Workout Wednesday – Traveling Tabata

The holiday season is full of wonderful things like parties, seeing family, buying presents, making cookies, Christmas plays, and more. While all of these festivities are super fun, they also add in a lot of extra to-do’s to our schedules! I find myself getting stressed out and exhausted from all the busyness. Make sure you take time to find PEACE this season with a little self-care! Below is a body weight Tabata workout that you can do anywhere. It can be fast if you need to squeeze a workout in, or you can do a few more rounds if you can take more time for some self-care. This is designed to be done in a small space, so that, whether you’re waiting 15 minutes for your cookies to bake in the kitchen, or you’re visiting your grandparents and have only 6 sq ft of floor space in the bedroom you’re sharing with your whole family (can you tell I know this situation well??) you can make time for yourself.

No matter where you are, or how long you have to do your workout, take an extra minute at the end to breathe, restore, and refocus yourself for the rest of the day.

Lower Body Tabata Workout: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, for each exercise

  • Complete the pairs 2-4 times before moving on to the next pair of exercises.
  • If you do each pair four times, it will be a 20-minute workout.

Set One:  Sumo squat to releve AND pop squats

Set Two:  Reverse lunges to front kick AND jumping lunges

Lateral lunge to single leg balance AND lateral jumping (Lateral lunges to balance: do a lateral lunge, push off the floor with your lunging leg to center, bringing your knee up past your waist. Catch your balance for a second before setting your foot back down.)

Set Three:  Calf raises AND power skips

(Calf raises can be done on the floor, elevated, or single-leg for an added challenge. Power skips are skips where you focus on getting as high as you can–they can be done in place.)

Set Four:  Bench squats AND jump squats

(Bench squats can be single-leg for extra challenge)

Think Twice Thursday – Starbucks Edition

Each Thursday in October our PowerFull Fitness group “thought twice” about those yummy drinks we love to have for Fall. Do I think you should go get yourself a pumpkin spice latte and live it up? YES. Do I think you need to do it everyday…well….no.

So for those days you wanna fight the urge with something a bit more FIT – Think Twice with me! Continue Reading →

Fit at Disney – No Equipment Needed Hotel Workout

disney-day-4Today’s Fit Tips start with: accountability. I love my group of#specialkindofcrazy ladies. We support each other – we hold each other accountable. If someone doesn’t show up to workout in class, we message them, we tag them we find out WHY. So even on vacation – I am getting all kinds of awesome tags and notices about workouts being done. That motivates me to keep going. And then my #specialkindofcrazy girl Mandi posted a workout she did while traveling so it inspired me to try it. I’m going to share with you! Find a friend or join us – DO SOMETHING to build some community around your FITness Journey.

Love my ladies!!!

Referring back to yesterdays tip – I had to change it up a bit to make it work for my time constraints and lack of equipment so here is what I did.

Set timer for 5 minutes. Do each exercise 10 reps continuously. When you get to the 2:00 minute mark STOP and do cardio indicated. Then after 30 seconds go RIGHT back where you were in circuit and continue. At 4:00 minute mark do 30 seconds of cardio again Then finish out last 30 seconds of routine.disney-day-4-me

Set One: Arms
Cardio: high knees and mt climbers (15 seconds of each)

10 push ups
10 tricep dips
10 v push ups
10 tricep push ups

Set Two: Legs
Cardio: burpee down, plank walk right and left with push up at each end

10 in/out squats
10 running lunges
10 squat front kicks jumping the kicks if possible
10 vertical jumps

Set Three: Core
Cardio: high knees

10 in/out in v sit
10 squat to plank
10 plank jax
10 in/out in plank

Set Four: Cardio
Cardio: Running up down curb (high knees would work)

10 mt climbers standing
10 burpees with tuck
10 jumping jax
10 hop hop squat

Set Five: Recovery/glutes
Isometric Hold: v sit then second time chair sit
10 rainbow arches each leg
10 fire hydrants each leg
10 donkey kicks each leg in plank
10 squat side kicks each leg

Behind the Scenes at Costco – What to Buy!!!

One thing I love about PowerFull Fitness is our private Facebook group. Every member who works out with us is added. We post daily challenges and tips to keep your mind thinking FITness.  We post about class and how class went.  It is a great place to connect with community.  What I really love though is when someone asks a FITness question and together we learn about REAL life FITness.  Recently one of our PowerFull Fitness ladies and loyal am workout #specialkindofcrazy posted a question that got close to 50 responses.  What was it about? Costco!  The responses were so helpful I thought I’d share with you here!

Here was her question, “Finally breaking down for Costco membership. I have avoided it because I don’t want to go on a weekend but I just think it’s time… I would love some recommendations from you who go and stock up on healthy items such as grains, proteins. So far I am thinking, salmon, quinoa, egg whites, etc. If you have some recommendations for me, please send! Thanks”

And lets get started on ALL of the answers.

Continue Reading →

Another Protein Boost at Starbucks!

I had so many great responses to our last post on getting your protein in while at Starbucks, I thought I’d share another tip. A great friend and committed boot camper Janis shared this tip.  Another genius way to do it!

Janis says to:

  1.  Bring in a bottle filled with unsweetened almond milk and one scoop max muscle protein.
  2. Ask for two shots of espresso on ice in larger cup and pour that in your protein shake.
  3. It ends up being only $2.50!

Janis’ version comes out to 182 calories, 3 grams carbs & 31 grams protein.
I have like 5 bottles of this in my fridge.  Again another genius way to work that system!


Another Quick Protein Tip

Yesterday I posted about how you can have your protein and get a fun luxury treat at Starbucks.  Well today I wanted to share a quick idea for protein powder.  I get my protein powder at Max Muscle in Springfield. I’ve posted different ways to use it too – baking it into cookies and pancakes. But my friend Kira shared with me that I could use a half of a scoop in my greek yogurt to cut the bitterness of the yogurt. Genius!

If you use 1 cup of non fat plain greek yogurt and 1/2 scoop of your protein powder you have: 

190 calorie snack with 10 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 35!! grams protein, and 8 grams sugar!!!

Another option is to add 1/2 scoop of protein powder to 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (I like 1% fat)

140 calories, 8 carbs, 2 grams fat, 23!! grams protein, and 5 grams sugar.

So try out a new way to use that protein powder. Bump up your protein intake in in an easy peasy way!

Thanks for the idea Kira! And stop by Max Muscle to find the protein powder that works for you!!

Get Your Protein Boost at Starbucks!

So my fellow teacher and PowerFull Fitness Instructor Sara M. recently told me about how she gets a protein boost at Starbucks. I COULD NOT believe her when she explained what she uses and I had to try it for myself.  And now that I have – I HAVE to share it with you.

Sometimes it is fun to get a little treat and feel like you are enjoying a luxury – sometimes you just need that. But maybe it isn’t a day you really wanted to blow 500 calories on a frapp or you are working towards your goals and just need a little “break” but don’t want to go overboard.

Well thank Sara M for this discovery….

I am not much of a Starbucks drinker so I had to get her to IN DETAIL explain how to order this protein boost and I’m goin g to explain it to you in details now.

  1.  You have to have this Premier Protein Shake. I get mine at Costco (ps they are DELICIOUS even without the Starbucks fun).  You can also buy smaller packages of them at Target.
  2. You take your shake (we used vanilla) into Starbucks and ask for a Iced Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte.
  3. Hand them the shake and ask them to use THAT instead of milk.
  4. They will add in three shots of espresso and 3-4 pumps of sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup.  They put all of this in a venti iced cup.

And voila – you have a protein delicious drink.  My Starbucks cashier only charged me $3.25 because I didn’t use their milk.

So how does this work nutrition facts wise?

175 calories, 10 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, 30 grams protein!!, and ONLY 1 GRAM SUGAR!!

So if you need a quick caffeine fix but also a protein boost and just want a little treat…this is a great option.

I had  our other instructor Erin try it too since she uses the premier shake a lot just on its own – we are all fans!


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


PowerFull Mental Messages – Amy’s Tips

powerfull-mental-messagesAs part of our series on PowerFull Mental Messages, I’d like for you to meet Amy. I love having this lady as part of our community and I love the tips she shares about her own journey and how she created PowerFull Mental Messages.  Make sure you take time to read this blog about why what we think is just as important as any other part of our FITness journey.

Today, Amy shares with us.

First off, what “challenge” were you facing? Was it more of a nutritional thing you needed to change or a physical/fitness thing?

I had lost weight but still wasn’t feeling particularly healthy. And my mom, who is only 75, is really deteriorating mobility-wise. I became determined to be healthier and stronger than I’d EVER been and also to NOT age the way my mom has.

What do you think you were most “scared” of?

I was scared of looking stupid. Being the one in the worst shape. I was afraid of not being able to do it.

Why did you have that mental block about your newest goal?

Not sure why I was scared of those things and not really sure how I overcame them except that I just kept going to class and started seeing a difference in my body.

How did you keep going?

There’s always a bit of a negative voice – saying “give up. You aren’t an athlete and never have been. This is too hard for you.” But then other voices – yours, Stephanie’s, Eileen’s and Amanda’s drown the negativity out!!!  I keep going because of the people there and because of the improvements I’ve seen in my strength and health.  I really find that I am most successful at Piyo and doing that class helps calm negative voices best. I am SO cranky if I can’t do a full Piyo class at least once a week.

What is your major piece of advice you’d give another woman who may be struggling with the mental road block of her FITness journey?

My advice is to not say “I can’t…” Can’t get up that early? You’d be surprised. Can’t exercise?   You can ease in at your own pace – something is better than nothing. I’d also say – do you want to enjoy your grandchildren?

Thanks Amy for sharing with us.  Guys – you can do this!  Find the class YOU LOVE like Amy did with PiYo whether it is barre, boot camp, piyo, toning or speed and make it happen.  Challenge yourself, embrace the workout, and be ready to see those changes in your body and mind as well.

PowerFull Mental Messages – Mandi’s Tips

powerfull-mental-messagesAhh – super excited to chat with Mandi.  Start by reading this article on WHY what we think is soo important for our FITness journey.  And then dive into Mandi’s story and encouragement.

First off, what “challenge” were you facing?
Overall, my biggest challenge was getting healthy, and figuring out where to start. I was heavy, out of shape, and eating poorly. About the only thing I had going for me was that I was young. But other than playing social sports (for fun and drinking beer) I wasn’t doing anything that was good for me! So I had to figure out what to do and how to change my life. The first step, was to get out and get moving. At first I tried to tackle it all at the same time, but that didn’t work. So then I had to focus on just one thing at a time.

Was it more of a nutritional thing you needed to change or a physical/fitness thing?
At first I decided to start with the physical side of things, and once I got that under control and it became a normal part of my life style, I changed my goals and focused on the nutritional side of things. So I’ve had struggles on both sides of the plate! Don’t get me wrong, the physical side is still a daily choice I have to make. It would be a lot easier to just chill on the couch, but I have to remind myself how far I’ve come, and how much better I feel now than I did when I weighed 100 lbs. more! But my most difficult struggle currently is nutritional!!

What do you think you were most “scared” of?
Failure! Who isn’t afraid of failure right? I fear that I will end up back where I started (or worse), that I won’t be healthy and I’ll have all the health issues associated with being obese.  I fear I will get sick or injured and get so out of the routine of working out that I won’t be able to get back into it. Or that after one  weekend of bad eating, all I will do is crave the yummy and unhealthy junk foods again. I also fear that once I stop working with the nutritionist, I might not know how to continue or if someone isn’t checking in with me weekly, that I will allow myself to slide back into my old ways and I will balloon back up to weigh more than I did before.
But you can’t let these fears hold you back and consume your thoughts!! I have to live every moment of every day as its own moment in time. I can only succeed at this moment. I can’t change the moments in the past and I certainly can’t get worried or scared about things that haven’t even happened yet! All I can do is take it one workout and one meal at a time. I try to set myself up for the most success I can. I do this by having all the tools I need to successful, like surrounding myself with like minded people, and having friends and family in my life to help me when I struggle or feel down!

Why did you have that mental block about your newest goal?
Because I’ve always been heavy, ever since I was a kid. I was always the big kid! So I had just accepted that’s who I was and had tried to convince myself that’s just how it was going to be and people had to just like me for who I was (and by people I also mean me!). So it was really tough to wrap my head around becoming a new person. I feared I would lose my old friends because they wouldn’t want to hangout with the new boring healthy me. I honestly didn’t know if I would be strong enough to hold myself accountable when I was alone, with no classes or workout friends, or boyfriend and nutritionist to hold me accountable to my foods. But I have been, I struggle, I fall, I have a bad week… But I focus on the next day and the next meal and getting myself back on track. Again you can’t change the past but every day is a new day to succeed!

Can you share with us the journey you took to overcome it?
The biggest thing I’ve done to help myself overcome these mental blocks is set small goals. I set one large end goal but I set a bunch of small goals to reach along the way. Take training for my first half marathon. Yes that’s crazy (or half crazy as runners like to say), and once I started running I honestly thought, “there is no way in Hell I’ll be able to do that!” Insert large end goal!! But instead of setting out with the intent to go from running 1 mile and being exhausted, I set small goals. Enter a 5K, run the whole 5K, get a better pace on a 5K, run a 10K… I didn’t hit that at first. I ran/walked the first 3 I entered so each time I changed my goal. After the first 10K I wanted to walk less times in the next race, then I planned to run the whole race without walking. You have to set small reachable goals and when you don’t achieve them, don’t throw in the towel and say “I can’t do this, this is impossible”. What you do is change your goals. Along the way, instead of running a half marathon, I found the Ragnar relay and decided that looked awesome and TOUGH. So I ran 2 of those before I ended up running my first half marathon.
When it came to my weight, my big goal had always been to get down 100lbs. That seemed impossible!! So I started by 5lb, 20lb, 50lb, then I hit a plateau and couldn’t seem to get over it by myself and I needed help! So I looked into how I might be able to get some help and what my options were, and then I ended up working with Max Muscle and now I’m finally near my “HUGE” goal! Once I hit that goal I will look for another goal and keep working on things from there. Maybe I’ll try to add muscle mass, or add a new race goal, who knows what’s going to be next for me!!

How did you keep going?
The feeling of success when I reach a new goal or when I can do something I didn’t even think about setting as a goal. Things like running pace, distance or strength goals. Also things like burpees, lifting weights, push ups etc. All of those things give me such a high that it reminds me of why I started this journey. Or when I play sports with my friends and now I’m one of the fastest players on the field and I can guard the quicker player! It’s also all the amazing friends I’ve made along the way. Having such an amazing group of friends to do things with is also what keeps me going!!

Now that you have overcome that hurdle – do the old fears ever creep back in? If so – how do you handle it?
Oh of course they do, those nagging little thoughts are always there! Every time I go on vacation or get sick or just have a stressful day I start to slip and feel like all this hard work isn’t worth it. Or when I try new clothes and don’t like how they fit. There are a number of times that these thoughts creep back in. But then I just focus on the things that are going right for me, and I focus on how far I’ve come!! I don’t want to get back to where I was EVER AGAIN! So I just focus on that as my true goal in this journey!

Is there a negative “voice” in your head you’ve had to quiet down….and do you have a strategy for doing that?
Yes, it is usually more of a voice saying “you can’t do that, you are not strong enough” or “you don’t have the cardio to run for that long/far’, blah blah blah…”.  Mostly I just have to reach down, find whatever motivation and internal strength I can to push through, and keep moving. When it’s something I’ve been struggling with for a while, I will reach out to my friends, tell them what I’m struggling with and ask them to help push me and keep me moving.
For my half marathon I had a HUGE mental block about the 10 mile mark. I could not seem to run any further than that without giving up. So one day, I just set out with the soul purpose of running 10.5-11 miles no matter the pace…. Well it took me 2 attempts and lots of encouraging text and conversations with friends/family, yes even while on the run/walk that day. But I kept pushing and I eventually got there!! You have to find what works for you and tap into that.

What is your major piece of advice you’d give another woman who may be struggling with the mental road block of her FITness journey?

I guess its a few things. Find that circle of friends/family that you can lean on when you’re feeling weak. That support system can truly be the best thing you have. Even if they don’t realize it, they are more important than they usually know. It can be the running buddy you ask to join you on a long run, or the friend you ask to hold you accountable when you are having food cravings. Part of the group of friends you workout with that text/email/call you when you miss a workout. The significant other that is there to remind you why you started, and that you are stronger than you think you are when you feel like you can’t do it. Or even the long distant family/friend that randomly comments on all the work they see you putting in cause you post things on social media. You have to find what motivates/drives/inspires you on this fitness journey. Maybe its seeing your kids choosing to play outside instead of playing a video game. Or seeing your kids join you in your workout, or asking when you and them are going back to a class. This journey is so personal you have to find what works for you!
If you’re  struggling with the nutrition side of things, start slow! This is a journey not a diet, so start slow. Change one thing at a time until that becomes like second nature to you. Then adjust and change something else. Maybe you start by cutting out soda or that late night sugary snack. Or take lunch from home instead of buying lunch at work everyday. Then when that is the new normal, adjust! If you need to increase protein, don’t start by cutting out all carbs and fats and trying to force 150g of protein down everyday. Start by adding in a protein shake in the afternoon when you usually snack or crave sweets.
Everything needs to be in moderation and in small steps. If you are like me and struggle with the overwhelming fear of FAILURE, that’s because you’re probably looking at things from the overall view of everything at once. But when you break things down into small steps and small goals they start to look more achievable. Plus, then as you reach each and every small milestone you’ve set, you get the confidence of knowing you can do this and you can make the changes. Plus you get the reward of setting a new goal and the motivation of being that much closer to that HUGE goal you set. Like I said, I honestly never thought I would be able to reach my 100lb weight lose. It took me about 6 years, but now I’m just 5lbs away. These last 5lbs are HARD and I’ve been sitting here for about 3 weeks now, and I’ve even put some back on and then lost some. But I’m not letting that discourage me. I know if I stick to my short weekly goals I will eventually get there. And if I don’t, at least I know where I started and where I am now, which is amazing on its own! I’m not going to let 5lb derail me, let me feel like a failure or set me back up 95lbs. Even if I never lose the last 5lbs, I know I won’t let myself give up, or stop this new healthy lifestyle I have become accustomed to. I enjoy the new me, my new friends, and this new life I’ve created!! All I can do is focus on the things in front of me and not get derailed by things that have happened in the past!!

So if you are struggling with a mental block along your journey, let me or any of the powerful fitness ladies know, and hopefully we can help you find a way to work past it! We are all part of this #specialkindofcrazy family together, and we are here for each other!!