Craving wine AND chocolate every night!? (Well maybe most nights… ;) ) **4 Healthy & Delicious Dessert Ideas For You to Try Instead** 4/6/16

So I don’t know about you, but night time is when I crave something sweet (the most!). Andrew and I could have just finished dinner and I’m like okay, when’s dessert…!?

Not kidding. It’s like I have a separate compartment just for the sweet stuff. I swear I do 😉

So while I DO love my wine and milk chocolate, I don’t find that it is necessarily the most beneficial for my health or my waistline each night.

So instead I try and figure out ways of satisfying my sweet tooth, so that I am content and putting some healthier foods into my body.

I want to share with you today four of my favorite “go to”  healthier desserts that I like to enjoy in the evening. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my fair share of wine and chocolate in the evenings, but I think it is smart to mix it up and try some other things, especially if they are healthier for you 😉

JBrauzFit’s Evening Desserts

 

  1. Plain greek yogurt with metabolic effect craving cocoa and blueberries: This is my absolute latest fav and tastes SO good. I’m actually going to have some more tonight.. (sad, my craving cocoa is almost gone)

How much?

1/2-3/4 cup PLAIN greek yogurt ( 120-170 calories)

half scoop craving cocoa (15 calories)  (can substitute chocolate protein powder if you do not have craving cocoa)  Click here to read more about it —-> http://www.metaboliceffect.com/craving-cocoa/

bunch of blueberries (8-10)

**You can put it in the fridge OR put it in the freezer for a short amount of time (5 min)

greek yogurt with met cocoa and blueberries

 2. Chocolate chips, Peanut Butter, and Banana Slices! 

How much?

1 Banana-sliced (105 calories)

1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter (spread across each slice) (90 calories)

12 Chocolate Chips 🙂

1 toothpick (because your husband is adorable and made this dessert for you)

banana choc chip pb

 

3. Red Ants on a Log 😉 (Because goji berries are the shit)

How much?

3-4 Stalks of Celery

2 Tablespoons of Sunflower Seed Butter (198 Calories) whyshould I eat sunflower seed butter?! —>http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sunflower-seed-butter-health-benefits-6076.html

1/4 cup Gogi berries (90 calories) Goji berry Nutritional Facts —> http://www.livestrong.com/article/164511-goji-berry-nutritional-facts/

ants on a log dessert

 

4. Goji’s, PB and 1 Banana, oh my! 

How much?

1 Banana -Sliced (105 Calories)

1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter or Sunflower Seed Butter (90-99 calories)

1/4 Cup Goji berries (90 calories)

banana gojis pb

 

Okay, now go and make one of these desserts for tonight and let me know what you think! Hope you enjoy 🙂

 

Happy Night Desserting,

JBrauz

**Facing your fears!** 4/2/16

Happy Saturday to you all!

So sorry to be getting this out late to you all. I spent Easter last weekend with my family and then had to take a last minute trip to Florida this past week with my husband due to a family member’s passing. It has been quite a week.

Anyway, I just wanted to touch on an important lesson that I learned/am still learning to work on from last weekend. Facing. your.fears.

So, I haven’t really told this to many people but 1) for the past couple of years I have been quite fearful when it comes to getting on the ski slopes (especially the ones out here!) and 2) I’m super afraid of heights (like so afraid, that I have to put the chairlift bar down everytime we get on it, or if it doesnt have one I have to keep myself super preoccupied with something else in the meantime. Sometimes, I’m so afraid…that some tears will come to my eyes. Yeah, not an exaggeration.

So of course when my family came to town (which was a combined ski/sib trip!) I knew I had to somewhat mentally prepare myself. {Side note: Okay so just to give you a little background, growing up as a little one my parents had us skiing quite a bit, we were going down the ski slopes in Upstate NY (mind you that aren’t as tough as the ones out here), BUT my dad still reminds me to this day as to how adventurous, fast, and fearless I was going down the slopes..) I’m sure I was probably that kid cutting people off too..sorry! so my sisters and I have some background in skiing.

Well, my younger sis and her boyfriend came to town, along with my older sis, her hubby and their adorable son Potsy! So my younger sis hasn’t skiied in 15 + years and as soon as we got on the ski slopes she was like “Okay guys we need to make a trip down the bunny hill first”, and I’m like “yup, sounds great to me!”. So we all did that to help “ease” her into it along with anyone else who may have not skiied for the past month or so..Afterwards, she was like “Okay, I’m ready let’s go do something else”. and now all of a sudden we go from one trip down a bunny hill to now venturing onto the harder runs and sheesh I’m not prepared for this.

So, sure enough my younger sis Lib just starts cruising down the runs with somewhat of an ease (a bit better than how I was doing!), and everyone else is just killing it. Not a fear in the world. So I’m just impressed. Impressed because they have that mind over matter.

They don’t approach it ” thinking they are going to twist their knee, and need to end up working with a physical therapist later on” but rather learn to relax their mind and in turn that helps to relax their body as they are going down the runs. So here I am in “total freak out mode” and I literally can’t handle it. I am squatting the whole way down the mountain, quads are burning like none other and it’s just not as enjoyable to me. So I put on a pity party for my self and decide to take a break.

After I take a break inside, (I’m still having an internal dilemma as to whether or not to go back out mind you), I decide to give it another chance. I go down again and once again take the “easier” routes and head down. I think at this point the rest of my family has gone and ventured down numerous harder runs and having the best time (which I’m happy about! I want them to enjoy every second of it!).

But then they come down the mountain again and say “omg we just went down this gully and you have to try it” so while a part of me is thinking “eh no”, I decide to pursue it! I decide in that moment that I want to conquer my fears ( well somewhat, in a slower manner 😉 ) so I end up going down it with the rest of them and have such a blast! It really was so fun and just being able to experience it with my family was great.

skiing with the fam 2016skiing with the fam 2016 2

So from this I just want you to realize that 1) it is okay to be fearful 2) YOU need to be the one to decide when you want to overcome to conquer that fear. Don’t let others peer pressure you or tell you c’mon you’re such a wuss if you don’t do it. YOU need to decide on your own if that is the correct path you want to take. That is exactly what happened for me, I was spending a lot of time in fear the whole time ( well also my form is not great, but that’s another story), and after listening to how they all felt about that run and making me feel comfortable I decided to pursure it for myself. No peer pressure at all.

So this weekend or sometime soon: go and conquer a fear that you may have! Maybe it’s hiking, maybe you want to lift a little heavier, or maybe you decide to keep the bar up on the chairlift 😉 Choose something, big or small. But I want YOU to decide when that happens. Maybe you will be happy once you have done it as well 🙂

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

JBrauz

 

 

*JBrauzfit’s favorite types of cardio* (+ 8 FREE cardio workouts to try out!) 3/23/16

Many times when we think of what we are going to do for our “cardio day” we tend to dread it. Ugh..I have to get on the treadmill again and run 5-6 miles ( trust me I did this ALL the time back in DC and thank god for my headphones and the BRAVO tv station that was hooked up to the treadmill…) or maybe you end up reading a book on the elliptical…

While that may not tend to be my favorite thing to do (at least not anymore)…many of us tend to resort to that because it is easy and you don’t really have to think much when you are doing it. But is it effective?!

In many cases it is, because at least you are moving your body and that is just straight up great right there. But, are you doing it because YOU like it? Or are you doing it because everyone else does… are you getting a good sweat in once you have finished or did you not drip one ounce of sweat once those thirty minutes was up?

First, a bit of JBrauz workout philosophy…if you get some amazing enjoyment out of reading your book on the elliptical, or pumping the 3 lb weights on the bike, then keep it up. I am all about YOU enjoying your workout because that is going to make you consistent with your workouts and getting you in the gym.

However, if you are starting to get a bit frustrated with not seeing many results after doing the routine above..then it might be time to start mixing it up! So below I have included MY favorite types of cardio that get me nice n’ sweaty and I think they may do just the trick for you too! ( BONUS: they aren’t boring!)

Seriously, a girl does not have time to go into her workout dreading it. You should be pumped up (even just a little bit!) and have FUN with it. That’s what it is all about. Challenge yourself with the speeds or incline on the treadmill, race a friend or spouse sprinting up some hills, start making weird noises on the row machine.. 😯 (Okay, maybe don’t do that, but christ that shiz is hard, but so challenging and awesome),  get your kettlebell swing and jump rope on, or even get that booty in the pool! (This is an excellent low impact option for anyone and all levels, really great if you are pregnant!)

JBrauz’s Fav. Types of Cardio: 

  1. Kettlebell Swings & the Row (Erg) Machine

Superset Rowing & Swinging:

Complete 8-10 rounds:

1a) Row 250 m rowing

1b) 15 Heavy KB Swingsiphone pics 1.7.16 029

2. Hill Sprints

Complete 5-10 sprints up a big hill and lightly jog back down to your starting point. Want to make it more challenging? Complete planks (1 min) or side planks (30 sec each side) once you come back down the hill each time  😆

hill sprints

 

3. Track Sprints

Jog two laps around to  warmup

Complete 8-10 100 meter sprints and jog or walk the roundabouts.

Jog or walk 2 laps to cool down

track sprints

 

4. Treadmill sprints (Here is a sample fartlek workout!)

Warmup:1-5 min @ speed 5.0-6.0 ( depending on your comfort level)

Min: 5-8- Speed 7.0, incline 0

Min: 8-9-Speed 1.5 or 2.0, incline 0

Min: 9-11-Speed 8.0, incline 0

Min: 11-12-Speed 1.5 or 2.0, incline 0

Min: 12-13- Speed 9.0, incline 0

Min: 13-14- Speed 1.5 or 2.0, incline 0

Min: 15-16-Speed 10.0, incline 0

Min:16-17-Speed 1.5 or 2.0, incline 0

Min: 17-19- Speed 9.0, incline 0

Min: 19-20- Speed 1.5 or 2.0, incline 0

Min:20-23-Speed 8.0, incline 0

Min: 23-25: Speed 1.0, incline 0

Min: 25-30: Continue cooling down if you would like

fartlek face<—-my treadmill fartlek face   😆

 

5. Hiking

Pick a day (most likely during the weekend) to go and enjoy the outdoors! Especially if you live here in SLC, UT we have lots of lovely and beautiful hiking options to choose from! Here are some of my favs:

  • The Living Room
  • Mt. Timpanogos
  • Desolation Trail to Salt Lake Overlook
  • Lake Blanche
  • Lambs Canyon
  • Mount Olympus

view from living room hike<—-beautiful view from “The Living Room”

 

6. The Stairmaster (Stepmill)

Here is a sample Interval workout  😎

Warmup:1-5 min-level 5,6, or 7

Min:5-7-Level 10

Min:7-9-Level 2 or 3

Min: 9-11-Level 11

Min:11-13-Level 2 or 3

Min: 13-15-Level 12

Min: 15-17-Level 2 or 3

Min: 17-19: Level 13

Min:19-20: Level 2 or 3

Min: 20:00-20:30-Level 14

Min:20:30-21:00-Level 5

Min:21:00-21:30-Level 15

Min: 21:30-22:00-Level 5

Min: 22-25-Level 2 Cool down

stepmill

7. Box Jumps & Med Ball Slams

10 Box Jumps

1 Med Ball Slam

9 Box Jumps

2 Med Ball Slams

8 Box Jumps

3 Med Ball Slams

Continue going down the ladder for the box jumps until you reach 1 and continue going up the ladder for the Med Ball Slams until you get to 10! Enjoy 🙂

box jumpmed ball slam 1 med ball slam 2

8. Kettlebell Swings & Jump Rope

Complete 8-12 rounds of the following:

1a) 15 Heavy KB Swings

1b) Jump Rope fast for 30 seconds

Rest 20-30 sec and repeat

** I like to challenge myself by counting how many jumps I can do in 30 seconds and then try to up that number each time I jump rope next..try it and let me know how it goes!**

kb pic

9. SWIM!

I used to swim competitively in college and I will admit I have not gotten my butt in the pool for some time now, but once the weather gets nice out, I do like to occassionally swim at our local pool complex (where I also coach!) and they have a great outdoor pool.

Here is a sample 3,300 Workout

Warmup: 200 free, 100 choice kick, 100 pull

Mini Set: Kicking & Drills

8 x 50 (2 of each stroke)

Odd: Kick/Swim (by 25)

Even Drill/Swim (by 25)

*Main Set*

2 x 100 Fly (50 drill, 50 build to fast) @ 2:00

8x 50 Dolphin Kick with a board @ 1:00

3 x 100 Backstroke (Work the middle 50 fast) @ 2:00

6 x 50 Flutter Kick on Back @ 1:00

1 min rest

4 x 100 Breaststroke (do double pullouts off of each wall) @ 2:15

4 x 50 Breast Kick with a board @ 1:10

5 x 100 Free @ 2:00

Odd: Outside 25’s=fast

Even: Middle 50=fast

2 x 50 flutter kick with a board @ 1:00

100 ez

fly swimmin swim GW girls

 

Okay hope you enjoy these and let me know if you do one (or all 😉 ) and how it goes! Would love to hear from you.

 

XO,

JBrauz

 

 

 

Weak Glutes? Tight Hips? Cranky Knees? Meet my friend Slingy :) 3/15/16

So this is a fun little post that will be narrated by my “friend” Slingy..Slingy is the absolute best and has helped me live a more pain free lifestyle ever since he-she came into my life…

I would like for Slingy to talk a little bit more about how he-she has some great benefits…so without further adieu.

Hi guys! My name is Slingshot, but my friends call me Slingy for short 😉

slingy is everywhere<—–Yup, that’s me! I’m the blue guy… hanging over Mr. BB

I would love to talk to you today about how I can help you with any tight hip pain,cranky knees or activating your glutes. I entered Jess’ life on Christmas Day (I’m so grateful that her sister bought me) and ever since we met it has been love at first sight.

So when Jess opened up me out of the package and tried me on, she was a bit blown away as to how strong I was! Essentially she placed me above her knees and walked a bit… side to side and she was like “holy man, my glutes are burning!”. I was like “a-HA” you think I’m good when you do lateral walks…well you should try me when you hip thrust, squat or even do a pushup!

So, she decided to give me a whirl on all of those other exercises and decided I was too good to be true that she outta share me with her friends! (Her clients…;) )

SO let me just tell you why I’m awesome and why I should be your friend as well…

My benefits:

  1. Hip/Glute Activation– I’ll get your glutes burning (in a good way!) and it will feel oh so amazing. Many people have trouble firing their glutes, so I’m a sure way to help you out there! I really like to work the gluteus medius- the muscle responsible for abducting the hip. By strengthening the glute medius, you are working on stabilizing the hip and helping to maintain proper tracking in the knee joint, which reduces lateral stress on the knee.
  2. Knee Joint Stabilization– Feel like your knees cave in when you do a squat? or they are just a bit wobbly…well tell those cranky knees that I will help you out 🙂 Above anything, I don’t want you to injure yourself or receive an ACL injury!
  3. I’m versatile and I travel very well. Take me anywhere, especially on vacation or when traveling for work!

Exercises to do with me:

  1. Clamshells (I am pretty powerful though, and make this one a bit harder for you!) clamshells and slingy
  2. Glute Bridgesbanded hip thrusts
  3. Hip Thrustship thrust and slingyslingy and laura
  4. Lateral Band Walksiphone pics 1.7.16 893
  5. Standing External Rotations (Push knees out against the band-I typically will have my clients do lateral band walks and then after 10 steps each way they will do 10-15 standing Hip External Rotations! These ones reallllyyy scorch the booty!)standing hip ext rotations and slingystanding hip ext rotations and slingy 2
  6. Monster Stepsmonster steps 1 monster steps 2
  7. Squat with bandsquats and slingy

Okay, there you have it! I hope you see why I am beneficial to have in your life and JBrauz tells me that her clients rave about me all the time and many times will ask where I am if I’m not in my designated drawer! Gosh, I guess I am pretty important.

If you are looking to purchase me…you can click on my image below 🙂 (for reference, I’m an original large)

 

Hope I enter your life at some point!

Love,

Slingy

**8 Squat Variations To Try Out** 3/9/16

Some will love em’, some will hate em’, some just do them because they read in a magazine that they are good to do…

SQUATS.

Ah the wonderful full bodied exercise that gets me errrr somewhat cringing when I step up to the barbell and am ready to perform a barbell back squat.

But WHAT Jess?! You’re not allowed to say that…you’re a Personal Trainer/Coach and should like every single exercise that you do..

Well I hate to break it to you guys, but barbell back squats are not necessarily my forte and quite frankly one of MY weaknesses. One of the exercises where I don’t feel as strong in, one of the exercises where my quads feel like they are on fire when I put a heavy load on my back (and haven’t even started yet), and just overall not my fav. Yup, there I said it.

Just because you are a Trainer or a Fitness Coach and believe that a certain movement is crucial to do, (which in this case is squats and I believe are such an amazing exercise)…does NOT mean that you have to be limited to one variation OF that exercise.

SO, while I just went on my rant about not being the biggest fan of Barbell Back Squats, does not mean that I dislike squats in general. In fact, I am such a big fan on mixing it up with squats that’s why I wanted to share with you many other variations to try out and see if there is one in there that you prefer!

Here are 8 Squat Variations To Try Out (and maybe, just maybe… you will like 1 or 2 of them 😉 ) Let me know if there is one listed below that is your fav or if you have one that I didn’t mention!!

  1. Bodyweight Squat 
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You can place your hands out front or above your head.
    2. Begin the movement  bracing your abs, thinking about maintaining a neutral spine, and by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips.
    3. Then you will lower your glutes down to an appropriate depth and then reverse the motion until you return to the starting position.
    4. Make sure you squeeze your glutes when you finish! bw squat 1 bw squat 2
  2. Prisoner Squat
    1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and by placing your hands behind your head.
    2. You will then begin the movement by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips.
    3. Continue to lower down until you get to an appropriate depth for yourself.
    4.  You will then reverse the motion until you return to the starting position. As you squat, keep your head and chest up and push your knees out, think about tracking along your second toe.

    prisoner squat 1 prisoner squat 2 prisoner squat 3

  3. Jump Squat 
    1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
    2. Next you will start by doing a regular squat, engaging your core and will both feet planted firmly into the ground jump up explosively.
    3. Your arms will swing back as you jump up explosively and you will let out a good exhale.
    4. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position and inhale your breath. Try to land as quietly as possible.  jump squat 1 jump squat 2

 

4. Goblet Squat 

  1. You will start this exercise by standing up, holding a kettlebell by the horns close to your chest, and elbows tucked in. This will be your starting position.
  2. Next you will squat down, with the kettlebell in front of your chest, elbows tucked in, close to the inside of your knees. Keep your chest and head up and your back straight.
  3. At the bottom position, pause and use your elbows to push your knees out.
  4. You will then reverse the motion to come back up to the starting position where you will squeeze your glutes.

goblet squatttt

5. Double Kettlebell Front Squat  

  1. First start out by cleaning two kettlebells to your shoulders. Clean the kettlebells to your shoulders by extending through the legs and hips as you pull the kettlebells towards your shoulders. Rotate your wrists as you do so.
  2. Next by keeping your spine/neck in a neutral position-look straight ahead or a little downward at all times, squat as low as you can and pause at the bottom. As you squat down, push your knees out.
  3. Try to work on keeping an upright torso, with your chest up and neutral spine.
  4. Reverse the motion back up by driving through your heels and repeat.

KB front squat 1 KB front squat 2

6. Barbell Front Squat

  1. This is an awesome exercise to do and often times gets neglected because of the big bad barbell back squat. The barbell front squat is a multi-joint exercise that  really works on strengthening the quads and core more.
  2. If you have never tried this exercise before- it would be safer to try it inside a squat rack and make sure the bar is at a correct height for yourself. (Also I think the Double KB Front Squat is safer to start with too 😉 )
  3. You will then face the bar and then slide your arms/elbows up under the bar so that your  palms/wrists are facing up toward the ceiling. You will then rest the bar along your anterior deltoids (the shoulder muscles in front of your body) and work on keeping your elbows up (like you are pointing your elbows out at the wall in front of you) You can either 1- position both hands under the bar with supinated grip or 2- cross your arms-one over the other (over the bar) kinda like “I dream of Jeannie”
  4. Next lift the bar off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
  5.  Then step away from the rack and position your legs using a shoulder width stance with the toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head up (or in a good neutral position- I tend to look slightly downward)  This will be your starting position.
  6. Next begin to slowly lower the bar by bending the knees as you maintain a straight posture with the head up. Continue down until the angle between the upper leg and the calves becomes slightly less than 90-degrees (which is the point in which the upper legs are below parallel to the floor). Inhale as you perform this part of the movement.
  7. Then begin to raise the bar as you exhale by pushing your feet into the floor mainly with the mid part of your foot as you straighten the legs again and go back to the starting position.

barbell front squat barbell front squat 2

7. Barbell Back Squat 

  1. Begin with the barbell supported on top of the traps- not your neck!
  2. Your chest will be in an upright position (but depending on where the bar is located on your back may make you have more of an upright chest than the other- but that is for another discussion!) Your head/eyes will be facing forward.
  3. You can position your feet into a hip-width or shoulder width stance with the feet turned out as needed. Depends on what feels more comfortable for you.
  4. Descend by flexing the knees and sitting back into your squat. Think about as you squat down to center the weight over your midfoot.
  5. Continue all the way down, keeping the weight over the midfoot. Once you are at a good squat depth for yourself,  you will then reverse the motion, driving the weight upward. Make sure when you return to the starting position you squeeze your glutes and reinforce good hip extension.

barbell back squat

8. Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. The  Bulgarian split squat is a single-leg strength exercise that targets mostly the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. You can perform this exercise with bodyweight, dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell.
  2. Start by placing a bench, or couch,or box behind you. You will then place the top of your foot over that box and then bring your other leg/foot out at a good distance. One where your knee won’t go too far over your toes.
  3. You will then start by simultaneously bending that hind leg ( the knee) down toward the floor, inhaling your breath and your front leg will receive more of the weight and will be the quad area that you will be feeling as you bend it to a 90 degree angle. Make sure your abs are braced.
  4. Once you go to your desired depth, you will then exhale as you return your body back up to the starting position.

bulgarian split squat pic

There you have it, 8 squat variations to try out! Let me know if I listed one you love or you absolutely love one that I did not mention. Would love to hear from you 🙂

 

XO,

JBrauz

 

5 Safe & Effective CORE Exercises That You Can Do Right At Home! {JBrauz’s Favorites} 3/2/16

Hi Loves!

Ah the core! Many of us tend to associate our core muscles with strictly those visible ab muscles you see in front, but do not be deceived!

Our core muscles actually encompass: your abdominal muscles [transverse abdominus (deeper core muscles!)] rectus abdominus (those lovely visible abs you see) and internal and external obliques (when you think of those side abs), back muscles, and your pelvic floor muscles.

So it is very important to make sure we are working those muscles and strengthening them, ESPECIALLY when you are someone who perhaps sits at a desk all day or find your posture getting a bit hunched over when you are typing at the computer.

I do tend to find that by squatting, deadlifting, pulling and pressing that I get my fair share of CORE work in, but I do love me some specific core work. Below please find my 5 fav. core exercises to do, and these can be done right at home!

JBrauz’s 5 Favorite Core Exercises:

  1. Resistance Band Palloff Press and Twist:

*For this exercise you will want to hook the resistance band up to a door or some sort of fixed point so that you can stand tall and bring the resistance band out so that you have some good tension on it.

*From there you will place both hands around the handle and starting from the sternum area of your chest, you will slowly and controlled press the handle out to full extension of the arms (exhale) and then slowly bring it back in to the starting point (inhale).

*Please make sure your hips are scooped under and that your abs are braced (like you are getting a sucker punch 😉 )

* You can do 10-15 repetitions facing one way and then with good tension on the band and fully extended arms you will twist the band out to your left side and eyes will follow. You will do ~ 10 reps. Next repeat the same thing facing the other way for the press and the twist.

palloff press 1 palloff press 2resistance band twist

 

2 .Farmers Carry:

*Haha, for this one you are probably thinking “I ain’t no farmer” and yeah you’re right I’m sure many of you are not, but you do carry groceries into your house right? Or you carry a heavy carseat in…Okay yes you get the point.

*For this exercise I want you to put a heavy object whether it is a KB, a DB, or perhaps a heavy object around your house in one of your hands and carry it for 10-15 SLOW and controlled steps.

*I want you to think about your posture on this one, shoulders pulled back, chest up and out, core area braced, and head in a good neutral position.

*Not only is this great for working grip strength (which plenty of us can work on), but also your shoulder stability, triceps, and especially core.

*NOTE: When walking try not to lean to the side where the heavy object is being carried, try to stand up tall and make those core muscles work for it!

farmers carry

 

3. Any plank variation:

*Planks are a great exercise, but not necessarily for everyone. I say this because many times it is butchered and will be causing more harm than good. If you find your low back area getting pretty sore from doing this exercise, then consult a fitness professional or do it an incline!

*Line your elbows up directly under your shoulders, scoop your hips under, abs braced, glutes squeezed tight, shoulder blades pulled in (back fairly flat),feet can be spaced apart, and eyes looking about 45 degrees ahead.

*Try and hold the plank position for 60 seconds, and side plank for 30-45 seconds each side. (modification for plank-incline,modification for side plank-the leg that is closest to the ground-get on your knee)

plank-core side plank-core

 

4. Leg Raises or Lowers:

*This exercise can be a bit tricky because when you are lying on the ground- you will want to push your back into the ground like you are squishing a bug or in my clients’ case my hand 🙂

*You will start lying down, and pulling your belly button in towards your spine (visualize squishing the bug or my hand), legs will be up at a 90 degree angle.

*You will then start to lower your legs down toward the ground (without actually touching it!).

*HOWEVER, if you find that when you are doing this exercise and lowering your legs that your back is starting to arch stop your legs there and bring them back up to the starting position. (It might be helpful to do with a friend).

*You will shoot for 10-12 reps

*If you find it a bit difficult to do this without your back arching, then a couple of things. 1- bring both knees into the chest and practice extending one leg out, lifting it a little and lowering. or 2- one knee is pulled into the chest and the other leg lowers and you switch that way.

leg raises 1 leg raises 2 leg raises 3

 

leg raises-modified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leg raises mod with knee

 

 

5. Deadbugs:

*  I will admit, I don’t do this one AS often as the others, but still find it to be a helpful core exercise for sure.

*You will begin by lying down on the floor, both arms extended toward the ceiling.

*You will bring you knees, feet and hips up to a 90 degree angle.

*You will then practice pressing your back into the floor and hold it there for the exercise (remember visualize squishing the bug or my hand)

*You will then extend one arm to the floor with the opposite leg straightening and extended to the floor, but not touching the ground.

*From there bring both that arm and leg back up to starting position and then work the other arm and opposite leg together the same way. Remember to maintain a braced core to the floor. 🙂

*Do 10 reps for each arm and opposite leg!

dead bug 1 deadbug 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, enjoy these 5 core exercises and let me know how they work out 🙂

 

XO,

JBrauz

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!

JBrauz

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,

JBrauz

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… 😀

Love,

JBrauz

 

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 😉

Love,

JBrauz