WHAT should I eat to be healthy?

Many times people come to me with this questions expecting to hear a somewhat high quality, complicated answer.  

Before I answer, I consider how much I know about the person asking the question…

  • Are they coming from a place of potato chips and french fries?
  • Are they coming from a place of “not” eating much food because food made them fat?
  • Are they coming from a place of “I must eat all organic and expensive choices”?
  • How many times have they tried to “lose weight” or “eat healthy”?

If I don’t know these answers already, I’ll ask a few.

Then this is what I say…

The best and most healthy eating choices are the ones that are the healthiest that you will stick with for life.

If you’re a processed food snacker, I recommend slowly removing the processed food and finding whole food choices to replace them with (over time).  This is more about creating a new habit for your taste buds than anything.

If you’re someone who hasn’t been eating all day in order to keep from getting fat, I will tell you that first you must fuel yourself through your awake and active hours.  Starting to add protein to your morning is a great first step and it also adds calories to your day instead of starving your body.  Then you can begin to make healthier, whole food choices.

If you’re someone who has tried all kinds of fad diets, I’ll share with you that it’s more important to know how many calories your body needs a day and then focus on eating foods that you will stick with for life, NOT for losing weight.  Then manage those calories eating foods that you like and that have a balance of all three macros.

It will not do you much good to eat chicken breast and broccoli for two months and then fall to sweets and junk food for another five.

In general, focus on whole foods meaning, vegetables as close to their natural state as possible.  Lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey and lean beef as well as tuna and salmon.  Healthy fats from almonds, walnuts, olives and avocados and carbohydrates from your vegetables and beans and legumes.  All in all, what your body will tolerate and you will continue to keep as a habit is what you should eat.  Keep your calories in your caloric intake range and exercise for health.

Eating healthy for 30 days, 60 days is great but eating healthy choices that you’ll stick with for months to years is even healthier for your body!

Most things are not inherently bad for the body.  But consistent over indulgence of things not so healthy is where the damage usually comes from.

To LOG calories or NOT LOG calories…

Reputable trainers and coaches will tell you that you can have success NOT logging calories and that it’s just not necessary.  

Reputable trainers and coaches will also tell you that you SHOULD log calories for this and that reason.

I agree.  

I know plenty of people who manage their weight withOUT logging calories and I know plenty of people who HAVE to manage their weight by logging their calories.

The majority of my clients log their calories.  It’s easy for me to spot a client that will need to log their calories.  

This client will struggle with managing their training recovery.  They’ll wonder why small tweaks and twinges haunt them even though they’re doing all the right things such as strength, stretch, water and eating.

What they don’t realize is that they “think” they’re getting enough calories because they feel full or don’t feel hungry is the usual excuse.  But once I ask them to log for several days it’s easy to see it’s not enough calories and/or not enough at a certain time of day.

Many times they think that because they’re overweight they should eat a lot less. 

Truth is…the bigger you are, the more you’ll need to make sure you’re fueling your activity properly.

In the end, it comes down to your personality type, your habits and your knowledge of your own body and how it works.

Here is why I have the majority of my clients log.

Most of them have never known what really goes in their body.  They also have little to no knowledge of what a calorie is or where it comes from.  Next, they rarely know just how much their body needs these calories and why.

I also have many clients who deal with behavioral issues and eating.  Which means that logging calories allows them to manage the calories in a way that they don’t always have to give up certain foods, making weight management much easier.

Becoming knowledgeable about caloric needs for the human body is a must if a healthy and strong body is desired.

What about you?  Are you someone who can manage your weight “appropriately” without logging or do you log your calories?

Taka Helped Change my LIFE!

For the last year I’ve been asked many times what I thought of collagen.

I honestly couldn’t answer because I’ve never studied it let alone tried it. And if you know me, you know I won’t speak on something I don’t know.

So I chose to start studying it and my favorite part was its effect on tendons and cartilage.

Then I saw my friend posting about her collagen drinks so I tried it along with the WELLNESS drink that she had been talking about. It has zero sugar and all kinds of antioxidants, superfoods and vitamins and minerals.

What I loved the most was that it had ADAPTOGENS in it. The same ones that I take for MENOPAUSE!

While trying these two things I noticed I NO LONGER craved my Diet Pepsi! I thought maybe I was imagining it so a few months later I ordered more and knew it was time to make changes!

This wellness drink and collagen has changed my life in under five months!

I’m now three weeks into zero Diet Pepsi! Collagen twice a day and my wellness drink daily.

Here’s the healing I’ve experienced already…

  • Intestinal healing
  • Healthier gut biome
  • Smoother flowing digestive system
  • Less headaches
  • Clearer thinking
  • Less inflammation in fascia and muscle tissue
  • Less abdominal inflammation

I would NEVER have thought I had THAT much inflammation in my muscles and tissue still!

After all, I already…

  • get two massages a month to work on my body
  • drink 1 – 1.5 gallons of water a day
  • practice breathing exercises to reduce stress
  • eat balanced macro meals
  • AND, I exercise and get lots of fresh air!

It’s exciting to feel even “more” free in my body.

Needless to say, I’ll be sharing these products with the world!

Divorcing Diet Pepsi

I’m divorcing Diet Pepsi. We’ve been separated for three whole days now. Today is day four. I’m calling the divorce final at two weeks and one day.

Why two weeks and one day? Because it’s what I choose and from my experience with other addictions and my clients addictions I know that when I pass the two week mark I have made it and I’m in control.

I have lived and breathed Diet Pepsi (which I’ll now call DP). Literally. I’m slightly embarrassed to share this story but I’m mostly making this change because others have shared that it’s possible. Isn’t that what life is all about? Sharing our struggles and overcoming them?

I can still feel the moment. I’m sixteen and driving and have my first job. What do I do? I stop and get my DP and a Little Debbie Fudge Brownie and make sure I’ve got my cigarettes.

This was my life. For years. The very three things I became seriously addicted to and would fight to remove them later.

Thankfully, when I started having kids my thoughts and desires changed. I didn’t want them to copy me so the changes began.

Quitting cigarettes was first and hardest. I tried everything and then realized I had to change the blueprint in my mind. I assumed since my parents, and everyone else for that matter did, I was born to smoke. But I changed that thought which led to me quitting.

Finally, after three children I noticed I’m struggling with energy and sleep and belly fat big time. Back then we didn’t know quite what we know now but the information was out there, I just had to research and piece it together. I had pre diabetes. The doctors told me I was near it but not enough to push me on meds and of course, I didn’t want meds. So my journey began.

After my fourth child, I got more serious. I had practiced learning about food by providing meals to my daycare children. My eyes began to open about nutrition. I chose to start working part time at the local Y instead of daycare in my home and after a year I was down 20 pounds to about 160 ish. My belly was still there! But I had taken a liking to personal training much more than fitness classes so I began researching and learning.

In 2008, I decided my last eating binge would be Easter day. I had learned to track calories and found that I binged terrible! On Easter Day I had over 7000 calories. A lot of that was sugar for the drive home to stay awake.

The day after Easter I began my journey with eating Low Glycemic (LG). This came from a program called RESET and it saved my LIFE! I learned the most valuable information there!

I also realized I had an addiction that needed tackling. Sugar. Little Debbie Snack cakes were my first battle. It was my go to for everything and I convinced myself that I wasn’t eating that many but when I tracked them, I was eating a lot and enough to keep me insulin resistant.

EVIL. That’s how I had to change my mindset. They were EVIL. So were pancakes in the morning and donuts. ALL DONUTS!

I removed the items that I felt I couldn’t control.

Pretty soon I loved how I felt regarding my blood flow and couldn’t stand how I felt if I chose to eat sugar! It got easier!

The next year I lost another 20 pounds in my midsection. I believe it was about five inches!

There it was! My perfect self!

But guess what? I wasn’t prepared for horrible life experiences and choices. What about when devastating things happen and it’s traumatic? I fell! And I fell hard.

Having the tools in my tool chest is what has saved me every time! Each time a life event happens now, I am better and better at handling it!

The latest being my father’s death. I have not dealt with death since I was young so this was hard. But I’m privileged to have been there to tell him I love him and for him to tell me he loves me. I was able to handle it well and while I gained a few pounds, that had much more to do with continuing my eating pattern for training but not training and instead driving to see him over many weeks.

Today I am tackling the last true addiction I have and that is Diet Pepsi.

I’ve tried every other diet pop and no success. I’ve tried all kinds of other drinks and such but I have always come back to DP. What I have found is that if I drink a nice ice cold collagen or Taka drink they actually suppress this desire for DP for a while. I am choosing to use these as my crutch because they are filled with nutrients my body desperately needs!

I think it’s possible I have been depleting so much out of my body by the amount of DP I have a habit of drinking. Taka replaces this for me and helps me move on! When I first tried Taka months ago I knew it was going to be the move I needed to make this happen!

As I write this, my mouth craves DP. It craves the bubbles. It craves the “hit” of dopamine bad! But I am controlling it and I have my mind set on know that this too shall pass. Water, Taka, Collagen and proper macros at meals are helping tremendously!

LIFE HAPPENS FOR US, not to us. My mentor Jessie Lee preaches this and it’s something I’ve learned from other mentors but she says it out loud the most and she’s right. LIFE HAPPENS for us. I would not be this strong helping others through similar journeys if I hadn’t gone through what I had gone through.

Now I look forward to struggle. Because I know I will learn and grow and to me that is what life is about. GROWTH

I have not mastered anything, but I am practicing everything!

Believe you can and you’ve done the hard part!


What is sedentary?

The first thing that comes to most people’s mind is “couch potato”. This is not wrong.

The next thing to come to mind might be secretary who sits in a chair all day at work.

Again, not wrong.

If you look up the definition you’ll actually find reference to the fact that “little to no exercise” means sedentary as well.

What I find interesting is the definition “not migratory”. Such as birds that do not migrate. They are settled.

In my 16 years I can attest to the fact that I have watched people of both genders work in a physically active to semi active job and yet gain lots of weight while being active as well as gain major health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

So if this can happen to active and semi active people, maybe the definition of sedentary should be revised.

I’d like to suggest that anyone who does the same thing in and out daily on a regular basis, even if it is active, is sedentary.

What keeps us humans from chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol and high blood pressure?

Managing energy in and out, eating healthier choices for the cells of our body, getting movement that keeps the body surprised. Progressing movement to challenge the muscles and heart and lungs. And most of all, managing chronic stress.

I’d like to suggest that chronic stress probably plays a bigger role than anything else in our lives. We’re a “gotta have it now” society with zero delayed gratification.

So let’s avoid being “sedentary” and begin to challenge our body with varied movement at varied times.

FAI – Hip Impingement

My right groin area has been hurting for the majority of this year. I don’t remember having pain like this before this year and specifically the first time I remember feeling this is after riding a very large horse in a parade in March.

The horse was huge and gentle but it was my first time riding in a public parade and it was the last time I would ride with my daughter before her deployment so I was nervous and stressed all at the same time as being proud to be riding with her.

I do remember being very nervous about keeping the horse in line (even though she wasn’t difficult but I am not experienced) and I do believe this is the widest I’ve had to keep my legs turned open.

A couple months later I was riding another horse who is quite large and it was a stressful moment as I was struggling to get him to obey (I’m still inexperienced), he decided to lower his head as if to eat and then took off like a bat out of hell with me side straddling him holding on with a leg grip for life and my arms grabbing his mane as if my life depended on it. I eventually let go and was not hurt aside from a hard landing on the ground. My pride was hurt the most.

I did continue to experience varied pain but never while riding my bike or jogging/walking. I noticed hill hiking bothered the groin area so I began to back off on that. But my gait during my runs continued to get better and better and I had zero groin pain while running.

In July I ran my first MAF Mile non stop and it was pain free. Another time on a mountain bike trail I began to notice some groin pain on some tougher terrain.

So I backed off of hard terrain on the bike, no more jogging with the waist leash and the dog, and for now I’ve stopped jogging because I can’t say it’s not being irritated.

A couple weekends ago I finally got severe enough pain I thought I’d have to go to the doctor for an MRI then I chose to research groin issues and cyclists and runners. This is where I found hope.

There are nearly just as many people who heal themselves as there are those who have surgery.

I’m a believer in trying any and all things before any surgery!

So I’ve self diagnosed myself with FAI (femoroacetabular impingement). Every single thing about every single article I’ve read applies to me. So far the exercises I’ve chosen to start with have brought relief for sure!

Basically the ball and socket of my hip are irritated. Makes sense because I know I have a rectus femoris that is super tight on that hip, and I definitely could have minor tears on the labrum or it could just be inflamed. It’s obviously pinching at some point in my movement and I am working to keep my external rotators (piriformis etc.) loosened up

So I’ll head through this journey and notate my successes and setbacks because at some point someone else will struggle with this!

My big win this year is my gait improvement and my cardiovascular health. I’m stoked to continue to improve it along with my hip.

It’s easy to fall out of the habit of mobility work but DON’T! The body can surprise you faster than you realize.

Rocking Foot Gait

Since August of 2021 I have been working on healing my right foot gait.

How do I know it was wrong or bad? I’m not even sure anymore because for so long everything on my right side hurt and that’s why I never ran anymore. Historically, two miles in and my right knee felt like someone clamped a vise grip on it.

I eventually became one of those instructors/trainers that said running sucked but lifting weights was better! Then I met my masseuse! She started work on my quads and it took what felt like weeks and months to get some relief from tight quads. Over time she mentioned how the foot is so often the cause of so much. She mentioned that callous that everyone has on at least one foot. You know, the one on the ball of the foot that gets so big you want to file it down???

When I started following @gaithappens and learned why the callous was there, it BLEW MY MIND! Within months it became clear that not only did I have serious movement economy issues with my right foot…so did just about every single client I have!

I love that I’m so normal that I have all the same problems my clients do and I can totally fix myself and turn around and help them fix themselves!

It’s now October and as of this past August I still was NOT 100% in my right foot gait. I know I can be pain free and I wasn’t quite there. I still had a bit of knee pain and some calf swelling and a fair amount of foot discomfort in the fascia.

But this past week a complete revelation has come to me. I knew I simply had to continue perfecting my right foot gait. Something was missing. Then I was walking into the grocery store and wondering why my right foot constantly has to be reshifted inside my shoe to fit right. It’s ever so slight. Likely 3 mm. But to be honest, I KNEW the answer was there and I just needed to keep trying.

I never have to reshift my left foot inside my shoe. It just fits perfect all day long. My right foot fits perfect too! Until I walk. After several steps I notice I have to shift. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Then the video came to mind. The video where I watched Dr. Conley speak of rocking the foot. She used the skeleton foot to show how the foot is supposed to rock from the heel to the ball of the foot in such a way that the natural pronation/supination happens ever so slightly and the arch does it’s job just perfectly.

I’ve noticed for some time that my heel actually seems to pull in medially just as much as my toes turned laterally. If I pulled my toes in medially, it just didn’t feel so great. It felt uncomfortable.

But if I turned my heel out laterally a teeny bit and then turned my toes in medially a teeny bit….PERFECT! Not only did it feel just right, I was able to make my gait fall in that pattern almost naturally!

How freaking cool! If I slow down just enough to focus on this, it works every single step!

Since that moment, I have had ZERO knee discomfort/pain!


Stay tuned to hear how fast my knee heals and I’m back to squatting and running easy!

The Culture of BLTraining

I never really understood the question but the question was “what is the culture of BLTraining”? I’ve struggled to have a clear mental picture of culture. I mean, some culture’s are easy to see the difference. But my business culture regarding my clients?

All of a sudden a few months later, the mental imagery came. I get it.

I heard myself saying to someone tonight, “but it’s our nature to want to learn and not just be fixed”. “Our” refers to my clients. I have clients that have been with me for five to seven years. I truly believe the reason they are with me is because they love to be educated and I love to educate.

Therefore, as I grow, they grow. When I learn new things or advance my knowledge about the body, they are there and ready for me to experiment! By remaining my client it’s as if they get reduced fees for allowing me to practice on them! Of course, when it comes to regular personal training, they are paying a pretty fair price for sessions…not the cheapest but not the most expensive. This means that they get a physiotherapist in training, so to speak, for the price of a personal trainer.

I’ve begun to answer the question “what is the culture of BLTraining” and at it’s core, we love to be educated about the body and how it moves. We focus on being mobile and agile. We continually work on maintaining or gaining strength for our daily activities and desires. We appear to be 10-20 years younger than our chronological age (no less than 5). We’d rather be strong than thin. We don’t lose weight, we lose bodyfat. We love variety. We love growing and creating new positive habits and we love making our everyday movement part of our exercise routine. We also don’t speak negative of our bodies and we will ALWAYS be there with a positive word for our fellow team mate.

I couldn’t be more excited to begin to fine tune this description of the culture of BLTraining! We are a like minded people and I couldn’t be more happy to be a part of their lives.

TOES and Quality of LIFE

Splayed TOES

Toes are so neglected!

If we didn’t need toes, why would we have them?

All my life I’ve just accepted that the toes are what they end up being. As if we have no choice in their future. They just are what they are.

But our TOES can help us have a better quality of life as we get older!

It’s been proven that using our toes as they were meant to be used can greatly reduce or removes knee pain, hip pain and even shoulder pain!

My journey of strengthening my toes and my entire foot has helped me work through my hip and knee pain when walking and jogging for exercise as well as standing!

Your toes were meant to push off the ground and yet I was barely using my toes at all. I also had them squished into sport shoes that were keeping the toes squished together as if they were one big toe! I’ve worn Brooks, Reebok, Nike and even though they were all wide shoes, they still had my upper foot squished. The problem is that I THOUGHT IT WAS NORMAL! I thought that was how it was supposed to be in order to be supported.

NO! You should be able to spread your toes apart much like spreading your fingers apart “inside” your shoes with comfort!

I bought my first pair of wide toe box shoes and wondered how on earth I would make do with so much room in the toe. It was very uncomfortable. But after about three months, I couldn’t believe the change! No I have barely as much room because my toes splay so regularly!

Everything about my walking gait, running gait and standing posture has gotten nearly 100% better now that I’ve trained my feet to be healthier!

Do you train your toes? Can you splay your toes well?

My favorite shoes are from ALTRA. They have several different foot shaped shoes with different cushioning levels! I also use Toe Separators from Correct Toes! Best money I’ve spent!

The SECRET is in the EXHALE 😙

That’s the secret to…

Lowering heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety, even depression.

We INHALE big when frightened, scared or shocked – this turns on the fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system)

We EXHALE when we see a cute puppy, fall in love, feel safe, or reach the toilet before peeing our pants 😂 (parasympathetic nervous system)

But it’s true.

Many people struggle to have a controlled longer exhale and that’s usually because the sympathetic nervous system is likely chronically turned on.

Especially if you watch the news daily!

It’s easy for me to spot someone stuck in fight or flight AND they usually don’t believe they are!

How about you?

Are you sure you can turn on your parasympathetic nervous system?

The rest and digest mode!

Without it, the body degenerates much faster! Body gets worn down faster!

Heart attacks are more likely and so much more!

Think about that deep belly laughter…it’s just a big, fun, long exhale!