I'm an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist and have been with the International Sports Sciences Association since 2016. I've been an athlete all my life playing soccer, basketball, running track, dancing, and doing MMA. I played Division I soccer at Lehigh University and played semi-pro in New Jersey for a bit. I believe you can stay fit and work hard through any stage of your life whether you're just starting or have been active forever!
My Training Philosophy:
I'm a firm believer that fitness is just as important for our mental stability as it is our physical ability. Besides the science behind why working out is beneficial for your health, the feeling of empowerment and accomplishment cannot be understated. My goal is to bring out the confidence in my clients - whether they've been training their entire lives or are taking the first step to bettering their health. You don't need a ton of equipment, the perfect location, or a set of rules to get healthy, you just need YOU and the desire to change! Together we can hit and exceed your goals!
To me, being or getting healthy, is a balanced mix of activity, finding the right fuel for your body, and getting proper rest. Food gives our bodies energy to do the thing we love - play with our kids, take care of our homes, and stay active in our daily lives. Yes, appearances are important to most of us - yes, we all want to lose fat or tone or here or there, but looking good on the outside means ultimately feeling good on the inside. I don't believe in drastic changes in training or nutrition or tons of rules so you constantly feel like you're failing - to me, getting healthier means taking baby-steps to improve your life and overall wellbeing. Take the journey with me!
What I offer:
1.) Training: Package of 5 or 10 - 45 minute training sessions catered to YOU designed in three ways - virtual live workouts, virtual recorded workouts, in person workouts
2.) Nutrition: Packages of 8 to 16 - 30 minute nutrition sessions and a program designed specifically for your goals
3.) Training & Nutrition (Our most popular): Packages with a combination of both training and nutrition specific to YOU!
Free 15 minute consultations!
Staying on Track in the New Year
Set Realistic Goals:
First off, let’s talk about setting your goals. We all fall into this trap - myself included - and say something too broad: I want to “be healthier” or “eat better.” We also fall into the trap of “I want to lost 20 pounds” or “I want to workout more.” With goals, we need to be specific and have a plan for what that 20 pounds might look like, because remember, if you’re working out more, you could lose fat but gain muscle weight which might be giving you that lean look you want.
When you set a goal, set something tangible by a certain date. “I want to fit comfortably into ‘these jeans’ for my high school reunion” - “I want to be able to run around with my kid for 20 minutes and not need to take a break by my daughters fourth birthday,” etc.
Sticking to Those Goals:
For nutrition, rather than saying, “I’m eating clean 100% of the time” or “I’m eliminating all carbs” when it’s not something you’re used to, set behaviors for yourself. Make it a behavior to pack 20 little snack bags on Sunday that you can grab and go throughout the week when you’re taking the kids to school or soccer practice - little bags of popcorn, apricots, almonds, health bars (look for items with the least amount of ingredients). Lara bars are one of my current favorites! Another behavior idea, when you get home before opening that fridge, chug a water bottle. Maybe for dinner instead of have processed white bread, you have a bowl of rice or extra veggies. Instead of a bowl of ice cream for dessert or an afternoon snack, have some vanilla yogurt with fruit and a few chocolate chips. Then continue to build from there once you’re consistently completing those behaviors.
For fitness - set your schedule at the beginning of the week. If you work out once a week right now, add in a couple extra walks with set times for yourself. I fully believe incremental growth is the most sustainable. Another tip that’s huge to sticking to your fitness goals, is have an accountability partner. Find a friend who has a lunch break with you. Grab another mom at soccer practice who will walk around the track with you. Snag your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife for a morning or evening workout. If you’re comfortable going to the gym or hitting classes using an app - plan the gym session or class ahead of time. Register for anything you can at the beginning of the week. When you register, and there are penalties for missing, you’re more likely to make it to the class. You can also find a personal trainer that fits into YOUR schedule and budget, just do your research. If you’re wanting to do at home virtual workouts and don’t want to spend the extra money on a trainer or classes, grab a friend, schedule a time, and do a FaceTime workout while watching a YouTube or Instagram video - there are tons of at-home, free workouts that you can find on social media.
Final Piece of Advice:
If you forget to grab your snacks, indulge in that ice cream, have that extra glass of wine or two or three while binging Bridgerton on Netflix, or you get that extra hour of sleep and miss your workout one day - THAT’S OK. You’re human, these are behaviors and lifestyle changes you’re trying to implement. Don’t get down on yourself. Sometimes we need a mental break. You’re not cheating, you didn’t fail, it’s all about incremental growth and that starts your journey of a healthy relationship with food and fitness that you can continue all year long.
Nutrition Myth Busters
Losing weight isn’t easy, and yet, around this time of year, it tends to be the Number One Goal. There are many myths and unrealistic expectations around losing weight, which make it one of the most difficult resolutions to actually accomplish. Some believe it’s all about exercise, while others believe the focus should only be on diet — even fad diets. Some say it’s a simple formula of counting calories. Others believe it’s all about counting your macros, or proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
There are many components to losing weight — in a healthy way. It’s mental and physical, and it is true that 80 percent of the process does in fact involve nutrition, while the rest of the efforts are focused on regular exercise.
Let’s take a look at some of the common myths we hear when it comes what we MUST do to lose weight.
MYTH: All carbs are bad.
It’s important to remember not all carbs are created equal. Choosing carbs with high fiber content, such as whole grains, beans, veggies and fruit, is great for the body and brain. According to the National Academies Institute of Medicine, these types of carbs can actually decrease risk of heart disease and help combat weight gain. By eating a healthy amount of “good” carbs and staying away from “bad” carbs — such as refined sugars and processed carbohydrates (think white bread) — you can take a step in the right direction and continue to eat a balanced meal. Another important component to keep in mind is that every health plan has to be tailored to your body. What works for one person, whether that’s KETO, Carb cycling or another type of lifestyle, will not work for everyone. You need to find what works for you.
MYTH: I can out-work what I eat.
You’ve probably heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” and most personal trainers and dietitians stick to the rule — 80 percent of your results come from what you eat, 20 come from what you do (i.e. exercise). Are we saying don’t exercise and just focus on diet? Of course not, but even if you’re working out 10 hours a day, you’re going to gain weight if you’re not expending more calories than you’re consuming.
MYTH: When the scale number doesn't look good, I don’t look good.
The saying “trust but verify” is a good one here. If you have a lot of weight to lose, and when we say “weight” most of us mean “fat”, then you can probably follow the scale number down to a certain point, but what happens when we start to lose fat, and gain muscle? You’ll not only start to feel better, but you’ll look better EVEN though that number on the scale stays the same or goes up. The best way to avoid the scale-trap is to get body fat measurements and take personal weekly or monthly progress photos.
MYTH: As long as I stay under a certain number of calories I’ll lose weight.
When you starve yourself and don’t give your body the proper nutrients, in the simplest explanation, it begins to go into panic mode not knowing when it’s going to get the right about of fuel next, and begins to store food/fat. On top of that, WHAT you’re putting into your body is so important. Many of us don’t realize what’s going on in that stomach, directly connects to what goes on in that head. According to New Brain Nutrition, psychobiotics is an important probiotic that can influence the gut-brain relationship. Good bacteria in our gut can help people who are suffering from feelings of anxiety, foul moods, and stress. That’s why even though you may be staying under your calorie count, you may not be giving your head the support it needs to reach your goal, not to mention, it’ll be harder to lose those stored fat cells.
So now that we’ve gone over some myths, let’s get more into what we need to know when it comes to diet and your brain. Food going into your mouth, down your throat and into your stomach and intestines will eventually create what’s called intestinal organisms, or microbiome. Microbiome can affect your mood, libido, perceptions and clarity of your thoughts. When microbiome becomes dysfunctional, it could result in headaches, anxiety, a negative outlook on life or an inability to concentrate.
Your mental state is so important when it comes to creating a lifestyle or breaking a habit, and that’s why it’s so critical to fuel our bodies with the best nutrients possible. In fact, the brain-gut connection is so strong, researchers have even found a dramatic turnaround in brain-related conditions with simple dietary modifications.
So as we head into the new year, here are some tips to keep in mind not only to help you stay on track if losing weight is your goal, but to help you keep a peace of mind as you begin your journey.
Meal prep: That doesn’t mean you need to have every single plate set out in containers like you see on social media, but try to do as much chopping, cooking, blending, or thawing on the weekend as possible, and always have a backup for one of those crazy days where you just don’t feel like standing by the stove.
Menu Shop: Weight loss doesn’t mean you can’t go on date night or out with your friends. It means being cognisant of what you’re putting in your mouth even when you’re doing something fun. If you’re having a “cheat day” allow yourself one. If you’re trying to stay on track even during that night out, take a look at the menu ahead of time and find a healthy option. Maybe that means eating something healthier at home before you go so you’re not ravenous when you get the restaurant, or that could mean choosing a place with alternate options that source where their products are from and show calorie amounts. Either way, know what you’re getting into before you get there.
It takes time: Remember not let the stress of trying to lose weight weigh you down. Don’t get in that head of yours or you may just not allow yourself to hit your goal. It’s a process, every person reacts differently, everybody is different, it takes time, and there’s going to be ups and downs. Accept that now and you’re already ahead of the game!
This article originally appeared in Katy Trail Weekly, written by Sarah Strackhouse as a ghost writer.