Six Pack by Summer

You CAN have a sexy stomach in time for  Summer by doing the “Six Pack by Summer” workout 3X per week along with regular cardio workouts!
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Calories burned: about 100
  • Focus: Strength and tone of Rectus Abdominis, Obliques
  • Commentary: Ladies and gents – summer is creeping up a little more every day.   Go ahead and get a jump-start on tightening up your tummy.  Below is workout I put together to overload your abdominal muscles, build core strength and flatten the belly.  No equipment is required so you can do it effectively at home!
  • Facts: The Rectus Abdominis (front abs) tend to be one of our weaker, under-worked muscle groups so its critical to spend special time strengthening them specifically.  Strong abs help balance weight throughout your core and prevent too much weight-bearing and stress on your lower back.  A flat tummy is also just nice to look at 🙂
  • Instructions: Do the following set of exercises – just one time through.  The entire workout should take about 20 minutes and your  abs will be on FIRE!  For best results, do the workout at least 3 times per week along with moderate/high intensity cardio workouts.  Be sure to stretch (cobra position) afterwards and enjoy your six pack!

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How bad do you want it?

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, THEN you’ll be successful.”

Happy Friday – the weekend is almost here!  As you end one week and start another, I challenge you to think about what you “REALLY” want out of life.  Everyone says they want to be fit, healthy, happy, successful…but think about the SPECIFIC things you want  and HOW BAD you really want them.

As a fitness instructor, I hear people tell me over and over again, “I really want to lose weight” or “I really want to get in shape.”  They want these things for several reasons:

  • Health benefits
  • Longer life
  • More energy
  • Wear cute clothes
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Better dating life
  • and the list goes on and on…

But the question isn’t, “How bad do you want these things?”  The REAL question is, “What are you willing to SACRIFICE to get these things?”

A friend of mine sent me this video which pretty much sums up the essence of the 2nd question and the essence of GRIT.  Watch, listen closely to the man speaking in the background (especially at the end) and think about how hard you are willing to work to get what you REALLY want.  Because whatever you desire, YOU CAN HAVE IT!




[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsSC2vx7zFQ&w=560&h=315]

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Drink Coffee to Control Weight and Make Better Love ;-)

G’ Morning, GritBrit fans! As my still sleepy eyes gaze around my room this morning and squint away the bright NYC sunshine seeping through my blinds, my half-awake brain remembers that I need to get working on a guest nutrition post I promised Brit. I have been brainstorming ideas all week, but at the moment, all I can do is think about one thing: coffeeeeeee!

And that’s when it hit me. I’ll post about COFFEE! Just give me a moment to finish this cup….

Yum. Okay. Now, let’s chat about java 🙂

A cup of joe can serve you well

First, you may be thinking, what is this nutritionist pumping up coffee for? It’s true, coffee has historically been a controversial topic in the nutrition field. Stunted growth, jitters, and even heart disease are just a few of the ills that were said to be linked with too much joe drinkin’.

But times are a changing, folks, and that’s old news. The latest research about coffee proves otherwise. Keep reading to learn more about why coffee is, in fact, GOOD for you (*in moderation*), and how to drink it to get the maximum benefit for your bod!

What are the benefits associated with drinking coffee?

  1. Increased energy levels
  2. Improved athletic performance
  3. Improved brain function
  4. Improved mood
  5. Alleviation of constipation (ewww)
  6. Improved sex drive (yay!)
  7. Reduced post-workout muscle pain
  8. Protection from certain cancers, Parkinson’s Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes
  9. Coffee contains very few calories and high levels of antioxidants

What IS moderation?

2-4 (8 oz) cups.

How do you recommend drinking coffee?

Time? Morning is best to avoid any interference with sleep. It is also fine to spread your intake throughout the day if you prefer — just make sure it’s not creeping past 3-4pm, and isn’t totaling a quantity greater than the above recommendation. Coffee-ing (okay, I this isn’t an actual verb) about 30mins before exercising can also provide an awesome boost to your workout.

Milk? Skim milk, low-fat milk, soymilk, or none = all good options.

Sugar? Skip it, and avoid the excess calories. If you need some sweetness, opt for a sugar substitute (these do not cause cancer – that is a myth!). I personally like Splenda.

Disclaimers:

*Coffee is not a sleep replacement. If you find that you need coffee to stay awake throughout the day, you may need to re-work your sleep regimen.

*Many of the claims and suggestions contained in this post are not applicable to those with caffeine sensitivities and certain medical conditions such as heart irregularities, GERD, etc.

Questions? Comments? Leave ’em, and let’s chat. I’m am happy to clarify any/all of your coffee concerns!

ENJOY 🙂

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Fit chics eat breakfast…and make more money

Reese Witherspoon getting her early morning jog in

Happy “hump” day – I hope your week is going well!   I had a 5am conference call today which I was NOT thrilled about.  Oddly enough, I don’t feel that bad.  This got me thinking, “What would my life be like if I started EVERY day at 5am?”  I’ve heard it time and time again, “The early bird catches the worm.”  Well,  turns out it’s true!  Establishing the habit of waking up early not only helps us manage our weight it also makes us more effective people.  Here are 5 key reasons I think we should all get some GRIT and try to become EARLY RISERS:

  1. More likely to eat breakfast – I can’t say this enough, “Eating a hearty, protein-rich breakfast is CRITICAL for weight management.”  Most of us who continuously struggle with our weight usually don’t eat until 2-3 hours AFTER we wake up…real talk.
  2. Less late night snacking – Most binge eating happens late at night.  Instead of late night snacking, just go to bed so you can be refreshed for your early morning start!  You’re an early bird now 🙂
  3. Get more sleep – Sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain!  By waking up early, hopefully you are more likely to go to bed early as well.  An early rise means a longer day, so you should be more tired in the evening and ready to pass out!
  4. Morning workouts – Morning workouts are more effective for weight loss because you aren’t burning the food that you have consumed during the day.  Instead, you are burning the carbs and fat that your body has stored over night.
  5. Overall more effective person – “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin, famously
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Shorts Season Shape Up!

  • Workout: Shorts Season Shape Up by Brit
  • Duration: 45 min – 1 hr
  • Calories burned: 350-500
  • Focus: LEGS – Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves

Commentary: It’s almost Summer – yeah buddy.  That means your thighs and booty are begging for public exposure, ha ha!  In all seriousness, I have an intense addiction to denim cut off shorts – pretty sure I wear them EVERY single day in this Texas heat.  That said, I do have to make sure to spend some extra time toning and tightening my leg muscles – specifically the booty, thighs and calves.  Here is a hardcore leg workout that I put together to help you tighten your tush and firm up your legs just in time for summer.  Do the workout 2-3 times per week for 4 weeks along with your moderate/high intensity cardio sessions and you should be ready to rock your booty shorts!    Enjoy 🙂

Instructions: This workout is a “super set”.  That means you will do each “SET” 3 times, then move on the to next set.  Between each set, jump rope or do jumping jacks for 1-2 minutes to keep your heart rate up!

Example: for Set 1, do the Squats then immediately do the Reverse Lunges.  Take a quick rest and then repeat 2 more times.  Once you have done the set 3 times, jump rope or do jumping jack s for 1-2 minutes.  Then move on to set 2.

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Are you getting short changed in spin class?

Me getting ready for ride #2 during cycle instructor training
Happy Sunday – I hope this posting finds you joyous and well! Today was a personal accomplishment because I officially became a certified indoor cycling instructor – woop woop!  That said, I learned a lot of useful info about spin classes and calorie burn in general, so I just wanted to share some of these nuggets of wisdom with you guys.  Hopefully, these facts will help you get the MOST out of your spin classes in the future 🙂
  1. Turn up the resistance – speed DOES NOT equal calorie burn!  In an effective cycle class, your legs should spin between 60-90 rotations per minute.  If you are cycling way above this, turn your resistance up!  When your legs are flying and your booty is bouncing around in the saddle, the bike  is just propelling you and you are getting short changed on calorie burn…not a good look!
  2. Don’t always trust the heart rate monitor.  Several factors affect our heart rate including hydration, stress, diet, room temperature, etc.  Therefore, just because your heart rate is in a certain zone, doesn’t necessarily mean you are working that hard.  In many cases, heart rate monitors over count calories burned and you are deceived : (
  3. Use a breath test.  The bottom line is this, the harder you work, the more calories you burn.  Therefore, use the breath test to quickly and effectively measure your exertion. Below are the 4 levels you should think about.  If you are trying to burn as many calories as possible, strive to spend at least 20-30 minutes of your class in zones 3 and/or 4.  You should never be back at Level 1 (breathing regularly)  after the warm up.  
  • L1 – Breathing regularly
  • L2 – Breathing fast, but comfortable
  • L3 – Breathing heavy, uncomfortable
  • L4 – Breathing very heavy, very uncomfortable – sucking air!
Whole class with our instructor after we got certified (that's me in the back with the shiny forehead, hehe)
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Les Mills Body Pump Review: Pump ON = Fat OFF

  • Workout: Body Pump, Les Mills
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Calories Burned: 350-550
  • Focus: Total body muscle strengthening and toning
  • What is Body Pump?: A total body weight lifting class using a bar with weighted plates on each side.  There are about 8-10 music tracks and each one has a choreographed weight lifting routine to work a specific muscle group (i.e. legs, chest, back, biceps, triceps, etc.).  You can also buy the DVDs and equipment to do the class at home.
Brit gettin’ her “PUMP” on April 9, 2012

Commentary:  I try to go to Body Pump at least once a week and when I do, I always feel tight and toned.  The music is okay, def not amazing, but the workout is sick –  it’ll get you right.  I like this class because it’s an efficient TOTAL body strength workout. I appreciate that I don’t have go searching for a weight lifting routine for each body part, I can get it all at once – 1 hour and done.  Also, you do a ton of reps for each muscle group so bulking up is not an issue.  Instead, your muscles gain endurance and you even get a good sweat!

The Facts: Building lean muscle mass is not only great for your overall health and  fitness, it’s also a great way to speed up your metabolism aka BURN FAT!  Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the rate that your body burns calories while at rest.  RMR is directly related to your ratio of lean body mass.  This means, the more lean body mass you build, the more calories and fat you burn while at rest.  So get your PUMP ON and get the FAT OFF 🙂

Resistance training has been perhaps the most under emphasized component of the comprehensive weight loss program.  – Paula Besson MEd

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Drinks “weighing” you down?

Brit’s beverage epiphany: About this time last year, I had just finished working out and as I was leaving the gym, as usual, I bought a Gatorade.  For some reason, this day I read the nutrition facts: 200 CALORIES IN 1 BOTTLE?!?!  Geez, I just rode the elliptical for 45 minutes and I burned 450 calories. So drinking this Gatorade basically means I’m going to wipe out almost half of my work out!  From that moment on I decided – “I’m OFF Gatorade, yall can keep those.”  As a matter of fact, I’m done “drinking” calories.  If I have to budget my calories, I’d much rather spend them on eating some good food – AMEN?

The facts: You have to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume to legitimately lose 1 pound.  The drinks on my “BAD LIST” carry anywhere from 90-220 calories, so if you consume about 3 a day, you could pack on an extra 600 calories!  That equals about 1 whole hour of moderate/high intensity cardio at the gym!  Or potentially an extra pound every week,  assuming you don’t burn it off.  Is it really worth it?

Commentary: Below is a list that I put together for myself to help me weed out “bad drinks.”  I kept it realistic and included some alcohol and juice options on the “GOOD LIST” even though they aren’t calorie free.  At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “What do I want more, this Dr. Pepper or my long term fitness goals?”  Just making simple adjustments to your daily habits, like committing to only “GOOD LIST” drinks, can help you drop quick pounds.  Try it out and see for yourself  because  you work too hard to let your drinks weigh you down 🙂

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Every Damn Day…JUST DO IT!

  • Name: Nike Training Club (NTC)
  • Duration: 1 hour (if done in a group fitness class)
  • Calories Burned: 400-600
  • Focus: Total body conditioning + intensity intervals + athletic drills
  • What is NTC?: A total body athletic circuit set to music.  If you take NTC in a class, the instructors usually have pretty decent play lists going on in the background.  OR you can download NTC to your SmartPhone and sync your customized workout to your own playlist – sweet!  DOWNLOAD HERE NOW! The exercises and drills are very intense – Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Plank Rows, Split Jumps, Clap Pushups, Froggers, etc.
  • Commentary: I love this workout because it’s HARD and FUN.  As you guys know by now, any workout that makes me feel like a “real athlete” is def  “GRIT – worthy.”  To be honest, some of the drills I’d never do on my own because, let’s face it, they BURN!  But boy do they work!  When I’m on the road for work, I the use NTC iPhone app for a sick workout right in my hotel room.  It’s like having my own ePersonal Trainer.  With NTC there are NO EXCUSES – you can get high quality, free, fun workouts anytime, any day.  JUST DO IT!
  • The Facts: To truly change your body, you have to PUSH!  NTC is great for this.  Did you know that most young adults only begin receiving cardiovascular training and benefits after reaching 70% of our maximium heart rate?  To find your max heart rate take 220 – age = Max Heart Rate.  Now, multiply your max heart rate by 0.7 and that’s how many times your heart should beat in 1 minute during an effective workout!
Me and Alex (Co-founder of Sporty Afros) relaxing in the sauna after NTC on Friday, April 6, 2012
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Track Workout: Shout out to my former athletes – still got it?

  • Name: Former Athlete Fix by Brit
  • Duration: 45 min – 1 hour
  • Calories Burned: 500-700
  • Focus: Cardiovascular endurance, athletic conditioning, speed, plyometrics
  • Commentary: It’s Spring!  So you know what that means, let’s get outside and hit that track – what what!  I’ve been hanging and chatting with a lot of my old college bball teammates this week in NYC, which inspired me to put a workout together for all of the former athletes out there.  Sometimes, it’s fun to prove that we’ve “still got it.” Even if you’ve never played sports, this workout is a great way to SHOCK your body.  So grab a buddy, head to the track and go get it in!  Make sure to do the full warm up before you start – don’t want you pulling a hammy.  Enjoy 🙂

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