Health & Fitness

Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System

Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System
Are you sick of doing quadrillion reps of the same old repetitive exercises, repetitive exercises, and repetitive workouts? Plug and Press in multiple pushup positions and angles like no other pushup product. Power Press Push Up is an innovative color-coded pushup board training system that strengthens and sculpts your entire upper body (chest, shoulders, back, and arms), while engaging your total core. The easy-to-follow multiple color pushup positions target specific muscles and promote proper form, which is essential to strength training. Also included is a workout calendar that is designed for all fitness levels.
Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System Features
Workout calendar. This illustrates three workout phases (Start Up, Rev Up, Explosion) and the particular workout of the day (WOD), which you can also follow along with video
Color coding. The revolutionary color-coded push up board targets specifics muscles worked (chest, shoulders, back, and triceps)
Sturdy. Heavy-duty “Plug & Press” push up board system with multiple positions and angles that sculpt and maximize upper body definition
Improves your health. Burn calories and build strength with this innovative pushup system, including access to workout videos that lead you through total-body strength and conditioning workout.
Pros
Easy to use
Long lasting
Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System Review
One of the recent customers who purchased the Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System said, “The workouts are very well thought out. There is a short warm up. The 20 minute workout includes exercises for legs/cardio, and abs. There is a short cool down. The basic beginner level format is a set of pushups that target a body area followed by a cardio/leg exercise followed by an ab exercise.”
Power Press Push Up – Complete Push Up Training System is highly rated on the market by different users. You will find it to use and maintain.

Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill

$399.00

The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill features 9 built-in workout programs, handrail controls, and phone/table holder that will add comfort and accessibility during any workout routine. This well d… read more

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Product Description

The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill features 9 built-in workout programs, handrail controls, and phone/table holder that will add comfort and accessibility during any workout routine. This well designed treadmill features an easy folding mechanism and soft drop system. The soft drop system will assist you when opening the treadmill, avoiding a big slam or damaged to your wood/carpet floor. It features an LCD screen that tracks your speed, time, distance, pulse and calories which makes it easier to track your fitness goals. The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill is expertly designed for maximum performance, optimal comfort and ultimate efficiency, with a maximum user weight capacity of 220LBS.

More About The Product

  • 2.20 Peak HP drive system with 15.75in x 48.82in running surface
  • Easy folding mechanism and soft drop system to help you unfold your treadmill safely
  • Handrail controls that allow you to control speed, start and stop
  • 9 Built-in workout programs; large LCD display and smart phone/tablet holder
  • Choose between 3 options of incline levels; Max user weight: 220 Lbs. Pause function – Press the stop button once to stop the belt and pause your run while keeping your current data and running stats intact.

The Abs Workout: Best Exercises, Injury Prevention, and How to Transform Your Midsection

You’ve heard the desperate tactics in those late night infomercials. The crazed fitness models who tell you to do endless crunches on useless gizmos to get the abs of your dreams.

You’ve gone to the gym and heard “hardcore” lifters insist that you don’t need an “abs workout” at all, and that a steady diet of compound exercises like squats and deadlifts will do the trick. Still, others say you can simply plank your way to abdominal greatness.

With all of the conflicting theories out there, it’s no wonder you are still searching for a clear answer on how to design an abs workout that will actually work for you.

What you want seems simple: a sturdy core that allows you to live the life you want…and it doesn’t hurt if you also look good shirtless on the beach. But it’s hard to know what to do when you spend so much time filtering through misinformation, outdated methods, and marketing hype from a fitness industry that knows everybody loves a six-pack. No one could blame you for feeling overwhelmed, hopping from program to program, or even giving up entirely.

Learning to train correctly will help you perform better, avoid back pain and other injuries, and be stronger in everything that you do—whether you’re squatting seriously heavy weight, shoveling snow, or picking up your child. You can learn how to do all of that and also drop unwanted belly fat, while finally answering the question, “what’s the right abs workout for me?”

What People Mean When They Talk About “Abs”

Your abs are really just one muscle—the rectus abdominis (RA).

The RA is what gives people that six-pack (or eight-pack) look. But functionally speaking, the muscle is just one part of a larger web of tissues often referred to as “the core.” Your RA works along with your obliques (you have both internal and external ones), a bunch of deep internal muscles like the transverse abdominis, quadratus lumborum, and multifidi, and even the lats, which play an important (and underappreciated) role in supporting your back.

Do you need to know all these names? Not unless you’re a fitness pro. But what you should know is that these muscles are like the cables of a suspension bridge keeping that all-important center column—your spine—in alignment. They also make it possible for you to stand upright, swing a golf club or baseball bat, chuck hay bales with a pitchfork, and do so many of the other cool things you can do as a uniquely awesome human.

Maintaining an appropriate balance of strength among these stabilizers is crucial to your health and performance. Every muscle matters, which is why most abs workouts are inherently flawed.

Training your abs directly through a movement like sit-ups or crunches (not the best bang-for-your-buck exercises) won’t accomplish what you want. Creating a great abs workout means progressing through 3 different phases. Follow the steps, and everything will function (and look) the way you want. Take shortcuts, and — well — you probably have a good idea of how the more basic approach falls short of expectations.

The 3-Phase Approach to Abs Workouts

It sounds funny, but you need to make sure that all of your core muscles are awake and not asleep at the switch. That’s why there’s a progressive approach, which puts you in control of your abs. Think of it like math. If you skip to calculus before you learn addition and subtraction, odds are you won’t be very good. But when you build up to the more difficult stuff, that’s when you really see great results.

Phase 1: Injury prevention
Here’s where you reinvigorate tissues that are often deactivated by your lifestyle. This is a way bigger deal than you think.

To understand why, look no further than your typical workday.

Your commute begins with you sitting in your car for 15 to 30 minutes (or waaaay longer if you’re one of 3.6 million “megacommuters” out there doing an hour and a half or more each way).

From 9 to 5 the routine is more of the same: You’re in a seat. You shoulders are rounded forward. Your back and spine hunch toward your screen. When all of the TPS reports are filed, it’s time for the drive back home.

Rinse and repeat this for eight to 12 hours per day, 260 or so workdays per year.

When you spend this much time sitting, deep core muscles like your transverse abdominis weaken from inactivity. Even very big, very visible muscles like your glutes can essentially shut off and stop working as they should (a condition the world’s leading spine health researcher, Dr. Stu McGill, calls “gluteal amnesia”). The result is bad posture, worse gym performance, and far greater risk of back pain. Let’s prevent that, shall we?

With the help of exercises that train the core functionally, you’ll re-engage those underused muscles and build a better balance of baseline strength. You’ll find these exercises in the section “Core Training for Injury Prevention,” below. You can include these movements as part of your warmup before a workout, or it can be a targeted program for 4-8 weeks if you find that these exercises are very difficult (because your small stabilizers and glutes are “turned off”).

Phase 2: Training for performance

Once you know you’ve brought all your core muscles back online and protected your body from the demands of the daily grind, you’ll kick things up a notch. Here you’ll work on exercises that will help you be stronger in the gym, play better

Once you know you’ve brought all your core muscles back online and protected your body from the demands of the daily grind, you’ll kick things up a notch. Here you’ll work on exercises that will help you be stronger in the gym, play better in any sport, and more able to carry heaping piles of grocery bags in a single trip. You’ll find these movements in “Core Training for Performance,” below. Follow this phase for another 4-8 weeks.

Phase 3: Training for aesthetics.

As we’ve discussed, building a shrediculous set of chiseled abs is the icing on the cake. (And yes, you can still eat cake and have abs.)

Here’s where you’ll re-integrate some of the ab-specific work that most people overdo. Rather than endless sit-ups or crunches, you’ll perform far more potent (and safer) moves. You’ll also learn some techniques for getting a leaner look that will help those abs really pop.

Note that element here builds off the previous one. You can’t just skip down to the third section of this article, do those moves and voila! 8-pack.

Be patient. Trust the process. You will wind up with a core that feels, performs, and yes, looks way better.

Core Training for Injury Prevention

Back injuries can be debilitating. A hurt back can make it difficult to stand up from a chair, much less train with the proper intensity to change your body. So the first goal of any good abs workout must be injury prevention.

Your dose of prevention takes place at the front of your workouts. Before you lift, you’re going to do what’s called core activation work. Core activation is essentially a series of core exercises that “wakes up” all of the muscles in your trunk by asking them to perform the type of tasks they actually do.

Your abs workout injury prevention focuses on the three “anti-’s”:

Anti-Rotation: One of your core’s main jobs is to prevent you from toppling over when you move in one direction, or an outside force acts on you. Think about how often someone accidentally bumps into you, and the next thing you know your back is in tremendous pain. Or when you rotate and something feels “off.” You can prevent these aches and pains. Anti-rotational exercises help you develop stability from the ground all the way up your trunk. Some of the moves we like here are pallof presses, half-kneeling iso-holds, and half-kneeling chops. Compound exercises like a single-arm dumbbell row also fit the bill.

Anti-Extension: When it comes to your spine, the term “extension” refers to a rounded back (think: the “cat” position of cat-cow). Anti-extension exercises train your core to resist this extension —something that will come in handy when you do an exercise like a deadlift, where “don’t round your lower back!” is a commonly heard cue. Try front planks, ab wheel rollouts, and stability ball rollouts.

Anti-Lateral Flexion: That’s the scientific way of saying “resisting sideways bending.” The quadratus lumborum and obliques are the key muscles responsible for this action. To train it, perform side plank variations, single-arm farmer’s carries, and carrying your groceries all in one hand.

There’s one other crucial factor here: Glute engagement. Your glutes are the biggest muscle in your body. They’re responsible for driving hip extension—the main muscle action for moves like sprints, jumps, deadlifts, and squats. Don’t do those exercises? It’s still important because you need hip extension for the simple act of standing up straight.

The only problem, as we mentioned earlier, is that most of us sit on our glutes all day, which leads them to effectively “forget” how to work (hence McGill’s term “gluteal amnesia”). When this occurs, your body can still manage to achieve hip extension, but it does so by compensating with your lower back. Improving glute activation is far and away one of the best things you can do to reducing back pain, improving performance, and building a strong, resilient body.

To activate your glutes, try quadruped hip extensions, frog pumps, clamshells, lateral band walks and x-band monster walks. For strengthening your glutes, go with compound exercises like squats, hips thrusts, deadlifts, and lunges with a focus on full hip extension and a glute squeeze at the top of a movement.

The above list should give you plenty of options for compiling a core and glute workout or warmup. But we’ve taken things a step further for you and built a couple of examples you can use before an upper-body or lower body workout. Try these before your next strength session:

Sample Abs Workout (Before Upper Body Workout)

1a. TRX Fallout, 2×10, rest 30 seconds
1b. Side Plank, 2×45 seconds/side, rest 30 seconds
1c. Supine Hip Thrust, 2×10, rest 30 seconds

Sample Abs Workout Before Lower Body Workout

1a. Half Kneeling Pallof Press, 2×10/side, rest 30 seconds
1b. Lateral Band Walk, 2×10/side, rest 30 seconds

Core Training For Performance

Dr. McGill will tell you that “proximal stiffness enhances distal mobility and athleticism.” Translation: When your core is strong and you can make it as stiff as a board, you can move your arms and legs faster and more powerfully. That means a stronger push off the ground when you sprint, a harder throw when you hurl a baseball, and a better ability to leap from the ground to snag rebounds at your local YMCA.

Why? Think about the difference between walking across concrete and walking across a row of pillows. The hard surface allows you to push off forcefully, while the soft one causes that force to be deflected in a bunch of competing directions. That lost force is known as an “energy leak” in biomechanic terms, and it will occur at any point in your body that lacks sufficient strength and stiffness. A weak core is a big energy leak. (But with the help of this article, you won’t have that problem.)

There are three components of training your core for better performance.

First, activate deep muscles with the “anti-movements” we discussed above. They’ll help you resist unwanted movements, button up any energy leaks, and prepare your body to perform.

Second, integrate total body compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, overhead presses, lunges, and weighted carries. Upper body pressing exercises like push-ups and pulling exercises like rowing are also your friends. They develop power and strength and help you develop core stiffness that won’t buckle under load. Your core should remain braced as you move, providing a rock-solid foundation that holds your spine’s position and doesn’t buckle during exercise. In other words: a great abs workout means doing more than just abs exercises.

When it comes to weighted carries, there are almost limitless options. Heavy dumbbells, a trap bar, or (if your gym is really cool) farmer’s walk handles are some the best tools for building a strong, high-performance core.

Whatever type of carry you use, brace your abs for the entire set. You want to stand tall and pretend like you’re about to take a punch to the gut. Hold this position, stay tall, and breathe into your stomach for the set. The carry will force your deep intrinsic core muscles to stabilize your hip and spine with every step. The muscles of your back lower back and abs tighten to prevent unnecessary movement in your spine.

Third, add sport-specific core strength movements. If you’re an athlete who trains for a specific sport, you need to train movements that are similar to those that you’ll perform in the sport that you play. For example, if you play golf, tennis, or baseball, you’ll want to work on your rotational strength, since that’s what powers your swing.

Athleticism requires muscles, joints, ligaments, and nervous system must work together as a complete unit to be strong and powerful. One of the best ways to develop this power is with a medicine ball. It allows you to train the movement patterns specific to your sport at full speed, which helps you achieve the best-possible training response. Here are four rotational strength-building exercises that use a medicine ball:

Rotational Scoop Throw, 3 sets x 5 reps per side
Stand perpendicular to an open area or a solid wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. From this position, while holding the ball to your back hip, shift your weight to the back leg before explosively shifting your weight to the front leg and throwing the ball as hard as possible. Repeat for three sets of five reps per side.

Medicine Rainbow Slam, 3 sets x 5 reps per side
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a medicine ball overhead with your arms extended. Rotate and slam the ball outside your opposite foot. Catch the ball and reverse the range of motion for three sets of five reps per side.

Overhead Medicine Ball Slams, 3 sets x 5 reps per side
The overhead medicine ball slam builds incredible power through your shoulders and lats while preventing flexion through your spine. Stand up tall with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball in both hands. Raise the ball overhead, then slam it as hard as you can on the ground. Catch the ball on the bounce and repeat. Try the overhead medicine ball slam before doing upper body lifts like shoulder presses or chin-ups.

Medicine Ball Back Tosses, 3 sets x 5 reps per side
The medicine ball back toss builds explosive hip extension power, such as exercises like jumps and cleans but with less joint stress. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball overhead with your arms straight. Start the rep by squatting down and lowering the ball between your legs. Then explode upward to jump out of the squat while you raise your arms overhead to throw the ball behind you. This explosive movement works best to build explosive hip extension power and works well before lower body training lifts like a squat or deadlift.

Designing a Better Abs Workout

Now that you’ve earned your way to phase 3, it’s time for an abs workout that will prepare your core for the display case. To do so, you need a combination of two things:

You need to be lean. Men will start to see the outline of their abs around 12% body fat, while women will notice definition when around 17-18% body fat. For reference: magazine cover model types are often at 5-7% for men and 14-15% for women.

You need well-developed, muscular abs. Without a certain level of lean muscle, your abs won’t push through remaining body fat and give you the dense, toned look you’d like. So here’s where some of those “icing on the cake” exercises that emphasize the rectus abdominis come in handy (although, as you’ll see below, you’ll still be using safer and more functional moves than sit-ups or crunches).

Losing Fat to Reveal Your Abs

At the most basic level, creating a caloric deficit is the only thing that matters for fat loss. Despite what supplement companies or sketchy infomercials might tell you, research shows you can’t “spot reduce” and tell your body to only lose fat on that annoying spot just below your belly button. But what you can do is “spot enhance,” or build a muscle up in specific area while you lose fat throughout your entire body.

There are a lot of ways one can create that needed caloric deficit. The by-the-numbers approach is to determine the daily caloric intake required to maintain your body weight, then eat a few hundred calories fewer. (You can do this on your own using a body weight calculator, or under the guidance of a coach who can help you specific targets based on your wants and needs.) Assuming you’re moderately active and working out three or four times per week, a reasonable ballpark figure is a reduction of about 500 calories per day for men and 300 calories per day for women.

Don’t get carried away here. While most of us want to ditch fat in a hurry, those “lose weight fast” plans are deceptive. Despite what the latest diet fad will tell you, research shows the maximum rate of “healthy” fat loss is about 1-2% body weight each week. (That said, the more weight you have to lose, the quicker you can lose it.)

Another tricky factor here: The leaner you are, the slower your rate of fat loss will be. Using the percentages above, you can see how someone who weighs 250 pounds may be able to drop up to 5 pounds per week, while someone who’s 180 pounds may struggle to drop one.

For almost everyone, fat loss feels like it’s taking place at a rate that’s slower than you would like. But it’s better to go slow and sustainable than try and do it fast and then crash. (Some studies show that the average person spends 6 weeks sticking to a strict diet—then spends 14 weeks off of it.) So if you have a vacation 12 weeks from now and want to lose 20 pounds so that you look hot in your new bikini or when you’re standing shirtless at the beach, the time to start is now.

The Ultimate Abs Workout (AKA looking good without a shirt)

Your abs are like any other muscle—they need time under tension, metabolic stress (that nauseating yet delightful burn you’ve felt during sets of crunches), and muscular damage (something that sounds bad, but actually just refers to the process of creating microtears in muscle tissue so that they come back stronger) in order to grow.

Here’s how to make all of that happen:

First, you’ll continue to lift weights three to four times per week with compound movements. These big movements like squats, rows, and deadlifts build strength from head to toe, stimulate your abs, and provide the training response necessary to transform your body.

Second, keep doing “anti-movements” in your training to build a strong, stable and injury-resistant core.

Third, you’ll add in exercises that specifically target your abs to create the deep muscular separations needed for visible abs.

But as you’ve read over and over again in this article now, sit-ups and crunches aren’t your best options for achieving point #3. Why? Because those movements wind up bending your spinal discs over and over again, which McGill describes as a “potent injury mechanism.” So instead, here are five better exercises that focus on your abs without putting you at risk, which will help you build lean muscle for beach season:

1. Hollow Body Hold

A gymnastics move by nature, the hollow body hold teaches you to brace and hold neutral spine while contracting your entire rectus abdominis muscle.

Lie flat on the ground, looking up. Flatten your lower back and flex your knees, pointing your toes away from you. Straighten your legs while you lift your arms so that they’re perpendicular to your torso. Keep your back flat on the floor and lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Aim to do these twice a week.

2. Hanging Leg Raise

The hanging leg raise is a popular exercise for targeting your lower abs. By keeping your elbows slightly bent and shoulders retracted (i.e. held down and in, rather than creeping up toward your ears), you’ll also stretch the lats, build a stronger grip, and develop more muscular forearms.

Grab a pull-up bar with a double overhand grip, squeezing the bar as tight as possible and keeping the elbows slightly bent. Retract your shoulders, as if tucking them into your back pocket and holding them there.

From this position, lift your legs up just past 90 degrees, forming an L shape with your body. Pause at the top for two seconds, then lower with control. Too tough? Then try them with your knees bent, lifting and holding for 5-10 seconds if possible.

If you struggle to hold on to the bar, feel free to use the Roman chair version in which you’re supported by your elbows and upper body.

3. Stability Ball Rollout

Stability ball rollouts are a great way to build strong abs while preparing your body for a greater challenge: the ab wheel rollout.

To start, kneel on the floor (it may be helpful to place an Airex pad or yoga mat beneath your knees) and face a stability ball with your arms extended in front of your body. Your hands should sit atop the ball. Brace your abs to prevent your back from arching, lean forward, and roll your arms over the ball as far as possible, so that your entire torso lowers toward the floor. Then reverse the motion and pull your arms and torso back until you return to the starting position.

4. Ab Wheel Rollout
Ab wheel rollouts are an absolute killer for building strong, dense abs. Beyond building muscle, they force you to resist unwanted extension in the lower back.

Kneel down and hold the handles of the wheel with your arms locked out beneath your shoulders. Brace your abs and roll the wheel as far forward as possible without shifting your hips or arching your lower back, then roll back.

5. Cable Crunch
Remember the day when crunches and situps were all the rage? There are still effective ways to perform the crunch (see McGill curlup), but this is another variation that puts you in a position where you are less likely to hurt your back and you can add some load to increase the difficulty. Just like any exercise, progressive overload (adding weight) can help you build stronger abs — that pop.

Kneel facing the pulley and hold the ends of a rope attached to the high cable along the sides of your face. Bend forward, aiming your chest at your pelvis. Return to the starting position, then repeat the movement.

Here’s how it looks when you put all of those exercises together into a single workout.

Sample Abs Workout Routine

Perform this sample routine 2-3 times per week for 4-6 weeks.

  1. Ab wheel rollout OR stability ball rollout, 2 sets x 8-12 reps, rest 90 seconds
  2. Hollow Body Hold 3 sets x 45 seconds, rest 45 seconds.
  3. Hanging Leg Raise 3 sets x 12-15 reps, rest 45 seconds.
  4. Cable Crunch 3 sets x 15 reps, rest 45 seconds

The Takeaways

Think “core” before you think “abs.” Focus on anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation, and glute activation exercises first. This helps prevent injury.

Next, comes performance. You’ll develop core strength along with full-body strength by performing compound lifts with your core properly engaged. Train rotation and other movements as needed for the sport of your choice.

Finally, build show-worthy abs by adding in some level of direct ab training while also continuing to develop the core’s ability to prevent movement. Follow a gradual approach to fat loss that helps you reveal your hard work to the world with a lean, defined midsection.

Above all else, you need a well-balanced training approach to build your best looking and best performing body.

Eric Bach is a personal trainer who works directly with clients in Denver, Colorado and around the world online. Eric specializes in helping busy men eliminate nagging injuries, get stronger, leaner and more athletic without living in the gym. To access his FREE five-day fat loss challenge, join by clicking here.

Resources

  1. Alpert, Seymour S. “A limit on the energy transfer rate from the human fat store in hypophagia.” Journal of Theoretical Biology 233.1 (2005): 1-13. Web. 2017.
  2. Spaniol, Frank J., EdU. “Developing Power to Turn.” NSCA Strength & Conditioning Journal 34.6 (2012): n. pag. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.
  3. McGill, Stuart, PhD. 5th ed. Waterloo: Backfitpro Inc, 2014. Print.
  4. Ramírez-Campillo, Rodrigo, David C. Andrade, Christian Campos-Jara, Carlos Henríquez-Olguín, Cristian Alvarez-Lepín, and Mikel Izquierdo. “Regional Fat Changes Induced by Localized Muscle Endurance Resistance Training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27.8 (2013): 2219-224. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.

The post The Abs Workout: Best Exercises, Injury Prevention, and How to Transform Your Midsection appeared first on Born Fitness.

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Navigating The Gym When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong

The smiling attendant at the upscale London tennis club scans me in, hands me a towel, waves me through. I’m a new member, but this isn’t my first rodeo. I love the gym, and this upscale, south London paradise is probably one of the nicest I’ve ever stepped foot in.

All is well until I hit the locker room, post-workout. I’m a sweaty mess. The showers are on one side of the locker room, and the changing area in another. In the middle are loads of slim, tanned women, fresh from their doubles set, unselfconsciously changing out in the open. They are as different from me as you can get.

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And my complimentary towel? Well… I am somehow going to have to run this gauntlet, naked and dripping from the shower, with the equivalent of a tea towel to cover myself — a towel that, if I were an average sized woman, would have been more than adequate.

In that moment, I knew myself to be… gymtimidated. Ugh.

I consider myself to be a reasonably active person. I ride horses, play roller derby, and lift two to three times per week, on average. But as a confirmed size 22 with Hashimoto’s and PCOS, I’m well aware that feeling intimidated by the gym is a very real sensation. Research has found that fear of judgement tops the list of reasons why women aged 14 to 40 don’t exercise, even though arguably we’re a group of people who would benefit from and enjoy it most. To me, it’s unsurprising.

Aggressive, outdated marketing and business strategies deter plenty of people — fat, thin, old, young, different classes, different races — from ever even setting foot in the gym. “You aren’t like these people,” these messages whisper, in the hope that you’ll be inspired to part with your money to “be like them.” As if somehow, a monthly membership will transform you into that 20-year-old, 108-pound athlete with 12 percent body fat, the lungs of an endurance athlete, and the abs of a CrossFitter used in the advertisement.

This is the implied message in an overwhelming cross-section of fitness marketing, and we absorb it with every protein shake we drink. It’s no wonder so many of us are intimidated when it comes to going to the gym!

When you’re fighting that tiny voice that says you don’t belong, before you even walk through the doors, facing down the free weights section in a shared space starts feeling like scaling Mt. Everest.

I know first hand. But the gym can be a fantastic place once you do go. I love my gym! I love how I feel when I go. I love the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learned. I’ve loved cheering on the people around me as they’ve run their marathons, had their babes, rehabbed their hip, won their physique competition. They’re an overall bunch of great people, and I’ve found that most gyms I’ve belonged to (including the south London nudity gauntlet) have had just as awesome a client base as this one, once I got comfortable being there.

It’s that “getting comfortable” part that can be tricky to navigate. How did I do it? How does anyone do it?

If you want to overcome your hesitation and get to the gym, these tips will help you get comfortable with the idea of working out in front of (and perhaps even with) other people.

1. Pick the right gym. You may have to visit a few gyms before you find one that you’re even remotely comfortable with before you part with cash, and that’s OK. You can also consider an independent gym, since these tend to have a smaller, more close-knit community of people.

If it’s possible for you to go to the gym during less-crowded off-peak times, then you may be more comfortable and not have to wait for equipment. Cosmo UK’s study says that 84 percent of women felt too intimidated to talk to the equipment hoggers and would rather end their workout than wait. Heading into a smaller gym at a less busy time helps avoid that possibility and lets you focus on yourself. As you gain confidence and begin to feel more comfortable, who knows! You may meet some new friends, start to visit the gym at busier times, or change gyms altogether as you start to figure out what you really enjoy and how you want to train.

2. Have a solid plan before you go. Research first — will you be meeting with a trainer, or following a workout plan? Many trainers will offer a phone or email consultation beforehand and give you an idea of what to expect. Trying new moves? Practice the basic mechanics at home so you can get comfortable with how your body is going to feel while moving. Is there lingo you need to learn? Chances are someone has already covered that ground for you somewhere on the Internet. Take advantage of available resources before you set foot in the gym.

3. When you get there, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Introduce yourself. Even if a personal trainer isn’t on the agenda for the moment, gyms usually offer a basic gym tour including the facilities and equipment. Some gyms go even further by offering a complimentary session with a trainer, which can really help you understand specific equipment in your gym. Either way, don’t be afraid to ask what a piece of equipment is for and how to safely use it.

Nobody is born knowing how to swing a kettlebell or perform a back squat. Expect the learning curve and know that everyone else went through this, too.

4. Pick interesting exercises. If you’re focused on doing something that really interests you or you find tricky, you’re less likely to have time to focus on negative emotions. It’s challenging, and you’re also not likely to get bored with your routine. I’ve recently added pull-ups to my routine and while you might not expect a 220-pound woman to be flailing around in the air, I’m far too busy focusing on form to mind. They’re too much fun!

5. Find your mindset. Write down your reasons for wanting to go to the gym, maybe on the inside of your workout log, and look at them frequently. If you’re not working with a trainer exclusively, pick out a fantastic playlist and put on some secure headphones to help focus you on what you’re doing. Finally, pick out workout clothes that makes you feel comfortable and excited to train, and keep you safe. You know, something that won’t try to strangle you when it gets caught in the rowing machine.* Try on your outfit and work through your workout moves at home. If you aren’t adjusting your bra straps or having to pull your leggings up every few minutes, you can keep yourself focused on working out.

Finally, remember that there are people out here that support everything you’re doing right now. You’ve shown up, bought the membership, brought a right-sized towel and have every right to be there as much as the physique competitor and the powerlifter.

You may feel intimidated, but remember: you do belong.

*Totally not speaking from experience. Really.

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4 Exercises for Bolder Shoulders

I’m a petite person, but I have always had a rather big upper body. I used to absolutely hate my broad shoulders. I’d describe them as linebacker shoulders, in the most negative way possible. For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried myself with a slumped posture to make those big shoulders appear a bit smaller.

Even as I started dabbling in strength training and gaining some muscle on my small frame, I continued to back away from adding “too much” in the upper body department. With every program I tried, I’d skip or change some of the upper body work for fear of getting much bigger. “My upper body is already big and it grows so easily, I don’t want it to grow too much,” I’d say to myself. And when I first started working with a coach, I made sure to be explicitly clear about how I needed to prioritize building my legs instead of my arms and shoulders.

Luckily, that first coach knew what I really wanted better than I knew myself, and basically ignored my pleas. (Sounds like the worst coach ever, I know. But he knew what he was doing!) Ever the good student, I followed my training program to the letter, upper body work and all. I complained (read: whined like a toddler) in the beginning, lamenting the awkward and terrible imbalances of my linebacker shoulders.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I discovered the joys of arm and shoulder day.

Turns out, I’d spent a lot of time avoiding the stuff that was the most fun — and impactful. Before long, I found myself prioritizing upper body work over lower body work, and piling on more volume to build up my shoulders and arms.

Boulder shoulders? Yes, please! Upper body too big? No such thing!

Soon, I was busting out of all my shirts, sizing up in jackets, and wearing mostly sleeveless tops. And I loved it. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t self-conscious of the size of my shoulders in a negative way. Sure, I’d get compliments to the tune of, “I want your arms!” which is always flattering, but that wasn’t what it was all about for me. Their bigger size now made me feel confidence instead of shame.

Putting on the muscle and seeing the physique changes was great, but what really changed for me was that I found a certain power in embracing my body as-is, and choosing to work with it instead of against it. I had spent 30 years hating half of my body. The second I started loving it, everything changed.

I started from a familiar place, a place focused on aesthetics, and certainly a particular aesthetic – lean, round in the “right” places, flat in others, the perfect picture of a smiling model on a fitness magazine cover. What I learned along the way was that having a goal to train for aesthetics, for building and shaping your body, though seemingly shallow, is a worthy goal. It’s also one that will likely surprise you in its deeper meaning.

Pursuing this goal led me to a place of self-assuredness in all of my choices for myself and my body that I had never known before. Choosing for myself how I wanted my body to look, and being deliberate in my training led to purposefully taking control of my choices in other areas of life. If I wanted to stand up, I could. If I wanted to speak loudly and boldly, I could. All the while, holding my big shoulders tall.

Gaining muscle as a woman is often difficult. It takes a lot of effort and consistency over a long period of time. But your body will change – that’s the goal. As it does, so will you, because that same effort and consistency over time will translate to changes in how you move through life, too.

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Big Arms, Big Life!

For me, the whole process became less about shaping my muscles, and more about shaping my life. When I eased up on the negative thoughts toward my big shoulders, I started to see them, and myself, very differently. Suddenly, my shoulders were beautiful. Big, round, shapely, strong, bold – a symbol and a statement of everything I had become as a woman.

Training specifically for increased muscle, especially where I had originally thought I wanted it the least, was a journey in self-exploration. Not only did I have to work harder than I ever had before in the gym, I also ended up working harder than I ever imagined on introspection and my emotional connections to both my physical body and how it was taking up space in the world. I went from accepting my place as a small person to creating my place as a bigger one.

And really, that’s been the biggest lesson that has shaped so much of my life for the past couple of years, and where my favorite saying — “Big arms, Big life!” — came from. Working hard to build muscle physically led to working hard to build strength mentally and emotionally, which led to building exactly what I wanted for myself in all aspects of life.

Boulder shoulders led to a bolder me.

4 Exercises for Bolder Shoulders

Building boulder shoulders — or frankly, bolder any body part — is a deliberate exercise in diligence, patience, and hard work. My four favorite shoulder exercises will go a long way in building that boldness you’re after.

These four moves as a workout are meant to build the shoulders in an all-around fashion — overall development, width, and roundness. You can implement them as a standalone workout to really pump up the shoulders and encourage growth, or you can add one or two to an existing workout to give your shoulders a little extra attention.

All that being said, the shoulders are a very complex part of the body, consisting of many muscles, and joints that move in many ways. The shoulder complex can be a common place for injuries, so be mindful of your movement when adding in new shoulder work, or increasing volume. Start lighter than you think, always use control, and never work through pain.

Speaking of the many muscles of the shoulder complex, training shoulders is unique in that there are multiple ways in which we can shape them. The main muscles that create that big, round, boulder shoulder look are the deltoids, which consist of the front, side, and rear heads. Everyone’s anatomy is a little different, but in general, making sure to hit each of the heads of the deltoid specifically is a good way to train this part of the body.

The Arnold Press

The Arnold Press — yes, named after that famous Arnold — is a great move for overall shoulder development, especially targeting the front and side heads of the deltoids, with a great range of motion. In this workout, we’ll use the Arnold Press as a movement to create a bit more strength and power in the shoulders before moving on to some higher repetition, “pump” style training to encourage size and shape. We’ll do this exercise seated to allow for heavy focus on the shoulders with little room for cheating.

How to do it:

Sit on a chair or bench, preferably with your back supported. Grab your dumbbells, and lift them onto your knees. Start by bringing the dumbbells up to a curl position in front of your shoulders, with palms facing in. From there, start to press the dumbbells overhead, while rotating your palms around and out. When you reach the top of your overhead press, your palms should be facing away from you. Reverse the movement, rotating your palms back in as you lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Lateral Raise

The Lateral Raise is a classic shoulder exercise that targets the side delts intensely, with some front delt action as well. And it’s great for building shoulder width. Sometimes you’ll see this movement with a slightly heavier weight and a good bit of “body English,” but I like it with a weight you can handle under total control.

How to do it:

Standing in a strong athletic position, with feet about hip distance apart, core tight, and knees slightly bent, grab your dumbbells and hold them at your sides. With a slight bend in the elbow, raise the dumbbells out to your sides, just slightly in front of your body. Stop when the dumbbells get to shoulder height, then slowly lower back down to the starting position.

Rear Delt Raise

The Rear Delt Raise is a laser focus on the rear deltoid, which tends to get a little less attention in shoulder workouts, many times leaving it smaller and weaker than the other muscles of the shoulder and deltoids. And we want to give the rear delt some more attention because while we often think of the shoulder from the front, or maybe side, of the body, having a fully developed rear delt rounds out the look of the shoulders, and solidifies their shape all the way around your body.

How to do it:

Set up standing in a bent over position, hinged at the hips with a strong core and flat back. Start by holding your dumbbells in both hands with arms relaxed in front of you and palms facing your body, thumbs touching each other. Initiate the movement with your rear delt, keeping a slight bend in the elbow, raising the dumbbells as far as you can without engaging the upper back muscles – you do not want to squeeze the shoulder blades together. Think about a string pulling the dumbbells up. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position under control, keeping the thumbs pointed toward each other throughout the movement.

Front Raise

The Front Raise is *ahem* a movement that targets the front delts, giving the shoulders size and shape as soon as you lay eyes on them. There are many ways to do it, but I like to do it seated, all reps on one arm, to really isolate one side at a time without any swinging whatsoever. The seated position itself helps with that isolation too.

How to do it:

Sit on a chair or bench, preferably with your back supported. Start by holding your dumbbells down at your sides, palms facing behind you. With a slight bend in the elbow, raise one arm up until the dumbbell reaches shoulder height. Slowly lower it back down to the starting position under control, repeating all reps on that side before switching to the other side.

The Workout

I recommend completing this workout one to three times per week, as follows. You’ll only need dumbbells and a place to sit!

1A. Seated Arnold Press
Perform 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions, with a two-second eccentric. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets.

Followed by a triset of these three exercises:
*Note: In a triset you perform one set of each exercise, one after the other, before taking a rest.

2A. Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise
2B. Standing Bent Over Rear Delt Raise
2C. Seated Single Arm Front Raise

Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions, with a 2-second eccentric, moving directly from one exercise to the next. Rest 60-90 seconds after each triset.

Looking around in today’s climate, a big upper body and a big presence are something women often notice about other women. It’s still not the majority or the norm, so it’s usually pretty eye-catching. Some may consider it a bit masculine for personal tastes, others get all hearts-and-googly-eyes about it. But what many can agree on is that boulder shoulders are a badge of a bolder woman.

And that is a badge you can always wear proudly.

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GGS Spotlight: Marcie Sislow

Name:   Marcie Sislow
Age:
39
Location: Seattle, WA

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
It means being unafraid to live in your own skin! Discovering my own strength increased my self-confidence and has helped me to be a better role model for my daughter. I believe being self-sufficient is empowering, being confident in your imperfections is freeing, and being able to move with a healthy body is a privilege. My mantra is mindful, attainable strength. It’s something that I strongly strive to achieve every time I train myself or others. It’s a state of mind, and it’s a movement! In today’s busy life we need to be ever more present in our daily activities, and that includes training. Being mindful,present, and truly showing up connected with your body is as important as your fitness journey.

Attainable strength is something that we can all strive to achieve. It takes dedication, consistency and most importantly a support system. Girls Gone Strong has been my support system!

How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started?
I’ve been consistently strength training for the past five years. It all started after the birth of my son who is turning six this year. My turning point came in the fitting room of one of my favorite clothing stores. I was about eight months postpartum. After I had a full on meltdown and cried in the fitting room while nursing this new baby, I decided to take control of the situation and do something about it. I went home that night and did an internet search for at-home fitness. One of the first things that caught my eye was an ad for a kettlebell DVD. I had no idea what a kettlebell was, and I wanted to learn more. My search led me to Neghar Fonooni. After contacting her, I started online coaching and quickly fell in love with kettlebells and strength training.

What are your areas of expertise in health and fitness?
I’ve always been a sporty kid. I played soccer, ran cross country in high school, and ran a half marathon back in the day. For a little over three years, I worked as a paramedic in Chicago while I finished my degree in exercise science. After graduation, I decided I wanted to add some more skills, and went on to become certified in massage therapy through the Cortiva Institute of Massage in Chicago. Today, I am a proud SFG-1 Instructor, RKC Instructor, Onnit Foundations coach, and lover of all the tools in the toolbox! I tend to gravitate towards unconventional training because it’s fun!

What does your typical workout look like?
It depends on what I’m working toward at the time, but on a typical day I start with some mobility work, and I usually start my sessions with a couple sets of Turkish get-ups and light swings. Currently I’ve been doing three or four total-body, strength-focused days with some kind of metabolic finisher during the last five to ten minutes of my session. Variations of the deadlift, squats, chin-up practice, military press, and swings are some of my favorite things to train. As far as a finisher, my favorite right now is a Tabata of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds. I’ll throw in whatever I’m in the mood for that day.

Sometimes I stick to the plan, and sometimes I don’t I think it’s important and just listen to what my body is in the mood for that day.

Favorite Lift:
Two of my favorites moves are the deadlift, because of the booty gains and the KB Turkish get-up. The get-up is one of those moves that engages your whole body, and it almost feels like a beautiful piece of choreography. It’s like a dance with your kettlebell. It’s graceful and powerful all at the same time!

Most memorable PR:
Crushing my snatch test for the SFG and RKC! I completed my test by snatching 100 reps in five minutes with a 16kg kettlebell. The last two minutes of the test took absolutely everything I had, but I wanted to finish what I started so badly that I was nearly in tears at the end! Besides being physically challenging, it was such an emotional journey for me because I had been training for this and trying to get to that finish line for quite sometime. It felt amazing to finally accomplish something I had been working toward for so long.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:

  1. So What’Cha Want/Beastie Boys
  2. W.O/Ministry
  3. Strobe/deadMau5
  4. My Own Summer(Shove it)/Deftones
  5. Gasolina-DJ Buddah Remix/Daddy Yankee,Lil John,Pitbull

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:

  1. Sling Shot Hip Circle I use it to activate my glutes as well as in my dynamic warm up
  2. Bose wireless headphones
  3. EO Everyone Baby Wipes for those post-training wipe downs

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Alone. Training is a chance to shut off the world and get in my own head. It’s my zen! With two kids, my home life is far from quiet. I crave that alone time where I can blast my angry music, smash some weights, and not think about anything other than the lift.

Best compliment you’ve received lately:
I was at my favorite coffee shop(El Diablo in Seattle) recently when a very fabulous man came up to me and asked me if I was wearing fake lashes. I said no, just wearing mascara. He then waved his hand in the air and said “YAS Queen…SLAY girl….you are blessed!” The thing about that morning was that I wasn’t feeling very fabulous, and I was battling some negative voices in my head. That one minute interaction with this stranger totally changed the way I was feeling. In that moment my attitude totally changed, and I went on with my day with a better attitude. When in doubt……slay, girl!

Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
The most recent compliment I gave was to my daughter. I told her that her curly hair was looking extra fabulous. It totally made her morning!

Favorite meal:
Does dessert count as a meal? Hmmm….Pizza, pancakes, and pie…oh my!

Favorite way to treat yourself:
A cup of chamomile tea at night in my favorite robe, with my lavender heating pad wrapped around my neck… total #grandmastatus happening at my house. I also love getting regular massage and a mani-pedi.

Favorite quote:
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” — Dylan Thomas

Favorite book:
I haven’t really read for pleasure in quite sometime, which is something I’d like to change. The last book I enjoyed was Born Survivors by Wendy Holden.

What inspires and motivates you?
My kids, Sophia and Trent. They are fearless and care-free little humans. They inspire me to charge into the world fearlessly and confidently. As we grow up, we tend to lose that care-free attitude toward life. We stop questioning, and we stop wandering. We are raising our kids to question everything and to never be afraid to wander and get lost in the world. How are you supposed to find yourself if you never truly lose yourself in the first place?

What do you do?
I’m a kettlebell coach, mom, wife, and personal trainer. At one point in my life I considered myself to be a professional booty cleaner but thank goodness those days are no more!

What else do you do?
I love trying new things, I’ve only been in Seattle for the past three years, so there is still so much to explore! I enjoy taking long walks, paddle boarding, eating all the things, and am pretty darn good at making pottery. I also love making potions and lotions! In another life I must have been a healer or a medicine woman, since I have a strong connection with plants, herbs, and homeopathic medicines. I love making healing tinctures and syrups, herbal soaps, soothing salves for those callused hands, and loads of other medicinal concoctions.

Describe a typical day in your life:
Depending on the day…

5:15 — Wake up.
6:15–7:15 — Teach my kettlebell class.
7:15–9:20 — Head back home and drink my coffee in silence before getting the kids up and starting our morning. Breakfast is made, backpacks are packed, then I walk my kids to school.
10ish — Head back to the gym get my own training session in, and depending on if I’m teaching another class, I hang out till after. If not, I head back home.
12ish — Lunch, laundry, house stuff
1:30–3ish —  Work on business development, write programs for clients, catch up on emails, etc.
3:30 — Pick up kids from school.
4–6 — After-school activities, homework with the munchies.
6–7ish — Dinner and clean-up
7–8ish — Hang out, family time
8ish — Put the kiddos to bed.
9–10ish — Relax! Watch my trash TV, with my cup of tea and my lavender heating pad, then bedtime!

Your next training goal:
What’s next for me is getting jacked before I hit 40 this year! I’m going big, and I’ve started the Bigness Project from my friend and fellow GGS Kourtney Thomas and GGS Advisory Board Member Jen Sinkler. I’m really loving the change of pace and the change in training tools, and I’m excited to see what the end of the journey will bring!

What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for my health! A few months ago I had a severe vertigo attack that landed me in the ER. It was so violent that I thought I was having a heart attack! Fast-forward through many trips to the doctor, meds, and finally seeing my naturopath. I was diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Vertigo. It completely floored me for months. I was bedridden and just the simple task of walking my kids to school became the most difficult challenge of the day. Training and teaching were out of the question, when I couldn’t look up or look down without getting severely dizzy. This humbling experience taught me to slow down and really listen to my body. I had been juggling too much for so long that my body had finally said enough!I’m starting from scratch with my training, but I can finally do deadlifts and Turkish get-ups without feeling queasy. My strength is slowly coming back but I’m just grateful to be able to do what I love again!

Which three words that best describe you?
Outgoing. Bubbly. Annoyingly happy.

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
One of the best side effects of strength training is being able to lift my kids however and whenever I want. They’re getting big, and I can still keep up. Also, I love my friends call me when they need help lifting anything heavy.

How has lifting weights changed your life?
It’s definitely made me more confident and has opened the doors to be able to teach others what I’ve learned along the way. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love each and every day.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous or hesitant about strength training?
In today’s busy society, we make ourselves the very last priority, when in fact, we should put ourselves at the top of our list. Do it! We only get this one life, this one body, to truly discover our inner and outer strength. We are given these amazing vessels.

What a shame to go through life without ever really knowing what you’re capable of!

All professional photos by Paolo Sanchez. Location FUELhouse, Seattle, WA

Feeling inspired?

If you’re inspired by Marcie, read on to learn more about — and join! — our community of strong, supportive women…

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Are Toned Arms Genetic? (And Why Arm Workouts for Women Are Flawed)

Every woman has her own set of upper-body goals. Some want toned arms and shoulders, while others desire Instagram-worthy biceps. Others just want to look great in a cold shoulder dress. And every mom just needs the arm strength to lift kids into and out of car seats over and over again.

No matter whether your goal is to add size and strength to your arms, or to shed some fat to show off the muscle that’s already there, chances are that you’ve found your arms to be, well, pretty stubborn.

You’ve tried Michelle Obama’s favorite exercises for toned arms. You even went so far as to add an “arm day”—an entire workout dedicated solely to building your bi’s and tri’s—to your weekly training rotation. But after countless sets of biceps curls and triceps kickbacks, you haven’t seen the results you expected.

So where are your toned arms and definition? Or better yet, are certain people simply incapable of having more defined arms?

The short answer: no — “toned arms” are not reserved for winners of the genetic lottery. (Although, some will find their desired look easier to achieve.)It’s suffering from a lack of TLC.

The real problem is that your workouts — the constant focus on biceps and triceps exercises in one rep range — are suffering from a lack of TLC.

“Toning up” is a magazine favorite, but it’s misunderstood. Achieving “tone” (a concept of what you desire, more than a scientific reality) results from a combination of adding muscle and losing fat. So if you want to truly have a set of arms that reflect the work you’re putting in, you need to shift your mindset and your workouts. Say goodbye to days when you only did lighter weights with higher reps. That alone won’t get the job done. [Eds. note: keep reading, and we’ll provide two different workouts programs that you can download for free.]

The solution starts with one simple idea: Volume. What does that mean? In the simplest sense, you need to do more reps and sets of certain exercises and not fear that those movements will make you bulky. Because they won’t. Instead, it will shape your body in a way you desire. [Note: Bulk does not come from any particular exercise, which is why you shouldn’t worry.]

“Women can handle a lot more upper-body volume than they tend to lift,” explains Colorado-based online personal trainer Kourtney Thomas, C.S.C.S. “A couple of push-pull and isolation movements once per week isn’t going to be enough to trigger significant change.”

“Volume” is exercise-speak for the number of reps you perform, multiplied by the weight lifted during each of those reps. While it might sound surprising, you can steal a few tricks from the guys in the gym with muscular upper bodies. (Again, don’t worry, you won’t end up looking like this men). This strategy can help turn up the volume on your workouts, and make sure you finally see the results from your time with the weights.

Here are four strategies that will help you reveal the “toned arms” (or muscular, stronger, more capable) you want.

Arms Workout Upgrade #1: Increase Your Intensity

“In general, the biggest thing that I see keeping women from their arm goal is using pink dumbbells for 20 reps,” says Minnesota-based exercise physiologist Mike T. Nelson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.

It’s not that higher reps are bad. And it’s not that women are afraid to use heavier weights, it’s that they are selective with the body parts they target and don’t train their upper body — particularly their arms — with both high and low reps.

“Women seem to be more comfortable lifting heavy weights for their lower body than for their upper body,” adds Nelson.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, 2016 research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that lifting light can trigger muscle size increases similar to those from lifting heavier weights. But here’s the thing: That’s true only if you are willing to perform enough reps so that your arms reach a point of fatigue on every set.

So yes, lifting the pink dumbbells will get you there—but it’s going to take a looooong time to do it. Bumping up the resistance will save you time and get you more results a lot faster.

(If you need extra convincing why heavier weights do not make you bulky, this is a myth that has been debunked over and over again. And if you need even more proof, here’s Kate Upton squatting some serious weight and looking decidedly not-bulky while doing it.)

If you want to build muscle — the type that gives you the definition you desire — shoot for sets of six to 12 reps on movements that require more overall muscle (think rows, press, pushups, pulldowns), and then sets of 8-20 reps (oftentimes in the higher range) for the more focus movements, like curls and triceps pressdowns. The most important part: you do both types of movements (more on this). If you only do direct arm exercises, then you will limit your ability to go heavier, as rows and presses are the best (and safest) way to accomplish this goal.

The weight you use should be heavy enough that you can just barely squeeze out the very last rep of your last set—but also manageable enough that you’re able to perform every rep with perfect form. Put another way, if you’re sneaking in extra reps after your form has completely broken down, you should either stop or lower the weight slightly.

Arms Workout Upgrade #2: Do More “Arm Days”

OK, so now that we’ve covered the sets and reps part of the equation, the other half involves how regularly you perform those exercises.

“If you arms are a major training goal for you, you need to put more attention there and start skewing the percentage of your total training that targets your arms,” Thomas says. “For example right now, upper-body work is literally like 75 percent of what I’m doing. I lift four days per week, and three of those days are upper-body days.”

After making the switch from two to three upper-body days, she notes that it took less than four weeks to see results in the mirror.

Here’s why: while it differs for everyone, women tend to carry less fat in their arms compared to their thighs, butt, and pelvic area. From what we understand, this is merely an evolutionary trait and should not be viewed as a bad thing. The fat stored in those areas are a byproduct of two things: 1) your higher levels of estrogen and 2) the fat levels appear to act as a storage center for the demands of your body should you become pregnant.

Let’s be clear: the fact that women carry a little more fat around their lower body is a physiological advantage that prepares you for the unique responsibilities of being a woman.

Lactation requires a lot of energy, so your body has adapted to store more fat to be prepared for that need (think from an evolutionary standpoint of undernourished females needing to provide for their babies; the energy needs to come from somewhere, so the body has created reserve storage — just in case.)  

Comparatively, men store much more fat in their stomach, and it’s a much worse situation. While you might not like the way fat loss around your legs or butt, it should be embraced because it doesn’t create any health threat, per se. [We realize you might not like the way it looks, but it’s completely natural.]

On the other hand, fat storage in your gut — as men experience — is dangerous. If your waist dimensions are bigger than your hips, it can be strongly correlated with a host of medical problems including risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes, elevated triglycerides, hypertension, cancer and general overall mortality.

So while you can’t “spot reduce,” knowing that certain body parts are naturally leaner means that a target focus can make it easier for results to come faster — if you provide them with a little extra attention.

At a minimum, Thomas recommends that you have at least two upper-body training days per week if your goal is to improve your arms. Two ways you can break down those training sessions are:

One “push” day, one “pull” day

On a push day, you’d perform exercises like the bench press, shoulder press, and tricep pushdowns, while on a pull day it’d be movements like pull-ups or chin-ups, rows, and bicep curls.  

One full body day, and one “accessory” day

Here, you’re spending one day on the bigger lifts that involve more musculature (such as the standing shoulder press or pull-ups), and day two on smaller, more targeted lifts like biceps curls, triceps push-downs, and shoulder raises.

However you divide those lifts across training days, Nelson recommends that you perform compound exercises in sets of six to eight reps. For the accessory, isolation-focused exercises, go with sets of eight to 15 reps.

Bonus tip: You can actually use higher reps with triceps exercises, such as 20-25 reps. This is because they involve such a small range of motion that you might need more reps fatigue your muscles to the point you need them to show, Thomas says.

Arms Workout Upgrade #3. Work Your Legs

While it’s totally true that you’ll need to do more training specifically targeted toward your upper body, you can’t dismiss the importance of big lifts such as deadlifts and squats—especially if you arm goal involves developing more muscle tone, which requires you to also lose some fat, Nelson says. Remember, if you’re going for a “toned” look, it’s a two-part equation of gaining some muscle and losing fat.

As we already mentioned, spot reduction of fat does not exist. For example, in one Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise study, when 104 people worked one arm crazy over the course of 12 weeks, and MRI scans showed that the trained arm didn’t lose any more fat than the untrained one. So if you want to ditch the fat that hangs onto your arms, you have to work to lose fat, and build muscle in the specific areas you want to improve (a process some call spot-enhancement).

From an exercise standpoint, the best way to achieve a fat-burning effect is through performing large, compound lifts that involve the most musculature possible, Nelson says. While upper-body compound moves such as rows, pull-ups, and bench presses use a lot of musculature for a sizeable caloric burn, lower body exercises like deadlifts and squats will take that caloric burn to the next level, Nelson says.

So if your upper-body physique goals require you to reduce body fat, it’s best to incorporate lower-body compound lifts in your routine at least twice a week.

Before you start to panic about the number of days adding up in the gym, it’s not as time-intensive as it sounds.

Let’s use the examples above for how you could structure your workout.

Option 1: One “push” day, one “pull” day

On your push day, you could do exercises like shoulder presses, chest presses, squats, lunges, and then triceps pushdowns and extentions.

On your pull day, you’d combine rows, pull-ups (or lat pulldowns), deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and biceps curls variations.

Option 2: One “compound” push-pull day, one “accessory” day

This variation will require at least 2 push-pull days, and then, at least, one accessory day. So day 1 of the push-pull days could include squats (push), row (pull), shoulder presses (push), and step-ups (push). Day 2 (accessory) would then focus on biceps curls, triceps pushdowns and extensions, and shoulder raises. Day 3 could include deadlifts (pull), chest presses (push), and pulldowns/pull-ups (pull), and lunges (push).

THE LAB: Want to try one of a workout we’re testing with our Born Fitness coaching clients? Join “The Born Fitness Lab” to receive your free full-body workout with an arms emphasis.

Arms Workout Upgrade #4. Adjust Your Nutrition to Meet Your Goals

The right nutrition will fuel your workouts, support your recovery, and help you build and maintain the muscle you want. But what—and how much—is “right” for you depends on your goals.

For instance, it is totally possible to build some muscle while losing fat if you increase your training volume (using the tips we provided) while keeping your caloric intake relatively consistent. This is where we recommend you start. It’s impossible to know what you need until you consistently apply the right techniques and see the results you get. Try an approach consistently for 8-12 weeks before making any decisions on how you need to adjust.

If you find that you are not moving in the right direction, you might need to making some additions to your diet. To build the most muscle, you need to be in a caloric surplus (a.k.a. you consume more calories than you burn per day). Simply put, you have to eat to see results.

Meanwhile, if your goal is to lean up and lose fat, you must achieve a caloric deficit (a.k.a. you burn more calories than you consume per day).

No matter your caloric approach, both building strength and muscle as well as losing weight from fat (rather than from muscle) requires consuming adequate levels of protein, of which women are notorious for not getting enough.

According to the American Council on Exercise, to build muscle mass, you should eat 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight per day (if you weigh 150 pounds, that works out to 75 to 120 grams of protein per day). Nelson recommends that women eat 30 grams of protein at least three to four times per day to promote healthy muscle levels. Reach for complete sources such as eggs, meat, fish, dairy, soy, and quinoa.

Whether you choose to eat more or less, your right to bare your arms is about you determining what goals are most important to you, and how you want to look and feel. If you’re seeing results in the gym, are stronger in your day-to-day life, and loving how you feel, don’t feel as if you have to adjust to meet an image perception that isn’t your own.

Great results start with the understanding that appearance is not the end goal. The process, the enjoyment, and the fulfillment of how you feel are what will keep you working hard and seeing results. Whether you are adding calories or subtracting them, both can feel difficult. So it’s important to gravitate towards the path that feels both sustainable and like it’s the right fit for what you’re trying to achieve. When that happens, success is almost an inevitability now that you’re not wasting time with your training.

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Are Big Muscles “Scary?”

There I was at the pool, reading a good book, soaking up some much needed vitamin D, and doing my best to enjoy a beautiful summer day, when I overheard a conversation that left me feeling triggered.

I’d forgotten my headphones, which means I couldn’t help but hear most of the conversation going on between the ladies seated next to me. They were discussing a woman they know who’s recently become a competitive bodybuilder, and the word they kept using was “scary.”

“She’s too muscular, and she looks so scary.”

“She looked good before the gain phase, when she lost those 20 pounds — but now she’s just scary.”

Scary. They kept saying it over and over again, and being a girl who’s been through the body image ringer, triggered is the best way to describe how I felt. I kept to myself as it wasn’t my conversation upon which to intervene, but I wanted to ask, “Are you really scared of this girl because she’s muscular?”

She’s chosen to cultivate a different body type than what you find aesthetically pleasing, and your response to that is to call her scary?

I’m not going to lie to you, as stoic and chill as I try to be when dealing with situations relating to body image, this made me angry. My heart went out to this woman, whoever she was, as I know what it’s like to have your body scrutinized and criticized.

You know what I find scary?

Murderous, talking dolls, ghosts who pull you into the television, monsters with knives for fingers who kill you in your dreams, and creepy killer children who murder all of the adults and worship the demon in the corn stalks.

And if we’re being a bit more serious, you know what else is actually scary? Gun violence. Terrorism. Murder. Disease. Natural disasters. Home invasion. Misogyny. Xenophobia. Sexual assault.

I’m scared every single time my baby boy gets on a plane by himself to visit his dad across the country. I’m scared when I turn on the TV and see news coverage of genocide and war. I’m scared when I’m woken up by an earthquake, but I’m not afraid of muscular women.

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The reality here is that bodybuilding is not a source of fear — it’s a sport.

If it’s not “for you” that’s totally cool and completely acceptable. I’ve never been keen on the sport of bodybuilding myself, but I highly respect the discipline and hard work involved. You don’t have to want muscles for your body, and you don’t have to necessarily find it attractive.

So let’s be honest: is this really about fear? Is this really about a woman suddenly being a threat due to a change in her appearance? Or is it about something deeper?

From where I stand, this isn’t about fear at all. This is about the fact that in today’s world it has become far too acceptable for humans to comment negatively on the state of other human’s bodies. At the root of it, this is about body shaming, and all of the many packages in which it comes these days.

I walked away from that experience without judging these women for their comments — that only compounds the issue, doesn’t it? They were likely unaware of the damage their words could do, and were merely acting within the confines of our current social construct.

Unfortunately, this sort of conversation is so commonplace that even those of us who are fighting the war against body shaming can find ourselves commenting on other people’s bodies from time to time.

And yes, I was initially triggered, but after processing those negative emotions I found that I felt inspired. When you see how much work there is to do in the world you can either become discouraged, or you can use your energy and resources to spread more positive energy into the world.

We have a choice: Will we sit back and let the world continue to judge our bodies and determine our worthiness, or will we stand up for women everywhere and be a part of the solution?

None among us can single-handedly put an end to body shaming, but together we can create a world wherein body shaming is not accepted and is not the default. We can shift our focus away from our triggers and toward the things we can do to initiate change.

What I can do is write about it and bring awareness to the issue. I can educate others on the ins and outs of body shaming and help women step into the power within their own bodies.

What I can do is ask you to keep encouraging the women in your life to love and honor their bodies, and inspire them to stand in their power by being a positive example of strength, authenticity, and grace.

This is important work, and each and every one of us plays an important role. While we each have our own gifts and resources to contribute to the work, there are some things that we can do individually to help shift the general conversation.

Let’s give non-physical compliments.

Have you ever noticed that when we compliment a woman, it’s almost always about her appearance? My challenge to you is to spend the next week to notice the kinds of compliments you give other women and refrain from giving physical compliments. Instead point out the many ways in which the women in your life add value to the world.

Compliment your coworker on her work performance, your mother on her patience, your sister on her strength, your friend on her ability to hold space. Look deeper than the body — look deeper than the clothing, and the makeup, and the hair — and look into the heart of the woman.

We women are so incredibly powerful and if we can learn to speak to each other more often about our non-physical qualities, we can shift the conversation away from our “scary” muscles and onto our many powerful and valuable attributes.

Let’s use compassion and love over gossip, and curiosity over judgments.

We might not be able to change the way the rest of the world judges women’s bodies, but we sure as hell can embrace sisterhood the world over, and stand in our collective power.

The next time you find yourself regarding another woman’s body, pay close attention to your thoughts, your tone, and the words you choose. If you find that negative thoughts come up for, ask yourself why.

Speaking or thinking unkindly about another woman’s body only adds to the myriad obstacles that the modern woman has to face. By using compassion and curiosity, we can learn to show up more fully for other women, thereby reducing the pressure and challenges that many women face today.

Let’s be happy for other women when they experience success.

When one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. Yet, our culture of criticism and comparison has led us to feel envious of the success of others.

By occupying a space of abundance rather than a mindset of scarcity, we can begin to see that there is room for each and every one of us to thrive and soar.

When we do this, we make the sisterhood harder to break—we strengthen our collective resolve to be exactly who we are, rather than who society demands us to be.

Let’s share our stories.

Perhaps one of the most powerful things we can do to shift the conversation about women’s bodies is to share our own stories.

When we speak out about our struggles, our experiences, and our healing, we reduce the stigma and the shame that often surrounds women’s bodies. When we stand up and tell the world we love our bodies, we accept ourselves, and we refuse to hide, we make it easier for other women to do the same.

 

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What To Expect When You’re (Not) Expecting: Fertility Testing Basics

Not everyone is a “Fertile Myrtle”… the endearing term we OB-GYNs often give to those women who get pregnant in the blink of an eye. We’ve probably all known someone who can conceive effortlessly, it seems!

In actuality, although studies demonstrate that the large majority (80 to 90 percent) of seemingly healthy couples will conceive within the first year of trying, they also show that the fecundability, or the probability of being pregnant in a single menstrual cycle, declines with age.

These days, pregnancy and family planning are often purposefully put on hold. Many women choose to pursue other goals before starting a family, and thus they may face fertility challenges later. The good news is that the opportunities for education, testing, and treatment for infertility have never been richer.1

What is infertility?

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after actively trying (regular intercourse without contraception) for 12 months for women who are younger than 35 years old, and after six months for those aged 35 and older. Studies suggest the incidence of infertility in the US is estimated at 12 to 18 percent.2 Women who have not achieved pregnancy after 12 months have even lower fecundability.

Five to 15 percent of seemingly normal couples will conceive in the second 12 months of attempted conception; after 24 months of trying to become pregnant, 95 percent of couples will have conceived.1

When is a woman’s peak fertility?

A woman’s fertility peaks between 20 and 30 years old and gradually declines with age, starting as early as 32, with a more notable decline at 35. The decline is even more significant at 40. Miscarriage rates also increase with age. If you are counting on having on a larger family, it’s important to plan accordingly. Keep in mind, women are born with a finite number of eggs and that number naturally decreases over time.

Age & Number of oocytes (eggs)

Female Fetus 2o weeks: 6–7 million
Birth: 1–2 million
Puberty: 300,000–500,000
Age 37: 25,000
Age 51 (average age of menopause in the US): 1,000

In addition to advancing age, issues that negatively impact fertility include hormonal imbalances including thyroid irregularities, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), irregular menses or absent menses (amenorrhea), uterine fibroids, tubal disease, endometriosis, prior gynecologic surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, smoking, pelvic infection, and early menopause or family history of such.Causes and risk factors for infertility

The World Health Organization (WHO) task force on Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility studied 8500 infertile couples to determine causes of infertility.3 In developed countries, female factor infertility was reported in 37 percent of infertile couples, male factor infertility in eight percent, and both male and female factor infertility in 35 percent. Five percent of couples had unexplained infertility.

Another study reported the following causes:

Male factor: 26%
Ovulatory dysfunction: 21%
Tubal damage: 14%
Endometriosis: 6%
Coital problems: 6%
Cervical factor: 3%
Unexplained: 28%

The frequency of these factors in infertility is similar whether attempting pregnancy for the first time or in subsequent attempts, and has not changed significantly over the past 25 years in developed countries.4 The bottom line is that not all infertility is caused by female disorders.

How long should you try before getting tested?

Couples who have been unable to conceive after 12 months of actively trying (unprotected and frequent intercourse) should consider an infertility evaluation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommend that women over 35 receive an expedited infertility evaluation and consider treatment after six months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive, and earlier if clinically indicated due to additional risk factors other than age. In women over 40, immediate evaluation and expedited treatment are recommended.
5

Should your partner get tested?

Since in more than one-third of couples, male factor infertility is to blame, evaluation of the male partner is vital. Risk factors include a history of testicular trauma requiring treatment, mumps as an adult, erectile dysfunction, chemotherapy and/or radiation, or a history of difficulty conceiving with another partner. A simple semen analysis to check sperm count (the number of sperm per ejaculate), motility (sperm swimming ability) and morphology (sperm shape) is usually the first step. A urology consultation is typically requested with any semen irregularity or obvious anatomic abnormality. A comprehensive physical exam, an ultrasound of the scrotum, and blood hormone levels might be obtained for further evaluation.

What can you do to enhance your fertility?

First and foremost, education about the menstrual cycle, the optimal fertility window during the cycle, and appropriately-timed intercourse are essential. In general, sex every one to two days around the expected time of ovulation or according to an ovulation predictor kit is recommended. If you have a regular cycle, ovulation predictor kits and period tracker apps make timing ovulation and noting ideal times for intercourse easier than ever.

Making certain lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, reducing excessive caffeine intake and alcohol consumption, and optimizing body weight and exercise routines can further improve fertility.6,7

How Stress Can Affect Fertility

Our busy lives and multitasking nature lead to increased stress, not to mention the added stress of trying to get pregnant.

Prolonged or chronic stress may make it difficult to conceive, and difficulty conceiving usually increases stress further. It’s a double-edged sword. In the simplest of terms, stress may be a signal to the body that now is not the best time to become pregnant. In a recent Fertility and Sterility study of approximately 250 women ages 18 to 40, biomarkers of stress were inversely associated with probability of conception; that is, as stress indicators increased, probability of conception decreased.8

However, other studies have found little to no relationship between anxiety levels, cortisol levels, and successful conception. Therefore, it’s unclear exactly how stress impacts conception. What is known, however, is that stress impacts the body’s hormone levels, menstrual cycle, and immune function. I advise stress reduction measures including yoga, relaxed paced breathing exercises and mindfulness training in women to reduce stress during fertility work-up and treatment.

How Exercise Can Affect Fertility

Aside from being an effective stress reducer, exercise provides preparation for the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery. In addition, increasing lean, metabolically-active muscle mass encourages healthy body composition and insulin responses, thereby reducing the risk of both infertility and, after becoming pregnant, gestational diabetes.6

How Nutrition Can Affect Fertility

A body mass index (BMI) lower than 18 to 19 as a result of chronic dieting, eating disorders, and over exercising, can lead to infertility due to hypothalamic amenorrhea and resulting anovulation.9 That said, regardless of the cause, increasing caloric intake and/or decreasing exercise to increase BMI typically restores ovulation.

Can supplements help improve fertility?

Taking a prenatal vitamin (over-the-counter or prescription)when trying to get pregnant is critical to providing the body with the nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Folate prior to conception will help eliminate birth defects. In addition, fish oil is vital for healthy development, and for many women dietary intake may be inadequate. Many prenatal vitamins contain fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids. Research published in Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey shows that omega-3 fatty acids increase blood flow to the reproductive organs to aid conception in women dealing with infertility.10

Who To See For Fertility Testing

In general, the OB-GYN generalist is well equipped to initiate a fertility work-up. They can refer couples with abnormal testing or complex issues, as well as heightened anxiety, to an infertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist). Because time is of the essence, women over 40 with fertility concerns should see a specialist immediately. Keep in mind that the fertility work-up and treatment regimens can be stressful for most, and emotions are heightened; depression, anger, anxiety, and marital discord are not uncommon. A specialist often works with full team, including mental health support, as part of their in-office staff.

What does fertility testing entail?

Since multiple factors are often at play, a complete initial diagnostic evaluation may be performed, including: a history and physical examination, blood work, imaging, cultures, and other testing. Both partners undergo evaluation concurrently. The same approach is used whether trying to conceive for the first time or attempting a subsequent pregnancy.

The following tests are typical, however this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Semen analysis to assess male factor infertility.
  • Cervical cultures for gonorrhea, chlamydia and times mycoplasma, ureaplasm
  • Ovulatory assessment noting LH surge in urine prior to ovulation, and/or luteal phase progesterone level to assess ovulatory function
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) a radiological test to assess whether the fallopian tubes are patent (open) or if there’s any blockage, and to check the structure of the uterine cavity.
  • Pelvic ultrasound to check for uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts
  • Laparoscopy to identify endometriosis or other pelvic abnormality.
  • Other assessments of ovarian reserve in women (clomiphene challenge test, ultrasound for follicle count)

In addition, the following hormonal blood tests for women are also performed:

  • FSH: Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is released by the pituitary gland in the brain and stimulates the follicles of the ovaries to grow and mature an egg. This test is usually performed on the second or third day of the menstrual cycle, with the first day being the first day of menstrual bleeding.
  • LH: Luteinizing hormone (LH), also released from the pituitary gland. This might also be assessed by urine testing in an ovulation kit
  • Estradiol: This hormone is produced by a maturing egg. Adequate estrogen is an indication that ovulation is occurring
  • Progesterone: This hormone (checked on day 21 of the cycle) is produced by the corpus luteum, which is what’s left of the follicle from which an egg matured and was released. In anticipation of an embryo implanting in the uterus, the corpus lutem releases progesterone, which builds a thick cushiony lining which is ultimately shed as the menstrual period if no implantation occurs.
  • AMH: This blood test is a check for ovarian reserve and need not be done at any particular time of the cycle. Bear in mind that there are other causes of either low or elevated AMH levels, so the results of this test should be interpreted in context with other variables.
  • Thyroid function studies (TSH, free t4) assesses function of the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism and if altered might impair ovulation and fertility
  • Prolactin: Prolactin is made by the pituitary gland in the brain and and stimulates milk production in the breasts. It increases dramatically during pregnancy and will continue to be released during breastfeeding. Elevated prolactin can impair ovulation and in the absence of lactation, might signal a growth in the pituitary gland, a pituitary adenoma, or benign tumor that may be treated with medication or surgery.

If you’re not ready right now…

If you’re still not ready to get pregnant, but think you may want to get pregnant in the future, you can ask your OB-GYN about embryo or egg cryopreservation options. This can be a good option for some women who want to delay starting or growing their family but have concerns about their fertility as they get older.

If you’re actively trying to get pregnant, be strong and positive — and consider this: the best surprise of all often comes when you’re least expecting it!

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References

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice and Practice Committee. Female age-related fertility decline. Committee Opinion No. 589. Fertility and Sterility. 2014; 101:633.
    http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(13)03464-X/abstract
  2. Infertility Fact Sheet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health. July 2009.
    https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html#b
  3. WHO Technical Report Series. Recent Advances in Medically Assisted Conception. 1992; 820: 1-111
    http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/38679
  4. Overview of infertility. Wolters Kluwer Uptodate.com.
    http://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-infertility?source=search_result&search=infertility&selectedTitle=1~150
  5. FAQ 135: Evaluating Infertility. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. June 2012.
    http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Evaluating-Infertility
  6. Hart RJ. Physiological Aspects of Female Fertility: Role of the Environment, Modern Lifestyle, and Genetics. Physiological Reviews. 2016; 96(3): 873–909.
    http://physrev.physiology.org/content/96/3/873.long
  7. Ziomkiewicz A, Ellison PT, Lipson SF, Thune I, Jasienska G. Body fat, energy balance and estradiol levels: a study based on hormonal profiles from complete menstrual cycles. Human Reproduction. 2008; 23(11): 2555-2563.
    https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/23/11/2555/2913840/Body-fat-energy-balance-and-estradiol-levels-a
  8. Buck Louis GM, Lum KJ, Sundaram R, et. al. Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation. Fertility and Sterility. 2011; 95(7):2184-2189.
    http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(10)01031-9/abstract
  9. Mczekalski B, Podfigurna-Stopa A, Warenik-Szymankiewicz A, Tenazzani AR. Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea: current view on neuroendocrine aberrations. Gynecological Endocrinology. 2008; 24(1): 4-11.
    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09513590701807381?journalCode=igye20
  10. Sadden P, Saldeen T. Women and omega-3 Fatty acids. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey. 2004 Oct;59(10):722-30
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15385858

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Air Climber Express

Air Climber Express

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With every step, air flows from pedal to pedal inflating the bellows, so you’re literally stepping on a soft cushion of air. Impact and pounding to your body is dramatically reduced compared to walkin… read more

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Product Description

With every step, air flows from pedal to pedal inflating the bellows, so you’re literally stepping on a soft cushion of air. Impact and pounding to your body is dramatically reduced compared to walking, jogging or aerobics. At the same time, the air flow actually helps lift your legs, so you keep moving to burn fat to get results faster than you ever thought possible. The resistance dial adjusts the air that flows from bellow to bellow. Now you can go from easy, light steps to a powerful, leg-sculpting workout.

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