The Truth About Fitness Professionals

When you see a fitness professional, whether it is during your weekly Pilates class or at the grocery store, what are some assumptions you make about them?

Fitness professionals never cheat? Yeah, right!

I have heard several assumptions over my years as a fitness instructor.  I have heard that fitness and healthy eating comes easy to some.  I have had students assume that I never fall off the healthy eating wagon.  I have even heard people hint that I am always happy.

Clearly, no one is always happy and while there may be exceptions very few people eat healthy every day of their lives.  And let me tell you, although I have worked in fitness my whole life, fitness and healthy eating doesn’t come easy. Fitness and healthy eating takes commitment.  But even the most committed can fall off the wagon sometimes.

Happy Birthday to me!

For the past two months, I have celebrated my 50th birthday.  You heard that right, two months.  Instead of having one big birthday celebration, I found myself celebrating with friends and family at dinner parties and weekends in Ocean City, D.C. and North Carolina. 

My Favorite Cheat Foods

While many people like to believe that a cheat day for their fitness professional might be too much kale or a single cookie, I am here to tell you I did a great job of celebrating. When I have a cheat day or in this case a cheat month, wine is my choice. Sauvignon Blanc to be exact and maybe a little Rose or Prosecco and amazing margaritas at Mothers in OC too. My idea of eating unhealthy? Big fat greasy smash burgers and grilled potatoes, corn dip with tortilla chips, and red velvet cupcakes.  There’s more, but that’s the gist of it.  What do you think? Pretty good, huh?

Worth Every Minute

The extra calories and even the sluggishness I felt were worth every minute of the time I spent with friends and family.  But I knew I was going to have to commit to a clean eating program of my own as well as a change in my fitness routine. What I didn’t remember was just how bad my body would feel after eating so poorly and this feeling would mean getting back would take more commitment than ever.

Back On The Wagon

For the past week, I have been focusing on getting back on the wagon.  I have been focusing on clean eating and getting back to my regular fitness routine.  My fitness plan involves Pilates 5 days a week, TRX 2 days a week along with kettle bell exercises and plenty of stretching and cardio.  I have been able to add in the Pilates, TRX, kettlebells and stretching but I haven’t been able to get back into the cardio yet.  I will but I am learning to be kind to myself and ease back into things.

I am also back on the healthy eating bandwagon, eating whole foods and planning my meals to meet my nutritional goals.

Being a fitness professional does mean I must live a life of healthy eating and daily exercise but it doesn’t mean I am perfect.  It doesn’t mean I never eat a big juicy smash burger or a heavily iced cupcake.  It means I do it knowing I will have to come back to the lifestyle I have created for myself.


Be kind, compassionate, attentive, inclusive and eat a burger and cupcakes once in a while.

Finding Balance

balance food.jpeg

As I reflect on a weekend I just spent with clients and friends in North Carolina I remember why I do what I do..... being a personal trainer you are a role model for health and fitness but many times you become a friend. 

The Honest Truth

While hanging out with friends this weekend we talked about how tough it can be to maintain your health and fitness. I shared with them that it isn't always easy for trainers either. One thing that I have always told my clients is that you need to have balance.  But everybody needs variety as well.  I tell my clients to not be too hard on themselves.  If getting fit and staying fit were easy everyone would be healthy and fit.

Recently, I have had a scare with my health and truth be told, it's not over. But this is the first time in my entire life that I've had to think about what could happen if I didn't stay healthy and take care of myself.  

What Do You Control?

There are some things that are out of our control and there are some things that are in our control. One of the things we can control is our diet and our choice to workout.  No, it's not easy. It takes work

Find Balance

But sometimes, like this weekend for me, you have to give yourself a break and enjoy a cinnamon roll or some wine or some chips.  I have had all of the above in the last 30 days celebrating my 50th birthday.  And yes, I will admit it,  I do feel a little bad. And yes I'm going to get back on the bandwagon, but reflecting back on all of it I think I needed to give myself a break.  I needed to not be constantly thinking about my weight, what I eat, what I drink or how I look.

Be Kind To Yourself

That's not why people love me. They love me for me and that hasn't changed. I have so enjoyed getting to know my clients and I have become really good friends with many of them. I am real when I am with them. I am never fake.  I believe is why my clients still come to me. They don't want to get yelled at when they make a mistake and eat something unhealthy. They don't want to get yelled at or feel bad about themselves if they've gained a few pounds. Because I am honest with them they know I understand taking some time off, adding variety and adding a little balance.

Too Much Of A Good Thing

We all have those times when we need to let our hair down.  Now, don't get me wrong, we should keep it all in check and not get out-of-control.  We have all worked hard to stay fit and healthy and don't want to lose that.  But remember, balance is the key. Too much of a good thing is still too much of a good thing. 

Something's Got To Give

Have you ever been told you couldn't, shouldn't or can't do something? Or have you heard this?....It's impossible, no one succeeds doing that, you'll never make anything of yourself doing that? Why would you want to do that? 

I'm sure you've read or heard plenty of positive literature stating that you should not listen to those people. Stay away from the nay sayers. Avoid negative people, etc. 

Well, it can be hard at times. I'm 49 years old for only a few more weeks and I'm telling you that you can do just about anything you want to do. It truly depends on how badly you want it, what you're willing to do and just as importantly, what you are willing to give up in order to get it. Yes, I said what are you willing to give up! In order to get something that you really want, something has to give. Whether it's time, money, vacation, sleep or food. 

When I was about 24 years old I was told by an orthopedic surgeon that my neck injury was so bad and because it would be chronic I should give up being a personal trainer. He actually told me to find a new profession! Can you believe that? I understand that maybe at some level he was trying to help, however that was never an option for me. I have suffered through a lot of pain, chiropractors, PTs, masseurs and the best.......pilates workouts.

In other words, I did what it took to get past the debilitating pain and made a profession for myself. I am a Fitness professional. I teach pilates every day, I instruct clients on how to exercise correctly and make it fun at the same time. I train trainers to do what I do. It's a lifestyle and a profession. Imagine if I had listened to what that surgeon said. Maybe I would've found something else to do, but it wouldn't have been my passion. I'm glad I have faith and an inner strength that guided me to stick with it.

Have you ever had someone tell you you couldn't do something that you ultimately achieved? Please share it with me. 

Getting Healthy After Injury

Getting healthy after an injury or illness is not an easy then to do. It’s hard enough to find time to workout on a regular basis, let alone trying to fit in rehab on top of that. That’s where a knowledgeable personal trainer comes in handy.

Once a client has been released from rehab/PT, it is incredibly important to find a trainer that can understand the contraindications that come with the injury and how to progress the client correctly. The last thing someone wants to do is spend all of that time rehabbing to then get hurt working out by themselves or even with a trainer.

Many trainers today have backgrounds in corrective exercise and post-rehab training. This is important to know. Clients want the trainer to be able to discuss his/her program with the Physical Therapist once they are released. It will save time, money and recovery. It will also increase the trust between the client and trainer, as well as bridge the gap between fitness and Physical Therapy.

I always recommend that clients do at least 5 sessions with a trainer before going off on their own. If the client wants to go to a gym or do the program at home, it is best for the trainer to know what equipment the client has access to. With today's technology you can always Facetime or Skype, if there isn’t enough time to actually see each other in person.

Just remember that it’s important to spend the time and money now so that you won’t have to spend it later! 

Is it better to look good or feel good?

I have worked with many trainers over the years and have heard them say to their clients "It's better to look good than feel good."

Every time I hear this saying, I cringe.

What price are you paying to look good?

Yes, it's true that typically when we look good, we feel good, however the question is what price is the price we are paying to look good?

I have always believed that we should feel good first. Eat healthy, exercise 5-7 times per week and get 8 hours of sleep. Taking things to extreme to the point where we can't socialize, can't eat anything on the menu and have no energy because we are not consuming enough calories is a bad combination.

I believe you need to be good to yourself.  Have fun while you are exercising so that you not only can do it for a lifetime but will want to do it for a lifetime. And I believe we should enjoy healthy foods that make you feel clean and lean. 

Looking good is great but not at the cost of feeling lousy. The combination of looking good and feeling good cannot be beat.

Three Nutrition Tips To Live By

We have been in the weight loss/ weight gain profession for over 10 years and the ideas presented here are not a ‘magic pill’. We will help you manage your nutritional intake, calorie burning, & fitness plan.

We are going to keep this simple, so here are three things that need to be accomplished...

Nutrition Tips

1. Plan of attack

Remember that making healthy food choices goes a long way in maintaining your fitness plan. Do not deprive yourself of the pies, cakes or whatever it is you most enjoy; just remember to have a small portion in combination with healthy foods. Portioning is important. Sometimes just a taste is satisfying.

2. Anticipate setbacks

Remember you cannot always be as strong as you would like all of the time. You need to anticipate this. Do not get down on yourself and give up if (or, more likely, when) you overindulge. Just know this may happen and get back to the plan of eating healthy and controlling your portions. If it is Monday, and you remember that Friday is a party, you may want to make an extra effort to eat healthy the whole week.

3. Maintaining progress

You do this by continuing your workouts. You may want to put more time in for cardio. That means if you usually bike three times a week for 30 minutes, you may want to increase the bike time to 40 minutes and add a fourth day. You can also add to that by parking farther away during shopping.

These are just a few simple things to think about. Remember, enjoyment not engorgement.

And remember when it comes to weight loss, or any other healthy endeavor, there is no other place to be but here at Active Body & Health.