2022 blog

the calendar that changed my life

I don’t know how, but for some reason I am caught off-guard EVERY SINGLE NIGHT about what to make for dinner. It’s as if, EVERY DAY, I forget that I need to eat, and by the time I get home from work I am already starving and have no idea what to make for dinner and no idea what groceries I have on-hand.

Until I started meal planning.

I won’t lie, at first it took me like an hour every time, to make a meal plan for one week – weekends excluded! And I would run into total chef-writer’s block, where I all of a sudden could not remember one single enjoyable meal I had ever had. I would end up making the same meals over and over again. That is totally one way to do, and nothing wrong with that if you don’t bore easily! Unfortunately, I do bore easily, and I was still having a really tough time breaking out of my dinner/lunch rut.

Finally, one day I was feeling motivated and decided to take advantage of that and just really go wild with meal planning. I sat down and planned out my Monday – Friday lunch/dinner combo’s for an entire month! I felt SO FREE. I am now in the habit of making meal plans in 6 week blocks (weekdays only, as I usually spend weekends eating leftovers or with my family). I use a simple blank calendar template from Microsoft Excel and I spend about 20-30 minutes tops filling it in when I’m about 4-5 weeks into my current plan.

Total Honesty: the first one did take me longer to do. But, now that I have found what works for me, it is ridiculously easy to maintain and it takes so much stress off of me! Another plus is it makes grocery shopping a breeze and I have found I save a ton of money when I can shop with the next month’s worth of food in mind.

So, how do I get started?

Here is what my meal plan calendar looks like, finished, but I would encourage you to change anything that doesn’t vibe with you. Remember, this is supposed to be something that makes your life EASIER, not something that makes you feel like you have to follow like a cult or something 😉

I’ve gotten into the habit of having a bit of a theme for each day of the week to keep my weekly dishes diversified (remember, a diversified diet is a nutrient-dense diet!):

  • Mondays – Meatless Mondays or Red Meat Mondays
    • I usually do 2-4 meatless meals, 1-2 red meat meals, and 1-2 red meat substitute meals to keep red meat consumption to about 1-2 times a month
  • Tuesdays – Taco(ish) Tuesdays
  • Wednesdays – Noodle dishes
  • Thursdays – soup or grain base with an emphasis on veggies
  • Fridays – handhelds or rice based

I try to plan each week so that I can use the same groceries for multiple meals – it’s usually cheaper to buy in bulk so I try to do so where I can!

For example: for the first week, I am making chili (using ground turkey) on Monday and then burritos (with ground turkey) on Tuesday. Instead of purchasing 1lb of 93% lean ground turkey for $6.49/lb that week, I can buy 3lb of 93% lean ground turkey for $4.97/lb!!

I also try to make things easier on myself by lumping my meal prepping tasks together as well. On week 5, I am making steak & veggies on Monday, then a chicken & veggie soup on Thursday. On Sunday, when I prep Monday’s steak dinner, I will double the amount of potatoes and carrots I wash and chop and set them aside in the fridge for Thursday’s soup. Anything I can do to save myself 15 minutes, I’m in!

We eat a lot of produce in our home, so we grocery shop every week to keep our fruits and veggies fresh. I make a weekly grocery list based off the meal plan for the upcoming week, then go through and cross out anything I might happen to have on hand already.

This helps keep me organized and prevents me from accidentally buying stuff we might already have. PLUS it gives me the chance to buy hot-commodities (like uncooked white rice) in bulk and store it on-hand instead of buying a 3lb bag every other week.

When I am ready to start my next 6-week plan, the first thing I do is clear out my calendar and fill in the new dates. While I try to mix up my meal plan each block, I cannot commit to making 30 new meals every 6 weeks. So, I leave in my go-to meals and my “greatest hits” and take this opportunity to clear out things that I don’t want to make again in the upcoming block. I start by pulling ALL of my last 30 meals to the side so I can kick out the ones that we weren’t fans of (or just took me WAY too much time to make!!) and go from there.

Then I add in some new recipes I have found, or bring back old faves from past meal plans. Once I have 30 new meals listed, I just start copy/pasting them one by one into the day/week I want to make that. This is when I try to be smart about how the meal plan affects grocery shopping and my ability to get multiple uses out of one grocery item purchase.

Let know what you thought and how you personalized this to work better for your own meal planning!

2022 Group Classes

May Group Classes!

Join us for our May Group Classes! We will offer 1 Orange County class (Saturday morning) and 1 virtual class via Zoom (Sunday Morning). Please take note of the sign-up deadlines listed. We can’t wait to work out with you!

Saturday, May 21st @ 10 AM:
Kickboxing Cardio 🥊
Fountain Valley Mile Square Park

sign-up deadline: Friday, May 20th at 8 PM

Sunday, May 29th @ 9:30 AM:
Virtual Yoga 🧘🏻‍♀️
Zoom Class

sign-up deadline: Saturday, March 26th at 8 PM

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2022 blog

Changing the Way You Goal-Set through SMART Goals

Have you ever been really excited about a goal or the idea of achieving something, but then eventually the excitement wears off or life gets chaotic and you have to push that dream to the back-burner? Or maybe you’re tired of feeling like you have the same New Year’s Resolutions year after year, but never get to where you’d like to be. It may even be starting to feel like you’ll never reach your goal.

Don’t worry – same here!

The good news? The issue may be in how the goal is set rather than what the goal is. Setting big or vague goals is often the downfall of many well-intentioned goals. We’re here to help you revamp the way you approach goal-setting to help set you up for success, every time!

There are 5 key components to setting a goal that will make it more effective and clear, and they are represented in the acronym SMART.

SMART Goals are:


The first component of setting a SMART goal is to get specific. Think about what would define the success of achieving this goal; what will it look like when you’ve accomplished it?

For example; instead of I want to lose weight, a more specific goal could sound like I will lose 8 lbs. Rather than, I want to be a better runner; try I will go for a run 3 times a week.

Making your goal as specific as possible sets you up for success by identifying what it is you are striving for. In other words, it is hard to hit a target that you can’t see, and getting specific helps eliminate any vagueness or guesswork for you!


The next key part of a SMART goal is to make it measurable. Making it measurable digs deeper into the specificity of your goal. Assigning a number, value, or other form of measure to your goal allows you to track your progress as well as having a clearly defined target.

Using the example above, I will lose 8 lbs, assigning the value 8 lbs makes your goal something you can measure. You can determine when you are halfway there, or when you have reached it!

Making your goal related to something you can measure helps to make it feel less conceptual and can even provide a roadmap for how to achieve your goals. In the above example, I will go for a run 3 times a week, not only is the success of the goal clearly defined, but how to get there is spelled out for you! This step can be a great time to start thinking about your goal in terms of real-time and effort.


As you start thinking about how to measure your goal, the important concept of attainability will come into play. Lofty goals may sound impressive or inspiring, but can quickly become unrealistic and may have the opposite effect.

One of the great things about SMART goal setting is the option to break your goal up into achievable chunks. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 lbs, starting with losing the first 5 lbs in a month or establishing an exercise routine by completing 4 workouts per week may feel more realistic and less daunting.

The point of goal setting is to challenge yourself, but certainly not to set yourself up for failure! It’s far better to set a goal that feels possible and continuously progress yourself to keep achieving more, than to set an impossibly high goal that is never attained.


Why is this your goal? Is this in-line with what you want, and what you are working to achieve? Use this component to make sure that your SMART goal is still relevant to your conceptual goal – even at its first step or stage!

This is where it is so helpful to have a trainer or coach helping you identify your goal! Conceptually, the goal of becoming more active or getting more fit can lead to very different SMART goals for different people. Fitness goals are not one-size-fits-all; not everybody’s fitness journey will include weight loss, and not all goals will require the same types of workouts to achieve.

If you’d like some guidance identifying the right SMART goal for you, send us a message!


Lastly, SMART goals are time-bound; meaning, they have an end date. If your goal is to lose 8lbs, when should this happen by? A month? A year? 10 years?

Adding a time-bound component to your goal helps to keep you disciplined and on-track. You’ll know what you are working to achieve, how to get started, and when you’ll be done!

Let’s put each component into action and see what that looks like!

Conceptual goal: I want to lose weight.

SMART Goal: I will increase my calories burned each day to lose 8lbs in 6 weeks.

Conceptual goal: I want to be more flexible.

SMART Goal: I will complete one yoga and two stretching sessions a week for the next month to become more flexible.

now what?

Now that you know how to transform your goals into SMART goals, you are well on your way to achieving them! Download our free SMART Goal worksheet below to help you plan your goals, or contact us for specialized help from a Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist!

let’s set your goals!

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april smoothies bring may muscles

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salsa chicken lettuce ‘tacos’

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april guided journal

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2022 blog

9 Exercise Myths Debunked by a Certified Personal Trainer

Chances are you’ve heard these myths everywhere from the office to the gym to last Thanksgiving at your grandma’s. Some of these age-old sayings are so prevalent that we have come to accept them as truth – but which ones (if any) really deserve our attention?

1. THE MYTH: You need to stretch before a workout to warm-up the muscles.

THE TRUTH: You should warm-up your muscles before a workout, and save the stretches for your post-workout cool-down!

THE WHY: Stretching is aimed at improving flexibility and mobility, or reducing tightness or possible muscle imbalances and adhesion (knots), and does not serve to actually warm up your muscles.

You should be warming up your muscles before beginning your workout, but try opting for a dynamic warm-up – something that gets your body moving and heart rate elevated – instead. We love a good jump-rope warm-up, or even dynamic-balance moves to engage your core right away!

Stretching makes an excellent cool-down after your workout. It is much easier and safer to stretch muscles that are already warmed up rather than stretching cold muscles as part of your warm-up, and stretching as part of your cool-down promotes blood flow that will prevent blood from pooling in the limbs, which can cause major soreness.

2. THE MYTH: You can use resistance training to reduce fatty areas via ‘spot reduction.’

THE TRUTH: Resistance training promotes muscle growth that is extremely muscle-specific, while fat loss occurs in areas in the opposite order that it was accumulated.

THE WHY: Resistance training (weight lifting or strength training) targets the breakdown and regrowth of muscle fibers to increase muscle strength and size. The muscles grow stronger and larger by being slowly introduced to more and more resistance (i.e., heavier weights), and adapting to that workload.

Fat cells are not stored within muscles, so targeting the muscles through strength training will not eliminate stored fat cells. Of course, any type of physical activity can contribute to weight loss, so don’t put down those dumbbells quite yet!

When it comes to fat loss, or reduction of stored fat in adipose tissue (fat cells) in the body, the body will lose fat in the reverse order in which it was gained. In other words; if you first noticed fat gain in your thighs, that will be the last place you notice it start to disappear – so don’t quit!

3. THE MYTH: You should eat more protein and avoid carbs and fats.

THE TRUTH: Your body uses – and needs – all major nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) to function properly and be healthy.

THE WHY: Your body uses protein to assist with muscle refuel and repair, but cannot store excess protein consumed in the body. Any protein consumed that is not used during the digestion and absorption process is broken down and stored as glucose (sugar) in adipose tissue (fat cells) to be used for energy later, when needed.

Your body uses the energy from carbohydrates and fats ingested to burn for immediate fuel and energy needs. Most importantly, you should always strive for balance in your diet to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals! A diet that cuts out sources of healthy carbs and fats may leave you with a vitamin or mineral deficiency that can manifest in decreased performance and results.

4. THE MYTH: You should push through pain when working out to get results.

THE TRUTH: While it’s normal to “feel the burn” and experience mild discomfort in the targeted muscles, you should not be in pain if using the proper form.

THE WHY: Nearly every exercise movement will employ several muscles or muscle groups to complete the movement and, when exercising with good form and posture, you will feel a burning sensation in the working muscles. It’s okay to push through the burn and any muscle shake you experience!

However, if you are feeling pain – like a sharp or stabbing pain, pain that makes it difficult to breathe, or pain accompanied by a popping or tearing sound – you should stop immediately and address the pain. Please remember to always seek medical attention for injuries or when in doubt!

If you are feeling pain in a joint or an area other than the targeted or engaged muscles – such as knee pain when squatting or low back pain when chest-pressing – you should also stop and evaluate your form and position. If it is difficult to maintain good form with the weights or machine you are using, you may need to perform a drop set or lower your weights. Proper form is essential for not only seeing results, but also in injury prevention!

5. THE MYTH: Lifting weights will make you bulky or inflexible.

THE TRUTH: Most people do not possess the genetic potential to achieve massive muscle hypertrophy (bulking up) naturally and without the use of steroids and/or hormone supplementation.

THE WHY: There are 3 basic categories of muscle growth – muscular strength, muscular endurance, and muscular hypertrophy. A standard weightlifting routine can and will target and promote increases in muscular strength and endurance and may present small gains in muscular hypertrophy if specifically targeted.

The amount of hypertrophy needed to achieve a bulky, bodybuilder look is extremely specific and will involve a specific diet as well as a closely monitored exercise routine. In other words, it is very difficult to obtain a bulky appearance when you’re trying to, so the chances of it happening accidentally are very small!

Lifting weights is an important part of maintaining your physical health and fitness and has a myriad of benefits – including increased fat loss, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (even in the absence of weight loss!), reduced blood pressure, and increased bone strength.

6. THE MYTH: If you stop working out, your muscle gains turn into fat.

THE TRUTH: If you stop working out, you will lose muscle gains but will not necessaily gain fat.

THE WHY: Muscle and fat are made up of two completely different types of tissues within the body, and one cannot turn into or convert to the other. While it is true that muscle gains made will be lost in about half the time-frame of inactivity (i.e., muscle gains that took you 6 months to achieve will diminish back to your starting point after 3 months of inactivity), the muscle fibers and cells are not converting to fat.

More often, people experience a decrease in muscle size and strength due to discontinued use (atrophy) and a simultaneous increase in stored fat (adipose tissue) due to consuming more calories than are being burned in a day. The fat gain does not necessarily happen because you stopped strength training, but more so because your activity levels decreased (you are burning less calories a day) and are still consuming the same amount of calories, which creates a surplus of calories and thus, weight gain.

7. THE MYTH: You shouldn’t work out every day.

THE TRUTH: Active recovery and/or rest days should be a scheduled part of your workout regiment for you to be safely active every day.

THE WHY: When you do any activity that stimulates muscle growth (resistance training and even some body weight routines or running!), your muscles need time to recover to repair themselves. Recovery time can be anywhere from 24 – 72 hours depending on how hard you worked them. For intense heavy-lifting strength training, allow the full 72 hours for the soreness to subside and your muscles to repair before working the same muscle groups again (it’s okay to work different muscle groups or do non-resistance activity in the meantime!).

Active recovery days are days where you work at about hald effort or less to allow your body some gentle movement while still allowing proper recovery time between workouts. Great examples of active recovery workouts include yoga, stretching, and foam rolling; light-moderate paced walks, hikes, or bike rides; or gentle aerobics or water aerobics.

Remember that recovery time in between workouts is not only necessary to do your best at your next workout, but also a key component in injury prevention!

8. THE MYTH: Cardio drives weight loss and weights drive muscle growth.

THE TRUTH: You will get the best – and fastest – results by performing a combination of cardiovascular activities and resistance training.

THE WHY: Weight loss occurs when you are burning more calories a day than you eat in a day. That’s it – it’s that simple! Cardio workouts are great for your cardiovascular (heart and lung) health and are a very important factor in losing excess fat.

Equally important, resistance training revs up your metabolism – meaning that you burn a ton of calories not only while you’re performing the exercise, but also at an increased rate for the rest of the day after your exercise – even just with sitting!

This increased rate of burning calories means it will be easier to achieve a negative caloric balance and thus, weight loss!

9. THE MYTH: Weight machines are better than free weights.

THE TRUTH: Both weight machines and free weights hold value as resistance training equipment and neither is objectively “better” than the other.

THE WHY: Studies comparing the use of weight-stack machines against the use of free weights like dumbbells, barbells, and kettle-bells have repeatedly shown similar results. Both forms of resistance training allow for progressive overload of the muscles by increasing the weight and focus on fatiguing the prime mover muscle(s) for that specific workout.

Using free weights requires greater activation of the core and stabilizing muscles; which can be a beneficial aspect for experienced exercisers looking to work many muscles at once, but also pose a risk for new exercisers who may not have sufficient core strength or proper form to safely and effectvely perform the exercise. Machine training can provide better isolation of specific muscles or muscle groups used in the workout.

Working out with weightstack machines can lower total exercise duration and decrease risk of injury since the weights are typically shielded in some way and the resistance can be quickly changed using a dial or pin, rather than having to select new equipment. However, free-weight training is far more cost-effective and space-efficient than using weightstack machines.

There are clear benefits and drawbacks to the use of either; and the choice can ultimately be made based on personal preference and level of comfort.

How many of these myths have you heard before? Let us know – and tell us other fitness myths – in the comments!

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new nutrition services available!

We are thrilled to expand our current services to now include nutrition options!

We will be offering the following services, starting Monday March 28th:

  • Grocery Store Tours
    • smart shopping habits
    • picking the right produce
    • choosing the best cuts of meat
    • seafood selection
    • when to buy organic
  • Cooking demonstrations
    • 3 meals made with you in your kitchen
    • choose from 3 plans:
      • traditional
      • plant-based
      • picky eaters club
  • Nutrition Facts Label Counseling
    • what information you actually need to know
    • how to read the label
  • Meal Plans
    • options coming soon!

visit our nutrition page for more information or to book your consultation today!

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