Fitness Challenge Progress And Finding Back To The Love of Working Out

I’ve almost finished week 1 of the 21 Day Fit Extreme…. well, technically it’s day 5 for me as I fell sick on Wednesday and did not complete my workout also went off my scheduled plan a bit over the weekend. Not so much because of the July 4th holiday, but it was the last day I had off with my husband before he left for Bermuda today for a month of work so we indulged a little…So I have decided to start from scratch this week and extend my 21 days to 28 days (technically 26 days). It happens. The old me would spend days beating myself up telling myself all kinds of negative things as to why this happened, question my strength, discipline, etc. I now realize the most important thing is to stay consistent, not extreme (even though this particular challenge uses that name!) and to be level headed and keep thinking of the bigger picture.  Which is, of course- leading a healthier lifestyle, incorporating daily exercise, feeding your body nourishing foods, learning new routines and feeling good!

With everything going on, I have to say I LOVE the at home workouts! I thought I would be bored or that they would be lame, but these workouts challenge me, and they are certainly not for whimps!  The convenience of working out from home and having a structured workout laid out for you every day is wonderful. I feel absolutely awesome pushing myself for a short 30 minutes at the beginning of my day, such a great way to start the day! I have not stopped going to the gym, but I typically focus on really heavy lifting there, and will take a couple of hours break in between before I head to my second workout.  Regardless of whether or not you have another fitness routine or not, I highly recommend trying out an at home workout program if you are at a loss for what to do, but know you have to start moving.


As a fitness coach and personal trainer, I need motivation too, and I’m always looking to mix up my workouts. I have to admit I have been in a recent workout slump the past year.  These past few months I felt a bit unmotivated to hit the gym and lift weights without a scheduled show date where I had to step on stage in a bikini, not a coach to check up on me, etc.  It felt a bit… pointless, and I”m big on having a PURPOSE for everything I do, and a goal! But I knew I had to find back to my love of working out, and it didn’t necessarily involve headed to the gym every day. I am so happy I came across the wonderful, challenging and varied workouts from Beach Body, and now I look forward to working out every single morning (Yes, it’s not a lie!).  Here’s the program I’m following now, which is kicking my butt!


Whatever it is you love to do – do it! Walk around the block with your dog an extra lap, take your bike out for a ride, or go swimming in the lake – whatever gets you moving, it will always make you feel great, guaranteed! Chances are, once you get into the habit of being active on a regular basis, you’ll seek out new and more challenging activities, and you will continue to improve your fitness level. Try it out!


3 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey + Some Exciting News!

3 Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey + Some Exciting News!

Happy Monday, folks! I always love Mondays, unlike most people, because it’s my day off from my regular day job and I get to work on what I love: my new coaching business, which means the day is filled with health, fitness, mindset and motivation! I am really optimistic about the months to come, so many exciting things ahead, some of which I’ll reveal in this blog post.

Yesterday marked the last day of my 6-week “Eat To Live” program by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, where I followed his plan of eating lots of green vegetables, fruit, bean and legumes, and limited whole grains and tofu/soy products, and no oils, rather just healthy fats in the form of avocado, nuts, and seeds. I enjoyed this way of eating very much, although the “3 meals a day” only (no snacking in between) I found difficult to follow because of my active lifestyle. I sometimes found myself ravenous in front of each meal, and thus it becomes harder to stick to your plan.  I will be including an afternoon snack in the future, but will stick to the “no oil” rule, and include a little bit of whole grain during the day or right after my workouts.  All in all, the 6 week program was a success, I lost 8lbs and my clothes are a little less snug!

I’m now ready for the next step in my health and fitness journey. As with everything, you need to find motivation to keep going and improving yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally – the body and mind needs constant stimulation and inspiration, and we’re responsible for providing this to continue to improve and take it to the next level.  Working with a few of my clients in my new health coaching business, I have noticed a common thread: They are not fond of going to the gym. They either a) don’t have the time, b) are intimidated by the gym or c) don’t like the environment of a gym, and have no idea what to do once they are there.  As a personal trainer, I have spent quite a bit of time designing workout programs for them to do at home, and it sometimes took away the focus from other things I could be doing.  This is when I stumbled across a few of my colleagues who are involved with Beach Body and are fitness coaches full time. It dawned on me: this is a perfect fit for my health coaching business! I can direct people to the BeachBody site, they can order whatever workout program looks enticing to them, and they have me to coach them and I also get to benefit from the great, and HUGE variety of products Beach Body has to offer! The company is filled with inspiring, creative, smart and resourceful women (and men) who are passionate about helping people create a healthy and active lifestyle. I always go with my gut, and this time it said “go for it!” So there you have it – introducing your new Beach Body Fitness coach! 🙂


I’m really excited to start, as I know people have gotten fantastic results from participating in these programs, and today marks day 1 for my own fitness challenge: The 21 Day Fix Extreme. I just finished the plyo workout, and boy it sure had my glutes and leg on fire!

Do you need that extra little push to fit in exercise and healthy fitness into your life? I would love to help you! In as little as 30 minutes a day you could be on to not just the body of your dreams, but feeling healthy, energetic and happy throughout the day as a result of treating your body with the respect and attention it deserves.  As some of you know, diet is also important, and as a professional chef, I am passionate about making plant based, whole foods not just accessible, but delicious and creative.  I am dedicated to providing both of these services to my clients.

Feeling a little bored with your workouts or uninspired with the way you eat? Try these 3 tips to keep you motivated on your health and fitness journey. As always, it requires you put in some work, but the results you will get will outshine your efforts, each and every time!

1.  Keep variety alive in the kitchen.  There is an abundance of different greens, vegetables, whole grains and legumes out there to allow you to eat a different meal every day of the year. When I was on a traditional body building diet (which is the worst way to eat, mind you), I was told I had to eat tilapia and aspargus five times a day, and yes, that included breakfast (!). Who can in their right mind think that this is a healthy and fun way to live?  No wonder people fall off this diet and end up in a stupor of chips, chocolate, burgers and fries topped with soda, beer, booze and more at the end of that intolerable experience.  No chiseled physique is worth treating your body with such disrespect!

Seek out different spices and herbs that you may never have heard of, stock them in your pantry and add them to your steamed, baked or water sauted veggies, cooked whole grains, beans, lentils or you can even add some of them even into your oats or quinoa porridge in the morning.  Go for Moroccan cuisine one day, Scandinavian the next, Chinese or Japanese the following day and end with Middle Eastern or Spanish another day. Spend a couple of hours during the weekend researching some easy recipes (or hire me as your coach, I’ve got an abundance of quick, easy to make recipes and you’ll never have to wonder about dinner ever again:) and prep up some meals for the week on Sunday night. It takes the guess work out of what you will eat, and you will be excited and look forward to each meal every day. Healthy does not mean you have to suffer or give up flavor or fun, it should be tasty and nutritious and keep you happy!

Produce from the local area fills the isles at the Bremen Farmers Auction August 28, 2012. (Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)
Produce from the local area fills the isles at the Bremen Farmers Auction August 28, 2012. (Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)

2.  Work on your mindset.  We all know the saying “the mind is a powerful thing”, and truly, what you tell yourself each and every day determines how you will feel and what action you will take that day. It takes just as much effort to be miserable and unhappy as it does to choose a positive mindset and decide you want to have great day – so why not choose the latter? Getting in daily exercise is a huge one here, because who feels crappy after a work out? Endorphins are released, we feel stronger and better equipped at taking on the challenges of the day.  Reading books on self development and following inspirational people on social media and surrounding yourself with likeminded, supportive people is also very important to your success.


3. Hire a coach.  This is not a plug for my own business, but rather – it is a step I included because I myself have had the best results when I reached out to someone who had more experience and knowledge in the field I was trying to improve upon.  I have hired a personal trainer and I had a coach helping me with my diet and keeping me motivated, inspired and not to mentione, accountable, as well as giving me an outside perspective. It is tremendously valuable and only by taking action in investing in yourself will you truly understand this.

Realizing you can’t do it all yourself, and having the courage to ask for help, is the first important step in telling yourself and your body: “I value and respect myself. I prioritize myself because without my health I have nothing.”  I think of my body as my best friend – it tries so hard to keep me healthy every second of the day, even though I may not always make the best choices for it.  Try and think about your body as a person who just wants the best for you – and try to feed it the best, nourishing foods it needs to function properly and make sure you move around every day so it stays in good shape. When things get hard – hire a coach and have an outside friend and supporter keep you on track.  Guaranteed you will never regret it!


A great workout to do at home plus a reward!

We had a major snow storm overnight in New York, and I got stuck at home today. Besides the obvious great workout of shoveling your driveway – I was inspired to come up with a workout you can do at home – without any special equipment, just using your own body weight. It’s amazing what you can do with some imagination, and I guarantee this will make you sweat! No gym membership required! If you don’t know what an exercise is, google works! 🙂 Work at your own level  if it’s too hard, do what you can and if it’s too easy, add more reps/sets… it’s about pushing yourself, you’ll be glad you did!!


Warm up:

2 min Jump rope (if you don’t have one just mimic the movement by swinging wrists and jumping)

Circuit 1 – do all of these exercise without stopping:

20 Burpees

30 Crunches

Mountain Climbers 1 min

Tricep dips x 20 (using two chairs)

Pop Squats 1 min

60 seconds rest before you do it all over again. Repeat 4 x times

Circuit 2

Jump Rope 1 min

Lateral skater jumps 1 min

Plank 1 min

Jumping alternating lunges (20 each leg)

Push ups x 20

60 seconds rest, repeat circuit 4 x times

Circuit 3

Jumping Jacks 1 min

Squats  x 25 (either with body weight or with weights if you have at home)

Reverse crunch /sit ups x 25

Close grip push ups (triceps) x 15

Glute bridge x 25

60 second rest after one run through, then repeat circuit 4 x times

Finish strong with 100 Jumping Jacks or if you have space in your house, 100 walking lunges!

And now you’ve deserved a treat – a gooey chocolate fondant like cupcake which gives you about 235 calories, 35g of protein, 18g of carbs and 3.5g of fat. Perfect for after your workout!

One serving:

2 egg whites

1 tbsp Fat Free Greek yogurt (Fage is my favorite brand)

2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

1 tbsp powdered skim milk

1 rounded scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (I love Gaspari’s MyoFusion)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 pkt stevia

Blend everything in a food processor or blender,  pour into a muffin tin and bake at 230F for about 10 minutes. The center should be moist and gooey like this :



My top 5 exercises: Chest


Ok, I will readily admit chest isn’t my favorite work out. Why? Mostly because ever since I hurt my shoulder two years ago, a simple push up hurts, and consequently I’m quite weak in this area. I love seeing women with a strong chest, with that separation going down the middle, and highlighting the cleavage.   While chest work outs haven’t been prioritized for women who compete in figure, I still think it adds a little extra “something” to the physique that tells whether or not the individual is symmetrical and fit.  All that said, I still find chest day to be the most boring work out day but I’ve promised myself to start telling myself that I LOVE chest workouts from now on! So here we go – the most effective exercises I’ve found for me so far are:

1. Dumbbell Presses

I prefer using dumbbells for chest press, not just because the barbell is more restrictive and hurts my shoulder, but I feel that dumbbells are more efficient as it forces you to balance and stabilize the weights, utilizing more muscles throughout the exercise.  Here you want to make sure you go low enough (pretend you are using a bar) so that the weights almost touch your chest, and squeeze at the top.


2. Incline Dumbbell Presses

This will hit the upper part of your chest.  Lie down on a bench with about 45 degree angle, take one dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows so that your hands are by your shoulders with your palms facing your feet, and use your chest muscles to press the weights up and back down.  Alternatively, you can also do decline dumbbell presses which will hit your lower chest.


3. Push-Ups

This basic exercise really is the best, as it works not only your chest, but your shoulders, core, back and arms.

Get into pushup position, with your weight evenly distributed between your toes and your hands, with your legs, hips and back in a straight line. Lower and raise your body by bending your elbows, making sure that your arm angle is 90° at the bottom of the movement.

If you want a greater challenge, try doing decline pushups with your feet raised on a bench or a stability ball, which places greater strain on your chest muscles. Or try diamond pushups, with your hands together.  Alternatively, if you are not strong enough to start on your feet – get down on your knees and work your way up!


Push-up4. Low to high cable Fly

This is a great exercise for  the upper chest close to the collarbone.  I like using cables as I really feel it hits my chest and I’m able to control the movements, which are under constant tension.  Set the cables at the bottom setting, grab the handles, holding your arms out by hip level and slowly pull up the cables up and together in front of you. You can place your feet at a normal stance (utilizing more core) or place one foot in front of the other.

If you want to hit lower chest, you can place the cables up high and do high to low cable flies.


5. Dumbbell flyes

With your back against a horizontal bench, take one dumbbell in each hand, and extend your arms straight ahead of you with your palms facing each other. Making sure not to lock your elbows, open your arms, and bring dumbbells together in hugging motion until dumbbells are nearly together. Repeat.This works both your inner and upper chest.

Whether on the incline or lying flat on the bench, these are efficient.

Runner-Up: Pullover

For those of you who read my favorite exercises for back, you noticed I also included the pullovers there. This exercise can work both the chest and the back but is really more known to work the chest.  Lie on a flat bench with your knees bent and feet firmly on the floor, grab a single dumbbell with both hands. Extend your arms so that the dumbbell is held directly over your face.  Keep your elbows primarily straight with only a slight bend in your elbows (I like to keep my hands as straight as possible without locking them) and lower the dumbbell behind your head. Continue lowering the dumbbell down until your arms are near parallel with the floor and then bring the dumbbell back up to starting position.  The pullover primarily works your pectoralis major.

So that’s it – we got through it! Try any or all of these exercises in your next workout if you are not incorporating them already, and together we will learn to love chest day! 🙂


My top 5 exercises part 3: Shoulders

Shoulders are my absolute favorite body part to train, mainly because I can really envision the shoulders growing as I lift, and I love full, muscular shoulders on both women and men. Shoulders are what define much of a physique, especially in women’s figure competitions. They make the waist appear smaller, and add nice symmetry to your body.

As I had a rotator cuff injury two years ago that hasn’t completely healed up, it’s always a challenge to increase weight every week for me.  That said, I’m slowly growing and getting stronger by being meticulous, patient and persistent with my workouts. There is, as with any other body part, always room for improvement, so here are five exercises I always try to incorporate:

1. Dumbbell shoulder press

This exercise should be a part of everybody’s regimen when looking to improve size and strength to the shoulders. I prefer dumbbells but I also sometimes use the machine (where I’m able to do a bit more weight), but as always, with dumbbells you really force all the muscles to go into action.

You can do these standing or seated (I prefer the latter), and you can alternate raising one arm and the other, or both at the same time.  Take the dumbbells in your hand, palms facing away from you/forward and bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height. Press all the way up above your head until the touch at the top, and come back down towards the shoulder.  I throw in drop sets here, where I get to really feel the burn!


2. Dumbbell lateral raise

This is a great exercise for building width in your upper body which gives you the “v” shape. Here you can do both arms simultaneously, or I also like to do one arm at a time.  I will switch it up by using dumbbells and do leaning, unilateral dumbbell lateral raises.  You can also utilize the cables here.  It’s important to remember, as this is an isolation exercise, focus on stretch and muscle contraction, and not using super heavy weights. Keep your reps slow and controlled and don’t use momentum, “swinging” the weights up (that’s considered cheating!!)

Grab a set of dumbbells and stand straight up with the dumbbells at your sides. Your palms should be facing your body. You should be holding the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this keeps the tension on the side delts. This is your starting position for the exercise. Slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height. It’s important that you do not let your wrists go above your elbows while raising the weight, as this will take the work off the side delts and put it on the front delts. Pause at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Do not let the dumbbells touch your body, and then raise them for the next rep.



3.  Cable upright row

You can also do these with a barbell, but I enjoy the cable because you have the muscle under constant tension both going up and down. This exercise works both the biceps and the shoulders.  I usually super set with the next exercise (#4 – cable front raise) and I get a good burn. This exercise has great impact on the medial head of the deltoid, many people are weak in this area so is a great one to add into your routine.

Attach a straight bar to a low pulley cable machine.  Select weight on the stack and stand facing the machine with your feet about shoulder width apart. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing down), with your hands just inside shoulder width apart. Keeping the bar close to your body, let your shoulders “sag” as far as possible. This is the starting position for the exercise. Keeping your back straight and eyes facing forwards, lift the bar straight up while keeping it as close to your body as possible (pull your elbows really high up, bar should be above chest). Pause, and then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.


4. Cable front raise

Attach a straight bar to a low pulley cable machine and select weight. Facing away from the machine, grab the bar with an overhand grip. Stand up straight with the bar just off your thighs, this is your starting position. Slowly raise the bar up to shoulder height while keeping your arms straight and body fixed.  Pause, then slowly lower bar to the starting position. Repeat.


5. Hang clean and press

This might be the most technical exercise of the group, and is why we don’t see it incorporated in many people’s routine. It is however a wonderful addition to your shoulder workout, and can give you great gains. Hang cleans is really an exercise that develops total body explosive strength,  and develops power and and coordination in the upper body.  The clean and press is a two-part movement; the first is the clean from the bar hanging at arm’s length in a standing position.  The second part is the pressing up from the shoulders to an overhead position.  Do this in the beginning of your workout when you’re fresh and not likely to be weak or unfocused, increasing the risk of injury.

Grab a barbell  with a medium grip, feet placed just a bit wider than shoulder width apart.  With arms hanging down holding on to barbell, this is your start position.  Knees should not be locked, legs bent a little and push your hips back a bit.  Applying explosive power through thighs and calves, bring the barbell up to your shoulders by flipping your arms up and back, letting the barbell rest on your shoulders.  While you’re doing this, drop your body down and flip your wrists back (very important!).  The bar should go up as straight as possible (not swinging it).  Finish by pressing up overhead in a military press. Lower weight back down to shoulders, then flip it back down to arms length. Repeat.   This video showcases this exercise.

Runner ups: Military press, rear delt flyes (either cable, machine or utilizing dumbbells and bench)

My top 5 exercises Part 1: legs

Today I will start part one of a series I call “My top 5 exercises”, where I will go through every body part I train and list my favorite exercises for each. These will probably change throughout the year as I train, but it’s referring to exercises I feel work for me right now, gets me results and I may or may not enjoy doing them!! 🙂

Today I did legs at the gym. Usually I train legs twice a week; the first day I will go heavy, with less reps/sets, and the second day I may do some super setting, circuits, and go lighter and do more reps/sets, to get a cardiovascular workout from it too.  I need to lose some weight off my body right now, so I really need to focus on weight loss first, but I’m doing it REALLY slow because I don’t want to lose all the muscle mass I’ve gained this past year! Regardless of which day it is, here are five things you should always do, at one point or another, for gorgeous legs and glutes! Here’s a photo for inspiration – I’ll get there one day!


1.  Sumo Squat.  While I love all kinds of squats, I particularly like the sumo squat, where you have a wide stance, with toes pointing out. This version really works the glutes, more so than if you did a regular, narrower stance with toes straight ahead, which will work the quads more. I also find the sumo squat gentler on my knees – as I’ve had several knee injuries in the past and I can still have pain from doing certain movements.You can do sumo squats holding dumbbells, or with a barbell on your back or without weights at all. Today I did the “28-method” and I only had the 45 lb bar/no weights, as your legs will BURN after these!


2.  Deadlifts.  Here you also have many different versions, like traditional deadlift, sumo, quadriceps, Romanian, stiff-legged and single legged. The latter really also works on your balance, and I enjoy it more than the other versions, although you can’t go very heavy here.  You need to look hard to find another exercise that works as many parts of your body at once as this one does. Strengthening all the major muscle groups in both the lower and upper body, including hamstrings, glutes, core, arms and back, itt has often been called the “King of mass gaining”.  It is also the one exercise I see most people perform incorrectly.


3. Walking lunges.   You can do these with or without weights, either one will be effective! Right now, I do 5 sets of 50 lunges without weights – partly because I am just trying to shape, not add too much muscle, but also because my knees are not feeling it if I put too much weight on. I continue to do the lunges even though it hurts like hell – that’s when it counts!! Walking lunges is the true key to that ‘glute-ham’ tie in that is so envied by many. True, some of it is genetic  – I certainly don’t have that round, heart shaped butt I see many other lucky ladies have, I was “blessed” with a flat, Norwegian ass.  Frustrating yes, but I have managed to build it by doing walking lunges and the above mentioned exercises.  A good diet also helps tremendously!


4. Step-ups. Using a bench, chair or a stool that is about knee height, you do x amount of reps (12-15 for example) on one leg, then switch to the other. Here I often put on weight, like 20-25 lbs (not too heavy, again because of my knees), either in the form of a barbell or dumbbells in each hand.  You can add a kick back at the top and squeeze your glutes for extra work. These really grip your glutes, but also your quads and is also a really good cardiovascular exercise.  Since it is a unilateral exercise, it can improve symmetry in your legs, as you are able to focus on one leg at a time. I also feel they help overall strength in my legs, which can aid when trying to go heavier during squats and deadlifts. Another benefit is they can really be done anywhere, no gym necessary.


5. Glute ham raises. Where most people (women and men) seem to focus more on getting that “teardrop” in their quads, the true sign of a really fit individual is the shape of their butt and hamstrings. In my humble opinion. I have pretty strong hamstrings, but I still have to work hard on my butt. So I tend to focus a lot on these parts during all my leg exercises.  This exercises also prevents knee and back injuries (hence beneficial to all people who work out) and works both the knee and hip extensions of the hamstrings. The glute ham raise is not seen that often in gyms, maybe perhaps because not a lot of facilities have the machine.  I also like this as it has proven to improve speed and strength, which is great as I have plans to incorporate sprints on the track this spring (when the snow melts!) for HIIT workouts on cardio days.  I could go on and on about this exercise, but google it and read more about it!

So now you know my five, current favorite exercises for legs (hams and glutes) – try them out the next time you are training lower body and let me know how you like them!

My glutes at my last show.. getting there:


Mind To Muscle Connection

Today was my ‘leftover day’ where I did arms and abs. Last year I didn’t dedicate a whole day to arms, but would tag them on to either my chest or back days. What I found then, is that I was so tired by the time it came around to training my biceps and triceps, I was ridiculously weak and consequently, saw very little gains.  I am honestly more interested in focusing on triceps (the larger muscle) than biceps, because biceps get  worked also during back and chest workouts. I also want to hit all the different areas of the triceps, avoiding underdevelopment in either one.

tricepsBicepDoing arm exercises for me (and abs for that matter), is not very exciting. Which caused me to lose a bit of concentration and I started to look at people around me.  If you knew me as a gym goer, you know this is something I NEVER do normally, lol!  What struck me  when observing a lot of the other gym members was how unfocused many seemed on their actual workouts. I suppose there is a reason why people go to the gym every day but continue to look the same (I.e. their physique does not change for the better). They spend more time checking their phone, chatting with their gym buddies, and admiring themselves in the mirror (why, I have no idea) and lose out on the benefits of an intense, effective and efficient workout. Which brings me to the topic of mind to muscle connection, and how important it is to possess mind to muscle control!


According to an article on Muscle and Strength,  “the mind to muscle connection is to use your mind to connect with the muscle you are training and to actually envision the motion, the tension, the growth and power you need to push yourself to another level.”  This obviously requires a belief that your subconscious can help you in gains and that focusing will aid in a more effective workout. How often have you not believed something deep in your heart, without necessarily having scientific proof? Whatever gets you going, whatever gets you to work hard, and keep going – don’t you think that will work? I do.  The mind is a powerful thing – I say that to myself every day, because I believe that someone who believes, is 100 x more likely to succeed than one who doesn’t, or remains a skeptic.  My favorite quote:


The mind-muscle connection is also a technique to stay centered and to help you keep good form. What can happen if your mind wanders? You may injure yourself, or have a sloppy, worthless workout. Because you are not concentrating on what you are doing, you may almost just as well sit on the couch and watch Law & Order re-runs (sometimes also fun!) . What’s the point in being at the gym if you don’t give it your all? That’s how I see it.  Use your time wisely.

Mind-muscle connection is focusing on the actual movement as you are doing it , not on getting from point A to B. I’ve been guilty of sometimes thinking “Ok, let me just bang out 4 sets of 15 and I’ll be done” and it has been the shittiest sessions ever. I wanted it to be OVER with instead of being in the moment, visualizing my body changing, my muscles growing. Much like a dieter just wants that 12-week challenge to be over with so he can “go on with his life”. Ha!  Of course, we will all have days where we are on auto-pilot and just happy we got to the gym, but that’s besides the point. We always want to strive to be our best!

Mind-muscle connection is about discipline, being devoted to your task and being detail oriented – all qualities needed for progress and a successful transformation of your body. By practicing this connection, you will become more familiar with how each part of your muscle and body part works, and better able to do the exercises effectively.


What methods can you apply to improve or master your mind-muscle connection? I like exercises like negative reps and  partial reps where you can really feel the contraction of the muscle, and where the muscle is under tension for a long period of time. This is when your muscles will grow!  In my new program I have started to use the “28-method” which you can use for any exercise ; shoulder presses, leg curls, squats, and like I did today: for barbell bicep curls. Example: do 7 regular reps, then 7 slow reps going down on the negative (eccentric), pause, the 7 slow reps going up (concentric), then finish with 7 reps going half way down, and 7 reps going half way up.  When you apply this method, you have to use a much lighter weight, probably half of what you would normally do.  For example, if you curl a 60 lb barbell, then use a 30lb dumbbell for the 28s. You get an incredible pump from this, your muscles will BURN!! Anyway, something good to mix in with your regular workout.

And the best thing about an effective and great session at the gym? You get to relax afterwards and have some FOOD! I admit, I was really lazy today, I just grilled some salmon (spiced with Moroccan za’atar) and steamed some broccoli… delicious nonetheless but nothing complicated. I’ll come back stronger with some other tempting recipes soon, stay tuned! Meanwhile here’s my Saturday dinner: