The Fitness Industry Needs a Makeover

The Fitness Industry Needs a Makeover

For most of my time in the fitness world, I refused to identify as a “fitness” person. I didn’t want people, especially clients and patients to think I was obsessive with my diet and lived at the gym.

Because to me, that was fitness. I wasn’t, and am still not into fitness. Or at least not that kind of fitness. It turns out that fitness is bigger than what I thought it was and what I was shown and exposed to 24/7. Just because the industry standard seems one way, doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever.

In fact, it’s time for a change.

It’s time to shift away from obsession, restriction, and extremes; and to move towards acceptance, variety, and the middle ground.

Diet culture has had a firm grip on the fitness industry for too long. It has led to literal OBSESSION over food, exercise, and our bodies. To the point that we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves. All we know is dieting and weight loss, even at the expense of our health. Don’t believe me?

Think about these questions for a moment:

How many foods are on your “do not eat list”?

How many social activities have you missed due to feeling guilty for skipping a training session or not being able to eat your pre-planned meal?

How many times have you found yourself eating a food until you’re sick because you have restricted it from your life for so long you feel you have no willpower?

How often do you ignore your body’s cries for a rest day, only to drag your exhausted butt to the gym and put it through yet another grueling workout where all your lifts sucked and you weren’t able to make progress, or worse yet, injured yourself…again?

How many times have you tried on a pair of jeans and cried because they didn’t fit. And then preceded to run down your list of things you’ll do starting Monday to finally lose that weight. How often do you wonder how everyone else seems to have so much self-control and willpower with eating?

It can be super frustrating. And disheartening. I know because that was me. Years ago.

I would start out really well with the whole gym and eating healthy thing “under control” until life threw me a curveball (because that’s what Life does). Whether it was a switch in my schedule, a poor night’s rest, a party, the gym equipment I needed being used, it didn’t matter. Literally anything would throw me off. And I’d tumble right down into a fuck-it-all spiral. Any “willpower” I had would evaporate. My logical brain would take a nap, and my emotional brain would take over.

Sometimes that would look like giving up on my entire training session for the day. Or maybe just my normal eating habits for the entire weekend. At worst, it would look like giving up on all of it alltogether for months.

It happened over. And over. And over again. A cycle of being “on” and “off”.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately this is the story of almost every single woman I work with. If this is you, you’re not alone, and I’m here to let you know that nothing is wrong with you.

Well, nothing except that maybe you’re surrounded by diet culture and it’s caused you to become obsessed with dieting, fat loss, being thin, and manipulating your body into some obscene social standard.

Diet culture has us all thinking we need to be dieting 24/7. That our entire purpose on this planet is to present bodies that are good to look at. That we aren’t worthy until we have achieved that mission.

It has us complementing weight loss and judging weight gain in friends, family members, and people we hardly know. It’s made us think that confidence is earned through creating a thin, “perfect” body.

It has allowed Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Companies to exploit our emotions, frustrations, powerlessness, and desperation with flashy words like fat burning, catabolic, anabolic, clean, etc.; sexy transformation pictures over a short period of time; and empty promises of finally getting the confidence and happiness you have been searching for.

The irony of it all? We seriously suck at creating long-term weight loss. At least 80% of weight loss is unsuccessful, and 95% of diets are unsuccessful in the long term.

So what gives?

If it isn’t working, it’s time to change something. It’s time to stop chasing fat loss and shrinking and a perfect physique and obsessing over fitness. It’s time to start learning how to actually care for your body, and create sustainable long term habits.

We have to shift away from this obsession with weight loss, and start focusing on behaviors that promote true health & well-being.

How can you know what your body needs for the day if all you can think about is fat loss?

Maybe if you were able to check in with your body and get some rest when your body needed it, you wouldn’t feel that your willpower sucks, because your brain would be able to help you make better decisions. Yes, that actually happens- too little sleep results in less logical thinking (pre-frontal cortex) and more emotion-driven decision-making via an increase of the emotional center of the brain (amygdala). This makes you more likely to engage in risky behaviors with less logic.

All that is science talk for “less sleep = less ability to make smart decisions that will benefit your health”.

When you are chasing fat loss, all that matters is getting in your exercise to burn calories. Your decision-making is clouded by an obsession with manipulating your body instead of caring for it. This is why most people skip rest days even when they need them or will literally trade sleep for exercise. They are too attached to “burning calories” and are afraid they’ll gain weight. When it’s all about weight or fat loss, guilt and shame keep you from being able to make decisions for your health in the long term.

That is the never-ending cycle of diet culture.

Switching gears away from weight or fat loss and towards behaviors that nourish your body is like lifting a 12 ton weight off your shoulders. It allows you to:

  • Give yourself permission to rest when you need and to make decisions that are centered on what your body needs.
  • Heal your relationship with food.
  • End the restriction <–> binge cycle that is holding you hostage from staying consistent.
  • Eat a doughnut on a Sunday morning, and feel satisfied after 1 or 2, without feeling guilty that you “fell off” again.
  • Eat and move on with your life.
  • Enjoy exercise again.
  • Focus on the life experiences your body provides for you.
  • Enjoy your life again.

Letting go of weight loss and dieting allows you to take back your power that’s been stolen through diet culture, a little at a time. It starts with letting go of fat loss and the idea that your happiness and worth are tied to how your body looks.

While we can’t control every reminder and reinforcement from diet culture, we can control how much of it we support with our time, energy, and money.. And in that way, we can be the catalysts for change in the fitness industry.

Here are 10 immediate action-steps you take right now:

  1. Surround yourself with people that remind you that there is more to life than dieting and living at the gym.
  2. Delete or block all your MLM friends that want to sell you their newest “clean” shake or 21-day transformation challenge.
  3. Stop following accounts of people who you think are “body goals”.
  4. Start following a vast array of bodies on social media, especially ones that look like you. Fitness and health do not have one “look”.
  5. Buy yourself clothes that fit you NOW that you feel good in.
  6. Support, like, and share content from anyone who promotes these messages and emphasizes health over just fat loss  and achieving a particular physique.
  7. Invest in coaches and programs that are credible and don’t prey on your insecurities.
  8. Remove yourself from conversations and relationships solely focused on self-deprecating comments and dieting.
  9. Fire coaches or trainers who prescribe very restricted diets, shame you for not sticking to their plans, or encourage the “no excuses” mindset that makes you feel guilty for skipping a gym session for some rest.
  10. Stop buying waist trainers and sucking in and trying to shrink. Let your belly relax so you can breathe and utilize proper core stabilization strategies.

We can change the face of fitness. Diet culture doesn’t have to be this rampant. It is up to you and me and everyone to upgrade the industry. 

We’re in this together!

PS. I’m not anti-fat loss. If that is your jam, cool. I am here to help those who struggle and obssess due to the constant reminders from diet culture that we need to be small and thin and obsess over shrinking. I am well aware that some people may benefit from fat loss for their health, but the statistics show we suck at sustainable fat loss. Therefore, something needs to change. 


10 Training Tools For Home Workouts

10 Training Tools For Home Workouts

Since starting a full time job as a physical therapist at the beginning of the year, my free time has diminished greatly. Working long hours with a long commute to and from work has left much less time for training. Add in a dog with separation anxiety at an all-time high, and I’m left with 1 day a week to get into the gym.

Of course I know 1 day a week is not enough to meet my training goals and needs, but luckily, I have enough equipment at home to get in what I need and maximize my training time.

I know I am not the only one who has experienced this time barrier. While many people can get over the barrier by re-assessing priorities, many people simply are unable to make it into the gym on a regular basis.

The good news? You can definitely still achieve your goals- you just need to be smart about how you maximize the time you do have. One of the ways I have made this work is quick workouts in my living room! I’ve gathered some equipment over the years that help me train what I need in my apartment. This takes away the time involved in driving to the gym, parking, waiting for equipment to be free, etc. (and decreases the anxiety my dog has from me being gone all the time- yes that’s real life-he’s been destroying our door).

You’ll see below the top 10 pieces of equipment or tools I recommend for those of you wanting to maximize your training time but don’t have a garage or a ton of spare cash to create a home gym. For each tool I mention, I have even linked my recommendation, making it easy for you to get started right now! Check them out and click on the link to get over the time barrier and start tackling your health and fitness goals!

1. Kettlebells: 

I own several because I love them so much. Kettlebells are the #1 tool I recommend having at home to maximize your training time and reach your goals. They are super versatile, portable, and are the perfect way to get a high intensity training session in. Combine resistance training with cardiovascular training helps you maximize the time you have available to train! 

Ideally, you will want 1 heavy, 2 moderately heavy, and 1 lighter kettlebell. But you can definitely get away with one moderately heavy kettlebell to start! I linked a 16 kg kettlebell here, which is usually a good starting point.

Of course this is a more expensive tool, but it is an investment in your health. Plus the kettlebell skills are endless, so there is always something fun to try or work on. You’ll never get bored!

Pro tip: these are pretty expensive-I get it. And the shipping cost when purchased online is usually just as much as the kettlebells cost. My husband and I bought ours on a Black Friday Sale that included free shipping.  So watch out for sales during holidays, especially Black Friday. You don’t want to skimp on kettlebells. Get the heavy duty ones, so they last. None of the plastic pink kettlebell stuff.

2. Mini Bands:

One of my key pieces of equipment for glute training. The little extra band helps me really target my glutes. Especially when I don’t have access to a heavy barbell. And when I am performing heavy barbell thrusts, these little bands give an added edge that light my glutes on fire!

3. Monster Band:

I have one the thickness/resistance level similar to the purple one linked here. Of course owning multiple is beneficial for variety, but you can definitely get away with just one! This band is a great resistance for banded goodmornings, banded hip thrusts, assisted pull-ups, suitcase deadlifts, and a ton of other great exercises.

This is also the 1 piece of equipment I always travel with because it takes up a small amount of space and can be used to create a full body workout almost anywhere!

4. Physio/Exercise Ball

This is one of the classics most people have. I love using my physio ball to train abs with a stir the pot exercise or to train my hamstrings with a physio ball hamstring curl.

While it’s not necessarily one of my prioritized pieces of equipment, it definitely provides a different stimulus and various options other equipment doesn’t allow for.

5. Val Slides:

These are another extremely versatile training tool. These are great for a variety of lunges, hamstring curls, and added challenges to planks. Plus they’re super cheap!

6. Foam Roller:

With foam rollers, any size will do, but I personally have and recommend the 36-inch foam roller. I love foam rolling right before bed and on days that I feel particularly sore from heavy training days.

Foam rolling has some great benefits. It works to aide in some of the inflammation that happens with delayed onset muscle soreness. It also works to calm the nervous system down. This is why we usually feel our muscles are less tense and that we have better mobility after. Foam rolling is a great pre-sleep routine for this reason!

Foam rolling does not, however, break up scar tissue. You would need a scalpel or knife for that (seriously, we can’t break up scar tissue with a roller or our hands). 

7. Therabands:

You don’t need to go crazy with these; although it is easy to do so. I have about 3 or 4 of various thicknesses. I use these for warm-ups or finishers for my shoulder workouts or added resistance to various exercises.

8. Suspension Trainer:

I linked the one that I have which is the most popular, TRX. This is a more expensive piece of equipment and definitely not necessary. But due to it’s versatility and ability to put up literally anywhere (in a door in your house or apartment or even on a tree branch outside), I had to include it.

I love using this for almost any exercise from assisted exercises like single-leg squats or lunges, to inverted rows. I also love using this for mobility training and strengthening my joints at ranges I don’t own yet!

9. Pull Up Bar:

This is a must if you are looking to getting your first pull-up or improving the number of pull-ups you’re able to rep out. This was one of the key factors that helped me get to 10 unbroken strict pull-ups. I had this hung in the doorway and did a pull-up every time I passed under it for weeks!

Of course if you don’t have a pull-up yet, you’ll need a little assistance to do so, but this will help you get a pull-up faster than ever. Use a chair to help you get to the top and lower yourself down, as slowly and with as much control as possible.

10. Jump Rope:

Since I live in an apartment, I don’t use this as much in my living room. I don’t want to do that to my neighbors. But this has come very handy for keeping my heart rate up during circuits when I go to my apartment gym, when I’m traveling, or when I train outside. Which is why this definitely made the list.

Plus I love how jumping rope challenges our coordination. We tend to neglect training things like coordination and balance. Things that we take for granted until we are affected by a disease or injury that compromises them.

So there you have it. My top 10 tools for training at home. Most of them are super affordable and hardly take up much space! Stop stressing about missing your workouts when you aren’t able to make it into the gym. And if you’re someone who is afraid to start lifting weights in a gym, you can easily start in the comfort of your own living room!

Last but not least, I will be sending out my living room workouts with these pieces of equipment regularly, so get your email on my list if you haven’t already!

Happy Training! 

Top 10 Mistakes Women Make in Health & Fitness

Top 10 Mistakes Women Make in Health & Fitness

While we have certainly made great strides in the female fitness world, there is still a TON of room for improvement.

Below are some of the most common mistakes I encounter regularly with clients and patients (and been guilty of myself) in the past 9 years of my experience training myself and other women. It’s time we create some change!

One of the most important components of cultivating a healthy lifestyle is constant auditing. Always striving to get better. Below are 10 ways you can improve your healthy lifestyle to ensure you get the most out of the precious time and energy you are putting in to taking care of the one and only body you will have for life.

1. Training for aesthetics only.

This is #1 for many reasons, most of which are near and dear to my heart because this was my #1 mistake when starting out. I was never able to be consistent or actually achieve anything and I never understood why. Why? Because my intentions stemmed from hatred for the current state of my body. I didn’t want to nourish my body. I wanted to punish it for causing me so much pain. Change it for being different than the world told me I should look. But I was missing the point. My body wasn’t the culprit, it was these crazy expectations I had for my body. I wanted my body to be something it wasn’t intended to be. I was doing my own body a disservice. And I know I’m not the only one.

Ask almost any woman in the gym for what drew her into the gym, and most will tell you they want to change something about the way their body looks. While it is not inherently wrong to want to change something about your body, it can often facilitate an unhealthy relationship with training and healthy eating, especially when it comes from a place of hatred, disgust, and frustration. All of those were the emotions that fueled my hundreds of attempts and failures at cultivating a healthy lifestyle.

By solely training for aesthetics, not only are we doing our bodies a disservice, but we are also putting pressure on something that is dynamic. Our bodies are supposed to fluctuate and change. Putting this pressure on our bodies becomes an issue because there is a tendency to attach happiness and well-being to how we look. I have seen women completely change their attitudes for the ENTIRE day depending on whether or not their stomachs looked “flat” in a picture or mirror (also guilty as charged!). We cannot control the way our bodies looks our whole lives, and why should we want to?

You were placed on this earth to provide the world with talents and skills that involve much more than how your body looks.

2. Overemphasizing cardio.

Most women live on the treadmill or elliptical in the gym. This is typically due to one of two reasons: 1) they are operating from an oversimplification of calories in:calories out for weight loss mindset, or 2) they are too afraid or intimidated to step foot into the weight room.

Much of this stems from the 1980s aerobics fads. But the secret is out and so are the training fads from the 80s. This is definitely a fad that has faded more, but I continue to see it lingering around too often.

Cardio is important, but it is merely a tool, one piece of the big puzzle. A balanced training program will include just enough, but not too much, cardio training. Why? Because it is possible- and common- to overtrain with cardio. It can create hormone imbalances, facilitate insulin resistance, wreak havoc on cortisol (especially if you are already stressed regularly and not eating to support your training habits), and even lead to weight gain, ESPECIALLY when paired with cutting calories and undereating.

When it comes to cardio training for general health, we rarely need more than 30 minutes a few days per week. Yes, cardio is important and should not be overlooked. But, you can totally lift weights in circuits with little to no rest to elevate your heart rate and kill two birds with one stone.

3. Not lifting heavy enough.

Our bodies adapt to the specific demands we impose upon it. If we are lifting small pink dumbbells over and over without progressing, our bodies will also not progress. If you want to be strong, you need to train for strength! This means lifting a weight that is challenging for you. Three pound dumbbells are not enough!

One of the biggest issues in healthcare, particularly for females as they age, is fractured hips. This often leads to severe disability and further complications, leading to a shorter lifespan. Why does this happen? Women are prone to developing osteoporosis, especially after going through menopause. Hormone changes and sedentariness are the perfect storm for this disabling injury. The good news is that we can prevent it! By building our bone density as much possible before menopause, we will be less inclined to develop osteoporosis and have much stronger and more resilient bones overall. Bones will literally grow more dense with strength training. As we use our muscles to move the weight or perform the exercises, these muscles are transmitting forces to the bones, stimulating them to grow thick and strong.

Another problem I see as a physical therapist in elderly women? The loss of strength in older females leading to the inability to perform basic activities such as getting up off of the floor or toilet. If we naturally lose some muscle mass and strength as we age, imagine how much quicker we will reach disability if the strength bank is already running low. If that doesn’t make you want to go pick up some heavy things off of the floor instead of those pink dumbbells, I don’t know what will.

Lifting weights should feel like a struggle. Embrace the struggle.

4. Core training all wrong.

Abs: the most common thing I see women “training” in the corner of the gym or under the stairs on a yoga mat. Also, one of the first things I educate my clients about. The purpose of your abdominals is to keep you upright, to resist motion through the spine so you can protect your back and generate more force through your arms and legs. With that being said, it doesn’t make a whole ton of sense to train abs with crunches, bicycles, standing side crunches with a weight (my personal least favorite), and all the other ab exercises involving a ton of crazy shear forces through the spine.

Instead, train anti-movements for the spine. These are things like dead bugs, stir-the-pots, pallof presses, bird-dogs, unilateral exercises, weighted carries, etc.

5. Performing sloppy repetitions.

 Women of the world, we are naturally the more bendy gender. We have more flexibility. Which is awesome. But, that also means it’s easy for us to be pulled into positions without effort. Especially with weight. This is problematic during weight training because we can get into positions with a load that we don’t have the best stability in. It also means we have a tendency to use momentum during exercise, rather than pure muscular strength. With the use of momentum comes a lack of control and extra movements at joints that shouldn’t be moving during the exercise. The less extra movements we have, the less risk we are for pain or injury, and the stronger we will be in the joints that are supposed to be carrying out the movement.

Crisp, clean movement = happy joints.

How do we fix it? Practice the law of irradiation. Learn how to properly create intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize your core. Use your muscles to pull you into each part of the exercise.

The tl;dr: don’t be sloppy with your repetitions and you will get stronger.

6. Unbalanced training schedule.

This is two-fold. Most women I know do not incorporate rest. This means both rest (active recovery) days as well as understanding that NOT EVERY WORKOUT NEEDS TO FEEL LIKE YOUR REGINA GEORGE AFTER SHE GOT HIT BY THE BUS. There. I said it.

Most women feel that they need to wring out their shirts with sweat or their workouts weren’t effective. This mostly comes from a lack of understanding how exercise and the body works. Think more about exercise as a request for change in the body rather than “calorie-scorching”.

The effectiveness of your workouts does not correlate to how much you sweat or how close to death you feel when you are finished.

It’s perfectly okay to actually walk out of the gym feeling refreshed rather than beat down. In fact, some of your training sessions should probably feel comfortable, especially when your body is feeling less than optimal and run down. This means you need to let go of your “all or nothing” mindset. Get comfortable with adjusting your workouts as necessary if you want to make this a lifetime habit. Adaptability rules. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You’ll be surprised at how different you will feel by respecting how your body feels and training accordingly- like your body is no longer betraying you!

8. Undereating.

This is a big one. (Well, if we’re being honest they all are, but nonetheless, this one is very important as it can lead to negative repercussions that are very difficult to mend). Most women think they need to exercise more and eat less to lose weight or achieve their goals. That couldn’t be further from the truth and we need to move far away from this oversimplification of how the body works. Many women who utilize this approach end up with all kinds of hormone imbalances, and many often gain weight! Instead, we need to think about eating to fuel our activities throughout the week.

This is especially true when it comes to consuming protein. Women rarely consume enough, despite the emphasis that has been placed on it in the recent years.

Don’t oversimplify your eating plan by just counting calories. Make sure you are eating enough to fuel your body with the energy and nutrients it needs.

9. Underemphasizing stress management and sleep.

We all know we need to manage stress. And get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Just like we all know we need to eat more vegetables and less McDonalds. However, the practical application and the prioritization has been lacking, especially in the recent years with the hours in front of a blue screen increasing drastically.

High stress + lack of sleep + overtraining + undereating/under-nourishing your body = hormonal wreck.

And we wonder why it’s so hard to lose weight, reach goals, or feel good.

We all need a stress management practice daily to function optimally. That can look like anything from prayer and meditation, to walks outside. Anything that allows you to unplug and desensitize yourself from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Something that helps you check back in with yourself and how you are feeling.

And when it comes to sleep, 7-8 hours is a general rule of thumb to strive for. And most importantly, this needs to be quality sleep. No interruptions. No drugs used to induce (yes, over-the-counter melatonin counts as a drug- it totally messes with your natural circadian rhythm). You should feel rested when you wake up.

10. Taking advice from fitness gurus & instafit models. 

I get how tempting it is to think you need to follow all the fitness models. They all have thousands of followers and seem so “fit” – obviously they know what they are talking about, right?

WRONG. I wrote a blog all about how to find a coach that’s best for you here. Sometimes it’s hard to decipher who is educated and knowledgeable compared to those who care mostly about their online presence and looks rather than their clients. And unfortunately, much of the female fitness world is filled with women (and men) who will spend more time trying to achieve a particular look than learning and bettering themselves to provide the best information for their clients.

No, you don’t need to try all the crazy glute exercises you see on Instagram. Nor do you need to try wraps to shed a few pounds. Or try anything else that is a quick-fix. Find the people who are telling you the hard things. Who empower you with knowledge and information. The ones who are real and honest. Those are the coaches who will go above and beyond for their clients and provide you with the best, most evidence-based research to help you create a healthy life that you love. So you can reach your highest potential.

Why Exercise Routines Fail & How to Stay Consistent Through the Holidays

Why Exercise Routines Fail & How to Stay Consistent Through the Holidays

“I need to get back to my routine of going to the gym.”

Raise your hand if you have ever said or thought something similar to this statement.


You aren’t alone. This happens all the time.

We get into a good routine to start, and then something happens that throws us off. This is one of the most common misconceptions about exercising- that getting into a routine of exercising will lead to a habit of exercising. That our routines will help us stay exercising in the long run.

But in real life, a routine rarely becomes a habit.


The answer begins with the definition of routine itself:

rou·tine (noun): 1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

A FIXED program.

FIXED. Permanent. Unchanging.

So when we perform a routine, it looks the same every time. There is no room for adaptability.

HOWEVER, as we all know, life is ever-changing. We need adaptability for our survival. 

Life constantly throws us curveballs, things that upset our regular routines. If we aren’t prepared to deal with curveballs, our routines will get interrupted indefinitely. Hence the often muttered stament mentioned above, “I need to get back to my exercise routine.”

Think about every time you have gotten into a “routine” of exercising. It probably worked a week, maybe several weeks, or even months. Until it didn’t. Something probably came up at some point that caused you to completely abandon your routine and exercise all together.

This has happened to all of us! The holidays arrive, we get sick, friends or family come to visit, there is a hurricane, etc., and we are no longer able to maintain the exact routine we had been working so hard to preserve.

So how does a routine become a habit? Routines are helpful in the beginning, but they need to be taken a level further. We need to learn to be adaptable to make exercise a sustainable habit.

We have to first understand that when life happens, it’s ok for our routines to be interrupted. We must let go of the all-or-nothing mindset, and be ok with whatever we are able to accomplish.

There are so many different ways to get your exercise in, even when life throws you a curveball. You just have to pivot or adjust accordingly.

When it comes to habits, the goal behavior gets accomplished regardless of the irregularities or obstacles life puts forth.

The holidays are often a big test for exercising habits.

The 2 biggest reasons around this time of year that cause people to abandon their exercise habits are a direct result of the inability to adapt their routines:

1. Travel.

During the holidays, there is a lot of traveling to visit families. This puts us outside of our normal environment, even without access to a gym or equipment at times. This completely throws off our normal routines. 

How to Adapt:

  • Prepare ahead of time. Pack a resistance band (~$20 on Amazon and hardly take up space in a suitcase).
  • Perform bodyweight exercises that require no equipment.
    • Examples include push-ups, squats, lunges, glute bridges, etc.
  • Search out local gyms that may have a cheap drop-in fee if you aren’t familiar with the area.

2. Time.

The holiday season is notorious for stress and business. There is baking, cooking, shopping, parties, events, catching up with families, eating, drinking, and being merry to be done in a short amount of time. 

How to Adapt:

  • Take extra laps at the mall when shopping- walking is one of the best forms of physical activity we can do, and it’s free!
    • BONUS: Add in a some squats and lunges with each lap as well.
  • Ask family or friends if you can catch up while getting in a workout together at a local gym. 
  • Shorten your workouts into circuits for maximal benefits of cardio and weight training in shorter periods of time.
    • Metcons work great for these circumstances 

These are just a few suggestions to get you thinking about adapting your workouts. There are endless options for making sure you continue with your habits, they just may look a little different than what you are used to.

Remember, something is better than nothing. Accomplishing the end goal of exercising no matter your situation is what makes it stick. That’s how you create a habit.

The Pull-Up Pursuit

The Pull-Up Pursuit

For many females, this pursuit may seem endless. It is common for women to work at them for months or years without achieving even a single unassisted pull-up. This can be frustrating and disheartening.

However, when hard work and dedication pay off in the form of achieving your first unassisted pull-up, there are few greater feelings to experience.  So how do you work on achieving your first pull-up {or any other pull-up goal you may have}? Below are a few tips on mistakes I see commonly when training pull-ups, especially for women who are trying to get their first pull-up.

I was inspired to write this after experiencing my own struggles and frustrations with pull-ups, as well as hearing the struggles from other women. Several weeks ago, I was only able to perform a single pull-up, and that 1 pull-up was a struggle bus to achieve.

Instead of getting angry or disappointed with myself, I channeled my frustration into goal-setting and training.

Then, several weeks of consistent training later, I not only achieved my goal, but I was also able to perform my first ever weighted pull-up. It’s funny what you are able to achieve once you set a goal and actually train for it consistently.

Thanks to my recent pursuit, I discovered how much I actually love pull-ups. They are honestly one of my favorite things to do now, any place, any time (hence the photo above of me doing a pull-up on my nephew’s swingset!). In fact, I love them so much that I decided to write this post with a few tips to help other women achieve their first pull-up {or other pull-up goal} and to spread the pull-up love to my sisters in strength.

In addition, I will be sending out exclusive training tools and tips to my email list in a 5-day Pull-Up Pursuit Series. Make sure you sign up today to get access to this series- the first email will be sent out tomorrow.

First, let’s dive into why pull-ups are so great:

They help you feel strong and powerful. here is something empowering about being able to pull your own body up over a bar. Being able to do a pull-up is one of the coolest ways to show up in this world as an unapologetically strong woman.

They are a fundamental skill with a ton of carry-over. The strength needed to perform this skill actually carries over to many other skills. Want to play on some monkey bars at the park? No problem. Rock climbing? Absolutely! Training pull-ups makes it easier and more fun to PLAY. Something adults need to do more of anyways. Below is an example of something I never thought I would attempt- but luckily I knew I could trust my strength to hold me up!

They can help you mend your relationship with your body. Strength training is one amazing way to gradually push outside of your comfort zone and start trusting your body again. As women, we are often conditioned to have broken relationships with our bodies. Many women even feel that their bodies have betrayed them. As you work on pull-ups {or any other exercise to build strength},  the focus shifts from what your body looks like to what your body is capable of doing. With feeling stronger and focusing on what your body is capable of, you will begin to trust your body more, mending that relationship.

Now for the nitty gritty. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when training pull-ups. If you are serious about training pull-ups, I urge you to also sign up for my emails. For the next 5 days, I will be sending out a pull-up series with exclusive tips and information on pull-ups that you won’t want to miss!

Today we are going to dive into the setup for pull-ups.

Like every exercise, the setup is KEY. Failing to set up properly is setting up to fail.

1. HAND POSITION: I often see people performing pull-ups with a very wide grip. While this can serve a purpose, it is one of the most difficult ways to perform a pull-up.

I often recommend starting with a chin-up {hands facing toward you} and then working towards a regular pull-up with a grip of slightly wider than shoulder width apart  {as in the picture on the right}.

The photo on the left is demonstrating a wider grip, which makes it more difficult for beginners to get themselves over the bar. I recommend training more like the grip in the picture on the right.

2. HOLLOW BODY: Uncross your feet and keep them in front of you. I often see people bending their knees and letting them drag behind. This makes it difficult to engage your entire core, resulting in power leaks.

You can see in the photo on the left my feet are dragging behind me and my ribcage is flaring, causing a complete loss of connection between my upper and lower body and making it very difficult to engage my abdominals.

Think of a more hollow body position (As seen in the photo on the right). My abdominals are engaged, allowing me to create maximal stiffness throughout my entire body.

You should feel your upper and lower body moving together as one segment throughout each repetition.

3. GRIP: Last but definitely not least, grip that bar HARD. Proper grip is KEY to engaging all of your muscles and squeezing every ounce of muscle force out of them.

Start with wrapping your pinkies around the bar first and then follow with the rest of your hand. You should squeeze the bar as hard as you can, like you are trying to break it in half. You will feel the muscles tighten all the way up your arm into your shoulder. This is called irradiation- a GAME CHANGER with any strength exercise.

Give these a try next time you are working on your pull-ups, and let me know how they help! If you want to learn more, inclulding how to program for pull-up goals and exercises to include, sign up for my emails. The Pull-Up Pursuit Series starts tomorrow!

Stop Fitnessing; Start Training

Stop Fitnessing; Start Training

Today, I am challenging you to rethink your approach to exercise.

Because you must constantly challenge yourself and your belief systems to continue to improve.

The typical mindset regarding exercise is purely short-term, weeks or months. People usually hit the gym with a short-term goal of hitting a particular number on a scale or fitting into an old pair of jeans or running a 5K. But what is the real purpose of those goals? What is the bigger picture?

For many people, the goal is as simple as to be healthier. If that is your goal, any form of fitnessing can probably help you, whether it’s an elliptical or burpees. If that keeps you interested and exercising regularly, then good for you.

For most people, however, it’s a little more complicated, and short-term goals do not result in sustainability. Once the initial goal is accomplished, they don’t know what to do next. Or they just return to old ways. Instead of creating healthy habits, they jump from one random goal to another until they get frustrated or bored or both.

But what if you started thinking more in the long term? Across your lifespan? How many times have you even pictured yourself in the far future?

Of course it is easy to assume that you will be able to continue doing the things you love 20, 30, 40+ years down the road, but the reality is that may not be possible. Unless you specifically TRAIN to do so! At the least, training can help improve your robustness heading into older ages and make you more resilient to whatever life may throw your way.

As a physical therapy student who has worked with hundreds of elderly men and women, I can tell you that almost no one thinks that far into the future. They don’t think about being able to get up off the toilet or off the ground until they are no longer able to do so with ease. These are the simple things we all take for granted.

It really all boils down to one question:

What do you want to be able to do when you are 60, 70, 80+ years old?

A Few Classic Examples:

  • Bend down to pick things up off the floor with ease
  • Carry your groceries without needing to ask for assistance
  • Sit down and stand up from the toilet or a chair
  • Walk up stairs at a house to visit a friend
  • Maintain as much independence as possible

Believe it or not, those are attainable long-term goals. And they are achieved by training smart and purposefully.

Programming strength training exercises like squats, deadlifts, loaded carries, and Turkish Getups are great examples of ways to train your body to help you maintain movements that are needed to perform normal daily activities mentioned above.

Now it’s time to reflect on your current training approach. Are you training to be able to perform whatever activities you chose in response to the big question above?


Are you sacrificing your joints in compromising exercises for short-term gains? Or randomly performing exercises without a clear-cut purpose?

Are you ACTUALLY training for your future self?

It is possible to work towards short-term goals like dropping some weight or entering a marathon, while also working towards being able to do the things you want to years down the road, in the long-term.

Having strong bones, healthy joints, maintaining independence throughout your life, and being able to withstand whatever life throws your way with much more resiliency? Now THOSE are some #goals to get behind!


1. Determine what activities you would like to have the ability to do when you are 60, 70, 80+ years old.

2. Build strength in the muscles needed to perform those activities.

3. Create healthy joints; explore movement every single day.

4. Choose exercises in which the risk << the benefit. No compromising exercises for short-term gains.

5. Have purpose for every single exercise you perform; even if it’s just for sheer enjoyment 🙂