Breaking Misconceptions in Strength Training and Getting 1% Better Every Day
Breaking Misconceptions in Strength Training and Getting 1% Better Every Day

"We really are big on focusing on the small wins and the non scale victories every single day, and just showing up and being 1% better. Because if you continue to do that, you will see incredible progress along your journey." 

- Alex Redmond

If you’re looking for a no nonsense approach to fitness, nutrition and being your best self, this week’s episode is for you. Elizabeth welcomes Alex Redmond, Entrepreneur and CEO of Biz Fit, an app and community dedicated to empower brilliant women to master their health, productivity and confidence. Alex has worked with hundreds of women around the world, from busy moms to career driven women, and has found that getting healthy is much deeper than just the physical aspect. In today’s episode, Alex shares her tips for incorporating strength training into your fitness routine and how women could see huge results with just a few tweaks. Alex also talks about the concept of eating to fit your macros, why weight lifting won’t make you bulky, and the beauty (and productive quality) of a good rest day.


    Elizabeth Stein 0:00
    Hi, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Stein, founder, and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. And this is Live Purely with Elizabeth, featuring candid conversations about how to thrive on your wellness journey.
    This week's guest is Alex Redmond fitness influencer and CEO of Biz Fit, an online fitness coaching company that helps career-driven women and moms to step into their brilliant selves by mastering nutrition, fitness, and mindset, and empowering women to increase productivity and master their confidence. In this episode, Alex shares all about how fitness improves all areas of our lives. We talk about her strength training philosophy, and how quick results are often too good to be true. It's all about progress and being 1% better each day. Alex shares some fitness misconceptions. While you might not be seeing results in the gym, how to have a balanced eating approach and stick to a healthy eating plan. There are so many great tips in this episode. Keep listening to learn more.
    Alex, welcome to the podcast. I'm so excited to have you on. I found you through Instagram. And you're the first fitness person that we've had on the podcast. So excited to dive into everything with you.

    Alex Redmond 1:24
    Oh, amazing. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. It's awesome being here, and so glad that we finally got connected.

    Elizabeth Stein 1:31
    Absolutely. Let's start with your journey. Have you always been into fitness and nutrition? Or is that something that happened later in your life?

    Alex Redmond 1:41
    Yeah, I have always been to some extent into fitness and nutrition. I was an athlete growing up, I went on to dance in college. But honestly, it didn't take off until after I stopped playing sports. I think a lot of people want to stop. It's like, okay, what do I do now? I was pretty lost in what to do to stay active and stay healthy and fit. And that's when I got into health and nutrition, hiring my coaches doing a lot of education for myself, and learning a lot. So it wasn't really until I stopped playing these words that I found that passion.

    Elizabeth Stein 2:23
    And then what were the steps to making fitness and nutrition your career? Was that from the start? I'm sure it wasn't a straight line.

    Alex Redmond 2:33
    Not a straight line. My background is in business. So I went to school, and I went on to get my master's in business. A lot of people were in the corporate world and sales, but I just felt like something was missing from my career. And fitness was always that thing that kept coming back up for me. So one day, I was like, what's the harm in getting my personal training certification and just seeing what happens and doing this as a hobby?

    Elizabeth Stein 3:06
    And how long ago was that to today?

    Alex Redmond 3:09
    That was probably 2018 or 2019. Then it just really went from there. That was something that I was passionate about. And I started taking clients on the side, helping friends and family and fell in love with it. When COVID happened, I was like, go for my job. And it was really at that point when I was like, okay, I have two choices in front of me. I can go find another sales job, no brainer. That's pretty easy. I know I can do that. Or I can pursue this path that I've always had an interest in. And I just knew I had to go and discover that and see what happened. And it's been my career ever since then. So I'm thankful for COVID in that way. It worked out well for me in that sense, definitely a turning point in my life.

    Elizabeth Stein 4:03
    I love hearing stories of people who truly had that silver lining of COVID. You had this pivot that you could have gone in one direction but sounds like listening to your gut and what was fulfilling you and your purpose and going in the direction of the fitness and nutrition world. I assume when you made that decision, had you been using Instagram as a platform, or did that come after?

    Alex Redmond 4:33
    I had. That was something that I also had an interest in with social media. Even before I was certified, I was posting a lot on Instagram, just sharing my fitness journey and tips as an outlet for me to be able to share some of that part of my life. So, I already had a very small platform, but something that was…

    Elizabeth Stein 4:54
    What was the size of your following then? A couple of 1000 people?

    Alex Redmond 4:59
    A couple of thousand. Definitely. Very small. And then I just continued that and built this community now which is amazing.

    Elizabeth Stein 5:07
    That's amazing. You have such a large community today. What do you think resonated with your community that it grew so big? What worked? Certainly, in this day and age, it is hard to build such a big online community on Instagram. Many years ago, it was much easier to do, but in the short amount of time, you amassed such a large following.

    Alex Redmond 5:32
    Yeah, I think people resonate with my honesty and real content. I'm not here to show off my body or how fit I am, I just want to genuinely educate and help make fitness feel a lot more approachable for women. I think it's refreshing to see that in the fitness space, and that people latch on to that, there's no BS on my page. I just want to share my knowledge of how I got there, and how I've helped a lot of women. I think that resonates with a lot of people. And of course, with social media and growing following, definitely consistency, showing up, and being consistent is important as well. But I think also that authenticity goes a long way.

    Elizabeth Stein 6:19
    Yeah. And I think your tips on this are not how you do this exercise, I always really enjoy those because I think a lot of us are probably doing things wrong. And then you see you're like, oh, okay, this is what I need to be doing. So, they're super helpful and tangible. Can you talk a little bit about what your overall strength training philosophy is for someone who doesn't know your exercise routine or things like that? What is that philosophy?

    Alex Redmond 6:48
    Yeah, like you said, strength training is the base of what I do and what we do with our clients. We focus on what's called progressive overload. So basically, just getting stronger over time, doing more in the gym, or at home with weights, or reps or sets, there's a lot of different ways you can do it. But we focus on strength and building that muscle and just becoming stronger and more mobile. And of course, that looks different for everybody, and their schedule, and how many times they go. But that's the focus of what we do is really getting stronger in the gym and feeling better overall.

    Elizabeth Stein 7:25
    So obviously, everyone is unique and has a different plan. But in an ideal world, what would a week look like to you? And I'm super curious, asking for myself too, what your philosophy is on doing single-day body parts, full body, what's the best breakdown in a week?

    Alex Redmond 7:45
    Oh, yeah, great question. It depends on how many days you're going.

    Elizabeth Stein 7:49
    if you could do as many as you like, if you're like, I love working out, like I do. So in theory, I'm like, I want to work out every day. I know that's not good for me. So, what is the best-case scenario?

    Alex Redmond 8:00
    Yeah, I think a lot of people thrive with four days of workouts, that's what we found where most people can have more consistency. I train for three to four days. Everyone can be different. But I like to split up. If you're doing more than four to five days of training, I like to split up by body part. And you can get a little bit more creative with going more days. So ideally, let's just say we're training five days a week, I would probably do something like two lower body days, one focused on glutes and hamstrings, and then one focused on maybe quads and calves. So breaking those up that way, and you can always switch it up, of course. And then the other days you can play around with but it could be something like chest and triceps, back and biceps, and then just a straight like arm day, or shoulders. So I like more of a bodybuilding style split where you're focusing on those body parts. But that's just what we found a lot of success in. Now, of course, you can do more full-body days, but I would recommend saving that if you're doing three days and under.

    Elizabeth Stein 9:11
    Okay, this is getting into some very specific questions, but when you're lifting there's the idea that you can or you should rest in between your strength training moves and that you don't want it to be so cardio. Is that true?

    Alex Redmond 9:32
    Yeah, it depends on your goals. So you want to build muscle if that's the main focus, building strength and muscle, then yeah, absolutely. You want to rest in between your sets. And that can break down very differently as far as how long but at least 30 seconds for sure. Now, if your goal is more muscle endurance, then the rest periods can be shorter and that's where you'll feel more of a cardio strength training type workout. But if the goal is muscle building, you want to rest between your sets.

    Elizabeth Stein 10:03
    So one of the things that we talked about in your community just makes me think of, in our world today, there's so much more conversation about women in the gym. Even a year ago, I felt like the conversation wasn't there. I know, again for me, personally, I wasn't doing strength training. And now I'm addicted to that. And I think so many other women are waking up to realize how important strength training is not just for them physically, mentally, for longevity, there are so many benefits. What do you see as far as the women that are coming to work with you? What are those commonalities and goals? And have you seen a shift from maybe when you started in COVID, to now of a greater desire to be building strength?

    Alex Redmond 10:53
    Absolutely. I think COVID was a turning point for a lot of people where they started to put their health into perspective of what they wanted, like taking their health more seriously. So I think there was a big shift in just the amount of people investing in a coach or investing in their health, which is amazing. What we focus on, our typical clients are more of beginners as far as wanting to get into strength training, but not sure what to do in the gym, wanting to have more balance in their nutrition, but not sure what to do. So we work with more of the, I would say, beginner stages of people who want to get into strength training, and seen again, since COVID, a lot more interest in strength training and nutrition in general, which has been amazing to great to see.

    Elizabeth Stein 11:49
    That's so great. One of the things I think especially for beginners who are so new in the journey of strength training and fitness is that it doesn't happen overnight. It is not a quick fix. You're not going to go to the gym and all of a sudden have muscles or be leaner, whatever your goals are. Can you share some advice about progress?

    Alex Redmond 12:16
    Oh, absolutely. I could talk about this all day. I want to start by saying that it's tough. We live in a day and age where instant gratification is very common. Just social media can make it hard to see people's progress and perfect photos and the angles and everything. And so, it can be really hard not to want that instant progress. But what I'll say is that that's not realistic. And if you are trying to build muscle, it takes years. If your goal is more fat loss, it takes time. And to be honest, if you want the quick result, maybe you can get some of that, but the route that you go to achieve that is not going to be very sustainable. So I always just warn people, if something seems too good to be true, if it's promising quick results, it probably is too good to be true. And you'll likely end up back at square one because you can't maintain that sort of intensity or lifestyle or restriction that it takes to get there. So we are big on focusing on the small wins and the non-scale victories every single day just showing up and being 1% better. Because if you continue to do that, you will see incredible progress along your journey. But fitness isn't a three-month thing. It is not a six-month thing, it's not a couple of weeks, it's truly for life. Because once you get that result, the next step is maintaining it. And so, it never stops. And I think going in with the mindset of okay, I'm dropping this timeline and I'm just going to enjoy the process and know that it's going to be forever, your mindset is going to be so much better. And it's going to be so much more enjoyable because you're not putting that pressure on yourself to get to a certain spot and a certain amount of time. So yeah, drop the timeline and just enjoy it because it doesn't stop. You're gonna just keep going.

    Elizabeth Stein 14:13
    I love that advice. I was working out this morning, I worked out with a trainer once or so a week here in Boulder and we were talking about shoulders. I was saying I feel like I'm still using 10 pounds to do a shoulder raise and I haven't moved from that. And he was like, “It took me 10 years to get to the shoulders that I have now.” And he is in bodybuilding contests. And that was his response, which I thought was so important. I love hearing what you're saying because I think people could get so easily discouraged and knowing that just to be 1% better on that journey is so key. So do you have any other tips around whether it's the scale or looking at yourself in the mirror? Beyond that, what are those things to feel like you're progressing and, maybe giving somebody that confidence that they need to keep going forward?

    Alex Redmond 15:15
    Oh, yeah, there are so many things to focus on besides a scale, I'll just rattle them off. But is your energy improving? Are you getting stronger in the gym? Do your clothes fit better? Can you do more daily tasks easier like lifting your kids? Or just walking up the stairs? Does that feel easier for you? Are you finding more balance in your nutrition? Are you sleeping better? Is your stress better? Are you drinking more water? Staying more hydrated? How's your mindset? Has that improved your health and your fitness journey? Is your consistency improving around workouts and nutrition? Are you able to make better choices when you go out to eat? These are all things that might sound small to you. But in reality, they're huge. Those are really big steps and really big forms of progress that shouldn't be ignored and should be celebrated.

    Elizabeth Stein 16:10
    That's great. So as you think about people coming to you, or what you hear on the streets or from your community, what are some of the biggest misconceptions in strength training that people just get wrong?

    Alex Redmond 16:27
    A lot of people think you do have to work out every day to get results. And that's just not true. A lot of times, it's counterproductive to do that, because your strength and muscles are not built during your workouts, it's built during rest. So those rest days are really important. I used to be the same way. I worked out every single day and never took a rest day. And I didn't see the progress I wanted. There are a lot of factors for that. But that was one of them. I wasn't allowing my body to recover and to build that muscle. So, I would say that that's one.

    Elizabeth Stein 17:07
    Quick interruption here. For someone like me, who just said I like to work out a lot, for me, so much of it is mental. So on the days that you're not strength training, what does the rest of your week look like?

    Alex Redmond 17:18
    Yeah, I'm still active. So if I'm not in the gym, it's not like I'm sitting on my couch, totally sedentary. I'm still doing things. So whether that's going on a hike or on my bike, or just walking, doing some mobility or yoga, or maybe switching it up with a different, lighter intensity type of workout. I'm doing something. But I'm not in the gym pushing hard seven days a week.

    Elizabeth Stein 17:42
    And then do you have one total rest day where you're not even hiking or walking very much?

    Alex Redmond 17:49
    Yeah, I do. I try to take one rest day where I still go on walks and try to get my steps at least up. But I'm not worried about trying to hit a certain goal. I'm just listening to my body and relaxing. Yeah, for sure.

    Elizabeth Stein 18:02
    Okay, so one thing we get wrong is working out too much. What else is on your list?

    Alex Redmond 18:09
    The other I would say is, especially women, just in my experience working with hundreds of women, we're not in there pushing hard enough or challenging ourselves enough. We vastly underestimate our strength. And unfortunately, I think some of that comes from the fear of getting bulky from lifting heavier weights. Or maybe it's just that you're nervous to pick up heavier weights. But that's one of the things I see a lot of people get wrong is just not challenging yourself enough with the weight you're using or the intensity that you're bringing with your workouts. And that is one reason why people don't see the results that they want. Because you're just going through the motions, and maybe you've been using the same weights for weeks and weeks at a time. You have to test that strength. And it's okay if you're not able to move the weight, but at least try. I think you'll surprise yourself most of the time with how strong you are.

    Elizabeth Stein 19:07
    So, you mentioned getting bulky. I feel like that's also a good misconception because I think a lot of people think I'm gonna start lifting weights and get bulking. That's like really hard, right?

    Alex Redmond 19:20
    So hard. I've been trying for over 10 years, and it hasn't happened yet. I like to use a comparison of, you think that lifting weights is going to make you bulky, it's basically like saying, if you drive fast, you're going to turn into Danica Patrick. It's just not going to happen overnight and women don't have enough testosterone to even achieve that unless you have some sort of enhancement or you are training for years and years and years professionally to be a bodybuilder. I was even a bodybuilder for a couple of years in my life and I still never have that bulky look. It's very hard. So no, you will not bulk up. And I think a lot of people when they say or they feel like they're getting bulky, that's actually from the body fat side of things, not the muscle. And that's controlled by nutrition.

    Elizabeth Stein 20:17
    Okay, so we'll dive into the nutrition here shortly. But before getting into that, as you think about when you work with clients, and they're starting on this journey, as you said, many of them are beginners or just starting, obviously, it's super intimidating, going into the gym for the first time, knowing what to do. So I'd love to hear a little bit more about how your program works. But also, how do you help your clients overcome or stick to a plan and stay on this strength training cycle? Or is it one of those things that you think people start, and it just feels like really addictive right away because it's so mentally great as well?

    Alex Redmond 21:00
    Yeah, there's a lot that goes into it. I'll start by explaining what we do and then and then answer some of those questions as well. I think it will help to understand first how we do things, but my program is called Biz Fit's The Brilliant Woman, and we empower brilliant women to master their health, productivity, and confidence, enabling them to achieve and embody their highest self, working with hundreds of women around the world, and busy moms, career driven women, we found that getting healthy is much deeper than just the physical aspect. It's much deeper than just losing weight, eating clean, and working out. It's a combination of that, yes, for a lot of us. It is about the physical side. But it's also about improving your career, your home life, your finances, your mental health. And ultimately, that's what we help our clients achieve yes, the physical aspect, but how does that impact these other areas of your life? And so improving all of that, and finding that balance is what we help women to achieve? We have a three-step process that allows them to do that. But to answer your question, what's important is finding what works for you. And that's going to look different from the person next to you. Everyone has different schedules, everyone has different demands of the day. And for a lot of us, we can't do six workouts a week, it's just not realistic. And trying to do that can almost be like setting yourself up for failure because you want to do that, but then you can't sustain it. What we do is help women find what this balance looks like for them. What realistically are you able to do every week that you can keep up with, and that doesn't add stress to your life? So that's a big part of our program is finding that for each individual we work with, and helping them to develop the habits and the mindset around these things so that they can stick with it long term. Your question about, do people just get really into it at first? Totally. I like to compare it to college or high school where you have, you're a freshman, and you're so excited about school, you’re pumped, you're jazzed, you're ready to go, you're ready to hit the ground running. That's what it feels like your first time starting and finishing or near working with a coach. You're amped up. And then you go into your later years of like, sophomore junior year. Maybe it's more like, okay, this is normal. It's just part of my life. It's just what I'm going through. Like going through the motions, it's more mundane. And then you get to the end, or maybe you set a new goal, you’re graduating, and it gets more exciting again. I think that's like fitness. It just has these ups and downs of excitement levels. And that's just part of it too. So definitely starts exciting, and then can taper off a little bit. But that's normal.

    Elizabeth Stein 23:59
    Yeah, for sure. I love also what you said as far as like, how it affects everything else in your life. Because I always feel like I like to work out at the beginning of the day. Having that as a start gives you confidence that if you can lift that heavy thing, you can do something way harder and the rest of your day. It can so easily infiltrate everything else in your life and that mindset shift starts by doing something physical.

    Alex Redmond 24:32
    Absolutely, yeah. Proving yourself that you can do something that you didn't think you could do. It translates into other areas.

    Elizabeth Stein 24:40
    So, let's get into food and nutrition. Is that always part of your journey? Or is that a newer part of your path as well? Did that start at the same time during COVID?

    Alex Redmond 24:53
    Nutrition has been something that I've been teaching clients definitely since my business started. For my journey, it wasn't always how it is now. I struggled with food, especially in the earlier years. In my 20s, I struggled a lot. But through education and working with my coaches early on, I learned to find that balance. And that's something that we help our clients with as well. So as far as what that looks like for me, I have tried to follow, what we call, the 80-20 approach, where most of the time I am focusing on whole foods, I'm getting in those nutrient-dense options, those balanced meals. But I'm not turning down pizza, or ice cream, or things like that. More fun foods, if you want to call it that. Because that's balanced to me. I want to be able to have both, it's just all about moderation. And that's what we teach our clients is, how to have happy hours how to go out to eat with their friends and family, or just have a pizza night, and not feel guilty about that and still make the progress that they want to make. It's just all about how to fit these different things into your day.

    Elizabeth Stein 26:10
    Let's dive into that. That's my philosophy, 80-20. But how do you fit into happy hours? How do you fit in pizza and still have the balance and results and other things that you're looking for in your life?

    Alex Redmond 26:27
    A lot of it does go into planning. Knowing what you have on your schedule coming up, and I know not always you plan, oh, there's a random happy hour that's popping up. I know that. But for the most part, if you're able to look at your schedule and say, okay, this weekend, I have a couple of events that I want to enjoy. Maybe it's a wedding, or you're going out to a movie, you want to have these more fun foods. Just take that into account and backtrack from there. So it's like, okay, I have these events, how can I maybe make these meals a little bit healthier leading up to that, so that I've had more of that 80-20 type of approach. Now, personally, with a lot of our clients, not all of them use macros, so we're able to teach our clients how that fits into their diet, and where you can make the space. So if you get to the end of the day, and you want some chocolate, awesome. Like, let's find a way to make it fit. It's like a puzzle piece. And that could go down a whole rabbit hole with macros. But that's a great way to learn how to find that flexibility in your diet is by understanding macros and that flexible dieting approach. But either way, it does come down to trying to plan a little bit ahead and just say like, what are my options here? And what am I willing to sacrifice or not sacrifice on these days that I have coming up?

    Elizabeth Stein 27:43
    So let's go down that macros rabbit hole. I think one of the things that was very eye-opening, for me, at the beginning of this fitness journey was around protein, which I never tracked my macros. But when I first started this, I had to see how much protein am I eating because I had no idea. And I was eating probably 40 grams of protein a day. So little protein. So I would love for you to talk about the importance of protein and strength training and then all about your macros philosophy.

    Alex Redmond 28:17
    Yeah, absolutely. Well, you're not alone. We’re a lot of women before they track any food that you just have no idea where you're at. And that's something that tracking allows you to do is have the awareness into what your habits look like, and how much of different nutrients you're getting in. And protein for a lot of women is one of those macros that is typically pretty low until you start to track and learn about it. But with protein, it is so essential, not just for different bodily functions and things like that, but also for that muscle building and maintenance piece. So if you're someone who is trying to build lean muscle and get stronger, but your protein is very low, you're gonna have a hard time doing that. It's essential for muscle building. Not just muscle building, but maintenance. Like I said earlier, especially as we age, it's really important to be able to maintain that. So getting enough protein in your diet is very important. The other two macros are carbs…

    Elizabeth Stein 29:16
    Oh, when you say getting enough protein, what's your philosophy as to how much protein you should be taking in?

    Alex Redmond 29:25
    This will depend on body fat percentage, but if I'm gonna give a general bar ballpark, anywhere from about 0.7 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight. So again, that will vary based on where you are if you have more body weight on your body, then your protein might be a little less if you're more of a leaner human, it might be a little higher, but that's a ballpark. And to make it even simpler, a lot of us should be getting around 100 grams minimum just like a very general statement, again, it will depend on your body stats.

    Elizabeth Stein 30:05
    before we get to the other macros, so when you hear that for the first time, you're like, oh my god, 100 grams, that's so much. What are your favorite ways to get protein in your day?

    Alex Redmond 30:14
    I think one of the easiest things to do when talking about increasing your protein is to look at what you're already eating and increase the serving size of the protein you're eating. So for example, if you had lunch or having, let's just say, a grilled chicken salad, and it's three grams of protein, can we bump that up to four? That right there will help you to increase your overall protein in the day without having to think about other sources to add. One of my best tips is just to bump up the protein you're already eating.

    Elizabeth Stein 30:48
    I th

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