Archive for April, 2012

What time is it? Booty Time!

Great butts come in all shapes and sizes!

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“So Cosmo says you’re fat, well I ain’t down with that!  ‘Cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin’ and I’m thinkin’ bout stickin.”–Sir Mix-A-Lot

I hope that if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know that I like to “keep it real.”  Well I’d like to keep on keep keepin’ it real on another popular topic, one of the most serenaded parts of the anatomy, and Sir Mix-a-Lot’s favorite body part, the arse, bottom, rump, patootie, rear…da butt.

Your butt consists of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus muscles.  As with any muscle, you can do exercises to strengthen, tone, and increase the size of these muscles.  There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of exercises you can do to target your cheeks, but no matter how many exercises you do you will NOT be able to build a butt like Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, or JLo, unless you were born with it.  Those voluptuous rear ends were not made, they were refined with exercise.  The size of those signature derrieres is all thanks to their parents.

Baby got a smidgen of back...

I can thank my parents for many things, a long infinite list of things, but bubble butt is not on that list.  The small bump that I do have back there, is thanks to years of dancing, some serious training over the past couple of years, and more recently, HIIT (my high intensity interval training class that I like to sneak glute-targeting exercises into every month).

Could she BE any hotter?!

I absolutely adore JLo.  She’s gorgeous, she has an incredible body, she’s a fantastic performer, and I appreciate her bodacious bottom, but I know that I will NEVER have an ass-tastic behind like hers.  I’m not being negative, I’m being realistic.

With that being said, I want you to approach goal setting for your posterior from a realistic standpoint.  Please, by all means, set goals that are achievable like firming, lifting, tightening, and toning your fanny, but do NOT set ass-inine goals that will set you up for failure.  If your butt is in the size-range of mine, do not set a goal to have a JLo booty, unless you’re planning on surgery.  I’m not looking at the glass as being half empty, I’m keepin’ the glass real.

Varying my squat, with a little help from Sake!

Two tried and true exercises that will firm, lift, and strengthen your keister are lunges and squats.  Focus on form when doing these exercises because it’s easy to engage your quadriceps more than your glutes.  Really press through your heels when you come back to a standing position to engage your glutes and your hammies (that’s the technical term for hamstrings).  Remember, quality over quantity!  There are hundreds of variations of these two exercises, so try them all!

Add some plyometrics to make these two exercises even more dynamic.  Click on these links for an animated how to on split squat jumps (AKA plyo lunges) and jump squats.



Highway out of the comfort zone.

Don't let the smile and sparkles fool you, this is NOT comfortable!

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“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”–Dan Hayes

I’m not one for inspirational quotes, but this one speaks to me because it makes complete sense, and I love sense.  If you want something to change, but you’re not making any changes, how do you expect change to occur?

I admit, making a change is scary.  I’ve made many changes in the past that have scared the beep out of me, including:

  • Quitting ballet in high school
  • Moving out of my parents house and into Broward Hall at UF
  • Becoming a bar tender
  • Going back to school for my Master’s
  • Becoming a fitness competitor
  • Retiring from the Atlanta Hawks Dance Team
  • Retiring from bar tending
  • Becoming a group exercise instructor
  • Becoming a personal trainer
  • Starting my own business

WAAAAAAAAAY out of my comfort zone here. The dance team had to fill in for some of the cheerleaders last minute, and we had to learn how to stunt the night before this game. Hand up butt + scary stunts = out of comfort zone

Every one of these changes was frightening for me.  In some cases I was scared of failure, in others, I was scared of losing my identity.  I could not be happier to have made each one of these changes though.  If I had not stepped out of my comfort zone and made these changes, I would not be were I am today.

The same goes for your body.  If you’re not happy with the body you have now, do something about it.  Make a change!  You need to step out of your comfort zone.  This goes double for those of you who have hit a plateau.  Hitting a plateau just means that you need to make a change.  Meaning, you need to push harder.  The better shape you get into, the harder you’re going to have to work to improve and maintain that shape.  It always shocks me when people say, “You can probably eat whatever you want and not work out.”  Actually, it’s quite the opposite.  I eat a balanced diet, and push myself hard when it comes to exercise.  This is why, despite the 13 classes I teach weekly, I still workout on my own and take other people’s classes.  I love working with other trainers and taking other teacher’s classes because they know what I’m capable of and they push me past my comfort zone!  This is also the mentality that gets me through HIIT.

So, if you are striving for change, whether it’s with your weight, your health, your happiness, your job, your relationship, or any other aspect of your life, and you’re still getting the same results, you need to make a change!  Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to make a change – small change, big change, loose change, just make a change!


I’m ready for my close up…almost.

Becoming the Fitness New Mexico 2011 champion was worth the sacrifices!

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Since I have many clients, students, and friends who have big events, including NFL cheerleader auditions and Bikini Nirvana, coming up, I thought I would write a post explaining my prep work for competitions and photo shoots.  I am unconventional when it comes to fitness competitors.  I designed my own pre-contest diet, which I based off of my research during my master’s program at Georgia State…and it works for me.  Since my methods are a little less intense than other competitors, they are perfect for women who are just wanting to lose that last little bit of bloat before a big event.  The tips that follow are for women who are already in fairly good shape and just need a little tweak to get ready for their big day.  I am currently two weeks out from a photo shoot, so I am in the middle of this regimen myself.

3 months out from your big day

  • Cut out all alcohol.  This includes beer, wine, hard liquor, wine coolers, Zima, shots, martinis, any and all things containing alcohol.  No exceptions.  Alcohol contains unnecessary calories and is metabolized (turned into) to fat within your body (beer belly much?)  Since some of you are only a few weeks out, you need to cut the alcohol NOW, no exceptions.  You can do it!
  • Soda must also be cut at this time, diet and no calorie sodas included.  No sodas whatsoever!

1 month out

  • Sweets must go!  Cut out all refined sugars, cookies, cakes, ice cream, pie, sweetened coffee beverages, etc, etc, etc.  No cheat days for this, sugar must go.

Most of the following tips should be followed year round, but you need to be very disciplined with them in the month leading up to your big event:

  • Do not skip ANY meals!  You want to make sure you’re eating every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  It is better to eat something, than to skip a meal entirely.
  • Eat breakfast!  This should be done within 20 minutes of waking up.  If you are not a breakfast eater, now is not the time to throw down on eggs, bacon, and hash brown breakfasts.  Try having a small glass of juice or milk, whatever you can handle, and work your way up to a more solid meal, like cereal.  The key here is to BREAK your FAST, hence the name breakfast:)
  • Eat a butt load of veggies.  Have veggies whenever possible
  • Have some protein at every meal.  Take your weight, divide by 2, and that gives you the amount of protein, in grams, that you should be consuming per day.  Don’t forget that protein is found in more than just meat.
  • Drink water consistently throughout the day.  Carry a bottle (or jug, like I do) with you everywhere you go.  While chugging a bunch of water in spurts here and there is better than nothing, it is more beneficial to consistently hydrate yourself in moderation throughout the day.
  • Choose complex carbs like brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, farro or whole grains at meals.  Skip the simple carbs like white breads, pastas, and rice.
  • Go easy on the evening carbsYour evening meal should consist of a lean meat or protein (chicken, fish, tofu) and lots of colorful non starchy veggies (spinach, beets, peppers, squash, zucchini, kale, etc).  I, myself, like having a big salad at dinner with my protein.
  • No cheat days.  Since you aren’t really depleting that much, there is no need for you to have a cheat day.  It’s only one month, and whatever you are working towards will be worth it!
  • Get active!  Try to get in at least 3 days of resistance training per week, these should be total body workouts.  If you are able to commit more days to resistance training, you can break up your workouts into different body parts (e.g. back and biceps, chest and triceps, legs, shoulders and abs).  Don’t forget about cardio!  I’m not talking about hop on the treadmill and jogging for 30 minutes.  I’m talking about get your heart pumping cardio!  A 4 minute Tabata (shown in the video below) would be more beneficial for what you are trying to accomplish than a 30 minute jog. (You can do this Tabata using different exercises such as jump squats, burpees, jumping jacks, push ups, etc up to 4 times, but take a 3-4 minute rest in between each round.)  Try this free online Tabata clock

  • Get some sleep!  Some studies have shown that people who sleep less, tend to gain more weight.  Plus, dark circles and bags are really hard to cover up.
  • STAY OFF THE SCALE!  Weight is not important, it’s how you look and feel.  Obsessing will only make you crazy, and will do more harm than good (both mentally and physically).  Remember, no matter what you’re preparing for (whether it’s auditions or a competition), it should be a fun experience!  When you start freaking out, ask yourself this one question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  Answer: You don’t make the team or you don’t place.  In the grand scheme of things, who cares?  The earth will still be spinning tomorrow.  So enjoy this time of preparation and leave the worrying for bills or something boring like that.

Some of the aforementioned tips might be a bit much for you, but remember this, there is always at least one other woman who is making one more sacrifice than you and that woman may very well be the one who edges you out by mere points.  Accomplishment takes making sacrifices.  For some of you, that might be skipping a night out with your friends, or missing out on a slice of cake at a friend’s party.  Whatever your sacrifice may be, remember that it will be worth it once you have achieved your goal.  I’m only asking you to be strict for a month, and I’m asking nicely!

To keep yourself motivated, hang up something that will remind you daily of your finish line.  It can be your audition outfit, a picture of the team that you’re auditioning for, your competition bikini, or a picture of a previous winner.  But remember, this is just to keep you motivated not to make you feel bad about yourself!

Nicole, keeping me motivated for my photo shoot!

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Your first 5K.

I don't run, but Tes does!

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I don’t run.  It bothers my knees and it bores me.  I would run occasionally in high school, because the ocean air makes being outside quite pleasant.  I would run in college, but I timed my jogging to when football practice was getting out…sweaty, half naked men are what I like to call a motivator.  I think we may have run a few times my first year as a Hawks dancer, but that’s a distant, and obviously blocked, memory.  I can’t say that I’ve run much since then.

I do, however, encourage those who enjoy running, to do so!  It’s a fantastic form of cardio, stress relief, and weight baring activity which is an excellent way to increase bone density.  That is why I am a sponsor for the RunningNerds 5k on April 14 here in Atlanta, GA.  My friend, Tes, the organizer for this event, asked me to not only be a sponsor but the official “warmer upper” for this race.  I am honored to have been given this opportunity because I love Tes’ philosophy when it comes to training.  She is a huge advocate of cross training…literal across sport training; she encourages her runners to try different types of exercise to prepare for races.  This is why a dance teacher (me, in desir80s form) will be doing the warm up for her race.  Now, I consider myself to be a well-educated trainer and teacher, and I stay current with my continuing education, but I do not know the first thing about preparing for a 5K, which is why I have asked Tes to be a part of my blog this week.

Here are Tes’ Top Ten Tips for your first 5K:

1) Don’t start out too fast!  Run your own race, your first 5K is NOT a track meet!

2) Arrive early to the race, about 45 minutes to an hour.  Give yourself enough time so you can get in a good warm up (Running Nerds, you get to warm up 80s style!), meet other firsties, and have time to smooth out any wrinkles that may come up (e.g. parking).

3) Pick up your race bib early, if that option is available.  This will allow you to get information ahead of time and cut down on tasks you have to do on race day. (For you Running Nerds, you’ll be able to pick up your bib early at yoforia on Howell Mill Rd. on Thursday, April 12 between 5pm and 8pm or at Big Peach Running Company (the Peachtree location) on Friday, April 13, between 3pm and 6pm.

4) Wear non cotton socks.  This will prevent blisters and wick moisture and sweat away from your skin.

5) Make sure you have shoes that you’ve been wearing!  This is not the time to break in a new pair of kicks you got for 50% off at Foot Locker!

I don't think I'll get very far with backless sneaks...

6) Have a dress rehearsal.  Run in clothing that you know you’re comfortable in, don’t try an itchy shirt the day of the race or shorts you’re going to be picking out of your butt.

7) Trust your training.  Trust that you can complete the distance.  Trust your ability to get out there and do it.

8) Enjoy yourself!  It goes by quickly, so enjoy the journey, the race, and the atmosphere.

9) Plan to stay for the after party!  Running Nerds, you’ll definitely want to plan to stay, it’s going to be the post-race party of the year!

10) Be proud of your accomplishment!  Just because it’s “only” 3 miles, doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment!!  The RunningNerds 5k will be a festival of runners, and will include a special celebration for “My First 5K” runners!

Desiree’s Bonus Tip: Race day is not the time to experiment with your diet.  Do not try new foods, drinks, energy drinks, supplements, gels, etc the day of the race.  You never know how your body will react.  Diarrhea + running = not fun.

Looking for more tips?  Become a member of Tes’ facebook group My First 5K!  And follow RunningNerds on facebook!

The RunningNerds 5K on April 14 is leashed-dog friendly! Just make sure that your dog can run 3 miles, or you might ending up carrying the little mutt across the finish line.


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