Monthly Archives: November 2010

Strong Legs are Sexy Legs!


Alli McKee

Alli McKee


I love the feeling of the heavy bar on my back. The initial lift as I un-rack the weight and settle under the bar. Backing out of the squat rack and situating my stance. My entire body is comfortably under tension as I lower down and then drive through to the upright position while feeling everything work together.

Today was a lower body training day and I can feel myself regaining my strength back each week. Despite a herniated disk problem that limited me in the last show season, I feel my body is working very well for me this time around. My body fat is coming down at a great pace and my strength is going up each week – it’s a beautiful balance to have.  I just reached 135lbs again for four sets of eight on my back squats. Although I’d like to see my squat climb more, I’m happy to be doing more than my body weight – hell, I’m happy to be doing them at all 🙂

I have a very good feeling for this season. My mental and my physical state are in sync and it’s a lethal combination! I’m training and dieting like a winner and it’s so much fun right now. I am really enjoying the time spent on creating myself this time around. I love the release I get from training, the challenges I work through and the social aspect as I have been floating between my three gym locations. I’m blessed to work for such a phenomenal company, FX Studios which is partnered with Under Armour. The energy from my colleagues and the fitness enthusiasts around me are making this an incredible go-round.

I was at the Under Armour facility today for a lower body training day. Still the same pattern I mentioned in my previous post about the strength emphasis followed by diverting movements.

For those of you who like to follow the training or gather ideas for your own training, here is what today looked like:

A Dynamic WarmUp:
1. 5 minutes of jump rope
2. Hip Circuit:

  • Double leg hip bridges x 8
  • Single leg hip bridges x 8 per side
  • Fire Hydrants x 8 per side
  • Forward circles x 8 per side
  • Reverse circles x 8 per side
  • Superdog x 8 per side.

3. Bodyweight Super Leg Variation:

  • Bodyweight squats x 16
  • Bodyweight reverse lunges x 16 total (alternate legs)
  • Bodyweight split jumps x 16 total (alternate legs)
  • Bodyweight squat jumps x 8

4. Overhead Squat with a dowel rod x 8 reps
5. Front Squats with the naked barbell
6. Back Squats ( 2 sets of 8 ) with progressive weight building up to first working set.

Note: I always vary my warm up depending on the muscle emphasis for that day, but I also keep certain movements consistent for proper muscle activation, CNS activation, mobility and movement prep. Again, there are so many ways to structure warmups, have fun with them and pair your training knowledge with common sense. 🙂

The Strength Component:

Again a lot of this can be tailored to your abilities, likes / dislikes, needs, etc. but here is a glimpse of a lower body workout for me at the moment:

1a. Barbell Back Squat 4 x 8 – 12 reps
1b. Push ups (think of all the various versions to choose from) x 20 reps
1c. Core / Abdominal work

2a. Reverse Lunges (Barbell or Dumbbell) 3 x 12 per leg (NOT alternating!). (Note: for added challenge and range of motion, elevate your front foot on a weight plate)
2b. A pulling movement (ie: TRX rows, band rows) x 20 reps
2c. Core / Abdominal work

3a. Stability Ball Leg Curls (single leg if you’re able) 2 x 15 – 20 per side
3b. Core / Abdominal Work

Conditioning / Finisher:
The options here are endless as well as the structure of the intervals and intensity. Today I challenged myself to 75 flights of stairs. Another gym I have access to is only a 1/8 of a mile from the other. It’s in a building that is 25 stories high. I LOVE running the stairs. It’s task oriented and it’s hard as hell each time I get to the top. It takes me roughly 4 minutes to the top, 1 minutes to rest and 4 minutes back to the bottom.. repeat 3 rounds today for a total of roughly 27 minutes.

Again, lots of options from sprints, Airdyne bike intervals, etc. I have been having a blast mixing it up this season.

Stay tuned for more training suggestions to come!!

 Wishing you Health and Happiness,
Alli McKee


100 Rep Kettlebell Complex for Fat Loss

Ok, I’ve had my Ra-Ra moments, let’s get back to training 🙂

For the last few weeks, my training regimen has been demanding and fun! I wanted to jump-start my fat loss early this season and started with two-a-days right out of the gate. My training weeks have looked something like this:

Monday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (A day)
Tuesday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (B day)
Wednesday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (C day)
Thursday – p.m. cardio
Friday – a.m. cardio, p.m. lift (A day)
Saturday – lift (B day)
Sunday – rest
Monday – repeat week, beginning with C day

I imagine my workouts will change over the next few weeks but so far, the results have been very favorable. I have come down several percentages of body fat already.

My workouts have been structured to get a metabolic response. I still have a strength emphasis (ie: upper body push, upper body pull or lower body) but they are structured to be more total body taxing. I am also moving more quickly through the training session (although they still take me the better part of 50-80 minutes depending on the day).

My dominant muscle groups for the day (ie: pulling) still focus on 3-4 sets of each pulling exercise (ie: BB wide grip bent over row, DB bent over row, pull ups, lat pull down, etc.) They would be paired however with diverting exercises such as core work, lower body movement or the contrast of pushing…although nothing to exceed the challenge of the primary exercise… more for activity, recovery and the efficiency of the workout.

After the strength portion of the workout, I have been wrapping up with different metabolic finishers. I look forward to these the most in the training session. I love the “suffering” as I feel weary out but keep pushing to the finish 🙂

complex is a string of exercises back to back (using the same piece of equipment) without rest until fully finished. One of my favorite complexes at the moment is on my Pulling day. I do a 100 Rep KettleBell Complex x 3 Rounds. Here you go friends, give it a try!!

100 Rep KB Complex
Right side KB swing x 10 reps
Left side KB swing x 10 reps
Right side KB clean x 10 reps
Left side KB clean x 10 reps
Right side KB snatch x 10 reps
Left side KB snatch x 10 reps
Right side KB racked squat x 10 reps
Left side KB racked squat x 10 reps
Right side KB push press x 10 reps
Left side KB push press x 10 reps

I prefer to use a timer so I can keep track of the time it takes me to complete a full round and the time I take to recover. I have been completing the KB 100 Rep Complex in roughly 3 mintutes and rest about 2 minutes.

Perform 3 rounds and you should be feeling pretty smoked at the end of your session with a metabolism that is geared up for burning fat for many hours to come!!

(**weight choice** I’d select a weight you find challenging through the complex. Make sure you are not “arming” the kettlebell and actually using your body for the proper technique. Also be sure not to compromise your form by selecting a weight that is beyond your control)

Final Notes: The KB Complex, like any other complex, can be structured in so many different ways. Have fun making up your own versions. Try all left side, than all right side. Work the complex from the last exercise to the first. Change the exercises all together, change the piece of equipment. You see, the options are endless and up to your creativity.

Have fun! and send feedback!

Alli McKee

A Figure Athlete’s Warrior Spirit

“Risin’ up, back on the street, Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet, Just a woman and her will to survive.

Face to face, out in the heat, Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hungry. They stack the odds ’til we take to the street, For we kill with the skill to survive.

Risin’ up, straight to the top, Have the guts, got the glory. Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop, Just a woman and her will to survive”

– Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

Good news! On Friday night, November 19th, I received my official acceptance letter to the Arnold Amateur IFBB Figure Championships at the Arnold Classic for 2011. This is incredible!

I began the Arnold journey on November 1st. In reality however, I began back in October 2009 when I was training with my posing coach for the OCB Yorton Cup. I said to him, “I’m going to go to the Arnold in 2011” – and my goodness, here I am 🙂

I have come to conclude that facing challenge and adversity is an absolute part of the formula when in competition, goal setting and personal growth. It may not come in the same shape, size or form for everyone – but it’s there and you can count on it. How you deal with it, is another component – and that comes from YOU.

To me the formula looks something like this:


In the recent weeks, I have faced challenge yet again, but what better time to find strength in yourself and from those around you to keep moving forward on your goals.

Take for example, the Olympic skater from Canada, Joannie Rochette. Just days before her time to compete, her mom passed away.

“Though she was blinking hard her first few laps around the ice, Rochette quickly settled into her practice routine. She showed no lapses in concentration, jumped well and did a light run-through of her tango short program, even flashing a saucy smile at one point. In the stands, her father repeatedly rubbed his eyes.”

Joannie claimed an Olympic medal. To me, that is the pinnacle of amazing strength, heart and staying true to yourself and your goals.

In talking with my father, he said “if you can channel the energies from the challenging experience in a positive way, it can serve as a motivational springboard for recovery and personal growth.” (thanks dad) 🙂

My mom recited a quote to me last night (bless that wonderful woman too) from an episode of parenthood: “Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down!

I have a wonderful group of teammates from my family, friends, co-workers, clients, advisors, (you readers) and the spiritual protection from my Strength and Conditioning Guardian Angel, Jason Hadeed.

In this upcoming season, I plan to develop three things: my personal self, my professional self and of course, my physical self.

This is going to be an incredible journey as I am going to see my strength rise both in the gym and in my heart and spirit. It is empowering. I can’t wait to get to the stage in March – it’s going to be the most rewarding performance yet. My client said to me last week, “often times, the hardest things are the most rewarding” – Mr. Cleary, you are right.

If you enjoy following this blog, you can also find me on Twitter for 140 characters of quotes, training and positive progress. 🙂 My account is @AlliMcKeeFit

Thank you friends for your time. Cheers to the Warrior Spirit in us all!

“True Victory Is Victory Over Oneself”

Who am I? I am a CHAMPION.

No body said the road to the stage was a pretty one. No body said it was easy. It’s down right hard. There are times when we need reminders to pick ourselves up, keep going and dig deeper.

I am early (very early) into the prep for The Arnold Classic Figure Competition in March 2011. Already, I have met mild mental interferences. People ask me, “why do you do this?!” I used to view it negatively, as though they didn’t understand. How could they not see the glory in setting a goal, working your butt off and seeing it through to the finish line despite adversity and challenges. Perhaps it was my fault for interpreting this the wrong way. Now I look at the question as an opportunity for a subtle reminder to myself as to why I do this.

I like to think I’m good at what I do. Through the journey of a goal, we meet challenge. It is especially at this time we must remember WHY we have set out on this journey.

I didn’t acknowledge until today, that the process from now until the Arnold intimidates me. I assumed I have done this before and I’ll do it again no problem. It’s a bigger stage and bigger competition. You may find I write more on this blog over the next 16 weeks on the topic of motivation. Perhaps I’m writing to myself…and hopefully, it impacts the reader too.

I realized today, that we need to treat each set back or mild mental interference as just that. An individual occasion. It’s not a representation of the journey and goal as a whole. It is not a time to let it fester or worse, give up. It is an opportunity to get through it and be stronger because of it. It is a time where we may have to let things ride it’s course. Do something to relax, reassess, re-motivate and understand that this tough moment to shall pass. Be it a song, a book, a speech, a picture or a person who motivates us – tap into that when you’re doubting your mental (or physical) ability.

With the Arnold Classic, I feel pressure, fear and challenge. Along with those emotions I feel excitement, drive, focus, compliance, pride and passion.

I admire the fight in a fighter. This weekend, friends of mine are fighting in Baltimore’s Shogun Fights. These guys train out of Ground Control and they have endured practice, strength and conditioning, injuries, dieting to make weight and above all – pressure to perform well. They have gone to great extremes to be prepared for Saturday and it’s highly impressive. They are ready. Good Luck Ryan Mackin and Binky!

An NFL football player must live to study plays, upcoming teams and direct opponents. they must train to stay healthy, perform optimally and maintain a level of excellence above the next guy gunning for his position. They must play despite injuries or personal problems. They are passionate professionals.

All athletes experience highs and lows. It is having the right attitude and showing up everyday.

I show up. I do my best for that day. I see my goal through and hope to advance each time around.

That is why I do this. Because I like the goal. I like the structure of training and I like the road of challenge – it’s not easy and it’s not always pretty – but it’s a hell of a good feeling when we get back up a little stronger and a little smarter than before.

I share with you a video that motivates me. To me, this video is powerful. Not just the great quotes, but the music itself. It fires me up! If you don’t care to watch the fight, don’t miss the messages – below are the quotes within.

“A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle” – Buddha

“Champions aren’t made in gyms, Champions are made from something they have deep inside them; A desire, A dream, A vision.” – Muhammad Ali

“Fall down 7 times, get up 8” – Japanese Proverb

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart”

“True strength is not always shown through Victory, stand up, try again and display strength of heart” – Rickson Gracie

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There is no courage unless you’re scared.”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” – Henry Ford

“The joy of Victory is too short to live for that and nothing else”

“Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it’s price”

“Don’t believe that winning is everything. It’s more important to stand for something. If you don’t stand for something, what do you win?”

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”

“True victory is victory over oneself.”