Fitness, Nutrition

12 Fitness Myths Busted

Fitness advice abounds. Just ask Google. Or your friend. Or remember what you did in high school gym class many years ago. It’s hard to know what to believe anymore. Like the diet industry that tells you a new evil food, then later tells you it is healthy (hello eggs), fitness advice can be confusing. Read on to get the facts about 12 fitness misconceptions that will help you feel great and perform your best.


Truth: It’s pretty hard for women to bulk up from a normal strength-training routine because they don’t have as much testosterone as men (the difference in this hormone level makes men more prone to bulking up). In fact, if weight loss is your goal, strength training can actually help you lean out, but you must also keep your nutrition in line. Since muscle is metabolically active, simply maintaining lean muscle mass requires higher energy. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at rest. #science.


Truth: While soreness and workout intensity are sometimes connected, how tired your muscles feel isn’t always a good indicator of a solid workout. Being sore just means that a significant amount of stress was applied to the muscle tissue. You can have a great workout and not be sore the next day. Proper recovery will help prevent achy muscles. Refuel within the first 30 to 45 minutes post-exercise, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep—all of these things can help boost recovery and minimize soreness.


Truth: Sort of. You should try your best to stay focused, be present, and give 100 percent during every workout. However, not every workout requires a high level of intensity. If you are sore every day, muscle recover is limited which can lead to overtraining and injury. Target going extra hard two to three times per week, or as often as your body can recover from excessive soreness.


Truth: There is really no such thing as spot-training. Fat cells are distributed across your entire body. To lose fat from a specific spot, you need to lose overall body fat. High-intensity interval training can work wonders. After an intense workout, your body needs to take in oxygen at a higher rate to help it return to its natural resting state. This process requires the body to work harder, burning more calories in the process. Incorporating strength training can help you hit your goals too, since having more lean muscle will help your body burn more calories at rest. (Psst—here is an entire library of workouts that are insanely effective for weight loss. You can get them all for less than one lunch out per month)


Truth: Yes, traditional cardio workouts will help create a day-to-day calorie deficit (with a healthy diet), which is essential for losing weight. But in the long-term, since having more lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories at rest, you’ll be adding to this deficit without doing a thing. A combination of both high-intensity cardio and strength training is a good idea. And don’t forget, when it comes to weight loss, having a smart nutrition plan is essential.


Truth: There is a broad range of yoga, so don’t be stuck on the “spiritual experience” and gentle, relaxing stretches. Speaking from personal experience, yoga is a legit workout, and should be added to your routine. Yoga is the ‘fountain of youth’ in that it helps to keep you flexible while stretching out the soreness that comes from other workouts, and the balance work is imperative for injury prevention as you age. If your vision of your future self includes keeping up with the grandkids and not waking up every morning stiff and creaky, then add simple yoga routines to your game. I learned yoga from the Beachbody Yoga Studio on BOD, so I never need to take a class. Yoga at home is the ticket.


Truth: Strength training simply means using resistance to work your muscles—and that resistance doesn’t necessarily have to come from a machine or a heavy weight. (Hello, killer bodyweight exercises!) Aside from your own bodyweight, you can also use tools like kettlebells, medicine balls, and resistance bands to add resistance. None of that around? Try PiYo – the program that launched my healthy living journey.


Truth: Totally false—can I get an Amen! Exercise breaks down muscle fibers so they can rebuild stronger. Rebuilding muscle requires rest, so give your body time to recover from working out. Aim for one or two days per week of active recovery rest days— doing something that doesn’t put stress on your body, like gentle stretching or a walk. I’ve found a groove with 4 workouts a week taking Wednesday and weekends off, which gives me capacity to enjoy other activities without feeling too worn out.


Truth: There is no magic duration to do cardio or any workout for that matter. If you are not an exerciser, ANY extra movement is better than none. Low impact, low intensity, short duration, long duration… these exercise variables are less important that just challenging YOUR body. Everyone is different in how they respond to exercise, their personal goals, fitness level, etc., so challenge yourself without comparison to others. And let’s be clear about results & weight loss: Exercise is only part of the formula. Your fastest weight loss results come from what you eat, so getting nutrition right is key. You can’t outwork a bad diet. Get your free Clean Eating Guide here.


Truth: There’s an important difference between the terms ‘stretch’ and ‘dynamic warm-up.’ While it’s true that you shouldn’t just jump right into a workout, dynamic warm-ups are where it’s at—you can save those static stretches for afterwards. Your pre-workout goal should be to improve mobility and elasticity in the muscles. This is best done with foam rolling and a dynamic warm-up, where you keep your body moving (instead of holding stretches still). This preps your body for work and helps increase your range of motion, which means you can get deeper into exercises, work longer and harder, and reduce injury than without proper warmup.


Truth: Meh. Crunches do work part of your abs, but they’re not the most efficient exercise you can do to strengthen your midsection. Abdominal muscles are designed to work most effectively when you’re standing upright. Try Shaun T’s Focus T25 or Transform:20 on Beachbody on Demand for entire programs that will shred your core with zero crunches. My Progressive Plank challenge also works really well.


Truth: Sorry to burst your bubble, but exercising is not a license to eat junk food. What you eat is far more important than how much or how hard you exercise. While it’s true that exercise burns calories, you will be disappointed to know how much exercise it takes to cover a donut (run a 5k) for example. It’s important to change your mind about making food a reward for good behavior, because you will always underestimate the calories in your food, and overestimate your calorie burn from exercise. Instead, think of food as fuel for the finely tuned machine that you are. And don’t be discouraged about having treats now and then. When planned into your day as part of a mindful, balanced nutrition plan the overall impact of your treat is pretty small. One day of bad food choices will not make you fat, just as one great day of exercise won’t make you fit. Take the long term approach and make healthy eating a lifestyle and you will see results.

Fitness, Nutrition

10 Easy Healthy Eating Resolutions


Ah, the New Year. Everyone is talking about the tricks to making this your best year yet. But “have the best year yet” is a pretty lofty resolution that probably gets ditched before Groundhog Day. Am I right, or am I right? Instead, why not resolve to make small changes that add up to a great year – starting with eating healthier – cuz it seems everyone vows to eat better in January.

Here are 10 healthy-eating resolutions to help you feel and look your best, no joke. The great news is they’re all easy — so you can choose one or all 10! Regardless, I promise even one small change from this rock star list will lead to a healthier you.


The first (and best!) way to clean up your diet is to ditch the packaged products lurking in the pantry. That’s right, the ones that are full of all of those chemical preservatives and fillers you can’t pronounce. Read the ingredients list and not just the nutrition label. Ingredients is king when it comes to healthy eating. Cookies, crackers, canned soups, instant grain mixes and microwave meals: Pitch them all and start fresh with a clean pantry.

Ask yourself how many of those things you really need. Then, figure out the ones you can make yourself. We can help! For example, make your own nut butter or a one-hour jam with fresh produce (and no preservatives). Instead of keeping ancient jars of salad dressing, mix up your own vinaigrette.


Now that your pantry has been cleaned of packaged products, you’ll need to restock with healthy grains, herbs, spices and ingredients that will help you transform all that fresh, seasonal produce into delicious meals! Great olive oil, lemons, whole grains, legumes and a nice loaf of whole-grain bread are good places to start!


Healthy eating means healthy drinking too. A super simple way to keep yourself full and reduce the portions you eat is to start each meal with a large glass of water. Many of us don’t drink enough water anyway, and there are so many health benefits to being well hydrated. Substitute your daily soda with water and watch your body change! You will feel better, have more energy, and you will lose weight with this one thing.


If you’re still making everything on the stove top a la minute, you’re missing out on a great healthy eating hack (and therefore missing out on a nearly-no-brainer way to make healthy meals). Pick up a rice cooker, slow cooker or Instant Pot and completely revolutionize the way you cook and eat this year. The model you choose depends on how you eat; slow cookers (recipes) are the least precise of the bunch, but high-end rice cookers have functions for every grain you can imagine wanting to cook and they’ll cook it precisely while you’re out playing, working or getting in your workout. (Your rice cooker will even cook oatmeal perfectly while you’re sleeping so you wake up to a delicious breakfast!) Instant Pots are great, too, and cook entire meals in pressure-cooker style. Regardless of the model you choose, picking one of these counter top helpers sets your healthy eating on the right track.


Having great ingredients on hand is key to making and eating healthy, delicious meals but pairing the foods together to make them nutritious and balanced is also vital. Aim to get 4–5 different colors in your bowl at each meal. It’s easier than you think, and certainly more fun. By adding colorful foods to each plate, you’ll add interesting flavors and appealing textures — and each of those ingredients brings a whole lot of nutrition to your meal. Crunchy purple cabbage, brilliant orange pumpkin, vibrant and fresh cilantro and crunchy black sesame seeds are all great examples of ingredients that might not be in your repertoire but guarantee you’ll never have one of those boring green salads again! And, if you find yourself in a pinch, you can always add a colorful smoothie to your lunchbox or breakfast spread.


Bringing your own lunch is another super-simple way to guarantee a great, healthy meal in the middle of the day. It’s a money saver, too. Practice the eat-for-color rule above, and prepare yourself a little mini-picnic with great leftovers from last night’s dinner. It doesn’t take much more than a bit of forethought to produce a great packed lunch. By bringing your own meal, prepared in your own kitchen, you’re doing something good for your body and your wallet.


This year, make a vow to have leftovers. Really! And, promise yourself that every week you’ll spend a little time preparing them — all at once. By picking a day each week to batch cook for the week ahead, you’re setting yourself up for a week of healthy meals. Select a protein, grain and several colorful vegetables to prep and have on hand so meals come together in a snap. This makes colorful eating and lunch packing a breeze, and means you’re never feeling left in a lurch when it comes to dinner.


When life gets crazy, breakfast is the easiest meal to miss. But, we all know it’s also the most important meal to eat. Eating a balanced breakfast helps keep your metabolism running and is vital to loading up your system with healthy nutrients you’ll use throughout the day to work, play or exercise. Without them, your body and brain get sluggish and you lose motivation and focus. By making breakfast ahead in Mason jars to take with you as you rush out the door in the morning, you’re making sure you never head into a nutrient deficit, and instead head into the day feeling ready to face it! I love having my daily dose of dense nutrition for breakfast every morning. It’s technically made ahead, takes only 2 minutes to mix, and keeps me full until lunch.


Even if you batch-cook and fill your pantry and refrigerator with beautiful, healthy ingredients, there will be nights when you realize you just really didn’t think about dinner. For nights like that, keep a bunch of kale or spinach on hand and make it your salad for dinner night. Even just once a week, you’ll find that this lighter, fresh, healthy, balanced meal is a nice way to re-balance yourself. Alternatively, you can have breakfast for dinner to mix it up.


No healthy eating strategy should be without healthy treats, so vow to swap out refined sugars for healthier options at every meal. Think about the source of the sugar and consider using maple syrup or honey instead of refined sugar. And, when you’re reaching for dessert, try having fresh fruits and antioxidant-rich dark chocolates instead of their super-sweetened counterparts.

Special thanks to Lentine Alexis for doing the heavy lifting on this article and for my friends at 90/10 Nutrition for helpful links that make this article a great resource.

Fitness, Nutrition

6 Appetite-Control Strategies to Curb Overeating


It can be hard not to overeat. You eat a healthy meal at home, think you’re doing well, then you head out (to almost any destination) and are surrounded by junk food. You get hungry, and pretty soon you’re at the local burger joint, diet forgotten.

Or maybe you stick to the “right” foods, but they’re just so good that you can’t have just one portion. We’ve all been there.

The following six strategies can change the game for you. Give these a try and see if you feel healthier, enjoy your meals more and find it more difficult to overeat.


Looking to add some flavor to your food and noncaloric drinks? Forget the sugar; there are plenty of spices and flavors that will make your food both tastier and healthier. Vinegar, which has been shown to lower the glycemic index (which means you metabolize the food more slowly), adds acidic flavor to salad dressings, sauces and roasted veggies without a lot of calories.

For sweet-smelling warmth, add cinnamon to everything from coffee and smoothies to chili. Like vinegar, cinnamon slows the rate at which food transits from your stomach to your intestine — this keeps you full longer, and helps prevent the post-meal slump.


When you get really hungry, you overeat. Duh, no kidding. When you overeat, you feel full, but then your insulin levels spike, causing you to feel tired, then hungry again … so you overeat again.

Instead of trying to resist hunger, beat it to the punch. If you eat when you’re either not hungry or only slightly hungry, you’ll eat less and tend to eat more slowly. Eating less throughout the day is great, but having more energy is certainly a nice bonus, too.


In addition to tiredness and brain fog, mild dehydration can cause a sensation that’s easily mistaken for hunger. On the other hand, liquid calories such as juices and sodas don’t fill you up, and their rapid digestion causes insulin spikes. So pass on the sweetened drinks and stick with sparkling or still water — you can flavor it with lemon, strawberries or cucumber if you want, but don’t pack your drinks full of calories.

There’s much debate about how much water you should drink. A good rule of thumb is to aim to drink about 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water a day – even more if you do intense exercise. Also, be sure to drink a glass about 20 minutes before each meal to take the edge of your appetite.


When you swallow food, there’s a sizable delay before you feel any satiation from it. This delay is usually between 10–30 minutes. Because of this delay, we tend to eat more food than we really need. And the faster we eat, the more we tend to consume, particularly later on in a meal.

The solution: Chew each bite 10 times. Following this simple rule will cause you to eat more slowly, allowing your mind to catch up to your stomach. You’ll also enjoy your food more when you take the time to savor it. Preaching to myself here, as I still have plenty of work to do on this one!


This trick was discovered by the late Seth Roberts: What he did was consume a shot of olive oil or a glass of water with a tiny bit of sugar (an exception to the rule on sugared beverages above) between meals. I prefer a handful of unsalted almonds. Doing this once a day dramatically reduced my appetite — this can be particularly true if you have a lot of weight to lose.

This is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever tried, but it worked for me. The reason this works: It apparently regulates ghrelin, a hunger hormone, by weakening flavor-calorie associations. For this to work, the snack must be bland, and you should consume nothing else but water for at least an hour before and after the snack. Other plain nuts or peanuts work well for this too.


This is one of my favorite body hacks. Knowing that your willpower is reduced when you’re hungry, and there’s more tempting junk food outside the home than in it, you should fill up on healthy food before leaving home. Keep a healthy snack, such as fruit, almonds or a Lara Bar, right next to your front door, and eat some before you leave home. This will cause healthy food to “crowd out” unhealthy food in your diet, and make it much easier to pass on the junk food.

If these don’t help, you may also consider the portion control containers and accompanying recipes & meal plans to help you regulate your food consumption. Each of these ideas takes a little effort, and a change in your mindset about food, but you are worth it!

Credit to John Fawkes and the Myfitnesspal Blog for doing the heavy lifting on this article.

Fitness, Nutrition

You Can’t Compete With What You Eat


The truth is that body transformation has more to do with what you eat than how much you exercise. The saying, “You can’t out work a bad diet,” is exactly true. I am living proof of that. During triathlon training a few years ago I experimented with different ‘diets’ – most of them were calorie based. The basic premise was to shove calories down my throat like garbage into the incinerator. Making fire for sure, but not burning efficiently at all. In fact, my physical shape did not change at all even though I was swimming, biking, and running 10-13 hrs/ week!  If you really want to see changes in how you look and feel from the inside out, you gotta get the food part right.

Ugh. I know. It’s so hard. Cookies…

Here are a few things I’ve learned so far on my journey:
1. Remember: FOOD IS FUEL! Your results are dependent upon how well you fuel your body. Don’t think of food as a reward or use it for comfort. That’s a hard habit to break! Recognize your weakest time of the day and plan ahead for it.

2. Several smaller meals allow you to better absorb nutrients and keep your blood sugar steady. Try to eat three meals a day, with two or three snacks in between. Yay! Snacks!

3. Here’s a good one:
Eat Less CRAP:
Carbonated drinks
Refined sugar
Artificial sweeteners and sugars
Processed foods

Eat More FOOD:
Fruits and veggies
Organic lean proteins
Omega-3 fatty acids
Drink water

One bad meal does not ruin you, just as much as one good meal would change you. It’s all about CONSISTENCY OVER TIME. Put the bad meal behind you and KEEP GOING. It will take time, but I promise it will pay off!

5.For additional meal ideas, visit my recipe section on my website, search “clean eating recipes” on Pinterest, and be sure to check out my favorite clean eating resource at 90/10 Nutrition!
CLEAN EATING just means taking out all of the additives to processed food; eating food in it’s purest form. Changing just a few things here and there in my family’s diet has made a huge difference!


5 Terrible ( Yet Common) Healthy Living Habits

Most people would agree that to make healthy eating and fitness into a lifestyle, you will need healthy habits. Helping people create healthy habits that stick long term is a key purpose of Team Quadzilla. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and examine if your healthy habits are as healthy as you think. Read on to see if you relate to any of these common habits that do more harm than good.


Everyone is busy. Probably too busy, but that’s a topic for another time. Stressing, speeding, and leaving no time to shift your mind and body from work mode to exercise mode is not healthy. Give yourself time to warm up and mentally focus in order to prevent injury and get the most out of your workout.

Better yet, skip the gym altogether. There are fantastic options for all fitness interests and abilities streamed to your enabled devices at Beachbody On Demand – my go-to for efficient workouts at home. No frantic drive through traffic, no crowds, lunks, or gawkers, no sweaty machines, you get the idea. Ask me how to try BOD for free. You’ll save time and money and very likely get better results.


In a moment of inspiration, or desperation, you sign up for next month’s Tough Mudder, or half marathon, even though you haven’t exercised in a few years. Or maybe you realize a wedding or class reunion snuck up on you and you must shed 20 pounds, so you spring for a 30 day gym membership, or adopt the latest fad diet.

But that’s just part of getting motivated, right? Not exactly.

There is nothing wrong with setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, but you need plan. Work backward from the event date to create incremental baby steps to help you get to your goal. Start small and slow, as going all gung-ho the first few days will likely end in injury, frustration, or burnout and you will fail to meet your goal. I am happy to help you come up with a plan that suits you.


Especially if you are feeling good and are highly focused and motivated to reach your goal, it sounds crazy to take a break. However, taking a day off can make your next workout more effective. Research suggests that planned recovery can improve performance and also help you boost intensity. Your body needs to rest and recover. It takes a lot of energy for your body to build and repair sore muscles, and you mind will appreciate the break as well. Recovery day can be complete rest or easy activities like stretch and relax yoga, or an easy cruise on your bike.

It’s not macho or impressive to workout hard every day, it’s foolish. Overtraining is a thing, and it will set you back. Plan rest days and work hard on the exercise days. Your body will thank you with excellent results.


“I’m going to run a half marathon, so shouldn’t I just run?” Fair question. The answer is absolutely not. No matter the specific event you are training for, it’s best to mix up your workouts so you’re not overtaxing the same muscle groups. Supporting muscles need attention as well. Without a well-rounded plan, imbalances in the body will crop up eventually lead to injury. A running plan, for example, should include stretching/ yoga type workouts and total body strength training to optimize your results.

Further, you may stop seeing results if you’re doing the same workout every day. Your body gets used to certain exercises quickly, so changing it up can keep you on track to build muscle and endurance. By the way, the Beachbody On Demand programs are designed to incorporate necessary “muscle confusion” expedite total body fitness in minimal time.


“I exercise every day so I can eat whatever I want.” False. Exercise makes up maybe an hour or so a day, but what you eat over the other 23 hours makes all the difference in your results. And I’m not just talking about weight loss or gain. Eating well has innumerable benefits to your overall human performance including more energy, increasing athletic performance, boosting your immune system, decreasing inflammation, improved mental clarity, etc.

You will never be able to out work a poor diet. Focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods — think healthy fats, lean protein, plenty of vegetables — and being aware of how and when you’re eating. Generally speaking, its helpful to maintain an even blood glucose level in your system which means eating smaller meals more often. Eating when you are bored or stressed is usually a bad idea.

Healthy eating habits are best done in baby steps. Change one thing at a time. I recommend to replace foods vs. cutting them. Instead of saying, “I’m going to quit diet soda cold turkey,” try “I’ll replace diet soda with a naturally flavored water.” Once that is normal for you, move on to the next item. Research shows that small, easy changes done over time create more consistency and long-term results.