Fats: the Other Macronutrient that Gets a Bad Rap

Since I wrote about protein (twice, click here and then click here if you missed them) and carbohydrates, it’s only natural to finish off the macronutrients and talk about fats. This isn’t meant to be super extensive and tell you everything, but give you basic information and tell you HOW to use it.

Fats got a little bit of an unfair shake back in the 90s. All the so-called health foods were advertising that they were low-fat. Companies even started using fat replacements like olestra… then we found out if you have too much of that it causes “gastrointestinal distress”…. no thanks. Around that time period, if you look at obesity trends in America, they start to take off. Fats were bad and we needed more carbs, hence why they were the base of the outdated food pyramid.

Now we have gone 180 and you see diets that have moderate to high amounts of fat like Keto, and Mediterranean. I want to reiterate that I am “nutritionally agnostic”, what I mean by that is I’m not married to any diet or method. I’m more about what works for each person based on their preferences, lifestyle, and what they have access to.

Fats are made up of fatty acids, which can be broken down into saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids can be broken down further into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. We need all 3. We need a balance.

We need dietary fats for energy production (especially if you are into endurance things like running, biking, and swimming), making and balancing hormones in the body, cell membranes, the brain and the rest of the nervous system. We also need fats to transport fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. We need to consume fats to get omega 3 and 6 fatty acids because our bodies can’t make those on our own (those are important, that’s why you see omega 3 supplements).

So what food sources are good for each type of fatty acid?

For monounsaturated fatty acids, eat:

  • almonds
  • olives
  • cashews
  • avocado
  • peanuts
  • egg yoke

For polyunsaturated fatty acids, eat:

  • chia seeds
  • oily fish
  • pine nuts
  • walnuts
  • flax seed
  • hemp seed

Saturated fats are found mostly in meat, and most people get enough. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you may need to focus on eating more:

  • coconut oil
  • coconut milk
  • shredded coconut
  • whole milk
  • butter

So how do you figure out how much fat you need? A good starting point is 1 thumb-sized serving at each meal for women, 2 thumb-sized servings for men. Don’t go crazy on the fats, most are very calorie dense.

So to sum it up, we need all the macronutrients, using a variety of whole food sources in the right amounts to be healthy and promote good body composition. Don’t demonize one of them, they all provide essential nutrients our bodies need.

Carbs… Friend or Foe?

I’m not a betting man, but I would bet that most people cringe when they think about carbs and that they are to be avoided like the plague if you want to lose fat. The truth is we need carbs. Especially if you exercise, have a physically demanding job, or want to perform your best.

What most people need to focus on is eating more complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs (sometimes I call “smart carbs”) help prevent blood sugar swings, give us long lasting energy, and help us feel fuller for longer.

Smart carbs can be found in foods such as:

  • fruit (fresh or frozen)
  • starchy tubers like sweet potatoes and potatoes
  • squashes
  • whole, minimally processed grains (oats, quinoa, brown or wild rice)
  • beans and legumes (but aren’t those listed as protein from last week??? YES! Not many foods are 100% protein or carbs or fats, they can have all of the above, just wait until I talk about fatty fish next week)

Referring back to my first post about protein with the hand method for portion control infographic, women get 1 cupped handful of carb dense food at each meal and men get 2. That means that giant baked potato at your favorite restaurant you really like is way too many carbs. Think of about 1/2 a medium potato being 1 serving for most people (depending on how big you are and your goals).

Refined carbs are the ones that most people need to limit. They CAN however be our friend. When you need a quick burst of energy that digests quickly while you are exercising, these do the trick. Carbs are the primary energy source for intense exercise, we need them. However most of the time, eating refined carbs just lead to having more cravings, make us hungrier later (so we eat more again), and leave us feeling blah.

Examples of refined carbs would be:

  • pastries
  • cookies and bars (even those protein bars that look like candy bars)
  • candies and chocolate
  • sugary drinks like soda and juice
  • sweetened dried fruits

So next time you think about having a couple donuts before your workout, think again. They might just bonk your energy and any will you had to get in your workout!

So to keep this simple and bring it home, carbs are not the devil. You just need to be eating the right ones in the right amounts. Take a look at the twinkie diet, that professor (from my alma mater) lost weight while getting the majority of his calories from snack cakes. The number one rule of trying to lose weight (fat) is that you need to burn more calories than you consume, you need a deficit. Carbs like bread and pasta get a bad wrap because they are higher in calorie and people generally eat too much of them. If you’re active, carbs are essential. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s an area that is easy to cut back but you do not have to eliminate.

More about Protein

After last week’s blog, I had some more questions about protein. So I figured this week I would build off of that.

Dietary protein provides our bodies with the building blocks we need to grow and repair healthy tissues. Your body is constantly turning over protein by breaking it down and rebuilding tissues. This includes muscle. When you workout, you cause micro trauma to your muscles, this is what leads to soreness and more protein turnover. You need protein to repair/build muscle tissue so that you can recover and do it all over again.

There is some merit to the timing of intake of protein after working out, but that is a more advanced nutrition strategy. For most people, they will do really well if they focus on protein consumption for the day as a whole.

The old recommendations for how much protein to have in your diet is based on the MINIMUM amount you need to not be sick. That recommendation was 0.8g/kg of body mass. That is only 54.4 grams of protein per day for someone that weighs 150 lbs. Research now suggests that if you are training hard, lowering calories to lose fat, have a physically active job, are injured, sick, recovering from a surgery, or in a state of high stress, your protein intake should be much higher. The OPTIMAL intake of protein is more in the range of 1.2 – 1.7g/kg of body weight. That would be 81.6 – 115.6 grams per day for someone that weight 150 lbs. That’s a big difference between the minimum intake and the optimal range of intake.

In the past, there were concerns over taking in too much protein and kidney damage. There simply isn’t any evidence that a higher protein diet will damage healthy kidneys. If you have a preexisting kidney disease, then that is a different story and obviously you should work with your medical doctor and a dietitian that can help treat that. The upper limits to how much protein a healthy person can eat is somewhere between 3.5 – 4.5 g/kg body weight. That would be 238 – 306 grams of protein for someone who weighs 150 lbs. The average sized chicken breast has 54 grams of protein, that would be almost 6 chicken breasts in one day. Good luck chewing all of that! Protein is also something your body isn’t good at storing like fat and carbohydrates, so eating too much doesn’t do you any good.

I figured I should leave you with good sources to eat to get the protein you need daily:

  • lean beef
  • pork
  • lamb
  • wild game
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • duck
  • eggs (2-3 eggs is 1 palm-sized serving)
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • lentils
  • beans
  • cottage cheese
  • plain Greek yogurt
  • protein powders (1 scoop is 1 palm-sized serving)

So referring back to last week’s post, at each meal women need 1 palm-sized portion of protein dense food, men need 2. Following this will help you reach your optimal protein intake for the day instead of doing math and weighing out your food all the time.

Something to keep in mind, anything you eat has some protein in it. If it was alive at some point, it has protein in it. A fist-sized portion of broccoli has 3 grams of protein. So the other things on your plate do help contribute to your overall protein intake. I’d just recommend not trying to get all of your protein for the day from broccoli unless you like to chew from sunup to sundown.

And just so you know I’m not making any of this up, I pulled this info from a text book, “The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, 3rd edition” from the Precision Nutrition certification manual.

Protein for Fat Loss

I recently had a reminder of why increasing protein intake helps tremendously in losing fat. With the stay-at-home orders, my wife and I have been trying to limit how much we go to the store, so I have been trying to make our meals go a little further. For example, I normally would eat a whole large chicken breast by myself for lunch or dinner, and make 1/2 of one for Kelly. I started just giving myself the other 1/2 of hers and having that. Now did my muscles suddenly implode and I start to look like 12 year old Richard? No, but I did find myself snacking more, which probably meant I was eating more calories than I needed.

You see, protein takes more time to breakdown, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Since I wasn’t as satisfied from my meals, I definitely was hitting up the pantry more after lunch and dinner and eating things like chips and pretzels (carb-dense foods that digest quickly, don’t leave you full for long, and are by no means a low calorie food).

Realizing this, I started eating a whole chicken breast again. I noticed that I was satisfied after I finished it, even though it seemed like a lot of food and I had to chew a whole lot more (in addition to the crap load of steam broccoli and 1/2 sweet potato on my plate). My energy level felt really good too after each meal. It wasn’t too much so I didn’t feel sluggish, and it kept me from raiding the pantry for carbohydrate-dense foods that sap my energy after I eat them. This allows me to do my job well and get in great workouts for myself.

Here’s another fun fact about protein: when you are lowering your caloric intake (like when trying to lose weight), increasing the amount of your calories from protein can make sure that your weight loss is from fat and not muscle. This has been clinically studied with whey protein supplements. Look it up on Google, there are many studies in animals and humans that prove this.

So I guess my point is, if you find yourself getting snacky and want to keep the calories down for fat loss, start with eating more protein.

How do you start? For women, 1 palm-sized portion of protein dense food at each meal. For men, 2 palm-sized portions of protein dense food at each meal. Keep in mind, this is just a starting point and you can adjust of your goals and needs. Some people feel full with more protein, some need less. Some need more smart carbs to feel full. Everyone is a little different and it takes some experimenting to see what makes you look and feel your best.

Do You Need to Slow Down?

Most people have a lot on their plate at any given time, and it has us running from one thing to the next constantly. Sometimes, like in this video, being absorbed in what you have to do or where you need to be will make you miss important signs, and it can be a disaster!

This makes me think of one of the habits I help coach my nutrition coaching clients with: eating slowly. If you eat too fast, your body’s hunger and appetite hormones don’t have time to signal to the brain that you are getting full. You have a lesser chance of stopping before you are full or over-full. The result, many of us overeat. If you take time to eat slowly, you will notice that your body gives you signs that you are approaching fullness (the 11 foot 8 bridge), so you end up eating less and being satisfied. Just google it, there are many studies that show people who report eating too fast are way more likely to be overweight than those that eat slowly or even at a moderate pace. It sounds so simple.

As an example with myself, I was really proud of myself the last time I sat down with Ben and Jerry. When I consciously ate the ice cream slower, I didn’t end up wanting to finish all of it! When I eat ice cream fast, I end up eating way more than I should and regret how my body feels afterwards.

So instead of worrying if you should do the Paleo diet or try Keto, most people just need to slow down and chew their food!

Eating slowly is just one of many habits that my nutrition coaching program covers. If you want help getting more in tune with your body, learning and practicing solid habits, this program is for you. You can say goodbye to strict diet rules and depriving yourself. You can even occasionally have ice cream and still reach your goals!

Coming Back from Injury

Everyone at some point will experience some type of injury. It happens. If you don’t, you are probably living like bubble boy. download

So I wanted to share something that happened 5 weeks ago. I had a little spill while mountain biking, I mean I wasn’t even doing something that cool. I dismounted from my bike after I realized I wasn’t going to make it up a rock ledge. I landed awkwardly and injured my knee. I had all sorts of thoughts racing through my head, like: my wife is going to kill me, how am I going to work, and am I going to make it back to the car without a being carried out by EMS? With a lot of help from my friends, I made it to my car and drove myself to urgent care.

Fast-forward after a couple appointments and a MRI, I just had a non-displaced fracture in my tibia at the knee and my ligaments and meniscus were fine! The happiest I’ve ever been to break a bone.  I could walk short distances, but not do any squats or lunges or ballistic movements. So my favorite activities like biking, golf, and hiking were out for the time being.

While I was down, but not completely out, I had to focus on what I could still do instead of what I could not. I still had an upper body, left leg, and core to strength train.

For my lower body, I just did things like single leg squats (in the video above), and single leg stiff-leg deadlifts with my left leg only. Studies show that there is some cross benefit to the affected limb when training only the non-affected side. I stayed consistent with this for the last 5 weeks. I felt better (duh!) when I worked out, and it helped keep my mind right as I patiently waited to get cleared by the doctor.

With my nutrition, I had to be a little more careful. I was no longer mountain biking 2-3 days per week, so I had to cut back on how much I was eating. When you are used to burning 500-1000 kcal per ride, you get a little more wiggle room in your diet. I’ll be honest, on occasion I eat pizza and ice cream, and drink beer (maybe not all at the same time, but I am a real person). When I wanted ice cream, I went for lower calorie options like Greek yogurt with blueberries and some dark chocolate sea salt granola I found at the store.

It was hard to not get bored or impatient with my down time healing. I had to keep a positive attitude and remind myself that this will pass and I’ll be good to go soon enough. I know myself and if I don’t eat right or exercise, I am not always pleasant to be around, so I had to keep going instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Sleep was another big thing I focused more on. I didn’t nail it all the time (I like to stay up and watch the birds on the bat if the game is close), but I know better and that my body needs enough sleep to work better and to heal. I have a bedtime alarm and tried to not blow it off so that I got about 7 hours of sleep instead of 6.

Once I was cleared to return back to full activity, it was hard not to dive in head first and start where I left off. I had 5 weeks of not doing anything with my right leg besides some hip work with bands and walking (around the house and while working). It doesn’t take long for muscle to atrophy. My right thigh at the mid-thigh measurement is 1/2″ smaller than my left now (and my goal is not weight loss).

I started mountain biking again, and my aerobic endurance took a hit. I was gassed faster than normal keeping up with the fast guys in my riding group.

My first weight training session since I was cleared was tough. Before I got hurt, I was doing rear foot elevated split squats with 70 lb dumbbells for sets of 8 reps. Now I am doing regular split squats with 30 lbs in each hand  for sets of 10 and my right quad burned like crazy!

Just a side note about detraining (quitting exercise), the effects are dependent on your age, fitness level, how long you have been exercising, and the type of exercise you do. If you are a higher level exerciser and have been at it for a long time, you will bounce back more quickly than a novice exerciser. Novice exercisers may lose all of their gains with a couple months off. Aerobic fitness tends to take a bigger hit than strength too.

So for now, I have to just keep going, and gradually get back to where I was. It won’t happen overnight, I have to keep consistent with the process and not lose sight of where I want to be. I’m very grateful that I didn’t end up in a worse situation! I know I’ll be back to 100% strength in no time and crushing personal bests on mountain bike trails soon enough.

So to sum up that ramble, if you face some downtime due to injury or illness, focus on these things:

  • Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t.
  • Keep a positive attitude, it could always be worse.
  • Adjust what you need to (i.e. food intake).
  • Stick to what is in your control (sleep, which is part of recovery).
  • Keep your expectations realistic, you will need to slowly build back up when you’re ready.

Here’s a little humor for you, my friends had a moment of silence for my knee a few weeks later where it happened. I have great friends!IMG_52311

 

 

Sabotaging Yourself

Do you ever get in a great workout, sweat your butt off, and then you tell yourself that you burned a bunch of calories so you deserve that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream??? Maybe before that, you had a burger and fries too? I guarantee you just ate more calories than you burned. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we set out with great intentions, we exercise and eat right, but make poor decisions that get in our way towards progress.

The other day, I went for mountain bike ride on a trail I had never ridden before in St. James, MO. It was a very rugged, 17 miles in the Missouri summer heat and humidity. I sweated so much that I could wring out my shorts at the end of the ride! You would think I burned a gazillion calories and that I could eat whatever I wanted.

The truth is, looking at the data from my ride, I only burned 741 calories (this is from my

Screenshot_20190716-135948_Strava

heart rate monitor, synced with my GPS), that was with 2.5 hours of riding.  So 2.5 hours of intense mountain biking only burned 75% of that pint of Ben and Jerry’s…

So my point is, don’t get into this mindset that if you workout, you deserve to eat whatever you want. You can usually find a way in your head to justify eating anything you want. You simply cannot out-train a bad diet. It always breaks down to calories in vs. calories out.

If you are looking to improve your body composition, you must practice habits and skills that lead to solid nutritional habits. That’s not to say you can never have ice cream again, all or nothing never works, but that’s a whole different subject.

Getting Back on Track

This past weekend, I traveled down to Bentonville, AR for a guys weekend of mountain biking.

I cut lose from my normal diet (gasp), and I’m ok with it! When we weren’t riding bikes, I ate pizza and a side salad at the Pedaler’s Pub, ice cream at the Walmart Museum (yes, there’s a museum dedicated to the history of Walmart, with an old school soda fountain at the end of it), fried catfish tacos at Flying Fish, BBQ at Sassy’s, and few beers and a free whiskey in there (the bartender poured too many for another group).

That might be a little far off from my normal diet, but not one time did I feel overly full where I regretted it. In fact, I encourage you to do the same (although if your vacation isn’t as active as mine, you might want to tone it down a notch or two).  Did I eat crappy breakfasts before riding, no. My snacks were all Cliff Bars on the trail too. So I wasn’t completely off the deep end. You can still practice solid habits of eating slowly, and stopping at 80% full. Even when you go on vacation, you can still enjoy yourself and have a healthy lifestyle.

So how did Monday go? It went great! I had healthy options planned out and ready to eat. I got back on track and even got in a lifting session.

My final thought: have fun on vacation, but don’t let the fun derail all of your progress. Get the train back moving as soon as you can!

Lift Weights and Lose Fat!?!

I often get resistance, pun intended, when I talk about resistance training (also known as weight training) for losing fat. There are a lot of people that believe you should only do cardio to lose fat. That simply is not true. I am going to summarize a few studies that have been published over the years to prove my point.

Here’s a little background first. As people age, generally they lose muscle mass, lose strength, increase fat mass, and their overall metabolism slows down. This is mostly due to being less active than when they were younger. Resistance training can slow this process down or keep you feeling younger, much longer.

#1

Ryan, A. S., Pratley, R. E., Elahi, D., & Goldberg, A. P. (1995). Resistive training increases fat-free mass and maintains RMR despite weight loss in postmenopausal women. Journal of Applied Physiology,79(3), 818-823. doi:10.1152/jappl.1995.79.3.818

In this study, the subject group was healthy, untrained, postmenopausal women. They were divided into resistance training (RT) alone and resistance training with weight loss (RTWL) groups. After 16 weeks of resistance training, both groups increased fat free mass (muscle), increased strength, and an increase in resting metabolic rate (RMR). The RTWL group that had also saw a decrease in fat mass and body fat percentage. The conclusion was that resistance training is a valuable component to weight management in postmenopausal women.

#2

Treuth, M. S., Ryan, A. S., Pratley, R. E., Rubin, M. A., Miller, J. P., Nicklas, B. J., . . . Hurley, B. F. (1994). Effects of strength training on total and regional body composition in older men. Journal of Applied Physiology,77(2), 614-620. doi:10.1152/jappl.1994.77.2.614

This study looked at 16 weeks of resistance training with healthy, untrained older men (60+). The men were divided into 2 groups: a control group that did nothing, and a group that did resistance training. The RT group saw decreases in fat mass, increases in muscle mass, and increases in strength.

#3

Demling, R. H., & Desanti, L. (2000). Effect of a Hypocaloric Diet, Increased Protein Intake and Resistance Training on Lean Mass Gains and Fat Mass Loss in Overweight Police Officers. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism,44(1), 21-29. doi:10.1159/000012817

Another study looking at police officers, divided them into 3 groups:

  • 12 weeks RT, hypocaloric diet (80% of needs)
  • 12 weeks RT, hypocaloric diet + high protein using casein protein supplement
  • 12 weeks RT, hypocaloric diet + high protein using why protein supplement

All 3 groups lost fat mass. The 2 groups with high protein diets were the only ones to see increases in strength and lean mass (muscle mass gain). This would suggest that strength training while restricting calorie intake will preserve the muscle mass you have, but you will not see any gains in strength or lean mass. If you increase your protein intake while restricting calories, you can still gain muscle, lose fat, and increase strength.

 

My 2 cents:

In order to be successful at changing your body, you need to change your diet and do resistance training. You must increase your protein intake either through the foods you eat or supplementing.

Notice how none of these studies mentioned cardio? Yeah, you don’t have to go for a run to look and feel better. In fact, doing cardio for hours may negate any progress in attempts to gain muscle and strength. Look at long distance runners, they have some muscle, but they are very thin and lightweight. Their training primarily focuses on type 1 (slow twitch) muscles. These muscles don’t get very big, they don’t produce as much force but are more resistant to fatigue. Long duration, moderate intensity cardio can burn more calories per workout, but does not burn more calories after the workout is over.

Resistance training trains your type 2 (fast twitch) muscles. These muscles produce more force and are capable of getting bigger in size compared to type 1.  This will increase your resting metabolic rate, giving you more wiggle room in your diet and sets you up for better long term success. Resistance training also causes small trauma to your muscles, and your body has to spend calories while you rest to repair and grow bigger muscles. You can do cardio that trains your type 2 muscle fibers, that would fall under interval training. Interval training raises your metabolism for hours after you are done, depending on how intense it was. Click here for more info on that.

Some sports would fall under interval training: soccer, football, mountain biking (climb up the hill, bomb down the hill), basketball, lacrosse, hockey. You can also do it by alternating intense work, followed by periods of moderate to light work on an exercise bike, treadmill, or rower for example.

Snyder, Ka, Je Donnelly, Dj Jabobsen, G. Hertner, and Jm Jakicic. “The Effects of Long-term, Moderate Intensity, Intermittent Exercise on Aerobic Capacity, Body Composition, Blood Lipids, Insulin and Glucose in Overweight Females.” International Journal of Obesity 21.12 (1997): 1180-189. Print.

In this study, moderately obese women were instructed to do 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio for 5 days per week, for 32 weeks. The group data at the end of 32 WEEKS showed no statistically significant changes for aerobic capacity, body composition, weight, insulin, glucose, or lipid profile. Wouldn’t you be frustrated if you committed to do something for 32 weeks and it didn’t work for losing body fat? I would be pretty bummed. In the above mentioned resistance training studies, statistically significant improvements were seen in body fat, lean mass, and strength in half the time.

Irving, Brian A., Christopher K. Davis, David W. Brock, Judy Y. Weltman, Damon Swift, Eugene J. Barrett, Glenn A. Gaesser, and Arthur Weltman. “Effect of Exercise Training Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat and Body Composition.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 40.11 (2008): 1863-872. Print.

In this study, middle-aged, obese women with metabolic syndrome were divided into 3 groups: a control group that maintained their current physical activity levels, a low intensity exercise group, and a high intensity exercise group. There was no diet intervention. After 16 weeks, only the high intensity group had statistically significant changes in abdominal subcutaneous (under the skin) fat and visceral (around the internal organs) fat.

So basically, if you want to transform your body, do resistance training, interval training, and change your diet.

 

 

How to Train Around Low Back Pain

I see a client as our session is about to start, they tell me they drove 500 miles in the last 2 days while working their sales job and that their low back is stiff. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard that. If you have low back pain, you’re definitely not alone. It’s estimated that 80% of the population will experience low back pain at some point. There are loads of statistics about LBP, you can read them here at the ACA’s (American Chiropractic Association) website.

Now what do you do if you are experiencing LBP? That answer depends and should be determined by a doctor or chiropractor, but for the occasional minor LBP, you can usually train around the pain as long as there isn’t something major going on. In my 10 years of experience training people, I’ve found 3 exercises that people usually can do without any discomfort at all while experiencing minor low back pain.

***Of course I am not suggesting this as treatment for any injury, and if you have a hunch that you have something not so minor going on, use common sense and get it checked out!***

  1.  Bird Dog

The setup starts with your knees and hands. Your hands should be shoulder width apart, directly under your shoulders. Your knees should be hip width apart, and directly under your hips. Reach with your arm and opposite leg, as if reaching for opposite walls of the room. Don’t try to go high with your arm or leg, the goal is to minimize any shift from a neutral spine. Another mistake I see is people will just hang on their shoulder that is connected to the ground, make sure to push up through that shoulder. Try holding each rep for 5 seconds. Do 5 reps on one side, then repeat on the other side.

 

2. Modified Side Plank

The setup for this one starts with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Your bottom knee should be bent to 90 degrees, then you will execute the exercise by pressing into the ground, holding firm at the shoulder. Don’t just hang on your shoulder. The rest of your body should be a straight line from your ears, shoulders, hips, and knees. Try holding for 15 seconds. If you can do 30 seconds or more, try a side plank from the feet instead of with a knee down. You should feel every muscle along your side from your shoulder to your hip. If you want to take it a step further, take a big inhale, then try exhaling for 10 seconds.

 

3. Glute Bridge

The general setup is to lay on your back with your knees bent. Then brace your core / draw-in your belly button without changing the shape of your low back, and press your hips up as high as you can without hyperextending from the low back. You want full range of motion from just hip extension. There is some variation to this one for some people to feel it right. You may try moving your feel closer to your hips, further from your hips, wide stance, or narrow stance, some people feel it better if they pull their toes up and only push with their heels. Everyone’s hips are not the same, so you might have to experiment. The key is GLUTE bridge. If you don’t feel it in your glutes, you’re doing it wrong. Try holding each rep for 5 seconds at the top, try 5-10 reps.

 

Try these out, let me know what you think!