Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Attention all followers....please change the address you have to my new blog -- I've combined all my blogs to be in one spot! Thanks for following -- see you at the new address!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Staying Health-Conscious in College

New city, new friends, new classes, new life. No parents, no busy work, no students there simply because they are required by law, no more 8am-3pm days of class without a break. Best of all? Total freedom.

There's no question about it; college is awesome. But as fun and rewarding as it can be, the college lifestyle can be devastating for your overall health. Everyone talks about the "freshman fifteen" but no one likes to talk about the 15 lb. weight gain that happens sophomore year...junior year...senior year...Over a 4 year degree, that means you could enter college weighing 125 lbs. and graduate weighing nearly 200!

Maintaining a balanced diet and exercise routine can help combat excessive weight gain in college. Here are some tools that will help you get your degree without packing on the pounds.

Nutrition Tips:

1. Always eat breakfast. Whether you scramble out of bed at 7:55 to get to your 8 am Chemistry Lab without time for food or just think your stomach doesn't wake up until noon, you need to eat something to get your metabolism going for the day. Aim for something with a balanced percentage of carbs, protein and fat. A great on-the-go breakfast is making your own trail mix. Mix 8 natural almonds, 1 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal, and 1/3 cup dried cranberries into a Ziploc bag. Even if you wake up late, you know you'll have something on hand to start your day off right.

2. Eat 5-6 small meals a day. Eating frequently will not only keep your metabolism at a steady rate, but it will prevent you from getting super hungry and eating everything in sight. It's easier to turn down that midnight pizza order when you feel full from throughout the day.

3. Pack snacks to take with you. Late night cram sessions in the library and dinner-time group project meetings may leave you craving fast food or stuck getting something out of a vending machine. Protein bars, nuts & dried fruit, and bags of whole grain cereal are just a few ideas of things that can easily fit into your purse or backpack.

4. Drink water. Don't let your body trick you into thinking you're hungry when you may actually just be thirsty. Drinking water helps keep you hydrated and full, especially when you are inbetween meals. Avoid empty calories from beverages that have no nutritional value such as sodas, alcohol and sugary juices.

5. Just because it contains the word "salad," that doesn't automatically mean its healthy. Dieters are naturally drawn to salad bars because it seems safe. However, dining hall salad bars are loaded with high-fat options including creamy dressings, bacon, cheese and butter-drenched croutons. Choose dark leafy green lettuce, load up on veggies, add 4 oz. of grilled lean meat, and serve oil-based viniagrette dressing on the side.

Fitness Tips:

1. Leave yourself enough time to walk or bike to class. You know you're going to have to sit through class, so be active while you can. Walking between classes will be a good stretch for your legs and give you enough of a mental break to help you go back into learning-mode for your next class.

2. Play intramural sports or get involved in group exercise classes at your campus gym. These are great ways to meet new friends and stay in shape at the same time.

3. Take your phone calls home outdoors...(or to a treadmill if it's too late at night.)strong> Between your parents, siblings, friends at other schools, etc., you're going to have several phone calls to make each week. Instead of sitting in your dorm room, head out for a walk while you catch up with friends and family. Every little bit helps!

4. Choose your electives wisely. Every degree program has a certain amount of free electives. Do you really need to sit through the History of Rock 'n' Roll? Try weight lifting, swimming or dance to get activity for class credit instead.

5. Watch out where you work. If you're biggest weakness is high-fat Mexican food, it's probably not a good idea to wait tables at On the Border. Or if you tend to snack when you're sitting around, a desk job may not be the best fit for you. Explore different opportunities, and try to find a job that won't leave you constantly inactive or tempted.

Remember, college is your first time out on your own. You are setting your personal habits for the rest of your life. Take this opportunity to get off to a fresh start that will benefit you for a lifetime!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

September *SHAKEOLOGY* Challenge

Got plans for September? I have an idea - TAKE MY SEPTEMBER SHAKEOLOGY CHALLENGE! :)

Beachbody has a special offer right now that you don't want to miss. (Keep reading below for more info about Shakeology, but check out these cool bonuses first!) First of all, if you order Shakeology on Home Direct (meaning it ships automatically to you once a month), Beachbody will give you FREE shipping! You have the freedom to cancel whenever you wish...but once you taste it, I don't think you will!

ALSO, you can also get 2 *BONUS* Shakeology DVD workouts - a $30 value that you get absolutely free with your order of Shakeology!

So...for just $120, you will have your workout and one meal for everyday of the month paid for!

Now, I said $120 and you may have just been intimidated by the price. I understand. I'm not gonna lie - That was my initial reaction too. However, once I actually thought about it I realized that I would actually save money with Shakeology.

Here’s how...

The retail price for Shakeology is roughly $120 for a one month supply (30 servings at one serving per day). Shakeology is a meal replacement shake based on whole foods that can help you lose weight, feel energized, improve digestion and regularity, lower your cholesterol and detoxify your body. I have personally experienced these effects and have many people tell me that they have too. (Not to mention - it actually tastes REALLY good!) I look forward to my Shakeology every day because I know that I feel better and that I am healthier for it. You can choose between Greenberry and Chocolate flavors. (I've attached the nutrition information below for Greenberry...but the Chocolate nutritional values are very close to the ones below!)

To hear more success stories, check out I don't doubt after reading this that you will want to try it...but you may still be asking, "Where does the 'save money' part come in?"

There are two BIG ways to save money with Shakeology so that YOU can finally get yours. One way to save is to do your purchasing using the huge coach discounts and the other way to save is the value of Shakeology as a meal replacement. I'm going to break both ways down for you so you can see how valuable these savings are in terms of saving you a good chunk of money.

Shakeology is a MEAL REPLACEMENT. You are going to spend money on your meals anyway. There is no way around that. Spend your money replacing just one meal per day with Shakeology, which typically is going to be more nutritious, have fewer calories, and honestly, more filling, than most "fast" foods. Shakeology is about $4 dollars per meal retail. When you consider that the typical fast food meal is around $6, the average Starbucks drink around $5, it seems that Shakeology is actually an inexpensive meal -- while you are getting far more nutrients that your body needs in far less calories. It is a WIN - WIN - WIN situation.

Not to shipping and 2 FREE DVD workouts!

Create a FREE account on my Beachbody Products page at so that you can purchase Shakeology for yourself at retail price today and save using Shakeology as a meal replacement. (Plus, I have been experimenting for about 4 months now...I have many ideas for recipes and savings so make sure you take advantage of my free service to help YOU get the most out of your health and your purchases.)

P.S. This deal won't last forever, so be sure to act now! Message me on Facebook or email me at if you want more information.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Michelle's 60 Day Health & Fitness Challenge

Okay, here's the deal. There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't get a Facebook message or an email from someone in my life who wants my advice on fitness or nutrition. It makes sense - I pretty much make it known that when it comes to anything to do with health, I'm borderline obsessed.

I ALWAYS reply. Why? Because YOUR health is important to me too.

Here's what I find though: People are curious about fitness. They want to know my opinion on what I think they should do...but at the end of the day, 90% of the time, they don't have enough incentive to follow through and make a change.

That changes August 17.

I've decided to launch a 60-Day Health and Fitness Challenge for everyone in my life who wants to participate...but that's not all....


Here's what ALL participants have to do:

***You must decide that you are willing to make a commitment for 60 days. Basically - August 17 through October 17, you WILL exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, etc.***

From there, you have *THREE* options for ways to participate in the challenge.

1. Beachbody has just launched a new workout called INSANITY....high-intensity bootcamp style training workouts. It comes with 10 workout DVDs that are incredible AND a 60-day nutrition plan - full of recipes that are both healthy for you and easy to make! So 60 days...2 months of personal training and your own dietitian for less than $2 a day! Plus, you'll have me to guide you and motivate you EVERY step of the way. You can check it out and buy it from (Maybe it's been a while since you've worked out and you think INSANITY may be a little too much for you right now. Email me to ask about some of the other workouts Beachbody offers, and we can work to find one that will work for you.)

2. As a newly-certified NASM Personal Trainer, I can write you a 60-day workout plan. You and I will dialogue back and forth to see what types of exercise you prefer, and I will have a workout plan in your hands before the challenge begins on August 17. In order for you to pick this option, having a gym membership is preferred, but at the bare minimum, you must have access to weights and be willing to run or do some form of outdoor cardio. This option will cost you $50 - less than $1 a day!

3. Maybe it's not the workout part that you struggle with. Maybe it's the nutrition part. You will be in charge of your own workout - what you do, etc., but you and I will discuss your eatings likes/dislikes, and I will come up with a nutrition plan for you composed of 15 breakfast recipes, 15 lunch recipes, 15 dinner recipes and 15 snack recipes. This option will cost you $40 - less than 75 cents a recipe!

Decide ASAP which option will work best for you, then email me or message me to let me know what your commitment is. I'm SO excited to help you reach your goals. Don't let it stop with a desire to change - DO something about it, and let me help you!

If you have ANY questions about anything, email me at or send me a message on Facebook.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Favorite Products: Granulated Stevia Powder

Sugar, Splenda, Sweet & Low, Equal....there are so many sweeteners out there - but which one really is best for you? Here is one of my PERSONAL favorite products - and a special savings for my blog readers thanks to my friends at Jay Robb Enterprises, Inc.

Here is the info straight from Jay Robb's website!


Our new granulated Stevia powder is spoonable like sugar and dissolves almost instantly, even in cold beverages like fresh made lemonade. 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, Stevia creates an intense effect upon the taste buds without raising blood sugar levels. Research indicates that both diabetics and persons suffering from hypoglycemia may use Stevia.

"I use 1/2 to 1 tsp of the powder in my yogurt mix each day and it turns sour tasting yogurt into a creamy dessert that tastes like pudding. It also sweetens lemonade, limeade, orange juice, grapefruit juice, herb teas, regular iced and hot teas, and is also tasty in baked goods and other recipes including JayCookies and Macaroons."
—Jay Robb

Our Stevia comes in 10 oz jars that should last an individual 30-60 days. Stevia has been used in Japan since 1970 with no reports of any side effects. Stevia has been used around the world with no reports of any problems for over 40 years now. Stevia is heat stable to 392 degrees Fahrenheit so is great for baking.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 1 scoop (scooper inside container)
Servings per container 113
Amount per serving:
Calories 10
Total Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 0g
Total Carbohydrate 2.5g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugar Alcohol 2.5g
Protein 0g

Other Ingredients
Erythritol (a natural fiber from vegetables, fruits and grains)

Our ingredients contain No gluten, No msg, No casein, No artificial colors or flavors

Jay Robb's Stevia is a dietary supplement extracted from leaves of the Stevia plant.

Stevia Powder to Sugar Conversions

Use Stevia for baking and in drinks instead of sugar. Most people prefer the Stevia powder for drinks such as coffee, tea or blender drinks. It works great to even sweeten up a Jay Robb egg protein shake.

1 Jay Robb Stevia scooper = 1/2 tsp of Stevia powder
1/2 tsp of Stevia powder = 2 tsp sugar
3 tsp of Stevia powder = 1/4 cup of sugar
6 tsp of Stevia powder = 1/2 cup of sugar

Order as much as you want between now and July 2, and you can save 15% off - that's a serious deal! Either order online, or phone in your order using the information on the coupon above.

Enjoy, and thanks again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Tangy BBQ Chicken

School's finally out, and summer is in full swing. With Independence Day right around the corner, invitations to backyard barbeques keep rolling in. Here is one of my favorite recipes for BBQ chicken that is a crowd pleaser...without being a diet buster! Enjoy!

Tangy BBQ Chicken(Serves 4)

You will need:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 TBSP reduced sodium ketchup
3 TBSP cider vinegar
1 TBSP ready-made white horseradish
2 tsp Splenda brown sugar blend
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper


1. Preheat your grill to medium.

2. Cut chicken breasts into halves.

3. In a small saucepan, combine ketchip, vinegar, horseradish, brown sugar, garlic and thyme. Mix well and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened. (Should take about 5 minutes.) Remove from heat, then stir in the pepper.

4. Brush the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with sauce. Place the chicken, sauce-side down, on the grill rack, and brush the other sides of the chicken lightly with the sauce.

5. Place the chicken about 3 inches from the heat, basting with remaining sauce and turning until no longer pink in the center. (Should take 5-7 minutes per side.)

6. Let the chicken stand 5 minutes before serving.

**Option, you can double the sauce recipe to serve the sauce on the side with the meat for an extra burst of BBQ flavor!**

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Sumo Squat

Have you ever seen a sumo match? These wrestlers may look funny (and flabby - I will spare you an actual picture), but they're actually powerhouses of strength and balance.

In the beginning of a match, the two opponents face off while performing a special type of squat in slow motion. Lifting one leg while leaning to the side, the wrestler uses his full weight and power to strike the mat. After repeating this move with the other leg, the wrestler then sinks down into a deep, wide-legged squat.

You'll probably never have to intimidate a competitor in the ring, but doing this sumo-inspired exercise will strengthen your inner and outer thighs. Best of all, there's no loincloth required! :) Good news for you...and anyone who works out near you!

How it's Done:

1. Stand with your feet as wide apart as possible while pointing your toes outward.

2. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

3. Hold for a beat, exhale, then press back up to starting position. Repeat.

4. Keep your shoulders directly over your hips at all times. For best results, don't lean forward or let your knees extend beyond your toes. Keep your abs drawn in and don't arch your back.

5. Extra challenge needed? Put a dumbbell in your hands and add some extra weight!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

EASY Mango Salsa

I love unique salsa...but who has time to make it from scratch? That's why this recipe is so easy. With very little effort, you can create a salsa that no one will know started with your favorite prepared tomato salsa. Enjoy this summer twist on the most popular topping or dip.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

You will need:

3/4 cup prepared tomato salsa
1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a small bowl, combine salsa, mango, lime juice and cilantro.

8 calories; 0 g fat
2 g carbohydrate
29 mg sodium
29 mg potassium.

Don't stop limit yourself to chips and dip with this recipe. Try it with veggies, mix it in scrambled eggs, or serve it on top of grilled chicken or white fish. Yum!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Plank

"The Plank" — it sounds scary, and it's probably just as uncomfortable as "walking the plank" with a gang of sword-waving pirates behind you...but it's also one of the best core exercises you can do.

Notice I said core exercise - not just an exercise to work your abs. The plank will help you build your coveted six pack abs, but it also works your entire core: abs, obliques, hips, and the transverse abdominis (the deepest of the abdominal muscles that wraps around your spine for protection and stability).

There is good news! The plank can be done anywhere, requires no equipment and involves no movement or crunching motions at all. Bad news? It's still quite difficult and should only be attempted after you've mastered the traditional crunch and sit-up exercises.

How to Do the Plank

1. Get into a pushup position, but place your elbows on the ground instead of your hands.

2. Keep your body as straight as possible from your head to your toes (Imagine a table laying across your back).

3. Pull your abs in towards your spine as if you were bracing for a punch to the stomach.

4. Be sure to breathe normally and hold this position for as long as you can.

Additional tip... Don't let your back sink down, and if it does, stop immediately.

Depending on your current core strength, you may only be able to hold perfect form for about 10-15 seconds at a time. Try to increase the time by 5-10 seconds with each workout. As your core gets stronger, you will be able to last for longer and longer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Poppyseed Dressing

In the summer, I look forward to mixing baby spinach, grilled chicken, fresh fruit (especially blueberries and strawberries) and chopped nuts to make a fresh salad. It has a ton of flavor on its own, so I used to not even add dressing. However, when I discovered this recipe for homemade healthy poppyseed dressing, I was hooked.

You will need:

1/2 cup fat-free Miracle Whips
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup Splenda
1/8 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon poppyseeds

Place all ingredients in a skinny bottle. Stir for one minute with a spoon. Remove the spoon, cover the bottle with a lid, and shake bottle for 1-2 minutes. Refrigerate immediately, and always shake the bottle before using. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Speed Skaters

Plyometric exercises are specialized, high intensity training techniques used to develop athletic power (strength and speed). Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions that invoke the stretch reflex (stretching the muscle before it contracts so that it contracts with greater force). The most common plyometric exercises include hops, jumps and bounding movements. These exercises typically increase speed and strength and build power.

Plyometrics (and any impact exercise) can increase the risk of injury if you don't follow certain safety precautions. The tremendous force generated during these moves requires that athletes use them sparingly and with proper training.

The most important aspect of a safe and effective plyometric program is developing a safe landing technique. This means the athlete lands softly on the toes and rolls to the heels. By using the whole foot (and a larger surface area) for landing it helps dissipate the impact forces on the joints. The other key to proper landing is to avoid any twisting or sideways motion at the knee.

Plyometrics Safety Tips

Plyometrics are recommended only for well-conditioned athletes.
You should have high levels of leg strength prior to performing plyometrics.
Warm up thoroughly before starting plyometrics.
Start slowly with small jumps and gradually build up.
Land softly (see above) to absorb shock.
Allow plenty of rest between plyometric workouts.
Stop immediately if you feel any pain in your joints.
Use footwear with plenty of cushioning.
Perform plyometrics on soft or cushioned surfaces only.

Here is my favorite plyometric exericse: the speed skater. The Speed Skater exercise will develop the muscles in the hip, groin, ankles and quadriceps. It will help to improve lateral quickness and agility.


Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees to lower your body 8-10 inches and lean forward until your shoulders are positioned above your knees. Even though you are leaning over, you should do so by bending at the waist while maintaining good posture in your upper back. Begin by lightly hopping sideways about 2 feet and landing on your right foot, then hop sideways back onto your left foot and repeat for 10-20 repetitions.

Land with your feet in a strong, full-foot position. Don't just land on your toes! You can increase the lateral distance of your hopping from 2 feet to 6 feet as you become more powerful. You can also perform this exercise in a stationary fashion or in a linear fashion by moving forward slightly with each lateral jump. Your legs will look like a speed skater powerfully pushing from side to side.

After you get used to this, add some intensity by placing a thigh toner around your ankles!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Healthy Chicken Nuggets Recipe

In a way, it's easier for adults to eat healthy. First of all, most kids don't cook for themselves. Second, most "kid-friendly" foods are not healthy by popular recipe: pizza, french fries, cheeseburgers, etc.

Here's a recipe for a kid favorite, chicken nuggets, that will not only satisfy your kids' cravings, but you will enjoy too. Take a trip back into childhood - without compromising your new standards.

You will need:
8 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast tenders
1/2 cup Clifford Crunch cereal - made by Cascadian Farms
1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original)
3 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original or All Whites)
2 tbsp. Mayonaise made with Olive Oil
2 tbsp. honey mustard (actual mustard, not dressing)
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
dash salt
dash black pepper

Place Fiber One in a blender or food processor, and grind to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Set aside.

Put Clifford Crunch in a sealable plastic bag and seal. Using a rolling pin or a can, coarsely crush cereal through the bag. In a wide bowl, combine Fiber One crumbs, crushed Clifford Crunch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Place chicken tenders in a separate medium bowl. Pour egg substitute over the chicken, and flip chicken to coat. Shake off any excess egg substitute, and then coat chicken in the cereal mixture.

Bring a large pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat on the stove. Place coated chicken pieces gently into the pan, spacing them out as much as possible. Cook for 5 minutes, and then carefully flip pieces over. Cook for about 4 additional minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Combine the Dijonnaise and honey mustard in a small dish, and mix well for a tasty dipping sauce. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Incline Curls

It's tough finding different ways to work the biceps. After all, a curl is a curl... right? However, here is a sure way to change things up and add some intensity to your bicep work:

Add an incline.

By being in an incline position, your arms are in a stretched position, thus making it a little harder to work against gravity. You can do this on an incline bench, step or at an incline on the ball as shown in the picture above. (See? This can even be done from home!)

Do it right:

If you're using a ball, sit on the ball with the weights resting on the upper thighs. Slowly walk the feet forward, rolling down on the ball until you're at an incline position. Take the weights down so that the palms face out. Bend the elbows and bring the weights towards the shoulders without swinging the arms. Lower the weights, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom of the movement. Repeat for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Five Fitness Fallacies

In today's world, everyone's an expert. You know that guy who insists on telling you exactly what you need to do to fix your personal situation that he actually knows little to nothing about? Yes - we all do...because he's everywhere! You probably have one at work, in your neighborhood, a friend, etc. What "that guy" does is stir up a lot of false information.

Here are some of the top things that people believe about fitness that are just simply NOT TRUE. (And no, I'm not trying to be the expert. I promise not to give you advice on taxes or anything involving Lowe's/Home Depot...but fitness is what I do!

Fallacy #1 - Calories are the only thing that counts when trying to lose body fat or gain lean muscle.

Ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fats are also important. The key in losing body fat and getting lean is controlling and manipulating insulin levels. In simple terms, when we consume excessive calories or excessive amounts of high glycemic carbohydrates at one meal, the body’s blood sugar rises. When this happens, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin to lower the blood sugar levels.

One of the many drawbacks of this happening excessively is, along with putting you at risk for diabetes, the body also holds onto stored body fat! A balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats works most efficiently in losing fat and gaining lean tissue. However, this too becomes tricky, because each of us tends to respond best to certain dietary programs. Listen to your body, try different combinations, and see what works best for you. Once you find it, stick to it!

Fallacy #2 - Muscle weighs more than fat.

If I place one pound of muscle on a scale and one pound of fat on a scale, they will both weigh one pound. The difference is in total volume! One pound of muscle may appear to be the size of a baseball; one pound of fat will be three times the size and look like a squiggly bowl JELL-O.

Fallacy #3 - There is one perfect workout routine.

There is no “best and only way” to workout. I receive a multitude of questions concerning what is the best cardio machine, the best exercise tape, the best routine to work the butt and so on. In reality, it’s all good if it works for you, but you don’t want to stay with any of it for too long. The body will adapt to any exercise routine in 4-6 weeks and the mind will experience boredom if you stay with the same routine for too long of a time. Vary volume of sets, time between sets, reps, exercises, cardio, DVD's. Manipulate your routine every 3-4 weeks and view CHANGE as the key constant that will lead you to success.

Fallacy #4 - The best way to lose fat is to eat very few calories.

Always consider your body from the inside out. Your body’s main objective is to survive. It doesn’t care if you want to lose body fat. In fact, it would prefer to increase fat in case of famine. Internally, the body has no idea that it’s the year 2003. It could still be 10,000 years ago for all it cares. Survival is its number one objective.

If you eat very little (less than 1,200 calories), the body perceives an emergency and will accommodate you by holding onto stored body fat. As well it should, because it has no idea when it will be fed again. So PLEASE - I'm begging you - Eat healthy and see that fat loss happens quicker when you aren't starving yourself.

Fallacy #5 - The best way to reduce the hips, glutes or abs is to perform exercise to isolate the area. FALSE!

It is physiologically impossible to spot reduce. You can’t lose only in one area of the body because body fat comes off all over the body. Typically, the first place you tend to gain is the last place you lose. Doesn’t Mother Nature have a wonderful sense of humor? Again, the route to success for those stubborn hips is resistance exercise, cardio and supplemental nutrition.

Sensing a theme here? Its all about balance and consistency. Keep those questions coming and make sure you get active today!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother's Day - Breakfast in Bed Recipe

Breakfast in bed is a great way to say thanks to your mom this mother's day. (By the way, it's Sunday!) This causes two problems. Number one - who wants to get up that early? Number two - how can you make something that tastes great that is not completely unhealthy?

Problem solved. This baked apple-cinnamon French toast can be prepared in advance and then simply popped in the oven for a leisurely and luxurious weekend morning. By using nonfat instead of whole milk and eliminating the egg yolks, the calories are cut by half and the fat is reduced by nearly 80 percent in this griddle-free version.

P.S. - To all the mom's out there - print this off and stategically place it in your house for someone to find!! :)

Makes 12 servings

ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 9 1/2 hours (including 8 hours refrigeration time)



3 cups nonfat milk
2 cups pasteurized liquid egg whites, such as Egg Beaters
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1-pound loaf sliced whole-wheat bread
1 cup chopped dried apples (3 ounces)
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar


1. Whisk milk, egg whites, honey, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.

2. Trim crusts off 8 bread slices and set aside. Cut the crusts and the remaining bread into 1-inch pieces. Toss with dried apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in another large bowl.

3. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Transfer the bread mixture to the pan. Lay the reserved crustless slices evenly on top, trimming to fit. Whisk the milk mixture one more time, then pour evenly over the bread. Press the bread down with the back of a wooden spoon, making sure it’s evenly moist. Cover with parchment paper, then foil, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F.

5. Bake the casserole, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until puffed, set and lightly browned, about 20 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes; dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

183 calories
1 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono)
1 mg cholesterol
33 g carbohydrate
10 g protein
4 g fiber
344 mg sodium
312 mg potassium.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Prepare through Step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Walking with Incline

Over the years, I've noticed that a lot of people claim to hate running simply for the fact that it's hard. They prefer to walk. However, after I have a lot of my clients do this next exercise, they see that walking can be just as tough...

An incline offers a poorly conditioned person a safe way to challenge the cardiovascular system. You can get your heart pumping without requiring speed. Incline walking is also good for people who can't move fast for other reasons, such as injury or rehabbing some kind of problem. So if you prefer to walk, the incline will still allow you to be really challenged without having high impact pressure on your knees and hips.

Incline walking is far superior to the elliptical trainer, because incline walking is actual walking, something that you do in real life. Whereas, the elliptical trainer provides a motion that does not relate to real-life movements of the human body.

Other benefits include:

- It recruits lower back muscles to keep your body erect

- It provides a stretch to the calves and Achilles tendons

A very important note: You will not reap benefits of incline walking if you hold onto the treadmill. I can't say this enough. Do not place your hands on any part of the treadmill. To do so will cancel out the effect of the slope, even at faster speeds. Be sure to swing your arms naturally at your sides as you would if you were walking up a hill outside. If you cannot keep up with the tread without holding on, lower the incline or slow the speed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summer Salmon

Summer is just around the corner, so salmon will soon be back in season! Jazz up simply grilled salmon and summer vegetables with a zesty sauce based on the classic Spanish romesco. Made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds, this sauce is a great match for any seafood, poultry or vegetables. Using smoked paprika brings out the flavors from the grill.

Makes 4 servings

You Will Need:

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (See Tip below.)
1/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 1/4 pounds wild-caught salmon fillet (see Note), skinned and cut crosswise into 4 portions
2 medium zucchini or summer squash (or 1 of each), halved lengthwise
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish


1. Preheat grill to medium.
2. Process almonds, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor or blender until smooth; set aside.
3. Coat salmon and zucchini (and/or summer squash) on both sides with cooking spray, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill, turning once, until the salmon is just cooked through and the squash is soft and browned, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Transfer the squash to a clean cutting board. When cool enough to handle, slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss in a bowl with half of the reserved sauce. Divide the squash among 4 plates along with a piece of salmon topped with some of the remaining sauce. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

280 calories
13 g fat
8 g carbohydrate
32 g protein
2 g fiber
601 mg sodium

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (35% daily value), Magnesium & Vitamin A (20% dv).

Tips: To toast chopped or sliced nuts, stir constantly in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

To skin a salmon fillet, place on a clean cutting board, skin side down. Starting at the tail end, slip the blade of a long, sharp knife between the fish flesh and the skin, holding the skin down firmly with your other hand. Gently push the blade along at a 30° angle, separating the fillet from the skin without cutting through either.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Knee Drops

If you have a tight lower back (Seriously...who doesn't?!) and you haven't tried this stretch, this might be a treat for you. Similar to the spinal twist, knee drops involve rotating the torso and dropping the knees to the floor, allowing you to stretch the lower back as well as the glutes, shoulders and chest. The weight of your knees helps increase the stretch.

To get the most out of this stretch, try keeping both shoulders pressed into the floor and focus on lengthening through the waist. If you can't bring the knees to down without the opposite shoulder coming off the floor, stay with the spinal twist.

Do it right: Bring the knees up and bend them to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor and arms out to the sides. Contract the abs and rotate the torso to lower the legs to the right, bringing them down to the floor. Keep the left shoulder flat on the floor and release any tension in your waist and back. Hold the stretch for about 5 breaths, bring the knees back to center and repeat on the other side.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Coffee - Good or Bad?

Because I'm such a health freak, people always seem to be surprised if they catch me with a cup of coffee in my hand. I always reply the same way: "Most things are okay in balance and moderation." In moderate doses, coffee may actually be good for you. Now, I am talking about the actual coffee - not cream and sugar. So if you can drink coffee with little to nothing added to it, here are some of the benefits:

Run Longer, Think Faster
In a study done last year, researchers gave cyclists an energy bar with or without caffeine (equal to one cup of coffee) before and during a long, hard ride. They found that cyclists who have caffeine ride farther and think faster on cognitive tests than the no-caffeine group—useful news to runners in endurance events and adventure races, where quick decision-making is key.

Increase Sprint Speed
Consider drinking a cup of coffee before your next speed workout: Australian scientists gave fit athletes a 300-milligram dose of caffeine one hour before running five sets of 6 x 20-meter sprints. They found that runners who have caffeine sprint faster than those who don't have caffeine. Researchers think the stimulant enhances reaction time and running speed.

Recover More Quickly
Runners know they need carbs postrun to rebuild their glycogen stores, but a recent study suggests caffeine may also enhance recovery. Cyclists rode hard for two consecutive days to drain their glycogen stores. They then drank a carb beverage with or without caffeine. Researchers found that having a drink with caffeine rebuilds glycogen stores 66 percent more than a carb-only drink.

Hydrate Smart
Many people have heard caffeine causes dehydration. Most studies, though, show you can have up to 550 milligrams of caffeine (or about five cups of coffee) without affecting hydration levels. That means you can have quite a few caff einated sports drinks and gels while running without risking dehydration; more than 550 milligrams will have a diuretic effect.

Keep Bones Healthy
A few studies have shown a link between bone-mineral loss and caffeine—but a close look at the data reveals that caffeine itself doesn't cause the mineral loss. Many coffee lovers may drink it in place of beverages rich in calcium (such as milk), and as a result, decrease their intake of this bone-strengthening mineral.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can Kids Pump Iron?

It's no secret that child obesity is a huge problem in America. Many parents want their kids to exercise, but they are unsure what they can do. Sure, cardio exercise is fine...but what about strength training?

Research confirms that sensible strength training will help children look better, feel better and function better, as well as develop an activity pattern that should serve them well throughout their lives. With their engines revved up, your young charges will be on the right track for a lifetime of activity and good health.

Top 10 Reasons Why Kids Should Strength Train:

- Stronger muscles

- Stronger bones

- Stronger tendons

- Stronger ligaments

- More muscle

- Less fat

- Higher metabolism

- Greater physical capacity

- Greater self-confidence

- Lower injury risk

Here are a few guidelines to help you get started.

Sets: one challenging set of each exercise, which may or may not be preceded by one or two preliminary sets

Repetitions: 10 to 15 repetitions in each exercise set

Frequency: 20-minute training session performed on 2 or 3 nonconsecutive days each week

Progression: a weight increase of 5 percent or less (typically 1 to 5 pounds) once a child can complete 15 repetitions with a given load

Speed: 2 seconds for lifting movements and 2 seconds for lowering movements

Range: full movement range on simple exercises and moderate movement range on complex exercises

Breathing: exhaling during lifting movements, and inhaling during lowering movements

Posture: standing or sitting tall with head up, shoulders square, torso erect and hips level; avoiding twisting, turning and squirming

If you are interested in a kid's strength training program and you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, please contact me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nutty Stir Fry Salad

Here is a great healthy dinner recipe that gives a new twist to the boring "grilled chicken and vegetables" dinner. Enjoy!

What You Need:
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Asian Sesame Dressing
4 cups cut-up assorted fresh vegetables (green peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli and zucchini)
3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup chopped Dry Roasted Edamame Peanuts
2 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
1 pkg. (8 oz.) salad greens

How to make it:
Heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add vegetables; stir-fry 3 min. Add chicken; stir-fry an additional 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Add edamame and soy sauce; stir-fry 2 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender and mixture is heated through.

Serve over salad greens, and enjoy!

Variation - Nutty Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Simply swap serving them over greens for spooning scoops of the stirfry into large Romaine lettuce leaves.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Stability Ball Push-Up

If you want to move beyond the basic push-up for upper body strength, try stability push ups. This variation of the push up increases the difficulty (as well as the effectiveness of the standard push up).

Personally, I prefer my client to perform functional exercises rather than just push weights around. Functional exercise is generally an exercise that requires you to use your body as resistance rather than free weights or machines. These exercises require more muscles to be activated (stabilizers and core muscles) during the movement. This push up works more muscles than a bench press.

When you add the requirement of balance, you also increase muscle fiber activation. During functional exercises, a machine doesn't control the movement patterns so your muscles must control it. If you're working harder, you burn more calories and you gain more strength.

Keep in mind that you should progress from the basic push up to the stability push up in order to perform it safely. Do not attempt stability push ups until you can do 20 basic push-ups. Instructions:

1. Lay with your chest on the stability ball Place your hands at the sides of your chest. Place your toes on the floor, legs straight.

2. Push your body up until your arms are almost straight, but do not lock your elbows. Hold here for two seconds.

3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat to fatigue.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Preventing Plateaus

Here is a great article I read the other day by fitness guru Kim Lyons. I wanted to pass it on - enjoy!

Everyone experiences workout boredom, even me! The key to staying motivated is to continue to switch up your exercise routines with different methods of training. Plateaus happen when your body adjusts or adapts to your routine. This is not always a bad thing, you should think of it more as a reaching a new level. It is just means it’s time to challenge your body in a new way.
There are endless ways of training, and often times need to get creative. Even simple little games like alternating between jogging 100 steps then walking 100 steps … or skip for a song on your ipod, then jog for a song, and then walk for the next. The possibilities are endless. Just thinking of different little games will keep your mind busy!

When it comes to resistance training, I highly recommend circuit training. For example..
My favorite workout circuits alternate between lower-body resistance-training moves, to elevate your heart rate, and upper-body moves, to allow you to recover, giving you an interval training effect that burns tons of calories and develops incredible endurance!

Because of the continuous nature of circuit training, you’ll get all the benefits of resistance training, have a great cardiovascular workout, and maximize your training time. After your workout circuit, you’ll perform a flexibility circuit, which stretches all your major muscle groups, improving range of motion, decreasing muscle soreness, and helping alleviate chronic pain.

Some Benefits of Circuit Training are that it…

Saves time
Incorporates cardio and resistance training in one workout
Burns tons of calories
Works your heart, lungs, and muscles all at once
Engages your mind as well as your muscles
Basically it is an effective, time-efficient, calorie-blasting way to train and the combinations are endless!

Another great way to mix up your routine is to do what I call a “Body-Part Blast”. Tailor your circuit workouts to hit specific body parts you’d like to improve. If you want more definition in your arms, for example, assemble an all-upper-body workout from the moves you’ve mastered. Do this workout twice a week and your lower-body/cardio workouts twice a week; you’ll still be hitting all your body parts, just in a different way.

You can also do interval training, which is repeating intervals of a relatively light intensity, such as walking, interspersed with a higher intensities, such as jogging or running.For example, if you're going to use the treadmill for your cardio routine, and our Heart Rate Calculator estimated that between 110 and 140 beats per minute was the best heart rate range for you … then you could spend the first 5 minutes walking to serve as your warm-up, then either increase the incline or start a light jog for 3 minutes at a heart rate of around 110 ... then 2 minutes of a little faster jog, or steeper incline, at 120 bpm ... then90 seconds at a faster jog at 130 bpm ... and then 60 seconds jogging at the same speed but a bit steeper incline, at around 140 bpm ... and then back to walking at a lower incline to drop your heart rate to 115 for a couple of minutes, and so on.

This "interval training" technique is very effective; studies show that you not only gain more benefit during the actually exercise session, but you'll actually burn more calories throughout the day. Plus, it's a lot less boring than doing the same intensity throughout the cardio session. Many cardio machines actually have built in interval programs for you to choose.

Another great idea to make your cardio workout interesting is to do what’s called “composite training.” This is a great way to break up your routine and work different muscle groups too. As long as your heart rate is around your estimated heart rate range for the entire duration, that's what matters. Composite training is simply combining two or more different cardiovascular exercises, one after the other, for the full duration.

Here's an example: you could start by walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes ... and then quickly move to the elliptical for an additional 10 minutes ... and finish the cardio session up with a final 10 minutes on the stationary bike. You can even add in a fast walk or jog into the mix!This "composite training" technique makes cardio exercise a lot less boring and if you integrate the "interval training" technique with it, your workout will not only fly by, you'll have maximized the time and energy you put into it for the best results.

Here are a few more simple ideas to help you out!

Check out some local hiking trails on line and put in some cardio time on the trails.
Go to a track and do some sprints or walk the bleachers – or a combination of both.
Try a new sport such as snowboarding, skiing, or surfing.
Use a free day pass at a local gym to try spinning, pilates, yoga, or another interesting class.
Try a new machine at the gym, even if it looks scary! It probably isn’t as bad as you’ve made it out to be!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another 100 Challenge!

I've gotten some great responses from my 100 challenges, so I wanted to extend one more to you this week.

Over the next week, can you spend 100 minutes of it running?

You can break it up however you need to. It's under 15 minutes a day if you decide to complete a part of the challenge each day.

You can even run 7.5 minutes in the morning and 7.5 minutes when you get home from work. If you watch one hour of television at night, you can jog in place during the commercials.

Be creative, and challenge yourself! You may find a new twist to add to your workout routine.
As always, keep me posted on your progress. On your mark, get set, GO!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are hands down one of the greatest leg exercises you can do.

The reason they are so high up on the list is because you not only get a fantastic leg workout, but you are also working on flexibility at the same time. Each lunge forces your body to stretch into a lowered position that really allows the hip flexors of the back leg to elongate and open. That means you get strength, conditioning, toning, and flexibility benefits from just this one exercise.

Here's how to complete it:

1. Hold dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing towards your body

2. Lunge forward with one leg and allow both knees to bend

3. Lunge as deep as you can comfortably4. Push back up and forward through the front leg's heel

5. Repeat with the opposite leg walking forward for 12-16 total repetitions

Tips to Remember:

1. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and your chin parallel to the floor the entire set

2. Do not let your front knee go over the front foot when lunging

3. Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up

4. Start out with no weight if need be

5. Keep your arms by your sides throughout each repetition

If you are new to these, try them without weight for your first few times and concentrate on form. If you are a pro at these, add some weight.

If you are doing these at the gym, the track is great place to do these, but don't try to lunge around the corners. You don't want to take a chance of getting out of alignment.

One additional tip for the all the fitness divas (and divos) out there - Take these outside for an additional challenge - but not just anywhere. Find a hill! Walking lunges uphill is an INSANE great workout!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Healthy Side Dish: Mashed Cauliflower

Here's a great side dish to add to your Easter menu this weekend. It will have all of the taste that your guests will enjoy - without adding to their waistline. Traditional Easter menus generally consist of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans.... and Cadbury eggs (Sorry, I don't have a substitute for those!) :)

However, I can help you on the mashed potatoes issue. Introducing: mashed cauliflower.

6 cups of chopped cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 oz. - Brummel & Brown spread (a great substitute for butter)
1 1/2 oz. fat free half and half
Salt, pepper, garlic, and chives
Serves 4


1. Heat cauliflower with an inch of water in a microwave safe bowl until tender.
2. Mash cauliflower with spread and half and half until at the desired consistency.
3. Add seassonings to taste.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Dumbbell Step Up

You already know that I love compound exercises. The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn. Makes sense. So what could be better than an exercise that works multiple muscles (strength benefits) and gets your heart rate up (cardiovascular benefits)?
That's why the exercise of the week is: the Dumbbell Step Up.
Tips: The first time you attempt this, try it without weight at a slower pace with a small bench/platform. As you get stronger, add weight and/or raise the bench and/or increase your speed. There's always a way to challenge yourself with this exercise - no matter how strong you get.


Hold one dumbbell by your sides. Step up onto a flat bench with your left leg. Then, step up with your right leg to stand on the bench. Step down with your left leg, then your right leg. Repeat 12 to 15 times, then step up with your right leg first for 12-15 reps on that side.

If you are an elite athlete, you can add a glute lift by stepping on the bench with your left leg and kicking the right leg back instead of stepping on the step with your right leg. Do the same amount of reps as described above.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Remember to Recover!

We are always being told to exercise more in order to lose weight. After all, the more regular we workout, the more calories we burn. However, it is also important to understand why muscles need quality rest you'll be able to plan an exercise regime that will be more effective for you and your individual needs. You can't just attempt to follow a workout plan found from a magazine. That may cause more harm than good!

Here is how it works:

When we exercise, our muscles break down. Tiny fragments of protein within the muscles cells shatter. The more we exercise during a workout, the greater the muscle catabolism (degradation). It's one of the reasons why we actually become weaker as we progress through a particular routine. How quickly muscles degrade also depends on the strength of the individual and the intensity of the exercise. Obviously, the stronger and fitter the person the slower the rate of breakdown. Also, the more effort we put into an exercise, the faster the rate of muscle catabolism. It's why you can walk longer than you can run.

After any workout, your muscles need to replace all elements lost. Both proteins and energy stores need replacing for muscles to make a full recovery. Here's where the problem comes in - If muscles are not given enough time to recover fully before another workout is repeated, then the muscles progressively become smaller. What this could mean for weight loss is a gradual decline in lean tissue, thus lowering the metabolism over the course of a few weeks. A lowered metabolism could be disastrous for a dieter because less calories are burned overall, meaning they must either lower calorie intake even further (not always recommended) or burn more energy through more exercise... which will only exasperate the problem. This can be another cause for the common weight loss plateau for those who do exercise regularly.

Our muscles calorie burning potential can only help us lose weight if they are allowed to reach their fat burning potential. This is the reason why recovery between workout routines is so important.

To help your muscles recover, here are a few tricks you can use –

Do not lower calorie intake below 1500 per day
Eat a little high quality protein at most meals
Get plenty of sleep
Try to rest a day between hard workouts.
If new to exercising, try to train every other day rather than two consecutive days in a row.

As fitness levels grow its possible to increase the number of training days in a week and still be able to recover within a day. But remember to start slow and build up gradually!

So take a day off. You deserve it. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Michelle's Mailbox

I love a good April Fool's Day joke. That's why when asked me to help out with their one-day promotion of "Sasquatch Jerky," I couldn't resist. But in order to thank you for going along with their little prank, they want to give you with 10% savings on your order. (You can check out my review of their pineapple jerky here.) Just head to, select the products you want to try, then use the coupon code ABSOLUTIONBIGFOOT when you check out. Plus, your shipping is free!

You readers have been keeping me busy (which I love, by the way!) You have so many questions! (Send your question to me at if you have one!) I decided to use today's post to answer some of the most common questions I get. Hope this helps!

Are free weights better than machine/cable weights?

Free weights generally challenge an overall muscle group more intensely. They assist in the development of core trunk strength, stabilizing muscle strength and balance. However; for the purpose of weight loss, muscle toning and overall fitness, both groups will serve an adequate purpose.

How many calories are burned while walking/jogging/running a mile?

On average, the caloric expenditure per 100 pounds of body weight, per mile is 62 calories. So if you weight 200 pounds, walking or jogging a mile will burn about 124 calories.

How do I know how much weight I should be lifting?

For those of you who are weight lifting for overall fitness and health, the general rule is to maintain a rep count of 10 – 12 repetitions. While lifting, the final rep (10, 11 or 12) should be relatively difficult to complete. If completing 10 reps is too difficult, reduce the weight. If completing 12 reps is too easy (i.e. You can complete even one more rep) increase the weight.

Are crunches, sit-ups and other abdominal exercises ideal for losing weight around the abdomen?

No. The human body is not capable of spot reducing fatty deposits. A well rounded fitness program and a well rounded diet are the ideal, and only, ways to reduce overall body fat.

How many calories do I have to burn to lose a pound of fat?

A pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories. If you’re goal is to lose 1 pound of fat per week you will need to increase you activity levels by 500 calories per day, reduce you caloric intake by 500 calories per day or settle on a combination of the two.

How important is it for women to strength train?

It is monumentally important for women to weight train. Among dozens of other benefits, weight bearing exercise reduces the rate at which bone density is depleted, leading to healthier bones for a longer period of time.

Is it dangerous for children to weight train?

Yes and No. Children of any age should be active. And contrary to popular belief, weight training will not stunt growth if it is done properly. At a young age (8 – 13) weight training should be kept to body weight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and the like. No matter what exercise a child is performing, proper supervision is essential!

Will strength training decrease overall flexibility?

The short answer is No. However, if one gains too much muscle mass, they may become “muscle bound”. This is unlikely though. Very few people have to worry about the possibility of becoming muscle bound.

How often should I exercise?

It is my personal belief that the human body is designed to be active often. I feel most people should participate in some physical activity for at least 30 minutes 6 days a week. I do understand how busy our lives get. That said, I typically recommend an absolute minimum of one hour, three days per week.

How will exercise and physical fitness help me?

This question was posed several times and its answer could go on for pages. I’ll narrow it down some of the most important:

1. Decreased risk of diseases/conditions related to excessive weight or obesity.
2. Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Lower cholesterol levels.
4. Lower blood pressure.
5. Decreased levels of stress/anxiety.
6. Better self image.
7. Ability to sleep better.
8. Decreased risk of injury while performing routine activity.
9. Decreased risk of depression.
10. Delays the onset of physical signs of aging.

That's all for now - I'll keep posting answers if you keep emailing me questions to Now, go order some jerky with your discount!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Let's recap:

Part 1 - Do 100 push-ups everyday for a week.

Part 2 - Burn 100 more calories than you normally do everyday for a week.

So what's Part 3? Every day for this week, I want you to switch out 100 calories per day for a healthier choice. I am assuming that most of you are trying to limit your caloric intake, and especially when you are exercising, I want to make sure that you are taking in enough calories. But we can always make a better choice.
Order your drink at Starbucks sugar free and have it made with non-fat milk. (Do I even need to say no whip?) Even better? Switch your coffee for hot tea.
Instead of having a turkey sandwich for lunch, replace the bread and serve the meat over greens for a healthy salad.
Instead of crackers with soup, crunch on carrots or celery.
Those are just a few suggestions - there are tons more. Small changes can add up if you just take the time to think about it.
Are you in??
SIDE NOTE - I always like to be the first to tell you about *NEW* products. Check out the latest creation from our friends at called Sasquatch Jerky. You won't find it anywhere else - promise!! Made from 100% of the highest quality Sasquatch meat. It's the perfect high-protein and low-calorie snack! You could use it in your challenge this week. Try it today!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Swiss Ball Jackknife

A lot of people are confused about what it takes to get a flat stomach. First, six-pack abs are the result of a well-conditioned workout routine involving cardio, strength training, flexibility, and good nutrition. Hate to break it to you if you've been doing 500 crunches a day and not seeing any results, but your best bet is to do exercises that involve core stability and isolation. That's why this week's exercise is the Swiss Ball Jackknife.

The Swiss ball Jackknife is great movement for targeting your lower abdominals. Plus, since the ball is unstable, your entire core has to work to maintain the position of your body.

Start by getting into a pushup position with the tops of your feet on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from your toes to your shoulders with your hands positioned just slightly wider than your shoulders.

Keeping your back flat and abs tight, bend your knees and roll the ball toward your torso. Squeeze your abs for a second and then roll the ball back to the starting position. Try to do 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps with only about 30 seconds of rest between sets.

One other tip: Keep the movement smooth and be sure to keep your spine in a neutral position. You should not feel like your hips are dropping.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Daily Dessert

Dessert cravings always seem to hit at the worst time - like right after you've eaten dinner when all of your snack times are over for the day. But here's a great dessert that is a fantastic finish to a meal - and you can eat the whole thing without feeling guilty every day if you want to!

Broiling fruit brings out its inherent sweetness. Try this recipe with mango, and see how it satisfies your sweet tooth. This technique works with pineapple as well, but mango is my personal favorite.
You will need:
1 mango, peeled and sliced (Find tips on cutting a mango below!)
Lime wedges
1. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan with foil.
2. Arrange mango slices in a single layer in the prepared pan. Broil until browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze lime wedges over the broiled mango and serve.
Cutting a Mango:
1. Slice both ends off the mango, revealing the long, slender seed inside. Set the fruit upright on a work surface and remove the skin with a sharp knife.
2. With the seed perpendicular to you, slice the fruit from both sides of the seed, yielding two large pieces.
3. Turn the seed parallel to you and slice the two smaller pieces of fruit from each side.
4. Cut the fruit into the desired shape.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Basketball Burn Intervals

I've done it my whole life. I start watching a sport, and all of the sudden - I want to play. Spectator sports rarely end with me in front of the television. I watch the Olympic games, and before you know it, I've decided to try swimming once a week, or I begin running more sprints. I check the yellow pages to see who offers gymnastics classes for adults. And I'm pretty sure that I can't watch "So You Think You Can Dance" without dancing around my living room.

So what do you think I'm doing right now? You guessed it: trying to figure out a way to incorporate basketball drills into my training. March Madness does this to me every year.
Sure, there are always pick-up games at the gym. But since I'm 5'2" on a good day, I never really seem to get much of a workout since I don't really get to touch the ball...So if you want to imitate some of what you're seeing on TV, here's a few ideas of how to incorporate some basketball drills into your workout.

Jump Shots
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms chest level holding a ball (or pretending to hold a ball). Bend knees and jump up off the ground, extending arms up as if you're releasing a shot towards the basket. Return to start position. Try 25 jump shots in a row.

Squat & Dribble
Start in basic squat position, so your weight is back in yours heels. Hold a squat and dribble basketball with right hand for 30 seconds. Stand up, switch dribbling hands, and repeat with opposite dribbling hand. Try 2-3 sets on each side.

Basketball Suicides
Beginning from out of bounds, dribble and run to the freethrow line. Sprint back with the ball and layup. Next time, run to the half court line, sprint back and layup. Be sure to do this drill on the left and right. Try it at least 5-10 times and see if you're not winded.

Tuck Jumps
Jump as high as you can while bringing your knees to your chest. After you touch the ground, immediately repeat into another tuck jump. Do 20 explosions, then walk and dribble for 2 minutes to cool down. This completes a set. Repeat this drill two more times. If this is too hard, do 10 explosions instead of 20. If it’s too easy (or when it will become easy), you can try it with weights. (How else do you think they get those high vertical leaps?)

Butterfly Drill
Start with the ball in both hands in a position low to the ground. Drop the ball in front of you and dribble first with your strong hand (this should be a crossover dribble), then with the weak (this dribble should be between the legs.) When the ball has gone through your legs, repeat the above behind you. The objective is to get the ball going as fast as possible and to gain total control over the pill. It‘s called the “Butterfly” because when you have mastered it, you will look like a butterfly.

Hopefully, this will help me burn off my frustration...since Memphis' loss last night ruined my bracket! And the Tennessee VOLS got out on the first round. I mean, I've learned to expect this from the guys, but the girls?! :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

ULTIMATE Fat Burning Secret: EXPOSED!

I'll admit it. I used to be a cardio junkie. I would run 35-40 miles a week. On "rest days," I would get on the elliptical trainer, take a Spinning class, or MAYBE do some Pilates (but only if I was really, really tired.) You would think I would have been in great shape.
Wrong. I was what I like to call "skinny fat." Sure, I was thin, but I had absolutely no muscle tone to my body. I see so many women in the gym doing the same thing - starving themselves and doing constant cardio just to be skinny - and only ending up skinny fat. Why? It simply results in a lack of knowledge of what REALLY burns fat.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my cardio. TurboKick/TurboJam is not something I would ever leave behind! And cardio in moderation definitely helps the weight loss process. But it's not what gives you a lean, firm, symmetrical body. Weight training is the only way to re-shape your body.

Let me rephrase it simply: Muscle burns fat.

I can also puit this way. The more muscle your body has, the more fat you will burn.

So if you want to get rid of the fat on your body, you MUST lift weights and build strong active muscles - not just even if you are a woman, but ESPECIALLY if you are a woman!

Muscle Facts

- Once you reach adulthood, your muscles stop growing on their own, and muscles actually begin to deteriorate. Ever heard, "If you don't use it, you lose it?" Same thing applies to your muscles. - Dieting and cardio WITHOUT strength training will cause you to lose muscle.

- Pregnancy also accelerates muscle loss. Your body needs additional protein for the baby to develop, so if you don't have enough protein in your diet, guess where it takes the protein needed from? Your muscles!

The news is about to get better.

- Weight training can rebuilt lost muscle.

- Because of the way a woman's body works, weight training won't increase their muscle size much. Women will increase muscle strength and density. (What does that mean? Forget the fear of bulking up - all you are going to do is sculpt your body into a fat-burning machine!)

Just in case your not convinced, allow me to give you a little more info.

- Your muscles are the driving force of your metabolism.

I know I already said but, but I'll say it again. The more muscle you have on your body, the more fat/calories you burn. If you have a certain amount of muscle on your body you can eat a reasonable diet without gaining weight. A good metabolism doesn’t happen by accident. Yes, of course genetics will play a part metabolism can be drastically affected by your life choices.

- Your muscles are active tissue and must constantly renew themselves. This requires energy. And guess what burning calories is? Energy expenditure! It gets better! The primary energy source your muscles use to repair themselves is FAT. Did I mention that MUSCLE BURNS FAT?? Just checking. :)-

- Your muscles are very smart. If your muscles are challenged to the limits of their capabilities, they realize that they need to rebuild themselves even stronger. That way, when faced with that same challenge they will be able to perform at a higher capacity. This is the key to understanding your weight training program. You must find a way to challenge your muscles. Lifting the same weight every time you perform an exercise will maintain what muscle you have, but not change them. I don’t know many people that like spending an hour in the gym to stay exactly the same.

That's why I'm challenging you to embark on a 90-day journey with me beginning May 1, 2009. It's called ChaLEAN Extreme, and you don't want to miss out. It will take 30-45 minutes of your day 5-6 days a week AND it comes with 90 days of recipes for all of your meals and snacks. If you've ever wanted to really change your body, I challenge you to email me at and I will give you all of the information you need.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One-Week 100 Challenge - Part 2

Hope you are loving the results you got from the first 100 challenge! I know that by the last day, I was doing more push-ups without rest than I did on the first day. Your body is capable of more than you give it credit for!

So here it comes - Part 2 of the 100 Challenge! Can you burn an additional 100 calories everyday this week?

About 3500 calories make up one pound. You have to either eat that many additional calories or burn that many calories to make the scale move one number. All I am asking you to do is burn an additional 700 calories this week.

Here's the deal. Your regular workout routine doesn't count! If you normally take a kickboxing class on Wednesdays, the calorie burn you get from that workout can't be calculated into your 100 calories. These are additional calories to be burned.

You can do this anyway you like. Take a walk in the morning before work. Run in place for 5 minutes before work and 5 minutes after work. Do 800 Jumping Jacks over the course of the day. Hop on a treadmill and run for 8 minutes before you leave the gym. Pop your head into the group exercise room and stay for 15 minutes of a cardio-based class. Run up and down a flight of stairs for 8-10 minutes. Put in a DVD like TurboJAM and complete 20 minutes.

You have so many options, and you don't have to choose the same one everyday. So mix it up and keep your muscles guessing! You'll be amazed how easy it really is to eliminate 100 more calories each day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Dumbbell Squat Press

I don't like to waste time anywhere - but it especially applies at the gym. This is why I'm a big fan of complex exercises. Why would I only work one muscle group when I could do more?
The dumbbell squat press may be the most efficient exercise out there. For starters, muscle groups used include: mayMuscles involved: Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Deltoids, Triceps Brachii and Trapezius. Not to mention because of the nature of the exercise, it has cardiovascular benefits as well as strength training.

Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells at shoulder height. Being sure not to round out your back, lower yourself down by pushing your hips back until you reach about 90 degrees of flexion in the knees. Your theighs should be parallel with the floor.

Step 2: Dig through your heels and press up out of the squat position as you press the dumbbells overhead. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height, which should take you you back to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips to remember:

1. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, and keep the chest lifted.

2. Don't let yourself look down. Looking straight ahead keeps your neck in line with your spine - always a good thing!

3. Always keep your knees behind your big toes.

4. Keep the press motion tight as if you're trying to punch the ceiling.

5. Remember that the bulk of your weight should be in your heels. This will help you keep your balance.

Oh, and side note - after today if you've kept up with the challenge, you will have done 700 pushups in a week! YES! Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the the One-Week 100 Challenge.

Monday, March 23, 2009

National Chips & Dip Day!

Happy National Chips & Dip Day!

I can't decide if you are more surprised that this is actually a holiday or that I would actually observe it...But either way, it is a holiday (google it!), and I plan on celebrating!

Here's everything you will need:

- Whole wheat tortilla shells

- Lime juice

- Chili Powder

- No-calorie non-stick olive oil flavored cooking spray

- Fat free refried beans - 1 large can

- 1/2 packet of Hidden Valley's Fiesta Ranch Salad Dressing Mix

- Fat free sour cream, 8 oz. container

There are a lot of chips out there that claim to be heart-healthy, low-fat, or reduced calorie. While the nutrition stats may look better than the full fat version, many of you know the truth: they are often reduced in taste too.

Here's the best answer - do it yourself! In 15 minutes or less, you can have your own healthy tortilla chips that taste better than any full-fat version right out of the bag. Here's what you need to do.

Head to the store, and buy some whole wheat tortilla shells. Preheat your oven to 400. Lightly spray both sides of the shell with no-calorie non-stick olive oil cooking spray and lime juice. Season with chili powder to taste. Cut the shells into wedges and place them on a cookie sheet in the oven. (This also really helps with portion control - if you only want one serving, just use one shell! It's that simple!) Most of the time, these chips will be done in about 5 minutes. Take them out when they are crisp and starting to brown slightly around the edges.

Don't worry - I didn't forget about the dip. Here's a great recipe that James and I learned about over Christmas break from his sister, Emily!

Preheat oven to 350. Spread a large can of fat free refried beans into a baking pan. Next, pour 1/2 packet of Hidden Valley's Fiest Ranch Salad Dressing Mix into an 8 oz. container of fat free sour cream. Stir until completely mixed. Spread a light layer of the sour cream over the beans. The dip should be done in 10-15 minutes.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Team Beachbody has done it again. They've come out with a new product destined to revolutionize how the fitness industry works. Introducing the world's healthiest protein shake - Shakeology! With 70 of the world's healthiest ingrediets, you get the ultimate super shake. Not only will it help you lose weight and feel energized, but it's been proven to lower cholesterol and regulate your digestive system! Not to mention, it tastes delicious! (The chocolate flavor is incredible!)

Here are the 4 key ingredients you need to know about:

1) Protein and Essential Amino Acids
* Help build and repair muscles
* Reduce hunger and food cravings
* Help keep blood sugar steady
* Support brain function to help promote alert thinking and reduce anxiety
* Promote healthy skin, hair, and nails

Shakeology includes whey protein isolate, an easily absorbable source of high-quality protein that's ideal for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. It also helps keep your blood sugar steady, reducing hunger and junk food cravings. Essential amino acids, found in protein, help the body repair muscle tissue and heal wounds; support the brain to promote calmness and alertness; and reduce hunger pangs. The whey protein in Shakeology provides a highly bioavailable source of essential amino acids.

2) Prebiotics and Digestive Enzymes
* Aid digestion
* Help boost the immune system
* Increase absorption of nutrients
* Help keep you "regular"

Shakeology contains many ingredients that are beneficial to the digestive system. Prebiotics, natural components of certain plants, help support the "friendly" bacteria in your digestive tract. They may also help with the absorption of minerals such as calcium. Digestive enzymes, from plant sources such as pineapples and papayas, help your body break down food into its individual components, making the nutrients easier to absorb. Cooking can destroy food's natural digestive enzymes, so there's a good chance that you don't get enough of them in your diet.

3) Antioxidants and Phytonutrients
* Get rid of harmful free radicals
* Help decrease inflammation
* Help boost your immune system
* Potentially decrease the risk of degenerative diseases
* May even increase longevity

Many of Shakeology's fruit and vegetable sources have been chosen for their high concentration of healthy natural substances known as phytonutrients, including flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and catechins. These substances have antioxidant properties, meaning they help get rid of molecules known as free radicals, which damage cells and may be a key component of the aging process. In laboratory tests, phytonutrients have shown promise in helping prevent a wide variety of degenerative conditions. What's more, studies suggest that the natural mix of phytochemicals you get from whole-plant sources is more effective than taking them individually as nutritional supplements.

4) 23 Vitamins and Minerals
* Get a wide range of essential nutrients
* Get your necessary vitamins every day
* Make up for dietary deficiencies

Most of us don't get the complete range of essential vitamins and minerals in our daily diets. Some important vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are water-soluble, meaning they're flushed out of your body after a short time and need to be replenished regularly. Others, like vitamin E, can be difficult to get enough of in food. Shakeology provides all these nutrients in an easy-to-take, easily absorbable form, so you never have to worry.

With just 140 calories, 1 gram of fat, 9 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of the highest quality protein, you get a well-balanced meal that will keep you full for hours.

Head to Team Beachbody Coach - Michelle Myers to get yours today. Click on NUTRITION, then Core Nutrition, and scroll to the Shakeology Starter Pack. You will get a 30-day supply delivered to your door! Be one of the first to check it out.

Feel free to email me at if you would like more information.

Gettin Crabby at Lunch!

Chicken salad, tuna salad, seafood salad...they all seem healthy enough. But don't be fooled! Most of the time, they are so full of mayonaise that the healthy ingredients are no longer a good choice! But made correctly, these salads can make a great healthy lunch.

Rule #1 - Hold the mayo! This recipe has ingredients that are high in flavor but low in calories—lime juice, ginger, cilantro and chile peppers among them—to make this crab salad both nutritionally sound and absolutely delicious. If you want to skip the pita, serve on a bed of Boston lettuce or mixed greens. But the whole wheat pita pinwheels work great to make a healthy well-balanced meal.

Makes 2 servings, 1 1/4 cups salad each

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lime juice

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

7 ounces cooked crab meat, drained - (Imitation crabmeat works great too)

1/2 cup finely chopped celery heart with leaves

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro1 teaspoon minced jalapeƱo pepper, or to taste

2 6-inch pita breads, warmed and cut in half crosswise

2 large lettuce leaves, torn in half

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, lime juice and pepper in a medium bowl. Add ginger, crab, celery, onion, cilantro and jalapeno; toss well. Line pita halves with lettuce and fill with crab salad. Garnish with parsley if you are serving for guests.


339 calories

10 g fat (1 g sat, 6 g mono)

70 mg cholesterol

38 g carbohydrate

28 g protein6 g fiber

728 mg sodium

250 mg potassium.

And don't forget your 100 push-ups today!