Fitsporations | who are they? 

Getting into the gym, you have to have a goal. I didn’t necessarily want to loose weight and I hated cardio. At the time, it was my view that they were the only reasons people went to the gym. When Chris suggested that I start weight lifting I think I pretty much laughed in his face! First of all, I was a total weakling and that sounded like a sure fire way of setting myself up for a huge embarrassment! Second of all, weights were for boys. I didnt want to lift weights like men nor get muscles them. To which Chris laughed in my face for saying and rightly so because this is what just had in mind:

Now dont get me wrong, I am not saying anything negative about the woman above, it’s just not for me. In fact, credit where credit is due – hats off to her for the hard work she has put in to achieve that. 

Precisely why Chris was laughing in my face for thinking I would look like that – the hard work that goes into achieving  such muscle gain is next level. 

Anyway, to give me a more realistic insight, Chris introduced me to Nikki Blacketter: 

Nikki Blackketter. @Blondevsworld

I began watching her youtube videos and began to not only understand but develop a hunger. I couldn’t wait to get going, my goals were finally starting to make sense and I now had some direction.

From following Nikki I then found some of my other inspirations:

Lydia E Millen @LydiaEmillen

Lydia was also my inspiration to start blogging. She has a fantastic blog which covers fitness, Lifestyle & fashion. 

Cath Bastien @cathbfitness

Cath also has a youtube channel which is heavily focused on her gym sessions. They give a different insight to some of the other ladies as her goal isn’t always you lift the heaviest weight she can. 

Amanda Bucci @AmandaBucciFit
Heidi Somers @BuffBunny

Above is Amanda Bucci & Heidi Somers. Both of their channels have a heavy gym focus but they are also very informative – like a personal trainer lite. 

Amanda also wrote a book, which I love. It’s called “The everything guide to macro tracking”.

Jessica Aravalo @JessicaAravalo

And this is Jessica Aravalo, the only woman to have walked the Olympia stage 4 times! She is killin’ it. 

What I love about these girls is that they are all helping to break the stereo type of the gym being a place reserved just for men – especially the weights section. They all have goals and work every day to achieving them. Most importantly of all though, they all support one another. Whether directly or indirectly. You will never see one of these girls tearing someone down. Quite the opposite actually, they help to build people up. 

They certainly helped get me into a gym and find my passion and I’ve never met any of them! 

I respect and admire these women. Everything these women stand for is exactly what Contour Allure is about. 

They inspired me and I created Contour Allure to inspire and empower you

In the words of another powerful female: Who run this mother*?! GIRLS! 

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Squats – Who Needs Them | Alternative Glute Exercises 

​Believe it not, squats are not, I repeat – are not, the be all and end all when it comes to glute day. 

 
In fact, at the minute I have fallen right out of love with squats (but that’s another story for another time) meaning not much time has been spent focusing on them of late. 

Initially, I was concerned for my glute gains but thankfully, any loss appears to be minimal and I’m going to attribute that to having placed a lot of focus on to isolating the glutes and incorporating weight and resistance in other ways. 

Now, before we go on, I don’t want you to think these exercises are a complete replacement because let’s face it, they are kind of like the Regina George of exercises. All I’m saying is nobody liked Regina but she was still Queen Bee.

Squats are the Regina George of leg day” 

Anyway, this isn’t about squat bashing, they are a good strong exercise at the end of the day but my point is not every glute day has to include them, there are other options too.

The days where the squat rack angers me just by being there, these are my fall back exercises:

1) Deadlifts

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2) Glute Bridges


3) Glute Side Kicks 


4) Cable Kick Backs 


5) Standing Heel Drives 

Go give them and try and get ready for that burn!!

The Perfect Workout Program: 3 P’s in a pod.

Whether you write your own, find them online or have them designed specifically for you it is difficult to know whether you are following a good, bad or even a worthwhile program. How many times have you and a friend followed a program and got completely different results? Worse still, how many times have you followed a program and achieved minimal results? It is soul destroying to commit to a goal and get no closer to achieiving it despite your best efforts. Obviously, there are alot of outside factors in play that may affect results such as the exercise itself, diet, medication, illness, injury or even our ancestral origins, (sorry,  I  had to throw that one in because I am a big geek and I love the science behind our beings), whatever the reason, it is clear that, that workout was not suitable for you.

So, now we know why previous programs may not have been as effective as we had hoped, we now need to ensure that going forward the same issues are not repeated. When assessing the effectiveness of a program, remember ‘three peas in a pod’. The workout program is the pod and it must contain my three P’s:

1. Personalisation;

Firstly, the personal element. Even if this program is one you found online (if you are struggling to find one, bodybuilding.com has plenty), it still needs to be personalised to you.

To personalise a workout, firstly make sure that it is conducive to your goal i.e. do not follow a weight loss program if your goal is to gain muscle. If the program does support your goals, you then need to look at the exercises it requires you to do and consider any limitations you may have i.e., injury or lack of the required equipment etc. if it does so happen that, for one reason or another, you are unable to safely execute a specifc movement try and find a suitable alternative exercise. Once you are comfortable with the exercise requirements, have a play around with different weights, timings, distances, whatever it is you are using to measure your goal, assess your current ability and instead of just following the weight/distance/time requirments that come as standard in the program, adapt them to your current levels and abilities.

2.  Portions;

You may also have heard this principle referred to as ‘split’. Basically, this is the strategic calculation of performance. Planning the portions of your workout program ensures that muscles trained are evenly split with appropriate recovery time. This planning stage also acts as a preventative for poor workouts. Imagine not planning your workouts ahead of time, you have progressed through the week, you’ve only one muscle group left to train say, back, but you realise you did arms the day before and now your too sore to effectivley train your back muscles. It’s happened to us all and it is a night mare!

There are many different kinds of split. It can be determined by muscle group or training method, it can be done daily, weekly, bi- weekly etc.

For a beginner weight lifter, a 2 day split would be perfect. This just means that you do all of your body over 2 days, usually and upper body session on day 1 and a lower body session on day 2. Obviously, as you progress, this will progress too, when Arnold Schwarznegger was at the pre-competition  stage of his program his split used to be 2 workouts daily, 6 days per week.

My split is currently:

Portion/split is a key element  due to the fact that it outlines the workout’s in advance, you can see how and where you are going to progress, it saves time as workout’s are pre-planned and it adds an element of accountability because not going to a pre-planned gym session is a concious decision, it is not just a case of “oh, i never planned to go tonight” or “oh i didnt know what to work on today” there is a definite encouragement for commitment which is one of the purposes of following a program.

3. Progression;

Last but by no means least, progression. Our bodies adapt very quickly, there is such a concept of muscle memory and if we do the same thing over and over, our bodies are able to predict and prepare for this. Any program you look at, regardless of goals, needs to progress somehow otherwise, history will repeat itself and it will end up being another ineffective workout and more time wasted. By progressing the workouts we are shocking our bodies into action and forcing them to change to adapt to the new levels.

Progression can come in the form of weight categories, repetitions, distance, speed, timings etc.

Rate of progression is very dependant upon the individual. Personally, I progress by increasing the weight usally every couple of weeks. However, I am constantly assessing this rate and if I am able to easily complete the last 3 reps of my set then I know it is time to take it to the next level.

 

If the three P’s are contained in the pod, it is a safe bet that it will carry you towards your goals and on completion, you will have that sense of achievement you are looking for! Happy working out folks 🙂