How Fitness Became My Path to Personal Growth

I was recently interviewed by former client and marketing professional, Meghann Conter on how fitness and nutrtition started my personal growth journey. Take a moment to watch before reading the story behind my passion for fitness and nutrition for personal growth.

I grew up a lot like other kids in the 80s. Playing backyard football, baseball, and tag while it seemed like enjoying every moment was a full time job as a in our communities in Montana, Virginia, and Colorado.

I must have tried every sport growing up because it seemed like every season except winter was full of go, go, go from one field to another. I didn’t get involved in indoor sports like basketball or volleyball because I enjoyed playing outside so much as a child.

As it would turn out, I was a pretty decent baseball pitcher up until high school. While my teammates hit their growth spurts, I was left nursing my pride from not getting past baseball tryouts my freshman year. So I gravitated to track where not a single person was cut from the team and everyone got to participate in practice and team activities. That felt like a better environment for an undersized freshman that never seemed to fit in with any one crowd.

Track and Cross Country were my focus as I began to uncover performance anxiety and fear of not being good enough. At every starting line of every race, I felt the knot of insecurity in my gut as I was learning what limiting beliefs were for the first time.

Eventually, by the end of high school, I was excelling at Cross Country in spite of those fears and limiting beliefs. In the final meets of my senior year, I would place 9th in our league race, 16th in regionals, and 67th overall in the state 5A Championship race. And by the time track season rolled around in the spring of ’98, I was burnt out on competing and chose to work instead to save for college.

I turned in my uniform and hung up my spikes in front of the look of dismay from my coach. In actuality, I quit because I was afraid of not meeting my own expectations that year. I had been in communication with the head Cross Country coach from Western State College and he had asked me to get my mile time down to 4:40 and my two mile time down to 10:00.

I didn’t believe I could meet that expectation, so I quit. And used work as an excuse and a priority. I would use that excuse a thousand times over the next 20 years to confirm that belief I wasn’t good enough.

Over the next few years, I found myself struggling to find my groove at college, although I would stay pretty consistent with fitness. I added 45 pounds of overall mass my freshman year thanks to my “consume everything in sight” nutrition plan, which included beer. Way too much beer.

I ran with the party crowd and would transfer schools after my sophomore year to escape the influence a small town and my guy friends had over me. I was facing the darkest depression of my life from a combination of factors; drinking too often, feeling out of control, and ignoring proper nutrition.

After transferring schools, I felt more at home in Ft. Collins, CO at CSU because I had a non-drinker roommate, began attending church, and found the on campus recreation center, and I gravitated to the healing effects fitness had on me as I decreased my drinking and began cooking at home more often.

About a year later, I met my daughter’s mom at a restaurant that I worked at in town, began partying again, and stopped working out entirely to spend my days with her. I made some poor choices during this time; including a DUI and becoming pregnant with my girlfriend.

Once again, I was at a time in my life that the limiting beliefs were raging and I quit school to work full time in a restaurant and support my soon to be new adventure in life. I had limited activity at this time in my life because the depression and anxiety I felt heading into fatherhood weighed heavily on me. About the most I could commit to was joining a men’s roller hockey league one night a week.

My partner and I would soon move to Denver to live with family and I found full time work in the restaurant industry with my first management position. Along with the late nights at work, came free beer, and a sleep schedule that was not helping my parenting at all. And with my drinking came challenges in my marriage and an eventual divorce from my daughter’s mother.

Gratefully, I was getting back into the gym with the help from my employer committing to a group membership for the restaurant team. The challenge at that time was to make it a priority. As an adult with a lot of responsibility, I faced a new challenge in personal growth. How do I make the time for work, family, parenting, friends, and the gym?

All of which I loved. Something had to go to the bottom of the priority list at that time. I chose to change jobs at that time and it made a huge difference in my life.

I raced head first into the catering and convention services career as a Banquet Manager at the Brown Palace Hotel! I began making better income and the hours were an improvement so I was able to dedicate more time to my fitness goals; plus the 24 Hour Fitness I joined had a kid’s club.

I chased success in the years after my divorce and shift in career paths. I felt lost, alone, and without direction although the one constant in my life was my commitment to the gym. It was’t until the hotel and restaurant industry bottomed out in 2008 with the recession that I found my purpose in life.

My roommate at the time had a twin brother who was a strength coach at Penn State University and he wrote us a remote workout program that took our squat, bench, and strength to new heights. I felt a draw to the science behind fitness and figured that if I was just serving tables in a restaurant, I would go back to school to finish my degree.

I found a great program at Metropolitan State University and transferred credits to complete my Exercise Science and Adult fitness degree in about three years. All while juggling parenthood, a relationship, and my course load.

I made many strong friendships along the way to earning my degree and none was more important than the relationship I found with myself. I began to gain confidence by putting in the work to earn my degree as well as working full time, becoming debt free, and being a part of my daughter’s life.

The education at Metro State included a 405 mandatory internship which I chose to pursue at The University of Denver in their strength and conditioning department. I learned many valuable lessons observing and coaching with their athletes but none was more valuable than the impact Olympic lifting has on sports performance.

I became obsessed with the Power Clean exercise. The nuances and technical requirements to move big weight FAST had me captivated. This was the key piece of the puzzle I was looking for in my own fitness journey.

Take a look at this quick tutorial of the power clean from 2020.

Watch this instructional video from me on the power clean.

What exercises would benefit me most physically, mentally, and emotionally? I am drawn to intense choices, risks, and activities. I attribute that to my Enneagram personality type, The Challenger, who seeks out all things intense. (More on this later).

Almost a year after graduating college, I was still working in a restaurant with late nights and feeling the exhaustion creeping in from the craziness that I experienced the last few years. It finally caught up with me while I was applying to strength coach positions to fulfill my purpose.

That was when my mom reached out to help her reach her fitness goals. She had already seen tremendous weight loss with a shift in nutrition and wanted to keep building lean muscle mass.

We began to meet weekly at a local gym to workout together and she paid me for my time. I saw my path and my future for the first time in becoming a self-employed personal trainer; the money was good and the work came naturally to me.

What I didn’t expect was to grow as much personally as I did professionally through starting up a fitness business. Honestly, in the beginning, I didn’t know at all what I was doing so I stuck to the basics. You know…

  1. Set up a business entity
  2. Set up a business account
  3. Seek out clients
  4. Manage my time and finances

What lay beneath those simple tasks was where the personal growth happened. Could I really build a sustainable personal training business?

Could I be though of as a leader and a good personal trainer that people would hire and pay hard earned money for?

I didn’t know the answers but it didn’t stop me from trying my hardest to figure it out along the way. Soon after, my mom and I got “busted” at the local gym and were asked to leave if I was coaching her.

So I took the leap and found a private training studio to rent space from. Instantly, my business changed. I felt the desire to create something bigger than myself. Something for others to experience personal growth through fitness like I had.

I put in a lot of hours in the beginning. Between the restaurant and the gym, I would sometimes have 20 hour long days with a nap and 4 coffees tucked in there. I loved the work and the challenge I was facing to build something from scratch.

I began to feel the exhaustion and the negative effects coffee was having on my adrenal glands. This was a major turning point for me to realize I couldn’t thrive on coffee, naps, and willpower forever. I started to clean up my nutrition choices by turning to meal prep to save time and money.

This was a game changer for me personally! I finally had a plan of action and the energy I needed to get through long, hard days spread thin between to jobs.

Things began to change for me at that time. I began to attract clients easily through social media and word of mouth. Although my physical and financial health were improving, my relationship was not. About six months into building my business, I went through a break up after three and a half years together.

I began to face some demons at that time and fitness was a powerfully positive force to help me get through the challenging times. I cut back on eating out, drinking, and skipping sleep and in exchange, I was able to make space for new hobbies, friends, and clients.

One of those hobbies became a passion: boxing. I absolutely loved the high intensity nature of the sport plus the mental side to effectively strike with power while maintaining a steady pace over the hour long classes. I found myself in the best shape of my life by making time for olympic lifting and boxing three times each per week. Here’s a picture from that time in my life at about 33 years old, 162#, and 8% body fat.

Could I keep this up forever? I soon found out that the answer was… NO.

I developed a herniated adductor muscle in my hip from the repetitive rotation in boxing and the stabilization necessary to accomplish power cleans. My body was asking me for rest so I finally listened.

Being humbled and told to slow down like this needed to happen quite a few times in my fitness journey. It was part of the process for me to learn my limits and just how far I could push my body before it began to break down.

That summer included rest and it also brought tremendous growth to my business! I eclipsed the $50k revenue mark after only 14 months in business and I felt like my professional path was laid out clearly before me. Beyond the professional development I experienced in the first year of my business, I also found my ego rise up a attempt to destroy what I had created through limiting beliefs, taking unnecessary risks, and a misunderstanding of the power behind the psychology of money.

Staying consistent with my exercise routine during this time was paramount to maintain happiness, decrease stress, and boost my confidence. I was facing hardships in a relationship and learning about my limiting beliefs for the first time in my life. It was a shock to the nervous system to try to balance it all out while running a business, parenting my daughter, and repairing the relationship with myself and others.

Summer of 2013

This feeling of balance was an illusion. What was I trying to control that was giving me an illusion of balance that was entirely beyond my control?

I’ve learned since that balance is just a clever word for control. Controlling any outcome is what I was clinging to the second and third year of my business.

I’ll never be able to control how long a client stays with me. I’ll never be able to control the economy which impacts my business, or rent prices skyrocketing in Denver, or even how long the gym I was renting space at would remain open.

About 3.5 years into my business, the gym moved locations on short notice. We were kept in the loop about how the current landlord wanted us out, or raise their rent, or how they delayed repairs. In the end, the gym owner found a space a few miles away and gave us 30 days notice to find new locations for our business. I could not control whether I received an invitation to move with their business or not; at that time, I did not feel welcome to move to the new location with the community.

The next few years were hugely impactful on my personal and professional growth. I chose to find my own studio space and my clients came with me; some stayed long term and others left when their packages were finished.

What I found within myself over the next 12 months I never knew I was capable of enduring. Business tanked and my personal viewpoint of my worth went with it. Fact is, I was burnt out and needed help because I was wearing too many hats in the business.

Head trainer, janitor, CFO, CTO, CEO, COO, etc. It was too much. I was humbled once again by another dimension of my fitness journey.

Thankfully, I was still working with some very passionate clients and I loved coaching them while building lifelong relationships with some of them. I am grateful for the consistency in fitness, nutrition, and progress in olympic lifting during that time that helped me regulate hormones like cortisol.

Demonstrating how our online programs work for remote clients.

I was trying to do too much and all of it fell on my shoulders. I was burning out and my body was reminding me to slow down, rest, and relax. I wouldn’t listen.

And my personal relationships suffered as a result. I began to connect the dots between my personal relationship challenges with my long term battle with mental health; specifically depression and anxiety.

Upon exploration, I found that depression and anxiety were the symptoms of many years of ignoring and suppressing emotions. What was lying beneath all that?

While sabotaging my business and personal relationships by pushing people who loved me away, I realized I needed to turn the mirror on myself and look inward. There is no amount of running, lifting, eating, and sports performance that will help you outrun your problems.

Especially if you are bottling them up inside you for so long.

That’s about the time that I found jiu-jitsu. I kept driving by a boxing gym that was within a mile of my studio. I reflected often on how good it felt to hit the mitts and heavy bag a few years before, so I walked in one day to try a free five class package.

The instructor was a former Mexican professional boxer with skill and speed with a flare of enthusiasm. I was hooked on the community there from the start.

After my five pack was up, I decided that jiu-jitsu would be my next adventure and looking back on it four years later, I am so grateful that I took the leap. I had watched my daughter train jiu-jitsu for two years and thought, “If she could do it, so can I.”

Through jiu-jitsu, I have met some of my best friends, found a community, and even teamed up with the owners of that school and operated my business out of their space for two years. Things were rolling there for a while.

I had left a bad relationship, recruited three trainers to work with me in my studio space, and had even grown my business while working with clients only about 20 hours per week.

The personal growth I found through jiu-jitsu was unlike anything I had experienced up until that point in my life. I felt as if my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial health were coming together to lead me down my path to my true purpose.

To share the benefits of fitness and nutrition for mental health with as many people as I possibly could.

Let me come back to the Enneagram really quick. My Challenger personality type gave me a new lens at which to view my world and I really began to see myself for who I was as a man.

The Challenger, or type 8, is drawn to intensity in all endeavors. There is no half-assing anything so when it appears as if I go hard all the time in weightlifting, boxing, jiu-jitsu, relationships, and business… you’re absolutely right.

I go big or not at all! After four years of personal discovery and self-awareness through the Enneagram, I can confidently say that I am “Enthusiastic about challenging people.” What better profession is there than a strength coach, personal trainer, and business owner for a type 8?

As I mentioned before, I was facing challenges in my relationships, both personally and professionally. The Enneagram helped me see through the blind spots that had been plaguing me for years…

And that began the next level of personal growth for me and a turning point in my fitness journey. I really, truly began to look at myself in the mirror.

One relationship ended. And then another in the fall of 2017. I was near rock bottom and I was taking on too much responsibility.

I had three teammates at the studio and an intern yet I was still working too much; early mornings to later evenings and I had very little quality of life. I decided to take a break and schedule a two week vacation the final two weeks of the year.

The team with a few clients.

It was the best choice I could have made for myself to listen to my body and delegate some client session hours to trainers that believed in our mission. What happened on that vacation, I’ll never forget.

I had bought some Christmas gifts for the team, copies of Strength Finder and the assessment that went along with it. I also purchased a book for myself, The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard. While I struggled with the author’s voice and writing style, I took away one great message.

Your message has meaning.

That message told me that I could and would be able to share my powerful message with the world and be empowered because of it. Instead of carrying around the shame and embarrassment of childhood memories, I could share the rest of the story with others to inspire and educate.

So I wrote my book. Aspire Higher tells my story from the age of 17 to the time I was about to turn 38. This memoir-esque story shares how the benefits fitness, nutrition, and personal growth impacted my mental health. I completed about 90 pages during that two week vacation because of that one line from Burchard’s book.

Your Message has Meaning

I screamed through the remaining 160 pages over the next three months and it honestly became the therapeutic experience I was seeking the previous 20 years. I also found a tremendous counselor who listened to me share my thoughts over the course of the next 20 months; from about January ’18 until November ’19.

While processing my life’s experience through writing, journaling, counseling, and shadow work of the Enneagram, I stayed consistent with my jiu-jitsu practice, competing four times, lifting heavy weights, and building my business. All of which I attribute to helping me survive through the highs and lows of life.

I remained single during this time for a reason. My purpose was strong enough that I dove into serving others through fitness and nutrition and began to cultivate another idea to help so many others. I decided to take my break ups as a learning experience and begin a podcast to explore the depths of modern dating.

In June of 2018, the Believe Be Real Be Bold podcast was born to help busy adults navigate the modern dating world with a better consciousness by interviewing experts each week; dating coaches, authors, therapists, counselors, and matchmakers have joined me from across the world to make a great change in so many peoples’ lives.

Host of the Believe Be Real Be Bold Podcast

I feel that when we combine a holistic and mindful approach to personal growth through fitness, nutrition, and our relationships, we can improve our lives dramatically. And that of our family too.

When we heal generations worth of trauma, eliminate blockages from years of limiting beliefs, and share our story with others, we can and will make our experience on Earth worthwhile. Leaving behind a legacy that will greatly improve generations to come.

Hopefully you have a deeper understanding of how much of a role fitness and nutrition can play in your life when you stay consistent with your goals and purpose in life.

Brave. Strong. Fit for life. Is our slogan and if we were to leave anything out of our story when building relationships with our members, we would be doing them a great disservice by becoming robots engaging our clients through technology and screens.

I can’t say, at this time, everything is rolling along smoothly. I sit here, sheltering in place during a global pandemic, hanging on by a mere thread of hope that life will improve for us all. I have considered this one of the largest mental health crisis in our human history and I feel as if I am not alone in that opinion.

One of the first choices I made when told to stay home, shelter in place, and flatten the curve was to join a virtual men’s group. My men’s group leader serves a role in my life as well that is indescribable the impact he has had on my personal growth in just nine short months.

Additional choices I made to stave off the hardships our mental health crisis has given us was to continue to train with body weight workouts at home, kettlebells for overloading my system, and jiu-jitsu with my roommate and partner. I realized early on that nutrition would play a huge role in my stability while isolated but I acknowledge that giving myself grace at this time would better serve my long term holistic health.

Training at home with Sam McGraw

So I order in dinner twice a week, eliminate alcohol from my lifestyle, and choose a new recipe about once a week to further my passion for meal prep and thriving with healthy choices in the kitchen.

Are you looking for additional support right now to reach your goals quickly and safely? Set up a free consultation with me now to hear about the new programs from Fit Life for 2021.

Just find a time on my calendar below to speak with me personally on the phone.

5 Fun Facts about Fitness

If you’ve been staying off social media recently (it’s always good to take a break and reset, am I right?) you may have missed these five fun facts about fitness!  

We’ve been mindful about teaching healthy habits in our community and encouraging our members to set boundaries around their screen time, especially with all the extra time at home.  

Did you know there is such a thing as residual attention?

According to Cal Newport, who wrote Digital Minimalism, it’s the energy your mind devotes to social media, the tv, and distractions that lasts long after you set your phone down or walk away from the news to return to your task.  My mind was blown when I learned about that the other day as well as these five fun facts about fitness we looked into this month while!

  1. Exercise is one of the best relievers of stress, anxiety and depression, because it releases endorphins and gives your mind something else to focus on.  This backs up the point about residual attention we made earlier.  When you need a break from your task at hand because you are stuck or overwhelmed, try 10 minutes of exercise instead!  
  2. The average person walks about 70,000 miles in their lifetime. That’s enough to circle the earth almost three times!  Do you have a Fitbit?  One of our members recently remarked that in the last couple months, she had walked the length of Italy!  A whole 730 plus miles!  Way to go Jen!
  3. If all the muscles in your body could pull in the same direction, you could lift 25 tons.  Of course, many of our muscles are meant for pulling and stabilizing the joints, so this is a fun fact that can hardly be applied to our every day lives.  But did you know that your pulling muscles (back) need to be trained twice as much as your pushing muscles (chest) to prevent imbalances and injuries?
  4. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories.  More bang for your buck right here!  In 30 minutes of HIIT, you can continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after a good hard workout!
  5. Exercising boosts brain activity and helps build new brain cells.  Just one more reason to think about how much time we devote to screens that distract us and to find ways to replace those brain cells we just lost!

If you would like to hear more about the impact fitness has in our lives and learn how to lose 20 pounds by 2021!

Join me for a free fitness class where you can ask me anything about fitness, nutrition, and personal growth!

Just click here to save your seat for one of the live zoom classes I am hosting!

5 Summer Workouts You Can Do Outside the Gym

5 Summer Time Workouts Outside of the Gym


Welcome to the peak of summer! It’s heating up out there but we have some cool ideas for you to find exercise routines to do outside of the gym.

Hiking- This feels like an obvious solution for those of us living in areas well known for hiking. However, you can always take your hiking game to the next level! Next time you go for a hike, pick up the pace so that you can include a cardiovascular component to this popular low impact form of outdoor exercise.


The “Mini Incline” in Castle Rock- Phillip S. Miller Park is home to a miniature version of the popular incline in Manitou Springs (closed for the season). It’s also home to an outdoor gym and recreation center with sports fields athletes can use for soccer, sprints, and footwork drills!

Cycling- We are so blessed in Colorado because we have miles of cycling trails for this popular low impact form of cardio and endurance training. One thing to keep in mind about cycling is that you will still need to compliment it with an “off the bike” resistance training program because the amount of low impact hours on the bike can lower bone density. Resistance training with weights or body weight exercises helps stress your bones to keep them strong unlike the low impact form of exercise that cycling gives you.

Kayaking/Canoeing- This is for our adventure seekers out there and not for the faint of heart! Kayaking or canoeing does so much for us to reconnect to the wilderness, get outside, and find some vitamin D! The sun is one of the only sources of vitamin D outside of supplements and it is crucial to get a good dose of this plentiful micronutrient. Fun fact about vitamin D is that you can never get enough of it from the sun (short of daily sun burns) but you can get too much of it from supplements. We recommend the natural route!

Hit the Dog Park- My sidekick Chloe has been the best motivator to get me out of the house for daily walks. But if you’ve ever wanted to take it up a notch, bring a “Chuck it” with you to get your arm workout and mobility in, or jog with your pup to wear you both out!

For more ideas on in home exercises to compliment your favorite outdoor workouts, check out our trial of the Body Weight Warrior program below!

How to Make the Best Use of Your Time at the Gym

We are all busy and probably struggle to get a workout in when we have so many other demands for our time like work, family, hobbies, and household responsibilities. Most people do not have unlimited time to spend at the gym or working out at home, so having a plan for our workout will help ensure that we are getting in and getting out in a reasonable amount of time! Here are 15 tips to make the best use of your time at the gym.

Before we begin, it is always best to vary your workouts. Your body adapts to the same routine very quickly, so it’s imperative to mix up and change your routine up. Most experts recommend changing your routine at least every six to eight weeks, or even more often if you like the variety. Plus it helps keep your motivation higher and prevents boredom. These are not one-size-fits-all recommendations, it’s always important to consider your personal goals, preferences, and abilities. 

  1. Keep socializing, social media, and texting to a minimum. It may seem like these distractions only take a minute or so here and there, but the time adds up. Plus they take your focus away from your ultimate goal of getting an awesome workout completed in the most time efficient way possible. 
  2. Have a plan before you go to work out. Start with a warm-up (five to ten minutes), then move to either cardio or resistance training and switch halfway through (if you are doing both in the same exercise session). Use a comprehensive exercise library with instructions, photos, videos, and muscles worked like on Exercise.com. Finish with a cool down and flexibility/stretching at the end (ten minutes). 
  3. Include the warm-up, cool down, or flexibility/stretching exercises in your routine, don’t skip out on them to save time. The warm-up should only take five to ten minutes and cool down and flexibility around ten minutes. Both are a very important part of your workout and very beneficial to health and well-being. Flexibility helps us move better during normal daily activities and functional movements, like reaching to grab something from a high shelf or getting in and out of our car. 
  4. Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to save time on cardiovascular activities. Research supports the health benefits of HIIT, which usually take less time to complete when compared to steady-state intensity cardiovascular exercises. For example, spending 15-20 minutes doing intervals of vigorous effort with short rest periods has comparable health and cardiovascular benefits as 30 minutes of running on the treadmill at the same speed (Foster et al., 2015).
  5. Don’t forget about full-body cardiovascular and power exercises like burpees, jumping jacks, squat jumps, or jumping rope. They don’t take a lot of time, don’t take a lot of space or equipment, and get your heart rate up quickly. 
  6. Focus on multi-joint, compound, or combination activities in the weight room. Examples of multi-joint or compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, or kettlebell swings. Focus on combination exercises like bicep curls with a shoulder press or bench squat with a lateral raise. Body weight exercises like push-ups, lunges, planks, or wall sits are also time efficient and do not require any equipment.  
  7. Another tip for the weight room is to complete an upper body exercise, then while you are resting, complete a lower body exercise. This is what fitness professionals call a “superset” and it’s just when you alternate exercises with no rest in between. For example, do one set of bent over rows then immediately do one set of lunges. This allows the first group of muscles to rest while you are working out the second group. It is a very effective way to utilize your time. You are still allowing one group of muscles to rest while the other muscle group is active.
  8. One more tip for resistance training to keep your workout simple and straightforward. Two sets of ten repetitions is easy to remember, time efficient, and works both muscular strength and muscular endurance. 
  9. Consider taking a class where the workout is pre-designed for you, like a streaming fitness class, yoga class, spinning class, bootcamp, Camp Gladiator, OrangeTheory fitness, Crossfit, F45, or 9Round. All you have to do is show up, work out, then leave. 
  10. Find a certified personal trainer and let them know you want the most effective workout in the time you have available (30, 45, 60 minutes, etc) and let the professional design a great workout for you. Personal trainers have a wealth of experience designing exercise routines and can take the guesswork out of it for you to get a full-body workout in the time you have available. 
  11. Use a fitness wearable, like a Garmin, Apple watch, or Fitbit to track your calories and heart rate. Set a goal for your calories burned or minutes that your heart rate is in the cardio or peak heart rate zone. There are a lot of mobile apps available that can track calories burned and/or heart rate zones with your wearable device. Once you reach that goal, move on to your cool down and flexibility exercises to finish your workout. 
  12. Complete a circuit training routine with a friend. Find a workout plan online or on an app, or many fitness professionals also post routines on their social media. Take turns timing your exercises, or do them at the same time, and help push each other to the finish. 
  13. Design your workout playlist ahead of time or consider a mobile app that already has playlists ready to go, like Spotify or RockMyRun. This keeps you from stopping to change songs or playlists during your workout. You can just start it and let it play for your entire workout!
  14. Figure out the time of day when your energy levels are the highest and you feel the best working out. It might take some trial and error for a few weeks to determine this, but it will help prevent the sluggishness which might slow down your workout. 
  15. Get plenty of recovery and sleep. Recovery, rest, and sleep are the critical times when your body repairs itself from the effects of exercise, including rebuilding muscles, repairing tissues, and replenishing energy stores. Sleep and exercise have a reciprocal relationship, they both influence each other (Chennaoui, Arnal, Sauvet, & Léger, 2015). Adequate recovery and sleep ensures that you will be able to maximize your workouts and be at the top of your game!

References:

Chennaoui, M., Arnal, P. J., Sauvet, F., Léger, D. (2015). Sleep and exercise: A reciprocal issue? Sleep Medicine Reviews, 20, 59-72, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2014.06.008.

Foster, C., Farland, C. V., Guidotti, F., Harbin, M., Roberts, B., Schuette, J., … Porcari, J. P. (2015). The effects of high intensity interval training vs steady state training on aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 14(4), 747–755.

Melissa Morris is a professor by day and a part-time writer for Exercise.com. Melissa has a BS and MS in exercise science and an EdD in educational leadership. She teaches nutrition and applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa and has worked in health education, fitness, and nutrition for 15 years. In her free time, Melissa loves to workout at Orangetheory fitness and run 5K and 10K races.

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What Fitness Equipment Do I Need to Workout at Home?

We are excited to welcome you to the only online personal training program for busy adults that want to boost confidence, decrease stress, and gain energy while reaching their goals quickly and safely!

Before you get started, it is important to make sure that you have the equipment needed to perform all of the exercises. So here is your shopping list with fitness equipment that will allow you to exercise in the comfort of your home safely and efficiently.

Must haves in order to get started right away:

– Dumbbells (two pairs ranging from 15 to 50 lbs.) – besides the 25# you have, look for 15s, 20s, and 30s to get started or select the power block feature below!
– Swiss Ball
– Bands with Handles
– Pull Up Bar

Recommended equipment to get more out of your workout experience.

– TRX System
– Flat Bands for ankles or knees
– Power Block (Power Blocks are dumbbells with adjustable resistance)- as a better investment and substitute to dumbbells

Here’s what is included in the program for our members!

  • 3 Workouts each week for in home gym or neighborhood gym location!
  • Meal Prep Workshop to fit any nutrition program!
  • Text access with your coach!
  • Weekly group calls for support and accountability!

Book a call with your coach today!

Fresh Spinach Salad

To save time and money with meal prep, we love simple green salads with chicken.  Often, we spice up our salads with veggies and fruits plus a homemade dressing, such as a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette!

The prep time and cook time for this lunch fit in with consolidating steps of meal prep perfectly.  Taking about 20 minutes to cook the chicken and 5 minutes of actually putting your lunch salads together.

  1. Handful of loosely packed fresh spinach placed in meal prep container
  2. Chilled, grilled or baked chicken portioned out to the specifications of your macronutrient guide
  3. 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  5. 1/4 tsp of cracked black pepper
  6. Mixed veggies to taste and to the specifications of your macronutrient guide

Steps to prepare your lunches before your busy work week.

  1. Thaw and Grill chicken breast(about 1 pound) seasoned to taste.  Let chicken cool in refrigerator.  Slice thin.
  2. Grab one loosely packed handful of fresh spinach and place in meal prep container.  Easily swap out brown rice in the perfect portion called for in your macronutrient guide!
  3. Add thinly sliced chicken breast to meal prep container.
  4. Add assorted veggies, your choice.
  5. Store in fridge until the morning to grab and go, prepared for lunch ahead of your busy day!

Spinach Salad

Healthy Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Ingredients for at least 5 servings:

2 lb chicken breast (measured raw)

1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or coconut aminos, or low sodium soy sauce)

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp red pepper garlic sauce

1/4 cup organic, raw honey or agave

1 tbsp orange zest or shaved fresh orange peel juice from 3 clementines

1 tbsp tapioca starch (or arrowroot starch) sesame seeds, green onions spray coconut oil

Steps:

In a bowl, mix Bragg’s, rice vinegar, orange juice, orange zest, honey, red pepper sauce and tapioca starch. Set aside.

Chop chicken into small pieces. Set a nonstick skillet on medium high heat and spray with coconut oil. Add the chicken and cook until it is about 90% finished.

Pour in the orange sauce and stir quickly. Reduce the heat, allow the sauce to thicken and continue stirring. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

Recipe modified from the original to cut down on sugar and fit into your macronutrient guide.

Orange Chicken

http://fitmencook.com/healthy-orange-sesame-chicken/

Overnight Oats

I’m a simple guy.  Really simple.

I generally pick a few ingredients and make it into a meal, breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  That particular strategy is beneficial to weight management and fueling the body for performance…  Most of the time.

Until I get tired of eating same things, all the time!

Because of PrepWars, I’ve learned how to have some fun with meal prep, and the following recipes are just the trick to change up my routine.  Follow @fitlifechampions on Facebook and Learn to Meal Prep on Instagram to learn how to make overnight oatmeal work for you and your busy week ahead!

Please check out these recipes for some fun variations on overnight oatmeal!  Remember to use almond or coconut milk instead of dairy for optimal health and performance through your busy week!

Overnight oatmeal recipes to save you time!

 

Fast and Easy Egg Cups

The purpose of meal prep ahead of your busy week is to save you time AND money.  Adding this fast meal prep recipe will save you boatloads of each!  Once your ingredients are prepped, diced, sliced, mixed and placed in the oven, you are free to grill or saute your other meals for the upcoming week.

Egg Cups

To save time and money, prepare your breakfasts ahead of your busy week!

This simple to make meal-prep breakfast is a great way to make your morning routine quick and healthy!

Items needed:

  • 6 section (minimum) muffin tin, non-stick
  • 1 quart egg whites
  • 6 pack of eggs
  • Diced vegetables of your choice (peppers, onions, brussel sprouts, zucchini, etc.)
  • Spinach sliced
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper

 

Instructions:

  • If not a non-stick pan, lightly grease tin with coconut oil.
  • Dice your choice of vegetables to smaller than bite-size portions
  • Divide veggies equally between each section of the muffin tin.
  • Crack one egg into each section of the muffin tin.
  • Pour the equivalent of two egg whites into each section of the muffin tin.
  • Sprinkle spinach over top of each section, crack black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or to desired consistency.  Eggs should be firm once fully cooked.
  • Remove from oven and quickly remove eggs, add your choice of protein (1/8 c.) and portion into containers for grab n go meals in the morning!

Egg Cups Finished

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