Stubborn Body Areas

Oftentimes, people will email me about a “stubborn” area they are having a hard time slicing and dicing.

Back, shoulders, and triceps are the top three upper body areas I most often hear about so I wanted to offer you guys some tips on how to get these areas to budge and invite anyone to take their FREE WEEK at sweatlocal and learn how to put all of this into action.


Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know you’re busy so you want a “full body” workout all the time cause it makes you feel like you’re getting shit done.


And you are, of course, but if you want to cause THE MOST CHANGE in a very specific area, consider dedicating one to two workout days to slice and dice it.


Full body days are great, for sure. We have them here at sweatlocal but we are also unapologetic about not succumbing to the popularity pressure of constant full body days.


We know people come here to get #HotHealthyHappy and that means having dedicated arm days, leg days, glute days, and even hammering out chest and back, shoulders and triceps on certain days of the week.


Yes, an ENTIRE workout session dedicated to pumping massive amounts of blood into certain muscle groups, a full 20 – 40 minutes to overloading one specific area and sending the necessary hormonal signals to the body that these muscles are going to be required to do more than before.


One of the things we spend a lot of time coaching is form. And that, in part, is to keep everyone safe and injury free, of course…


… but it’s also because most people come our way UNABLE TO OR UNAWARE OF how to isolate muscles during a workout.


The bicep curl is a classic example.


Folks will go super heavy and actually end up using their shoulders and hips to bring the barbell up to their chest rather than keep their shoulders still, elongate their biceps, and lock their hips into place so that the bicep becomes the only muscle able to pull.


For sure, you’ll pull less weight per rep but each movement will be done for max EFFECTIVENESS and you can finally boast those Popeye biceps you’ve been coveting :).


If you’ve spent a lot of time in the gym with very little change, this may be a big reason why you just can’t seem to sculpt out that “problem area.”


  • 3. VOLUME – High rep or heavy????

You have to FORCE muscles to change and TOTAL VOLUME is the name of that game.


Volume = sets x reps x weight


There are so many ways to create volume!!!!!! Don’t get “stuck” and dogmatic about “the best” way.





3 sets x 15 x 95 = 4,275 lbs lifted

5 sets x 5 x 135 = 3,375 lbs lifted


You’re working hard for both but which one did you actually LIFT MORE???? The lighter weight.


With that said, if you’ve been doing 3 sets of 15 at 95 for a damn year, then there’s no way your body is going to change more than it has already!!!


Your body has done and adapted a LONG ASS TIME AGO! Which means we’re on to #4…




Don’t wait for a particular weight “to get easy” before bumping up to the next level.


Spend 6 -12 weeks grinding out a particular resistance and then, go up. Even if it’s just for ONE SET.


Folks forget (or don’t understand) that PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD doesn’t mean you need to do all 3 sets at the same weight.


You can do set #1 at your comfy. Set #2 at your next level and depending on how that feels and how well you were able to maintain form, go down or stay at your next level for Set #3.


Make it a game to do a few more reps at that next level each time you do that movement.  You’ll be surprised just how impactful focusing on progressive overload can be.




Before I get a bunch of emails telling me “the value of cheat reps” and the value of 5 sets x 5 at 135 or 165, know that I’M IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT.


The body is amazing and complicated AS HELL.


The goal of this post is NOT A COMPREHENSIVE one but to help people NAIL THE BASICS and nail them CONSISTENTLY over a 4 -12 week period of time which is important for change to take place.


We all know… one workout done well, won’t change a damn thing.


Finally, take a good hard look at intensity.  How hard are you actually working???  Like REALLY working?

How often are you phoning it in?  How often are you NOT doing an exercise because “it’s hard” or “you don’t feel like it” or “you’re not good at it.”

One of the reasons people adore coming here for their workouts is because hands down, the decision of intensity has ALREADY BEEN MADE FOR THEM.

They’re going to get more sets, more reps, and lift more weight in less time here than if they were working solo creating their own workout.

There’s no avoiding that delicious, humbling BURN that is actually NEEDED to create change in the muscle.

Long story short, if those shoulders or triceps just don’t seem to be coming in, evaluate

  1.  your body splits
  2.  if you’re isolating vs. just moving weights around hoping something good will happen
  3.  Are you getting more volume in than you were 4 months ago?
  4.  What are you doing to progress?
  5.  Are you consistently working in that “trouble” area
  6.  And how intensely are you hitting that spot?

If you need help putting all this together come take your your FREE WEEK at sweatlocal.    


How To Do Fitness On Vacation

Travel is a NORMAL part of our work and family life.  More often than not, I see folks peg their vacation plans as a “bump in the road” or a kink in their fitness journey so I wanted to focus on the ADVANTAGES behind not being in your normal gym element.

  • 1. JOJI – The Joy of Joining In

Most folks have heard of FOMO – the fear of missing out – but it’s lesser known cousin, JOJI, is a major travel/vacation win.

If you’re normally a fitness fanatic, love a scheduled regimen, a never go “off plan,” opening the door to JOJI is an act of SELF RENEWAL, not SELF SABOTAGE.

You see, for those who love to feel “in control” (that’s me!), it’s important to balance out our love of certainty with periods of go-with-the-flow uncertainty.

It eliminates burn out and allows us to reestablish that it is “I” that’s driving the habit vs “the routine” that controls us.  It opens the door to exploration of new foods, new goals, and wonderful memories with family and friends!!

Our normally regimented lives will be there waiting for us when we return.  The opportunity to celebrate won’t.  Take advantage of JOJI!!!

  • 2.    Elasticity for the Win!

Okay, so maybe you’re not that regimented so a week’s worth of JOJI is literally going to be what derails you completely and it will be another 6 months before you reestablish any sort of routine…

I got it.  This is certainly true for many people and I actually see your ability to normally go with the flow as a HUGE travel advantage!!!

You already know the importance of being bendable, elastic, and flexible with your plans.

You enjoy structure but know how to be flexible with what life presents you at the same damn time.  You Rock!

If this sounds like you my #1 piece of advice is to realize that getting the workout started will be the hardest part.  Once you’re in the gym doing the thing, you’ll feel great, you’ll crush your workout, and proud that you stuck to your normal.

Get past the feeling of not wanting to hit the start button and you’re going to coast!

Vacation/Travel does not need to be the thing that throws you off course.

3.  “X” Marks the Spot

Vacations are a kick ass motivator to GSD.  Treat those suckers like the thing you’re training for.

Some people need a 6 – 12 week motivator, an ends to a means, a thing that they are training for in order to bump their fitness up on the priority list.

I know for me, my 10 year high school reunion provided the 6 week jump start that literally changed my friggin’ life.

I didn’t want to “look frumpy” so having this date and desire in mind sharpened my focus and I began to lift weights and watch my nutrition.

While having a lifestyle goal is certainly commendable, that alone would never have gotten me to jump on a fat loss bandwagon and follow through with my intentions.  I needed the short term win first!!!!!

So… instead of starting “after the vaycay” … take a look at your calendars!  When’s the next trip?

Count backwards 6, 8, or 12 weeks.  Set your workout and nutritional goals for JUST THAT TIME FRAME. It’s okay not to look that far ahead!!!!

You can worry about the rest later.  After vacation 🙂


Need some help building a workout plan that you actually like, works for you, and makes you #HotHealthyHappy? Schedule your free week at sweatlocal! 


EmpowHER Workshop – Discover, Define, Defend Your Boundaries

I’m going to tell you a story.  I’m not proud of it.  In fact, I am the grand coward, an elephant afraid of a mouse.


And while it would be more comfortable to talk about empowerment at moment where I am a woman standing her ground and facing her fears, that superwoman cape is fake.   I have a hidden when asked to lead.


To understand the EmpowHER Workshop and it’s impact, it’s important for you to SEE me at my weakest so that you understand why I’m a woman hungry for better.


Everything changed for me in college when I found out my friend had been beaten by her boyfriend.  A boyfriend who also happened to be my close friend.


Until that day, I would have sworn that when asked to take sides I would have chosen the victim.  How could I not?  I’d experienced sexual assault.  I knew the shame.  I knew the fear.  I had first hand knowledge of what it meant to be both believed and ignored.


I’d spent hours of my life questioning my behavior, replaying the moments prior, and wondering what I’d done “to ask for it.”


It’s almost inexplicable, today, how I chose the perpetrator.  Despite my past, in the end, I picked the person who offered me what the victim could not – The opportunity to live my life as if nothing were different.  


In a defining moment, I shrunk when life asked that I expand.


So while, today, I can shout, “NEVER AGAIN” it’s because I saw my mistake as a clear violation of my values and needed to understand why I had found it impossible to take a stand.


What I DISCOVERED were layers of false narratives about pretty, little, mild, pure and damaging ideas surrounding perfection, image, loyalty, being liked, being admired, and falling into line.


Today, I am unwilling to pass on these beliefs to my daughter and refuse for my son to passively absorb them.

I rise up to the bar that empowers my baby girl and all women the freedom to DEFINE female outside of confinements that keep her quiet, small, and in line.


  • That has meant purposefully using adjectives like big, strong, and heavy to describe myself and other women positively.
  • Letting the rolls on my belly be seen at sweatlocal and on social media because something as simple as NORMAL defies the impossible physical standards we are asked to reach.
  • Openly speaking about fitness in the context of sexiness and not just health because I can create both FOR myself instead of as an offer TO someone else.

And now, in 2018, The EmpowHER Workshop. … Because it’s time for me to stop talking and for all us to EMBODY the woman we dream our daughters to become.  A woman living in alignment with values she has defined for herself and is unwilling to apologize for standing up when those boundaries are crossed.

I hope you join us on April 15th from 2 -5 pm as author, speaker, and activist Erin Brown leads us through a transformative evening of introspection and empowerment.