Juicy - A Six Month Fitness Journey
If you struggle to gain weight or just want to increase your muscle and strength, this is for you! Sample meals and workouts included! Keep in mind, every BODY is different. If we all lived the exact same lifestyle, we would all still look different!
In a previous post earlier this year, I discussed the steps I took toward building consistency in working out after over half a year of dormancy. Between turning my morning at-home workouts into an event I look forward to (complete with cameos from my cat) to discovering a fitfluencer I could relate to and gyms reopening - it was the perfect recipe for brewing up a new goal: building my bootay!
"Juicy" by Doja Cat is, of course, part of my leg day playlist
I will say growing up, I've always liked big butts (and I cannot lie) over the heavily marketed thin or hourglass shape in women's magazines back in the 90s-2000’s. And it seems the world finally agrees, as BBL’s are running rampant these days! Understanding that genetics plays a big role in our body types, it never really occurred to me (and maybe many others) that I can build the booty I want without a risky surgery. To be clear, I'm not judging those who do, but am pointing out there is a less risky and inexpensive way to build a backside.
My struggle had always been: 1. I have a small appetite, 2. in purposely trying to gain weight by just eating more, I notice I gain in the stomach, not the hips, and 3. the Youtubers I followed only seemed to focus on fat loss and sculpting their already perky bottoms rather than on how to build it in the first place! *sigh* Turns out I was just following the wrong crowd. Through my research, I curated tons of videos and articles on the proper nutrition and exercises to fit my goals, joined the nearest gym, changed up my diet, and three months in, these were the results!
From left to right: Jan 2nd - 35.5", Feb 2nd - 36", Mar 24th - 37"
THE GAINS, THE LIFT!! You might even notice it looks like my mid-section is struggling a bit to breathe inside my clothes...and I love it! I felt a noticeable difference in my rear at month one, so much that I literally could not keep my hands off it! Gaining a consistent half inch per month around the hips - today July 14, 2021, I'm at just under 38 inches and 15 lbs stronger...I finally gained my "freshman-15" (many years later)! Clothes I've had for 10+ years even fit differently now.
I need new pants ;)
I read somewhere that motivation comes from results, and I am definitely living it!
Too often, people quit RIGHT before they would've started seeing results. So regardless of your goal, I encourage you to stick it out consistently, for at least a month, and let those results drive you even further! Aside from the added physical strength and confidence boost, I am proud of myself for being able to stick to a regimen and so encouraged by the results I've seen that it's become an addiction.
So what is this new addiction?
Lift heavy, twice a week! I focus on targeted glute workouts in the gym with 2-3 days of resting the legs in between for recovery and to allow the glutes to rebuild stronger and bigger. While resting the glutes, focus on other body parts or do high intensity interval training (HIIT) as cardio.
HIIT/cardio twice a week to burn fat. Since you can't target fat loss, there is a delicate balance between building and cutting so that you don't lose the booty gains but don't gain a belly that I'm still figuring out. On days I don't lift, I do 20-30 minutes of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that also target my glutes such as jump squats, jump rope, plyometric lunges, burpees, basically anything that incorporates jumping so that I'm both activating glutes and increasing my heart rate!
Supplement workouts to maximize performance and recovery with:
Pre-workout energy drink before cardio/HIIT so that I’m energized
BCAAs (branch-chain amino acids) during lifting sessions to decrease muscle fatigue
Protein shake post-lifting for muscle recovery/building - whey or plant-based, and
Creatine (ideally) every day also for recovery/building - sometimes added to a shake but you can drink in juice or water too - the one I have is flavorless!
I eat that lunch! (Ok, no more Doja references....) An important, yet overlooked, part of gaining muscle is to eat in a caloric surplus to feed those gains! Think of it like a pregnant woman eating more to feed her unborn baby. Given my small appetite, I had to be hypervigilant (see step 5) and unfortunately, force myself to eat when I wasn't hungry. Of course, I gained fat and a little stomach, but also gained the booty, because this time, I was working it out! Over the past month though, I started cutting back to focus on flattening the tummy, and my hip measurements yo-yo between 37.5 and 38 inches as I struggle to keep up the gains.
Track my progress. I used an online calculator to figure out my ideal macros (ratio of carbs, protein, and fats) and approximate calories I'd need in order to gain weight (just Google "macro calculator" - I tried a few because they all gave slightly different recommendations). I track every workout in my Notes app. And I used MyFitnessPal for the first few months to track meals and daily macros. I won't lie, I've almost always gone over my fat intake goals and never reach my carb goals. So my focus is always reaching my protein goal. (Take your weight and consume close to that number in grams - I started at 105lbs, and aimed to eat 80-100g protein a day).
I aim to consume 20-30g protein per meal. A trick here for me was to not overcomplicate meals by:
1. Not focusing too much on making foods "go together"
2. Not using too many ingredients or complex recipes
3. Supplementing with shakes or bars as needed
Breakfast - a mix of high carbs, protein, and healthy fat:
1/4 cup of oats with blueberries/bananas, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and two soft boiled eggs
Peanut butter and banana on whole grain toast with 2 soft boiled eggs
Whole grain protein-enriched cereal (like Kashi) and Greek yogurt with blueberries, honey, and granola
Turkey bacon and avocado toast
Snacks - high protein, carbs, or healthy fats:
Whey or plant protein bar
Salad with chicken, fruit, and nuts
Complex Weight Gainer shake (higher in calories than a protein shake for those going for a caloric surplus)
Avocado toast (I like mine with red onion, lemon juice, and paprika!)
Peanut butter and banana toast
Quick Lunch or Dinner high in carbs and protein:
Canned tuna with mayo on whole grain bread with avocado
Spaghetti with ground meat and tomato sauce
Baked chicken breast and baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon
Egg salad (boiled egg and mayo) on whole grain bread (on days I haven't had eggs for breakfast)
Baked honey garlic salmon with sweet potato or jasmine rice
A meal kit from a delivery service, like Every Plate! Admittedly not the healthiest if you are trying to lose weight, but it is the tastiest and most cost effective one I've tried and removes the pain of figuring out what to eat! Here is great article comparing all the meal delivery kit options available to you!
The below generally takes me 1.5-2 hrs, start to finish. Also when it comes to weights, the heavier you can go without compromising form, the better! For the first week or so, your glutes should definitely ache the following day. Just remember to eat, hydrate, and SLEEP!
I've placed a * next to exercises you can find demonstrated in my Instagram highlights!
1. Warm-up (ONE of the below)
5 mins on stairclimber, alternating high speed and low speed with kickbacks
1/2 mile on treadmill alternating sprint and jog
5-10 min HIIT cardio (think high knees, burpees, mountain climbers, jump squats, etc.) 20-30 sec on with 10-15 sec rest in between and repeat
2. Glute Activations (1-2 sets of 10-20 reps each) to fire up the glutes before the heavy lifts Pick at least 3:
Straight leg kickbacks with rubber resistance band
Fire hydrants with rubber resistance band*
Glute bridge with hip abduction at top with cloth resistance band*
Crab walk with cloth resistance band*
Lying hip abductions with rubber resistance band
Donkey kicks with rubber resistance band*
3A. Sample Workout 1 (3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each)
Single leg press*
Hip abduction machine*
Reverse lunges with barbell
Hip bridges with barbell
3B. Sample Workout 2 (3-4 sets of 10-15 reps each)
Single leg hip bridges with dumbbell*
Standing leg raise with weight plate*
Sumo squats with weight*
Hip abduction machine*
4. Burn Out (ONE of the below)
Box Jumps* (10, rest, 10, rest, until exhaustion - aiming for 100)
Jump rope (100, rest, 100, rest, until exhaustion - aiming for 500)
Stationary Bike (until exhaustion, aiming for 5 mins)
June 18, 2021 ;)