Blog: FITGirl Training

Dramatic Sugar Results

Here is a great Yahoo! Shine article that mirrors my own experiences with sugar. I believe this is something we can all relate to, so I'm sharing the entire article (minus the ads, of course!).  We would all love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic, so please share?

Have a great week!

My Family Stopped Eating Sugar for a Year and This is What Happened By Eve O. Schaub, Special to Everyday Health

Once upon a time, I was healthy - at least I thought I was.


Group Classes; Why?

Are you a solo exerciser? Someone that scoffs at the idea of attending a group fitness class wondering, "What's the benefit: I already know how to exercise!?"

As a personal trainer, I believe the #1  benefit is to challenge your body and mind in new ways. If the instructor is seasoned and qualified, he/she puts a lot of thought into creating  a comprehensive workout focusing on all your muscles, some you may not know you have, while increasing balance and stability.

It's most common to stick to an exercise routine that you know and have time to complete. The problem is our body gets used to movements very quickly, so in order to increase physical fitness we need to throw in a curve ball to keep things interesting. (We often work harder in a group situation and apply ourselves more than we would on our own.)

Not a day goes by that my clients don't walk away astounded by our time together. It's most rewarding for me to watch a client underestimate her physical abilities and then not only achieve, but exceed them!


  • When signing up with a new program or instructor go into it cautiously

  • Modifications should be provided, even in an advanced class

  • Go early and talk with the instructor - he/she should ask whether you have any pre-existing conditions and educate you on the movements ahead of time

  • If you're skeptical, just watch the class

  • If it hurts, stop! Muscle fatigue may feel shaky = okay. Pain may feel sharp/stabbing/piercing = not okay.


Ridiculous or Awesome?

Last week, I was on vacation with my family in Florida. As part of my normal routine, I was lifting weights in the hotel gym. (Yes, I even exercise while on vacation!)

There was a man about 50 years in good condition lifting weights as well. After 30 minutes or so, he said to me "You're curling 30 pounds like it's nothing, that's just ridiculous!" He also made a statement referring to my small stature and said he'd never seen such a thing. Hmm . . .

There was another woman in the room doing light calisthenics - she just stopped and stared at us.

While I was taken back by the statement, I didn't skip a beat to inform this gentleman that it's just as important for women to increase their strength in order to maintain a youthful body as men. The heavier the weight, the more calories burned over the long-term, and the more strength gained.

I asked if it was really "ridiculous" or just awesome? He  reluctantly agreed that it's awesome. The woman smiled at me and I said, "I agree, it definitely makes me more awesome!"

This was an innocent situation that got me thinking about the stereotypes we have in the world of fitness. If you're lifting weights and seeing results, stand your ground, Ladies, and don't be afraid to say so. After all, it just makes you more awesome!

Plank Challenge

Various media sources are hyping the plank exercise and challenging people to practice it for longer periods of time each day.

It's absolutely true that the plank is a great exercise to strengthen the abdominal and low back muscles. In order to reap the benefits, the exercise must be done correctly.

If you're new to it, I recommend getting in front of a mirror. The plank can be completed on either the forearms or hands. Either way, the purpose is to engage the abdominal muscles.

Note in the images below:

  1. Toes on the floor
  2. Head in-line with the spine = looking slightly forward and down
  3. Butt is slightly raised (NOT sinking into the hips)
  4. Belly is button pulled into the spine
  5. Smile, and keep breathing!

When the plank is done correctly, you should feel a slight tremble in the abdominal and low back muscles. This should create muscle fatigue, but NOT PAIN.

Here's an image to get you started on "the plank:"


How Sitting Can Be Deadly

Check out this article: That Thing You Do All Day May Cut Your Life Short by Elise Sole

photo by Corbis
photo by Corbis

Anyone with an office job can attest to that achy, crampy, stir-crazy feeling of being stuck sitting at your desk all day. What you may not know is that sitting all day can also be deadly, even if you work out regularly, according to the results of a forthcoming study conducted by Cornell University.

The study of 93,000 women found that those who are sedentary the longest during waking hours die earlier than those who are more active. In fact, women who logged 11 hours of sitting time had a 12 percent increase in premature mortality from causes such as cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and cancer by 13, 27, and 21 percent, respectively.


Why Diets Suck!

The role “dieting” takes is deprivation of food that people enjoy, but forbid themselves to eat because of over consumption. Somewhere along the way, we’ve begun rationalizing our food intake and created a great disservice for ourselves. Most humans have evolved away from the concept of eating food to nourish the body and make it feel healthy and vibrant and begun using food as an emotional response or coping mechanism.  “Diets suck” because we end up travelling a negative emotional roller-coaster.

How’d this happen?

I’m not certain, but hold a strong suspicion it has to do with the role food plays in most cultural celebrations. As a result of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc., we've been taught to share food with loved ones and ended up regularly gorging on feasts of massive proportions. We fail to understand that when these cultural traditions were created, food naturally growing on the earth was scarce. However, in the United States and many other large countries, food is now plentiful and manufactured. Food is no longer truly “whole,” unless it’s grown by you or someone that you know.

Can we fix it?

Absolutely, but mental and physical changes need to happen:

  • Eat whole, naturally occurring foods
  • Avoid processed food at all cost
  • Think of food as medicine for the body (it has nothing to do with the soul)
  • Never reward, punish, or console yourself by eating food
  • Pay attention to how your body feels on the inside

Even though we understand most of these ideas intellectually, it’s a struggle to change. From my perspective, the best way to ingrain them in your mind and body is to surround yourself with people who foster these healthy habits. Not many people can get away with being a catalyst for drastic change, but introducing and integrating healthy eating is a good start. Everyone needs to start somewhere and applying the concept of “moderation is key” to get you moving in this direction will bring positive change for everyone you come into contact with.

Paying attention to how my body feels after eating foods, I've found that sugar of any kind is not my friend. I have negative emotional responses for a full 24 hours after eating it. (Think of a hungry bear about to lose its feast.) Aspartame gives me stomach and headaches. Wheat, well lets just say the train stops chugging for several days.

What do you think? Please share your ideas about why diets suck.


Make it DYNAMIC!

When it comes to exercising the body and mind, whatever it is you're doing - make it DYNAMIC!

Changing up our exercise routines decreases boredom and fatigue and increases the FUN factor.

This week we did just that in our Hopkins Core Boot Camp class -

Starting out our session with a full body warm-up, I took a couple exercises we've done and turned them into great team building exercises.

Ready, Set, Line Up!


Lining up in a row, we rotated passing an 8 pound medicine ball over the top of the head and between the legs. Seems simple enough, right? When you get there, this changing pattern created a fun team building exercise and a challenge for the core and mind.

Leap Frog/Wounded Soldier Race

Each person took their turn either hopping on one foot or both feet across the gym to a BOSU ball (soft side up), completed 10 push ups, and hustled to the back of the line.

What made this fun and unique was crowd participation - cheering and counting out teammates' push up reps.

With these two simple exercises, we created a FUN, challenging class that left everyone feeling like they got a great workout!

Out of ideas for your next workout? Checkout previous posts on my calendar - give it a go!

CBC Results Are In!

Most Preferred Exercise: Resistance Band Leg Extension

resistance band leg extension1

Most Difficult Exercise: Bosu Ball Single Arm Row

This is a hard core move and Rachel's video is a great tutorial! Check it out here: How To Do Bosu Ball Rows with Rachel Shasha

bosu single arm

New! Instructor Favorite: Stability Ball Reverse Extension

stability ball reverse extension

Core Boot Camp Trio Exercises

With a plethora of cold and influenza symptoms, Core Boot Camp classes have become smaller the past couple of weeks.

Last night's class offered another dynamic set of exercises aimed at providing plyometric, strength, and balance moves increasing strength of the muscles that make up the "core."

The exercises below offer a flavor of our most recent class. Enjoy!

Reverse Open Fly - Starting with a stability ball positioned just below chest and legs extended, squeeze glute muscles and lift both arms out wide using a light weight dumbbell in each hand (palms facing down). This strength exercise focuses on the upper to mid back, shoulder, and low back muscles.

Twist - Feet hip width apart, abs tight, hips swivel on balls of feet (or add a jump).

Bosu Jump In and Out - Jump with both feet onto the soft side of the ball, then jump off with legs on either side, and sit deep into glute muscles completing a squat.  A plyometric exercise working the legs, glutes, and stabilization muscles. with Rachel Shasha with Rachel Shasha

Couple Action

Core Boot Camp in Hopkins, MN had our first (hopefully of many) husband and wife duo! It was fun to watch them interact through exercise, play, and challenge one another.

A few of the exercises we did:

Squat Jump High Five

Plank Ball Pass

Beginning in a plank position, partners face each other and pass a medicine ball back and forth. Looks can be deceiving, as this is a challenging exercise requiring each person to maintain a stable plank position (keeping the glutes from sinking or lifting too high) for one full minute and move on command without collapsing.


First partners begin back-to-back with the objective of passing a dumbbell over his/her head to their opponent and the second partner passes the dumbbell back between their legs. Passing a dumbbell of any kind requires concentration to pull the belly button into the spine, while squeezing the glutes to keep the spine stabilized.

Invincible Sprints
Much the same as a relay race using cones, pairs take turns sprinting and resting. One partner is at the start line and the other partner starts at cone #2. Once the first partner reaches the second cone, partner number 2 sprints to cone #3. Giving each person a second or two to catch their breath. (Courtesy of