4 Ways to Eat Better Without Going On a Diet

When it comes to improving your diet you might always try to do a complete overhaul. You revamp the foods you eat and the behaviors and rituals you have around eaten. Then you get busy or life gets in the way and you’re right back to square one.

Rather than try to do a full 180 on your diet consider making some changes that are sustainable and easy choices. Here are 4 ways to eat better without going on a diet!

Stop drinking calories
Swap out your condiments
Choose “real” foods over packaged foods
Use Hand measurements for portion control

Stop drinking calories
Liquid calories can add up quickly as they are usually high in sugar. Even beverages like juice can contain 3-4 tablespoons of sugar in a bottle. Not only that, but calories that you drink are not recognized the same way by the body as calories being consumed and people who regularly drink sugary beverages tend to overconsume calories.

If you are looking to clean up your diet aim for non-caloric or low-calorie beverages like green vegetable juices, sparkling waters, and unsweetened coffee or tea. Try to avoid adding sweeteners back in including artificial sweeteners.

Swap out your condiments
Condiments can be an area for quick wins. There are simple trade offs you can make that exchange empty calories like sugar and unhealthy fats for nutrient boosting options that burn fat and boost your health! When it comes to choosing healthy condiments you want to consider the macronutrient value and micronutrient value while also considering the quality of the ingredients.

Macronutrients are the amounts of carbs, fats, and protein in a food. Since condiments are used to add flavor, most of the unhealthy options will create flavors by adding sugar and fat-keep an eye on these numbers when topping your salad. An example of this would be a ranch dressing that is high in sugar and made from soybean oil.

Micronutrients are the non-caloric compounds in foods like vitamins and minerals that are important for your health. Look for condiments and toppings that are high in vitamins and minerals. You could look at topping your tacos with fresh guacamole rather than sour cream and cheese.

Choose “real” foods over packaged foods
Real foods like meats, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits are a great way to improve your health. Simply put, choosing these foods over packaged and processed options is going to be your best option for the majority of the time.

When you eat real foods you avoid foods with a high glycemic index and will spike blood sugar. Real foods also contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help your digestion and energy levels.

Use Hand measurements for portion control
If you don’t want to follow a specific diet then using some simple hand measurements to monitor the amounts of foods you eat can be a great option. You can always learn more and improve your food choices, but learning how to moderate the amount of food you eat can get you on the right track.

Women should aim for a protein serving the size of their palm with each meal 1 fist of vegetables with each meal, 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals, and
1 entire thumb-sized portion of fat dense foods with most meals.

Men can shoot for 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal, 2 fists of vegetables, 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals, and 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.

There you have it. 4 ways to eat better without going on a diet. If you need help making healthy choices in your diet just let us know!

-Coach Shawn

Trust the Prescription

You know that little 5 minute speech that the coach gives at the beginning of class? When they talk about the workout and how it should feel. That’s a pretty important part of planning out your workout for the day and will help you select the weights you use, reps you shoot for, and how to pace yourself in conditioning pieces. If you’ve ever felt a bit lost during this portion of class then this article is for you!

Let’s dive into how to approach some different types of workouts to better understand how the stimulus of each workout should feel so you scale appropriately for you. Of course, our coaches are always available to answer your questions!

One of the simplest ways to look at each workout is based on the energy system involved.

The 3 main energy systems in our body are:

  • Phosphocreatine System
  • Glycolytic System
  • Aerobic System

The differences between these systems are based on the source of energy or “fuel” for the activity. These systems are always functioning in our bodies at all times, but depending on the type of activity we’re doing one energy system may be the predominant fuel source.

Training these energy systems improve our ability to use fuel more efficiently, recover more quickly, and improve our overall health as a side effect. It’s important to know what the result you are trying to achieve is for each workout. This makes sure that you get the most out of your efforts without burning yourself out!

The Phosphocreatine system is associated with short intense efforts, usually lasting 10-12 seconds or less. Most dedicated power and strength pieces fall into this category.

An example of a workout item that targets this energy system could look like:
Build to a 3 Rep Max Back Squat with 2:00-3:00 rest between.

Another example could be:
Every 2:00 for 5 sets perform :10 second max effort assault bike sprint.

Notice how in the second prescription we chose a time domain rather a set number of calories on the bike. If the assignment was 10 calories every 2:00 you might see very different time domains based on the athlete. It might take one person :08 seconds to complete 10 calories and another person :30 seconds. This would change the energy system being trained, the rest interval, and totally change the dose response of the workout.

The glycolytic system is associated with medium to high intensity efforts that can last from :30 – :180 seconds and will taper off drastically based on how well trained an individual is. These usually show up as higher rep weightlifting sets or interval style workouts. Efforts in this energy system rely on glucose (blood sugar) to fuel the effort. They also generate lactate that the body works to clear in order to continue the effort. Adjusting the amount of time you rest.

One example of an interval workout would be:
4 sets of 10-12 reps of Bench Press with a 40X0 tempo followed by :90 seconds of rest.

Another example would be
Every Minute On The Minute for 8 rounds perform :40 seconds of Russian Kettlebell Swings.

Aerobic workouts cover the broad spectrum of workouts remaining. Most efforts lasting longer than 3 minutes will put you in an aerobic state. If you’ve ever “come out too hot” in a workout you have probably approached the workout as a glycolytic piece and when your body could no longer sustain the effort you switched to an aerobic approach.

A classic benchmark workout that require an aerobic effort would be:
Cindy, Complete as many rounds as possible in 20:00 minutes of
-5 Pullup
-10 Pushup
-15 Air Squat

If you are not able to sustain that number of reps or continue completing the movement safely for 20 minutes at a steady pace then you can explore scaling the movements, repetition numbers, or shortening the time domain.

Each day’s class might contain one or more elements of these types of training. There may also be a skill component to a workout that may not be targeting a response from any of these energy systems and is instead geared towards improving movement patterns and transferability of key skills.

Questions about scaling? You know where to find us!

-Coach Shawn

Rising Above Doubt

Rising Above Doubt by Allison Caswell

Growing up I was always surrounded by sports. I was encouraged by my parents to play a different sport each season- having the opportunity to play tennis, soccer, track, basketball, lacrosse and hockey (hockey was definitely not my calling). I grew up playing on co-ed and boy’s sports teams until I started school sports – later having the opportunity to be on the women’s tennis team in college. In those years I had the opportunity to grow as a woman, not only on the court as an athlete, but also as a coach during graduate school. I started lifting and participating in functional group fitness classes consistently in graduate school and have had a passion for it ever since.  Specifically, the barbell has provided a sense of stability and consistency for both body and mind. Lifting challenges me to stand alongside my fears and doubts and has helped me to become more confident as a person.

Rise Fitness Studio creates a uniquely positive yet challenging environment to grow as a person and athlete. We are given the opportunity to learn and master skills that we didn’t think would be possible. A great deal of this is due in part to the community of members and encouragement of the coaches at Rise; supporting each other through struggles as well as successes. We continually push our limits and strive to tap into our true potential. We know and understand that every workout is going to be different and that every day is going to have its challenges. But, within those difficulties and challenges, the Rise community comes together. While we may be at different points in our fitness journey, we continue to grow and succeed through the positive community environment at Rise Fitness Studio.

 

-Allison Caswell

Why Carbohydrates are Important As an Athlete

Nutrition is one of the most important components of training for performance. The largely held belief that sugar and carbohydrates are bad for athletes has been debunked!

Many studies show that carbohydrates are one of the best ways for an athlete to replenish glycogen stores in the muscles.If an athlete doesn’t have enough glycogen stored in the muscle, power output is directly affected. Without enough glycogen, the muscle becomes fatigued.

So how do you ensure you’ve got enough glycogen stored up in your cells for optimal energy output? Eat carbohydrates and at the right times.

When carbohydrates are consumed in healthy individuals, insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, is released in order to get glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Once this process takes place, glucose is stored as glycogen. That tired feeling after you workout is a signal to your body that blood sugar levels have dipped. This is a perfect time to utilize post workout fuel.

You can replenish your glycogen stores by consuming more carbohydrates after you workout, causing your body to release insulin and bring your blood sugar levels back down. This will simultaneously trigger glucose to be stored as glycogen in the cells. Since the cells that are fatigued and depleted are your muscle cells, storage will happen in your muscles instead of your liver. As an added bonus to hypertrophy, the next time you go to use your muscles they’ll be contracting at full energy capacity.

In certain circumstances, for example if an athlete has diabetes, consuming these types of carbohydrates won’t have the desired effect. If an athlete is not insulin sensitive or has diabetes, spikes in blood sugar levels will stay elevated after eating carbohydrates. This can result in elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. A diabetic body simply can’t handle the sugars and isn’t releasing insulin in order to store it into the cells. There is a solution to the exception. As a diabetic, you would work directly with a medical professional and be prescribed insulin since the body is not producing it on its own.

You may be wondering how you can increase your insulin sensitivity to optimize your response to elevated blood sugar levels and maximize your muscle growth and global energy. There are a few key factors to consider around your workout that will help.

It’s important to tend to your overall health. The more stressed your body, the harder normal daily functions and internal reactions will be. We are aiming for optimal here. Make sure you’re doing the following to keep your blood sugar levels in check:

  1. Sleep
    We all know how important sleep is. It can impact every function in the body, especially the release of insulin. Aim for 8 hours a night of good quality sleep. Try sleeping with a sleep mask to eliminate any extra light in the room or a hot tea before bed to wind down.
  2. Exercise
    This is one of the most important components for staving off disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day. Studies have shown that this is an excellent way to decrease your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes along with a plethora of other diseases!
  3. Eat a Balanced and Healthy Diet
    Aim for a variety of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Eat healthy fats, like omega-3 found in fish and seeds, avocados, and nuts. Avoid saturated fats when possible and drink plenty of water.

The big takeaway here is that carbohydrates are friends and food! Get in touch with someone who can help you navigate the waters of carbohydrate timing around workouts if you’re looking to improve your power output and physique.

The Top Three Supplements for Healthy Digestion

How do you judge your gut health? Do you base it on having a stomach ache or not? A stomach ache isn’t the only identifying factor that sheds light on digestive issues. Discomforts are only a piece of the pie when it comes to having a healthy digestive system.

So why should you care about your digestive health? Digestion is responsible for turning all of the food we eat into something useful for our body. If you have weak digestion, your absorption of essential nutrients, your mood and of course bowel related pains become an issue. We need to make sure it is functioning at its best to ensure a healthy body.

Here are the top three supplements healthy digestion:

  • L- Glutamine:
    This amino acid is responsible for a lot of different functions in the body. Your body produces this naturally, but it can also be taken as a supplement. This amino amplifies the function of your digestive system, which means optimum nutrient absorption and organ health.
  • Pre & Probiotics:
    Your gut is home to hundreds of microorganisms helping to aid your immune system and digest your food properly. These wee little beasties also known as bacteria are largely responsible for the productive breakdown of nutrients in foods.

Pre and probiotics make sure that your body is housing quality bacteria, instead of others that may promote disease and discomfort. These healthy bacteria can be found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurts, but also come in a pill form.

  • Fiber:
    This one is a no brainer. You’ve probably heard of it from your doctor or on the latest health supplement commercial. Having fiber in your diet helps to relieve your digestive tract of waste. If you don’t get enough, you become quite literally full of **it. This can lead to bloating, pain, an overgrowth of bad bacteria and essentially poor digestion. Fiber is important to include in your diet. Vegetables, fruits and some grains are natural sources of fiber. If you think you’re not getting enough, have a conversation with your doctor about how you can go about supplementing it. If you’re consuming fiber, be sure to focus on getting the recommended amount of water in your diet too, since fiber can’t do its job without it.

Nutrient breakdown starts with digestion and nutrients are the building blocks of your body. If you’re spending anytime in the gym trying to be healthy, don’t overlook the tool that helps fuel your engine. What’s your gut feeling?

4 Tips To Help You Get Started

Most of us have no problem once we’re at the gym, on the trail, or biting into a salad. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. But getting to that point. Doing the “healthy thing” or the “hard thing” that we know will benefit us. That can be a bit trickier.

There is a certain amount of activation energy we must muster anytime we want to break out of our normal habit patterns. It’s hard to make will power override the status quo every time we need to make a decision though. If you’re someone who finds themselves frequently running into barriers when it comes to healthy habits then this article is for you!

Here are 4 Tips to help you get started on your healthy habits!

1. Define your task.
2. Make it as easy as possible to begin.
3. Find a way to make it more fun or interesting.
4. Stop publicly sharing your goals.

1.Define your task.
Specificity is your friend when it comes to taking action. The more focused and detailed your pursuit is, the more likely you will be to get it done. Just think about the following 3 statements:

  • “I’m going to eat healthy today.”
  • “I’m going to have a salad for lunch.”
  • “I’m going to eat a vegetable and lean protein with each meal and avoid eating sugar today.”

Which person do you think is going to have the most success with their healthy eating today?

Ding ding ding! If you said person number three you are absolutely correct. This person took an approach that set them up for success in their meal choices for the day. Notice that they didn’t have to do anything special to make this happen. The short amount of time it takes to plan how you will attack your healthy habit will pay tremendous dividends in the end!

2. Make it as easy as possible to begin.
As we talked about before, there is always a certain amount of activation energy required to start a new habit or task. If we can reduce the amount of activation energy it will be easier to get started.

That’s science right? Boom!

So how do we actually apply this concept? There are a ton of ways. Let’s say the habit is to go to the gym at 6am tomorrow morning. What are all the things that could make your trip to the gym happen successfully? You could:

  • Set your alarm so that you have enough time to wake up, get ready, and drive to the gym with 10-15 minutes to spare.
  • Set up your morning coffee and a simple breakfast so it’s ready to go.
  • Set a bedtime alarm reminding you to shut down the tech and get ready for bed at a desirable time.
  • Pick out your gym clothes and anything else you need to start your day off as a success.
  • RSVP/Sign up for the class.
  • Coordinate with a friend to carpool together to class. (This is a great way to stay accountable!)

The less you have to do in any given moment the easier it will be to take action. Try to eliminate as many barriers as possible that would present as an obstacle to your goal.

3. Find a way to make it more fun or interesting.
If you struggle to prepare healthy meals or don’t really like to exercise maybe you just haven’t found the approach that works for you. Trying a group fitness class, small group session, or personal training appointment might help you figure out the right environment and type of support you need to make going to the gym “not so bad” 🙂

If cooking and eating healthy is a struggle try to come up with a ritual that makes meal prep more fun. Invite a friend over, crank up some tunes, or binge watch one of your favorite shows while you chop veggies and cook up your meals for the week!

4. Stop publicly sharing your goals.
Studies have shown that people who publicly announce their goals or intentions are actually less likely to follow through on them. When you tell someone “I’m going to lose 10 lbs” or “I’m going to hit the gym 5 days a week” it feels good at the moment. According to the study, that sense of completeness you feel will make you less effective than if you were to keep the goals to yourself.

So what should you do instead? Write down the goals you have or some of the changes you want to make. Discuss a plan of action with an experienced coach who can tell you what it takes to get there. Keep it secret. Keep it safe. Get it done.

There you have it, 4 tips to help you get started towards your wellness goals.

When you hear that alarm go off in the morning and your first instinct is to hit that snooze button remember this maxim from Marcus Aurelius, “Is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?” Remember it is human nature to seek comfort. But it is our most basic desire that we are satisfied in the process. Hold yourself to that higher standard. The delayed gratification of getting out of bed for a walk or to hit the gym will improve your life and fulfillment in the long run. The warm bed feels good in the moment, but you’ll sleep easier knowing your actions are aligned with your words.

The 4 Best Lateral Movements to Include in your Training Regimen

Lateral movements often get overlooked, but these kinds of movements are actually the best way to prevent injuries and increase your athleticism. Lateral movements are the side to side movements you see in sports and are key to a healthier you.

Things like running, walking, cooking, weight lifting-these all happen forward to backwards. This is where we spend most of our time and can actually create deficiencies in our joints and muscles when we only train these movements on a regular basis. Lack of training lateral movements can result in knee injuries and other various sprained or torn ligaments.

The best way to avoid these deficiencies and strengthen any underused joint or muscle is obvious: train lateral movement.

Add these movements on to your weekly workout routines as a pre workout warm-up or post workout cool down. It will do wonders for your fitness training and longevity.

Here is a great place to start. Try to complete three rounds of 12-15 reps of the following:

Side Planks

Trains the obliques or the “sides” of your core musculature. Planks are a static movement. The goal is to resist breaking the side plank position. Whether you are positioned on your elbow or stacked on an extended hand, focus on maintaining a solid midline and touching your top hip to the ceiling. This will prevent any sagging on the working side. Hold for 10-15 seconds, gradually increasing as it gets too easy, repeat for 10-12 reps.

Side leg raises

These can be performed laying down or standing. If you’re looking for extra points, try these standing to challenge your balance. Standing on one leg, while activating your core, gaze straight out at a fixed point. Once you feel balanced, flex your foot (toes towards the shin, and pointed forward) and raise your heel as far up as you can until you feel a contraction on the outside of your hip. You can use a wall or chair for some extra balance. This exercise trains the outsides of the legs, strengthening and protecting the ligaments and muscles around the knee and hip joints.

Side Lunges/ cossack squats

This exercise helps with knee and ankle mobility. It trains outsides of legs, balance, stability, and ankle mobility. Begin with your feet together and step out with the right leg into a wide sumo stance. Begin to sit back putting all of your wait on your right leg as you send your weight down and back. Go as far as is comfortable. You can drive out on this leg back to a neutral standing position, then repeat on the left, or you can gently send your weight through the middle and lunge into the left side. This variation would be more like a cossck squat rather than a side lunge. Do what you are most comfortable with. While completing this movement, notice if your knee is tracking in line with your toe. If you can’t see your big toe on the inside of your knee, chances are you’re letting your knees cave it, which would not be great for your knee joints. When in doubt, grab a coach to get this one dialed in.

Lateral Box Step ups

Trains legs, core, outside of knees, insides of knees, ankles and balance. Stand on the side of a lower box, adjusting the height as necessary. Balancing on the outer leg, use your inner leg (closest to the box) to drive your weight and step up and onto the box, leaving your outside leg to float at the top, then slowly lower onto the outside leg and step down off of the box. Start at a low height and work up to a place you feel challenged, but secure.

Lateral movements are important to incorporate into your workout routines. If all else fails, grab your weightlifting partner and turn up the Cotton Eye Joe.

Happy side stepping!

Finding YOUR Workout of the Day

Most basketball players always end their practice by making a shot. Some great players will even commit to making 10 shots in a row before hitting the showers. This helps them develop a winning mindset and lets them leave on a good note.

Oftentimes when it comes to fitness however we take the opposite approach. We either grind ourselves into a fine powder. Doing more and more until we leave exhausted. Or on the other end of the spectrum…leave feeling like we didn’t accomplish that much and had more in the tank.

Finding the right balance of volume and intensity is an ongoing battle. Sleep, nutrition, and a whole host of other factors affecting recovery must be taken into consideration. A workout that crushes you on one day may feel like a walk in the park on another. Many folks are now utilizing devices like Whoop or an Oura Ring to track their “daily readiness” for training. Any information and tangible data is great feedback from your body but then you have to know how to use it. Your best option is always going to be working with a coach who has experience training athletes with a similar training age and goals as you have. They might even know better than you what your body is capable of. They will also know the right scales and adjustments to make on the fly to make sure you are getting the most out of your training.

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu

So how do you leave the gym with confidence in your performance? Make sure that every action you take aligns with your goals. If you know you’ll feel better by cranking up the intensity then end your session with a quick sprint on the air bike or rower. Choose modalities that won’t beat up your body or take away from the next day’s training session. If the workout is kicking your butt and you will feel guilty if you don’t finish it then see what scales or adjustments you can make that will make you better without crushing you. Back off the weight to focus on a slow controlled tempo with perfect form.

If you need help getting the most out of your training try connecting with one of our coaches to see what recommendations they have!

The Top 3 Hacks For Healthy Eating

Not every “fit” person follows a diet.

Not every person who struggles with their body composition lacks self control.

Finding the right foods, ratios, and quantities to optimize the way you look and feel is an ever evolving process. Your body is in a constant state of change. Cells are dying and regenerating. The body we live in today is a result of many past choices. How we look and feel will be influenced by our food choices, age, gender, hormones, activities, sleep, and stress. There’s no one right answer.

There are however some areas we can focus on in our journey to looking and feeling great. Here are the top 3 hacks for healthy eating!

  1. Pick your fats
  2. Eat more vegetables
  3. Protein is the foundation of every meal

1. Pick your fats
Fats stick with you. Not just figuratively, they actually make up the cell wall in every cell in your body. This affects the way cells communicate with one another as well as your body’s inflammatory response. That’s why the types and the quality of fats you choose to eat is such an important factor.

Fat Types
Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats can help provide your body with a sustainable energy source, decrease inflammation, and improve mental performance. These types of fats are found in foods such as salmon, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.

Saturated fats should be consumed sparingly. They are not all bad but high consumption of saturated fat may be linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Fat Quality
Each meal should include a healthy fat option that supports your goals. Fat quality in animal products can vary greatly depending on the conditions the animal was raised in and what they were. You are eating what the animal ate! Focus on humanely raised animal products, grass finished, and wild fish versus farm raised.

Fat amounts
Working with an experienced nutritionist is a great way to calculate your fat needs for the day. This can vary based on your body type, genetics, and goals. Try to avoid high fat meals before or after exercise to avoid any digestive issues around training.

2. Eat more vegetables
Seems like a no-brainer but when you think about your meals over the past few days how many of those contained a full serving of veggies?

Vegetables are a great source of fiber, essential nutrients, and prebiotics to support gut health. They are also always going to be your best alternative when it comes to snacking. Most of us are not going to do any sort of damage by stuffing our face with broccoli and carrots!

3. Protein is the foundation of every meal

Humans need protein. There’s no way around it. The amino acids that make up proteins (plant or animal) are the building blocks for our muscles. Without sufficient protein in the diet our bodies will start breaking down muscle, diverting amino acids to perform other critical functions in the body.

So how much do you need? This again will vary a ton based on your goals, body composition, and genetics. Once you have your protein goal determined for the day. Set a protein goal for each meal by dividing that total daily amount by the number of meals you generally eat. Don’t forget to factor in your post workout shake!

For example, if you are shooting to consume 150 grams of protein per day and typically eat 5 times a day you would aim for about 30 grams of protein at each meal. Once you figure out your numbers it becomes easy to know what foods support that quantity of protein.

There you have it, the top 3 hacks for healthy eating! If you’re trying to clean up your nutrition and fitness regiment let us know how we can best help!

Why you should love the Lunge

Lunges, split squats, and other unilateral leg movements are tremendous tools for building a strong, functional, and balanced body. Yet they tend to take a backseat to the more popular lower body exercises like squats and deadlifts. Let’s explore some of the benefits of lunges, common faults, and some popular variations so you never miss a lunge day again!

Lunges are a fundamental human movement pattern and take many different forms. The movement is generally defined as a split legged stance with one foot planted in front of the body and the other extended behind the body. From this position the athlete can raise or lower their body while stepping forward to the lead leg or returning to the rear leg. Lunges require leg strength, core strength, balance, and coordination. They can be performed as a bodyweight movement, under an external load, or explosively as a plyometric exercise. There are really an incredible number of ways to perform this exercise. Depending on your goals there are many ways that training lunges can be beneficial.

If you are looking to improve balance and coordination you could train lunges with a loading pattern that increased the demand for midline stability. Lunges performed with a barbell overhead or a single dumbbell or kettlebell loading one side of the body will achieve this. Due to the stabilization and core strength required to complete a lunge variation of this sort there is a huge transfer and application to sports and life. Ensure that the load demands don’t force you into a compromised position and that you have the necessary mobility to handle the movement pattern (AKA ask coach if you’re not sure)!

To develop greater strength and enhance muscle growth select lunge variations that allow for greater external loading. A reverse lunge is a popular option for this as it allows the weight to remain in the lead leg ensuring proper form and engagement of the posterior chain. Reverse lunges can be performed with dumbbells held at waist level or a barbell in the back rack position to go hard and heavy. A good rule of thumb is to keep the majority of the load in the front leg as you perform the movement. Select a load that allows for a controlled descent to the floor allowing the knee to kiss, not crash into, the ground.

To prevent injuries, increase range of motion, and correct imbalances the Bulgarian split squat or Bulgarian lunge is an excellent choice. This exercise is performed by working one lead leg at a time with the rear foot elevated on a platform 4-6 inches higher than the lead working leg. This movement optimizes the hinge position of the hips and is greater for activating the gluteus muscles. A popular loading pattern for this lunge is with dumbbells held in suitcase fashion. Make sure to select the appropriate box height to elevate the rear leg to prevent the spine from hyperextending at the end range of motion. Take care to stabilize the lead leg and focus on balance to reap the benefits of this killer lunge variation.

If you want to learn more about the best training movements be sure to discuss your goals with one of our coaches!