Working Out On an Empty Stomach

There are myths in the online world about whether or not to work out in a fasted state. Upon my own study and experience in fitness, here are some points to consider:

Where to Start After Years of Inactivity

This may be one of the reasons why a gym or fitness regimen seems intimidating, especially for older adults. The questions of "what do I do" or "what can I do" lies in their head, experiencing paralysis by analysis. Get out of your own way! Understand that there are many things you can do to start moving more (listed below), even some that do not require a lot of equipment or a huge facility. As you get back into it, just keep track of what you did rather than try to hit a goal. Once you see what you have done, it will give you confidence to keep moving forward and even try more!

You will feel more confident very shortly after you start making your moves. Any form of exercise has significant effects on your mental capacity and self-esteem. If you are starting at 1-2 times a week, you will also desire to increase your frequency to 3-5 times a week. I encourage you to work up to 2 times a week of resistance training as part of your regimen. If you still feel like you need more help with direction or accountability, a personal trainer is an excellent service to utilize. 😉

Leave Your Ego at the Door

When we step into the gym or hit the trail for a run, we often carry with us more than just our gear. Our ego, that little voice urging us to lift heavier, run faster, or push harder than we might be ready for, can be our biggest obstacle to genuine progress and long-term success in fitness. Let’s explore why leaving your ego at the door is crucial for a healthier, more sustainable approach to working out.

The Ego Trap

Ego-driven workouts can lead to several pitfalls:

The Benefits of an Ego-Free Workout

Practical Tips to Leave Your Ego at the Door (Many of Which Have Been Discussed in Previous Blog Posts)

Leaving your ego at the door is about embracing a mindset of humility and patience. It’s about focusing on your personal journey and understanding that fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. By adopting this approach, you’ll find greater enjoyment in your workouts, stay injury-free, and ultimately achieve your fitness goals more effectively. So, next time you gear up for a workout, remind yourself to check your ego at the door and focus on becoming the best version of you.

Embracing Curiosity in Fitness

In the journey toward better health and fitness, mindset plays a pivotal role. Our mindset shapes our actions, responses, and overall experience in the fitness world. A significant aspect of this mental approach is choosing to be curious rather than judgmental. This shift can transform not only our fitness journey but also our entire outlook on life.

While a negative mindset can lead to discouragement, stagnation, and even failure, a positive mindset encourages perseverance, resilience, and openness to new challenges. One crucial element of a positive mindset is curiosity.

The Benefits of Curiosity in Fitness

Overcoming Judgment in Fitness

Judgment, on the other hand, is a barrier to growth. It not only hinders our progress but also negatively impacts our mental well-being. Here’s how to overcome judgment and cultivate curiosity:

Practical Steps to Cultivate a Curious Mindset

Embracing curiosity over judgment in fitness is a game-changer. It transforms the way we approach our fitness journey, fostering a positive, growth-oriented mindset. The next time you find yourself on the brink of judgment, pause... take a breath... and choose curiosity. Your fitness journey—and your overall well-being—will thank you for it.

Yummy Vegetable Medley!

Try this simple recipe as an easy way to eat some more vegetables in your diet, whether it's as a snack or side for a main dish. With the veggie combo, it is colorful and tasty!


3 green zucchini

3 yellow squash

1 yellow onion

1 16 oz package cherry tomatoes

1 small container goat cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice each vegetable (except for cherry tomatoes) and place all on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and mix in with the veggies. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stir, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to desired tenderness. Sprinkle with the goat cheese. Either serve immediately or cool to save in containers for later eating. 🙂 I HIGHLY recommend sprinkling your warm medley serving with Tajin seasoning to give it an excellent flavor!

Just Show Up

Do you know what to do once you walk into a gym? It may not matter. You can show up at any gym to discover even one thing to accomplish for the day. Is it better to be prepared? Perhaps. But a plan without execution is only a nice thought with good intentions. Just show up.

Be consistent. Walk through the doors regularly (with or without a plan), and do something! And even poor movement is better than no movement.

Learn something new from friends you have or make at the gym. They can show you a movement to benefit you in one way or another and add to your regimen. You can show up to walk the treadmill, and then a friend can show you how to use another machine or free weights to add to your daily walk.

Perform a variety of exercises. You don't need to get in the weeds of what muscle groups you are using. Just discover how to move your body in different ways to create challenge and adaptation.

Celebrate small "wins"! If you showed up for the first time 5 times in a week, give yourself a high five in the mirror and tell yourself what an awesome thing you did. Then, find a new small challenge to attack!

Step by step, you will find progress! Be intentional, and you will feel good about taking care of your body.

Explaining Macros

It's important to know what you are putting in your body, right? For the case of macronutrients, we are talking about nutrients that our bodies need in the largest amounts. Each of them provide our body with energy (measured in calories). On a nutrition label, macros are shown in grams. Let's go a little deeper into what these three nutrients do.

Protein - This macro has a wide array of functions in the body which make them an essential nutrient. Proteins maintain and grow tissue (and muscles), support digestion, and bolster immune health, among other things. One gram of protein equates to 4 calories.

Carbohydrate - This macro's primary function is to be an energy source. Your body breaks down carbs into glucose for your body's and your brain's energy to keep moving and for energy storage. Carbs also (in the form of fiber) promote digestive health. One gram of carbs equates to 4 calories.

Fat - Don't let the name scare ya! You need this macro for healthy body function as well. Not only are fats a source of energy, they support cell function, protect your organs, help absorb some nutrients, and help produce important hormones. One gram of fats equates to 9 calories. With that kind of caloric density, it may be no wonder why fats get a bad rep!

In terms of percentage of caloric intake, a useful general standard is 30-40-30. So, 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, thirty percent fat. Base your numbers off of 0.7 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, the range dependent on activity level. For an example, if an active person (doing 4-5 day a week workouts) weighs 125 lbs, calculate the protein by 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight, 125 grams. Times that by 4 (4 calories per gram) to equal 500 calories. To calculate total calories, divide 0.3 in 500 and that will give you 1,667 (rounded up). Now, times that number by 0.4 (40 percent carbs) to equate to 667 calories. Divide that by 4 (4 calories per gram) to equate 167 grams of carbs. Lastly, times 1667 calories by 0.3 (30 percent fat) to equate to 500 calories (rounded down) and divide that by 9 (9 calories per gram) to equate to 56 grams (rounded up). So, a general starting point can be for this person: 125 grams of protein, 167 grams of carbs, and 56 grams of fat.

Age, genetics, activity level, and other factors can play a role in determining how much of each macro you should eat per day. If you have specific goals to gain muscle or lose weight, working with a registered dietitian or personal trainer (😉) can help you adjust your macros as needed without a lot of guesswork to keep you healthy in the process.

The Importance of Rest Days

In the world of fitness, where progress is often measured by the intensity and frequency of workouts, the importance of rest days cannot be overstated. These are the days specifically set aside from training to allow the body to recover, rebuild, and strengthen. Understanding why rest days are pivotal can help you optimize your fitness routine for better results and longevity.

Why Rest Days Are Essential

1. Muscle Recovery: Exercise, especially strength training, creates micro-tears in muscle fibers. Rest days are crucial because they allow these fibers to repair and grow stronger. Without adequate rest, the muscles cannot fully recover, potentially leading to injuries and decreased performance.

2. Prevention of Overtraining: Consistent intense workouts without sufficient rest can lead to overtraining syndrome, characterized by a plateau in performance, fatigue, and decreased immunity. Rest days help prevent this by giving the body a chance to recuperate.

3. Improved Performance: Rest contributes to better performance. Athletes often find they are stronger and more energized after allowing their body ample recovery time. This leads to improvements in speed, strength, and endurance during subsequent workouts.

4. Mental Resilience: Rest days also help maintain mental health. Continuous training can be mentally exhausting. Taking regular breaks helps preserve motivation and prevents burnout.

5. Hormonal Balance: Intense training can affect hormone levels, particularly cortisol, the stress hormone, which can be detrimental if elevated for prolonged periods. Rest helps regulate hormone production, supporting better overall health and mood stability.

Implementing Effective Rest Days

**Plan Ahead:** Incorporate rest days into your training schedule as strategically as you plan workout days. Whether it's every third day or after a particularly intense session, regular rest is key.

**Stay Active Lightly:** Active recovery can be part of a rest day. Activities like light walking, yoga, or swimming can enhance circulation and aid in recovery without overtaxing the body.

**Focus on Nutrition and Hydration:** Use rest days to ensure you’re also recovering internally. Focus on hydrating and eating foods rich in proteins and other nutrients that aid muscle repair and body function.

**Listen to Your Body:** Pay attention to what your body tells you. If you’re feeling unusually fatigued or sore, it might be wise to take an extra rest day. Overriding your body's signals can lead to setbacks like injuries.

**Mental Break:** Just as you rest your body, give your mind a break from the mental discipline of regular training. Engage in leisure activities that you enjoy and that help you feel recharged.

Preparing the Body With a Cool-Down

The cool-down. It also doesn't have to be complicated. A simple set of movements can recover your body and prepare you for what your next workout will be. Here are some ideas you can follow:

Follow these ideas to create a cool-down that can be used for multiple workouts or for the one in particular you have in mind.

Preparing the Body With a Warm-Up

The general warm-up. It doesn't have to be complicated. A simple set of movements can get your body going enough to be prepared for what your next workout will be. Here are some ideas you can follow:

2 rounds of 20 jumping jacks and 15 air squats...

then, 2 rounds of 10 stationary forward lunges and 5 inchworms

Those movements above will get your body ready for just about anything!

Something to keep in mind... cardio is not adequate for a warm-up. Do not assume that a 10 min walk/run is the only thing you need to do before you work out!

Follow these ideas in creating a few warm-ups that can be used for multiple workouts or for the one in particular you have in mind.

Stuggling With Comparison

Comparison. Whether you notice yourself doing it or not, it’s an easy trap to fall into, especially with the social media windows into other lives. But, as the wise Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

The Psychology Behind Our Need to Compare

It’s human nature to look around and see how we stack up against our peers. Psychologists say it’s part of our basic desire to understand our place in the social hierarchy. In moderation, this can be healthy and motivating. However, in the age of social media, where everyone’s life seems perfect, comparison often leads us down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and discontent.

The High Cost of Keeping Up

When we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel, we’re not playing fair, even with ourselves. This skewed perspective can lead to feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, and a constant chase for more — more success, more possessions, more accolades — leaving little room to appreciate what we already have.

Breaking Free from the Comparison Trap

The journey towards contentment begins when we detach our worth from external comparisons and anchor it in our values, achievements, and growth. Here are a few strategies that have helped me and others find peace in our paths:

Cultivate Gratitude: Start or end your day by listing things you’re grateful for. This simple practice can shift your focus from what’s missing to the abundance present in your life.

Limit Social Media Consumption: Be mindful of your social media use. Remember, it’s often a curated presentation, not the whole story.

Set Personal Goals: Define success on your own terms. Set goals that resonate with your values and aspirations, not someone else’s.

Celebrate Small Wins: Find joy in the journey by celebrating your progress, no matter how small. Every step forward is a victory.

Embracing Your Unique Path

As we navigate through life, let’s strive to remember that our worth is not defined by how we stack up against others. There is profound joy and freedom in embracing our individual journeys, complete with their ups and downs.

The next time you find yourself slipping into the comparison trap, pause and redirect your thoughts to your achievements, your growth, and the small joys that pepper your daily life. It’s in these moments that we find true contentment, far away from the shadow of comparison.

The Benefits of Walking

Walking might seem like a mundane activity, barely registering as a form of exercise to some. Yet, its health benefits are anything but ordinary.

Weight Management

One of the most sought-after benefits of any exercise is its ability to help manage weight. Walking is no exception. A brisk walk can burn up to 100 calories per mile, making it an effective tool in weight management.

Heart Health

Your heart loves it when you walk. Regular walking increases your heart rate, strengthens your heart, and improves circulation. It also reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death worldwide.

Strengthens Muscles and Bones

Walking is a resistance exercise that can strengthen your leg muscles and increase bone density. Regular walkers can reduce their risk of osteoporosis and arthritis, ensuring stronger bones and joints well into older age.

Boosts Immune Function

Striding your way through parks and neighborhoods does more than just work your muscles. It also boosts your immune system. Regular walkers get sick less often, thanks to walking's ability to ramp up the body's natural defense mechanisms.

The Mental Health Benefits of Walking

Walking isn't just a physical activity; it's a mental health helper.

Social and Emotional Benefits

Tips to Incorporate Walking into Your Daily Routine

Making walking a part of your daily routine doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some tips to get you started:

The journey to better health could be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Walking, with its myriad of health benefits, is an exercise everyone can and should do. It's time to lace up your sneakers and step out the door!

Exercise Tips for Vacation

It can be overwhelming to think about what to do for exercise on vacation. There may be a part of you that is wondering if it's worth trying to work out. While we know that taking time off wouldn't be the end of the world, continuing a routine is beneficial, even if it's only a partial routine. So, once you have planned the days to exercise, utilize the tips below to keep things simple and fun while away!

5 Rounds Of...

20 air squats

15 dumbbell deadlifts

10 hand release push-ups

Learning Self-Care is Love

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, neglecting the most important aspect of our lives: our well-being. Self-care is not just a luxury; it's a necessity. For maintaining mental, emotional, and physical health, here are some actionable self-care strategies. I challenge you to implement just ONE!

1. Digital Detox

Our time is dominated by screens, and taking time to disconnect can be incredibly refreshing. Designate specific times of the day or week where you turn off your digital devices. Use this time to engage in activities that nourish your soul, such as reading a book (perhaps revisiting favorites), meditating, or spending quality time with loved ones.

Ideas to Implement:

- Set a daily "technology-free" hour, ideally before bedtime, to help your mind unwind.

- Use app limit features on your devices to remind you to take breaks.

2. Nature Therapy

Connecting with nature is a powerful way to reset your mind and body. Whether it's a walk in a nearby park, a hike, or simply sitting in your garden, being outdoors can significantly reduce stress levels and improve your mood.

Ideas to Implement:

- Schedule short, 15-minute walks during your breaks.

- Plan a weekend outdoor activity, like a BBQ with friends and family, combining social and nature therapy.

3. Mindful Eating

Nourishing your body with good food is a fundamental aspect of self-care. Mindful eating involves being present while you eat. Savor each bite, and choose foods that are both enjoyable and good for your body.

Ideas to Implement:

- Incorporating one mindful meal per day, free from distractions like TV or work.

- Explore new recipes or foods, making mealtime a fun experiment rather than a chore.

4. Creative Expression

Creativity is a wonderful outlet for stress. Activities like journaling, crafting, cooking, or even podcasting can be therapeutic ways to express yourself and decompress.

Ideas to Implement:

- Dedicate a small portion of your day or week to a hobby or activity that you enjoy.

- Start a simple project, like a DIY home decor piece or a new BBQ recipe, and see it through to completion.

5. Physical Activity

Yes, it shouldn't be a surprise that I would include this. 😁 Exercise is vital for mental well-being. It can be as simple as a daily walk, yoga, or stretching routines that you can do at home. And of course, Virtuosity Remote can give you a simple program with accountability! 😉

Ideas to Implement:

- Incorporate short, 10-minute exercise routines into your day.

- Choose activities you enjoy to ensure consistency, such as dancing to your favorite music or cycling around your neighborhood.

6. Quality Sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can significantly improve your sleep quality, leaving you refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

Ideas to Implement:

- Create a bedtime ritual that includes winding down activities like reading or taking a warm bath.

- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, keeping a consistent sleep schedule even on weekends.

7. Gratitude Practice

Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can shift your mindset and reduce stress. Keeping a gratitude journal where you jot down things you're thankful for each day can make a big difference in your overall outlook.

Ideas to Implement:

- Each night, write down three things you were grateful for that day.

- Share your gratitude with friends or family, turning it into a bonding activity.

Once again, I challenge you to implement just ONE of these ideas. There are even ideas that can be combined with others, such as setting your "technology-detox" hour as part of your consistent bedtime routine. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's essential. Taking the time to care for yourself allows you to be your best for others.

What Does Successful Food Prep Look Like?

With a bit of planning and some strategic tips, you can turn meal preparation from a chore into a seamless part of your routine. Here are some tips to help you succeed in meal preparation, ensuring you fuel your body right, even on the go.

1. Plan Ahead with Precision - Dedicate time each week to plan your meals in advance. This doesn't just mean deciding what you want to eat, but also considering when you'll have time to prepare and eat these meals. A detailed plan helps you avoid the temptation of unhealthy convenience foods.

Action Items

- Schedule a Planning Session: Set aside 30 minutes each week to map out your meals. Use this time to browse recipes, taking into account your weekly schedule and energy needs.

- Create a Shopping List: Based on your meal plan, compile a shopping list. Organizing it by sections (produce, dairy, etc.) can save you time and ensure you don't forget any ingredients.

- Prep Components in Advance: Consider prepping a variety of foods like grains, proteins, and chopped vegetables in advance. This way, you can mix and match them throughout the week to create different meals.

2. Embrace Batch Cooking and Freezing - Cooking in large batches and utilizing your freezer can be a game-changer. This approach allows you to have meals ready to go, requiring less effort to put together a healthy meal.

Action Items

- Select Freezer-Friendly Recipes: Opt for dishes that freeze and reheat well, such as soups, stews, casseroles, and marinated proteins.

- Invest in Quality Storage: Use airtight containers to store your meals, labeling them with the date and contents to keep track of what you have.

- Allocate a Cooking Day: Choose a day when you have a few hours to cook, and prepare multiple dishes at once. This could mean roasting a variety of vegetables, cooking a large pot of chili, and baking chicken breasts all in one session.

3. Leverage Technology for Efficiency - Numerous apps and gadgets can streamline the meal preparation process. From recipe management to grocery delivery, technology can save you time and help you stay on track.

Action Items

- Use Meal Planning Apps: Download a meal planning app that allows you to organize recipes, create shopping lists, and even sync with your calendar.

- Subscribe to Grocery Delivery: If your schedule is tight, consider using a grocery delivery service to save time. Some services even allow you to save shopping lists, making reordering staples super easy.

- Invest in Kitchen Gadgets: Tools like slow cookers, pressure cookers, and blenders can significantly speed up the cooking process.

Adopting these strategies can transform meal prep from a time-consuming task into an efficient, manageable part of your lifestyle. You can not only save time but also ensure you're fueling your body with nutritious meals, even on your busiest days. Remember, the goal is to find a system that works for you and your lifestyle, making healthy eating both feasible and enjoyable.

Crafting a Healthy Sleep Schedule

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, sleep often takes a backseat to our endless to-dos. However, emerging research underscores the importance of not just the quantity but the quality and consistency of our sleep. This post delves into maintaining a regular sleep schedule and how it can significantly enhance our physical and mental well-being.

The Foundation of Health: Sleep Quality and Consistency

Sleep consistency refers to going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, including weekends. This regularity helps anchor our body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which governs a myriad of bodily functions, from hormone release to temperature regulation. Disturbances in this rhythm can lead to a variety of health issues, highlighting the link between sleep consistency and our overall health.

The Impact on Physical Health

The benefits of sleep consistency extend deep into our physical health. Regular sleep patterns have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. During sleep, the body 

undergoes various processes essential for recovery and repair, including muscle growth, tissue repair, and hormone regulation. Inconsistent sleep disrupts these processes, hampering the body's ability to recover from physical exertion and increasing the risk of chronic conditions.

Mental Well-being and Cognitive Function

Sleep consistency is equally vital for mental health and cognitive function. It enhances cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Consistent sleep schedules are associated with improved mood and lower rates of depression and anxiety. The restorative power of a regular sleep pattern helps to clear the brain of toxins and consolidate memories, crucial for learning and emotional regulation.

Strategies for Improving Sleep Consistency

1. **Set a Routine:** Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends.

2. **Create a Pre-Sleep Ritual:** Engage in relaxing activities before bed to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

3. **Optimize Your Sleep Environment:** Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep, considering factors like temperature, noise, and light.

4. **Limit Stimulants:** Avoid caffeine and electronics before bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep cycle.

5. **Seek Natural Light:** Exposure to natural light during the day can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle.

The pursuit of sleep consistency is not just about improving sleep quality; it's about enhancing our capacity for recovery, resilience, and overall well-being. By prioritizing consistent sleep patterns, we can unlock so many health benefits through every aspect of our lives.

Nutrition Principles

As a big fan of OptimizeMe Nutrition, I wanted to share principles of nutrition as discovered by the founder of the program, EC Synkowski. These are diet principles (not methods) that pertain to how they affect our bodies. These points are important to consider when it comes to choosing our diet and how we eat.

For more details on what EC says, check out her website!

How Often Should You Exercise?

Upon introducing CrossFit to new people at the gym, one question often asked of me was how often should they come into the gym. It can really depend. What is your availability? What are your goals? Are there other sports you play?

For those really new or coming off an exercise hiatus, I suggest establishing 3 times a week to start, and once that feels like a good groove (without feeling extreme fatigue), adding 1-2 more days into the mix. Perhaps you have pickle-ball scheduled for twice a week, then you can start by adding in another 1-2 days of working out in the gym to supplement. More experienced gym-goers or athletes have worked their way up to 5-6 times a week of exercise, whether in the form of sport or traditional workouts in the gym. Whatever you decide, be specific on which days and times to get the work done to keep accountable. Schedule in at least 1 rest day to achieve adequate recovery.

Also something to keep in mind is that you do not need to create an hour window in your day to make exercise effective. If all you have is 20 min, then you can fit in a simple warm-up (jumping jacks, air squats, leg swings, arm swings), a 10 minute workout (which many of my Workout of the Week exercises fit in that time frame), and a quick cool down (with static stretches).

Happiness in Numbers

I came from a secure office manager position and dove into the unknown when I started my personal training business. And there has been a change in numbers. 🙂

The financial numbers show a smaller amount than what I was making before. What does this imply? Less success? Does this mean I should be worried about my future or feel insecure? Honestly, to me, it only shows where I am right now on this journey, and nothing more. The numbers don't dictate how happy I am, no matter how high or low they may get.

On the first day of training with several clients one after another, I thought I would feel drained afterwards. Imagine my surprise when instead I felt energized! It was another confirmation that my transition to create my own business was the right thing. Whether it's money or pounds on the scale or whatever, you can't always judge whether you are climbing the right ladder by what numbers say. The results may vary often. There is a lot to learn after all! But, after a hard day's work, if you feel energized and ready to do more, then don't give up! Keep working hard, be grateful for what you have, and you will find much joy in the journey!

The Role of Challenging Yourself

There is a time and place for everything. Just as a huge amount of reps or volume is not regularly needed to get results, a max effort is only necessary on the occasion. On the occasion we may want to "test" how we have improved. Or on the occasion we use it to train with extreme high intensity.

An all-out effort every day is NOT necessary in order for training to be effective. As a matter of fact, it could be detrimental to your progress, creating a higher risk for injury or sheer exhaustion.

Much more often than not, we want to find the challenge to get us out of our comfort zone without the exhaustion of a 100% sprint or max load lifting weights. Choose wisely each day how you need to apply yourself in order to stay in the game long term.

If there comes a moment when you may feel discouraged because you would like to move faster or lift more weight, remind yourself that you are moving through a process, and adherence to that process will eventually result in... results!

An Opportunity to Teach Other Coaches

Recently, Coach Jenn was invited to share her knowledge with other coaches at CrossFit Mountain Grove! With hundreds of hours under her belt, she had lots of experience to draw from to help these newer trainers!

"I had a connection with the owner of the gym, Lauren Gum, as she was a member of CrossFit Republic before she moved to Mountain Grove. I remember coaching her in the 9 am class! Lauren reached out to me to see if I would be interested in sharing knowledge to her coaches, and of course, I immediately said, 'YES!'

I arrived with my husband, Chris, and before we began any discussion, I jumped in to do their 9 am class workout! It reminded me of when I first started CrossFit. In those early years, it felt like a ragtag group learning new things together with all the high fives and encouragement to keep going. It felt wonderful to be with everyone!

The workshop itself was a discussion on several things: establishing a 'why', practical tips to effectively coach, preparing for classes, and arriving with intention to facilitate improvement. I, myself, learned things from the experience as well and enjoyed the welcome environment and company of my audience eager to learn! This will not be the last time I put on a workshop such as this!

Stress Relief During the Holidays

Tis' the season... to be stressed out! Many people are feeling more stress than joy during the holidays. Consider some of these tips to find stress relief:

Check out more details from this article on the John Hopkins Medicine website!

Working on Balance and Coordination 

The Star Exercise

What about coordination or balance? It's obvious, isn't it, that as we age we want to have more than just strong bones and muscles to lift or carry things. Keeping an independent life requires coordination and balance to move our bodies well! Try this exercise to develop better balance! The Star Exercise!

Here's how to perform this movement:

You may be surprised how difficult maintaining balance is! It may be hard to avoid tapping the floor with the free foot in between moving it from one position to the other. Don't give up, however, and keep trying to get better at balance!

Tis' the Season to Make New Goals

This time of year, it's a wonderful time for celebrations and sharing love! It's also a wonderful time to prepare a new goal for the next year!

Let's start by pointing out that goals are tools to find progress, NOT perfection. After you set a goal, take note of what you have acheived along the way as a way of encouragement to keep moving forward.

The first thing you need to do is ponder what you would like to improve on. For example, perhaps you determined you would like to lose some weight. Then, you need to establish why. Does losing weight mean having more energy and strength for your family each day? Or do you want to look better in the clothes you wear to feel more confident?


Next, write your thoughts. After that, establish and write the how. This is where an acronym comes in. S.M.A.R.T. 

S - Specific. A vague goal is only a nice thought that will not be followed through. Specify not only the goal buy also the how of your goal. 

M - Measurable. Can you count or measure a number to track progress? 

A - Attainable. You need a goal that is challenging but not too difficult to reach. 

R - Relevant. Does this goal support your real "why"? Does the how of the goal support what you are trying to acheive?

T - Time-Bound. Having specific dates or timelines keeps you under a certain amount of healthy pressure. Monitor your progress.

If progress is not being made, do not give up. This is where adjustments need to happen. 

Make sure to place what you have written down somewhere you consistently will look at it, even by accident. It's easy to get caught in the rush of every day life, that we forget what it is we really want. And we need to remember why it is important. :) 

Staying on Track for the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of year where we disconnect from our daily lives while reconnecting with family and friends to indulge in some delicious family recipes. We spend time together laughing, praying and loving each other over food.

For those of us growing in our knowledge of how to fuel our bodies through nutrition, you might be dreading this time because you might think that your options are either all or nothing. Either you don’t track anything and eat everything, or you don’t go.


Well, I am here to tell you that you CAN have your pie and eat it too. Let's work on some small things we can do TODAY that will help do just that!

1. Make a plan, and WRITE IT DOWN

Identify the 2-3 food items that are non-negotiables during the holiday. These are the things you just can’t go without. 

Personally, I like green bean casserole and funeral potatoes. I allow myself 1 serving of each of my chosen items during our meal.

To add another layer of accountability, write it down and tell someone else about your plan! #accountability 

2. Load your plate with veggies and protein FIRST.

If your family doesn’t do veggies at your meal, make some beforehand and take your own. Sauté/roast some broccoli, brussels sprouts, or mixed veggies. Loading up on veggies and protein will help keep you full and allow you to enjoy the 2-3 items you chose to enjoy. 

3. Adjust your EXPECTATION and MINDSET.

Remember that these meals you are going to enjoy over the next week are merely a drop in the bucket among the calories you will consume in this calendar year. Even if you participated in 10 Thanksgivings in a 7-day period, that would only account for 47% of the meals you SHOULD be eating in that same time period.

This content is brought to you from Melissa Shrimplin, owner of Relentless Nutrition. For further nutrition advice or info on her services, go to her Facebook page, Instagram account (@417.relentless._.nutrition), and email (

Meet Amy Ritz!

What is your reason to train with Coach Jenn? What goal(s) are you hoping to achieve?

I started with Jen to be able to move, to have a healthy body, to keep up with grandbabies, and keep being a nurse for a long time. Jen encourages new goals or gives you things to think about that you didn't even know you needed to work on (or you knew, but you just didn't want to)! There's never pressure to do things, but I am pushed in a way that she knows I can do things that I didn't know I could do, all encouraging.

What progress have you seen so far since you started?

I can do physical things that I could have never done 5 months ago. I see strength in my body, and things that I couldn't do when we first started I can now do mentally and physically. I have better mental health as far as feeling like I can do this or at least try to.

What part of the hour do you enjoy the most during training?

I truly enjoy a couple things, and it depends on the workout or day. Sometimes I get in my car and think "How did I just do that!" And I am proud of myself. I like that Jen listens to me on things I like to do or things I don't, so she finds something else for me to do. She will challenge you, listen to you, encourage you, want you to succeed with a true heart. She will make you think about things, cheer you on during time in gym, and also remind you later how hard you worked. I honestly can say I didn't know I needed Jen, but I am glad I reached out because I needed her mentally and physically.

The Medicine Ball Versatility

The medicine ball can be used in so many different ways as to be an effective tool for fitness gains! With all the options available, it’s an easy purchase decision to include in anyone’s equipment collection! Think...

1) Wall Balls

2) Bear Hug Squats

3) Strict Press

4) Med Ball Cleans

5) Med Ball Sit-Ups (shown in top pics)

6) Med Ball Run (shown in second pics)

7) Split Squat Slams

8) Med Ball Russian Twists (shown in third pics)

9) Med Ball Good Mornings (to do in a warm-up)

10) Med Ball Child's Pose (to do in a cool-down, shown below)

And there's so much more! I encourage you to learn more about how you can utilize this wonderful piece of workout equipment!

Overcoming Fears of the Gym

When you go into a gym, it can feel intimidating. You may feel inadequate to do any movements or unsure of how to use the equipment or machinery. And it’s hard to shake off the feeling that everyone is looking at you…

There are some hacks to overcome this fear.

Perhaps before you do anything, approach the "why" behind going to the gym. For many years, the reasons may have been more obscure such as "I want to build my body to look better" or "I want to lose weight". While there is nothing wrong with having those reasons as a "why", a majority of the population would benefit more from a reason more applicable to every day life. "I want to be able to have freedom and independence into my 90s" or "I want to have the strength to help my family and friends." The time in the gym can be seen as an investment into fitness, and therefore health, rather than a destination to develop something so temporary. So, with that said...

1) Bring a friend! If you know you can't rely on yourself to get back into shape and need accountability, ask someone you trust to meet you somewhere or to start a program with you. You will feel more comfortable with a friend by your side.

2) Do productive research. Find out about the things you are interested in doing. Before my husband dove completely into CrossFit, he called the most local gym and asked for a tour and if he could be a fly on the wall and watch a class. After that, he decided to take advantage of the beginner's class that the gym offered.

3) Rest assured, the others in your class or beside you on the other machine are probably not even paying attention to you. And if gym-goers are actually judging you or belittling you, then you can choose another time to go or another facility! There is often another gym down the road. Find an uplifting community that welcomes all with open arms!

4) If going to an outside gym still seems pretty intimidating, you can create one at home to get in better shape! There are plenty of body weight movements you can do or things you can use around the house for "weights". For example, clean out a used gallon of milk bottle and fill it with water. There are several fitness companies that offer remote programming for you (such as Virtuosity Training 😉) to follow along with in the comfort of your own home!

Meet Barb Stone!

What is your reason to train with Coach Jenn? What goal(s) are you hoping to achieve?

When I met with Jenn, she was very easy to talk to, and I felt no pressure. She was as excited to start as I was! My goals are to get stronger and healthier. I had noticed I am just not as strong or as balance as I was even a year ago.

What progress have you seen so far since you started?

Oh, I have felt muscles that I have not felt in some time! :) And they are getting stronger!

What part of the hour do you enjoy the most during training?

I would say it's the end of the hour. Not that, "Whew, we are done," but "wow, I did that, and it feels great!"