May body progress

Fitterstrongerbetter body

Dear readers,

You have no idea how happy I am to finally see some definite changes in my shoulders. The past few weeks I have been focusing on strengthening my upper body when weightlifting and it’s coming along nicely. My lats and deltoids are getting more defined (and stronger).

The definition that is developing in the top of my abs has also been a recent change and I feel alongside targeted training, my change of protein and increasing intake has been helping exponentially.

Another positive from drinking Sci-MX regularly I’ve noticed is that I have a lot more energy; I’m not suffering with cravings, moodswings or lethargy since I’ve started having a minimum 2 servings per day.

Yesterday was my last weights day of the week and it was a gentle one because I still had DOMS from Monday.

Upright rows 10kg – 25 reps in 5 sets of 5.
Bicep curl 10kg (5kg each hand) – 15 reps in 3 sets of 5
Hammer curl 10kg (” “) – 15 reps in 3 sets of 5
Side lat raise to overhead press, 5kg – 3 reps, 2.5kg – 5 reps

And that was enough for me to end the training session on. After a nice relaxing long weekend in Wales (with an Insanity work out if I get the exercise itch), I will be back to kicking my own ass on Tuesday!

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Abs and ass day

butt fitspo

Bringing the buttspo picture back! Incidentally, does anyone know who this booty belongs to?

3 rounds of 5 exercises, 30 seconds reps, 15 seconds break to write down number of reps and get ready for the next set.

  • Ugi twists (I explain the how to do Ugi twists in 10 awesome abdominal exercises)
  • Full arm extension hanging leg raise
  • Reverse push ups
  • Monkey jumps (a simple one, jump up in the air and then down to the floor, do a press up and that is one rep)
  • Full squats

In the 30 second time frame, the goal is to do as many reps of the particular exercise in 30 seconds. Interval training is high intensity and for such a short work out, it really kicks your butt. For interval training ideas, check out bodyrock.tv or type in ZWOW into youtube. Zuzana Light, former bodyrock.tv owner who now runs ZWOW, is one of my favourite fitness inspirations so I personally prefer ZWOW but bodyrock.tv has some great info on the site too.

My reps today:

Ugi twists – set 1=14, set 2=16, set 3=20 reps
Hanging leg raise – set 1=9, set 2=11, set 3=15 reps
Reverse push ups – set 1=8, set 2=9, set 3=10 reps
Monkey jumps – set 1=3, set 2=4, set 3=8 reps
Full squats – set 1=8, set 2=8, set 3=8 reps

My monkey jumps reps were incredibly low for the first two sets because I was doing proper push ups, which I really, really struggle with. By set 3, I thought I’d suffered enough so I did the press ups on my knees which is lower intensity.

After I finished my interval training, I was ridiculously hot so I sprinted around the block (half a kilometre) in the pouring rain just to cool down, then did it again at a jog to gradually calm my heartbeat. I didn’t time it because it was an impulse decision but I didn’t get too soaked or have my arms drop off from the cold (it is very cold in Britain today) , haha. When I caught my breath again, I took a full 30 minutes to stretch my muscles out because they have worked very hard today. I’m going to be aching tomorrow! 😉

Body progress from a different perspective

Hi guys,

Same body, same angles (except I forgot to do my back, d’oh!), different location and different attire.

As you know, I do body progress shots in a bikini to show that I’m not using tricks of a camera or any fancy slimming clothing to make my figure look different. However, it occurred to me that, although it is great to show myself in such a way to mark progress, it doesn’t give a realistic view of how I look in day to day life. So every once in a while, I’ll be shooting pics wearing clothing. Today I snapped some pics after my run and cool down, so I’m wearing my running attire.

fitterstrongerbetter body progress
fitterstrongerbetter body progress
fitterstrongerbetter body progress

You can see the starts of a thigh gap. Though not important to me as huge thigh muscles are more my sort of thing, it’s still pretty good that it is fat loss causing the thigh gap. I’m wondering whether in time, muscles will fill the gap again or whether it will become bigger as I lose more fat and gain more muscle.

I am ridiculously happy with my progress, especially considering I’ve had to cut down to working out 3x a week and took some time off completely while I was ill. This is why it is so important to take regular photos to document your journey because you don’t often notice the changes when looking at yourself in the mirror every day. So try posting some body progress pics in a bikini (if you’re a fellow female) or topless and in shorts if you’re a guy AND some pics in snug-fitting (but not tight) clothing to gain a different perspective.

I can’t believe the different I’m getting in my thighs, that’s the weightlifting and running for you! I’ll be posting my usual bikini body progress either tonight or tomorrow once Thom gets here so I can take proper photos (self timer is so hit and miss).

10 awesome abdominal exercises

side bridge exercise1) The side bridge

Great for glutes and also shoulders, this one is done by lying on your side and propping your upper body up on the weight of your elbow closest to the floor, hand on hip with arm closest to ceiling. Have your knees bent for balance and lift your hip off the ground. For beginners, aim for between 3 and 10 seconds and slowly build up to 60 seconds as you get stronger. Remember to repeat on each side.

2) Scissor kicks

Lie flat on your back with your arms fully extended and on the floor, lift your legs with a slight bend in the knee so your heels are roughly six inches above the floor to get into the starting position. With knees still slightly bent lower one leg so the heel is about two or three inches from the ground and raise the other leg at a 45 degree angle. Repeat by switching right and left legs into upper and lower positions. Remember to breathe throughout because this one is a toughie!

3) Reverse crunch

There are many variations to the crunch and this is one of the most highly regarded out there for working your abs healthily. Start with your legs extended on the floor and arms at your sides, palms flat on the floor unless you are advanced, in which case you can do as the picture shows. Move legs up into the air with knees bent so your legs are at a right angle, thighs perpendicular to the ground and while inhaling, lift your legs towards your upper body, allowing your pelvis to roll forwards as you raise your hips off the ground. Allow knees to go as far as you can manage safely without straining or losing form, hold for a few seconds and exhale as you move your legs back to the right angle shape they were at before. This is a reverse crunch and boy, will you feel it!

superman plank

4) Superman plank

A great variation to the normal plank. Get into the normal plank position, on your elbows with your lower weight on your toes. Move your upper body up one arm at a time so your arms are fully extended, spread your fingers to help spread the surface area. While inhaling, raise your left arm and extend out in front of you with the top of your arm level with your shoulder and your right leg up in the air so it is level with your back. Breathe throughout while holding this pose for the desired time, then exhale as you lower your limbs back down into the arms extended plank. Repeat with right arm and left leg.

butt up exercise

5) Butt up!

Begin in a plank position with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. While arching your back outwards slightly, raise your butt up to the ceiling, squeezing your abs tight – in this exercise you will need to breathe out as you raise up and inhale as you come back down into the starting position. Remember to not let your back collapse down towards the floor as you go back to the starting position.

ugi twist

6) Ugi twists

Begin sat with your butt on the floor, bearing your full weight on it as you lean backwards with your upper body and raise your legs off the ground, this is your starting position. Bend one knee and contract your leg towards your hips, keeping the sole of your foot level to the ground. As you do this, with a ball/cushion/whatever you have that’s easy to hold, twist above the hip to touch the ground with your object, holding it with both hands (see picture). Twist your upper body back to the centre and extend your leg back out to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg and side. In regards to keeping your balance, doing this move quickly is best as opposed to slowly but make sure you do not lose your form.

hanging leg raise exercise

7) Hanging leg raise

There are plenty of variations on this exercise, but we’ll go with the one pictured here, minus the leg twist. Using a dip station or similar weight-bearing gym equipment. stand central and place your hands on the bars. If it is above your waist, you will need to push your bodyweight up in order to extend your arms, but if it’s a dip station, you won’t need to worry about exerting yourself to get your arms straightened out.  With your arms straight have your legs stretched out and straight at an angle just over 90 degrees, making your body an L shape (pictured). Inhale as you raise your legs with your knees bent, bringing your knees to touch your chest, hold for a few seconds while breathing normally and exhale as you straighten your legs back out so your body is back to the L shape. Repeat for desired reps. If you are losing form, do less reps.

lower back curl

8) Lower back curl

This one’s easy to do and great for your abs. Lying with your torso flat on the floor, arms by your sides and leg weight supported by tucking your toes under as if you were doing a plank exercise (see picture), inhale as you lift your chest up off the ground. Hold that position and don’t allow your shoulders to slouch and keep your chin parallel with the ground. Exhale and slowly return to the starting position with control.

dumbbell side bends

9) Dumbbell side bends

Good for your abs and those pesky love handles you’re dying to shift! Stand straight and tall with your desired weight dumbbells, one in each hand. Keep your abs tight and exhale as you lower one dumbbell towards your knee, allowing your torso to lean from the hips over to that same side. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed on both your legs and while inhaling, slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

cross body crunch exercise

10) Cross body crunches

 Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 60 degree angle, feet flat on the floor, hands loosely behind your head. As you exhale, curl up and bring your shoulder and elbow on your left side across your body while lifting your right knee to touch your left elbow. Contract your stomach muscles as you are doing this and think about reaching with not just the elbow the shoulder too. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position – keep it controlled and don’t collapse in a heap! Repeat with the right elbow and left knee.

Tip – when doing the alternating exercises, remember to work each side evenly!

Enjoy these exercises, do them with correct form and don’t strain yourself. Please note I spent a long time sourcing images of the movements and writing quick guides on how they are executed, so if you do use this on your blog/site, be sure to mention fitterstrongerbetter. Thanks!

Images are not my own and are credited when source is known.

Swat up on crunches

Crunches are a single-muscle exercise that works the upper abs, it is an exercise that can put excessive strain on your back, so it is imperative that they are executed correctly with good form and control. This post will help you understand the exercise, good form, the difference between a sit up and a crunch and alternatives.

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