domingo, 16 de octubre de 2016

10 different ways to do squats and get amazing glutes and legs

On its own a squat is one of the most beneficiall fitness exercises to work your lower body, specifically glutes and legs due to the  big muscle group involved. It’s the perfect exercise in any itness programs aimed at strengthen, define and tone.

This is one of the reasons why squats are one most popular exercises, but repeating the same squat over and over again can lead to lose motivation and hit a muscle plateau.

Here are 10 different ways to squat that will help you make sustancial progress.

Don’t try to do all 10 in the same workout. 


Stand up, feet parallel, strech your legs (don’t lock your knees) and keep your back upright. Bend your knees and lower your hip to the ground. You can do the exercise with or without weights for extra intensitiy, holding a dumbell on each arm.

A variation of this exercise is the so called ATG squat (Ass to Grass squat), in which you lower your hip below your knees. Check there is no knee or back pain if you go for this one. 


Classic squat starting position, but this time hold the barbell across your shoulders in front of the body, look for the most confortable resting position.


This exercise have their roots in weightlifting and it is widely used nowadays in crossfit boxes. It will help you train your lower body apart from arms and shoulders too. 


This is an excellent exercise to tone your glutes, due to the great amount of muscle fiber required to generate the power to make you jump. It’s also a great move for weight loss.

I don’t recommend you use an extra weight for this exercise, to avoid any muscle or joint pain. 


Rest your back on a wall, bend your knees and hold your position for a few seconds. It’s this easy!

Isometric or hold squats are a great way to strengthen your quads, although you will only gain strength on the angle you are doing the exercise. You may want to use different knee angles within the same set (20 seconds at 90 degrees; 20 seconds at 120 degrees…) 


This is a mix between a squat and a reverse lunge, a very challenging and effective exercise to tone your lower body.

1  Start by standing about 10-15 cms in front of a flat bench with your back facing the bench.

2  Move one foot back so that your toe is resting on the flat bench. Your other foot should be stationary in front of you. Keep your head up at all times as looking down will get you off balance and also maintain a straight back.

3  As you inhale, slowly lower your leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. At this point, your knee should be over your toes. Leading with the chest and hips and contracting the quadriceps, elevate your leg back to the starting position as you exhale.

4 Switch legs and repeat the movement.

Tip: ensure you don’t feel any hip or lower back pain.


Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out at 45 degrees. Put both hands on your hips.

Bend your knees to 45 degrees and lift your heels off the floor and squeeze your glutes

Slowly lower your heels back and straighten your legs


This is a normal squat, with a much shorter ROM span (Range of Movement). Once you’ve started the movement and your hip is down, perform a series of short bounces further down as many as you can endure


Start on a  squat position.

Bend your elbows so your hands are in front of your chest, optionally holding weights. Step your right foot out to the side and squat down. Push off with your right foot back to center and repeat on the left side.


Building up a one-legged squat can be difficult, so approach it as a long-term project. The one-legged squat requires mastery of your bodyweight, balance, and skill. When mastered, it is an excellent and impressive way to build strength throughout the lower body.

Pick up a disc or a kettlebell and hold it by the horn.

Hold one leg off of the floor and squat down on the other.

Squat down by flexing the knee and sitting back with the hips, holding the kettlebell up in front of you.

Hold the bottom position for a second and then reverse the motion, driving through the heel and keeping your head and chest up.

Lower yourself again and repeat
Personal Trainer

Alberto Lázaro, personal trainer

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lunes, 10 de octubre de 2016

Chickpea salad with surimi elvers

Here’s a very healthy, simple, and easy to prepare salad for this time of the year, when is sizzling hot outside. This is a balanced meal, packed with good nutrients that will keep you hydrated as well.

It requires minimum preparation time and you can enjoy it cold or warm, depending to personal taste.

As a fitness blog, we’re committed to help you learn ways to take care of yourself, nutrition included.

Follow these simple steps and save time for other activities.

Serves 2- 3 people:


- 1 can boiled chickpeas (500 gr.)

- 200 gr surimi elvers

- 1 ripe tomato

- 1 cucumber

- 1 spring onion

- 1 garlic clove, peeled

- Dressing: extra virgin olive oil, balsamic Modena vinegar, salt


For the salad: drain any excess liquid from the chickpeas jar. If necessary, soak them in water and drain to remove any saltiness. Place chickpeas in a salad bowl and add 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, dress and set apart.

Chop tomato, cucumber and spring onion into very thin and small cubes. Add to the chickpeas and put some salt to taste.

Heat a pan with a drizzle of olive oil and sauté garlic clove to infuse the oil with its fragrance and then remove. Add surimi elvers and when cooked, set aside and allow them to cool.

Mix elvers with chickpeas and the vegetables. Pour a bit of balsamic vinegar (again, to taste) and that’s it!

Bon appetite!!

4 exercises to tone up your arms

Expressions such as bingo wings are common ways to refer to our triceps muscles when these lack tone and strength.

We are perhaps more focused on getting toned glutes, abs and legs and don’t place so much importance on the arms in general.

However, arms workouts are essential as part of any any serious fitness routine.

Let me introduce 4 very effective exercises that will help you get toned and strong arms.

3 of them target triceps and the other, biceps to enable a full arm workout.

Triceps Dips (back of upper arms)

3 sets, 12 repetitions, 30’’ rest between each series.

- Sit on the edge of a bench or a chair and place your hands next to your hips.

- Straighten your legs out in front of you

- Lower your bottom off the chair until you reach a 90-degree angle at your elbows.

- Push yourself up and straighten your ams.

- Don’t lock your elbows

Warning: stop doing the exercise if you experience any shoulder or elbow pain.

Overhead Triceps Extension (back of upper arms)

3 sets, 12 repetitions, 30’’ rest between each series.

- Hold a dumbbell in one hand and extend it up to the ceiling

- Lower the dumbbell to your shoulder blade

- Extend your arm up to the ceiling but don’t lock your elbow

- Repeat on the other side

Biceps Curls

3 sets, 12 repetitions, 30’’ rest between each series.

- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward

- Bend your arms, lifting the weight until your hands touch your shoulders

- Keep your elbows tucked into your side

- Go back to the starting position.

 Tips: Keep your upper body still. Don’t swing your back and engage your core.

Press-ups with one arm forward

Repeat at many times as possible for 30 seconds.

- Kneel on the floor, keeping your left hand just behind the line of your shoulder and your right hand in front.

- Ensure that your body is parallel with floor.

- Bend your elbows lowering your chest to the floor.

- Lower down to where you feel comfortable

-Push your back up

-Repeat on the other side with your left hand in front

You will notice how you arms will improve in a short time!

Entrenador personal Madrid
Alberto Lázaro, personal trainer

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miércoles, 5 de octubre de 2016

The Famous Cheat Meal

As you may know, a cheat meal means just skipping your diet to have a big meal without checking the food type, portion size or calories per serving.

However, a Cheat Meal means more than just a treat after a week on a strict diet; it can prove to be a way to boost your metabolism and have a positive effect due to the following reasons:

- On the psychological level, it is helpful to ward off feelings of cravings and deprivation derived from hypo-caloric diet plans. It minimises the risk to skip the diet if you know you will have a chance to eat a meal of your like with no restrictions. It can be a reward for all the hard work done, helping to stay positive and motivated to stick to your nutritional plan.

- Additionally a cheat meal, increases leptin levels, a hormone that regulates our appetite and plays an important part in balancing energy levels in our metabolism, making our body burn more fat.

It’s known there is a relationship between leptin and thyroid hormones. In turn, these are involved with how fast our metabolism work. An unexpected food intake or cheat meal can help to boost metabolism and thermogenesis.

Lastly, a cheat meal facilitates recharging muscle glycogen. Being on a hypo-caloric diet for a long time can lead to our muscle glycogen to be affected and impact on our energy levels, feeling apathetic and tired.

A planned cheat meal can help you stoke on glycogen levels and feel more energised.

It is important to plan your cheat meal effectively depending on your individual needs and goals. This way you will maximise the weight loss benefits and minimise the damage while eating the foods you crave.

- Weight Loss: 1 cheat meal every fortnight or 1 weekly depending on evolution.

- Muscle Definition: same as above

- Weight Maintenance: 1 weekly cheat meal o  o 2 at the maximum, only on an exceptional basis.

- Increase Volume:  2 cheat meals/weekly

- Extreme Muscle Definition (for competition purposes)- None

Take into account this is just ONE SINGLE MEAL during a particular day.

They are not cumulative, so if on one week you didn’t’ have your cheat meal, it doesn’t mean you will have 2 to spare on the follow

Plan your cheat meal effectively

1. Avoid days where you may be very stressed. It's a good idea to line up that cheat meal on a weekend or social occasion.

2.  Ensure you got enough sleep hours the previous night. Poor sleep has been shown to increase appetite and cravings for sweets and junk food.

3. Don’t cheat when you’re famished: if you know you will be having your cheat meal don’t try to compensate severely restricting calories for days in advance.

Make sure you eat one high quality protein meal with a small salad for instance to feel satiated for the lowest amount of calories to to avoid overeating later.

4. Plan your cheat meal as a post work out meal

It will maximise the anabolic time span that is produced after working out. Your glycogen stores will be depleted and your body will use the cheat meal to store glycogen levels to the full and minimise calories that will heat our fat reserve

5. Don’t confuse a cheat meal with a few drinks with friends. Alcoholic drinks are very caloric and they don’t provide any beneficial nutrients for your body and besides they don’t help to boost your energy levels to go back on track and resume your diet.

6. Try eating protein rich dishes before to get you satiated and avoid jumping on simple carbs.

If going for tapas or nibbles, try chicken wings, grilled octopus or shrimps first,a and then some bread or some roasted potatoes.

7. Me mindful of what you are eating, chew properly and appreciate the taste of your favourite foods.

There’s no need to end up absolutely stuffed. Put limits to stop eating at the right time, your body and your mind will thank you.

 8. Plan the following meals after a Cheat meal.

Knowing that you’ve  got a meal plan handy, it will help you stick to it and not let yourself go down a  "cheat day madness"

Bon appetite!
Entrenador personal Madrid

Alberto Lázaro, personal trainer

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photo credit: Lauren via photopin (license)
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