Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

Each holiday season, it seems we are always on the go. Whether it’s you that’s traveling or you’re hosting other travelers, staying on track with your exercise habits can be daunting. Sometimes this holiday cycle can leave you setting the same New Year’s Resolutions year after year.

Let’s get into tips for those of you hitting the road this year so you can reach your goals and avoid backsliding. How do you still get in a workout and eat right even when you’re miles away from home? 

It’s absolutely possible with some intention setting and pre-planning (even if there are no “gyms” or you don’t have access to a kitchen.)  You may have to be traveling, but taking the time to take care of you is critical no matter where you are.  Here’s how to do it without it feeling like a chore.

1. Check out your hotel’s fitness options

Most hotels have fitness centers or swimming pools. Find out what they contain before you book. If your company is footing the bill, you may not even have a say in where you stay, however knowing what exercise options you have available will allow you to keep a fitness plan while you’re traveling. If there’s no fitness room of any kind, you can always stream videos in your room to exercise to, pack some resistance bands, or get in some walking/hiking as you explore the area you’re visiting. The key is to plan ahead:

  • Call the hotel to see what’s available.
  • Decide what you’ll do for your workouts and pack any equipment if needed.
  • Look at your schedule and plan when you’ll get your workout in before you arrive. (You can always change it, but starting off with a plan means you’ll be much more likely to follow through.)

2. Learn about the food in your destination

Most places will have healthy eating options, though they might not be as robust a selection as you’re used to. Find out what kind of food is available in your hotel and nearby. Some hotels have kitchenettes where you can cook your own food, which is an excellent option for keeping your own healthy foods on hand for your meals. 

3. Don’t just sit there

Long flights mean lots of sitting, which affects your circulation. Get up and move about the cabin and do some exercises while in your seat to battle it. Trapped in the airport from a delay? Get up and walk around a bit before returning to the gate. Incidentally, if you’re traveling internationally, moving about more will help you beat jet lag faster.  There’s plenty to do and see in an airport, so have fun exploring and getting some extra steps in.

4. Stay hydrated

Water is essential when you’re flying. It might mean more trips to the lavatory, but without enough hydration, you may become dehydrated.  It’s easy to slack off of water intake as you travel, but be extra mindful this year of staying hydrated along the way.

5. Adapt to the time zone

Even if you fly from one end of the country to the other, the time zones will play tricks on you. Eat all of your meals at the correct times in the time zone you’re in. If you’re not entirely hungry, eat a fiber-rich snack to help power you through. This helps you avoid jet lag.

6. Keep the right attitude

No matter where you are, even when your normal routine gets shaken up, always remember that a healthy and fit lifestyle isn’t just some short-term goal. It’s a way of life, and sometimes life has bumps in the road. Keeping that on your mind will help you make healthy choices. 

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself while away, but rather, make smart decisions. Small tweaks to your travel plans can show significant results, and I invite you to keep that in mind as you travel this season.  

We often subscribe to the “all or nothing” mindset, but the sweet spot is right in the middle of all or nothing. Small changes that often seem unnoticeable day-by-day can yield incredible results – that last.

4 Best Exercises For Body Transformation

4 Best Exercises For Body Transformation

4 Best Exercises For Body Transformation


Last week, we talked about how creating a transformation in your body meant focusing more on the the resistance training and less on the cardio.

So this week, I want to go into 4 of my favorite and essential body movements to master, and then show you how to progress them when you’re ready. Then we’ll finish off with the “No Excuses Circuit” workout routine, which you can follow to get started.

Remember, consistency is key. You don’t need to skip your workout when you can’t get a full hour in. If you only have one minute, five minutes, or ten, you should do something and that’s exactly what the “No Excuses Circuit” is here for.

When you are just getting started, the fastest way to transform is to focus on some of the best and basic body movements. These will set a strong foundation of moving your body well so you you have the stability and mobility to progress as you get stronger.

Side Note: You might have noticed that there are only four exercises and yet you may have heard me talk about 6 basic body movements… so we are missing two here.

And you’re right.

This post is circuit is meant to be useful for anyone including a beginner that might need a little more core, stability, or mobility work, before adding in a twist or bend.

If you’re more advanced, simply use the advanced version of the exercises. I promise you’re heart rate will jump up and your muscles will quiver after 4 cycles or less, when you’re doing your fullest range of motion at your most difficult level with proper form.

If you’re a beginner, start with on cycle only and do what you can!

#1 The Squat

You do this everyday, so why not do it better and on purpose? 

There are lots of variations on the squat, but today we are going to the very basic squat and I’m going to show you how to get so much more out of it.

Let’s start in the middle because that’s what you most likely think of when you picture doing a squat.

I want you to actually do this with me. So if you can stand up for just a moment, just march in place in place about 10 steps and then stop. Where your feet stop here, will almost always be your best position and natural position to go into a squat.

Sometimes your toes are turned a little out or more straight ahead. If they really go in, like pigeon-toed, go ahead and adjust them to be more straight and if they are super rotated out like a duck, bring them in just a little.

Now you’re set up for a squat. If you aren’t comfortable doing a squat for real, simply put a chair behind you (make sure it can’t roll away on you) and sit down and stand up, incorporating the techniques I show you.

A few guidelines:

  1. Your feet must stay in full contact with the floor in three places at all times. It’s like tripod… Keep the heel down, the base of the big toe, and the base of the little toe. Your toes however, should be moveable. You should be able to wiggle them. We call this “squishing the bugs”. So, imagine three bugs on the ground in those spots and you are squishing them to the ground.
  2. Stand tall. Stay tall and long from your hips to your head. No collapsing and rounding the back and you move.
  3. Anchor your shoulder blades down. Keep your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Begin your movement at the hips.
  5. Only go as low as you can continue to squish the bugs. If your heels come up or you can’t wiggle your toes any longer, you’ve gone too far for you, today.

Let’s do the movement:

We are squishing the bugs, standing tall, anchoring our shoulder blades, then our hips hinge slightly, reaching back as we bend our knees to lower towards the ground, only as far as our feet can still squish all three bugs and our toes wiggle.

To regress the squat, use assistance. For more help, use something stationary like a pole. To progress that, advance to something that moves, like holding onto a towel, and then progress to holding onto something that really moves like a resistance band. Then get rid of the chair. Then get rid of your assistance.

To progress the exercise, add additional weight to your body (such as holding onto dumbbells) or and in explosive movements like a jump.

#2 Upper Body Pull

Upper body pulls are like pull-ups or rows and for this No Excuses Circuit, we are going to use a body row.

Similar to using assistance with your squat, you can use a pole, towel, bathrobe tie, etc. to hold onto for this movement. You can also use a doorway or a table. Make sure the rope or tie you use is rigid for support, not stretchy like a resistance band, or you could end up on the floor.

We’ll call the point that you attached your strap, the anchor. You’ll adjust the level of difficulty for this exercise by adjusting your feet.

You’ll stand facing your anchor point and find your endpoint by bending your arms until your hands are to your armpits and you have tension on the strap.

Walk your feet toward the anchor to make the exercise harder, walk away to make it easier. Maintain a nice plank, as though your body was a board.

Straighten your arms all the way and then pull your shoulder blades together, driving your elbows back to bring you back to the starting position.

Adjust the level of difficulty for you so that you can complete all the reps with good form during the time limit.

#3 The Lunge

The lunge is another basic, and essential body movement. It’s similar to the squat with split legs. To make your lunge harder or easier, use the same techniques as the squat.

Remember to always listen to your body and do what you can do. Adjust your level anytime.

Step forward with one foot. Keep the majority of your weight in the heel of your front foot and the toe of the back foot. Bend your back knee and lower it towards the ground while bending the front knee. At the bottom of the lunge, you’re looking for 90 degree angles at the ankle knee and hip.

Drive through the front heel and back toe to rise back to the starting position. One cue I like to use here is, “take a knee,” (just like you see in all those sports movies 😉

One thing to watch for is that you are going down and up, like an elevator, not forward like an escalator.

#4 Upper Body Push

For the upper body push, we’ll use the classic push-up.

I know a lot of people teach to you to do push-ups on your knees if you aren’t strong enough to stay in a plank position, but in my experience, making the strength jump from knees to plank is EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible.

I prefer that people stay in the plank position and start at a higher angle. As you get stronger, start moving closer and closer to the floor. Soon enough, you’ll be doing push-ups from the floor in a full plank position.

Get into a high plank position at an angle that is right for you. Pull your shoulder blades down and brace your core. Your hands should be around your armpits and closer to your chest than your shoulders.

Bend your elbows lowering your chest down towards the floor or platform, trying to get at least a 90 degree angle at the elbows while maintaining your plank. Push the floor away through your hands and return to your starting position.

Be mindful of your hips in your plank. If they drop too low, you risk injuring your lower back. If they are up too high, you need to adjust your angle because that one is too hard.


“No Excuse Workout”

For this circuit, you’re going to select your level and complete as many rounds as you have time for up to 8 rounds. Make sure you choose a level of difficulty that is challenging but doable.

Rest: 30 – 120 Seconds
Rest: 30 – 120 Seconds



You can count how many reps and or cycles you do and track for progress! Want a tracking sheet?

Pearson’s Law: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”

Click “I want to make progress” to download your tracking sheet.

Let me know how it goes!

5 Exercise Keys To Transform Your Body

5 Exercise Keys To Transform Your Body

5 Exercise Keys To Transform Your Body


The Great Debate

Weight v. Fat Loss

There are lots of great exercises and exercise programs and depending on how you combine all the pieces of the puzzle, you’ll get different results even when you are performing the exact same body movement!

I want to be clear that a body transformation is more about focusing on a change in body composition, not weight loss. And the change you want to focus on most, is decrease in body fat and then, an increase in muscle mass.

Depending on how much weight you have to lose, say 50+ pounds, to transform your body, you’ll want to focus on reducing the body fat and maintaining or increasing the muscle mass you currently have on board.

And if you want to lose it faster rather than slower, start with Exercise Key #1.


Exercise Key #1:

Do Resistance Exercise

Step away from the cardio and dive into strength training exercises.

Now, a LOT of women fear they will get even BIGGER if they lift weights, especially heavy ones.

But ladies, that is simply not possible for the vast majority of women. If you’ve ever been in shape before without looking like the incredible hulk, chances are, you won’t get there this time either.

Getting started with resistance training… kinda sucks. It’s kinda painful and extremely exhausting. In fact, most people give up sometime during the 3rd week because of that combined with the fact that many times, they don’t see a change in the scale. At least not the one they want…


Exercise Key #2:

Consistency is queen…

So, here’s the thing…

When you start resistance training, your body starts changing inside, only you can’t see it. Everyone is different and loses weight differently. In a 6-month study, the participants experienced different changes in the beginning.

Some lost weight and girth, some increased weight and lost girth, and some increased weight and girth. However, at the end of the study, they was only a marginal difference between them.

What does that mean? It means, when you are first starting out, find more factors to look at and monitor to keep motivated and consistent.

Don’t give up if the scale isn’t reflecting what you want… or what you think it should, based on how hard you’ve been working. If you do, it’ll all be for nothing.

Stay the course and your results will follow.

This is assuming that you’re working on other healthy nutrition and life habits as well…

Exercise Key #3:

This Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint…

You don’t want to start full-on, giving it everything you’ve got, from day one. You actually need to reserve a little in the tank. Do less than what you think you can or should.

This applies to anytime you’re beginning again. I define that as anytime you miss more than one week, if you’ve been consistent less than one to two months. Or, any time that you miss 2+ weeks when you’ve been consistent for 2+ months. You’ll be able to get right back up to where you were much faster and avoid injury, if you scale it back a bit on your return.

Otherwise, you’ll experience that pain I mention earlier and be tempted to quit again. Plus you’ll be too sore to keep progressing. You know what I’m talking about…

When you get into your first returning workout and you’re like, “Hmmm. I can do more. This feels so light. Maybe my body just needed a rest.” And you keep adding weight. Tomorrow you wake up and it you feel like you were hit by a truck. You can’t lift your arms to brush your teeth and forget about walking down stairs. Can I get one of those stair chair lifts, please?

Really, I like to imagine it sort of like this…

When you haven’t worked out in a while and all of the sudden you start and you pick up some heavier weight. (You don’t really know where to start. You figure if you can lift, that’s a good place.) And then it’s like your brain says, “Wake up, muscles! All of you! We need everyone on board. We are saving a life here, this is a one-time deal. Give me everything you’ve got!”

It’s like when the mom gets this incredible amount of strength to lift a car off her baby that hear about from time to time. A one-time accomplishment. You might even feel just fine the rest of the day and sometimes into the next day.

But then, that delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) kicks in. And whoa. Now you really don’t want to get out of bed. That sore and unable to move-well state might last up to a week or more. And you know what’s happening? You’re moving less and burning fewer calories than ever before.

So naturally, you won’t see much change reflected anywhere because all the effort didn’t help change your energy balance by the end of the week.

Talk about making it easy to feel like quitting is smarter…

Key #1

Do Resistance Training

Key #2

Be Consistent

Key #3


It’s A Marathon Not A Sprint

Key #4

Learn To Modify & Progress

Key #5

Know When To Get More Help, Then Go Get It

Exercise Key #4:

Modify & Progress

You need to learn how to appropriately, effectively, and efficiently modify and progress your exercises.

Most workout programs and plans won’t be quite right for you. Especially if you have 50+ pounds to lose, any specific injuries (chronic or acute), or any other chronic pain somewhere.

Most programs are written for people that are already in decent-ish shape and that program helps them maintain or get stronger. Basically, it takes them to the next level.

But when you can’t do this level effectively, how can you get to the next level?

These programs don’t take into consideration physical size limitations. Ever try to do a mountain climber and find you keep kneeing yourself in the gut? (I’ve been there and it’s beyond frustrating.)

If you can’t do the exercise itself, you need to ask yourself, “What is the intent of this exercise?”

When you can figure that out, then you can find a suitable alternative so you can get to the next level.

My personal belief is that there is ALWAYS another way perform an exercise to keep with the integrity of the workout design, and be something you can effectively complete – without putting yourself into greater risk of injury.

And that is one of the toughest elements to master when you have a big transformation road ahead… progressing without injury.

Exercise Key #5:

Enlist Some Help

That brings me to my final tip for this week. And that is to enlist some help!

If you are serious about making a major transformation in your body and a year or more has gone by since you’ve desired to change…

If you’ve tried on your own a few times or attended some group fitness classes and you’re not really getting closer to your goals…

Then it’s time to seek out real help. How and when you do it, really is dependent on how serious you are about making a change, and how long you want your transformation to take.

Imagine if you started a year ago and today, right now, you were exactly where you wish you could be…

What would you be doing differently? How would your relationships be different? Your career? Would you have more confidence or self-esteem? Would you spend more time with your kids or be more active? Travel more? How would your life be different?

I’m a huge advocate for lasting change and getting off the diet roller coaster one and for all.  But that means you need a different strategy. It means making a long-term commitment. Short-term programs are great for a jump start and to prove to yourself that you can stick to something.

But in my experience, most people have already proven they can stick to a program. They’ve done it many times already. The problem is, those programs just aren’t long enough to create real habits.

Or to test them out through life-changing situations, so you never really develop your strategy for staying on track when your life-path gets bumpy…


Join Me For This New:

FREE Masterclass…

My mission is to empower more people to transform their health so they can create a life they love living with passion and purpose. So, I have created a new masterclass called “Transform Your Health. Own Your Life.”

I’ve pulled out one of the most impactful pieces of my main program, (which I’ve only ever shared with clients before) to give you more help…

…a solution to the most common and biggest roadblock when you’re just getting started

… not just more enlightenment and passing on knowledge

And I’m going to walk you through the same exercises I use with my clients to help them:

  • Drop more than 12 pounds in a month WITHOUT focusing on food or fitness
  • Save more than $31,464 in prescription medication costs alone since implementing this system
  • Make their results last, even more than six years later

You can register for the next training here. This has been my best masterclass to date, so I’ll be running it for a little while, but not exactly sure how long…

Don’t Miss:

Next Week…

Come back for next week’s post, where I’ll show you how to take your fitness to the next level and show you:

  • The 4 best exercises for a body transformation
  • Progressions for those 4 exercises
  • A workout routine to use them in to get started

Health and happiness,

Things A Good Coach Wishes You Would Tell Them

Things A Good Coach Wishes You Would Tell Them

Things A Good Coach Wishes You Would Tell Them

Recently, I was chatting with a client and she was telling me about a blog post written by a coach, most likely a personal trainer. It was something like, “Things you’re trainer won’t tell you.”

It said things like:

  • I’m not your therapist
  • I don’t care about your divorce
  • I don’t want to hear about your kids birthday party
  • I don’t need to know about your personal life

You get the idea. I understand that it was written tongue in cheek. I admit, I chuckled a time or two, but then, it totally got me thinking… Ok. I’m not your “therapist” nor would I ever claim to be, but I am your coach and guide on your health journey. And yes, this sometimes feels like a therapy session, but you make all the choices. As far as everything else goes, I do care. If I didn’t, I hope that you’d find a new trainer/coach that does.

Here’s what me caring does NOT mean:

  • I’m going to pry into your life and make you tell me every last detail
  • I’m going to make you tell me things that you’re uncomfortable sharing
  • I want to gossip about everyone during your training session

Here’s What Caring DOES Mean:

  • I’m going to provide a safe space for you to share anything you feel you need to get off your chest
  • I’m going to listen with an open-heart and mind and not judge anything that comes out of your mouth
  • I’m going to keep you on track with your workout plan – Sometimes that means taking a small break from the physical activity to let go of emotions that are keeping you stuck and sometimes that means pushing you through an exercise that I know you can physically handle when you’re brain and emotions are telling you to quit.

Yes, I definitely need you to always tell me how your body is feeling when you come in for your session. I need to know if you’re feeling a little under the weather or have pain in your body and what kind of pain it is. That helps me adapt your plan so you get the most out of our time together.

But I also need to know if you’re going through a divorce, if you’re having trouble at work, or stressed out at home. I need to know if you are feeling on top of the world and ready to conquer your personal bests. I need to know if your new baby is keeping you up all night.

Why? Because it matters. Because you matter. Because a workout plan means nothing on paper. It’s just a bunch of numbers and letters.

I could give identical twins (let’s call them Bob and Eric) the exact same workout plan to achieve the exact same goals and they could still have completely different outcomes. Even though they performed the program exactly the same way.

They train together, three times a week, with me. They’re using the same workout program that I created for them based on where they currently are and where they’d like to be. On paper, this program should give them the same results or very similar. The reality is that Eric is progressing at an awesome rate, while Bob is struggling to make any progress at all. At times, it actually feels like Bob is going backwards.

How could that be? Let’s take a look at what’s happening in their life that I wouldn’t know unless they chose to share it with me:

Bob is a new dad and get’s up with his new baby girl every time she wakes so that his wife can sleep. Then he is up for the day at 4 am. He’s pretty tired all the time lately. The usual mildly stressful situations feel like high-stress craziness and he’s teetering on the brink of a Kanye West-style meltdown. He’s hoping that working out with his brother can salvage his sanity.

Eric on the other hand, is digging his bachelor life. He has a great job, great social life, and feels like a rockstar pretty much every day when he gets out of bed. His daily stress level is mild to moderate and he has plans in place to help him deal with high-stress times on the rare occasion they happen. It’s easy for him to stick to his nutrition plan and he typically gets all the sleep needs on a regular basis.

Bob and Eric came in with nearly identical numbers (they’re identical after all), yet Bob is struggling and Eric is thriving. In the consultation, all things appeared equal on paper and they presented the same way. Both of them should have thrived on this program. Why didn’t Bob?

Because You Are Not Your Numbers

You are not:

  • Your body fat percentage
  • Your weight on the scale
  • Your circumference measurements
  • Your clothing size

You’re not even the sum of the food you eat and how you train. It’s not “calories in = calories out.” You are the sum of your thoughts, emotions, genetics, environment, relationships, and most importantly: your choices/the actions you take.

With more of Bob and Eric’s story, it easy to see why Bob isn’t getting the results we thought he would. If I had that information earlier, I would have given him a slightly different plan, heavy on the health coaching support. As your trainer and health coach, it’s super helpful when you clue me in. I want to know. Otherwise, it’s just a plan that we’ll both be frustrated with. And I’m pretty sure neither of us want that. Health and happiness, Marylynn Burrows

Making Healthy Holiday Choices

Making Healthy Holiday Choices

holiday-blogWe all fall victim to the holidays, especially to all the amazing holiday food. Everyone should enjoy themselves as this is a part of a healthy life, but staying on track with your health goals are equally important. There are always healthier choices to be made, we just need to know what they are, and then make the conscious decision to choose them.

Thanksgiving is over 🙁  The next round of feasts start this week and will likely last clear into the New Year (at least they do in my house). So many holiday and New Year’s parties are coming up which means we’re rolling into December with a variety of special dinners, events, and treats.

I know we have a lot of friends that don’t partake in alcoholic beverages, so in this post, when you see “alcohol,” I want you to read, “eggnog” or “holiday cookies” because essentially, the indulgence is the same as far as adding unintended calories into your diet goes. And guess what? The helpful tips apply across the board for all! 😉

People tend to drink more alcohol during this time of year as there are many social gatherings and parties with friends, family, and loved ones. Excessive alcohol intake holds a lot of empty calories, and when paired with holiday treats or hormones, you can end up on a constant rollercoaster.

So how do you indulge in all the festivities while not completely falling off track? We have put some helpful tips together to stick close to this holiday season. If these look crazy and overwhelming, consider picking one tip to follow this holiday season.

  1. Try to add more green juice and/ or green smoothies to your daytime eating routines to balance out all the holiday food-filled gatherings, and dinner parties you attend.

  2. Up your intake of water even more than normal. Water helps push toxins out of your system, as well as keep you hydrated during all the festivities involving alcohol.

  3. Make sure to have as many green veggies on your plate as meat, and starches for a healthier balance.

  4. Bring a healthy snack or bar with you to cocktail parties to keep from overindulging in all the unhealthy holiday treats.

  5. Mix your cocktails with fresh pressed fruit and veggies juices, sparkling water, or any low calorie, low sugar, and health enhancing beverages.

  6. When invited to dinners and parties, and asked to bring something, opt for something healthy you can share with your loved ones. Opt for gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free baked or casserole options, or bring a raw veggie or fruit plate. Bring something you’d like to eat so you know there is something for you.

  7. In addition to bringing something healthy to the pot-luck style parties, try eating before you go so you aren’t starving. You’ll be more likely to pace your eating and grazing while you mingle.

There is a way to stay on track, or at least stay close to your health goals during this holiday season: Get your spouse or family on board with you! The more support you have the easier it will be to stick to your healthy decisions!