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

Edit

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!!

Advertisements

Idolising Instamodels | Skinny girl in the gym.

Sometimes people around you don’t understand your journey. They don’t need to. It’s for you, not them.

It is probably a fairly safe assumption to say that at some time or other, just like myself, you have sat looking at pictures of  instamodels and assessed them from every angle: How are they in that position without any fat rolls? How did she get such a tiny waist? How is she so curvy with no cellulite? On and on we could go.

Despite what you may have been lead to believe there is no shame in this. The negative association with such ‘Fitspiration’ is a result of the way fitness is marketed to the public. Much of this negativity stems from campaigns such as ‘say no to size zero’. Which unfortunately, seems to be having the opposite than desired effect.

img_3947
Image from the ‘say no to size zero’ campaign. 

The majority of the health and fitness initiatives only highlight one angle of fitness; weight loss and that has resulted in a very narrow minded view.  The curvier women are idolized while those with a more more athletic figure are demonized. It has made it ok for people to skinny shame. Just because a woman is a smaller dress size doesn’t mean she is unhealthy or has an eating disorder.

Contrary to popular belief, it is OK to wish to change the way you look. In this respect, society has failed. A misplaced emphasis has resulted in girls now feeling more guilt than ever for not liking the way they look. As the old saying goes, we are never happy with what we have got, so instead of hurling a load of demoralizing, demotivating abuse and mocking goals by slamming them as unrealistic and unattainable how about we shift the emphasis and support each and every fitness goal, encourage girls that it is ok to want sculpt the way they look but placing a focus on doing it in an appropriate and healthy manner.

As I said though, society has failed in this respect and is extremely selective in the goals which receive its support.

If you want to know if society supports your goal, put it out there and you will soon find out what the public opinion is.

My entire life I have been very petite and because of this the people around me have failed to help me become happy and healthy with regards to my body image. I wasn’t allowed to have body complaints nor was I allowed to go to the gym because I am “already skinny enough” (despite no one ever asking why I am going to the gym). The funny thing is though, people were allowed to turn around and tell me that I was too skinny or that I looked ill or even to go and eat a burger or two because I look like I could do with it!

At one stage, I gained a bit of weight, nothing to drastic but I didn’t carry it too well. God forbid I ever used the word ‘fat’ in any way shape or form when referring to myself. People would laugh at me. people that I was close too, that I confided in would laugh at me. How can you be fat? Your only a size 8. Come to me when you can’t fasten a size 18 then you’ll be fat. How rude is that?

img_3943
Not quite the heffalump but the fattest version of myself to date. 
Society now dictates when somebody is classed as fat. Worse still this classification is based on what dress size you are. No consideration is paid to body fat percentages.

Taking those situations, how was I ever supposed to become happy and healthy with the way I looked. Society wouldn’t let me change myself but felt it ok to dictate to me what they thought needed to change?

The most ironic part though, the gym has actually been the most accepting place. The level of understanding for health and fitness is a cut above the simplistic, narrow approach of society’s.

I know I am not alone in this. Whenever somebody wants to do something with their body, society acts like it is their god given right to weigh in on the matter. But guess what; it’s not their right.

It’s your body; your choice. So forget society and it’s ignorant opinions.

Go create yourself in any way you see fit and take your inspirations from wherever you please.

To the people that never asked and to those who are curious, my personal goal is to change my body shape by increasing my muscle mass and reducing my body fat percentage.

It can be extremely hard work going to the gym and chasing goals that nobody else believes in. When motivation is low you need someone to turn to, somewhere that has your back and will encourage you to keep going in times where it can seem a little tougher. Fitness is a tough journey, without support and encouragement it is 10 times harder. Don’t go the road alone when you don’t have to. Contour Allure stands with you as you stick your v’s up to society and create the best possible version of you!

Taking training to the next level.

Will you just let go of summer” my sister has said this to me on a number of occasions and today she got her wish. With the day booked off of work, my wonderful, amazing boyfriend took me to my favourite coffee spot for a coffee date where we proceeded to order a pumpkin spiced latte. Our coffee order had put an official end to summer. In our minds there was still plenty of summer time left after all, our holiday wasn’t booked until it was over; another realisation. A mere two weeks left on the holiday countdown! Boy, has that come around fast!

The coffee order that ended summer 🍁🍂

 

Though beyond excited for the holiday, I find myself kind of wishing that it was a couple more weeks away. The Summer Preppin has not quite gone to plan. Just looking in the mirror it is clear to see that I have not achieved the goals intended. There is only myself to blame. I could sit here and make a million excuses but at the end of the day, it’s on me.

Throughout the past few months, the focus has remained on weight training with the addition of more HIIT, stairmaster cardio and even a few plyos sessions (Tarzan was to thank for plyo’s – I wanted the power to launch myself through the jungle like Tarzan).
The levels of effort and intensity when in the gym have still been at a good standard; the substantive part of that sentence being ‘when in the gym’. Recently, I have let life take over a little bit and that has resulted in an accidental reduction of workout sessions.
Fortunately, I recognised the error of my ways before it go too late. My routine changed recently so it was just a matter or re-organising my day to create time for the gym again.
Even with these changes, I felt like I needed more. I decided it was time to bring in the big guns.

img_3940
The Big Guns AKA Chris Gee 

As of 6am tomorrow morning Chris Gee of Urban Instinct Personal Training is gonna be my personal  trainer. Oh lord, what have I let myself in for?!

But he’s your boyfriend. Yes, he is my boyfriend and in all honesty, he is one of the best personal trainers I have ever come across. He is dedicated to his clients and does everything in his power to help them achieve results (he even gave a couple of free sessions out to one client when they hit financial hardship. They had been consistent & dedicated and loyalty goes a long way). Keeping up to date with all the latest research, technology and training methods, he keeps his programs current and effective.
This is Chris’ profession; he has been in the business for almost 10 years. He has worked in London, Cheshire and Canada. He has played many sports at a high level, won at many, many competitions and is currently a semi professional Ice Hockey player . The man eats, sleeps and breathes the industry. I have absolutely no doubt that with his help I will achieve my goals.

Train Together, Stay Together

I used to feel like getting a trainer was admitting that I didn’t know what I was doing. How stupid is that mentality. No matter who you are in this world, there is something you can learn from every single person you meet in this lifetime. Coming to understand this has improved my life in tenfold buts as the saying goes, you can’t make someone do your push ups for you; but you can maximise your results by using the knowledge of others.

Chris’ knowledge alone will not sky rocket me to my goals. That is all dependent on the effort put in from me. This is where the additional benefits of a trainer come to light.

Much like have a gym buddy, having a trainer instils a higher level of commitment. It becomes more of a challenge to skip a session through not wanting to let the person down, taken a step further with a trainer it skipping sessions essentially means throwing money away (usually cancelled sessions incur a charge).

If this is all you need then simply getting a gym buddy maybe all you need to help you achieve your goals. Be aware, choose your gym buddy wisely! Further details here. You have been warned.

The key reason that I have decided to get a trainer is perfectly demonstrated by the one and only Kevin Hart. Now don’t get me wrong, I have zero desire to start dancing around gyms (dancers with two left feet have better rhythm than me) but I have been known to take unnecessarily long rest periods or browse twitter for a rather extended period of time. I have also slacked on weights, skipped sets and completely gone off of my workout program at times simply because I wasn’t feeling it. Having seen Chris train others, I know there is no way he is going to be letting me get away with any of that m’larky under his supervision nor would I want to. Chris will push me in times where I am struggling to push myself. We are all guilty of this and if you say you’re not, then you’re lying!

Bring on tomorrow morning – first session will be focusing on back.

Wish me luck and I will let you know how it goes.

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 🙂 

 

 

Any Time, Any Place HIIT

Last week, I had a bit of a dip in my confidence which resulted in me having an anxiety attack whilst at the gym (luckily this was at the end of my workout) but it did cause a loss of motivation to actually go the following evening.

Though I am a strong advocate for listneing to your body and taking time out when needed, skipping the gym is not something we want to develop a habbit of doing particularly when it is due to lack of motivation. Whether its at a gym, at home, at the park or in the middle of Asda squat jumping to the top shelf, we need to get our butts working out, protect those gains, release those endorphins and make everything sunshine and rainbows again.

So for the occassions where we have to skip the gym for one reason or another, I have created some work out programmes that can be completed pretty much anywhere you fancy so we can still get in a good session no matter what.

The workouts will be HIIT based, purely because they are simple, quick, effective and do not neccessarily require any equipment (if you want to know a bit more about the benefits of HIIT, they can be found here). Purposely, the programs have been kept short to avoid procrastination. Knowing that you will be engaged for less than 20 minutes means that, that washing pile which has appeared from nowhere or suddenly remembering the dog needs to be bathed etc. dont seem so pressing and can wait until the session is completed.

Also, in follow up to the last publishing 5 Tips For Getting Fit On Your Lunch Hour these workouts are perfect for a lunch hour session!

Quick Tip: the more reps you get done within the work time slot the more effective the session.

Three is the magic number

3 is a popular number within the fitness world and this workout is no exception. 3 rounds consisting of 3 sets of 3 exercises.

3 x 3 x 3.

Each exercise will be completed for a period of 30 seconds, there will be no rest between sets but a 30 second rest at the end of each round.

 Exercise  Work Time  Rest Time
 Jumping Knee Drives  0:30 0:00
 Sideways Suicides 0:30  0:00
 Press ups  0:30 0:00

Total Time: 18 minutes.

 


 

Ab – Fab

Oh, Darling you guessed it – this routine will give you Absolutely Fabulous Abs.

Each round to be completed 3 times with a 30 second rest in between.

Exercise  Work Time  Rest Time
 Hip Raises (feet in the air)  0:20  0:10
 Russian Twists  0:20  0:10
 Superman Plank  0:20  0:10
 Heel Touches  0:20  0:10

 

Total Time: 7:30


 

Definitely a 10.

A strong 10/10 – 10 exercises, 10 minutes.

 Exercise  Work Time
 Rest Time
 Standing Tuck Jumps  0:40  0:20
 Air Squats  0:40  0:20
 Sideways Suicides  0:40  0:20
 Press Ups  0:40  0:20
 Plank Rotations  0:40  0:20
Sideways Bunny hops  0:40  0:20
 Alternating Jump Lunges  0:40  0:20
 Seal Jack  0:40  0:20
 Crouch Walks  0:40  0:20
Dish  0:40  0:20

Total Time: 10 minutes.

There you have it, 3 variations of HIIT workouts that can be done any place, any time, and with no equipment. Ergo NO EXCUSES FOR NOT WORKING OUT!