Fitness Tip :: Gaining Weight

Wait! What? GAINING?! We were just talking about being wary of being SKINNY.

I know I focus a LOT on LOSING WEIGHT, or ADDING MUSCLE, in my talks about “FITNESS”, but I also realise that there are many out there who just CAN’T gain; that they don’t WANT to be “skinny” they want to be FIT & Curvy, but struggle to add that lean MASS. Yes! For some skinny-minis, they’re consider it being either genetically CURSED.

Perception is always dependent upon which side of the mirror you’re on.

Some people are what we in the fit-biz call “hard gainers” – those who try & try and eat & eat and can’t gain weight, typically it’s the less-than Chisled males, who tend to be upset about this, but some women feel more Olive Oyl and less Natalia Vodianova, with their “less than slender” physique.

I’ve included a few KEYS to weight gain & some way to AVOID! (*Sadly, I can not GUARANTEE immediate, not identical results for everyone… it’s just not POSSIBLE to promise it!)

HOW TO GAIN (SAFELY)

1. EAT MORE… INTELLIGENTLY
Break it down. EAT MORE – You need to eat an increased load of calories to gain weight. (*Ask your friends trying to lose “the last 5”, it’s snacking and idle eating, leading to intake of surplus calories that leads to holding on or adding weight.)
Here’s the kicker …INTELLIGENTLY – You need to be smart about what you’re putting in, in surplus.  Weight management is all about Calories IN vs. Calories OUT, but Calories COUNT when you count calories. Don’t just binge on fast food, junk and trashy over-processed foods. Eat more whole and healthy foods. WHY? So your body can USE THE CALORIES, properly, while storing them.  You don’t want to be trapped being SKINNY FAT – thin frame, looks great in clothes, but without coverage, the limbs/form appear flabby. The danger, you potentially have the innards of someone who is fat.

2. Eat your Meals More Often Throughout the Day

Regardless of WHY you want to gain weight, eating meals or substantial snacks (think mini-meals) more often is the way to pack more calories into the day. Just like trying to control calorie intake on the LOWER end, eating before you’re ravenous, makes you choose better. Whether you need to eat MORE or LESS.
To gain weight, the snacks just need to be a little more “hearty”. Try to eat five to seven times throughout the day, with each meal (or at least three of them) containing protein, starch, vegetable[s], and fat. When trying to gain lean mass, add some additional carbohydrates (*starches, grains) and protein. e.g. Turkey Sandwich, swiss cheese, tomato, on whole grain bread.

3. GAIN MUSCLE!

I say this to my “skinny mini” clients, if you want to gain WEIGHT, why gain FAT? Muscle is heavier AND it looks BETTER under the skin!  Think about it: Athletes who want to add mass need to add sufficient additional calories, focusing on protein intake, along with proper strength training to make sure they gain weight in the right places.  Nutritional experts advise athletes to eat protein-rich snacks such as a high-protein energy bars, low-fat chocolate milk, or a protein shake immediately after weight training to give muscles the necessary post-workout fuel.  I’m not saying you jump into an intense BULK program. But throwing in a body-pump or circuit class, along with Zumba, will HELP not HARM.
LADIES: before you GO THERE… WOMEN LIFTING WEIGHTS DO NOT INSTANTLY BULK INTO SHE-HULKS! Trust me! I do 7-8 lift sessions PER WEEK, and I STRUGGLE to add mass. That beautiful lean physique you see in the health mags come from WEIGHT TRAINING! Don’t be afraid to pick up some heavy numbers!  Keep in mind: Avid exercisers who are not trying to build muscle mass also need frequent healthy snacks to fuel their physical activity and to maintain or gain weight, they just don’t supplement their daily calories with protein surplus.

For those of you who find it hard to be HUNGRY. (*EN: I just… I don’t even know what that feels like. SMH… I’m ALWAYS HUNGRY – but I digress)

Here are some tricks of the trade that can help stimulate your appetite:
Taking a little walk before eating.
Choosing your favorite comfort foods may help.
Whet appetite with spices and herbs to enhance flavor.
Liquids, including water, can fill you up. So drink liquids separately to help make room for nourishing foods.
Fruit can rouse your appetite, especially when blended into an easy-to-tolerate smoothie.

If you don’t want to, or more likely CAN’T spend ALL DAY nibbling. Choose foods that give you more BANG for your BUCK!
Foods highest in calories and nutrients are foods with fats, especially plant fats.
Plant fats such as nuts, peanuts, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, coconut, hummus, and oils are great sources of healthy fats loaded with nutrients and calories.
Animal fats provide nutrients and the same amount of calories as plant fats, but they also contain saturated fats, which can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol, so you need to be wary of over filling your diet with meats. Especially if you’re not typically making lean-cut choices.  Choose plant fats and smaller amounts of lower-fat dairy and lean meat animal fats, so your weight gain efforts don’t increase risk of heart disease. e.g. pair cheese with fruit and whole-grain crackers for a boost of protein, calories, calcium, and vitamin D.

You also get a little more lee-way than your “fluffier” friends, who may be watching their intake from the other end of the scale. You can drink high-calorie juices as well as water throughout the day, and you have the option to choose high-calorie condiments such as mayonnaise, ranch, thousand island, and Caesar salad dressings.

Meal replacement drinks and smoothies are very convenient. To pump up their calories, add fruits, powdered milk, oats, hemp, chia, flax or (Non-GMO) silken tofu.

Eat nuts by the handful or sprinkle them on top of soups, salads, cereal, desserts, and casseroles for added protein, fiber, healthy fat, and calories. Granola, loaded with nuts and dried fruits, is a concentrated source of nutritious calories, especially when eaten with full-fat Greek-style yogurt, which is higher in protein
Hope this helps!

xo – Mia

Workout Wednesday :: Say it witcho CHEST!!!

Hey BodyMorphers,

Just a quick Chest Workout “playlist”, since people asked me about it after last weds’ video post.

I don’t have a “standard workout” for chest, per se (*for anything, actually) but I have some go-to’s that I do, because they WORK.

As a preface: unless I’m in a heavy cycle, or doing a specifically Strength-Based workout, I tend to swap a flat Barbell bench press for either Dumbbell Bench press, or Incline BB press (& I typically accompany those with either decline pushups, or a plyometric pushup option).

My chest workout, for this 3-week portion of this leaning cycle, is as follows.

  • 4x (15rep/95,105,115,135#) Flat BB bench press + (20) pop&hop plyo push-ups (plate)
  • 4x (12rep/20,25,30,35#) Cable decline flyes + (16) butterfly-diamond plyo push-ups (plate)*
  • 3x (15rep/15,20,25#) Incline DB press + (20) Over & Back stagger push-ups (25# DB)
  • 3x (15rep/85,95,105#) squat hold** Pec Deck + (25) Military push-Ups

*FYI – Progression: Try it first “stepping” in from butterfly to diamond hand positions, and then try the plyo version but without the plates (use tape on the floor) until you can confidently leave the ground.

**For the “squat hold” just put the seat to the lowest possible and don’t use it. Hold a “wall squat” against the chest/back pad.

I usually follow chest with either Triceps or Delts, depending on Time available & where in my cycle I am.

If you try it out, let me know what you think!

xo – Mia
Note to Self: One day, I must figure out that elusive little bugger called “editting”

Monday Motivation :: Mindstate

It’s Monday. New day. New week. Why are you doing TODAY to make yourself 1% better than yesterday? Than last week?

You look around and you’re SURROUNDED by models. Ok, not ACTUALLY in real life, that’s probably a dream a few of my readers have had (*I SEE YOU!), but I mean, in magazines, on TV, in movies, online. They make THIN seem the ultimate goal. “They” always have. Fashion and Lifestyle taste-makers make small look BEAUTIFUL, and big look UGLY.

In a society where going green and living forever is praised, why rely on medicines and plastic surgeons to keep the body looking good? Why not do it from the INSIDE OUT.I’m not getting philosophical and existential, I’m getting biological and cellular.

Sure they may be made up, and “skinny” – lot of the spreads are (very) airbrushed – but are they FIT? Don’t get trapped by the magazine esthetic of rail thin. FIT & HEALTHY will outlive SKINNY, and will live longer, BETTER, as well.

Now, it’s true that consciencious agencies are making workouts and nutrition a priority for their models (males, typically are guided to workout for the muscular esthetic, versus the feminine ideal of waif), but smoking, drugs (prescription included), bad diet habits, excessive drinking, may be externally covered by “good genetics”, giving the ideal size on the outside, but what do the organs look like?

The ONE perk of being “overweight” is that if you’re FAT, you’re more aware that you may be unwell / unhealthy and at risk for certain diseases (*cardiovascular, e.g), so may change your wayward habits, sooner and more readily than if outwardly slender. HOWEVER, skinny people with the same bad habits can also be prime candidates for acute organ diseases AND NOT EVEN REALISE THEY’RE AT RISK!

Being “skinny fat” CAN KILL.

I’m not saying that it’s not Great to say you’re “smaller” than you were in University/before kids/When you were playing _____ (insert sport from glory days); but, for most, it’s a matter of changing their quality of living, at ANY SIZE, and it’s a nice visible reward that you can wear a “Smaller size” than you did last year, or last month/week.

All that being said, making changes (at any size) is a matter of CHOOSING TO CHANGE.  Trust me, when we (In the fitness industry) tell you it’s “simple” we don’t mean it’s “easy”.

Let me clarify >> Cravings and the laziness virus are always lurking, but you must CHOOSE to stick with the healthier options & get your workouts in. They are simple changes to be made, but it’s a continued effort.

“DIET” is a NOUN, not a VERB. It’s your nutritional INTAKE, not STARVATION. The true origins of the word, from the Greek diaita, “a way of life, mode of living.” Basically, from the mouths of the gods’ themselves, IT’S A LIFESTYLE !!

I eat clean (90/10), I work out daily (sometimes 2-3x, except on rest days) but I struggle daily, too! Why? BECAUSE IM HUMAN & CHOCOLATE IS DELICIOUS. So, why do i CHOOSE to make the healthy choices? To live a fitness lifestyle?
SIMPLE: I want a life without SUCKING!

Wait, what?! Better quality of living, less breath holding in selfies on Twitter – kidding! (but not really kidding) Why walk around “sucked in” on the beach when you can run, lift (squat) stretch, eat clean & live life without sucking? I’d rather be toned & tight! Think fit, mean and Lean. Not fat and in pain, or sick & “skinny” at the loss of health!

Small steps, daily, that STICK, are more effective than a  large, fast fix.  Imagine trying to run a marathon doing horizontal bounds versus running? Sounds CRAZY, right? You can already feel the exhaustion and the temptation to quit, after the first few jumps. whereas, if you ran the race at a pace you could manage, step by step, it may start a bit slower, but you’d be more likely to keep with it and be happy at the finish line.

– Let that marinate, overnight, and see how you wake up tomorrow and hey, what a coinki-dink… IT’S CHOOSEDAY!

xo – Mia

Workout Wednesday :: plyo fun (videos)

I realize I messed up, no Monday post!

Fear not, all will be righted, starting with a few videos of some challenging, but potentially beneficial plyo moves.

To help to build power, explosive strength, and agility, try THIS MOVE.  A two box (bench, in this case) Split lunge hop. It’s an advanced move, I’m still working on it, to make it look “easy” (read: cute)

Simplest progression >>>

  1. Start with a split lunge hop, on the floor. When you can “easily” do 3×30, add targets.
  2. Try 1 leg box jumps.
  3. Try the split hops on a step riser (elevated targets).
  4. Start single sided, and then try to alternate. – NB: Your take-off foot goes to the front box, you land on the back foot & that becomes the takeoff foot for the next rep.
  5. Whatever your max height is, take away about 2-5″ and try the unilateral split.
    Then try the alternating sides, at a height. (as I was doing in the video)

It takes some (ok, a LOT of) coordination and concentration, at first, but gets easier to find a rhythm as you go.

A fun upper body plyo move is an advanced push-up option using plates, shown HERE

Simplest progression >>>

  1. Start with flat pushups, you want the strength to hit 40-50 comfortably.
  2. To add the initial plyometric component, start with walking pushups forward/backwards, and plyo hop pushups.
  3. Once you’re comfortable doing pushups with movement, you can modify and move into Up & down (“step up”) pushups on 1, then more plates.
  4. As you’ve mastered those, advance to Pop (from plank) pushups on the plates.
  5. If you can comfortably do 15 reps popping onto the plates, doing a pushup & hopping down, you add in the additional pushup on the lower level (floor).

From there it’s just adding more plates for height as you get stronger.  Again this takes some coordination & confidence in the timing of the movements, but you pick it up as you go along.

I’m working on raising the height up to 4 plates. I’m up to 3 plates for 3×20, but we filmed at 2plate because of the superset we were working in.

Hope you enjoy the vids! Planning on posting more, soon.

xo – Mia

Freebie Friday

Just because I’m feeling springy… even though its nearly fall…

Heres a spankin’ exclusive music mix from the original DJ Brucki!

Listen HERE

Follow my DJ on Twitter @djbrucki

& check out his PodCast :: FewGenRadio for AMAZING Mixes (*seriously!!!)

Product Review :: MyoRope Quad-Rope

A while ago I was given the chance to test out the MyoRope Quad-Rope & all I have to say is…OUCH!

I mean it in THE BEST WAY!

You know… that “I soo need to get this knot out & the pain I’m feeling right now means that the pain that was there BEFORE will be gone when I’m done” kinda way!

Unlike the Foam Roller (which, as you ALL know, I LOVE/loathe/LOVE), the individually spaced nodes provided by the rubber balls on the myorope hit those smaller, hard-to-reach, spots that the roller just glances over.

Super easy to use, it relies on body weight over surface usage (like the foam roller, vs. TheStick which is pressure-based usage) with handles for easier manoeuverability and transfer between locations.

I DEFINITELY recommend it, if you’re prone to going DUMB HARD until you’re a bag of knots, like I am!

– Mia

Guest Post :: Motivation Monday

Hey Body Morphers,
I’m pleased as a PINCH & a PUNCH to have a Guest Blogger to kick off this new month!

This post is from Shikisha Cowan, a friend of mine from Jamaica. A former client and current Body Morpher! She is TRULY AMAZING!

Here is her Entry :: *Law & Order THUMP THUMP*

I Conquered Mountain Spring!
I remember the first time I heard about Mountain Spring, it seemed simple, nice and possibly even fun. Then I heard about it from people who were fit but new to it, and it sounded like a do-able challenge. Then one day, I tried it. I stopped at the second corner on the way up. Sat down on the side of the road, and waited for everyone else to complete this climb.

I simply did not have the mental perseverance to do it. It was difficult, I was heavy, hated sweat, and truthfully, could barely breathe. My heart was racing and I was winded. Who knew that the girl who climbed Blue Mountain could not walk uphill on a paved road? Seriously.

I was disappointed. In myself, in my body, in my inability. Every single time someone brought up walking up there, I got quiet or tried to switch the topic. When I was invited to join a group, I found an excuse. It just represented another failure in my life and I wasn’t brave enough to try again. I didn’t need to fail one more time at something I KNOW I should be able to do and with my weight growing, there was no way I was setting myself up for that again.

Then this year happened. I started doing 5K’s – walking then attempting to jog part way but finishing without collapsing. That was my goal – to get better with each moment. Then in June after some deep discussions with the Warrior-In-Chief (*EN: Me!), I joined a Boot Camp.

Honestly, I started out not being able to do most of the activities without stopping 4 or 5 times. Then 10 weeks into it, they challenged us to climb Mountain Spring at 5:30AM. “Aaaaggggghhhh! NO! I don’t want to!” was my first response, then I remembered I had a responsibility. As a team member, a leader, and in truth as someone that others have started asking “How?” I had to do it.

I got up and went with Chad, someone I invited to join Boot Camp, and we got there with the gentle morning breeze. I started. As I walked, I tried to focus, I listened to music and just tried to keep a steady pace. When I felt like stopping, I became Dori, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming” – and pushed. Eventually, I told Chad don’t worry about me, I knew he wanted to run. He didn’t want to leave me, but I assured him I was making it to the top this time.

Even when I wanted to stop, I walked; I pushed myself, spoke to myself and refused to let my mind give up. I got to the plateau about 50 meters from the very top and there was Chad waiting on me – I almost didn’t go beyond that point. I was feeling the stress on my legs. I was momentarily GOOD with being finished there. I got a 60 second breather and climbed to the very top.

IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!

There are few things that feel as great as doing something you thought you couldn’t. It is always great to try one more time, to be better than you were before. Set your goals and kick butt!  What are you not doing because you’re afraid?  What have you done that you thought you never could?  What’s your impossible dream that you’re working on?

Go Get It!

Social Saturdays…

Soo… in a fit of idleness & I suppose, idolatry (*to the “social gods”) …

I decided to rejoin Facebook (*NEW account) so that I could attach a business page (<< please LIKE it!) Please feel free to “friend” me via Facebook HERE.

or follow me for some daily Pin-spiration HERE

Bear with me… I’m re-n0ob status with Social Tech… so it may be a little gritty for the first few weeks until it becomes part of my daily habits again.

xo – Mia