6 mistakes you're making when trying to build that booty! (Bonus Video)

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Bigger Booty

What up, Bombshells?! I hope Week 1 of Booty Gainz 2.0 was a success. I was sore as hell for a few days ;)  If you missed it, make sure you start there first.

Let's talk about some common faults I see from people on their quest to build that booty:

1- Only doing high-rep bodyweight exercises and band work: You need a variety of stimulus to develop your glutes to the best of their potential. Where high-rep bodyweight and band work has their place, they're best served as a primer and finisher to your main lifts. 

2- People thinking that squatting is the end-all be-all booty building exercise: Squats are great for a variety of reasons but they're not THE best exercise to target the glutes. Focus on the variety of movements in BootyGainz and you'll experience a whole new glute pump!

3- Lack of mobility that hinders the ability to best utilize the glutes during certain exercises: A lot of people have limited mobility in their hips, hindering their ability to position their pelvis in a way that allows the greatest activation of the glute muscles. For example, if you can't fully extend your hip (and you end up over-extending your back to make up for it), you're placing more stress on your back and far less stimulus on your glutes when trying to do something like a back extension or hip thrust. Or if you can't open up, abduct or externally rotate your hips, your ability to effectively execute something like a sumo deadlift would be limited. Check your mobility, head to toe. Improve your weaknesses and optimize your ability to develop stability, strength and power. 

4- Poor movement:  Assuming mobility isn't the problem, some people simply don't know how to properly execute the exercises. Pay attention to how you're moving and focus on FEELING your glutes under tension. If you're not feeling your glutes contract and load, then you're not doing something right. Slow down, pay attention and move with intention. I'd say the biggest error I see in glute-focused movements are the position of the knees related to the feet/ankles. Never let those knees collapse inwards - always keep them stacked on top of the ankle. This applies to deadlifts, squats, hip thrusts, and band work (especially lateral band work). 

4- Not incorporating unilateral (single-leg) movements: Ensuring we address imbalances in the body is important. This means being equally stable and strong on both sides of our body. If all of your movements are done with both legs, then your imbalances will be hidden and could potentially be made worse. Unilateral training for both upper and lower body is important for everyone, regardless of their goals.

5- Not working in the frontal plane (stepping, squatting, lunging and moving side to side): It's common for people to only move up, down, forward and back. This is particularly common in a CrossFit program, unless you have an intelligent programmer who regularly has you moving in the frontal plane. We need to move laterally (side to side) and also rotate (but that's another topic). Make sure you're stepping out to the side with movements like lateral band work, cossack squats, lateral step-ups, hip abduction work, etc.

6- Lack of variation: The glutes are comprised of several muscles that require a variety of movements for optimal stimulation. To ensure we hit all muscle groups of the glutes and hips, we need a large variety of movements. Don't get stuck doing the same 4 moves over and over again.

Now, let's get into Week 2 of BOOTY GAINZ 2.0!

Workout 1:

4 x 10 sets of barbell hip thrusts

Next superset :

A: 3 x 10 sets of Bulgarian Split squats (each)

B: 3 x 10 sets of banded hip thrusts

2 sets of seated banded abductions (20 reps)

Workout 2:

4 x 10 sets of sumo deadlifts (focus on eccentric)

Next superset :

A: 3 x 10 sets of 3 sec. Paused front squats

B: 3 x 10 sets of 20 banded single leg hip thrusts

4 rounds of lateral banded walking (20 steps left, 20 steps right)

Workout 3:

4 sets of box squats (10 reps)

Next superset :

A: 3 x 10 sets of back extensions

B: 3 x 10 sets of single leg RDLs (each)

2 sets 20-25 frog pumps

You'll notice Week 2 looks very similar to week 1. This is because I want you to master these movements, go a little heavier this week (if possible) and develop a solid foundation. Keep up the intensity and remember to always feel the glutes doing the work. 

Tag me in your BootyGainz posts on IG (@BarbellBombshell).

Happy glute-building, Bombshells!

-Nicole, The O.G. BarbellBombshell 

BOOTY GAINZ 2.0 - How to build a bigger butt!

Bombshells....BOOTY GAINZ 2.0 is here!

We all want to build a firm and shapely butt. But (see what I did there?!) did you know there are a ton of benefits to developing stronger and more function glutes?

- Aids in the elimination of back and knee pain

- Develop more speed and power

-Better hip function

And despite what a lot of people may think, squatting isn't the best way to develop your glutes... #nosquatbooty

And neither is a ton of band work without some serious resistance as a foundation.

So I have developed a 10 week program (3 workouts per week) to progress you ladies through a challenging and effective routine to develop the size and functionality of your glutes.

The truth is, the glutes are some of the strongest muscles in your body... but they're often dysfunctional for a number of reasons.

And most booty building programs (search #booty #glutes on IG... and you'll see what I'm talking about) on the internet fall short... big time. You will see a bunch of gimmicky and ineffective movements, most of which are performed very poorly. 

But don't worry... I gotchu! <3

Not only do you need a wide variety of movements for the glutes but you also need to train in a wide variety of repetitions. 

You need low reps and sets with HEAVY weight.

You need moderate reps and sets with moderate weights.

You'll also benefit from high volume band work.

The key is incorporating all these types of stimuli into a progressive program.

Of course, developing strength and mass takes time... no one will develop glutes of glory in only 10 weeks time.

HOWEVER - you will learn EXACTLY what you need to continue to do in order to stay on the gainz train for months to follow... consider this your booty building bootcamp. 

Each week, I will drop Workout 1 on my YouTube Channel (subscribe so you don't miss it!!!). You will then get the other 2 workouts on the blog (like this!).

The key to ALL of theses movements, no matter how light or heavy you go, no matter how many reps and sets are prescribed... you must FEEL the glutes doing the work. Don't go too heavy... go light at first, focus on maintaining a neutral pelvis position and feel your glutes contracting. SQUEEZE!

I'm super stoked about this! Please share this with all of your friends... anyone is welcome to join us.

And PLEASE tag me in your videos and pictures on IG (@BarbellBombshell). I'd love to see your hard work in progress and help give pointers if wanted.

So let's get after it!!

BOOTY GAINZ 2.0 WEEK 1:

Workout 1:

4 x 10 sets of sumo deadlifts (focus on eccentric)

Next superset :

A: 3 x 10 sets of 3 sec. Paused front squats

B: 3 x 10 sets of 20 banded single leg hip thrusts

4 rounds of lateral banded walking (20 steps left, 20 steps right)

Workout 2:

4 x 10 sets of barbell hip thrusts

Next superset :

A: 3 x 10 sets of Bulgarian Split squats (each)

B: 3 x 10 sets of banded hip thrusts

2 sets of seated banded abductions (20 reps)

Workout 3:

4 sets of box squats (10 reps)

Next superset :

A: 3 x 10 sets of back extensions

B: 3 x 10 sets of single leg RDLs (each)

2 sets 20-25 frog pumps

I wouldn't recommend doing all 3 days in a row;  try to space them out to optimize recovery. Also, replace any of your compound lower body lifts with the Booty Gainz lifts if you're following Booty Gainz 2.0 as a supplemental program and performing them on the same day.

Happy Booty Building.. the pump is real. See ya next week!

-NIcole, The O.G. Barbell Bombshell

What “loving yourself” should mean.

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*** I actually wrote this post over 2 years ago on my gym's blog (it was called SPSC Gym at the time). To this stay it holds true and is still a big struggle for me. My struggle lies in finding the balance between being trustworthy and compassionate but also being honest, firm and standing behind my belief in personal responsibility and accountability.

"This post is coming from the heart. It comes from a good place although it may sting some of you. I’m going to share my feelings in hopes of helping someone out there. So here it goes…

I’ve read and heard a few statements lately from out of shape and overweight women that made me think.. if only you knew how to love yourself and what that means for your body, your life would be very different. There are 2 extremes that come to mind on this topic…

Woman number 1 – We’ve all seen this woman before. She’s very overweight, she’s loud and she’s proud. She claims she is a “real woman” and loves her extremely overweight and unhealthy self. She boldly displays her “voluptuous” body for all to see given the opportunity.

She bashes any woman who is lean, fit and/or skinny because she assumes if you’re any of those things, you are deprived. She thinks a healthy body fat level comes out of self-hatred and punishment.

She assumes anyone who is lean doesn’t know how to “live life and accept themselves”. This woman is CONVINCED that letting yourself go is the same as accepting and loving yourself.

Woman number 2 – I see this woman too often…This woman is overweight, unhappy and does not love herself. In fact, she has given up on herself completely.

She feels she could never love her self or her body unless she was to look a certain way and lose “x” amount of pounds.

She is completely defeated and has given up on being happy with her body. She no longer values herself and doesn’t deem herself worthy of anyone else’s love.

She looks at herself in the mirror and hates what she sees. She hates her body. She is disgusted. She does not want to be seen.

In her eyes, she will “always be the fat girl” and has convinced herself of this hurtful lie.

This woman goes through a roller coaster of diets and binges. Feels motivated temporarily and then feels defeated, leading to the sense of failure and eventually gives up.

I believe in self love.

I believe you must love yourself in order to know true happiness. I believe you must love yourself to allow others to love you. There are certain things you must accept about life, about other people and about yourself. I also believe that many women tend to blur the lines of acceptance and giving up when it comes to their bodies.

I’m not assuming that if you have one of these characteristics or thoughts about yourself, you have all of them. I’m not assuming that women will fall into one or any of the these categories. But I truly believe positivity and being motivated from a loving place.

The first woman I mentioned is the toughest person to influence. They are usually very ignorant in the matter of health and nutrition and frankly don’t care what kind of facts or statistics you present to them.

They don’t want to change. They’re not concerned with their health or quality of life. Most of these women were once unhappy with their bodies.

At some point, they were convinced to accept and love themselves for who they are…that some how turned into some warped sense of what “natural” means for their body – not giving two shits about their bodies and letting it all go.

You are suppose to take care of the things you love. You don’t hurt and neglect things that you love.

You sacrifice for love. You work for love.

The same applies to your body. If you love your body, you wouldn’t fill it with horrible foods and neglect it with lack of exercise, sunshine, water, activity, etc.

This woman infuriates me. The ignorance they spew is heard by the young children in their lives. And they’re wrong..so, so wrong.

You don’t love your body; you’re hurting yourself. You’re hurting others in your life. And their hate and disgust for “thinner women” is what really gets me.

That cynical attitude leads you down a lonely road. I believe the negativity they hold towards other people is really how they feel about themselves.

The loud and proud show is just that, for show. I wish they would realize that loving yourself and accepting yourself doesn’t mean not caring about what happens to your body. 

Loving yourself means taking pride in how you maintain your body. Loving yourself takes work and commitment.

Trying to convince this type of woman to change is extremely difficult. I have found that if they ever change, it was because of some very extreme event or incident that finally opened their eyes to their backwards thinking. I honestly don’t put much energy into negative people like this.

The second woman is where my heart lies. I really want to help these women.

I want them to know how amazing it is to let go of the hate they have for their bodies and learn to love what they’re made of.

It's so liberating to be free from your own negativity. When you’re motivated in a positive way and come from a loving place, your whole perspective changes.

Everyone has things they want to change, improve upon..and that’s totally ok. Its healthy to want to see yourself at your best. 

The key here is YOUR best…the best version of YOU…not someone else’s best.

When you care for your body, you want to fill it with nutritious foods. When you like yourself, you’re motivated to maintain your body.

After all, you only get one body in this lifetime. I’m not saying its easy to do, but it is simple: love yourself.

Take care of yourself. Do it for YOU. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself.

There is nothing wrong with looking in the mirror and saying “I want to lose weight”. It’s possible to be honest with yourself without being hateful. 

I promise you, the body is capable of doing amazing things! You just have to give it the opportunity to shine. And that means feeding it whole, quality foods, sleeping well, staying hydrated, exercising and getting some sunshine.

This woman needs to practice compassion for themselves. They may have had a few years under their belt of self loathing. They’ll need to retrain the way they think about themselves, how they speak about themselves, how they react when they see themselves in the mirror.

They are their own worst critics and its time they lay off!

Learn to find joy in the process of transforming yourself. Learn to love the changes, the challenges, the achievements they will experience.

The thing is, there is no end game here. Fitness and health is a life long pursuit. 

You’re never “done”, you just get better at it.

You must learn to be motivated by love, to value yourself and to do the shit that NEEDS to be done even when you don't feel like doing it.

You need to look yourself in the mirror and say “I’m worth the work. I’m worth the sacrifice. My happiness is worth fighting for!”.

And most importantly, your worth is not based on your ability to lose weight or change your body. You will always have your ups and downs. You will feel defeated and unmotivated at times. But if you learn to truly love yourself, you won’t give up - you move forward. It's your only option.

Your body and physique does not define you. Embrace your body, its shape, its limits and respect yourself."

<3

-Nicole, The O.G. Barbell Bombshell

Lay off the numbers... your progress is deeper than the data

If you’re not measuring, how do you track your progress? I believe in tracking... it's the only way to know if you're A - improving, B- stagnant or C- going in the wrong direction.

Below, I have listed some traditional metrics that are used to gauge progress with your nutrition and training.

  1. Body composition (% fat, %lean muscle mass, etc.)

  2. Body part girths (thighs, waist, arms, hips, etc.)

  3. Athletic performance measures (strength, speed, power, endurance, etc.)

  4. Blood variables (cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc)

  5. Visual progress (progress photographs)

However, I think that people place too much emphasis on these metrics alone. It's so easy to become fixated on that data and forget about learning to tune into our bodies.

Aside from tracking your body composition and taking progress photos, I would like for you to consider some other ways to help you determine if your nutrition plan is serving you positively.

I need you to understand that our bodies are complex. They change in many ways — ways that are often intangible or subtle. We feel and function differently, though we can’t always say exactly how. Long before we lose any weight or body fat, small signs of progress show themselves… you just have to listen to and get in tune with your body. 

  1. You feel satisfied after meals.
  2. You have more energy
  3. You’re sleeping better
  4. Your clothes are fitting just a little bit looser (or tighter)
  5. You’re in a better mood
  6. You’re stronger and have more endurance in your workouts
  7. It feels more like a lifestyle than a diet

Remember, I'm all about focusing on positive progress and avoiding goals like perfection. Also, change isn't linear. You will not always continue to improve or improve at the same rate. Your progress will plateau or become stagnant - especially when you're tracking with the data listed above. This is when you have to mentally check yourself, stop fixating on data and focus on all the feels :) 

If you’re in a “diet mentality”, each day feels like a new battle to avoid the “bad foods”.

So let’s flip that. Focus on adding, not subtracting.

Try not to fixate on things like...

“avoiding” your “junk food”.

“avoiding” your prepackaged meals.

“avoiding” dessert.

Just add so much healthy stuff — water, lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables — that there’s less room or desire left over for food that doesn’t support your goals.

And at first, look for what you gain rather than what you lose. Like muscle. Strength. Confidence. Energy. Sanity. Satisfaction.

You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you… now it’s time for YOU to believe in you.

You owe it to yourself. You are worthy of your goals. You are worth the investment.

Now go lift your weights and eat your vegetables <3

-Nicole, The O.G. Barbell

Will you just grow up and eat your damn vegetables?!

I know it may be hard to believe, but I have conversations with grown adults almost daily who eat zero, zilch... NO fresh vegetables.

The common excuse I hear....  "I just don't like them." 

Look, I don't always LOVE vegetables or crave the flavor of green beans but I know they're good for me. So I just eat them. It's very simple.

As an adult, you just do shit that you have to do - like paying your rent/mortgage, cleaning your home, picking up dog poop, etc.

Yes, I'm kind of being a sarcastic ass right now... but it's only because I care <3

Here is the deal: everyone benefits from eating more plants. One of the best and easiest things you can do to improve your health is to include veggies in almost every meal or snack.

If you're not a fan of vegetables (yet!) more than likely, you just haven't found a way you like a certain vegetable prepared. You had one boring, bland experience with Brussels Sprouts and you wrote them off as "blah." Don't judge! There are literally millions of recipes on Pinterest that you can experiment with!

Vegetables don't have to be "meh"... they can be prepared in a way that is packed full of flavor and complimentary to many dishes - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

You have to play around with different recipes and ways of preparing them.

 

First let’s talk about why plants are important for us and then we’ll discuss how to make this a habit, one meal at a time.

A higher level of fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with a lower incidence of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Colon cancer
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Prostate cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Eye disease
  • Asthma
  • Cervical cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Gastric cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

That's a terrifying list... what more do you need to know?

In particular, leafy greens offer some of the greatest benefits. But keep in mind that most produce is good produce.
 

Variety is also crucial. Studies have shown a direct correlation between the variety of fruits and vegetables eaten and the benefits seen from the nutrients.

More fruits & veg = better diet overall

Diets with a foundation of fruits and vegetables tend to have higher levels of dietary fibre, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals.

You can use vegetable juice if consuming the whole vegetable is a problem, but keep in mind that you do miss out on the some of the benefits. Vegetable and fruit juices typically extract the fibre, which is important.

For those who justify a lack of vegetables in their diet by taking a multivitamin — sorry, but supplementing individual vitamin intake, as opposed to actually eating the fruits and vegetables, does not provide the same benefits.

How to put this to practice?

 

 

  • Aim to eat at least 1-2 fist sized servings of vegetables with most meals.
  • Aim to get one cupped handful of fruits at several meals as well
  • If this is a lot more vegetables that you're currently eating, slowly work your way up from where you are now. Add a fist here and there until you reach your goal of 1 to 2 at most meals.
You can do this with a smoothie but remember the protein rule! Making a meal replacement shake that includes protein and plants is a great way to kick this habit off.

 

When it comes to increasing your fiber intake, you should do so slowly. Remember, this is all about creating sustainable habits. You don't want to load up on a ton of fiber, give yourself a gnarly stomach ache followed by a few lovely experiences in the bathroom.

So put your big girl/boy panties on and eat yo' veggies!

 

-Nicole, The O.G. Barbell Bombshell

Binary thinking: why your diets aren't working.

The Binary Nutrition Mindset: The trusty All or Nothing Approach 

You know... when the approach makes people feel like they're either "on" or "off" the diet. Here are some common diet examples:

- 21/30 day program to "detox" or "cleanse"

- A rigid done-for-you meal plan

- Macros you have to hit with perfection forcing you to weigh every grain of rice and spinach leaf.

- A list of "good" foods you can eat without limits and a list of "bad" foods to completely avoid.

All of these approaches set people up for black and white thinking... they're either following the strict rules or they're not.

This leads to a vicious dieting cycle: restriction, stress, giving up, binging, feeling guilty and then on to try the next temporary "diet".

This needs to stop.

The pillars of your success lie on the foundation of consistency (not perfection), flexibility and patience - regardless of the detailed food part.

The truth is, addressing the psychology (your mindset) is far more powerful to address than the physiology (calories, macronutrients, micronutrients, etc).

You need to focus on changing how you think about food. How you think about your body. How you approach making changes to your nutrition and habits. And most importantly, the why behind it all.

This is what is referred to as a Flexible Dieting approach.

Flexibility is a mindset... going with the flow, having patience, being adaptable, having forgiveness and ditching the rigid and restrictive mindset. The flexible dieting mindset can be applied to many different diet or nutrition protocols.

The truth: We do not have a weight loss problem in the US, we have a sustainability problem... people jump into diets that don’t support their long term health and fitness goals because they're too rigid or restrictive. 

They’re not sustainable, they’re not practical and they’re short lived.. leading to weight gain.

And so the diet cycle continues. These diets fail people not because they don't yield body composition changes, it's because they only changed the action... they didn't change the mindset that will lead to the action becoming a habit. Or the action doesn't align with their unique why and lifestyle.

In research, dietary restraint is highly associated with people who can lose weight. Flexibility is what allows people to lose weight, keep it off and maintain their happiness while doing so. If people think there are too many rules, too many restraints... they'll quit.

So determining the appropriate amount of flexibility for your situation is very important.

Whatever dietary approach you choose to take (ketogenic, paleo, plant-based, intermittent fasting, IIFYM, etc) you’re not going to be 100% accurate. You’ll mis-track, you’ll misread the label. You'll eat the "wrong food". You'll over eat. You'll undereat. You'll totally blow it some days. AND THIS IS ALL OK!! 

We must learn to stop the negativity right there…  Remember: CONSISTENCY, NOT PERFECTION.

The “on” or “off” binary approach rarely works.

If we’re talking long-term success and sustainability, adherence is the most important variable to any program. Think about it...  the harder it is to stick to a plan, the less likely it is that you are going to achieve your goals using it.

So if you're still thinking I'm either compliant or not, avoiding or indulging... you're only giving yourself two rigid options. 

So chill. You have this body for life... learn to take care of it for the long term, not what you can white-knuckle your way through for the next 4-8 weeks.

-Nicole, The O.G. Barbell Bombshell

3 Super Cute Little Tips for Fat Loss

Beauty and health magazines have this perfect little algorithm plastered all over their covers to sell millions of copies....

 "(single digit number) moves to (flatten, tone, burn, torch, tighten, firm, etc) in (single digit number) days!!"

My first order of business (and pretty large obstacle) when working with a client is to manage their expectations - for both exercise and nutrition. I have to try to undue all of the "truths" they have heard and been bombarded with for years. It's a tough job but I owe it to these lovely people to be honest, informative and empowering with the REAL information.

So I came up with a few of my own sassy, sexy and useful tips for you to share with your girlfriends ;)

  1. Stop looking for tips, tricks and shortcuts. Good one, Nicole! But seriously, changing your body composition takes consistent effort. Pick a program and stick with it for 4-6 weeks before you decide if it's effective or not. Understand that positive and lasting changes to your body takes time and everyone experiences change at different rates.
  2. Stop spending money and effort researching supplements. Your diet will be the biggest factor at play. Invest in food and food education. Supplements are there to supplement your diet; they're no where near as important as sound nutrition practices.  If you don't know where to start or what you should be eating, maybe it's time to hire someone who will teach you how to do just that. What type of money do you spend on other things that don't support your goals? Remember, your spending habits reflect what you value most in your life, regardless of what you tell yourself.
  3. Before you start yet another nutrition or exercise attempt, get your mind right. Yes, developing good and breaking bad lifestyle habits takes work and effort but it's not as hard as you're allowing yourself to believe. We convince ourselves of lies every day. These lies come in the form of fear, doubt and negative self-image (that little voice inside your head). Deep down inside, if you really feel like something is difficult or impossible, then you're totally right. If that voice inside your head is telling you that something is too hard or that you should quit, that's exactly what you'll do. You may have all of the best intentions, tools and resources in the world but if you really feel in the back of your mind "I'll try it but I don't think it's going to work or stick" then you're doomed. Chances are, this is effecting your ability to improve in many areas of your life.. not just your body.

Number 3 is a HUGE one. Focusing on changing your mindset and self image will GREATLY effect your ability to succeed, in any area of your life.  I highly recommend reading "Psycho-Cybernetics".  It's an amazing book that explains how your self-image has complete control over an individual’s ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) any goal.  The book is filled with techniques for improving and managing self-image, allowing you to crush goals and break barriers you didn't know you had.

Stop falling for the empty promises and fall in love with scientifically backed truths. You owe it to yourself, Bombshell <3

Stay sassy my friends.

-Nicole 

Should you try to count your macros? Maybe, maybe not.

There are two distinct methods I use for my nutrition clients: A habit-based approach and a macronutrient-based approach. 

First off, let’s distinguish the difference between the two approaches, consider the pros and cons of both and lastly how to decide which one is right for you at this point in your journey.

Habit-based Nutrition: This approach is not unique to your eating habits, it is used by people to quit smoking, run a marathon, save money, etc. A habit-based approach to changing your nutrition means focusing on one behavior at a time.

It is not a set of rules or strict guidelines. You select a singular habit or behavior (whichever one yields the greatest improvement) to master each month, slowly refining and changing your diet over time without the stress of changing too many things at once. You focus all of your energy into changing one small but impactful thing at a time, only moving onto the next habit once you’ve displayed mastery of the current one.

For example, you might start by eating breakfast every day, increasing your fruit and veggie intake to 5 servings per day, taking 1 gram of fish oil per day or eating lean protein with each meal and snack.

You get the idea.

Based on your own personal limiting factors, there are likely dozens of simple habits that you can put to work immediately. The key, however, is to work ONLY ONE habit at a time.

Pros:

  • Has a large focus on creating long-term habits by focusing on one small thing at a time
  • Creates a lot of positive momentum since each habit yields a positive result but is easy to master one by one
  • Provides people with specific action to take (eat breakfast each day), instead of food rules (avoid sugar)
  • Slow approach with minimal stress and challenges. Too many changes at once leads to people getting overwhelmed, stressed and ultimately quit
  • It’s highly individualized and infinitely scalable. There are tons of small habits one could choose to work on based on their personal limiting factors and challenges
  • People are more likely to stay on track since there is essentially no stress of strict food rules

Cons:

  • Not as precise as a macro approach (no measuring, weighing or counting)
  • Minimal structure and lots of room for interpretation - some people thrive with a lot of structure
  • Could take slower to achieve desired results since you’re tackling a singular habit a time

Macronutrient-based nutrition: Macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) are present in all foods. Your unique macronutrient needs are based on a number of factors like your current body composition, your activity level and your goals. This approach goes into very specific do’s and dont’s, rules and guidelines. Unlike the habit-based approach which focuses on one behavior at a time, the macro approach gives you clearly defined calories and amounts of macronutrients to consume each day. Think of macronutrient approach as a food budget; you have a certain amount of protein, carbs and fats to eat each day. You have the freedom to “spend” those macronutrients on foods that you enjoy, you just have to stick to the clearly defined budget.

For example, an individual may have a daily goal of 2000 calories. Those 2000 calories, are made up of 150 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs and 66 grams of fat.

Pros:

  • Establishes very clear rules. No room for interpretation or gray area
  • Precise, specific and measurable
  • Provides people with a systematic approach to developing their meals and shopping list
  • Faster results achieved since macronutrients are calculated based on the individual’s body composition, activity level and goal
  • Great for individuals who have specific deadlines or weight requirements for a sport
  • Great for people who are already lean and want to take their physique or performance to the highest levels

Cons:

  • The macro approach is very accurate and effective but is an advanced approach to eating
  • Requires an understanding of food types and macronutrient sources (which foods to eat for protein)
  • Requires food preparation and cooking skills (you should know your way around the kitchen and already be in the habit of cooking your own food
  • Food scales, measuring cups and a digital tracking app is usually required to ensure accuracy of intake
  • Difficult to follow a macro approach if you don’t have control of your food (going out to eat often, travels or doesn’t prepare their own food)
  • Requires a lot of self discipline, time to plan meals, shop and prepare food
  • Can be overwhelming for a lot of people who are new to making dietary changes

So how do you know which approach will allow you to find success? There are a few things to think about: current body composition, what are you current eating and lifestyle habits like, how vast if your food knowledge and what are your goals. 

I categorize my clients into 3 levels...

Noobs: People who are completely new to eating well (they may ask “so what is a protein?”)

  • High body fat % (over 18% men, 25% women
  • Poor kitchen skills, set-up and grocery shopping skill
  • Reveals little knowledge of food type, timing and amount

This person would do best with a slow, habit-based approach focused on basic food education. Learning how to navigate through the grocery store, meal planning strategies to get more whole foods and working to eliminate highly processed foods.


Weekend Warrior: People who have a basic understanding but need guidance (they may say “I eat pretty well.”)

  • Moderate body fat % (12-18% men, 20-25% women
  • Average kitchen skills and grocery shopping habit
  • Above average knowledge of correct food type but lacks the ability to apply concepts consistently

This person usually has the basics down in terms of food selection. They may be plenty comfortable navigating through the grocery store and preparing food. But this person still needs to learn more about moderating overall calories, portion sizes for their body type and eating the right foods at the right times of day. This person could benefit from continuing to refining the habit-based approach OR taking a macro approach - it all depends on what they have mastered and what their limiting factors are.

Serious Athlete and Fitness Veteran: People who eat the right foods in the generally the right amounts and times (they usually say “check out my spreadsheet or MyFitnessPal diary.”)

  • Low body fat % (less than 12% men, less than 20% women)
  • Excellent kitchen skills and grocery shopping habits
  • Is very involved with their food
  • Above average knowledge of food types, amount and timing

These individuals are typically already lean and want to optimize their physique or improve their sports performance.  These clients have little room for error - the small things matter. They would benefit from detailed calorie and macro goals since they already have the basics mastered (they’re plenty familiar with optimal sources of protein, the benefits of carbs, etc).

Your nutrition should be progressive just like your exercise or physical activity. If you're just starting to pay attention to what you eat, then you should definitely take the habit-based approach first and master the basics. If you have a fundamental understanding AND consistent application of those basic concepts, then you can take your eating approach to the next level (only if you're wanting to take your body to the next level).

It's your body, you decide. If you're looking for personalized coaching, accountability and support from me, you can fill out an application form here. 

-Nicole, The O.G. Barbell Bombshell