Healthy Holidays: The Art of Giving

Hello Fitness Elves!

This time of year presents parties, busy challenges and fun to be had all over. We often are able to spend more time with family and even see friends and loved ones we don’t normally get to see. In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, perhaps you have come to a stopping point on gifting. The gifts we give needn’t be extravagant or expensive to show we care. And what better way to show you care than to give the gift of health and fitness. I’m going to break down some favorite fit gifts, from the ordinary to the crazy, so come along for the ride!


Either you or a loved one could possibly be just venturing into fitness. The gift of at-home fitness can be a great way to offer encouragement and empowerment. But what do you give? Well, it can take a little finesse to make sure you get it right, but with these tips, you’re sure to get a bright smile and a heartfelt “THANK YOU SO MUCH!” from the recipient….plus, you’ve truly just given the gift of health :)

  • Consider a home-based program. Beach Body offers a wide variety of programs for any goal and fitness level. You can also find challenge packs full of goodies and nutrition as well. Now, in order for this to work you really do need to know the level of your recipient as well as their overall goals and motivations. Got a bestie who loves running and is looking to add some strength training? Opt for Chalean Extreme. Is your family member a class enthusiast who has been sidelined from the gym by having kids at home? Check out Turbo Fire. P90X, P90X2 AND P90X3 are all great options for those with big goals who love to work. There are also programs for weight lifters, Tai Chi (called Tai Chang) , as well as dance, kickboxing and more. Draw backs? The one big one is some of the programs cost upwards of $80, so you better like these people :) . The best thing is that these programs are tried and tested for safety and effectiveness. One of my favorites to gift out: Body Combat. Intense, but doable. PLUS, awesome accents :)

rach chalene tony danP90x_product_configuration_170x100

  • If you’re strapped for cash OR have no clue as to the above criteria, opt for a gift card. Beach Body offers gift cards that work towards anything they sell (even vitamins and recovery). You can also check out cards to online Fitness DVD’s like Collage Video and Acacia.
  • Make a gift bag. Grab a cute gym bag and fill it with goodies to keep them going. Consider things like water bottles, sweat towels, body spray and even deodorant. It all comes in handy no matter where your workout takes you.
  • A smaller option for quick fitness is a small gift bag with a towel, refillable water bottle, gift card to a shoe store (doesn’t have to be much), and a fitness magazine to inspire. My faves are Oxygen, Fitness RX for Women, and Muscle and Fitness for Women.
  • A pedometer can range in price from $10-over $100 and make great gifts for getting people up and moving.

How about the ones who already frequent the gym?

If your friend or loved one already clocks in hours at the gym on a weekly basis, try out these gift ideas to show your support and keep them motivated.

  • A gift card to just the right place. Nike, Under Armour, Athleta, Adidas, New Balance and Reebok ALL offer gift cards that can be emailed directly to your recipient. Who wouldn’t want an awesome new outfit to rock during that New Year’s Day workout right?
  • One place: ITUNES. This gift card will allow your buddy to load up on hot new tracks to fuel hard-core workouts. You can get any amount and these make AWESOME stocking stuffers too.
  • How about a small gift bag full of gym goodies? Opt for a nice sweat towel (or 2), socks, makeup wipes, deodorant, body spray, flip-flops (for the gym shower), small tooth brush and tooth paste (or wisps), and a lock to keep it all safe.
  • If you’re looking to spend a little more, consider a calorie expenditure reading device. Think Body Bugg, Jawbone, or the Exerspy (my favorite).

Nutrition Nuts:

This is for those who don’t focus as much on the movement as they do on the health of their food. Few and far between, but they still deserve great gifts :)

  • Shakeology. 1 bag will last them a month and comes with loads of recipes. It will help promote weight loss, lower blood sugar and cholesterol and has also had positive effects on mood disorders.
  • Gift card to a local whole foods and a really awesome cook book. I am loving the Clean Eating series by Tosca Reno, It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and The Beauty Detox Foods by Kimberly Snider.
  • Browse the recipes here and bake up some healthy goodies. It will save you money and give away what people value most: your time.

The Gamers:

  • Xbox One. Now, this is no cheap investment, BUT the Xbox One does have an awesome fitness component that comes free with a GOLD membership. Here’s a couple of things to consider: this will cost you over $500 for the basic console, so it’s not a cheap gift. Also, if you have a couch potato gamer, simply having popular workouts ON a gaming system does NOT seem to make them want to get off the couch (I have learned from experience). Overall, the Xbox One is a superior system with awesome graphics and much faster voice command than the previous console.
  • Dance Games. Dance Central and Just Dance can get just about anybody up and moving at least a few times. My daughter has all 3 Dance Centrals and that is her PE time.
  • Kinect Adventure games. You can jump into just about any sport with these games. Have you always wanted to skateboard, but fear the fall? Yeah, there’s a game for that. Skateboarding, rafting, volley ball, soccer, boxing, snow boarding, etc. You can be a sports star in your living room.
  • Kinect MMA Conditioning. This is my gig and is backed by NASM. You’ll get real MMA training and conditioning all while preparing you for the fight of your life: ownership of your own health.

Stocking Stuffers:

  • Small gift cards to ITunes, Academy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Beach Body, Nike, Under Armour, etc.
  • Raisins
  • Socks
  • Small sweat towels
  • Pedometer

And, for the BEAUTY in your life:

I couldn’t neglect this one because I am OBSESSED with it. Derm Exclusive is a dermatologist skin care line that has completely changed my skin. It lessens spots and wrinkles and is just all out wonderful for glowing, gorgeous skin. you can even get one month for less than $50. The beauty in your life will thank you :)

Derm Exclusive

LAST, but not least:

Consider giving a personal training session, package or consult. I offer all of those and I’m happy to help you figure out the best one for your loved one. :) You can reach me at

Rockstar Training

Well, that’s it for fit gifts. I’ll be back on a couple of times before Christmas with more fit tips, so stay engaged and stay healthy!



Hello Hello!

I hope you are enjoying Spring already. I went to the grocery store today and loaded up on fresh fruits and veggies. It’s already getting hotter here, and that calls for cooler fare on the table :)

Your final list of Spring Challenges are what I call Game Changers. THIS is the group I will personally be joining and working out with daily.

So, who is it for?

This group is for anybody who is a little more consistent with their fitness (you’ve been working out consistently for 6+ months at least), those who have already finished a program and want to add to their challenge, those who are truly committed to the “lifestyle change” and are wanting to continue moving forward, athletes looking for a competitive edge, and the just plain crazy people (ME ME ME, PICK ME!!!).

So, here’s the deal. You can take on any of these challenges by themselves OR you can mix and match them :) I will be mixing up a storm and posting my schedule to the group page. How is that beneficial? How cool would it be to work out to the same thing a seasoned master trainer works out to? Pretty cool… I’ll also be sharing my meal plans and, of course, my struggles, whiny moments and awesome injuries. JOKING! I have NO plans to get injured and neither should you.

Let’s take a peek at the challenges and THEN I’ll tell you which ones I’m taking on….


Get blown away by your visible results. AND performance.

P90X2® continues the Muscle Confusion™ with the latest cutting-edge training technique used by pro sports trainers. Twelve workouts help you focus on your abs/core, powerful athletic function, and lightning-bolt agility. Expect to chisel your body and virtually blast right through your plateaus.

Also available on Blu-ray™ Discs. FREE lifetime disc replacement is included with Blu-ray orders.

Here’s what you get with P90X2:

12 breakthrough, muscle-challenging workouts –

  • X2 Core. Works your core using instability. Master this routine for overall improved movement.
  • Plyocide. Explosive movements combined with mind and coordination drills for super speed/endurance.
  • X2 Recovery + Mobility. Realign your body with a foam-rolling technique and complete stretching routine.
  • X2 Total Body. Push your body to use the correct muscles and proper form to handle resistance and instability challenges.
  • X2 Yoga. Increase your isometric power and range of motion, and build stabilizer muscle strength.
  • X2 Balance + Power. Push your limits through strength and explosive movements while improving alignment.
  • Chest + Back + Balance. Achieve superior strength gains over those achieved through traditional weight training by working on unstable platforms.
  • X2 Shoulders + Arms. Keep your shoulders and arms strong and in balance to help minimize your risk of injury.
  • Base + Back. Give your two largest muscle groups a super workover with a pull-up and plyo extravaganza.
  • P.A.P. Lower. Give your lower body a cutting-edge workout with four-round complexes that boost performance.
  • P.A.P. Upper. Regain your youth with Post-Activation Potentiation training for your upper body.
  • X2 Ab Ripper. Upgrade your concept of what an ab workout should be with a series of demanding core movements.

Plus, get these information-loaded tools:

  • Fitness Guide. Get all the facts and tools you need to maximize your P90X2 results.
  • Nutrition Guide. We’ve evolved the diet along with the exercise program. Now in addition to traditional high-performance food choices, you can customize your plan with grain-free and vegan options.
  • How to Bring It Again Video. Get a quick overview of the complete P90X2 training system.

And even more tools to keep you on track:

  • 90-Day Workout Calendar. Set P90X2 workout goals each day, and schedule your recovery week when you need it.
  • Online Support. You’ll have access to Tony Horton and our panel of Beachbody® experts as well as peer support from other people doing P90X2.

NOTE: THIS workout is the BOMB!!! Why? Oh, they just so happened to employ the help of my senior NASM Master Trainer to help work out the kinks of the original P90X. X2 offers more active rest and recovery for greater strength gains, better cues on form and function and less risk of injury. Rock. ON.


Body Beast:

Pack on up to 20 pounds of muscle in 90 days with Body Beast. Created by world-class trainer and former “Mr. Israel,” Sagi Kalev, this proven growth-inducing program includes 12 extreme workout DVDs, plus valuable fitness tools to help you get healthy, increase your confidence, lose fat, and give you the physique of a bodybuilding champion.

Here’s what you get with Body Beast:

12 workouts:

  • Build: DVDs 1-4 Lay the foundation for a huge new you. Give every muscle in your body a major pump with Super Sets and Giant Sets.
  • Bulk: DVDs 5-9 Force Sets, Progressive Sets, Combo Sets, and Multi-Sets build on the size you gained in Phase 1. Now the focus shifts to muscular hypertrophy, the technical term for the muscle cells enlarging, bringing about explosive muscle growth.
  • Beast: DVDs 10-12 With fat-burning cardio, relentless circuit-training, and intense core work, you’ll be amazed at your increasing capacity to lift heavier weights and grow bigger, more defined muscles.

You’ll also get these valuable tools:

  • The Book of Beast. Get huge without wasting a second. This info-packed program guide gives you tips on proper form and safety, explains the science behind growing your muscles, breaks down the nutrition you need to reach your goals, and even boosts your motivation.
  • “How to Eat Like a Beast” Eating Plan. Exceptional bodies are made in the kitchen. This comprehensive guide provides a calorie calculator, portion charts, food lists, and suggested supplements to help you bring out your inner Beast.
  • 90-Day Daily Workout Calendar. We’ve done the work for you, so you always know which exercises to do, when. Just follow along and chart your progress.



Brazil Butt Lift Master Series:

Launch your booty sculpting sky-high in just 30 days with Leandro’s advanced breakthrough moves and tools. The 30-day Master Series program includes 3 new workouts that work multiple muscle groups at the same time, plus smart tools to help you sculpt lean, sexy muscle and get the tight, sexy bikini body of your dreams.

Look your bikini best in 30 days.

Brazil Butt Lift Master Series includes 3 advanced new workouts, plus the tools you need to sculpt lean, sexy muscle in just 30 days. With the Master Series, Leandro adds more tools, resistance, and angles to work multiple muscles at the same time and help you get your best overall bikini body ever.

Here’s what you get with the Brazil Butt Lift Master Series Base Kit:

3 Advanced Workouts:

  • Bikini Body. Sculpt sexy muscles all over with hand weights and Leandro’s expert moves.
  • Higher & Tighter. Elevate your bum bum and trim your core with multiple cycles of advanced moves using the stability ball.
  • Ipanema Booty. Shape a firm, round booty using heavier ankle weights during intense sculpting on the stability ball.

Get tighter with 3 tools:

  • Stability Ball. Keeps you engaging your core with every move, for your ultimate bikini body.
  • Sculpting Guide. Follow Leandro’s fitness and nutrition plan to succeed.
  • Master Series 30-Day Calendar. Leandro shows you which workout to do each day, plus a hybrid option that includes the original Brazil Butt Lift DVDs.Brazil-Butt-Lift-Master-Series-DVD


Alright, so I totally get there are only 3 listed….here’s the deal.

These 3 programs can totally stand alone and take your health, fitness and body to the next level…


You can mix and match with programs you already own.

Here are the ones I’ll be mixing for 90 FULL days…and the Game Changers will have full access to my schedule.

  • P90X2
  • Insanity
  • Insanity: the Asylum, Volume 1
  • Les Mill’s Body Combat
  • Turbo Fire

You got it! 5 programs, 90 days, sequenced to ensure success, make the changes I want, and make sure I don’t get injured (THANK YOU P90X2 Recovery and Mobility!).

ALL you do is click the program link above, sign up for a FREE player membership, then head over to the Challenge Packs and get your goods.

So that’s that.

How bad do you want it, how crazy can you be?

I double dog dare you to find your limits…..then blow them away and find new ones. You never know what you really may be capable of just reading about others…make your own story!

See you tomorrow!



THIS is why I do what I do :)

P90X2 1 week review

Here we are, 7 days into P90X2, so I figured a quick review would suffice.

WOW! OK, I wanted challenging and I got it. I have been up super early everyday (as has my hubby and he hasn’t EVER complained. GO ALAN!) X2 is certainly delivering on the challenges as it seems with each new day I find at least one move that I commit to mastering. I’m going to have to quit working and devote my life full-time to mule kick burpees! Seriously… So, results: YOU BET! Since Monday I have lost 2.3 pounds and though I haven’t taken my inches, since I’m really waiting till the first 30 days are up, I can tell a big difference in my clothes. Since I was dealing with a post pregnancy belly a bit, it has flattened back out this week, YAY! The best part is that the stuff that I do with X2 at 5 in the morning makes what I do with my afternoon and evening classes seem so much easier to my body. It’s saying, “REALLY?!? IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?!?” Since we’re following the program and in the first phase (which is NO JOKE!) we had 2 recovery and mobility days which translates into quality time with a foam roller. As a trainer, I appreciate this because I know the benefits of foam rolling. Just because I know it, doesn’t mean I do it though. These days force me to recover. All in all I am totally digging the ferocity of the workouts and they are obviously giving my body the shock and challenge that is needed to promote change. We’ll see how the second week goes, especially since I have an all day dance training next Sunday!

Keep on MOVING people!


P90X2: Two Days in Review

Hey guys!

So, after reviewing tough love, I decided it may be a little too tough today, but you will see it at some point! For now, let me tell you what’s going on in the Carlson house…

For the past 2 mornings I have started waking up at 4:15 (as opposed to 4:30) and setting up our living room for the battle! My hubs and I are doing P90X2 at 5 a.m. every morning and I, for one, am LOVING IT! I needed a new challenge thrown at me because even though I am a sicko that enjoys a good sweat session, I can become complacent in my workout habits and stop seeing results. Yeah, I’m always striving to improve. Think of it progress, not perfection. I noticed a few weeks ago that I wasn’t seeing what I wanted for the amount of time and energy I was putting into my workouts. That meant it was time for a change! I talked with my love and we decided P90X2 was one we could do together. So, I wake up and clear the living room floor and get everything ready, then get him up to have a light snack and get started.

Day one was CoreX and it was great (I’m getting the feeling I won’t find any not great though). The moves are really complex which left me feeling like I’ll do 200% better the next time since I’ll know what’s coming. Note to reader: this is why exercise programs always say to watch before you do! So, yesterday morning we huffed and puffed and groaned through it and by about 2 p.m. my abs were already sore. Then I taught kickboxing last night :) . This morning was Plyocide, or Death by Plyometrics, as Tony Horton calls it. I felt more in my element here as it’s cardiovascular endurance training. think of how athletes train….yep, that was me! I was jumping and laughing at the “rabbit” so hard. My glutes were killing me this morning, but plyo worked them out, then worked them over. My endurance level is above average because I’ve trained for it to be (hello! I have to kickbox AND talk at the same time for an hour!) and this workout still challenged me through the variety of movements. During water breaks I was usually still hopping around and I have been pumped up ALL DAY.

Tomorrow is the Recovery and Mobility and I do love playing with foam rollers:) Each workout so far has been an hour long, but we have found it doable before the workday starts. After the workout, Alan goes to get ready and I whip up some Shakeology (today he made mine though, that sweet man!). It all works with some effort. P90 isn’t a beginner program in my professional opinion, but there are others beginners can try and I WILL make sure to get a review of those up in this next week.

Keep on moving and have a HEALTHY day!


Monday DVD Review: P90X and P90X2

Good Monday Morning Fit Livers! :)

As with every Monday, I am reviewing DVD workouts that can be done in your home and at your convenience. Today I’m going to hit on 2 of the biggest ones: P90X and P90X2.

Pretty much everybody has heard of P90X. You may even have a copy yourself. P90X is a workout program fully devoted to your results. It is circuit training at its finest and, if done consistently, will bring about the results in fat loss and muscle definition that most of us want from our workouts. Trainer Tony Horton leads the charge in these 2 programs and does a phenomenal job in sequencing the circuit in what he refers to as “muscle confusion”. Basically, you are moving from one set to the next with no rest. Circuit training is the best way to shed fat and build lean muscle mass at the same time. Pick up any Jillian Michaels book or DVD and she’ll tell you the same thing :)
First off, I would like to address the fact that this is an actual workout system, not simply a fitness DVD. P90X is produced and distributed by BeachBody and like ALL BeachBody programs it is fully loaded. With this program you get all of the circuit training workouts (30-45 minutes in length) along with the Ab Ripper, Yoga X, Stretch, and Cardio (Kenpo). As with all other BB programs, you also get a comprehensive and flexible diet program, workout log, and motivation. Think of it as your mini gym for major results. The original P90 focuses on Tony’s own brand of circuits (muscle confusion) with some seriously awesome moves that you can aspire to achieve. It is a highly challenging workout, but has loads of modifications throughout to make it doable for the novice exerciser.
So, how is P90X2 different? X2 takes on even more of a sports related training platform within the 12 new workouts offered. It is still a killer circuit program, but it takes you to the next level: athletic training. This is accomplished by the use of P.A.P. or post activation potentiation. Big words which basically mean you’ll be challenged by exhausting a muscle group then asking that same group to do just a little more….
X2 has more complicated moves, but still offers modifications throughout. Once completing just one of the workouts, you start to feel like an athlete :) You still get the nutrition, tracking, and support that BB is so good at offering to help people reach fit life goals.

The upsides of both P90X and P90X2 is that they are incredibly effective IF YOU DO THEM! Sitting there watching doesn’t burn thing. As with any home based program, you must put forth the effort. The people in both DVD systems are actual P90 success stories and BeachBody coaches, not fitness models as with other DVDs. These people work out because they want to be fit and healthy, not because they get paid to look fit. HUGE difference.

There are a lot of different opinions about Tony himself. Some people will tell you he is annoying on the DVDs, but the reality is he is saying the things ALL great trainers say when we are trying to motivate clients. He just says a lot :) My own opinion is that he a very kind during the workouts. Meaning, he always tells you that you can take a break when needed and skip a pushup if necessary. This forces those doing the DVD to self motivate through the rough spots just a bit, which can be difficult for those lacking motivation in the first place.

So, this comprehensive program offers lasting results in 90 days and it does deliver. I myself am looking for a new challenge and beginning a 90 day journey throughout the entire P90X2 with my hubby :) I’ll keep you posted as I am always looking for new challenges and from the looks of things, this program will deliver.

In great health!