Your Best Beach Body, Part Three
Welcome to Week Three of our “Back to the Beach” six week campaign. If you’ve missed the first two weeks, or need a refresher, click here. We’ve begun our Beach Mind Beach Body journey, but this time with a mental and physical twist.
Instead of obsessing about body parts, I’m asking you to engage your mind to see how your lifestyle behaviors are reflected in how you look and feel. If you do, you’ll experience a royal win win — by being more mindful of your body all day, your body will benefit by all of that attention. You’ll look great and feel so much better. This week we’ll use your beautiful behind as a case in point.
Hey, call it what you want — behind, booty, derriere — those soft pillows of feminine flesh serve you well all day. They power you out of chairs, up the stairs and straighten you up after tying your sneakers. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. Keep in mind, that, like all other muscles, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Simple routines that anyone can do will keep your rear end from sagging into those less than attractive rolls of bountiful butt straining your pant seams.
Many of you have a love-hate relationship with your butt. Well, that ends now. It’s time for you to express your own Glute Gratitude. Yep, let’s take what you’ve got and appreciate and optimize it.
Staying consistent with my MIND MOUTH MUSCLE template, you’re going to enter this third week with Power MIND. As I’ve noted in the previous blogs, you’ll fight any urge to default back to self-denigrating comments about your body. We’ll have none of that! Instead, this week you’ll say, “I’m smart, beautiful and fun and this week I’m going to practice body gratitude.” Every day, wake up and appreciate all of the body parts that work. Stop concentrating on what you can’t do, and pay attention to what you can do. This is especially true for as you age. Joints are creaking and there’s that recurring pain. Adapt and adjust and be happy you’re here today to rock and roll through another 24 hour life adventure.
Moving to the MOUTH, how about a few simple tricks to help you with the cravings that can destroy your best beach body intentions? Get over the urge to splurge by:
1) Medicating with Movement: Stop using food to anesthetize your stresses. Instead, get up and move. Research has shown that when that creepy craving starts to hit, you should hit the road. All it takes is 15 minutes of walking to increase levels of both the pleasure chemical dopamine as well as the mood modulator serotonin. In combination, they help you win the food fight.
2) Pound down the Protein: Got a craving? Grab lean protein all day long — for meals and snacks. Protein helps to curb the “I’m starving and I need to eat everything that’s not tacked down” hunger hormone, ghrelin. Avoid only eating protein at main meals. If you include protein in your snacks (low fat dairy, peanut butter on apple slices), you’ll keep this hunger hormone in check all through the day.
3) Substitute: Hey, it’s OK to have a treat every now and again. When you do, how about creating a tasty, healthy “cheat” by doing simple substitutions. Instead of grabbing something with boatloads of addictive refined sugar, make a fruit parfait with fresh berries and yogurt. Forget the potato chips and instead have hummus and carrots.
Now it’s time to honor that gluteal MUSCLE. I love these exercises because most are simple and easy to do throughout the day. Remember to always check with your medical team before you engage in any physical activities, especially if you have a medical and/or physical condition.
1) Stop Sitting So Much: Get up more often throughout the day. Walk while you talk on the phone. I always recommend standing and moving every 30 minutes. You’ll increase your fat burning metabolism as well as engage your muscles to keep them firm and fit.
2) Stay Mindful of Your Rearful: As many times as you can, become mentally aware of your behind and as you do, contract your glutes. You can be standing in line, walking up stairs or running to the bus. Pay attention to how they feel as you move. As I noted in a previous blog, engaging your core throughout the day keeps your posture upright and makes you appear taller and slimmer. The same is true for the glutes. Become glute aware!
3) Burn Your Butt Fat: As you proceed to do some of the glute exercises, just remember that in addition to strength training and good nutrition, you absolutely need to be doing regular cardio (goal is to burn 400 calories each session) with intensity intervals. That means when you hit the hills by increasing your treadmill’s incline, you’ll cook a ton of calories compared to simply walking on the flat. Crank up your treadmill’s incline to 5%, walking at a pace of around 3.5-4MPH and you’ll burn at least 350 calories per hour, which is a 64% increase over walking on a flat surface. Or ramp up the speed with which you walk. Intensity intervals simply mean adding hills and/or speed every now and again to your workout. Check out the WebMD resources on how to do interval training.
4) Butt Blasters:
- Backward Leg Toe Touch and Lift: Stand behind a chair, toes facing forward, with both hands placed on top of the chair for stability. Keeping both knees straight, extend your left leg back pointing your toes with your big toe is touching the ground behind you. Gently lift your left leg about 30 degrees off the ground without bending your knee. Tighten your glutes and hold for a count of 10. Bring down and touch the ground with your pointed big toe and lift right back up for another count of 10. Repeat this 5 times and switch sides.
- Donkey Kick Crossover: Grab a mat and get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders. Keep your left knee and ankle flexed as you lift your knee to hip level behind you. Hold for a count of 5 and bring down, touching the mat briefly and lift again. Repeat 5 times and switch sides.
- Butt Bridge: Lie face up on a mat with knees bent and feet flat, arms by your side. Left hips slowly off the floor, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Tighten your glutes and maintain this bridge position for a count of 10. Bring your butt down for 10 seconds and lift back up again into bridge position for a count of 10. See if you can do it for a count of 20. Repeat 5 times.
- Sizzling Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core abdominal muscles. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Squat down, never going beyond a 90 degree angle to your lower legs. For novices or anyone with knee issues, just squat down enough to feel your glutes engage well and hold for a count of 3. As you stand up, for an added twist, rotate your trunk to the left and lift your bent left knee in front of you. Return to squat again. Switch sides and repeat. Do this whole set 5 times.
- Invisible Chair Wall Squat: You can do this anytime and anywhere there’s a wall. Standing straight, place your back on a wall. Squat down as previously described, and imagine you’re sitting on an invisible chair. Squeeze your glutes. Hold for a count of 5-10 (or 20 for the advanced), and stand up. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Everything I’ve described is simple and doable. So, do it already! Summer’s around the corner. That’s your “bottom” line! Next week, we’ll move upstairs anatomically to help you with your right to bare strong and fit arms for a sensational season. Keep it going everyone!