How to determine what workout will WORK for you…


This is probably one of my all time favorite topics.  I love trying to help people determine what will help them get into the BEST shape of their life.  Whether you have no weight to lose and want to tone up, or lose 100lbs, you should follow a few basics in order to determine what works best for you.  Bottom line is this…if you have been doing the same program for a while now with the same results, you may need a change.

#1.  Do you put muscle on easily?  I do NOT fit into the “puts muscle on easy” club.  I have always been one of those people that even when I lift, I still look a little “softer.”  This is good and bad.  It’s good because I really didn’t “bulk up” in college when I was lifting my heaviest.  It’s bad because I have to work harder to gain muscle when I want it.  If you fall into either category you may need to alter the amount of weight you are lifting to get the results that you want.

#2.  What look am I going for? I am not in competition.  I don’t want to look like a body builder.  But, I do want to look lean and toned.  I want to look feminine, but strong.  A nice balance would be ideal.  If you know what your goals are then you will have a better idea to what you need to do to get there.  If I decided in question #1 that I put muscle on easier and I want to bulk up then lifting heavy is what I need to do.  Or if I want the more feminine and “cut” muscles then I need to lift lighter weights for higher repetition.  Now, what’s funny about that is that I am not a muscle girl.  So I can lift heavier in order to get the right amount of toned.

#3.  Cardio vs. Resistance Training?  If you have been following this blog for a while you know my stance on this.  Though I love to go out for a nice run every now and then, running, or plain cardio is NOT the best route if you are trying to cut fat and tone  your body.  It just isn’t.  Your body needs muscle to burn fat.  That is just the science of it.  Any way you slice it, to get the best out of your workouts to burn fat you MUST put on muscle.  If it weren’t the case every episode of Biggest Loser would look the same.  They would diet and get on the elliptical machine and treadmill.  You see them on the ground, moving their bodies around, and lifting things the majority of the time am I right?? Cardio isn’t the key.  Get out of your comfort zone and try something with resistance training or weights.

Let me show you a few pictures that really caught people’s eye recently.  On the left I was only running. I ran like 4 times a week for about 30 to 40 minutes.  On the right is my “after” picture where I have done mostly resistance training.  Weight lifting, yoga, and circuits have gotten me to the body on the right.  I really only do “cardio” one day a week.

photo(5) photo(5) copy 2

#4.  It HAS to be fun.  You don’t always have to be miserable during your workouts.  One of the biggest misconception about working out is that it’s torture.  You are in control over what workouts you do.  I get a lot of clients that tell me how much they love Zumba.  That is a great and fun workout!!!  I’ve tested out Zumba classes, however for me it just wasn’t enough.  I struggled with some of the moves and it was hard for me to get my heart rate up.  Luckily, there are other options out there if “dance” is your thing.

***The best way to cut fat is always to improve your diet, but when you are done dieting you want their to be something fabulous for everyone to see.  And that is NOT the look of loose skin.  Putting muscle on as you diet is the absolute key.

Now, here are a few programs that I recommend.  These are workouts  I have PERSONALLY tested out and loved.  These are great workouts for STRENGTH and TONING!!!!!  They will help you cut the fat!

Les Mills PUMP


***This is basically an at-home version of “Body Pump” barbell class that is common at the gym.  If you’ve never tried a body pump class you need to get to a gym and try this out immediately.  You will be hooked.  It is an amazing way to SCULPT your body and feel strong again.  I really love that you can determine how much weight to use too.  This makes it a workout for anyone.  If you are in either group, the one that puts muscle on easy or the one that struggles, you can alter your workout accordingly.  Those muscle builders can put a light amount of weight on the bar.  Those that need to go heavier can do that too.  The main attraction to Les Mills PUMP is the “rep effect.”  You get a ton of reps in during the workout.  This is the workout that has changed my body.

Chalean Extreme

chalean-banner***I like this workout as a start up to those new to lifting weights.  The way that Chalene Johnson breaks it down into three phases is amazing.   Burn, Push & Lean are the three phases that help you get the sculpted look you are after.



***If dancing is your thing this workout combines Dance moves with kickboxing in an intense, but forget that you are working out type of atmosphere.  Another Chalene Johnson program and one of my all time favorites.

Jackie Warner DVDs


***Two of my favorite workouts.  They are quick and effective.  The downside is that it’s not a “program” so  you are doing the same thing OVER and OVER again.  But, still a great piece to put into your collection.

If you ever have questions about what workouts will work the best for your body type just ask.  Not everyone is the same.  Not everyone LIKES the same things.  Do your research and see what is available.  Know your goals and you will be more successful!


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Chapter 3 – My Celiac Journey

Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 can be found here if you need to get up to date before reading this post.

Looking back on my high school and college years, I can totally tell I was having some gluten related symptoms. I always struggled with skin problems. My joints hurt more than the average teen athlete. ADD??? Check! I was a ticking time bomb!

After my scope and being on a gluten free diet for about 3 weeks, I still wasn’t feeling my best. I was still having “undigested” bowel movements and bouts of acid reflux. I was frustrated because I thought a gluten free diet was a quick fix! All cases are not like mine. I was so sick and my intestines were so damaged, that it took a good 2 to 3 months for me to feel better. One of my doctors explained it like a tornado. The storm is gone…but now you have to pick up the pieces and repair all the damage that the storm left behind.
As I was recovering, I did some research on ways to improve and heal my gut. I also looked up foods that might be irritating my gut. I found that dairy and nightshades were a problem with me. I chose to cut those foods out of my diet until I felt I was healed enough to slowly reintroduce them. Even today, I try to stay away from dairy (it’s not really good for you anyway). I will occasionally have feta on my salad or splurge with a g-free pizza, but almond milk and coconut milk have become staples in my home. They also come in yogurt and ice cream forms!


Austin and I in October 2013.

July and August rolled around and I had improved immensely! I was getting back into my workouts and enjoying my favorite foods in gluten free form. I could tell that my body was healing, which was perfect timing because I was starting school in mid-August. I was slowly adding more intensity to my workouts but keeping yoga and strength training as the foundation.

Then July 13th came around. It was a Saturday and Austin had left early for a Chiropractic seminar that would last ALL DAY. I felt weird. Not quite Celiac feeling but similar in some ways. I hadn’t missed my period but my curious (and bored) self decided I would take a pregnancy test. 1 minute later, there was a “+.” I couldn’t believe it!!! I thought it would take us a while to get pregnant because I had polycystic ovaries (now I know caused by Celiac). I was so excited…and TICKED because Austin LITERALLY just walked out the door for the entire day. I had to keep my exciting secret to myself until I would see him again in 12 hours.

As I was waiting by myself I had a lot of time to think. Worry, doubt, and anxiety started to set in. Am I ready to grow a baby? 2 months ago, I wasn’t even absorbing enough nutrients for my own body’s needs. I hadn’t put on all my weight that I lost when I was so sick. Am I healthy enough to do this?! Will I look like Bella from Breaking Dawn when her vampire baby is stealing all of her nutrition?! HA!

17 weeks pregnant

17 weeks pregnant

As you can see, I DO NOT look like Bella from Twighlight. But I did have my battles in the beginning of pregnancy. There is ONE chapter left to bring you up to date with my Celiac (and now pregnancy) Journey! Stay tuned!

Signature Maggie

Throwback Thursday…Consistency


Thanks for joining Throwback Thursday.  I’ve been thinking A LOT about what I wanted to write about and HOW I wanted to word it so it made sense.  I hope that I reach that goal.

The key to my success isn’t necessarily which workout I choose.  It doesn’t matter if it’s cardio, lifting weights, circuit training, or any other workout on the planet.  What I have noticed through all the years is one thing…CONSISTENCY.

When I am consistently working out I am at my fittest.  Since starting the “September 30 for 30” with Adie, I have actually lost weight, instead of maintaining.  Some of you are probably saying, “duh, Haley.”  But, what you need to realize is that I haven’t really been working out at my maximum effort.   I have not been doing my most challenging workouts, or working out for the number of minutes I would normally workout.  Most of the normal workouts that I do are much more than 30 minutes and at a higher intensity.

One of my favorite workouts, like the Plyometric Insanity DVD, is very intense for around forty minutes and I feel like I’m dying.  Haven’t done it.

Running…haven’t been doing much of that.  Just a bit here and there.

I have been lifting weights, jumping on the bike, some Turbofire DVDs,  and doing random exercise.  That is the truth.  I don’t even have a “program” right now.

Now, why I bring this up is important.  It reminds me of when I was in the summer after my senior year of Softball, 2004.

I stayed in Carbondale for the summer and got to work with another athlete from SIU.  She was a volleyball player, and we had so much in common.  We loved to be physically active and cared about maintaining a healthy lifestyle after our sports were done.  We decided to go running and pretty much went 5 days a week.

We would run campus lake twice, which is just under 4 miles.

That is all I did…all summer. NO lifting weights, NO circuit training.  JUST running.


I had great results.  However, before recently, I thought it was due to the fact that I was running…and that was the workout that I needed to get my most fit.


Since that summer I have done stretches where I only run…Not the same results. AT ALL!!! Not even close.

What I have come to realize is that it wasn’t about the RUNNING I was doing…it was about the consistency.

Running did NOT get me the results…consistency did.

When I seem to “struggle” or “fail” a bit it usually has to do with when I take too many days off.  This is why the September 30 for 30 has really kicked things back into gear for me.  I have not missed a day yet.  Even when my daughter was sick last week, and I didn’t feel well myself, I went for a 30 minute walk to get my 30 minutes in!!!

Consistency is key.  So, if you have something you like to do already…keep it up.  But, one thing I try and help my clients realize is how important physical fitness is, and how it needs to be a habit, or part of your NORMAL routine.

Another point I would like to make is that consistency even outweighed my diet.  I was NOT eating the most healthy at this point in my life.  I worked at a bar…eating bar food and drinking more than I ever did before.  I wasn’t watching what I ate…or drank.  I was just running and having fun.  Now, does that mean if you work out every day you will never have to watch what you eat??

Absolutely not…SUMMERER20042


The point I am trying to make is that even though I wasn’t watching what I ate, because I was consistent with my workouts I was able to still create a deficit in order to be successful.  And I’m sure age and metabolism helped a bit as well.

How can this help you? Easy.  Put your workouts into your calendar.  Leave them there.  Make them a part of your routine and you will finally see some consistency.  If you are CONSISTENT with your workouts, I know you will have success.

One final Throwback Thursday picture…just for fun.  I can’t believe this is close to nine years ago! 



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