You Don’t Need a Gym to Get Fit – Try This Playground Workout

Playground Workout
photo by Carl Wycoff: some rights reserved

Outdoor workouts, or, in this case, playground workouts, are a terrific way to not only get in an effective workout, but to also get some fresh air and sunshine.

While lifting heavy barbells, hosting dumbbells, and using other machines and tools  available at your local gym are certainly terrific for strength training and building the body you want, it’s not mandatory.

In fact, I have a home gym loaded with lots of goodies, but it’s not required to get fit, improve your health, lose fat, and have fun with your training.

As I’ve discussed before, sometimes I get downright bored with traditional workouts and crave a change of pace. This is when playground workouts can really come in handy. You can get outside, do something different (which can be just a mentally stimulating as it is physical), and even have some fun.

Below is a video I filmed in the late winter of 2013 when I was visiting my home state of Tennessee. Instead of using the workout facility where we were staying, we stumbled upon a great little playground area. Check out the exercises we performed (in addition to some . . . umm . . . productive “resting activities” between exercises) and then I’ll show you how to make each exercise easier and more challenging.

Here’s the video:

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4 Advantages of Dumbbell Exercises and Why You Should Use Them (And 3 Disadvantages)

dumbbells
The adjustable dumbbells in my home gym.

Dumbbells are great tools to have in your strength training arsenal.

They allow for a lot of variety with your workouts, and they even have some significant advantages compared to barbells.

Before we get into the article, please note that I’m not claiming that dumbbells are the best workout tool and that they’re superior to any other piece of equipment, be it barbells, kettlebells, or anything else.

This article will, however, reveal some of the great benefits and advantages offered from dumbbell exercises. We’ll follow that up with a discussion on who could benefit from more dumbbell work and then finish up with a few disadvantages dumbbells have.

4 Advantages of Dumbbell Exercises

1. Dumbbell exercises can be more joint-friendly than their barbell equivalent. As an example, compare a flat bench dumbbell press to the good ole flat bench barbell press. The dumbbell version tends to be a bit more elbow and shoulder friendly because you can have more natural movement since your hands aren’t fixed in place; you can turn or rotate them as you press.

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NEW Lift Like a Girl Tutorial – Workouts, Exercise Demos, and Techniques in One Convenient Location

newlogoimageI’m excited to announce the newest Lift Like a Girl Tutorial.

This one has been a long time coming and it’s awesome because it includes:

  • Sample workout programs
  • Exercises and demonstration videos
  • Workout techniques for losing fat, getting stronger, and building muscle
  • And much more

And it’s all in one convenient spot so you don’t have to waste time searching.

The Tutorial will also get updated regularly with new content, so if you want to find some of the best sample workouts, exercises, workout techniques, and more featured on Lift Like a Girl, definitely check this out.

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Two Day Per Week Strength Training Program

Nia Shanks 330 Pound DeadliftI know what you’re probably thinking: how can I get great results from only working out two days per week?

The simple answer: as long as you follow a good program (as provided in this article), work hard, and improve your performance consistently, you can get great results.

In fact, you may be surprised by how much you can achieve from strength training two days per week. After all, quality is more important than quantity.

But before we get to the two day per week strength training routine, let’s discuss . . .

Who Can Benefit from Strength Training Twice Per Week?

Anyone who’s busy. For those who are truly limited on time, two days per week is usually a great solution. You don’t spend much time going to, or in, the gym and you can still achieve great results.

The trainee who is getting burned out from strength training. I go through periods when I don’t love strength training. When this happens, I know I need to scale back the frequency of my workouts, immediately. If you’re not enjoying strength training but keep forcing yourself, week after week, and month after month, to keep training at a high frequency, you risk burning yourself out.

I know, because it’s happened to me. All of a sudden I didn’t enjoy strength training; all because I never scaled back when I should have.

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The Fatigue Fallacy: Why You Should NOT Finish Your Workouts Exhausted

fatigue fallacyI incorrectly assumed that the trend of working out with the goal of achieving a high state of fatigue each session was finally beginning to die out. But, apparently, it’s still growing. People think that if they don’t finish a workout on the brink of vomiting or completely exhausted that they didn’t work hard enough. Even worse, they think the workout was just a waste of time.

About a month ago a Lift Like a Girl reader emailed me about this topic. Her personal trainer carries around a chart with a scale from one to 10 that includes faces above each number. One is incredibly easy (and is represented with a smiley face) and 10 is an all out, gut busting effort (represented with a very red, and sad looking, face). This is the chart he uses to measure her (and his other clients) exertion level.

According to her, “He demanded that I stay at nine or higher the entire workout.”

She contacted me because she’s feeling discouraged.

She doesn’t look forward to, let alone enjoy, her workouts. She wants to improve her health and lose body fat in the process, but part of her wants to give up because she feels sick every workout, gets incredibly sore, and just doesn’t feel great after completing her workouts.

“I’ve read on your website that you say people should finish their workouts feeling better than when they started. I want to believe you, but isn’t it necessary to work incredibly hard and finish each workout tired?”

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A Weekly Example of How I Currently Eat, Work Out, and Why I Do It This Way

food and workouts

“What does an average week of workouts and eating look like for you?”

I’ve been asked this question quite a bit recently; so it’s time to answer it for you. Below you’ll see a glimpse of last week’s workouts, meals, and why I’m currently working out and eating the way I do.

Before we move on, please let me say that this is how I am working out and eating at the moment.

The workouts are tailored to my goals and needs and the foods I eat are the ones I enjoy. Please don’t read this and say, “This must be how I’m supposed to do things,” because that’s probably not the case. I strongly believe in tailoring your workouts and eating habits to your lifestyle and preferences, and that’s exactly what I do.

I encourage you to do the same. Please keep that in mind as we move along.

Let’s begin with last week’s workouts. First, I’ll reveal my goals and why my workouts are structured the way they are.

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6 (Sane and Simple) Rules to Lift Like a Girl, Get Results, and be More Awesome

sane and simple rules to lift like a girl

A detailed, complicated, and complex regimen will produce better results than a simple, basic, bare-bones approach — Or so some would have you believe.

I’ve been a personal trainer for over 10 years now, and in that period of time my approach to health, fitness, and just helping people look and feel great naked has consistently simplified. And the results speak for themselves.

Simple just works. And it works ferociously well.

As you’re about to see, achieving your performance, health, and aesthetic goals really is this simple. Say “good-bye” to stressful and complicated routines that control your life and “hello!” to simple, practical, and flexible guidelines you can follow long-term.

You’ve likely seen the 30 Rules to Lift Like a Girl before, but this article will condense everything down to the 6 most essential rules that will allow you to reach your goals.

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Why You Should Abandon Your Initial New Year Resolution (And What to do Instead)

photo credit: Love Your Gut
photo credit: Love Your Gut

Tomorrow kicks off the start to 2014. And you know what that means — New Year Resolutions!

This is the year to accomplish big things, and it’s definitely going to be the year you reach all of your health and physique goals.

Yep. You’re going to start eating better, dropping body fat, and building a great looking body you’ll absolutely love.

The truth is, many people approach their health and fitness New Year Resolution in a similar way. Let’s take a look at the typical regimen people say they’re going to follow to eat better and get fit:

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3 Bodyweight Exercises You Should Try for Glutes, Shoulders, and Legs

bodyweight exercises

It’s no secret that I like bodyweight workouts and exercises.

Not only can bodyweight workouts be the ultimate time-saver (because you can do the workouts absolutely anywhere) but there are dozens of excellent exercises you can use that will help you get stronger, sculpt some muscle, improve your overall health, and lose body fat.

Below you’re going to see 3 bodyweight exercises you can use for targeting your glutes, shoulders, and legs.

And let me just say — many people think bodyweight exercises are “too easy”. Well, if you try these exercises (which you absolutely should) prepare to be humbled.

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Consistency Trumps Perfection. It’s About Sustainable Habits.

cons2

Consistently applying some simple nutrition guidelines and following a practical strength training program that easily fits into your schedule will produce better results than attempting to follow even the most perfect diet and workout regimen.

And I’m going to prove it in this article.

Consistency trumps perfection.

To prove this point I’m going to share a story about my friend, who I’ll refer to as Amanda.

Amanda has tried numerous popular diets and workout programs over the years. She’d begin them with fierce determination and proclaim, “This time I’m going to be successful.”

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