New MUST-HAVE Gym Accessories That I Love!!

Fire Team Fit Lifting Belt and Rip Toned Wrist Straps!!  Must haves for any lifter especially as you go heavier in weight and start feeling the pressure!img_0758riptoned

First I’m going to go over the Fire Team Fit Lifting Belt.
Currently retailing on Amazon anywhere from $16-$28.  Prices vary on size and color.
This is the first time I have ever used or purchased a belt and i’m amazed and immediately fell in love with it.  Day 1 using it the very first time I hit a new PR.  I primarily got this belt because I could feel as I was getting heavier in squats I was feeling back twinks from the weight… the weight was causing my form in my back to lean too far forward or back.  I’m not quite sure which, but ever since I’ve been using the belt I have 0 back pains and no problems whatsoever.  Since purchasing and using this belt I have gone up about 10-20lbs in my squats.  It helps me feel extremely secure and safe, allowing me to go heavier without being afraid as I do work out by myself.
Not to mention it is comfy and the sizing is 100% correct.  I purchased the XXS, which they call their ‘youth’ size.  I have a 23-24in waist and the XXS is advertised as (26″=29″ around navel.)   If you scroll up you can see the front overlapping a little because I am small…but the belt still works and I don’t even notice or feel any discomfort from that.  I also feel it is the perfect width and size for me since I always see some monstrous ones and i’m tiny haha.
Another reason to support Fire Team Fit is because they are a Veteran owned and operated small business.  I love supporting small businesses especially those who are military, ex-military, or the like.

Now the Rip Toned Lifting Wrist Straps.
Currently retailing for $9.97 on Amazon, varying colors as well but all the same price.
(Wish I got the camo!! I don’t think they had that when I purchased these 😦  )
The reason why these stuck out to me was because of the price, the claim that they are cotton padded, and all of the positive reviews, especially how positive out of over 2K reviews.
Another awesome thing with these is the first time when using them I hit a new PR with deadlifts!  They allow me to have amazing grip so I don’t get cut short on my reps due to losing grip at all.  These are comfortable and haven’t bothered me at all which is a nice bonus.  They are also pretty long straps, I believe this is the full dimension: (LxW) 23 1/4” X 1 1/2”

However the length doesn’t bother me or hinder anything despite being small and having smaller hands so that shouldn’t be a worry at all.  They also have a lifetime replacement warranty!  They come with a bag with a snap if you’d like to carry your straps that way but personally I just added them into my gym bag and didn’t want to worry about any additional extra-bags lol.

I really can’t say anymore great things about either of these brands.  I’m happy with my purchases and they’ve dramatically improved my performance and my growth.  Highly recommend!  Must-have gym accessories for a low cost.

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Leg Day Tip!

Something I started doing recently and it has helped me progress dramatically.
When applicable, work each leg separately.  So single-leg all the things.
Do the leg extensions(BIG BURN!), leg presses, so on, per leg.  Not as a pair.
You will feel the burn so much more, and you will progress much faster.
Isolating workouts as much as possible is the best way to go.

I recently started doing single leg presses and leg presses on the linear leg press machine, it’s been a very positive change and is helping me with my squats as well.  My right leg has always been my dominant/stronger leg and that has shown a lot when I perform squats.  Since starting isolating the two my left leg is strengthening up a lot and catching up to my right, to the point where I don’t notice any sort of leg-dominance when performing squats.

I perform single leg presses on the linear machine and then I switch over to my typical leg presses afterwards.  Just wanted to share a milestone that I hit recently! 3 45’s on each side!  I know for sure on my next leg day it’ll be more than that too 😉

Give it a try!  You WILL feel it and fall in love with it!

Cardio & Weight Training

Recently i’ve been on a discovery all on my own.  I’ve read several articles over the past few weeks that…i’m beginning to disagree with.  My fitness goals are to be strong, lean, and sexy.  All year long, i’m not training for any competitions or anything like that.  I started weight training because cardio is boring, and not something I can stick with, let alone keep up with because it’s too simple.  Too easy.  Weight training is the only way to be toned, and strong.  And for every extra pound of muscle you put on, is an extra 50 or so calories burned at rest per hour.  Amazing, right?  Makes you wonder why more people aren’t starting to lift heavy things.

All these articles that i’ve read have been very conflicting…and some slightly offensive.  In short i’ve read a lot along the lines of this:  Women HAVE to do cardio/Women MUST mainly do cardio (HUGE NO btw), You can’t lose weight and gain muscle at the same time, Cardio VS Weight Training, You don’t need to do Cardio.  Honestly I was trying to research how much cardio should one do, if not weekly, daily.  If you don’t know if you weight train but do a ton of cardio, you’re hurting your gains (muscle) by over doing cardio.  But if you just do cardio you’re going to be flimsy and jiggly no matter how low your body fat percentage is.

Since I couldn’t get a straight answer I’m currently on a self discovery mission to find the answer for myself, which I will later make a long post about my findings.  Putting on muscle for me is hard, and takes a lot of time.  But I know athletes/body builders/fitness models implement cardio into their workout as well.  I’m having 1 cardio day a week where I’ll do the stair climber for 40-60 minutes.  (Max i’ve done is 40 thus far)  Then so far i’ve been doing the stair climber 10-20 minutes a day, maybe not everyday it just depends on how I feel and what not.  (Always listen to your body!!)  But just by making this slight change within the past week I feel different, I feel better to be honest.  I feel light, I feel thin, most of all I don’t get that bloated feeling no matter what.  In the process it is also working my lower abdominal muscles and that stubborn fat us ladies have in our stomach, our pouch so to say.  (Stubborn because the fat lays under the muscle instead of on top ESPECIALLY if you are a woman who has had a child, why it is so difficult to get control of)  Which is great, but a lot of that has to do with my posture on the stair climber.

What i’m saying is there are a lot of cheat forms people use while they’re getting their cardio on, on the stair climber specifically.  You may think it’s all a lower body workout but you’re wrong.  If you’re leaning on the railing, leaning over, putting your weight on any bar, you’re actually taking away from the workout and the potential to really work on your core as well. There are several articles online about poor stair climber forms if you don’t believe me.  The people I see that frequently use that machine and are on it for long periods of times they almost always cheat…  Unfortunately the more and more I learn about postures and forms the more I realize how many people poorly execute their workouts.

PROPER FORM (Resting hands, or in my case I rest my wrists on the bar in front of me.  Do NOT put your weight on the bars.)

IMPROPER FORM (Slouched shoulders/back, putting weight on the bars taking away from the workout)  IMPROPER FORM 2

I used to hate the stair stepper/climber whatever you want to call it.  But it really takes building up and building up your leg muscles.  You hate it because it’s working your body hard and burning calories faster than if you walked or speed walked on the treadmill.  Other machines or workouts that don’t make you sweat like a pig immediately.  But think about it… 10 minutes, 80+ calories burnt…. how can you not.  If you have no extra fat you want to lose, cardio at least helps out with your cardiovascular health.  So if you’re in it to be healthy, it’s at least something to reconsider adding into your routine.

I’m going to be a bit out of town next week but i’ll be sure to post an update with how this is going for me later on!  Thanks for reading!  Share if you would like, SO many people are not aware of improper cardio forms….It really does make a difference.

The BEST booty blasters!

1)  Stop using the smith machine for squats!!  I cannot stress this enough.  I made that mistake myself.  Do squats using the barbell.  And go low!  Squat Diagram.  Have your thighs align with the ground at the very least.  You will not directly hit the glutes if you do not complete the squat formation.  I should also note I do squats about 5x a week.  I’m determined to grow this monster 😉

2)  Cable kickbacks!  This will do crazy things for your booty, quickly too!  I highly suggest investing in ankle straps for this (and other) workouts.  Will post those when I post my routine for Leg Day #2.  You’ll see a lot of pics of them wrapped around ankles for this workout, but I prefer to tie them around my shoes with the metal hoop on top.  I haven’t used mine long enough to feel comfortable recommending 🙂

3) Weighted Hip Bridge.  Or Hip Thruster.  I’ve found people call it multiple things.  Definitely use a bar pad for this….it bruises my hips so quickly.

These next two will whip your booty into shape… but I only execute them on Leg Day #1, not booty days.

4) Glute Kickback Machine, like I mentioned in my Leg Day post.

5) Single Leg Press on the Dip-Assist Machine.  You will feel this use your glutes as you execute this workout…especially the more difficult it is to complete each rep.  I’m now up to 100lbs and that’s 6-8lbs shy of my own body weight… so it’s getting increasingly difficult but it’s a great burn!

You will 100% see a difference within a month or two (depending on where you’re at in your journey.)  But I guarantee it.  There’s a huge difference in my bum from the end of December to now….and the biggest of it has been within this past month in which I added the cable kickbacks and using the standalone barbell for squats instead of the smith machine.  Trust me on this!