Blog Archives

10 Tips to Kick the Never-Ending Diet

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” Dolly Parton

When I think of Dolly’s quote I think of how my mother also tried every diet in the book before she finally lost her weight. I know she must have felt like she spent her entire life dieting. The truth is she just made a few common mistakes that just continued to prolong her results – and it happens to so many people. That’s why so many American live their all their life dieting.

10 Tips to Break the ‘Never-ending Diet’ Cycle:

  1. Avoid diet hopping. Some people never stick to a diet long enough to get results before they hop on the next diet that comes their way.  If you chose a diet plan, stick to it.
  2. Never attempt an unrealistic diet. I can’t help but think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, which I was on for all of four very long days. A successful diet is one you can stick with for the long haul.
  3. Don’t rely on the quick fix. We all know better, but our patience often gets the best of us. Don’t give in to weight loss gimmicks. A quick fix is just a temporary fix and only postpones the inevitable.
  4. Be realistic. If you are on a mild diet and exercise plan, expect mild results. The more intense the program, the faster the results. Be realistic when setting and working toward your goal.
  5. Be honest with yourself. People seem quick to recall all the healthy low-calorie foods they eat but get amnesia when it comes to unhealthy choices. The scale will tell on you so, in all actuality, you aren’t fooling anyone but your self.
  6. What you don’t know can hurt you. I find most people who have failed on their diet have been guessing their way through it all. Other people just don’t want to know the truth. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has taken a bite of something and as soon as I begin to read off the calories he plugs his ears saying “lalalalalalalala, I don’t want to know, lalalalalala”!  The fact is the calories are there whether we know it or not.
  7. If you aren’t dieting, you should be maintaining. Even if you lose the weight, you still have to be accountable for what you eat in order to maintain your new size. Many people who hit their goal end up right back where they started because they went back to eating poorly.
  8. The “Weekday Diet” doesn’t always work. Many people diet all week, only to erase their hard work each weekend with poor food choices. Although this may work while in maintenance, this diet faux pas is what makes people feel like they are dieting all the time and never reaping the reward.
  9. Never underestimate the power of the calorie. Weight loss boils down to one thing – calories in vs. calories out. You can’t expect results if you are not sure how many calories you are eating.
  10. Commit to dieting the right way. A lack of commitment just prolongs the amount of time it will take to get results. You can live on a yo-yo diet for the rest of your life and get mediocre results, or you can commit to working hard for a while and live the rest of your life enjoying your results.

Are Your Power Walks POWERful? 8 Tips to Improve

bonnie pfiesterI was running the other day and ran past a middle-aged woman (side note: I love how “middle-aged people” continue to get older as I get older. ha!). Anyway, so I say good morning (because that’s how I roll) and she mouthed something. This was my cue to stop, take off one of my earphones and say”what?” since I can’t read lips. She repeated herself saying, “I used to that. I used to run 3 miles a day and look skinny like you”.

I went on to say “you can do it again” and tried to encourage her. She said she was too old, etc and went on to make excuses. I then told her how my mom and dad got fit in their late fifties and that it’s never too late to get in shape. She was totally not hearing me, but I smiled anyway and off I went.

As I ran around my “morning loop” I passed her 4 times. This KILLED me. She was clearly was walking for exercise, but she was walking so slow she almost was going backwards. OK, not really, but you get my drift. She wasn’t even TRYING! I guess she thought she was doing something “healthy”, and don’t get me wrong, what she was doing was better than sitting on the couch – but she could have made SO much more out of her efforts.

Even people that walk past me that I can totally tell are walking for exercise are still WAY under where they need to be to really burn some calories. Power walks should be PURPOSEFUL walks. So, how do you know if you are on pace?

8 Ways to Put More Power in Your Power Walks

1.) Swing arms. Arms should swing at a 90 degree angle while walking and your body should twist at the waist while holding your abs tight. This gives you the power you need to move faster (look at the photo of the runner. I guarantee she would be able to book it like that if her arms were dangling down by her side. However, if you aren’t walking fast enough, you’ll feel like a complete tard because your arms will be out-performing your legs. Another words, don’t expect to swing your arms like a maniac and let your legs walk like you are in a coma. They work best if they are working together and it will feel much more natural. The best part about swinging your arms is, it not only increases calories burned, but it tones your abs and waist. If you do it right, you will actually be sore. If not, you are likely not getting enough rotation.

2.) Maintain good posture. Be sure to stand up tall while running or walking, holding your stomach nice and flat, rolling your shoulders back, and being careful not to stick your neck out (which people often do when they are moving forward, whether driving or walking). This will help train your body how to maintain better posture all the time. If you aren’t “training” your body on good posture while walking, you are training your body how to maintain bad posture.

3.) Walk as fast as you can. Try walking as fast as possible without breaking into a run, taking long strides with bended knee as if lunging forward. Your arms will really have to swing hard to help you keep this pace. It will also feel completely awkward, but it will look much more normal than it feels. Do this until you can’t maintain it any more. I would consider that your top pace for walking.

4.) Prevent slowing down by tracking your walks. For instance, you can count your steps from one mailbox, or light post, to another to help give you a top-end goal to help hold you accountable or you can track your walk time. You can also do sprint intervals to improve your pace where you sprint from one drive way to the next at every 3-5 houses or so. An awesome device that is great for tracking your pace is the iPhone App called the RunKeeper. It will tell you your average pace and track your progress.

5.) Look at people around you. Notice other walkers and realize they all think they are working out hard and many of them look no different than if you saw them walking in the mall while shopping. Make it your mission NOT to be “that guy”. 

6.) Have someone video tape you. This is a RUDE awakening. When I was doing a TV segment on walking, I was SHOCKED by how slow I looked. I was walking at 4.2mph and it looked like I was strolling. Sometimes pride fuels us to improve and we need to see how we look to others in order to be motivated to perform better. This sure helped me.

7.) Challenge your workouts with interval training. I love my GymBoss Interval Trainer. It’s a timer you can set to go off at different intervals to help make your walks more challenging and less boring. For instance, if you are wanting to become a runner you can set the timer for 2-minute walks and 1-minute sprints. As you improve, you can change that to a 2-minute jog and 1-minute recovery walk. Eventually, you can do a 2-minute run and 1-minute sprint. It’s a great way to boost your workouts and let the GymBoss become your “trainer”.

Polar RC38.) Buy a heart rate monitor. This tip is the #1 best thing you can do to hold yourself accountable. Your heart rate is the best indicator of how many calories you are burning. I like to be around 75% of my maximum heart rate with 65% being my lowest and 85% being my highest. (Maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Then you multiple that number by the heart rate you are wanting to maintain, like .75). I suggest getting a POLAR Heart Rate Monitor like the Polar RC3, as a POLAR not only tracks your heart rate, calories burned, and all kinds of cool stuff, but it allows you to set up 5 sports profiles so you can so you can easily change between exercise sessions. It also has a zone lock that alerts you if you are falling out of your training zone. You can even set up interval training based on heart rate, speed/pace or distance, or chose from their training programs created by their fitness experts. Think of it as your very own affordable personal trainer. Plus it tracks your training history so you can see how you improve!

Here’s a great video showing all the ways you can use your Polar.

Subscribe to my Blog for more pFIT Tips!


FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

50 Go-To Exercises for Your Gym Routine

livewell360 core bag

It’s easy to walk into a gym like ours and completely be overwhelmed with equipment. To be honest, it would even intimidate me if I was seeing it for the first time. As a result, many members don’t venture out much. They just use what they know – no matter how little that is. So, it’s time to start working out with more purpose, so you can get the best results possible.

In Tuesday’s blog, “How to Set an Effective Workout Schedule” I talk about varies ways to break up body parts so you can design a workout based on your schedule. Well, as promised, today I will be giving you a hit list of exercises you can use in your routine.

First, in this list, I categorize exercises by body part, with the largest muscle groups first. When you are lifting weights, you don’t want to work your small muscle groups before you work your large muscle groups – because your small muscles will be too tired to lift the heavier weight required to work the larger ones. Large muscle groups include chest, back and legs. Small muscle groups typically refer to all your arm muscles.

muscle anatomy

Next, you’ll notice that in each group, I first list one exercise that doesn’t require equipment (if possible). I also list alternative machines or tools to help you find what works with what you have access to. Now realize, there are SOOOO many more, but these 50+ exercises are the most common – and good for starting a beginner to even advanced routine.

If you are doing a full-body workout, you may only choose 2-3 exercises per body part, and only do 2-3 sets of each (depending on your time). If you are working out several times a week, and breaking up body parts more, you may do all the exercises in each specific body group for that day for 3-5 sets to add intensity, and extend the length of your workout.

gymbossLastly, rest time is super important. You can take a very basic workout and majorly boost intensity if you reduce your rest time. We use the GymBoss Interval Timers (set at 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off) at our club so our members are being pushed to work hard and rest little.

So that brings me to reps. You can do 12-15 reps for upper body and 15-20 reps for lower body OR you can use the interval timer to go as hard and fast as possible and not even worry about counting. Just remember, if you could do a few more reps, you likely need to up your weight.

Top 50 Exercises:

OK, so here you go! Here are 50 different exercises mentioned below with some tips to help you design your workout schedule. (PS: It’s actually more than 50 exercises, but TOP 50 sounded better than Top 51. Ha!)

Push Ups
Barbell or dumbbell Bench Press (flat bench)
Incline Dumbbell or Machine Chest Press
Dumbbell Fly (Pec Dec Machine or Cable Crossovers)
Do at least 1 pree & 1 fly

Pull Ups or Assisted Pull Ups
Wide Grip Lat Pull Downs (preferably with wide bar)
Seated Row Machine
Bent Over Row (dumbbells or barbell)
Do at least 1 wide grip & 1 close grip.

Squats (Air Squat or Barbell Squat, hits all muscles)
Leg Press Machine (hits all muscles)
Walking Lunges (dumbbells, quads and glutes)
Leg Extension Machine (hits quads)
Leg Curl Machine (prone/lying, seated and/or standing, hamstrings)
Straight Leg Deadlifts (Dumbbells or Barbells, for hamstrings)
Weighted Calf Raises (or Calf Raise Machine)
Do at least 1 exercise per body part (quads, hams, glutes)

Handstand Push Up or Pike Press
Military Press with Barbell or Shoulder Press Machine
Arnold Presses or Shoulder press with dumbbells
Upright Rows
Lateral Raises
Rear Delt Raise (or Reverse Fly or Reverse Pec Dec Machine)
Do at least 1 press, 1 raise (front or lateral) and the rear raise.

Dips (or Bench Dips)
Tricep Pullovers (with dumbbell or curl bar)
Tricep Press (on cable with bar, V handle or rope)
Tricep Kickbacks
Do at least 2 exercises.

(Equipment needed)
Straight Bar Curl
Preacher Curl or Bicep Curl Macine
Dumbbell Curl
Concentration Curls
Do at least 2 exercises.

Traditional Sit Ups
Weighted Crunches
Bicycle Crunches 
Leg Raises  or Hanging Knee Raise (advanced) for lower abs
Oblique Crunch (sides/obliques)
Choose 2-3 exercises. 

Side Plank
Back Extension  or Ham/Glute Developer Machine
(PS – I don’t like the way this exercises is demonstrated, but it can give you an idea)
Choose at least one.

Remember to read: How to Set an Effective Workout Schedule” for help on scheduling your workout schedule for the week. 

Have fun, train with confidence & #getafterit!

Coach’s Choice: Top 6 Exercises for the Pros

One of the perks to being in the fitness industry, and working with great brands like Designer Whey and Sears, is you get to meet some really amazing trainers and athletes.

Every trainer and athlete has their favorite exercises. So, when I met with Mixed Martial Arts trainer, Coach Van Arsdale, to tape his Designer Whey workout, you bet I asked him to share his top exercises and training tips.

I got the inside scoop of his go-to exercises, plus one very surprising tip he had that may shock many fitness enthusiasts and MMA fans. Here’s what I learned!

Coach’s Choice

Coach Van Arsdale shares his top 6 exericses:

#1 Favorite Conditioning Exercises: Sprints on an Incline Treadmill

#2 Favorite Abs Exercise: Sit Ups with a Twist (video demo below with Ryan Jimmo)

#3 Favorite Core Exercise: Barbell Deadlift

#4 Favorite Power Producing Exercise for Quads & Glutes: Single Leg Exercises like Single Leg Squats with Weight Vest, Single Leg Lateral Lunge, Walking Lunges, Hurdle Hop and Hold (over 6-8″ hurdles), 1 Leg Romanian Dead Lift, Single Leg Hip Ups (below).

#5 Favorite Upper Body Strength Exercise: Dips and Slow Tempo Pull Ups (all grips) for  3 seconds up and 5 seconds down, or 8 seconds up and 8 seconds down for more intensity.

#6 Favorite Exercise Overall: Barbell Deadlift

Coach’s Training Schedule

Coach’s athletes train 2 times a day 4 days a week, Monday through Thursday. They train 1 time one day a week on Friday and take the weekends off. Yes, you heard right! Coach strongly discourages his athletes train 6 or 7 days a week. He says the body needs rest and gives his athletes the weekends off to repair and relax.

“I strongly discourage my fighters from training even 6 days a week. Their body needs the weekend to rest.”

Each training session is no more than an hour and fifteen minutes, and includes a variety of MMA drills, conditioning, cross training and strength exercises. Coach said 80% of their training is technical training, which also is a lot of conditioning. He said only 20% of their workouts consists of weights and cross training, but that also depends on how close the fighter is to a fight. The closer a fighter gets to their fight, the less cross training they do and the more technical training they must do to prepare. Of course all training is exhausting and very cardiovascular, as well as works every muscle in their body. MMA training is pretty extreme no matter how you look at it. These are tough guys!

Coach’s Partner Circuit Workout

Here is an example of a 14-exercise circuit workout they do at the end of a workout.

Q&A with Coach

Ted CzechTed Czech ‏@TedCzechfrom Twitter, asks:
“Blackzilians have had some tough breaks in the cage lately — what do they need to do to win?”

Coach Van Arsdale‘s Answer: “Focus is the key to winning at any level. Our coaches, athletes and our entire support staff must contnue to work as a team and we must maitain a positive atmosphere throughout the camp. Winning is associated with success, but to champions, what’s done after a loss can prove more vital to success over time.”

NOTE: There are about 25 members of Team Jaco, home of the Blackzilians. Although they may experience some high-profile losses occasionally, insiders report their team has won approximately 75-80% of all their fights and is going strong.

PFIT TIP: Better is Best

How many times have you heard “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all“. This has been my motto on many things in life – especially work. If I can’t do something 100%, than I’d rather not do it until I can. However, this doesn’t apply to everything – especially fitness.

Life Half Full
It’s easy to not want to do something half way. If you are an all-or-nothing type of person, like me, you can justify not doing something unless you can do it right. But, I have news for you. Not doing anything is not always the right thing to do.

Tell me, if you’re given half a glass of water when you are thirsty, do you drink it anyway, or do you go without because it’s not the full glass you need? If you’re thirsty, you take what you can get- and if you thirst for a healthy body you need to take what you can get as well.

Better & Best
Fitness is not black and white. There is no real right or wrong – there is better and there is best. Anything you do is better, even if you can’t do the very best. So you can’t workout as much as you want to. Do you just not train at all? No, you just do what you can, because that’s better – and better is always best.

We need to treat fitness as our daily vitamins. What do you do if you miss a day? You just pick off where you left off. The more often you take them, the better. It’s the same with eating healthy and working out. You try to do it as often as you can, but if you slip up, you don’t just quit. Something healthy is always better than nothing healthy at all.

Whether you lack time, equipment, direction or support – just do what you can, when you can, with what you have. – B-

5 Steps to Getting Back on Track

My recent blog on Designer Whey. I wrote this after my vacation – where I reeeeally went off my diet and regular workout routine. Although I had a blast, sometimes the hardest part is getting back on track. If you ever find yourself way off course, here are 5 tips on how to help you get back on track!

We all get lazy from time to time. We skip a few workouts and slip off our typical diet. Before you know it, we have stepped out of our normal fitness lifestyle – and we feel horrible.

Unfortunately, it can snowball out of control quickly if we don’t put some predetermined guidelines into place. Here are 5 steps to making sure that trip to fatville is a quick one.

1. Designate a set day of the week you always use to start fresh. Most people use Monday as the day to get back into their workout routine and eat healthy. Having a line in the sand helps separate the past from the present. Our mistakes were so last week. This day is the time to move on.

2. Have a plan. Having a day you start fresh is meaningless if you don’t know what you are going to do. It’s crucial you… READ MORE

Get on the Designer Whey email list to be the first to read our blogs and get fresh new workouts!

3 Ways to Amp Up Your Workout

Steve Pfiester writes for Designer Whey, “What are you Really Doing in the Gym“.

“I’ve been guilty of going into the gym, knocking down a list of exercises, and two hours later packing up to go home.  Sounds good, but the problem is I never really worked out at all.  Sure I got a little pumped, maybe even made my quads burn a little.  And still, except for my armpits, my shirt didn’t have a drop of water on it – except where I drooled starring at Bonnie doing walking lunges. Ok, moving on…

How do we make our time in the gym more useful, more intense, more productive?  Most of us don’t have time to devote two hours of pure isometric exercises to give us bigger biceps.  Especially when our goals may be to condition our abs and lean out.  Even if you’re like me and you want it all, is it still possible to work on building our bodies while we condition and get lean?” 

CLICK HERE to read the rest of Steve’s Blog and get the answer!

Being Fit Tastes So Good

As most of you know I work for Sears’ online fitness community called FitStudio. One of my jobs is to write motivational tidbits to FitStudio members, which get emailed to members once a week. Here was today’s tip!

This week’s topics:
Razor Back Workout
Walk to a Different Beat Treadmill Workout
Mind Your Munchies Diet Tips
Poll: What’s Your Meal Environment? 

Be sure to join FitStudio so you get more of these helpful tips and workouts. 

FITNESS: Avoid the Wrong Track to Nowhere

People are constantly asking me what weight routine to do. They ask me to critique their routine, as if changing a couple of exercises is going to change everything. Honestly, most people are spending too much time on stuff that really doesn’t matter and not enough time on the stuff that matters most.

Listen, I’d guess that 80% of the population wants to lose weight and tone up – not sculpt their rear deltoids and show more muscle separation in their quads. Just because some girl in the gym (who looks very hot by the way) does a certain workout, doesn’t mean that workout is for you (YET). Plus, I guarantee she is doing a lot more than lifting dumbbells.

Before you waste a lot of time and energy copying programs, trying new weight exercises and analyzing every exercise you see in the gym – ask yourself a few questions.

Fitness Checklist for Success:

1. Are you doing enough cardio? Listen, you can sculpt your muscle all day but if you aren’t actively and purposely removing fat, you’ll never see all your hard work.

2. Do you know how many calories you are eating every day? When people ask me for diet advice, 90% of them have NO clue how much they are eating. They can list off all these healthy foods to me, but that means nothing. That’s like me telling my husband that I bought 5 shirts and 2 pair of jeans. What the heck can he do with that? He sure can’t balance the checkbook with that. I can even tell him I bought them from TJMaxx, and that STILL won’t give him a clue how much to deduct from the checking account.  Read the rest of this entry

Food – Keep It Simple Stupid

Managing calories can be pretty overwhelming in the beginning. Looking up calories online, counting calories, looking at grams of protein, etc – it can honestly be pretty taxing ….BUT don’t give up!! Maybe you are making things too difficult. There is an easy way to learn how to manage calories and it’s called keeping it simple.

You’ve probably heard the saying “KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid”, well this DEFinitely applies with diet. The more ingredients you add in a meal, the harder it is to manage. The more you eat out, the harder it is to manage. And the harder it is to manage, the more likely it is you will give up.

Here are a Few Tips to Keeping Your Diet Simple, Stupid! 🙂

1.) Eat whole foods. Choose one meat and 1-2 veggies for basic meals. Flavor with Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: