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Cookies, Cookies, Cookies

Yes to the dress...just maybe not this one...

Yes to the dress…just maybe not this one…

Around the holidays, I kind of feel like Cookie Monster – I see cookies and I want to stuff them all in my face as fast as possible.

And may times, I give in.

However, the last two holidays, I’ve actually had to keep my diet fairly clean in the weeks before the holidays (when it seems that almost everyone is bringing in junk food!).

Last year, I had to make weight for the powerlifting competition and this year, I had to look good for wedding dress shopping.

Two very different motivations…both equally compelling.

This year, I knew we would be looking at dresses when my Mom and sister came out to visit, which meant that I needed to feel confident and good about how I looked. I didn’t want to be bloated and full of cookies and burritos and other indulgences.

But it wasn’t easy to turn down all of the cookies.

I think that is what motivated me to try the potato diet experiment. I was motivated to stick to it because I wanted to see how it worked. (Interestingly enough that diet actually hindered my weight loss. I finally dropped all of the weight from my vacation binge once I went back to my low-carb, high protein and fat diet.)

However, the clean diet before the holidays was worth it.

I looked great AND I found the perfect dress! YAY!

Actually getting the weight off made dress shopping easy AND fun because I felt like I looked good in almost everything I tried on.

If I’d been up and bloated from a ton of bad food, I wouldn’t have felt as confident which would have probably made me feel more down about how everything looked.

Let’s face it – how you feel you look DOES influence how you feel things look on you!

So I avoided the sweets and felt good.

However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to totally deprive myself!

The holidays are a time to indulge and enjoy. BUT that doesn’t mean you have to binge eat for weeks!

My point is that you can plan ahead, look great for any events by eating super clean BEFORE the holidays and still get to indulge in plenty of cookies during the holidays before returning to your clean eating program!

So if you have a wedding coming up or are doing some major dress shopping this January, don’t let the holidays derail your progress! Plan ahead!

What women want….

To look like on their wedding day….

Toned arms and shoulders, a slim waistline with just enough curve into toned hips, butt and legs.

How do most women get there?

By doing chronic cardio, starving themselves, and lifting light little barbie weights only a month before their wedding.

But is this really the best way to have the arms, waist and butt of your dreams on your wedding day?

HECK NO!

If you really want to look lean and toned you can’t just do cardio and you most definitely can’t starve yourself.

You need to lift challenging weights, eat the RIGHT foods and start working toward the body you want early on.

I tell my clients (and plan to do the same myself) to plan to have reached their goal weight or body composition the week before their final fitting, which is only a month or so out from their wedding.

The last month or two should only really be maintenance.

The key throughout your workout progression toward you BIG DAY is to do compound movements. Don’t waste your time with the bicep curls, shoulder presses and tricep extensions that most programs recommend. While those can be good if you are a powerlifter looking to really isolate and strengthen weak muscles, those moves really aren’t giving you that much bang for your buck.

They don’t have a whole heck of a lot of calorie burn AND they are only working on one muscle group when you could be hitting 3 or 4 with a compound movement.

For instance….the deadlift…It works just about everything. Want a great backside? Want a toned upper back, butt and thighs?

DO DEADLIFTS!

Or any other powerlifting move for that matter. Or you can use kettlebells, resistance bands or the sled

There are a ton of different strength training things that you can do! Find some that are fun and that get you results efficiently AKA compound moves!

Also choose the compound moves that target your trouble areas.

While we can’t spot reduce areas, we can build up proper muscle tone to make our problem areas look better. Eating a healthy diet and later the added cardio we do during cutting will reveal that beautiful muscle we built up even more!

And while I LOVE lifting heavy and think that it is key to the body that you dream of having on your wedding day, cardio does become a more important part as you are trying to become more lean and toned.

That doesn’t mean you just stop lifting and start logging in tons of miles.

It means sprints, some long distance JOGS for some slow fat-burning cardio AND still an intense heavy lifting routine.

Of course once you up your intensity during the final few months before your last dress fitting, you will need to remember to take time to rest, foam roll and release some stress! Working out though can be a great way to make sure that you are still getting enough “me time” BUT that doesn’t mean you can just start living in a gym and not practice proper recovery!

10 Key Moves to Get the Body We All Want on our Wedding Day! (So many move I love, but these will give you a huge bang for your buck!)

  1. Deadlifts – Deadlifts are a full body move. They are perfect to tone your upper back, butt and hamstrings. Plus they are a real fat burner because they work so many big muscle groups! (I LOVE YOU DEADLIFTS AND MISS YOU!) One new explosive deadlift move I’ve started using is a rotational deadlift. I set up the bar in a t-bar row hold and put weight only on one end. So I deadlift up the end with weight and rotate toward the stand as I stand up. So if the weight is on the right as I stand up, I rotate to the left pushing the weight out and up until my arms are straight.
  2. Kettlebell Swings – Another great way to get a great toned hips, butt and thighs! This move may be just as good as the deadlift. It is, however, just a bit harder to master. Make sure that if you want the butt toning effects of the swing that you aren’t squatting down so much as doing a hip hinge! NOT A SQUAT! More of an RDL…but still not an RDL.
  3. Kettlebell Snatches – Another tough move, but a full body one. Develops explosive power, which means more muscle power! It is great to develop power in your legs, tone your core (lots of rotation and stabilization) and strengthen your shoulders.
  4. Pull ups – I LOVE PULL UPS or any variation of them! (You can even do a pull up and hang if you want some extra core work!) They tone your back, biceps and core! Get great arms while benefiting from the extra calorie burn of working a big muscle group like your back! (And a toned back looks pretty good in a strapless wedding dress!) Plus, if you strengthen your lats, they will help your waist look slimmer by creating more of an hour-glass figure!
  5. Push ups – Strengthen your chest, triceps and shoulders just to name a few muscles. Lifting heavy can sometimes just mean lifting yourself! If you want to make them even more challenging, make them explosive. As you push up, come up off the floor! They make the push ups that much harder.
  6. Medball Pass and Shuffle – Honestly, one of my favorite new moves. Cardio because of the shuffling back and forth. Plus it is a great move to develop lean POWERFUL muscles. Best when done with a partner. Perform a chest pass with a heavy medicine ball with a partner while shuffling down and back.
  7. Sled pull/push – So by pulling I mean pulling a sled toward you with a rope. Great leg, core, back and arm workout! And then if you push it back to its starting place, you get to work the entire posterior of your chain – everything from your shoulders down to your calves!
  8. Crawls and all variations – You can pull a chain, crawl on a power wheel, or crawl using sliders. How ever you do it, it is a great workout for your shoulders and legs. AND the more you keep you butt from going up in the air, the more you work your core. If you do use a chain, you can work your legs and butt even more. Or if you use a power wheel or sliders, you can focus more on your shoulders and core.
  9. Battling Ropes – A great way to get the lean ton muscles you want. Depending on which wave you make, you can focus on different muscle groups. You can work your back, your shoulders, your arms, your core and your legs. Shoot rotational waves kill your core!
  10. VersaClimber (or really any sprints) – These are a great way to maintain muscle and BURN TONS OF FAT!

Wedding Workouts

So as I mentioned earlier this week when I launched Bridal Biceps, Ryan and I have started planning for our wedding.

We are doing a small wedding in Hawaii followed by a large reception in Southern California. Details….well they are in the works and I don’t want to bore you by listing out all of my plans (but heck if you are interested or want to commiserate about your wedding, feel free to email me!).

I actually signed up for a few wedding websites, including The Knot.

The Knot is actually pretty awesome. They have a ton of information and ways to plan. They’ve even helped me find some local vendors so that  I can get a dress and plan out the reception.

After finding a ton of information about planning out your wedding, I then searched the site for fitness information.

There was barely any to be found. They have whole pages dedicated to the color of your wedding and such but no easy to locate information about getting in shape for your wedding.

I was super surprised.

And then…I received the following email from them.

I like pink, but this email made me want to barf.

“Size down your gown in 90 days.” – AKA Starve yourself and overtrain for 90 days in an attempt to look good on your wedding day.

Ok. At least this program does tell brides they need 90 days. That is better than a lot of the “look good” tips I found…like don’t eat salty foods right before so you don’t look bloated.

But still!

Why does it have to look so wimpy!?!

Why does all of the stuff that bridal sites advertise have to be so fad diet?

Why can’t they start the brides planning their diet and fitness programs as soon as they have them start planning out everything else!?!

Here is my recommendation to brides-to-be:

  1. First ask yourself some few basic questions about what you want (just like you are doing with your wedding) What areas of your body do you want to tone? Do you want to lose any body fat? How do you want your body to look on your big day?
  2. Then if you aren’t currently on any regular exercise or diet program, start doing some research. How much time do you have each week to dedicate to a program? What foods do you love and could never give up? What types of diets have worked for you in the past?
  3. Then as you are plotting out when you will be doing food tasting and traveling and working and taking on dress fittings, think about what diet and fitness goals you will want to have hit at each stage. (For me I want to be at my final goal right before the final fitting. I then just want to be maintaining for the last month or so. Plus the longer I just maintain my final goal, the better I will look on my big day AND the easier it will be to stay toned and fit when I’m binging on my honeymoon! :-))
  4. Now seek out help. You have a basic timeline. You have thought about what diet and exercise programs could work for you. You know your goals. A trainer is always great (and of course I’m biased) but they will know ways to help put together the three previous steps into a program that works for you. Or maybe you seek out guidance from friends and family members you trust. BUT whatever you do, you take your outline/timeline and start working toward your goals ASAP.

Why do you start ASAP? Because like I’ve repeated numerous times, everything is an experiment. Unless you’ve actually looked exactly the way you wanted to before, you probably don’t know exactly what it takes to get there and you may need to tweak your program as you go along.

That is why you don’t want to wait till the final 90 days before your wedding to start getting into shape…because if you do wait till the last minute, YOU ARE PUTTING ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET!

And what if that 90 day program doesn’t work!?!

Then you are screwed.

Great way to stress yourself out! HA!

Anyway, start planning NOW! Know if there are any vacations or holidays in the meantime that may derail your diet. Know your fitting dates so that you look the way you want to for your final dress fitting so that your dress fits perfectly on your big day.

Plan out your exercise program so that you have some “me time” during what can be a slightly more stressful planning process!

And if you need help, I’m always here! (And in this case, also working on my own bridal biceps!)

Here is the beginning outline of my program:

Right now, I’m beginning a “healthy, unstressful phase” of my bridal bicep program. I’m doing slightly more carbs and training hard. I’m taking one cheat a week and basically just focused on maintaining.

It isn’t that I’m not always trying to look better, but I’m not stressing about it now. I’m just staying healthy and instilling healthy habits so that over the holidays I don’t lose ground.

In the weeks around the holidays, I will become a bit more strict to compensate for enjoying the holidays (since I’m not one for the stupid “holiday weight loss tips.”). Following the holidays I will go into an intense cutting phase. Followed by a month of maintainance. If I’m not yet at my goal, I’ll go for another shorter cutting phase before my final maintainence phase.

And guess what!?!

Throughout all of this, I will be lifting heavy! During cutting phases, I will do more cardio than during my maintenence phases, but that doesn’t mean I’ll become a cardio queen! No long chronic cardio for me! Remember cardio isn’t the key to weight loss….lean muscle mass is! 🙂

AND I won’t do a bazillion bicep curls or tricep extensions to have toned arms – I’ll do push ups and pull ups and lift heavy weights during compound movements. (Check out one of my worst nightmare workout programs….I guess at least they have brides working out for 6 months…Although this just looks so boring and not at all efficient!)

Anyway, join me for some “bad-ass” bridal biceps!

For a wedding workout consultation, feel free to email me at manbiceps@gmail.com!

Bridal Biceps

So some of you know this, but Ryan and I are engaged. We got engaged on April Fool’s Day…2011.

We’ve been engaged for over a year now and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “So when are you getting married!?!”

Well we’ve finally set a date…sort of…Fall 2013.

I feel like if I write this somewhere public it will force me to finally start planning and actually get my act together.

And honestly the thing I think I’m most excited about is planning a perfect diet and exercise program to help me survive this next year, meet all of my fitness goals and look my best on our big day. (Am I a fitness nerd….of course!)

While many women spend 6 months to a year planning out their wedding (heck some women have even planned the wedding before they’ve met the groom! :-)), few spend more than a few weeks really focused on their workout and exercise program.

NOT ME!

As soon as I start the wedding planning, I’m going to start working on my Bridal Biceps. I’ll have a nutrition and workout program all laid out not only so that I look amazing on my big day but also so that I feel great and energized throughout the entire planning process!

So ladies if you would like to follow suit and really look and feel your best not only on your big day but throughout the entire process, I suggest you stay tuned for the Bridal Biceps page launching this week!

This is Jamie Eason’s wedding topper which I saw on Facebook…I was trying to link out but couldn’t soooo here it is…

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