Friday, October 29, 2010


Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip VitaTops (12 Muffin Tops)

Hey All~
Just wanted to make you aware of these great little snacks! I had heard quite a bit of buzz about VitaTops, but just assumed they were too good to be true (honestly, when have muffin tops ever been a good thing?). But when they appeared in the URockGirl Blog ( earlier this week (which is a source I trust as it's written by one of the dietitians for my competition team), I decided to give them a try.

I found them in the freezer section at Target near the frozen waffles. They are 100 calories and the first two ingredients are water and whole wheat flour. They have 9 grams of fiber and don't ask me how--but they qualify as a "whole grain". Oh, and the best part--they are delicious!:)

If you are dieting, you could use these as an every now and then "cheat" to satisfy a craving. If you are maintaining, you could throw one of these in during the week and count it as a starch. They do have some sugar and chocolate drops in them, so I wouldn't make them a staple in your nutrition, but having one every now and then isn't anything to feel a bit guilty about! Some of you have really like items from the Protein Bakery and this would be right up the same alley! Try them out and let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Sickness and in Health?

Cold and flu season is fast approaching and additionally, some of us are already suffering from the runny nose, "burning" chest and generalized fatigue that accompanies seasonal allergies as well as upper respiratory infections. I used to be someone who trained without any regard to how I was feeling physically. My goal was only to check my workout off my list for the day, rather than giving my body what it needed at that particular time.  "No pain, no gain" was the thought process that prevailed. It took some education and maturity to understand that sometimes, "less is more" can be a more appropriate model when it comes to training, particularly in times of illness.
When we train, we intentionally breakdown muscle tissue which causes inflammation in the body. The healing process (and subsequently building and toning) then occurs during our rest periods, where our body relies on nutrients to repair itself. So, you can see why clean nutrition, rest, and sleep play such a role in getting in shape. The same is true when we are ill. Sickness causes inflammation in the body by way of our immune system. Again, this process requires rest and nutrients in order to recover. So, if you are already ill or even injured and fighting inflammation in your body, you are only stressing it more when you add the demands that training creates.

How long before you start to lose the gains you've worked so hard for? According to one study in Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise, "strength performance in general is readily maintained for up to 4 weeks of inactivity" in elite athletes; that time frame will be shorter for beginning exercisers (Mujika & Padilla, 2001). Unless you are planning on taking weeks off from working out, you're not going to lose any significant ground. Even if you need to go at a lower intensity for a while, this will still help to maintain your previous gains.

So, do not fret about taking a few days off from training to let yourself bounce back from the common cold---it's likely just what the doctor (and your trainer) would order for a speedy recovery!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Get out There and Do Some Good!!!

This weekend I took advantage of some local opportunities to raise awareness and money for two very worthy causes. On Saturday morning, I joined my mom and sister in the Memory Walk, which involved a 2-mile walk and monetary donation that will be used to increase advocacy and fund research for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimers Disease. Not only did this event motivate me to get out of bed and get some exercise on a Saturday morning, but it also fed my spirit to be able to participate in an event of such importance. My grandpa suffers from Alzheimers and with a record setting turnout at the Memory Walk, it became even more apparent how devastating this disease is to so many individuals and their families.

The Tour de Forks was on Sunday. On a last-minute whim, the Haute Physique girls rallied to get a team together (as seen in the picture above) to participate in the event which consisted of a choice between a walk/run or bike ride. Like the Memory Walk, the participants in Tour de Forks were of all ages and fitness levels who came together to raise money for the Breast Cancer Coalition. Not only did we enjoy a beautiful day outdoors, we also got a great workout and again contributed dollars to an organization geared toward helping those in need.

These events were a great example of parents teaching their children lessons in being charitable and helping others. These activities also served as opportunites for families to be active together through participation in the races [notice haute baby, Thomas (going incognito above,  with mommy Sarah), gearing up for his first 5k]. From the very young to the very old, there were people of all ages out there making an effort. With President Obama recently proclaiming September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness month, these types of activities are a great way to get your kids involved and to get them moving, while learning to give back at the same time!

Tell us about a similar experience you've recently participated in!

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Time-Saving Workout #1

There is hardly a human being that I know who isn't busy. Busy is a state of mind and is a relative term that means something different to everyone. It is one of the most common reasons that I hear from my training clients as to why they've missed a workout or even not been able to plan ahead for their daily nutrition.

Well, today is one of those days for me. Ideally, I like to lift in the morning and do cardio in the evening so that I get two excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) states (i.e. the calorie burn that you get even after your workout is over). Unfortunately, it's not gonna happen today, so I needed something to really rev up my metabolism and get a good sweat on because I'm only getting one shot at it! So, here was my workout for the morning (today was a lower-body focus):

3 mins. as fast as I could go on the elliptical, alternating with 3 minutes of walking lunges, repeated for a total of 30 minutes.

I was dripping in sweat and my legs were sure burning by the end, but I got both resistance training and cardio done in one session! Try it at home on a day you are too "busy" to split your lifting and cardio. Any cardio machine could be used, or you could even just run in place, jump rope, or do jumping jacks if you don't have access to equipment. If there's no room to do walking lunges, you could do jump squats, stationary forward lunges and backward lunges, barbell squat, etc. The sky is the limit!

Please comment with your favorite time-saving workout ideas!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Haute Babies Can Eat Clean, Too!

Our resident Haute Mommy-to-Be, Sarah K., gave birth to a healthy baby boy this weekend (Thomas Adam). I have watched her in awe at our workouts all summer, often leaving me in the dust! Between her new little bundle of joy and my own nephew who was born in March (not to mention all the expectant mommies and new babies at work), I've taken an interest in the nutrition recommendations for little ones. Below is a link to a segment on the Today Show from this morning which addresses this very topic as well as a newspaper write-up on the same author. I'd love to hear from all of you mothers as to what you think of this and if you feel it's practical?

Congrats to Sarah and her hubby, and welcome to our first Haute Baby, Thomas!

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Goals for Next Week: Kettlebells

Hi All~

I'm loving hearing your goals for next week! Many of your are trying a new exercise or class and you've inspired me! I bought a kettlebell a few months back and use it every now and then in place of dumbbells, but I know it's got a lot more potential than this! In the most recent journal from ACSM, I read that while kettlebells are traditionally known for strength training, they increase the heart rate to the same level as you would by jogging at a 6 mile per hour pace. The good news is that I can count this as my cardio and strenght training in one, just like our functional workouts! So, my goal for next week is to do a full session of kettlebell training--I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks for the motivation!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Feeding Your Family, Part 1

One of the most common things I hear when people ask about my nutrition is "my family won't eat that" and they write-off clean-eating entirely. Because many (if not most) of the women on my competition team are mothers or care-givers in some capacity, I know that clean cooking for families is feasible. Yes, it takes planning, just like feeding any family does, but it isn't impossible. This week, we have the luxury of hearing from mothers who are making it happen. Here's what our first super-mom, Amy S., has to say:

I am a wife to a husband who farms, and even he will tell you eats rather poorly. He rarely eats breakfast, often eats out for lunch and then skips eating anything until supper where I make a good meal followed by his late night snacking. I am excited, however, to announce that he's going to jump on board with workouts and learn better, cleaner eating habits, yay! He often will ask to try the recipes I make each week and is slowly learning to like eating cleaner is, however quite a change from processed, sugar laden foods he's currently used to. We also farm sugar beets, so I am forced to hide my Splenda for baking. I still use good ol' American Crystal Sugar in recipes and cooking..but like I tell my husband, "It's not that you can't have it..but moderation is key and our society "super-sizes" that word!

My children are Sydney (age 3 1/2) and Noah (age 1) so at this point I haven't integrated them too much into my eating habits, but if I make cookies I try keep them clean. I still have a few recipes I need to try! My hope is that once I get my husband on board, it will become a family lifestyle so much of the junk is out of the house and easier to resist. Plus, if I'm having a weak moment, having all of the crap food in the house is just one more temptation to my day.

So, as you've guessed..much of my eating is done just for me right now..which is ok. I prep on Sunday evenings always making satay chicken (one of my all time favorites), steel cut oatmeal in bulk quantities (so that I can make banana walnut oatmeal), and I always try to make 1 new recipe. With working full time and trying to juggle a family, I find that the less I have to think about food and what to make during the busy work week, the more likely I will stay on track with eating and want to fit in my lifts and cardio too! My new FAVORITE summer recipe snack is protein rich Guacamole (from U Rock Girl blog) paired with a serving of baked tortilla chips..yummo! Recipe below..enjoy!

6 oz. plain fat free Greek yogurt (I buy Fage at Target)
2-3 Avocados, peeled and mashed
1/2 jalepeno seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup Cilantro (can find in a tube at Target produce section)
1 green onion, finely chopped
**1 tsp ground cumin (I skip this step)
Blend all, chill until ready to use:)

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Friday, July 9, 2010

I haven't been shy about my love for reality TV or my interest in all things celebrity gossip; truth be told, I find it relaxing to end a 14-16 hour day with such an activity (say E! News or the latest Us Weekly) that requires little brain or muscle power. I'm none the wiser or fitter because of it, but it's a vice for me and a non-caloric one at that!:)

With the recent celebrity baby and pregnancy trend, my interest in prenatal and postpartum fitness has been reignited. Not being a mother myself, I have to live and learn vicariously through others. My friend (and Haute Physique devoutee) Sarah K. graciously accepted my invite to guest-blog and give real insight to what's required to keep her mama-to-be body in fighting shape. Week after week she puts the rest of us to shame as she hangs right in there (and often leads the pack) at our grueling Wednesday workouts. Here's what she has to say about staying fit while preparing for mommyhood (with a few Haute Physique plugs thrown in)!

An expanding waistline, bulging leg veins, and acne prone skin don't necessarily provide visions of health. Couple those physical changes with frequent food binges and an exhaustion that limits activity to sluggishly lifting the remote to change the channel and you're probably thinking, "Who is this slob that's guest blogging for a fitness audience?". Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum, and Brooke Burke I am not. I am merely a 29 year old Grand Forksian trying to juggle a fit pregnancy with a busy career, a new home, a husband who's a handful in his own right, and all the emotions and physical changes that come along with preparing for a baby.

Let's go back to 2009. I was blessed to meet and develop what I hope to be a lifelong friendship with Amy of Haute Physique. Much like a first date with your "crush", Amy and I met and immediately hit it off. We have so many people and interests in common that I often wonder why I didn't meet her sooner. (An earlier "courtship" could have saved me a few bills from the therapist!) Within a year, she got me hooked on clean eating and on board to train for my first fitness competition. The girl is relentlessly inspiring! I was gung-ho and was immediately noticing changes to my physique, which is so addicting and empowering! Unfortunately and fortunately all at the same time, my plans were interrupted by God's. About two months into the training, my dear husband and I found out we were expecting! Something told me that entering my first fitness competition at three months preggo wouldn't do much for my self-esteem or interest in pursuing the lifestyle in the future. Can you imagine me prancing around in a bedazzled, barely there bikini and stripper heels with my 12 week old son protruding from my mid-section? Another great visual for you.

Despite my competition plans being derailed, I was determined to stay on track with my new clean lifestyle assuming that if I did, losing the baby weight would be much easier. So, for the first 3 weeks (weeks 4-7 of my pregnancy), I diligently packed my cooler and enjoyed the likes of ezekial bread, Fage, egg whites, chicken breasts and green beans up the wazzoo. By week 8 of my pregnancy, I had had enough. The emotions, exhaustion, nausea, and overwhelming fears that come along with babies (financial stresses, hormonal changes, lifestyle changes...EVERYTHING), got the best of me and I sustained on crackers, chips and candy for the next 3 weeks. Part of me felt entitled because I was pregnant and if you can't indulge then, when can you? But, a good part of me felt really guilty. I'm glad for that because it got me back on track. Albeit a modified track.

I'm far from perfect and have still retired the cooler for a while but I am back on a reasonable track for me. I try and make 50% of my meals "clean" meals each day. I also try and do physical activity every day. Whether that is a 10 minute walk, a bike ride, or a grueling session with the Haute Physique girls at the park, I try and get out there and it makes me feel good even though I am fully aware that I look like a freak doing monkey jumps and crab walks. Another tactic I've used is setting a daily goal for myself. These goals help me make conscious choices rather than, as Gisele so annoyingly proclaims most pregnant women do, treat my body like a "human garbage disposal". (To be totally transparent, one of my daily goals has been to NOT eat an entire pint of ice cream in one day. Lofty ambitions, huh? But, hey, for this ice creamaholic and preggo, it can be hard and it was a goal nonetheless. And, I went to bed feeling pretty proud of myself for accomplishing it.)

My moral of the story is that all we can do is do our best. Without a personal chef, nanny, masseuse, therapist, monthly vacations, personal trainers on-call, and endless money, we can only do our best. As I reach my 32nd week of this pregnancy, I get more and more excited to meet my son and the immense responsibility of being a role model becomes more and more apparent. I hope that I can teach him, through example, how to be healthy and balanced. That, combined with the support of Haute Physique's fearless leader, the new friendships I'm making through the group, and my extreme vanity, will serve as motivation to dust off the cooler and get back to packing my six meals a day and give Gisele, Heidi, and Brooke a run for their money. (Well, maybe I won't be walking in the Victoria Secret fashion show three weeks post partum but I am going to give my fitness goals a good college try despite the gnawing fear that it will be a difficult task.)

We'd love to hear how you kicked butt in the gym during the nine months your babies were kickin' you in the bellies! Another testament that motherhood is the toughest job there is!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ladies, Pack Your Coolers!

We're off to the lakes! It's sweet summertime in the upper Midwest. Our precious lake season includes something like 13 or so weekends between the time school gets out in the spring and resumes in the fall. Most of us have every weekend planned out before we even see the first sign of summer--and almost all include traveling to the lakes (and if not, staying home for a wedding). We have to get it all in before the snow flies and we're hunkered down for the long winter.

Whether you're pitching a tent at the local KOA or headed to the Hamptons with Jill & the Countess (shameless Housewives plug #1), these weekends can be filled with lots of calorie-buring activities, such as biking, water-skiing, kayaking, etc. They can also be overloaded with calorie-laden BBQs,desserts, and cocktails. A lake weekend can quickly add a couple of unwanted pounds and if you multiply that by 13 weekends, your bikini abs might be sporting their winter layer before we've even hit fall! So, what's a girl (or guy) to do?

Packing food for the lakes is all about convenience for me. We don't have electricity or running water at our place, so everything I bring is either pre-cooked or can be easily grilled. Here's a look at what goes in my cooler (I pack a big one just for myself!):

Chicken breasts
Pre-pattied lean hamburgers
Pourable egg whites
Tuna packets
Green Beans
Ezekial Bread
Rice cakes
Raw almonds (seperated out into single servings in plastic baggies)
Flax seed oil (I love Barlean's)
Honey Mustard
Gallon jugs of water

You can see I almost need a U-haul just to bring my food, but my family is so used to it by now, they simply roll their eyes and keep their comments to themselves. Afterall, they're fighting a losing battle with this one (my sweet husband just texted me to say he's going to buy a 3rd cooler for the weekend!). I refuse to let summer fun mean that I lose sight of my overall goals for healthy living. There's no reason I can't have both! That said, holidays are the time for celebration and relaxation, so don't go driving your family & friends crazy with obsessing about every little nibble. Indulge a bit and make the healthiest choices when possible. Be prepared, but allow yourself to enjoy the occasion--everything in moderation! It's a great time to try one of those not-so-healthy "heatlhy" recipes that you may have been scoping say, a Skinny Girl Margarita (shameless Housewives plug #2--thanks, Bethenny!).

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Do You Give Up To Stay in Shape?

If you're that girl who has it all---then basically you're lying (lol). Okay, okay, maybe there's a hint of jealousy there, but seriously, staying fit is just one more thing to throw into the mix of the constant struggle for balance in life. To quote the omnipotent Oprah (love her!), "you can have it all, just not all at the same time." So really, what does this mean for leading a fit lifestyle? How do you juggle that ball with all of the others? The answer: prioritize.

We've all either heard or said "I don't have time to workout"---okay,um, who does? Well, maybe some of our favorite Real Houswives who have live-in nannies, cleaning service, and their own personal "Big Poppa", but the rest of us, we make time to exercise. For me, this means putting it on my schedule and choosing to hit the gym over choosing to do something else--in other words, I make it my priority. See where I'm going with this?

It's definitely a give and take. So what takes the back burner you're asking? My dirty secret is the sacrifice of a clean house. Most days, it looks like it was hit by a tornado. I hardly ever entertain because it takes me a week to get our place in good enough shape to let anyone in the entryway! But, these are luxuries I can live without. If I have to make a choice about which to keep clean, it's my arteries over my closet!

I wanna know--what do you sacrifice to keep health and fitness a priority? Have you found a perfect balance, and if you have, by all means give that cleaning lady my number!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding Fitness in Unusual Places

I was stuck on the treadmill for years. Literally. I thought the only way to lift my booty and lean out my legs was to power walk on high incline for 45-60 minutes. Can you see the hamster on the wheel in yoga pants and an iPod? I did this same cardio day in and day out for years, convinced it was the only answer to my "problem areas." It did not matter that I wasn't seeing the results I was looking for, you could always find me there during my gym time, trudging up the only hill in this town--the makeshift one I created in the cardio room!

Since training with Cathy Savage fitness, I've had to let go of the control and embrace a different style--muscle confusion. This is based on the principle that muscles respond to regular change in the mode, frequency, intensity, and time of exercise. Let me tell you it rarely includes a treadmill, but it works! This new way of training, combined with less time to spend in the gym as I get older and busier has led me to search for fitness in places I thought I'd never find it!

For example, last weekend I put a yoga mat out on the dock at the lake and did sun salutations and stretching while my husband fished. The next morning, I ran sprints on the nearby bike trail (no cardio machines necessary). Next lake weekend, I plan to take my functional training to the monkey bars for some eccentric pull-ups; and tonight, I'm about to put a Skinceuticals facial mud mask on and park myself in front of Khloe & Kourtney Take Miami re-runs while practicing the splits.

I'm living proof that a slave to the treadmill found fitness freedom (and results) in the most unliklely places. So ladies, next workout, step away from the cardio machine and get in touch with your creative side--you might just discover it's where your results have been hiding.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wow! It's been forever since I've posted anything! Admittedly, I've taken on a lot in the past couple of months and am still trying to figure out how to balance it all. I checked a major point off of my "bucket list" by competing in a national show last week at Fitness Universe in Miami. I had made it a goal to get on their stage before I turned 30 and I made it with still 14 months to go until that big birthday!:) I placed 16th out of 30 or so competitors. While the placing doesn't sound overly-impressive, my competition sure was and I was happy to feel like I held my own next to some of the most beautiful and fit women in the world. I've also learned after years of doing this (seven shows under my belt) that placing is very subjective and you cannot guage your progress or self-worth on the number you receive. I only go in with the intention of beating myself and improving my physique and strength every time I step on stage!

So, what's next? If you know me, my motto is always "on to the next thing"......I can't help it, my mind is always going......and the next thing is competing in fitness!!! I am so excited that it keeps me awake at night thinking about it. The great thing about this sport is that the journey is the exciting part and the part I'm in love with......picking out the glittery suits, accessorizing like crazy, strutting around in the heels, and of course, KILLING it in the gym! Stepping on stage is just an excuse to get to do all of those fun things! Added to my "to do" list for next year's show prep as a fitness competitor now includes: picking out music to be mixed, learning a routine, getting the strength moves perfected, finding a fabulous costumes, and conquering the splits! Holy smokes, I LOVE IT ALL!

I've found that as I get older and more comfortable in my own skin that working out just to look good becomes less and less important. What I've loved seeing instead is an increase in my strength, symmetry, flexibility and most importantly, self confidence. I feel that working toward my fitness goal is just the tweak I need to stay motivated and focused on improving. Plus, with all of that training, the tight body will come naturally!

I will do my best to keep you posted on my journey. No doubt, I have my work cut out for me, but another thing I've gained through this sport is that I'm so much less afraid to fail. When I started out, I wouldn't even admit to anyone that I was competing or training for fear that they'd find out how terribly I did at my show. People's reaction was quite the opposite---very few people cared how I placed, they were just totally impressed that I'd ever be that dedicated to something, much less get on stage in a bikini and heels! By announcing my goals and aspirations, it holds me accountable to seeing them through. So, you've heard it here: I WILL be a fitness competitor one day soon!:)

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spice of Life

Anyone who eats clean can identify with the misery of choking down plain chicken breasts day in and day out. These were staples in my diet when I first was "re-learning" how to eat. I ate everything plain--not just chicken, but fish, hamburger, tuna--you name it! And all I can say is BOR-ING!

That kind of boredom with nutrition is a sure bet for failure. Thankfully, I since realized there was no need for me to eat so blandly! I think I even teared up when I found out that seasonings could (and should) be part of my daily regime! Oh, I can't even tell you how much more exciting life has become since adding a little spice!

Now, I'm not just talking salt and pepper (although those will do if you enjoy them). You need not be a gourmet chef--Lord knows I wasn't given creativity or skill in the kitchen. That's why I love seasonings and spices--they're SO easy!

My all-time favorite is Toasted Sesame Ginger Seasoning by Victoria Taylor's Seasonings. I was introduced to this by a friend who is an awesome cook and she shared this wonderful gift with me (the actual recipe she used was right on the back of the Toasted Sesame Ginger bottle)! What's even better is that our local TJ Maxx carries Victoria Taylor's Seasonings (and you know I'm makin' a stop at TJ Maxx almost as often as I'm at the grocery store anyway). If you don't have Victoria Taylor in your area, you can find her masterpieces at, which is also chock-full of great recipe ideas!

So go on folks and add a little spice to your life (drama-free, I might add)! Tell us what your favorite spices are and how you use them!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chocoholics Anonymous

Hey All~
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, is all this chocolate making you crazy?! I recently read a blog post by a fellow Savage Sister (Lindsay, who referred to herself as a "recovering chocoholic"---I can identify! Although, I'm not sure I'm yet "recovering"...maybe still in the denial stage. You see, I'm not the kind of person who waits for a holiday to indulge in goodies. I need to have me a little taste every single day! So, you can't imagine my excitement when I found a kind of chocolate that is actually good for you and that doesn't derail me on my journey to being the most fit I can be!

I can hardly hold myself back from raving about the benefits (and the taste) of dark chocolate. It's made from cocoa beans and is less processed than milk or white chocolate. It's full of antioxidants that have numerous health benefits, which include: lower blood pressure, enhanced mood, and antiaging effects (just to name a few!). It also contains less sugar than milk chocolate or white chocolate, so it won't mess with your blood sugar and cause more cravings later in the day (you know that viscious cycle that occurs when you allow yourself one little baby Snickers bar.......that turns into eating the whole bag?).

When choosing dark chocolate, aim for 70% or more cocao (the darker the better), which is less processed. If you're a daily indulger, like myself, try to find organic versions (good for the environment, grown without chemicals which can leave residue on the cocoa beans, and more likely to have gone through the fair trade process). Like any of life's pleasures, even dark chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation because it does contribute to your daily caloric intake (not fair, I know). At first bite, you might not find that your mouth does the same happy-dance that it does with milk chocolate; dark chocolate is an acquired taste, much like fine wine--or black coffee for your fitness fanatics:) Trust me, the flavor will grow on you and you will come to love it maybe even more than it's milky counterpart!

Despite my new affair with the darker version, I continue to be an equal-opportunity-chocolate-lover. I cannot, have not, and will not ever give up milk chocolate entirely (plus, for those of you who know me, I must support the sugar industry because my dad,brother, and uncle are sugarbeet farmers---and I love sugar!:). That said, I save my luxurious milk chocolate experiences for special occasions--and I can't think of one more perfect than February 14th! Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you find yourselves enjoying a few morsels of dark chocolate!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lifting Tips For Beginners

Good Morning! I enjoyed a very productive snow day yesterday and was able to get a lot of things done surrounding the training of my "clients" (i.e. those generous & brave women who've agreed to be my guinea pigs while I'm studying for my CPT exam). Some of these women are new to the weight room and have expressed their anxieties over venturing into a territory that can be quite intimidating in the beginning. Based on what I've shared with them, I compiled a list of weight-training tips that I've learned through my own training, trial and error, and research. This is by no means comprehensive, so if you've got something to add, please comment below!

Tips for Beginning Weight-Lifters

1. Vocabulary: reps vs. sets. Reps or "repetitions" are the number of exercises within one set. For example, you may do 3 sets of 15 reps of lunges.

2. Breathing. Your "out" breath should be during the difficult part of the lift. Some lifters make the mistake of holding their breath while exerting themselves---that's a good way to get light headed, so don't do this! Think Lamaze.....breathe through the pain! And make your breathing deliberate--you may feel stupid at first, but it will get you through those last few reps you never thought you could do!

3. Counting your reps. Try counting backwards. For example, if you have 12 reps to complete, count your first rep as 12, then 11, 10,9.......and so on. You're might be more likely to see it through to the end of the set if in your mind you've only got 2 reps to go!

4. Vocabulary: superset. This means performing one exercise right after another and then resting after both are completed. For example, if you had a superset that paired bicep curls with tricep extensions, you would complete the curls, then go straight to the extensions and then rest. This is a time-saving mechanism in the gym because your biceps are able to rest while you're working your triceps.

5. If you're looking to build muscle and firm up, do your weight training before your cardio. This way, you have the most energy going into your training and will be able to make the most gains with lifting.

6. Work your large muscle groups and multi-joint exercises first. For example, squats work many muscles, where as leg extensions are limited to the quads. Do your squats in the beginning of your workout and leave your leg extensions until the end. This is true of single leg/arm exercises as well. Fatigue your big muscle groups first, then fine-tune your muscle development with your single leg/arm work at the end.

7. If you're pressed for time and you're forced to choose, pick lifting over cardio. Lifting will burn calories long after your workout is over and increasing muscle means increasing your metabolism so that you burn more calories even when you're just hanging out!

8. Lifting will not cause you to "bulk" unless you are eating to do so. This is particularly true for females because we do not make enough natural testosterone to bulk up. As long as your nutrition is in line, you will not look like a linebacker just because you lift heavily. So, put down the 2-5 lb. dumbells and hit it hard!

9. Nutrition is 80% of any progress you're going to make in your physique. Consult your trainer or dietitian for guidance in this area. Don't waste your time in the gym by not having your nutrition support your workouts!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Good morning! This is my very first attempt at blogging and I appreciate your patience:) I'm normally an overly-private person, but the world of social networking via the internet has somewhat helped me to break out of my shell (as long as I'm behind my computer anyway--ha!).

This blog serves a few purposes for me; one being yet another opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and be a little more outgoing. I find this much easier to do through writing than through speaking or other actions. Which leads me to the second purpose of this blog--a platform for writing. I love to write and have been looking for ways to get back into doing it, and I think this is the perfect avenue for that! Now the difficult part (as always) will be to figure out what to write about!

Lastly, this blog is an assignment for Perfect Body Online. I have been training with Cathy Savage Fitness ( for going on four years now. For those of you who know me, CSF is the coaching staff that I work with to prepare for competitions. As of January 1, 2010, I've upped the ante with this in terms of nurturing that "hobby" a little more. My hope is that it can be more than a hobby someday (although if you ask my husband, I think he would agree that the word "hobby" is already entirely inadequate to describe this part of my life), but what that means at this point, I'm not quite sure. There are so many opportunities, which is the beauty of this sport!

So, welcome to my site and thank you for your interest in my life! I have to say, it seems a bit "normal" from my perspective, so I hope you aren't too bored:) I'd love to hear from all of you as well, so please contact me!