Valeo Training

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'M GETTING MARRRRRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the best days of my life happened last Friday - Mike asked me to marry him!! I am overwhelmed with joy and honored to be able to spend the rest of my life with him and love him more than he could possibly imagine.

The night began with a planned, romantic dinner at Til Midnight restaurant (though it's not far out his character to plan something like this so far in advanced, it did get the wheels turning in my head...) ;) I had all afternoon to get ready for this fabulous date, but of course, in true Jessica-style, I couldn't decide what to wear (Mike kept telling me to 'look purdy'...!) and was running behind - only to find my car stuck in the side of the road in 2-feet of packed snow! After working up a sweat, shoveling myself out (all dressed up and getting really frustrated at this point), Mike decided just to meet me at the restuarant.

We had such a nice dinner - because the weather had been so bad, there was hardly anyone there, which made it special, just the two of us. I kept noticing Mike checking the time on his phone and he even got up once 'to wash his hands' in the restroom...I knew somethin' fishy was going on.
Immediately after the last bite of dessert, Mike threw his credit card down on the table, as if he was in a huge hurry...we had plans to walk around in Centennial Park under the gorgeous lit-up snow flakes. I suggested just going to Prospect Park, since it was closer, but he insited he wanted to go to Centennial 'because there's a gazebo there and it's so pretty.' Hmmm...wheels still turning! :)

As many know, it was REALLY cold that night - and snowed about 2 feet! I came prepared with my snow boots, hat, gloves...but Mike brought nothing, saying that 30 degrees was warm. I guess he can say that, since he spends ALL day, everyday, outside in temps colder than that. :) We were going to swing by my house to pick up a hat for him, but he told me he was fine, and just to go to Centennial Park.

I should mention - after dinner, I went to the bathroom and came out to find that Mike had quickly run outside to the car - he told me he was just starting the car to warm it up, but I later found out that he had put the ring behind my seat, next to my snow boots...once I mentioned that I was going to change into my boots for the walk, he quickly moved the ring so I wouldn't see it! :) Cute.
We arrived to Centennial and it was absolutely gorgeous - a true winter-wonderland! Of course, there were NO paths plowed, so taking a romantic walk around was kinda out of the question. We decided to brave the deep snow, and trudged out way through the 3-foot deep snow banks and had fun running through the park like we were crazy! Mike shouted, come over here! and we ran to the gazebo. He was SOOO cold, so I started hugging him to warm him up...he then began telling me the sweetest things and opening up his heart about how he felt about me, and he said that he knew he couldn't live without me. He then got on his knee and presented me with the ring and asked me to marry him!!! I shrieked and started hugging him - then remembered to say YES!!!! :) It was cute 'cause the only thing he said after was 'can I get up now? My right knee is frozen.' hahhaa - he had been kneeling in the snow the whole time!!
After checking out the ring - it was ABOLUTELY GORGEOUS and he picked it out all himself! - We ran out of the gazebo, hand-in-hand, yelling in excitment like little kids as we ran down the hill. He stopped immediatly to call his best friend, Grant, in CO, as he promised him he'd be the first to hear the news!! It was so fun to talk w/ Grant and share that moment with him!
Mike said he needed a drink (LOL) so let's go to Via Maria...after finally finding a parking spot, we walked inside. The host led us to a room and as soon as we walked in, I saw a huge sign that said 'We hope you said Yes!' and about 40 of my closest family and friends there, cameras flashing and people cheering. It was absolutley AMAZING and I was so overwhelmed with JOY at Mike's THOUGHTFULNESS in knowing how important sharing this moment with people I love, especially my family, is. He put so much love into preparing for that night - I looked around the room and kept seeing faces of people I had just seen hours before - people from the gym, one of my clients I had just seen at noon that day, Kelly, who I had just worked out with and talked about my weekend plans was so funny that they ALL KNEW!!!!
Another wonderful and thoughtful thing Mike did was develop pictures of us - then put them in frames all around the room. It was so cool! He also asked each guest to bring a photo of themselves with me or him and put a copy of the pic into a scrapbook he had out, along with a nice note. I am so excited to see the finished product - what a man I have!!!!

My sister Tara and brother-in-law Mark couldn't be there to celebrate, but were definitely there in spirit. My favorite times were hugging my mom and dad and andee, brooke and immediate family who knows me deeply and the journey it took to get to this place.

I am so so so blessed to have friends and family who would come celebrate with us, who love Mike and I and have spent countless hours praying for us, even before Mike and I ever met.
Mike is the direct answer to my heart's ache for someone who would come into my life and be the physical representation of Christ's love to his people. I am taken back everyday by the things he does for me, who he is, for his thoughtfulness and selflessness and for all the fun he is. I am honored and humbled when I think that I get to marry him!! I love you, Michael, and can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you!!!!

walking in....shocked!
don't worry - i did!!!!me and my pa hugging momhavin' fun w/ friends and bro-in-law, timmike's coworker, stan, sang to us with his quartet!my sistas - minus tarateagan kept rubbing mike's head - funny ;)

new fam!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yak Trax are traction devices you easily strap onto the bottom of your shoe, providing instant ice and snow-gripping ability. Walk or run with confidence with as much stability as you would on dry ground.

I've heard about Yak Trax (and similiar items) before, but never tried them out, opting instead to brave the snow and ice on my own...until I realized my runs were more about bracing myself not to fall than actually getting a good run in. I've been using these all winter this year and am amazed at how comfortable and steady they are. I honestly can run on any surface and not feel like I'm going to slip! I'm recommending them to everyone!!!

Here are some cool features:
* Made for stability on ice and packed snow
* Provides 360 degrees of traction
* Made with high strength, abrasion resistent 1.4 mm steel coils (not spikes, that can dull).
* The heavy-duty natural rubber material easily conforms to the shape of your boot or shoe.
* Easy on, easy off
* Can be worn in temps as low as -41 degrees Farenhuit.
* Ultra-light, walk or run naturally (even on sections of pavement that are clear).
* Ideal for walkers, hikers, runners, hunters, those who work outside or simply anyone needing to feel more secure walking across areas like a parking lot!
Check them out online at: or buy them at your local sporting goods store. I bought mine HERE last year, for about $15.

Thursday, December 11, 2008



Study Suggests Sugar May Be Addictive
Finding might yield new insights into eating disorders, experts say

By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Science is verifying what many overeaters have suspected for a long time: sugar can be addictive. In fact, the sweetener seems to prompt the same chemical changes in the brain seen in people who abuse drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's annual meeting, in Nashville. "Our evidence from an animal model suggests that bingeing on sugar can act in the brain in ways very similar to drugs of abuse," lead researcher Bart Hoebel, a professor of psychology at Princeton University, said during a Dec. 4 teleconference.

"Drinking large amounts of sugar water when hungry can cause behavioral changes and even neurochemical changes in the brain which resemble changes that are produced when animals or people take substances of abuse. These animals show signs of withdrawal and even long-lasting effects that might resemble craving," he said.

Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, added: "The big question has been whether it's just a behavioral thing or is it a metabolic chemical thing, and evidence like this supports the idea that something chemical is going on." A "sugar addiction" may even act as a "gateway" to later abuse of drugs such as alcohol, Hoebel said. The stages of addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, include bingeing, withdrawal and craving.

For the new research, rats were denied food for 12 hours a day, then were given access to food and sugar (25 percent glucose and 10 percent sucrose, similar to a soft drink) for 12 hours a day, for three to four weeks. The bingeing released a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine each time in the part of the brain involved in reward, the nucleus accumbens. "It's been known that drugs of abuse release or increase the levels of dopamine in that part of the brain," Hoebel said.
But it wasn't only the sugar that caused this effect, Hoebel explained -- it was the sugar combined with the alternating schedule of deprivation and largesse. After three weeks, the rats showed signs of withdrawal similar to those seen when people stop smoking or drinking alcohol or using morphine.

The scientists next blocked the animals' brain endorphins and found withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, behavioral depression and a drop in dopamine levels. In other words, they confirmed a neurochemical link with the rats' behavior.

But longer periods of abstinence didn't "cure" the rats. Instead, there were long-lasting effects with the animals: They ingested more sugar than before, as if they were craving the substance and, without sugar, they drank more alcohol. The researchers speculated that some of these brain changes may also occur in people with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, although more research needs to be done to confirm the effects in humans.

"Some say it's easy to lose weight -- you just have to shut your mouth, stop eating so much," Aronne said. "I tell them a good way to overcome global warming is if people made less carbon dioxide by breathing less. Obviously, that's absurd. You can't do it because you feel uncomfortable.

"The same thing is true of eating," he added. "Fattening food has an impact on the regulating mechanism that breaks down your sense of fullness, makes you feel an urge to go back and get that blast of sugar and this creates the vicious cycle of weight gain that we're going through."

Visit Overeaters Anonymous for more on food addiction and eating disorders.

Friday, December 5, 2008


"Even in a country like the USA where fitness has become an obsession, most people exercising do not seem to think it illogical to drive automobiles to gyms while doing their best to avoid walking”
~Dave Wilson quotes

Thursday, December 4, 2008



Last month, Dr. Harvey B. Simon celebrated the 30th anniversary of his running streak.
In other words, he has run every day for 10,987 consecutive days. The last time he took a pass — he was feeling a bit sore after a marathon — was Oct. 30, 1978.

Read about his dedication to daily exercise HERE.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I recently ran across this excellent article full of Healthy Eating Tips, from respected Sports Nutritionist, Nancy Clark, on www.

Simple Strategies for Better Eating Habits
By Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD For

If you are confused by the plethora of nutrition information that filters into the media, please look to the American Dietetic Association as a trusted resource for answers to your questions. Members of the ADA recently convened in Chicago to learn the latest information about food and nutrition. Here's what they found:

In all tissues and organs in your body, protein is "turned over" continually, meaning that old protein is broken down and replaced by new protein. Hence, we need to eat adequate protein on a daily basis to maintain health, particularly the health of the skin, liver, brain and heart. If you don't eat enough protein (as can happen with a sub-optimal vegetarian diet, a very low calorie reducing diet, or too many meatless pasta meals), you'll break down your muscles (a reservoir of protein) to protect those organs.The maximal effective single dose of protein to build new muscle is ~35 grams of high quality protein (milk, egg, fish, meats) at one time. While most athletes easily eat this amount--plus more--three times a day to fulfill their daily protein requirement, elderly folks may not. Hence, they become weak and frail.

The bottom line: Be sure you (and your parents and grandparents) maintain your health and vitality by enjoying protein with each meal.

Carrots have long been touted as being "good for your eyes" because carrots are a rich source of carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A, needed for optimal eye function). Less well known is egg yolks are also powerful eye-health protectors. The yolk is a rich source of two potent carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants reduce by up to 40 percent the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause in Americans of irreversible blindness that occurs with age.

While yellow/orange fruits and vegetables (carrots, corn, squash, orange peppers) and dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards) are also good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, studies suggest egg yolks are an even better source. That's in part because the yolk contains fat, and fat helps carotenoids to be absorbed. (This also means you should enjoy olive oil with salads, rather than fat-free dressing, to help absorb the carotenoids in colorful vegetables.)

Unfortunately, in their cholesterol-consciousness, many athletes are tossing egg yolks and eating only the whites. Stop! You can healthfully enjoy the whole egg--without elevating your blood cholesterol. Numerous studies indicate consumed eggs yolks is unlikely to alter blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart diease. (1)

The bottom line: Make that omelet with whole eggs, orange peppers and spinach.

Many athletes debate whether or not they should buy organic foods. In terms of nutritional value, studies in the U.S. suggest no significant differences, but studies in Europe report higher amounts of nutrients, including antioxidants. Eating a larger portion of conventionally grown produce can resolve any potential differences.The bigger issue relates to protecting the soil and limiting water pollution from pesticides and fertilizers that seep into the ground. For those reasons, buying organic produce is a smart choice, particularly if it is locally grown, uses less fuel to be transported, and supports local farmers.

If you debate whether or not to buy organic milk, note that "organic" refers to farming practices, not to the milk itself. According to the research presented by Gary Rogers, PhD, there is no difference between organic and conventional milk in terms of nutrition, antibiotics and hormone content. Strict government guidelines ensure that both organic and conventional milk are safe and nutritious.

*All milk that enters dairy processors gets tested for antibiotics, to be sure they are kept out of the food supply. Less than one milk tanker in 1,000 tests positive for any drug, including antibiotics. Any tainted milk gets tossed.
*The hormone bST that helps cows produce more milk has been extensively studied. Results indicate no difference in milk from cows given bST and those who did not get any.
*Pesticides are also not a concern; milk ranks among the lowest of all agricultural products in detectable residues. Extremely low levels of pesticides can be found in all foods, both organic and conventional, because pesticides are found in all water and soil.
*One "problem" is organic milk often gets transported for long distances to areas where local organic dairy farms are not found.

The bottom line: Whenever possible, buy milk and produce from local farmers.

If you want to improve the quality of your diet, think about ONE thing you could do each day to contribute to a healthier intake. Write down your goal for the day, then assess your level of confidence in achieving that goal. For example, your goal might be to eat fruit with lunch.If you are very confident you can do that, go for it. But if you are not at all confident, take a look at the barriers, and perhaps figure out another way to boost your fruit intake. Banana on cereal for breakfast? Fruit smoothie for a post-exercise recovery drink?

The bottom line: Set yourself up for success by developing sustainable eating habits. Stop making resolutions--dietary "shoulds"--that repeatedly fail.

Atlanta sports dietitian Chris Rosenbloom PhD RD CSSD addressed the following common nutrition myths:

* Is protein the most important nutrient for athletes?
No; the best sports diet offers a foundation of carbs (for fuel) and an accompaniment of protein (for building muscles).

* Are whole grains always healthier than refined grains?
No. Enriched refined grains are a good source of iron, to prevent anemia, as well as folic acid, to reduce a woman's risk of having a baby with birth defects.

* Does drinking extra water help you lose weight?
No, but eating watery foods (soup) can help reduce total calories.

* The less fat you eat, the better?
No. The type of fat is the issue. A diet with monounsaturated fat (olive oil) reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The fat also enhances absorption of health-protective vitamins A, D, E and K.

The best dietary advice comes with a one-on-one consultation with a sports dietitian. To find your local expert, check out the referral network at

Reference:1 . Mcnamara DJ. The impact of egg limitations on coronary heart disease risk; Do the numbers add up? J Am Coll Nutr 2000; 19:5405

Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels casual and competitive athletes in her private practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook, new Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist’s Food Guide are available at Also see for information about her
online workshop.
*Note - if interested, I would love to refer you to a local Registered Dietician for more specific nutrition help.

Monday, October 13, 2008

FREE WORKSHOP: Tues, Oct. 21st @ 6:30pm

Presented by:

Trouble Sleeping?
Understand the role of neurotransmitters, hormones, stress & pain in achieving healthy sleep patterns.

This workshop emphasizes natural non-drug solutions to reduce the symptoms of sleep disorders.
Tuesday, October 21st
6:30pm - Lecture
741 Chicago Drive, Holland
Call for Reservations
Seating is limited
(616) 392-9500

Friday, October 10, 2008


I had a friend and previous client ask me a great question the other day. In fact, it's a question I get a lot - so I've decided to write some thoughts down. Hopefully they make sense and you'll finish reading this with a bit better understanding of this thing we called fitness.


Q. What is better for weight loss and toning the legs: running on the treadmill or doing the elliptical?

A. ANYTHING that gets your heart rate elevated, major muscles moving for an extended period of time is cardio exercise. You can achieve this through treadmill work, elliptical, stair climber, walking up stairs at home, dancing, running...the list is endless! There really is no "better" exercise (I get that question all the time) - it all depends on what you ENJOY (exercise should be enjoyable!) and what you are able to challenge yourself on.

It's important to consider two things, however: Heart Rate and How Many Muscles are used. The higher your heart rate, the higher the intensity of the exercise and the more calories you will burn per given amt of time. Similarly, the more muscles you use, the more calories you will burn. Ellipticals and running on a treadmill are very similiar in the muscle groups they work...the elliptical, however, is little-to-no impact, so is a bit easier on the joints.

If I think of a recumbant bike vs treadmill - I know that I am seated on a bike (so less muscles used) but if I'm lolly-gaggin' on the treadmill and hardly have my heart rate up, it doesn't matter that a treadmill uses more muscles (you're standing and pumping your arms, so automatically your arms and core/back are working), if my heart rate is hardly up, then the bike would be the better option (considering I'm working hard on the bike).

It is good to spice things up. Always keep the muscles guessing and changing focus - b/c our bodies adapt quickly, if we do the exact same thing each exercise session, it will no longer be overload for the body. You must overload the body for any changes to happen - this can be done by using different muscles or increasing intensity, etc (up the speed, incline, duration, etc).

CARDIO machines primarily increase the health of the heart, lungs and blood vessels. As you raise your heart rate and get your major muscles moving for an extended period of time - and do this consistently - you get more and more 'in shape'. Being conditioned or 'in shape' means that your heart muscle has actually gotten bigger/thicker and stronger, so with every beat, it pumps out more blood (aka oxygen and nutrients) to your cells. This is why your resting heart rate decreases as you get more conditioned - the heart has to work less to get blood to your body. You blood vessel walls get stronger and more resilient, so as the blood rushes through them, there is less liklihood of rupture (stroke) and the plaque that may be built up on the inside of the vessel walls is more likely to be removed (so less clogging of arteries = less chance of heart attack).

Also, in your lungs, there is a more efficient exchange of oxygen (in) and carbon dioxide (out) - which is why it's easier to breathe as you get "in shape". Not only does this gas exchange happen more efficiently in our lungs, but also in the cells of your muscles.

...All this to say...cardio exercise is exercise for the above mentioned things - IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY PROVIDE THE MUSCULAR OVERLOAD TO BE CONSIDERED STRENGTH TRAINING - and therefore, isn't the primary method used to develop muscular changes (ie - TONE). Cardio is necessary for body fat reduction - which will certainly help in noticing tone - but, to get shapely, defined leg muscles, LIFTING WEIGHTS is where it is at!
While consistent cardio exercise does provide an overload that may result in muscle hypertrophy (growth), Your cardio routine, because it may use your legs, is NOT a replacement for leg muscle strengthening and toning!!! Doing leg and hip weight-training exercises will provide the direct muscle OVERLOAD to breakdown the muscle fibers and (with rest and protein) the muscles will be repaired, coming back together stronger and more toned. This, combined with CARDIO and good NUTRITION (SO important in body fat reduction), is the killer-combo for a lean, toned body.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Why we NEED dietary fat:
1. To store energy
2. To help digest some vitamins (A,D,E,K) and phytonutrients (keep cells healthy)
3. To help make hormones

High Cholesterol Foods + High Saturated Fat Foods = Increased chance of heart disease and some cancers.

GOOD guys vs. BAD guys:
Fat found in our food can be described as one of three triglycerides: Saturated, Monounsaturated, and Polyunsaturated.

Limit Saturated fat (aka "bad fats") and increase Mono-and Polyunsaturated fats (aka "good fats"). Omega-3 and Omega-6 are two kinds of Polyunsaturates that, when consumed in the right ratio, appear to be health promoting.

BENEFITS of Omega-3 fatty acids:
Improved cardiovascular health
Reduced inflammation
Helps prevent blood clotting
Expands blood vessels (helps in lowering blood pressure)
No more than 30% of your total calories in a day should come from fats. For a typical 2,000 calorie/day diet, that translates to 65 grams of fat. Only 10% or less of your total calories should be from "bad" or saturated fats (so...a max of 20g of saturated fat/day). This takes a conscious effort (consider that 1 cup of premium ice cream can hit you with 23g of saturated fat!!).


Monounsaturated: Most nuts, avacados, peanut oil, olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil.
Polyunsaturated (including Omega-3): Salmon, flaxseed, soybeans, wheat germ, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil.

SOME BAD FAT SOURCES Saturated: Meats, eggs, butter, cheese, palm oil, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.
Trans Fats (fats processed to become saturated): Stick margarine, Fast Foods

*Adapted from Tamara Schryver's article "Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Your Health" from www. (and the back of my cereal box!) :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Lack of time is the number one reason people give for not exercising. And lack of results once they do start exercising isn't far behind. Interval training is a great solution for both of these common problems.

Interval training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with what is called active recovery, which is typically a less-intense form of the original activity.
The Swedes came up with a term for this type of training: fartlek, which means speed play. Not only is it an efficient training method, fartlek training can help you avoid injuries that often accompany non-stop, repetitive activity, and provides the opportunity to increase your intensity without burning yourself out in a matter of minutes.

Unlike traditional interval training, fartlek training does not involve specifically or accurately measured intervals. Instead, intervals are based according to the needs and perceptions of the participant. In other words, how you feel determines the length and speed of each interval.
Interval training utilizes the body's two energy-producing systems: the aerobic and the anaerobic. The aerobic system is the one that allows you to walk or run for several miles, that uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates from various sources throughout the body into energy.
The anaerobic system, on the other hand, draws energy from carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen) stored in the muscles for short bursts of activity such as sprinting, jumping or lifting heavy objects. This system does not require oxygen, nor does it provide enough energy for more than the briefest of activities. And its byproduct, lactic acid, is responsible for that achy, burning sensation in your muscles that you feel after, say, running up several flights of stairs.
Interval training allows you to enjoy the benefits of anaerobic activities without having to endure those burning muscles. In its most basic form, interval or fartlek training might involve walking for two minutes, running for two, and alternating this pattern throughout the duration of a workout.

The intensity (or lack thereof) of each interval is up to how you feel and what you are trying to achieve. The same is true for the length of each interval. For example, if it is your habit to walk two miles per day in 30 minutes, you can easily increase the intensity of your walk (as well as up its calorie-burning potential) by picking up the pace every few minutes and then returning to your usual speed.

A great trick is to tell yourself that you'll run a particular distance, from the blue car to the green house on the corner, for example, and then walk from the green house to the next telephone pole.

When you first start fartlek training, each interval can be a negotiation with yourself depending on how strong or energetic you happen to feel during that particular workout. This helps to break up the boredom and drudgery that often comes from doing the same thing day after day.

Despite its simplicity, it also is possible to take a very scientific approach to interval training, timing both the work and recovery intervals according to specific goals. The box lists the four variables to keep in mind when designing an interval training program.
An certified personal trainer can help you design an interval training program based on your particular goals.

Consider the following four variables when designing an interval training program:
Intensity (speed) of work interval
Duration (distance or time) of work interval
Duration of rest or recovery interval
Number of repetitions of each interval
*Reprinted with permission from the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
This ACE Fit Fact is taken from ACE FitnessMatters® magazine. Want more information like this delivered directly to your home? ACE FitnessMatters, the bi-monthly magazine from the American Council on Exercise® (ACE®), is the source for the most accurate, up-to-date fitness information you need to live a healthy, active life. Subscribe to ACE FitnessMatters Magazine online or call 1-888-825-3636. The American Council on Exercise does not endorse or promote the companies, products or services that reside on this website. ACE does not receive revenue generated from any organizations that advertise on this Web site. Copyright 2003 American Council on Exercise. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I took an online "quiz" this afternoon after opening a link on a fitness magazine advertisement. The question was "Do You Need A Personal Trainer?" I answered about 15 multiple choice questions, mixing my answers between what I knew would be a "beginner", "occasional", and "advanced" fitness-level perspective. The end result told me that I "knew what you were doing and were good to continue on your own....In fact, you might want to train others!"


It's kinda like me telling someone "I like to balance my checkbook. Want me to be your Accountant?" I think it'd take about .02 seconds for them to look at me like I was crazy...yet somehow people have no problem accepting non-professionalism in the fitness arena.

I get frustrated by the laxity of this concept of Health and Fitness. Not everyone would agree with me (I understand) but just because someone likes to workout does NOT qualify them to train. Many of us in the field have spent years in a classroom, endless hours reading textbooks about metabolism (yes - an entire class on the biochemical process of our bodies), studying the structure, function and mechanics of the human body and how to apply that to life. While it may look like 'just an exercise', there's a lot of thought that goes into the whats, whys and hows of making a program specific for an individual. The load, direction, firing sequence, energy system demand...these are just a few of the things I'm paying attention to while working out with someone.

Unfortunately, this is a field that is very unregulated. Nearly anyone can take a weekend course, take a test online and become "certified"...but (as my professors at the Fitness Institute International would say...) "certified does not mean qualified." **

OK, enough ranting. I just needed to get that off my chest, as most everyday I face the unique position of having to work in an environment where people take their health and fitness into their own hands with very little knowledge of the whats, whys and hows of what they're doing.

You (hopefully) wouldn't put your finances or education or legal matters into the hands of someone who wasn't a professional - why do any differently with your body?...

** The certifying organizations below are considered legitimate and 'the top' in the health and fitness field. Look for these acronyms when scoping out a trainer's background.
NSCA = National Strength and Conditioning Association
ACSM = American College of Sports Medicine
NASM = National Academy of Sports Medicine
ISSA = International Sports Sciences Association

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


With Introduction by George Knowles, MD
Dr. Candace Corson
· Trained at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT followed by Family Practice Residency at University of Rochester, NY
· National Health Service Corps, Public Health Service, 5 years
· Past decade spent working in Prevention, Integrative Healing and Chronic Illness
· Director of Integrative Medicine,4 years, in Mishawaka, Indiana at the Healing Arts Center on the River
· Community Educator, frequent lecturer on Environmental and Health Issues
· Member -- Healthy Communities Initiative, South Bend, Indiana
WHEN: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 7:00 PM
WHERE GVSU Eberhard Center
300 W. Fulton on the Grand River
Free parking on the lot on south side of Fulton; walk along river to entrance
Sponsored by Juice Plus+ Whole-Food Nutrition
*I've heard Dr. Corson speak and her message is powerful and real...come find out how to possibly change your family's health picture forever. Email me if you have any questions!


“It takes… a commitment to yourself first, not your trainer, your coach or anyone else”
- Gary Lavin
Boca Raton, FL
(my instructor, workout partner and mentor)
Wise Words!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Mike and I had an awesome trip to Colorado from August 29th - September 8th...yes, a nice, long vacation! We went to visit his best friend, Grant, who lives in Colorado Springs - it was so great getting to know Grant better and fun to see the best buds reunited and living it up. The trip was filled with some good relaxation, peaceful morning runs and, though I did spend a good chunk of time on work stuff, it felt good to be in a different environment (surrounded by beautiful mountains!). The downtime was countered with some fun adventures and memories that I'm sure we'll hold on to for a long time.

Here's a little rundown of our week!
FRIDAY: Drove to Chicago and flew to Colorado - had a Labor Day grill-out at Grant's place and got to meet a bunch of his lovely and crazy fun friends.
SATURDAY: After a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week, a bunch of us put on our country-best and headed to the Colorado State Fair. Yee-Haw! We spent most of the afternoon at the Monster Truck Rally, where "Sudden Impact" and "Martial Law" clearly dominated. :)Another highlight was the Mutton Bustin' competition - this was hilarious! Children would gear up and ride sheep and zoom across the corral to the end or until they fell. All of them fell. The sight of these little kids riding the sheep (who were FAST!) cracked me up!

Notice the little girl tossed into the dirt after trying to ride the sheep out of the gate....

...I'll turn him country if it's the last thing I do... :)

SUNDAY: Church in the morning, then I caught up on some worky work at a local coffee shop while Mike and Grant had a Man Hike. :) We drove through Garden of the Gods on the way home and took some quick postcard-worthy pics. Dinner at Grant's friend, Denise's house, was fantastic. It was Denise's birthday - this would be one of two birthday parties that week of people I didn't know...Yea - Gotta love free meals! :)

MONDAY: Rockclimbing! We were fortunate to have two climbers, Grant and Ryan, who are expert enough to lead us on some pretty beautiful climbs at Red Rock Canyon. This was my first time actually climbing a real rock wall (not man-made)...the challenge was...really challenging, but thrilling and heart-pumping - and so fun! The weather was abosolutely perfect and taking in all the sights (especially the view once you made it to the top) was breathtaking! (either that, or I was experiencing the extreme oxygen deprivation...that could be it, too) ;) Dinnertime was spent in Manitou Springs - it was neat to see 'Old Colorado City' and the eccleticness of this part of town.

Battle wounds from rockclimbing and skydiving the week earlier - we've had some adventures lately!~

TUESDAY: Grant headed to work (oh yea, someone had to, I guess :)) so Mike and I had the day to do touristy stuff around Colorado Springs. We took a guided tour through Focus on the Family, where Grant and a bunch of his friends work - this was really neat to see. The campus is huge, and the ministry and heart of the company is even huger. We then headed to the Air Force Academy and took a self-guided tour (...I thought the security would be a lot tighter!). A highlight here was the Cadet Chapel - built in the 1950s, this building was so modern, it could have been built this year and would STILL look ahead of its time. Each room within the chapel was filled with extravegance and symbolism reminiscent of both the Air Force and religious history - it was gorgeous! The evening was complete with another grill-out/birthday party and spending time with new friends.

WEDNESDAY: Another tour day with just me and my Michael - we spent the later part of the morning at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The center is essentially a campus that houses a hundred or so resident athletes and numerous other part-time/visiting athletes. The environment and training schedule seemed intense - it was so honoring to be on the grounds and in the same facilities as so many phenominal athletes. Seeing the gymnasium, weight room (my favorite part), pool (where Michael Phelps trained! The pool was only happens every 4-yrs, so pretty cool that we got to see it that way!), athletic training room, exercise physiology labs (another favorite) and all the memoriabilia was really moving, especially as we basked in the afterglow of this year's Olympics!

See, even Olympic athletes use Med Balls!! I wonder if they warm-up with the Chopper... :) :)

We then headed up Pikes Peak, a 14, 110 ft mountain in the springs. Grant let us borrow his car, so I got to drive and Michael got to look over the edge the entire time (did I tell you he hates heights?! haha, sorry Mike). We made it to the Summit, celebrated with some snackins, took some pics, then headed back down. Mike took over the gear changing so I wouldn't burn out the brakes - that descent was intense!

The view on the mountain road!

THURSDAY: This was a do-nothing kind of day. Relaxed, chilled, spent time with Grant and his brother and sister-in-law playing Cranium. Oh, by the way...ask Mike to do his shockingly-good Julia Childs impression for ya.... :) ha!

FRIDAY: After finding our way to Golden, CO to taste the cold Rocky Mt. Spring water (mmmm...) with a tour of the Coors Brewing Co. (very cool, by the way - who knew brewing beer could be so interesting?!), we drove up to Boulder and walked around the university. We had a fun night out in Denver and were shown all the hot-spots downtown - my favorite was Cowboy Lounge - an urban honkey-tonk in all its glory. So fun!
Let me not forget our dinner at Casa Bonita (recommended by many, including my Aunt Kathy - well, Mike didn't forget about that and insisted we go!)- a huge Mexican restaurant that seats 1,100 people. Yes, that's right. It's actually more of an amusement park - little theater acts, people diving into waterfalls, a gorilla-suit man, mariachi band, old-time photo booth, haunted caves, cotton candy was so bizarre! It was definitely an EXPERIENCE - and I dare you to get the theme song outta your head once you hear it...Casa Boniiiittt-a! Casa Boniiiitta-a!...oh dear. :)

Mike LOVES gumball machines. Imagine his delight when we found CIRCUS WORLD inside Casa Bonita!

SATURDAY: Road trip! We packed up the camping gear and headed to Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park - opting to take the 'long way' through the back of the park, which took a good 3-4 hrs. Our first stop, though, was Red Rock Park & Ampitheater - I've seen pictures and couldn't wait to see it in person. It was so beautiful and I'd love to someday go to a concert in the outdoor ampitheater...I bet it's amazing. We also met a guy, Travis, while we were visiting, who just got out of the Marines and took the summer to ride his bike from NYC to LA...then to Candada...Wyoming...Colorado...and beyond! This guy was so inspirational and I wish him the best on his journey! Mike had a good time 'talkin' bikes' with him. Notice the stairs behind us - there were a ton of people running them for their morning workout. I kinda wanted to join 'em...gave me some good ideas for my valeo workouts, though...(look out!) ;)

Once we got in Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park, the views were some of the most magestic I've ever seen - we stopped numerous times along the way for some elk and mountain pics - though the 40+mph winds and coooold temps made us pretty content to do most of the viewing through the car window. We met up with Grant's brother and some buddies and took a seemingly-endless hike (VERY beautiful none-the-less) up the Lily Mt. Trail before heading to our campsite. The night was filled with laughter and converstation over the campfire about 'the good-'ol days' in Lafayette for Grant and Mike - it was fun to be taken back and hear about some of their shinanagens back in high school...:)

SUNDAY --> MONDAY: After a yummy breakfast over the fire, we packed up camp and headed back to Colorado Springs, taking a pit-stop at Estes Park for the afternoon. Back in Colorado Springs, Mike and Grant had one last guy-time together before we all crashed...then headed out early Monday morning for home.

It was such a fun trip that we'll never forget!!