Top Five Reasons Shakeology is Worth It…

I’ve been an ACE certified Personal Trainer for over 4 years. During that time I have been approached by many people who used Shakeology and wanted me to give it a try. I always said no. Sometimes it was because I felt like it wasn’t worth the money when I could buy other protein powders for much cheaper, other times I said no because I never wanted to associate myself with a product.

About two months ago that all changed. I finally said, ‘Yes, I’ll give Shakeology a try.’ In the back of my mind I thought, I’ll try it for a month and then just cancel, no biggie. But I didn’t cancel. Instead I signed up as a BeachBody Coach and Shakeology is a regular part of my day. Here’s why…

1. I need the nutritional benefits of Shakeology to start out my day.

I’m always running two steps behind in the morning trying to get the kiddos out the door for school and me on my way to work. Partially because I don’t like mornings but also because, as we all well know, things happen. As a result I found myself constantly skipping breakfast. What made it worse was most days I would get caught up with projects and find myself leaving the office late afternoon famished because I hadn’t eaten anything. I don’t deny it all revolved around poor planning on my part, however, things weren’t changing and I was really messing with my metabolism.

Introduce Shakeology. I now had a very quick and easy solution to breakfast that was packed with nutrients. On most days I choose to add a fruit to my Shakeology for a delicious breakfast treat that I can easily drink on the way to work.

2. Shakeology keeps me full during the workday.

As I mentioned above, most days I don’t take the time, or have the time to eat lunch. I work a shortened day so that I can be off in time to pick my children up from school so I have to make the most of the 5 hours I have in the office. By drinking a Shakeology on my way to work in the morning, I stay full until I get home in the late afternoon. Sure, there are times that I have a light snack during the day (if I remember to pack it), but my Shakeology holds me over until I get home. No more leaving the office famished and ready to eat anything that is within arms reach when I get home.

3. Shakeology helps me to avoid bad choices. 

Again, my failure to plan or take the time to eat was working against me in a big way. I would have just enough time to grab a quick bite before picking my children up from school and many days that meant the quickest, easiest thing – not necessarily the most healthy choice. Because I’m no longer ‘starving’ when I get home I logically look at my choices and select things like a turkey breast sandwich, or carrots and hummus, or a salad. I’ve also found that because I am eating more during the day I’m not as tempted in the evening to mindlessly enjoy unhealthy snacks.

4. Shakeology tastes yummy!

When I worked full time as a personal trainer/group fitness instructor I often drank protein shakes at the end of the day for my recovery. I used a variety of powders throughout the years but got to the point that I just couldn’t stand the taste of any of them anymore. They all seemed to have a weird aftertaste and I just couldn’t get passed it. So before long, I dropped them completely. I was hesitant to try Shakeology because I assumed it would have the same gritty taste. I was wrong. Whether mixed with water or milk, I find all of the flavors to be rich and flavorful and lacking in a bad aftertaste.

5. I’ve lost 10 pounds and been able to maintain the loss.

Just like many others I have ten pounds that over the years I have lost and found multiple times. By adding Shakeology, and all of the other benefits mentioned above, I have also been able to drop the ten pounds and keep it off. I’m not starving myself, I feel adequately full throughout the day, and I know I am ‘nutritionally full’ by starting my day with a Shakeology that is packed with quality vitamins and minerals. I balance that out by eating healthy portions at both lunch and dinner and minimizing my intake of ‘junk.’

So why not give Shakeology a try and see what your top five reasons are? I resisted for years and wish that I hadn’t. Questions? Want to give it a try? Contact me! I can even help you get signed up as a BeachBody Coach so you can start helping others too!

Reflections on the Spartan Sprint

So it’s no secret that I love doing adventure races. Partially because I love the challenge, but more that my husband is willing to do them with me. It means the world to me because I know that he seriously hates running, but does it because he loves me and knows how much I enjoy the challenge that these races set forth.

I once convinced him to do a half marathon with me. Despite a very lacking training schedule for both of us, we still took on the Indianapolis Mini Marathon. I remember not being able to laugh at walk at the same time following that race. I don’t think I will ever be able to convince him of doing a straight mini again but over the years I have been able to get him to do multiple adventure races.

It started with the Warrior Dash, then on to a local Marine Mud Run. Last year I took on my first Tough Mudder and he was a trooper enduring the hour shuttle ride to the race and keeping our 3 kiddos occupied during the race as they waited for me to arrive at certain spectator checkpoints. For my birthday last year he granted my wish to participate in the Men’s Health Urbanatholon.  This past May he and a number of our friends joined me in another Tough Mudder race and the team will be gathering again this coming weekend in Dallas to take on another TM.

Yesterday Don and I completed our first Spartan Sprint race. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t too keen on the idea of racing two weekends in a row but somehow I convinced him, the things you do for love, right? The race itself wasn’t too bad – just over four miles winding through the woods and mud but what stood out to me was the ‘individuality’ of the race. Don and I worked together as a team when we could, which for the most part meant him boosting and hoisting me up over walls. But overall, the obstacles were designed as individual challenges rather than ones requiring teamwork.

I realize the thing I love most about most of these adventure races is working with those running it with me to accomplish the feats. Personally I know I can push myself, I know I can push past certain limits, but I also know there are things that I need help to accomplish. I didn’t feel like the Spartan allowed us the opportunity to work together as a team. It was much more focused on the individual.

Don’t get me wrong, my bruises, scrapes and sore muscles remind me of how hard I worked yesterday and how much I pushed my limits, but I missed the camaraderie that normally comes along with these races. I feel like it bonds you to those you are running with and looking back you can say, “We did that!” After yesterday I can say, “We did it side by side, but not necessarily together.”

In short, would I do another Spartan? Maybe. Now that I know it’s more about the individual, my expectations might be a little different. But thinking ahead to this weekend, I have to say that I can’t WAIT to accomplish all the Dallas Tough Mudder has to hold for me and my teammates to accomplish TOGETHER!

Dessert For Breakfast? Yes, Please!

Breakfast can be one of my most challenging meals of the day. I struggle to find the time to fit it in and when I do I often struggle with trying to build a breakfast that has a good balance of the necessary nutrients.

Then along came the perfect solution for me, Shakeology. It solved both my time issue and my need for a balanced nutritional breakfast.

In less than five minutes I have a smoothie that I can take with me out the door and drink on the way to work – so that solves my time issue.

And my smoothies pack more nutrients than I could ever consume on my own. What do I mean by that? Check out this short video on Shakeology:

Now I know you want to know how I can have dessert for breakfast. Shakeology is actually tasty and you can experiment with a ton of different recipes!

Here are my some of my favorite recipes, which for me, taste just like dessert!

Banana Split

Chocolate Shakeology

10 oz. milk (you can use water as well)

1 banana

1/2 cup strawberries

Peanut Butter Cup

Chocolate Shakeology

10 oz. milk

1 tbsp peanut butter

Blueberry Pie

Vanilla Shakeology

10 oz milk

1 cup blueberries

dash of cinnamon

Apple Pie

Vanilla Shakeology

10 oz milk

1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Believe me, I’ve tried my fair share of supplements and protein shakes and this one by far tastes the best, especially when adding the right mix of fruit. But you don’t just have to take my word for it, give it a try yourself!

Contact me for questions or details on ordering!

Shakeology, I’m a Believer

Over the past several years I’ve had a number of people approach me about trying Shakeology. I always find a way to gracefully turn the offer down.

About a year ago I started making smoothies for my husband and myself in the mornings. They were full of nutrients and all good things but took a great deal of time to prepare and like most of you that are reading this, mornings are hectic enough as is, without trying to wash, chop and blend a breakfast drink. Most mornings I simply ran out of time, which often left me totally skipping breakfast and Don grabbing a piece of fruit or breakfast bar.

Needless to say, days turned into weeks and before I knew it, I had completely fallen back into my bad habits of running out the door with no breakfast and often nothing planned for lunch. My metabolism was out of whack, I was bloated, and I was at a complete plateau with weight loss (even gaining a few pounds over the course of time).

Now if you know anything about me and my philosophy about eating and exercise, you know I truly believe there are no shortcuts. There is no magic to becoming healthy and fit.

The equation is simple: Eat as clean as possible, keep your portions in check, drink water, and stay active.

Believe me, I know the equation is easier said than done. And being a person who isn’t really tempted by many ‘bad’ food choices, I’m left with the truth that the reason I have problems maintaining/losing weight all revolves around me not getting enough quality nutrients in my body. While all along I’ve been eating quality foods, I’m simply not eating enough of them at the right times during the day.

Fed up with myself and my progress, I was ready to try something new. It was the perfect time to go ahead and give Shakeology a try. And just like with anything, no one wants to go at it alone so I pulled my husband in too. ‘We’re going to give this Shakology a try. Just for a month. What do we have to lose?’

He was a bit apprehensive at first but the convenience of something that nutrient-rich early in the morning was definitely appealing to him. He hits the gym very early in the morning and his body needs the refuel to start a productive day in the office.

So we took the plunge and ordered – he got the Chocolate Shakeology and I opted for the Vanilla flavor. Over the past several weeks we have experimented with a number of different recipes – adding various fruits, peanut butter and even cinnamon.

Neither of us can imagine starting our day without it now so let me tell you the top five reasons I’m a believer:

  1. This is the most efficient way for me to get the nutrients my body desperately needs. Check out this video on the nutritional value of Shakeology.
  2. Drinking Shakeology for breakfast keeps me full throughout the morning. Most other breakfast choices leave me looking for a snack or hungry for lunch early.
  3. I love the taste! The choices for adding fruits and other flavors to your shakes are endless – or they taste great on their own!
  4. It’s convenient – takes me no time at all to blend a shake in the morning so even if I am running late (which is most days) I don’t have to miss out on breakfast.
  5. I no longer feel bloated and icky. Despite my efforts to eat a quality diet, I constantly felt bloated. I believe the combination of nutrients and fiber is just what my body needed.

As I said, I was once a skeptic. I am no longer…I’m now a huge fan and would love for you to try it too.

If you are looking to buy Shakeology in Lombard, Glen Ellyn, or Elmhurst, you should buy local direct from me! You’re just one click away:

If you have any questions, please reach out to me at and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.


The Reality of Calories and Portions

realityLast night I had two women approach me at my Boot Camp Class at Glass Courts asking about what they needed to do for weight loss. Both regularly exercise, but are discouraged by their results.

My first question to anyone interested in losing weight is, “Are you tracking your food?” Now I know I myself have gone back and forth on this issue. There are times that I have become so obsessed with the calories, portions and the breakdown of my nutrients that I’ve had to walk away from tracking. I get how it can become more unhealthy than productive. However, if you’ve never tracked your calories and portions before this can be a very eye opening experience.

I’d like to use my husband as an example of the eye opening experience. I finally convinced him to start using MyFitnessPal with the promise that I would also track my intake. Last night he had several calories still left in the evening (not exactly what I would recommend, since you want to consume your calories early in the day) so he was of course still hungry. It started with salted shelled peanuts, “I can have 14 peanuts.” To which I asked, “Did you ever know before what a portion of shelled peanuts was?” His response, “No, I’d just pour a bowl and eat what was in there.”

Still a little later he was still hungry and made a small plate of cheese, sausage and crackers. As he sat down with me on the sofa he said, “Man, over 400 calories for this little bit.” His eyes are opening to the value of calories for both meals and snacks, as is his awareness of portion sizes.

As someone who does personal training and group fitness, it’s a bit of a professional hazard for me to say this but weight loss and management is 80% about diet and only 20% about your activity levels.

As an example for you, I regularly wear a FitBit Flex. My Boot Camp class was curious how many calories it logged for me while teaching the hour long class which is a combination of exercises with dumbbells, high and low intensity cardio and of course, some abdominal exercises. Last night I checked at the end of the hour long class and it had logged a whopping 282 calories – less than 300 calories for an hour of an intense, sweaty workout! They couldn’t believe it, but I did.

We have to stop believing that an hour in the gym gives us freedom to eat what we want, when we want, with no true regard to portion sizes. Exercise WILL help you build muscle and burn fat, exercise will NOT erase poor choices.

Now I’d like to flip the discussion to those who maybe aren’t necessarily consuming the wrong things, but those who aren’t consuming enough. If you want to lose weight you cannot starve your body of the calories it needs to function. Cutting your caloric intake below your estimated minimum requirements can result in weight loss, however, cutting too many calories may result in your body hoarding all that you eat and storing more fat to prevent ‘starvation.’ Now you know you aren’t starving, but your organs don’t know that and they are designed to do everything they can to keep you alive.

Eating too few calories can be just as damaging to your weight loss goals and metabolism as eating too many.

So what should you do?

  1. Start tracking your intake to get a baseline for where you are. There are tons of free apps and websites, you don’t have to pay money for these tools. Commit to at least a couple weeks to understand your eating habits and caloric consumption.
  2. In tracking your food, check the nutritional breakdown of your overall day. You should be consuming about 50% carbs (these are fruits and veggie carbs – not breads and pastas), 30% healthy fats (avocado, hummus, olive oil, nuts, etc) and 20% protein (lean meats, egg whites).
  3. Start an exercise log. Now I caution, some of the caloric burns that the tracking apps and websites give seem inflated to me. Use these with caution, but again, get a baseline for your true activity levels.
  4. Keep in mind that to lose one pound you must create a deficit of 3,500 calories. That means in a week you need to eat less, burn more or a combination of the two to equate 500 calories a day. Losing 2 pounds a week would mean a 7,000 calorie deficit = 1,000 calories/day!! So stop beating yourself up if you only lose a pound in a week – you’ve done it the right way.

Once you have a sense of where you are, you will have a more realistic idea about how to get to where you want to be. There is no single magic formula that will work for everyone. I personally have found what works for me. But it’s taken some trial and error, I’ve lapsed into bad habits along the way, and I’ve rebounded into healthy eating as well.

Let’s face it, none of us like a reality check, but without one, you could be sabotaging your own efforts for a healthy body.



Reducing Sugar Cravings

It’s no mystery that we are all consuming more sugar than ever before. Between the high fructose corn syrup in processed foods to soda and energy drink consumption to the endless choices in the candy aisle it’s no wonder more and more people are experiencing weight gain.

According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:

Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

If you’re one who is drawn to sweets the battle with sugar is especially difficult. I see this with my husband. He has a sweet tooth and self-regulation set aside, he would choose a box of candy over a piece of fruit any day to satisfy his sugar cravings.

I’d like to offer some tips on how you can diminish your sugar cravings.

Drink More Water

Oftentimes, our cravings, whether it be for sugar or salt, stem from needing hydration. Now believe me, I get it. Water is no substitute for a candy bar or a bag of chips, however, they make awesome water bottles now that allow you to infuse your water with fruit. This allows you to have natural sweetness added to your water and minimizes your sugar intake while increasing your hydration levels. I know there are many products on the market in little squeeze bottles that allow you to add as much or as little flavor to your water, however, this is a manufactured, processed product. Stick with what nature gives you and you will be much more satisfied.

Eliminate Artificial Sugars

So in an attempt to help people lose weight, many manufacturers came out with sugar free products. There are a few problems with these products 1) Because they are sugar free, people tend to consume more thinking they’re not that bad – you still have to consider the calories! 2) Our bodies don’t know how to process artificial sugars so metabolizing these foods and drinks totally messes with our systems. 3) Because our bodies don’t know how to properly process artificial sweeteners, our cravings are never truly met and we are left wanting more!

I love to use Diet Coke as an example. This is my achilles heel. Give me one and I want another and before I know it I’ve drank enough Diet Coke for a family of 4. The artificial flavoring gives me a taste for something sweet, creating a larger craving than where I started. In an effort to quench that craving, I drink another, and still want another.

If you must substitute sugar look for options like xylitol, honey, maple syrup, natural fruit juice, agave nectar, or stevia.

Eat Something Sweet

What? Reduce my cravings by eating something sweet? YES, but choose something natural. Grab a some berries, eat a citrus fruit or some melon. Now you do need to be aware that some fruits contain more natural sugars than others. The Healthy Eating Guide offers a great chart that you can refer to in finding fruits with lower amounts of natural sugars. Keep in mind your servings sizes and always go raw if you can, stay away from anything in a can or box as much as possible. The rule of thumb is a serving of raw fruit should be medium sized or about the size of a baseball and a canned fruit serving is 1/2 cup or the bulb part of a light bulb. Caution: dried fruits can be very high in sugar! Yes, they’re fruit, however, when water is removed from the fruit it sometimes causes a very bitter taste requiring sugar or fruit juices to be added to balance the flavor.

Do a Cleanse

Now I know that cleanses can get a really bad rap. However, in doing one, even for just a few days, you are able to cleanse your palette which, in turn, helps you to take control of your cravings. There are a number of cleanses available. Be cautious and do your research. Would I recommend the cayenne pepper and maple syrup cleanse, absolutely not! Would I recommend a cleanse done through a nutritionist absolutely. I recently completed the BeachBody 3-Day Refresh Cleanse and achieved great results with it. Did I experience weight loss? Yes, but that wasn’t my primary reason. The reason I chose to do it was to jump start myself out of summer binge mode into a more balanced diet. I felt great throughout the 3 days and was able to also eat fruits and vegetables. I highly recommend this cleanse if you are looking for a jumpstart in healthy eating and taking control of your cravings.

Get Moving

Simple enough. Change your activity, change your focus and you might forget all about wanting that hot fudge sundae!

In general, don’t rely on willpower, that is going to ultimately fail you every time. These are just a few of my top ideas for diminishing your sugar cravings. Try them all, switch it up, and try your own – ultimately find what works for you. It IS possible to get control of the cravings.

No Gym Membership? No Weights? No Problem.

I teach a Cardio Sculpt class at The Glass Courts every Wednesday evening. Each week I try to create a new class set because I want to challenge my participants and I never want anyone to be bored with the format.

Last night I designed a class that required nothing but a mat and a paper plate. When I told the class we weren’t using weights they responded with wide eyes, “So it’s all cardio?” No, not all cardio, but a good mix. Trust me. I could tell by the look in their eyes they had reservations.

Fast forward to the end of class, when I asked, “Was it still a quality workout even without weights?” I got many exhausted, sweaty nods, along with comments like, “Next time I won’t doubt you,” and “Challenging and different, I liked it!”

So often I think we get hung up on needing fancy gym equipment to complete a workout and it’s simply not true. I loved to train people out of their homes because I felt like it gave me a great chance to show them how little equipment is required to stay physically fit.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are numerous benefits to resistance training and I encourage people to incorporate weights in their weekly routine, however, a simple body weight workout can be a great way to challenge yourself while building muscle and endurance.

Following is my class set from last night – I’ve included instructions or links to many of the exercises in case you are unfamiliar with the name, form, or movement. This routine should take approx. 1 hour to complete and be sure to stay hydrated!

Warm Up – 5 minutes – in class I do a series of low impact moves, you decide what works best for you

March in place 

Heel Ups (stand with feet wider than hip width and kick your heel towards your butt, pull elbows back as you kick or reach arms to the ceiling and pull down to sides)


Step with a reach across the body (take a wide step to the right and reach your left hand to the right, step left and reach with the right)

Knee cross (raise right knee and bring left elbow across the body to the outside of your right knee, raise left knee and bring right elbow across the body to the outside of your left knee)


Circuit #1 Kickboxing (30 seconds each move = 4 min cardio)

Step kick right (start by kicking to the right, as your right foot returns to the floor step to the left with your left foot, step right with left foot and kick right again, repeat) 

Squat with alternating front kicks

Step kick left (start by kicking to the left, as your left foot returns to the floor step to the right with your right foot, step left with right foot and kick left again, repeat) 

Squat with a jab cross (drop to a squat position, as you raise up punch with your left then your right, repeat)

Back lunge right with a knee raise NOTE: the video shows the use of dumbbells, they are not required

Jab, cross, hook, uppercut

Back lunge left with a knee raise (see above video for back lunge right with a knee raise)

Uppercut with a twist NOTE: the video shows the use of bands, they are not required

Circuit #2 (Mat Work: 1st set 20 reps, 2nd set 10 reps)

Bird dog (right arm, left leg)

Hydrants (left leg)

Leg Raises (left leg; on hands and knees, raise left leg to hydrant pose, then straighten leg so it is perpendicular with your torso, raise and lower the leg)

REPEAT Bird dog, hydrants and raises other side

Push-up with superman (from a push-up position – either from knees or toes – lower all the way to the floor, raise both arms and legs off of the floor, place hands under shoulders and press back into push-up position, repeat)


V-sit Crunch

Single hand toe touch (lying on your back raise right arm and left leg at the same time, reaching fingers towards your toes, complete reps for this side then switch to left arm and right leg)

Circuit #3 (Leg work: 1st set 20 reps, 2nd set 10 reps)

Squat back leg extension

Right side slide out NOTE: I used a paper plate in class, if you don’t have a surface that will allow you to slide your foot out do your best to keep your weight on your left leg)

Left side slide out (see above)

Squat (complete full motion reps then pulse)

Right static lunge (complete full motion reps then pulse) NOTE: video shows movement, this is an option, however, in class I taught lowering and lifting from the lunge position

Left static lunge (complete full motion reps then pulse) (see above)

Plie squat (complete full motion reps then pulse)

Right curtsy lunge with knee lift NOTE: to include the knee lift simply raise your right knee toward your chest after raising from the lunge

Left curtsy lunge with knee lift (repeat above)

Circuit #4 (Mat Work: 1st set 20 reps, 2nd set 10 reps)

Plank with donkey kick (complete all reps on one side, then the other)

Wide grip push-ups

Side plank leg lift right NOTE: you can modify by placing your left knee on the floor, pressing in to a side plank and lifting your right leg

Plank hip dips

Side plank leg lift left (see above)

Plank with spiderman step (holding in push-up position, step your right foot up and place it by your right hand, return to start position, repeat left side)

Plank saw

Full sit up with jab cross (complete a full sit up and punch with the right, then left and return to start)

Repeat Circuits 1, 2 3 and 4


Enjoy your workout!!!!