Exercise Do’s and Don’ts for New Moms

pexels-photo-57529 (1)One of my favorite demographics to work with is new mamas. While no, I’m not a mom myself, I feel you ladies are generally being improperly served and taken advantage of by the fitness industry. It’s common for new moms to feel anxious and uncomfortable in their new bodies and want to quickly get their “old body” back. Unfortunately, the fitness industry KNOWS this and they looove to feed into it. (Obviously, I’m speaking in general terms. There’s some really awesome postpartum trainers out there that I personally look up to.) Mommy boot camps and stroller fitness are a prime example of some fitness fads that are trying to make bank on your current state and are urging women to jump into intense exercise waaaayy before they really should.

First off, I don’t care if you worked out intensely before and during your pregnancy, your body needs to rest and recover after giving birth. 

Just because your doctor “cleared” you to start running and training 6 weeks postpartum, doesn’t mean you’re actually ready to start up again. If you REALLY want to know for sure if you’re ready to start training intensely again, I would recommend seeing a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist 2-6 weeks postpartum to get a good picture of the status of your pelvic floor (yes, that entire area that was recently traumatized by pushing out a brand new human being…) Are you experiencing diastasis in your abdominals? (Separation of the rectis abdominis bellies.) What about any pelvic organ prolapse? (Like, do you feel like your organs are literally going to fall out of you…?) These things must be addressed before jumping back into intense exercise.

IF you are cleared for exercise, it’s best to start with some post-natal specific training and rehabilitation.

Before we get into the exercises that you SHOULD be doing, I want to discuss the types of exercises that you should AVOID (for the time being at least!)


  • Maximal lifts – Heavy squats, deadlifts, bench press, and so on. Why? Because these exercises require a strong core to be performed properly and safely.
  • High impact exercises or plyometrics – All the bouncing that these tend to cause can be dangerous to the pelvic organs. And yes, this includes running!
  • Exercises that are stressful to the diastasis or create abdominal bulging – This includes abdominal crunches, push-ups, planks, and other abdominal exercises like leg raises.
  • AND… – Anything that is just really stressful to the body, causes pain (lower back, pelvis), and requires a lot to recover from.

I know that seems like a lot to avoid, but you need to view the first several postpartum months (or as long as needed) as a recovery period, much like someone who has just undergone surgery. The body needs to heal and this requires both time and patience. And if you view it in the grand scheme of things, this is really just a short period of time in the whole of an individual’s life. Besides, the more you rest and recover during this time period, the sooner you can get back to more rigorous exercise! And with less risk of injury or additional trauma caused to the body.

So what types of exercises CAN and SHOULD you do?


  • Postpartum weeks 2-6 should be primarily devoted to rest, recovery, and rehabilitation. – This includes re-learning proper breathing and posture/body alignment and performing light leg and glute exercises such as squats and glute bridges, along with some gentle upper body exercises like band pulls.
  • WALK!  While running may be a no-no for approximately 6 months for many moms, walking is greatly encouraged. Not only does it get the blood flowing and help with recovery, but it can help reduce your new-mama stress, burn some extra calories to kick up fat burning a bit, and best of all, it’s easy to do with baby in tow.
  • EASE back into strength training at week 7 (or later, if needed) – Emphasize hip dominant exercises (think lots of glute bridging), pulling exercises (rows, pulldowns), chest and shoulder presses, and non-crunchy core exercises like the Pallof press. Remember to avoid going too heavy too fast. Listen to your body. If something feels “off” it probably is. 😉
  • SLEEP!!! – I know you’re laughing since sleep can be hard to come by when you have a new baby, but you must sleep and rest when you can. All of our body’s processes can be off-set if you aren’t getting enough sleep, and that includes fat burning and muscle repair. Just keep this in mind: the less sleep you get, the gentler you want to be on your body.

And for my last set of DO’s

  • Do be easy on yourself.
  • Do love your body in any state it’s in.
  • Do work with your body, not against it.
  • Do maintain patience in getting back to exercise and losing the “baby weight.” Afterall, there’s really no rush. 🙂

There’s so much more I could share with you about postpartum training, but I think I’ll save some of those other topics for another day. If you’re a new mom (or not-so-new mom) and need more specific help with core rehabilitation or training, you can head on over here and shoot me a message. There’s so much conflicting information out there, and it’s important for new moms to be reintroduced to exercise in a safe and efficient manner!

If you want even more info NOW, go check out Jessie Mundell on her website. She is my go-to source for everything pregnancy related! She’s very knowledgable and regularly puts out amazing, FREE content!




5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Losing Weight (But Think You Should Be…)


Progress… At first it was continuous. Your weight was dropping rapidly when you first started dieting and exercising and it was easy! Your motivation was through the roof because you continuously saw that progress and you had a reason to get to the gym regularly and avoid junk food for the most part.

And then…all of a sudden…progress stops.

You tell yourself, “oh, I’m just adding muscle. The scale is a liar. I should just throw it away because it makes me feel bad about myself.” Seriously, we’ve all been there. But you know, just like circumference measurements, progress photos, and the numerous types of body fat testers out there, the scale can be a useful tool. It tells us part of the picture. And if you know you have some fat to lose, you want to see that number drop, at least a little!

So why is it that your progress has stalled? Why have you plateaued? Well, there’s many reasons why this could be happening. It’s important to remember that this is NORMAL. And for the majority of people, this doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your body. Quite the opposite actually. Our bodies are masters at adaptation. They adapt to whatever you throw at them. Our bodies also don’t like to lose fat. They want to store it for times of possible cold and starvation and they’ll do just about anything to avoid losing it. Pretty smart, huh? But that’s not in line with our desire to look hot in a bikini…

I really don’t want to go into the technical and scientific side of things. I’d rather just give you some possible solutions to the problem, as I’m sure that’s also what you’d prefer to read about. So let’s do some troubleshooting…

    1. You’re eating healthfully, but you don’t know HOW MUCH you’re eating.

      Gradually swapping out most junk and processed foods for healthier and more whole foods is generally step one on your journey to a healthier you. But it’s still possible to overeat those whole foods or even add too many additional calories with condiments, sauces, oils and/or butter. Don’t even get me started on natural peanut butter… Just because it’s “natural” and it’s a “healthy fat” doesn’t mean it’s not packed with calories. Fruit is also a very healthy food and should be included in your diet, but it too can have a lot of calories.

      Solution: find a way to track, weigh, or measure how much food you’re eating and keep an eye on your overall calorie intake. You may find that you’re easily eating much closer to your maintenance calorie level than you thought. You don’t have to use a food scale (although, it’s my preferred method as it’s more accurate). You can also use measuring cups/spoons, or gauge the amount of food by comparing it to your hand. Just find an accurate system that you can easily stick to and gives you results.

    2. “Bites, Licks, and Tastes.”

      So maybe you are tracking your food intake somehow. You’re weighing… You’re using measuring cups… You’re counting calories… But did you count that handful of grapes you ate while cooking dinner? Did you consider those 5 french fries you stole from your kid’s lunch? What about the leftover peanut butter that you licked off the spoon earlier? I hate to break it to you, but these count! They may seem innocent and minuscule at the time, but over a course of a week they can certainly add up and kick you out of your fat loss deficit (or at least slow down fat loss so much that you can hardly tell you’re losing anything.) What’s even more frustrating is that often these “BLTs” increase as we diet because, well….we’re freaking hungry!

      Solution: Unfortunately, there isn’t one solution to this little problem. But here are some ideas for you:

      -You can simply become more conscious and mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth. I know… Easier said than done. This is a practice.

      -Eat more satisfying meals throughout the day. For example: Load up on those leafy greens at lunch. Include some starchy carbs in your diet. Or even build snacks into your diet that fit within your calorie allotment, but also tend to “take the edge off” for you. This may require some trial and error.

    3. NEAT Reduction

      Okay, maybe your diet is on point, buuuut you’re kind of feeling a little tired from the lack of calories. (This is to be expected, by the way.) Gradually and unknowingly you start to spend a little more time sitting, doing fewer chores, and parking a little bit closer to the store. These normal day-to-day activities are crucial to longterm fat loss and lead to a little phenomenon referred to as NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. While people tend to think that their workouts are key to their weight loss (and yes, they’re still important), you actually burn MORE calories throughout the day through NEAT. Consider this: maybe you exercise for about an hour a few times a week… There’s a whooooole lot more hours during the week that you’re not actually “exercising,” but your body is still using energy as it simply operates and to allows you to go about your day.

      Solution:  Remain conscious of your overall activity through the day. It might be helpful to invest in a Fitbit or pedometer to make sure that you’re making an effort to maintain movement throughout the day.

    4. Still Doing the Same Ol’ Same Ol’?

      Now I’m a big fan of choosing a program and sticking to it, but as you progress you will need to make some tiny changes to continue to see progress. This could simply mean increasing your intensity by lifting heavier weights, reducing rest times, running faster, or whatever. You could also add in a bit more cardio (A BIT!!!) or slightly reduce your calories. Overall, something needs to change. Like Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”And trust me, dieting the same way and training the same way forever without seeing any results WILL drive you insane! So find a way to change things up to get that fat dropping again!

      Solution: Again, just change things up a bit. Don’t overhaul your whole training program or diet. Just make some tweaks (like those listed above) and see if that gets things moving again!

    5. Maybe you need a break?

      This may sound counterintuitive, but if you’ve been dieting for 3-4 months and progress has stalled or slowed (again, NORMAL!), maybe it’s time you give your mind and body a break from dieting. This doesn’t mean to go back to your old ways of eating whatever and not exercising. It just means taking some time off to reset your body so that when you do get back to dieting, your body responds more like it once did when the weight was dropping consistently.

      Solution: After 3-4 months of dieting, it’s always a good idea to take a diet break. To do this, you slowwwly raise your calories back up closer to your maintenance calorie intake. Stay there for a month or so (longer if you’ve been dieting for a really long time…). This will give your metabolism a little boost and give your mind a bit of a break from dieting, because let’s be real, dieting can be a bit stressful even when you’re going about it pretty moderately. During this time you can expect your energy and strength levels to increase, your sleep will improve, and some dieters’ moodiness to dissipate. Not bad, huh?

    I hope these tips were helpful for you. Plateaus are pretty much guaranteed in fat loss. This is why we don’t start off dieting at 1200 calories and doing an hour of cardio 6-7 days a week. Instead, we incrementally make changes as progress slows. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to diet on as many calories as possible while doing as little cardio as necessary while losing fat!








It’s Okay to Quit Following That Selfie Queen

So I’m scrolling through Instagram, as many of us do, and I keep coming across selfies of this one fitness personality I follow. I’ve been a pseudo-fan of her’s for years and followed her because maybe she would put out some good information. You know, things like workouts, or tips, or some motivational words, or even some recipes. Day-to-day I scroll past her photos, and to this day I have yet to learn ANYTHING from this woman; well, besides the fact that she really likes to take photos…of HERSELF.

If you’re reading this blog, you obviously have SOME interest in health and fitness, and therefore probably follow several other fitness folks on social media. I KNOW you see this all the time too. Lots and lots of selfies…yet no actual content. Nothing we can actually LEARN from. No deeply moving thoughts or  words. Just a “TGIF!” with a corresponding duck face or even a “Good morning!” with a “morning abs” selfie…

Maybe some people find it motivating, in a sense, to look upon ripped, shapely bods. I, on the other hand, don’t. Any spark of motivation I get from that is very, very fleeting. Are any of you with me on that? Most of us are guilty of taking and posting selfies on occasion. I see no problem with that. But your same face every day. Your same abs…every day. Your same hand-on-hip-shoulder-and-glute-flexed-with-ducklips pose EVERY. DAMN. DAY?


I’m not sure I understand the purpose and honestly, I’m reeeeeally just not learning anything from that. I’m bored of it. And I think it’s kind of sad… Don’t you do anything? Let us have a peek into your real life for God’s sake!

So guess what I’m going to do. I’m going to un-follow her. 😦 I know. But if you have nothing original or educational to offer along with your selfies, well, then I am getting absolutely nothing out of seeing your fitness-model-figure every single day and you’re clogging up my feed. I don’t mean to single this woman out and I still respect her and her dedication, which is why I refuse to name her.  I have honestly un-followed a lot of fitness models and fitness “personalities” (as I like to call them) within the last year. These are the ones who incessantly use the hashtags #noexcuses, #whatsyourexcuse and #beastmode. The ones who not only have ripped abs all year round, but like to show you them every day without describing their mind-numbing lifestyle to you. These are the ones who are 22 years old, have never struggled with their weight and have never properly gone on a diet in their life (because they didn’t need to). They do it once. They’re successful at maintaining it (no matter the cost), and then they want to SELL you their starvation diets and crappy training programs. And it saddens me that so many buy into it!

Remember, these people are often being PAID to look the way they do, whether they have clients and subscribers who expect it of them or even sponsorships… And honestly, they probably don’t have much of a life. They ALWAYS have to be photoshoot ready because you know what? Someone is ready to take their place at any moment. Fitness models (or even Instagram fit-chicks) are a dime-a-dozen. Their livelihoods depend on their abs. Some of these individuals might be prepping for a competition. That’s fine that they are “prepping” for something or maintaining where they’re at for something. But don’t try to make the public think that that look is and can be “normal” for most people, year round.

I appreciate that these people enjoy looking the way they do. If they’re happy, well that’s great! You should love yourself and be proud of your efforts! But I also have to wonder how many of them don’t really love themselves and that’s why they’re posting their selfies so often. Maybe they thrive on outside assurance…? I don’t know though and I can only make slight assumptions. Maybe it’s good marketing. Hey, sex sells, right? These people tend to have a good number of followers… But again, are their followers LEARNING anything? Are they truly being motivated? Or are they just looking upon these photos wishing they looked like that and beating themselves up for not looking that way?

The point of this post isn’t to bash on fitness models and whatnot, it’s just a rant really to create a discussion or to get you thinking about whether these “fitness personalities” are serving you or making you feel worse about where you’re currently at in your own fitness journey. It’s also important to point out that these people, despite the way they look, probably aren’t a spitting image of health. Many have disordered eating habits, body dysmorphia, wrecked metabolisms from constant dieting, thyroid issues brought on by their own doing, and the list goes on. It’s possible you’re actually in a healthier place both physically and mentally than they are. Plus, they have their social media image to worry about! What a drag!

This is my challenge to you to stop following those who don’t feed your soul and nourish your mind. If their images and videos bring you more stress and actually make you feel worse about your own current physique or skill level, drop them. If they’re the only person who is benefiting from your “follow,” do yourself a favor and “unfollow.”

Rant over. 😉


I Threw In The Towel… And That’s Okay.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, doesn’t it? As a spouse of a soldier, this phrase really rings true for me. But over the past month, it’s had a different meaning. During the month of September I essentially stepped away from my 4-day bodybuilding splits and followed a different program that was more focused on strength and performance rather than physique and the glorious “pump.” I had become bored and tired and needed a bit of a change….for a while at least. The plan was to follow that program for approximately 12 weeks… Well…that was the plan.

While I generally enjoyed the lower volume work (less sets, reps, and overall exercises) and the addition of cardio and some circuits, I still felt that there was something missing. The workouts weren’t “me.” Yeah, sure I would feel exhausted post-workout (especially cardio-wise), but my muscles were craving more. My pump was gone… 😦 and I didn’t feel like the new workouts were helping me meet my goals. When I started the new workouts I somewhat felt that I didn’t have any goals. But I learned that I actually do KIND OF have goals, no matter how loose they are. They’re essentially this:

I’m a bodybuilder.

I train to build a physique that shows the hard work I put in at the gym.

I like to LOOK like I LIFT! Because…I do.

Curl Like a Girl

Yes, I love the additional benefits of being strong and healthy, but I can’t deny that one of the major reasons I train the way I do is because I love the look this way of training has given me and others who train similarly! PLUS, I think it’s fun! I have to remind myself that it’s okay to exercise a certain way because of the way it will make my body look. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and it’s what I ENJOY!

It keeps me coming back for more. 

This is key.

If you hate the way you’re training and aren’t having fun or feeling inspired, you’re not going to keep coming back for more. Chances are you’ll throw in the towel and become part of the larger majority who doesn’t exercise at all. You’ll make excuses that it’s not for you and you don’t enjoy it. But you know what?

There’s something for everyone who’s willing to move. 

I don’t expect everyone to want to lift the way I do. I don’t even expect everyone to want to lift! But I do think everyone should find a form of movement that they enjoy and gets them fired up; even if that’s just leisure walks every day. If you haven’t figured out what you love yet, just keep searching. Keep trying new things! Then at least you’ll know what you do and don’t like. This month I’ve essentially re-learned how much I love being in the gym, blaring my music through my headphones, and cranking out lots of volume with heavy weights. What can I say? I’m a bro at heart. 😉

If you too enjoy higher volume, bodybuilding work (best for those who can train more than 3 days/week), then sign up —->Here<—for my e-mails as I might start shooting out some of my own workouts to all of my subscribers! If that type of training isn’t for you, feel free to ignore those workouts and read on for the juicy material.


5 Reasons Why My 30s Are Way Better Than My 20s

This past Friday I turned 31.

Remember when you were a kid and you thought that 30 was old? Yeah, well, I don’t think that anymore. But still, 31 sounds like such a boring number… But maybe it’s not.

When I sat down to write this post I originally thought, “well, what in the hell is so special about 31..?” Sure, 30 is kind of exciting (or not-so-exciting depending on the way you look at it.) I mean, you’re a legit adult at 30! But 31? That’s a whole year into your 30s…

And that’s exactly what’s great about it. 

There’s something interesting about hitting your 30s. It’s kind of like you’re actually starting to figure out who you really are. In your 20s you do so much planning for your future and you have a pretty “good” idea of what your life is going to be like. Then you hit your 30s and you might come to realize that the plan you made really isn’t what you want at all and you’re not the person you once thought you were.

So what have I learned about myself over the past year? Lemme tell ya.

1. I know what I like and what I don’t like. Over the last year I have noticed that I have stronger feelings towards what I like and don’t like, and what I do or do not want out of life. And you know what? I’m much more likely to proudly express my feelings towards something. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to tell someone I don’t like them, after all, I’m not rude! But life is too short to fill it up with people you can’t stand, things you don’t like, and choices that you aren’t happy about.

2. I am extreme about avoiding extremes. One thing I really don’t like these days is extremes. This is probably mostly related to diet and exercise, and our mindsets surrounding those topics. Over the last year I’ve really sought out moderation and balance in all areas of my life, but one major change that has definitely solidified in my life is the fact that I now refuse to cut out the very foods and drinks that I absolutely love. To me, having slightly more defined abs just isn’t worth it anymore. Right now I’m enjoying a glass of wine (preferably something sparkly…) and a piece of chocolate every day! I don’t want to be on my deathbed someday thinking “I should’ve enjoyed more champagne…” And I refuse to let my future-dying-self down. 😉
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3. I’ve got my priorities straight. I love balance in all things (maybe it’s the Libra in me). This includes family, career, fun, and whatnot. BUT, while yes, my career will always be important to me, I’ve learned that nothing will ever be as important as my family; and that is one of the reasons why I have chosen to do what I do. One major reason that I work independently these days is so that when my husband is actually around, we are guaranteed to have some time together. Also, having the freedom to be with my dogs much of the day is an absolute luxury to me that I would hate to trade. It really is the little things in life… And besides, eff working for the man! Amirite?! Ha!

4. I’m wiser. Every year we all get juuuust a little more wise. I mean…how could you not? But over the last year I have specifically invested in my own ongoing education and business (BTW, that feels totally empowering!), and I’ve learned so much! And not just about exercise and training, but about myself and running a business. I’ve also had more life experiences and acquired new clients who have given me some of their own challenges to help them work around. Remember, learning from others’ experiences can be just as beneficial as learning from your own…

5. I’m more comfortable with showing you who I am. I like me. I like who I have become. If you like me, well, then awesome! Let’s be pals! If you don’t, well, I just don’t really care anymore. I’m not afraid to show you my quirks and who I really am. Those are the things that set us all apart and make us interesting! So why not embrace them?

So far 31 has been pretty damn good. Not much different than 30 really, but it’s nice to look back on the previous year and determine what has changed in you. This next year, much like every other year, my aim is to become an even fitter person than I am today, both physically and mentally. This year I would specifically like to focus on removing self-limitations. You ever been afraid of reaching true success? Sounds odd, but often this is the one thing that keeps us from meeting our true potential. Maybe you never complete a training program and hardly make any progress… Maybe you never 100% follow through with a diet plan and thus never reach your ultimate fat loss goals… Maybe you’re afraid to branch out and try new things… Or maybe you don’t reach high enough in your career.

“All limitations are self imposed.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Once you realize that all of those limits keeping you from reaching new heights are actually self-imposed, you have actually already taken the first step. Now you can DO something about it and take control of your own life and successes. My goal for this year is to reduce (because come on, this is a practice) those self-limitations and see what happens.

For those of you who have not quite reached your 30s, don’t be afraid of them. They’re awesome. And for those of you who are in your 30s now, or beyond, embrace it! And remember, it’s never to late to try new things and make new goals. Make the best of your life. You only get one!


5 Tips To Conquer Your Gym Anxiety

Last week I was having coffee with a friend (Lord, we were there for like 4 hours! Does that ever happen to you? Time flies, right?) and she was telling me that she and her husband just joined a gym. She went on to tell me that she feels intimidated when she goes there by herself though. Granted, it’s a smaller, more intimate gym, so it’s easier for there to be more eyes on you. Whereas, with big box gyms there’s usually more space, so you don’t have people “all up in yo’ grill.” Nah mean? But anyways, I think this is a common problem among women (and probably some men too), after all, isn’t that why Planet Fitness exists? (By the way, I personally feel really uncomfortable walking into a Planet Fitness because their marketing is so judgmental towards people who are actually in shape and have some muscle. Kind of hypocritical, huh?)

Anyways, I started giving her some advice on how to overcome those feelings while she’s at the gym. Yeah, sure, you’re ALWAYS going to worry a little bit about the way you look or perform, but you can’t let that stop you from trying to meet your goals. As I was advising her, I remembered that I had written a blog post on this a few years back, but since it’s such a common topic, I should probably hit on it once again!

So if you’re afraid of the weight room (or if you tend to move a lot, like me), this one is for you!

  1. Fake It Till You Make It: It’s okay to be new and not really know what you’re doing or know your way around. This is normal! Otherwise we’d never expose ourselves to new experiences and learn anything, right? But if being “new” to something and appearing like you’re “new” to something is really uncomfortable to you, then you might be more comfortable just “faking it till you make it.” You may or may not know that I am a military spouse, so we tend to move a lot. One thing this means for me is that I’m constantly trying new gyms. And let’s face it, they’re all extremely different. Maybe you’re the type to ask the front desk personnel where everything is, but if you know anything about DoD personnel (I generally train on post), they’re probably not very interested in helping you out much. Ha! So outside of asking where the locker room is, I figure it all out on my own.My tip: walk around with an air of confidence. I don’t care if it’s real or fake. By simply looking confident you will automatically feel more confident, even if you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing. Own your “newness.”  Don’t be afraid to explore. Scan your surroundings. Learn what pieces of equipment your new gym has and where everything is, this way you’re not hunting around for that one piece of equipment next time you’re in there. Although, in all honesty, I still find myself hunting every now and then. That’s just how it goes! Every gym is different! So if need-be, pop a stick of gum in your mouth and walk around with your best bitch-face possible, and most people won’t even think twice about why you’re there and what you’re doing!


2. Have a Plan: It’s rare when I walk into the gym without a plan. While I feel confident in my abilities to ‘program’ on the fly, I still just don’t like walking into the gym without an overall plan of attack. If you’re new to the gym or even training in general, then I think it’s even more important for you to have a plan. Know what exercises you plan to do and know how many reps and sets of each you need to do.On day 1, you might want to keep everything very simple. Don’t rely on machines for everything because there’s a good chance that your gym just might not have every machine your plan calls for OR it could already be taken. Yes, there’s always substitutions, but you need to be aware of what those are and know how to perform them before you get there.

3.Remember Why You’re There: Why are you at the gym in the first place? To better yourself, right? That’s totally commendable! Just think of all the people out there who AREN’T at the gym or at least exercising in some way. You’re already in the minority, so give yourself a pat on the back. I know not caring about what others MIGHT be thinking of you is easier said than done, but you really can’t go your whole life thinking like that. Life’s short. Get your gym on. 😉 Also, remember not to compare yourself to others. Everyone is at a different point in their journey. It’s just important to get started and remain consistent!

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4. You’re Not Alone: See all those other people in the gym? Chances are half of them are worried about the same thing as you. They’re worrying about what others think of them; their clothes, their body, their exercise selection, their exercise form, whatever. I know. I care about these things too! Imagine the extra pressure you have on you when you’re a personal trainer! Just don’t let those things bother you so much that you stop going altogether. At a certain point you just have to get over it.

5. Hire a Trainer: If you find that you just can’t get your shit together, then it might be a good idea to hire a personal trainer! Even if it’s just for 1-2 sessions (often these are offered for free when joining a new gym too, so keep an eye out for that and don’t turn it down). Hopefully you’ll get lucky and they’ll be a decent trainer, but regardless, they’ll at least show you the ropes and run you through some exercises that you might not be totally familiar with. They can also show you how to use the machines, which can be really beneficial as I feel like I have to learn new machines every time I move to a different gym! Sometimes it’s even a challenge for the pros! (There’s nothing like watching a huge bodybuilder struggle to lock a fully-loaded leg press that he’s not familiar with…)

Remember, everyone was new to that gym at one point or another, so if they’re judging you for being “new,” screw them. You shouldn’t care about their thoughts anyways. Also, if you’re going to the gym consistently you will learn fast and quickly become a “regular” who totally knows their way around.  So just suck it up buttercup. You’ll be a pro in no time. 😉

Don’t Worry About Your Weight. You Look Great!

“Don’t Worry About Your Weight. You Look Great!”

My husband said this to me last weekend. You see, he’s been on a bit of a diet for the last month. He’s honestly never really ever strictly dieted before. He’s never really needed to either! But he decided that he wanted to try to lose a few pounds to literally “lighten” his body up. He’s in the Army, so he does a lot of running. And honestly, the heavier you are, the harder the run. (Alright, enough with justifying why he felt the need to lose a few pounds. Let’s just say that he’s doing a great job and lost a few pounds in his first week… I know you can picture the look on my face right now…)

Anyways, I thought I might join him on his little diet journey. Why not, right? I’ve been maintaining for a while now, so this would be a good opportunity to “tighten up” a little. We could help motivate and keep each other on track. He’d also be less likely to “crap-push” since he too is on a diet… It would just be a little easier.

Or so I thought…

You see, we’ve both been counting calories during this little cut of ours. And according to how that generally works, we should be losing scale weight. Well, Mr. Man over there has been on track, losing at least a pound per week, while I have lost…

1 pound. Total.

Are you effing kidding me? Like, WTF mate? You see, I’ll go through phases where I’m 100% “oh, screw the scale. It doesn’t mean crap.” And then after actually TRYING to lose some weight, the scale hardly budges and I’m like “well, it SHOULD be moving!” I’m training hard. I’m literally weighing my food and counting my calories like a neurotic bitch (okay, maybe I’m not THAT neurotic about it), and hardly anything happens.



I’m starting to notice more “nooks and crannies” in my back and arms. I all of a sudden have a glimpse of a 6-pack rather than a 4-pack. My yoga pants are feeling looser. My husband is saying that I look great and that my waist feels “slim and trim.”

While these changes can’t really be quantified, tracked, or easily spotted in photos, they too are very real. They count. And they are especially important to take note of when someone is already relatively lean. Let’s face it, a lean person just isn’t going to see number drops week to week. BUT they are more likely to actually SEE visible changes.

So just like I like to tell my readers and my clients, I need to take my own advice and take what the scale tells me with a grain of salt. I just have to face the fact that I’m not going to have those exciting, big number drops, and honestly, an exciting drop would probably be a bad thing at this point as it would mean…. DUNN DUNNN DUNNNNNN!! Muscle loss!!! And that would be no bueno. I’ll take my slow fat loss over that any day.

Besides, I’m not trying to “be” a certain number. I’m trying to look a certain way. I don’t even know what number would pop up on the scale when I reach my desired, “happier” weight. Please don’t get it wrong…I’m not unhappy with where I’m currently at. Sometimes it’s just fun to see where you COULD be. Plus, pull-ups are much more challenging at 142 lbs. than they were at 135!

So if you are already close to your body’s natural set-point like me,  you just can’t expect to see major changes in your weight. This is when fat loss actually gets hard and well, kind of boring! You’re fighting day in and day out, and generally working harder for less results. This is a point where a lot of people might give up and become discouraged. But it’s those folks that will never reach their goals. Don’t be one of those people…

Anyways, screw the scale. Look in the mirror. Take some damn photos. And keep on truckin’! Fat loss ain’t easy. Otherwise, we’d all look like Greek gods. 😉

Protein: It’s Not Just For Bros

For most of my life I didn’t know or care about how much protein I was eating. Like, who could give a shit if there was no meat on my pasta, right? I was relatively thin during most of those years and despite having taken a single nutrition course in college, it just never dawned on me how important protein is. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that muscle meant anything to me. Before that I just wanted to be “smaller” and lighter, but I never really got any more toned…which made me think that I needed to be even SMALLER. At that time I thought I could just eat less…and less…and less…and I would eventually get “there,” wherever that was!

Nowadays my goals are completely different and I’m in love with the hunt for muscle, as are many other women. But often they don’t realize just how important nutrition is when trying to meet physique goals. It’s not just how MUCH food you eat, but WHAT food you eat.

If there’s any one macronutrient that most women are definitely not getting enough of in their diet, it’s usually protein. Protein is a major building block of our muscles and bones, and even our skin, hair, and nails. So when trying to build or maintain muscle we especially need a large sum of protein.

While I don’t prefer to prescribe specific nutritional programs for my clients, I like to advise them to eat approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. This amount would essentially help to cover all your bases for building and maintaining muscle and help a bit with satiety when dieting. This amount is a lot more than the average woman is getting from her morning energy bar and scoop of peanut butter she’s slathering on her afternoon celery sticks. (By the way, peanut butter is not a great source of protein… Sorry to break it to you. It’s a great fat source though!) So since this recommended amount of protein is so high, and because protein is such an essential building block, we MUST prioritize it in our diets and we MUST be conscious of how much we’re eating.

I like to tell my clients to structure all of their meals around their protein source. Carbs and fats can fluctuate as needed, but protein should always be a constant. I would advise spreading it out evenly throughout the day. Say you like to have 3 full meals and 2 snacks a day, take your weight and divide it by 5. That would give you the approximate amount of protein you should have per meal. For example: for a woman who weighs 130 lbs., she would do the math as such…

130 ÷ 5 = 26 grams of protein per meal

This is one reason why eating many meals a day is preferred, as sometimes it’s hard to get in so much protein in a single meal.

Many people seem baffled when I tell them how much protein they should be eating to help them reach their goals, and one reason is because they just don’t know WHERE to get that protein from! They often automatically assume that they need to start chugging shakes, but that’s not the case and it’s also not where you should be getting most of your protein from. Real food is generally preferred.


Now I apologize in advance for not having many vegetarian friendly options listed below, but that just isn’t my expertise. I am definitely an omnivore, as are most of my clients, so I generally get most of my protein from meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork, fish, etc.), eggs, some dairy (like yogurt, milk, or cheese), and then supplements of course.

People often ask me about my opinion of certain protein powders and when to take them. First off, there is no magic to using protein powders. They are simply a supplement, and what I mean by that is, they are used in place of one of the more traditional forms of protein I listed in the paragraph above. It’s not always easy or convenient to bust out a chicken leg after a workout, but a shake can totally fill that gap. You can have a protein shake at any time during the day to replace a meal or just the protein source of that meal. I generally have one after my workout and sometimes I’ll have one before bed if I need to get my protein numbers up for the day. Again, anytime is A-OK!

Many women seem to be afraid of protein shakes because they think they’re going to “bulk” them up or something. Here’s the deal: the only thing that is going to “bulk” a woman up is excess calories, so avoid “mass building” protein powders that are chock-full of calories. These are specifically designed to help individuals build mass; fat or muscle. Stick to the powders that are less than 150 calories and have 20+ grams of protein per scoop. This will leave room for extra calories from fruit or milk (or whatever!) in case you want to make a full meal-replacement shake.

One of the most common questions I get is “what is your favorite protein powder?” My favorite powder is Trutein by Body Nutrition, and it has been my favorite for several years now. Tons of flavors and I haven’t had a bad one yet. Plus, the macronutrient profile is perfect. Lately I’ve been purchasing it through Best Price Nutrition as they seem to have the ‘best prices.’ And as for protein bars, you just can’t beat a Quest bar. Damn, they’re good! So good that I eat one every day and always look forward to it.

I hope that cleared a few things up. Please don’t be afraid of protein! It’s way too hard to go overboard on it and it’s really your best friend when you’re trying to build or maintain muscle OR lose fat!

Super-Easy Meal Prep With My PSP Model

As you may have noticed, I put a heavy emphasis on nutrition. Why? Because without focusing on your nutrition, your training results are probably going to be lackluster, unless you’re some sort of a genetic freak. For the rest of us who were not born with the bodies of the gods, nutrition is going to play a very key role. Like seriously…the most important role; particularly in fat loss or muscle building.

Now unfortunately, most people tend to have the most problems with the nutrition part of the equation. They often enjoy working out, or at least are relatively good at getting their workouts in. But when it comes to nutrition they get a bit lazy. And honestly, lazy is okay! You just have to recognize that you ARE in fact lazy and find some work arounds, like I do. 🙂

Clients and acquaintances are often asking me for advice on nutrition, and of course, I’m always happy to advise! My advice is to always focus on the “big rocks.” But what exactly are those? Let’s discuss…


There’s generally 3 steps I tend to follow when planning my own diet, and I’m at a point where these are just habits. I don’t have to think about them too much anymore. But when you’re just starting out it may require much more thought, just not for long.

In lieu of simplicity, I have developed a little acronym to help you remember the 3 steps I like to follow. The acronym is PSP; Plan, Shop, and Prepare. So now let’s go over exactly what those all mean!

Plan: Step 1 is to plan. You absolutely have to have a plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail, right? And we don’t want to fail when we have big goals for ourselves! So this is the most important step. Decide what you’re going to eat for every meal, every day, and write it down. What sources of proteins, carbs, and fats do you need? What extras do you need to make those things tasty? Plan it out, meal by meal.

Shop: Step 2 is to shop. Once you have a plan, make a shopping list and hit the grocery store. Stick to the list. Don’t get a bunch of extras. It’s very rare when I pick up something that is not on my list and probably considered “unhealthy.” So try not to be tempted by all the extras at the store. If it’s in the house you’ll be more tempted to eat it (chips and ice cream can often be my downfall). So stick to the plan and stick to your list! Want a sample of what I buy on a regular basis? Well, I will be sending out a sample of my weekly shopping list to all of my e-mail subscribers this week. If you’re interested in seeing what I buy regularly or if you need help setting up your own shopping list, you can subscribe here by clicking on this link—> Send me your shopping list!


Prepare: Step 3 is to do some prep work. This is FREAKING IMPORTANT! Like Big. Time. So pay attention.

Right when I get home from the grocery store and after I’ve put mostly everything away, I throw my berries in a colander and start rinsing them off and preparing them for snacking throughout the week. I’ll also start rinsing and chopping any veggies that I use for snacking or for adding to eggs or other dishes throughout the week. At some point early in the week and shortly after shopping, you want to start cooking a butt-load of food, or at least prepare it to be cooked (chopping, seasoning). Anything you can do in advance to help keep you from wavering from your diet plan is going to be key. Make it easy for yourself! A little bit of extra prep work on the front end will make sticking to your diet much easier as you’ll be less likely to veer off course and order take-out or something. I’ll often buy pre-seasoned fish, pre-chopped veggies, and pre-washed salad mixes because I know myself. If I have to do too much work to prepare it, I might not do it at all. So KNOW YOURSELF! Sometimes spending a little more to buy food that has already been prepped for you is totally worth it.

Fruit and veg

I like to cook a lot of meat at once several times during the week. For example, when I grill chicken I will cook a couple pounds of it and use some of it for lunches for my husband and I, and add it to different meals, like salads.


The next thing I would like to mention is not exactly a step, but something to keep in mind. I often like to keep my foods and prep work….

Same, Sane, and Simple

What do I mean by “same?” Well, out of ease and simplicity, most of my meals during the week are the same from day to day. I don’t feel the need to get too creative. Sure, I might swap out one fruit for another, or one meat for another. But in general, I use the same model for my meals every day.

Also, my recommendation is to keep your meals relatively simple. If it’s going to take you 30 minutes to an hour to prepare every meal, you’re going to throw in the towel real quick. That might be fine for dinner every night, if you’re into that… But for breakfast? Hell no. Keep it quick and simple so that you’re not likely to blow it off and stop by McDonald’s on your way to work. Go ahead and feel free to use spices, marinades, and other yummy things to kick the taste up a notch, but every meal does not need to be Food Network quality. Yah mean? Oh, and by the way, if you’re eating “clean” and tend to avoid processed food, don’t be afraid to use salt, especially if you drink a lot of water.

Just about every day I have a protein shake and a protein bar (at separate meals, obvs), and this is just because they’re yummy AND they’re quick! No thought required! But they’re great for filling in those protein gaps.

And finally, by “sane,” I mean don’t cut foods out just because some ‘rando,’ new trendy diet says so. If you like dairy and it agrees with your body, eat it. If you like wheat products and they agree with your body, eat ’em. If you want to go hard during the week but then have a couple slices of pizza on the weekend, go for it. Life’s short, baby. Eating “healthy” doesn’t have to be so hard. Even swapping not-so-healthy things out with slightly “healthIER” things can make an overall difference.

Hope that was a little helpful! Again, if you’re interested in more details on how to shop or structure your meals, sign up here for my e-mails! —>Send me your shopping list!

Stop Eating Like a Child

It’s time for some hard talk you guys…

At some point you have got to grow up and take responsibility for yourself.

Are you still wondering why you haven’t “lost the weight?”

Well, have you tried?

I mean, have you REALLY TRIED?

You know what you need to do. It’s not complicated.

Losing fat is actually really damn simple. It may not be easy per se’, but it’s simple as hell. 

Now, I’m not talking about going from 18 to 15 percent body fat (for women). That might be a whole different story as it can be quite a challenge. But getting from 30 to 20 percent body fat… That’s not complicated.

Let’s go over the two basics:

1. Eat more quality food.

2. Eat fewer calories.

Boom. Done. That’s it. I’m setting exercise aside for this discussion. You can be one hell of a skinny bitch without exercise. You might not have much muscle “tone,” but you can be thin.

You’re an adult. Stop feeding yourself like a child. That sugary breakfast cereal is not serving you and you KNOW that. That McDonald’s hamburger and fries you had for lunch aren’t serving you either, and you KNOW that. But maybe you don’t want to admit it because then you might have to change and do something about it. This is the time to be a grown ass adult and make the decision that best serves you, your health, and your goals.


Me…as a child…chowing down on ice cream…

Want my advice? Start food journaling. Write down everything you eat. Every damn bite. You don’t have to tie emotions to these foods, but you do need to think about them. What’s serving you? And what is doing a disservice to you? Does this food make you feel full and satisfied? Or does it leave you wanting more?

Stop looking for the magical diet that will change everything for you. Come up with your own diet. That’s the only one that’s going to work for you in the long run. You know what all diets have in common?  They all pretty much cut out certain food groups and/or force you to increase your intake of higher quality foods, thus you’re inherently cutting back on calories. Yep. So any diet will work as long as your calories are reduced and you’re eating more protein and fiber.

I know I’m coming off as mean or harsh, but sometimes we all just need a bit of a reality check. You have to stop this incessant hunt for secret information. You already have it all. You just need to start acting on it and putting what you know to use. It’s seriously not complicated. You just have to want it bad enough to feel a little hungry here and there and eat things that MIGHT not taste as good as Ben and Jerry’s 90% of the time. You can totally go for the Ben and Jerry’s the other 10% of the time. Got it? Good.