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. ūüė¶ 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. ūüėČ


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. ūüėČ
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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. ūüėČ 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. ūüėČ

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. ūüėČ

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. ūüôā

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!

Bikini Body or Bust? No thanks.

This year I’m feeling an overwhelming sensation of the “eff its.”

Lulz, what?

It seems like ever since I started living a “healthy lifestyle” I’ve been stressed every Spring and Summer about being “bikini ready.” It’s a very subjective term but you can essentially break it down to: “How lean can I get?” and “How much can I make those muscles pop?” I still CARE about my physique, buuuuuuut, not enough to go to extremes. I’ve actually never really gone to¬†extremes.¬†I’m not into competitions and I don’t expect to ever be into them. While I¬†have¬†done a fitness photo shoot and would possibly like to do more in the future, I didn’t even go to extremes to get¬†there. But let me just say that it did take a very concerted effort to get photo shoot lean; I just went about it a bit slower and healthier than others might. It was still quite a challenge though.


This year I’m not stressing about it. I maintain where I’m at pretty effortlessly these days. Yes, I work out pretty regularly, and I eat healthy MOST of the time. I’m pretty confident in my physique despite it’s “imperfections” or “flaws,” as some might call them. I know I train hard and I know I eat well, despite those things. I’m not going to become manic about them though. There’s only so much that I’m¬†willing¬†to do about them.

So like many others this year, the way I’m going to attain my bikini bod is by “putting a bikini on my body.”

But just because I personally feel this way at this stage in my life doesn’t mean that you should feel the same way I do. If you are personally not satisfied with where you’re at, go for it. Push a little harder. Diet a little harder. Do what you need to do. But I do want to warn you; getting there won’t necessarily make you a genuinely happier individual. There will be things that you most likely love that you will most likely have to give up to achieve something that is viewed as unattainable by many.

I’m personally torn on how I feel about the bikini-bod. While I really, really believe in self-love and acceptance, I also understand the need or¬†desire to achieve something the average person does not have. Deep down inside I’m a meathead who loves not only how bodybuilding and fitness make me feel, but how it makes me look. I still love working for a look you do not see every day walking down the street. Chiseled arms, muscular hamstrings… You know.

I’m personally trying to find where I lie on the spectrum of self-acceptance and self-improvement. I don’t believe they have to be completely separate from one another, but sometimes I find fitness pros lean too far one way or the other. As a fitness professional, I feel it’s my job to help push you to push yourself to reach a little further than you would on your own. I’m not here to de-motivate you or pull you back from your dreams. But, as a health professional, I do not and will never promote you pushing yourself to extremes to reach those dreams. I personally believe that once you step out of the borders of health (when your body starts fighting back), it’s time to reign it in a bit and learn to love your body for where it’s at and for what it can do.

Don’t get me wrong, I think you should love your body for where it’s at at any stage during your journey, but as someone who has “been there and done that,” I too have struggled with self-acceptance, so I get you. For many it can be a practice that comes with time. You may always find yourself struggling with some part of your body, and while that’s kind of sad, I also think it’s kind of normal. The hard truth is that some of the thinnest and most beautiful women I have ever known seem to have the most mental struggles with their bodies.

I’m sorry that this post didn’t give you a run-down of exactly how to get a “bikini body,” but that wasn’t the goal. You know how to get there. It generally requires a solid exercise routine including weights and cardio, and a healthy diet with a decent caloric deficit. And if you didn’t know how to get there, well, BOOM! There ya go (barring any metabolic issues you may be encountering). It’s actually putting in the work that’s the hard part. By slowly developing healthier habits, you too may just get to a point where you are mostly happy with your body 365. Year round bikini bod? Now that’s what I’m all about.

For those of you who are concerned about your body not being bikini ready at this point, well, time is running short! It might just be time for you to say “eff it,” put on the damn bikini, and get out there and have some fun this summer! ūüėČ


My 3 Rules for Dieting and Exercising “On The Road”

April was a whirlwind of a month. If you’ve been keeping up, you may know that I was traveling for the entire month; visiting North Carolina, New York City, and Boston along the way. For someone who loves their gym-time and normal diet, you can imagine that this had the potential to be quite a scary ordeal. No regular gym. No regular diet. Ugh.

But hey! I survived AND I came out of the month mostly unscathed! So how did I do this while actually enjoying my month-long vacation? I made some rules for myself that allowed me to come out at the end of this trip mostly looking and feeling like I did when I left. I didn’t feel bloated and miserable. I essentially felt like my normal self! And that was the goal.

So here are the 3 rules I came up for myself:

  1. Workout¬†when¬†you can.¬†I didn’t make it an overarching priority to workout every. single. day., but I did workout when it made sense and when I could easily fit it into my schedule. In other words, I wasn’t scheduling my day around my workout, I was just fitting something in when I could. In my normal day-to-day life I would prioritize my workout. I have a specific time I like to train and it generally doesn’t move much. But if I’m on vacation, it’s just not going to be THAT important to me. I also decided to allow myself to take this opportunity to let my body rest a bit. I kept most workouts less than 30 minutes and generally opted for full-body, dumbbell circuits. I also did A LOT of walking. A LOT! Some days we walked over 12 miles, like in Boston and New York. So I wasn’t so concerned about getting in a workout on those days.

    ICYMI on Facebook, here’s one of the workouts I did a few times with the 25lb dumbbells I brought with me:

    Perform 5 rounds, resting as needed.

    A1. DB Overhead Press x10
    A2. DB Romanian Deadlift x10
    A3. DB Plank Row x10
    A4. DB Squats x10
    A5. Push-Ups x10
    A6. DB Glute Bridges x20
    A7. Oblique Crunches x20 (one side at a time)
    A8. DB Swings x20

  2. Eat healthy¬†when you can.¬†Eating while on the road can definitely be a challenge. You don’t have your kitchen with you. Getting to grocery stores isn’t always easy or a priority. Means of refrigeration and cooking are not always there. So you have to make due somehow. My plan was to “navigate the middle.” I would focus on mostly eating as healthy as I could but I also wasn’t going to absolutely deprive myself of the “fun” stuff.

    Because we ate out so much, I often opted for high protein meals with lots of veggies and minimal starchy, ‘bready’, or sugary carbs. Hyooooge salads were a favorite go-to of mine when I could get my hands on them. If we ate out for breakfast, I would opt for an omelet most of the time (except for that one time I had greek pancakes in Astoria, NY…) And if we were staying with our parents and our moms wanted to cook something awesome for breakfast or dinner, you know there was no way in Hell I would turn that down! I would just watch my portion sizes.

    I also kept Quest protein bars on me all the time for snacks or even for breakfast on busy days. And in the car I tried to stick to jerky, fruit, and nuts.
    BUT I also had a couple burgers along the way. And pizza. And cupcakes from Magnolia’s Bakery. And NY bagels… Lord, I know there was more fun food along the way and I don’t regret a bite of it. Don’t judge.

    IMG_2837 (1)
  3. Don’t stress over it! You’re on vacation DAMNIT! This rule is pretty self-explanatory, right? Show yourself some compassion. Life is not about dieting and working out. It’s about experiences, memories, friends, family, and all that good stuff. Eating well and exercising just helps to improve your quality of life (unless you’re the type to let it run your life…)

Sounds easy enough, right? And it was! Exercise and eating healthy have really just become part of my lifestyle and I don’t physically feel good when I can’t get some exercise in, or if I’m not eating well. ¬†But I also didn’t over-burden myself with it. I didn’t want to stress over it, so I simply didn’t. And you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had a great time! BUT¬†I was also really excited to get home and get back to the routine that I love and have built for myself.

And since you might be interested in having some proof of whether my plan worked out or not, here’s a photo of me exactly one week after arriving home. After one week of being back in my routine and eating ‘normal’ (for me), this is where I’m at. Yeah, I’ve been leaner, but not without striving really hard for it and fixating on it. Right now I feel healthy, happy, super feminine, and generally more balanced. This is where I’m at today and I’m okay with that. ūüėČ


4 Unconventional Tips for a Healthy Mind and Body

I recently shared on Facebook that my husband and I essentially split an entire pizza in one night. Yes, I ate my fair share of it, and guess what… No guilt! I’ve honestly been eating A LOT of fun food since he’s been home from a recent deployment. We’ve really been enjoying ourselves, to say the least. But again, I really don’t feel guilty about it. I eat normal or relatively healthy most chances that I get, but if the husband wants to go out for lunch one day, you better believe I’m not going to argue with him.

 I really haven’t been surprised by my feelings towards food lately, as I’ve had this mindset for a while now. I have to admit that it has taken a while for me to get here mentally. Generally, when people start off on a health and fitness journey to lose fat, build muscle, and what not, they tend to really dive in and anything that might possibly hold them back (according to some lore they once heard) from reaching their goals will be shelved. Sometimes people even cut out all fruit and dairy, which seems insane to me unless you genuinely don’t like fruit or dairy, or they cause you discomfort. 

Despite all this “fun” eating, I haven’t gained a pound. 


Not a single pound. 

My skinny jeans and workout clothes all fit exactly the same. Now, I haven’t exactly lost any weight either, but considering all the yummy foods and drinks I’ve been embibing in, that’s of no surprise. But it’s also not the goal right now. 


So how did I get here? How have I become more physically and mentally stable with regards to dietary changes that at one time would have made me feel disgusting and bloated, along with making me feel guilty and undisciplined? 

1. I built a ton of muscle. Okay, Jess. What the hell does that have to do with anything? Well, 1. I weigh a lot more, which means I can get away with eating a little more without negative repercussions. And 2. The large amount of muscle I carry has greatly improved my insulin sensitivity. In lieu of getting into the science of how this works, I’ll just get to the good stuff. Training hard allows your body to UTILIZE food better, rather than just allowing it to…cling…and become fat. 

2. When I expect to eat a “fun” meal, I try to make it a priority to get in some challenging anaerobic activity. High volume weight lifting, sprints, and metabolic conditioning all improve insulin sensitivity. So while I may have been eating a lot of good food, I’ve also been putting it to good use by getting in some hard training sessions. 

3. I have stopped viewing food as something I need to “burn off.” Notice how I said in tip #2 that I’ve been putting my food to “good use?” I like to view my food as an awesome, tasty fuel. I view it as something positive rather than a scary thing that causes me issues and makes me fat. Food doesn’t make you fat in itself. But if you take in more fuel than your body requires from day to day, you might eventually create some problems for yourself. So if you’re planning on indulging, prep your body for it by improving your insulin sensitivity and get your lift on! Or, on the back end, put that fuel you ingested the day before to work. That’s a much more positive mindset than “burning off sludge,” right? 

4. I eat moderately all the time now. Life is just too short to cut out all the foods I love 100% of the time. I love a good burger… Pizza… Wine… Desserts… To me, life just isn’t worth living without them! But I also know how to keep it in check. I don’t eat those things every day, but they’re also never off-limits. Putting foods “off-limits” just makes you want it more, so when you finally take the opportunity to indulge in that slice of cake, it can be quite easy to say “eff it” and eat the entire cake instead! So rather than just indulging in an innocent piece of cake, you have overindulged and probably now feel guilty and extremely full…and utterly crappy. Now, if you allow yourself to have bits and bites of delicious things on a more regular basis, accidents like that are a lot less likely to happen. For example, I’m currently on the road and traveling. I’m having a great time visiting friends and family, but I haven’t really felt the desire to overindulge in anything because I honestly don’t have any cravings for anything! Why? Because I allow myself to eat delicious food all the time. AND I manage to stay lean while doing it because I never overdo it. It’s really a win-win situation. 

Maybe the all-or-nothig approach works for some people, but for me it doesn’t. I like the more moderate approach to eating as it makes me feel satisfied and fulfilled. I never feel like I’m “missing out” on something amazing. This approach may not work the best if you’re trying to drop the last few pounds for a fitness photo shoot, but how often in our lives are we really preparing for something like that? For most of us, not often. I’m finding this approach to be much more sustainable than the all-or-nothing approach. Both my mind and body are happier this way. There are never any weight rebounds, there’s less bloating, my thoughts about my body are more positive, and there’s less stress about food. Plus, I just find it easier to stay lean this way.

So for those of you who have found the all-or-nothing approach to be too challenging, go easier on yourself and try putting these tips to use. If you do try them out, let me know how it goes for you! I know I can see myself living this way forever. 

This Simple New Habit is a Game-Changer

You may know this by now as I don’t really keep it a secret, but I hate steady state cardio. The thought of it creates a sense of dread in me. Just imagining doing the same, boring, painful thing for 30, 45, 60 minutes or more conjures up feelings of a whiny, tantruming toddler in me. For instance, when people tell me they “loooove” running, I think to myself “Really? How can this be? Why on Earth…?” Some people have told me that they use that time to think. All I’d be thinking about is “Why am I doing this?! This hurts! Ugh! It’s only been 5 minutes!?” You know, miserable stuff like that. (And I know this because I too used to be a “cardio bunny.”) Due to these negative feelings, I just don’t run unless I plan on participating in a 5k or something.¬†But there is one steady state cardio activity that actually gives me more positive “feels” and that is….. Wait for it….


What am I? An 80 year old woman? Hey man, walking is awesome! It doesn’t hurt… It won’t damage my joints… It won’t age my skin (yes, high impact exercise can cause a jolt to the skin which can cause collagen breakdown)… It’s relaxing… And I can multitask when I walk. Multitask? Yep. I can read my e-mails. I can get through a couple chapters in a book. I can dictate blog posts. I can watch YouTube videos. I can do all sorts of things! Mind you, I’m doing this in the comfort of my own home on my treadmill. OR I can do nothing except walk and just let my mind wander. Later in the day I take my dogs for a walk through our neighborhood, otherwise they’ll drive me nuts. There’s no multitasking on those walks. There’s only dog-wrangling and picking up poop.

For the last few weeks I’ve been getting up a little earlier, pouring myself a big ol’ coffee, and hopping on the treadmill with that and my iPad for at least a 30 minute walk at a relaxing pace (3.0-3.5). It has been such an enjoyable way to start my day. Normally I would have my coffee and do my morning reading on the couch with the news on, so now I’m just doing the same thing but I’m not sitting on my ass! And by mid-day I’ve already gotten in my 10,000 steps or more! I’ve been enjoying it so much that I think I might keep it as a (mostly) daily habit.


One key to creating a new exercise (or even non-exercise) habit is to find something you love (that also moves you towards your goals) and then find a way to fit it into your routine! It takes a while to form a new habit, but give it a few weeks of consistent work and you could soon be doing it for life! For a while it might be necessary for you to actually schedule your new, soon-to-be habit into your day. Then it’ll eventually become part of your daily routine. Remember, no one HAS time for exercise.

We MAKE time for exercise.

I don’t care how busy or not-so-busy someone is. Schedules can always be tweaked. You can always wake up juuuuuust a little bit earlier or go to bed a liiiiiittle bit later if you have to. My husband and I used to get up at 4:45 AM to fit our workouts in. He would set our coffee pot to brew at 4:30, so that there was an additional incentive to get up. We also moved the alarm clock across the room to force him to physically get up. Utilizing little tricks likes these to reinforce your new habit can be very helpful!

The point of this message isn’t to dissuade you from running and convince you to walk instead. The point is to give you permission to discard the stuff you hate and make a habit of doing the stuff you love, especially with exercise. If you dread a certain form of exercise and never look forward to doing it, then you have to ask yourself “why” you’re doing it in the first place. There are loads of ways to fit fitness into your life! Just find something you love doing that moves you closer to YOUR goals and DO IT CONSISTENTLY. Make a fun ritual out of it. For example, I drink my coffee and play on my iPad or listen to podcasts while I walk. Those things make it so much more fun to me! So I actually enjoy getting up a little earlier to fit it in. It’s my quiet “me-time.” It may not be “hardcore” or extremely challenging, but that’s not the purpose of it. That’s what my weightlifting is for. Walking for me is more restorative and is a nice way for me to get my blood flowing in the morning. Plus, because of my Fitbit, I am much more conscious of how many steps I’m taking in a day. My morning walks ensure that I hit my personal step goals.

As an aside, as I was discussing this blog post with my husband he said that what I was saying reminded him of the book he is currently reading: Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project). I’m very interested in the development of habits as I truly believe that developing habits is the key to living a healthy life…forever. I’ve decided I’m going to give that book a read as well! If you’d like to join me, you can pick it up¬†here!

Most Women are Making This Huge Mistake…

You may have heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy,” and often it’s used when people are comparing themselves to others. But what if you aren’t necessarily comparing yourself to others… You are instead comparing your current self to your old self.


As a trainer, I often hear something along the lines of “Oh, I was 10-15 lbs. lighter when I got married. I want to be there again.” Then I have to go into a lecture about how much their lives have changed in those 10+ years. Oh, you know, just reminding them about the numerous kids they gave birth to, the lifestyle changes, the cross-country moves, the stress of their jobs, the hormonal changes brought on by age…the list goes on. These are important factors that DO play into the current status of your body.

I also ask them how much they were working out when they were 10-15 lbs. lighter, and it’s usually a lot more than they are now! Why? Because it was easier to set aside more time for exercise at that point. They didn’t have a husband and kids to chase around at that time. They might have had fewer responsibilities with regard to their job at the time. Our priorities change throughout our lives, and getting to the gym is not always going to be #1. And you know what? That’s okay! And it should be that way!

Yes, staying healthy is very important. It’s important to keep yourself in shape so that you can bring your best-self to the world. Being healthy makes you a better spouse, a better parent, a better employee/employer, whatever your title is, it makes you better at it. By exercising and eating healthy you have more energy to push yourself through life. You’ll also have less stress and get sick less often. You’ll look and feel better, thus pushing your confidence through the roof. So yes, your health should be one of your priorities, especially since no one is going to take care of you better than you can take care of yourself. But at busier stages in your life, you may have to get a bit more crafty with finding the right balance of exercise + work + family + personal time + whatever.

I really think we should be more compassionate with ourselves. Many of the women I work with beat themselves up on a regular basis. Why aren’t they giving themselves credit for all of their accomplishments? They’re all intelligent, independent women but then they spend so much time talking crap to themselves in the mirror because of some extra fat on their stomach or thighs. I have to admit that I’m guilty of this as well. And I haven’t met a single woman that isn’t that way. But when you look at it as an outsider, it really does seem ridiculous. We’re way more than just our bodies. We have much more than our physical attributes to offer the world. It’s time to put the old you to rest and embrace the new you, whether you prefer its appearance or not. If you don’t like the appearance of your new self, then work to improve it, but there’s no point in comparing it to your old appearance. That’s just simply not fair to yourself and you’re not giving yourself credit for all the things that have happened between now and then.

We’re not plastic. We’re complex beings that are affected by age and we wear with life. Comparing ourselves to our 20 year old selves is just like comparing ourselves to 20 year old strangers. It’s nonsense and doesn’t do us any good. Where ever you are in life, you have to work with what you’ve got and just do the best that you can. Do your best to stay healthy. Do your best to stay strong. And do your best to stay happy, despite not looking like your 20 year old self. Besides, at this point I know I’m smarter, wiser, happier, and I have waaayyyy more muscle. ūüėČ