• Log calories
    Nutrition,  Summer Slim Down

    Updated: Why You Need to Log Calories

    Some personal trainers and “health gurus” don’t believe in logging calories. Instead, they say “eat when you’re hungry.” I don’t agree with that. I know from experience that eating below or too far above the amount of calories your body requires (for muscle gain, fat loss, or maintenance) can sabotage any prospect of reaching your goals. For someone serious about reaching athletic and/or aesthetic goals, not tracking your calorie and micronutrient needs is the equivalent of winging it and hoping for the best — it’s simply lazy. When I started working out in 2002, I had no clue how to eat for optimum health and fitness. In fact, I thought…

  • Exercises,  Training,  Women's fitness

    Women’s Beginner Upper Body Strength Workout

    Exercise Type: Strength/Resistance Level: Beginner Goal: Muscle development & endurance Baseline set & rep schemes for strength exercise: 8-10 reps – this rep range stimulates muscle growth. You must lift a weight or choose a resistance level challenging enough that you’re physically unable to perform more than 8-10 reps. 12-15 reps – this rep range builds muscle endurance. You must lift a weight or choose a resistance level challenging enough that you’re physically unable to perform more than 12-15 reps. Reps to failure – perform exercise until your form suffers or until performing one more rep is impossible. Rest periods for strength exercise: During between-sets resting periods, shake out exercised muscles to flush…

  • General,  Sylvia Petro

    7 Reasons Why I Don’t Compete

    Bodybuilding seems to be gaining in popularity, and many die-hard gym rats train with the ultimate goal of competing. This goal provides purpose and motivation to train hard. But there’s a fraction of fitness enthusiasts who have no intention of competing – at least not in an aesthetics-based competition like bodybuilding. These people don’t care who finds their body to be attractive or not. They push their physical limits for the fun and love of it. They are performance and skill-driven and do not seek recognition and approval from others. I fall into that camp, but I haven’t always. As a fitness newbie, I was sucked into the superficial world of…

  • Bodybuilding,  Exercises,  Sylvia Petro,  Training

    My Biggest Leg Day Mistake

    From 2007-2013, my “heavy” leg day exercises were done with the Smith and leg press machines. I trained hard, lifted heavy, but over that six-year period, all I got were big, shapeless legs. This made me jealous of other women’s legs, wondering how they got them so muscular and lean. This was especially frustrating because I was a personal trainer, and I believed I understood what was necessary to get my dream legs, and I thought I was doing those things. The root of my problem was my emphasis on bodybuilding-style training: machine and isolation-focused exercises, aesthetic training rather than athletic training. In 2014, I started listening to a professional strength coach podcast and learned about functional,…

  • Championship bodybuilding
    Bodybuilding,  Book Review,  Training

    Championship Bodybuilding Book Review

    Chris Aceto is known for creating bodybuilding champions like Jay Cutler. He wrote Championship Bodybuilding in the 1990’s. Before reading the book, I had an extremely difficult time putting on muscle. My goal was to show off my muscles without having to flex. In 2005, I obtained my personal training certification from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA). I learned the basics of weight training and nutrition and about training phases (beginner, intermediate and advanced). However, the course was geared toward general fitness, not for people with bodybuilding aspirations. At this point, I had been working out exclusively at home for five years. I had a fairly lean, unimpressive physique. My frustration…

  • Nutrient Timing
    Book Review

    The Nutrient Timing System Book Review

    The key to a great physique is not just knowing what to eat, but also when to eat specific foods. “The Nutrient Timing System” was written by two men with Ph.D.’s in sports nutrition. They cover when to eat specific nutrients and why. The doctors have worked to help Olympic athletes reach their best potential, via nutritional science. This book can be a bit dry, but it is worth the read if you’re interested in knowing sports nutrition in-depth. The book explains the processing of nutrients into the blood stream, based on what nutrients are eaten. I love this book because it does not bash people who want to build a…