We get it! “New year, new you!” is just another well-intentioned slogan to motivate you to make a big change this year. But, before we get into some of the depressing stats about New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to ask: Do you really need to create a new version of yourself, or just improve upon your already wonderful self?

According to Forbes.com “...Some estimates say more than 40% of Americans—make New Year's resolutions. But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year's goals.” Despite your good intentions, failure rates suggest “About 22% of resolutions fail after about a week, 40% after a month…” and you don’t want to hear the rest, because I’m not here to bum you out.

At the beginning of 2018, I shared my view of putting a more positive spin on making “resolutions” by focusing on getting the wheels turning, get started moving, and find new ways to improve. There were examples of both qualitative and quantitative fitness goals to help give you a little direction. This year, I want to provide a few additional tips on how you can ensure you stick to your revolutions all year long!

New Year's Revolutions 2019

Keep It Simple

Most people fail because they bite off more than they can handle. Setting too many goals or trying to make too many changes all at once can feel overwhelming and discouraging - to the point of giving up. To keep your goals simple, choose only one or two things to focus on at a time. You can’t change your life all at once, so don’t try too. Recognize that each day of success if a step towards accomplishing your overall goal.

For example: Instead of setting a goal of trying to lose 25 pounds this year, set your sights on trying to lose 1-2 pounds each week.

Be Specific

Having big goals is great, especially when you’re looking at the big picture of creating your legacy. However, large goals can be hard to sustain if they’re not specific enough. Being specific helps make the goal more concrete. Plus, you know exactly what you are going to do every day to help you achieve that lofty goal.

For example:  Instead of resolving to “visit the gym 4 days each week,” refine it to setting goals of attending Bootcamp every Tuesday and Thursday, participating in one group fitness class, and going outside for a long walk or light run.

Be Mindful

Awareness is one of the most critical components for success in any goal. Don’t assume you’re going to remember your revolution two months from now. Write it down on a sticky note for you to see every morning as you’re getting ready for the day. Put a note on your calendar to check-in with yourself once a week to review the goal and track progress. Maybe even share your goal with a like-minded friend who can help keep you engaged - especially when you’re ready to quit. Having awareness of your goal will help to keep motivating you to successfully achieve your resolution.

Did you meet last year’s goal… or did you forget about it by Spring?

You may remember I had created a fitness goal for myself to lift 5,000,000 total pounds by the end of the year. Which, I’m proud to say that I did accomplish! It seemed lofty to begin with, however, I broke it down into simple manageable goals and keep track of it every day, week, and month.  

Here are my goals for 2019:

Fitness Goal: Lift 7,000,000 total pound by the end of 2019. I enjoyed the 5 million goal so much last year, that I choose to do it again. I’m upping the intensity of it this time and feel very confident that I will achieve it.

Personal goal: To continue the personal, daily hard work that it has taken me to get to a point of better happiness.  Often times I reach a comfort level, in several areas of my life, and then I go on cruise control and don’t continue to do the daily work that got me to that point. I realize this causes me to relapse and thus go through the struggle all over again. Not this year.  This is my year to thrive and push harder at creating the best life I can.

There you have it. My 2019 goals to continue growing and achieving bigger and better things.  To help hold each other accountable, I want you to share what your goals, or New Year’s Revolutions, are going to be for 2019. And, how do you plan on achieving them? Give me a shout and let’s make 2019 our best year yet!

This is a guest post from Legacy Life Fitness client, Erica Martin

In terms of practically everything except weight, “gaining” is considered to be a positive event! Someone who’s exclaiming “I’ve gained experience!” is excited to be growing professionally, while someone who has lost their job feels like they’re missing out on that same experience.

Gaining is good. And here’s everything I’ve gained (so far) in 2018:

THIS IS HOW MUCH I’VE GAINED IN 2018

I gained my love for being a mom. This past February, I gave myself permission to start taking antidepressants. After my son was born in 2013, my bright personality was dimmed by hereditary depression and anxiety which I thought I was capable of managing. Throughout 2017 I felt entirely detached for my family and knew I needed to make a change for all of us to thrive. Seeing a professional and asking for medication allowed me to love being a mom!

I gained a new business. On June 1, I launched my very own web development and illustration business, Pixel Jam Digital. This was a terrifying step to take in my career, especially since I was forming my own LLC, hiring outside professionals, and representing my (very) small business in the Columbia Chamber of Commerce - but I did it!

I gained new friends. Becoming an entrepreneur has opened up new connections and allowed me to form new friendships. From work colleagues to clients, I’ve gotten to know some really cool people!

I gained strength. I thoroughly enjoy lifting heavy weights, but the barbell bench press has continued to be my weakest lift. With Bryce’s help, I was finally able to break my own personal record (PR) and press over 100 pounds!

I gained perspective… and a new car. In mid-September, my son and I were in a car accident, made worse because I was at fault. Sadness developed into embarrassment, which snowballed into shame. It took me one full month to gain perspective on the situation, realizing the situation could have been much worse, and I purchased a new car which, I’ll admit, I like even better than the last!

Oh, and I gained 25 pounds. In the hustle-and-bustle of everything else going on, I temporarily let go of my focused nutrition mindset. While this amount of weight is not ideal for my petite 5’2” frame, I’ll admit it’s helped me gain a better relationship with my body, grow stronger fingernails, thicker hair and get more sleep each night. I may have given in more than I intended, but I’m not giving up on my health or my wellness.

2018 has been a busy year. While most of my gains have been celebrated, they have also contributed their fair share of stress. With the support from my family, friends, medication, exercise, and a positive attitude I have been able to keep moving forward - and that’s what health and wellness should be about.

Here’s to gaining and building our legacies this year!

This three-week challenge has been designed to keep you focused on building a better you before the holidays. Continuing any “diet” or “cut” for too long can slow your rate of progress, which is why this challenge will be short-and-sweet!

What’s included:

21-Day Legacy Challenge

The 21-Day Legacy Challenge is only $25 per week for all of the custom, hands-on coaching!

Contact Bryce Atkins to sign up for your initial consultation by October 31 to participate!

*Individual results are not guaranteed. Any results achieved are based on individual factors and commitment to the program. Bryce Atkins is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist, not a doctor or dietician. Each individual assumes all risk by participating in this challenge.

They’re coming: the holidays!

Touted to be the most wonderful time of the year, yet we often end up dreading the rush and stress it brings. Plus, with all the extra food-related celebrations we attend, it’s no wonder some of us gain an annoying 5-10 pounds by the time the clock strikes midnight on the New Year!

Instead of waiting for the major magazines to publish “5 Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies” for you to read an hour before Thanksgiving dinner, shift your mindset to developing those healthy eating strategies now before the holidays hit!

Make Nutrition a Healthy Habit Before the Holidays

Healthy Habit #1: Eat a savory breakfast

Now, the go-to here would be eggs and bacon, but there are so many more options available! Try replacing your milky cereal or breakfast bar with veggies and protein, like pan-seared broccoli, spinach, eggs topped with nutritional yeast. Or, egg “muffins” filled with peppers, mushrooms and sprinkled with cheese.
This savory breakfast will likely keep your hunger at bay a little longer. Plus, this ensures you get at least two large servings of veggies - setting you up for success for the rest of the day.

Healthy Habit #2: Drink more water

Yes, this one gets repeated a lot, because most of us still don’t drink enough water throughout our day. Plus, cooler weather tricks us into thinking we aren’t thirsty and we end up drinking much less than we need. There are so many overlooked benefits of drinking water regularly we don’t think about. Plus with flu season on the way in, we could all use a boost to our immune systems!
In addition to improving your mood, your skin complexion, your energy levels… drinking more water will help flush out the built-up toxins in your body after events when you opt to drink a little more than you normally would.

Healthy Habit #3: Focus on feeling good, not weight loss

It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking about weight loss instead of health gains when trying to improve nutrition and exercise. The number of the scale doesn’t provide the full context of how your body is feeling and operating on a daily basis. Keep moving and following your body’s natural queues of what makes you feel good, versus what slows you down or causes aches. While it’s easier said than done, try focusing on the way you’re feeling rather than your weight.
Focus on positive thoughts and enjoying the journey. Be kind to yourself and try not to beat yourself up. We all have bad days and setbacks but don’t let one bad day or even one overindulgence derail your whole mentality and game plan.

“Celebrate good times, come on!”

When it comes to the celebration itself, enjoy! Take a bite (or two, or five) of your grandmother’s apple pie because you know how hard she worked to make the crust from scratch. Eat your child’s homemade holiday cookies - baked with a lot of love of course - so you can witness the gigantic smile on their face guilt-free. It doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing affair; you can enjoy the foods you want to in celebration with your friends and family without overindulging.

Take it one step, one holiday at a time!

Labor Day recognizes “...the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country” which many of us celebrate over a long weekend spent outside with friends, family and barbecue… which may or may not be accompanied by high-calorie foods and snacks you tend to gravitate towards.

Do not fret, friend! And definitely don’t turn down an invitation to an informal affair just because you’re concerned about sitting around high-calorie dishes and beverages which are perpetually tempting your taste buds. Remember those healthy burger and taco recipes I shared a while back? It’s completely possible to grill a delicious dinner your guests will devour while keeping your nutrition in check.

BBQ Recipes

First, let’s start with the go-to grillables for your end of summer soiree:

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Kabobs are a simple way to combine your favorite flavors together for a quick grill meal. One take on this could be Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs! Start with boneless skinless chicken breast, add green pepper to your skewer, then douse with a little salt, lime and paprika before searing.

BBQ foil packs

Similar to a salad bar, each person can add the ingredients and dressings of their choosing to make it fit their own flavor profile. Or, you can prep a foil pack in advance if you’re traveling to another party (more on that below) so you can know exactly what you’ll be feasting on.

Pulled pork street tacos

Downshiftology has a recipe too good not to share! Check out their gluten-free/paleo pulled pork street tacos for a different take on a classic bbq dish.

Summer Sides

If you’ll be attending someone else’s party instead of hosting your own, here are a few healthy side dishes you could prep ahead of time and share with the group:

Cowboy salsa

Similar to tacos, salsa is not inherently “unhealthy” either especially when you’re combining fresh ingredients. To make a cowboy salsa - which I guarantee will be just as filling as any pile of nachos - combine unsalted canned black beans, cherub tomatoes, grilled corn kernels, onion and fresh avocado.

Caprese salad

Missouri tomatoes are ripe for the picking! Just chop a few heirlooms, slice some fresh mozzarella and basil, then top it all with balsamic vinegar.

Cold green bean almondine

While the easiest go-to might be a salad, you could also serve more traditional “fall” dishes - like green bean almondine - tailored for the summer heat. Instead of serving this warm or hot, you’ll end up blanching the green beans immediately after they’re removed from the stovetop, then moving them to the refrigerator to cool off before preparing them for your picnic.

Sweet Treats

And for all of us with a sweet tooth, here are two more recipes to give you your sugar fix without the sugar rush:

Fresh Fruit Mix

Watermelon, berries, banana, apples, pineapple… you name it, you can mix it together to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth!

Pineapple Whip

Speaking of pineapple, Recipes to Nourish has a wonderful recipe combining it and coconut milk to create a cold-and-creamy treat.

Banana Boats

Now if you’re looking for a more decadent Labor Day dessert, then I recommend the banana boat. (Think s’mores, only using a banana as your base instead!) Slice open the concave portion of your banana, making sure to split the peel without completely splitting the fruit. Fill the insides with the toppings of your choosing, such as Lily’s stevia-sweetened premium dark chocolate, strawberries, granola, and/or nut butter of your choice (like roasted almond butter). Then wrap the banana loosely in foil and toss on the grill for a very short time, mainly to be sure the chocolate melts!

Pick and choose, mix and match, or tweak to your own liking - the options are endless! Do you plan on recreating one of these recipes for Labor Day, or do you have another idea you can’t wait to cook-up? Share your favorite healthy Labor Day dishes with us and find out what others are cooking up this Labor Day Celebration!

We’ve all read the story or watched the video about an ordinary individual overcoming great difficulties in their life to achieve something better for themselves. I have even worked with clients who have gone through the worst trials and tribulations, making their stories of determination and perseverance truly inspiring. It’s reassuring to our sense of self-knowing how so many who are just like us can also struggle.

But, that is not this story.

Instead, I want to be transparent with my own, recent struggles dealing with life’s nefarious obstacles to share how we are truly all on this same journey together. Because no matter where you are, or what you’ve already overcome, there will always be another challenge.

One of my morning rituals includes journaling every morning to start my day in order to set perspective on what I have done and focus on what I want to do next. While journaling one summer morning I reflected upon why I hadn’t felt like the best version of myself for some time. After a quick self-assessment, I realized I had been having a rough time with my physical health for the past two-and-a-half years. Of course, having your physical health diminished is hard for anyone. But, for a personal trainer and someone who workouts almost daily, it can be hell.

The short of it started in November 2015 when I twisted my left knee while hanging Christmas lights around our house. (I wish I could say it was something more worthwhile, like rebounding for a killer layup in an intense game of basketball or setting a new squat PR... But no. I was stepping down from the ladder and turned my body at just the wrong angle as I planted my foot; twisting my knee, unknowingly kicking off what would become months of injury and recovery, because such is life. I cared for my knee in an attempt to let it properly heal, although it was hard for me to stay out of the gym for too long.

Three weeks later, close to Christmas 2015, I was feeling pretty good and decided to perform heavy deadlifts - one of the classic powerlifting moves, and my personal favorite. As I was pulling the last rep during the last set, I felt extreme pain explode in the opposite ankle as if all of the tissue suddenly disintegrated. Of course, I finished that rep out of sheer will, but soon learned I could not put any weight on that foot whatsoever. As both my doctor and physical therapist later told me, I had truly blown it out by overcompensating from my knee injury, causing my right ankle to completely give out. This injury was so damaging it left me unable to perform almost any impact movement (e.g. jumping) or weight-bearing exercise (e.g. squats) for quite some time, negatively impacting my disposition.

Fast forward to June 2016: I was lifting as heavy as possible, but primarily focusing on upper body work while mixing in as much legwork as I could safely tolerate. Next in my rotation came “chest day” and I was sure to hit all of the big presses while feeling good. Later that evening after arriving home I noticed my front, right shoulder (aka my anterior delt) felt a more tender than normal. I considered the fact I might be injured but chalked it up to muscle soreness from my intense workout earlier in the day. Unfortunately, that tenderness in my shoulder persisted the remainder of the year. While it never got to the point where I could no lift, I recognized the pain would never disappear on its own no matter how much time I gave it to heal.

I returned to my doctor in early 2017 to get it checked out. He suggested it might be an inflamed bicep tendon (which inserts around the anterior delt) and prescribed treatment through physical therapy. I followed my doctor’s orders and practiced PT three times every week for one month… without any improvement. I returned to my doctor in mid-March and, fortunately, received a referral to a specialist. An x-ray revealed no structural damage to the shoulder, so we moved on to the MRI. (For those of you who have never been inside an MRI machine, know they are not nearly as big as they appear on TV!) The MRI revealed a small tear in my Glenoid Labrum, a small fibrocartilaginous structure which helps deepen the shoulder socket to hold the shoulder ball in place. I learned the labrum does not have any blood flow to it, making it impossible to heal on its own with just rest or physical therapy. My only option was surgery.

Spending time with my family in my shoulder sling

Surgery day was on May 4, 2017. I experienced what so many of us do for a surgical procedure: I was not allowed to eat the night before, asked to arrive an hour early for prep, put under anesthesia, “slept” for an hour during surgery, and waited for another hour during my post-op examination. Before I could leave, I was fitted with a giant shoulder strap and a special ice pack vest, which I wore for four very long weeks. Once I was allowed to begin moving my arm again I attended six weeks of physical therapy, endured two months of intensive, deep tissue, trigger point massage therapy, and then waited another seven months to truly allow myself to heal before easing my body back into working out.

My ankle continued to ache and cause me problems for the majority of this time. Luckily, once I started seeing my massage therapist for my shoulder, he was also able to work on and “fix” my ankle which was nothing short of a miracle. I struggled with both injuries for well over two years.

While the physical injuries were very difficult in and of themselves, I want to share how I was also battling major emotional and mental stress during this same time. My lack of physical activity, along with a deep identity crisis, took its toll on me. I can now admit my depression had spiraled out of control which hurt all of my relationships, and I found myself at an all-time low during winter 2017/2018. I sought counseling and discovered the right combination of medication for my body, both of which helped me to dramatically improve my outlook, thought process and coping mechanisms.

At the time, those days felt like forever. It had truly been one of the worst experiences of my life. Yet, I made it. I survived all the struggles and declared victory.

Bryce Atkins tells his story of persevering as a personal trainer

It wasn’t until June 2018 I considered myself healed. My ankle and shoulder had been repaired. My mental attitude was better and I was able to focus on taking care of myself and the many, important people around me. I was even kick-starting my normal workout routine! It was time for me to move forward.

But, life doesn’t always go the way you plan. I hit another physical snag towards the end of June with what I thought was a hernia. Luckily, it turned out to only be a groin strain which - thankfully - wouldn’t require another surgery. With this, I’m making it a priority to listen to my body, take it easy, and have given myself permission to not get overly stressed about not working out. (Trust me, you don’t feel like doing much of anything when you strain your groin!)

And since I was already in recovery mode, I decided to have another, minor medical procedure performed. As of today, I will have been out for over six weeks and personally, I think this really sucks, but I know it’s not the end of the world. I’m taking this extra time to right a few paths which were a little crooked to help make me a better version of myself. I can already see light at the end of this tunnel with just another three weeks of healing to go, and preparation for the next phase of my life.

Life, and all of its challenges happen to each and every one of us in some form or fashion. My struggles are minor compared to many, yet this experience has taught me to empathize so I can help others choose how they navigate their setbacks. You can persevere. Try your best every day, but remember you don’t have to be your best every day. (We’re all allowed crappy days and crappy attitudes on occasion.) Choose to face your challenges head-on while also giving yourself grace to help you become that much stronger once your obstacles have passed.

Persevere, my friends, persevere.

The scale measures your relationship with gravity - and that’s all. It does not measure your strength. It does not measure your health. It does not represent your values. And most importantly: it does not determine your self-worth.

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to rely on the number on the scale as a go-to source to track your progress. But, this can change!

How to Track Fitness Progress Off the Scale

Simple ways to track your fitness progress and total body health

Setting your fitness goals is the best place to start when it comes to setting expectations. Then, you can use these tips to measure your progress along the way - none of which involve the scale!

Schedule a body composition scan. Some people opt for a full body composition scan at the beginning of their journey so they have more data to track their long-term progress. While weight is just one of the many values represented in the report, you can see more insightful information such as “lean body mass,” “muscle density” and “percent body fat.”

How much weight are you lifting? If part of your goals includes getting stronger, then the scale will not be your friend. (Have you heard people say, “Muscle weighs more than fat?” because it’s true!) Tracking how much weight you’re able to lift with good form is a much better measurement of strength progression.

How do your “regular” clothes fit? Try-on your favorite pair of jeans each week to see how they fit. If you feel like they’re more comfortable to wear, then you’re on the right track. (However, if you’re concerned they’re too tight in the hip area then you’re likely making great booty gains, which is equally awesome!)

Take progress pictures. While a photo of yourself may be the last thing you want to see, the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true for a reason. Taking progress pictures is a great way to see the physical change over periods of time. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you’re working hard and eating healthy, but don’t necessarily see your progress reflected in the mirror. Taking a weekly or monthly progress photo will help you understand how your body has changed, even when you're doubting yourself.

Take the stairs. Many in the early stages of their fitness journey find climbing several consecutive flights of stairs is difficult and leaves them breathless. Next time you’re in a tall building, opt to take the stairs up to your destination - instead of the elevator - and evaluate how you feel. The goal is to improve your cardiovascular health so stair steps feel more effortless.

Do some yoga. As your fitness progresses, you should notice other types of movement may feel easier than before as well. Yoga classes are a great way to feel your body get stronger as you’re able to hold postures for longer periods of time or get deeper into specific poses with increased flexibility.

Brush your hair. As you make small changes, you may notice your hair becomes stronger and more vibrant, especially if you’ve been incorporating more protein or omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.

Get a manicure. Similar to your hair, nail strength is another indicator of whole body health. Brittle nails could mean you’re deficient in a key nutrient, like calcium or B-complex vitamins.

What helps you feel successful?

Do you have your own, unique “unit of measure” to help you track your health and fitness progress? If so, please share your tips and techniques to help others find a technique they can feel good about as well!

Even though you’ve used the hashtag #mealprepmonday in the past, meal planning doesn’t always happen every single week. You come home after a long day at work and realize you don’t have dinner planned. It’s too hot to heat up the kitchen, and you don’t want to dedicate the next hour to cooking over the stove anyway. You open the fridge because it’s cool, but also because you’re hoping to scrounge up enough leftovers to feed your family. Then you turn to that dated box of Tuna Helper in the pantry and…

... Toss it back in, because you have five go-to healthy dinners you can dish out in 30-minutes or less!

Included with each meal idea are a few options on how to replace ingredients to match your dietary goals - whether you’re low-carb, keto, low-sodium, or vegetarian!

Meal #1: Super-stuffed veggie boats

What can you stuff inside a vegetable and then grill to perfection? Turns out, a lot!

Bell peppers, zucchini, acorn squash, butternut squash, mushrooms, russet and sweet potatoes can each act as an “edible bowl” to contain mixtures of protein and toppings to match various flavor profiles. Think southwest blends, Mediterranean spice, teriyaki or even Italian! The common ingredients between each will be similar, such as lean protein and an additional vegetable, but the variety will come from the fresh herbs and spices you add. Craving Chinese? Add a dash of liquid aminos, ginger, and turmeric. Want Mexican? Spice it up with cumin and cayenne. Mediterranean? Add more cumin but also add extra cinnamon.

Approximate prep/cooking time = 30 minutes

Meal #2: All the tacos

Yes, you read that correctly. Tacos are often considered to be a treat meal rather than a healthy go-to dinner, but it’s all in the ingredients you choose! (Filling six shells with high-fat ground beef and a cup of shredded cheese definitely does not count as the healthy option we’re suggesting here…)

Start with a minimally processed base, such as a simple corn tortilla shell which has not been fried with a bunch of additives. Then choose a lean protein such as 93/7 grass fed ground beef, boneless/skinless chicken breast, or white fish such as cod. Finally: top it with freshness. Local tomatoes, peppers, grilled corn, and cilantro will each add a lot of flavors, while avocado will help tone down the spice. If you really want to add cheese, then try a dash of nutritional yeast! “Nooch” offers a savory, cheddar taste with minimal macros.

Photo credit: savortonight via Pixabay

Approximate prep/cooking time = 30 minutes

Meal #3: Burgers and fries

"Wait… first tacos, now burgers?"

Burgers also tend to get a bad rap because of the “stereotypical” burger most of us think of when it comes to summer barbeques. But again, they don’t have to be unhealthy! You can combine the right ingredients to make them both nutritious and delicious!

Again, start with a leaner protein option, such as 93/7 grass fed ground beef, ground chicken breast, or ground turkey as your base. Most of us savor the taste, so don’t forget to add the right spices to pair with your protein, such as paprika, cumin, sea salt, and pepper.

Now for the fries - just make your own! Cut a couple of russet potatoes long and spritz the batch with a teaspoon of avocado or coconut oil (as both cook well at high temperatures). Give them a 10-15 minute head start on the grill before you cook your burgers, depending on how thin you slice them.

Approximate prep/cooking time = 30 minutes

Meal #4: Farmer’s market fresh

The local farmer’s markets feature a variety of fresh produce, especially on Saturday’s when the majority of local growers set up a booth at The Columbia Farmers Market in Parkade Plaza. The top in-season selection includes: herbs, tomatoes, corn, zucchini and beans.

Grab a recyclable bag and cash, and shop the aisles. Think of which flavor sounds good, then pick out one protein and two veggie options you can toss on the grill. Corn-on-the-cobb and green beans are both quick to grill alongside chicken breasts. Similarly, you can buy tomatoes and basil to make your go-to parmesan (using either chicken breast or eggplant - both of which are available at the market!)

Approximate prep/cooking time = 30 minutes

Meal #5: Build-your-own-bowl (BYOB)

This version of “BYOB” is different than your collegiate definition. Often during hectic evenings when you’re running around shuttling kiddos from one activity to another, it feels easier to simply stop at a fast food joint than it does to “make” something at home. Instead of spending 10-minutes in the drive-through, spend those same 10-minutes running into a nearby grocery store with a salad bar. Each person can build their own bowl to meet their cravings while adding flavor, nutrition, as well as keeping the cost minimal.

Have you considered how you could build a salad bar “bowl,” take the ingredients home and toss them in a pan to heat up? This can provide a simple stir-fry or southwest option if you aren’t craving raw veggies - especially since the produce is pre-chopped and the meat has already been cooked!

Approximate prep/cooking time = 15 minutes

Dessert bonus: Fresh grilled fruit

Next time your grill is hot-and-ready, try skewering strawberries, peaches, banana and/or watermelon on a kabob and grilling it for a few minutes! You’ll find the heat caramelizes the natural sugars and brings out a subtle flavor you may not have experienced before.

Approximate prep/cooking time = 10 minutes

Which meal are you going to try first?

We want to hear from you! Please share your experience Instagram-style with a photo of the recipes you tried, how fast it was to make, and anything you may have changed to make it match your family’s taste!

Ok, if you just read the title and immediately reacted with, “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to look bulky,” then this is 100% for you! (And, unfortunately, you are not alone in that feeling.)

A mere 25% of women strength train regularly, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But we at Legacy Life Fitness know the reality of you getting as buff as The Incredible Hulk is slim-to-none so long as you focus on a healthy lifestyle and aren’t supplementing with steroids. In fact, there are many more reasons to include strength training into your regular workout routine than there are to exclude it… And none of them have to do with the scale!

9 Reasons Why Women Should Strength Train

  1. Strength training may improve your cognition and help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. A 2012 study “...found that resistance training was particularly beneficial for improving the cognitive abilities of older adults1.”
  2. It can also help to reduce your risk of diabetes2 as strength training causes your muscles to use more glucose for energy, which can lower your blood sugar levels.
  3. Even the American Heart Association advocates resistance training3 to help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and chance of heart disease!
  4. You can increase your posture, improve balance, and improve bone density to help prevent osteoporosis. A publication released by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging stated, “...high-intensity resistance training, in contrast to traditional pharmacological and nutritional approaches for improving bone health in older adults, has the added benefit of influencing multiple risk factors for osteoporosis including improved strength and balance and increased muscle mass4.”
  5. Skeletal muscle acts as an endocrine organ, suggesting it releases substances which may inhibit mammary cancer cell growth. A study from the University of Sydney “...found that strength training was significantly more likely than cardio to prevent premature death, especially cancer-related death5.”
  6. Strength training will improve your daily, functional strength so you’re physically stronger. (And getting stronger everyday is what it’s all about!)
  7. You’ll be able to sleep more soundly, allowing your body to fully rest and recover, which will give you additional energy for your next big lift.
  8. Become a role model to young girls by encouraging them to feel capable in their bodies. And if you’re looking for a female role model to follow, look no further than Serena Williams
  9. Last, but not least: you will feel more confident in your own body!

“I love my body, and I would never change anything about it. I’m not asking you to like my body. I’m just asking you to let me be me. Because I’m going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself.”
- Serena Williams

Mama bear and baby cub #beingSerena @hbo

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

There is one reason why women should not lift weights, however. Your new strength will also increase your performance in the gym, making you want to work harder and push yourself further to achieve new goals… so do be careful ?


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If Memorial Day’s hot temps were any indication, Summer is unofficially here and our routines are about to change pace, if they haven’t already. Some days may feel more relaxed than others, but for the most part schedules change and things tend to become hectic: kids are out of school, the days are longer, and the big family vacation is coming up quick. In the craziness of these upheavals to the Spring routine you just got used to, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of your personal health and fitness goals. Of course it’s healthy for your body to take this opportunity to enjoy some much needed – and well deserved – downtime, however, it’s important to find new ways to adapt your healthy habits to this new routine so you don’t let the demands of summer keep you off track.

Healthy Habits to Help You Succeed This Summer (1)

Healthy habit #1: Stay focused

Be keenly aware of your thoughts and actions in order to remain focused on your long-term goals, as this is the most important habit you can continue doing daily to succeed. This level of focus shouldn’t only be reserved for special holidays when you’re trying not to overindulge, or in the middle of a mindfulness practice. It should be yet another component in your daily routine to help you think and plan ahead. To remain mindful and stay focused, try asking yourself key questions rather than defaulting to old habits which won’t serve your goals:

Healthy habit #2: Plan meals/snacks in advance

Throughout the summer families find they live by their child’s sports schedule, often not knowing exactly how late each practice, double-header or team competition will run. Or, there will be an upcoming vacation or family reunion where you know it will be difficult to find healthy options to keep you focused.

Both situations present the opportunity to plan your nutrition in advance so you don’t find yourself drowning in a sea of hot dogs, potato chips and ice cream. It might feel inconvenient at first to pack an extra cooler with healthy snacks for the family, or put together a macro-friendly dinner you can eat during your daughter’s game, but eventually this habit will become routine as well.

If you don’t have space for a cooler then think about foods which you could still bring but wouldn’t need to be refrigerated, like: raw nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, etc), fresh fruit (apples, bananas, oranges, berries, etc), minimally processed meat sticks (Nick’s Sticks or Garrett Valley), or even fruit bars (e.g. That’s It. fruit bars, Larabar, RXBAR). However, if you absolutely cannot bring food to an event, then try to understand what choices might be available and pre-plan appropriately so you aren’t mindlessly munching your way through the day.

Healthy habit #3: Get up and move

This habit can be as simple as remembering some activity is always better than zero activity. Your big family vacation should of course be a break from your normal routine, but you can still find ways to get up and move. For example:

Incorporating some degree of movement will help you feel good about yourself while you’re still able to take a break from the everyday grind.

Healthy habit #4: Keep hydrated

No surprise here, but drinking plenty of water will keep your body hydrated, help it stay cool, cycle nutrients throughout your tissue, and remove toxins from your body.

“But water is boring.”

Only if you let it be! Treat yourself to a fun, reusable water bottle you’ll want to carry with you as an accessory so you’re sure to sip whenever you feel thirsty. Or, add a natural flavor boost, like muddled mint or mashed berries, to help satiate that sweet tooth without giving into drinking a traditional soda.

These healthy habits are about progress, not perfection

Summer should allow you a guilt-free break from the daily grind; a chance to renew and refresh yourself. But breaking all of your healthy habits as a result of the seasonal shift will only feel like setback by the end of the Summer. Be kind to yourself and employ these simple habits while having fun in the sun. You’ll have no reason to start over if you’ve remained focused on progress, not perfection.

© 2022 Legacy Life Fitness
Website design and development by Pixel Jam Digital

© 2022 Legacy Life Fitness
Website design and development by Pixel Jam Digital

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