Coach’s Corner: Teamwork makes a Difference!


Hey Team!

Sorry it’s been a few weeks since the last post. We have been hard at work to make bootcamp even greater!

Here at The Academy, we know better than anyone, how important teamwork is to the success of our students and to the legacy of our program Without a solid team to train with, it’s very difficult to learn and progress to your full potential. The Academy Fitness Bootcamp is more unique than other group fitness classes because all of the women in the program share similar fitness goals, bond, laugh, and joke together in class, but more importantly they push and encourage each other. It’s because of supportive teammates that we learn about our areas of weakness, we learn how to perfect our strengths, and we’re consistently held accountable for our progress.

After 20 years of business, we know that another key ingredient to a great team is quality students. Student that are dedicated, mentally strong, and have a genuine passion for health and passion. We understand that not everyone that walks through our doors possess these qualities at first, but through their training here, it is our priority and hope that people gain these characteristics because of the teamwork they participate in every week.

So how does one become a good teammate? This may seem like a trick question, but sometimes we can get so focused on our progress that we forget to help and contribute to the progress of our teammates at the same time. Sometimes it’s the other way around – we invest a lot in the progress of our teammates but don’t get constructive feedback in return. Other times we feel insecure about our skills and abilities, so we draw inward and feel apprehensive about training, then we quit. This is definitely something that should be avoided, so if you ever fee like you’re losing motivation – talk to your coach!

As coaches, we are here to tell you that being a part of team starts with being a good team member yourself. Here are some words of wisdom to think about:

1. By pushing your teammates, you push yourself!Whether you are doing a hard circuit or going on a long group run, pushing your fellow teammate when they’re struggling is a great way to boost their motivation and to help them get the most out of their class. It’s as simple as saying, “C’mon! We’ve got this!” Or, “Don’t stop! We’re almost done. Keep going!” These are simple words of encouragement, but when you feel like you can’t muster the strength to do one more push up, and someone is there to encourage you to keep going, you usually push through and do it.

2. Accountability.
One of the major benefits of training with at team is that you consistently have people around you that can and will hold you accountable for your progress. One thing you can do to increase accountability is to make plans to train with fellow teammates outside of class. This not only increases morale and cohesion, but it betters your training and theirs.

3. Diverse Training Partners.
While it’s great to have people that you train with on a regular basis, it is also helpful to make an effort to introduce yourself and train with classmates  that are newer than you. Training with a diverse group of people allows you to receive feedback and suggestions from people who have different experience levels and who have different perspectives on training.

Regardless of where you’re at in your training, making it a priority to be a good teammate as well as a good student is critical to not only your progress but to the progress of others. As you move forward in your training, keep this in mind at all times. You only have great things to gain from it.

Until next time!

Coach Colleen



Topic of the Day: Staying Motivated Post-New Years Resolutions

explorers (lylablu)

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

How many of you made New Years Resolutions?

How many of you are actually on track to following through on those resolutions?

Now that the excitement and buzz of the new year has come and gone, so many people’s motivation to accomplish their goals have fallen by the wayside. Don’t feel bad if you’ve already fallen off the wagon – you’re not the only one, but it’s NOT TOO LATE!

Motivation, determination, persistence, whatever word you want to use, are some of the most important driving forces behind achieving goals. You may have a lot of support for your friends and family, but if you don’t possess the inner motivation to put one foot in front of the other and make things happen, then their support is all for nothing.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve manage to stay on the wagon – here are some pointers to help you stay focused and motivated.


1. GET A TRAINING PARTNER – this can be your spouse, your best friend, a co-worker, your sister, or some other relative. Training with someone else is 100 times better than training alone. I speak from experience when I say that all my athletic or fitness related achievements were gained by training with someone regularly. As a rock climber, it’s very difficult to progress without the help of a climber partner or a climbing team. Why? Because everyone brings unique experiences and perspectives to the table. Training with people from all different levels is important for your own progress because you can learn so much from other people who have struggled with the same training obstacles as you have. Training partners also help to push you when you feel like you can’t run another mile, or you can’t lift another rep, or your can do another lunge, or you feel like your legs can’t go any faster. Team mates/training partners push us when we need it the most. They hold us accountable, and they give us constructive feedback when we’re struggling.

2. KEEP A JOURNAL OF YOUR ACTIONS – I know you probably don’t need another book or thing to keep track of, but you can keep your fitness/training journal in your gym bag so you never forget it. Studies have shown that people who write down their goals, and who make time to sit down with those goals every day, are more likely to succeed than those who just mentally thinking about their goals. This should be obviously because thinking is a helluva lot different than doing. Every morning when you wake up, write down one small goal that you want to achieve for that day. It can be as small as “I will take the stairs whenever possible today.” Or “I will go for a 25 minute walk on my lunch break today.” And then when you complete that goal – log it in your journal. Log the date, the time, what you did, and how you’re feeling (were you unusually tired… did you feel really strong?) You can use your fitness journal for short and long term goals. The most important thing is that you are interacting with it on a daily basis. Reading and writing in your fitness journal should become a staple habit in your daily routine.

3. THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY – Sometimes we get so hung up on comparing ourselves to other people, comparing our progress to other people’s progress… This is one of the most debilitating obstacles people face when starting a training program  because they see everyone else around them as fit and in better shape, but they forget that everyone has to start somewhere. So when you’re feeling down, remember that you are special and this is your journey! Instead of seeing it as a chore see it as an adventure – your adventure to explore who you are and what you’re capable of! So when you’re lifting weights next to someone who lifting twice as you, remember that they couldn’t always lift that, they had to work up to it and so will you. Believe in yourself and your abilities, no matter what.

4. SMALL STEPS TOWARDS PROGRESS IS BETTER THAN NONE – Remember to set small but frequent goals that are realistic. The downfall of setting outlandish, unrealistic goals is that we immediately set ourselves up for failure. If we set a goal that’s out of our skill level – we become discouraged. An example of this would be setting the goal of wanting to run a marathon in a month when you’ve never ran in your life. (Most seasoned marathoners take more than a month to train for their races.) Don’t forget that it’s okay to start with small goals and then work your way up. If running a marathon is a goal of yours, but you’ve never ran before start with training for a 5K (3.2 miles), then once you feel comfortable running that distance, then you can work your way up to a 10k, and then a half marathon, and then finally the marathon. Don’t worry if achieving your ultimate goal takes a while! We live in a society of instant gratification, and unfortunately some of the more important things in life come with time, patience, and perseverance. (Like running a marathon, starting your own business, getting your Ph.D, etc).

I guarantee if you implement one (or better yet, all) of these tips into your daily routine, you will see results. If you’ve fallen off the training wagon, don’t worry! Get back up and start again. Don’t let little hiccups set you back so far that you don’t want to continue at all. Don’t give up! DON’T GIVE UP!

Here’s a mantra for you to say to yourself every morning and every night: I CAN, I WILL. Say it to yourself when you’re training and you feel like you want to quit. Say it to yourself when you’re laying in bed and you know you should get up and head to the gym. Don’t give into any excuses. Training will not only make your body stronger, you will quickly see that it will also make your mind stronger too.


Have a fantastic day!


-Coach Colleen


If you have any suggestions, comments, complaints – please email me directly at



Food of the Day: Quinoa


Happy Tuesday Team!

If you’ve seen my other posts, you should know that nutrition and healthy eating is really important to and maintaining weight loss. A lot of people do fine when it comes to working out and being active, but when it comes to figuring out what to eat – people are completely lost. But if there is one food item that you should start eating, if you don’t already, it would be quinoa.

Quinoa is an ancient grain that’s been consumed for the past 5,000 thousands of years by people who live in the mountain plateaus and in the valleys of countries like Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. Quinoa comes from the Inca word meaning, “mother grain”, and is also in the same botanical family as sugarbeets and spinach.

In order for you to get a better idea of why quinoa is so great, here are 5 reasons why I love quinoa:

 1. PACKED WITH PROTEIN – 1 cup of cooked quinoa has about 8 grams of protein, according to the USDA nutrient database. Quinoa is also considered a “complete” protein, which means it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids that your body needs to function.

2. PROMOTES HEALTHY DIGESTION – 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 5 grams of fiber. Fiber is essential for a healthy and active digestion system. A diet high in fiber can also help lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar.

3. NATURAL MULTIVITAMIN – Quinoa is jam packed with all kinds of vitamins such as: iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folate (a B vitamin).

4. COMPLEX CARB – Quinoa is also a great complex carbohydrate, meaning that your body takes a longer time to convert it to sugar – unlike refined grains like white rice. It’s also roughly 222 calories per cup, which is not that bad considering its high levels of vitamins, protein, and fiber.

5. VERSATILE COOKING OPTIONS – Quinoa is one of those food items that you can literally put in almost everything. You can put it in salads, you can use it to replace rice, you can even make burgers with it! One of my favorite things to make is quinoa stuffed tomatoes. You can find a ton of great recipes online – one of my go-to websites is


What’s not to love right?!


I usually buy my quinoa in bulk and wash it before I cook it. For extra flavor I boil it low sodium chicken broth. If you’ve never tried it before, definitely give it a shot! And if you make something delicious, please post pictures to our Facebook. We want to see what you’re making in the kitchen. 🙂


That’s all for now my dear readers.

-Coach Colleen

Topic of the Day: Why Bootcamp?

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Today’s topic of the day is WHY BOOTCAMP? Why should you invest your time and money into training? Why should you dedicate a few hours a week to yourself, your progress, your health, and your happiness?

I’m here to tell you that the reason why bootcamp works better than any DVD you can buy to watch at home, or a membership at a traditional gym, or any other program, is because here at The Academy Fitness Bootcamp for Women – we actually WANT to see you succeed.

The success of our students comes from the motivating and challenging atmosphere we create. Students keep coming back because they’re pushed to do the best they can by not just their coaches, but by their fellow teammates as well. We never repeat the same workout, so students always feel like they’re being challenged while having fun at the same time. If you were to join a Lifetime Fitness, or an LA Fitness today – how long do you think you could maintain a regular workout schedule if you don’t have someone to work out with, if you don’t have someone pushing you to run one extra mile, or to do a few more reps, or to push a little bit harder? Probably not long, and I don’t say that because I don’t think you’re hardworking – I say that because we as humans, need motivation to get things done. We need and want to be a part of a team. Especially when it comes to working out.

Bootcamp is also a great way to meet other women who share similar fitness goals as you do. For example, we’ve had a few women who, through bootcamp, discovered they were all runners and decided to train for a race together. We’ve had other women who want to lose weight because they both just had a baby. So not only did they bond over training, they bonded over being mothers as well. Women these days are so busy with work and taking care of their family that they neglect their own personal needs. Needs like exercise and social interaction with other people, especially other women! You DESERVE to have something that will be a source of encouragement, motivation, and inspiration in your life! Bootcamp can be that for you.


If you haven’t made the choice to join bootcamp and achieve your fitness goals, what’s holding you back?

Is it time, is it money, is it fear? Let me tell you, if you spend your whole life “waiting” for the right time to do this, or the right time to do that – life is going to slip past you so fast you won’t even realize it until it’s too late. This is why we are so confident and so adamant that you call us RIGHT NOW to set up an appointment to meet with us. Not just because we want to earn your business, but because we also genuinely want to help you take charge of your life, your goals, your health, and your happiness. We’ve seen that the women who take action right away, get the best results.

Numerous of studies have shown that people who make time to exercise, to eat healthy, and to have time to focus on themselves, are generally happier and healthier than those who are constantly putting other peoples needs before their own. If you’ve been thinking about doing something for yourself for a while – then you should! Nothing should hold you back from something like this – something that will actually benefit you. Paying for bootcamp is not the same as paying for a new car. Bootcamp won’t break down on you, bootcamp will not let you down, bootcamp will not depreciate in value over time. Bootcamp will, however, always be a welcoming place for you to dedicate time to yourself and your personal progress. It will always be a place where you are a part of a group women who support you and want to see you succeed. It will always be a place that you push yourself to become the best YOU you can be.

So don’t let your fears or excuses get in the way of your goals and dreams! Call us right now – we’ll sit down with you one-on-one to find out exactly what you’re looking for, we want to give you a free fitness assessment, and a FREE week of classes – just for coming to check us out. If you like what you see – we’ll make you a member! Don’t wait any longer. Take a stand for you, for your health, for your happiness.


Until next time,

Coach Colleen



Topic of the Day: Nutrition and it’s Role in Weight Loss


Happy Sunday!

This past week, we asked followers to write in and tell us what topics that want to see covered in the blog. Today’s topic is nutrition and the very critical role that it plays in losing weight.

Losing weight is comprised of 2 major components. Followed by sustaining that weight loss.

First – exercise. This is a given. You can’t just sit in front of the TV eating Chili Fritos and wish the weight away. With that said, there’s also no need to go to the opposite extreme and workout for an hours everyday either. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate to high intensity exercise is sufficient depending on your goals. So let’s say you join a gym, or better yet, you join bootcamp (because we’ll hold you accountable and keep you motivated), and then after every class you stop by McDonalds on your way home and buy a Big Mac… Common sense should be telling you that this behavior is 100% counterproductive. Nutrition plays a HUGE role in losing weight. I’m tempted to say that it’s the most important aspect, but coupled with a healthy workout regiment – fat doesn’t stand a “fat” chance of sticking around!

Second – nutrition. We have a lot of women who say, “I work out all the time but I still can’t slim down to a weight that I’m comfortable with.” Upon further review of their diet, we usually find out that they are either eating way too many calories and not burning enough, or they’re eating the wrong foods, or they’re not eating enough times a day and their metabolism has slowed down. There are numerous reasons as to why, despite frequent exercise, people don’t lose weight, and 9 times out of 10 it’s nutrition related.

I’m certain that you’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat”. Well, it’s true. You can’t expect to be healthy if you don’t eat healthy foods. Food is how we take in important nutrients and minerals to help our bodies repair and sustain themselves. Our bodies are not designed to process artificial ingredients or preservatives comprised of chemicals manufactured in some lab. Our bodies are designed to take in natural, unadulterated veggies, fruits, and lean proteins, not Hamburger Helper and McDonalds.

The biggest problem for most people when it comes to doing what it takes to get healthy, is that they are lazy. They’re too lazy to make healthy meals from scratch – they’d rather take the easy way out and order a pizza from Dominos, or pop a LeanCuisine in the microwave. They don’t want to walk up 15 minutes earlier to make themselves a healthy sandwich and pack some veggies to take to work for their lunch. Or they don’t want to work out after work because, they’ve had a long day and they’re too tired. People will come up with 101 excuses as to why they can’t do something (especially eat better and workout on a regular basis) because they’re lazy and afraid to fail.

The way I see it is that you either want to lose weight and get healthy or you don’t. And if you’re someone who truly wants to get healthy and stay healthy – then you have to make some sacrifices and be willing to do whatever it takes. You have to TAKE ACTION. You can’t sit around waiting for some magic pill to come about to turn your life around. That’s the bottom line. Living and eating healthy doesn’t have to feel like you can’t eat foods that you like – you just have to be proactive in finding healthy foods that you do like. If you hate brocoli, then try cauliflower. If you hate carrots then try sliced bell peppers. Instead of viewing healthy eating like a chore, view it like an adventure. It may be frustrating at times when you feel lost, but remember that you have resources. You have so much information and your fingertips, consult experts, do some trial and error. This is your life, and you owe it to yourself to make the most of it by taking care of your health.

Here are a few major changes you can make to your eating habits that will help keep you slim:

1. Stop drinking soda, period. Soda is high is high fructose corn syrup and well as a whole host of other artificial sweeteners and chemical nastiness. The sooner you cut soda out for good, the sooner you’ll see a slimmer waistline.

2. Check your portion sizes. Are you eating 4 cups of brown rice with your chicken at night or are you sticking to between a 1/2 cup to 1 cup? Check how many calories are in a serving of everything that you eat. At least in the beginning stages of your weight loss journey. You’ll be surprised how quickly the calories can stack up.

3. Start shopping on the outside of the grocery store. Why? This is where all the fresh foods are! All the veggies, leafy greens, and stuff that doesn’t have a shelf life of 2 years. Stay away from anything that from in a box. That means stop buying microwavable meals, frozen pizzas, macaroni and cheese, etc.

4. Start planning out meals and making them from scratch! This is a critical habit to develop because by making your own meals from scratch you can control exactly what you’re eating. Start eating more salads, start grilling your meats instead of frying them. Start eating more raw veggies and fruit.

5. Start doing your own research! The more educated you are the better. Don’t take my words as set in stone. The more you understand about how your body works, and the role food plays in having a healthy body the better off you’ll be. You owe it to yourself to have this knowledge, especially if you have kids and a family that you have to take care of. You don’t want your children to grow up with bad eating habits that may lead them to become obese, or to develop health problems in the future.

6. Read the ingredients. Don’t eat anything that has more than 4-5 ingredients, and especially if they are ingredients that your grandmother couldn’t pronounce or recognize. Following this rule will ensure that you eliminate preservatives or other chemicals put in food to “maintain flavor and freshness”.

While, it’s difficult to fit everything about healthy eating habits into a single blog post, I will make it my duty to write as often as I can about nutrition. If you are interested in reading more, check out Food Rules by Michael Pollen. He is a really well known writer and expert in the field of nutrition, most of the rules above are from his book.


The take away message is that NUTRITION PLAYS A HUGE ROLE IN WEIGHT LOSS. The sooner you start eating in moderation and eating foods that are fresh and healthy – the sooner you’ll see a slimmer waist. Never stop exercising. It can be as simple as a 30 minute brisk walk every day on your lunch break. But start following the 6 rules about and I guarantee you’ll see a difference.

Please feel free to send more topic suggestions my way!


Until next time, keep on keepin’ strong!

Coach Colleen



What defines sexiness?

Happy Thursday Everyone!


We’re kicking off today’s post with the topic of sexiness. As we all know, the women of today are constantly bombarded with images in magazines and on TV of skinny models with gorgeous hair and airbrushed bodies. We’ve been conditioned to think that sexiness is defined by a size 0 waist, big breasts, thighs that don’t touch, and arms like toothpicks. As a woman who once struggled with my body image, I can tell you that feeling out of shape and unhappy with your body can be a painfully debilitating.

In my opinion, a woman’s sexiness is based on her level of confidence in herself. Confidence is about loving and accepting yourself for who you are, and to that end – having the strength to push yourself to be the best you can be and being happy with the results. No matter what people say about you, no matter what negative thoughts cross your mind, no matter what obstacles get in your way – confidence in yourself and your abilities is what moves your forward in life.

So let me ask you, do you feel sexy in your own skin? If not, how come? Part of the frustration and fear we encounter when we set out to lose weight or to get in better shape stems from the fact that we’re mentally held hostage by thoughts like, “I’m too weak to work out. I’m too slow to run. I’m too tired. I’m too busy.” All of these thoughts are just excuses. Excuses are the bane of progress and success. Why? Because they cripple people’s ability to push themselves to their fullest potential.

If you don’t feel sexy in your own skin, what are you doing about it? Are you still on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother, eating Chili Fritos, and feeling sorry for yourself? Are you spending too much time helping other people and not making time for yourself?Are you too tired? Whatever your excuse(s) are my challenge to you is to ask yourself:

1. How much longer am I going to make excuses for my unhappiness with myself?

2. Once I’ve decided I’m going to stop making excuses, what am I going to do? What kind of action am I going to take?


I should mention that this process doesn’t have to be done alone. Surround yourself with people who support and motivate you. Motivation is the most critical element of getting in shape and staying in shape. If you lose motivation and the burning desire to achieve those weight-loss and fitness goals, then you’ll be back to where you started – discouraged and frustrated.

So, take some time to be honest with yourself for once. Honest about how you feel, about what your goals are, and about how you’re going to achieve them. I for one can say that joining a bootcamp like ours is a great action plan. I say that not just because I’m an instructor, but because studies have shown that people in general are more successful when they have a team to train with – a team that supports and motivates them when they feel like quitting, when they feel like that can’t run that extra mile, or they can’t do that last set of lunges. It’s important to have a coach that is desires to help you every step of the way and to have teammates that share similar goals as you. People rarely succeed without the help of others along the way.

Rudyard Kipling explained it best in The Law of the Jungle, “The strength of the pack is in the wolf, and the strength of the wolf in is in the pack.” I encourage you to channel your inner she-wolf, or your inner tigress, and find a pack that can give you strength and that you can contribute your strengths to.


Until next time,

Coach Colleen



Eating Healthy While Traveling

Happy Sunday Team!

Coach Colleen here writing to you from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. I am on my way to Miami, Florida to pay a brief visit to the Freestyle Fighting Academy’s women’s bootcamp. For the next 2 day I will be shadowing their program to learn ways to improve and advance our bootcamp. They are one of the most successful bootcamps in the Miami area and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can while I am there!

As I sit here at the gate, waiting for my flight, I see people all around me eating Burger King, potato chips, cookies, and soda… I’m sure there’s a handful of you out there that have to travel for work. Do you find it difficult to maintain healthy eating habits when you’re constantly terminal hopping or living in a hotel for a week? While it’s temping to give into fast food cravings at the airport, or eat out for every meal while on your business trip – here are some tips to maintaining a slimmer waistline while on the go:

1. Instead of buying the Snickers bar and Diet Coke at the convenience store in your terminal, buy a package of raw, unsalted almonds or walnuts and a bottle of water. If you absolutely can’t handle the taste of raw nuts you can opt for the roasted, slightly salted version.

Why ditch the Snickers? A Snickers bar has about 300 calories and 14g of fat! While your diet soda of choice may have “zero” calories, it’s jam-packed with high fructose corn syrup and aspartame, an artificial sweetener that has been shown to negatively affect the body’s nervous system. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, opt for a cup of yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt. With it’s popularity on the rise, you should be able to find it at airport convenience stores.

2. When staying in a hotel – try to get one with a small fridge. If you have a rental car, drive to the nearest super market (if you don’t have a rental car look to see where the nearest one is and cab it) and buy a few things to keep in the mini fridge that you can eat on the fly. Items I suggest buying would be:

Oranges/Clementines – these don’t need to be refrigerated and are great snacks.
Bananas – also doesn’t need to be refrigerated and you can eat it easily as you race out of your hotel room.
Single serving Greek yogurts – I love the FAGE brand, but Chobani is decent as well. Some of the other Greek yogurts out there have high levels of sugar in them. Fage and Chobani are the best in my opinion.
Raw nuts – all you need is a handful and you’ll be giving yourself a healthy dose of protein and healthy fats.

3. For large meals you may have to break down and eat out, unless you are staying in a room that has a little kitchenette. When eating out try to stick with salads with the dressing on the side. Don’t let them dress your salad because 9 times out of 10 they’re are going to put way too much on. You should only use about a tbsp of dressing. Yes, I know – a tbsp seems small, but you can really rack up the calories with dressing.

Avoid heavy meals like pasta, breads, and obvious things like pizza, burgers, hotdogs. If eating at places like Chipotle, ditch the burrito for a burrito bowl or a salad. While the calories are still up there, the tortilla itself is 290 – that’s obviously 290 less calories you need to be taking in.

4. Stay away from soda at all costs! A cup of coffee in the morning is no big deal, but make sure you are drinking plenty of water. I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated. And don’t be fooled by flavored water or sports drinks. They often have a variety of artificial sweeteners in them. If you are looking for an electrolyte boost, pick up a bottle of coconut water. Coconut water is a fantastic, natural version of Gatorade.

Admittedly it’s very difficult to not eat out at least a little bit while traveling, but taking little steps like having healthy snacks on hand will definitely help you stay away from the candy bars and chips.


I hope you all have an enjoyable Sunday. I will definitely be blogging from Miami.


Stay tuned!

Coach Colleen

9 Healthy Recipes in 12 Minutes or Less!


Hey Ladies!

Here are some recipes to try at home. Sometimes we forget that losing weight and getting healthy is a two-fold endeavor. On the one hand, we need to exercise and move our bodies on a regular and consistent basis, but we need to couple that with eating well. Health practitioners, like medical doctors and nutritionists, recommend that we eat 5-6 small meals every few hours. Why? So that our metabolism stays running all day long. If you go long periods without eating, your metabolism will slow down, which for some body types can result in weight gain.

It’s not enough to just eat a few small meals/snacks a day, it’s also about what you’re eating that’s important. Snacking on potato chips every few hours is not the same as snacking on a handful of raw almonds or a small baggie of carrots. Studies have shown that people who make their own meals at home (from scratch and not out of a LeanCuisine box) are healthier than those who eat processed foods in every meal. Cooking your own food is a great way to cut down on your sodium, preservatives, and nitrate intake. By cooking fresh, healthy meals, you become aware of exactly what you are putting into your body.

Use these recipes as a guide for what to eat for main meals. When grocery shopping – try to buy as fresh, organic (and if possible as local) of ingredients as you can.

As for the snack options for in between: raw nuts, raw veggies (carrots, celery, sliced bell peppers, etc), or slices of fresh fruit are great choices. (Again, try to buy as fresh, organic, and local as possible)

Happy Noshing!


DSC_2369© Copyright

Breaking Bad Habits


Humans by nature are creatures of habit. Every time I go to yoga class, I always put my mat in the same place without fail – at the front and center of the room. I even show up early to ensure that my spot won’t be taken! While it’s true that some habits start out seemingly innocent, it’s important to check and see how your habits may be affecting your life.

Rod Stryker, a yoga and meditation guru, published an article in The Huffington Post about the importance of quitting bad habits. I thought it was fitting to share because we all have bad habits that prevent us from fully living our lives and achieving our goals. Rod says, “Your past exerts itself on your present. If you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, like it or not, your past will choose it for you.” What he’s getting at by saying this is that if we are to achieve our goals, if we are to better ourselves, we must avoid unconscious action. We have to stop doing things simply because they are familiar and comfortable to us.

Rod continues the article by suggesting that there’s power in shedding a habit, regardless of how bad it is or how inconsequential it may seem. The energy that’s freed up when you stop staying up until 4 in the morning watching TV, can now be directed towards an important goal you want to achieve. He lays out 6 steps to breaking a habit. The habit doesn’t necessarily have to be detrimental, it can be anything that causes you to be counterproductive.

The first step is to, “...refrain from doing a “less-than-constructive habit.” He calls this the Departure Point. In other words, if you find yourself creeping on your ex’s Facebook profile, you should take a moment to pause when you feel the urge to type their name into the search box. Rod explains that the Departure Point as, “...the very action of ceasing to engage in a particular habit…allowing you to depart from the momentum that has shaped your life until now.

Step 2 is what he calls “Seeding the Gap”. It is the process of “planting” an intention that you make into the mental and physical “space” that’s opened every time you consciously stop giving into the habit you’ve chosen to quit. Rod explains further that when we, “…break free of old patterns enough times and you will create a new and different future.

Once you’ve paused and refrained from engaging your habit, step 3 is to turn your attention and energy towards imagining something greater than yourself, or the goal that you have been trying to achieve, or God, or nature, anyone or anything that brings you peace or inspiration.

Step 4 is to then, “rest” in that experience, taking a few breaths to enjoy or ponder that which makes you peaceful.

Step 5 is to, with your goal or hopes in mind, envision your future in the way that you hope it to be. So if your goal is to run a marathon in the spring, envision yourself running across the finish line.

The 6th and final step is to be thankful. Be thankful to yourself for having the strength to not give into your habit, to redirect that focus and energy towards bettering your yourself and your life.


This entire process should only take less than a minute and you can do it as much as you need to, any time of day, any place. Watch to see how you react to “quitting” your habit. If you find that you’re feeling resistant towards quitting, Rod notes that is is a sign that this is a, “…signal that there is untold power in sacrificing your habit for the sake of something better, something you really want.” Rod’s process of breaking habits is a great exercise that will help you to increase your ability to achieve whatever you set your mind to and to break free from the negative pull of your past. The use of imagination and visualization are great tools to use to achieve a goal, to become a better martial artist, to become a better “fill in the blank”. Why? Because it trains the mind in a way that leads to mental fortitude.

If you repeatedly stop yourself from getting out of bed to go to the fridge in the middle of the night to eat ice cream, then eventually you’ll get to the point when you won’t even toss and turn. You will just be able to let the thought of eating in the middle of the night pass, just like a dream. Then eventually the thoughts, the cravings, will just stop. Having mental fortitude allows you to better control your actions. It allows you to make a choice to do something, and then do it because you are not phased by other mental distractions like, “I’m too lazy to go to class today. I’m too weak to run a marathon.” Blah blah blah. Allowing bad habits to control your actions, means that you’re allowing them to control the direction of your life. Is that what you want?

So what are you doing in your life that isn’t benefiting you? What are some habits that you can kick in order to fill that time with things that are more important, more beneficial, more life-giving? Stop making excuses as to why you can’t do the things you want to do, go the places you want to do, live the life you’ve always wanted. OPERA NON VERBA. Deeds not words. So this month, challenge yourself to act instead of talk about how you’re going to change.


Stay tuned!

– Coach Colleen

*If you are interested in reading more about Rod and his teachings/philosophy, check out his book, The Four Desires, or visit his website at:

Coach’s Corner: 5 Beliefs That Will Make You More Resilient


Today’s Coach’s Corner comes to you today from magazine’s article on 8 Beliefs That Make You More Resilient. We’ve only picked 5 that we think are pertinent to our students. We’ve also added our own personal caveats to make them relevant to you and your training.

1. “Today’s success can breed tomorrow’s failure if I let success make me complacent about staying motivated and moving forward.” 

When you have a great class, or when you see that you’ve lost a 1/2 inch in one month from your training – definitely pat yourself on your back and give yourself the credit you deserve, but DO NOT let it lead to you missing your next class because you worked super hard the day before. Before you know it you’ll be back on the couch eating Cheetos! We have a saying here at The Academy, “GOOD, BETTER, BEST – NEVER LET IT REST.” This is a mantra that has allowed so many of our fighters to become champions and so many of our students to lose weight and get into the best shape of their life.

2. “I learn more from failure than from success. Failure renews my humility, sharpens my objectivity, and makes me more resilient.” 

Success is great, but failures are what help us learn and make us better. When you have a class or a training session where you feel awkward, or you’re just not getting the technique down right, or you don’t feel strong – don’t give up. If you can’t do 30 flutter kicks this month, don’t feel embarrassed, work on them each time you come to the gym. Try to do one more than you did the day before. Let it be the fuel you use to do 40 next month!

3. “Goals that contain, “I’ll try…” are self-defeating. If I want goals that truly motivate, I use phrases like “I will” and “I must”.”

Having goals that start out with “I’ll try” assumes that you’re giving yourself room for failure! Instead, make goals that sounds like, “By next month I WILL lose 5 pounds.” Then make your action plan around that. Don’t give your mind the slightest notion that you might slip up. When it comes to health goals, like losing weight and eating healthier – adopting a do or die mentality may seem dramatic, but in truth, your health and longevity is on the line. Training and maintaining a healthy and sustainable lifestyle is the key to great health.

4. “What holds most people back is fear of failure, but if I don’t take action, I’ll fail by default, so what have I got to lose?”

Fear will define the limits of your life, guaranteed. Don’t let it hold you back from doing the things you want to do and accomplish. If you’re thinking about running your first marathon, but have never ran a race before – don’t psyche yourself out! You have to crawl before you walk, then walk before you run. Start with a 5K and then work your way up. Come to us for support – we are here to help you push through that fear and achieve!

5. “What I say reinforces what I think, so if something is about to come out of my mouth that doesn’t serve my purpose, I should simply keep my mouth shut.”

It does you no good to put yourself down or to compare yourself to others when you don’t feel like you’re doing well. When you feel frustrated with yourself, pause  for a moment and remember that there’s no such thing as perfection – but there is progress. Progress is the most important. Remind yourself that you are better than you were a month ago and you will be better a month from now. But the interim is a time of inevitable frustration, don’t let that get to you. Instead of telling yourself that you’re weak and you’ll never reach your goal, tell yourself that you are stronger than you ever have been and you are going to crush this goal into oblivion! Another mantra that we like to use here at The Academy is “I CAN, I WILL.” Say this to yourself before  and after every workout – you’d be surprised at the power of a positive mental attitude.


That’s all for now team. Stay tuned for more posts about training, nutrition, recipes, and student spotlights.


Keep on keepin’ strong,

Coach Colleen