How to Fit in Fitness

It’s super hard to find time to do anything for yourself, especially if you are employed, and are a parent or caregiver. There are only so many hours in a day, right? But, it is possible. I work more than full-time. I have a side hustle personal training and nutrition coaching business. I have a husband. I have three kids. I have pets. But, I have the time to workout and eat healthy. How? I find ways to squeeze it into my daily schedule.

Morning

I wake up anywhere from 5 to 6:30 a.m. on weekdays– earlier if I need to work out before work and later if it’s a rest day or I plan to exercise after work. If I’m exercising in the morning, I go right down to my home gym. I already have my routine written out so I know what I’m doing and don’t need to take the time to figure that out. I feed the dog and she waits for me to finish my routine before we go for a walk. On our walk, which is no more than 20 minutes, I listen to the Bible in a Year daily podcast on 1.8x speed. It’s one of the ways I fit spirituality in my life. If there’s time on the walk, I also listen to the Daily Rosary on the Hallow app, also at maximum speed. Speeding up audio helps me fit in more. You get used to listening at the faster pace! If I don’t walk the dog, I listen to these on my commute to work.

I lay out my clothes the night before so getting ready is easy. I have long hair and don’t wash it every day, which saves time most days, too. As for breakfast I seldom eat at home, preferring to bring it with me instead. I always have a protein shake after I workout, though, which gets me going. Then, I eat overnight oats I prepared the night before, or grab yogurt and granola for the road. Once a week I allow myself to stop for breakfast as a treat.

Afternoon

Lunch is usually leftovers from dinner the night before. This ensures I’m eating healthy and it’s super easy to have on hand. I typically bring a few snacks, too, so I’m not tempted to hit the vending machine mid-morning or mid-afternoon. I also try very hard to drink water throughout the day although I admit that’s a weak link for me! If I have time, I take a 10 minute walk after lunch. On my commute home from work I listen to a podcast, usually MindPump!

Evening

It’s tough in the evening especially when there are activities to get the kids to and all that. I use my crock pot to help get dinner on the table. Or my husband will cook or start dinner for me to help out. I plan out our dinners for the week when I shop for groceries so everything is laid out and we just do it. That helps a ton. It also ensures we are eating healthy. We hardly ever go out to dinner. To save time, I prep some of it the night before. So, for example, if something is cooking in the Instant Pot for 12 minutes, I can chop up vegetables for the next night or make lunches for the kids (if school is in session).

If I didn’t workout in the morning I either do it before dinner or after, depending on our schedule. Summer is easier for sure. Often during the school year, working out in the evening is not an option for me so I have to make sure I get up in the morning! But, remember you don’t need to workout every day… two to three days is plenty for a well programmed full body workout.

I have my vitamins all portioned out for the week in a special container so I can easily take those. I also lay out my clothes for the next day. Evening is a time to relax but I try to keep the laundry going and sometimes will clean something just to stay on top of things. My husband is a huge help in this regard, too. After everything is done, I relax on the couch with my cross stitching which calms my anxiety! I typically go upstairs around 9:30 and read until I go to sleep somewhere between 10 and 10:30 p.m.

Why You Can’t Lose Weight

Are you stuck in a cycle of trying to diet but not seeing lasting results? Maybe you’ve plateaued and can’t seem to shed the remaining pounds? The phrase “eat less, move more” is often used to describe the weight loss journey. If only it were that simple. It’s more complicated than that because our bodies are smart machines! Here are the top reasons you might be having trouble losing weight.

  1. You eat too much. If you are tracking your calories and have a daily calorie goal, it’s important to adhere to that goal every single day. If your goal is 2,000 calories and 4 out of 7 days you actually eat 2,100, 2,050, 2,200, and 2,800, you actually are eating 1,150 calories over what you were supposed to for the week. That’s roughly a half a pound of extra calories! This also happens if you dial it in all week and then lose it on the weekend. Going out to eat, drinking, eating that extra slice of pizza. It can easily kill all your progress from the weekdays. Stay consistent. Aim to be within 50 to 100 calories of your goal plus or minus and you’ll see much better progress. Now, it could be that your goal needs to be adjusted, as well. But, the only way to tell is to keep as close to your targets as you can.
  2. You don’t eat enough. If you aren’t losing weight and your answer is to just keep cutting calories you could be causing your metabolism to slow too much. We all have a certain amount of calories we need to consume each day just to simply exist. If we only eat at that level or even less, we stress our bodies into thinking they need to hold on to whatever they can to survive. Fat is more useful than muscle when it comes to survival so our bodies will retain fat and shed muscle, the exact opposite of what you want! This is why someone can be significantly overweight, despite eating hardly anything at all. Our metabolisms are complex! Try to make sure you are at least eating at your maintenance plus a little more to account for your activity level.
  3. You need to change your workout. Resistance training is the best way to build muscle and speed your metabolism. You want more muscle than fat on your body to look and feel your best. But, you can’t just rely on the same old workout routine day in and day out. You need to phase it. The best exercises are the ones you never do. The best routines are the types you never try. Find a quality personal trainer to help you with your programming or seek out talented online influencers and coaches and purchase their programs. They are designed for long term success.
  4. You need a break. If you are working out too hard or have been in a calorie deficit for too long, try taking a break. It just might be what your body needs to reset. Do a deload week, or rest and just walk or do mobility work for a week. Eat more for a week and let your body refuel. You might be doing too much with your workouts, too. If you work out more than five days at a pretty good intensity, try dropping back to three full body days instead or lower the cardio. You’d be surprised at how positively your body will respond!
  5. You’re not healthy. If you aren’t sleeping enough or you have digestive or hormonal issues, you will have a hard time losing weight. You need to make sure you’re getting rest and addressing any health issues. You can be eating all the right foods but if your gut isn’t healthy the nutrients might not be adequately absorbed. And if you don’t get at least 7 to 9 hours of good sleep, your body can’t recover and will be in a constant state of stress, which results in holding onto fat and shedding that good muscle. Sleep is so important!
  6. You do too much cardio. Cardio does burn calories but there comes a point when your body starts to shed muscle to make it easier to do the cardio activity. We adapt. This is not good. You need more muscle than fat on your body to keep you metabolism running smoothly. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat, too. And, who doesn’t want to be able to eat more! I eat 2,200 calories a day and I weigh only 95 pounds! I struggle to put on weight! That’s how much lean mass I have and how fast my metabolism has gotten. To preserve and build muscle, you need to do resistance training. Cardio is important, too, but in moderation to ensure your body doesn’t go into stress mode.

A good rule of thumb for women is not to go lower than 1,200 calories; men should not go below 1,500. If you are below these thresholds, you need to adjust to get to a healthier place. It’s possible! Having a good trainer and nutrition coach can help you speed up a slow metabolism and get you on your way to a healthy weight.

Beyond the Macros – What About Micros?

Most people are aware of the macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – and they are the building blocks of a balanced diet. But, in our quest to ensure we are “meeting our macros” we often overlook the micronutrients, or vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy diet. In my nutrition coaching, I start with the basics, focusing first on total daily caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown. But in the next phase of coaching, I work with clients to review their micros. Often when something isn’t quite right with our bodies, it’s not due to the macros, but the micros. If you haven’t paid attention to micros here is a roadmap to help you dial them in.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Some are essential, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iodine, iron, folate, and zinc. I also focus on B-complex vitamins, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It sounds like a lot but these nutrients are found in many foods. Typically, people tend to be deficient in Vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium, but sometimes I find they are not getting enough sodium. This happens most often when they eat a healthy diet consisting of whole foods. Processed foods and take-out are most sodium rich. Contrary to popular belief, sodium is not bad. You need it for your body to run optimally and if you don’t get enough, you run the risk of dehydration.

Magnesium is another micronutrient that tends to be low in most people. Not getting enough can impact your sleep and make you feel tired all the time. If you live in a mostly cloudy climate, make sure you have a physician check your Vitamin D levels. Especially if you are feeling down or get sick often. Lack of Vitamin D has been linked to depression and can suppress your immune system. Plus you need adequate levels of Vitamin D for optimum calcium absorption, another micronutrient that we all need to prioritize, especially women!

How do you know how much of each micronutrient you need? Which foods contain these micronutrients?

Below is a handy reference listing micronutrients, the recommended daily allowance, and some select foods to eat for each (Source: CDC.gov).

Calcium (1,000mg) – milk, yogurt, cheese, canned sardines, salmon, kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage (bok choi)

Folate (400mcg) – asparagus, brussels sprouts, and dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and mustard greens), fruits and fruit juices (especially oranges and orange juice), nuts, beans, peas, peanuts, black-eyed peas, kidney beans

Iodine (150mcg) – fish (such as cod and tuna), seaweed, shrimp, and other seafood, milk, yogurt, cheese, iodized salt

Iron (men: 8mg; women: 18mg) – lean meat, seafood, and poultry, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and breads, white beans, lentils, spinach, kidney beans, peas, nuts, dried fruits, such as raisins

Magnesium (men: 400mg; women: 310mg) – legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, spinach, fortified breakfast cereals, milk, yogurt

Potassium (men: 3,400mg; women: 2,600mg) – dried apricots, lentils, acorn squash, dried prunes, raisins, potato, kidney beans, orange juice, soybeans, bananaSodium (2,300mg max)

Vitamin A (men: 900mg; women: 700mg) – herring, salmon, organ meats, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and winter squash, cantaloupe, mangos, apricots, milk, cheese, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs

Vitamin D (15mcg) – milk (including almond, soy, etc.), fortified breakfast cereal and orange juice, fatty fish (like trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel)

Zinc (men: 11mcg; women: 8mcg) – oysters, red meat, poultry, seafood (such as crab and lobsters), fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, whole grains

How do you know if you are getting enough micronutrients?

My first recommendation is to track your micronutrients using an app, such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer. If it appears that you are significantly low, try to add the appropriate foods to your diet. I also recommend that everyone obtain a full bloodwork panel once a year. Vitamin D and iron deficiencies will definitely show up in the results. If you try to adjust your diet and still come up short in some areas, taking vitamins is just fine! In fact, I recommend a multivitamin and fish oil supplement for everyone. You also may have specific micronutrient needs based on your lifestyle/diet, health status, or age. As a nutrition coach, I can help you dial in on the right micronutrient profile for you. Contact me to learn more!

How to Set up a Home Gym

At the end of this post you will see a short tour of my home gym. If you recall, I established this back in summer of 2020 shortly after we moved into our new home. It was mostly due to the pandemic. Gyms were closed and I needed a place to continue my resistance training. Now that everything is reopened, I still remain a home workout girl. I’ve added quite a few pieces of equipment over these two years, too.

Before I share the inventory of my home gym, I want to point out that this is extreme. I am a personal trainer and workout nearly every day. I love to try new things and as I progress in my weight training I need new ways to impact muscle growth. So you will see a lot in my gym but by no means is this a requirement for anyone looking to workout at home or who is just starting out.

The Basic Home Gym

All you need is a pair of dumbbells to get started. Resistance bands come in handy, as well. That’s it! Super easy. Not expensive. As you progress you will want a barbell with weights. You may want a pull-up bar, too. You can do nearly everything with these pieces. And remember, body weight works, too! My beginner workout uses dumbbells and I have body weight options, as well.

My Home Gym Inventory

Below is a list of what you will see in the video that follows:

Bench
Hip thruster
Barbell pad
Barbell
Bumper plates – 45s, 35s, 25s (2), 10s (2), 5s and 2.5s (2)
Bumper plate rack
EZ bar
1” plates – 5s (2) and 10s (3)
T bell
Trap bar
Adjustable Dumbbells
Adjustable Kettlebell
10, 8, 5, 3 and 2 lb dumbbells (plus a single 1 lb)
10 and 8 lb kettlebells
Ankle weights (medium and light)
Bosu
Stability ball
TRX suspension system
Resistance bands
Booty bands/resistance loops
Resistance bands with handles (makeshift cable system)
Ankle cuffs (two sets)
Steps
Liebert row
Mobility stick
Pull-up bar
Jump rope
Ab roller
Push up handles/bars
Landmine
Monkey feet (for hamstring curls, leg extensions, and donkey kickbacks)
Nordic curl pad
Slam ball (8 lbs)
Yoga mats
Yoga mat sling (can be used for stretching)
Yoga block
Pilates balls
Foam roller
Peloton
Wall mirrors
Freestanding mirror
Clock

There are many benefits to my home gym; here are a few:

  1. Long-term cost savings – It costs a lot to get started but I have added little by little over two years so it was a bit more manageable. Once you have all the equipment, though, you can save nearly $500 a year on a gym membership. This allows you to spend that money on more equipment or even personal training.
  2. You can workout when you want – You don’t have to take the time to drive to the gym or worry if it’s open. Just head to your space and get started!
  3. You can wear what you want – I often wear only a sport bra now and never have to worry!
  4. You can keep the temperature the way you need it – Often gyms are too hot or too cold. At home, you control the climate.
  5. You can fart in peace – protein farts are a thing, let’s face it. In a home gym, you don’t have to worry (provided you’re working out alone). Plus, if you need to pee you can do it more easily than if you were in a gym.

I never considered a home gym prior to a few years ago. I loved going to the gym and seeing the same faces and being in the environment. But, after establishing my own space and routine, I can’t imagine ever going back. I may some day but for now with my busy lifestyle this is perfect. If you want any more details on where I got any of my equipment, shoot me a message. I’m happy to help you set up your own home gym haven.

RECIPE: Chicken Power Bowl

Chicken Power Bowl

Hearty lunch that is healthy, too!
Total Time 30 mins
Course lunch
Servings 4 servings
Calories 454 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese

Dressing

  • 1 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Chicken

  • 3-4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cucumber Tomato Salad

  • 1 large cucumber - peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chick Peas

  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas  drained, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven or air fryer to 400 degrees. Toss together chickpeas, olive oil, salt and pepper, and dried Italian seasoning. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook in preheated oven for 15 minutes. 

Chicken

  • Stir together oil, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Brush on both sides of chicken. Grill over medium heat 5-8 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes before dicing. 

Cucumber Tomato Salad

  • Stir together all cucumber and tomato salad ingredients in a bowl.

Dressing

  • Combine all dressing ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to use. 

Assemble the Bowls

  • Arrange bowls by placing quinoa on the bottom and topping with chicken, cucumber and tomato salad, roasted chickpeas, crumbled feta cheese, and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately. 

NOTE

  • If you are meal prepping this, store the salad and dressing separately and combine when you eat it.

Notes

 , Carbs: 30 g,  ,
Keyword chicken, greek yogurt, lunch, meal prep, mediterranean

RECIPE: Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

This is a make-ahead breakfast you can grab and go.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Servings 1 serving
Calories 586 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Bell jam jar

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/3 c Greek or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Toppings as desired (chocolate chips, berries, banana, nuts, etc.)

Instructions
 

  • Mix dry ingredients.
  • Add milk, yogurt, and honey and mix well.
  • Place in refrigerator overnight.
  • Enjoy hot or cold.

Notes

Protein: 43g; Carbs: 82g; Fat: 10g
Keyword breakfast, high carb, high protein, meal prep, oats, whey protein

How to Start Resistance Training

If you’ve been following my recent posts you know that cardio alone is not the answer to sustained weight loss. It is great for keeping your heart muscle healthy but when it comes to longevity resistance training is king. Personally, I think it’s easier for people to walk, run, or bike than it is to start a resistance training program. For one thing, you don’t have to learn how to do anything; we all know how to walk, run, or ride a bike (well, most of us). And it can be intimidating to think about lifting weights. I mean, that’s only for fitness fanatics and bodybuilders, right?

It’s true that it takes a little bit more of a learning curve and patience to learn resistance training but it’s so worth it. Consider these five facts:

  1. Resistance training builds bone mass. The older we get, the more our bone density declines and this is a big deal. Our bones are the structure for our bodies. When they get brittle, they break more easily. Our movement depends on our bones, muscles, and nervous system all working optimally. Resistance training contributes to strengthening all of it.
  2. More muscle equals a faster metabolism. The more muscle our body has, the more we are able to burn calories while at rest. This is why people with lower body fat can eat so much!
  3. Less fat means a more toned look. Muscle takes up less space than fat does so you will look tighter. If you decrease your body fat percentage over time, you will also notice more muscles, especially in your abs!
  4. Exercise increases energy levels. When you work out, you feel more energetic. Those endorphins are real!
  5. Adding curves helps your clothes fit better. Enough said.

Cardio only goes so far. You may lose weight initially but to keep it off, you have to do more. If you skip a week of cardio, you feel it the next time you run. If you skip a week of resistance training, you can pretty much pick up where you left off. In fact, once you consistently lift weights, even just a few days a week, building that muscle over time, you can pause for a while and still find that you will easily build it back up in a shorter amount of time. It’s called muscle memory and it’s a thing!

If you’ve followed me for a while you know I post videos of my workouts and many people have shared that I inspire them. But inspiration isn’t a plan. I decided to create a beginner program for those of you who have wanted to start resistance training and just didn’t know how. You only need two days a week, approximately 45 minutes. Plus, I’ve added in two days of cardio for just 20 minutes each time. That’s all you need! If you find that you love resistance training and want to advance, message me. Or, if you have trained in the past and want to get back into it, I can create a custom program for you. Let’s start a new healthy habit to help you look and feel better!

Beginner Program

Notes:
Each exercise should be done in two sets of 8 to 12 reps unless otherwise specified
Strive for 7,000 steps each day
I have built in three days of rest but you don’t need to do nothing on those days. Feel free to stretch, do yoga, walk, or hike.
If you don’t have weights, alternate exercises are provided. If you aren’t sure how to do an exercise, message me at kerri@fitprmomlife.com and I’ll send you a video and walk you through it! 

Day 1

Warm-up: Wall slide (5), Pigeon stretch (:30 per side), Arm circles (5 in each direction)

Goblet squat (alternate: step-up)
Dumbbell chest press (alternate: push-up)
Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (alternate: bodyweight single leg Romanian deadlift)
Dumbbell single arm row (alternate: plank with alternating single arm row)
Calf raise
Dumbbell hammer curl  (alternate: use soup cans)
Tricep kickback (alternate: close push-up)
Plank Hold – :30

Day 2

20 minute cardio 

Day 3

REST

Day 4

Warm-up: Wall slide (5), Pigeon stretch (:30 per side), Arm circles (5 in each direction)

Glute bridge (alternate: donkey kickback)
Dumbbell fly (alternate: push-up)
Dumbbell reverse lunge (alternate: step-up)
Dumbbell bent row (alternate: dumbbell rear delt raise)
Booty band side walks – :45 (alternate: fire hydrants 8 to 12 reps per side)
Dumbbell shoulder press (alternate: pike push-up)
Dumbbell lateral raise (alternate: hold arms outstretched for as long as possible)
Russian twist

Day 5

20 minute cardio

Day 6 and 7

REST 

 

Why Soreness Doesn’t Equal Gains

Unpopular truth: sore muscles are NOT an indication of muscle building. In fact, being sore all the time actually slows muscle growth.

When you first start lifting weights, it is likely to make you sore simply because your body is not used to the effort. Your muscles need to adapt to the new stimulus you are giving them. But, over time, as you continue resistance training, soreness is not ideal. When your muscles are sore, it means you’ve overtrained and they need time to repair themselves. If you do this time and time again, you actually inhibit growth by stressing the muscles too much.

The best resistance training programs distribute exercises throughout the week in a way that enables you to train each muscle group but not overdo it. Studies show you only need to hit each muscle about three times a week to see growth. And each time is not the same intensity. Varying the amount of sets, reps, and weight you use helps to develop the muscles in a balanced way.

You may still get sore from time to time, especially if you introduce a new exercise or start a new routine. But, if you find yourself sore after every workout, stop and pay attention to what your body is telling you. The volume is likely too much for you and you should adjust down accordingly.

Are you looking for a custom workout program designed specifically for your lifestyle, body and goals? Contact me today and get started on the path to health and fitness.

Why Your Weight Doesn’t Matter

When people decide they want to change the way they look, they typically start with the scale, weighing themselves and determining that the number they see needs to be lower. But, your weight is not the whole story. There are other more meaningful metrics that often get overlooked but if you pay attention to them, you will see much greater success.

Simply speaking, weight is a combination of height, lean muscle, and body fat. Because of this, it can be a deceiving number. Take, for example, a woman who lifts weights regularly. You may look at a petite woman who is “toned” and decide she must weigh very little when in fact she weighs more than you think. Why? She has more lean muscle than she has body fat. Muscle weighs more than fat. What’s more, muscle is more compact. So, our bodies can cram a lot more muscle than fat. Why is this important? Well, if you think you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably really wanting to lose body fat. And, if you shed the fat the proper way, through building muscle and eating enough protein and nutrients to fuel that growth, you may actually see your weight go up! That’s a huge mind bender!

If you read my post a few weeks ago you know that cardio alone will not bring sustained weight loss. This is why you may see someone who runs regularly but who isn’t actually fit. Or they may appear skinny but they don’t have enough muscle on their frame hence the term “skinny fat.” The best way to change your body is not thinking about moving the scale down, but think about moving the muscle up. The only way to do this is through resistance training combined with a healthy diet.

Resistance training often is not the first thing people think of when they want to lose weight but it’s the best thing for them. And it doesn’t take much time. Two to three days a week for 45 minutes to an hour is all you need. In fact, beginners will see huge gains with just 30 minutes of weight training two to three times a week. And it doesn’t require a gym membership or a ton of equipment. Your own body weight is all you need. If you have a pair of dumbbells, even better.

So, the next time you look in the mirror and think “I need to lose some weight,” change the conversation to “I need to recomp my body and pay closer attention to my nutrition.” Take a selfie, save it, and find a quality resistance training program or trainer to help you on the journey. I promise you, it will be worth it. You will see sustained results and you will look and feel better.

Review: Booty by Bret

I’ve tried many workout programs over the years. I love to see how other trainers program and I often pick up tips and tricks that I can incorporate into my own programming. You have to be careful, though, especially when purchasing a program online. There is a lot of garbage out there! But, if you stick to the tried and true coaches and trainers, you should be fine. For a long time, I’ve had Bret Contreras’ Booty by Bret program bookmarked and have religiously followed him on Instagram. I even stalk podcasts for his interviews! After completing his new StrongLifting Certification, I became more interested in seeing how Contreras programs.

StrongLifting is a cross between power lifting and body building. It prioritizes five main lifts–squat, deadlift, hip thrust, pull-up, bench press, and overhead press. Everything is built around making gains with those compound movements. The certification makes me eligible to judge a StrongLifting competition, something Contreras has already hosted and plans to do more, but it also helped me learn more cues about how to perform these main lifts. This will help me and my clients in the long run.

Booty by Bret emphasizes glute development–hence the name– but also overall muscle growth and strength. I can see the emphasis on the main lifts already! The program consists of four-week cycles of three full body or four-day body part split, depending on your preference. Two optional glute days are also included that are mini circuits to further work those muscles and he recently added upper body to those days.

Wow… what was I waiting for? This program is perfect for me! I love full body, three days a week. It works best for my schedule and recovery. What’s more, the additional two days are perfect because my goals are to grow my glutes and shoulders. Those circuits include glute exercises, as well as shoulder/delt exercises. It also leaves room for a rest day or two, as well as my Peloton rides, which I like to incorporate as much as I can without compromising my muscle gains.

This month–May/June–the two main lifts are the squat and the bench press. There is also hip thrust–because of course there is–and compound exercises for the back, such as the pull up. But three days a week, we are doing a squat and bench press variation. This allows you to get really good and practice with a movement. It also allows for progressive overload and improved form since you are hitting the exercises so often. As someone who needs to work on both of these exercises, I was thrilled to start here! The first week is a deload week and you progressively add effort through week four.

Booty by Bret is a well-programmed routine that is perfect for beginners to advanced lifters. There are different versions of the exercises to align with your skill level and what you have available as far as equipment. Each exercise has a video demonstration, if you need it. There is also a private Facebook Community that you can join to ask questions, get assistance with form, and more. At $29.95, it’s a steal compared to gym memberships that don’t offer ANY support or programming whatsoever.

I have learned so much from Contreras over the past few years. It’s amazing to experience his research and expertise through his programming. I look forward to future months to come on the program!