Getting Back In The Gym After Time Off

You end up traveling for work, come back with a cold and pretty soon you have been out of the gym for 2, 3 maybe even 4 weeks…sound familiar?!? You would be surprised how often this happens, so we wanted to give you a few tips to getting back in the gym!

The truth is that there is always something in life to “de-rail” your fitness, but that doesn’t mean you just stop completely! We know it’s tough to enter into a challenging workout after time “off” so here are some tips to remember:

  1. Just show up. We know that the workouts are challenging, but they won’t get any easier the longer you are away, so just show up! You can slow it down, modify the movements and just plan to get a sweat going. The first class will be the hardest, but it will only take 1-3 classes to get back into your routine, so just show up for that first class
  2. Take it one class at a time. Sometimes, if you think of “how far you have fallen” from where you were or “how far you need to go” to get to where you want to be in your fitness journey, it can be extremely overwhelming and daunting. We suggest you just take it one class at a time! Try not to think of the big picture, because that can absolutely be overwhelming and a little discouraging, so just show up for 1 class that week, then another class that week, then another. Take it one class at a time and focus on your effort in that class only. Give it all you have, whatever that looks like for you right now, and be happy and proud of yourself for showing up!
  3. Think of the benefits. It is no secret that most of us could use a little more activity throughout our daily lives. It’s also no secret that the “Standard American Diet” isn’t one that involved enough green vegetables and clean, whole foods, so the benefits of getting regular exercise are HUGE. We understand that burpees are not everyone’s favorite activity, but if you can focus on the mental, emotional and physical benefits that you get from a consistent exercise routine, that can be a huge motivating factor to get back into the gym! We know that showing up is a very tough piece, but we also know that you will ALWAYS feel better after getting a workout in. Your day is set up for success, whether that is just feeling really good, having an energy surge or setting yourself up to maybe move a little more throughout the day or eat a little better at your lunch break.

We are always here to offer you support and accountability, so if you are struggling to get back into the gym after some time away, shoot us an email! We want you to succeed and accomplish all of your health and fitness goals, no matter what those are, so if you need a little more accountability on your journey, we are more than happy to provide that for you!

-Kari Kirkendall Nutrition Coach / Youth Program Director / Media & Event Director

Why We Need Both Strength Training and Cardio

This is a tough one for some to understand, so we are here to hopefully help and also shed some light into our thoughts as to why strength AND cardio are necessary for optimal health and fitness! We include both cardio and strength training into our programming because we truly believe that we need both to live our best life outside of the gym!
We want to be as balanced as possible, because if we have muscle imbalances, that can cause aches, pains and injury inside and outside of physical activity. If I run and run, my aerobic base and ability to run will be off the charts, but I might not have the muscle needed to support other daily activities, whether those be your day-to-day activities or movements you do in the gym. On the flip side, If I lift and only train my “bi’s and tri’s” and never get my heart rate up a little bit, making it tough to even run a block or two, there is clearly a piece missing there too.
We need both a strength piece and an aerobic piece for optimal health, overall fitness and, of course, muscle balance. Both cardio and strength training have their own individual benefits that you don’t want to miss out on. Ensuring you have the benefits of both is the key to long term success in your health and fitness journey. We could honestly list pages of benefits for both modalities, but we have
highlighted just a few for you to consider!

– Can help lower your risk for serious health conditions and can reduce the risk of heart disease
– Can help boost your mood, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation
– Can help build a stronger heart, which can pump more blood with every beat, reducing your heart rate at rest and during physical activity

Strength Training
– Can help slow down bone lose and can even help build your bones and strengthen your tendons and ligaments needed for support especially as we age
– Muscle automatically burns more calories, so we don’t always have to be manually burning them ourselves. Lean body mass / muscle can increase your metabolism and can help in weight loss and weight management
– Studies have shown that it can help reduce symptoms of many chronic health issues including depression, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and even neck and back pain
– Has been shown to improve brain function and mental health

So next time you take a look at the workout and it includes a piece of fitness that might not be your strength, whether that is a little bit of weightlifting or a little bit of running, remember, we really do need both and both benefit us in so many amazing ways. Plus it never hurts to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone once in awhile! So get into a class and get after that fitness!

-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Youth Program Director / Media & Event Director

Get Moving

We understand that life can get crazy, making it tough to get in physical activity on a consistent basis.  Just like anything important in life, you need to make it a priority by dedicating time and energy to it, so here are a few tips and tricks to help you get up and moving throughout the day, no matter what life throws at you!

Set an alarm!

As a reminder, set an alarm for every 90 minutes to get up from whatever you are doing and take a quick walk or do a few reps of bodyweight exercises, like jumping jacks, lunges or sit-ups.  It does not have to long, hard, or complicated.  Just move!  If you do this throughout the day not only are you getting in some quality movement but also a pretty darn good workout.

Take an active lunch break!

After you are finished eating lunch (which is just as important in its own right), take 15-20 minutes to go for a walk.  It doesn’t have to be long or fast just go for a stroll outside or around the office. This will break up your day and re-energize you for the afternoon, not to mention help with digestion.

Invite A Friend

Ask a friend, co-worker, or family member to join you.  This way you can help each other stay motivated and accountable when life gets in the way.   Not only will the physical activity be great for you both but we are all so busy we never take time to check in face-to-face with the special people in our lives.

We know you have a million things going on between work and family but for you to be the best version of you, as a parent, spouse, employer, employee, your health needs to be a priority! So take these tips and try to get a little more movement in this week! Let us know how it goes and how it feels!

-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Event & Media Director

3 Steps To A Healthier Lifestyle

Trying to stay healthy and living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated! We have just 3 tips
that we recommend, that we think can make all the difference in your daily life. JUST 3! Try them out
and hopefully you will start to see what a difference just a few changes to your routine can make!

1. “Up” your overall daily activity! You have heard “park your car in the spot that is farthest away”
or “take the stairs instead of the elevator” right? Well….these sayings are definitely something
we agree with! “Stepping” up your game, literally, in the non-exercise activity (known as N.E.A.T
(non-exercise activity thermogenesis) department can make a huge difference in what you are
able to “burn” throughout the day. These activities are NOT what you would do at the gym, but
just something you can do easily throughout your day to increase your overall movement.
2. Take one “processed” food out of your daily food intake and replace it with a green vegetable. If
you can replace just one item that comes in a package, box, wrapper, package of some sort and
replace it with a vegetable from the produce section at the supermarket you are on to
something! Doing this one simple task can dramatically improve the way your body “works”
from the inside out.
3. Relax! Try to take 30 minutes of your day away from your phone, email and meetings to either
take a walk, read a book, listen to a podcast or just sit quietly and eat your lunch alone!
Whatever it is that calms you, DO IT! Being able to “shut off” and truly relax is something that is
very difficult in the world we live in today, and actually takes a lot of practice, but is something
that is extremely important for our bodies to continue to function well and for a lifetime!

Hopefully these tips can help you in your day-to-day routine and if they are incorporated consistently we
KNOW you will absolutely feel the difference!

-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Event & Media Director

Making Those Habits Stick

Making a lifestyle change of any kind is difficult, especially long term! You don’t
need a New Years Resolution to start something great, either! Here are a few helpful
tricks to help make your lifestyle changes stick!

1. Keep it Simple
It can be very easy to look only at the end goal and get very overwhelmed. It is also
common to be SUPER motivated the first week and want to change EVERYTHING all
at once! We suggest you take a deep breath, slow it down and keep it simple! For
example, instead of adopting a strict diet out of the gate, try change a one thing
about your daily nutrition or instead of saying “no alcohol ever again” try cutting
back to just once a week (or month depending on your current situation, haha).
Challenge yourself with small and doable changes for long term success.

2. Plan Ahead
Being prepared is half the battle! Typically we all want something quick, easy, and
simple. We are all crazy busy and we don’t want ANOTHER thing to think about.
That is why we suggest planning ahead when making any type of lifestyle change.
Things like taking care of food prep on the weekends when you have a little extra
time, or scheduling your workout a head of time as an actual non-negotiable
meeting will make sticking with your change more manageable. We promise little
extra time up front will save you a lot of headaches.

3. Mindset
Think of this lifestyle change, whatever it might be, as exactly that…A LIFESTYLE
CHANGE! Stop looking at it as a “30 day challenge” where after the 30 days you can
go back to your old habits. Find something you truly believe in and enjoy because,
just like anything in life there will be “ups” and “downs”. Commit to this new change
by living it in your day-to- day life and will also be the example you put into the

-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Event & Media Director

Getting Back In The Saddle

You were out of town and traveling for work. You were visiting family for the holiday’s, and then had a
vacation in the beginning of January. Work was CRAZY this month filled with early mornings and late
nights. You got sick and couldn’t get out of bed for a few days and then took a few more days to feel half
way human….In all of these situations, and so many more, time is taken away from self care, including
making sure you are getting into the gym regularly.
After being “out of it” for awhile, the motivation to “get back in it” fades quickly. You look at where you
were and how much hard work it took to get there, (because let’s be honest, fitness absolutely takes
hard work and dedication) and the thought of trying to get there again is not only daunting, it is
completely un-motivating.
We have all been there, but we have advice to help you get out of that “funk” and back to taking care of
yourself, your health and your overall wellness!

1. One step at a time.
The big picture IS overwhelming, so don’t look at the big picture! Look at the small picture. Look
at it as one workout, because truly, that’s all it is! Don’t even think about “how far you have
fallen” or “where you used to be”. Focus on just doing one small thing to improve your health
that day. Wake up early and get to the gym, even if you don’t want to (because motivation
won’t be there more times than it is there and that’s the honest truth). It might not be your best
workout…WHO CARES?!? Not us! Not anyone else! You got in and made it happen…what else
could we ask for?!?
2. Think of the positives
Making decisions that we aren’t motivated to make can be made easier if we think of all of the
positives it is doing for us! Working out can not only give us a healthier lifestyle, but it can also
be used as a stress relief (for those of you who have a hectic work schedule that can get in the
way of exercise). It can give us energy and strength to take on our day, no matter what that
means for you and can also inspire other healthy life choices…ever notice that when you are
working out consistently your diet seems to be a little better overall, too?
3. Make it a meeting!
Sometimes the motivation DOES. NOT. HAPPEN. We can think of every reason as to why we are
“too busy” to make time for our health. Make it non-negotiable. When you are in a work
meeting, you aren’t able to answer your phone or check your email and you are not available for
the duration of that meeting…and somehow, the world waits until you are finished with the

meeting for the reply to their email or voicemail, without ending! So, our advice to you is…make
it a meeting! The good people of the world WILL be able to wait for 1 hour, while you take time
to yourself to reset and pursue a healthy lifestyle which will actually help you be able to
maintain a better work ethic, stay in good health to do your job correctly and efficiently, all
while still having the energy and strength to spend your time with family doing amazing, fun
activities as much as possible!
4. Have FUN!
The most important tip we have! Have fun with your training! Find the joy in what you are
doing. Be amazed at what your body can accomplish and how awesome it feels to be able to
run, jump and sweat. Take pride in the feeling you get after a difficult workout that you were
able to accomplish and know that all of that grit and determination will absolutely transfer over
into the real world when things get tough!

-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Event & Media Director

Tips For Smart Dining

It’s the beginning of a new year! With that come a lot of resolutions, but we are also a little “over”
cooking, since chances are we have been in the kitchen for a large part of the entire month of
December, so we put together a few tips and tricks to help you stay with healthy food options while
dining out! These quick tips will help save your sanity by enabling you to dine out and take a break from
the kitchen, but also help guide you to keep your nutrition goals a top priority!

  • Check out the menu online before you go!
    Scout out menu items that fit within your goals and figure out modification requests ahead of
    time! This will help you stay focused when you arrive, but will also give you a plan. Being
    prepared is half the battle!
  • Don’t arrive starving!
    Typically the appetizers are breaded, fried, or tough to modify to make them the most nutrient
    dense food option. If you have a small nutritious snack before leaving the house, you will be
    able to pass on the appetizer or opt for a small salad appetizer and not be ravenous by the time
    it’s time to order your entrée.
  • Ask questions!
    Be polite about asking your server about modification options to the entrees (usually the sides
    are something to keep an eye out for modification options) and how the food is cooked and
    prepared. A lot of the times, modifications aren’t much of an issue with the entrée and side
  • Grilled, broiled or baked
    These options are probably the best route to go when it comes to your entrees. Look for these
    words, to start your selection process and then see your server for more details

We hope these few quick tips help you continue to reach those nutrition goals! We love the health and
fitness focus that comes with a new year and with you all a happy and healthy 2018!

-Kari Kirkendall, Nutrition Coach / Event & Media Director

Nutrition Tips For Travel

Staying on track with your nutrition while traveling is not easy! You are out of your routine, you likely don’t have a kitchen
to cook meals, you are eating out a lot and chances are there are a few drinks involved. So here are a few tips and tricks that we utilize, to prioritize nutrition, even on the road!

1. YOU HAVE OPTIONS! Just because you are dining out, doesn’t mean your food choices HAVE to
be poor choices! You can always order on the healthier side of the menu and almost all
restaurants will allow you to make modifications to your specific order. Ordering a protein
option with a double vegetable side, instead of those heavier side options, is something we
recommend and practice while dining out. If you are ordering drinks, try to stay
away from those that are full of sugar, syrups or flavoring and make sure to be drinking plenty of

2. STOP AND SHOP FIRST! No matter when you arrive at your destination or no matter how tired
you are from your traveling, before you hit your hotel room stop at a local grocery store for a
quick 10 minute trip and purchase as many ready-to- go healthy snack and already prepared
items as you can! Rotisserie chicken, pre-made salads, jerky (watch the sugar and
ingredients), nuts and seeds (if you go trail mix again, watch the sugar and ingredients),
guacamole packets with pre-cut vegetables, or fruits, etc. etc.

3. GET MOVING! You can absolutely still get a good workout in, while on the road. Yes, it does take a
bit more self motivation to get up and get a workout in while traveling, but it can be done and will
actually kick start your energy for the rest of your day, whether it is for work meetings or
tourist events. Your workout doesn’t have to be super long or involve too many movements.
Any bodyweight or light weight interval type workout for 10-20 minutes will do the trick!

Yes, it is a bit more difficult to keep your health and fitness a priority while on the road, and it definitely
takes a bit more self motivation and effort, but it can be done! You might actually be surprised how little
time and effort it actually does take, and how much you enjoy it!  So give it a shot.  We bet that
your trip will be filled with a bit more energy and you will come back feeling better than ever!

– Kari Kirkendall, Coach / Event & Media Director

Surviving The Holidays

Well it is a well known fact that Americans typically gain about 8lbs during November and December
(8lbs!), so we are here to give a few tips and tricks to “surviving the Holiday’s”!

1. DON’T TREAT IT AS A “CHEAT” DAY! We really dislike the “cheat” day thought process. This gives
it a negative feeling and also puts us into a mindset that all bets are off in regards to everything.
You will probably have a few more treats than normal, and that’s totally fine! Remind yourself of
that, and just changing your mindset to make it not such a “big deal” will help.
2. The “holiday eating” really doesn’t have to last more than just that day/meal. I think one of the
main issues is that the left overs and the season give people a reason to eat poorly for not just
that one day or meal, but also the entire week following that meal. Remember that YOU can
control and decide to pick up more nutrition eating habits the very next day.
3. Your workouts do not need to stop! We actually think you should USE that extra energy (food
intake) that you are giving your body and get a good workout session in!
4. Eat your veggies! When you sit down to eat your holiday meal, try to eat all of the vegetables
and protein options available first! “Fill up” on the healthier options at the table, leaving a little
less “binging” room for those sweet treats following the meal.
5. The Holiday’s are a time when we can fill up the emotional side of our well-being. Being around
family and friends and making that the focus will take the focus away from all of the treats that
are available during this time.

This is an amazing time of year, and all bets don’t have to be “off” regarding nutrition! You can still make
smart choices, while incorporating sweet treats, throughout this time of year and come out on the other
side feeling better physically and emotionally.

-Kari Kirkendall, Coach / Event & Media Director

Working Your Weaknesses

We have all done it. “Cherry-picked” a workout because it had running in it or saw all weightlifting in the
workout and canceled our class reservation. Maybe you aren’t an efficient runner and getting motivated
to complete a workout that highlights a weakness of yours isn’t the most fun activity you can imagine.
Maybe you think strength training days are “boring” and “slow” and you would rather have your heart
pumping and sweat dripping down your face to “prove” you got a good workout in.

The thing about those darn weaknesses is that they will never get any closer to being less miserable or
becoming any sort of strength if you constantly avoid them. The only way to get comfortable running is
to get some running into your routine. The only way to start seeing and feeling the amazing benefits and
results of weightlifting is to continue to use it to give your body strength in ways it has never had before.
The human body was designed to move! And fitness does not mean being good at one thing…if you can
run marathon after marathon, that’s AMAZING! If you can deadlift 500lbs, there is no doubt that took a
ton of work, dedication and training and no one can take the training that these two amazing fitness
feats took, BUT to be “fit”, to move and be well and to make the most of a healthy lifestyle, also means
an attempt at balance in your fitness endeavors. Your body not only needs endurance, but also strength.
It not only needs flexibility but also balance. You not only need to be able to lift a pencil or a box off of
the ground properly, but also to be able to walk up a flight of stairs, or go for a hike, without trouble or

So next time you have the want to cancel on that workout because it’s working a weakness that you
know you have, think again! Get in the gym, face that weakness head on and get your health, wellness
and fitness to a level that it has never been to before. Remember, our body needs, wants and craves
activity, movement, strength, balance, in ALL scopes of fitness, so let’s see what your body can do when
you give it want it craves!

– Kari Kirkendall, Coach / Event & Media Director