Weekly Newsletter!


A little housekeeping on this Saturday!

I have included a widget right over there ——-> under my picture for you to sign up for my WEEKLY NEWSLETTER! This will replace the widget for subscribing to my blog.

Each week I will include a summary of blog posts in case you missed them, a few thoughts, workout tips, nutrition tips, and probably an Advocare product of the week. Or, I may just go completely off script and do whatever I want to do. 😉

If you have already subscribed to my blog, please go ahead and subscribe to my newsletter. I wanted you to have the option to opt-in again.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!


Weekly Newsletter!

Beginner Dumbbell-Only Full Body Workout


This post is dedicated to my beautiful and sweet Sister-in-Law who requested I create a full-body workout using dumbbells. She is a runner but can only get into the gym for weights once a week. So, she needed something that will hit every muscle in one awesome workout.


Every move should be done for 3 sets and 10 reps each. Rest 60 seconds in between sets. You will be doing 2 exercises for each body part (legs, chest, back, biceps, triceps, and shoulders) This workout might take you awhile to finish but you are hitting your full body.

Okay, here we go….

Let’s start with LEGS!


DUMBBELL LUNGE (just hold dumbbells in your hands)

Next up is CHEST….



Time for BACK!


DUMBBELL DEADLIFT (look at the first part of the video for the deadlift)

Moving on to BICEPS!



Now going to the other side of the arm….the TRICEPS.






Okay, that was a lot of information and videos. Here is the breakdown of the workout in one spot.

Remember, 3 sets per exercise with 10 reps per set

Goblet Squat
Dumbbell Lunge
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Flye
One Arm Dumbbell Row
Dumbbell Deadlift
Dumbbell Curl
Concentration Curl
Triceps Extension
Triceps Kickback
Overhead Press

This is a good introduction to weight lifting and dumbbells. Do it once a week or so as a supplement to your running routine. But, remember that your body is amazing in its ability to adapt. You will need to change up the moves after awhile. 🙂

Questions? Comment or shoot me a message!


Beginner Dumbbell-Only Full Body Workout

How I Passed the NASM Certified Personal Trainer Exam….The 1st time!!!


Tuesday was the big day. I took my NASM Certified Personal Trainer exam and PASSED. WOW! That is a huge relief and weight off my shoulders.

I started the process of researching how to become a personal trainer way back in the Spring. I compared and contrasted certification organizations. I spent hours looking at websites and comparison charts. I changed my mind a million times. But, ultimately, I settled on NASM, or National Academy of Sports Medicine. I never found anything outright negative about them.  I can carry that certification anywhere I go, even overseas.  It looked thorough and solid.  I chose NASM, signed up for a class, and off I went, starting in June.  I was thrilled to find out from a mentor trainer that NASM is the Gold Standard of certifications and I made the right choice for my career and my clients. Whoo!  Thank goodness all this studying was for naught.

I was made nervous when researching online brought me to the standard statement that the NASM exam is one of, if not THE, toughest PT exam out there.  Eeeek!  It has been over ten years since I took any exam of substance.  It is true that I graduated from college and graduate school.  I am no stranger to studying and testing but it had been so long.  I felt like my brain had cobwebs in it.  The good thing is that I had six months to study and test.  I can do this!

Then that fateful day in June arrived.  My package from NASM was delivered to my doorstep.  I got a snazzy backpack and textbook.  Oh crap!  That textbook is HUGE!  Flashbacks to college quickly followed.  I sat down and started reading.

I read.

I read.

I read.

I read.

I read that whole entire textbook….cover to cover.  I highlighted and I took notes.

After I read the book all the way through I started watching the tutorials online that NASM provides in their online classroom.  I watched every single one.  They are kind of boring but in many instances they did make the science make more sense. (Note: I was a HISTORY major in college.  This level of science was completely new and daunting to me.)

I went online and I printed out study guides that other bloggers and personal trainers have provided over the years. I especially liked the one Peanut Butter Fingers provided here. I also found a document on the Bodybuilding.com forums of rather thorough outline of the textbook.  THAT was a HUGE help. (It is a .pdf file). I think I read that outline ten times, highlighting, hashing out points, making lists, etc.

I printed out the flashcards that NASM provides in the online classroom.  It provides 100 flashcards for the four sections in the textbook.  I carried those flashcards everywhere.

I talked to my husband a lot about what I was learning.  Talking about it helped me process the information and make it practical.  I remember one night when I gave a full explanation of how self-myofacial release (foam rolling) works and my sweet husband said, “YES!  My investment is paying off!”  Funny, funny man. I love him.  And yes, it will pay off.

I downloaded an app that has over 400 multiple-choice questions.  It has a study mode where you can go through all the questions, answer them, and then have the question explained to you.  I did all 475 questions.  There is also a test mode.  I probably did over 20 practice tests on this app just to get a feel for the questions.  Oh, and I DID see a handful of the questions on the actual exam…word for word.  You can get the app here.

Finally, I did the practice exam provided by NASM online probably 5 times or so.  And I did see questions from this test on the real test as well.

Practice exams were helpful in building my confidence.  When I started taking them I was scoring in the low 70’s.  You have to have a 70 to pass the exam.  Not good.  As I studied more and tested more that score inched up into the 80’s.  My goal was to have at least one practice exam in the 90’s.  I think it happened once. LOL!

Lastly, I prayed…A LOT!!

I was so nervous going into the exam.  It didn’t help the computer lab was absolutely freezing.  I mean frigid. I am so glad I thought to bring a sweater.  I marked questions I wasn’t 100% sure about and I returned to them after I went through the entire exam.  Then I clicked through every single question one last time just to be sure.  I marked ‘End’ and I prayed hard again.  The proctor came into the lab, looked up my information on her computer, and gave me a thumbs up.

I celebrated with the Hubs with a nice lunch.

It is done.


How I Passed the NASM Certified Personal Trainer Exam….The 1st time!!!

In Which She Admits She is Human: The Virgin Diet, Week 3 Report

The last three weeks have a been quite an experience. You can read my Week One and Week Two Reports to get caught up if you need to.

Here is what I have learned from eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, artificial sweeteners, and peanuts from my diet for three weeks.

  • I do feel a lot better all over when I eat this way.  My knees hurt less or not at all.  My energy levels are high. I have almost no ‘Brain Fog.’  And I feel more tight and less bloated.
  • It is easy to eat this way at home.
  • It is not easy to eat this way when out and about.
  • I can plan for outings most of the time and eat accordingly.
  • I am most likely intolerant to something on that list.
  • I am human and I slip up.

You read that last one correctly.  I am 100% human and I have cheated.  *sigh*  I hate it but it is true.  I did eat corn chips at Moe’s like I said in my Week 2 report. I ate some crust off a pizza my husband got. (The crust is my most favorite part and it is a good arrangement we have.)  And I took my son to a Fro-Yo place for a Mommy Date.  I am kicking myself about the Fro-Yo place. …not for going but for my choices while there.  I could’ve stuck to the yogurt and topped it with fruit.  But, nooooooo!  I got candy.  It was a small serving but still. 😦


What have I learned from my slip-ups or cheats?


  • These cheats just don’t have the same appeal they used to have.
  • They don’t taste as yummy anymore.
  • I feel yucky afterwards almost 100% of the time.
  • I don’t think they are worth it anymore.
  • My cravings are not what they used to be.  I think I finally busted through that insatiable desire for sugar and now things like the candy bars at the Fro-Yo joint were honestly, gross.  WHAT?!?!
  • I do feel yucky but the repercussions are not crippling or life-threatening.  Fun?  Heck no.  But, livable.
  • I find food to be very social.
  • It is extremely hard and almost divisive when I have been in social situations and have refused food offered to me.  Reminds me of a previous post where I talked about how Food is Relationship. I just don’t know if I am willing to do that anymore.
  • It is still easy to eat this way at home when it is just me and the family.


Where do I go from here?

  • I will continue to eat this way at home.
  • I will continue to eat this way when I am out and about and I can plan for it.
  • I will reintroduce foods one by one to gauge my reactions.  I know I have totally messed up the chemistry of the process by having these cheats but I will do the best I can.
  • If I react to these foods at home under more scrutiny I will keep them out the best I can.  If I don’t react I will bring them back but better sources.
  • Week one of the Reintroduction phase will be dairy.  That is one reason why I didn’t feel too badly about going for Fro-Yo.  I just should’ve stuck to the fruit.  UGH!  I already know the Fro-Yo results won’t be too splendid.  I’ve always known I have an intolerance to milk.  I can’t drink milk or eat much ice cream without digestive distress.
  • I will reintroduce gluten but after that I will stick to the sourdough method of preparing bread. I already make all our own bread but I’ll change it to sourdough.  The traditional method of using sourdough makes the wheat and gluten much easier to digest by breaking it down before you eat it. I already have a sourdough starter going on my counter using this method. I can’t wait to get back to sourdough.
  • I guess you could say I’m adopting a 80/20 or a 90/10 approach to eating.  I can live with that.  I can control what I eat at home. I can control what I pack in my lunchbox.  When I am in a social situations I won’t stress it but I will still make the healthiest choices with what is available.


What do you think?  Am I terrible for not being 100% about this process?  I don’t know.  I wish I could’ve given you a more solid review of it all. I will say that I do believe in food intolerances now and that most people would benefit from a process like this.  It was quite eye-opening.


I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. 🙂


In Which She Admits She is Human: The Virgin Diet, Week 3 Report

The Virgin Diet: Week 2 Report

Well, here we are. I have finished Week 2 of the Elimination phase of  The Virgin Diet and am going into Week 3. Feel free to look here for what the Virgin Diet is and Why I am doing it and look here for my Week One Report.

How is it going? Let’s see….

  • My energy levels continue to stay level ALL DAY LONG!
  • My clothes continue to fit better and better each day.
  • The brain fog continues to remain lifted.
  • Here is a big one.  I ran 3 miles on the treadmill (run/walk intervals) on Friday and had zero knee pain.  And then I had no knee pain later in the evening and none the next day.  WHAT?!?!?  I don’t even know what it is like to live pain-free.
  • Overall, I just feel better.
  • My cravings for bad food is almost completely gone.  I just don’t want junk anymore.  I still love my chocolate and I still love my sweets but healthier alternatives scratch that itch just fine now. I do occasionally want a good biscuit or piece of pizza but I’ve noticed that usually think about those things when I’m hungry.  If I stay on top of my eating and don’t get overly hungry much I don’t think about the other foods.

I have one more week of the elimination phase which is when you leave all gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, artificial sweeteners, and peanuts out of your diet.  Like I said last week, I might choose to go one more week but we’ll see how that goes.

Then I will start the re-introduction phase.  I will take ONE of the seven foods and add IT to my diet once a day for four days (Monday-Thursday) and then take it back out again the last three days (Friday-Sunday).  Then start the process again on Monday with the next food.  This process is not cumulative.  So, if I choose gluten the first week and then dairy the second, I won’t keep allowing gluten the second week.  It is one food per week.  This is to set up the testing the best possible way so that you can be confident that a bad reaction is because of that particular food you reintroduced that week. Make sense?
What happened this week that wasn’t planned?

  • I got SICK!!  Last week my son had a terrible cold and apparently he shared it with me. It was pretty bad and I was miserable for at least two days.  That put a huge damper in my workout plans.  Amazingly, I stayed on plan despite it all.  My husband was a smart butt and made a comment to the effect of , “But, I thought the Virgin Diet fixes everything!  You can’t get sick!!”  Yeah, I do think it does fix a lot of things but it doesn’t stop viruses. LOL!
  • We went to Moe’s on Sunday while out shopping for a new bed.  I learned that Moe’s is pretty safe while eating this way.  You can get the burrito bowl (no tortilla) with the pico and the guacamole and no cheese and you can stay on plan.  I drank unsweet tea.  It was delicious and I needed to eat out.  HOWEVER, I ate a few chips!!  *GASP*  That totally violated the ‘no corn’ rule.  I probably ate ten chips.
  • Sunday night, last night, I did start having some rather profound knee pain.  I mean I woke up with it throbbing like someone was tightening a vice grip on it.  I took some Advil and went back to sleep.  I kept thinking, “What in the world could it be?  I’ve had no pain for 2 weeks and now this!!” And then I remembered I ate those chips.  Hmmmmm!  Could I have really reacted that much so quickly?  I guess it is possible.  But, I’m not 100% sure either.
  • I did have some moments of being too hungry and that put me in a bad mood.  I mean a FOUL mood.  I would eat and would be much better.  But, I know now that I have got to stay on top of my eating and my hunger levels.  I need to plan better and pack food more often and carry more water with me.  There is no reason ANYONE should have to deal with me hungry like that. 😉 And I bet I wouldn’t have eaten those chips at Moe’s if I weren’t so hungry going in there.

I am very happy with how things are going with The Virgin Diet.  I am convinced now of how prevalent food intolerances are and how they can affect your body.  I was very skeptical until I have felt the difference in my own body.  It really is humbling and eye-opening.  We’ll see what the re-introduction phase brings.  Whatever it does bring I am pretty convinced that I will be eating this way or some version of this way for the long haul.  I can’t go back now.


How about you?  Do you have any questions?  Please share your thoughts below!!!
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

The Virgin Diet: Week 2 Report

Reading: It Does the Brain Good

…What I’m reading lately.

Wait…You’re Christian and eat Paleo?!


This blog and article is written by a person friend.  You may remember me writing this guest post on her blog. While I don’t consider myself ‘Paleo’ at this point,  even though I am basically eating Paleo on The Virgin Diet, I think this article answers some very important questions.  I have heard the same hesitations from people about being a Christian and eating Paleo.  It comes down to where do you stand on evolution.  Personally, I don’t support the philosophical underpinnings of the Paleo lifestyle.  But, you don’t have to support those to eat this way. At its root eating Paleo is a food choice and not a religious conviction.  Simple.  The Paleo Mama does a great job explaining this.


20 Tips for Breaking Free From Binge Eating


Here is another one from one of my favorite women in the fitness world, Nia Shanks. I just love her slogan, “Lift Like a Girl: Be the Most Awesome Version of You.”  Yep, I think that explains it pretty well.  And, DARN!, she beat me to that awesomeness.  Anyway, this is a great article of tips on how to prevent yourself from binge eating.  These tips just make sense and they help create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle…..not just another diet. I just love it when people provide awesome advice like this.


20 Ways to Build a Whole Foods Kitchen on a Budget

Lord, knows it is hard to eat well and stay on a reasonable budget. I don’t know about you but I am not rich and I have to control what I spend. A common response to eating whole foods is, “But, it is cheaper to buy the chips than the carrots.” Yes, in the short term it is cheaper but in the long term, with doctor bills, it becomes far more expensive. But, I digress. Here is 20 ways you can build up your kitchen and pantry for success on a whole foods lifestyle. Once again, this article is full of “it just makes sense” advice.  Check it out!  Take one tip to work on and then build to two. Next thing you know you are eating whole, REAL foods most days.  How does THAT make you feel?? 🙂

I’m an introvert, and I don’t need to come out of my shell


This article is not fitness related but pertains a lot to me. Over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that I am not shy and anti-social.  I am an introvert.  I have been reading a fair amount about what it means to be an “introvert” and what I’m reading makes perfect sense. I especially enjoyed this article.  It explains ME and other introverts so well.  Check it out and you’ll understand me a little better.


10 Ab Training Mistakes You Need To Stop Making

Bodybuilding.com continues to be my favorite website for training advice and they did not disappoint with this article. How many people do you know who are either constantly talking about their abs or are constantly training their abs. Everyone wants that tight core and dare we pursue the goal of a six-pack? A tight midsection is THE mark of a fit body these days. For that reason there is so much information on how to get that tight core …. good and bad advice. Here is good, sound advice for you. But, always remember. If you don’t have your diet in check you will never achieve the abs you want. A thousand ab moves a day will not give you a six pack if you are eating fast food every day. Cold, hard truth. Check out this article if you want to get abs the sensible way.

There you go. Let me know what you think! And if you come across an excellent article please share with me!!!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Reading: It Does the Brain Good

The Virgin Diet and Why I am Doing it

I am not a big fan of the word ‘diet’.


My dream would be for women (and men) to forget about being on diets and just focus on eating healthy, whole, real foods and exercising. That’s why when I am talking to people I don’t ever say I am on a diet. I always say I am focusing on eating healthy, real foods instead.

I don’t like diet fads even more. They prey on those people who are desperate for a change and the promise of quick results is very tempting. I remember my Dad saying a long time ago that there is nothing more faddish than nutrition. So very true. From low-fat to Atkins to Plant-Based to Paleo to Sugar Busters to whatever you want to call it. There will always be a bandwagon and people to jump on them.

With all that to say I am hesitant to admit that I am adopting a ‘diet’ on Monday. Ha! Don’t all diets start on Monday?!?!?!


I am starting The Virgin Diet.

My motivation to start this diet is not for the ‘seven pounds in seven days’ even though that would be nice. I am more patient than that.

Let me explain what The Virgin Diet is basically. It is an “elimination diet.” That means that you eliminate the seven most common food allergens from your diet for three weeks. You then reintroduce them one at a time (1 week each) to test your tolerance. If your body reacts you know you are intolerant of that food and should probably keep it out.

The allergens are…


So, I will take all seven out of my diet for three weeks. And then in the fourth week I will pick one from the list and reintroduce it to my diet and see how my body reacts to it. Then the next week I will reintroduce the next one and see how my body reacts and so on. Reactions can be pain, bloating, ‘brain fog’, sinus issues, etc.

Why am I doing this drastic ‘diet?’


1) I have awful knee pain. I’ve had it since I was a teenager and it is only getting worse as I get older. It really affects my training and my everyday life. I am 34 and feel like I am in my 60’s sometimes. It is my understanding that if you do have a food intolerance it can exhibit itself in joint inflammation and pain. If you pinpoint the intolerance and eliminate it the pain can go away. I said to my husband, “If giving up ice cream for the rest of my life meant no knee pain then I would do it today.”


2) This is where I sound vain. 😉 No matter how hard I train and how closely I watch what I eat I can’t seem to lose the rest of this weight. Before you say, “But, you always say it is all about goals and how your clothes fit….yada yada yada,” I will say you are absolutely right. I am super proud of how far I have come and no one can take that away from me. But, this is just weird. Even my husband has said, “I really think there is something else going on here than we know.” Well, a food intolerance can cause bloating and prevent you from losing fat due to the inflammation it causes. My research shows that if you drop the cause of the inflammation your body will be able to finally release that fat.


3) What is there to lose? Nothing. What is there to gain? Potentially tons. If I do this and find I have no intolerances then I will have had an awesome exercise in self-control and I would know that I don’t have them. Moving forward. BUT, if I do pinpoint an intolerance and I take it out of my diet then I can gain so much. I will feel better inside and out. Part of me prays there is one so that I can have an answer but we’ll just have to see.


I have heard of people doing this kind of elimination diet before and I thought it was just a bunch of bunk.  Yeah sure, it ‘worked’ for you.  I bet it worked because these diets require you eat nothing but real, unprocessed, whole foods.  Of course your health improved.  But, I already eat that way and something is still wrong.  It took a long time of being very stubborn but I am here now and I am READY to give this a try.

Today is DAY ONE.  And ironically I am meeting a friend for a playdate at Chick-fil-A. HA!  But, I will have my apple and almond butter in tow.

I plan to update you here on how it is going about weekly or so.  This is going to be a profound experiment with me as the guinea pig.  My husband is completely on board with me doing this and bless his heart, he’ll be the one listening to my gluten-deprived rantings.  Say a prayer for him. 😉




If you have ever done the Virgin Diet or something like it I would love to hear from you.  Tell me all about your experience and your thoughts.

The Virgin Diet and Why I am Doing it