1. Yes, protein is your best friend
Are you trying to lose fat? Are you trying to gain muscle? Are you simply tired of snacking all the time? Protein shakes are your answer. Why, yes, to all three of those.
If you’re trying to lose fat, consider drinking a protein shake before each meal! This will help you to feel more full for less calories and help you to hit your daily protein goal (we’re talking about 0.7-1g per pound of lean bodyweight).
Trying to gain some muscle? Drink a protein shake after each meal. Again, this is going to help you hit your daily protein goal while being able to sneak in some more calories when you just. can’t . eat. any. more.
If you’re a snacker (like me), swap out those dangerous sweets for protein shakes! They are yummy, low calorie and incredibly filling. My favourite treat is a scoop of lean protein (whey, isolate or vegan- depending on your dietary choices) with a couple scoops of PB2- it’s a powdered peanut butter- making it extra tasty with almost none of the fat… so a lot less calories than your traditional PB.
2. Hip dominant movements for a rounder bum
People (looking at you, ladies) come to me on a regular basis with the same issue- “I want a bigger bum but don’t want my legs to get big!!”
It’s not. Focusing on hip hinging movements like Hip Thrusts and Glute Bridges target the gluteal muscles without tearing up your quadriceps, getting you a bum burn for days without the fear of building your legs! Squats and deadlifts have their place, of course, don’t ignore leg day just because you’ve found the Holy Grail of bum workouts- though I assure you, you have.
3. Work your ABS, stretch your HIP FLEXORS.
That’s right, I italicized it. Leave sit-ups in the 80’s where they belong.
Abs are an incredibly important part of your workout regime. Hip flexors, however, are not. To completely oversimplify; hip flexors are what you use to bend forward, abs are what you use to roll (or crunch) into a ball. Still don’t get the picture? Most of the population (from my experience, that’s about 99%) have tight hip flexors as it is- this comes from having a desk job, travelling a lot or even just from spending all your down time on the couch. Over time, these tight muscles lead to poor posture and, believe it or not, result in weaker abs.
How do you fix it? By doing Proper Crunches, regularly as a part of your gym sessions. Pay close attention to which muscles you feel working during that exercise and focus on working those muscles with other exercises.
And on that note…
4. Work your Full Core
Hip thrusts to booty are what planks are to core. Having a strong Transverse Abdominis (TVA for short, AKA the Inner Core unit) is imperative to protect your spine from daily life. Think of a corset comprised of muscle fibres and ligament. Grotesque, I know, but this is crazy important to keep from throwing your back out.
It’s said by professionals that you should always have your TVA about 20% engaged. Odds are, you likely aren’t even really sure how to engage it, so try this:
Get on out of your desk chair, stand straight up and put your hands on your stomach, just above your hip bones, apply a little bit of pressure and cough. Feel that? Yep, that’s your muscle corset. Now try to engage it on and off throughout your day, fun stuff!
5. Train mobility daily
It sounds boring and tedious and, honestly, sometimes it can be. However, doing simple mobility exercises throughout your workout can ensure that you maintain a healthy Range Of Motion (ROM) throughout all your major joints as you get older. We all have that relative (or friend) who grunts and groans while getting out of their chair or going upstairs because the trusty elevator is out of service.
One of the simplest areas to train for mobility, conversely the most ignored (until injury), would be the rotator cuff. This is a group of muscles in your shoulder that stabilize and assist movement when you raise your arm, or (surprise) rotate it.