By Jaime Baird, Bombshell Fitness Health & Education Specialist
Have you already read PART 1? – Click Here for PART 2
Part 1: Trim Waists Reduce Disease
Since 2007, the “Bombshell Body” has been a gold standard in the competitive fitness industry. Founder & CEO Shannon Dey developed the Bombshell Fitness Training SystemTM to enable women to create an hourglass figure—the most sought-after look for generations. As less than 25% of women are born with those perfect hourglass proportions,1 Shannon has spent the last 17 years perfecting a training approach to naturally enhance curves—no surgery, butt pads or unhealthy supplements required!
In 2013, Bombshell Fitness modified and expanded its training programs to women of all ages, shapes and sizes who want the Bombshell Body but do not wish to compete. Today, over 50% of all Bombshell Fitness members are everyday women from 17 to 65 years old from all walks of life!
While so many of us aspire to obtain the appearance of an hourglass figure, most women are unaware of the health benefits of this body shape. This article series will explore those benefits, beginning with the health values of a trim waist—a key attribute of the hourglass body.
Besides its aesthetic effect, having a trim waist makes one less likely to develop chronic disease. Unfortunately, increased inactivity, excessive stress, overeating and poor nutrition, has significantly contributed to expanding waistlines and related health risks.
Belly Fat: Causes & Risks
Visceral fat is primarily responsible for increasing waistlines. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which is located right beneath the skin creating a loose, flabby texture, visceral fat surrounds organs deep within the abdominal cavity and produces a distended (and often firm) pot belly look.
Of greater concern to the medical community, visceral fat is associated with serious health risks, including metabolic disturbances and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and an increased need for gallbladder surgery.2 Women with waist measurements of 35 inches or more (40 inches or more for men) are considered high risk.
While the correlation between visceral fat and chronic disease is strong, scientists are still researching the cause and effect relationship of this growing epidemic. One theory suggests that visceral fat releases and inundates the liver with fatty acids and other inflammatory substances though the portal vein, which is in close proximity to visceral fat.3 While researchers are still exploring this hypothesis, what we do know is that abdominal fat is biologically active and, in excess, disrupts the balance of our hormones causing a cascade of negative health effects.
Two of the hormones involved in visceral fat accumulation are insulin and cortisol.
Insulin is released in large quantities when one consumes carbohydrates/sugars, as it helps to clear the blood of glucose by shuttling it to the muscles and liver. However, once those organ stores are full, the sugar is stored as fat. If one continuously overeats and/or has a sugar-filled diet, one can end up with consistently elevated insulin — desensitizing the body and leading to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that muscle and liver cells don’t respond to normal levels of insulin, and thus, glucose levels in the blood rise increasing the risk for diabetes. 2
Cortisol, on the other hand, is a tricky hormone. It can help facilitate fat loss under the right circumstances, like when we are exercising. However, during times of consistent high levels of stress, cortisol becomes chronically elevated causing the body to increase blood sugar. The body then pumps out insulin to shuttle the glucose and, in the process, promotes fat storage, especially in the abdominal region.4,5 Elevated stress and cortisol can also increase appetite. Research has shown that stress increases cravings for and consumption of calorie dense foods (fat and sugar), which further contribute to fat storage.6,7
Whittle Your Middle
The good news is that visceral fat responds well to smart nutrition and exercise.2 It’s actually considered a bit less stubborn than the subcutaneous variety. To promote fat loss, researchers recommend resistance training and high intensity cardio as well as regular consumption of whole foods including lean protein, high fiber carbohydrates (including a variety of green vegetables) and essential fatty acids.8-12 In addition, it is critical to get sufficient sleep — 7-9 hours a night is recommended.14
When considering training and nutrition to develop a trim waist, you can’t ignore genetic make up. While genetics certainly play a role in our fat distribution, it is estimated that at least 50% is related to lifestyle choices/environmental factors unrelated to genetics.15 Thus, the key is to make the most of what you can control. And, that’s what the Bombshell Training System is designed to do.
Specifically, the Bombshell Fitness specialized training protocols build muscle and metabolism for a leaner and shapelier body with a focus on keeping the waist small and tight. Bombshell Nutrition complements this training approach. Meal plans are designed to provide an appropriate balance of protein, vegetables, starchy carbs, fruits and healthy fats to optimize fat burning, muscle building and, of course, waist size.
Part 2: Strong Glutes Decrease Lower Back Pain
Shannon Dey, Founder & CEO of Bombshell Fitness™, began a mission over 17 years ago (long before glute training was all the rage) to help deflated derrieres everywhere reach their shapely potential. The first transformed “Bombshell Booty” was her own, “which started as flat as her home state of Kansas” according to Shannon!
Experimenting with movements, foot positions and other custom techniques, Shannon developed a Bombshell Booty training approach that had judges at her Pro qualifying show in 2003 accusing her of having butt implants, as a rounded backside just wasn’t as common then.
Shannon later applied her booty building insights to her burgeoning competition training business, and people quickly took notice. “In the early days of Bombshell, you could always pick out our girls on stage, because they were the only ones filling out the back of their suits!” explains Shannon.
In 2015, Shannon began offering training services to women not aspiring to compete but still desiring to train, look and feel like a Bombshell. Today, in addition to some of the top fitness competitors, you will now see everyday women all over the world with signature Bombshell bodies.
The ‘booty-ful” backside is a key component of the Bombshell hourglass shape. But, besides adding curve to the lower body, these assets (pun intended) also improve health and wellbeing. Specifically, strong glutes help to relieve stress from the lower back. With 80% of U.S. adults suffering from chronic lower back pain1, chances are that you or someone you know struggle with this issue.
What Really Causes Lower Back Pain?
One misconception about lower back pain is that it’s solely related to a problem in the lower back. However, lower back pain is actually often a result of weaknesses elsewhere in the body. As we perform movements that require the back to bend, flex or rotate, other muscles are recruited as a part of the process. For example, when you bend forward at the waist to pick something up off the ground, ankles, knees and hips should also bend to help lower the torso. If these synergist muscles aren’t functioning correctly, the back will have to pick up more slack and, over time, may become overworked and injured.
Glute Amnesia: A Real Pain In The Back
One major contributor of lower back pain is weak glutes. The glute muscles (i.e., gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) take stress off the lower back by assisting it in controlling movements of the torso, pelvis, hips and legs. From squatting and swinging a golf club to running and simply picking something off the ground, the glutes play an important role in stabilization, acceleration and deceleration of movements.2
Unfortunately, weak glutes are very common these days as a result of the long hours many of us spend sitting at a computer, in the car and/or on the couch. This chair-laden lifestyle causes glute amnesia, a phenomenon where the butt muscles become inhibited and weak from being in a consistently stretched position.3 As a result, the glutes do not appropriately activate when needed and, thus, lower back muscles are called upon to help the body move. As a result, the lower back can then become strained from overuse.
Do You Have Glute Amnesia?
Besides lower back pain, glute amnesia can cause a myriad of other issues like knee and hip discomfort. Even if glute weakness hasn’t manifested into an injury or other physical ailment yet, you may still have it. A telltale sign that your glutes are “shut off” is that you can’t “feel” your butt muscles working when performing lower body movements that should recruit them (i.e., squat, deadlift, etc.).
In addition, you may struggle to fully contract your glutes. When your glutes have been in the stretched position from sitting hours on end, your hip flexors become contracted and tight. This is called reciprocal inhibition. Tight hip flexors limit range of motion making full hip extension and, thus, full glute contraction a challenge. This was something that I personally experienced nine years ago when I first started with Bombshell Fitness.
While I had trained for years prior to starting with Bombshell (with numerous other trainers for that matter), I had underdeveloped glutes and overdeveloped hamstrings. My glutes were basically shut off and my hamstrings were taking on all the work in my lower body training. But, thanks to Bombshell’s targeted glute training protocols, I was able to wake my booty up and build a strong, shapely backside.
The Bombshell Booty Method
Bombshell glute training methods combine traditional compound exercises with Shannon Dey’s custom isolation moves that target both the upper and lower glutes. “Our training programs have the perfect balance of the two in order to create a rounded backside that is not top or bottom heavy. We do not incorporate exercises that increase width.”
The Bombshell glute training style is great for anyone wanting to create a “round, tight, feminine backside”—no matter what the starting point is. Shannon explains: “If someone has a bigger booty and has not trained in order to build it, it’s usually comprised of body fat rather than muscle. As they train the muscle and lose body fat, the ratio evens out and they are left with a tighter, better shaped backside. When someone has a flat, square booty, they need to train to build the muscle and create the roundness. Due to this, the training for both is generally quite similar. That said, if someone has overly muscular legs, some of the compound movements are often left out in order to keep the quads out of the equation.”
Beyond The Booty
While building a strong backside is important for health and creating sexy curves, you can’t forget about the rest of the physique. In addition to building a beautiful backside, the Bombshell Fitness specialized training protocols build muscle and metabolism for an overall leaner and shapelier body.
Bombshell Nutrition complements the training approach. Meal plans are designed to provide an appropriate balance of protein, vegetables, starchy carbs, fruits and healthy fats to optimize fat burning and muscle building. The nutrient-rich meal plans also give clients a beauty boost, as recommended foods and supplements are full of vitamins and minerals that create glowing skin, shiny hair and strong nails.
More Bombshell Body Benefits
Keep an eye out for more articles in coming weeks covering the Benefits of The Bombshell Body. To find out more about the Bombshell Fitness programs, please click here: https://bombshellfitness.com/about-us/bombshell-fitness-llc/
ATTENTION BOMBSHELLS: You can interact directly with Jaime on her new BSF SOCIAL NETWORK FORUM. Just click “Learn More about Jaime Baird” below!
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Part 2 > (1) Clark, Lucett. (2011) NASM’s Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Part 2 > (2) Price, Justin. (Oct 2014) Build Strong Glutes And A Pain-Free Lower Back. ProSource. Retrieved December 14, 2015: https://www.acefitness.org/prosourcearticle/5013/build-strong-glutes-and-a-pain-free-lower
Part 2 > (3) McGill, S.M. (2007) Low back disorders: Evidence based prevention and rehabilitation, Second Edition, Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, IL, U.S.A.
Part 2 > (4) Bussey, Melanie D. et al. (2015) Gluteus medius coactivation response in field hockey players with and without low back pain. Physical Therapy in Sport, Volume 17, 24 – 29.
Part 2 > (5) Penney T, Ploughman M, Austin MW, Behm DG, Byrne JM. (2014, October) Determining the activation of gluteus medius and the validity of the single leg stance test in chronic, nonspecific low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, Volume 95(10):1969-76.