Live Nutrition Chat with Max Muscle – The SCALE

As part of our Ready to Be…MindFULL of Nutrition Focus this month, I went out and spent some time chatting with Corry of Max Muscle.  I thought it would be great to do a LIVE FB chat so that you guys could ask her your questions too.

In our first video – we covered Restore Meals so if you missed it – check it out here.  

Another question that comes up a lot when I chat with women in class is – how do I measure progress? Or…why am I gaining weight when I work out? Or..once I reach my goal, how do I maintain?  Corry and I chat all things scale, progress, and more in this second clip.

Here is the chat! Hope it helps answer some of the questions you have too!


Live Nutrition Chat with Max Muscle – Restore Meals

As part of our Ready to Be…MindFULL of Nutrition Focus this month, I went out and spent some time chatting with Corry of Max Muscle.  I thought it would be great to do a LIVE FB chat so that you guys could ask her your questions too.

Our first major topic was on what I call Restore Meals. I wanted to hear her thoughts on why they were important and any “rules” associated with them.  Check out her response and then plan your next restore meal asap!

Here is the chat! Hope it helps answer some of the questions you have too!




Its All About the Jump Rope!

Our instructor Eileen recently introduced jump ropes into her boot camp classes. There may have been some moaning and groaning but man what a great workout. Jumping rope burns a ton of calories during and post workout. It is a piece of equipment you can carry anywhere and really get your workout on!  And while giving you a great heart pumping workout (increasing cardiovascular endurance), it also forces you to focus on balance and coordination (which leads to a focus on the core!)

I’m excited to thank Henrik Nielsen, author of the website:  for developing a great infographic exclusively for our PowerFull Fitness members!!  These can be done at home, on the road, or with your kids!  Grab your jump rope, put on Mandi’s 80s playlist, and get your calves burning.

Download the workout here! You can print it out and use it anytime you need an awesome workout. Thanks Henrik for including a beginner and advanced version!

Boost Your Mental Health…Why it is Important

Today we have a guest post from Eve.  She is a personal trainer and an editor at  She recently wrote us up a short article on eleven ways to boost our mental health and why they are important.  As always, I think it is key to pick one small goal at a time so take a scan of these ideas and focus in on one area you want to improve upon.

I personally am working on the “having enough sleep” thing after reading Elyse’s comments on sleep hygiene.

Which one of these do you need to focus on?  Thanks Eve for encouraging us to think about FITness all around!

11 Lifestyle Changes That Will Boost Your Mental Health

A person’s psychological and emotional well-being is vital in ensuring that one is able to live a productive and healthy life. Having a healthy mental state allows the individual to fully realize his or her potentials and become a positive member of the community.  Neglecting our mental health brings highly damaging effects. Ensuring that it remains in tip-top shape should be a priority and a considerable workout motivation. Here are 11 lifestyle changes that we need to apply to enhance our emotional and mental health.

  1. Healthy Diet.  Having the right mix of fruits, vegetables, and meat products in one’s diet supplies enough nutrients to keep the brain functioning well. Just like any other part of our body, it is important to keep eating food that will enhance and maintain the normal processes of the brain. Being the central coordinating organ of all intellectual and sensory processes of our body, the brain needs to be kept as healthy and sharp as possible.
  2.  Exercise.  Sufficient exercise allows better blood circulation to the brain. It increases our brain’s capacity to counter depression and memory loss.  Exercising releases endorphins that will help improve our mood and allow us to have a more positive outlook. Hence, knowing the benefits that our brain gets from it should be our workout motivation.
  3. Having Enough Sleep.  Sleeping gives our brain the time to recharge while it processes and consolidates all the information and memories that it has gathered during the day. Aside from making one feel grumpy and tired, having too little sleep impairs our learning processes.  Thinking, reasoning, problem-solving abilities and other cognitive processes are greatly affected when our body suffers from lack of adequate sleep. This could then lead to more serious physical and mental health problems.  
  4. Traveling and Exploring Nature.  Visiting other places allows us to have a reprieve from our daily routine. Exploring new things and discovering unfamiliar places serves as a mental exercise for our brains and provides a positive stimulus to make it function better.
  5. Relaxation and Stress Management.  Stress is a slow but definite killer. It has been found to be linked to several mental disorders such as chronic anxiety and depression. It is best to always find a way to relax and detach one’s self from things that give us stress. Finding a diversion that helps promote a more optimistic attitude can help eliminate stress and allow us to be able to think clearly.  Relieving stress can also be a great workout motivation as exercising helps enhance mood patterns.
  6. Appropriate Self-care.  Caring for one’s self is not a selfish act. Properly attending to one’s personal needs boosts one’s self-esteem and encourages better interaction with other people.  
  7. Recreation. Recreational activities allow our minds to redirect its focus from stressful things to those that are more relaxing and mentally stimulating. These activities give us a sense of focus and allow us to re-energize our minds. We will then be better equipped to face more challenging situations because our brains are functioning properly.
  8. Having a Support Group.  Establishing healthy and positive relationships with family and friends allows us to have people whom we can share our frustrations with. Talking with people who love and support us releases stress and encourages us to do and become better individuals. That assurance of love stimulates our brain to think and react positively when we face mentally exhausting situations.
  9. Being Educated About Mental Health.  Knowing the risks and potential problems associated with mental health allows us to approach the issue with a greater perspective.  It also arms us with the proper defenses to shield us from being severely affected by mental stress and exhaustion. Having the proper knowledge about mental health concerns allows us to know what we are up against and helps us recognize the symptoms at its onset.
  10. Learning to Focus on the Positive.  Having a positive attitude is a sure-fire way to boost our mental health. This simply means that we focus on what is good and pleasing around us.  Understanding and accepting that some things are simply beyond our control, and focusing on doing the things that will help us become better gives lesser opportunities for mental stress to creep in.
  11. Therapy.  Should the situation call for it, attending therapy sessions is greatly encouraged and recommended.  There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. It is better to address the problem head on with the help of experts who can help shed light on our condition, rather than pretending that the problem does not exist.

Our brain is a vital and irreplaceable part of our body, and it needs our optimum care and attention. Ensuring that our brain remains in a healthy state should be our primary workout motivation.

Thanks Eve for the great thoughts! We always love to hear how to make FITness a full wellness approach to lifestyle changes.

Nutrition 101 – Tips from Max Muscle

In March, our ladies focused on being MindFULL of Nutrition. All month long we talked about macronutrients and ways to ensure we are fueling our body well. We worked with Nalls Produce and Max Muscle  to bring in some outside experts and opinions.

The nutritionist at Max Muscle put together a great little cheat sheet – Nutrition 101.  These 9 tips are a great starting place when you want to start making true REALISTIC life style changes.  Check out their thoughts here!

Nutrition 101 from Max Muscle Springfield

Author: Jackie Caroe

  • Protein has a number of functions in the body, and is generally lacking in most women’s diets. Most think of protein as the building material for our skin, bones, muscles and other tissues in the body. Whenever there is any damage to any of our tissues, either due to normal wear and tear, or to injury, protein is necessary to rebuild that tissue. To be healthy, eating protein is also necessary to build brand new tissue, which makes it very important to children and pregnant women. Proteins also function as regulators of fluid balance and acid-base balance, which help keep you from swelling up, drying up, and/or becoming toxic, any of which could be life-threatening. Protein is also involved in the clotting of blood, which keeps all your blood from draining out when you cut yourself.  In addition, protein is a major component of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones.These are chemicals that play a major role in many processes in the body that, among other things, digest your food, fight disease and allow you to enjoy a healthy love life.  And protein can be an energy source!
  • We should be eating every 2-3 hours! Which is about 6 small meals a day. Protein should be a part of each of these small meals and paired with either a carbohydrate or a fat.
  • Carbohydrates are anything that grow from the ground. They are your body’s favorite fuel for energy but the carbs you do not burn are immediately stored as fat! Make sure to only eat carbs when you are using the energy. NOT when you are getting ready to settle in for the night or laying down for bed.
  • Fats are very hard for your body to break down and therefore keep you full longer. If you eat fats towards the end of the day you will be less likely to reach for the junk food at night. The fats will also keep your metabolism up longer and keep burning calories while you sleep.
  • We should be drinking about a gallon of water a day! Do the pee test. If it isn’t clear, or close to it, then you are most likely dehydrated. Ways to get in your water: use a straw, add some flavor, add ice, drink hot tea.  Be sure to get all your water in before dinner time so it doesn’t wake you up at night.
  • If you rely on plant based sources of protein you are getting carbs and protein so you need to limit other carbohydrates. Talk to a nutritionist about your total caloric needs, and make sure adding vegetarian protein isn’t causing any one macro to go over your goals.
  • The 3 best times to eat carbs are first thing in the morning, right before you workout and right after you workout. These are the times that our body needs energy.  Pair carbohydrates with protein to have a perfect post workout meal.
  • The best form of protein for your body is breast milk. Since that is not on most people’s meal plans the second best is egg whites! It is a pure protein with no fat and no carbs. You can cook them up in the pan with salsa or sugar free ketchup or hot sauce. Add any seasoning you like to make them more interesting because they will take any flavor you put them with.  
  • Weight loss is simple math. You must burn more calories than you consume. Figure out how much you are burning a day, deduct 500 calories and that is what you should eat. Expenditure = BMR + TEF + Daily Activity. If you eat less than 500 calories below your expenditure your body will go into starvation mode and it will store everything because it doesn’t know the next time it will eat. It will also shut off unnecessary bodily functions. First thing to go is your BRAIN! Stay within that window and make healthy choices!

Thanks ladies for giving us a great starting point for being MindFULL of our nutrition.

Family FITness Fun

As we round out February and our Ready to Be…Engaged focus – I thought it would be cool to figure out some ways to engage your family in your FITness journey.  And what better way than to pull in some outside guest bloggers to share their expertise?

Henrik Nielsen, author of the website: has also developed a great infograph exclusively for our Powerfull FITness families.  Take a peak, grab your families, and engage in BE-ing FIT together.

Check out this awesome document! I love the idea of picking a challenge for the week – that is something everyone can get excited about.

Download this document, hang it up, and lets engage in FITness together!

Thanks for the great ideas Henrik!

Move It Monday – Week 17

Need a quick body weight workout to get your day going? This is a great workout you can do anywhere, anytime.  This is an AMRAP workout meaning you do as may reps as you can in the time allotted. For this circuit there are three rounds.  

See how many sets you can get in during the time allotted.

Take a 30-45 sec rest between rounds

Round 1 – 5 mins

Round 2 – 4 mins

Round 3 – 3 mins


Rnd1: 6 pushups, 8 Burpees, 12 lunges (L/R is 1, can jump for more cardio), 16 sit ups

Rnd2: 5 pushups, 6 Burpees, 10 lunges (L/R is 1, can jump for more cardio), 14 sit ups

Rnd3: 4 pushups, 4 Burpees, 8 lunges (L/R is 1, can jump for more cardio), 12 sit ups

Move it Friends! You won’t regret this workout!

Get In Your Veggies! Without Having to Hide Them

I am so excited about spending March focusing on nutrition.  Are you Ready to Be…MindFULL of Nutrition?  Does that scare you a bit?  Do you ever wonder HOW MUCH produce you need?

I turned to Choose My Plate as a great resource for this. Check out their website here.

General guidelines have women ages 31-50 needing about 1.5 cups of fruit daily. This is for women who get less than 30 minutes of exercise daily so it can be increased if you are more active!  In case you’re wondering – children ages 4-8 also need about 1- 1.5 cups of fruit a day.  You can check this chart for more on what a cup of fruit looks like depending on the type!

For veggies, women ages 31-50 need 2.5 cups of veggies daily (again this is for women who get 30 minutes or less exercise each day so it can be increased with increased activity).  Children need 1.5 cups (ages 4-8).  If you want more on this or for other recommendations based on kids age and gender check here).  This page also has a really cool chart based on how many veggies per week you need from each sub group – kinda cool!

Please note these recommendations are generalizations and can change based on other factors!  

So we know we need them….how do we do it?  This is where my great friend Valerie from Nalls Produce.  Valerie is a great resource for all things veggies and produce.  Our family LOVES OUR CSA  with Nalls but it can be tough sometimes to figure out HOW to get the veggies in.  But Valerie never fails to help  – check out her NINE tips I love her involvement in the community and her desire to bring healthy meals to our homes:

Valerie shares:

You want to eat more fresh veggies. You really do. You want to have a crisper that is full of vegetables that you know are good for you and your family, and you want to USE them. You want children that won’t turn up their noses at cabbage steaks. YOU don’t want to turn your nose up at cabbage steaks. But you know that pureeing butternut squash every other day to include in your mac and cheese is not realistic either.

Most of us with moderate to low levels of willpower, children, and responsibilities, the “want” is not enough. New habits are really hard to create. Period.  But you WANT to, right? Try these tricks to make it happen!

    1. Write down your goals. Make them quantifiable and specific. Just saying “I want to eat more fresh vegetables and fruit” is not enough. To be quantifiable and specific you need to say something like “ I want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables with dinner at least 4 nights a week for the next 30 days”. This gives you a specific number that you can measure. The 30 days part – of course you will want to extend this habit beyond the 30 days, but your brain can better handle the challenge of achieving this goal if there is a set end point. At the end of 30 days you will want to look back and evaluate your performance and set a new goal for the next 30 days.
    2. Track your progress Make a chart with 120 circles on it and color in the circle every time you have a fresh veggie with dinner. Place this chart where you can see it every day and have written on it “Fresh Fruits & Veggies with Dinner 4x weekly for 30 Days”. Marking off the circles is a fun way to get your kids involved, too!
    3. Prepare yourself for success!  Stock your kitchen with enough fresh veggies to make this happen. If you come home in the evening late on a weekday and you have no fresh veggies in your kitchen, it is going to be hard to make it happen that night. Buy enough to have plenty on hand.
    4. Buy plenty!   See trick number 3. Also, most of us have a compelling need to not waste food. If you have an abundance of fresh produce but you know it is going to go bad soon, you are more likely to hurry up and use it.
    5. Try new recipes!  If you enjoy playing in the kitchen, find new recipes to experiment with. It can get you excited to play around with new ingredients!
    6. Repeat winning recipes!  There is nothing wrong with knowing you love roasted cauliflower and incorporating it regularly into your meal planning. A veggie eaten is a veggie eaten, it doesn’t have to be a new, exotic, exciting recipe to “get credit”
    7. Reverse plan your meals!  Instead of thinking “What’s for dinner?” think backwards. “I want my dinner to include cabbage, so I will make cabbage steaks. Kielbasa goes well with that, and I will add whole wheat dinner rolls to finish the meal” This works even better when you have the veggies on hand. “I want to use this cabbage — what can I make? Oh, cabbage steaks, plus kielbasa and rolls”.
    8. Grow your own!  Tomatoes and peppers are fairly easy to grow, even for those of your with self-proclaimed “Black Thumbs”. If you have grown the veggies yourself, you won’t want them to go to waste. You will have pride in your accomplishments and will be eager to reap the rewards! Visit a independent garden center, they can get you set up to handle a few plants successfully, even if you have your doubts.
    9. Join a CSA!  Many farms or produce shops offer packages of pre-selected produce on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, or CSAs. They will include a variety of items that are in-season and ready to eat. This forces you to try new things, based on what you receive that week, fills your crisper, and, best of all, forces you to use it relatively quickly. You know that you are receiving another share soon, and you will need the space in your refrigerator.  Hopefully you can try these methods and get some more fresh produce into your diet easily! Sometimes it’s best to just think about ways to manipulate your brain and thought process rather than just thinking about the desired outcome!

Ahh – these tips are great. I specifically love the idea of setting specific goals and CHARTING them. That makes it fun for the family and makes your progress tangible.  Thanks so much Valerie for sharing with us.

Valerie Nalls is the manager of Nalls Produce, 50+ year old family operated garden center and fresh produce shop in Alexandria Virginia. Learn more about the Nalls CSA program at


Sleep Hygiene – It Ain’t About a Bath Before Bed!!

I am so excited to have Elyse Pertot as a mom in our #specialkindofcrazy community. Her family is so great and I love the expertise she brings to the table as an MD!  She has seen some of us post about trouble sleeping and in her kindness – shared this advice!

Read this – sleep is a VITAL part of your FITness journey friends.

What does sleep hygiene even mean… going to bed clean?  No, however not a bad thing to do, it means setting up a sleeping environment that allows for a healthy circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythm… is that the loud bugs that come out every couple of years?  No, it’s the natural sleep cycle your body goes through daily, mainly controlled by a melatonin release.

So, now that we have definitions let’s talk about how this all works.  

Before we had artificial light, melatonin would start to be released as the sun went down, its release is triggered by darkness.  This melatonin release starts a cascade of signals to tell your brain to sleep.  When you do go to sleep, you will go through different phases, needing at least 7.5 hours of sleep to complete a healthy and restorative night.  Then the sun rises, light creeps through the windows, onto your closed eyelids, stopping the melatonin release, and therefore stimulating you to wake.  It wasn’t those pesky roosters all along, it was the sun!

Now flash forward to today.  We have bright fluorescent or LED lights on in our homes, we watch bright LED TVs, we look at our computer finishing email before bed, we stare at our smart phones to check Facebook right before we go to sleep, we are lying in bed, it is 10pm, and we are flooding our brains with BRIGHT light and not melatonin.

So, we finally put down our bright lights and lay in bed awake for a while in darkness, now the melatonin is starting to get released and if we are patient enough we fall asleep.  If we aren’t we look back at that super bright smart phone on the night stand to see what time it is…. Goodbye melatonin!  Time to start over again….

Somehow, we are finally asleep, must be just pure exhaustion…

WAAH WAAH!  Time to wake up and check on that baby… pick up smart phone to see what time it is, goodbye melatonin, its 2am and you just told your brain that 10pm to 2am is your circadian rhythm.  So, tomorrow night, you wake up at 2am, baby is sound asleep, what the heck?  Well last night you set your circadian rhythm to wake up at 2am.

Are we following here?  It doesn’t have to be a crying baby, maybe you have to pee and you turned on the bathroom light, or you hear an email on your phone and you check it, or you get called by colleague about a patient, but you look at that bright light…

Sometimes, there is no way to avoid this, when I am on call and I have to walk into the operating room at 2am to those bright lights… I just have to.  Or you can’t find that darn pacifier in the dark, nursery lights are coming on!  But, there are some things we can do to help.

First, turn off the darn lights at night, turn off the TV, kindle, iPad, smartphone at least an hour before bed, read a book to a dim back light, play a puzzle, talk to your family, turn out those bright lights!  On a ship during deployment, in the evening the lights turn red, red light is not as bright as white or blue light which comes from all of our screens.  This allows the sailors to start releasing melatonin, this is also used as they cross time zones to help reset those rhythms.

Next, set yourself up for success when you do have to wake up in the middle of the night.  Take the lightbulb out of your fridge if you need to get milk for baby at night.  Have a soft nightlight set in the hallway so you can find the bathroom or get to the nursery without turning on a bright light. Have a breastfeeding light that is dim clipped to the side of your bed, and most importantly get an old red clock!  No more checking the time on your smartphone!

In summary, turn off the lights early, get a red clock, use a nightlight and avoid looking at bright light in the middle of the night.

If you are in a bad cycle and frequent nighttime awakenings or falling asleep are hard for you, this will take 10-14 days of discipline before you start to see a difference, but stick to it, because poor sleep permeates your life.  It leads to decreased mental health, physical health, increased blood pressure, weight gain and mistakes.”


Ahhh I am LOVING this and instituting some of this with my daughter who has some difficulty sleeping. Thanks for the tips Elyse!

PowerFull Playlists – Music that Motivates from TODAY!

Ok let’s not just stay all in the past!  Check out this playlist from today’s top hits!

Today’s Pop Bootcamp Playlist

  1. That’s My Girl – 5th Harmony
  2. Me Too – Meghan Trainor
  3. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars
  4. Black Widow – Iggy Azalea
  5. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake and Lil Jon
  6. Anaconda – Nicki Minaj
  7. Fireball – Pitbull
  8. 1941 – Klaypex
  9. Worth It – 5th Harmony
  10. Play hard – David Guetta
  11. I love it – Icona Pop
  12. Can’t Hold Us – Mackelmore
  13. What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
  14. Shut up and Dance – Walk the Moon
  15. Till The World Ends – Britney Spears
  16. I’m not gonna teach your boyfriend how to dance with you – Black kids
  17. HandClap – Fitz and the Tantrums
  18. Victorious – Panic! At the Disco

And Mandi was so awesome – check out how you can make this playlist YOUR uber fast…

Follow this link.  If you have an amazon prime account, you can click the links and then “add to my music”, “+” or “follow”, which will put them in your amazon prime music folder. This will make it easier for you to open and use the playlists directly through amazon prime.

Today’s Bootcamp Playlist