Archive for category Uncategorized

Eating. How to do it. {And other stuff}

Wondering what to eat to lose weight? Or maybe you want to know what to eat just to be as healthy as you can?

It’s no secret, diet is extremely important to weight loss and health and wellness. You can work out every single day, but until your diet is clean, you won’t see the best results possible. Some people will tell you that a calorie is a calorie. If you want to be literal, yes, I suppose it is. If you have a lot of weight to lose, counting and cutting back calories and thinking about little else will definitely help. But there will come a time when you’ll plateau. Not only that, if you’re eating low-calorie junk, you’ll still feel like crap. Not to mention, eating low-calorie junk food will not help your actual HEALTH any. A healthier choice at the SAME calorie count will mean more nutrients, more fiber, more filling, etc.

So, put down the 100 calorie snack packs, the pretzels, and the diet ice cream. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Your results will be SO noticeable, and you’ll feel SO much better once you clean up your diet.

But I know you’re still asking… “How do I eat clean?” True, 100% clean would be nothing store-bought, really. Maybe bulk grains and of course produce from the store, but anything in a box would be a no-go. I try to work toward this, but I’m not there yet.

Instead, I want to share with you what I believe is some of the most important things to eat (and not eat) that will make a big impact but also be reasonable for those of us who still need a little convenience in our lives…

Here’s my “Rules to eat by”:

  • Get rid of enriched wheat products. Replace with items that specifically say “100% whole grain”. Doesn’t have to be wheat as the grain, you can think about rice, barley, oats, etc
  • Drink water all day long, every day
  • Get rid of sodas, inculding diet sodas.
  • Eat at least 3 servings of veggies every day. (1 serving of leafy veggies like raw spinach is equal to 1 cup. Small veggies like chopped carrots & broccoli is 1/2 cup as a serving.)
  • Eat 1 serving of fruit every day
  • Buy organic as much as possible, especially the types of produce and fruit that were directly exposed to pesticides and all that garbage. Berries, greens, apples, etc are especially important. Things that you peel, like oranges and bananas are less important.
  • Eat 1 serving of beans every day
  • Combine the ‘must eats’ as much as possible. Try having a big salad for your lunches…include beans, seeds, etc & plenty of veggies, then you get it all in at once!
  • Eat every 3 hours or so. Snacks can include small stuff if you’re not super hungry. Think nuts, greek yogurt, fruit, etc
  • Try to keep meat to only 2 meals a day to start. Try to work your way to 1 meat a day, then if you’re feeling amazing like I think you will be, you can go from there.
  • Get rid of as much packaged food as you can.
  • Check product labels, look for stuff with only real ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
  • Remember to keep your meats lean. Stick to chicken, fish, and turkey as much as possible.
  • Treat yourself some, but be reasonable. Have a drink once in a while if it’s important to you. But be real with yourself about how much you’re eating/drinking, measure it out. Stick to dark chocolate (72% cacao or darker), or red wine..or just a couple cookies a week,etc). This shouldn’t be a daily thing, work to kick your sugar habit. YES you can.


A few random *other* tips for well-being & weightless/healthy living success:

  • Sleep 7-8 hrs every night. No excuses
  • Take time every day to relax. No, sleeping doesn’t count.
  • Drink more water (Yes, I know I said that already. Must be important, huh?) 🙂
  • Work on speaking to yourself in a positive voice.
  • Write out your goals. Not just your fitness goals. Write them all out and revisit often.
  • Laugh alot.
  • Make new friends.
  • Find old friends.
  • Help someone in need.
  • Be nice to yourself and to others, even if they may not deserve it.

Soooo….what your FIRST step going to be?? Tell us in the comments below!

, , , , , ,


Do you ever wonder… HOW some people LOVE their workouts??

Okay, you know what I’m talking about, right? You power through your workouts, but you dread it. Half the time you’re thinking of reasons to skip it. It’s a chore. So how come some people you see or know seem to LOVE working out? They’re crazy, right?

Well, maybe.

But that’s beside the point.

There’s a secret to loving your workout. Do you want to know it? It’s all about your MINDSET. Yep. That’s it. Of course, finding a workout that is fun to you is important, too. That’s the best workout! But first and foremost you must re-teach your brain (and body) that working out is your drug. It’s what will make you feel amazing. Remind yourself of those endorphins you feel after a good workout. Think about the results you’ve seen…or that you know you WILL see if you stick to your workouts (and healthy eating). Visualize having fun, and visualize the results you want to see (or feel!). You can absolutely do this!

Here are some tips to re-train your brain:

  • Start by smiling. Smile before your workout. It’ll make your brain think you’re happy.
  • Now, think about the reasons you’re getting fit. Is it for your health? For your family? To set a good example for your kids? To fit into your old jeans? Repeat your reasons out loud to yourself 3 times each. Write those reasons down and post them everywhere!
  • Good! Now here’s the hard part. Any and every time you think of skipping your workout, or you find yourself dreading your workout, remind yourself — “This is NOT punishment”. Your workouts should never be about punishing yourself. They’re about giving yourself what you deserve.  You deserve that time out of your day. You deserve the stress relief.  You deserve to have fun, feel great, and have a better day. And the RIGHT workout will do all that for you…if you let it. Keep reminding yourself. In fact, change your screensaver on your computer to something that reminds you of this. Repeat it 5 times every morning and before your workouts.

Before too long, your brain will realize your workouts are a GOOD thing. Something that’s FOR you. Not just something you have to do.

I mentioned that the right workout is key. This is very true. The best workout is one that you enjoy. For a while, I ran. I started running because my friends did, and I knew it was a good calorie burner. And for a while, it was enjoyable for me, I looked forward to it. (after the growing pains of the first month or so!). But at some point I started trying other workouts and found myself really, REALLY enjoying those. Even looking forward to them for real. And I was dreading running. I listened to my body and realize that this was because the other workouts were just more fun. Embrace what’s fun. If running is fun for you, then GO FOR IT! If it’s not, then don’t force yourself. But don’t give up, either. Instead, try other workouts. Check out a yoga or Zumba class. Try Insanity, Turbo Fire, P90X or Chalean Extreme. Personally, I found the intensity of Insanity way more engaging than most workouts. I felt like a BEAST after every workout; like I’d climbed Mount Everest. And I keep going back to Turbo Fire because there’s a huge variety in the choreography from workout to workout AND the music is actually GOOD. Imagine that!

So you see, you have control over whether or not you’ll love your workouts. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every day is like nirvana. Of course, we alllll have days we just don’t feel like working out. But. Once you’ve found that soulmate workout, you’ll have less of those days. Oh. And on those days, do yourself a favor, just START your workout. Give it 5 minutes. I almost can guarantee you that after 5 minutes you’ll be into it. It’s worth a shot, right?

So. Tell us, why do you want to love your workouts? Why do you want to be healthy?


If you’re looking for more information on the top-rated workouts out there, I am a Beachbody coach & I’d be happy to help you find your soulmate workout! email me at or you can read up on the programs at:

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

How often should you work out?

Have you ever wondered how often you should work out? I get asked this question a lot, so I thought it was high time to answer it for everyone.

The caveat here is of course the answer will depend on your goals. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but I promise that’s not my intent. So, here’s my advice for a variety of situations…

1) First, if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, you may want to start out with one workout program and work on making it a habit first. For this, I would suggest writing out a schedule for yourself to do specific workouts 4 days a week. Cardio is probably the easiest way to start and get the habit engrained. Don’t be afraid to do weight training though, if you’re ready. Do 4 workouts a week for 3 weeks in order to get yourself used to the new habit. Then you can add in another day or two per week. 

2) Now, if you’ve been working out and are reasonably used to it, things could be done a little differently. Whether you have a lot of weight to lose or just want to get fitter and more toned, this solution is similar. My favorite routine is 150 minutes of cardio per week AND 3 days of strength training per week.

     Some Tips: Keep in mind cardio should vary. If you’re a runner, that’s great, but make sure you work in some speed days – or even better, at least 1 day a week of cross training. Do some HIIT no matter who you are, too! And as for strength training, make sure you’re doing it on non-consecutive days (at least don’t do the same muscle group on back to back days). Don’t be afraid of heavier weight. Ladies, you won’t get huge. Just lift those weights, if you’re not FAILING at the end of your sets, your weights are TOO light and you’re not getting the most from your workout!

3)  Lastly, if your intent with working out is simply for health reasons – maybe you’re trying to reduce your blood pressure or cholesterol, you’ll want to focus on cardio. But I still suggest getting a couple days a week of some strength training. It’s good for your health too! As for cardio, shoot for 5 days a week, at LEAST 150 minutes per week. 

And no matter your goals, always, always, always get a great stretch in after every workout. Try some yoga classes or DVDs a few days a week. Its worth it. You’ll help prevent injury – and you’ll feel amazing.

So, you can see, schedules can vary. If you find yourself asking “how often should I work out?” follow this advice and listen to your body. You want to push yourself, but not kill yourself! The key is to find something you LOVE to do. If running 5 days a week makes you really dread your workouts, try something new! Don’t be afraid of home workouts, DVDs, etc. That’s where I found my rhythm. It’s FABULOUS to be able to do my workout whenever I want and not have to drive to the gym or fight for machines or whatever. 

Share with us, what’s your workout schedule now? What is your workout goal?



, , ,

Leave a comment

My very own super-delicious & nutritious hearty turkey chili

Do you ever get into a habit that you didn’t even realize you were in? For instance, I have a habit of fixing the same dishes the same way for YEARS. How about you? Like, say, are you in the habit of thinking chili had to stick to certain rules? I’ve been thinking…wouldn’t it be great if I made something “like chili, but better”? But that wouldn’t be chili. Right? I’m a rule-follower. So it took me like 3 weeks of thinking this before I finally decided… screw it. I can do what I want to chili and it’s still chili.

Well. Let me tell you. I’m glad I did.

Because this was extra delicious and extra nutritious. Oh and it lasted us like 3 dinners. Can’t beat that. Look at that…doesn’t it make you want to get a spoon & dip some up through your screen?



So I thought I’d share the recipe with you. But, as I just learned…who need recipes?? So please, just make this your own. My point here was to make this super hearty and heart-healthy with LOTS of veggies. You could totally do all sorts of different kinds of veggies. Own it. It’s just chili.

Amy’s Better Turkey Chili


  • 1lb super lean ground turkey (of course, you could use tofu or something in place of this!)
  • 14 oz light red kidney beans
  • 14 oz hot chili beans (or you could try cannellini, navy, etc)
  • About 1/2 bag frozen corn
  • About 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • Large can organic diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • Couple garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup water – or vegetable broth
  • 1 packet reduced sodium chili seasoning (or make your own!)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


This is a very forgiving dish! Heat olive oil over medium heat for a minute or so. Add the turkey and cook through. Do not drain. If you have very lean meat, there will be very little grease, so keep it in for flavor. Add the rest of the ingredients. All of them. Then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so. The longer the better for flavor’s sake. This could also be done in a crockpot. I’d think it would work on low for 6-8 hours. Play with different veggies if you’d like. I think squash would be good in this too.

Tell me below, what’s your favorite way to have chili?

, , ,

Leave a comment

Learn to Love it {Weekend Workouts}

I know a lot of people like taking weekends as their rest days. I hear you. Really, I understand. 

But consider this:

If you work during the week and having weekends off of work, what better time to really kill a few workouts? I don’t know about you, but my workouts during the week tend to sort of suck more days than I’d like to admit. I do them after work (because as much as I may try, I just CANNOT do it in the mornings; when I do, I have no energy so I get a crappy workout in). So after work, I have more energy than in the morning, BUT some days that doesn’t work out either. You know those days, where your workday just drained it all out of you. So I push myself when I get home and work out. Sometimes it may only be a 20 minute workout because it’s all I can muster (though I DO feel better and less tired and stressed afterward)… I also end up taking an unplanned rest day during the week a lot – especially on nights when I’m home late from work.

So you see, if you’re like me and your weekends are pretty open, that may give you a wonderful opportunity to really get a couple of great workouts in. You can take your time getting hyped and hydrated for it. You can do cardio + weights instead of just one or the other like during the week when time is of the essence. Or an hour of cardio instead of 30 minutes, or whatever. And even better, if you do you weekend workout before heading out for the day, you’ll feel better, accomplished, and energetic the rest of the day. And since I know I do more than normal on weekends, I feel less guilty when I take a rest day or two during the week.

In my book, that’s some great reasons to love weekend workouts.

Do you use your weekends to catch up on workouts? Do you love it, or do you just do it out of necessity?

, , ,

Leave a comment

I’m back! (and a secret – getting your frustrations out…)

I’m baaaack!

I hope you’re excited. Because I am. I took an unplanned hiatus. I’m not sure why. Does it matter why? Well, suffice it to say, I’m sorry I left you!

Okay, now, I have a secret to share.

Here’s the thing. I’ve found myself under a lot of stress lately (maybe that’s subconsciously why I’ve been absent?) You all know the drill. Work stress, family stress, task stress, errand stress, good stress, bad stress, friend stress. (New Dr. Seuss?) Usually it doesn’t bother me too bad, but it’s been piling on me lately. I think the turning point was when I discovered my cholesterol was scary bad. Bad like, doctor says, yes, start an aspirin regimen bad. I got scared, I mean, I thought I was pretty healthy. What gives?

Turns out, long story short – even though I didn’t eat like crap, there was room for improvement. More veggies, more fruit, more beans, more oats, etc. I have some pretty scary genetics in this area, so I’m HOPING that these dietary changes will help.

Got sidetracked. Anyhow, my secret. I’ve found a lovely way to relieve tension and get those frustrations out. It’s no secret that working out helps to reduce stress. But, there’s one particular workout that seems to help more than others. (yoga is one, but in a different way) Well, I re-discovered kickboxing. Oh YES. Turbo Jam was my first fitness love back in the day. So I pulled that sucker out and have been feeling AMAZING ever since. I’d forgotten how much fun it was and how awesome I feel after those workouts. The time FLIES by! So I also tried my hand (fist) at some Les Mills Combat too. Those stressors are still around…but after a good, long, crazy session of hooks, jabs, and uppercuts (and serious kicks)…I feel SO much better. Oh. And bytheway…it’s not just mental therapy.  It also happens to be a kick-a$$ workout.

So that’s my secret for you today….

Tell me how YOU relieve tension and get your frustrations out!

, , , , , ,


Hmm…a super effective cardio workout that’s SUPER fast? I’ll take it! {Tabata Training}

So I’ve heard rumblings about Tabata training for several months. Have you? Honestly, I didn’t read up on it before now because I figured it was some sort of fad. Well when it popped up on yahoo recently, I decided to just take a few minutes and figure out what it was all about.

Well, needless to say, I was impressed and intrigued.

Basically, if you’re not familiar, it goes like this…a scientist from Japan Mr. Tabata discovered a form of cardio that proved to be super effective and super short. That’s a combo right up my alley.

How does Tabata training work? I’m glad you asked! In Tabata, you warm up for a minutes or two (just like you would any other workout), then you do some intervals. Nothing new here, we all know that interval training is super effective, right? Wellllll, in Tabata training, your intervals are much shorter but you go MUCH harder. Usually in HIIT, you would want to go at about 80% of your max during your ‘sprints’. But in Tabata, you go like 100% of your max for 20 seconds and then you rest for 10 seconds & repeat 8 times. You’re doing aLOT less intervals than in HIIT, so that’s why you’re going ALL out. So, a key to Tabata training is to know what your max feels like. It should feel like you can’t really keep going. You definitely can’t talk to someone. You are completely freaking POOPED when you’re done. That’s 100%. But here’s the payoff. The workout is 4 minutes. Whaaaaat…

Oh yes, in Tabata training, your workout is only 4 minutes. And what you get in return is over 24 hours of increased calorie/fat burn (increased metabolism). So, you warm up for a minute or two, do 4 minutes of crazy ridiculous intervals, and then cool down and stretch for a few minutes of course. So total with warm up, workout & cool down & stretch, you’re looking at 8-10 minutes. Can’t beat that!

Since this is your MAX, you shouldn’t do this every day.

So here’s how it works…I put a Tabata workout together for you. I did this one twice last week and oooohhhh yes it’s KILLER.

I hope you enjoy this 4 minute Tabata workout from me to you!  Comment below if you do it…or let me know if you’ve done any Tabata training before 🙂

(if you need to know how to do any of these moves, here’s some tips for you:)

* High knees – you are jogging in place bringing your knees up to about hip level. It’ll be hard! Use your core to help lift your knees. Since you’re going to your max, really jog with this!

* Squat jumps – squat down into a normal squat position. Explode upward into a jump, brining your knees up toward your chest, and then land as softly as you can. Crazy!

* Vertical jumps – stand with your feet hip distance apart. Squat down a few inches, and then jump straight upward, reaching your arms toward the ceiling & fully extending your legs. Land softly again. You’ll really feel this in your booty & your calves & quads. Remember, you’re going to your max here, so as soon as you land, pop back up into another jump, go fast.

* Lunge jumps – from a normal lunge position with your right leg forward, jump landing with your left leg forward in a lunge. Land softly & keep switching as soon as you land so that you’re hitting your max.

If you’re unable to do any of these moves for some reason, you can substitute with something that will still challenge you. Some ideas would be suicide runs, mountain climbers, pushups, etc)


, ,


Flat Belly Challenge with yours truly!

So here’s my story, in a nutshell…and why I’m doing a challenge… {{Please note, I run a challenge like this EVERY month, so even if this post looks old, it’s still relevant!}}

I haven’t had kids (by choice!) But…as I got a little older, I was slowly gaining pounds. (why can’t we all stay 25?!) To say the least, I wasn’t crazy about gaining 2 pants sizes. Hey I know that’s not a lot, but it was enough to notice. I admitted early that I needed to do something. When I committed to making a change I went all in & haven’t looked back. FItness is part of my daily life now and I am so passionate about it that I always look for ways to pay it forward.

So now I’m looking for some ladies to make THEIR change WITH me. If you have been thinking about it, wanting and wishing you could really change, now’s the time to step up! I’ll be working closely with this group, daily. We’ll be serious about accountability & fitness and I’ll share TONS of tips & ideas, meal planning & motivation.

I am only taking 5 ladies so let me know NOW! I lost 2 sizes & am FITTER than I was when I was 25 and I know I can guide you to do the same. Your only role right now — COMMIT. Once you commit, I’ll help you do the rest!

So. Are you in? Comment below — or email me ( if you want to know more about the details…!!! I can’t wait,  y’all!

, , , ,

Leave a comment

An easy (and healthy!) breakfast idea

So you already know you GOTTA eat breakfast right?

But you also know it should be healthy. And for most of us, it has to be quick and easy. Oatmeal is a quick, healthy option. That does get old though, and I don’t even like it at all. Most cereals are junk. Breakfast bars are junk. So what does that leave?

Here’s a little something I whip up at the office in the AM. It takes about 5 minutes total, and I only use the microwave.


Here’s what it is and how I do it. There’s plenty of ways to change it up, too.

It’s a half of a sprouted grain english muffin w/ egg whites, avocado, tomato and feta cheese. And some days if I have it, I spread a little greek yogurt on the english muffin too. 

  • I keep Ezekiel brand sprouted grain english muffins in the freezer
  • I keep a carton of natural egg whites in the fridge (NOT the kind w/ yellow color added. Look in the natural, organic section of your grocery store. They should just be white!
  • I keep a container of reduced fat feta cheese in the fridge
  • In the mornings, I take a tomato and an avocado with me to work


  • Pour a couple of tablespoons egg whites into a coffee mug and microwave on high for about a minute (just until fluffy and done)
  • Wrap an ezekiel english muffin in a paper towel and microwave for just about 20 seconds. Just enough so you can cut the muffin in half since you’re only using half. Cut it, put 1/2 back in the freezer and then finish microwaving the 1/2 you’re using. Doesn’t need to be hot, just defrosted.
  • Chop up half the avocado, store the rest in the fridge for a salad later in the day or something.
  • Chop up half the tomato, store the rest as well
  • Put the egg whites on the muffin, top with tomato, avocado & feta. It’ll be messy since it’s open-faced. Just use a fork and knife to eat it.

BOOM. You just made a healthy, protein packed breakfast that has some lovely, filling, healthy fats and even a little tomato.

You could adjust this in all sorts of ways, too. You could top with some fresh spinach, add the greek yogurt like I mentioned. You could even microwave a slice of turkey bacon and add it. If you’re not an english muffin fan, check out the ezekiel wraps. Use half. And definitely use sprouted grain breads, they are SO much better for you than even whole wheat bread.

I hope this helps!

I’d love to know – do you have a quick, healthy breakfast that is your go-to? Share away!


1 Comment

My legs were shakin! (A trip to Physique 57 – a humbling experience)

A couple of years ago I heard about Physique 57. I don’t now recall how I heard about it. But I quickly learned that several celebrities swore by it. Kelly Ripa was one. And I know she’s tiny, but she’s also STRONG and that piqued my interest. I had no interest in being ‘skinnyfat’ as it were. But I needed/wanted to lose some FAT & wanted to be strong and healthy. So began my at-home workouts. I bought the Physique 57 DVDs and it was deliciously difficult. Very quickly I saw changes. And it was actually fun. It’s a barre based workout, so it felt graceful while I was sweating and shaking. I did that workout for a long time. And eventually got a little burned out of seeing the same thing every day, hearing the same cues, doing the same moves, you know. So as many of you know, I started delving into some Beachbody workouts. Most recently I’ve been doing Insanity and feeling like a beast, for real. I’ve always continued with Physique 57 some though, never wanted to drop it altogether. Well, when it became apparent that my hubby, me, and some great friends were going to NYC to watch a soccer game, I knew I HAD to get to the Physique 57 studio for a live class.

It was a little scary, I had to go by myself, but luckily I had the address of the studio memorized and the cab driver got me there in one piece. (surprisingly)

I had a reserved spot in class, so I just got there early and enjoyed the waiting area. They had fresh green apples set out for clients, and even some lululemon workout gear to browse.  And of course the whole studio is super sleek and modern and beautiful. So I just perused and thought about how cool I would be in the class….since I’d been doing the workout on and off for a couple of years, I just knew I’d KILL it!

Well. No, I didn’t kill it. Nora (the super nice, energetic and graceful instructor) tried to kill me. First of all, some moves were the same from the DVD, but most were not. Since the studio has a barre attached to the wall, you can really lean back, pull, use your entire bodyweight. Where at home, you just use a sofa or chair for balance like a barre. So. Needless to say, within about 10 seconds of leg work, my quads were on FIYA!!!!!!! Shaking. Fire. Burning. Ow! But it was oh-so-good. I just took a few 1 second breaks to shake out the fire here and there and kept on going. Happy to report, that I was one of the only girls who could do real pushups though, so that made me feel a little better. 🙂 Oh. And oddly, time FLEW by. I couldn’t believe 57 minutes had passed when it was over. That’s always nice 🙂

Here’s a shot I took of the room I was in, we’d just finished up. I was very happy they didn’t overbook the room, we weren’t stuffed in like sardines like I’ve experienced at some other classes.


While it was a humbling experience, and my quads were sore for 2 days, I really, REALLY wish I could go back. I can see that taking studio classes a few days a week would ensure HUGE changes in short order. So I’m officially jealous of those ladies in NYC who can go to the studio as they like. Maybe one day they will build studios in other cities….if so, and there’s on in Richmond, I’m THERE!

Having said all that, if you’ve ever considered a barre based workout, THIS is the one. Even if you aren’t in NYC or LA, definitely get the DVDs. It’s still a very wonderfully, difficult, fun, beautiful, effective workout! You can check them out here:

Have you ever done Physique 57 before? Or another barre workout?

, ,