Avoiding the Easter Candy Calories! by PJ Monson


This weekend, whether you celebrate Good Friday, Passover, or just the Easter Bunny, himself, you might find yourself overwhelmed with the temptation to grab that 50 cent Cadbury Egg by the register as you exit the CVS. Don't get me wrong, I am all about indulging in a little holiday spirit, but let's use our bunny brains to keep making smart choices so we don't bunny hop our way into health goal sabotage. Here are some tips to keep your Easter Candy Cool... Plan Ahead… Leave the Cadbury Egg at CVS when you know you have the big family holiday dinner that night! It is not a "No" but a "Not right now!" Before tackling the kids' Easter baskets, set aside 2 of your favorite candies that you can reward yourself with when the baskets are done. This way you avoid snacking as you create!

Know Your Candy Calories! How much can you eat till you hit 100 CALORIES!

Russell Stover Big Bunny Marshmallow Rabbit = less than half of a 2oz. bunny

Cadbury Creme Egg = 2/3 of 1 egg

Cadbury Caramel Egg = 3/5 of 1 egg (worst than the Cadbury Creme Egg)

Peeps = 3 1/2 Peeps is 98 calories

Cadbury Mini Chocolate Eggs = 6 pieces is 98 calories

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg = 1 piece is 170 calories so a little more than 1/2

Easter M&M's = 25 pieces are 100 calories ( This is my pick! )

If you do find yourself going a little Easter Candy Crazy, spending a little extra time in the gym next week is an eggcellent idea!

Happy Holidays to you and your Family from MyFitMojo! =)

Enjoy A Guilt-Free Turkey Day Without Dieting! by PJ Monson

I always tell my clients, "Never be afraid to indulge. Just make sure it's worth it!"  There is no question that the traditional Thanksgiving meal falls under this category (especially when it comes to my Southern Mother's cooking) so I am not going to fill your head with ways to avoid the foods you love and rarely see, but give you some helpful mental tricks to hopefully keep you from having to unbutton your pants at the end of the night.  

Eat All Day! Yep, you read right, my friends. The myth of starving yourself till dinner is actually counterproductive for keeping the calories at bay that day. Going into any meal starving will only lead you to binge, eating more than you normally would; so lurk around the kitchen carefully (see Rule #2) for some healthier breakfast and lunch options to tide you over till the main event!

Stay Out Of The Kitchen! Aside from grabbing some pre-game healthy snacks, stay away from Thanksgiving Central, otherwise known as the kitchen. Being there will only lead you to little tastes here and there, which will then lead to a little more and little more and little more, ok you get it. The typical Thanksgiving food is rich in salt and sugar, which makes the "just one lick" rule hard to live by. Don't start eating dinner two hours before the actual dinner. Save your calories for the main event. Moreover, if your Thanksgiving chef is anything like my Southern Mother, she will catch you in that kitchen and not let you leave without that mashed potato spoon in your mouth!

Get Active! I give most of my clients a cheat day each week but make them promise to also do some sort of activity that same day. There are so many Turkey Trots going on all around the country. Find one near you and make a morning of it. It will not only keep you from hanging around the kitchen, but also set your mind and body to a healthier mojo for the day. If you're not a runner, then make it a point to get outside for a brisk 20 to 30 minute walk or coordinate some family touch football to pass the time. However, don't forget to eat something right after! (See Rule #1) 

Coordinate The Plate! When it comes time to load up the dinner plates, make it a point to add the protein and any vegetable first. Make these two food groups the majority of the plate and then whatever room is left will hold the mashed potatoes and mac-and-cheese. Take this one step further and eat the meat and vegetables first (or whatever you consider to be the healthiest options on the table). This will start to fill you up so when you get to the really good stuff  you will only have so much room! Also a good tip is to drink a full glass of water right before eating. This will also help to take up a little more room in the stomach. 

It's All In The Timing!  Eat slowly! I have given this tip before for the purposes of controlling portion size and a good way for monitoring when you are actually full. Take the time to enjoy each bite and swallow fully before starting another bite. If you know you are going to want seconds, wait 10 minutes before going to get them. This will let the food process in your system a bit so you will be able to accurately assess how much more food you can actually fit.  

Be Mindful. Remember it is the amazing quality of the food we look forward to and not how much of it we can actually eat. It is this holiday's specific smells, flavors, and traditions that we crave. Thanksgiving is more than the food on your plate. If you really think about it, Thanksgiving dinner is just one meal that we can make at any point throughout the year if we really wanted to. Take advantage of everyone being together around the table, talk about the things you are thankful for, and enjoy each other's company. After all, this is the real reason we celebrate this tradition every year.

I will end this post by simply saying that one of the things I am most thankful for this year is all of you who have taken the time to invest in me by subscribing to this newsletter. I truly enjoy being able to help people in any way that I can, but my advice is only as good as the people willing to listen to it. I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my clients. All of them shine a positive light on me each and every day. 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


MFM Coach PJ

Readiness For Change Questionnaire by PJ Monson

Before deciding on any new changes in your life, it is important for you to assess how ready you are to try and conquer these new goals. If you begin for the wrong reasons or when you are truly not ready, and don't realize this, then you will end up believing you did not succeed because you were not capable and not because you simply just weren't ready. This mistake in reasoning will only make it harder for you to later try again. Take my Readiness for Change Questionnaire to get a good idea of where you might stand on the path to change. (You will need a pen and paper) Have fun! =) 

1. When you look in the mirror, do you have thoughts of shame or frustration?

a. Yes (+3)

b. I'm not sure (0)

c. No (-3)

2. When you feel run down and tired, what do you think is the source of these feelings?

a. Getting older (-1)

b. My lifestyle choices (+3)

c. Something else altogether (-3)

3. Are you taking any medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, or type II diabetes that you didn't have to take when you were younger?

a. Yes, I'm on two or more of these medications (+3)

b. Yes, I'm on only one of these medications (+1)

c. No, I'm not on any of these medications (-3)

4. If your fitness has deteriorated over the years, how do you explain the fact that you're in worse shape than when you were younger but haven't changed your habits at all?

a. I think it's my family history (-1)

b. I think it's that I'm less active (+3)

c. I think it's a natural consequence of aging (-1)

d. I don't know why it's happening (0)

5. If you don't have anyone to partner with in your journey for change, are you willing to seek out a friend, family member, or professional to help you with accountability?

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

6. Are you willing to start today?

a. Yes (+3)

b. No (-3)

7. If someone told you that you need to throw away the foods in your cupboards today and go shopping for different foods that are more appropriate to your goal, would you do it?

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

8. If an expert presents some information on diet and exercise that contradicts what your currently believe, what approach will you take?

a. Keep an open mind and give it a try (+3)

b. Ask a friend (0)

c. Ignore the advice (-3)

9. Are you willing to have a meeting with your friends and loved ones and share your behavior goals and desired outcomes with them?

a. Yes, right away (+5)

b. Yes, but not just yet (-3)

c. No (-5)

10. If your work environment presents significant barriers to your new life goals, would you consider speaking to your employer about changing some of these conditions or consider the idea of finding a job that will help more than hinder you?

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

11. Are you ready to spend less time with people who offer little or no social support for you goals while spending more time with those who do offer support?

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

12. Can you accept responsibility for the way your life is today and understand that, while your old habits and decisions DO NOT make you a bad person, the still need to be changed?

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

13. If a friend or loved one suggests that you don't have what it takes to reach your goals because you've failed before or for some other reason, what will be your response?

a. I can do it (+2)

b. I know I've got to make some changes but I'll take it one day at a time (+5)

c. Maybe I can't do it (-5)

14. Are you willing to wake up in the morning a bit earlier and stay up at night a bit later to accomplish your goals? 

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

15. Are you willing to go slow to make sure you stick with the goals you accomplish?

a. Yes (+5)

b. No (-5)

Your Score And What It Means

21 to 63: It's clear that you're ready, willing, and able to adopt some new daily practices. Getting to this point is never easy. So congratulations. What is your next step?

-20 to +20: If you scored in this range, it seems like you're on the fence. You may be frustrated with the way things are but a little nervous about changing the way you do things today. Those feelings are totally normal and natural. 

-61 to -21: From the results of your questionnaire, it seems like you're apprehensive about the change process. And that's totally okay. Most of my new clients have the same apprehensions, as the change process is completely foreign to them. 

Have questions about your results or where do go from here? Feel free to email me at pj@myfitmojo.com! I would be happy to chat!

Halloween Candy! Best & Worst! by PJ Monson

Double, Double Toil and Trouble! We have the ingredients for a Healthy Halloween! Feel free to add them to your witch's brew!

Trick or Treat! One of the most scary things about Halloween is how to maintain your health goals amongst so many treats! The temptation will be strong to indulge in a little extra sugar to properly celebrate this frightening holiday. MyFitMojo is never one to suggest you deprive yourself completely. Instead, we will give you a heads up on the best and worst candies so you can keep the damage to a minimum. 

Treat Yourself! 

York Peppermint Patty! Definitely a tasty treat! The snack size portion is only 60 calories and 1g of fat. (Also great frozen!)

Smarties! Definitely a smart snack. 1 roll only contains 25 calories. Eat them slowly to really satisfy that sugar craving.

Candy Corn! A fat-free Halloween staple! 11 pieces is only 70 calories and 14 grams of sugar. Just make sure to keep count!

Peanut M&M's! Get a little nutty with your chocolate. 1 fun-pack is only 90 calories and 9g of sugar. (Dark chocolate almond is our favorite!)

3 Musketeers! This fun-size bar only has 63 calories and 10g of sugar!  


Avoid the full size candy bars! 2 of the worst are...

Snickers! A very naughty nougat! 1 bar is close to 300 calories, 12g of fat, 5g sat. fat, & 27g of sugar! 

Mounds! Even though smaller in size, it contains the most saturated fat of any candy bar. 1 bar is 250 calories, 13g fat, 10g sat. fat, & 21g of sugar!

Stay away from the special Halloween-Themed Candy! This only seen at Halloween candy tends to pack on 2/3 more sugar than regular candy with absolutely no nutritional value! ( Candy Corn is one of the only exceptions!)

Avoid the caramel and peanut butter filled candy! Your sugar craving only requires so much sweet! Don't indulge in the access fat and calories of peanut butter and caramel when a simple piece of chocolate will do!

The idea of letting yourself indulge can feel a little spooky, but if you make smart choices and keep the "treating" to a minimum; the only scary thing about Halloween will be the ghost and goblins under your bed!;)

Happy Halloween!

MFM Coach PJ Monson



Why Running Isn't Helping You Lose Weight! by PJ Monson

 People are turning over a new leaf!  Fall weather brings with it new fitness goals.  When beginning any new fitness routine, the results will show (almost immediately). Outdoor running becomes more popular for those of us not willing to exercise in the hot summer heat.  However, what starts as a fun new fitness habit soon turns into a "runners trap" when people stop seeing the results of their efforts on the scale. Here might be some reasons why...

You Aren't Burning As Many Calories As You Think! Running is one of the best ways to burn calories, but the average person only burns around 100 calories per mile. Say you run about three miles at a standard 10-minute mile pace, you are actually only burning around 300 calories. The post-workout latte from Starbucks, alone, will neutralize that calorie deficit. To lose a pound a week, we must have a deficit of 500 calories per day. Combine your calorie deficit with a diet in nutrient-rich food to keep the scale number going down.

Stay Out Of Your Rut By Changing It Up!  One of the great things about running is the added stress relief it can bring. You find your favorite trail, pick your favorite songs, forget the world, and just run. It is mindless and it is peaceful. This is only a problem if your goal is weight loss. Your body eventually gets use to any repetitive stressor and so will burn less energy when performing the same activity. Make sure you take the time to add in variety to your weekly runs so that you are consistently challenging your body. This can be with speed intervals, hill runs, or faster distance runs. Check out our MyFitMojo Workout Board on Pinterest for interval run ideas.

Where's The Muscle? One of my favorite things to tell my clients is a strong core makes for better running but running does not make a stronger core. When at rest, a muscle burns more calories than fat. Muscle is also denser than fat so takes up less space on the body. Both of these facts reap huge benefits when it comes to maintaing a healthy weight and smaller waistline. The most muscle gained when running is only in the lower body. This means that a couple days a week you need to put away the running shoes and pick up the weights. Incorporating weight training will not only give you a smaller waistline, but also help you become a better runner. (Keep in mind that your actual weight may stay the same or even slightly increase if you start building lean muscle. This is actually a positive sign that you are building a faster metabolism, thus making it easier to stay in shape!)

Take advantage of this beautiful season by getting outside and getting active. The turning fall leaves create a beautiful canvas for fitness. 


PJ (MFM Fitness Coach)


Stay Fit This Fall! by PJ Monson

There is a certain magic to Fall. The leaves turn, giving us a beautiful landscape for that outdoor jog; pumpkins take a primary role in our table decorations, baked-goods, and coffee; and the sense of "new beginnings" is felt as we shrug off our guilt-free summer to prepare for the winter ahead. Take advantage of what this beautiful season has to offer...

What's In Season? These Fruits and Vegetables Thrive in Fall!

Artichoke (Folic Acid, Vit-C), Beets (Vit-A,B,C), Bell Peppers (Vit-A, B6), Butternut Squash (Fiber,Vit-K), Carrots (Vit-A), Cauliflower (Omega 3, Vit-C,K), Chard (Vit-K,A), Corn (Fiber,Vit-B6), Eggplant (Vit-B1,B6), Spinach (Vit-A,K), Pumpkin (Vit-A), Sweet Potatoes (Vit-A,C), Mushrooms (Vit-D)

Almonds (Vit-E), Apples (Vit-C), Cranberries (Vit-E,C,K), Pears (Vit-B2,C,E), Plums (Vit-C), Pomegranate (Vit-A,C,E), Raspberries (Vit-C,K), Tomatoes (Vit-C,K)

*The vitamins & minerals mentioned in the whole food above is only a highlight! The MyFitMojo Nutrition Page will be exploring a lot of the benefits of these nutrient-rich foods (including great recipes) throughout the month of October so STAY TUNED!

The Cooler Temperatures Lead To More Outdoor Activities!

The threat of heat stroke has greatly diminished allowing us to take our sweat session outdoors! No Weights Needed!

Is your Fall fitness goal to start running? We have the plan for you! 

Couch to 5K Running Plan takes a baby-step approach to help new runners learn the sport!

Try Tabata! This is a four-minute, high-intensity interval workout incorporating one exercise. All you need is a timer! 

1. Pick An Exercise : ex. Squats

2. Set The Timer: You will do as many squats as possible (safely) for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds.

3. Repeat the 20 sec. on/ 10 sec. off for 4 minutes. (This will be hard but worth it!)

4. Pick a second exercise and start again! You can either stay within the same muscle group or switch it up for a total body workout!

Leg/Butt Tabata


-Step Ups

-Hip Extentions

-Jump Squats

Have some more Fall Fitness Suggestions?? We are always looking for new inspiration so please leave us a comment or write to us directly at pj@myfitmojo.com!

Happy Fall!



Be A Weekend Warrior! by PJ Monson

We have all done it. We do our Sunday grocery run to make sure the fridge is stocked with healthy food for the week. We bypass the Wednesday Work Happy Hour to take our favorite yoga class.  We sip on green tea at our desk all day while munching on raw almonds and carrot sticks. We feel energized, smart, healthy, and ready to charge full-speed ahead into weekend sabotage. Let's see if we can downgrade the "sabotage" to a much more balanced idea of "minor indulgence." This is not an article about how to avoid partying but how to “party smart!”

In the fall our weekends are filled with extravagant dinners, all-day tailgating, endless bar crawls, and late-morning brunches. We deserve these things. We work hard so we play hard. This logic only becomes a problem when our weekend stress-reliefs keep us from achieving our long-term goals. Here are some tips to help you limit the self-destructive behavior without limiting your fun!


Don’t Even Go There At The Tailgate Party! 

Sometimes just that little bite will do, but not when it comes to the salty stuff! Try to refrain from even one handful of chips, pretzels, peanuts, or anything falling under the category “salty goodness.” You can never eat just one! Not only will you ingest needless calories from a bag of cheap potato chips but you will also end up drinking more to satiate your salty pallet. It is much easier to fight the temptation of "just one bite" than it is to refrain from eating another bite! This begins an endless cycle of mindless eating and wasting some precious calories you could be putting towards a delicious nutrient-filled grilled burger!


Make A Workout/Brunch Date

Brunch never starts before 11am so take advantage of the extra morning time and plan an activity with a friend.  It can be anything from taking a local yoga class, going for a jog around the park, or simply going for a walk with your morning coffee. Whatever the activity, just make sure you get your heart pumpin and blood flowin! This way you have already burned some calories and put yourself into a healthier mindset to make smarter food choices when you’re ready to eat.


Order Water Wherever You Go

Between the consumption of alcohol and rich foods plus higher activity levels, chances are you will be more dehydrated over the weekend. Marry yourself to the idea that no matter where you go, you will always order a glass of water with your meal or alongside that glass of wine. It is also a good idea to always chug a glass of water right before you leave the house.  This will keep you hydrated, happy, and feeling less hungry throughout the day! If you are tailgating, alternate between can of beer and glass of water!


Never Order Everything At Once

One of the best things to do on the weekends is catch up with friends at a delicious restaurant with copious amounts of wine. A great tradition to start is to order your courses one at a time! The body takes twenty minutes after start of eating to register its full.  The slower you eat the less you tend to eat. Wait to order your entrée till you have eaten your appetizer. This will help to stifle that starved feeling you had at the beginning of the meal making you want the rich pasta over of the healthy fish.


Alcohol Cheat Sheet

(You know you want to know)

Top 5 Low Calorie Cocktails!

1.     Light Beer  (12oz bottle) 110 calories

2.     Champagne (4.2 oz glass)  95 calories

3.     Red or White Wine (4.2 ounce glass)  80 calories

4.     Jack Daniels (single shot) 55 calories

5.     Vodka (single shot)  55 calories

Avoid the juices, tonic water, and sodas when it comes to liquor drinks! Diet soda, soda water, or on the rocks is the best!

Enjoy Your Weekend!

Ways To Burn Calories That Do Not Include Exercise! by PJ Monson

The body burns calories in three different ways. The first is exercise, the second is in the digestion of food, and the third is through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). This last method of calorie burning can be one of the biggest obstacles in preventing us from achieving our goals. NEAT is the unplanned and low intensity activity that takes place in our everyday. Exercise is definitely crucial, however, the one-hour workout every morning will only take you so far if you immediately follow it by sitting the rest of your day!  The 10,000-step rule is strongly associated with NEAT. Believe it or not, in the past it was actually the average minimum steps taken for a person during the day. Technology, transportation, and long-hour workdays have all contributed to our lack of daily basic movement.  

We need to increase our NEAT! MFM Coaches put our thinking caps on, did some research, and came up with some great and productive activities that do not include actual exercise but definitely include that extra calorie burn! (Calorie estimations are based on 1-hour activity using sample body weights 130lbs, 155lbs, and 190lbs)

Get Your Green Thumb! The fall season brings with it pumpkin patches and beautiful falling leaves. Gardening can actually burn on average 295, 352, or 431 Kcals. Raking leaves is also a guaranteed calorie scorcher at 236, 281, or 345 Kcals per hour! However, we know most northerners are bracing themselves for the snowfall ahead. This actually brings with it an even more beneficial NEAT activity, snow shoveling! Just clearing your driveway can burn 354, 422, or 518 KCals!  

A Parenting Plus! It probably comes to no surprise that you can get in quite the workout taking care of small children. However, it may surprise you to know the actual act of caring for a child burns a bit more calories than sitting down to play with them. On average, child care (standing-dressing, feeding) burns 207, 246, or 302 Kcals as opposed to sitting on the ground and playing with a child which only burns 148, 176, or 216 Kcals. The best part about these NEAT activities is that most parents know they will be dedicating much more than an hour a day to their precious little ones. So we say: "Bring on the Burn!"

Spend Some More Time With Food! This NEAT activity packs a triple punch! Cooking and preparing food can burn up to 148, 176, or 216 Kcals. The best part about this activity is not only are you burning some extra calories cooking, but you are also eating food made with fresh ingredients. Cooking also means cleaning. When you are done preparing the food for the week spend some time cleaning up and grab some extra calorie burn at 207, 246, or 302 Kcals. Cooking is a vital part of any healthy diet. How many activities allow you to burn energy while producing and ingesting good energy at the same time! Too Crucial Not To Do!

There are many other ways to increase your NEAT in your everyday life! If these suggestions don't fit your mojo or are already a big part of your mojo and you need some new ideas then let us know via our FB page @myfitmojo or email us directly at pj@myfitmojo.com! We are always here to help! 




5 Reasons Being Single Is Good For Your Health by PJ Monson

In honor of #NationalSinglesWeek we are dedicating this post to all the men and women out there who are making it on their own and doing just fine! 

It's human nature to always focus on what we "don't have" or "can't do" instead of focusing on what we "do have" and "can do!"  When we are single we have the freedom to choose what we want and when we want it. This freedom comes at no greater advantage than when needing to incorporate healthy choices into our day-to-day lives. These are just a few examples of how being a lone ranger works out in our favor!

We Actually Follow The Eat Slowly Rule! Have you ever been on that awkward first date where you're so nervous you don't know what to order, can't remember which online dating site you met the person on, or have no idea why you brought up your negative reaction to dairy as a potential conversation starter? Well studies have shown that all of these "nerves" you are feeling actually help to slow down your eating, causing you to ingest fewer calories and feel full faster. For most single people, this could mean practicing accurate portion control several times a week!

We See More Saturday Mornings! Sure, we may not be getting the late night sexathon till 3am, but what we are getting is a smaller waistline, healthy complexion, and lower stress levels from our early Saturday Morning Workouts!  We don't have to choose between making brunch plans and hitting the gym. We can do both! Being single allows you to own more of your time so you can get in the things you know you need without having to compromise with someone else's schedule!

We Drink Less! When we spend more time eating by ourselves we tend to drink less. On average, a bottle of red wine is 625 calories. Drinking a bottle of wine is most fun when shared with others. Take advantage of your alone time during the week and stick to water or hot tea with dinner. This leaves you a little extra wiggle room on the weekends to drink it up with friends!

We Feel Less Stress! Being in-love can bring with it a "happy high" that most of us do miss when we are single. However, with every "high" there is a "low" and with that low comes an increase in the hormones, adrenaline and cortisol-aka stress! Stress can lead to access eating and higher weight retention. This is not to say that other areas in our life will not cause us stress. However, we can use the extra "free single time" we have to practice stress-relieving activities like taking a yoga class or going for a run in the park. 

We Become Friend-Crazy! One of the best things about being single is having more time for friends. These people are your guaranteed support system! They share your interests, know your history, and will never let you down. Great friends force you out of the house and into the world. You have your running partner, yoga bestie, brunch bosom buddy, and that gal pal you can walk around with for hours just chatting about life. Friends help you to get to know yourself a little better and be more confident in who you are as a person. These gifts of confidence and clarity are a major contribution to the formation of your healthy mojo!




21 Super Foods by PJ Monson

Super Foods 

Super Foods are nutrient dense and energy controlled. These foods are essential to any healthy eating plan! 

Test Yourself!  Count how many of these foods you have in your kitchen right now! Now ask yourself why you don't have certain foods. Is it because...

  • You don't like them
  • You don't know how to eat them
  • You didn't know it was a Super Food
  • You don't know how to incorporate it into your already full diet.

MyFitMojo is dedicated towards providing the tools needed to help you answer some of these questions. We do this through our food blogs, recipes, and private nutrition counseling. We find it more fun to think about how to add food to your diet rather take it away!;)

  1. Lean red meat (grass-fed preferred)
  2. Salmon (wild caught preferred)
  3. Eggs (omega-3 and cage free preferred)
  4. Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or coconut milk yogurt
  5. Protein supplements (whey, milk or plant protein sources)
  6. Spinach
  7. Tomatoes
  8. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)
  9. Mixed Berries
  10. Kiwi
  11. Oranges
  12. Mixed beans
  13. Quinoa
  14. Whole oats
  15. Yams
  16. Raw, unsalted mixed nuts
  17. Avocados
  18. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  19. Fish Oil (or algae oil)
  20. Flax Seeds (ground)
  21. Green Tea


 {14-18  Very Good Healthy Mojo}  

{10-14 Average Mojo}

{Less than 10 Don't fret! However, we need to get to work on ramping up this Mojo!}


What is Finding Your Fit Mojo? by PJ Monson

The Merriam-Webster definition for mojo is: "A power that may seem magical and allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc."

This definition puts the source of  “power” on the outside in a context of magic spells, talismans, and charms; thus, Mojo becomes an uncontrollable idea that is based on luck and superstition with possible benefits to only those most fortunate. However, by shifting the source of “power” to the inside, specifically inner strength, will power, and emotional balance, Mojo becomes a controllable quality that anyone can possess and use to help achieve their goals.

I use the word mojo a lot when referring to my clients’ natural workings of their brain, i.e. their motivations, natural instincts, daily habits, or on going inner monologues with themselves. I always tell them, when it comes to reaching their goals, there are a million different paths we can take. Our sessions are about finding the one that works best for them.   

Finding your Fit Mojo means creating the right environment for you ("Fit") to become the best version of yourself, both inside and out ("Mojo")!  

First and foremost, to even begin this process you must feel worthy of change! This means tackling those secret feelings of shame we all have had about ourselves at one time or another. Shame is a poison to self worth. To conquer it, we must find things that motivate and empower us and surround ourselves with people who inspire us. We must also practice the same empathy and compassion we show towards others with ourselves.  Only then do we allow ourselves to be optimistic towards the idea that change is possible. 

I have to admit I was taken aback when I learned that 70% of today’s health care costs comes from human behavior. This statistic is not meant to scold but empower you with the idea that you possess the capability to control your own destiny and with that comes freedom - the freedom from a lifetime of ongoing aches and pains, the freedom to remove yourself from high-stress relationships and environments, and the freedom in knowing that putting yourself first is not selfish but self preservation.

“She who has health, has hope; and she who has hope, has everything.” 



Finding Freedom by PJ Monson

Our guest blogger today is the incredible Dorothy Camak.  Dorothy is the Community Relations Director for a pediatric dental practice. She is actively involved in bringing early dental education to area schools.  Dorothy also works as a free lance dental media consultant.  She is a volunteer for the annual AnMed Camellia Ball, a local charity gala.  The event benefits Pediatric Therapy Works, a program that provides physical, speech, and occupational therapy services to children in the community.  Dorothy resides in Greenville, SC where she can be found downtown most weekends scoping out her next “treat meal.” 



Aristotle said “through discipline comes freedom.”

I love a to-do list. I thrive on a schedule. I am the kind of girl who gets a thrill from checking things off! I always did well in school, I keep a tidy home, and I am super prompt.  Why then, did I seem to have little to no self control over diet and exercise?  My childhood, adolescence, and college years were filled with yo-yo diets, obesity, and self loathing.  I bounced from one diet to another, only to fall off the wagon with late night Wendy’s drive thru trips. I will not elaborate on the Hot Now Krispy Kreme moments.  ;)

Post college was filled with many life changes, cross country moves, and you know “adulting.” It was during that time that I began to learn about the true freedom(and joy) that comes from living a disciplined life. In order to be disciplined in this area long term, I had to be educated. We know education to be key for success in life, and nutrition/exercise is no different.  This had to be more than striving to be skinny. I had actually lost a significant amount of weight before I was truly educated on the importance of nourishing my physical body and how to properly do it.

Post college was filled with many life changes, cross country moves, and you know “adulting.” It was during that time that I began to learn about the true freedom(and joy) that comes from living a disciplined life. In order to be disciplined in this area long term, I had to be educated. We know education to be key for success in life, and nutrition/exercise is no different.  This had to be more than striving to be skinny. I had actually lost a significant amount of weight before I was truly educated on the importance of nourishing my physical body and how to properly do it.

Beyond educating myself on proper nutrition and physical exercise, accountability has been essential in maintaining that freedom.  We are not meant to live our lives alone.  I have friends who spur me on at work, in my faith, and my food and exercise habits.  Aligning myself with people who honor their bodies has been vital to my progress.  I am more likely to practice good habits when I am around those who do the same.  This is a daily practice and could be anything from texting words of encouragement, recipe ideas, or confessing to a slip up! Lean on each other, life is much better that way.

When new friends or acquaintances learn that over seven years ago, I was almost 100 pounds heavier than I am today, they often ask how I did it.  I think the more important question is, “How do you keep doing it?”  I have weighed less than I do as write this, and I just recently lost 20 pounds that I gained a year ago.  You see, my friends, this is a “to-do” list that I will have to make each day. Some days I get it and some days, I fail miserably.  I live my life under the grace of God, and I believe His mercies are new every day.  Each morning, I have a chance to honor Him, and one way to do that is through my body.

So in an effort to give you some practical everyday applications and tips, I will leave you my “Top Ten.”  When I find myself veering off the path, these truths always bring me back!

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”

10. Meal plan.  Look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Make a grocery list and stick to it.  Plan when and what you are going to eat.  Identify potential pitfalls in the week and plan accordingly.   I may get a few weird looks for eating egg whites at 10am at my desk, but my body cheers me on!

9. Schedule your workouts and treat them with the same priority you would a work meeting, class, or audition.  Listen to your body. Do what is fun.  If you do not like running on the treadmill, don’t do it!

8. Drink water. Everyday. All day.

7. Have a measure of progress other than the scale.  (Take measurements, compare clothing, take photos.

6. Treat. Yo. Self.  I have started calling my “cheat meals” “treat meals” because I am not cheating if it is part of the plan.

5. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”  A truth that always works.

4.  Do not skip breakfast.

3. Always carry nutritional protein filled snacks.

2. Practice DAILY accountability with a friend.  Encourage each other.

1. Live with gratitude.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”– Psalm 139:14

Follow Dorothy as she completes her “30 before 30 list.” dottiecamak.tumblr.com

Learn to Love Yourself (Without Losing The Things You Love) by PJ Monson

Nobody knows you better than you know yourself.  We all have our vices, whether it be desserts, Thai food, pasta, or alcohol. We all have things we can never get enough of or always eat too much. You may initially try to cut these treats out of your diet!  I have two problems with this type of self deprivation. First, completely depriving yourself of something usually means you will end up binging at a mental mojo moment of weakness. And two, you deny yourself something you love!






Instead of worrying constantly about how to avoid, fight, or change the urges, simply follow these simple habit tricks that will make moderating your favorite things a bit easier, making your life a bit happier.

  1. Take advantage of some alone time during the week. (no I don’t mean in that way; that is for a separate but equally fascinating blog!) I mean use the time when you are not being tempted by fancy menus, movie popcorn (delicious as it is expensive), or friends that need to drink that last boyfriend away, to cook healthy options for yourself. I have incredible guilt-free Friday night dinners with my BFFs because I know I have made healthy choices for myself throughout the week!
  2. Eat Twice!  Yep, that’s right, I am telling you to eat more to save calories.  Before you leave for that nice Italian restaurant, eat a veggie or protein snack. You don’t want to fill up but filling your stomach halfway with healthy stuff leaves less space for the not so healthy stuff. It can also save you a little bit of money because you won’t order so much. Three places you never want to go starving: restaurants, grocery stores, and most countries in Europe. (No Bueno)
  3. One of our favorite guest bloggers, Dorothy Camak said it best; “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper!” Food is fuel. You need the most to start your day so figure out a breakfast that is plentiful, quick to cook, and will keep you full for several hours thereafter. This is also the best time, if you are craving that Starbucks Morning Bun to go for it! The earlier you give into the temptation the more time you have to burn it off. You have been craving spaghetti ever since ABC Family aired Lady and the Tramp, make it for lunch and have a salad for dinner.
  4. Make it worth your while!  I always tell my clients to skip the Twix and go for the Tiramisu.  You wouldn’t spend $100 on a make up case from CVS so why waste your calories on subpar food? If you know you are going to have the opportunity to eat your favorite sushi roll or a piece of flourless chocolate cake on Saturday night then you will be more likely to by-pass the vending machine.

Too Hot To Handle! Tips for Working Out in this Heat! by PJ Monson


I have to say, on a personal note, I have always been a Fall/Winter girl. It is just so much easier to warm yourself up than to cool yourself down. Even if public nudity was legal, which let's just say for the record "Thank God it isn't!" Simply stripping down to your skivvies does not necessarily stop the sweating. July and August are monster months for most people in most places when it comes to high temps so, needless to say, the last thing most of us want to do is throw on the spandex and drip our way through a 5-mile run or circuit workout. However, in order to balance the Summer BBQs' and Booze, we need to stay on track with the workouts. These tips won't guarantee pure pleasure but they can help take the sting out a bit!;)Workout at Dawn or Dusk You don't have to look at this as a permanent change in your routine but a necessity to get you through the next couple of months. There can be up to a 10 degree difference before the sun fully wakes and sleeps so take advantage!

Keep It Indoors  Sometimes its not the workout that is time consuming but the recovery post-workout. The heat will make it harder for your internal body temp to fall, which can mean longer showers and more deodorant. Save yourself the extra recovery time and plow through a 20-30 minute bodyweight circuit in your living room before starting your day. Go to the end of this blog for a free workout to get you started!;)

Cool Down Those Inner Thighs   For women, it's never a comfortable feeling between the legs when running or sometimes even walking in this heat so do yourself a favor and grab some Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder or Monistat Cooling Gel to rub on those inner thighs before you head out for that workout!


Cool Down Your Towel There are great new sport towels and water bottles that are inexpensive and designed to stay cool and more importantly help you stay cool during this sizzling summer. One of my favorites is the Chill-Its Cooling Towel and Polar Bottle Insulated Water Bottle!

Surviving this heat can be a challenge but also worth it considering the beautiful days that come with it. Be smart and be safe when challenging the beast. Wear sunblock (put on 15 minutes prior to leaving the house and reapply every 2 hours) drink lots of water most importantly BEFORE the workout, wear lose clothing that lets you breath, and try to find shade to work out in whenever possible!



Mojo Madness Butt/Abs Workout!

6-Minute Circuit/ 4 Exercises/ 2 Rounds Each/ 24 Minute Circuit

For this circuit set your timer (iphone) for 6 minutes for each round. One round is performing each of the 4 exercises provided in the first section. If you finish the 4 before the end of the 6 minutes then start again and get through as much as you can before time is up. You will do 2 rounds of 6 minutes before moving on to the next set of 4 exercises. Repeat for next round, completing 4 rounds total for 24 minutes!

Take 5 minutes to warm up! Jog in place, jumping jacks, speed-walk around the block, jump rope. Get those muscle and joints ready to take action!

Round 1 (4 exercises)

15 Wide leg squat

(Widen legs, point toes slightly out, sit back into the heels)

20 Front Lunges (10 e. leg)

(All weight landing in the front heel, add some dumb bells for extra intensity)

30 Side lunges (15 e. leg)

(Make sure 1 leg is straight and the other bent, weight in heel of bent leg)

15 Jump Squats

(Try to land softly in the heels)

Round 2 (4 exercises)

15 Reverse Crunches

(With legs straight up, push heels towards the ceiling and lifting your butt and lower back off the floor, push legs up not back!)

40 Mountain Climbers

(In plank position, keep butt low driving knees towards the chest)

30 Scissor Kicks

(Lying on back, start with feet in the air and drop each heel to the floor. Alternating legs and keeping lower back pinned to the floor)

20 Side Plank Dips (10 e. side)

(Begin in side plank and lower hip towards the ground and back up, small movement)


For more workouts and health tips go to www.centralsweat.com or follow us @centralsweat! Check out our Fitness Mojo Notebook that will help you find your own personalized healthy lifestyle!;)

Cheers, Polly (pj@centralsweat.com)

*This workout is not tailored to accommodate any existing injuries, chronic pain, or existing medical conditions. Please utilize at your own risk. If you have any doubts, contact your local physician before starting any workout outside of your normal routine. If you should feel dizzy or any pain while doing this workout, STOP immediately!



Summer is just around the corner, and just like every year, health and fitness resolutions are on the top of almost everyone’s list. Unfortunately, without a real plan, many of these resolutions fall by the wayside, only to be picked up again the following year. Not this time. This year you have all of the strategies you need to succeed. We’ll break down your resolutions into concrete action plans that will be easy to follow, and help you succeed. Today we’ll be focusing on setting S.M.A.R.T Goals

What is a S.M.A.R.T Goal?

Most of us set abstract goals. We want to “get fit”, “lose weight”, “be happy”, “make more money”. But this is only just the beginning. SMART goal setting helps us define our goals to make them real in our minds. Instead of, “I should really get around to that”, you’ll be saying “this is what I want, and here’s how I’m going to get it”. No more wishy-washy goals. This year you’re going to identify exactly what you want to accomplish, the steps you need to get there, and the time it’s going to take you. Sound good? Let’s get started!

Most of us set goals that are outcome-based. We want to reach this ambiguous endpoint sometime in the future. “I want to lose weight”. It’s good to have an outcome goal because it gives you a direction to go, however, you need to take your goal setting a step further by creating S.M.A.R.T Goals!

SMART Goal Setting Step 1: Be Specific

 S – Specific - Being specific helps you solidify your goal in your mind. Instead of simply hoping you’ll end up at your endpoint, define your endpoint. Today, my example is going to be “lose weight”. It’s a common one, but often a challenging one. I want to lose weight. Why that number? How much? Put a number down. Now ask yourself what that number means to you. How will you feel if you reach that number? How will you feel if you get close to that number, but don’t quite make it? How will you feel if you don’t get anywhere close? For now, pick a number that resonates with you; we will change that number in further steps.

SMART Goal Setting Step 2: Be Measurable

M - Measurable - Next, we need to find a way to see if we’ve actually reached our goal, and help us determine how far we have to go. We can’t just say “well I think I’m close” or “I have no idea if anything’s changing!” Sticking with the weight loss goal, we need a way to measure our progress. Will you weigh yourself once a week? Will you measure your body composition? Other goals, like “being happy” are a bit harder to measure because they are more qualitative.  For these goals it is important to, first, define your scale. Does being happy mean being a certain number on a scale of 1-10? And if so, what does each number mean?  Does being happy mean accomplishing a certain number of tasks per day? Does it mean having your home completely clean? By defining it, you can measure it!

Next, we need to start really looking at our goal to see if we can actually accomplish it. We need to see if our goal is Attainable and Realistic. Most people skip these steps and are disappointed when they don’t reach their goals. Here’s how it works:


A – Attainable – Attainable means your goal is something that you can actually work to achieve. For those of us with fitness goals, we need to take a close look at what is attainable, and what is not. My goal might be to look like The Rock (it’s not, but bare with me for a second). Being The Rock is not an attainable goal for me – he’s a lot taller, he’s made for putting on muscle. I should not set The Rock as my goal. This goes for women too. Do not pick up your nearest magazine and set your goal to look just like the person on the cover. For one, the picture in the magazine is photoshopped and you have no clear way of knowing how much of genetics or environment play into the body you are trying to copy. Keep the focus on yourself when creating your goals.

R – Realistic – Let’s say I am 5'9" and 190 lbs. and my goal is to lose 50 lbs. This is technically an attainable goal, however, not a realistic goal for me. Losing that kind of weight for me would not only be extremely challenging, but also potentially dangerous to my health. For those of you following my weight loss example, take a look at your number again. Based on your height and amount of lean muscle mass, does the number accurately reflect the body image you want to create for yourself? Is it motivating to reach for such a high goal? Is it healthy for you to lose that much weight? You have to be realistic to you.

Another way to stay realistic with your goal setting is to start small. Instead of, "I want to lose 50 lbs.," say "I want to lose 5 lbs." and then see how it goes. You need to be able to climb a hill before you can climb a mountain!

SMART Goal Setting Step 5: Time-Bound

T – Time Bound - A goal that is time bound has an endpoint. It creates a sense of urgency. Instead of saying “I want to lose 10 lbs….eventually”, you should set a period of time by which you want to accomplish your goal. Having an event or endpoint is very helpful for motivation.  For weight loss, we might pick an event like a wedding or a vacation.  However, be wary of ambiguous time goals. Don’t say that you’ll reach your goal by summer, because summer lasts 3 whole months. Set your goal for the first day of summer, or the last day of school, or any specific date that is meaningful for you. It is important, when setting your time-bound, to keep in mind the previous step, be realistic.

Here’s where the personal trainer steps in. Most people do not know how long it should take to lose a certain amount of weight. Others have heard what they think should be a healthy rate of weight loss. And still others read magazines about losing insane amounts of weight in a short period of time. Here’s what I say – studies show that losing weight at a rate of 1-2 lbs per week is healthy. That is a healthy rate of weight loss for most people. However, there are 2 caveats. One, a person who has more weight to lose will lose it faster. If you are exceeding your goal substantially, be aware of how your body feels in the process. If you are losing tons of weight but feel exhausted all the time, that rate may be too fast for you. If you can maintain your health and energy levels, stay on track and continue monitoring. The second caveat is understanding what goes into losing weight. While losing 1-2 lbs a week might be healthy, it may be unrealistic for your body or lifestyle. Losing 2 lbs a week means having a 1000 calorie deficit every day of the week, for the entire time that you’re trying to lose the weight. It’s very challenging to sustain that kind of change, let alone make it in the first place. I say set your goal a little lower, at about 2 lbs every two weeks, while pushing as hard as you can. If you exceed your goal, AWESOME!

Write down your goal. Put it in your calendar.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my first post on Central Sweat, excited to be an official part of the team. See a lot of you at the bootcamp this summer!


Leave your S.M.A.R.T. Goal in the comments below!

My Worst Half Marathon Was My Best Half Marathon by PJ Monson


My Worst Half Marathon Was My Best Half Marathon

On Sunday, February 23rd I ran the Princess Half Marathon in Walt Disney World. If you’ve read my other guest posts, then you know I’m no stranger to runDisney. In fact, my first half marathon was a runDisney race. That was also my fastest half marathon time, so when I ran the Princess Half, I wanted to improve my time and run it better, faster, stronger. Here’s why I thought that would happen but it actually didn’t.

Happily Ever After

Not long after I finished the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, I had to start training for the Princess Half. I decided to use the runDisney training program provided by Jeff Galloway. It’s a simple program similar to the ones I had done in the past. It involved two short 30 minute runs during the week and one long run on the weekend. Pretty easy to work into my ever-changing schedule.

The few weeks started out great. I got my runs in and had no problem with them.This was a huge change from the 10-Miler training where I was lucky to get more than one run in per week! These first weeks of training were a big confidence boost.

It wasn’t until the fourth week of training that I missed my first run of the training program. It was the week before Thanksgiving and that weekend I was flying to Florida. I got the first two short runs in with no problem, but didn’t get my long run in on the weekend. At the time I was still finishing my M.S. at NYU and had a Saturday class, then my flight was on Sunday so the weekend got away from me. I forgave myself since training had been going so great and knew next week would be better.

I was right. The following week I got all three runs in including a 5K when I did the Sarasota Turkey Trot. The long run that weekend was a 6.5 mile run and I did surprisingly well on it. I averaged a pace of 10:35 per mile, which was unexpected. Normally runs longer than five miles, I run at an 11 minute pace.

The problems came in December. The first week in December was my final week of graduate school. What happened? I finished my requirements to graduate, but I did not run at all. It didn’t get much better as the month went on.

Because I was lacking training, my times were getting worse. During the tenth week of training my runs were around an 11:30 average pace and it was frustrating. Especially because I had a race the next weekend. I had signed up for NYCRUNS’ Hot Chocolate 10-Miler in Central Park in January because I wanted to use it to check my pacing before going into the half. I was really worried about it because my training had been lacking, but to my surprise it was an amazing race. I thought it was going to be awful because on top of the training problems I didn’t dress warm enough, I forgot my headphones, and I was tired, but I was wrong. It went great. I barely had to stop for walking breaks and I finished it in 1:46:21 coming out to a 10:38 average pace.


The next weekend I had another race. This one was much shorter, only four miles. Again I hardly had to walk and I ran it at a 10:30 pace. My confidence was hitting the ceiling. I was in such a great mood and was hoping this would carry on to the half.

The weeks after the races weren’t perfect but I continued to run even if they didn’t follow the training program exactly. It didn’t matter because I felt so ready for the half. I ran it with my best friend who I’ve known since middle school (and is an amazing runner). I figured running with her was going to help my pacing and it did. We ran basically the full race. We took two short walking breaks (outside of water stations because I can’t run and drink at the same time).

So how was this my worst half you ask? Well Disney has lots of characters along the path so that meant we had to stop for pictures. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet the Genie or Captain Jack Sparrow while running. All these picture breaks meant we added a lot of time to our official race time. I was were my Nike+ SportWatch and would pause it every time we stopped for pictures. Our time according to my watch was 2:29:28 - three minutes faster than my half marathon PR...but our official race time was 2:49:41. We basically had 20 minutes of character time.

I wasn’t even upset about the time because I knew the pictures factored in and I didn’t have to take breaks while running. I’m sure stopping for pictures helped keep my stamina up for running the race because they were a type of break, but it doesn’t matter because I did something I didn’t think I was capable of yet - running a half marathon.

Despite not finishing a faster race than before, I feel great and I’m so excited to continue training for my next half. That half is actually paired with a 10K race, something run Disney likes to call the Dumbo Double Dare. This means I will be running 19.3 miles over the course of two days. Wish me luck and check out Muffy’s Fitness Blog for updates on my Dumbo Double Dare training.

Touchdown! Tips For Keeping It Healthy During Tailgate Season! by PJ Monson


Football season can mean different things to different people. For the football fans who simply love the art of football, the goal for the weekend will be finding seats closest to the 50-yd. line. For the fans who love the art of tailgating more than the game itself, the goal for the weekend will be figuring out the best food/booze ratio for the all-day event. This blog is for you, my friends. Let's preface these tips by saying we are in no way trying to kill your tailgating spirit! We believe life is meant to be lived! However, let's treat this amazing Fall tradition as a speed bump in healthy choices and not a complete derailment!

1. Eat Before You Leave The House! Just like you never want to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, never go to a tailgate hungry. A lot of people have the mindset to not eat or eat very little before the big event because they know they will be consuming ridiculous amounts of calories. This is a no-go! Make yourself a huge healthy lunch so by the time you reach the party you are a gazelle simply grazing the buffet rather than pulling a seat up next to it with a napkin tied around your neck.

2. Be The Cool Kid With H2O! Bring a bottled water to nurse throughout the game! Staying hydrated will not only help with the hangover, but also keep your appetite in check. We know the booze is inevitable but choose water over soda. Moreover, drinking diet soda will only make your cravings for the junk food stronger.

3. Sport The Small Plate Like A Champ! Grab a small plate for the grub and sit far away from the communal chip bowls. It is much easier to monitor how many trips you make to the food table over how many times you stick your hand in the snack bowl.

4. Come Up With A Game Plan! Invited to a friend's tailgate? Find out what they are serving and ask if you can contribute. Bring some little goodies that go well with your current diet plan so you will always have options. This is not to say you can't partake in the gourmet nachos; just try and balance it out with some carrot and hummus action. Going to a bar? Try to find a grilled option on the menu, i.e., grilled chicken fingers or steak bites. Want pizza? Order a pizza loaded with veggies over a plain cheese. The fiber in the veggies will fill you up so you end up eating less.

5. Play Your Own Game! Everybody loves a good drinking game. Tell yourself you will only get another drink when one team scores a point. Give yourself a limit of one plate of food per quarter. (There's 4, right?) Use the timer on the game to see how long you can last in-between chip grabs. Make yourself the promise that for each drink and plate of food you will add 5 minutes to your next workout.  Doesn't sound like fun? Grab a friend or make it a party theme! These things are always more fun with a group.



Eeeek! Fitness Faux Pas: 5 Common Mistakes People Make While Working Out In The Gym by PJ Monson

free weights

Before we get into the nitty gritty of gym no-no's, I want to begin by giving big kudos to everyone that finds the time to fit in a workout on a regular basis, whether it's in a gym or in your living room. This blog is meant to inspire not reprimand! As trainers, we know how hard it can be to make the time to fit in a regular workout routine, so we are always looking for ways for you to make the most out of your allotted fitness time!

1. "Get Your Hands Off My…..!"  This is a frequent mistake we see. Get your hands off my treadmill, meaning stop holding on when running or walking on cardio equipment that does not have the moving handles. I know the machines can be rather big and intimidating but it is better to go at a slower pace with control than a faster pace where you feel too nervous to let go of the handles. Treadmills, for example, already give you a little help with they conveyor belt whipping your feet back. If you are holding on, then your core and legs are doing even less work to propel your body forward. Your exercise benefits are drastically reduced and you are better off taking a walk around the block!

*On a similar note, if there are handles on the machines, make sure you are standing upright while holding on to them. Lot's of people, without noticing, tend to lean into them which takes effort away from the core!

2. I Just Cured Cancer During Your Rest Break! During a workout the rest intervals can be just as important as the workouts themselves. Now this rule definitely depends on your goals for a particular workout.

  • For Metabolic/Circuit/Muscle Endurance Training the rest time is anywhere from 20-60 sec.
  • For Increasing Strength/Muscle Power the rest time is 2-5 minutes.
  • For Toning/Building Muscle the rest time is 1-3 minutes.

The time ranges may seem vast, but this is because certain exercises are going to be more intensive than others. For example, more time needs to be taken when doing compound exercises or working bigger muscle groups, i.e., legs and back.

* Always take a little extra time if you are feeling light headed or nauseas. Contrary to popular belief, throwing up is not a cool thing to do while working out so immediately sit down and grab some water!

3. "Don't Be Monotony Molly!" One of the most miraculous things about our body is its ability to adapt. This works in our favor when exploring new movements in sports and exercise that might be outside our comfort zone, but can work against us when it comes to weight loss results. Simply put, if you do the same workout every time then your body learns to adapt, thus not having to work as hard and reducing progress. Not only are you boring yourself, but your also boring your body!

*Even if you know you are only a "treadmill" person, it does not mean you have to run the same pace for the same distance at the same amount of time every time! Change it up by altering the incline and speed, and you will keep the intensity needed to meet your goals.

4. Don't Be "The Wanderer!" You can waste tons of valuable time by wandering around the gym for something to jump out and inspire you. Make a plan before you get there. A well-equipped gym is good in the sense that it gives you options, but sometimes too many options can make you feel too overwhelmed to make a decision. Figure out what you want to do before you get there and save yourself some precious time.


5. "Not Good! If You Know Who Did It On Law & Order Before The Detectives Do!" Working out is as much mental as it is physical. You need to keep your head in the game at all times to get the most out of your workout. I know the cardio equipment can get boring, but doing things like correcting mistake #3 can help you. Studies also show that people who listen to music tend to push themselves harder than people who watch television. If working out were easy then everyone would do it. It takes mental strength and discipline to not only get you to the gym, but also to keep you focused on making the most out of what you have decided to do for that day.

When it comes to a good workout, think quality over quantity. Time, itself, will not get you results. It's what you do with that time that counts! Bring it!



Find A Way, Not An Excuse! by PJ Monson

Let me preface this post by saying my inspiration for this actually comes from myself. Just the other day a fellow trainer responded to a thought I had by saying, "Polly that's just an excuse!" It was a wake up call. As a trainer and coach, I have heard so many different excuses on what stops people from losing weight that I thought I would be able to recognize when I am making them for myself. NOPE! If you are wondering what my thought was, read on. It is definitely among this list of doozies! ;)

1. "I'm just not hungry in the morning." One of the golden rules of weight loss is to start each day by fueling your body. This can be anything from a banana to a an egg white omelette with English Muffin. This will help kick-start your metabolism, keep your blood sugar levels from spiking, and prevent you from overeating the rest of the day. The body is capable of doing amazing things without you consciously guiding it but, just like babies and circus monkeys, it can be trained to operate on a certain schedule. It is not a perfect science, as any Mom I know will tell me, but you can manipulate your own sleeping and eating schedule over time. If you start each day by feeding yourself a little healthy kick start then, over time, your body will adjust and wake up expecting immediate nourishment.

2."I'm older now so it's natural to gain weight." This excuse usually comes from my 30 and 40 something clients who are frustrated their one-week back in the gym hasn't shown major results.The biggest change that happens as people start to hit their late 20's and early 30's is a natural loss of muscle mass. This can slow down your daily metabolic rate if you are not doing the necessary weight training to replace lost muscle. Muscle requires more energy (or calories) to work than fat so the more muscle you have, the more your body needs to burn food for fuel. A 23-year-old with 60% muscle is the same as a 42-year-old with 60% muscle. It just takes some extra work for the 42-year-old to build and keep that muscle.  I have noticed that a lot of my clients in their 30's and 40's actually have better bodies than some of my clients in their 20's just by being more comfortable in their own skin and picking a "healthy lifestyle" over the "instantly gratifying diet."


3. "I don't want to lift weights and look like The Hulk." (this is mainly for my ladies) Simply put, not possible. When looking at a typical body builder, a lot more goes into developing their physique besides simply picking up a weight. Their training is difficult and very specific and nothing you might "accidentally" do to yourself by spending too much time in a weight room. One pound of fat takes up about 4x the space as one pound of muscle. This should cause you to feel leaner as you get stronger. The bulky feeling people sometimes feel is the fat on top of the muscle they are building. Fat does not turn into muscle; fat is burned and muscle is built. If you don't keep up with your cardio and especially your diet, the excess fat can give you that bulky feeling. If you are still not convinced, keep bodyweight exercises as a large part of your normal routine. Just be sure to keep it challenging!

4. "I don't have time." (This was my excuse!) Being a recent M.S. graduate, I get it! Time is of the essence when important things need to be taken care of like work, school, and family. This is why I say "Thank Goodness" we have workouts now like high intensity interval training (HIIT) that can be done at home and in 20 minutes. If this is too much too fast, then work on making subtle choices throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk around the block at lunch, or come up with your own 15-minute workout routine you do every morning before you shower. Worst comes to worst, if you truly don't think you can find the time, focus on your diet. You have to eat and eating healthy (even without exercise) goes a long way in facilitating weight loss. However, you need both and I think there is always a balance we can find. If you need help, ask me!=) 

5. "I am going to make a change right after…(this big project, finals, my birthday)!" One thing I have noticed as I get older is "life only gets busier." There will never be a perfect time. A way around this excuse is to not go to extremes. Don't tell yourself that starting Monday you will cut caffeine and sugar and start two-a-days at the gym; that sounds like a miserable Monday. Start by cutting back on one thing. Give yourself coffee in the morning, do a 15-minute workout before you shower, then cut dessert at night. Sure, this means it will take longer to achieve your goals, but, ultimately, who wins the race: the tortoise or the hare?;)



Start Your Engines! 5 Ways To Rev Up Your Metabolism by PJ Monson


Simply put, metabolism is different chemical reactions that convert fuel from the food we eat into energy needed to power our bodies! Keeping a healthy metabolism is crucial to the weight loss process. Even if you might have inherited a "slower than most" metabolism, there are ways to shift your metabolic rate from moderate to hyper drive. 1. Strength training at least twice a week can prevent your body's metabolic rate from slowing down as you age. A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. According to Women's Health Magazine, women that engage in 30 to 40 minute strength training sessions at least twice a week will, after four months, burn an excess of a 100 calories a day!

2. Omega-3's are a must! Whether you get your omega-3's from fish like salmon and tuna or supplements, this fatty acid is great for balancing blood sugar and regulating metabolism. It is also tied to reducing resistance to leptin, a hormone linked to how quickly fat is burned in the body.

3.Go Green (Tea)!. Studies have shown that catechin, an active ingredient found in the tea, helps to ramp up that metabolic rate. Try to squeeze in about 5 cups a day to increase that daily caloric burn!

4.Increase the "Quality" and "Quantity" of your food! One of the biggest mistakes people make with dieting is not eating enough. When the body senses its being deprived of "fuel" it moves from fat "burning" mode to fat "storing" mode. Yes, ultimately you want to burn more calories than you consume, but don't eat so little that you consume less than your resting metabolic rate. If you read last week's blog then you already know "Don't be a Camel!"

5.EPOC!Live It, Love It, Challenge It! EPOC stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption. Basically, your body goes into hyper repair mode after an intense workout, thus burning more calories than usual. Most people are aware of this little post workout blessing, but what some may not know is the reward with EPOC is less as the body gets into better shape, i.e. working more efficiently and needing less recovery time. Challenge your body more by adding different types of exercises and intervals to your regular routine. The more you keep your body guessing the more it is necessary for your body to keep a higher metabolic rate to function properly!

These are only a few things that can facilitate revving up that metabolic engine. By cutting out some of the bad habits and instilling new good ones, you start to work with your body instead of against it. There might be some validity to your heredity and genetics excuses, but those excuses won't take the weight off. There are lots of health issues that are beyond our control; a slow metabolism doesn't have to be one of them. Now let's go and "get your engines started folks!"