Not Sure What to Buy at the Grocery Store? Here are some essentials!


Happy Wednesday Team!

I know Labor Day weekend set us all back a little bit in terms of eating well, but don’t worry – I’ve got some suggestions for you. Let’s start with grocery shopping. This is one of the single most important activities of your week. Why? What you choose to buy at the grocery store directly affects who much weight you lose and how much muscle you gain. You can work out as much as you want, but if you’re not eating the right foods, all your hard work is for nothing. Seriously.

Here are some ESSENTIAL items that you should have on your grocery list:


1. Grass fed beef – great source of iron and protein

2. Organic, cage-free chicken or turkey – great source of lean protein

3. Berries – all kinds of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries) berries are rich in antioxidants

4. Almonds – roasted and unsalted. Roasted nuts are better for you than raw nuts because the roasting process makes certain vitamins more digestible. Go unsalted to cut down on sodium in take.

5. Flax seeds or flax seed oil – great to put in oatmeal or muffins or pancakes. Full of omega 3s.

6. Almond, cashew, or macadamia nut butters – use one of these instead of peanut better. Less salt more nutrients.

7. Kale, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli – these should be staple veggies that you always have on hand. You can make salads, you can steam, grill or roast them with olive oil and some garlic for flavor. Full of nutrients and vitamins.

8. Full fat Greek Yogurt – you must be shocked at the full fat part, but you might be surprised to know that the body needs fat to metabolize certain vitamins.

9. Cottage cheese – great source of calcium and packed with protein – great on toast or by itself.

10. Coconut oil – the only thing I use to cook with, better than olive oil for high heat. Good source of saturated fat, tastes great.

11. Kefir – similar to yogurt, a great probiotic for stomach health.

These are just suggestions, but if you incorporate these food items into your daily diet and take out processed and fast foods, you will see a difference right away. I guarantee it.


Got questions? Email me:


Keep on keepin’ strong,

Coach Colleen

5 Ways to Have a Healthy “End of Summer” BBQ Bash

Happy Thursday Team!

Labor Day is only 3 days away and we know that invariably means that grills are being prepped, bags of charcoal are on standby, and grocery store meat departments are bracing for the impact that will come this weekend.

As with all holidays, Monday will be a “cheat day” for a lot of folks. Who in their right mind can exercise restraint when there’s burgers on the grill, chips and guac, and all sorts of other goodies sitting on the picnic table? Never fear, I’m here to tell you 5 ways that you can have a healthy, guilt free, and  tasty end of summer bbq bash that you, your kids, and the neighbors will love.



1. Choose QUALITY proteins.

I hate to break it to you but not all meats are created equal. When purchasing meats in general, there are a few important attributes that I look for:

– Locally sourced: I only buy meat that’s been produced locally (within 100 miles). Thankfully for Minnesotans, we have a ton of farms within 50 miles of the Twin Cities so access of quality, local meat is easy.

– Beef qualities: 100% grass fed. There are lots of debates about whether there’s significant differences between grass fed and corn fed beef. But for me, I choose grass fed whenever possible because grass is a cow’s natural diet. Cattle that’s grass fed is usually healthier and leaner. The old adage is true, you are what you eat. Do you want to be fat or do you want to be lean?

– Poultry qualities: 100% free range. I choose cage free eggs and poultry (and local of course) because do you really want to eat something that’s been cooped up in a cage sitting in its on feces with hundreds of other birds? Do you want to eat something that’s been injected full of antibiotics to combat cage diseases that chickens and turkeys get from being cramped up in overcrowded coops? Didn’t think so.

ABC News did a report on non-organic meats and found that about 70% of it has traces of salmonella and that nasty “pink slime”. Don’t put you or your family at risk by buying poor quality meats. Spend the extra money for better quality – you won’t be sorry.



2. Pick the right buns.
With gluten intolerance on the rise and an increase in GMO wheat, you may want to consider alternatives to generic buns this year.

Lettuce wraps: try using romaine lettuce leafs to wrap your burgers and brats. You get the benefit of some extra veggie action and virtually no carbs!

Make your own from scratch: in this day in age, there’s a recipe on the internet for everything. Making your own buns is a great activity to do with the kids and a great conversation starter. Who wouldn’t find some satisfaction in saying, “Try the buns! They’re homemade!”

If you’re buying from the store, READ THE LABELS. Go for something that whole grain with minimal additives. Got a local bakery near buy? If so, hit them up for some freshly baked buns. It’ll be a win for you and a win for them. (I like to support local small businesses as much as I can.)



3. Choose smart condiments.
I love ketchup and mustard just as much as anyone else, but the calories can quickly add up. Condiments used to be 100% homemade, now they’re packed with thickening agents, preservatives (isn’t it strange that ketchup and mustard have shelf lives of like 2 years?)

To choose wisely, here are some things to look for:

Mayo: most store bought mayo has canola oil or soybean oil in it. Soybeans are one of the most genetically modified crops in the US. Even mayo that say it’s made with “olive oil” has soybean oil in it. If you’ve never made your own mayo, now is your chance! Again, there are thousands of recipes online that are simple and tasty.

Ketchup: store bought ketchup is loaded with artificial sweeteners and sugar. In a study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that organic ketchup contains 60% more cancer-fighting lycopene (an antioxidant) per gram than non organic counterparts.  Want to stick with the homemade everything theme? Here’s a simple recipe for making your own: Combine organic tomato paste, organic white vinegar, organic garlic and onion powder, organic allspice, organic cayenne pepper, unrefined sea salt, organic pepper, and pure stevia extract.

Mustard: Go organic. The white vinegar that’s used in conventional mustard typically comes from GMO corn (roughly 88% of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified). Annie’s Organic Yellow Mustard is a good store bought alternative if you’re not interested in making it yourself.

pasta salad


3. Choose smart yet tasty side dishes.
There’s are tons of side dishes out there but I’ll go over a few of the common ones.

Pasta salad- the pasta used in pasta salad usually comes from refined wheat that spikes blood sugar. Opt for a healthier noodle by buying ones made from quinoa, amaranth, or brown rice. Or better yet, gluten free noodles. To go one step further in making it healthier, ditch the mayo (unless you made it yourself) and use plain Greek yogurt instead.

Sauerkraut instead of coleslaw: since ‘kraut is a fermented food, it has a lot of healthy pro-biotic qualities that are great for digestion and stomach health. It has significantly less calories and sugar than coleslaw and sugarless.



4. Use good grilling skills
Don’t char your meats. According to the American Cancer Institute, charring meat causes heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) carcinogens to form in the meat. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to eat potentially cancer causing meat this year, or ever for that matter.

To avoid charring meat, use marinades that contain lemon. There are properties in lemon juice that prevent the HCA’s from sticking to the meat. Turn down the heat or raise the rack. The HCA’s are formed primarily when juice from the meat drips on the rack and burns, the vapors that are released then flare up into the meat. Use tongs to flip meats to prevent dripping (which will in turn cause burning and charring).


I hope this was helpful for all of you gearing up for this weekend!

I would love to see what you all make so feel free to post pictures on our Facebook!

Until next time,


Coach Colleen


8 Reasons to Getting Moving NOW

bootcamp, minneapolis, fitness, women only

Happy Hump Day!

Today’s we’re going to share with you 8 reasons why you should be exercising and moving your body.

I don’t know about you, but I know that I can use a boost of confidence daily. We have so many stresses in our lives that it’s hard to feel on top of the world 24/7. However, when I’m training regularly and my energy is up – I feel great and now that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to. Whether its making a deadline at work or it’s making it to yoga class on Saturday morning, when I’m working out regularly I’m on top of my game.

This is an obvious one, but an overlooked benefit. Who doesn’t want to be strong? For women, we’re sometimes intimidated by this benefit because we’re afraid we’re going to “look manly” or “get too bulky”. I’m here to tell you that it’s not possible for women to bulk up like men without the assistance of serious supplements. SO DON’T WORRY! You’re not going to look like Hulk Hogan. Don’t you want to be able to run around and play with your kids without getting winded? Don’t you want to be able to go hiking with your significant other without getting tired. Don’t you want to be able to carry 2 or even 3 bags of groceries from your car without your arms falling off? Don’t you want to be able to say that you can do “real push ups”? I know I do!

We all know the feeling we get when we workout super hard and go home feeling exhausted yet glowing with pride. I never regret working out, ever. But I always regret it when I sit on the couch and don’t do anything when I know the weather is beautiful and I should be outside doing something awesome. The temporary discomfort that we feel during the workout is totally worth the results we get. Remember, the discomfort is TEMPORARY. You are don’t going to die, even though you might think that. Pushing yourself to the limit is the only way to see what you’re body is capable of. Don’t be afraid – your body can do amazing things if you just allow it to.

There’s not a lot out there that’s sweeter than the feeling on accomplishment; the feeling you get when you conquer a goal and see the fruits of your labor. I know it’s hard in the beginning to get started because it’s overwhelming, but the simple act of just showing up to a yoga class, or to bootcamp is all it takes. It’s your instructor’s job to help you with the rest of the process. All you have to do is commit to sticking with it! Commit to NOT GIVING UP!

I’ve never met anyone who’s said “I like being fat and unhealthy.” It may sound harsh but the reality is that being healthy comes with a price. That price is committing to what it takes. Eating well and exercising takes time and planning, commitment and dedication even when it’s inconvenient or frustrating. Do you want to live a long life? Do you want to see your kids grow up and play with your grand children? Being healthy isn’t something that happens over night or something that you can buy – it’s a lifestyle. Are you willing to change your old life for a healthy one?

Don’t you want to be around for the ones you love? I know I sure do! Eating poorly and not taking care of yourself is an act of selfishness. There are people that love you and depend on you. If your body goes out on you because you didn’t have the gumption to take action, that’s on you.

The pursuit of happiness is something that everyone is constantly looking for. I guarantee that that people who exercise regularly are happier than those who don’t. When you feel good about your body, when you have increased energy and strength, when you can do things that you’ve never been able to do – there’s no way you can’t smile about that!

We all have stress in our life. For some of us it’s our work, for others it’s our home life. For other’s we may feel like our whole life is a stress bucket. But exercising releases a variety of chemicals into the brain like serotonin and endorphins that aid is stress relief. People who take even 15 minutes to get up and move their body feel better on average than people who don’t do anything at all.

With these reasons, you have NO excuse to not exercise. Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day. Something is better than nothing. We all have to start somewhere so don’t compare your start with someone’s middle. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or what they can do. Focus on what you can do right now and what you want to be able to do in the future. That’s the most important thing.


Keep on keepin strong,


Coach Colleen

Dog Days of Summer in Minneapolis

Beat-the-Heat in Minnesota


I know it’s been a while since the last post, but what can I say, I’ve been so busy being active and moving my  body I just haven’t had a chance to check in with everyone.

So let me ask you, since we’re in the final weeks of August, what have you all been up to? Have you done a lot of biking and walking? Have you spent many weekends at the cabin? On the boat?

We are in the thick of what’s called the Dog Days of Summer. Here in Minneapolis, the weather the past 3 days have been in the high 90s low 100s and so humid! I know heat like this can really be a deterrent so here are some tips on how to get in your work out without having to be in the sweltering heat:


1. Wait until the evening.

While the evenings the past few days have been muggy, at least the sun isn’t beating down on you. If you can get over the mugginess, training/working out in the heat can help loosen your muscles quicker and strengthen your cardio endurance. After 7pm is a great time to go for a post dinner walk/run/bike ride. Whatever suits your fancy. People don’t realize that a simple 30 minute speed walk, or 30 minute jog or an hour bike ride is more what most people are doing for exercise. Every little bit counts! Make sure you’re staying hydrated to avoid dehydration or heat stroke.


2. Pool time!

Swimming or evening running in a pool is a great way to exercise and it’s actually fun. If you like to swim then do about 20 minutes of lap swimming. If that’s too much, then do 10 minutes and then do 20 minutes of pool running. As you get stronger, but up the minutes that you’re swimming. Running in water is a great way to build leg and core strength. The resistance the water provides is a great muscle builder and hard to replicate on land.


3. Join bootcamp!

I’m sorry, but I can’t help it. Joining bootcamp is a great way to get in shape or stay in shape all year round because we have AC! The other benefits of bootcamp are that you have a team of equally as dedicated and driven students that share similar goals as you and that will hold you accountable. All the workouts are different so you won’t have to worry about getting bored. We have a ton of fun, but if you’re not convinced then come in for a free lesson and free week!


It’s really important to keep training even when the weather is hot and humid, or freezing and snowy. There are no excuses that justify not working out and taking care of your body on a regular basis. At the end of the day, you decide whether or not you’re going to change for the better or for the worse, or stay the same.

If you have questions, give us a call at The Academy. We’re excited to start training with us! You just have to give us a shot. 763-560-5696. We’re also on Instagram: @academywobootcamp, Facebook, Pinterst, Tumblr, and Twitter. So make sure that you follow us and connect with one of our coaches!


Keep on keepin strong,


Coach Colleen

Training Outside in Minneapolis: Get Fit in the Fresh Air!

Hey Team!

Summer time is here and that means we can ditch the gym and get outside for fresh air and a good workout!

1. Biking




If you are a local to the Twin Cities, then hopefully you know that we have access miles of trails and bike-ways and that we have 9 lakes within the Minneapolis city limits alone! It’s no wonder that Minneapolis got voted “most fit city” and “most bike friendly city” in the country! Here in Minneapolis alone, we have 92 miles of on street bike-ways, and 85 miles of off street bike-ways. That’s 177 miles just in Minneapolis alone! So whether you’re a seasoned biker or you haven’t ridden a bike since you were a kid, the time is now to get on your bike and cruise! Don’t own a bike? Check out the good ol’ Otherwise, there are a ton of local bike shops that sell used and refurbished bikes, here are a couple:

One on One Bike Shop:
117 Washington Ave N  Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612) 371-9565
Great place to buy new, custom made bikes. They also have a huge basement full of used and refurbished bikes.

Behind Bars Bicycle Shop:
208 13th Ave Ne Minneapolis, MN 55413 (612) 436-0255
Does sell new bikes, but mostly used bikes.

The Hub Bike Co-op:
301 Cedar Ave Minneapolis, MN 55454 (612) 238-3593
Used bikes and parts. Great place to go for the bargain shopper.

Handsome Cycles:
115 Washington Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612) 353-4035
This is a great place to go for new, custom, MN made bikes. Right next door to One on One.


2. Yoga





Yoga is great exercise, but sometimes it can get stuffy and crowded in the studio. Try taking your mat outside! If you’re a seasoned yogi then bring your practice to your favorite lake or park. If you like some guidance, check out these outdoor yoga communities:

The Yoga Garage:

Gorilla Yogis:

Luminous Yoga:

These are just some suggestions for here in Minneapolis, but do your research and see what else is out there!

3. Mowing the yard




This one might seem silly, but if you have a push mower, then you know that you can work up a good sweat by pushing that thing around the lawn. But make sure you wear sunscreen, light colored clothing, and maybe a hat and sunglasses to keep the sun out of your eyes.

4. Swimming





What’s better than cannon-balling into a lake or swimming pool when it’s sunny and hot outside? Whether you’re in a lake or a pool, swimming is one of the best exercises you can do for your body. It’s cardio and strength training all in one. Start by swimming a few laps, then work your way up to 10 minutes of laps, then to 20, then to 30, and so on. Not only will you have a great tan, you’ll get in fantastic shape.


Stayed tuned for our next post on how to train properly during the summer, to avoid dehydrated, heatstroke, and exhaustion.

Keep on keepin’ strong,

Coach Colleen

The Truth Behind Why We Procrastinate


Happy Thursday Team!

We all know that procrastination is a key culprit in why we don’t achieve our goals. All of us are guilty of not doing what we say we’re going to do. How many of us have fallen off the wagon when trying to stick to a diet, or trying to go to the gym regularly, or trying to cut back on junk food? What’s really at the root of why we struggle to follow through?


Fear of pain, fear of being vulnerable, fear of hard work, are all at the root of why we procrastinate. There have been countless studies that show that people are afraid of the “pain” or uncomfortableness that comes with making changes in our lives.


Here at The Academy Fitness Bootcamp we have a saying, “Don’t be a 97%er”. 97% of people are quitters. There’s only that small 3% that never give up on their goals, that always keep pushing themselves to the next level. It’s this small 3% that TAKES ACTION whenever they can to get one step closer to achieving their goals.

The 97%ers out there, like to hide within the confines of their comfort zone. Whether your comfort zone is sitting on the couch with your arm elbow deep in a Cheetos bag, or its giving all your time to others and not saving some for yourself, you need a reality check because you’re wasting precious time!

Procrastinators and 97%ers alike, seem to think that they have all the time in the world and use excuses like: “I’ll work out tomorrow.”  “I’m too tired to go on that run.” “I’m too busy to go to the gym.” “I have too much to get done.”   The list of excuses is endless.

The fact of the matter is, DON’T WASTE TIME. Our time here on Earth is fleeting whether we want to admit it or not and when you’re on your death bed or your life flashes before your eyes, will you be content with how you chose to spend your time here?

Henry David Thoreau said it best when he said people consistently “…live lives of quiet desperation and die with their song unsung.”  You don’t want to leave this place without a bang! So what are you waiting for!


In order for you to take charge of your life and reclaim your freedom to make those changes, you need a plan. A plan for meeting your fears head on. When you face the unease or dread you feel when you know you should go to the gym but the couch is just too comfortable, you turn that crippling procrastination into POWER. So how do we do that?


Phil Stutz, a practicing psychiatrist in Los Angeles, uses a tool called “reversal of desire”. The first step is to visualize the pain or the discomfort that you’re avoiding (the laziness you feel when you want to just watch a movie instead of going for a run) as a black cloud in front of you. Think about what this black cloud has prevented you from doing (losing weight, eating better, taking control of your life, etc).

The second step is to then envision yourself pushing through that black cloud and onto the other side, literally. It may sound hokey, but you’d be surprised how mental exercises like this can help us get over the initial barrier to achieve goals, that is our own fear.

Dr. Stutz calls this, “living in motion”. No one wants to stay stagnant. We all want to improve ourselves and get better. To do so, we must be willing to face fear and uncertainty head on.

So ask yourself, what kind of life do I want to live? When your grandchildren ask you what you were like when you were When your staring the end of your life in the face, will you feel defeated or triumphant?

Today I challenge you to STOP being a 97%er, to STOP letting procrastination dictate the direction of your life and to face your fears. Get off that couch and go to the gym or go for a walk outside. The sooner you start breaking down that mental barrier (fear) the sooner you can start living the life you’ve been yearning for.


Until next time,

Coach Colleen


Coach’s Corner: How to Beat the Blues

girl running

If you’re reading this as a Twin Cities resident, then you know that we’ve been having terrible weather. It’s almost June and it’s 60 and cloudy?! What the…?

Despite the weather being bad, this should NEVER stop you from training. Here are some ways to beat the blues and stay motivated:


1. Exercise can improve your mood!
Studies have shown that exercising is a great way to combat depression and anxiety because it helps your muscle and your mind relax. Since working out puts “stress” on your body, your body responds by releasing endorphins, which as as natural tranquilizers. If you’ve never worked out before, start with 15 minutes a day of walking. Then go up to 30 minutes. Try to exercise daily, but if not then try to do at least 3 days a week.

2. Pay attention to your body!
If you’re feeling fatigued or lethargic, take a look at what you’re eating. Good nutrition is key to fitness and feeling great. If you’re skipping meals or eating fast and processed foods, chances are you’re probably not feeling like a supermodel. Be sure that you only eat when you’re hungry and don’t skip meals! Skipping meals causes your metabolism to slow down. It’s like a fire, if there is nothing to burn, then it will burn out. You have to keep “feeding the fire” in order for it to continue to burn. This is not to say that you should eat constantly, but you should eat between 4-6 small meals every 3 or 4 hours.

3. Get a physical.
When was the last time you had a physical? If it’s been more than 2 years, then you should probably schedule one soon. It’s can’t hurt to have all your levels checked to make sure everything is in working order. Just because you feel fine, doesn’t always mean the insides are fine. For example, I went in for a physical last year and they did blood work. They found out that I was showing signs of hypothyroidism despite the fact that I had no other symptoms.  So go see your doctor!

4. Rest to restore and rebuild your body.
Resting is really important for your body to repair and rebuild itself. Try getting into a habit of training every other day. Or every 2 days so your body has time to repair. This will also help mitigate the chances of you getting injured because you’re muscles haven’t been able to full repair.

5. Avoid harmful substances.
The obvious ones should be drugs and alcohol. Using these substances typically make depression and anxiety worse. Instead of reaching for a beer at the end of your day, skip the calories and go for a walk around your neighborhood. I guarantee that the fresh air and the movement will make you feel 10 times better than the calorie dense beer.

6. Comfort yourself with a support group.
Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people that have similar goals as you or that support your decision to get healthy and have an active lifestyle. These people are the ones that will remind you of your strengths and help you improve your weaknesses without making you feel judged. Try to connect with at least 1 supportive friend or family member at least once a day.

7. Use positive thoughts and self talk.
We are our own worst critics, this is true, and often times we’re the ones that hold ourselves back. When I’m feeling insecure about my abilities I always mentally tell myself, “Yes you can. Yes you will.” And I keep going. When I’m working out and I want to give up, I say that little mantra over and over again. When I’m laying in bed and I know I should go to the gym, I remind myself of the goals that I have and that going to the gym will not only make me feel accomplished, it’ll bring me closer to that goal.

8. Get outside! Even if the weather isn’t the best.
Even if the weather is a little chilly and cloudy, don’t let that stop you from going for a walk, run, or bike around your neighborhood. To be honest, I actually prefer to work out outside when the weather isn’t nice and sunny. Why? In part because I detest tan lines, but also because the lake near my apartment is way less crowded on crummy days! It’s on the nice days that everyone is out and about. Use bad weather days (aside from rainy or snowy days) to take advantage of parks and lakes. You might be surprised at how calming and relaxing being outside by yourself can be. For me, it’s the only quite time I have besides the time that I’m sleeping!

So what are you going to do this week to lift your spirits while moving and grooving?!



Coach Colleen

Gearing up for summer

Hi Everyone!

It’s officially May and I’m here to get you ready for summer training season!

If you’re like me, then the coming of nice weather means more outside training. After all these months of training in the gym, I’m usually dying to start running outside and working out in parks.

If you’re someone who likes training outside, or if you’re looking to start training outside here are some key pieces of gear that you’ll need:

1. Good shoes. 
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to invest in good running shoes that fit properly. There are a variety of local running stores in the Twin Cities that can help you find the right fit:

The Running Room: (located in St. Paul and Uptown)
Marathon Sports: (located in Minneapolis)
GEAR Running Store:
Urban Tri:


In order for you to get the most out of your runs, especially runs outside, you want to make sure that you have shoes that gives you adequate support and motion control. Definitely have someone at one of the above stores fit you for the right shoe.

2. Moisture wicking shirts, tanks, shorts, etc.

You don’t need to go out and spend a ton of money on the latest sweat-wicking shirt that Under Armour has put out, but you should definitely look into buying some kind of sweat wicking apparel. Why? Because running in a cotton t-shirt can get really heavy if you’re a sweater like me. Sweat wicking shirts, tanks, and shorts help with keeping you feel dry and gets rid of the sopping feeling that comes with working out in a regular t shirt.

To be honest, I like training in the least amount of clothing possible. But obviously that’s not possible. The less i have on the less weight I have to haul around on my runs. I love running in a sports tank top (usually has a sports bra built in) that wicks sweat away, dries quickly, and keeps me feeling light. I also like wearing running shorts that are made of light material instead of cotton gym shorts because the sweat marks always become clearly visible! Gross…

Target has a partnership with Champion. I really like their products and they’re not super expensive. So if you’re looking for an alternative to Nike or Under Armor, definitely check out what they have at Target or Marshalls.

3. Fitness watch (with heart rate monitor, gps, and/or mileage tracker)

Investing in a watch that keeps track of your heart rate, distance, and time is a great training tool to have. Being able to track your heart rate allows you to see if you’re meeting your target heart rate to burn fat. Distance and time are important because, well, it’s important and helpful to know how far you’re running and how long it takes you!

You can find watching like this on Amazon, REI, or websites like The Clymb. Do your homework and read reviews. These watches can be pricy and you want to make sure you get one that has a lot of great reviews so you get your money’s worth.


If you’re going to run or exercise outside this summer, be sure to wear sunscreen! Just because you’re not laying out at the beach, doesn’t mean you still won’t get burned. Make sure you get easily burned places like your shoulders, your nose and cheeks, and the tops of your ears. Sometimes if it’s sunny but breezy people think, “Oh it’s not that hot out, I don’t need sunscreen.” False. The sun burns you not the heat!
You definitely don’t need to go out and buy all of these things at once, but they’re definitely things you should have eventually you make sure that training outside is comfortable and fun for you.


Until next time!,

Coach Colleen

Coach’s Corner: Balanced Eating – A mini lesson in biochemistry and nutrition

food words

Hey Team!

It has come to my attention that there is a lot of talk about the importance of having a balanced diet. But what does that mean and how do we do it?

First things first, a definition.

Balanced eating = each meal or snack that you eat during the day has a combination of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Ideally each meal or snack that you eat should contain one food item from each category. (We’ll get into  why it’s important to eat a balanced diet at the end.)

Notice that I’ve bolded: lean, complex, and healthy. It’s important to note that these are qualifying words and understanding their importance is critical. It is also important to mention that balanced eating is not just a fad, it should be something that becomes part of your lifestyle. Here we go!



As we’ll discover, not all foods are created equal. In regards to protein, some are really fatty and others are, well, lean. Lean protein comes in the form of white meat typically – chicken and turkey. (We’ll go over what protein is and why it’s important in a minute). There are some fish that are great sources of lean protein like tilapia. Red meat is the tricky one. As you probably know, you can get your beef in a lot of different ways. (Ribeye, filet migon, t-bone, ground, porterhouse, etc). Not all cuts of beef are lean. Stick with cuts that are 80% to 93% lean. The label should indicate the percentage. When I buy ground beef, I always make sure it’s from a local farm (within the state), that it’s grass-fed, and that it’s at least 93% fat free. Let’s dissect this even further.

  • What is protein? Protein is an essential nutrient that is comprised of amino acids (we won’t go into what amino acids are today, we’ll save that for another post. If you’re dying to know, Google it.) and is the second most abundant substance in your body right after water. Protein is in everything. It’s in your skin, your muscles, your hair, your nails, your eyes, your bones, your blood, and your organs. Protein is extremely important because it’s used to build, maintain, and repair bodily tissues. When someone consumes more protein than their body needs, the excess is converted to energy for immediate use or stored in fat, which can only be accessed once energy from carbs and fat have been used up.
  • Why buy local? Without getting into a large discussion about environmental and political issues, the long story short is that it takes a lot of resources and energy (namely fuel to process and transport) to produce beef. The less distance the beef had to travel, the fresher it’s going to be and the less carbon dioxide that’s being emitted into the atmosphere from flying or driving the beef thousands of miles. More importantly, you’ll be supporting a local farmer instead of some corporate giant like Jenny-O or Hormel. It’s a win-win situation – you get healthy,great quality meat and the farmer gets to feed his family and make a living. 
  • Why grass-fed? There is a lot of debate about the benefits or lack there of, of eating grass-fed beef. If you think about foods that a cow was meant to eat, you would probably say grass. Right? Well, to get more bang for their buck, some farmers feed their cattle a corn based diet. They can “beef up” (no pun intended) their cattle with more food, for less money. Fatter cattle equals more meat they can sell, which means more money. Corn is not a natural food source for cows, obviously! When was the last time you saw a cow grazing in a corn field…
  • Why 80-93% fat free? This should be a no brainer… The less fat there is, the leaner the meat. Pretty simple. You’re not missing out on any other nutrients by going the lean route. You’ll get your dosage of healthy fats from other foods, which we’ll talk about later in this post.


complex carbs

There are two types of carbs. Simple and complex.

  • Simple carbs. Carbohydrates consists of sugars. Simple carbs have a chemical structure of 1 to 2 sugars, and no more. Simple carbs are typically refined sugars that have little to no nutritional value (hence why we should limit our consumption of them). Because of their simple structure, the body digests them very quickly, which typically spikes blood sugar. (Betcha didn’t think you were going to get a chemistry lesson today did ya!) Common examples of simple carbs are: table sugar, products with white flour, soda, processed foods (anything that comes in a box, and/or has a shelf life of 2 years, or that needs to be microwaved), and anything that has artificial sweeteners in it.
  • Complex carbs. The good carbs. Complex carbs are similar to simple carbs in that they consist of sugar molecules, but instead of one or two molecules, they have at least 3 or more molecules that string together in a chain. Because of their complexity, they take longer for the body to digest, and do not spike blood sugar levels the way simple carbs do. Complex carbs are typically high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which make them an essential component to having a balanced diet. Not only are they packed with nutrients, they act as body fuel and play a critical role in helping your body produce energy. Common examples of complex carbs are: quinoa, spinach, wild rice, steel cut oats, apricots, oranges, lentils, green beans, garbonzo beans, black beans, low fat yogurt. (You can look online for more examples).



I should preface this section by saying that there is a lot of debate about the role that fats play into diet. But as I mentioned at the start of this post, not all foods are created equal – the same goes for fats. Let’s start with some definitions.

What is fat? Fats are essentially nutrients that give your body energy to function, move, and survive. Did you know that fat is necessary for our bodies to process and absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K? There are 2 types of natural fats, saturated and unsaturated, and then there’s trans fat which has been processed by hydrogenation (we’ll explain this in a little bit).

Different Types of Fat:

  • Saturated fat. These are fats that are solid at room temperature (think “saturated is solid”). You can find most saturated fats in animal foods like milk, cheese, butter, and meat. Poultry and fish have lower amounts of of saturated fats than red meat. It can also be found in tropical oils, like coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter. Saturated fats are sometimes known for raising cholesterol but there’s a lot of debate about the truth of this claim.
  • Unsaturated fat. These are fats that are liquid at room temperature, and typically come in the form of oils from plants (olive oil, grapeseed oil) Some schools of nutritional thought, think that eating unsaturated fats lower your cholesterol but again, but based on contesting research this claim is debatable. To complicate things more, there are 2 types of unsaturated fats. MONOUNSATURATED and POLYUNSATURATED fats.
  1. Monounsaturated fats (MUSF): this is the type of unsaturated fat that researchers believe to lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol, and help keep your “good” HDL cholesterol high. MUSF’s are found in vegetable oils like canola, olive, and peanut oil. And also found in foods like avocados.
  2. Polyunsaturated fats (PUSF): this type of unsaturated fat is typically found in other vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, sesame, soybean, and corn oils. This is also the form of unsaturated fat that is found in seafood. Some researchers claim that eating PUSF’s in the place of saturated fats may lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Brace yourself… there are two types of PUSF’s: Omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are found in foods like salmon, herring, sardines, trout, and flaxseed. A healthy daily dose is about 250 mg. Omega 6’s are typically found in liquid vegetable oils like safflower oil. (If your interested in learning more, definitely do some more research).
  • Trans Fat. These are fats that have been chemically processed and changed by something call hydrogenation. This is a process that increases the shelf life of the fat, which results in a harder fat at room temperature. This is what makes potatoe chips really crunchy and crispy, and pre-made pie crust extra flaky. This is the type of fat that will raise cholesterol and can typically be found if highly processed foods, chips, crackers, cookies, margarine, and foods made with shortening. 

So what kinds of fats should we be eating? We should definitely stay as far away from trans fat as much as possible! This is the worst type of fat and should be avoided at all costs.

There are different schools of thought on how much of unsaturated and saturated fats you should have. Some researchers say that saturated fats are good for you and that you shouldn’t cut them from your diet (bacon, animal fats, butter, coconut oil, etc), other researchers say that you should avoid them. Definitely do some more research on your own time to help make an informed decision.

Here are some books to check out:

Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
Food Rules by Michael Pollen
Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Okay, so now that we’ve had our mini bio-chemistry lesson lets get back to how all this information plays into having a balanced diet!

As you can probably guess, our bodies need these three basic types of nutrients (protein for muscles, carbs for energy, fat  to help lower cholesterol and absorb certain vitamins) in order to function properly. In general, the average human’s diet should be comprised of 30% lean protein, 40% complex carbs, and 30% healthy fats. With that said, these numbers can vary depending on things like disease, how active you are, age, gender, etc. These percentages are just averages to give people a baseline. Someone like a bodybuilder for example, needs a much higher percentage of protein than someone who’s a recreational gym goer. A marathoner will need a much higher percentage of complex carbs, than some who just runs a few miles a week, because their muscles need access to higher amounts of readily available energy to sustain long runs. Now on to the good part – why we should eat balanced diets.


food bag

Before you read further I want you to grab a piece of paper and jot down 3 reasons why you think you should eat a balanced diet based on what you just learned about lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats… Once you have your 3 reasons, you can continue reading…..

No cheating…

As you may have guessed, some of the benefits of balanced eating are:

  • Feeling full for longer (complex carbs take longer to digest, protein sticks with you)
  • Sustained (maybe even increased) energy (steady blood sugar/insulin levels)
  • Access to complete nutrients, which can help eliminate cravings.
  • Adequate fuel for your muscles to repair, maintain, and build themselves (protein not only helps build muscle but helps repair them after you’ve been working out)

The list is endless, but these should be enough to convince you to check out your current way of eating and compare it to the guidelines above.


Here are some samples of balanced meals from This is a great website more more resources, tips, and nutritional guidance.

Protein – 2 sliced hard boiled eggs
Carb: fresh spinach, bell peppers, onions
Healthy Fat: Saute the above ingredients in either extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

Protein: 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (Fage or Chobani are good brands) /
Carb: 1/2 banana, 4 strawberries
Healthy Fat: Sliced almonds (roasted, only a handful)

Protein: Chicken, beef or fish (no bigger than the size of your palm)
Green leafy veggies (kale, spinach, or brussel sprouts), carrots, asparagus, or berries
Healthy Fat: Local made butter melted on top (no more than a tablespoon)

Protein: 1 scoop of protein powder (whey, hemp, pea, plant based – it doesn’t matter, whatever you like)
Carb: 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
Healthy Fat: 1 cup of coconut milk
Blend together in a blender.


I hope this post was helpful and informational, but definitely do your own research.


Stay tuned for more posts!


– Coach Colleen


Coach’s Corner: SPRING IS HERE!

fitness, bootcamp, minneapolis





Hi Everyone!

Well, spring is officially here and we’re kicking off today’s post with a call to hear how you kicked winter’s butt!

If you didn’t train as hard as you would have liked this winter, not to worry, just start your spring training program TODAY.

Fast action is a key ingredient to getting results. People who take action right away and stick with their plan, getting the best results that those who just hmmm and haw over what to do.

Here are 5 steps to get you on track:

1. Move your body in some way today. If you have a gym membership, go and use it. If you don’t have a gym membership, don your walking or running shoes and head outside for a brisk walk or a light jog.

2. Make a plan for the week of what you’re going to do. Write out exactly what you’re going to do each day of the week, giving yourself at least 1 for a rest day. Fit in at least 3 days where you do 30-35 minutes of intense, hard cardio. You can do this through intervals (running at 80% effort for 3 mins, then jogging at 65% for 1 min, for 30 minutes or so) you can also do this by doing short bursts of intense cardio exercises like burpees or jump squats followed by body weight exercises like push ups and sit ups. The most important part is once you make your plan, STICK WITH IT!

3. Find a partner. Training with a partner will help you stay motivated and keep you accountable. Find times during the week that work for both of you and stick with it. It can be once a week or 3 times a week. The more the better!

4. Ask an expert. New to running? New to weight training? New to working out? Consider meeting with a professional or a friend who has a lot of experience to help you get started. If you are new to working out, consider joining a bootcamp or some kind of group fitness class to help you jump start your fitness journey. Meeting with a personal trainer or a friend who’s more experienced is a great way to ease into a new workout routine without hurting yourself. Working with a personal trainer is helpful because they can watch you throughout your workout to make sure your form is good and that you’re pushing yourself and not giving up!

5. Set short term, realistic goals. Have a 1 week and a 1 month goal. Once you’ve achieved those, then you can set your sights higher on a 6 month and 9month goal. But start small. Starting with smaller, more attainable goals helps us build our confidence up before we try to strike out and get after those bigger, more long term goals. If you don’t set little goals for yourself along the way, you won’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything. You can use websites like DailyFeats to help you build up your confidence and motivation.


Until next time, I want you to follow these 5 steps! Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.


Yes you can!,

Coach Colleen