Tag Archive for lifting weights

Operation: GET LEAN Update #2

Happy Friday peeps!



I wanted to pop in and give you an update on Operation: GET LEAN!

In my last update, I was feeling really good and like I had finally gotten in the right head-space for this.

I’m happy to say that I feel even more dialed in today than I did then!


Starting Weight: 152 lbs

Weight Today: 145.4 lbs

I’ve lost:

  • 1 inch in my waist
  • 0 inches in my bootay (that will be the last to go for sure..)
  • .75 inches in each leg
  • 2 inches in my chest (REALLY?! ugh haha)
  • 1.5 inches on my hips
  • 0.5 inches on each arm

Are these crazy numbers? No. But 5.75 inches in 6 weeks is fine by me. I’m not trying to win a race, I’m just trying to lean out and be healthy. Progress is progress and as long as I’m moving in the right direction, that’s all that matters to me.

What I’m Doing:

I’m lifting 4 days per week, with 1 ab circuit each week.

No cardio. (except for 1 baseball game I play every Sunday and the occasional rollerblading by the beach, which only happens about once every 2-3 weeks)

I think that’s one of the biggest things that makes people’s jaw drop.

“What?? No cardio?? How is that possible?!”

“I have to do cardio everyday!!! How are you doing that?!”

The truth is, quitting daily cardio was the best thing I ever did for ME. It doesn’t mean cardio is BAD by any means. In fact, a little bit of cardio is good for you. And if daily cardio makes you feel good, clears your head, or of course, is part of your training for a race, then by all means DO IT. But daily cardio for the purposes of fat loss is just unnecessary, in my opinion.

I lift heavy (for me) weights, and I go hard in the gym. I’m a sweaty, out of breath MESS after EVERY one of my workouts. I don’t half-ass them. I’m also diligent with eating well and staying within the parameters that will help me achieve fat loss.

The formula is SIMPLE

Executing it is CHALLENGING.

BUT, if you have your eyes set on a goal and are WILLING to put the work in,

Results Happen…

Photos are 8 weeks apart, but I didn't start dieting until 6 weeks ago.

Photos are 8 weeks apart, but I didn’t start dieting until 6 weeks ago.

Question of the Day

  1. How are you doing with your goals?
  2. What do you find to be the hardest part about fat loss?

Good Coach vs. The Right Coach

Looking back on our lives, I’m sure each one of us can think of a teacher we had in school that really impacted us in a different way than the others. That person was someone we looked up to, wanted to impress, taught us lessons, and made us ultimately feel good and empowered.

I also would bet that there was at least one teacher you had that you just didn’t jive with at all. It didn’t necessarily mean they were a bad teacher, it just meant that there was something that didn’t work between the two of you. Maybe the way they taught you wasn’t the way you learned best. Or maybe their way of giving criticism had a negative effect on you.

Just like academics, this holds true in health and fitness as well. There are literally 10’s of thousands of coaches out there. Some good, some bad, and plenty in between. If we narrow it down to the good coaches out there, we can safely say that there is someone out there for everyone.

A Good Coach

A good coach is someone who has education, experience, and a genuine interest in helping their clients succeed. They have spent their time researching and learning best practices, put them in action successfully, and grown a business that allows them to help others.

The Right Coach

While there are plenty of good coaches out there, the right coach will be different from person to person. The right coach is someone who has all of the qualities of a good coach, but in specifics to you, has some additional qualities. Their values align with yours, their way of operating feels good to you, their methods are something that you can manage, and most importantly, you get along well.

Coaches Benefit from Coaches

I’m a firm believer that coaches need coaches too. I don’t care how well educated you become, there is always more to learn and an added accountability from having a coach that you don’t get on your own. I actually would shy away from any trainer or expert that tells you they don’t “need” a coach because they are a coach. They may prefer not to have one, which is totally fine, but if they claim that it wouldn’t be useful or that it isn’t necessary because they know everything, they probably don’t know very much. A teacher never stops learning. In fact, I’ll take that one step further and say that any intelligent person will never stop learning because they are smart enough to know they don’t know it all.

With that said, even before I was a trainer or coach myself, I had many coaches. It started with my flag football and baseball teams growing up. I had several different types of coaches. Oddly enough, my favorite ones were the type of coaches that yelled at me when I made an error. They weren’t total dicks, but they definitely let you know when you weren’t doing your best. I could appreciate that because at the same time, they gave me praise when I did well. The coaches I didn’t like were the ones who didn’t take the games very seriously. They were the “don’t worry, you’ll get it next time!” type of coaches. I didn’t learn anything from them because all they cared about was making everyone feel good. I hated feeling more competitive than they were and those teams never did very well (shocker).

In-Person Coaches/Trainers

My first personal trainer gave me the best foundation I could ever ask for. Even though I was a total pain in the ass, he was always (and still is) there for me whenever I needed anything. THAT is a good coach. He was never one to just “give me a trophy”. If I did something well, he told me. If I was sucking it up, he told me.

My next trainer was at a different gym since I had moved and it was during a stage I like to call the “I’ve been training for a year so now I know everything” phase. Seriously guys, I got a little ahead of myself. (Side note: Bret reminded me just a few weeks ago about the time I went back to his gym with all the “cool new things I learned from my new trainer”. I think I actually told him that I was thankful for the “beginning stuff” he showed me, but that my new trainer was showing me more advanced stuff. I cannot believe he didn’t slap me! I think I’m lucky I was cute.) Anyways, this trainer was the type of trainer that just pushed me to my limits every workout. I really liked training with him and he was a big help in getting me ready for my first NPC Bikini Competition. He didn’t make it easy and he never let me give up.

This is where things went down hill. The next trainer I had (about 3 years later) was an IFBB Pro (which shall remain nameless). She actually didn’t even charge me beyond the 1st month she coached me and was quite honestly the worst coach I’ve ever had. She gave me a restrictive diet to follow that was about 1200 calories per day and consisted of mainly veggies, chicken, fish, and egg whites. Surprisingly, I couldn’t stick to it. The workouts I did with this coach were “fancy” but didn’t make me work very hard. It felt more like she was trying to show off than anything. I would leave the gym sweaty, but the constant “you’re doing great! great job!” got old quickly.

Because of this lackluster experience, I moved on to another trainer that was recommended to me. This might have been even worse. The workouts we did were cookie cutter and involved constant high reps with no consideration for form. I seriously felt like a bunny rabbit jumping from station to station (literally…these workouts were about 80% plyometrics) and I’m not even sure my trainer was in the gym half the time I was doing these workouts. Bye Felicia.

The last trainer I had before moving to LA was Karl. He is a former competitive power lifter and has really helped me to perfect my squat and deadlift form. He is so in tune with the human body and so practical that sometimes I wonder if he’s human. Talk about giving it to you straight. There were times I’d be working out on my own and Karl would grab my workout log and just look at me. He’d say “why are you doing this?” and I’d feel myself stumbling with my words to try to find out the answer he was looking for. Needless to say, NOTHING is sugar coated with Karl. He tells it like it is and I know I’m in good hands with him.

Online Coaches

I’ve since had 3 different online coaches and this is where the idea for this post came about. All 3 coaches are fantastic coaches. I don’t have one poor thing to say about any of them, but I can clearly see why 1 of the 3 has helped me actually see results and progress. Yes, I realize that me not seeing results or progressing is on ME, but there is also a correlation between the coaching styles. While I don’t want to get into their coaching styles since it is irrelevant, I do want to highlight the attributes that I believe are making me successful with my current coach.

1. Trust. I’ve been following him online for a long time. Probably 5-6 years, actually. I’ve read multiple articles written by him, seen his personal FB posts that resonate with me, and chatted extensively with him before signing on with him. Because I know his track record, I feel a compelling urge to impress him. Knowing he has had so many clients come in and out of his life, I want to be one that he remembers. This has helped me to push myself harder than I have in a long time.

2. Honesty. In our first conversations, he was extremely realistic. He didn’t try to massage me into being his client or tell me what I want to hear. In fact, he told me the opposite. He gave me the harsh realities and expectations. He didn’t leave anything out and told me just what it would take for me to achieve what I wanted. He also helped me refine my goals, as what I had in mind wasn’t totally realistic either.

3. High Expectations. He doesn’t allow me to be anything but my best. Great example: I sent a video to him of my front squats last week. I was really proud of this video and was excited to hear his feedback. Unfortunately, I had not followed what he had told me and he called me out. So what did I do? The very next workout, I made corrections and sent it back over. I appreciate this completely. High fives are EARNED, they are not handed out.

4. Methodology. While macro counting is a fantastic method for fat loss (and oddly enough what I do with 90% of my clients), it actually wasn’t right for me. I found it harder to manage and instead, I eat a pretty simple meal plan each day, with flexibility in my post workout meals. It’s the best of both worlds for me. There is consistency, ease of preparation, and I do get to fit in treats each day, so I don’t feel deprived.

Applying this to You

While these traits are specific to me, it can help YOU in the search for the right coach. Along with seeking out someone who is experienced, educated, and has a proven track record, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you learn best?
  • What is your current lifestyle like?
  • How do you handle praise and constructive criticism?
  • What did your favorite teachers/coaches have in common? Look for those qualities in a coach.

Just like in love, there is someone for everyone. What’s right for one, may not be right for the other. Take your time when looking for a coach and don’t base your decision off of progress pictures or testimonials. Read that coach’s material, spend time messaging with them to see if your personalities work well together, and get an idea of their methodology before you jump in. Having a coach can be a GAME CHANGER, but if you don’t have the right coach for you, it can be a giant flop.

Have you had a good or bad experience with a coach? Share it in the comments.

Liked this article? Check out Who Should You Trust?

Lizzy Ostro is a NASM and AFPA Certified Personal Trainer with over 8 years of experience. She is currently working on her NASM FNS Certification and currently trains clients out of Santa Monica, CA as well as providing online coaching to clients across the U.S. 


Why Lifting Weights Rocks + Leg Workout

Wednesday already?!

I’m not complaining, but this week is kind of flying by! I also have Friday off of work, save for a few personal training clients, so I’m definitely excited about the weekend! Summer is just the best!


Since taking a week off from the gym, I’ve been getting in some really awesome workouts! I thought I’d share my leg workout from yesterday. It was a KILLER. I even posted a video on Instagram mid-workout. For anyone that thinks weight lifting doesn’t have cardiovascular benefits, think again! I was sweating and breathing hard the entire workout!


As you all know, I’m a big believer in lifting heavy weights (which is totally relative to what is heavy for each individual person). Lifting weights and working towards getting stronger WILL change your body composition. If you’re eating in a deficit, you WILL start to lean out and the beauty of it all is that as you put on more muscle, your resting metabolism increases, which means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day even when you’re just sitting around. Bret Contreras put up a great Facebook post the other day that sums it up pretty well. Smart guy!

This point really, really, really needs to be driven home. All of my clients who stay the same weight and gain a lot of…

Posted by Bret Contreras (Fitness Page) on Thursday, June 25, 2015

Okay, on to the workout:


-Hip Thrusts (4 sets of 5 reps): 255#, 275#, 275#, 255#

-Deadlifts (3 sets of 12 reps):  135#

-DB Bulgarian Squats (3 sets of 12 reps): 15# DB’s

-45 Hypers (1 set of 20 reps & 1 set of 15 reps):  25# plate

-Lateral Band Walks w/ Squat (2 sets of 20 per leg): I used a light band

-Kettle Bell Swings (3 sets of 15 reps): 20kg KB

Question of the Day:

1. What’s your favorite way to sweat?

2. Any fun plans for the 4th?

Stop Saying You CAN’T…

There’s so much I have to say about this topic, so I’m just going to ramble through it and hopefully you get something out of it.

Saying I can’t…

We all do it. All of us. I’m the type of person that tries not to set limits for myself, and I do truly believe that I can do anything I put my mind to, but I STILL find myself, at times, saying…I CAN’T.

Oddly enough, the most often setting that I use those words happens to be when I’m working out.

“I can’t lift that much weight”

“I can’t run that fast”

“I can’t jump that high”

I try not to do it, but i totally do. It’s a hard habit to break and sometimes it can be really hard to believe that you CAN do something.

Now, before you go step in front of a 10 foot plyo box and try to jump on it from a dead stance….let me make it clear that I’m talking about realistic things here haha….so don’t go around saying that “Lizzy said I could do anything i put my mind to so I’m going to somehow get magical powers and jump on top of this monstrosity”. I’m talking about the things you truly CAN do, but may think you cannot. Now that we’re clear, let’s keep moving…

Why We Can’t

SO, why “can’t” we do things?

The #1 reason we can’t do things is because we get stuck in our own damn heads. If you can’t get past your head, you’re screwed. That thing you want to do, can’t happen. You will be unable to do that thing because your head won’t even allow you to try. You’ve told yourself you can’t, and your body and brain will follow that.  It’s just like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or cannot, you are right.”

We tell ourselves that we can’t all the time. We stay in our comfort zones and do what we KNOW we can do.  Why? Because this way, it’s harder to fail. Failing sucks. It really, really, really SUCKS!! Sometimes it hurts physically (hello dent in my shin from “missing” a step on the bleachers), sometimes it’s just flat out embarassing, and no matter what, it makes you feel shitty. Isn’t it so much better when you do things you know you can do and accomplish them??

Well, yes and no.

Of course, it does feel good to accomplish things you know you can do….. but when you do something you originally thought you couldn’t do…and then you actually DO IT….

Holy fuck balls….THAT feels good. It feels like you’re high on drugs…it feels like you are floating on a cloud…like you can walk on water (although I don’t recommend trying that). It’s absolutely one of the best feelings in the world.

So I’m here to explain to you why you CAN. And how to get OUT of your head.

The Gray Area

When I lived in Arizona, I trained with an old power lifter guru genius type guy named Karl. We used to call him God because he was the healer and knower of everything when it came to the body. Your back hurts? He could fix it. Your legs are sore? He’ll roll them out with a PVC pipe until you cry…and until they feel better. You can’t add weight to your back squat or deadlift?….Karl fixed this too.

My experience with Karl was extremely impactful. I remember very clearly when I first started training with him.  I was always telling him what I could and couldn’t do. I think he got really sick of it, and one day he decided to do something about it.

He took me to a decline leg press and loaded it up with more plates than I could count. I looked at him for a few seconds and finally asked “are you serious?” He wasn’t smiling..he wasn’t joking…he looked at me and said “yes…now let’s do this.”

At first, I thought for sure he was just messing with me. I explained to him, once again, that there was no way on earth that I’d be able to complete even 1 rep with that weight. His response to me was “so what? try it.”

I was freaking out thinking what if I get stuck??? What will I do then??

I still felt like he was off his rocker, but when God tells you to do something, I guess you do it.

I put my feet up, lifted off, got to the bottom and sure enough, I couldn’t move. The panic set in and I looked at Karl with a look of complete and utter terror. He just sat there smiling at me and said “just let the weight go all the way down.”

WHAT? I’m going to get stuck!! (meanwhile, I’m holding up 2349083 pounds and sweating, unable to move.) Again, he said: Just let the weight go.

And so slowly, i let my knees press into my chest, as the weight went down. And suddenly, the only pressure was my knees against my chest. And the weight was quietly resting at the bottom of the leg press.

And I was fine.

I didn’t die.

I didn’t get hurt.

I didn’t get stuck.

This was my first lesson in breaking through the gray matter in my head. The gray matter… the stuff in your head that holds you back from trying, in fear of failure.

Lesson 2 came a few days later in the squat rack. He did the same thing. He set up the safety bars, loaded the bar up with more weight than I’d ever done, and told me to squat. Now, Karl knows me and knew I had good enough form and instinct that I could handle this test, and that if i couldn’t do the weight, I’d be able to get out of it unharmed. KARL KNEW THIS…but I didn’t.

Once again, I put the weight on my back, squatted down as low as I could go, tried to get back up, and NOPE. Not moving. My legs started shaking, my heart was pounding and I was looking at Karl in hopes that he would save me.

Again, he looked at me and just told me to get all the way to the floor and let the safety bars hold the weight. I did…and sat on the ground, the weight off my back and on the safety bars.

Once again,

I didn’t die

I didn’t get hurt

i didn’t get stuck.

These two lessons were soooo important in my growth as a weight lifter. I was stuck in a bubble of telling myself what I could and could not do. And while Karl was purposefully giving me weights that I could NOT do, he was teaching me that it didn’t hurt me to try. His lessons showed me that if I could just get past the gray matter in my head, and TRY to do the things that scared me, I could do them. My squat weight went up in a huge way from that point on. I went from thinking 95lbs was my max, to squatting 135 just the next week. I could only do 1 rep at that point, but I could still do it. This was about 5 years ago now, and these lessons are still something that hold true to me to this day.

A few weeks ago, I squatted 185 and deadlifted 225. Those were weights that I NEVER thought i could get to. But every week, i try to do a little bit more. Sometimes I fail and it SUCKS BALLS…but it also lights a fire in me. I remember failing at 165 several weeks ago and immediately wanting to do everything I could to break through that and squat more weight. 5 years ago, I would have just stopped and stuck to lighter weight, thinking that was all I could do….but now? Now I know that isn’t true. Now I know that if I just put in the effort day in and day out, the results will come.

I would estimate that about 75% of not being able to do something, is likely because of you. It’s most likely because you’ve told yourself that you can’t do it. This could mean that you don’t try, or it could mean that you give a little bit of effort, but give up after a while because you just don’t think you can do something.

If you can just get past that gray matter…if you can just start to try a little more, a little harder….you might be surprised at what you actually CAN do.

Now, I’m definitely not saying to go get yourself stuck in a squat rack, but I’m telling you to do a little more than you thought you could do, each time you try. This doesn’t just go for weight lifting. This goes for LIFE in general.

Whether you’re trying to start a business, get a promotion, or just lift heavier weights, do something every day to try to get a little bit better. The big goals that you don’t think you can achieve are successfully reached by the small goals that you work on day in and day out.

Start thinking with an I CAN attitude…remind yourself of the gray matter in your head, and BREAK THROUGH IT.

Your life will be infinitely better when you do.

Wanting vs. Doing

Hey guys!

I can’t believe it’s already mid-week. Fuh-lyingggg by. I also thought it was Monday all day yesterday, so when I woke up and realized it was Wednesday, I just MAY have done a little happy dance.


I took a TOUGH boxing class last night at Iron Boxing Santa Monica and as I was leaving class, I started thinking about how many times I’ve wanted to skip boxing class and just go home and relax.

I know everyone thinks I’m the Energizer bunny and just want to workout all day long, but that’s far from the truth. Do I love working out? HELL YES. But that doesn’t mean I always want to do it. And I’d say that half the time (if not more!), I really would rather just go home and kick my feet up. If you asked the boxing instructors how often I walked into class feeling tired and like I’d rather be anywhere but there, they would start laughing. It happens like 75% of the time!! But I always get my butt to class. And I always stay.

metediboxThis got me thinking about Wanting vs. Doing. You don’t have to WANT to do what you’re doing, you just have to do it. That goes for so many things in life, but especially when it comes to working out. You KNOW you’re going to feel good when you’re done, and you KNOW it’s good for you. If you’re sitting around waiting for the motivation to hit, you’re wasting time. You don’t have to be motivated, you don’t have to “want” to do it, you just have to DO IT.

Some days will be easier than others. Some days you’ll be skipping into the gym (or am I the only one that still skips???), and some days you will flat out look like you want to just curl into a ball on the floor and suck your thumb. I’m not joking…I get that way…A LOT.

Yes, I love working out and YES, I love the way it makes me feel (for OH so many reasons). There is nothing quite like feeling strong, confident, and empowered. For me, the weight room makes me feel all of those things. I like to see new veins. I like to see my muscles pumped up. I like to push big weights around. THAT is what I think about when I just want to turn around and go home. I think about the results. I think about how I’ll feel afterwards. And I JUST FREAKING DO IT.

pull up picSide note: Of course, sometimes it is better to go home. Like if you’ve worked out 6 days in a row and your body feels like jello, GO HOME. But you know your body and you know the difference. If it’s just your mind not wanting to be there? Stop being a baby and just do it.

Workouts & New FitFluential Ambassador

Hey Friends!

Hope your week is going well! I’m just over here working away. I love my jobs and what I do, but sometimes I think I’m doing so much that I forget to stop and smell the roses. It’s something I need to work on. I try to be as efficient as possible, which means that stopping to chat with someone for 5 minutes can be a bother. I just need a little more “Wuuusaaaaa” in my life. I’m going to put in the effort!


I’m extremely excited to announce that I’m an official FitFluential Ambassador!!! I got accepted last week while I was at the airport, and basically jumped for joy in the security line. FitFluential is such an amazing company and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it. Stay tuned for some fun posts!

Here’s video of some of the exercises I did during my hotel workout this past weekend. Small gyms don’t scare me! You can always make something up, you just have to get creative sometimes. (And I’m always happy to help you get creative…just ask!)

P.S. You can find more of my videos on my Instagram: @fitlizzio

Workouts for the Week:

Sunday: Hotel Gym Workout

Monday: 20 min. HIIT on the Stairmill (Funny story, I went to set this up and instead of 20 minutes at level 11, I accidentally hit 11 minutes at level 20. It actually took me 5 minutes to realize my mistake. I thought I had gotten really out of shape miraculously and couldn’t figure out why it was so hard haha!)

Tuesday: CrossFit Workout + Boxing

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Legs + Boxing

Friday: Shoulders + Chest

Saturday: Back

I’m going to be in the studio a lot this weekend, which means I won’t really get a weekend. It’s all good, I’ll be doing fun things, but I definitely need to make sure I pay attention to getting enough rest. I am a much more functional and pleasant person to be around when that happens! (Trust me, Charlie can attest LOL)

Have a great rest of your day!

Questions of the Day:

1. Have you ever set up a machine wrong and started wondering if you had gotten completely out of shape or vice versa?

2. Do you stop to smell the roses? Or are you like me and could probably be much better about it?