point, drop back to eight repetitions with the heavier weight. Once you’ve worked up to 12 repetitions with the heavier weight, you increase it by another five percent.

The recovery process between training sessions takes at least 48 hours. Because of this, your strength -training sessions should be scheduled no more frequently than every other day. If you enjoy training more frequently, avoid hitting the same muscle group on consecutive days.

Here is a sample training schedule for a person who does a moderate amount of exercise each week:

  • Monday & Thursday: Upper body strength training. Do three sets of eight repetitions of things like arm exercises and back exercises. When you are done, do 10 minutes of low to medium intensity cardio, such as jogging on the treadmill.
  • Tuesday & Friday: Lower body strength training and abdominals. Do three sets of eight repetitions. Do a 20 minute, moderate intensity cardio workout.
  • Wednesday & Saturday: Do a 30 to 40 minute cardio workout at a high intensity.
  • Sunday: Rest!

As a woman, you don’t have enough testosterone to get the big bulging muscles that body builders get. So stop worrying about bulking up and pick up some heavier weights at the gym. Weights that are too light for you will not magically shape and tone your body. Don’t be intimidated by the equipment that men traditionally use. You pay for that barbell with your gym membership just as much as he does. Use a barbell to do squats or try lifting for your arm exercises twice per week with one of your friends as a spotter.

When you perform any series of strength training exercises, make sure to perform exercises that involve compound movements for the larger muscle groups prior to performing isolation exercises for the smaller muscle groups. For example, if you fatigue your generally weak triceps prior to performing a bench press, your form will be less than optimal while performing the bench press. This is because the triceps assist the pectoral in performing the press.

The speed of the lifting movement is also an important factor to consider. For best results, count one to two seconds for the lifting portion of the exercise and three to four seconds for the lowering portion of the movement. Avoid fast, jerky movements that rely on momentum, as opposed to muscle.

See you at the gym, and remember we are what we lift!

Your friends at “Socially Fit”


Menopause – Nutritional and Herbal Tips

Menopause is the natural cessation of menstruation and ovulation, which typically occurs in women ages 40-55. Though menopause is sometimes called the “change of life,” it does not have to change your life in a negative way. Rather, there are many natural strategies you can use to make the transition as smooth and health-promoting as possible.

Nutrition is a big part of everyday life and, for that reason, one of the best tools you can use to control any menopause-related symptoms. Once you know how to select foods that will support your body during menopause, you will feel more in control of what your body is experiencing, but you will also be practicing the best medicine possible — prevention.

Menopause is often associated with stressful symptoms like hot flashes, sweating, irritability, depression, and stomach upset. Why is that? Many naturopathic and allopathic doctors attribute menstruation with the ability to eliminate toxins from the body. Once menstruation ends, toxins have to find new channels and can overload other eliminatory channels. When this occurs, physical symptoms of toxicity appear.

Women cannot stop menopause from happening. But, we can ease the transition with a good nutrition program. There has been a lot of research about the role herbs can play in balancing hormones in the body. Plant saponins, such as the diosgenin found in wild yam, cause a mild balancing response by binding directly to hormone receptors. The following herbs contain beneficial saponins: black cohosh, dong quai, elder, ginseng, licorice, passion flower, and wild yam.

In addition, herbs can supply the extra nutrients needed during menopause. Calcium-rich herbs, for example, support bone health and are easy to incorporate into the daily diet via cooked meals or teas, including: alfalfa, cayenne, chamomile, chives, cleavers, dandelion, dill, parsley, plantain, red raspberry, red clover, rosehip, watercress, and yellow dock.

Additional vitamin and nutrient-rich herbs that can ease menopause include:

  • Vitamin C (healthy teeth and gums, heart health, and clears out toxins): alfalfa, catnip, cayenne, dandelion, hawthorn, parsley, red raspberry, and rosehips.
  • Vitamin E (for heart health and arteries): alfalfa, dandelion, kelp, red raspberry, rosehips, and watercress.
  • Iodine (promotes nerve and brain activity and regulates metabolism): garlic, Irish moss, kelp, mustard, nettle, and parsley.
  • Vitamin B1 (nervous and digestive system health): cayenne, dandelion, fathen, fenugreek, kelp, and watercress.
  • Vitamin B2 (eye health): burdock, dandelion, fenugreek, parsley, and watercress.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin supports the adrenal glands; deficiency symptoms include insomnia, depression, and irritability): alfalfa, burdock, fathen, kelp, parsley, and sage.

Some women suffer from more severe menopausal symptoms. These symptoms may be the result of malfunctioning adrenal glands, which, during menopause, “take over” some of the traditional functions of the ovaries, easing menopausal symptoms. For these women, the use of herbs can be very effective. Note that the herbal tea remedy below is not meant to take the place of any prescribed medicine. Rather, always consult your health care professional before making significant changes to your diet. The recipe below can, however, be added into the diet as a health promoting supplement.

Parsley is known specifically for its effective work with the adrenals. Here is a simple-to-make tea recipe, which will help to integrate parsley into the diet.

Menopause Tea

  • ½ oz nettle
  • ½ oz cleavers
  • ½ oz parsley
  • ½ oz orange leaves and flowers
  • ½ oz red raspberry
  • ¼ oz hops
  • ¼ oz senna leaves

First mix the herbs together and store in a glass container, preferably in a dark and cool cupboard. Then, as needed, use 1 tsp of the herb blend to prepare a tea. The ratio is 1 tsp of the herb mixture to 1 cup of boiling water. Steep the herbs for 10-15 minutes. Prepare as needed. Do not store for long periods of time. Drink 1-3 cups a day between meals.

Your friends at “Socially Fit”