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



DO:MORE Tips From Amy Chase Jackson

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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