Friday, September 13, 2013

Be Inspired.

There are so many things that I should be doing right now. I SHOULD be looking at chest x-rays, or listening to heart sounds. I SHOULD be studying for my pharmacology exam, or preparing for my congestive heart failure presentation. My list is literally endless.. Before I return to the books, there is something that I feel compelled to share. 

Every single day I go to the gym - I'm inspired. As our group of girls grows more and more, I become more proud, more excited for them, and just... inspired

I normally go to the gym with 2 friends, Sara and Taylor. Both of these girls are just as crazy as I am. They enjoy circuit workouts that make them want to puke just as much as I do. The more we sweat, the more progress we made. The more we want to scream, the more we know our muscles are working. We've been doing crossfit style workouts for a while, and we absolutely LOVE it. 

Last week we invited some other ladies from the P.A. class to join us. I wish you could've witnessed their faces when we explained a typical workout. They were completely terrified! The fear they felt never stopped them from coming though. So imagine - 5 girls who have never really done a vigorous exercise before, getting thrown into a crossfit style workout. Some of them have never lifted weights before, or done a series of push ups. Regardless, they gave it everything they had. When they finished, their faces were pink, they had sweat beads pouring down, and they probably felt a mixture of oxygen deprived, dizzy, and nauseous. They not only finished, but they maintained good form while pushing themselves to the limits. I was SO proud!

The next day they were extremely sore. I was expecting that, but I wasn't expecting them to be so excited to work out again. Day after day these ladies join us, and I find myself becoming more inspired. 

Most people are afraid to start working out. Most people let fear win. Most people don't know where to start, and are too intimidated or embarrassed to ask someone for help. Most people continue living the same way because they are too fearful of change, and the path they are on is leading to depression, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

I'm not saying my friends in my PA Class were on their way to being obese because they are itty-bitty, and completely adorable. That part doesn't matter though. What does matter is the fact they had the COURAGE to come to the gym and try something new. And after just one day of experiencing how fun and rejuvenating fitness can be, they made the DECISION  to continue on this path.

Their progress leaves me speechless every day. Its only day 5 and they are doing more than they EVER have before.  For instance, todays workout was 20 minutes AMRAP (As many reps as possible) of 15 push press, 10 push ups, & 5 burpees. Even I was screaming during this workout, but that didn't stop them from finishing. 

Its never too late to get started, and if you're in that stage where you don't know WHERE to start, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE reach out to someone and ASK! Ask me! :) I LOVE this stuff!! 


(My cork board. I see this every single day.) 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Plan Meals!!

When I started my first 24 Day Challenge, I realized that on the cleanse phase, certain foods were highly recommended, while other foods should be avoided. For instance: consume dairy in moderation, but eat a lean protein, vegetable/fruit, and complex carbohydrate for lunch. This required planning on my behalf. 


All too often, I got in the habit of opening the fridge and grabbing whatever was quick and convenient for me, but that got me into trouble. I'm so glad that I ended up committing to this challenge because I'm now on my fourth cleanse, and I have meal planning down to a science. 

I'm not normally a food Nazi. In fact, I love to indulge on pizza or ice cream every now and then. Thats the problem with nutrition nowadays though. People don't understand that those treats cannot be consumed everyday, and when they are, they are problematic to your health. Once you start eating the right food, you'll notice a change in the way you feel. Its almost like the fog has been lifted from your head, and you have so much more ENERGY

So, how do I do this? On Sundays, I decide what I'm eating Monday - Sunday. I usually make a lot for dinner so that I can eat it for lunch the following day. I also drink an AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shake for breakfast every day (its super convenient, extremely healthy, and involes less planning). Once I have my menu created, I make a grocery list. I go and get all of my groceries for the week. All of the things that I need are usually within the perimiter of the store. The majority of my meals involve fruits, vegetables, and meats. 

A few tips: 
-Cook some lean meat (chicken, turkey, etc) once you return from the store, and stick it in a tupperware dish. You'll be able to use it for salads, wraps, etc. Thats like my "Go-To" meal. 

-Chop up some vegetables that you'd use for salad toppings, snacks, or sandwiches. I promise you - this will get you eating more veggies.

- Wash fruit and put it into a container. If fresh berries are as easily accessible as chips, you'll choose the healthier of the two. 

-Lastly, dont buy junk. If it isn't in your house, you can't eat it!

It does take some getting used to, and that is why I'm so glad I did my first 24 Day Challenge. It was kind of the stepping stone to a healthier me. Anyone can do this! Its just a matter of if you want to. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Whats the deal with post workout drinks?

I'm sure you've seen it: those guys at the gym that are drinking all of those concoctions that you've never even heard of. I've always wondered what they were drinking, and if it actually did anything. WELL, the biology nerd in me decided to investigate one day, so I will share that with you. I won't get into the nitty gritty specifics though. It breaks down to a molecular level of specific things being transported into your muscles - and to be quite frank, comprehending that makes my head hurt.

Post Workout Basics:

Each time we work out, especially strenuous workouts that involve weights, high intensity or excessive amounts of endurance, our body uses glycogen. Again, I wont get into the nitty gritty of what glycogen is and how are muscles use it, but when you hear glycogen think energy. In addition to glycogen being used, our muscles fibers start tearing little by little. The combination of these two leave you feeling extremely fatigued and incredible sore. When people drink a good post workout drink, they not only replace the glycogen used, but they repair their muscles, too. Whether your goal is long, lean muscles, or big, bulky muscles, you still need to make sure your muscles are recovered for proper growth. It'll help give you increased strength and more endurance also.

So, when I feel like this after a workout :

I take this: 

To feel like this:

A few things to keep in mind while taking post workouts are the following:

  • Make sure you take it 15-60 mins after workout. You have a specific window of opportunity tho optimize the effects of the post workout. There is an entire biology lesson I could teach you as to why this is, but for the sake of both of our brains, trust me. ;) 
  • Make sure its LIQUID: Lets think about how things get to your muscles. You eat them, they get digested, and then they go to your muscles. When you drink something, its digested much faster than if its solid. 
  • Make sure its safe. Again, this might result in you doing research of your own, but your health & safety should be your #1 concern when taking products.  Post-workout Recovery is the best and safest out there that I've seen. 
Well, thats the in and outs of post workout supplements. On days like today, when my arms are shaking from muscle fatigue and I spill my powder everywhere, I'm SO thankful to have something that gives me such a speedy recovery. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Importance of Stretching

We've all thought the same thing at some point in time, "I didn't work out today so why do I need to stretch?".  Every personal trainer, coach, gym owner, fitness guru, and even parents, will tell you to stretch.  Most people I've encountered make an all-too-common mistake but never realize the mistake until it's too late.  That simple, often overlooked mistake, is stretching AFTER your workout.

Whether you have a daily exercise routine or not, stretching is always beneficial.  Let's discuss a few important reasons why.

1.) Stretching increases flexibility.
Having limited mobility, whether you're young or older, can negatively affect your daily routine.  Tasks as small as putting food on the top shelf of the pantry runs a risk of pulling a muscle in your back.  It only takes one, small twist in the wrong way to put you down for days.  By increasing flexibility, muscle soreness will decrease and recovery time can be shortened.

2.) Stretching helps prevent postural problems.
This is a big one for those that work in an office-type setting where you sit for most of your day.  Aches, pains, moans and groans don't have to be part of your day.  A few simple stretches in the morning can alleviate pain and improve posture.

3.) It helps prevent over-extension injuries.
Stretching lengthens the muscles and helps increase circulation in the human body.  Many injuries nowadays are caused from individuals pushing their muscles past their limits and causing tears.

4.) Stretching allows for an active lifestyle later in life.
If you're anything like me, you love playing with the kiddos.  They can be a handful and want you to do some things that might have been out of the question last year, but a good stretching routine can help keep you in the game.  Many people have mentioned how young they feel just by staying active, but they wouldn't have that energy level and be able to keep up with the young ones if it weren't for loose muscles.

So, what can you do to stretch out your muscles?  I've always been a fan of dynamic stretching for one main reason: it gets the blood pumping and preps you for any activity.  There are several different stretches you can do anywhere, anytime, that will give you the mobility you desire. (Click HERE for a list).

Before I go, I want to share one last thing I've recently implemented that's helped me during my firefighter training.  I've struggled with sleeping ever since I deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and twice since then.  I've discovered that stretching before bed is VERY beneficial and helps you get a good night's sleep.  Fitness Magazine has a great article on this issue.

I hope you can benefit from this.  If you have anything to add, please feel free to let me know.  Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Decisions now impact your life later.

I'm on my lunch break from school right now. I just spent my entire morning learning about the cardiovascular system and diseases associated with it. In fact, I'll spend my entire DAY (from 9-5) in the classroom learning about this topic. As I was sitting in class, I looked down at my notebook, and a specific portion of my notes stuck out more than ever:


 It then occurred to me that the title of our blog "Making a change now will forever change tomorrow" has a new meaning. Every decision we make now will later affect our life. The food we eat, the amount we exercise, and the things we drink all slowly cause changes inside our body. This is SO important for people to understand! Too many people think they don't need to worry about hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc until they are older, but this couldn't be further from the truth. 


So when you're lazy, FORCE yourself to go work out... Even if its just 30 minutes of power walking!

When you want junk food, pop, terrible energy drinks, alcohol, etc... remind yourself its not worth it!

Its ok to consume these things in moderation, but the sky high obesity rate is proof enough that many don't  know what moderation is. Please care about yourself enough to know you deserve a long, healthy life, and care about others enough to share this message. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

"I just don't have the time to exercise."

Let’s be honest, we have ALL used this as excuse, myself included.  Here’s the thing about exercising – you don’t have to spend $100 a month on a gym membership or set aside 2 hours a day just to get in a workout.  There are countless options available for you to utilize in order to help you get in the shape you want.

Before I jump into the workouts, I want to share a quick bit of information.  Jessie and I always make sure our bodies are properly set up for any form of exercising.  We do this by “changing the oil”, if you will, every 90 days.  The Herbal Cleanse is a great way to clean the pipes, get the crud out of your system, and fully prepare it for your workouts.

As far as exercising goes, there are infinite options available.  Whether it’s riding a bike, walking your children to school, lifting weights, swimming, or any other form of physical activity, it’s always beneficial.  I understand everyone has their plate mostly full and couldn't possibly imagine taking on anything else, so I’ll share this first workout with you.

The "Can You 24" workout series is one of my favorites, and let me tell you, it works.  Here are a few reasons I fell in love with these workouts:
  • 24 minute workout length
  • 7 workouts on a 2-disc set
  • Choose beginner, intermediate, expert level
  • No equipment needed
  • $29.95 price tag
  • Exercise in the comfort of your own home
There are definitely other options available if you are not a fan of home workout DVDs.  If you have access to a pool, swimming laps is one of the best workouts for the body.  Not only is it a complete body workout but you also don't experience the strain that you normally would feel from running.

I'm a runner at heart and always have been.  I have several friends that use the Strava program to track runs, bike rides, etc., and also use those workouts to compete against the Strava community.  Their Premium package allows you to use the GPS system to calculate distance, pace, splits, overall time, etc.  You can purchase one of their GPS devices designed for athletes or simply download the app on your smartphone.  If you'd rather workout at home, a great website to use is  There are hundreds of exercises available online and you can even create/store your own workouts for later use.

Whatever you choose, whether it's one of these options or you've created your own, make a plan and stick to it.  Remember, any workout is better than no workout.  Have a great Labor Day!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fact or Fiction: vitamins just give you expensive urine

The answer: Both. It all depends on the quality of vitamins that you are using. 

Throughout my undergraduate career, I was told by some professors that vitamins give you expensive urine. The reason they said this was because most vitamins are created from inexpensive materials. The poor quality vitamins are not absorbed properly, so the majority of the vitamins gets eliminated as waste (urine). Some joke that vitamins do nothing but give you "expensive urine". 

At the same time I was learning this, I had a friend mention to me that he takes a multivitamin called Coreplex. That poor fella... I basically told him vitamins don't work, and I completely brushed him off. I also argued that I could obtain all of my nutrients and vitamins from my daily diet, and I did not need to supplement. 


Being the science nerd that I was, I decided to investigate. One of the first things I found about the Coreplex was this: About Coreplex. It explains that yes, most vitamins are not absorbed properly, but when you take a product that is HIGH QUALITY, it will be absorbed. At this point, I was almost convinced, but then I wondered 'What makes these products high quality?' I then found the SciMed board: SciMed Board. This is a group of doctors and experts that ensure the products are safe and effective. Lastly, I watched this video, and realized I could no longer obtain all the necessary vitamins and minerals from my diet:


After performing my research, I decided I would give the product a try. I started taking the MNS MAX 3. Its essentially a dump truck of nutrition. Its little packs that you take at certain times of the day. After a few days on MNS MAX 3, I realized I FELT different. I had more energy throughout the day, and I just felt HEALTHY


I cannot describe why the products work. I also cannot explain on a molecular level why we need them. All I can tell you is that I feel so great since using these, that I will never, ever go without them again. 

Before I go, please note: as a future healthcare provider, I need to emphasize the importance of consulting with your Health Care Provider before adding supplements into your daily regimen. Your Provider knows your past medical history, and their approval for the use of supplementation is extremely important to your health.