The Importance Of Fueling Before And After Workout

Our bodies need to be properly hydrated and nourished to function at optimal levels.  Proper nutrition is vital to feed our cells, boost metabolism, and provide fuel for an active lifestyle. If you want to maximize your workout results, make sure to follow these tips:

Pre-Workout Fuel:

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Water– You should drink water before, during and after your workout. WWW.WebMD.Com reports:  Drink fluids throughout the day before you exercise. Then follow this formula :

  • One to two hours before your workout, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water
  • 15 minutes before you begin, drink between 8 and 10 ounces of water
  • During your workout, drink another 8 ounces every 15 minutes.

Complex Carbohydrates/Protein: Medical News Today reports:

Ideally, a person should eat a meal rich in complex carbohydrates and protein around 2–3 hours before exercising.

Avocado and eggs, on organic whole wheat toast

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Organic oats with berries, greek yogurt, and walnuts

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Post-Workout Fuel:  Fuel your body with a good source of protein, carbohydrates,  healthy fats and water to help muscle growth and repair. It’s ideal to get a snack or a light meal within 20 to 30 minutes after your workout.

Protein Smoothie –   Almond milk, scoop of whey protein, blueberries, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt, tbsp organic coconut oil, tbsp flax seed


Additional post workout fuel ideas via Very Well FIt:

  • Brown rice and boneless skinless chicken breast – Prepare with your favorite low-sodium spices or salsa for a nutritious recovery meal. This can be done in the crockpot, stovetop, or oven. Some athletes prefer white rice over brown to reduce possible stomach upset. 
  • Power smoothie – Blend your favorite fruit with plain yogurt, almond milk, soy or favorite tolerated dairy, some water, and ice. A great boost of healthy fats can be added with a spoonful of your favorite nut butter. 
  • Egg scramble – Easy one-skillet meals where one whole egg, egg whites, vegetables, and sweet potatoes can be tossed with favorite spices and sprinkled with fresh black pepper. 
  • Pass the peanut butter – The all-American favorite sandwich on whole-grain sprouted toast is a post-workout pleaser. Leave off the sugared jam and enjoy with a drizzle of local honey. This nutrient-dense meal contains quality plant protein, healthy fat, and high fiber. 
  • Check the leftovers – What you cooked the night before is calling your name and ready to refuel that body. Do you have cooked quinoa ready to go? Toss on salad greens and sprinkle with balsamic for a well-balanced meal.
  • Wrap it up – Whole grain high fiber wraps are a great start to a wonderful recovery meal. Add some fresh avocado, lean meat of your choice, greens, beans or whatever suits the theme of the wrap, roll up and enjoy.

Additional snacks to enjoy recommended by the American Council on Exercise:

  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit or banana. 
  • Banana with 1 tablespoon almond or nut butter.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • 4 ounces of albacore tuna on 1 slice whole grain toast.
  • Whole wheat English muffin or whole wheat pita topped with a slice of low sodium turkey meat and hummus.
  • Protein shake with 2 scoops whey protein and 1/2 banana blended with water.

Please Tell Me What To Eat

So it’s our discomfort – and even disgust – with the joy of eating that frightens us. And that’s because of a culture that tells us, in a thousand ways, from the time we first start solid foods, that this comfort cannot be trusted. That we cannot be trusted to know what and how much to eat. We must outsource this judgment to experts who know better – first to our parents, then to teachers; then to food gurus and big brands, who sell us on diets, cleanses, food dogmas, and “lifestyle changes.” We cede our knowledge, our own personal relationship with food, to an entire world built on the premise that we don’t know how to feed ourselves.~Virginia Sole-Smith

Our anxiety about food leaves many of us overweight and never satisfied. We define food as good, bad, healthy, and unhealthy. Many of us have a destructive relationship with food that’s a constant source of anxiety and frustration.

There are those of us who spend most of our adult life in search of the perfect diet. Many people have jumped on the bandwagon to follow the Keto diet or intermittent fasting in hopes of finally reaching that perfect number on the scale. And there are those more desperate who try diet pills with the promise they will magically transform their bodies without changing eating habits or exercising.

Our bodies are amazing, complex machines that are designed to provide us with true signals of thirst and hunger. But the truth is we’ve destroyed our natural hunger cues. We associate food with our emotions and stuff ourselves with processed foods containing foreign substances our bodies don’t recognize.

Many of us eat while watching television, commuting to work, talking on the phone, and a multitude of other distracting activities. We’ve lost the experience of savoring and enjoying meals. Many of us scarf down our food in less than ten minutes and wonder why we are still hungry when we’re done?

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Have you noticed most grocery store displays are cleverly positioned in the middle of the aisles, stocked with junk foods designed to catch our eye and make our mouths water? Our bodies are bombarded daily with chemicals from manufactured foods that have left our taste buds numb and with little desire for “real food.”  Therefore, we find ourselves unsatisfied and craving junk food that is shoved down our throat every day via food product marketing and the media. And how many commercials do we see on a daily basis filling our brains with images of mouth-watering junk and processed foods?

Wouldn’t it be nice if grocery stores flooded the main aisles with fresh fruits and vegetables?

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Medical News Today reports:

Many processed foods have been engineered to be so incredibly “rewarding” to the brain, that they overpower anything we might have come across in nature.

We have complicated mechanisms in our bodies and brains that are supposed to regulate energy balance (how much we eat and how much we burn) which, until very recently in evolutionary history, worked to keep us at a healthy weight.

There is quite a lot of evidence that the reward value of foods can bypass the innate defense mechanism and make us start eating much more than we need, so much that it starts to compromise our health

Another interesting study reported the significance of nutrient intake and cravings,  Changing perceptions of hunger on a nutrient dense diet

-Joel Fuhrman, reports:

One of the common barriers to weight loss is the uncomfortable sensation of hunger that drives overeating and makes dieting fail, even in those who are obese from over-consumption of calories. Over the past two decades we have worked closely with approximately twenty thousand patients in a private suburban family practice in New Jersey specializing in nutritional interventions for weight loss and disease prevention/management. Our experience is that enhancing the micronutrient quality of the diet even in the context of a substantially lower caloric intake dramatically mitigates the experience of hunger. A diet high in micronutrients appears to decrease food cravings and overeating behaviors. Sensations such as fatigue, weakness, stomach cramps, tremors, irritability and headaches, commonly interpreted as “hunger”, resolve gradually for the majority of people who adopt a high nutrient density diet, and a new, less distressing, sensation (which we label “true” or “throat” hunger) replaces it.


This study suggested that a diet high in processed foods resulted in inflammation causing sensations of “toxic hunger” which resulted in withdrawal symptoms, and overeating. Those on a nutrient dense diet more often experienced true hunger and a decrease in overeating and cravings.

Please Tell Me What To Eat

As a personal trainer, the majority of my clients want to know about the latest diet craze and want me to tell them what to eat. Although it’s a good idea to track nutrients to assure you are getting sufficient amounts of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats; the truth is, there is no perfect diet. Many who lose weight on diets often gain the weight back once they return to old eating patterns. The key is to get back to basics and retrain your brain by adding more nutrient dense foods and gradually decreasing processed foods. Our bodies need real food to stay healthy and function properly. You can’t go wrong by going back to nature for the PERFECT DIET containing fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Therefore, it important to make gradual dietary changes to increase the likelihood of adapting to a more healthy plant-based diet. Drastic dietary changes are often unsuccessful and leave us more obsessed with labeling foods as good and bad. Instead of subtracting unhealthy foods you currently enjoy, try adding more fruits and veggies to your current meals. Learn to enjoy the experience of planning meals, researching new recipes, and cooking real food. Begin to train your brain to pay attention to real hunger cues by practicing mindful eating. Before you know it, your body will respond by craving nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables instead of junk and processed foods.


We don’t need others to tell us what and when to eat. Our bodies are designed to tell us when we are hungry and what nutrients we need. There is nothing wrong with occasional splurges of your favorite dessert, pizza, or fries, but learn to enjoy these foods in moderation. Getting back to our true hunger can be accomplished by practicing Mindful Eating- 10 Simple Ways To Celebrate Your Meals.

Food is a large part of our lives. It should be enjoyed and celebrated. Learn to make peace with food by practicing these following tips for mindful eating:

  1. Plan your meals– Search for recipes and make a grocery list- explore new foods, herbs, spices.
  2. Make your plate colorful- Prepare a beautiful plate. Use your best china. Many people save their best china for a special occasion. Make every meal a special occasion. Celebrate food, celebrate each day of your life.
  3. Turn off the television, take a break from your phone– It’s hard to be mindful and tune into your meals when on social media, watching television or texting. Put your phone away and turn the TV off.
  4. Take time before your meal to be thankful- Take a moment before your meals to realize how lucky you are to have a place to sit, a roof over your head, and food to eat. There are much less fortunate who don’t.
  5. Chew your food– Don’t gulp down your food. Slow down and chew it completely.
  6. Take small bites- Use a fork and knife and cut small pieces.
  7. Really taste it. Savor the smell, the taste, the texture.
  8. Enjoy a glass of wine– If you like wine, experiment with different types and explore and research pairing your wine with different foods.
  9. Make it a celebration– We all love celebrations. Make this family time or just time alone to relax, unwind and enjoy your meal. Make your meal something to look forward to every day.
  10. Don’t rush it!- Take time to cook! Get the family involved cutting up veggies, setting the table and then turn onto mindful eating. As you experience the wonderful meal you prepared, think about all you have in your life to be grateful for!


Elevate Your Situation

“Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation.”
― T.F. Hodge

It was pouring rain this morning when I woke up and I didn’t particularly want to get out of bed. I didn’t sleep well and I had a headache that felt similar to a really bad hangover without the fun. I’m sure it was most likely due to the thick pollen all over our deck and front porch. On days like this, I try to make a decision to make the best of my day by focusing on the good things in my life. I dig down deep and REACH FOR MY FAVORITE THINGS to help “elevate my situation.”

“Regardless of Sunshine or Rain, Be Thankful for another GREAT day…and treat Life as the ULTIMATE Gift…. Because IT IS :)”

  1. Favorite Way To Start My Morning -COFFEE

I had to teach an early class, so I jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen for coffee. Ahhh coffee makes everything better! I decided to go for “bulletproof coffee” so that hopefully the caffeine would kick in and help me forget about my headache.


I drank a large glass of lemon water and by the time I finished the bulletproof coffee, my headache was gone.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

2. One Of My Favorite Workouts

Workouts always make me feel better. I prepared a workout for a small group training class. I decided to start off the workout with a treadmill run and added an incline challenge. The run was a great way to get the endorphins to kick in quickly and helped the class to get pumped for the weight circuit to follow. The circuit was total body compound exercises that were completed three rounds.

Jessie's Friday WOD


3. Put On My favorite shoes (BOOTS) They always put me in a good mood!  I love cowboy boots and wear them all year no matter how hot it gets.

“She wore trousers, because skirts were stupid, and boots, ‘cuz stuff needed to be kicked.”
 Brandon SandersonShadows of Self


4. Love to cook! My Favorite Meal-is almost always- Healthy and Home Cooked!

This was such a delicious and easy meal to make. I placed a couple of organic chicken thighs on a roasting pan and seasoned them with a store-bought Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce and sprinkled the thighs with chili powder. Roasted carrots are a healthy, quick, and easy side that requires very little preparation. I scrubbed the organic carrots and basted them with olive oil.   

Roast the chicken and carrots in the oven on 375 for approximately 60 minutes. I paired the baked chicken and roasted carrots with a spinach salad, sliced avocado, and mandarin orange slices.



“Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.”
 Truman CapoteSummer Crossing

Friday Quick And Easy No Meat Meal

Today is a no meat day for Lent and I’ve been experimenting with different ideas for vegetarian meals each week. I found these Garden Veggie Burgers at Publix and they are pretty healthy when you compare them with other vegan products like Morning Star that are often soy based. These GreenWise veggie burgers list carrots, green beans, onion, broccoli, and zucchini on the ingredient list.

I prepared the garden burgers on a griddle with olive oil and sauteed onions. They had a much better texture than most veggie burgers that tend to be mushy. I topped the burgers with avocado, onions, and feta cheese and added a side of baked sweet potato fries. I’m also trying to incorporate more raw veggies into my diet and added a side of sliced organic apples, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. YUM!!

The Essence Of Running

runwithyourheart“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”

 Haruki MurakamiWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Avocado Toast, Fried Sweet Potatoes, & Cucumber Apple Salad

I had avocado toast with eggs this evening for dinner and it was delicious. I’m always looking for ways to increase the nutrient value of my food and used mainly organic ingredients. I found a great organic bread with flax seeds for the avocado toast. This was a quick and easy meal that I paired with apple and cucumber salad and organic hash browns. (I used olive oil to pan fry the potatoes instead of butter)

Main Dish:




1.Cucumber and Apple Salad

2. Fried Sweet Potato

Flex Friday Workout & Fuel


It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I just finished my Interval Barbell class. So nice to be back to my normal routine of teaching after a six-week hiatus. Although it’s nice to take a break to help prevent burnout, I miss the positive energy, the music, and most of all the class members. Here’s today’s class: Warm-up 7 to 10 minutes run

Pushups-  20 Reps/ 3 Sets


Chest Press – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets


Mountain Climbers – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets followed by Plank (One Minute)



Clean & Press – 10 Reps/ 3 Sets


Barbell Biceps – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets



Tricep Dip – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets (Weight plate optional)



Plank Jacks – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets



Final stretch and recovery fuel

Take a look at these great post workout snack ideas


Top Powerhouse Foods To Optimize Health & Fitness

Improve your health and fitness by adding these powerhouse foods to your grocery list. I’ll admit that sometimes I go through periods where I eat out too much and I buy too many packaged foods.

However, I always notice that what I eat plays a major role in how I feel and look. When I eat unhealthy foods I feel sluggish and usually end up packing on unwanted pounds.

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Luckily, once I buckle down and go back to clean eating, my body responds pretty quickly. Normally after a couple of weeks, I snap out of my lazy, junk food frenzy by getting back to the gym and my “go to” food list.


I purchase these powerhouse foods every week and there is no end to all the recipes you can create. The key is to avoid packaged foods when grocery shopping and limit eating out each week.

  1. Organic Avocado – Healthy fat high in potassium to help in exercise recovery.
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2, Organic Celery – Reduces inflammation and flushes toxins

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3. Organic Carrots – high in beta carotene that helps fight free radicals and heart disease

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4. Organic Cucumbers – Help to hydrate the body during exercise

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5. Organic Spinach – Per Dr. Mercola Assists in increasing the production of proteins that boost muscle strength.

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6. Sweet Potatoes – Good source of complex carbs for workouts

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7. Organic Gala Apples – High in polyphenols and glutamine for muscle growth

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8. Organic Zucchini- Boosts energy and supports circulation

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9. Organic Bananas – High in potassium to provide energy for workouts and recovery. My favorite pre and post run food.

10. Organic Cherry Tomatoes – High in vitamin C and Lycopene for muscle recovery

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11. Raw Almonds – High in magnesium to help support muscle growth and recovery

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12. Grapefruit – Rich in vitamin C and fiber promotes a healthy immune system

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13. Cottage Cheese – Great source of protein for muscle building and recovery

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Perfect Post Run Stretch Routine

I’ve been contemplating whether or not I wanted to get back into running after an injury last year.22043_1353237074745_979116_n

I’m quite certain my injury was the result of an inflated ego and laziness. In the past, I never warmed up before my runs or stretched when I was done. I’m not sure why I thought, at the age of 58, I didn’t need to warm-up or stretch. Furthermore, as a fitness professional, I was setting a poor example for my clients.

I decided to try walking while I was healing and I really enjoyed a slower pace but still missed the feeling I get from a great run.  Over the last couple of weeks, I decided to test my body to see how it would react to running again.  At least I’ve learned over the years to listen to my body.  

Today I decided to go for a 5k and work on improving speed and mileage. My run felt absolutely amazing. My goal is to get back to my pre-injury run schedule within the next two months.  Therefore, I plan to commit to warming up and stretching with every single run.  Which leads me to the point of this post below.  These stretch/yoga poses are perfect for a post-run stretch hitting the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves and lower back.



PERFECT POSE RUN STRETCHI minute for each pose