“Consistency is the true secret to success; whether it’s losing weight or building muscle. Consistently making small improvements in your nutrition, and finding an exercise schedule you can stick with, can end up giving you a whole new lease on life.” – Norma J. Reynolds
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As an IPE and NFF Bikini Pro, I focus on lifting weights, and progressive overload. This means that I try to gradually lift heavier over time. The result has been a more “toned” look, within the same four days a week at the gym – time management anyone?
If you are interested in strength training, below is a sample workout you could try, that works multiple bodyparts with each movement (i.e.; compound lifts). With these four exercises, you could couple them in pairs, to save time & to feel the burn (i.e., super-sets).
Remember to warm up, and gradually increase the dumbbells, until you get to a load that feels like it will push you, safely, with each exercise.
Dumbbell Bench Press:Once you find a weight that is challenging, but safe, try sitting on the edge of the bench, with the weights pushed close together on your knees. Lean back with the weights like you could do crunches with them. Once your back hits the bench, then try butterflying the weights out, and push them up for your first repetition (“rep”) of this set:
- 4 sets, 8-10 reps
Alternating Lunges: You could use the same dumbbells from the bench press, and perform these to the side of the bench, or behind the bench, etc. Use warm up sets with lighter weight to check that there is enough space for you to alternate stepping forward, and then propelling off the front foot, back tonatural stance, without running into other people or equipment
- 4 sets, 8-10 lunges on each side (16-20 total for one set)
Shoulder Press: Try these for the first time while sitting on a bench with a back support. Start with a light weight, as the fatigue in the exercise creeps up quickly! Focus on being able to control the load as you go up and down, without totally locking the joints out at the top, or so that you are still able to gently and briefly pause with your elbows slightly lower than your shoulders, each rep.
- 4 sets, 8-10 reps
Glute Bridges: If you have never done these before, try starting on the ground and warming up with bodyweight. If it feels safe, try using the heaviest weight from the shoulder press exercise. Keep your feet under your knees, not in front, and find a comfortable place for the dumbbell below the navel, and above the hip bones. Squeeze at the top and hold it for 1-2 seconds to fully engage the glutes. Gently lower down, and that is one rep.
- 4 sets, 12-15 repetitions
VEGAN MEAL SUGGESTION
I’ve been a vegan since October 2015, and this dish includes some of my favorite things: wild rice, oven roasted cauliflower, steamed green beans, fresh cranberry sauce, ovenroasted yams, and 1/2 of a Tofurky vegan sausage. Estimated Nutrition: 519 calories. 86g carbs. 12g fat. 21g protein.