Because I’m APPY…..A look at some notable apps to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

BTW, you’re welcome that the Happy song will now be on repeat in your head all day long.

This blog was written by request :) What apps do I use to stay on track and what apps do I find notable for reaching health and fitness goals?

Great question! Let’s dig in shall we?

1. My Fitness Pal. Should you track your food? Only if you want to reach goals. I have been tracking food for years (and used several apps) to reach both muscle gain and fat loss goals. Once you do it for a while it does become a habit. MFP is extremely user friendly and even remembers your meals. You can save foods or entire meals if you’re like me and tend to eat the same thing over and over again. The FREE version allows you to set your macros (to a point) and set goals for yourself. Word to the wise: Don’t put your exercise in until the END of the day since MFP will recalculate your macros based on caloric burn. By the way, I don’t trust that it knows how many calories I burned…..  Runner up: My Macros (GREAT for bodybuilders/competitors) and Lose It (though most is NOT free).


2. A-Note. It seems odd for a fitness post, but hang in there. I keep my to-do list on my phone because my phone is always there. A-Note allows you to keep a detailed to-do list all the way up to your goal for the whole year! Want to lose 50 pounds? Your daily to-do better be pointing you towards that goal.

3. Tabata Pro. Not all of my workouts revolve around reps and sets at the gym. I LOVE Tabata Pro (there is a free version, but not quite as good). TP allows you to set your rest, work and preparation times and you can play any playlist through the app. I don’t know about you, but I cannot workout without music….it’s physically impossible. This app is awesome for all the FREE workouts I have on the blog.

4. Inspiration: I’m not going to lie; I use Instagram for inspiration a LOT. Be careful who you follow and make sure that they are making life brighter. Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration, but be warned; it can also be a HUGE time sucker.


Notable APPS:

  1. Nike Training Club.    NTC       This is marketed to women, but fellas can enjoy it too! I do use this app during the off season to help with cardio. You have access to loads of different workouts and you can track what you have done. As you complete workouts you receive badges and prizes like smoothie recipes and all-star workouts. You can also play your music through the app and set up daily reminders so you stay on track.
  2. Nike Running.     Nike Running             You don’t have to have the fancy shoes to make this one work. Just wear it with you on your run. You can friend people in your virtual space and even challenge them to running games. It keeps an accurate record of runs that you can go back and check out as well so you can celebrate the small victories along the way. It also has options to join a training program for your first 5K, 1/2 marathon or full marathon. Get trained by the trainers who know running.
  3. The Fitness Games. This one seriously rocks if you’re the type who likes a challenge or needs to be held accountable for workouts. You gather virtual friends (or real friends) and issue and participate in fitness challenges. The large database makes it easy to incorporate challenges that will suite any fitness level. Have some buddies sign up and get motivated to MOVE.
  4. Map My Fitness and Armour 39. This is Under Armors answer to Nike :) These apps can work together with the Armour 39 wearable device. Map My Fitness can also be run without it. It can be a little more costly, BUT you get a more accurate reading of calories burned, heart rate and even your WILL. The device actually measures how hard you work during your workout.


Hopefully, any number of these 8 apps will get you moving towards your next goal. Remember, in the digital age all the information you need is right at your fingertips….


Now I want to hear from you!

Do you use any of these apps and how do you like them?

Are there apps not mentioned that you enjoy?

Put your response in the comments below and let’s talk about it!


As always, have a healthy day :)


Working out when sick: Do or Don’t

Hello people!

Today’s topic can be one of the MOST confusing when embarking on a fitness program, so I’m going to try to level the field by giving you a few human anatomy and physiology facts when it comes to working out and illness. Ready for the ride?

cold season

First, let’s all acknowledge the fact that germs are everywhere. You really need to stop trying to hide from germs (because you can’t really control that) and start thinking about your actual immune system. When you workout your immune system actually fires up to see what the heck is going on. It doesn’t know if you’re being attacked by a vicious virus or if you just really hate the stairmill. A quick scout of the body will send a message to the brain that certain hormones need to start releasing faster, others slower and oh yeah, we need to start repairing those muscle fibers ASAP. Working out when your immune system is compromised can result in slower recovery for this reason. Your body is efficient and will deal with the main threat first.

Second, we live in a world FULL of people. I always ask that people keep other in mind should they choose to work out while sick. If you’re a little unsure as to what is acceptable, check it out below:


  • If you have a fever.
  • If you have drainage that is yellow or green (gross, but seriously)
  • If you cannot control a hacking cough
  • If you find yourself dizzy just standing up
  • If you are having trouble breathing
  • If you feel achy in your joints

These are for your own safety as well as the safety of others. If your sickness (at this level) persists more than 3 days, see a doctor asap.


  • If your nose if stuffy but you don’t feel a lot of pressure
  • If you’re just moving a bit slower
  • If you haven’t had a fever
  • If your cough is containable
  • If your mucus is clear

Sometimes it can just be allergies or sinuses. If you choose to workout while feeling under the weather, make sure to wipe down equipment before and after use. You don’t want to pass your germs and you certainly don’t want to give your immune system anything else to handle.

Always walk with caution and if you feel too sick to workout, skipping one or two days to recover will NOT derail your progress. If you find yourself sick all the time, take a look at your fuel and your workout to determine a culprit.

You can stay in tune with your immune system by taking a high-grade, whole foods multivitamin, a good probiotic and making sure you are getting enough Vitamin C each day.

Stay moving, stay healthy


Talking about #demabs …and how to get them

A question posed more often than not is, “How do I tighten my abs?”. You can replace that with anything about a tight core, tight midsection, getting rid of the muffin top, etc. You get the point right?

The core is one of my FAVORITE body parts and also one of my most challenging. My core, or midsection, never stays as lean as my back, legs or arms. I do, however, know a thing or two about getting a strong and tight core. So…are you ready to get started?

rockin abs


What you eat will determine 100% whether or not people can see your abs. We all have them, but seeing them is a different matter entirely. If there are a lot of salty, sugary or processed foods (OH! and fake sugars) the abs will remain hidden…unless your a 15-year-old male athlete, then eat what you want and enjoy your youth :)

Balance is key when it comes to good core nutrition. You need proteins, carbohydrates and fats in balance to get the most from your core AND digestive system. Withholding nutrients can cause inflammation in the center where the majority of the body’s digestive system and energy are stored. Focus on whole foods first, then supplement as needed with your lifestyle. Pay attention to what you eat and how your body responds. Some of us can get gassy and bloated with certain foods, so make a note of it and try to eat those foods in moderation. The only time a food should be avoided completely is if you have been tested for an allergy OR eating that food causes great intestinal pain.

Veggie belly :)

Veggie belly is a term to explain the bloat that comes from a LARGE volume of veggies consumed in the diet. It is nothing to be concerned with and shouldn’t alter your consumption of veggies unless you’re about to bare all in a tiny swimsuit. Veggie belly will usually only last about 2-6 hours post meal. Regular workouts can help eliminate most of the bloat anyways.

After 1


We ALL have abdominal muscles. There are a few key factors to drawing them inward and creating a sleeker looking physique. Women tend to want “FLAT” abs. This is achieved through Pilates like drawing inward and always encouraging the abs to draw in and up. If you’re wanting a 6-pack then you will need to BUILD those muscles out a bit. It’s important to realize that the core muscles are like any other muscle. They have similar functions and will grow when placed under pressure. That side bend with the weight you’re doing….unless you want your obliques (waistline) to grow OUTWARD, stop it. Your best bets for a sleek and strong midsection are plank variations, twisting movements such as bicycle crunches, wood chops, and twists with a medicine ball, as well as hanging leg raises and back extensions. If you want to create a fuller look to the abs try adding weighted crunches and cable crunches to your rotation.


Abs are like any other muscle, but if worked properly they do not need quite as much time to repair. I work my core 4 days per week, alternating between weighted and non-weighted days.

Your abs SHOULD work during every single workout. If you are working legs at the gym, you better have a tight core. If you’re hitting back, make sure your abs are engaged before every single rep. It may take a bit of time to get used to, but if you make sure your abs contract before each movement then your workout will be safer and more effective overall.

Check out these ab workouts to get you started to a GREAT midsection:


Fun Friday: weekend warrior circuit

Happy Friday fit peeps!

I have a treat for you today…..a quick, do anywhere circuit and some awesome travel foods. I know my weekend is jam-packed with activities, so it’s always best to be prepared :)

Weekend Warrior full body circuit

What you need: some space, a timer (I LOVE the TABATA pro app), dumbbells, water and towel

Start by warming up dynamically, putting the body through its full range of motion.

Light jog for 2 minutes to complete warm up.

NOTE: if any muscles seem overly tight, take a minute to stretch and/or foam roll them!

The Circuit: 10 moves, 40 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, 30 seconds to prepare, repeat a total of 3 times

  1. Squat
  2. Pushup
  3. Alternating back lunges
  4. Alternating side lunge, tapping opposite hand to the floor
  5. Imaginary (or real) jump rope
  6. Squat thrust with weights: squat to floor, put weights under shoulders and jump/step back, return back to squat and stand while squeezing glutes
  7. Sumo squat with a narrow bicep curl (elbows in front of rib cage, weights touching)
  8. Plank hold
  9. Stiff legged dead lift with wide (zotman) bicep curl
  10. Squat with overhead press

You’ll notice that we work MULTIPLE body parts in this workout and hit the legs quite a bit. The reason is because you want to BURN serious calories. Work hard during your 40 seconds and attack each move with intensity. The bonus? Awesome, cellulite-free thighs for you :)

100_0374 BOOM!

Travel Friendly Foods:

You’ll find me with any combination of these on the weekend.

  • sliced cucumber
  • low-sodium lunch meats
  • tuna packets (flavored is fine)
  • fruits
  • celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • baby foods in pouches (yes! they come in handy and you get your greens)
  • pre-grilled chicken, fish or steak
  • protein bars (Quest bars and the new MetRX bars are best)
  • Kind bars

Be prepared for hunger and crazy cravings while you’re out! Don’t depend on willpower when the Starbuck’s sweets case is staring you down :)

Hopefully, that helps you with your weekend!

Make sure you sign up for the newsletter to receive the recipe for this week ———–>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In health,


Abs on the ball

How FiveFingers Got Me Back on My Feet

I’ll never forget the exhilaration I felt the first time I ran in my Vibram FiveFinger shoes. My feet felt almost as light and cool as if I were barefoot. Yet I could tread on concrete without pain.

Because my heel wasn’t protected by a thick sponge of plastic, I struck the ground with my forefoot. This reduced the jarring on my knee, so I was finally able to overcome runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome), the nagging pain under my left knee cap that had dogged me since college days.

I soon learned the downside of this kind of running. My calves were weak from a lifetime of heel strikes, and they cramped up when I ran up hill. For months this new pain stopped me from running. When my calves recovered, I’d try again, get carried away by the exhilaration, and hurt my calves again. It was more than a full year before I could comfortably and consistently run in FiveFingers the same distances I had run in traditional shoes.

Many people don’t find that struggle worthwhile. In fact, some got so frustrated they successfully sued Vibram.

Research on barefoot and minimal shoe running has been mixed.

Some small studies, including one of runners on the Harvard University cross country team support the practice.

But a new Army study suggests that lots of people — or at least the average soldier — won’t prevent injuries by avoiding heel strikes.

They found that 15% of the non-heel strikers and 18% of the heel strikers had reported injuries, but the difference was not statistically significant.

Making the Switch

I wonder if some of the minimal-shoe runners in the Army had an experience like mine, getting pain in their calves or Achilles’ tendons when they first try it. If so, this would be reported as an injury for the purposes of the study, which would explain why there were similar numbers of injuries in both groups.

Also some shoes marketed as minimal aren’t really, and runners may get worse injuries by continuing to strike with their heels while wearing them.

Irene Davis, director of the Spaulding National Running Center at Harvard recommends this list of true minimal shoes.

For those who do want to cast off their big-heeled shoes, Davis recommends a careful program of strengthening exercises.

And it turns out that Maj. Bradley Warr, the lead investigator for the Army thinks minimal shoes could be right for some people. He just doesn’t think the Army should impose a new foot-strike pattern on its soldiers.

“There are a large number of people with injuries who have corrected by changing their running style,” he told me. “It’s just got to be slow and easy, a little bit at a time.”

If you are running without injury now, you probably shouldn’t make a change. But as Davis pointed out, you might learn something about your own body by walking around (and maybe running just a tiny bit) barefoot, touching the world with your skin.

Maybe one day I’ll cast off my Vibrams and learn to run with naked soles.

A certified personal trainer in Oakland, California, Laird Harrison writes about sports performance and injury prevention at


Laird Harrison (Photo by Paul Miller, all rights reserved.)
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The BEST in Metabolic Conditioning: What is MMA training? And what can it do for me?

One of my very favorite continuing education courses I ever invested in is my MMA Strength and Conditioning coach certification. It takes regular strength and conditioning up a notch and provides a fat blasting, metabolism boosting workout that flies by and leaves you drenched. In other words, it’s the most efficient workout I have in my arsenal.

MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and is a buzz word due to the popularity and success of fighting for sport, which has been around longer than most other sports. Fighters are lean, strong, and functionally fit. Why? Because of the way they train. A fighter doesn’t split body parts, but rather works the entire body in symmetry to promote a fully functioning fighting physique (say that 3 times fast). With MMA strength and conditioning workouts you are tacking the 3 pillars of fitness (cardio, strength, flexibility) in one workout. What kind of real-life benefits can you expect from MMA?

  1. Increased lung capacity
  2. Better body awareness
  3. Increased strength (all of my girls do MAN push ups now! )
  4. Decreased body fat (yay!)
  5. Increase lean muscle
  6. Increase calorie burn
  7. Increased EPOC (oxygen consumption post exercise; big for recovery and fat loss)
  8. Increased Flexibility
  9. Increased VO2 Max
  10. Increased self confidence, self efficacy, and general butt kicking awesomeness

Those are really the top 10, but there are many more. Are you sold yet?

There can be some concerns about embarking on an MMA journey. Some people tell me they just aren’t angry enough to hit things….that generally doesn’t last long. Once the gloves go on and the bag comes out, a little Hulk shows up in all of us. BUT, just to dissuade a few misconceptions take a look:

  1. You will not become an overnight fighting sensation and be taken from your family.
  2. You won’t randomly start fights….you’ll think about it, but you’ll know it’s stronger to control those emotions and use them in the gym.
  3. You won’t get big, bulky or start grunting when you move anything…unless you already do that.
  4. You won’t be challenged to fights by strange people lurking in alleys.

You’ll get leaner, stronger and have more energy than you thought you could have in just a few weeks. It’s worth the time and investment, plus you’ll learn some pretty cool tricks…like how to dislocate a jaw or knee :)

SOLD! Where do I sign up?

If you’re close to me (you lucky duck!), I run MMA sessions year-round. These sessions are 2x per week, 6 weeks with a limit of 4 people in each. If you’re interested, shoot me an email: for info on the next open sessions.

If you’re more of a homebody, or you don’t live near me (don’t cry, it’s ok) try out an MMA inspired workout like Les Mill’s Body Combat. They do sell this through Beachbody OR you can check out to find a combat class near you.

Either way you go, have a BLAST burning calories, getting lean and staying mean :)

rach Rachel Newsham, creator of Les Mills Combat


Cheers to health!


Overtraining: The Signs You Need to Know, PLUS a free recipe

Hello fit people!

Some interesting things have been happening in my own workout life and I thought we could all glean a little wisdom from my mistakes :) I make plenty to go around!

Overtraining is fairly common among athletes and even more common amongst avid exercise fanatics. Professional athletes have an entire team of trained staff to look for signs of overtraining and correct the issues…you and I have each other. Now, before we get to the meat of the matter, I just want to state that DAILY exercise is an important habit to develop for physical fitness as well as mental and emotional well-being. Simply not enjoying your workout does not mean you’re overtraining, but nice try. Let’s look at the signs and symptoms together.



  1. You feel anger or anxiety when someone prevents you from working out.
  2. You exhibit a strong emotional reaction when you can’t workout?
  3. You skip out on important family or social obligations OR go to extremes to avoid social situations that may impede your workouts?
  4. Restlessness.
  5. Trouble sleeping or not sleeping through the night.
  6. Chronic fatigue, meaning you never feel rested.
  7. Pain in the muscles and/or joints even after a day off and preventative measures such as anti-inflammatories, soaking baths, hot/cold therapy or massage.

These signs and symptoms scan the range of physical and emotional well-being. I totally get how addictive exercise can be and for many of us it does help to keep us in a good mood; however, it is important to listen to your body. We are, after all, only human.

So, what if you are exhibiting some of the above symptoms (hint: the physical usually comes first)? Here are a few tried and true techniques to get you back on track:

  1. TAKE TIME OFF! What?!?! Say it ain’t so!!!! Yep, schedule time off from the gym/training/sport. Schedule it people! Plan to give yourself about -5 days depending on the severity of overtraining. If you have avoided the signs for a while, you may need  a little more time off.
  2. Give yourself permission to rest. You are NOT going to gain 20 pounds in a few days! Well, you may if you let yourself eat through 2 tubs of ice cream due to the fact that you feel like a slob taking a break (welcome to my head, ladies and gentlemen!). Give your brain as much of a break as your body and stop THINKING about workouts, weight gain, etc.
  3. Take a walk. Walking is a great way to get your blood pumping and improve your attitude, especially if you can walk in the sunshine for a few minutes. Remember to take it easy and listen to your body.
  4. Consider a restorative yoga session. These sessions should help restore balance to the body, not be a sweat session of hand stands and flows. CHILLAX!
  5. Keep drinking your water and stay clean with your diet. The idea here is to restore the body, not create more issues.
  6. If symptoms persist even after a few days off (especially joint and muscle pain), see your doctor.

So, this is where I am now personally, and I cringe at rest days. The truth is, none of us are indestructible and we have to pay attention and take the time to restore as needed.

Arm B&W

The best news? I have some free time to play around in the kitchen AND I made a candy bar yesterday that is the bomb for chocolate cravings and low energy. ENJOY!



1 cup minute oats (dry)

2 TBSP natural peanut butter

1 scoop chocolate Shakeology (you may be able to use a chocolate whey or casein, but the consistency will be different)

1-2 spoons of unsweetened applesauce (just enough to make the mixture pliable)

Mix together (you’ll get an awesome arm workout!) and shape into small bars. Place on plate or in container and store in freezer. Each bar is less than 40 cals and packed with nutritional goodies and loads of chocolate/peanut butter flavor.

Peace, Love and Lunges




Hello fit peeps and welcome to workout Wednesday! Today is, you guessed it, a workout review of an awesome class I took a couple of months ago at Pure Barre in Houston.

Let me start by giving props to Shelby. She was at the front desk when I came in, knew my name and had even set up my space in class :) .

The highlights of the space itself (besides the customer service, which is way above the bar…get it?) are the things all of us ladies really care about:

  1. Extremely clean.
  2. Very positive and upbeat attitude…even the traffic won’t get you down.
  3. Easy access to everything from equipment to restrooms.
  4. NO high pressure sales.
  5. Cool space, both in decoration and in literal cooling. I recommend a light sweater or cover up as you enter, but trust me, you’ll bust a good sweat.

You can tell as soon as class starts that Pure Barre holds their instructors to a higher form. They instructions are so clear you could almost do the whole class with your eyes closed, though I would recommend it. The lighting is low enough to de-stress the eyes and brain, but bright enough for you to see what you’re doing. The ladies in the class were gracious and very accepting of the newbie in their midst (and I stuck out a bit as the tallest one!). The music is popular and loud enough to drown out negative thoughts, but the instructor will adjust the volume accordingly so you can always hear.

The entire vibe was awesome and I felt better just upon walking in. Now, Pure Barre has a wide range of workout videos online (you can order yours through their website) and I highly encourage it, BUT I cannot stress the help you will get by attending a class. Class prices are very affordable (they offer everything from single sessions to monthly and yearly rates) and all the equipment is already there. You may even be able to buy a sweet pair of Lululemon pants after lifting your booty in Barre :)

Why is the barre so hot? It works! Women are always wanting a way to lift their booties and sculpt legs and arms without dreaded bulk (not as bad as one may think people) and barre delivers. Pure Barre brings all other Barre classes up to a higher level of expectation in my opinion. Log onto their YouTube for loads of form tips and you’ll see what I mean. Pure Barre: truly raising the barre in Houston.

Michelle [Read more...]

Monday Motivation: Make Fitness FUN!

Welcome to Monday!

One key to sticking with a fitness routine is making it fun. What better way to do that than with a fun run? 5K fun runs are great for those just starting out in any fitness program. Running is an excellent way to condition your cardio vascular system, plus you get to say you’re a “runner” which is a good bonus as runners tend to form their own psychotic clubs :)

There are tons of Fun Runs and 5Ks going on in this part of the world now (and I’ll be telling you about a couple of them this week), but today I want to focus on the local Jailbreak Run. This annual 5K and Half Marathon is held right here in my home town of Baytown, Texas and benefits our local law enforcement and their families. THESE are the people who keep us safe every day :) Here is a little more about the run:

Jail Break Run is a 100% non-profit event.  Proceeds are to help officers & their families in time of need and fund criminal justice scholarships.  This run will be benefiting the Baytown Municipal Police Officers Association – Helping a Hero Fund & Project Blue. Form more info about Project Blue -

So, if you’re free this Saturday morning come run with me! I’m opting for the 5K because I have a lot more training to do before my next mission trip :)

The race begins at 7 a.m. and ALL fitness levels are welcome. You can run, walk, skip or crawl….just shoe up to make a difference. Grab a group of friends that you can laugh with and don’t forget to have a great big breakfast when you’re done! Not in the area? Consider simply making a donation. This organization is 100% non-profit and worth the tax deduction.

Until we see each other for some tough love…live LOUDER!!!!



Taking Your Fit Life with You

Hello Fit Peeps!

Have you ever wondered how fit people make it happen when they travel?

I have been a homebody as long as I can remember! I come by it honestly :) I do enjoy shutting myself up in-house with my loved ones and I have found that it works in favor of my fitness goals. I mean, I always say that your environment is far more important than your motivation right? I control my environment like a well oiled machine and it has certainly worked in my favor. So, what is a fit girl to do when she takes on a big trip? Here are a few things I have learned….

In preparing for my trip to Moldova (to read more on THAT, check it out HERE) I consulted some fitness competitors who travel a lot as well as just regular people who rack up frequent flier miles. Here’s what is in my own personal travel play book:

  • Water is essential! You cannot take water into security, BUT you can take empty bottles and they are nice enough to have fountains for fill ups just past security. I plan on taking a large, re-usable bottle to use the whole trip.
  • I freak out at the thought of pre-packaged airline food! Seriously, freak out. So, I’m packing what I can for air travel. Kind bars are filling and gentle to the stomach, so they get on the list. I’ll also be taking some pre-chopped veggies, dried fruits and fresh fruits. This helps keep my energy up and deals with the dreaded dehydration from being in the cabin too long (hello? 15+ hours from the US to Munich). I’ll still contemplating the protein I will take. You will be posted…
  • I’m also VERY aware of the fact that my actual energy expenditure will be very low while sitting on my can in the plane. If I feel overwhelmed by hunger, it is most likely the nerves talking (I hate flying). Therefore, I’m taking some books, Bible studies on MP3, plenty of magazines and sleeping pills. Yes, I have trouble sleeping and I plan on forcing it as much as I can while in air.
  • Once I am safe in Moldova and have retrieved the rest of my luggage I’ll be pretty set. I’m making sure to have packets of pink salmon to help keep my protein intake high and my fatty acids on point. I’ll also have packets of Shakeology (which will serve as my vitamins) and Fighter Diet Greens. A mix of these 2 in water will keep all systems go. I’ll have probiotics and EmergenC packets for each meal to insure the immune system stays in good working order.
  • As far as the workouts are concerned, YES I completely intend to get some in. I probably will not take a mat, but can make use of a hotel towel if needed. I am taking 2 resistance bands and my anti-gravity trainer that hooks to the door. Workouts will be short and sweet, maybe 15-20 minutes just to knock the edge off of my nerves. The hotel says they have a gym, but you never know what you will get. I will have my running shoes, HOWEVER in below freezing I can tell you my baby butt will not venture outside unless it is a necessity. I always have the ability (and the JOY!!!) of shadowboxing to bring my heart rate up and warm up my muscles as well.

Well, that’s all I have to far for this trip. My first flight takes off Sunday and I do intend to keep you updated on the happening (both fitness and non-fitness) so stay tuned!

Until I see you tomorrow, LIVE OUT LOUD!!!