5 Beginner Strength Training Tips for the ladies: Part II (+ Beginner Bodyweight Ladder workout!) 2/23/16

Hey guyss,

So I am back today with Part II of the 5  Beginner Strength Training Tips for the Ladies! I hope you found Part 1 helpful and have been able to implement some of those tips and the beginner workout into your workout regimen.

As always please let me know if you have any questions about any of the tips!

So here we go with the remainder 5 Tips for Strength Training…

5 Beginner Strength Training Tips:

  1. Master basic bodyweight movements first. This is key! You didn’t start running before you were walking, so why would you start loading a million pounds on your back for a back squat before having even mastered the bodyweight squat to begin with! I definitely suggest working on bodyweight squats, lunge, pushup (probably at an incline!), bodyweight TRX rows, hinge (like a deadlift), and the plank before loading those exercises with weight.pushup
  2. Don’t try and follow a “Cookie Cutter” workout all the time. Cookie cutter you might ask? Yeah, the ones in the magazines, pinterest, and maybe when you search the internet and see “5 ways to get a brazilian booty”… Sheesh if it was all that easy we would all be walking around like Kim K! Haha, but in all seriousness it is good to branch out, experiment with different exercises, and look into what YOUR specific goals are and go from there. I get that many times it is easier to just cut out a workout from the magazines (yes, I have been guilty of this before as well!), but if you are mixing it up ALL the time then you may not be able to really look and see how well you are progressing. So as I mentioned before in Part 1 of my strength training tips it is definitely worth it to check out different programs and see how that works for you for a month. If you’re not feeling it, switch it up and try out another.NoCookieCutters
  3. Don’t get sucked into the “comparison trap”! I know, I know it’s human nature not to compare our bodies to that hot tiny size zero looking VS model, or that one girl in the gym who is turning heads…even grandma’s! But seriously, I think it is time that we started to focus more on OURSELVES and not THEM. Yeah, great they look amazing, their physique is killer, their nutrition is probably on point, but what else is their story..yup, you don’t know. They might be dealing with wayyyy other things that allowed them to get to that point and thus we can’t compare our bodies to theirs. What we need to do now is focus on how amazing OUR bodies are. We have big powerful strong legs that allow us to get up the stairs or just make it to the bus stop when you are running a couple minutes late, or your endurance arms that allow you to hoist around a baby all day while tending to laundry or allow you to carry ALL of the grocery bags into the house instead of taking a couple of trips. What about your core muscles? They certainly help you to get out of bed everyday right? It’s all of these amazing parts of our body that we don’t spend enough time thanking. I want you to pick one part of your body right now, say thank you to it and then choose 1 thing that it has done to make you feel stronger and more of a badass in your every day life. I know it sounds silly, but seriously it will make you feel better.  **I’m grateful for my strong, powerful and ever so calloused hands that allow me to do so many versatile things in my life. They allow me to lift heavy iron, write, and also show their delicate side and allow me to put on mascara from time to time 😉iphone pics 1.7.16 900 (I love my hands and all the things that they allow me to do, such as holding a wine/coffee mug and hold my adorable cat Pinot!) 
  4. Be patient but enthusiastic! We live in a society where we.want.results.now. Yes, I get it we are bombarded with “Lose 20 lbs in a Week” all the time so no wonder we think we can lift up a 30 lb dumbbell and then BOOM you have a super cut arm. Ahhhh if only it was that easy. There is no doubt about it that when it comes to wanting to see results in strength training that patience is KEY. Your results are going to ebb and flow. You may be doing amazingly well for a while, and on a great streak of losing those 5-10 pounds but then the next second you get on that scale…um WHAT!? I gained 2 lbs! No, that scale must be rigged…sorry guys but progress is not linear. We are going to have bloaty/puffy weeks or weeks where we are feeling light as a feather and that is life. Just understand that if you are staying consisent with your strength training AND making tweaks here and there to your diet then changes will occur. Just don’t expect them to happen right away. It is important to keep your chin up, realize that you are doing the best you can (while also managing some setbacks along the way!) and that great results will certainly come your way. progress is not linear
  5. Focus on compound movements. This one essentially ties in with #1 above (as long as you have mastered bodyweight first!). I have definitely found that you get more “bang for your buck” when you focus on bigger compound movements such as squats, lunges, pullups, pushups- especially when your goal is fat loss or muscle growth! When you do lifts like these you are recruiting multiple muscles groups at the same time. Thus, you increase your metabolic rate much better than if you were doing some isolation exercises such as bicep curls or tricep extensions..Don’t get me wrong I love those exercises too, (gosh quite frankly I’m not really sure which exercises I don’t really like…well, maybe calf raises?) but seriously if you want to lose body fat or grow your muscles then stick with COMPOUND MOVEMENTS. The majority of my clients work on compound movements in the beginning of their workouts, and then I will usually put some isolation exercises in there as well (but closer to the end). strict press pic                                      (Shoulder Press is an excellent Compound Move!)

Okay, there you have it, JBrauz’s 5 Beginner Strength Training Tips for the Ladies, Part II. Please don’t hesitate to email me @ jbrauzfit@gmail.com if you have any questions or want to share which part of your body that YOU are grateful for!

**Also, please feel free to sign up for my FREE email list where I send out weekly tips each week and share tips of fitness, food & fun 😉 If you click on the side bar of my site (jbrauzfit.com) you will find the section where you can add your name and email address to my list! Just remember to confirm and add the email to your PRIMARY email account so that it doesn’t get sent to spam or junk. I think it may have done this for some before 🙁  I won’t spam you! Just think of being an “insider” for being the first to hear on my new blog posts, as well as my weekly tip or workout!

Bodyweight Beginner Workout!

**Here is a Ladder Workout you can try out, essentially you will do 2 reps of each exercise, then 4,6,8,10…then head back down the ladder**

JBrauz’s BW Ladder Workout: 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2 (if you are feeling good that day feel free to bring it up to 12 or 14 😉

  1. Elevated Glute Bridges 
  2. Plank Shoulder Taps or Hand Touches
  3. Reverse Lunges
  4. Incline Pushups
  5. Bodyweight Squats
  6. Inverted Rows
  7. Jumping Jacks

banded hip thrusts iphone pics 1.7.16 030incline pushup 3iphone pics 1.7.16 878


Happy lifting!


Sooo I did this killer workout the other night, and I think you should try it too ;) [Workout Wednesday!] 2/17/16

So I have a confession this is NOT a workout that I designed. I give full on credit to Robert MacDonald aka “Bobby Maximus” from Gym Jones. I have never trained with him, however I think he is a major beast and always intrigued by his workouts.

Sooo of course I decided to drag the hubby along and PHEW was that a workout.

Warning: This is a pretty grueling workout, so please adjust as need be (work with a moderate weight that works for YOU). 😉

“Bobby Maximus Full Body (Kick your arssss) Workout!”

You will complete the following exercises with the following number of reps in a circuit fashion. Please note: If you are someone who likes to get in and out of the gym this may not be for you. It took us a longgg time especially because we had to wait on different equipment and we just didn’t have a good set up at our gym. If you want to shorten it up try, 10,8,6,4,2… 🙂

However, if you are someone who likes to push yourself a little extra and try something different, then I highly recommend this workout. Now go and get em’ tiger.

Reps: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 (Bench Press, Deadlift, Pushup, Chinup, Squat)

  1. Bench press ( Half way through I used the incline bench press machine because others were taken, but it still felt amazing!) incline bench press- gj 2
  2. Barbell Deadlift deadlift-gym jones
  3. Pushuppushup
  4. Pullup (hubby did those!) or Chinup (I used a band for the majority of mine!) iphone pics 7 001
  5. Back Squat squat- gj


Okay, there you have it. A killllerrrr Full Body Workout that you should try out! Try it with a barbell, dumbbells, Kettlebells or perhaps your body weight for some of the exercises. XO.


funny squat image


Get yo sweat on,


3 Common Push-Up Mistakes and How to Correct Them! 2/10/16

Performing a pushup is a difficult thing.

Well, performing it correctly can also be extremely difficult and many times this beautiful total-body strengthening exercise gets butchered! However, I want you to perform this exercise the best way that you can and not necessarily have to resort to your knees!


Today I want to share with you three common mistakes I see when people are performing the pushup and how to correct them!


  1. Too much forward head protrusion: I tend to call this “turtle necking it” haha. This is when your head and neck decide to lead on the way down to the floor, before the rest of your body. I don’t know about you but this hurts my neck so much and I think I sorta strained mine when I was performing it in the picture below 🙁 So please, please don’t do that! Correction: When you are setting yourself up in the plank position, tuck your chin and neck back to make sure you have good spinal alignment before the eccentric (lengthening of the muscles) part of the exercise is executed. If you have a pvc pipe, see if a friend can place it against the back of your head, back and butt while executing the pushup. Your body should stay in contact with that pipe the whole way down and then back up.  Your eyes should be focused about 45 degrees ahead and your body and head should be moving together as one unit. forward neck protrusion-pushup(In the picture above the head/neck is leading and this may cause added strain)
  2. Arms are flaring out or “chicken winging it”: I know this one sounds kinda weird, haha. Many times when we are set up to perform the exercise we have our hands all set and then when we are bringing our bodies down toward the floor our elbows/arms tend to flare out, or they bend about 90 degrees. This puts excessive stress on the shoulder joint and rotates them too far forward. Correction: When setting yourself up, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart with your shoulders directly over your wrists. When you are performing the eccentric portion (ie bringing whole body down to the floor) you will bend your elbows back at a 45 degree angle. chicken wing arms- pushup(Elbows are “chicken winging it” ie bending about 90 degrees or so)
    good alignment-pushup (Elbows are at a 45 degree angle! The proper way to execute the pushup. )
  3. Butt is too HIGH or perhaps too LOW and not properly bracedOkay, so for this one, many times our core muscles are not braced before we are properly executing the move. If that is the case we can get injured because we put more of a strain on our low back. Correction: when you are setting yourself up to start in the plank position you want to make sure to scoop your hips under (ie pull your abs in like you are preparing for someone to sucker punch ya and clench those butt checks like you are pinchin’ a penny baby!) Your whole body should stay in a straight line with good spinal alignment as we pull our bodies toward the ground and then push ourselves back up! butt too high-pushup (My butt is definitely too high and is definitely not in good spinal alignment as I perform the pushup)

JBrauz’s Take-aways:

  1. Keep head in good spinal alignment- please don’t lead with your head/neck! Eyes should be focused about 45 degrees ahead.
  2. Place hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart and shoulders should be properly positioned directly over wrists. Your hands/fingers should be facing forward. Your hands should be in line with your chest.
  3. Bend elbows back at a 45 degree angle, not 90 degrees.
  4. Brace your abs/glutes before you execute the move. Tight, tight,tight!
  5. Your body moves as ONE unit.
  6. Breathing: You will inhale as you pull your body toward the floor, and exhale once you push your body away. I find that using my breath really helps to execute the move.
  7. If the pushup is a bit tricky at first in the horizontal position, then practice at an incline first so that you get stronger and are still using your core muscles in the move. By dropping to your knees, you are not activating your abdominals as much.

good alignment 2-pushup good alignment-pushup

incline pushup 1 incline pushup 2 incline pushup 3

Happy Push-uping! Now drop and give me twenty… 😀




5 Beginner Strength Training Tips for the ladies: Part I (+Beginner Workout!) 2/2/16

So, alot of the blogging I have been doing lately is relating to different core exercises to do at home, 20 minute quickie workouts, or how to shape that booty (don’t worry that’s one of my favorites and will be written about frequently 😉 ). However, some of you may be itching to get to the gym for the first time and/ or haven’t been in a while and the thought of it just makes you so uncomfortable.

“What if I’m not performing the exercise correctly?”

“Um, how the heck do you work this machine?”

“I’m not FIT enough to be at the gym yet”- Yup, I’ve heard that one plenty..

Well ladies, I want to share with you 5 tips that helped me when I was getting back into the gym, or will help you if you’re stepping into that fitness playground for the 1st time! Remember we were all new once and it was scary, and uncomfortable, and hell no was I going step foot into the “super jacked, steroid-taking dude section”…

I want you to feel confident, to feel at ease, and not be intimidated by all those strong looking gym-goers. I want you to feel empowered and to help your family members and/or friends feel it too! At the end I’ve include a beginner workout for you to try as well!

5 Beginner Strength Training Tips:

  1. Start NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week, or next month. I want you make this change and feel better about doing so. Some of us may be embarrassed to step into a gym because we don’t know what to do! I get it. If you’re not sure how to use a machine, just ask! The personal trainers and front desk employees are really not as intimidating as we seem. At some gyms, the employees are walking around hoping to help anyone that they can! Many times the employees don’t want to bother the members because some take offense if they are corrected on their form, or just want to be left alone. But in all honesty if you are unsure of how to do a certain exercise, then ask the Personal Trainer (when he or she is not training another client) and if they are like me they are super happy to help out when they can! start now quote
  2. Learn proper form. This is SO crucial. Yes, I love my clients to get a good sweat in and really feel like they are getting a great work out in, but first and foremost they need to be performing the exercise correctly. I am a stickler for it and because most importantly I don’t want them injuring themselves! I want my clients and or friends/family to be able to confidently perform the exercise on their OWN. As a Trainer I assess my clients initially to see how they perform the basic movements, ie- squat, lunge, pull, push and hinge. If they are stuck on a certain move then we will start from scratch. I would rather they be safe and smart when executing a move rather than receiving an injury and setting them back a couple of months. So go and hire a fitness professional who will assess you initially and make sure you are performing the exercise correctly and in a safe manner. cropped-goblet-squat1.jpg
  3. Follow a beginner strength training program and do so consistently for at least a month. Okay, with all of the fitness articles out there in the magazines and internet..we can get so indundated with information, and especially workouts that may be a bit too advanced for what we actually need. 300 Workout? Sure, that sounds great but is it right for YOU? Maybe, maybe not. While following a more advanced program sounds like it will get you results faster, it may not be the best idea and could do more harm than good. Here are a couple of books that I would suggest you check out: “The New Rules of Lifting for Women”-Cassandra Forsythe, Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler, or “The New Rules of Lifting”-Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler. Also “STRONG” by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. Clearly these guys and gal! are the bomb. new rules of lifting women bookstrong book
  4. Set goals that MOTIVATE you. When I first meet with a client for the first time I ask them why they signed up for training and what their goals are. Many of their responses are ” I want to be healthy”, “I just want to get in great shape” or “I want to lose 10 pounds”. Those are all great of course, but sometimes it’s nice to dig a little deeper- why lose the 10 pounds, what means getting in great shape…. Maybe you are itching to learn how to squat with a barbell or want to achieve your first chinup. Sometimes you don’t have that as your goal because you just don’t know yet. That’s OKAY. Maybe once you start working with your trainer or on your own you will start to learn what really gets you going. Then you will be like “a, HA, yes I would love to deadlift { insert # of lbs} here. Try to figure out what really motivates you.. having more energy for your 3 year old energizer bunny baby, building overall strength in order to help transport your grandmother around, building strong legs to get back to work as a construction worker, or  looking great naked for yourself or your significant other. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! I use to say “I want to lose ten pounds”, but now I set more performance goals and that to me is super motivating. Many times while reaching towards a performance goal, the other stuff comes into play (eating better, losing body fat, sleeping more), and that to me is a win-win. 1098 make things happen
  5. Carry a notebook and pen with youIt’s great to now be at the gym and you have a program with you, but shoot I just forgot how to do that last exercise… One thing I find extremely helpful is to write down HOW you remembered to do a particular exercise. I kid you not..I was having my client do “barbell glute bridges” and afterwards I was like would you remember that? She goes, “I’m going to call them women crushers“, haha. If you can remember a certain exercise with a particular nickname or drawing then write it down. As a trainer, we don’t want exercising or following a program to be super confusing. I want you to learn in the easiest way possible and if it calls for “woman crushers” and “standing band rotating thingies for your abs” then by all means do it up girlfriends. notebook and pen

Okay, those are my 5 Beginner Strength Training Tips, Part 1!  Stay tuned for Part II in the near future…

Happy lifting! Empower yourself by empowering others.

{Beginner Workout!}

*Please make sure to include a dynamic warmup beforehand!*

Complete 3-4 rounds of the following exercises:

1. Bodyweight squats: 10-15 reps

**Make sure to keep chest up, neutral spine and knees tracking over 2nd toe, Inhale on way down, exhale back up.

2. Inverted Rows with TRX Straps or Barbell. 10-12 reps

**Make sure to exhale when pulling chest to handles, inhale to starting position, don’t allow arms to “chicken wing out”, keep them close to your side

3. Static Lunge: 8-10 reps each leg

**Make sure to keep a 90 degree angle with front and hind leg when executing the move. make sure both knees bend. Inhale going down, exhale back up to the top.

4. Incline pushups: 5-6 reps

*Keep the repetitions for this one on the lower end so that you are doing a pushup with proper form and engaging the whole body. Your body moves as one unit. Inhale going down, exhale back up to plank position.  You want your arms to bend back about 45 degrees, try not to “chicken wing” your arms out.

5. Russian twists with medicine ball or dumbbell: 30 seconds

**Start in seated position, lean back about 45 degrees. You will tap the object from side to side working on engaging the abdominals.  I typically keep my focus outfront about 45 degrees ahead. Feet on ground-beginner, feet elevated- more advanced.

6. Jump rope-30 seconds-1min.

*Have fun and think about your inner childhood self 😉