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!

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.



The Miracle Diet

Between pop-up internet ads, SPAM emails, infomercials and celebrity endorsements it’s no wonder that Americans spend $40 billion a year diet programs and products.

While I won’t deny that some people have experienced success with popular diet programs and products, I want to issue some words of caution.

Pre-packaged Meals

Other than my opposition to “packaged” foods, these types of plans don’t teach you how to make diet modifications on your own. Pardon the pun, but they are “spoon feeding you.” Rather than investing in making food selections you are eating meals that have been created for you. Long-term, this doesn’t teach you success in meal preparation.

No Fat, No Carbs, No Protein

There are diet plans out there for eliminating just about every major food group you can think of. Unless you suffer from a food allergy or medical condition in which your doctor has advised to avoid certain foods, do not buy into the hype that this is the best way to lose weight. Your body needs the nutrients from the various food groups to function properly. Not to mention the inevitable binge you are setting yourself up for when your will power runs out for avoiding that “forbidden” food group.

Diet Pills

The only pills you should take in relation to your weight are those specifically prescribed by a medical doctor. DO NOT purchase off the shelf products. Most of the products are not proven and in fact can do greater damage to your body and metabolism than good.

Liquid Diets

While substituting a meal every once in a while for a fruit and yogurt smoothie or protein shake is certainly doable, maintaining a liquid diet long-term isn’t realistic. Again, this type of approach doesn’t teach you how to sustain healthy eating and food preparation for long-term success.

Weight loss doesn’t need a complicated or an expensive program. What you need to know is this:

Consume less calories than you burn OR Burn more calories than you consume.

There are a number of FREE resources available to you that can help you track your food and activities. Check back tomorrow for a few links to some of the most popular resources.


Get Your ZZZs!

How many hours a night do you sleep? Do you really know?

I have to say prior to a couple weeks I wasn’t fully aware of how little sleep I was actually getting. I started using an app on my iphone that tracks my sleep patterns and it gives me stats on my bed and wake time, how restless my sleep was and my average sleep time over the period of using the app.

I’m happy to say after just over two weeks of use I am finally up to an average of 7 hours of sleep per night, which isn’t quite to the average recommended 7.5 hours/night.

We all know the obvious impact of not getting enough sleep: grogginess, moodiness, depleted immune system. But did you know that lack of sleep may also affect your ability to lose weight?

Let’s take a look at a couple ways that being deprived of sleep can negatively impact your intentions for a healthy lifestyle:

Eating habits: If you are staying up late working or just watching TV you are far more likely to choose an unnecessary late night snack. On the flip side, when you wake up in the morning and you’re exhausted, anything that can provide quick energy seems like a good choice. Unfortunately that might include a fattening gourmet coffee and sugary danish – not the best way to start your day. Bottom line is sleepiness works against our willpower and will often result in reaching for comfort food instead of nutrient rich healthy foods.

Metabolism: Believe it or not, your body’s metabolism actually is more efficient when you get sufficient amounts of sleep. The science behind it has to do with two hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells you when to eat, and with sleep deprivation you have increased levels of it. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop and you have lower levels when sleep deprived. So the equation is simple:

More Ghrelin + Slow Metabolism  + Sleep Deprivation = No Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Motivation: Being tired is a great accelerator for finding reasons to skip a workout. Think about it, your body is already tired, are you really up for putting your everything into a workout that is likely to result in body soreness to top it off? In reality, exercise actually releases chemicals that increase your mood, and energy levels, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

So how do you get more sleep?

  • Set your bedtime and stick to it. Whatever you didn’t get done today will certainly be there tomorrow.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day.
  • Avoid eating near bedtime, especially high-fat heavy foods.
  • Turn off the television and computer at least 30 minutes before bedtime, the bright lights and stimulation can make it difficult to shut down.
  • Avoid exercise too close to bed if it makes it difficult to fall asleep (for some exercise prior to bed does not affect sleep).
  • Try and keep a consistent waking time.
  • Keep your room at a comfortable temperature with adequate bedding. Being too hot or too cold can ruin a good night’s sleep.

I encourage you to create a sleep schedule for yourself and stick to it for a couple weeks. I think you will notice a difference in how you feel and maybe even a change in the numbers on the scale.