DeAnna Dimmitt Mind Body Fitness


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How To Get Strong Sexy Legs

DeAnna Dimmitt Mind Body Fitness

Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s almost time for shorts and skirts.  After a long, cold winter aren’t you tired of wearing long pants and floor length skirts? Summer makes us want to run free and that means the hot and heavy clothes are out! But… is there something holding you back from feeling awesome in a sundress?

To strengthen and tone your legs plus gain the confidence to show them off, you’ll need to learn abut your leg muscles and which exercises are effective at targeting them.

Let’s take a look at the upper and lower legs:

Upper Legs

There are two major muscle groups in the upper leg, they are the Quadriceps and the Hamstrings.

The Quadriceps are the muscles located on the front of your thighs. Their main function is knee extension, the movement that straightens the legs.

The Hamstrings are the muscles located on the back of your thighs and their main function is knee flexion.  Knee flexion is the movement that brings the heel up towards the buttocks.

Lower Legs

The two major muscles in your lower legs are the calf muscles which include the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, and the dorsiflexors.

The gastrocnemius and soleus, otherwise known as the calf muscles are located on the back of your lower legs. They are involved in plantar flexion, which allows us to extend our ankles and point our toes.

The dorsiflexors are located on the front of your lower legs and are primarily used for dorsiflexion, the movement in which you bring your toes up toward your shins.  When someone says they have “shin splints”, it is the dorsiflexors that are affected.

Here are a couple moves to strengthen and tone both upper and lower legs

Pendulum Lunges: This is one of my all time favorite moves for strengthening the legs and also developing core strength and dynamic balance.

Stand with the feet hip width apart.  Take a big step back with your left leg, bending your right knee so your right thigh is parallel to the floor (keeping your right knee behind your toes) and your left thigh is perpendicular to the floor (backward lunge). Exhale, and pressing with your right foot swing the left leg back up and in front of you into a forward lunge so your left thigh is parallel to the floor and your right thigh is perpendicular.

That is the technical way saying that the stationary foot will not move and the “swing leg” will alternate between forward and backward lunges.  Do a full set of 8 to 12 reps on each leg.

Plie’ Hops: A heart pounding, fat burning, plyrometric move for chiseled legs.

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, with your feet turned out and knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your hips. Lower your hips so that your knees bend to about 45 degrees.

I like to do Plie’ Hops in a four count.  While counting in your head, do 3 deep plie squats and add in the hop as you come up from the 3rd squat. In one explosive movement, push from your feet to straighten your legs and hop into the air. Both feet should come off the ground. The 4th count will be the squat that results from the landing of the hop. Repeat.

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Relax. Breathe. DO IT!

I want to tell you guys a little story in a largely uncensored way. So, for those of you that don’t know me, or have overly delicate sensibilities, consider yourself warned.

Last night I was having a conversation with a personal trainer friend of mine who was expressing the frustration he feels when people placate his message. I understood completely what he was saying and have experienced the same thing many times myself. What I’m talking about is when someone comes to us for help but then won’t help themselves. They tell us things like “I can’t drink water because it doesn’t taste like soda. I won’t eat vegetables because they don’t taste like Mac N Cheese. I won’t dig deep for the workout because I don’t like to be sweaty and out of breath.” Basically, it is impossible to help someone who is not willing to change their behavior.

I understood him very well, not just from a personal trainer point of view, but also because I, just like everyone else, have stumbling blocks and challenges and issues that persist because I just don’t feel like putting in the effort to change them and/or because I see them as bigger and badder than they really are.

This story has a few parts, by the way.

This morning, during a particularly challenging round of Dynamic Body Sculpt, I could see people starting to run out of gas so, to fire up what was left of their motivation, I said in my most fiery voice, “Successful people do what other people will not do. So relax and breathe and DO IT!”

After class, I was standing outside the gym talking with one of my students. She’s been with me a long time and we’ve developed a good friendship. She was telling me about about how she’s going to spend the afternoon visiting her friend who is barely 36 years old and in the hospital dying of cancer. As she started to relay the various horrors of the situation (and, trust me, there are many), I was taken back to when I woke up this morning. I woke up feeling heavy, thinking that the (comparatively minor) troubles and obstacles in my own life were very big and very complicated and probably the center of the whole entire universe and, you know, boo-hoo and stuff.

Every now and then, I believe that the universe taps me on the shoulder (or just straight up kicks me in the ass) and tells me something important. Often times, after toning it down a little, I share these things here on my blog.

So, my friend is telling me this story when I feel a little tap on my shoulder and the universe hands me a proverbial telegram that says, “quit your fucking whining and get your shit together.”

Whoa there, Nellie, that’s a little harsh, don’t you think?

Well guys, I never said this was diplomatic. And while I would never suggest that anyone engage in negative self talk, I am suggesting in the plainest way I know how that if you are lucky enough to be both, A. alive and, B. not suffering with a terminal illness, that you get serious about rooting out and identifying any and everything that is in your way. If something is preventing you from reaching your full potential, it’s gotta go. Shine a light on it, give it a name, take it apart, tear it down.

Start today.

Relax.

Breathe.

DO IT!


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The Wellness Triangle: Priorities Of Progress

DeAnnaDimmitt_TrianglePose

When discussing the concept of well-being with my personal training clients, I always explain to them that there are no isolated problems just as there no isolated solutions. To maintain a state of well-being requires conditioning and balance in all areas of life, not just at the gym.

The Wellness Triangle is made up of three components: Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Stress Management. Every aspect of your self care regime falls under one of these headings and no one part is more or less important than the others. For instance, physical activity can become a source of excessive stress if it is not supported by a foundation of nutrition, periods of relaxation and perhaps most importantly, the ability to diffuse stress. Nutrition is critically important but the body is not able to make optimum use of it’s fuel if it is sedentary and stressed out. And finally, I don’t believe it is possible to have any kind of real stress management in the absence of physical activity and nutrition.

When all three legs of the triangle are being tended to equally and the body comes into balance an interesting thing known as synergy occurs. With synergy we are able to become more than just the sum total of our parts. We are able to excel at an astounding rate. We are stronger, faster, smarter, happier and more capable than we ever imagined.

So why then do so many of us only attain synergy in small amounts, and for limited durations? Why do we work so hard to get up only to crash back down and start over again? Have you ever noticed that when life is going well, you start to attract more activity around you and then BAM! you get really sick and everything falls apart?

There is only one underlying reason for this and that is failing to understand the importance of balance. Can an F-16 jet break the sound barrier if the engine is ill-maintained and the gas tank is full of Diet Coke and Big Macs? Um, no.

I recently observed this cycle in myself and for the first time actually identified it for what it was. I call it “Too Busy Syndrome”. I was, as I always am, working hard to better myself, to make change, to inspire and help other people to do the same. I was going to bed on time, eating well, exercising (of course), I was mediating twice a day, taking my vitamins and even doing my sinus rinse every evening. All of these things are a practice, a regime that takes discipline to perform on a daily basis.

Things were going well, and because I was operating at a heightened energy level, I was attracting more activity into my life. But then I got busy and something happened. I began to prioritize the busyness. I would say to myself, I don’t have time to eat a proper meal or I don’t have time to meditate this morning after also not having time to sleep properly the night before.

And guess what happened? Yep, I got sick. I was flying too high and too fast with no foundation to sustain that level of activity. I did not neglect my workouts but I did neglect nutrition and stress management which caused the physical activity to become more stress than my compromised state of well-being could support.

While I was sick, I naturally became very motivated to resume all of my practices and, as I felt my state of well-being return, that was when the realization of the cycle and the importance of balance really hit me. Although I have lived through this cycle many times, I was so busy being inside of it that I never saw the big picture. I never saw how my own actions opened the door to illness. I never realized that no matter how busy I may be, progress only occurs in the presence of sustainability.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE Fitness) defines balance as: The ability to maintain the body’s position over it’s base of support within stability limits, both statically and dynamically.

Neglecting any one part of the Wellness Triangle erodes the base of support and creates a structure that is out of balance and cannot stand.

Practices first. Busyness second. These are the priorities of progress.