Blog: FITGirl Training

Be True

Have you seen Colbie Caillat in her video"Try?" A great message speaking to women on a plethora of levels about topics such as self-image, media, unrealistic expectations, what it means to be a striving woman living in America.

The observations Caillat makes about comments she has received from others when she's not wearing makeup and looking "dolled" up definitely confirm my experiences.

The makeunder happens all while she sings “Try,” which the singer hopes will help take the focus off unrealistic beauty standards, and remind women to be true to themselves.

Colbie Caillat "Try" Video

There's nothing more beautiful than someone who is comfortable in her own skin and unafraid of letting her inner light shine through. If you haven't read an article, here's a great one:

What do YOU think?



Colorado Bound

This past week we traveled to Colorado. Our children (9 and 12) had never seen mountains before, so we decided it was a good time to travel the 14 hours by car. One of the most memorable moments was riding through the mountains on horseback. We took a wonderful tour and learned a lot about the natural resources and history of Colorado.

We noticed a lot of devastation due to a storm last year that wiped out large portions of roads and trees high up in the peaks. In a span of minutes, a sunny, bright afternoon can transform into a dark and dangerous fight for life. I was amazed every time I saw a person biking through the mountains. Not just because of the level of difficulty, but also because of the potentially treacherous conditions. Wowza!

In Boulder, it was common to see a woman biking about town with a Yoga mat strapped to her back or running along the wide open road. Definitely a stark contrast to Minnesotan's, as most women tote a mat in the trunk of her car. If you plan to visit this glorious state, be sure to look along the roadside for friends as you will not find them in the weight room ;)


Are you a cheater?!

On June 27, Sharon Osbourne talked about her food addiction and weight loss journey on ET. It caught my attention when she confessed that she does have cheat days. While I'm certain she has people who absolutely love and hate her, I think her no-nonsense attitude rocks!

The reality of weight loss is that no-one is perfect. We all have times when life takes over and we eat things that aren't good for us. Sometimes it feels 'Oh so wonderful' going down, but not so great afterward. Vomiting is definitely not the answer.

So, how do we maintain weight loss?

The key is maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes more fruits and veggies than anything else on a daily basis and, even on cheat days, going right back to your healthy eating routine. I've said it before and you've seen it elsewhere, but it's absolutely, positively TRUE - Abs are made in the kitchen and not in the weight room. The amount of fat we have on our bodies is reflected in our waistline and there's no (healthy) way around it.

Why even bother exercising?

Exercise speeds up the process of weight loss and strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system, among other things. Unless you're a Farmer or in a physical labor profession, exercise must happen on a regular (weekly) basis in order to be physically healthy. That's just how we're made!

Are you a cheater?

I'm certain we should all say "Yep, I'm a cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!" But the people who can look so darn good have simply reverted to eating their vegetables and fruits.



Why should we care?

Food, Energy, and Exercise

The healthier we eat, the more energy our bodies have to exercise and keep up with daily tasks. Glycogen fuels our muscles and carbohydrates, in the form of fruit and veggies, provide the best fuel. Lack of fuel results in excess fat in the blood and reduced beta oxidation, which promotes strength loss over time.

I’m certain you’ve probably heard about the signs of dehydration. A few examples include, profuse sweating, muscle cramps, dry mouth, swollen tongue, dark urine, diarrhea, and lethargy. Proper hydration is an essential component for optimal physical performance and energy.

How much water do we need? Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. That number serves as the baseline for the amount of water your body needs in ounces every day. When exercising, we must drink more water to stay hydrated.

In addition to drinking water, a single packet of the dietary supplement “Emergen-C” can be used to replenish essential vitamins and minerals and encourage rehydration. Be aware that sports drinks normally include high quantities of sugar or sugar substitutes that may quickly increase blood sugar for a short period of time and then quickly drop off, making you feel tired.

It’s important to note even when we’re physically or emotionally tired, consistently eating nutritious foods and staying hydrated gives us the energy to literally “go that extra mile!”


The cardiovascular system includes the heart muscle and blood vessels. One reason we want to include cardiovascular exercise in our weekly workouts is because it strengthens the heart and increases the volume of blood the heart can pump through the body. When used effectively, cardiovascular exercise speeds up the process of losing weight.

Did you know that extended periods of vigorous cardio exercise may actually impair muscle growth? When raising and maintaining a high heart rate, 90-100% of your maximum heart rate, for long periods of time (longer than 65 - 90 minutes), the body secretes more cortisol (stress hormone). Increased levels of cortisol in the body can encourage fat storage and inhibit weight loss. If you’re exercising hard and not losing weight, you may be training too hard. To lose weight, it's recommend that we exercise within 70 - 80% of your maximum heart rate.

When lifting heavy weights, it’s best to complete cardio exercise at the end of a workout to keep cortisol levels in check. Benefits of lifting heavy weights and training hard include, but are not limited to, increased: cross-sectional muscle growth, capillary density, mitochondrial density, aerobic energy and ATP storage. Lifting heavy weights means lifting the heaviest weight possible for your while maintaining and executing good form the entire time. If you've never lifted heavy weights, it's best to seek the advice of a personal trainer to ensure proper form and technique and reduce the risk of injury.

A simple explanation of why we should consider lifting heavy weights, according to Mike Bracko, Ed. D. an exercise physiologist in Calgary, Alberta, is “when you lift heavier weights, your muscles pull on your tendons, and your tendons pull on your bones, which has been shown to help increase bone mass, a major factor preventing osteoporosis.” Heavy weight lifting also increases the metabolism and promotes more calories burned over a longer period of time.

While we could go into very complicated explanations on each topic, my intention is to give a little insight into what’s going on inside the body when we eat healthy food and exercise.

Take your workout to the next level by eating lots of leafy green vegetables, good fats found in avocado and nuts, whole fruits, and clean protein such as legumes, poultry, and fish and incorporate lifting heavy weights into your weekly exercise routine.

After all, it may just save your life!



Healthcare Tracking: Will You Use It?

This month Google and Apple are in the midst of announcing new technology in the healthcare tracking industry, but "Will you USE it?"

Quick Synopsis


Claim: Google Fit aims to be a storehouse for data from wearable activity tracking devices such as Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, and Nike FuelBands, and smart phone apps that gather or generate related data.

For more information, here's an InformationWeek article written by Thomas Claburn Google FIT: Another Try At Health Data?


Claim: The new Health app gives you an easy-to-read dashboard of your health and fitness data. And we’ve created a new tool for developers called HealthKit, which allows all the incredible health and fitness apps to work together, and work harder, for you. It just might be the beginning of a health revolution.

For more information, here's a New York Times article written by Aaron E. Carroll The Trouble With Apple's Health App.

Based on my understanding, Google is taking their wearable devices and proposing to help customers compile the health data and store it on the "cloud" which will act as a "parent" or host for all the information collected from their devices and apps. Apple is collecting daily information, including heart rate, blood pressure, calories burned, hours of sleep, etc., creating a new app with various dashboards for the iPhone and providing a medical records platform to share with healthcare doctors and hospitals.

For healthy people who can afford the Google and Apple products and want to share their information, this is great news! However, as Carroll's article points out, will sick people who really need this service be able to use it and, if so, are they willing to share the information? Alternately, are healthcare providers ready to accept the volume of information and liability that goes along with it?

All great questions worth considering. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on this subject. Cheers to a fabulously FIT week!


Aim High


Bette Calman at 83 years

When it comes to health and fitness, you're never too old to reach your goals. A prime example of this is a female client well into her 70's. (You don't have to be Bette Calman to be extraordinary.)

How'd she do it?

Set a goal:

Her goal was to lose 20-30 pounds within a specified time period.

Make a plan:

The first goal was drinking plenty of water and walking 20 minutes per day. Whether that meant walking the halls in the apartment building or taking a stroll outdoors. Consistent movement is key.

Next, she cleaned up her diet. Significantly decreasing foods that provide little to no nutritional benefit like crackers and desserts. It's hard for everyone to make dietary changes, but it can be done painlessly!

Moving beyond the plateau meant working harder. We increased the intensity of her cardio exercise, used slightly heavier hand weights, and incorporated more body weight exercises.

Measure once, twice . . .

To continue the challenge, it's important to gauge where positive change has occurred and areas to continue working on. This meant listening to her feedback, understanding her goals, using basic assessment tests and administering them on a consistent basis, and focusing on continued improvement. Perfection is an aberration - pay attention to positive change.

Did she have setbacks?

Absolutely, but moving beyond the setbacks helped the victory feel even more awesome! When it comes to the body, there are many variables (chemical and psychological) and each person's body is different. Listening to your body and understanding how it works is just as important as making healthier lifestyle changes. As we get older, it's critical to work within your limits and pay attention to following the advice of your doctor. Within this realm, understand that prescription drugs can have a serious impact on overall health and well-being. A good example is high blood pressure medication. As a person loses weight and their body mass decreases it's common for their prescription dose to be lowered. Going to see your doctor when your body doesn't feel right will keep you safe and healthy.

Have more burning questions? Reach out to me online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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Milkshake Study: Mind Influence

Reading an MPR News article by Alex Spiegel, Mind over milkshake: How your thoughts fool your stomach, it's clear the mind can play a role in how the body metabolizes food. However, I believe the amount of activity we experience on a given day has more influence on the total calories we can consume and still lose weight than how our mind interprets and stores the information on a food label.

Below is an excerpt from Spiegel's article (select the link above to read its entirety):


"Labels are not just labels; they evoke a set of beliefs," says Alia Crum, a clinical psychologist who does research at the Columbia Business School in New York.

A couple of years ago, Crum found herself considering what seems like a pretty strange question. She wanted to know whether the information conveyed by a nutritional label could physically change what happens to you — "whether these labels get under the skin literally," she says, "and actually affect the body's physiological processing of the nutrients that are consumed."

As a student, Crum had spent years studying the placebo effect — how a sugar pill can physically alter a body if the person taking the pill believes it will. She figured food labels might work the same way. So she came up with an experiment.

Crum created a huge batch of French vanilla milkshake, then divided it into two batches that were labeled in two very different ways.

Half the stuff was put into bottles labeled as a low-calorie drink called Sensishake — advertised as having zero percent fat, zero added sugar and only 140 calories.

The other half was put into bottles that were labeled as containing an incredibly rich treat called Indulgence. According to the label, Indulgence had all kinds of things that wouldn't benefit your upper thighs — including enough sugar and fat to account for 620 calories. In truth, the shakes had 300 calories each.

Both before and after the people in the study drank their shakes, nurses measured their levels of a hormone called ghrelin.

Ghrelin is a hormone secreted in the gut. People in the medical profession call it the hunger hormone. When ghrelin levels in the stomach rise, that signals the brain that it's time to seek out food.

"It also slows metabolism," Crum says, "just in case you might not find that food."

But after your ghrelin rises, and you have a big meal (say a cheeseburger and a side of fries), then your ghrelin levels drop. That signals the mind, Crum says, that "you've had enough here, and I'm going to start revving up the metabolism so we can burn the calories we've just ingested."

On the other hand, if you only have a small salad, your ghrelin levels don't drop that much, and metabolism doesn't get triggered in the same way.

For a long time scientists thought ghrelin levels fluctuated in response to nutrients that the ghrelin met in the stomach. So put in a big meal, ghrelin responds one way; put in a small snack and it responds another way.

But that's not what Crum found in her milkshake study.

If you believed you were drinking the indulgent shake, she says, your body responded as if you had consumed much more.

"The ghrelin levels dropped about three times more when people were consuming the indulgent shake (or thought they were consuming the indulgent shake)," she says, compared to the people who drank the sensible shake (or thought that's what they were drinking).

Does that mean the facts don't matter, that it's what we think of the facts that matters?

"I don't think I would go that far yet," Crum says. More tests need to be done, she says, to figure out exactly how much influence comes from food and mindset.

"Our beliefs matter in virtually every domain, in everything we do," Crum says. "How much is a mystery, but I don't think we've given enough credit to the role of our beliefs in determining our physiology, our reality. We have this very simple metabolic science: calories in, calories out."

What do YOU  think?