Healthy Byte: Say Goodbye to Your Wings!

2016-06-14-1465911850-1380512-DaraArmWorkout.jpgPhoto: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

 

We all have that friend. The one with the Michelle Obama arms that photograph well from every angle. And if you’ve ever met NYC-based trainer Dara Theodore, she is that friend. Lucky for us, the Daily Burn 365 trainer and walking gun show (lovingly referred to as “Armageddon”) is spilling a few of her best-kept strength secrets. Scroll down to also snag the 15-minute arm workout she swears by — no equipment necessary.

 

The Better Way to Work Your Arms

If your upper body routine currently consists of curls on curls on curls, Theodore suggests rethinking your plan. “Bicep curls are fine as a single-joint exercise, but let’s face it — we’re all busy. I like to spend my time doing multi-joint, compound exercises so I get more accomplished in less time.” That’s why Theodore opts forfull-body workouts whenever she can. “When performing push-ups or renegade rows properly, your whole body should be working from arms down to legs. Yes, the focus is on upper body. But if you properly engage your legs, glutes and core, they will get a workout as well!”

And the results speak for themselves: More definition, greater strength and, if you keep at it, a higher percentage of lean muscle mass (hello, increased calorie burn!). “Maintaining a strong upper body not only makes the necessary activities easier, but it also ensures we are doing them properly (i.e. using the right muscles) so we don’t injure ourselves,” Theodore says. And let’s not forget: “At any age, we need strong muscles to support our bones,” she adds. “Its never too early to start strength training.”

 

Yet, the 44-year-old mom wasn’t always flaunting her killer arms. “As a younger woman, I had a hard time embracing my muscular physique. In my 20s, the waif-like look was in style, and I have to admit I was a bit insecure and didn’t consider my look ‘feminine’ enough,” Theodore recalls. “Thank goodness I got older andgrew up a little, and got over that nonsense! Today, I’m really proud of my muscles and work hard to make sure they work really well,” she says. “I have so much admiration for strong women, women who can lift heavy weights and support the weight of their own bodies — both are equally strong in my opinion!” Amen.

Dara’s 15-Minute Arm Workout

Don’t be fooled — this bodyweight workout packs a serious punch, especially since the exercises are performed as a circuit, with little to no rest between moves. To make sure your form is on point, Theodore recommends taking a video of yourself doing the move. “It’s a great opportunity for self-critique and progress.”

Ready? We thought so. Complete moves 1 through 5 (pictured below) in quick succession. Rest 60 seconds at the end of the circuit and repeat for three rounds.

2016-06-14-1465911288-9867021-TricepPushUp_2.gifPhoto: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

1. Narrow Grip Push-Up (10 reps)
Also known as the tricep push-up (see complete push-up tutorial here), this move targets the triceps, shoulders, chest and core. Not bad for one badass bodyweight move! “Think of the body as a moving plank with the glutes, quads and core super engaged,” Theodore says. Also be sure to draw the shoulder blades down the back and keep elbows close to body. Need to modify? Add some incline, placing the hands on a box or bench.

2016-06-14-1465911376-3690759-RenegadeRow1.gifPhoto: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

2. Renegade Row (10 reps)
Channel your inner GI Joe or Jane for this complex movement. Holding a high plank, keep the shoulders in line with one another and allow elbow to graze the rib cage as it moves toward the ceiling. Pro tip: “Try to keep hips from rocking by separating the feet and keeping glutes and quads engaged,” Theodore advises. Once you’ve got that down, you can add dumbbells for extra resistance.

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3. Prone Y and T (10 reps)
If you have a tendency to neglect your backside, this move has you covered. The secret: “Keep glutes engaged and hip bones and feet on the ground,” Theodore says. “Think of lifting from the arms more than from the chest but do engage the upper back, and keep a nice long neutral neck.” Though you can progress to very light weights, don’t be surprised if you’re feeling this move using bodyweight-only after just a few reps.

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4. Side Lying Tricep Press (10 reps)
We give you permission to skip the scary dip machine. This side-lying push-up will tone the triceps, biceps and obliques in just one equipment-free move. Be sure to press firmly into the floor, firing the triceps and core on your way up. Timing your breathing with help, too. Exhale as you press your body off the floor, and inhale as you return to the start position.

2016-06-14-1465911498-9215841-HalfGetUp1.gifPhoto: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn

5. Half Get-Up (10 reps)
If this move doesn’t make you feel strong, we don’t know what will. Holding a book, a dumbbell or nothing at all (recommended for beginners), the half Turkish get-up works everything from your shoulders, arms, hips, back and core. To get the most out of the move, “Make sure to drive through the heel of the bent leg as opposed to coming to toes, and keep an eye on the extended hand or weight to maintain proper shoulder position,” Theodore says.

 

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Day 960

Yes, that is the number of days I have obsessively logged every morsel which passed my lips and every mascara running session at the gym into MFP.

I recently celebrated my 2-year weight loss maintenance anniversary and I feel that I have learned a tremendous amount through many, many bouts with trial & error and just observations. I’d like to share this collective in hopes that it’d help others. So here goes nothing!

A recent MFP friend asked how do I stay motivated to stay active in maintenance. In my haste to publish my anniversary post I think I really missed the mark on addressing the question properly. What I initially stated was that regular exercise had simply became a mindless habit which is mostly true. However, in giving the question some additional thought, I feel that I can elaborate a bit more with more practical response. So I asked myself, ‘Self, when you are dog-tired & would much prefer to veg out in front of the computer, what does drive you to go to the gym?’ The answer is in two parts.

The first is that it is a habit for me because I absolutely thrive in routines and schedules. However, to say that is the sole driver is not 100% accurate. What keeps me going is that I continue to experience measurable progress towards my fitness goals. And this one is a bit of the chicken or the egg phenomena … let me explain.

My main mark of progress when I was losing weight, like many others, was the fickle frenemy the scale. No matter if it was 2 lbs or a mere fraction of a pound loss, every miniscule step closer to my goal, the more I was motivated to carry on with what I was doing. It is not that much different to be successful in maintenance. I shifted my focus from losing weight to fitness oriented ones, ie. gain muscle definition. Although I secretly dream of looking like this,

Day 960 JE

Photo of Jamie Eason: Former NFL cheerleader & Winner of the World’s Fittest Model Competition

I know that this is something I am unable to maintain for the rest of my life. It’s not a matter of whether I can physically accomplish it. Rather it’s a matter of being able to comply with the heavy demands necessary to achieve AND maintain which is something I am just not willing to invest the time & effort into for the-rest-of-my-life. So I opted to choose something which is more realistic for me and my lifestyle.

Enter the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Day 960 MO The First Lady’s toned shoulders and arms requires effort of course. But the ‘upkeep’ is a very sustainable amount of effort without becoming burdensome. So with a realistic goal set, an adjustment in exercise regimen, all it took was consistency and time (patience). The more muscle definition that I saw the more motivated I became. Everytime I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and see the budding toned legs, arms, or shoulders, my initial reaction was always ‘holy shit is that me?’ Immediately followed by ‘wow I never thought any part of me could ever look like that!’

So, that’s the chicken or the egg phenomena: I go to the gym and workout regularly because I am seeing positive results towards my fitness goals. And I am seeing positive results because I am going to the gym to workout regularly.

MFP Flex

6 mths Strength Training – still fairly doughy with bat wings & bra strap fat (Weights Exclusively)

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12 mths Strength Training – starting to see some definition in certain positions – the progress keeps me motivated to carry on – tweaks exercises to get the most bang for the workout buck (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

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18 mths Strength Training – muscle definition becoming more prominent – swapped out all my tshirts for tank tops & I always do my pushups in front of a mirror to check my body position but more importantly seeing my shoulder & arm muscles at work motivates me to really push myself to do ‘just one more’ (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

I mentioned previously how utterly ‘lost’ I felt initially in maintenance. The incremental progress during weight loss was suddenly POOF – gone. I felt as if my inner tube had been deflated leaving me in the middle of the ocean just floundering. Simply being intellectually aware that continued activity was ‘good for me’ was not enough of a motivator because to a certain extent, a part of me did have the ‘yay I’ve reached goal – I’ve crossed the proverbial finish line’ mentality. Embracing the reality that there is no finish line & that this is for the rest of my life sort of commitment, it was imperative that I set new goals to help me overcome a common transition pitfall from weight loss to maintenance.

Fitness goals doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or monumental in order to be effective. It can be a series of mini goals. ie. 2,000 steps in three months No matter what it is, it is a key factor to staying active in maintenance. Every now & again, when I hanker to skip the gym,  I ask myself, ‘is it really worth it?’ As one MFP friend very aptly described, muscle definition is a “herd-of-turtles-slow” process and so my answer 99% of the time is a resounding ‘NO.’ It’s just not worth it to me to undo all the time & effort already invested for one night of sitting on my duff at home for an extra hour or so. Hope this more in depth answer is helpful.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS

Need a Plan:

The key is that you need a plan that fits your lifestyle and goals and that allows you to follow through. The world’s greatest plan won’t work if it’s not right for you.

Key Behaviors of Long Term Weight Loss Maintainers:

Several key behavior changes that occurred over the year of follow-up also distinguished maintainers from regainers. Not surprisingly, those who regained weight reported significant decreases in their physical activity, increases in their percentage of calories from fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint. Thus, a large part of weight regain may be attributable to an inability to maintain healthy eating and exercise behaviors over time. The findings also underscore the importance of maintaining behavior changes in the long-term maintenance of weight loss.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Bread … oh how I love thee! It’s my standard go-to for lunch because it is easy, quick, and perfect for a busy morning rushing two kids out the door for school. But when I decided to get healthy, I needed to tweak it so that it is the healthiest version of my standard go-to. Instead of trying to force myself to eat new strange ‘healthy’ foods (ie. lettuce wrap in lieu of bread), I stuck with what I loved and simply swapped out components in order to make it healthier. As you can see below, simply by changing the bread, I saved 80 calories per sandwich, reduced carbs, & total fat/sugar intake. Which may not seem like a lot but multiply that by a week (400 calories) or a year (22,400 calories), it adds up really quickly in my favor.

2015 8-21 Incre Tip

Per 2 Slices Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Enriched Whole Grain  White Sara Lee 45 Calorie & Delightful Whole Grain Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain Difference per Sandwich
Calories 150 90 70 80
Total Calories from Fat 14 10 5 9
Total Fat 1.4 1 1 .4
Carbs 28 19 19 9
Sugar 4 2 1 3

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