Weight Training Tips


I’m here to talk to you today about weight training!

A while back I had a minor injury in my hip. While I was recovering from that, I had to step back a bit from teaching some of my group fitness classes, but during that time I was still comfortable taking the classes and just scaling back. This allowed me to be more in the thick of things and observe other people, both with their weight selections and their form. I noticed some things, and this led me to compile a few tips for weight training.

Before I get to that, though:  why weight train? Specifically talking to the ladies out there: We NEED to be lifting weights!! Don't worry about looking manly; our bodies don't have enough testosterone for that! Weight training will tone and shape our body. It's how you get a tapered waist. It's how you get toned shoulders. It's how you get a round, lifted butt! Also, if you add weight training into your routine, you are going to burn more fat, too, even while rested. It is the #1 type of exercise I recommend to my clients because of allllllll the benefits.

Now, back to those tips:

  1. Weight selection. This is something I notice a lot of people struggling with. I can understand that you may naturally look around and base your weight selections off of what others around you are doing, but there is a better way. When you are choosing weight, you want an amount that allows you to maintain proper form for a majority of the set. It’s okay to have to power through your final reps, but it should be manageable. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve reached the end of the set and you could keep going indefinitely, it might be time to up your weight.

  2. Number of reps. How many reps should you do? A general guideline is when you are lifting heavier, do fewer reps. When the weight is more moderate, do more reps. High reps = Low weight. Low reps = High weight. Always changing number of sets, type of move, and body part worked are KEY to not plateauing. As an example, I love doing 3 sets of 15 reps when I'm lifting moderate weight, and 5 sets of 5 when it's heavier.

  3. Don’t compare yourself to others! I see this all the time in class settings where everyone is doing the same thing. Maintaining proper form and pace is so much better for you than struggling to match your neighbor. Try to keep in mind that what you are doing is personal. You know your body and what your goals are. Taking inspiration from others is fine, but do what is best for you!

  4. Track your training. When I first started taking BodyPump, I could never remember the amount of weight I was doing, but I really wanted to keep track of my progress. I recommend doing what I did, and that’s bringing a notebook or your phone to jot down your weights as you go. It’s so important to see your progress! This is even more important with free-weight training on your own because it helps you remember how much you've lifted previously. Ultimately, we want to increase our weight selection as we build our strength. 

I hope these tips help! Let me know if you have any questions. My goal is that you’ll be inspired to incorporate weight training into your routine!

How to Vacation Without Undoing Your Hard Work!

Punta Cana.jpg

Vacationing is a passion of mine!I And as a health and fitness coach, I'm very much aware of how the choices we make while on vacation can undo some of the progress we've made throughout the year. I want to solve this pain point for my clients and myself! I've spent a lot of time thinking about we can fully enjoy ourselves while on vacation and not come back to reality plus 10. Here are some tips that I practice while traveling:

  1. Plan an active vacation. My 20-year-old self would have rolled her eyes at this tip. Laying by the pool is nice, but the best memories are made doing active things! There is only so long you can rest on a beach before you want to jump in the water! Plan some sort of activity each day to break up your downtime. Find some hiking! Go for a swim! Even strolling through a city can be so wonderful. You get to exercise and make memories at the same time.

  2. Plan out your treats. You are going to indulge in more treats than normal on vacation, and please do! But try to have a game plan to mitigate it. I know vacations can be a bit more spur of the moment, but if you plan ahead, you can figure out when your treats will be in the day and focus on being healthier otherwise. Use moderation and treat yourself with intention!

  3. Assess but don’t obsess. One thing that helps me with my trips is having a dialogue with my husband. We talk about how much we are enjoying the trip but also about how much we are enjoying the food. We talk about how we feel after meals and activities. This helps us keep better in tune with how our choices are affecting us, which, in turn, helps us make better choices moving forward. Let your focus be on how the food makes you feel. 

  4. Keep doing what you are good at. If during your normal life you are very good about certain aspects of your health, such as drinking your water or intermittent fasting, keep doing those things. Those things make you happy and make you feel good, so keep it up!

  5. Water! Drinking water is important all of the time, but it also helps you to detox a bit of the things you are consuming that you don’t normally put in your body. Try to OVERDO on water while on vacation and your hangovers will be less, your bloat will be less, and you will not feel as hungry!

I hope these tips help you enjoy your next vacation without undoing progress!! Cheers to your next adventure!

What Exactly IS Online Coaching?


I’ve been an online coach for five years, and I actually started as a client! Joining my first online group was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it showed me that I had a passion not only for health and fitness, but I also have a passion for teaching people simple ways to improve their health. When you think about it, joining that group launched my career!

When I signed up for my first online program, I was looking to solve some pain points. My main motivation was wanting to get healthy. I was sluggish and tired, and I knew I needed to make my health a priority. Because I had three young kids, I didn’t have the time or the funds to set up a routine with a personal trainer. That’s why online coaching is so useful. Someone is still telling you exactly what to do, but you have more flexibility with regards to time and funds.

After finding my own success with my online coach, I decided to become a coach myself. At first, I just wanted to share the simple things I was doing with others. But that passion has turned into my career! Since beginning 5 years ago, I've worked with 1000's of clients in finding their best health. And more recently, I created my own program: IF You Carb Cycle, which has helped over 200 people transform their lives!

The benefits of online coaching really comes down to three things:

  • Cost

Let’s use my program as an example. My three-week program is only $99. What do you get for that? You get the print manual as a PDF which has everything you need. You also get two or three live trainings. These are done via video chat so you avoid the added cost of meeting with me in person. I go through the rules and answer any questions during these live trainings. The program also includes the private community group where participants are required to check-in daily. This accountability is part of what really works because it is a daily touch point for your progress.

  • Convenience

This was huge for me when I signed up with my first online coach. The convenience of everything being online really is a huge benefit. You don’t need any extra time aside from the meal prep/planning, time for your workouts, and maybe about 10 minutes a day for the work you do with the community group. No need to schedule in-person meetings and then stress about adhering to the set appointments. Everyone has a phone and/or computer, and that's truly all you need for check-ins!

  • Customizability

I’m really proud of the huge age range that I’ve had go through the program. Everyone, no matter their age or athletic ability, has been able to have success because of how customizable IF You Carb Cycle is. We all start at the same point, but you are easily able to change it up based on your body and your needs. This loops back to the checking in. As we go through the program, if you find that some aspects aren’t working for you, or you can’t do them at all, you can contact me. I will work with you to figure out how we can change the program to fit your needs.


If you’ve never looked into online coaching, I really do encourage you to give it a try. That little bit of guidance and support changed my life and showed me what was possible. I want you to find that success, too!!

How Many Calories Should You Be Eating??

This is a popular question with my clients and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.


First, you'll need to identify which category to place yourself based on your goals: losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight. In very simple terms, to lose weight you need to be in a deficit, burning more calories than you consume. In order to maintain your weight, you should burn the same amount as you consume. Gaining weight requires that you eat more calories than you burn.

Let’s use losing weight as an example. To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. Most people have tried these types of diets before, and they usually work, UNTIL the calories are dropped too low. We do not typically do a great job of assessing just how low to drop our caloric intake is. A problem with dropping the calories too low is that this can cause your metabolism to slow down. Over time you are giving your body less and less fuel, and because it has less fuel your body will stop burning fat at a high rate to conserve energy.

Let me give you an example of my own experience with this. I participated in a calorie deficit plan a few years ago, and because of my short height I was in the lowest calorie bracket (about 1,200). This was problematic because not only was I active during the day, but I was also exercising. When you calculate how many calories I burned during those activities, I was likely only getting about 800 calories each day. And that's not enough for anyone!! I was MISERABLE and it's clear now why.

Now that I have learned about Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, I finally understand why I was so miserable while I was doing this plan. I was hungry all of the time! Not only that, but I did not see the changes in my muscle definition that I was going for. I wasn’t seeing muscle tone; I was just getting lean.  

To figure out how many calories your body needs to just EXIST (not counting activity or exercise), you'll want to figure out your own BMR. You can use a simple online calculator for this.

As a guide, my BMR is about 1200, which explains why my low calorie plan wasn’t working! 1200 is the MINIMUM number of calories I should be consuming each day on a day when I just lay in bed. And let me tell you...I can't remember the last time that happened! Long story short, I could have still been in a deficit, but I didn't need for it to be quite so low! 1500-1600 would have been much more reasonable. And enjoyable!

As you learn more about BMR, you might notice symptoms of too-low calorie intake in yourself:

  • Poor Sleep Quality - It can take you a long time to fall asleep, and you wake up in the middle of the night. You wake up not feeling rested at all.

  • Low Energy levels - Because you are not fueling your body properly, you feel sluggish throughout the day.

  • Bad Mood - They don’t call it “hanger” for nothing! If you aren’t getting enough calories, you are miserable, and that will reflect itself in how you act.

Calorie intake can be a huge part of what I call The Study of One. Your body and the way it feels can tell you best if you are getting enough, too little, or too many calories. For example, if you are getting the right amount of calories for your body, you go to bed feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

How do you learn more than just what your body is telling you? I would recommend tracking your calories for a solid week using an app like MyFitnessPal. It is easy to use, it syncs with nearly every brand of smartphone and fitness tracker, and it has a barcode scanner for specific food items. It even has a recipe calculator!

Don’t change anything about your routine; just collect some data. Then, go online and look up a couple of BMR calculators. Try using multiple because you will get different results, but keep in mind that everyone’s body is different, so these will not have 100% accuracy. These BMR calculators are based on an average for height, weight, and age. Compare your intake to the results of these calculations. This will let you know if you are way over or way under.  

Once you have collected data for a week, compare it to your BMR. If, for example, you see that you are eating way too little, you don’t want to suddenly add in another 500 calories. You need to add them in gradually. This is called “reverse dieting”. You want your body to slowly rebuild. You can still keep yourself in a deficit while rebuilding, but chances are your deficit is a lot higher than it needs to be.  Closing the gap can make so many changes in how you feel.

Once you have used this data to calculate how many calories you should be eating, feel free to keep using MyFitnessPal.  Under the settings and profile section, there is a place to input goals. It asks for your current weight and your goal weight. If you don’t know what your goal weight should be, try looking up general guides of ideal weight for various heights, but always remember that these are based off of averages! You may run above or below because of your frame size, so do not be too hard on yourself if you do not fit perfectly into their model.

Next, the app will ask your for the timeframe in which you are looking to lose this weight. A good rule of thumb is to try losing half a pound to a pound per week. Anything more than that is really  an unhealthy expectation, though you may lose weight fast at first if you haven’t exercised or eaten healthily in a long time.

If you go to the bottom of the home screen of MyFitnessPal and click diary, it gives you the option of tracking your macronutrients:  carbs, protein, and healthy fats. I like looking over this at the end of the day to make sure that I am keeping up with my carb cycling. I use this feature to make sure that my healthy fats are higher on my low-carb days and that my carbs are much higher on my high-carb days.

Do you need to track to be successful with your goals? Absolutely not. For the longest time, I didn’t. I hated the idea of tracking everything I ate, and I found the simpler approach of “eat this, not this” much more appealing. What I mean by all of this is, if you feel great and are seeing results, you do not necessarily have to start tracking. As the saying goes, if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.  

Tracking also isn’t necessarily something that is beneficial for everyone.  For example, if your personality type is obsessive, and you cling to things, MyFitnessPal might be distracting. Also, it can be a trigger for eating disorders, if that is something that has affected you in the past.  Tracking can be great, but if it is going to get in your way or affect your mindset negatively, there are other ways to monitor your body.

In my IF You Carb Cycle program, I do not require tracking. I try to leave it up to the clients because it is such an individual preference. Usually, I start with the method of, “eat this today and this tomorrow.” After a few days, I prompt clients to try tracking if it is something that they think will work for them.

I hope this makes you more comfortable with trying out MyFitnessPal and calorie tracking. If you have any questions, as always, feel free to reach out to me!

The Real Flex Friday

I want to talk to you guys about something that I think is really important: the real Flex Friday. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of hashtags and instagram posts of people flexing with #flexfriday, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  It means something different to me now, and I really want to share it with you.  Flex Friday is a great strategy that I like to use, and I am passionate about incorporating it into my IF You Carb Cycle program.


To those of us in the program, Flex Friday (and it doesn’t have to be a Friday, by the way) is the one day of the week where we don’t pay attention to any of the food rules.  In carb cycling we alternate between high-carb and low-carb days, and we try as hard as we can to stick with it. Flex Friday is the one day out of the week where we can just relax and build treats into our routine.  I love to have my flex days on my Friday because it gives me something to look forward to, but you can schedule it within your week to fit your needs.

There are a lot of wonderful benefits to having a flex day.  I have tried many different strategies for fitting treats into my eating schedule.  I’ve tried living the 80/20 rule, which I still think is a great place to start.  80/20 is an eating plan where 80% of your time you are eating clean, and 20% you are relaxed. I’ve also tried mini-flex days throughout the week.  Out of anything I’ve tried, though, I feel like what gets me on track the fastest is the one day a week.

When you know that you have one day a week to relax with your eating, it becomes a reward.  It gives your body and your brain time to rest.  Starting a new nutrition or fitness plan takes a lot of brain space.  Until you get into the swing of things, you spend a lot of time and effort wondering about the different foods that you are eating, and that’s okay!  It is a bit like a part-time job, but even with a part-time job, you need days off.  I have a lot of clients say that they would rather keep going than take a flex day, but I always try to steer them towards at least one treat during that day, just so they do not get burned out.  

Your metabolism also benefits from flex days.  When you are used to eating a certain way, throwing a flex day in forces your body to re-adjust back to your healthier eating.  This is called a “refeed day” in the fitness world. It is like hitting a reset button so that you do not plateau.

During my program we don't eliminate any food groups. We eat clean foods, and we are strategic about where during the week we place our carbs. The things that are more of a treat, like alcohol, sugar, bread or pasta, we try to keep on flex day.  So, if you are craving ice cream (like I am right now!), try and save that for a flex day.  When it comes around, you can have that ice cream, and you will enjoy every bite because you PLANNED on it!

If you want to be part of a non-restrictive lifestyle that still allows for the occasional planned treat, then IF You Carb Cycle might be for you. Click here to read more!

Business Tip: Finding Time for Your Side Hustle


I want to talk to you guys about how to make time for your side hustle.  So, I’m looking at you stay at home moms, full-time workers, and anyone else who finds their days loaded down with responsibilities.  These tips are to help you work your side hustle in when you can and make it grow.

I know the struggle very well.  When I started my own hustle about 5 years ago, I had three kids under the age of three!  Finding the time to do anything other than just living and trying to care for my young family was really hard, but I wanted this side hustle to work.  I saw value in it, I believed in it, and I really got so much enjoyment from it.  To be completely honest with you, I think the biggest reason I had the motivation to stick with it was because I appreciated the little breaks here and there from my family and my “mom duties”.  I worked really hard to find enough time to grow my business but still be the best mom I could be at the same time.  

Along the course of my journey, I developed quite a few tips and strategies, but I’ll stick to my four most important to start:

Four Tips to Find Time for Your Side Hustle:

1.  Schedule Office Hours and Protect Them!  

(No, seriously.  Protect them like crazy!)

This is going to look different for everyone.  For me, I always scheduled my office time during nap time or, now, when my daughter is at preschool.  You will not find me cleaning during office hours.  You will not find me cooking.  I even try not to work out during that time.  That is time for my business!  That’s the time when I’m in my office with my computer and to-do list, and I am focused.  Something like dishes can be a spur of the moment chore, but office hours need my full focus and attention, and that takes effort to carve out in a day.  

Maybe for you, if you are working full-time, that means you work early in the morning or even between dinner and bed.  Your lunch hour is an option, too!  I know life is busy, and we are all so busy these days, but if you want to keep your side hustle successful, you have to find time to fit it in.

2.  Prioritize

(Ask yourself, “Is this TV time really adding value to my life?”)

This goes right along with protecting those office hours.  Our days are already so full that making time for office hours is going to require some sacrifice. In my case, there were years where instead of decompressing at night in front of the TV or relaxing with a book, I would be working.  I gave up a lot of things, but it has paid off for me, and my side hustle has become a full-time income for my family.

Try and think of some things that are taking up time that could really be used for your business.  What could you give up, or at least move to a back burner?  This doesn’t mean that you are never going to watch TV again.  I just means that you are prioritizing things that are important for you, and maybe, for the time being, TV goes.

3.  Keep Lists

(Who has time during their office hours to wonder, “What are my business activities?”)

Trying to fit a little bit extra productivity in our days is basically the definition of a side hustle, but that means when you sit down, you better work!  You can’t waste time thinking, “What am I doing today?”  I have a list going all of the time in my office to keep me on track.  I also use Evernote on my phone to make notes while I’m out (It’s a great app because you can pull it up anywhere and link your content between devices!).  I keep these lists so that when I sit down in front of my computer for my office hours, I can grind it out quickly.

These lists aren’t just useful for during your scheduled office hours.  For example, now that my youngest is the only one at home with me during the day, there are times when she’s gone off to play by herself, so I’ll bust over to the office for some work.  That’s when it is so helpful to have lists of what I want to do.  Also, she starts kindergarten in the fall, so my whole schedule is about to change!  Times when everything is in flux are when lists are essential to squeeze in work where you can.

4.  Visualize Your Goals

(Surround yourself with what you want to accomplish so your eye never leaves the prize!)

Grinding it out and having a side hustle can be exhausting.  So often after a long day at work or with the kids, nothing sounds better than kicking our feet up with a glass of wine, but that just isn’t going to move us closer to our goals.  I find that keeping my goals everywhere in my space reminds me why I hustle.  Above my desk I have a white board, and I have my word for the year, and under that I have a few very important tasks for the week.  It’s just right there.  It can be your yearly goals, your quarterly goal, or even just your reason for your hustle.  It can be anything.  I also find that journaling helps me stay focused and reflect on my goals on a daily basis.  Having these goals all around you is like having a support system of your own ideas.

The thing is, grinding out your side hustle is hard.  Sometimes it can feel so fun and easy, but other times you would really rather just read a book or get a pedicure.  It’s just like exercise! Working out can be so much fun and feel great, but having some strategies in place on the rough days can save you from breaking a routine.  That’s why I think these tips are so important. Protecting your offices hours, prioritizing your tasks, making lists, and visualizing your goals can really help you keep on track and make your side hustle a success!

I hope all of these tips were helpful.  Please, message me if you have any questions, and I hope you guys have a great day!

P.S.:  Entrepreneur Academy!

Guys, I am working on putting my online Entrepreneur Academy into a downloadable work-as-you go self-paced program. I can’t wait to share it with you in just a few weeks!! If you want to be the first to know when this is available, send me a message! XO

ALL the Drinks!

Hey Everybody!

Today I want to talk to you about drinks!  These are drinks that I incorporate into my healthy living, and are great options for you, too!  Before I get into it, though, I just want it to be clear that I don’t drink all of these every day; I’d float away!  Instead, use this list as a guide for choosing your beverages.


Still Water:  This is my beverage of choice.  I know that sometimes reaching your water consumption goal can seem like a chore, so I try to make it enjoyable in little ways.  Try to find a container or a cup that you really love because you’ll love using it!  I’m aiming for about 70 ounces of water every day, and you should be, too.

Flavored Water:  These can be such a great way to make drinking water more fun!  I found a great flavored water recently called Hint, and it’s called that because it just has a little hint of fruit.  The pineapple is my favorite!  Of course you could also simply put frozen fruit in the water.  It’s a great idea during the summer, and it’s a much better choice than a sugary sports drink.

water recipes.jpg

Sparkling Water:  My husband just loves when I bring home flavored sparkling water.  I’d actually say that he’s a little addicted to it, but what a harmless thing to be addicted to!  It’s fun because it’s carbonated, so it kind of takes the place of pop without all of the sugar.  On the weekends we sometimes like to make a little cocktail with some muddled berries, vodka, and flavored sparkling water.  It’s so good and so healthy (or as healthy as a cocktail can be)!  If you’re trying to break your pop habit, try giving sparkling water a try!

Hot Drinks

Coffee:  It is absolutely no secret, I love coffee.  I always put raw honey in my coffee; I only use about a teaspoon or so.  I’m still fasting when I drink my coffee, so I try to stay under about 50 calories or so, and I technically won’t break my fast that way.  I’ll also splash in whatever coffee creamer I have on hand, usually an almond or a coconut creamer.  Sometimes, if it’s a low-carb day, and I’m using high amounts of fat for energy, I might use a little heavy whipping cream.  I also like a little cinnamon.

Now, once in a while, if I’m having coffee later after I’ve broken my fast,  or not fasting at all that day, I use MCT oil.  It is pure coconut oil, and I just add a splash.  It is so good for you and super delicious!




Tea:  I’ve been really big into tea lately.  It’s such a warm, healthy drink to enjoy during the cold months.  I find that the fruit flavors, like peach, help mask other supplemental things you may be adding to it, like apple cider vinegar (which I certainly don’t drink because it tastes good!).  I also like to add a little bit of raw honey to make it even more of a treat.

Good for the Gut

Apple Cider VInegar:  So, this one kind of counts for a drink!  Apple cider vinegar is a daily thing for me because I’ve noticed such a difference in my skin tone!  I try to have a tablespoon or so every single day, and my skin has cleared up!  It’s so good for your gut, and so much of your health starts there.  I even give it to my kids, but I have to sneak it in when I can (usually some tea with honey is a good way)!



Kombucha:  This is an acquired taste, but I actually kind of crave it now.  I’ve tried to make my own, but, let’s be clear, I’m actually kind of lazy about that.  I’d really just prefer to get something ready made (my favorite brand is GTS).  Just make sure that if you aren’t going to drink the whole bottle, you pour it into a glass so that you aren’t mixing your own bacteria with the good bacteria in the kombucha.

Cleanse Juices:  I’ve started doing a 24-hour fast with a juice cleanse one day a month.  I order from The Weekly Juicery, and it comes with six juices.  They have a tiny bit of fruit juice for flavor, but they are packed with a TON of veggies and other healthy ingredients.  The juices flood your body with wonderful ingredients, and because the fiber is filtered out, you're continuing to fast. If you want to try the juice cleanse, click here!




Shakeology:  I'm a big fan of Shakeology.  It’s higher in carbs, so on my low-carb days I’ll have a normal protein shake instead, but the taste and nutrients in Shakeology are just so good.  It is meant to be a meal replacement because it has so many nutrients aside from protein, but I usually use it just to supplement what I’m already having that day.  I’ll have this a few times a week.

Protein Powder:  Protein is essential for feeding our muscles when we are working out, and protein shakes are a great way to make sure we are getting enough.  I love protein shakes for snacks, but I also like to keep some powder around to cook with.  Things like cookies or pancake batter can really get an extra boost, and a healthy addition, with a scoop of protein powder.

BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids):  These are really handy for the intermittent faster.  If you’re working out in the morning before you break your fast, you want to protect your muscles from breaking down because you’re not feeding them.  BCAAs coat your muscles, allowing you to burn fat instead.  It also helps you not be as sore and to bounce back faster.  This is especially great if you are new to working out or are just getting back into it.  It’ll keep you from breaking your routine to recover from soreness.

Pre-workout:  My favorite pre-workout is called Start.  It’s a clean pre-workout with no artificial stuff added in.  It does have caffeine, so I try to be careful about how much I am taking in.  If I know I am going to have extra coffee that day, for example, I will skip the pre-workout.  When I do drink it, though, it just wakes me up, and it gives me enough of an edge to tackle my workout. It really helps me get through teaching early morning classes coherently, as well!!

For free shipping from my favorite supplement store, check out 5 Star Nutrition! When you mention my name you'll get 25% off!


Orange Juice:  I like brands that are simply oranges with no added sugars or anything else.  The thing to keep in mind, though, is that this kind of juice is not essential for our health!  Juice contains a lot of sugar!  However, I do drink orange juice a few times a week on my high-carb days. I only drink a little bit each time, though (maybe 4 oz).

Milk:  My kids drink cow's milk in their cereal and my son drinks it ALL DAY.  I usually have almond milk or, preferably, coconut milk myself.  We’ve tried to switch my kids to non-dairy milk, but we just can’t yet.  In the meantime, what we buy is whole, vitamin D milk. Yeah, you read that right! This was hard for me because I used to buy skim milk and fat-free everything, but all that really is is just milk with so much (both good and bad) taken out and water added.  If you’re going to buy milk, just buy the vitamin D milk and monitor your intake of it.  

Wine:  So, I really just include this here because I wanted to talk about how, when I do drink, which is really only once or twice a week or so, I choose a red wine.  They say it’s good for your heart.  It’s just a low-calorie drink that is as health conscious as possible.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have sugary cocktails, but I try to make sure to save those for vacations or really special treats.


I hope that these suggestions help you decide what to drink throughout your day.  Keep in mind that I don’t have ALL of these every single day.  Just practice moderation and balance. Sometimes we need to eat or drink something just because it’s good for us.  Not everything has to taste like a party in your mouth.  At the same time, treating yourself on occasion with moderation is totally okay, too.

How Healthy Is Your Gut?

Katie Harlan Logo-06.png

I am so excited to tell you all about a topic that I’ve been really interested in, which is gut health and leaky gut.  I started reading about it when I was thinking about how people can be doing what seems to be everything right with regards to diet and exercise and still be dealing with health issues!  Gut health is fundamental for our overall well-being, and I am so excited to share this with you. The following comes from an interview I did in the fall with Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and Functional Nutritionist. Her information is at the end of this article if you want to reach out to her for more info!

“What is leaky gut?”

Leaky gut has become kind of a catch-all phrase that describes the impact on your small intestine's hyperpermeability.  This is just a fancy way of saying that the tissue in the small intestine has been compromised.  When you have compromised cell tissue, you have proteins and foods that will leak directly, and that can lead to a lot of health problems.  It’s not something that everyone is dealing with, but it is becoming increasingly common in the United States.

“Can my diet cause leaky gut?”

Absolutely!  So much of the sickness we are seeing today is related to, for lack of a better term, the standard American diet.  We’re talking about a highly processed diet that is so far removed from years ago when soil had more vitamins and minerals and we weren’t pumping animals full of hormones.  Sugary drinks can be culprits, too!

“Antibiotics seem to upset my stomach.  Are they related to gut health?”

First of all, antibiotics can play such an important role in medicine, and I do not want to say that they are not valuable.  Antibiotics are designed to kill the bacteria that make you sick, but one of the detrimental things that they can do is wipe out your good gut flora (healthy bacteria), especially if you are on them chronically or for prolonged periods of time.

70-80% of our immunity is in the gut, so if we wipe out the good bacteria there, we run the risk of long term impact, including leaky gut.  This can lead to things such as Hashimoto’s, eczema, or lupus.  Also, when you’ve been on antibiotics heavily at a young age, autoimmune symptoms can emerge later on in life.  

“So, if antibiotics can cause symptoms to flare up, does that mean probiotics are a good idea to maintain gut health?”

There is definitely value in probiotics, though purchasing quality products is important.  Over the counter probiotics can sometimes have bacteria that is dead before it even makes it to market.

Another thing to keep in mind is variety.  Your gut is like a rainforest.  Take a moment to think of how many organisms live in a rainforest.  A lot, right?  Your gut is the same way.  That’s why seeking out a specialist is important, so that you can receive a quality product that has enough variety to benefit you.  

“What are leaky gut symptoms?  Is this something I can self-diagnose?”

A lot of the symptoms are GI related such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.  Food sensitivities can also be linked to leaky gut.  Also, a surprising amount of skin conditions start in the gut, too, ranging from acne all the way to auto-immune issues like psoriasis.

Try to shy away from self-diagnosis, though.  Just start with diet.  Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods, such as pickled food, and try to scale back and change up the processed foods that you’re eating.  If your symptoms persist, seek out a specialist for testing, which can range from food sensitivity testing to a full blood panel.  

“Okay, so properly recommended probiotics and diet change can help.  Anything else?”

Yes!  So, something we often overlook is how stressed our day-to-day lives can be.  No one is immune to it.  If your mindset is not in the right place while you are eating, it will affect your digestion.  Take a tip from the European way of life.  They make an event out of every meal, savoring the food and lingering to enjoy each other’s company.  While this may not be practical for every meal every day (especially if you have little ones), try to take 10 or 15 minutes out of your day to just sit, relax, and enjoy a meal.  

“So, if I think I should be tested, how should I find a specialist?  Is a naturopathic specialist an option?”

As long as health providers are functionally trained, they can administer tests for leaky gut. Naturopathic doctors are an option, but how much freedom that have all relies on state’s laws. There is an organization called The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and they have a website, IFM.org, that lets you plug in your zip code and look for a functionally trained healthcare provider.

I hope you guys find this information helpful!  Gut health is just another aspect of our bodies as a whole.  It’s important to gather all the information about ourselves that we can so that we can form the best plan for ourselves and our bodies.

*Information taken from an interview with Cynthia Thurlow.

Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner and Functional Nutritionist

Website:  Chtwellness.com
Email:  Cynthia@chtwellness.com


IF You Carb Cycle FAQs

What does "carb cycling" mean?

Carb cycling is just a fancy word for being strategic about when we eat carbohydrates. Placing them intentionally in our diet is incredibly effective for burning fat.

Can I still have carbs?

Yes! That’s the best part of this program! No giving up entire food groups, instead, we cycle between days of high carbs and days of low carbs to keep our bodies guessing. On your low carb days you will aim to eat 50 grams or less of net carbs (carbs - fiber).

What is IF?

IF stands for intermittent fasting. It is a simple nutritional strategy that focuses on eating within a shortened eating window, instead of eating all day long.

Will you provide the workouts?

No, I do not provide workouts for you in this program. Instead, I will guide you as to what workouts are best with each type of “day” in order to maximize the effectiveness of our carb cycling. If you want more direction with workouts, you might enjoy joining my VIP Membership group, where I provide daily workouts, monthly recipes, and continued accountability.

Can I do this program as a vegetarian? How about as a vegan?

I’ve had several vegetarians complete this program successfully! They might eat a higher amount of carbohydrates on a low carb day than non-vegetarians, but they will still be able to effectively cycle their carbs. While I have had a vegan go through my program successfully, I think it is a challenging combination to try cycling carbs while avoiding any animal products. It can be done, but carbs are a heavy component of the vegan lifestyle, so it’s a bit trickier to avoid them.

I heard there was a 24 hour fast during the program. Do I have to do that?

Nope! We implement an optional 24-hour fast during our 3rd week to maximize the benefits of fasting and to experience a true digestive reset. It is also an exercise in mental stamina! If you don’t want to participate in the fast you certainly don’t have to.

How long is the program?

The program lasts for 3 weeks, with an option to repeat or to continue on in the VIP Membership group. I purposely designed this program to be 3 weeks because people get tired of checking in after that time period, and the check-ins are vital!

Do I have to exercise for this program to work?

No, you can still achieve great results without exercising, but adding the exercise component will accelerate your results!

Do I need to purchase supplements?

No, supplements are not a required part of this program. I discuss the supplements that I take in week 2 of the program in case you are interested in adding them to your routine.

I don’t like to cook, how can I be successful?

It’s hard to have great results if you are eating out frequently. But I also recognize that cooking every night is not realistic for everyone. I encourage you to make a weekly meal plan, where you plan the meals for the week. My cookbook has excellent ideas for crockpot meals and thrown-together meals that help make dinners easy! And you can feel confident that they are perfect for your plan.

Is there a lot of prep work required for this program?

Not any more prep work than I think you need to be successful at putting your health first! Taking care of yourself should feel like a part time job. I do not require hours and hours of prep work, but the more time you give yourself to make a plan, prepare your food, and get a bit organized, the better you will do!

If you are ready to change your life and start living in your best health, sign up here!


The Most Effective Workouts for Burning Fat

Happy New Year!! Is it still appropriate to say that?? Well, I'm going to say it as long as I can because I freaking LOVE that greeting! It immediately makes me happy and hopeful all at the same time. Do you agree?

I'm seeing A LOT more people in the gyms and a lot of people posting about their goals and resolutions this month, which I just LOVE! It's so exciting to see people striving to improve their lives. So I thought it would be helpful to talk about exercises that are the best for burning fat, while improving muscle tone (doesn't EVERYONE want that??).



HIIT workouts are a great way to support your cardiovascular and overall health. HIIT combines periods of intense, heart-pumping movement with rest intervals in between. It’s an amazing way to burn calories and fat for hours after you finish your workout. Plus, HIIT workouts can help you lower your blood sugar.

Studies show that 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour! That right there is reason enough to convince me that HIIT is the way to go!  But that’s not all it will do for you.  HIIT will also build endurance, burn calories and fat in less time, boost metabolism and help your heart.

Remember, do your HIIT workouts (or other speed-burst training) on low-carb days.  This will jump start fat burning and get results fast!

Lifting Weights

Strength training develops your lean, calorie-burning muscle.  If you want to see changes in your body, you need to lift heavy!  It won’t bulk you up.  In fact, it has the opposite effect.  It will help you burn more calories and fat and help you look toned and fit.

Lifting weights will not only protect your bone health and muscle mass, but it’s how you get stronger (sorry cardio lovers, but it’s true).  You’ll be fitter overall, and it also helps you develop better body mechanics.

Make sure that you’re hitting all of your major muscle groups every week. Follow a well-rounded plan that works your arms, shoulders, back, chest, core, glutes, and legs.

Stop Overdoing it on the Cardio

Cardio doesn’t build muscle mass.  Since we know now that lean muscle burns calories, overdoing it on cardio WON’T help you lose fat.  In fact, over time your body will get used to your routine and you’ll start burning fewer calories during your workouts.

If you do a lot of cardio, especially if you don’t take the time for recovery or other forms of exercise, your body gets tired and stressed.  You can even develop overuse injuries if, for example, you run too much.

Doing cardio-only exercises can actually put you at higher risk for joint pain and injury.  This goes right back to muscle mass.  When it’s too low, it puts pressure on your body and can cause serious damage over time.  Strength training is necessary for increasing and maintaining bone density, strong tendons and ligaments.

Putting It All Together

Carb Cycling, HIIT and Strength Training, used strategically, are an amazing combination to help you burn more fat, increase strength, and hit your fitness goals!  If you want help with learning and implementing the strategies of carb cycling and intermittent fasting, paired with these effective workouts, you might consider my IF You Carb Cycle program. We start another round on January 29th! Check it out by clicking here.

The Holidays are Over, Now What??


It's January 2nd!! The holidays are over and if you're like most people, you indulged in December. That's okay! It's time to get back on track and I've got some quick ways to feel like yourself again!

1. Load up on water!

It seems that holidays are a time for food, family, friends, and...less water? It's true for me and it is for most people, too! Instead of our water bottles, we're drinking more cocktails, wine, and hot chocolate, Make a solid effort to get at least 70 oz in for a week straight and then you most likely won't have to think about it. 

I use a water bottle with oz marks so I know I only have to fill it up three times per day. Buy yourself a cute new one (or three!) for the new year so that you look forward to filling it up each day!

2. Reduce your carbs for a few days.

I carb cycle, so I alternate days of eating lower carb with days of eating high carb meals, but directly after a holiday of indulging I like to give myself a few extra low carb days. Because Lord knows I had plenty of carbs over the Holidays!

As a reminder, carbs are fruit, oats, rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, etc. Other than potatoes I don't pay attention to the carb content in veggies. That keeps it simple!

3. Extra cardio.

My weekly workout plan usually has 2 cardio sessions per week, but the first week or so back from a holiday or vacation I like to add a few extra cardio sessions in place of my strength training so I can SWEAT out the toxins (think sugar, alcohol, indulgences). Not to mention you'll drop a few extra pounds quickly this way.

4. Log your food.

I don't log food year-round but it is certainly helpful after a few weeks "off." Nothing keeps me accountable like SEEING the calories and macronutrients in the foods I'm eating. It's also tedious, so it keeps me from just snacking on some m and m's here and some toffee there. Use My Fitness Pal for easy logging.

5. Tell someone!

Listen, we are social creatures. We weren't meant to do hard things alone! Tell your friends and family that you're getting back to it. Hang up your goals where everyone can see them. Ask friends to meet you at the gym. Post on social media. Do whatever you need to do to add a little extra accountability to your goals. And please reach out if you need help!! 



My Thoughts on Quick Fixes

We all know that quick fixes don't last. And most of us have tried a quick fix with our nutrition and fitness, even though we know that they are not a permanent solution. Perhaps we've done it in preparation for a trip or event, or just to help us get some quick wins to motivate us onward. I've certainly tried quick fixes in the past and I was miserable, hungry, and got results that were not built on anything I could continue with beyond the short time frame.


The older I get the more I find joy in chasing health every day, not an aesthetic or image. And that is so freeing!! When I look back at some of the quick fixes I've tried in the past, HEALTH was never at the heart of them. And that's why they didn't work.

The program I wrote and designed is only a 3 week program, and some people think I'm promoting a "quick fix" because of that, so I wanted to take a moment to elaborate on that. I have been hosting online "accountability groups" for nearly 5 years now. Prior to writing my own program, I helped people complete other programs, improve health habits, and stay focused on their goals. The accountability piece was HUGE in helping them reach their goals. I hosted groups of all different lengths: 2 months, 1 month, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 5 days, etc. And through a lot of trial and error I discovered that people thrived with groups that lasted 3 weeks. It was the perfect amount of time to stay focused; any longer and I noticed that my clients were losing interest in checking in with me each day. So when I wrote my program, I knew that 3 weeks was the right amount of time for accountability.

In my three week program IF You Carb Cycle we learn about intermittent fasting, carb cycling, proper supplementation, gut health, creating our study of one, how to incorporate the right types of exercise into our routine, and we also discuss tracking our macros. Some clients find that this is enough time to develop new habits and continue on their own. And some clients want continued support. Which I why I created a support system to help them beyond the three weeks.

My VIP Membership is the bridge from my program to living the lifestyle outside of the 3 weeks. The membership offers the opportunity to continue daily check-ins and support for those clients who thrive with accountability. Every member is also given their own login and password to access the online portal that has daily workouts, recipes, and upper level training from our guest expert of the month. January's guest expert is teaching us how to customize our macros.

This community has truly become one of my favorite places because it is full of supportive women who are chasing good health every day!

So no more quick fixes for me, and certainly not for my clients either!! Three weeks is a jumping off point, perfectly timed to hold their interest and get them feeling AMAZING, but after the three weeks, they will incorporate what they've learned into their LIFESTYLE.

Gift Ideas for the Fitness Lover

Ho ho ho!!! I'm here with some fun ideas for the fitness lover in your life!! These ideas come straight from ME and what I would LOVE to be gifted with for Christmas! 

A Juice Cleanse!

Guys, these juices are one of my favorite parts of every month!! But they aren't cheap! It's truly an investment in your health. So gifting someone one of these is a really sweet way to show that you care! 

Click here to order!


New Workout Pants

There is nothing better than an amazing pair of workout pants, and I have some that are on major sale through January 1st!  The pants on the left are the NEW Gray Ombre Leggings and they are only $39!!! The pants on the right are the Navy Amazing Seamless Leggings and they are only $35!!

Get them here!


The Gift of a Great Book

One of my all-time favorite books that help me get in the right mindset to make and sustain change is the Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy. This book is full of ideas for improving our health, our relationships, and our careers. It's a staple on my shelf! 

I LOVE listening on Audible! But it's also available in paperback and on Kindle!

Compound Effect.jpg

An amazing, simple, and delicious set of new recipes!

I'm not joking when I say that I reference this cookbook at least 3x per week! It is full of my favorite family recipes that we can feel good about eating. And the best part is, the recipes are SIMPLE. 

Grab your copy here!

S and S Cover.png

If you need more ideas for the fitness lover in your life, don't hesitate to reach out! I'm happy to help you pick something he or she will love!!

What does "carb cycling" mean?


For a solid year now, I have been carb cycling, and I have never felt better!! I teach my clients how to effectively cycle their carbs for maximum results, too, and they LOVE the freedom this way of eating gives them because they don't have to give up any food groups to be successful. 

What exactly IS carb cycling??

Carb cycling is the intentional variation of carbohydrate intake each week.  As the name suggests, you'll cycle through higher and lower carbohydrate intake. Most carb cycling plans consist of alternating high carb days and low carb days. For maximum results, your carb cycle should correspond with workouts to maximize fat burn and energy levels.

So How Does it Work?

On low-carb days, you deplete your body’s glycogen stores. Your workouts on low-carb days are designed to get your body to fuel your workout with its glycogen stores in the muscles and liver. When you work out, you’ll have very little sugar in your bloodstream, which causes the body to use glycogen. By relying on these energy stores, you don’t need to eat to fuel your workouts.  

Not only that, but your body will also naturally begin to use its fat stores for energy on low-carb days, too.

On high-carb days, your body gets the food it needs to rebuild its energy stores. However, because the body first uses glycogen and then fat for energy, it will begin to replace its glycogen stores before it stores fat. So, even though you’re consuming carbs, your body isn’t storing excess carbs as fat because it’s busy building glycogen back up. Because of this, carb cycling is highly effective at helping your body burn fat, even when you’re not restricting calories.

What Else Can Carb Cycling Do for Me?

Carb cycling can do more for you than just teach your body to burn fat.  Carb cycling can also:

  • Increase your metabolism

  • Lower your body’s insulin

  • Help counteract insulin resistance

Carb cycling allows for planned high-carb days that increase thyroid output and help control hunger.  Planned low-carb days will offset the high-carb days. With this type of cycle, you’ll continue to see fat loss, increased energy levels and improvements to your overall body composition.

When you’re active, your body uses glycogen (carb storage) for fuel once it’s used up all of the glucose (sugar) in your blood. When you deplete your body’s glycogen, it works to rebuild it using carbohydrates from the food you eat. That way, you’re not eating an excess of carbohydrates, which will be stored as fat, and you’re not slowing down your metabolism, which happens when you eat low-carb all the time. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s your key to fat loss.

On January 8th I will begin working with another group of women who are ready to implement this super effective strategy. We will partner THIS strategy with intermittent fasting (IF) for maximum results. 

Check out what Janice M. had to say about the program: "I am thrilled with my results. Down 6.4 lbs and lost 9 inches! I didn't take a picture, but really didn't need it as I can see the differences and feel them even more!"

Friends, this is in only 3 WEEKS!!! And the beauty of this program is that if you want support beyond the 3 weeks, you can simply transition into my VIP Membership program afterwards. It is the only thing you need in the New Year! Month after month my clients are telling me how effective this program is at helping them lose fat, transform their bodies, and FEEL amazing. If you are ready to make a real change to your health in 2018, sign up today!! Click here to reserve your spot!


Do You Have a Business Plan for 2018?

I get SO excited every year at this time because it is when I start doing my planning for the year ahead. I wanted to share some tips that make goal setting more fun and productive so that you can implement these strategies, too!

1. First, I buy a new planner that makes me happy to look at!

I'm all about digital tools, but when it comes to goal setting, a perfectly sharpened pencil and paper planner are essential. I like the monthly planners best with some room to write monthly goals and push projects.

2. Secondly, I schedule a meeting with my husband to strategize.

Bringing my husband into my business has been a great strategy for growth. Once we made the transition from "this is my business" to "this is our business" there was an entirely different feeling of support from my husband. And that's not to say that he wasn't supportive before; but giving him some ownership increased his stake in the company's success, and therefore his help!

We actually schedule the meeting in his office during the week because we have found that trying to talk about business goals, finances, and strategies is quite challenging at night after a full day! So we work when we are both fresh. And of course I bring Starbucks because it's a fun reward!

3. I goal set in months, then quarters, then the full year.

It is easier to goal set when you break it into bite-sized pieces. So we work month-by-month, starting with January. This way, we are able to allocate for super busy family months (like June and August for example) and adjust the goals down slightly. Every month's goal is unique and aligns with our priorities as a family and as business owners. Once we have set monthly goals, we can look at quarters and decide what the focus is for each quarter. And then of course, we can better see our goals for the full year.

4. Allow ample time for goal setting each week.

Not only is it important to set goals at the end of a calendar year for the following year, but it's vital to be evaluating and readjusting your goals throughout the year, too. Try to schedule 20 minutes each week to look over your goals and allow this time to help you set your business activities. Your goals should create your action plan.


Halloween Survival Tips

Katie Coffee

I LOVE Halloween!! It is in my favorite season, comes with comfy sweatpants and cozy fires, and it begins the holiday stretch <3  BUT, with it comes some wellness challenges and I thought today would be a great day to talk about navigating this season without gaining weight or undoing your hard-earned progress! Let's get to it:

  • DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy any candy until the day before Halloween (or that day!)!

It doesn't matter if it is on sale. Your health is worth spending a few more dollars. Having that temptation in your house won't help anyone, including your kids! Can we agree on this? Keep the candy OUT until Halloween. You know there will be candy in your house for a few days after the holiday, so let's not add to that timeline with candy BEFORE Halloween.

  • When going to a party, bring something healthy!

I want you to be that "annoying healthy person"! Is that really such a bad thing to be?? Be the person who shows up to parties with a veggie tray, fruit platter, chickpea dip, etc. Actually, become KNOWN for that! It's funny how over the years this has become my role at family gatherings, and while my family teases me about it, I know they all appreciate having healthy options! If you bring something healthy, you know that you have a go-to food you can enjoy. Plus, you're giving all the party-goers a healthy option too!

  • Give yourself one or two days to enjoy the treats, then move on!

Allow yourself to enjoy Halloween guilt-free, and maybe even the day after, then get back to it! Remove the temptations, make a solid meal plan, schedule your gym time, and do what you're used to doing as far as living in your BEST health is concerned. It's important to enjoy the holidays without guilt, and it's equally important to hop right back into your routine! It will feel glorious to eat clean after all that candy :) 

Top Characteristics of Successful Clients


Hi There!

I have worked with hundreds of clients on their nutrition and fitness over the past 4+ years. During this time I've noticed some things that are common among the clients who are successful at reaching their goals and I wanted to chat through some of those things today.

Common Characteristics of Successful Clients:

  • They keep it simple:
    • Clients who don't obsess over specifics do better! Why? Because the success isn't really in the details, but in the BIG PICTURE, right? An extra tsp of honey in your coffee isn't going to make or break you. Having your protein shake an hour later than you want won't make a difference. Keep the big picture and mind and work on the details once you get the main ideas down. Like writing an essay!
  • They have a long-term mentality
    • When clients come to me with a quick goal of losing weight for an event and they are so super focused on that, they might achieve their results, yes, but they often don't sustain this long-term. This is because their focus is on the number on the scale instead of all the ways their HEALTH is improving. It's super important to focus on how you FEEL during my program because that is what will keep you moving forward beyond our time together. When you focus on improving your health, the weight will almost always follow suit.
  • They are coachable
    • During my IF You Carb Cycle program, I ask my clients to do some tough things! I ask them to remove pop, sugary drinks, artificial foods, bread and pasta from their diet. I ask them to complete one 24-hour fast. And a lot of other things that they might not have done before. It's not easy! But it IS simple. The clients who follow my lead and trust me and the process do better long-term. If you come into the program already talking about what you CAN'T or WON'T do, your chance for success is much less than those who say, "Tell me what to do and I'll do it!"
  • They have support systems in place
    • It's much easier to be successful when you have an accountability system (that's me!), a plan in place, a support system at home, and a fully stocked refrigerator. Yes, I lay out the details for you in my program, and I'm there cheering you on the whole way, but clients who put their own support systems in place at home are more successful. That means taking ownership over your situation and setting yourself up to be as successful as possible. When we are prepared, organized, and go in with a plan, we can do better!

If you are interested in trying on this lifestyle of carb cycling and intermittent fasting, the next round of IF You Carb Cycle will start again on October 2nd! I'd love to take your hand, show you the plan, and help you achieve your goals! XO

The 411 on my current supplement regimen

Hi Guys! I owe you a bit on an apology! On Tuesday when I discussed intermittent fasting and some ways I navigate it, I referred to BCAAs. I received several emails and messages from you asking what the heck those are. I apologize for using jargon! I'm going to explain exactly what those are in today's blog post, in addition to information about the supplements I take and why.

After reading up on some of the supplements I'm taking, you are welcome to take advantage of the HUGE sale on the bundle below. It contains my favorite protein powder, BCAAs, preworkout, vitamin and veggie powder, and omega-3s. You can purchase each item separately or in a bundle at 25% off the retail price. Just mention my name. And while you're at it, grab a free workout shirt, shaker cup, and hop on the Inbody Scale too! Visit a local 5 Star Nutrition or give them a call for more info!


Branch chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein. "When your glycogen stores run low, your body relies on the three types of BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) for fuel, explains Lauren Simmons, R.D., C.S.C.S., of Core Dynamics. The catch: Your body can't produce BCAAs on its own, so you'll need to get them from your diet.

And here's why it's worth loading up on this nutrient: Especially when eaten around your workout, “BCAAs can help promote muscle growth and repair and reduce muscle soreness after exercise,” says Isabel Smith, R.D." (Women's Health Magazine).

The timing of when you take BCAAs is important. They are best used around or during your workout. The amino acids act as a coating for your muscles, preventing muscle loss and intense muscle soreness, so you can hit your workout just as hard the next day. I wouldn't recommend them for light workouts. Save them for heavy lifting sessions or HIIT training. I use them while working out fasted to provide some nutrients to my body without losing muscle mass, probably 3-4x per week.


I started taking a daily magnesium supplement recently after reading about how being deficient in magnesium (most of us are) can cause irritability. And I certainly don't need extra irritability in my life! Read on for more info from Dr. Axe (draxe.com)

"For many people, a magnesium deficiency causes noticeable negative symptoms – including muscle aches or spasms, poor digestion, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. Yet, magnesium deficiency is often overlooked and rarely tested. Therefore, magnesium may be one of the most underutilized but most necessary supplements there is.

Magnesium may not be the most present mineral in our body in terms of its quantity, but it’s certainly one of the most crucial to overall health. It’s actually involved in over 300 biochemical functions in the body, such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping neurotransmitter functions.

A magnesium deficiency can cause significant symptoms. Some of the most prominent include:

  • hypertension and cardiovascular disease
  • kidney and liver damage
  • peroxynitrite damage that can lead to migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma or Alzheimer’s disease
  • nutrient deficiencies including vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium and potassium
  • restless leg syndrome
  • worsened PMS symptoms
  • behavioral disorders and mood swings
  • insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • osteoporosis
  • recurrent bacterial or fungal infections due to low levels of nitric oxide or a depressed immune system
  • tooth cavities
  • muscle weakness and cramps
  • impotence

Why is magnesium deficiency so common? A few factors are at play: soil depletion that lowers the amount of magnesium present in crops; digestive disorders that lead to malabsorption of magnesium and other minerals in the gut; high rates of prescription medication and antibiotic use that damages the digestive tract to the point that magnesium cannot be absorbed and properly utilized from foods.

The body loses stores of magnesium every day from normal functions such as muscle movement, heartbeat and hormone production. Although we only need small amounts of magnesium relative to other nutrients, we must regularly replenish our stores either from foods or magnesium supplements in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.

Protein Powder:

This has been a GAME CHANGER for me! It is recommended that you get between 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or more if you are a male and extremely active. I wasn't getting anywhere NEAR this amount, even though my diet was very clean and healthy. And I couldn't see force feeding myself chicken breasts just to hit my protein goals. 

Adding a daily protein shake to my routine is perfect because it doesn't add carbohydrates or fats to my daily macronutrients-only protein. And since I don't have trouble getting carbs or fats in my diet, it's perfect! I simply shake it up with water and drink it post workout or for an afternoon snack. 

When searching for a good protein powder, be sure to check out the sodium content, as some manufacturers hide unclean ingredients there. Head to 5 Star Nutrition and ask for help, and they will aid you in choosing the best option for your needs.


I LOVE improving my brain health (who doesn't??!) and that is my motivating factor for taking Omega-3s. Unless you are eating a diet high in fish you are likely not getting enough of this healthy fat. 

Many doctors prescribe omega-3s for the following medical conditions:

  • High cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Infertility
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Macular degeneration
  • Skin issues (eczema and psoriasis)

The supplement I got is a gel capsule and it is flavored with lemon juice so there are no nasty fishy burps later in the day (gross!!).

If you want to dive into this a bit further, I invite you to take a listen to the interview I had with 5 Star Nutrition owner Dave Olit. I love this store and their amazing customer service!