The What, How, and WHY of Breakfast


BREAKFAST: The what, how, and WHY

You’ve heard it before, “eat your breakfast”, “don’t skip breakfast it is the most important meal of the day”, yet many Americans go without breakfast and don’t realize the effect that has on their body. Breaking down to importance of breakfast we have the “what, how, and more importantly- the why of breakfast”

  • Why people skip breakfast- they either don’t feel hungry or they are incorrectly trying to cut calories
  • Why you should always have breakfast- not only does it set a standard for your day, but it interrupts the fasting state your body has been in all night. Breakfast is a chance to replenish your body with essential nutrients that will last you throughout the day with abundant energy, as well as being a chance to kick start your day and set you on the right track to healthy eating. Studies have shown that people who miss out on essential nutrients in their first meal of the day are less likely to make up those lost nutrients throughout the rest of your day. In addition, when you skip breakfast you are more likely to splurge on your next meals or overeat due to excessive hunger, which in the long term can lead to weight loss and health problems.
  • What you should eat- think wholesome, nutritious, unprocessed. Skip the pop tart or the overloaded with sugar cereals and opt for some healthier options. Sure, they might take more time to prepare, but they will prepare you for a better, more energize and healthy day. Think proper nutrition with a combination of whole grain carbs and lean proteins with healthy fats.
    • Oatmeal: a classic that has never failed when it comes to providing healthy energy in the morning. If you choose the right kind of oatmeal versus the processed, loaded with sugar kind you will find loads of healthy carbs including fiber that will give you energy and keep your digestive tract in check.
    • Fresh fruit: you can never go wrong with fresh fruit, which provides you with some more healthy carbs as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Top your oatmeal with some fruit!
    • Eggs: a cheap, lean source of protein. Scramble an egg or 2 with some egg whites to up your protein stores for the day. Just be careful of having too many whole eggs as a lot of cholesterol is found within the egg yolk.
    • Low fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese: Another good source of lean protein for lower calories. Look for brands with minimal added ingredients such as sugar and flavorings
    • Healthy toast: Choose a slice of whole wheat bread to top with organic peanut butter or almond butter for a mix of carbs, protein, and fats
    • Smoothies: Smoothies can be a well-rounded breakfast if you make them right. Choose some fresh fruit and greens to mix in with low fat Greek yogurt or skim milk, and some flax or chia seed to add healthy fats
  • How to make breakfast work for you:
    • Eat upon waking, that way you don’t have time to talk yourself out of eating in an attempt to “save” calories
    • Meal prep! Prep some scrambled eggs, smoothies, or overnight oats the night before to quickly fix up in a busy morning rush.
    • Eat breakfast with someone. Making it enjoyable will lead to making it a habit as well as being an encouraging factor to eat healthy.

Sources: ACE Fit, The Eat Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno

21 Day Lower Body Challenge

[[ IT TAKES 21 DAYS TO CHANGE A HABIT ]] – Scientifically proven!

I’m sure you’ve seen hundreds of different “squat challenges” before targeted at helping you get stronger, leaner, sexier legs. Well I’m here to kick those to the curb. Yes, I think they are great! Squats are great! But when it comes to overall muscle tone you need to do more than one exercise in order to target all of the various muscles in your lower body. Hence, the lower body challenge. Sticking to the traditional squats and building reps upon that, we will also be adding various other bodyweight lower body moves to have you feeling sore in places you didn’t know had muscles. Ready? Here we go!

**All are to be done 3X through unless otherwise stated**

DAY 1: 

  • 10 front lunges- each leg
  • 10 squats
  • 10 side lunges- each leg

DAY 2:

  • 5 clock lunges- each leg
  • 15 squat jumps
  • 15 standing leg abduction

DAY 3:

  • 10 squat to calf raise
  • 30 rapid calf raise
  • 50 standing leg extension- each leg

DAY 4:

  • 10 side lunges- each leg
  • 10 curtsey lunges- each leg
  • 30 wide stance squat

DAY 5:

  • 20 lunge to leg abduction- alternating legs
  • 20 squat to leg swing- across body
  • 20 lunge to leg kickback


DAY 7:

  • 25 donkey kicks- each leg
  • 25 straight leg pulse- each leg
  • 25 butt bridges
  • 25 single leg butt bridge- each leg
  • 25 prone lying leg lifts- each leg

DAY 8:

  • 30 second wide stance squat hold
  • 50 jumprope
  • 30 curtsey lunge- alternating

DAY 9:

  • 50 squats
  • 50 walking lunges
  • 100 calf raises

DAY 10:

  • 20 straight leg deadlift (no weight needed)- each leg
  • 30 standing leg extension- each leg
  • 40 standing leg abduction- each leg
  • 50 air jumprope

DAY 11: (if fitting, hold something to add weight and make it harder)

  • 10 squat to burpee
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 30 wide stance squat
  • 40 calf raises
  • 50 second wall sit


DAY 13:

  • 25 butt bridges
  • 25 lying straight leg lifts- each leg
  • 25 side lying leg abduction- each leg
  • 25 donkey kicks- each leg

DAY 14:

  • 50 squats
  • 50 lunges- total
  • 50 jumping jacks
    • Repeat 4 more times

DAY 15:

  • 20 squat to side kick
  • 20 front kicks
  • 20 back kicks
  • 20 donkey kicks
  • 20 hydrants

DAY 16:

  • 15 jump lunges- each leg
  • 30 narrow squat pulse
  • 45 jumping wall taps
  • 30 narrow squat pulse
  • 15 curtsy lunge- each leg

DAY 17:

  • 45 second wall sit
  • 45 butt bridges
  • 30 squat to calf raise
  • 30 single leg butt bridge- each leg


DAY 19:

  • 12 frog hops- forward and back
  • 12 squat to side kick
  • 12 single leg deadlift- each leg
  • 12 plank straight leg lift- each leg

DAY 20: 

  • 20 leg abduction to leg swing- each leg
  • 20 back lunge to front kick


  • 25 walking lunges- each leg
  • 50 squats
  • 25 inner thigh hops
  • 50 second wall sit
  • 25 calf raise each way- toes forward, inward, outward
  • 50 jumping wall taps
    • Repeat 5 more times

PHEW and after 21 days, tell me how ya feel! Make sure that you are eating quality meals that include protein and carbs and water to fuel yourself for this extra muscle work each day- especially if you are also going to the gym, workout class, runs, etc. still! And remember just because 21 days is over doesn’t mean you have to stop! Keep going, keep finding new challenges, and keep checking back here for other various challenges 🙂

OH- and any exercise you might not recognize the name of- just google! Happy exercising 🙂


Rainy Day Core Workout


You’re taking a look out your window right now and what do you see? Dark, dreary skies and a glistening road filled with rain. You’re thinking hmmm how nice it would be to just cuddle here on my couch. You either do that, or contemplate it long enough that you just wasted to much time to make it to the gym. Well, don’t feel guilty about it! Put on your favorite play list , find a spot on the floor and devote 20 minutes to this do anywhere core workout. Ready to break a sweat? Okay, ready, go!

Set 1: 

  • High knees X 15 each knee
  • Regular sit ups X 15
  • Mountain climbers X 15 each knee
  • Russian twist X 15 each side
    • Repeat 3-4 more times

Set 2:

  • Jumping jacks X 25
  • Right side running man X 25
  • Butt bridge X 25
  • Left side running man X 25
    • Repeat 3-4 more times

Set 3:

  • Jumprope X 50 (no jumprope? Use an invisible one 🙂 )
  • Toe taps X 40
  • Bicycle X 30
  • Hip lifts X 20
  • V- ups X 10
    • Repeat 3-4 more times

Set 4:

  • Rapid front kicks X 10 each leg
  • Butterfly sit ups X 10
  • Hollow rocks X 10
  • Superman with 3 second hold at the top X 10
    • Repeat 3-4 more times

Set 5:

  • 30 second plank (hold longer to challenge yourself!)
  • 15 plank hip dips on each side
  • 5 burpees
  • 15 side plank on each side
  • 30 plank jacks
    • Repeat 3-4 more times

**Don’t forget a warm up and cool down and to foam roll for extra mobility with your cool down!**

Overtraining Syndrome

How overtraining happens

  • Just like anything else in life, your body has limits. Pushing your limits and going beyond your comfort level is good in order to grow your muscles and improve your fitness, but it is important to know when enough is enough. The people who you see in the gym for 2 hours at a time are one of two people. 1: the person concerned with quantity over quality who think that if they are working out for hours on end, they will see results faster. or 2: A knowledgeable person training very specifically for a specific goals- these people usually defined as “body builders” take 3-5 minutes of rest in between sets which naturally extends their workout.
  • My point here is do not be the quantity over quality person. The quality of your workout will always be more important than the quantity. If you are consistently working your body for 2 hours there will come a point about halfway through that workout where your body will reach its limit, your performance will start to decline, your muscles will begin to starve and beg for fuel, and you could potentially be entering a damaging state for your muscles. Same goes for 2-a-days. If you choose to do these make sure you work different muscle groups/ type of exercise in each workout such as morning cardio and afternoon lift, and make sure to do them for less than half of your workout days, your body does not need to be worked that much. Go into the gym with a purpose, a plan, and go at it! If you are dead after a 30 minute workout then that means you did quality right!

Signs of overtraining

  • Consistent or extreme fatigue during your workouts that normally is not an issue
    • Why? your muscles are starved and yelling at you, your fuel is completely exhausted, as is the rest of your body
  • You are not seeing a change in your body composition- despite your hard work
    • Why? Overtraining will put your hormones out of whack which messes with your metabolism
    • Why? You are working out twice as much and twice as hard, but you are still consuming as much food as a baby rabbit- throwing your metabolism out of whack again
  • You can’t remember the last time you had a rest day, or a “light day”
    • Why? I cannot stress enough the importance of REST! When you workout you are literally tearing your muscles into unusual states and the only way to recover and go back to normal is to rest. Light days are equally important for the same reason, as well as throwing in some muscle confusion, it is good to switch it up!
  • You are having issues sleeping- either troubles going to bed, or falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow
    • Why? You are exhausted and it is showing in one of two ways. Science shows for a normal person who is not exhausted, it should take about 10 minutes to fall asleep, if you fall asleep faster than that consistently, it is time to take it easy.
  • You are getting sick more often despite your good hygiene
    • Why? When your body is tired, overworked, and fatigued, your immune system is compromised
  • You are noticing odd aches in pains in your joints and various parts of your body
    • Why? Your muscles are not the only thing that is being worked in a workout, your joints are going through too much range of motion too often, leaving no time to recover

Summer Chili


God Bless the crockpot! Here is an easy, delicious, and healthy slow cooker recipe I got from my boyfriend’s mother! (God Bless the in-laws too right?)

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 1 can pinto beans drained
  • 1 can corn drained
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes drained
  • 1 small can diced green chiles (or get a fire roasted tomato+ green chili mixed can)
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP coriander
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 TBSP chili powder

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. Chicken will pull apart easily. Serves 4


Calories- 345   Fat- 3.5g   Carbs- 48g   Protein- 31.5g

Healthy Food for Healthy Skin


Day in and day out we are reminded to “eat our fruits and vegetables” and to “choose whole grain over refined grain” and other “tips and tricks” of the sort just to stay healthy. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe all of those healthy options are doing more than benefiting your body internally? All of those foods claimed to be “healthy” or “powerhouses” of food get their cred for a reason. While most of those foods are helping to combat chronic disease they are also doing numerous good deeds for the health of your skin. So if you have a week of bingeing and find yourself staring in the mirror wondering where that blemish came from, now you know why.

Here are just a few examples of some foods to swap into your diet to walk around with that healthy glow!

  • Water: Did you know that water has more benefits than just keeping you hydrated and healthy? It actually has benefits to your skin. You want glowing, healthy skin? Drink up your water! It helps nutrients get into your body, can hide wrinkles, and rids your skin of toxins, leaving you glowing and confident.
  • Antioxidants: these are the number one fighter against free-radicals, which to put it easily, are bad for your body and your skin because they cause damage. Find these healthy antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables to protect your skin from long term damage
  • Fish: certain fishes provide different nutrients, all which can benefit the health of your skin in some way. Omega 3’s are known to be good for your overall health, but when it comes to your skin, these fats help keep that oily look away. Fish like shrimp, salmon, and tuna contain selenium which can protect your skin from damage, dry skin, wrinkles, and potentially some diseases. These fish also contain a nutrient called Coenzyme Q10 which is good at combating signs of wrinkles and aging.
  • Fruits and vegetables: The benefits are almost endless here! Already noted that fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, they also provide other benefits. Try eating orange foods such as carrots and cantaloupe which has Vitamin A to protect against dry skin. Choose citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and broccoli among others that are high in Vitamin C to firm up your skin and protect against the sun. To protect against skin inflammation, reach for the foods high in Vitamin E such as spinach and other leafy greens, asparagus, and even oils.
  • Dark chocolate: Rejoice sweets lovers! Not only has dark chocolate been proven to be good in the fight against chronic conditions, it can also leave you with skin that is smooth and glowing! The flavanols in chocolate help improve blood circulation to your face while it hydrates it to leave you with that smooth, fresh glow
  • Green Tea: Although green tea is usually a “You like it or you hate it” thing, this healthy powerhouse beverage can reduce skin inflammation, slow aging process, and prevent sun burns.
  • Olive oil: This oil has more monounsaturated fatty acids than other oils which makes it the champion fighter of aging. The fats that make up this oil play a “youth” defining role when it comes to your skin
  • Cut back on sugar: Refined and process sugar vs. the natural kind found in fruits for example is bad for your skin. Foods that contain refined or added sugar can make your skin oily or trap extra oil which would lead to pimples. If you want a pimple free, beautiful face, pay attention to your nutrition labels to cut out anything but natural sugar!
  • Go beyond just eating: Go to your local health market and find a natural face mask that has fruits and vegetables in it! For example: try a berry facial mask in addition to eating your brightly colored fruits to fight aging on both the outside and the inside!


For a more detailed look into healthy foods for healthy skin, check out my resources at:

How to: Come back after a Holiday binge

Girl running with American flag on farm Image downloaded by melissa sherbon at 17:37 on the 29/06/11

The 4th of July weekend is always a time for celebration- with food, drinks, and desserts. So you may have had a cheat meal, or two, or three, or you may have even put all your healthy eating goals aside for the whole weekend. If you did, I’m here to say- so what.

We are human, we all “lose” control, weather it be voluntarily or involuntarily of things such as our goals. And when it comes to choosing between clean eating & sufficient exercise and a fun weekend spent gorging in festive food, we naturally are going to choose the latter.

We ALL probably had a cheat meal of some sort this past weekend, and if you didn’t, then you either have serious willpower, or you are too hard on yourself. The point here is that occasional cheat meals, holiday binges, etc. are OK! They will not, I repeat, will NOT hinder your success or your long term goals of a fit and healthy lifestyle. Moderation is keyso as long as you get back on track starting today there is nothing that hang your head about!

Tips to get back on track:

  1. Drink LOTS of water! – We’ve all known this for a while, water is good for your body. Not only are you going to rehydrate your body from the likely large amounts of alcohol consumed that puts your body in a dehydrated state, but water also has a natural cleansing So if you want to feel like you don’t have gut rut anymore and have your body feeling fresh, guzzle down more than those 8 recommended glasses of water a day, heck shoot for over 10.
  2. Get right back to healthy eating! – Don’t go with the “oh I’ve already screwed up this weekend’s diet, why not go another day?”. No, no, NO. That is not the way to go! Sure, one bad meal will not make you fat, but if you keep making excuses as to why you can go another meal, another day, another week without sticking to your health plan, then you will inevitably be so far off track that you won’t know how to get back on. So grab for that salad today! Your body will appreciate it and you will feel good too.
  3. Hit the gym – Seems like the obvious answer, but you’ll be surprised as to how many people take on the same mentality as in number 2, or some people- let’s face it- might be too hungover to go. But honestly what better way to cure a hangover than sweating it all out. It doesn’t have to be your most intense workout to date, but getting in there and getting your heart rate up and your blood flowing after a long, sedentary weekend is a much better way to get ready for Monday’s workout than going into the workout out week feeling sluggish and out of it still.
  4. DON’T be too hard on yourself– It’s perfectly okay to have fun every now and then and not feel guilty about it. We are human, we all deserve a few “off” days and an unhealthy meal. It’s life. But what you shouldn’t do after all that is be over critical of your decisions. NO, starving yourself today to make up for yesterday’s binge is not going to even out your weekly calorie count. And NO, working out for an extra hour to burn twice as many calories is going to magically work off your weekend. Calories don’t work like that, they are a daily thing- so if you’re thinking of going to the extremes today in an effort to feel better about your holiday choices now, you might as well just throw in the towel. Embrace the fun you had and get back on track, simple as that.