Archive of ‘Mindset’ category

Big Changes Are Coming, Y’all

Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

If you follow along on social media it is no secret that Mike and I are Charleston obsessed. We vacationed there almost 3 years ago and I totally fell in love (he had been before for baseball tournaments but this was my first time). During that trip we loved it so much that we went around to all different islands/areas/neighborhoods to see which we liked the most and then looked at a few homes. Not too seriously, just to give ourselves an idea of what was on the market. We knew that when the time came we wanted to buy down south. Not only is it cheaper than living in the CT/NY area but it’s a different way of life down there. People are so genuine and kind, EVERYTHING is pretty (seriously, I take a billion pics any time we go down), the weather is awesome, beaches are beautiful, food is so good and there’s a big emphasis on enjoying the smaller, simpler things in life.

From our wedding which I’ll hang in our house! Photo by Caroline Ro

Fast forward to currently: We’ve been to Charleston a bunch since my first time down, got married there, have looked at lots of homes and we found OURS. Ok, it’s not ours until the keys are in our hands but we are under contract and are set to close the beginning of July! I can’t even believe it! We are so happy, nervous, excited…. basically all the feels.

That being said, we’ve got a lot of shit to do. Likeeeeee whoa. New business proposals, selling stuff in our current apartment so we don’t have to move much down, figuring out how we’re going to get things down there including 2 crazy dogs (one of which hates the car), getting new furniture, doing a few things to the house and the list goes on and on and on. It’s super exciting but stressful AF.

And all I can think about is decorating. I’m becoming obsessed.

I’ve always liked that sorta thing but never did much of it, our current apartment is basically a bunch of mis-matched furniture and decor from mine and Mike’s previous places. A new home that is ours is a big clean slate for me and I can’t wait to get in there and do my thang. Or try to at least, we won’t really know if I’m any good at this until we see a finished product. *Fingers crossed*.

My life is very much about health and fitness. I love helping others achieve goals of losing fat and getting stronger. I love creating simple yet healthy recipes (which I can do so much more of once we have a kitchen with counter space!). I love coaching clients on how to do an exercise properly to prevent injury and make workouts more efficient. It’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. But it isn’t my whole life. And sometimes I feel that when I blog or post on social media I have to hide other parts of my life because they aren’t health or fitness related.

Well, that ends here. Coach Cait will be getting an overhaul in the next few months (once I figure out how the heck to build a new website!). I may even change my biz name. But I’m telling you this because I want to share more with you, I want to make this a lifestyle blog that encompasses my everyday life, activities and interests.

You betcha real life involves champagne. Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

Of course there will be tons of content on wellness, nutrition, fitness, recipes (all gluten free, duh) and motivation. That is a huge part of who I am and it’s not going anywhere. In addition to the healthy sections you may begin to see some wedding stuff (because how the heck have I not posted about our southern wedding yet?!). You’ll also start to see some home and design inspiration. When we move you’ll  join me in the process of fixing some stuff up, decorating, seeing what type of organic mattress we end up buying (yes, that is super important!). I’ll be posting different guides for Charleston as far as gluten free restaurants, best hotels, cool spots for drinks etc. because you all need to come visit at some point. Seriously, it’s just the most amazing place.

Basically, you’re gonna get the ins and outs of life with the McDonnells. And maybe you want to stay up to speed on everything or you might just like the workout stuff or are only interested in our house hunting journey. That’s cool too. Blogs are so easy to navigate giving you the ability to look up what you want and leave the other stuff behind. No biggie to me, as long as I’m contributing something helpful/inspirational/or just entertaining you.

This ride is certainly not going to be perfect. But I can promise you that I’ll be honest and transparent with you. You’ll get to see the beautiful mess that moving forward in life creates. You’ll also get to see me freak out when my OCD goes a little cray and there are a billion boxes and no furniture in our new home. That’ll be entertaining to say the least.

Please continue to share feedback on what I’m posting here and email me if you have anything you’d like me to write about. As always, thank you for reading and taking part in this with me. It’s my sweet little group of followers who keep me going and motivate me to create more content and not give up on this new lil’ business of mine. <3 <3 <3

3 Intense Workout Finishers

Over the past few years a cool thing has happened in the online health and wellness world: We are learning to love our bodies a little bit more and judge them a little less. Body shaming is a real thing. We’re constantly looking at hot bods all over social media so it’s easy to “wish our arms were as toned as hers” or to comment #AbGoals on someone else’s picture.

It’s almost beach time! FINALLY.

There have been some very influential voices in this industry, however, who say “Hey, you’re fine just the way you are.” We’re realizing we can love ourselves, flaws and all. I think this is really great as it allows us to show respect for ourselves and others while not feeling the need for comparison. I can read a post from a woman my age who has an amazing body and think “Damn, she works really hard to maintain that physique, good for her,” and I feel more inspired than jealous. That’s HUGE and I think/hope more people are feeling this way.

That being said, I see nothing wrong in wanting to change your body for the better. I mean yikes, it’s my friggin job to help people achieve this! Where the mix-up lies is the reasoning behind it. Do you want a six-pack because it’ll make you feel more worthy? Mehhhh, probs not a good reason. However, I think a six-pack would make me feel pretty badass and I KNOW that in order to achieve this I’d need a kickass workout routine. I’d have to be kind to my body when it comes to nutrition and I’d need lots of discipline –> And there’s nothing wrong with those things. 

I got to thinking about all of this because now that it’s getting nice out we are going to start seeing lots of material about getting “beach body ready.” And a few people will definitely come through and say “Noooo, your body is so great just the way it is, love yourself, be who you are, don’t change just so you can feel comfortable in a bikini!”

But, what if I want to change? What if I want to lean out a bit for the summer because:

A. I wasn’t being super mindful of my nutrition over the winter and gained a few pounds and

B. Having nicer abs and an overall strong looking body makes me feel really good?

Is that so bad? Am I an awful human for saying that if I look better I will feel better about myself? I think the point certain people are trying to make on this topic is that having a goal to make yourself better should come from a place of self-love rather than self-hate. This makes sense but can be a tough mindset shift. Personally, if I look at my mid-section in the mirror and am not loving what I see, I will feel more motivated to workout and eat well on a consistent basis rather than thinking “Oh I see a little more fat there than I’d like but I am beautiful just the way I am. Now let me go workout because it’s so wonderful for my mind, body and soul.”

See the difference there? We all have different reasoning behind wanting to change and to me, one way of thinking is no better than the other as long as we aren’t constantly throwing negative thoughts at ourselves. To me, what’s important is that we want to strive to be better for ourselves and our loved ones and that we do so on a healthy and mindful journey.

Ok enough of the inspirational, self-worth talk. It’s honestly not my area of expertise, the above is just my two cents at this moment in time. It’s also my reasoning for the next bit of this post:

3 workout finishers that will make you a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. LOL, did I overdo it there? I had to. Because it is my personal opinion that if summer being just around the corner makes you want to lean out then that is totally ok. Get it going.

Eat well, work hard and feel friggin good. 

These 3 finishers can be added into your workout at the end (hence why it’s called a finisher). (And you should feel really, really spent when done. If you don’t then you aren’t working hard enough.)


Numero Uno:
>1a. Row 150 meters
1b. Plank shoulder taps 8x each side
**Row, Plank then repeat for 10-15 minutes

Numero Dos:
1a. 15 kettlebell swings
1b. 30 sec mountain climbers
**Swing, Climb then repeat 10 times

Numero Tres:
1a. 30 sec sprint on cardio equipment of your choice
1b. Rest 30 sec
**Sprint, Rest then repeat for 10-15 min

Give these a try and let me know what you think! And if you feel you need a modification for an exercise head to the “contact me” tab on my page where you can either email me or message me on social media 🙂

Weekly Workouts

This week was a little subpar with workouts. There were one or two days where I really MEANT to get to the gym, but didn’t go. It happens to all of us right? I said I’d go after sessions but then I was too hungry so I’d go after lunch instead, but then the dogs needed to be taken out and I had to answer emails and program for clients. Then it was time to make dinner and the thought of going to workout was not appealing. 

Luckily on days like this I can go for a nice long walk with the dogs and still get moving. It’s also important to understand that if you don’t exercise, you don’t need to eat as much on those days and so I keep that in mind. It’s all good and lesson learned: If the workout isn’t written down in the schedule, it very well may not get done. So write that ish down! 


Long dog walk




BB reverse lunge 3×8 ea
KB OH press 3×8 ea
Ab wheel 3×8
Lat pulldown 3×8 ea
Stairclimber 20 min


Rest (unintentionally)


Long doggy walk


Barbell sumo squat 5×5
Chin ups 5x 1-2
Single arm plank 5x 15-20 sec
Ski erg 5x 20 sec
90/90 stretch 5×1 min


Bench press 5x 8/6/6/3/1
Pallof press 3×10 ea
OH tricep rope extension 3×10
DB lateral raises 3×10


Weekly Workouts






















Happy Monday! It’s a gloomy day here in CT but I’m trying to be optimistic about getting a lot of shit done rather than hopping on the “OMG I hate Mondays” train, which is usually my preferred mood. BUT I will be happy for the start of a new week yay! (Insert eye-roll here).

6 months flew by! (Taken by Caroline Ro)

The weekend was busy but with good stuff- Mike and I celebrated 6 months of marriage woohoooo! We went to dinner at a place in NYC called Quality Meats, we’ve been there a few times now and the steak is just ridiculously amazing. Soo I hate oysters, crab + avocado, some bites of Mike’s caesar salad (hold the croutons), a 10oz. filet and brussels sprouts. I’m kinda drooling right now thinking about it. I really like going to restaurants like this because we just eat lots of protein and veggies but it’s so delicious and by the end we aren’t even hungry for dessert. I’m not a big dessert person anyway, especially at a restaurant because there aren’t many gluten free/ dairy free options available. I’d rather drink my dessert– I had a glass of champagne and a glass of rosé with din, perfection. Sunday I woke up feeling great rather than like crap for eating sooo much. Cause when you eat crab, avocado, brussells, oysters and steak you really can’t be mad at yourself, ya know?

I think sometimes we go to restaurants and go overboard with ordering too much and a lot of carbs, leaving us feeling like shit later on. It really isn’t necessary. There are tons of dishes available that are on the healthier side and if you’re really a dessert person maybe order one to split with the table. You won’t feel deprived and you’ll probs be very pleased with your level of willpower and respect for your body. It’s a win/win: still eat yummy food just not a TON of it. Totally possible, right?

Now that I’m making myself hungry discussing this let’s get onto last week’s workouts so I can go grab a snack 😉


KB swings 5×15
TRX pikes 5×10
Barbell overhead press 5×10
Airdyne sprint 5×20 sec


Rack pulls 3×8
TRX row 3×8
Bench press 3×8
Ab wheel 3×8


KB rack squats 5×8
Double KB bent-over row 5×8
KB single arm(SA)  overhead press 5×8 each
Ski erg 30 on 30 off 10x


Rest day/ doggy walk


Barbell hip thrust 4×10
DB bicep curl then overhead(OH) press 4×10
Single leg(SL) deadlift 4×10 each
Row 200 meters 4x


Treadmill sprints 30 on 1 min off, 20 min


Rest day


Aaaand that’s all she wrote, enjoy the week! xoxo


Weekly Workouts + Motivation

Oh Hi! Holy cow it’s been a busy couple of weeks filled with online coaching clients and a house hunting trip in Charleston but we’re back in CT now (yay?) and I want to share this week’s workouts with you. Luckily it’s been really nice these past few days which helps with motivation. I was having some trouble finding the energy/desire to go to the gym while it was raining and chilly and a few of my clients felt the same way. We all have moments like this and it’s ok, as long as we do our best and don’t fall into a rut.

Let’s talk about this for a min. One client of mine was having a particularly tough day and skipped her workout. She then got home from work and ate 2 slices of pizza, chicken parmesan, a cookie, brownie and a beer. WHAT. I’ve been there (pre-celiac days otherwise I’d probs be dead after all of that). She said, “What does it even matter, I was exhausted, in a crappy mood and didn’t workout so why not continue with an awfully unhealthy meal?” Ah, yes. The “I’ve been bad today so may as well keep going and start fresh tomorrow” attitude. NO. We can have days that suck, we feel tired, busy and miss a workout. That doesn’t mean go eat every single carb in sight because the day has gone to shit. 

Let’s try this approach instead: You didn’t workout today for whatever reason. Therefore, you don’t need to eat as much because you didn’t burn calories during said workout. Trust me, after a healthy dinner you’ll go to bed feeling much better than if you were to eat 4 days worth of calories in one sitting. Regardless of getting a sweat on that day or not. 

Moral of the story: Shit happens and we miss workouts. Cut yourself some slack, do your very best (always) and move on. 

That’s my rant for the day 😉 Now spring is finally here and we all seem to be in better spirits! Here’s what I did activity-wise for the week:



















Barbell hip thrust 3×15
Curl to press 3×10
Barbell reverse lunge 3×5 each
Plank reach 3×8 each
Airdyne sprint 3x20sec
**This took about 30 mintes


Went into NYC with Mom and walked a TON


Lots of Complete Coaching with Cait client check-ins and programming, exhausted by end of day. Took Jax for a long walk.


Pistol squats 5×3 each
Chin ups 5×1
KB overhead press 3×5 each
KB goblet squat 3×5 each
15 min treadmill sprints 30sec on/ 30sec off


Barbell deadlifts 5×5
Barbell chest press 5×5-6
Side plank resets 5×10 each
Cardio rower 3x200m
Ball slams 3×10

Let me know if you try any of these workouts!

Two Healthy Breakfast Ideas That’ll Make You a Rockstar

Lately I’ve been calling myself the Breakfast Queen and feel like I’m holding out on you if I don’t share some of these ideas. A lot of us don’t eat much, if anything, for breakfast. We don’t have time (aka we don’t *make* time), we aren’t hungry in the morning, breakfast is boring etc. Well guess what? I’m gonna change that nonsense for you. 

Is it the most important meal of the day? I don’t really know, that is dependent upon the individual. But what I do know is our days start in the morning (unless you work a night shift I suppose) and fueling properly sets us up for success. 

What happens when we eat well first thing? Our neurotransmitters fire better so we think well and more clearly. That makes us more efficient, we have more energy and get more shit done. Who doesn’t want that?

What do we need in order to make this happen? A balanced meal. Carbs, proteins and fats. 


Oh puh-lease. Don’t get me started on that question. YOU have time if you wake up 20 minutes earlier, so there. Don’t like that answer? These breakfast ideas can mostly be prepared in the evening and then heated up when you’re ready to eat. Not hungry before you leave for work? Take it with you and eat at your desk. 

I’m sure there are more “I can’t eat breakfast” excuses out there and if you really don’t want to try these then whatevs. But note if you’re quickly shoving down a granola bar or bagel in the morning you’re doing yourself a disservice.

For those of you who do want to get an awesome and healthy start to your day, here you go!

Meal #1 is what I call a Breakfast Bowl and it’s SO delish. 

– Prepare a batch of quinoa or rice ahead of time and keep in fridge for easy use.
-Prepare a steamed veggie ahead of time and also keep in fridge.
**Veggie ideas: Steamed swiss chard, kale, broccoli , spinach, asparagus
– Add quinoa/rice to a bowl with steamed veggie and eggs. Make the eggs however you like. I usually do 2 fried and leave em’ a little runny. Add avocado, salt, pepper and even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

With this breakfast bowl, you only have to make the eggs in the AM. Everything else can be done ahead of time. Don’t like eggs or have a food sensitivity? I hear you, I used to also. In that case you can get pre-cooked sausage. I like Applegate chicken sausage or Niman Ranch bratwurst. Add this to the bowl in place of the eggs. OR you can grill some chicken breast and use that. The possibilities are endless. 

This Applegate sausage is good too, it comes frozen:

The next breakfast option I call A Lil’ Bit of Everything, it’s also really yummy.

Again, prepare the veggie ahead of time. I always have steamed broccoli or baby broccoli in the fridge but sometimes mix it up with whatever was leftover from dinner. That’s why there are some sautéed mushrooms and swiss chard pictured in this. 

Cook up the protein (sausage, chicken breast, leftover steak from dinner, eggs) and fry half a sweet plantain in grass-fed butter. I did this in a cast iron skillet while cooking the egg and heating up the sausage. Cook the plantain just til they’re brown on each side. Throw veggies, plantain, egg, sausage on a plate and eat! You can add some sliced avocado with sea salt and cayenne pepper to this too. Also, you don’t need sausage AND an egg. I had just finished a workout before eating this and was feeling extra hungry.

What kind of eggs do you normally use? I used to buy cage-free but did some research and now use pasture-raised. The difference is huge- from the color of the yolk to the way I feel after eating them. Yes pasture-raised is more expensive but it’s well worth it to me. My favorite brand is Vital Farms:

So there you have it. Two satisfying, nutrient-packed breakfasts to get your day off to a strong start. Try making one this weekend and let me know what you think!

Happy Eating!  🙂

5 Tips on How to Plan Effective Workouts

You’ve got your workout clothes on, sneakers laced up and your new playlist ready to go. Yet somehow you don’t feel all too comfortable leaving the locker room and stepping out onto that gym floor. The machines, free weights, cardio equipment..they’re all intimidating. There are a million and one possible exercises, how are we supposed to know which to do?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get in my inbox: “How do I choose which exercises to do in the gym?” We start to feel intimidated not only by the overwhelming amount of equipment around us but also the other people in there. What if we do something incorrectly and look stupid? That would be an epic fail, right? (Nah, because more than half of people in the gym do movements without any rhyme or reason behind them.) But imagine if we came into the gym with a plan; exercises written down with rep schemes that matched our goals. That would be a game changer. We’d feel motivated to get there because we’d know our workout has a purpose. Movement that matters is the very best kind, physically, emotionally and mentally.

So how does someone who isn’t a personal trainer plan an effective workout? Here are my top 5 tips for you. Keep in mind these will vary depending on your goal. If you still aren’t up for the task of writing your own workouts after reading these then head over to Complete Coaching with Cait, my 1 on 1 online training program.

  1. Choose movements that incorporate a lot of muscles at one time. These are typically called “complex movements.” An exercise like a squat  is much more complex than the leg extension machine, for instance. The more muscles we can recruit at one time the higher our heart rates will get, increasing our metabolic rate and burning more calories. Some of my favorites are squats, deadlifts, push-ups, chin-ups (with assistance is fine!), walking lunges and rows.
  2. Lift heavy, please. When selecting weights for an exercise go with as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form. If you’re doing 3×10 for a movement and can easily do another 5 after you’ve reached 10 reps, you aren’t challenging yourself enough. The 10th rep should be hard enough so you can’t do another 1 or 2 afterward. There are a ton of benefits to lifting heavy: Strength correlates to the release of fat burning hormones in both men and women. The stronger you are the faster your metabolism will be. Reduced risk of osteoporosis, muscle hypertrophy and being a badass are also positives that come from lifting heavy. 
  3. Design your workouts with a combination of full body exercises. A program template can look something like this:
    Circuit 1: Lower body movement, upper body push, upper body pull, core
    Circuit 2: Lower body movement, upper body push, upper body pull, core
    You can even add a quick metabolic sprint after the core if you’re looking to spike your heart rate.
  4. Rest as needed between sets, but only as needed. I see this one a lot. We do a set and then go on our phones or talk to a friend for 5+ minutes. What happens then is we lose momentum and our heart rates lower a lot. A general rule of thumb for someone looking to burn fat during a workout is to rest as much as needed in order to go back and give maximal effort to those exercises again. For some this may be 30 seconds and for others 3 minutes. Remember, you want to keep the intensity up throughout the workout (always while maintaining proper form).
  5. Add in 1-2 days of high intensity cardio into your workout program. Pick a piece of cardio equipment you enjoy and work your butt off for 20 minutes. Sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 1:30, repeating for a total of 20 minutes. You can do this on a treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine etc. All that matters is you’re working as hard as you possibly can for those 30 seconds and then going nice and slow allowing your heart rate to come down for 1:30. This can be done all on it’s own so you’ll have your sprint days and then your lifting days, or if needed you can do them right after your lifting workout but I prefer the former so you have more energy.

The gym can be an intimidating place but it doesn’t have to be. Take a moment to jot down a program for the week. This will not only motivate you but also hold you accountable.

*If you feel like you still need help with planning workouts, nutrition and accountability fill out this contact form to get in touch with me about Complete Coaching with Cait, a personalized 1 on 1 online training program.

One Little Word, One Huge Impact on Your Life

We aren’t even 2 weeks into the new year and I’m noticing the hype about resolutions is already dying down. Which is fine by me, I don’t gravitate toward that bullshit anyway. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for that excited feeling we get when writing January 1st, 2017 down on paper for the very first time. The whole year has yet to happen. It is ours to do as we please, to make our mark on or let pass by.

For me the start of a new year means get it together. December was the month of organization. Not only was 2016 coming to an end but I also just got married!  I really felt the urge to get rid of clutter around the house and make room for the life that lies ahead. Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” suggests that when getting rid of things in your home you ask yourself whether or not they bring joy to your life. If the answer is no, say goodbye.

Of course I have to include a wedding pic 😉 Photographed by Caroline Ro

This was huge not only in getting rid of physical clutter in my home but also mental and social media clutter. Is social media clutter a thing? Welp, it is now. I’ve been un-friending/ unfollowing those who don’t bring value to my day to day and also becoming more aware of what my daily routine consists of. Where am I spending time and energy and how is this useful for me and my loved ones? Yes, I do know looking at cute puppy videos on Facebook probably isn’t adding value to my well being; but it’s a work in progress and at the very least I am aware of my actions rather than mindlessly scrolling as time slips by.

As my clients started toying around with different resolutions to make we settled on another idea instead. I saw this floating around on various internet sites and it really resonated with me. Pick a word that is going to be your theme for 2017. A friend of mine chose “laughter.” She’s a pretty serious gal and just wants to laugh more. Instead of yelling at her kid when he spills water on the table because he’s playing she will laugh with him about the little mishap and relish in the fact that they’re spending time together. One of my mentors chose the word “authenticity” for 2017 which I also love.

My word is “matter.”

Spend time with people who matter, stress over stuff that matters and let the other small shit go. Eat foods that matter to my body. Do workouts that matter. Show my friends and family they matter to me. 

One little word, one huge impact.

What’s your word for 2017? Leave it in the comments below!

*My next blog post will focus on doing workouts that matter. Right now I’m seeing so many people in the gym who are wasting their time because of poor exercise selection. It can be tough and intimidating when figuring out which exercises to do so let’s come up with a solution that is best for you, your goals and your body.

6 Simple Health + Fitness Guidelines That Actually Work

6 Simple Health + Fitness Guidelines

The entire internet is filled with different fat loss tips, trends and topics. This can make it tough knowing either where to begin with a new health and fitness program, or if what you’re currently doing is good and/or working for your body.

As a fitness professional, I sometimes laugh at what is out there on social media and other times I get really frustrated at advice that is not sound information. It seems all of this healthy talk does one thing very well: over complicates things.

In one corner we’ve got pictures of people with super lean bodies who tell you that you too can look like this, you just have to workout 2-3 hours a day and count every single macronutrient you put into your body. And in the other corner we’ve got those who insist that going for a walk in the park and meditating will entirely change your world for the better. While the above opinions are not incorrect, it doesn’t mean they are the right fit for you.

So, what is?

The following six guidelines are simple, straight forward and proven to work. You don’t have to implement all six at once either. Begin with one until it becomes consistent and a habit, then add in another.

Six Health + Fitness Guidelines:

Strength train 2-5 days/week: Put simply, lift heavy weights often. This doesn’t mean go over to the rack of dumbbells and pick up the largest one you see. But when choosing your exercise routine, incorporate loads that will challenge you. I’m a big fan of short yet challenging workouts and am often out of the gym within 30 minutes. These workouts consist of big compound movements (squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups etc.) that get the entire body moving and working hard.

Choose foods that are in their natural, whole state as often as possible: You know the drill here, keep processed foods to a minimum. Eat foods that will nourish you and leave you feeling energized rather than bogged down and bloated. This may mean you do a little bit more cooking but there are SO many recipes out there that are delish and don’t take very long to make. Trust me, I am not a fan of being in the kitchen so meals that are easy to prep and cook are key and totally possible.

Have protein with every meal: This is one of my favorites. A lot of us underestimate the power of protein and how much we are actually eating. This is usually the first habit I will introduce a client to because increasing your protein intake has so many benefits:

  • Increase energy
  • Keeps you full for longer, decreasing hunger cravings later on
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Maintain lean muscle mass when trying to lose body fat

Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep (or sleep quality) disrupts proper hormone function in the body which leads to: increased hunger (and therefore fat gain), increased stress, increased fatigue, decreased cognitive function and much more. Read more about the importance of sleep here. Also note that our bodies recover while we sleep. So for someone who is exercising it is especially important to get sufficient quality sleep. Tips for better sleep:

  • Get in bed a half hour earlier than usual
  • No electronics a half hour before lights out
  • Keep your bedroom very dark
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
  • If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, see a doctor to have blood work done to see if there is an underlying cause that could be creating this symptom.

Drink enough water: Mild dehydration can cause daytime fatigue, loss in energy and concentration, can decrease strength, cause cramping and many other issues. The concerning thing here is that majority of us are a little dehydrated. It is recommended that we drink a minimum of 8 cups of water per day. This of course is dependent on the individual, someone who exercises daily should consume more than this. I normally recommend clients have .6 ounces per pound of body weight each day. However, as many of us don’t drink enough water to begin with this can seem like a lot. So start by simply adding in one extra cup (8 ounces) of water into your day. A few benefits of proper hydration:

  • Healthier joints and tissue (fascia)
  • Increased brain function
  • Helps the body process and transfer nutrients
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Suppresses appetite (increases fat loss)

I challenge you right now to figure out how much water you’re consuming each day. Is it enough?

Don’t stress, brush it off: Here’s the thing with health and fitness: it’s a part of life. Which means there will be days that just aren’t totally on point. Whether it be a crappy or missed workout, too many cocktails, a day where you ate literally everything in sight. Shit happens and we can’t always feel guilty or stressed about our actions. Being able learn from this but then move on and improve is where the true magic happens.


3 Simple Steps for a Healthier You This Weekend

With spring quickly approaching I am starting to hear some of my least favorite terms pop up such as “bikini body” and “beach ready.” People are going to see us prancing around half naked soon so better start watching what we eat!

 Our health is not temporary, but sometimes our actions toward it are. 

 What sense does that make? Yet we are constantly focusing on quick fixes that will make us feel good for a tiny bit before heading back to our normal (and less healthy) way of life. Take these examples, for instance:

 – 21 day cleanses: Our nutrition + exercise are on point during this, we feel and look great. But come day 22 you could probably be found at the local pizzeria and maybe be seen with a pint of ice cream afterward. But hey, you cleansed for 21 days so now you can reward your body and binge..yay!

– You’re going on vacation soon: Clearly we need to clean up our eating and hit the gym a bunch so we look better while laying on the beach. I get it, we want to look and feel good especially while wearing less clothing and there’s nothing wrong with that. What I do have a problem with is what happens next:

 – You’re on vacation: Which means we get to start drinking at 10am, continue cocktailing for the entire day and eating whatever we want because “we’re on vacation and totally deserve a break.” A BREAK FROM WHAT? Being healthy? Giving a shit about what you put into your body? Shouldn’t this matter all of the time?

 – It’s the weekend: Yay! It’s time for takeout, Netflix, sleeping in a little, going out to dinner and ordering whatever you want because it’s Saturday and who cares. Followed by 5 too many drinks and a hangover on Sunday. But no worries..because “tomorrow is Monday and I’ll totally start to be good again.”


Health and fitness do not have to be all or nothing.
There is an in between.
Find it, learn it, live it.

 I used to be that Monday clean slate girl. I’d make sure nothing naughty was left in the house Sunday evening and the following morning I’d have a green smoothie with protein for breakfast and all was right in the world again. It’s no way to live. Treating our bodies with respect all year round is the best way to stay consistent and achieve results. Once you’re able to find that balance you will enjoy either a salad with grilled chicken or a hamburger and fries for lunch, no matter what day of the week or time of the year it is. 

 How can we find that in between ground where we’re mindful of our health but are still able to enjoy food we love? Since it’s Friday, let’s start with 3 simple guidelines for the weekend:

 1. Have protein with every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a snack- you better believe there needs to be protein on your plate. 

 Why? Protein helps us to feel full longer after a meal so you’re less hungry later. It requires more energy to digest so we burn more calories after eating it. It also helps to manage blood sugar and insulin, and triggers protein synthesis helping us to increase lean mass which burns more calories each day.

 Need I say more?

 2. Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, maximum of 60. Let’s do this twice this weekend (I’m including Friday into the weekend so you’ve got 2/3 days to get this in). The workout you choose to do is up to you, but here are the parameters:

 -Choose a form of exercise you enjoy doing.

 -The more intense the workout, the shorter the duration. Maybe you’re going to do as many rounds of squats, overhead press, bent-over rows and mountain climbers as possible within 20 minutes. Great, go for it (but remember quality form over quantity of reps). Or perhaps you’d prefer to go for a walk with your dogs or a friend for an hour. Cool. Get moving, get outside and enjoy.

 3. Set up a drink maximum. Yes, we’ve got parties to attend and dinner with friends. That doesn’t mean you have to have a bottle of wine to yourself. Before you head out decide how many drinks you’ll indulge in. (I usually recommend a 2 drink max per event for clients, *hint hint*).

 Summer is right around the corner but that doesn’t mean the healthiest you has to be too. Start this weekend. Because maybe if you do these 3 things over the next 3 days, you’ll realize they’re not so bad. You’ll incorporate them into Monday, Tuesday, and then why not for the duration of the week, month, and your life (Yes, my hopes are high but not unrealistic).

 I want you to see, know and understand you can still have a blast while sticking to a few healthy habits– leading to consistency and an all out better-than-you’ve-ever-been you.

 Now go get it.  <3

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