Get the Skinny on Smoothies

Get the Skinny on Smoothies

Banana and Blueberry smoothie summer breakfast with vanilla sticks.

Banana and Blueberry smoothie summer breakfast with vanilla sticks.

I often have clients tell me how I’d be so proud of them because they whipped up a delicious smoothie for breakfast. When I ask what they put in their smoothie, I hear things like – “bananas, strawberries, yogurt, orange juice and milk.”


Here’s the problem with most peoples smoothies…
The ingredients.  Yes, the ingredients I mentioned -the ones almost everyone uses to make a “healthy” smoothie…are all “healthy”… but a common oversight people have is that combinations like this leads to a meal or snack that is very high in sugar.


Smoothies made with lots of fruit and combined with juice and or sweetened yogurt often contain little to no protein or fat (ratio-wise) and will cause a spike in your blood sugar and a release of the insulin hormone which will then result in unwanted fat storage, energy crashes and perpetuates sugar cravings.  You see, fruits are great and high in antioxidants and vitamins, but they are also sweet (especially fruit juice!) and rich in fructose (fruit sugar), so having too much fruit and combining it with sweetened yogurt or juice can cause blood sugar issues and insulin sensitivity just the way a bagel or donut might!


You might be surprised to know that one of the most common ingredients in smoothies that spikes overall sugar content is yogurt?!  I’ll explain more by pasting an email conversation I had with a client (see below).


Client Question:

What do you think of this for my breakfast shake?
  • small apple
  • small banana or half a large (frozen)
  • 1 container of Activia vanilla yogurt (the small one)
  • 1/2 teas cinnamon
  • Almond milk and ice to a good consistency.


If using 3/4 cup almond milk, check out the break downs of each listed:

The one on the right is using Activia (4 oz.), the one on the left is replacing Activia(4 oz.) with protein powder.  Why do this?  As you will learn going forward, creating balance within meals is a key to having balanced blood sugar, reduced fat storage, satiation and more even energy levels.  It is also important for active people to get enough protein.  The one on the right is really high (ratio-wise) in carbs and especially sugar.  Replacing the Activia reduces sugar by almost half, reduces overall carbs and increases protein.  Try it and see how it tastes.

 Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 11.31.50 AM


If you’re a smoothie lover and making them regularly, you don’t have to give them up or choke down disgusting tasting “chopped up salad” that tastes “like it was scraped off the top of a pond” lol.  Just be sure to take a look at the overall sugar content in your smoothie…start minimizing sugary ingredients and balancing with protein powder and healthy fats.

In fact, start to minimize sugar in general. If you’re eating too much fruit, find yourself snacking on treats everyday or snooping around the kitchen after 10pm looking for a sweet fix, that’s a sign that your blood sugar is imbalanced and it is probably sabotaging your progress.

Interested in more information about balanced nutrition?  Email me to receive the FREE 10 Day Fitness Reset program that sparked the conversation above!


Achieving Fitness Goals In 2015:  Part 1

Achieving Fitness Goals In 2015: Part 1

It’s the start of 2015 and I want to see each one of you reach your goals and beyond. I want you to set goals that push you to your limits and create a plan that will allow you to reach what you’ve envisioned. Over the last year I’ve learned some new things about reaching goals and I’d like to share this new information combined with some of the concepts I’ve shared in the past to hopefully empower you in a new way!

Setting Goals That Make Sense
Because of the huge influence the media has on the fitness industry, many people set goals based on what I call ‘fantasy’ promises that are advertised to sell magazines, books, DVD’s and other fitness products. One example that comes to mind is “30 Day Shred” by Jillian Michaels. If you read the book, it is informative and offers some challenging fitness regimens as part of a comprehensive plan to get “shredded” in 30 Days. The information itself isn’t bad, but, with a title like “30 Day Shred” it leads one to believe that they it’s possible to achieve a very elite physique in just one month. I personally don’t know of anyone, including elite athletes & fitness models, that gets “shredded” in 30 days unless they were “almost shredded” when they started the 30-day program. And I really doubt Jillian Michaels did either.

The fact is the media does not present 100% truthful information when advertising fitness products. I think most of us realize this on some level but there is a part of our brain that wants to believe the quick fix ads are true. The ads appeal to our most basic desires and often cause us to set unrealistic for ourselves. When these goals are not achieved people become discouraged and give up.

If you’ve fallen prey to those types of products, don’t feel stupid about it! You are not alone! I’ve had successful CEO’s ask me how they can get an ‘8 pack’ in 3 weeks, college coaches ask me why they don’t lose weight when they repeat the same habits expecting a new result and educated people in the medical field expect a 6 pack in 1 month! These are smart, successful people! Their questions prove that even those of us who are logical and educated question our rational thinking mind because of the massive amount of messages we are exposed to on a daily basis.

When you set your goals for 2015, don’t use messages from the media to decide the parameters of your goals.  You can be aggressive and idealistic and push yourself to the max, but make sure your goal is achievable in the timeframe you define. One thing my clients found really helpful last year was the concept of setting SMART goals combined with a daily focus on the system or plan created to reach those goals.

What is a goal?
The definition of a goal that I use with clients is YOUR journey from point 1 to point 2. To set a SMART goal, you must understand where you are now (point 1) and create a system to follow that takes you incrementally to your goal (point 2).

What is a SMART goal?go30b
Step one to achieving your 2015 fitness goals is to use the SMART acronym (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound) as a guideline for defining what you want to accomplish with your fitness program. Do you want to build muscle, lose weight, improve cardiovascular conditioning, run a marathon, lose fat, or a combination of the above? Take a minute to write down what you would like to accomplish in 2015 and glance over your goals. To improve your likelihood of success and make sure you have set SMART goals, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Have I set conflicting goals and if so, is there a way to achieve both this year?
  • Are these goals realistic for the time frame I’ve allotted? (a good way to answer this is to ask others who have achieved this goal how long it took them to do so)
  • Are these goals based in reality or fantasy? (If you are unsure, ask yourself “Do I know anyone who has achieved this goal”)
  • Are these goals specific and measurable?
  • Do I have the patience necessary to follow a plan that is proven to work?
  • Do I have the time and lifestyle management practices in place that will allow me to achieve these goals on my own…if not, do I know someone who can help me?

Once you have scrutinized your goal(s) you then need to develop a system of daily habits that when done repeatedly will result in the achievement of your goal. For example, if your goal were to run a marathon, your system would include a running calendar and a proper nutrition plan for giving your body the fuel it needs. If your goal were to lose 100lbs, your system would include a combination of nutrition, exercise & stress management techniques.

Focusing on a daily system as a means of successful steps toward your goal seems like an inconsequential detail, but it is actually a crucial shift of focus that could be the difference between success and failure. This is because, as many psychologists will tell you, most of our actions are taken out of habit. Habits are formed because they are psychologically comfortable and not because they are healthy or good for us. Even when a habit leads us to a result we do not want, the fact that we have the habit then within our mental climate makes it seem like the best course of action and unfortunately we don’t realize that we are setting ourselves up to make the same choices over and over again.

When you focus on successfully executing a system designed to create the outcome you desire, measuring your outcomes, making the necessary adjustments to your system and recognize your successes you are retraining yourself to develop new habits and actions that lead you towards your desired outcome instead of leading you toward the same outcome over and over again.

You’ll find out more about creating a system that will help you achieve your 2015 goals in Part 2 of this article!

Can’t Stop Cravings? 10 Strategies For Making Better Choices

iStock_000013851318XSmallDo you ever wonder why you can’t stay away from junk food?  I mean…what is it that makes it so irresistible?  It’s definitely not the nutritional value I can tell you that.  In fact, the more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel lethargic and unmotivated.  Even though most of us know what the ramifications of junk food overload are, we still eat the stuff!  WHY? What is the allure with these foods and how do you get it under control?

First, there is something you need to know.  Junk food is addictive.  When I say addictive I mean that we can develop “dependency-like” behaviors towards food based on how their chemical make up impacts the receptors and hormonal responses in the brain and body.

The main content in most junk food can be divided into three main groups: salt, sugar and fat which can all be “addictive” especially when artificial versions of these are used in the right combinations.  In addition to these three main ingredients, food additives such as preservatives, food coloring, and artificial flavorings can also have negative influences on your health.

Proof That You Can Increase Lean Mass, Strength & Cardio Conditioning After Age 50!

Photo of When Cliff Met President Obama!!!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was recently fortunate enough to have a fitness done with M-Healthy personal trainer Eric B.  During the assessment I was tested for standard health & fitness indicators such as weight, body fat, flexibility, cardiovascular and strength.  It was a lot of fun, especially when I learned that I am in pretty good shape (phew!).

My post motivated one of my long time clients, Cliff Douglas to do an assessment of his own.  (His first assessment, done in 2008 was performed by moi!)   Cliff completed his assessment last Tuesday and was kind enough to share his results with me.  I found that both he and I gained a lot from seeing the results, so much so that I plan to offer an assessment as part of my training services in the near future.

I think Cliff also benefited from the follow-up assessment because he was able to see how fit he was and the progress he had made.  I decided to share Cliff’s results with you here both as a motivator to stay committed to a regular fitness routine,  to show the value of working with a qualified trainer and to encourage you to measure your own progress, especially over longer periods of time (like 1, 3, 5 years) to see where your habitual health and fitness behaviors are taking you. (more…)

Wondering Where You Rank? Consider Doing An M-Healthy Fitness Assessment

IMG_1641Are you someone who works out regularly and wonders how well you rank against others in your age group?  Having a fitness assessment done by a medically based fitness program can show you exactly where you stand and in what areas of fitness you could improve.

Recently, I had the opportunity of visiting my former place of work M-Healthy (formerly MFit) to find out how I measured up against others in my age group.  The assessment took place at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube and was conducted by my former boss Eric and one of his new trainers John.  During the assessment Eric and John conducted the following tests:

  • Height & Weight
  • Blood pressure & Resting heart rate
  • Girth Measurements
  • Skin folds (Body Fat)
  • Upper & Lower Body Flexibility Tests
  • Upper & Lower Body Strength Tests
  • SubMax VO2 test

It took about 1 1/2 hours to complete the testing and review the results.  Eric and John did a great job and I personally feel Eric is one of the most knowledgable and educated personal trainers in the Ann Arbor area.  If you are interested in exercise science, research and data, Eric is the “go-to” guy.  Personally, I found the testing and results both helpful and fun!  It’s a great way to get a baseline if you are just starting an exercise program.  Learn more about the M-Healthy fitness assessment by visiting their website today!