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Seven Ways to Say Goodbye to Saddlebags

Storm fitness

This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist.  Jessica is the owner of Storm Fitness – A Personal Training and Nutrition Company based out of Reston, VA.  Her Company has been servicing the Northern Virginia area for over a decade and has received numerous recognitions for the life changing results they have delivered to their clients.   Read more about their offerings at www.StormFitness.com

As a personal trainer, one of the questions I get asked most is “how do I get rid of my saddlebags?” It’s a common complaint among women as stubborn fat often resides in the hip and thigh area. There are some really great exercises that can have this area toned up and trim for you in no time. It just takes some dedication and consistency.

Sorry my friends, there is no magic pill out there to melt off those saddlebags, and I wouldn’t be expecting one anytime soon. Good old-fashioned exercise will do the trick. Exercise will make you feel great — even better when you see the results.

Spot reducing is a myth. The great thing about these exercises is they have the ability to tone the entire body. This will really boost your overall calorie burn so that you see results all over. It is important to remember that in order to tone and trim down, eating whole, nutritious foods and following a healthy lifestyle is an essential requirement for longterm results.

Here are my top seven exercises for melting off saddlebags. The best part is no equipment is required:

  • Do these exercises in a circuit format. Perform each exercise in order and then follow it with a one-minute break.
  • Repeat the circuit two to three more times. If you are just starting out with exercise, then build up to doing the circuit three times. Perform this routine three days per week for the next four weeks.
  1. Cross over lunge with leg lift out to the side, 20 each side
  2. Plié squats, 20 total
  3. Step Ups with lateral leg lift, 20 each leg.
  4. Skater lunges, 15 on each side
  5. Side walking squat with resistance band, 20 each side.
  6. Lateral side step lunge back to a one leg balance, 15 each side
  7. Fire-hydrants – performed on hands and knees, 20 each side

Email me your results at [email protected]. I can’t wait to hear about your success!

If you need more detailed descriptions of each of these exercises you can head over to my website to find videos and descriptions on how to perform each of these exercises.

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Take These Steps Instead of Making a Fitness Resolution

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This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. This week’s post is from trainer Genevieve from the Storm Fitness team.

According to research at the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution stick to it.

Seems bleak, right? I thought that. Then I pondered it. We typically pick a weakness and plan to kick that habit or lack of habit.

When I think of a New Year’s resolution, I think of advertisements for Weight Watchers and LA Fitness. The definition of a resolution is the firm decision to do something or not do something. So leave your lofty goals in 2014. It’s 2015!

I realize that this article is coming from someone who lives, eats, and breathes a healthy lifestyle. How could I possibly understand the weight roller coaster you have been on or your relationship with food? Well I can, because I have a resolution of every day until the day I die to treat my body kindly. I crave sugar, cheese, wine, and I sometimes loathe the idea of a workout.

Here are my tips to sticking to your goals in the New Year.

Get Specific: When you set loose goals like “work out more” or “eat healthy,” there is a lot of room to cheat and barely make a change in your lifestyle. I am specific with myself. I tell myself what food is off limits and my workout schedule is prescheduled down to the activity and time of day.

Start Small: You can make a small change that can catapult your motivation when you realize you are capable. For example, if your weakness is snacking,  cut out all your usual junk and replace it with fruit, veggies and hummus, etc. When you get into this healthy habit you may find yourself making smarter choices all around.

Move: Get a fitness tracker that encourages you to move. Being sedentary is exhausting. It is easier to get up off your butt when you are not on it in the first place.

Try Something New: Don’t punish yourself on a treadmill day after day. There are so many exercise styles out there. Boredom can be avoided in your workout and in your diet! Hunt for some delicious healthy recipes and try something new.

Reach Out: You are human, and it is hard to commit to a fitness program, especially if you have not had your own routine in a while. Find workout buddies or hire a trainer.

Be Realistic: It is impossible to follow a perfect diet and exercise regimen. When life happens you have to be able to fall off the wagon and hop right back on. Don’t have a handful of chips and decide to eat the whole bag. Don’t quit the gym after you get a cold. There is always tomorrow and there is always room to grow.

To read more about Trainer Genevieve visit her profile page on the Storm Fitness website. Happy New Year!

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Seven Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Storm fitness

This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist and owner of Storm Fitness – A Personal Training and Nutrition Company based in Reston.

Yes, losing weight without dieting is possible. In fact, it’s how I help my clients achieve their weight loss goals.  Just the mention of the word “diet” can send the brain and body into a frenzy mode.

First, you begin think of all the things you will need to deny yourself of in order to achieve your weight loss and you immediately swear off ever having any of those bad foods ever again. Then the cravings set in and the brain goes to work constantly thinking about all the food that you must deny yourself. This can really get depressing fast — who wants to live their life feeling this way?

Did you realize that the word diet has the word “die” in it? When we diet, we deprive ourselves. When we drastically overhaul how we have been living it is not sustainable.

I want my clients to live a full and happy life. I teach them how to be successful while not denying themselves of fun times and yummy foods. It is possible. It doesn’t need to be a struggle and it shouldn’t be. I have listed below a few tips that you can start to implement into your lifestyle right now.

It really doesn’t take drastic measures.  Baby steps are just fine.  I love that famous quote “if you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” Keep this approach in mind as you begin implementing some of these strategies to drop excess weight and get your health back.

1. Drink Lots of Water: I recommend getting rid of most all other beverages.  Herbal teas can be great. If you don’t like plain water, try adding some lemon to it. Green tea is a great way to get a little bit of caffeine in the morning — and it is also a metabolism booster. Soda — even diet soda — is one of the worst things you can have and it deserves no place in your body.

2. Give Into your Cravings: If you feel a craving coming on, drink a glass of water or a cup of hot tea. If it’s still there, then give into a small piece of your craving. Really, the first bite or two are the ones that taste the best. Take your time and savor the flavor and then don’t go back for more.

3. Banish Emotional Eating: Before you eat, always ask yourself, “am I really hungry?” Often, we are not and we are eating as a way to self-soothe. Tune into your body and mind.  Putting a piece of chocolate in your mouth is going to soothe you for about 10 seconds until you need to go back for your next fix.  Eat only when you are hungry.

4. Cook Your Own Food: Having healthy food and snacks on hand is essential. You don’t want to end up at McDonald’s due to lack of planning.  Prep meals ahead of time, it really doesn’t take as long as you think. Learn to cook healthy whole foods. Wean yourself away from the processed products.

5. Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal: This trick works for so many of my clients. Most people really don’t want to put food in their mouth after brushing their teeth.

6. Don’t Clean Your Plate.  Take a good look at the amount you have been eating and try reducing that by one-quarter or more. You will be surprised the portions you have been eating. Eat from blue plates – studies show people eat less when surrounded by blue.  Or use smaller dishes — smaller size dishes means less food on them.

7. Exercise: Just walking an extra mile a day or burning roughly an extra 100 calories more per day will start to change your internal body chemistry. This is important so that you start to become a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. It’s imperative that you add some form of strength training at least two times per week. This is the secret weapon to stoking your metabolism and sculpting your body.

Don’t think you have to go crazy with your exercise. In fact, too much can just send our bodies into a destructive mode where more calories are craved and adrenals become stressed. There is a fine balance when it comes to exercise, and it’s often less than you think.

There are programs out there (both videos and classes) that are prime examples of taking exercise to the extreme. They can end up doing more harm than good in the long run, so it is important to really understand what you are getting into and why. If you are confused or not seeing result, find out the balance that is right for your body by seeking out proper guidance from a certified expert.

Wishing you health and happiness in 2015 and beyond!

Storm Fitness has been serving Northern Virginia area for more than a decade and has received numerous recognitions for the life changing results they have delivered to their clients. Read more about their offerings at www.StormFitness.com

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The Best Booty Workout for Your Bottom Type

Storm fitness

This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. 

All bodies have different bottom shapes. I’ll bet you didn’t know that your butt could most likely be classified into one of these four basic shapes: V, Round, Square or Heart. And if we want to get even more specific within those categories, we could also have these types: Flat, Saggy, Small and Ample bottoms.

For the sake of this article I will be focusing on the latter categories.

Of course, most of the exercises I describe below will be great for your booty regardless of its shape/size. However, like any good workout program, if you really want to start seeing some fine-tuned results, then your exercises really need to be customized according to your butt shape and type.

Generalized exercise programs can be great for someone getting started without any contraindications, but if you want to really see results you need to get customized.

I customize my clients’ programs based on a thorough assessment of their particular body type and goals they want to reach. This is how I am then able to sculpt their assets into the best shape possible. I show them the appropriate exercises for their bodies in order to get stellar results. Run-of-the-mill exercise tapes and programs are just too general to deliver the results that my clients wish to achieve.

So, what is your booty shape?

  • Flat: You have trouble building the muscles up in your buttock area and overall find you have a “flat” shape.
  • Saggy: Your bottom droops or sags; does not feel “lifted” in your pants.
  • Small: You tend to lose weight or muscle in this area first and have trouble “filling out” your pants.
  • Ample: Your bottom is round and large and you tend to put on weight or muscle in this area very easily.

Now that you have determined your booty shape, here are some exercises to target those buns.

Flat Butt Prescription: These exercises will help to perk up the muscles in your bottom area and fill/lift.

  1. Bridges and/or single leg bridges
  2. Curtsy Lunges
  3. Donkey Kicks on hands and knees
  4. Step ups (using chair, bench or plyo box)
  5. Side step squat with resistance band

Saggy Butt Prescription: These exercises will lift your bottom and create more definition between the hamstring/gluteus area to lessen the droopy effect.

  1. Walking Lunges and/or Step back lunges
  2. Stability ball hamstring curls
  3. Explosive jump squats
  4. Romanian Dead Lifts or single leg pickups
  5. Fire hydrants

Small Butt Prescription: These exercises will help to fill out your bottom area by focusing on working all the muscles of the gluteus to create definition.

  1. Goblet Squats
  2. Side Lunges
  3. Bird/Dog
  4. Box Jumps and/or explosive lunges

Ample Butt Prescription: These exercises will help to keep your bottom toned while not adding additional bulk in the gluteus area.

  1. Plié Squat
  2. Ball straight leg hamstring lift
  3. Leg Circles
  4. Side lying left lifts

Always remember that it’s best to get clear on where you fall on the spectrum. If you want to see outstanding results, then you will need to  do multiple exercises that target your specific shape.

If you’re confused about what butt shape you have, then go ahead and do them all for a major booty blast workout! Any exercise is better than no exercise — and all of these exercises put together can still be fantastic booty shapers regardless of your shape and size!

Jessica Storm is the owner of Storm Fitness — A Personal Training and Nutrition Company based in Reston. Her company has been serving the Northern Virginia area for over a decade and has received numerous recognition for the life-changing results it has delivered to clients. Read more at www.StormFitness.com.

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Ways To Shrink Your Belly Without Exercise

Storm fitness

This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist.  Jessica is the owner of Storm Fitness — a personal training and nutrition company based in Reston. Storm Fitness has been servicing the Northern Virginia area for over a decade and has received numerous recognitions for the life-changing results they have delivered to their clients.   Read more about their offerings at www.StormFitness.com

There are ways to whittle your midsection without exercise. Here are six tips to make it happen:

1. Work on Perfecting Your Posture: When my clients come in to see me, the first thing we do is a posture assessment. It’s amazing how our bodies can slump over the minute we get tired. This in turn causes us to disengage our core and overwork certain muscle groups.

When muscles aren’t engaged and working, our bodies certainly aren’t burning calories as efficiently. Not only that, but your belly is going to look a lot bigger than it actually is if you’re hunched over. Try standing up tall, shoulders back and naval to the spine.Think about it often during the day and keep practicing. I often have my clients perform pelvic tilts and other drills to work on their posture. Soon it becomes second nature and they don’t even have to think about it anymore.

2. Make Clean Eating the Majority:  Believe it or not, when it comes to the belly area what you are eating is way more important than the exercises you are performing. Sure, there are boatloads of abdominal exercises (I have mad tricks up my sleeve) to tighten and tone the tummy, but ultimately if you are building muscle with a layer of fat on top you will never “see” your abs. What you might inadvertently be doing is making your pant size even tighter by building up the muscle on top of fat.

Practice clean eating along with the toning exercises and you will start feeling your midsection melt down in no time.

Here are the clean eating basics:

  • Eliminate processed, refined foods and sugars.
  • Try sticking to whole foods with only one ingredient in them and cook your own foods.
  • Work with a professional to get a customized food plan that is right for your body type and to know if you have any food allergies. There are some very healthy foods that might be beneficial for one person and inflammatory for another. 

3. Avoid Foods That Bloat and Cause Gas: Drinking through a straw, chewing gum and sucking on hard candy can all cause gassiness because they increase how much air you swallow. In addition, sweeteners, dairy and whole grains are some main food culprits that can often be the source of major bloat.

Other healthy culprits can sometimes be beans and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Fruits like carrots, apricots and prunes can sometimes also lead to bloating. Trying an elimination diet is the best way to see if these foods might be causing your tummy issues.

4. Eat Slowly and Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals: Overeating and eating too fast can be major culprits of bloat, causing your stomach to look twice its size.

Often we don’t realize how quickly we are chowing down our meals. This in turn can cause us to overeat. Before our brains and stomachs can register what we’ve fed it, we’ve already eaten twice as much as we should. Not to mention, not chewing your food long enough can lead to digestion issues.

Breaking your meals into smaller increments throughout the day can also make digestion easier and reduce your chances of bloating. Try playing around with it to see what works best for you. But whatever you do, make your meals sacred and give yourself the time you need to properly enjoy your meals slowly.

5. Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep Each Night: Study after study shows that getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night can dramatically reduce the amount of weight you put on — especially around your middle.  Plus, you’ll feel and function way better throughout your day.  Enough said.

6Try this Metabolism Boosting Drink: Apple cider vinegar has long been touted for its health benefits. Scientific studies now show it boosts metabolism. Try combining it with these other metabolic boosters for a morning pick-me-up: 12 oz. water mixed (I like mine with warm water) with 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar (please get the raw unfiltered kind with the “mother” in it), 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 dash of Cayenne Pepper (optional – a little goes a long way so be careful here). Try adding raw organic honey to taste.

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Why You’re Working Out and Not Seeing Results

Storm fitness

This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. Jessica is the owner of Storm Fitness – A Personal Training and Nutrition Company based in Reston.

Working out but not getting the results you want?

It really isn’t a secret and it really isn’t your fault that you aren’t achieving or seeing the results you desire with your current fitness program. You just need a fresh perspective.

We can often be our own worst enemy when carrying out our fitness routine. Here are the top five traps we see with some of our clients.

Lack Of Consistency in Your Workouts. What is most important is that you do some type of exercise five to six days per week on a consistent basis. This trumps intensity.

All too often, I hear about people starting intense workout programs and going hard for three or four months and then completely burning themselves out because the program is unsustainable.  It’s the same as going on a crazy, restricted diet that you know you can’t sustain for the long haul. Be consistent with both your workouts and your eating. Seek the help of a professional to find a balance and middle ground if you are struggling in this area.

Not Understanding Your Body Type and the Specific Exercises it Needs. Finding the right combination of fitness programing is not as simple as it may seem.

I think videos and group classes are great, but they’re not for everyone and they certainly won’t produce the same results for everyone. Everybody is different and needs individualized programing.

For example, I have clients that bulk in the thighs very quickly and it’s not a “look” they are after.  I have a very customized routine for these types of individuals and I actually make sure to avoid weighted squats and lunges for these body types.

These are great exercises. But for my clients who are frustrated when their pants get too tight in the thigh area, this exercise is not for them. Instead, we shape and streamline with a boatload of other thigh trimming exercise that make the thighs slender rather than bulky.

Binge Eating on the Weekend and/or Improper Diet in General. If you haven’t heard of clean eating, then we need to talk. Changing your eating habits is a step-by-step process for most clients. You will never see or feel the results you want if you are eating junk calories. All the exercise in the world will never make up for improper eating habits.

It’s imperative to begin taking steps towards eating a whole foods based “clean eating” diet at least 80 percent of the time (and yes, it is possible). This is a true lifestyle change; bouncing around with your weight on fad diet and fitness routines is ultimately damaging to your health.

You Think Personal Training is For the Rich and Famous. If you aren’t changing your workout program often enough, then you’re going to stop seeing the results very quickly.

Without the guidance of a professional overseeing your routine, you may never see the results that you want. With an educated and professionally certified personal trainer and nutritionist overseeing what you’re doing, you will quickly realize that you have made a great investment.

Read some of our testimonials and you will see how many clients wish they had called us sooner.

Missing out on the Mind/Body Connection. Don’t underestimate this one. One role of a certified professional is to help you achieve this faster than you ever would on your own. I believe the mind-muscle connection plays a bigger role in seeing results than even science has lead us to believe. I witness unbelievable things each week with our clients. Cultivate your mind-body connection and watch your results soar!

There is a sweet spot with both nutrition and exercise — let a certified professional help you find it so you can be and feel your very best!

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