Archive for the ‘Share It Fitness Women’ Category

Follow the Golden Ratio to a Perfect Body…General Diet Plan for Active People

So it seemed like a LOT of you guys were totally digging the Do This…Look Like That..Total Body Blitz Workout.  I was happy to see such a great response, and glad so many of you are ready to start a total body change.  A bit cliché, but true; the first step is always the hardest. 

One thing that kept coming up however, was requests for a diet plan.  Creating general dietary plans is always a bit tricky.  Generally, exercise programming (like the workout linked above) is far easier to do effectively for the masses.  Because each of us are so physiologically different, creating a cookie-cutter diet plan that works for everyone is a real challenge.  Not to mention, there are so many different tastes and dietary requirements we all have.  That said, I contacted one our dietitians on staff to get a little extra help with this article.  Together, she and I have created what we believe to be a very good guideline to follow while completing a strenuous workout like the one linked above. 

A few key points to keep in mind; if you find you are gaining weight too fast, i.e. more than a pound a week, feel free to cut back on serving sizes and/or cut out meals as you see fit.  Unlike other diet plans, we’re not going to tell you exactly when you have to eat.  While some may like a highly structured plan, numerous studies show that forcing people to eat at certain times every day leads to burn out and lack of adherence.  We didn’t list EVERY food you could possibly eat.  We gave you several options, but if you enjoy something *healthy* that we didn’t list, feel free to substitute it.  i.e. beet salad for spinach salad, etc. 

With all that out of the way, lets move on to the good stuff.  Keep in mind, this diet was created for a 140lb woman of average build, working out 5 days a week (hopefully using the workout we posted last week).

So like I said, this is a general guideline for a diet plan.  Each week goes like this:

  • Monday: Pick one item from Breakfast Group 1, snack group 1 item, lunch group 1 item, snack group 2 item, dinner group  item, dinner side.
  • Tuesday: Breakfast group 2 item, snack group 1 item, lunch group 2 item, snack group 2, dinner group, dinner side, pre-bed snack.
  • Wednesday:  Breakfast Group 1, snack group 1 item, lunch group 1 item, snack group 2 item, dinner group  item, dinner side.
  • Thursday: Breakfast group 2 item, snack group 1 item, lunch group 2 item, snack group 2, dinner group, dinner side, pre-bed snack.
  • Friday:  Breakfast Group 1, snack group 1 item, lunch group 1 item, snack group 2 item, dinner group  item, dinner side.
  • Saturday: Breakfast group 2 item, snack group 1 item, lunch group 2 item, snack group 2, dinner group, dinner side, pre-bed snack.
  • Sunday: You decide!

Food Groupings

  • Breakfast Group 1: Protein shake, 3-egg scramble with 2 oz. diced chicken breast and veggies, 1 cup cottage cheese/handful of berries/slice of whole wheat toast, breakfast burrito.
  • Breakfast Group 2: Bowl of oatmeal with chopped walnuts, 3-4 Power Cookies and glass of milk, 1 whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter, 1 bowl of whole grain cereal (Kashi golean Crunch for example).
  • Snack Group 1: mini pizza on whole wheat English muffin, chunky peach pop, low-fat ranch and crunch veggies, polenta biscotti, turkey rollups.
  • Lunch Group 1:  6 oz. chicken breast, 1 can of tuna, 1 6oz salmon filet, 1 turkey burger patty, 6 oz. grilled skirt steak, 1.5 cups cottage cheese
  • Lunch Group 2: Spinach salad with balsamic, baked sweet potato, asian green bean salad, 1/2 cup brown rice, tomato and mozzarella salad, 1 cup quinoa
  • Snack Group 2: Hummus and carrots, small handful almonds and apple, string cheese wrapped in prosciutto, feta walnut dip with whole wheat crackers, handful of edamame, ants on a log, small whole wheat bagel.  Substitute protein shake for snack group 2 if you are working out.  Take shake within 30 minutes of ending workout.
  • Dinner Group: seafood ravioli with red pepper cream sauce, cumin spiced chicken with chunky tomato sauce, 1 cup whole wheat pasta with Sicilian-style marinara and roasted veggies, pork chops and fava beans, beef and guinness stew.
  • Dinner Sides: Mock potatoes, steamed broccoli, balsamic grilled asparagus, 1 cup brown rice, 1 cup cous cous, hoisin glazed eggplant.

Before Bed Snack: Dairy protein of some sort, i.e. greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, etc.  Reason for this is dairy proteins are slow-digesting, meaning they’ll give you a steady source of protein throughout the night while you sleep.  This will keep your muscles from starving and help you maintain muscle mass 24 hours a day.

Again, this is a very general plan.  The recipes selected (and linked to) are either some of my personal favorites and/or exceptionally healthy and balanced.  Obviously, the choices and recipes you actually decide to use are limitless.  These are just things that I’ve seen real-life clients use effectively. 

The key components of this diet rest on a few key principles:

  • 35% of your calories should come from protein.  1 gram of protein is equal to 4 calories.  35% should come from carbs.  1 gram of carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories.  30% should come from fat.  1 gram of fat is equal to 7 calories.  There are variations on this ratio, but it experience 35/35/30 provides exactly what is needed.  If you deviate a bit, err on the side of more protein. 
  • Meals are evenly spaced out to ensure metabolism stays high.  Again, this type of eating works for most people.  Every body is different, so if you find eating 5-6 meals a day is too much, and sticking to 3-4 is easier AND effective..go with that.  This diet is hardly set in stone.
  • The most important meals are the post-workout whey protein shake and the dairy before bed.  Do your absolute best not to skip these.
  • The most effective diets are the ones that aren’t telling you exactly which foods to eat, which foods you absolutely cannot eat, and when to eat.  These type of diets are often scams/fads with ulterior motives.  This diet plan is a balanced and healthy diet that is easy to stick to.  The goal is to maintain the 35/35/30 balance and not neglect your intake of veggies and other foods that provide essential nutrients. 

This should give you a great step in the right direction to achieving the body and health you’ve always wanted.  As always, any questions, feel free to ask.

Powerlifting for All

Check out one of my favorite interviews below stressing the importance of lifting…and lifting HEAVY! This goes for males and females.  Ladies, you will NOT get bulky! If you haven’t taken my word on that yet maybe you will be convinced by Jean Fry, a very attractive and very successful powerlifter.  Thank you Jordan with Syatt Fitness for the great interview.

JS: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, Jean. You’ve honestly been a huge inspiration, not only to me, but to thousands of people world-wide as a strength athlete and fitness professional. I know my readers will tremendously benefit from listening to what you have to say.

 JF: That’s so sweet, Jordan, thank you! I really am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to train where I do, to have a loving family that supports me, and to be able to teach and affect so many people with my work. I sure hope they benefit from what I teach them…. But truth is, they are really the ones who inspire me!

JS: Alright, well before we get into the meat of the interview would you mind briefly telling everyone a little bit about yourself such as who you are, what you do, where you train, and why you began training in the first place?

JF:  Well, I got my first taste of the gym at 15; I was the extremely sheltered, shy only child who had always wanted to be a track sprinter, but therefore lacked the confidence to do it until high school. When a coworker introduced me to my now-good friend Scott Vickery, a gym owner and GREAT trainer nearby, it was game on! He took me under his wing and not only got me ready for track, but taught me how to TRAIN, which developed into competing in powerlifting.  Keeping a consistent schedule was tough once I joined the United States Air Force (USAF) and then went off to school at Ohio State, but I never stopped!

Ten years later, I have since graduated, gotten married, become a personal trainer/ nutrition coach, and most recently accepted a position as Health and Wellness Director for the YMCA. Since getting the invite from Louie Simmons himself at the Pro/Am in 2007, I have trained on the morning crew at Westside Barbell, and couldn’t be more grateful every day I walk into that place! It’s so humbling to know that so many of the greats were/ are there, too!

JS: And just for the record, would you mind telling everyone your personal best 1 repetition maximum (1RM) in the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift?

JF: Of course! My most recent meet was about 6 weeks ago (at the Powerstation Pro-Am), marking my 4-yr anniversary at Westside. I squatted 415lbs and deadlifted 375lbs at a body-weight of 123lbs; I also scraped out a pro total with 1025lbs (despite having a terrible bench day). My best benches to date are 250lbs at a body-weight of 123lbs and 230lbs at a body-weight of 114lbs.


Jean with 415lbs on her back.

 JS: Many women tend to shy away from Powerlifting and strength training in general as they’re under the impression it will cause them to instantly bulk-up. Instead, these women feel their time would be better spent on cardio machines, while occasionally making use of those neatly color-coordinated 2.5-5lb dumbbells. If you could give these women any advice, what would you tell them?

JF: Ahh, the CARDIO QUEENS! Look- here’s the deal… and you may have all heard this before but let me re-iterate. We as natural-borne females have not had the same amounts of testosterone “bestowed” upon us that most males have been. Thus, our ability to build muscle to those extremes is non-existent. So get off your pretty little machine and DO SOMETHING worthwhile! I am living proof. I started the sport when I was 15 years old and 117lbs (keep in mind, I was burning more cals via track, too). Ten years of heavy-lifting later, I am 5’5 and 130lbs, and wore my high school prom dress to a USAF formal dinner last year.


JS: What about the women who do cardio because they legitimately enjoy it? Is it possible to incorporate strength training and cardio at the same time? Should one be made a priority over the other?

JF: Sure! Lots of people do cardio for fun (not my preferred method of enjoyment, but hey!). Some people like it because it enables them to “zone out,” which is fine. Others do it just because they like how jacked their heart rate gets and the sweat that starts rolling in a brief amount of time. For those people, circuit training with weights would really be a great option to get both aerobic and anaerobic in at once.  Even if you are competing in marathons, a well-balanced training regime should NEVER consist of cardio alone.

However, in my opinion, I do believe strength should take precedence (for example, my cardio consists of dragging a sled, weighted box jumps, and a long, high-incline hike on the treadmill a couple times per week or cycle interval if I want to burn some extra body fat). Strength training =more muscle mass= higher metabolism = more cals burned at rest. So not only are you burning cals while you train, you burn more the rest of your day as well. Sounds like a no-brainer to me! BUT don’t forget about diet- it will stop any composition change from happening dead in its tracks.


JS: Many women are simply looking to get “toned,” and don’t care about being strong. Why might this be an issue and what do you tell women who express this as a major concern?

JF: Again, most women assume that cardio will get them “toned”- much like not eating will. Although both may result in a minimal loss (followed by a plateau) on the scales, the body will begin to eat its own muscle to live. Most women will not be pleased when their hair is dull, nails thin and break, and they develop skin issues as a result. I like to spin the “toned” look women want into a “healthy” look. In other words, we have to focus on burning body fat, while ALSO building muscle to be healthy and get results. In addition, lifting weights is important for women from their 20’s and older to ensure that our bones stay strong and healthy!


JS: For the general fitness enthusiast, female or male, do you think basing the majority of their training routine on the principles of Powerlifting and/or strength training would be beneficial? Why or why not?

JF: Absolutely! In our (powerlifting) training, we obviously physically condition the body, but what some fail to realize is, we train to condition the mind as well. One aspect of how a Westside “template” is set up, so to speak, is in a way that we are constantly setting and breaking PR’s (personal records). We rarely do a 1RM of the  “Classic lifts” (i.e. Squat/Bench/ Deadlift) as we would in a meet; rather, we do a rotation of similar lifts, establishing separate PR’s with different bars, bands,  weight releasers, and grips. This enables our lifters to consistently build confidence levels as well, allowing us better focus at a meet.

This relates well to the general fitness enthusiast, because from my experience, people are driven by results. This method of training (referred to as The Conjugate System) allows them to see new personal records on a regular basis, motivating them to stick with their training program consistently for a longer period of time.

JS: What, in your opinion, are the biggest misconceptions in regard to strength training today?JF: Well, we already discussed the myth about females, so let’s continue with the rest of my Top 5 Pet Peeves:

  • Guys who think they are going to get a bigger bench press by coming in every day and, you guessed it, bench pressing.  As discussed in the last question, our training utilizes The Conjugate System, rotating major exercises every 1-3 weeks (depending on if we are training maximal strength or speed-strength) to consistently hit PR’s for the psychological aspect. However, we do this for the physical benefit, as well. You will not get stronger by doing the same exercises over. And over. And over. It’s the law of accommodation- you must switch it up every 2-3 three weeks or your muscles will adapt to what you are doing and stop responding via hypertrophy!
  • You can’t work the same muscle every day. PLEASE wait 48-72 hours. Enough said. Oh- and while we’re at it, please don’t rep like a speed demon and heave the weights via momentum and think you are doing anything other than hurting yourself. Thank you.
  • The “followers.” Learn what YOUR weaknesses are and do supplemental exercises to bring YOUR weaknesses up to par. I see way too many guys out there who think just tagging along with a friend’s routine will get them optimal results.
  • DIET! It is NOT a myth that you need protein post- work out to achieve the maximum muscle gain. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself ~ 1hour window upon completion to get protein back into your muscles and rebuild over what was broken down. Avoid skipping that post-work out meal; sure, you’ll still burn calories, but you will do more harm than good in the long-run.

JS: What does strength mean to you, and why is being strong so important?

JF: Strength is a combination of willpower and physical talent. You can’t go wrong in life by having both of these in your back pocket!

JS: Jean, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer my questions. You’re truly beyond inspirational and a great friend. I know everyone (myself included) has thoroughly benefited from your generosity and knowledge. I’m very excited to see what my readers have to say in response to this article. Thank you so much, Jean!

 JF: No problem, Jordan- thanks for the opportunity! It was great getting to work with you while you were in town, and I wish all the best to you in life, health, career, and training. To everyone else reading this, TRAIN HARD! Whether it be your own health, or in competition, take control of your own destiny.

In the words of Louie Simmons, “the real contest is within yourself.”


8-Week Bikini Ready Legs and Butt Program

Summer is just getting into full-swing, so what better way to get yourself bikini ready, than to start a serious lower body transformation program?  For all you ladies out there, getting a set of toned, tight legs, really isn’t that difficult.  All it takes is some dedication and a well-designed exercise program to take you from flab to fab.  The following program is designed to build lean muscle in your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.  By using elements of an athletic training routine, we are able to significantly blast the muscle fibers in a way that traditional strength training cannot.

Think about it…athletes have pretty nice bodies, right?  It’s not coincidence. It’s the fact that these types of people use explosive plyometric training combined with strength training to failure.  Studies have shown that combining plyometric training with strength training is the best and fastest way to realize muscle gains.

Follow this program for 8 weeks and you are guaranteed to notice a serious change in your lower half.

Alternate between the following two workouts in each group as often as you’d like; just remember to leave 2 full days between training sessions.

Group 1; Weeks 1-4

Day 1

  • Barbell Squats 3 x 10
  • Box/Bench Jumps 3 x 25
  • Dumbbell Deadlifts 3 x 10
  • Dumbbell Lunges 3 x 15
  • Calf Raises on Smith Machine 3 x 20
Day 2
  • Sumo Squats 3 x 10
  • Exercise Ball Leg Extensions 3 x 15
  • Reverse Lunges 3 x 15
  • Bulgarian Squats 3 x 10
  • Leg Press 3 x 10
  • Calf Raises on Leg Press Machine 3 x 20
Group 2; Weeks 5-8
Day 1
  • Squat Jumps 3 x 25
  • Squats 3 x 12
  • Quad Extension 3 x 10
  • Dumbbell Step ups onto bench 3 x 15
  • Long Jumps 3 x 20
  • Jump Rope 3 x 1 minute
Day 2
  • Barbell Deadlifts 3 x 10
  • Lateral Hops 3 x 20
  • Reverse Dumbbell Step ups onto Bench 3 x 15
  • Prisoner Squats 3 x 25
  • Single Leg Press 3 x 12
  • Stationary Bike on Highest Resistance 3 x 2 minutes
Now that you know exactly what exercises you should be completing, lets quickly discuss HOW we are going to complete them.  First and foremost, and something I always preach; as a woman, lifting weights is NOT going to make you big and bulky IF you don’t the following:
  1. Take steroids
  2. Eat thousands of calories more than you are already eating (assuming you aren’t already eating massive amounts of calories)
Muscle doesn’t just grow because you lift weights.  If it did, millions of body builders wouldn’t have such a strict and regulated diet.  To build the kind of muscles you ladies are afraid of getting, you need to fuel your body with many, many calories to promote that growth.  Combined with the fact you are lacking the amount of testosterone needed to grow the kind of muscles a man has, you have nothing to worry about by lifting heavy weights to failure.
To expand further on that last point, lifting weights that are heavy enough to cause you to reach muscle fatigue is key.  While there are certainly differing opinions on the best way to train, it is in my opinion that individuals who train to muscle failure realize the greatest gains.  If you are breezing through your sets and requiring little rest time, you need to bump the weight up.  You should be savoring every second of that rest time between your sets.  You may be wondering how long your rest times should be, between sets.  A good rule of thumb is 60-90 seconds between sets.  Perhaps you can move a little faster early on in your routine, but require a bit more rest later in the workout.  That’s fine, take the time you need, but remember, keeping an uptempo and deliberate pace during your workout is important.  Don’t dilly-dally, or allow too much time to pass between sets.  You want to keep a steady amount of stress on your muscles so they are effectively worked.
Follow this routine for 8-weeks and you should notice increased muscle in your lower half, giving you a tight and sexy set of legs and butt.

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