5 Ways to Squat

Oh, the squat! Chances are you either love them or hate them! Personally, squats are one of my favorite exercises but they can be a killer so I get it if you love to hate them!
Squats are a very effective lower body exercise that can be done anywhere with or without added weight which is what makes them such a great home exercise. Not to mention the really great things regular squatting can do for your butt! Squats target and strengthen your glutes, hips, quads and hamstrings. Your core will also get worked during a proper squat. With all those perks, what’s not to love, right?!

Squats are one of the most versatile exercises because there are SO many variations. I’ve listed 5 here that I routinely use but there are dozens! You could even get creative and figure out your own variations. With any variation, keep your core tight and your chest and head up. When squatting down, keep your butt out behind you and lower until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor and even a little further if you can.
Standard squat – feet about shoulder width apart, core tight, hands on hips or clasped in front of you. Squat down until thighs are at least parallel or a little past parallel. Keep your knees in line with your toes. Pause and press up through your heels to return to start.


Prisoner Squat – feet about shoulder width apart, core tight, hands clasped behind your head. Squat down until thighs are at least parallel or a little past parallel. Keep you knees in line with your toes. Pause and press up through your heels to return to start.


Sumo squat – feet wider than shoulder width with toes pointed out at about 45 degrees (like a Sumo wrestler). Squat down until thighs are at least parallel or a little past parallel. Keep your knees in line with your toes. Pause and press through your heels to return to start.


Split squat – start with a staggered stance, core tight and hands on hips or clasped in front of you. Slowly squat to parallel or lower keeping knee in line with toes. Pause and press through your heel to return to start.


Wall squat – stand with back against a wall and feet shoulder width apart and out in front of you about a stride length from the wall. Keeping core tight, slide slowly down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause and hold this position for 10-30 seconds (or longer!). Press through your heels to slide back up the wall and repeat.


All of these exercises can obviously be done without added weight but just for good measure my daughter felt I needed a little extra!


Happy Exercising!

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Do You Share This Nutrition Goal with Me?

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Veggie Life

My workout routine is pretty solid at this point so one of my new goals is to work on my nutrition and eating habits. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit around eating chips, donuts and candy bars and then expect to work it off on my next run. I eat pretty healthy about 80% of the time but there’s always room for improvement. I don’t like the idea of tracking my macro nutrients or calories very closely. Maybe that’s my problem! I find that to be a pain in the ass but I am aware of what I’m eating and I don’t eat mindlessly.

One of my nutrition goals is to reduce and possibly eliminate my red meat consumption for a variety of health reasons. I already don’t eat much of it because I simply don’t like the taste of it. I know, it’s crazy but a big juicy grilled steak as the ultimate meal just doesn’t appeal to me at all. However, I am aware that reducing my meat consumption means I need to get protein in other ways and lots of foods have protein, not just steaks and hamburgers. I do eat eggs and dairy and minimal chicken and seafood so that helps.

A general guideline is 46g of protein per day for the average woman. This is the recommended dietary allowance set by the USDA but keep in mind that it is a very general guideline. Everybody is different and most active women will need more protein than that per day. If you want to get detailed and track your exact protein intake, the formula to figure out what YOU need is:

Your weight divided by 2.2 then multiply that by .8 for not very active, 1.3 for active or pregnant, 1.8 for extremely active (ex. Training for a marathon).

If you choose to track these kinds of details, please keep in mind that it is all an inexact science and should be viewed as guidelines only and not absolutes. Make adjustments based on your personal goals and how you feel.

There are 20 different amino acids provided by protein sources. Nine are essential meaning we have to eat them because our body can’t make them. It has often been thought that plant-based proteins had to be combined in very specific ways in order to get complete proteins and ensure adequate intake of these essential amino acids. However, current research indicates that it is NOT necessary to combine plant based proteins at every meal. It’s enough to simply get all the amino acids over the course of the day or a couple days.

Ok, enough with the boring stats….

Here are some of my favorite plant based proteins. Let me know in the comments if you have some favorites I can add to my list. I’m always looking for new options.quinoa-1822176_640

Quinoa – This grain can be used very similarly to rice. I often fix it with some roasted vegetables or black beans and corn with a little taco seasoning.
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Rice and beans – Black beans or lentils and your seasoning of choice.

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Hummus and pita chips or veggies – This is one of my all-time favorite snacks.

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Nuts and nut butters – Almonds are another one of my all-time favorite snacks along with almond butter.

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Chia seeds – I mix these in my smoothies.

 

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Green peas – These don’t have to be the mushy, overcooked side dish from your youth. Toss fresh or frozen peas into a salad or purée into a hummus with a little garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

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Spinach – I make all my salads with baby spinach and I also blend it into my smoothies.

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Broccoli – Steamed or fresh in a salad.

 

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Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds – Blended into smoothies or sprinkled on salads.

 

Happy Exercising (and eating!)