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by Coach Catherine



Well I turned 45 in December.  The good news is besides a few extra wrinkles and smile lines, a few more aches and pains and having difficulty reading small text, I feel as good as when I was in my 20s.  That can be a true testimony to the benefit of exercise! Use it to reverse the aging process!

Aging is an inevitable part of life. One can expect certain changes, such as graying hair and wrinkled skin, to accompany aging. In fact, the cosmetic industry preys off our attempts to reverse some of these changes. But many of the changes commonly attributed to the process of aging, specifically within the musculo-skeletal system (the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and cartilage) are in fact, a result of physical inactivity or disuse.  The old adage “use it or lose it” appears to ring true.  Muscle tissue, strength, bone density, cardio-vascular fitness, energy levels and functional performance appear to be preserved through exercise. There seems to be no magic pill or drug that holds as much promise for sustained health as a lifetime program of physical exercise and good nutrition!  Many of these age-associated changes can be prevented, reduced in their severity or managed!

Follow the following tips to ensure you stay “forever young”:

Top Exercise Strategies:

  1. Strength train 2x/weekincluding 1 set of 8-12 reps of a variety of exercises, like we do in boot camp
  2. CardioVascular exercise 3-5x/weekfor 20-60 minutes with activities using variable impact like walking, stair climbing or fitness classes
  3. Perform postural training exercises– perform exercises that strengthen your core and back
  4. Perform balance training– include 1 leg exercises into your program and life
  5. Incorporate stretching, mobility and release exercisesinto your program to maintain your flexibility as you age
  6. Register for Mind-Body Relaxation programslike Tai Chai, Pilates, Yoga or Meditation
  7. Manage your stressthrough various techniques including massage, reading, vacations, and prayer.
  8. Perform pelvic floor exerciseslike Kegels
  9. Enroll in active social programs like running clinics, ballroom dancing or gardening courses – Being part of a fitness community can help exercise adherence and a promote a sense of well-being.
  • Participate in programs that provide somebrain traininglike choreography classes, hip hop, funk or take some personal growth and development courses – Your brain is like your muscles – you don’t use it, you lose it!


Top Nutrition Strategies:

  1. Eat a lot of fruits & vegetables– Make this the staple of your diet
  2. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in fiber
  3. Drink 10++ glasses of water per day, or 1 gallon
  4. Consume 5 smaller meals/snackseach day
  5. Manage salt, sugar and low quality fat intake
  6. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarettesand other drugs
  7. Control portion sizes


Yours in Health, Fitness & Business 
Coach Catherine

You Can Change Your Life, By Changing Your Attitude – Attitude is EVERYTHING!

As much as some of us (me included) would like to be able to control every aspect of our lives, we can’t! But what we can control is our attitude toward what does happen to us. We all experience and continue to experience “trying” times in our lives. The WHAT in these situations is less important than the HOW.

How we react and move through these particular situations will determine their effect on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. I thought this was the perfect time to remind all campers for the power of attitude as we prepare to head outside for boot camp. If you have been fighting a less than optimal attitude this winter, now is the time to embrace the change!

Studies say that up to 40% of our happiness comes from how we choose to approach our lives. Especially during “trying” times, we focus on all of our problems. We then get in the habit of focusing our attention on all the negative things happening in our lives. What would happen instead if we switched that focus to all of the good things that happen to us each and every day? What if we took time daily or weekly to reflect on things we are grateful for in our lives? 

Increasing Happiness 

Gratitude is the forgotten factor in happiness research.

Grateful individuals

  • Report higher levels of positive emotions
  • Have greater life satisfaction
  • Experience greater vitality
  • Are more optimistic
  • Are healthier
  • Build strong relationships
  • Handle adversity better
  • Experience lower levels of depression and stress

People who have a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others. They are also rated as more generous and more helpful. Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods, are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated, and are less envious of others.

Gratitude is Good for your Health

A study done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami showed that those individuals who practiced weekly gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. During the study, one group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week, a second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had upset them, and a third group wrote about events that had affected them in neither a positive or negative way.

The first group who wrote about what they were grateful for also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than those who focused on daily irritations, hinting at the power of gratitude.

Ideas for Promoting Gratitude

  • Write a thank-you note ( I love doing this!)
  • Thank someone mentally
  • Keep a gratitude journal (Yes, Oprah was right!)
  • Meditate
  • Count your blessings (everyday)

Coach Mike and I try to take a few moments each day to reflect to each other things we are grateful for and small blessings that we forget about. It is especially helpful when it just seems like nothing is going your way, or you are having a particularly bad day or stress levels start to creep up on you. Try it, it works!

Some campers keep gratitude journals. After starting a gratitude journal, people begin to look at people and things differently, seeking out the positive in each situation or interaction. They appreciate the “little things” and don’t take them for granted. A shift in mindset happens and they notice when they are not as consistent with journaling; they can easily fall back into a mindset focused on all that is lacking.

Examples entries from a gratitude journal:

  • I am so grateful for my knowledge of how to live a healthy lifestyle and help others do the same…
  • I am so grateful that I devoted time to my yoga practice today…
  • I am so grateful for the AMAZING weather we have been having!

A simple step and my coaching suggestion as we plan for a super season outside is to try your own Gratitude Journal listing five things that you are grateful for each day and you will start to see an incredible shift in your life to one of positivity, improved health, less stress and life satisfaction. Oh yeah, plus the added bonus of invigoration of spring and outdoor boot camps with your friends!

Have an awesome day!

Your Friend and Coach, Catherine & Michael

Four Common Obstacles to Weight Loss

Everyone who loses weight successfully overcomes a set of similar challenges. But let us be honest: successful weight loss is relatively uncommon, making many of these challenges unheard of. Consequently, when they arise, you might think you’re doing things wrong. But you’re not, and here’s why.

#1: It’s More Like Learning a Language Than Training For a Marathon

Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

If you’re overweight, chances are that you feel some guilt about it. You may feel like you’ve been lazy, gluttonous, or lacking in self-control. Not only is this untrue, many of us try to quash the guiltiness by extreme behavior and fast fixes, such as juice fasts, teatoxes and hours of cardio a day. The goal of getting fit becomes a form of self-punishment, rather than a way to improve your wellbeing.

Contrastingly, those who have successfully lost weight and kept it off (i.e. no one from The Biggest Loser) know that weight loss success looks nothing like this. Both extreme diet and exercise are recipes for failure. They know that successfully losing weight looks more like learning a language in a foreign country.

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When you’re in a different country and learning their language for the first time, the overwhelming temptation is to revert to your native tongue. Of course, you can’t do that if you want anyone to understand you. Instead, you clumsily stumble over foreign words to deliver your message.

It’s difficult at first, but over time, you get better at it. You become accustomed to pronouncing things in the correct accent, and everything becomes second nature. It may become so intuitive that you have trouble teaching the language to beginners, because you’re no longer aware of what goes on when your brain translates.

Weight loss is no different—you need to learn the language of calories and macronutrients. You’ll need to translate that skim latte into numbers, using a translator at first (in this case a calorie tracking app), then fit things into your daily nutritional targets. Not unlike continuously referring to a foreign language dictionary, it’s tedious. But if you stick with it, it becomes second nature.

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This is what the path to weight loss success looks like: learning fitness like you would learn any other skill. Literally running yourself into the ground by training for a marathon straight off the bat won’t help you. Nor will copying the actions of Rocky Balboa or someone already in shape. They are the subject of survival bias, and their routines probably won’t work for you.

#2: You Will Face Numerous Crushing Setbacks

Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

You’ve probably seen the image above before. It holds true for all of life’s challenges, including weight loss. In fact, even if you do everything perfectly, weight loss shouldn’t be linear at all, thanks to the way our physiology works.

But that’s a moot point, because no one does everything perfectly. Not only will you make mistakes in your journey, you’ll face crushing, psychologically-defeating blows. Perhaps you injure yourself, or experience an emotionally devastating event. Whatever you’ve been throughemotionally is then amplified worse when you step on the scale and see your progress has been erased.

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But here’s the thing: from a fitness perspective, these blows are rarely as bad as you think. Overeating may cause you to gain weight, but it’s unlikely that’s all fat—the body retains water in mysterious ways.

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When this happens to you, repeat after me: “I’m okay. This is normal. I just need to keep going.” Crushing blows are a part of every single major transformation I’ve witnessed. I asked a former client of mine who lost upwards of 100 pounds, Jeremiah Bright, about his experience:

Losing weight in a healthy sustainable fashion includes pauses and setbacks. I’m part of a large extended Italian family and my weekends are filled with family events, and of course a ton of food. I’d often make a ton of progress, only to undo months of work by the end of the holidays. The same with vacations and cruises (aka floating buffets.)

Some things are in your control, some aren’t. And of the things that are, some are more than others. Injuries may be in your control, perhaps I pushed a little too hard at a deadlift when I wasn’t positioned properly or not feeling up to it and strained my back, putting me out of the gym for a few weeks. I’ve had months where the scale didn’t move… or times when I looked back at my weight half a year ago, and it was the same.

But I quickly understood this was all part of the process, kept pushing on, and am now down 140 lbs.
Every setback is not only a learning opportunity, but also a self-fulfilling prophecy: whether or not you think your progress is ruined, you are right. So stay optimistic, realize it’s not ruined, and get back on that damn horse.

#3: Other People Will Annoy the S#!t Out of You

There are some of the remarks that every single person will hear during their transformation.From unsolicited remarks on your dietary choices, to snide comments about how you’ve changed, they’re an inescapable obstacle in the weight loss rite of passage.

“Why can’t you just enjoy life? You should just be happy with who you are.”

“Why do you eat so much chicken? Should I be eating this much chicken?”

“I don’t think your body type was ‘meant’ to be skinny.”
So how do you deal with these little shi…errr…those who are “concerned” about your well being? The first step is to separate them into two buckets.

The first bucket consists of people who are genuinely curious. Sure, their comments might seemoff-the-cuff or affronting, but they probably don’t mean it. Remember: losing weight is a very personal experience, and it’s easy to be sensitive if people are questioning your choices. For example, when someone asks you about your exercise regimen, then compares it to their CrossFit WOD (because if they do CrossFit they will tell you, guaranteed), they may just be trying to build rapport through your mutual love for exercise.

Then, there are people who are genuinely trying to sabotage you. The issue with any kind of personal change is that it threatens the status quo–something that most people, consciously or otherwise, will try to fight. This is no different for weight loss.

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Understanding the reason above will greatly help you reframe and empathize with saboteurs. For example, let’s say your spouse says:

I don’t know why you’re doing this to yourself. It’s like you’re not happy and you want to become someone different than the person I fell in love with.
Here’s what it might really mean:

I’m worried that if you lose weight, you’ll no longer love me because I’m still overweight. I love you and don’t want you to leave me after your newfound success.
Empathy turns the once-impermeable emotional barrier into something you can work through. If that’s not enough, Greatist has an amazing list of specific ways to respond when people attempt to undermine your health.

#4: Your Journey Is Never Over

Four Things Nobody Tells You About Successful Weight Loss

The phrase “going on a diet” is a bit misleading. It implies a journey, with a defined beginning and an end. In reality, there is no end.

This insight stems from a very dark, personal experience. My first fitness “transformation”relied on pure willpower to get through. My spartan regimen was made up of perfectly timed meals consisting of chicken and broccoli, as well as an hour of cardio every morning. I did this for four months, lost 45 pounds, and placed in a bodybuilding competition. I thought I was finally finished dieting…and things began to unravel.

Like most competitors, I celebrated by a (perhaps excessive) dinner. I woke up the next day 20lbs heavier. While I knew it was water, the overwhelming sense of guilt created a vicious cycle: I would console myself with food, then feel worse, eat more and begin the cycle again. Within a mere two months, I regained all 45 pounds (and then some) and was back to my original weight.

The above is a cautionary tale, because it’s not uncommon for those who think that diets have an “end.” In fact, most people who lose weight return to their pre-diet weight within three years.

If you rely on willpower, rather than learning the “language” of fitness, sure you’ll reach an “end”—but it won’t be happy or sustainable. Everything you do should be sustainable and pass the litmus test of “Could I live like this forever?”

That’s because if you’re successful, there is no end. You’ll always have to work to incorporate fitness as a part of your new life—one where fitness is as important to you as eating, sleeping, and sex. But you won’t regret a minute of your journey, because it’s a better life.

Vitals is a new blog from Lifehacker all about health and fitness. Follow us on Twitter here.

Fight Belly Bloat

It’s time to de-puff that pouch! Bloating — fluid building up between cells in your body — can be caused by poor digestion, too much sodium, or your period. But according to experts, if you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can usually avoid it. Good news, right? Stay in bikini-ready shape all year long with these bloat-busting bites.

Water with Lemon

A lot of people skip sipping on water when they are bloated, when in reality they should be doing the opposite. “People tend to think that when they’re holding on to water they should cut back drinking it, but that’s not the case,” says David Grotto, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and The Best Things You Can Eat. Retaining water is actually your body’s way of holding on to fluid so you don’t dehydrate. If you’re having a bloating problem, that’s the time you want to push fluids, not restrict them, says Grotto. Since lemons are a natural diuretic and a gentle laxative when added to warm water, consuming the liquid can help reduce the amount of salt retained in the body. Just make sure you drink from the glass and not through a straw, so you don’t take in any extra air.


Over the years this green crunchy stalk has been used as a digestive aid to regulate bowel movements and to control intestinal gas because its chemicals are known to decrease fluid retention. “Celery has a high water content with a detoxing system, which can help to purge your body of toxins,” says Grotto. Other top picks for veggies that will help reduce fluid retention include cucumber, summer squashes, parsley, and any other kind of leafy greens. When it comes to eating vegetables in general, lean toward cooked over raw. “The fiber structure is broken down once they’re cooked, making them easier to digest,” says Grotto. “Even if the raw vegetables have a high water content, it can result in more bloating for some people.”


All kinds of melons are beneficial to your health, but watermelon is known as one of the juiciest fruits on the stand. That’s probably because it consists of 92 percent water. According to Grotto, it also has a natural diuretic property and is a great source of potassium. “The balance between sodium and potassium is important when it comes to controlling bloat,” he says. For DIY spa water, try mixing lemon, cucumber, watermelon, and rosemary for an ultimate belly-deflating fix. (A word of caution: You may need to use the restroom more than usual when sipping on this.)

Rosemary and Turmeric

Rosemary has been used to treat everything from heartburn and headaches to toothaches and high blood pressure. But it also treats intestinal gas and helps digestion, says Jackie Newgent, RD, culinary nutritionist, FITNESS advisory board member, and chef. She suggests steeping it in your tea or combining it with celery or parsley to make your own cooking broth. Valued in Asia for its ability to fight pain and inflammation, turmeric is also key in aiding upset stomach and bloat reduction, says Newgent. Use the bright yellow spice in a curry dish or to flavor your favorite foods.

Beans and Lentils

The majority of Grotto’s patients with bloated bellies are taking in too much sodium and not enough potassium and fiber. “Ramping down your sodium and increasing your potassium will have an almost immediate effect of reducing bloat,” he says. Lentils, with their high amount of fiber, are a good choice for aiding with digestion. Potassium-rich foods include white beans, soybeans, and lima beans — and they are also the highest-fiber vegetables you can get. Newgent adds that beans are naturally high in both estrogen and protein and can relieve period-induced bloat.


Since a lot of people are sensitive to lactose, it’s better to opt for yogurt instead of milk in your next smoothie, especially the kind with live active cultures in it. “Yogurt is already pre-digested and the milk sugar is broken down, where as in milk it’s not, which can create gas and bloating,” says Newgent. The nature of the active cultures lactobacillus and acidophilus found in yogurt can improve symptoms of bloating. Stir in some melon for an ultimate bloat-busting snack!

From Fitness.com

Fitness Mantras

The secret to going faster, stronger, and longer: fitness mantras. To create yours, think of the three p’s: personal, positive, and powerful. Your mantra should be something that stirs you into action when things feel tough, so it should hit on the deeper reason you’re exercising. Need inspiration?

WHEN: You’re on a run and hit a tough hill
THINK: This hill is tough, but I am tougher

WHEN: Your to-do list has you tempted to skip a workout
THINK: Exercise gives me energy and makes me feel happy

WHEN: Your muscles are fatigued and you still have one more set left
THINK: I am powerful, I am unstoppable

WHEN: You argue that there’s no way you’re putting on spandex-anything today
THINK: 30 minutes of effort, lifelong rewards

WHEN: You feel defeated that your Warrior I looks nothing like the instructor’s pose
THINK: Strong, focused, determined

From Self.com

Finding The Motivation to eat well and exercise can be tough….

I recently read an article from the keynote speaker for the “Dream Big” program which is an organization that helps kids create dreams, determine action steps to achieve those dreams and directs them towards resources that will help them make those dreams a reality. Working in the fitness industry for over 15 years, I’ve noticed that there are certain things that those who are successful at achieving their goals do on a regular basis. I’ve narrowed it down to 10 Top Tips and want to share these with you. So, over the next few weeks, I will share these tips with boot campers to help you launch into the holidays and into the New Year with some serious motivation! There is nothing that brings me more joy than knowing I’ve helped someone achieve their personal best and live their life to the fullest. To start, I wanted to share this quote with you…

“When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn’t matter. Am I tired? That doesn’t matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem.” Emil Zatopek

You know I’m in the fitness industry so you gotta know that one of my Top 10 Tips is to take care of your physical being. I’m a firm believer that it’s hard to do great things if you don’t feel great. It’s hard to live your dream life if you aren’t striving for your personal best. Taking the time to take care of yourself positively impacts and trickles into every aspect of your life. So as you start to plan your health and fitness plan for 2014, what will you do to challenge yourself and see what you’re made of? Consider how much discipline it takes to workout three to five days a week. Think about how hard it is to keep stretching beyond our comfort zones and how challenging it is to exercise at a high intensity. Consider the self-resolve required to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water every day when temptations surround us everywhere we go.

But if you have the courage to respect your body – the temple that houses your mind and spirit –achieving your goals will not be far away.
It says a lot about who you are as a person when you invest the time to take care of yourself. It says you respect and love yourself enough to do the things necessary for you to be at your personal best.

•Each time you get into the gym or show up to boot camp for a workout on a day when you just don’t feel like exercising, you grow a little stronger as a human being.
•Each time you go for a run or walk on a cold winter’s day when you just feel like staying under the warm, cozy covers, you strengthen your character.
•When you endure a tough boot camp workout, it enables you to persevere through any other challenge in your life.

Working on improving your physical conditioning will not only enrich your life and make you a better person, you’ll also become a better parent, a better woman or man, a better spouse, a better and more productive worker, and a better friend.
Exercise gives us a lot more than just a great set of abs!
Exercising regularly, eating well and taking the time to relax and nourish your body will make you feel happier.
•It will provide you with more energy than you have ever known.
•It will give you greater stamina, mental toughness and make you a clearer, stronger thinker.
•It will make you more patient and loving.

There are 168 hours in a week. Surely each and every one of us regardless of our hectic schedules can carve out four or five of them to care for our bodies and work on mastering our physical state. And you must remember that……
…… a missed workout is much more than just a missed workout (or not doing something that you committed to doing)!
When you miss a workout, you don’t just stay at the same level you were at – you actually take a few steps back. Every time you miss a workout, you have done something to strengthen the habit of not working out. When you’ve made the promise to yourself to exercise so many times per week and then you break that promise, you start to lose trust in yourself. With each missed workout, you start to lose self-confidence and begin to question whether you can actually stick with it at all. A missed workout fuels self-doubt and makes that negative habit stronger. Miss enough workouts, and eventually that negative habit of not working out will replace the positive habit of exercising that you have worked so hard to cultivate. Every time you fail to do the right thing, you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing. So the next time you’re trying to justify pressing the snooze button and skipping your morning boot camp workout, or working through lunch instead of taking a walk break or heading right home after work instead of stopping at the gym, just don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even allow yourself the opportunity to talk yourself out of doing what you know you need to do to be at your best. Just remember that you’ll feel like a million bucks once you’re done. The real challenge for most people is not the workout itself, but actually overcoming the negative thoughts that try to sabotage your very good intentions. Remember results are not guaranteed, they are earned! Stay tuned next week when I begin to share my Top 10 Tips for Achieving your Dream Life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours in Health & Fitness.

Coach Catherine

Thanksgiving No Excuses workout!

Here is the Thanksgiving Day NO EXCUSES workout. It can be done anywhere, at home, outside or at the gym and it takes 25 mins (lift and cardio).


5 min warmup (jump rope, cardio machine, calisthenics)


60 sec – Jumping squats (with lighters DBS) – REST 15 sec

60 sec – Burpee with Pushup – REST 15 sec

60 sec – Combo of leg lift and DB chest Press – REST 15 sec

60 sec – (4 reps) DB Regengade row/ (8 reps) Mt Climber – REST 15 sec

Stretch if time permits…ENJOY the day!


It does not matter what you do but do it for 60-90 mins or longer. This SHOULD BE a steady state cardio or moving activity. Hiking, bike riding, long walk, etc. Just do it for a longer sessions. You are trying to dip into the extra fat, sugar, calories eaten the day before.

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