Cueing 101

For all the fitness instructors out there, cueing may be one of the hardest things to keep up with. Sure, the moves can change all the time to keep your class guessing, but unless you are changing how you approach each move and what you are saying to go along with it, your class might not ever notice a difference and therefore get bored. Here are some things to keep in mind and try for your next class! Keep it fun, and keep each day a mystery!


Understanding your class:

  • Some people like to know what muscle they are working and for what reason
  • Some people need positive reinforcement
  • Some people like getting called out in class, some people don’t
  • Some people are stuck in their ways- no matter what you say their energy, form, etc. might just not change
  • Some people like the more “cutthroat” approach
  • Some people are just there to workout for health, without goals in mind

Cues in our “comfort zone”:

  • Keep it up!
  • Squeeze your abs
  • Don’t forget to breathe
  • Only __ more seconds
  • Halfway

Cues to use more of:

  • Remember your goals!
  • Dip deep!
  • If you want to get stronger, you have to push through!
  • Stay with me, you will get through this!
  • You can either cheat yourself, or make yourself better!
  • Find your limits- push past them!
  • When you feel like you can’t do anymore- do one more, then two, then three!
  • Leave it all on the bag!
  • We will keep going until everyone is giving 100%

Get specific!

  • After you show a move- keep explaining how to make it harder, use more force during it, keep good form, etc.
    • “Pulling your hips through on a roundhouse kick will make it more powerful”
    • TRX- “Remember to make it harder, take a step in towards the anchor point”
  • Make the cues fun to understand and remember
    • “Think of sitting on a port-a-potty when doing a squat! You have to sit back and sit low if it’s going to work right”
    • When doing a cross curl- “Think of flexing in the mirror as you bring the weight up to your other shoulder”
  • Let them know what muscles they are supposed to be working!
    • Not only by naming the muscles but also by pointing to the part on your body- some people just don’t know what a hamstring is

Just HOW bad is Pop for you?

Click, sip, ahhh. The refreshing taste of soda. You might drink it, I occasionally drink it, and according to a post in the Huffington Post, nearly half of all Americans drink it. But why do we? I’m sure it is no news flash to you by now that soda is one of the worst things you can drink, including the diet sodas. One of the worst, but why? Well if you’re an avid soda drinker, you know those who having a tall fountain pop a day is part of your daily routine, you are more than likely addicted. Yes, I said it, but I know that the bubbly delicious taste of that pop is just something many people enjoy.

So if you’re ready to kick the habit, here are some outlined downfalls of soda. I believe that knowing why it is so bad for you rather than just hearing it is bad for you will make you feel more inclined to drink less. And I’ll be honest here, I am not a pop a day kind of girl, but I am even researching this for myself too, a soda a week is even critical to my health I feel. So let’s kick that can to the curb with these researched soda downfalls.

Reason #1 soda is bad for you: Addiction

First, and most obvious- it is straight up, hands down, without a doubt addicting. Whenever someone is addicted to something they will find any reason to keep it in their lives- and these bubbly, fizzy drinks are no exception.

But why is it so addicting? The ingredients in soda’s leave you wanting more. For example- caffeine- it is addicting. Caffeine has been reported as the most popular psychoactive drug and its energizing effect on your body leaves you wanting more, and more.

Aside from that- ingredients such as soda and sugar could leave you feeling more thirsty in the long run or lead to a sugar crash and have you reaching for another Pepsi out of the cooler

Reason #2: Hazardous ingredients

Any kind of pop- well excluding the “diets”- are full, and I mean full of sugar. You might as well eat a sugar cube and call it a day. Some of that sugar even comes in the form of high fructose corn syrup– yuck! If you know nothing about “HFCS” you just need to know one thing- stay away from it!

Phosphoric Acid. Just like it says in its name, it is very acidic. Everything has a pH level, and the lower the level, the worse it is for you. For example- water has the purest acidic level at 7, whereas phosphoric acid has a level of 2.5. Compare that to the acidic level of 1 of battery acid that can eat through your skin and you see where you’re sitting at on the acidic scale every time you sip on that Coke. In addition, this ingredient also makes your body less capable of absorbing calcium, making your bones weak

Caramel coloring. AH! the caramel coloring, something you have may have heard of in recent years for its claim to bad health, especially in the diet sodas. The most basic way to put why this coloring is so bad for you is that during the process of making it- it also creates byproducts that are carcinogens. So that coloring goes into your Diet Pepsi and brings with it its friends the carcinogens.

Aspartame as a substitute for sugar in diet drinks could possibly be even worse for your health

Reason #3: Weight gain

The American Journal of Preventive medicine stated that over 20% of calories consumed by Americans daily comes from sodas! In a country where we are exposed to every type of greasy, sugary, bad for you food, we are prone to weight gain, and sodas only contribute to that problem.

Now obviously we know that calories in<calories out is the basic equation for weight loss- but when it comes to tracking liquid calories, many Americans just leave out their soda for example thinking that because it is a liquid it can’t count for much. WRONG! If those who drink just one 12 ounce can of Pepsi a day quit- they would save 1,050 calories a week. And in the world of calories and weight loss, a negative weekly balance of about 500 calories is all it takes to lose one pound! What do you think about tracking your soda calories now?

Reason #4: Long term health issues

The hazardous ingredients, excessive amount of sugar, weight gain due to calories, and even potential excessive amount of caffeine can have hazardous long term health effects such as:

    • 20% increased risk of having a heart attack
    • 26% increased risk of type 2 diabetes
    • 75% increased risk of gout


  • Seizures, brain disorders, and multiple sclerosis as a result of the aspartame


  • As a result of the phosphoric acid- osteoporosis
  • And most obviously- obesity

Reason #5: It breaks the bank!

Pop can cost you anywhere between $1-$5 depending on where you buy, and how many ounces. Just to be modest, let’s look at just below the average cost of that range at $2.50 a soda, I think that sounds pretty normal unless you’re at a ballpark. If you were to drink a soda a day, for 7 days a week, for 52 weeks in a year you would be spending $910 a year, on average! That is the cost of a vacation! Just think about what you could do with that savings if you switched to free water right in your own home!

All in all, soda is bad for you, it has been known to be bad for you, and it will continue to be bad for you. Opt for some water enhancers, natural tea, carbonated water instead! Give it 21 days to break the habit and stay committed from there!

The Importance of Your Workout Shoe


In my years of working in the fitness injury I’ve had a lot of questions pertaining to plateaus, specific exercises, diet, and questions of the sort. But there is one thing that I have surprisingly been confronted with more times than anything else: proper shoes. No, I haven’t been directly asked shoe questions as much as I have had clients come to me talking about foot, knee, shin, leg, or back pain. Whenever anyone, client or not, talks about some lower body pain they have while working out the first thing I will always ask is “How old are your shoes?”

It’s important to not only have proper shoes tailored to the activity you participate in most, but to also have fresh shoes that aren’t breaking at the seams.

Let’s start with running shoes:

You may or may not have heard before that running shoes should be replaced after so many miles put on them. But how many is up for debate. I’m going to throw out a pretty large range of 300-600 miles here. Yes, it is a big range but it still goes to show that running shoes need to be replaced often. You may be the person that has been running in the same shoes for nearly 3 years and have thought nothing of it, but once you put on a new pair, break them in, and take them for a joy run, you will understand just how worn out the old ones were.

You see, running is hard on the shoes, it breaks apart the different parts of the shoe with every mile you put on. The midsole will start to wear, as will the outsole, your running might start to feel flat, and your shoelaces will be needing tighter and tighter knots due to the stretched out fabric.

Personally? I go about 4-6 months before replacing my shoes but let me be perfectly clear here, that is usually far too long for an avid runner that runs 30+ miles a week. I can only last that long because only about 25% of my weekly training schedule consists of some light running, the rest is lifting or something of the sort.

Speaking of lifting, les go there next:

Lifting shoes, are they for you?

Okay, so there are shoes out there that are advertised to be for the “lifters”, lets take Reebok’s crossfit style shoes for example. A basic answer for the purpose of these shoes have been- to lift more weight. These weightlifting shoes (and Reebok isn’t the only brand) were created with the idea of olympic lifting in mind. Whereas running shoes have cushioned support to absorb every step you take, these lifting shoes have a lifted heel and no cushion to help you maximize your power with your lift.

Now I think these are great for those who are actually doing olympic lifts on a regular basis- you know the snatch, clean, deadlift, squat. But for the rest of “us” who lift weights regularly but stick for towards the dumbbells, kettlebells, lower weight higher reps, or just plain circuit training- we might not benefit as much from olympic shoes- simply because they aren’t designed for what “we” do.

So for the rest of you who might not be runners, or olympic weightlifters but stay active in a variety of ways maybe- what shoe do you need?

I’m not expert in shoes, but when it comes to needing a shoe that will suite you in your multiple daily activities I would say 1 of 2 options- a cross training shoe, or simply a shoe that makes you feel the most supported and comfortable.

Cross training shoes are basically a mix of all other types of shoe. Providing equal heel cushion support, lateral stability, and lighterweight feel- they are designed for the people who might add running, lifting, and kickboxing into one workout.

But when it all comes down to it, just get a shoe that works for you. Get your foot professionally examined for a shoe if that’s what you feel you need to do. Whatever shoe you choose is up to you, the important thing to remember is to replace them often and get a pair that is good. When it comes to workout shoes for the active population, it usually isn’t the place to go cheap on, it is just one of those things that you have to splurge on because it will benefit you, your performance, and your joints in the long run

The Foam Roller- Combating Stiffness


Exercising is something that many of you may hate to do when you’re doing it but love the feeling afterwards. Or maybe you are one of those people that loves feeling the burn and pushing your body to its physical limits. Either way- there is a reward from working those muscles- but what about the- punishment as we can call it- those muscles feel in the following days?
Let’s face it, sore muscles are sometimes something to strive for. Something that reminds you days even after your workout just how hard you worked. But sometimes that soreness is almost debilitating during your next workout- so what can you do?

Foam Rolling is the key! If you want to walk around with your muscles all tight and bundled and in an abnormal state after your workout, then you should stop reading now. But if you want healthy, ready to go muscles- let’s keep going!

First things first- I LOVE my foam roller! Yes, it might hurt when its doing its job of loosening my muscles but the difference I feel in my muscles and limbs after it is amazing.

Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release that massage therapists and those of that sort have been using for years (for more info on this see the link: ) Think of why you iron a shirt. You want it to look fresh, even feel fresh, because it is smooth and wrinkle free. Now think of your muscles the same way. If you know you are going to be using your muscles again (which unless you are a vegetable, you will be whether you realize it or not) you want your muscles to be just as fresh, smooth, and wrinkle free as that ironed shirt.

Muscles are like ironed shirts? WHAT?!

Yes- that is what foam rolling does! When you exercise you are working your muscles into a tight, bundled up state. You are physically ripping your muscles apart, causing swelling in the tissue and not allowing them to recover completely. Not exactly what you want right? Well foam rolling is an excellent mechanism to relieve this bundled state of being that those muscles are in after a workout. Some experts even swear by foam rolling every day just to keep your muscles as fresh as that ironed shirt. If you’re not sold- let me lay out some benefits of foam rolling

  • Allows blood to flow properly back into the muscles/tissues
  • Relieves soreness- it does not eliminate soreness but it can reduce the severity
  • Improves range of motion of the joints
  • Decreases the chance of injury
  • Allows more comfort in daily living
  • Overall relaxed, loose, ready to go feeling!

Father’s Day Thoughts

Today I feel so blessed to have been able to spend Father’s Day with my parents. How lucky am I to have parents who would gladly drive 3.5 hours to my house to give me my new car, dog sit my puppy while I work, and stay here for a Father’s Day cookout with me? Yes, blessed. Even more blessed is that I was able to go to church this morning with my dad- it has been our thing to do but we aren’t close enough to be able to go together anymore. I hope everyone had a good Father’s day whether it was celebrating with your father, your brother, your husband/boyfriend, or remember all the fathers in your life, I hope everyone had happy hearts today!

Better Medicine Than Anything You Can Find on the Shelves: REST!


As I posted on my instagram account @carlyinfitinyhealth earlier today, I am coming down with a little viral bug. Obviously, this is not something I want, nobody does. It seems that being sick comes at the worst times because it has us feeling crippled of our normal day and wanting to binge watch Netflix and lay on the couch. But we’re humans, better off, we’re Americans. And that means that we have a natural tendency to always be busy and are even uncomfortable straying off our normal daily schedule for a relaxing day instead. We just know there is too much to do.

But if we were to, oh I don’t know, listen to our bodies, our sicknesses would be shorter in duration and fewer in between. YES, rest is your best medicine! So use it! Crawl out of bed, and don’t throw on those work clothes, call in sick, send the kids to grandmas, just do what your body demands. I said this in my instagram post, and I’ll say it again- our bodies are smart, and if we listen to them they can actually tell us some powerful things. By listening and resting we are allowing our bodies to fight off any sickness that is trying to creep into our systems. Better yet, we are staying away from the millions of bacteria sitting on our office desks that could work its way into our systems to make the problem worse.

Being sick isn’t something we can pinpoint when it actually happened- unlike a bone break, we don’t know exactly what caused it. Because of this, there are some things you can do to play it safe not sorry and keep your body and immune system healthy and ready to fight off any invaders!

  • Take a multivitamin- not only will you get the vitamins and minerals your body wants and needs to be healthy- you will also get a daily dose of vitamin C to keep that immune system reared up and ready to go!
  • Drink lots, I mean LOTS of water daily! Drinking water helps regulate your body fluids which is also good for control of bodily functions including your immune system and muscle health.
    • Average water recommendation? 64 ounces daily
    • Go above and beyond! Shoot for 75 🙂
  • SLEEP! Going right back to the title of this post- Rest is your best medicine- and the easiest/cheapest to come by so USE it!
  • Eat healthy- fruits, veggies, whole grain, no trans fat, etc. Yes I said it, eat healthy to stay healthy- weird concept right?
  • Exercise, stay active!- physical activity can help flush out bacteria and other invaders in your lungs and airways and also prevents new bacteria from forming due to the raised body temperature- woah– another cool reason to workout

Healthy Meals for Between Your Meals


Someone came to me the other day asking for some new and healthy snacks to curve the hunger in between meals. Well first off, any time I eat it is basically a meal to me – I might be a girl, but I have the appetite of a man! But there definitely are some healthy, yummy, and easy snack options to fill your day with! So go ahead and take one idea, heck take them all, and listen to that growling stomach and feed it with some real food and don’t ignore it! Snack happy 🙂

  • Greek yogurt salsa dip: plain greek yogurt+ low sodium salsa+ low sodium taco seasoning pack
    • Mix together to suite your tastebuds! More seasoning= more spicy and vice versa
    • Use as a dip for fresh veggies, pita chips
    • Top it on some tacos, enchiladas, scrambled eggs
  • Greek yogurt fruit dip: plain or vanilla greek yogurt+ PB2 (powdered peanut butter, 45 calories per 2 TBSP)+ cinnamon to taste
    • Use as a dip for fresh fruit- apples are the best!
  • Fresh deli roll ups: iceberg lettuce+fresh meat+cheese slice
    • Lay out a slice of lettuce, layer turkey over followed by a small slice of cheese- roll into a cylinder, bag it up and take it on the go!
    • Optional* add hummus or greek yogurt salsa dip on the lettuce before the turkey for a little extra kick!
  • Smoothies! Yes I said smoothies- if you have access to a refrigerator to store these in, they are perfect for a mid day snack!
    • Mix some fresh fruit, veggies, almond milk, greek yogurt, honey, chia seed, flax seed, protein powder, oats, etc. for a perfect mix of carbs, proteins, and fats to fill you!
  • Grapes, sausage, almond bowl
    • Again perfect mix of carbs, fats, and protein- mix your favorite of each and wal-ah!
  • Frozen yogurt covered fruit
    • Pretty simple- dip/coat your favorite fruit in your favorite yogurt, freeze until hard- perfect for hot summer days!
  • No bake energy bites
    • Endless possibilities here! See some of my favorite recipes at:
  • Hard boiled egg with health guacamole
    • Guacamole recipe:
      • Mix 1 1/2 tbsp chopped red onion+ 1 tbsp fresh lime juice+ 1 garlic clove+ 1/2 small jalepeno pepper+ dash of salt in a food processor until smooth
      • Add 1 peeled avocado and blend again until smooth
      • Sprinkle with cilantro
      • Add to hard boiled eggs
  • Homemade trail mix
    • Unsalted or lightly salted almonds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Raisins or cranberries
    • Dark chocolate morsels
    • Dried fruit with little or no added sugar

Stay tuned for more!

Rainy Day Workout


As it is a rainy, gloomy, and let’s face it, a lazy day here in Iowa, it got me thinking of the direct effect of the weather on our moods. Most rainy days bring out the lazy, relaxed moods in even the most energetic of us, which is okay. Go ahead and curl up on that couch and pop and old movie in (my intentions for the rest of the day) but know that you will feel so much better if you get your body moving first, during, or after that spurt of laziness.

Don’t feel like going out in the wet and driving in the rain just to get a little sweat on? NO PROBLEM! Here is an at home rainy day workout that will make you more than a little sweaty!

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible): 15,20,25, or 30 minutes- you choose! Just make it fast and intense

  • 10 burpees
  • 20 jump lunges
  • 30 push ups
  • 40 sit ups
  • 50 squats
  • 60 second plank

*Try adding weights- anything that has weight– to your sit ups or holding during the lunges or squats!*

Being Youthful this Summer


Summer is amongst us, and for most that means more opportunities to be active. Weather its playing outdoor sports, going hiking or kayaking, or just walking your dog, the summer activities are almost endless.

Have you ever thought about how kids can play outside for hours on end and not seem tired come dinner time? How they can ride their bikes around for miles without complaints of tired legs? Kids are generally beasts in this sense- they can be active for what seems like forever, just because they are having fun. 

Let’s take some advice from kids- being active just by having FUN. Do something that gets you moving, any type of movement, your heart is pumping, and you are smiling ear to ear. Be a KID this summer.

Choose activities that you did as a child or that you would do with a child now, and you’ll be surprised just how good you feel at the end of the day. You’ll be spent, but you’ll be happy. You might be tired, but you also might look forward to doing it again tomorrow.

Now I’m not saying you should try to be a kid all day, because lets be honest- work won’t allow that. But instead of sending your children or your dog outside to play by themselves, join them. It will not only get you active but it will also boost your relationship with them. No kids? Drag your best friend your significant other outdoors with you- house chores can wait, summer is short, so have fun and be creative.

Here are some fun summer activities to try!

  • Rollerblading- a lost art!
  • Family bike rides
  • Backyard obstacle courses
  • Slip-n-slide challenge course
  • A day at the park- play frisbee, tag, heck do yoga
  • Family hikes to a picnic
  • Playing catch- or any sport
  • Building a hop scotch city
  • Relay races- grab a baton and take turns running laps!
  • Walking more places- walk to get some refreshing frozen yogurt, and walk back
  • Pool workouts- make them fun!
  • Establish a buddy system- rely on each other to be active every day by having fun

Eating to Fuel Your Workout and Your Goals: Part 2

By now you’ve have a week to digest what was said in “Eating for Your Fitness and Goals” and have even had a chance to evaluate your current diet (if you haven’t yet I suggest starting a 7 day food and exercise log today to see where you compare in your macronutrient composition). So let’s say you have done a food log and you have evaluated and you realized that your carbs were too low and your fat was too high for example, but now what? You know the percentages of each macronutrient that you should be consuming, but that is a percentage of what?

Eating to Fuel Your Workout and Your Goals: Part 2 is about to go into how you figure your caloric needs daily, and more specifically what kind of deficit or gain you need based on your current diet and your goals.

When it comes to meeting or going above the national exercise recommendations of 3-5X a week of cardio, 2-3X a week of strength and flexibility, exercising a minimum of 150 minutes a week, your diet needs become more advanced and, hefty, than you would think. There is a way to figure out just how many calories you specifically need to have in a day, and I’m just gonna take a stab in the dark here and say that you will realize it is actually more than you thought, or might even be comfortable with.

For example, when I first started using MyFitnessPal it calculated my daily caloric needs at 1,700 kcal a day based on my age, height, gender, and weight. I quickly learned that that was far too low for my heavy lifting, half marathon training, and sometimes 2-a-days that I pull, it just didn’t realize how active I am. SO it is okay to adjust your caloric goals on those apps to tailor to you more specifically.

OKAY, lets get down to it. My nutrition professor gave us a few different equations to use to find daily caloric needs that include activity level, I will show you one below:

Calorie Needs

Harris-Benedict Equation:

  • Adult male REE (resting energy expenditure):
    • 66.5 + 13.7 X (weight in kg) +5.0 X (height in centimeters) – 6.8 X (age)
  • Adult female REE:
    • 655 + 9.6 X (weight in kg) + 1.8 X (height in centimeters) – 4.7 X (age)
  • Multiply your REE by your activity factor:
    • 1.2= bed rest
    • 1.3= low activity
    • 1.5-1.75= average activity
    • 2.0-2.4= highly active
  • Conversions to note:
    • Weight in lbs to weight in kilograms= weight in lbs/ 2.2
    • Height in inches to height in centimeters= height in inches X 2.54

As I said earlier, my fitness pal had me needing 1,700 kcal a day, which I followed for a short while. After doing my equation: [ 655 + 9.6(70kg)+1.8(177.8cm)-4.7(22)= 1,548.34 kcal REE ] X 2 (activity factor)= 3,096 kcal/day.

WOW that’s a big difference! See why its important to know your body? Now since I am not in the interest of gaining or maintaining year round, I do not consume 3,000 calories a day. On my lower activity days when my activity factor is more towards 1.5 I consume 2,000 calories and on my heavier days I get up to 2,500 but usually not more. My reasoning for this is not that I’m always trying to lose weight, but rather I’m just trying to stay healthy, 3,000 calories is just physically too much for my body to handle.

Food Timing:

When you start eating more calories than you used to you also need to change your eating pattern. If I were to consume 2,000- 2,500 calories a day at only 3 meals a day I would have between 600 and 850 calories at every meal. Sure, the average meal consists of 500-1,000 calories, but I would rather not push the higher end. My personal preference is the rule of thumb of eating every 3-4 hours OR as I am hungry. I find that I am hungry after 3 and ½ hours anyway, so this works for me, eating this often prevents my body from going into “starvation mode”. What I mean by this is that having a consistent and constant flow of macronutrients into my body, it is not trying to trick itself into storing extra carbs for example for energy later because it thinks that it is about to go multiple hours without energy. Again, remember this is personal preference

Keep in Mind:

  • As you start to figure out your personal caloric needs keep in mind that exercise is not the only way for your body to spend calories. This is what your energy balance looks like where macronutrients are on the left and energy expenditure is on the right. TEF stands for thermal effect of food, which is the energy your body uses to break down food, and RMR stands for resting metabolic rate and is the amount of energy your body uses just to keep you alive and breathing. View this image as a teeter-totter. For weight maintenance; you should view it as even, for weight loss; the right side should be lower for more calories use, for weight gain; the left side should be lower for more calories consumed.


  • If weight loss is your goal you should strive for a 300-500 calorie deficit each day NOT a 1,000+ deficit. Also, only expect to lose .5 to 2 lbs at most a week and know that once your body adapts to changes, your rate of progress will decrease
  • It takes time keep it up, keep it positive, and most importantly keep it smart!