Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


02 Jul


One of the fitness progress measurements and health standards used to indicate one’s weight range, is body fat. Fat is our energy storage warehouse that our body pulls from to meet the demands we place upon ourselves. Because every BODY is different, we see a range people who either carry too little, just the right amount, or an excessive amount of body. But what does this body fat mean in relation to our bodies and on our fitness journeys??

The scientific term for body fat is “adipose tissue”. It’s important to clarify that a person carries both fat pound and muscle pounds and a normal bathroom scale doesn’t differentiate between the two. I know that for myself, my weight might be higher than one assumes because of the muscle that I carry. This might put me in a different bracket on a chart that shows the health ranges of body weights. But body fat needs to be accounted for. On the reverse, a normal looking sized person may actually be unhealthy because the majority of their weight is fat not muscle. This would then put one at risk for medical problems. This goes to show that just because a person is “skinny” doesn’t mean they’re healthy.

When a person tells me they want to lose weight. I know that they want to lose fat, not muscle. Here is a good example of what this means: “Body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains.  If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else)”


Here is the standard chart:

General Body Fat Percentage Categories

Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32% plus 25% plus

Another useful too would be:

  • Fat mass: Weight x body fat percentage
  • Lean mass: Weight – (weight x body fat percentage)


The scale doesn’t always show your weight in terms of good vs. bad pounds. Being realistic and understanding that losing body fat, not muscle is important. Often times quick fixes, cleanses, and really restrictive approaches to weight loss, yield water loss in weight, not fat. Having your body fat measured allows you to determine your goals and be realistic about how much and what type of weight you should lose. I hope this is informative for those of you who are stuck on that scale number. There is much more to weight loss than one thinks ?

02 Jul


As a business owner, fitness addict, health advocate, and professional natural bodybuilder, keeping my body fueled and functioning at peak performance is vital. I don’t ever chat supplements and don’t like to because of legal ramifications, but let me share with you about the greatness of Juice Plus which is whole food based nutrition. In my life, there are no sick days, there is no time for being sluggish, and I certainly want to workout at my best level day to day. So Juice Plus has been my solution for the past 9 years. I do sell this at the studio, but as a not-so-salesy type gal, I will lead by example again, and share with you about the product here.

We are told to have 17 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But who does that?? Juicing was the popular craze to achieve this, but Juice Plus has been around much longer and is a cheaper, more convenient and effective method. Our bodies can only do so much, but we are responsible for taking care of ourselves via nutrition and activity to aid in our health. Simply stated, “Whole food based nutrition delivers powerful antioxidants that provide your body protection, because it relies on fruits and vegetables. According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants are “substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C and E and other substances. Many of these antioxidant substances come from fruits and vegetables” (http://www.juiceplus.com/us/en/what-is-juice-plus/ingredients1).

I personally take the Orchard and Garden Blend which has the following ingredients:

  • Apple • Acerola Cherry • Beet • Cranberry • Date • Orange • Pineapple • Papaya • Peach • Prune • Broccoli • Brown Rice Bran • Cabbage • Carrot • Garlic • Kale • Oat Bran • Parsley • Spinach • Tomato •

Juice Plus has the research stacked behind it. This product has proven results in its ability to improve and aid with healthy gums, heart health, oxidative stress, skin, inflammation, and lung health (just to name a few). All this information is publicly available to read on their website http://www.juiceplus.com/us/en/clinical-research/clinical-research-new#


This is not a weight loss product which is a question that always arises for me. But in reality, if we did want to consume all the fruits and vegetables required, our sugar and carbohydrate intake would be quite high so we are finding a source that encompasses all of this for us. On my own fitness journey, I don’t take supplements just Juice Plus. No multivitamin is required. From a girl who has been in this fitness industry a long time and in the past I tried every fat burner, every everything to be cool with the other trainers, I know that having natural and whole foods the best approach. Not even the common cold has hit me in a long time. Feel free to inquire more and do your own research, and if interested let me know and we can start your Juice Plus today.

02 Jul


In the midst of your fitness journey, I’m aware that that during workouts I am giving you the guidance and structure of the hour. I realize that just because I use terminology for the layout of the plan, doesn’t mean you know what I am referring to. So the teacher in me (yes I have my teaching credential in P.E. and Health), says oooohhhhh that makes for a good lesson/blog. Here you have it…


Reps is the short name for repetitions: “the number of times to perform an exercise” (www.livestrong.com/article/153380-definition-of-reps-set/)

Example: If you did 12 bicep curls those 12 movements are the repetitions


This is how many times we repeat the exercise in its entirety.

Example: if you did 12 bicep curls, rested then did 12 more bicep curls that would be 2 sets of bicep curls


“used to express the heat output of an organism and the fuel or energy value of food” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/calorie).


Humans require these 3 main components: Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats

Carbohydrates: “Carbohydrates are present in varying amounts in most of the foods you eat including fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, milk and milk products, and foods containing added sugar such as candy, soda and other sweets. Carbohydrates are present in food in the form of starch, sugar and fiber” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/carbs/what-are-carbohydrates-an-easy-to-understand-definition.html).

There are simple and complex carbs. They should make up 45 – 65% of your daily calorie intake

1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories

Protein: “a nutrient found in food (as meat, milk, eggs, and beans) that is made up of many amino acids joined together, is a necessary part of the diet, and is essential for normal cell structure and function” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protein).

You should have: “The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman” (https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-protein-per-day/).

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

Fats: “Fats are nutrients that give you energy. Fats have 9 calories in each gram. Fats help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats are either saturated or unsaturated, and most foods with fat have both types” (http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/types-of-fats-topic-overview#1).

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

These are just the basics. So now you know some of my jargon. I enjoy sharing and educating regarding elements of your fitness journey. The more you know, the better your choices will be knowing the reason behind your WHY. Ask away if you have further vocab questions.

02 Jul


Our bodies speak to us. Signals of hunger, pain, emotion, etc. tell us an action is required. The act of eating is mandatory, but certainly not a science we all have down pact. Intuitive eating is an anti-diet line of thinking that involves listening to your body’s hunger cues and responding accordingly. I’m not sure how I feel about this approach, but I figured some solid research might help us understand this concept better.

Intuitive eating was an approach I discovered while reading the weight loss memoir by Kelsey Miller (2016), Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got A Life. Kelsey is a writer for Refinery29 in New York and she created a project for herself at work that got world-wide attention. She decided to write her articles on her own journey of intuitive eating coming from a background of a lifetime dieter seeking a way to find a suitable relationship with food. She simply ate what she wanted, when she wanted, because she knew that if she wanted more she could have it. There was no restriction or off-limit foods. Having that in mind let her have a couple bites of French Fries instead of attacking them on her plate then asking her friend to polish off their serving. This approach takes some serious self-control.

This led me to that classic Google search. And I came across Intuitiveeating.org. There is an entire community of counselors and books available. Here are their 10 Principles: (http://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/).

  1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently.
  2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat.
  3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat.
  4. Challenge the Food Police .Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake.
  5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry.
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience.
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food.
  8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint.
  9. Exercise–Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference.

10 Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy.

This surely sounds like the diet to end all diets, but gosh there’s not a lot of structure. I think that if we all could just tune into our hunger and put down the fork when we should, well there would be a whole lot less obesity in this world. If only it were this simple. But I think the principle of this approach is great…. just don’t know many who can successfully do it. For example, here’s a clip from another article I read, “Some days, my body needed french fries. Other days, a big salad. Sometimes I’d have two breakfasts because I was just that hungry. Other days, a light dinner was more than enough. I learned that a small piece of dark chocolate could actually satisfy a craving and that I didn’t actually need three glasses of wine with dinner to enjoy it. Butter, burgers, donuts — nothing was off limits as long as I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full (but not stuffed). It took a few months, but it’s funny how once you realize you can actually have any food at any time, a lot of food’s irresistible draw vanishes” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennipher-walters/intuitive-eating_b_3976172.html).

I personally may not relate to this approach, but I’m in full support of those clients who can do this. In fact, maybe I envy them haha. Every BODY is different so we all have to find what works for us best. If logging food and counting calories sends you into a resistance mode to not follow orders, then by all means find another way. If 30 day tactics work for you, then do it. Lifestyle change my friends. That’s what I believe. And one better choice at a time we are getting to that level of success we are aiming for.

02 Jul


Society deems the term “fat” in a derogatory manner for sure. The word doesn’t shout positive images or associations with good concepts. Our bodies do need fat. Over the years we have learned of low-fat, less-fat, and reduced fat items. So what are the healthy fats we are supposed to have?? Let’s take a look at good vs. bad fats for us.

Fat in the body is an energy source for us. This to me is ironic in the sense of the simplicity of the statement. Having more fat seems like activity becomes harder to complete and health risks increase. But in reality, “It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good).

Good Fat = monounsaturated & polyunsaturated

Somewhere in the middle = saturated

Bad Fat = Trans fats

It’s that crazy cellular form jargon of hydrogen bonds that make the different types of fat.

Good Fat:

Vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish

These are liquid at room temperature

Monounsaturated Fats: “Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good)

Polyunsaturated Fats: “Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good)

Good sources are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil

In the Middle Saturated Fats:

Keep to about 10% of calories per day because can increase cholesterol (moderation right??)

“Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good)

Bad Fat

Trans Fat: Think solids

Increased risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes

Usually you see on the label as partially hydrogenated oil

So the fats turn solid and clog our arteries

That oil that fast food is cooked in

Our bodies are unique to exactly how much fat we need. Good vs. bad as most choices become. Just know that a healthy fat doesn’t mean it’s a free for all on the portions. Watch your total daily intake and plan accordingly. And ask me questions. So maybe some fat is good, unlike what we have been socially taught to believe

02 Jul


Well that good old Amazon Prime account of mine led me to the movie, “The Gut: Our Second Brain” (2013) by Cecile Denjean. This documentary was fascinating as so many clients suffer from stomach issues. I’m sure we can all relate to our bellies trying to be the almighty ruler of our day. So I’d like to share some of the research this movie explored.

Dating back to the cave man, our bodily features and functions were developed as needed mechanisms to seek and find food. Think of the “raw” diet that used to be consumed compared to our digestive systems now that have undergone quite the change in the types of food we eat. Even when cooking from “scratch”, realistically the flour or spices have been through some type of manufacturing process already before our purchase of it. The stomach cannot physically be the same as it was thousands of years ago.

The brain and the stomach use the same neurotransmitters. Serotonin is the “well-being” chemical found in both the brain and stomach. 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut. So if serotonin is said to dictate our mood stability, no wonder the stomach is impacted when we feel stressed or uneasy. Adding to this, 1 in 10 people are said to have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) digestive pain problems. The brain and gut have communication issues. I was surprised to learn that Parkinson’s disease originates in the gut.

Different approaches are used to help with gut problems. Recent holistic type methods and Chinese medicine suggest hypnosis and acupuncture. This has also been shown to help with depression (again the brain and gut communicating better). Chinese medicine believes in the finding the source of the problem, which most times is the stomach.

Bacteria helps with digestion and we need it in our system. Having this good type of bacteria date back to when we are babies and are building immunity. Obesity and bacteria have been closely studied. Some research has revealed that obese people have more of a certain type of bacteria. Obesity boils down to 10% genetic, 10% bacteria and 80% lifestyle. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria. Probiotics help develop the good type of bacteria we need which can be found in yeasts and yogurt. There isn’t a clear understanding yet of how probiotics work, but in a test that gave women yogurts, they were less reactive to situations, meaning they were in a better stable sense of mind. The images of the brain were in a calmer state.

The more we know, the better we set ourselves up for success on our fitness journeys. This documentary help make sense of a lot of the stomach issues clients face. There is more to that growl in the belly than we think. Feed the mind and stomach as best as possible and listen to what your body is trying to communicate.

02 Jul


Sticking to the plan can be challenging. We know that. But starting and stopping the plan, on and off, go then stop…. well that temporary approach hasn’t worked.  Yo-yo dieting can be that “all or nothing” tactic to weight loss, which typically starts off strong and then abruptly stops. Then the motivation to start again returns and the cycle starts itself all over.

Any of this sound familiar?? 30 day jump start, 21 day fixes, cabbage diet, grapefruit diet, the list goes on and on. Here’s the basic truth: “The yo-yo effect is usually caused by weight loss plans that involve missing meals, fasting and crash diets that drastically lower your daily caloric intake” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-ins-and-outs-of-yo-yo-dieting.html).

This cannot be good for us. Here are the side effects/risks:

  1. Metabolism: “When you deprive your body of the calories it needs for energy, it adapts to the change by slowing down your metabolism. Metabolism is the process where your body burns the food you eat in order to produce energy. Your metabolism may not get back to normal even when you resume your normal lifestyle. A slower metabolism means more weight gain. In some cases, not only will you gain back the weight you lose during the diet, but you may even gain more than before” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-ins-and-outs-of-yo-yo-dieting.html).
  2. Muscle Loss: When the body is not being sufficiently nourished, it may have to pull from other energy sources like your muscles. So now the body is burning through muscle and the less muscle the body has, the less calories it burns at a resting state and all day long. You get my point.
  3. Psychological: This approach doesn’t always “fix” what is truly going on. Rapid weight loss then re-gaining weight can lead to eating disorders, depression and anxiety with the fluctuations.
  4. Other risks: “Fluctuating weight can also result in a higher risk of developing cancer and heart disease. You might also suffer from losing hair and developing osteoporosis, among other health conditions. This is due to the fact that most crash diets are lacking in nutrients that are essential for healthy hair, bones and good health in general. Because of the low caloric intake, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating might also result from yo yo dieting” (http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/weight-loss/the-ins-and-outs-of-yo-yo-dieting.html).

When there is an event that is near or a purpose behind losing the weight so quickly, temporary gimmicks come to mind first. But understand this is usually water and muscle loss, not true fat loss. That is why I am determined to teach lasting, sustainable, lifestyle changes to my clients. Maybe the scale won’t move as fast, but at least the scale will keep moving the right direction for a long period of time. Patience is difficult with goals in mind, but trust the process and continue to become the best version of yourself.

02 Jul


So where did Steve Nash come from?? I know you are dying to know the history of pugs, but as a designated “pug person”, I feel obligated to inform you on this matter. Pugs have such a great sense of humor, are wonderful companions, and are a whole lot of character in such a small body.

Pug 101:                                                              Steve Nash:

Height: 10 – 12”

Weight: 14 – 18 pounds                                22.3 pounds

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years                                  Currently 5

Breed Type: Companion                                The BEST

Pugs came from China from the Han Dynasty. Pugs do act like they are pretty special. No wonder: “Some historians believe they are related to the Tibetan Mastiff. They were prized by the Emperors of China and lived in luxurious accommodations, sometimes even being guarded by soldiers” (http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/pug#C3XZhCJgrhmgkA1J.99). Trading with the Europeans expanded the popularity of the pug. Queen Victoria liked pugs. They made their way to the U.S. after the Civil War.

These little joys of fun have smooshed in faces and a curled tail like a cinnamon roll. Pugs are known for their wrinkles. Check this out: “Legend has it that the Chinese, who mastered the breeding of this dog, prized these wrinkles because they resembled good luck symbols in their language. Especially prized were dogs with wrinkles that seemed to form the letters for the word ‘prince’ in Chinese” (http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/pug#/slide/1).

Health concerns involve breathing issues, over-heating and possible eye problems. Lots of people do ask about pugs and their medical conditions. Proper feeding, exercise, and care are the nurturing elements of love.

The companionship, loyalty and love of a pug are definitely demonstrated here at the studio with Steve Nash. Pug love runs deep. I have had pugs my entire life and the breed has never let me down. So now you know a little bit more about my son haha.

02 Jul


We were always told to eat your vegetables growing up. In fact, I can remember one of my go-to snacks after school being carrots and ranch dressing. Those crunchy orange bites are filled with nutrients. So let’s look at the goods and bads of eating carrots on your fitness journeys.

On the positive side, there are a number of benefits as to why carrots are good for us. Here are 10 (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html) :

1.Improve vision: Carrots are good for your eyes: “Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision”.

2.Prevent Cancer: Up to 1/3 reduction of lung, breast, and colon cancer.

  1. Slows Down Aging: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant
  2. Healthier Skin: Carrots contain Vitamin A: “Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes and uneven skin tone.”
  3. Prevent Infection: can be used on wounds and cuts
  4. Healthier Outside Skin: can be used as a face mask to help with acne and blemishes
  5. Prevents Heart Disease: “Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids”.
  6. Cleanses the Body: helps to flush out toxins in the liver
  7. Protect Teeth & Gums: “Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.”
  8. Prevents Stroke: studies show carrot consumption less likely to have a stroke

However, everything in moderation right?? Carrots do have a lot of sugar (the good kind) but too much of any one item isn’t good for us. If you are eating too many carrots this could cause Carotenimia which is the yellowing of the skin. As such, “Eating large quantities of carrots doesn’t put you at risk of vitamin A overload because your body only converts beta carotene as needed. However, having large amounts of carotene in your blood can cause carotenemia, or yellowish discoloration of the skin. The harmless condition is typically most apparent on palms, soles and ears and disappears gradually on a lower-carotene diet” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/286531-side-effects-of-eating-too-many-carrots/). And then of course having too much fiber can lead to bowel problems. Be careful if you are a “dipper” and have to have each bite coated in ranch, hummus, or peanut butter (yes peanut butter is a popular carrot dip haha). Carrots don’t have the kick to keep you full long enough so this snack could use some protein with it.

Bug Bunny vs. your fitness journey. And yes with it being around Easter time when writing this Blog, the idea came to me. Plus, I see carrots in food journals a lot. The winner seems to be the pros/positives, but we know that regardless, portion control is our best fitness journey friend (other than me haha). So crunch away, but just a few!!!! Serving size would of course vary by size ?

02 Jul


Bars are a snack we can utilize on our fitness journeys to keep us fueled until the next meal. They are convenient, ready to go, and an easy “to take with” item we can use as a better choice. There are a number of nutrition bars on the market and knowing which one to grab can be confusing. The three main types I see in client’s fitness journals are Luna Bars, Quest Bars, and Cliff Bars. So let’s compare and contrast and get ourselves educated about these popular selections.



Pros:                                                                       Cons:

Calorie count                                                        High in Carbohydrates

Low in fat                                                             High in Sugar

Cons:                                                                    Low in Protein

High in Carbohydrates                                         Low in Fiber

Lower in Sodium


Quest Bars


Pros:                                                                                       Cons:

High in Protein                                                                     Higher in Sodium

Low in Carbohydrates

High in Fiber (what makes low carbohydrate)

Low in Sugar

Lower in Fat

Clif Bars


Pros:                                       Cons:

Low in Sodium                      High in Calories

Lower in Fat                               Low in Protein

High in Carbs

Low in Fiber

Most clients know I’m a cheerleader for Quest Bars, and now maybe some folks might see why. Taste and flavor does come into play, but know that nutrients are what count in the end. Use bars for those 3 hour in between snacks to reach the next meal. Don’t go for the crackers, chips and candy. Give your BODY what it needs. Do the comparison when in doubt and I’m here to help as well.