The Important Benefits of Building a Booty-Full Backside

Image of a bikini bottom backside

Recently we asked our friend and instructor at SpinChagrin, Anna Latkovic, why there’s always so much focus on strengthening our glutes.  Here’s what she had to say.

Even if you don’t care about the perkiness of your posterior, your glutes are an important factor in training for life – from picking up toys on the floor, to loving your reflection in your favorite jeans.

Weak glutes are one of the key culprits in almost every lower limb injury and lower back problem, often referred to as gluteal dysfunction. Because no one wants dysfunctions, including glute training should be an important part of your workout routine.

Your backside consists of three major muscles: the gluteus maximum, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. This important group of muscles extends the hip (pulls the thigh behind you), abducts the hip (your lateral movement to the side), and does internal and external rotation of the hip.

Gluteus all.gif
By BodyParts3D/Anatomography – BodyParts3D/Anatomography, CC BY-SA 2.1 jp

It is important to understand that to build a booty-full backside correctly, you need a good plan to evolve from good movement patterns in isolated movements to the more complex movements standing up. Strength is the name of the game and although bodyweight exercises such as donkey kicks, clam shell or other Jane Fonda originals are extremely beneficial, there is more to the story.

According to Functional Training Facility in Orange County, body weight glute bridges are a perfect example. They alone only activate 20-30% of the maximum ability or the backside muscles. These body weight moves are a good start, but more complex, weighted movement patterns need to be added to make a difference.

Here is a brief example of a workout plan that can get you started at home. (video available at
  • Warm up- 5-10 mins of dynamic stretching
  • Start bodyweight single leg glute brides – 3 sets (20 each side)
  • Get stronger – transition into barbell or other weighted glute bridges – 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Bodyweight walking lunges – 3 sets 10- 20 reps per side
  • Get stronger – transition into weighted high step ups with a lunge back – 3 reps (10-12 each side)
  • Bodyweight reverse Hyper extensions – 3 sets of 20
  • Get stronger– Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets of 10


Anna Latkovic pictureAnna Latkovic is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, AFFA Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Mad Dogg Certified Spinning Instructor, TRX Certified Group Fitness Instructor




An Edgy Workout Outfit that Doesn’t Break the Bank

 Black and White Fitness Outfit
Here are some great accessories that can add an edgy look to your fitness wardrobe.  All of these items can be found at Nordstrom Rack –  click on the links below to purchase or shop around at your local retailers for a similar look.


 Let’s start with tops.   I love high necks, so we’ve given you three options above.  Personally, I love skulls, so this Betsey-Johnson Flower Crown Skull Racerfront tank  is perfect!   But, if you are looking for a classier version of a high neck workout top that still looks awesome with edgy pants, try the Lorna Jane Tash Excel Tank in white.   You can also go with the plain black C & C California racerback tank which goes with everything because of the cut of the top.


These Z by Zella shredded black tights will add instant edge to your workout outfit. Period.

The best part about all of these tops and pants?  They are each under $40!


Sneakers?  I love all black sneakers, but these Gel Kayano Asics rock.  But for all of you Nike fans out there – try the Nike Juvenate Pebbled Leather Sneaker – which is a a pretty cool sneaker too.
 Let us know what you think!  Comment here or at  You can also follow us at instagram by searching for @nearlyallthings.   And share, share, share – we appreciate it!

Get the Benefits of Maca in This Delicious Smoothie


Last week, on a search for recipes with maca powder, I found this “Hormone Balancing Almond, Maca & Cinnamon Smoothie” on Pinterest posted by Wallflower Kitchen.  I made it and am excited to share it!  I feel like my hormones were out of whack so I thought what the heck – why not try it?  It was delish! I loved it!   I decided I would have one a day for a week to really see if it evens out my moods.  Ingredients shown below:

Wait, what is Maca?  Maca powder is a superfood that originates in the Peruvian Andes and grows at altitudes starting at  11,000 ft. in harsh conditions.  Maca is a plant from the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc. ).

Maca Image from

Maca has been used for centuries to help increase energy, balance hormones, help with menopause symptoms, improve sexual function, and reduce anxiety and depression.  If this is true, than this is a serious superfood for women!

Does this really work?  I turned to Authority Nutrition, an unbiased and independent website that provides articles about nutrition, weight loss and health based on scientific evidence.  In their article, “9 Benefits of Maca Root (and potential side effects)” , they concur that among other benefits, “Maca increases libido in men and women, may help relieve symptoms of menopause, reduces depression and anxiety, and may boost sports performance and energy”.

Where can you buy Maca?  If going to the Andes isn’t in your travel plans, you can find maca as a powder form or as a supplement.  I bought it at The Vitamin Shoppe,  but it is available at Amazon and at other retailers as well.

Flash forward to today – I am still in love with this smoothie!  It tastes so good.  I haven’t noticed any changes in my hormones just yet, but I’m also not sure if a week is enough time to truly tell a difference.  In any case, I highly recommend this smoothie for flavor alone.  To me, it tastes like a vanilla malt – but Wallflower Kitchen describes it as a “sweet cookie flavor”.  I think the final flavor will depend on the type of protein power you use, so use your favorite and you’ll be happy.

The benefits of the smoothie are that it’s high in protein,  low in sugar, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo.  You could even lessen the sugar by using 1 date rather than 2 if you really wanted to.

This morning I changed it up a bit and added avocado to this smoothie.  I felt it really made it smooth and still tasted like a malt.  Did I mention I love malts?

See the recipe and comments on Pinterest .


Plans for the 4th? Chew This!

Zaca packet
Image from

I have used these Zaca patches before.  These are great to keep a hangover at bay!  Looks like chewables are now available too.  If you are planning to travel and/or have a fun night on the 4th you may want these.  Or, if you are a total athlete and looking to stay hydrated – it’s perfect for that too!  This can be used for high altitudes as well.

zaca packets

Multi-Purpose: The same antioxidants and electrolytes that aid partiers play a big role in recovery after exercise or extensive travel. Perfect for post-workout replenishment & high altitude journeys. –
Six packs of 12 tablets are available at Amazon for $29.99.  Zaca is currently featuring them for $19.99.  Don’t wait!

Look Amazing While Getting in Shape

Look amazing while getting in amazing shape

NIKE activewear pants
$115 –

Nike shirt
$23 –

Sweaty Betty strappy sports bra
$51 –

Nike athletic shoes

Recreation of a Daily Harvest Smoothie

We have recreated this yummy smoothie by Daily Harvest a smoothie delivery service. I tried the service and it was awesome but I felt like for me it was not a necessity since I like to make them myself and I have the time. If that is not you, then get the service.

Daily Harvest Cacao Avocado Smoothie



I cut up several zucchini and froze them so I could have them handy.




My version below:

  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 1/4 avocado
  • Tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 date
  • 1 tablespoon cacao
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • Add ice and blend away

This turns into a thick, rich, creamy smoothie  -so good!  Even my 10 year old liked it- bonus!   Just don’t let them see you make it 😉


Tired of Feeling Old and Fat? Pick Up Those Weights…


weight scale from

If you think you are the only one watching the scale tick higher and your arms get flabbier each year, rest assure – you are not alone.  According to Donna Bennett, a Certified Personal Trainer and Owner of Donna Bennett Training, “As we become less active, our metabolism slows down. We lose between 3 – 8% of muscle mass a decade and our percent of body fat increases. Over time our hormones change, we lose bone density and are at risk for osteoporosis. Plus, as we age, our balance and coordination diminish putting us at risk for injury and losing our independence.”

So, now you are probably thinking – great, thanks for the pick me up this morning Nearly All Things! Well, we are here to tell you that there is a bright side – we can do something about this!  We can become or stay strong, burn more calories, all while building healthy bones. Wondering how? Pick up those weights girls!

Woman lifting weights

Donna explains, “Strength training preserves muscle mass, controls weight by increasing lean body mass and burns more calories efficiently which can result in weight loss. According to the University of Mexico it can even increase one’s resting metabolism by 7%.” Which means you continue to burn calories even after you finish your workout – bonus!

“Weight training gets more calorie torching ‘bang for your buck’.  It creates an after burn affect that allows the body to continue to burn more calories at rest. This effect is called EPOC – Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It can take the body anywhere from 15 minutes up to 48 hours (University of New Mexico) to return to it’s normal resting state.” – Donna.

So, if you are interested in burning more calories, maintaining strength, and slowing bone deterioration, you should grab a dumbbell, swing a kettlebell, or use your own body weight to perform exercises to increase your strength. And if all of this sounds intimidating – then we recommend signing up for a group class. It’s a great way to meet new people and improve your strength.  Get going – your future health and well-being depend on it!

Donna Bennett is a Certified Personal Trainer (ACE CPT), CFSC & IYCA High School SCS certified, Certified Tactical Fitness Trainer (START Fitness), FMS certified and USAW Weightlifting certified.  Her philosophy of Train for Life is evident in her free and fixed circuit style training that focuses on progression, variety and precision all in a safe, supportive and fun environment. When Donna is not training, she is busy being a mother to three boys and coaching soccer.  Click Here for more information on Donna Bennett Training classes.