You know there are going to be parties and social obligations, so make a plan for yourself and revisit it on a weekly basis.  Break that plan into smaller goals to improve adherence while still providing a sense of accomplishment.  Plan your nutrition and exercise programs ahead of time and block off the time for them in your daily planner, just like an appointment! If its not blocked off, chances are it won't be done. Another great tip is to partner up with a friend for workouts so your both held accountable. Remember, if you fail to plan, then you basically plan to fail! By planning in advance, you can still enjoy that busy social time while staying active and healthy!
Lots of sugar! Consumers have started to demand products without it.  For example, Hunt's no-HFCS ketchup has 4 grams per tablespoon, the same amount as its traditional, lower cost to make variety with HFCS, according to the label.  Aim for no more than 6 teaspoons (or 24 grams) of sugar per day for women and 9 for men.  What to choose instead: products that are naturally sweet (such as good old fruit or other natural sweeteners such as pure honey.
10% GENETICS (where is your troubled spot? the spot that can't seem to get rid of!)
70% NUTRITION (i love to eat so this part always irks me, but its so true, what you eat, over the long term, eventually shows up on your body!) We could get away with eating crappy in our teens and 20's and keep the weight off, but once over 35 and especially in 40's/50s, our bodies say, "Sorry, been there, done that, ain't doing it no more!" So Ladies, what is your plan for the fall/winter to keep your bodies healthy and fit?

So many people see things as black and white, all or nothing. It is this mentality that sets us up for failure if we are trying to lose weight or manage our weight for a lifetime.  Remember, anyone with a gun to their head will lose weight if they are forced to, but how many successfully manage it for years and years with just a normal, healthy 3-5 pound fluctuation? Don't you all agree, to catch a silent weight gain at 3 to 5 pounds is easier than ignoring it till it becomes 20-30 + pounds, right? Here is a personal example of the "gray" area in weight management for life....My birthday is this coming tuesday (yay! 41!) My husband was taking me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant last night for my birthday dinner.  I knew i wanted to eat and drink what i wanted, so....i hit the damage control button yesterday.  Here is what i did.  I ate just a bit lighter, and very healthy in the morning, took my dog Amber for a 2 mile walk. After a light lunch, I went myself on a 3 mile power walk.  So by dinnertime, i had walked 5 miles and had calories to spare so i could enjoy my dinner and 2 glasses of my favorite wine without guilt!  Yes, I had some of that great restaurant soft, warm white bread with butter, yes, i had a salad, and my seafood & zitti entree was delicious! Then I had a dessert, a decadent but slender flute of vanilla gelatto and fresh black cherries! Now today, phase 2 of damage control.....yes it continues.  Today I took again my dog Amber for her 2 mile walk to start in the morning.  Lunchtime I hit the gym and did 1 hour of weight training (legs and abs - that burns the most calories) and then jumped on the arc trainer for another 30 minutes of slow steady state cardio with very light resistance (i just trained my legs and did not want to overtrain them) i was aiming for the slow calorie burn.  So in all today, I walked 2 miles, did 1.5 hours of weights and cardio at the gym.  I did not count calories or points.  I did not give up and say "hey, its my birthday week coming up, i will just continue to eat everything I want since i blew it last night: (aka. the black/white all/nothing mentality which has sabotaged many a client) I knew I ate a lot last night and I enjoyed every bite. Tommorow, i will force myself to get up 1 hour earlier to hit my elliptical machine downstairs before breakfast...probably burning another 500 calories then.  THAT, my friends, is damage control.  I love to eat, and thank god i love to exercise, but that is the way i wont gain an ounce this week because i stay in the gray area, and MODERATE my exercise and eating habits when i know a "treat" day is coming up.  This is how successful weight management is done for a lifetime.   Now many of you may think, "I dont have time for all that", well, i decided to play, so i must pay, and i did.  Motto of Melanie's birthday week: MAKE TIME, NOT EXCUSES....i DID is 100 times more powerful than I will! Have a wonderful week! 
l overheard someone say to her friend, "Exercise is the best weapon against obesity".  Well, my friends, that is an incorrect MYTH! Millions of Americans continue to believe that if they just exercised more or hard enough, they will lose that last stubborn 10 -15 pounds.  At no time in history have Americans been so aware of the benefits of exercise, or had as many opportunities to workout.  And yet every year, we grow more obese.  FACT: Exercise, while great for your health, is only light artillery against obesity. Many factors control weight loss, not just exercise alone, and not just diet alone. The 1-2 knockout punch solution is exercise AND proper diet.Proper diet and cardio work will burn the fat, and resistance (weight training) will tighten, tone, and firm your muscles. Sorry cardio queens at the can do cardio till the cows come home, it ain't gonna tone your arms, flatten your belly and tone/firm up your legs and butt unless you get into the weight room & start a proper resistance training program.  Do you know where to start? How do you know if you are lifting enough weight? or not enough? How many reps/sets do you need to do for each muscle group? (not all groups have the same requirements) When do you need to change things up? How do you rotate your exercises/muscle groups so that you don't overtrain them and not see results? These answers....can easily be answered by your NCCA-accredited Personal Fitness Trainer.  If you are going to go for it this fall....get your body mapped out and ready to go...the RIGHT way! How many times are you going to quit, frustrated because you didn't see results or enough results by doing it on your own? Chew on that my friends.... 
What does a Personal Fitness Trainer do? We are not just about "sales".  Everyone sells themselves...all the time, to their boss, their job/business, their future spouse or significant other....etc. But We Trainers, we are different....we are a solutions provider...not just a cheerleader.  We find the right track to put you on, guide you on it, and kick your ass if neccessary to get you to stay on track and realize the reason you hired us in the first place!  Why do you think most people struggling with weight/health problems NEED a personal fitness trainer? Well, here is your answer my friends......74% of the USA's population is either overweight or obese! 74%!!!!! And what's worse, we have come to "normalize" this as if its just the norm and ok....IT IS NOT OK!!!!! Our country spends 147 BILLION dollars on medical expenses for those who are suffering from diseases/conditions directly caused by being overweight/obese. Did you know that by 2015, being overweight/obese will eclipse and past right by the #1 preventable cause of death in this country - (Smoking), did ya hear that folks?  Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, etc....will be the NUMBER 1 cause of PREVENTABLE deaths! All due to "sedentary lifestyle" (i.e. no exercise/bad diet)  Did you also know that in the US, 79 MILLION people in 2012 are pre-diabetic, 7 million people are walking around right now that don't even know they have it yet.  10% of US popluation have diabetes...and of that 10% (95%) is TYPE 2 diabetes....which is mostly caused guessed it, sedantary lifestyle with very little exercise and poor nutrition. These sick people NEED our help, guidance, empathy, support!!! So, what am i (as a fitness professional) selling? Everyday when i get up at the crack of dawn and some nights not coming home till after 9pm.....I sell HEALTH, SELF-CONFIDENCE, FITNESS, LIFESTYLE CHANGE, education, motivation, accountability (thats a big one with some of my clients), empathy, support, and above all else, SAFETY and RESULTS!!!  What do you do every day?.....chew on that, my friends, and pass the word not trying to preach or condemn, but to enlighten, motivate and get that fire burning under those asses that deep down truly know they need help, and are ready to say "Enough!"  How about you? Everyone knows someone that needs our help....pass it on, you could save someone's you guys, Melanie
If you have been unsuccessful  in losing weight around your middle, (yes, even your trainer has a few stubborn pounds that sit right in that one spot on our bellies that we fight and curse at every day!) But here is some good news! The MUFA's - aka monounsaturated fatty acids - are healthy fats that can help us lose weight, even in our mid-section!  Here are my favorite top 10 foods that help target that hard-to-lose belly fat. 
1. Almonds - the MUFA's & Vit E in almonds work together to cut cholesterol, and they are a great source of veggie protein & fiber. Eating tip: 2 tablespoons of almonds over low-fat unsweetened yogurt with fresh berries is a great way to start your day!
2.  Avocado - great source of heart healthy MUFA's.  Eating tip: mash a 1/4 cup Hass avacado with lime juice, salt & pepper & serve with baked chips or raw veggies.
3.  Dark/or Semi-sweet Chocolate - cocoa powder made from ground, defatted cocoa beans, contains compounds that have the potential to protect against heart disease, stroke, cancer & diabetes.  Eating tip: Melt 1/4 cup of dark chocolate & drizzle over fresh strawberries or your favorite berries for a great summer dessert that won't wreck your waistline.
4.   Flaxseed Oil - best plant source of omega -3 fatty acids and helps reduce systemic inflammation, which reserachers believe may lead to heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.  Eating tip: stir 1 tablespoon into a smoothie as a healthy snack.
5.   Macadamia nuts - contain good fiber to help with digestion. Eating tip: crush 2 tablespoons of these nuts. Dip one 3-ounce portion of chicken breast or 4 ounce piece of fish in low-fat milk, then press the nuts to adhere. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-20 minutes or until done.
6.   Natural Peanut Butter - (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in it either!) A tablespoon or 2 on toast, celery topped with raisins (my personal favorite i call ants on a log! great crunchy, sweet, creamy snack!)
7.   Olive oil - best all around for cooking and salads as it contains mostly MUFA's, which lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL), without affecting the good CHO (HDL). Go for the extra virgin variety.
8.  Pistachios - contain lutein & Zeaxanthin, 2 carotenoids that protect us as we age from age related macular degeneration. Eating tip: stir 2 tablespoons toasted pistachios into 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese with 2 teaspoons of honey & 2 tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips for a sweet snack.
9.   Sunflower seeds - packed with B vitamins...just what we women need to help combat fatigue, anxiety, insomnia & depression, and inflammation. They are just great at curbing hunger in between meals too.
10.  Walnuts - Like seafood and flaxseed, walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your heart and preserve brain health.  Eating tip: add 2 tablespoons of walnuts to your favorite summer salad!
The Quads get a lot of flack. Most of which is false information.  But once you learn how important this muscle group is to your weight loss and muscle toning regimen, you will agree that all the negativity is largely unfounded.  As their name suggests, your quadriceps consist of 4 muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus medialis,vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius.  While it isn't super important to remember the names, (that's us Trainers job!) you should know this: The quads are your lower body's powerhouse.  They provide the force for every activity you do, whether you are walking, running, or just getting up and down from the floor. Having stronger quads will also lower your risk of injury, including those of the ankle and knee.  Whats more, recent research has found that having stronger muscles in the pelvic girdle for women & men can help prevent ACL injuries.  The trouble is that many women aren't devoting enough time to training this muscle group for fear of "bulking up".  But you can safely put this myth to's how.  Because the upper leg muscles and glutes are together the largest muscles in the body, they play a much larger role in fat loss when they are trained.  Although you can't spot reduce,  you can spot "improve" and by strengthening your legs will boost muscle gains, which will raise your BMR - basal metabolic rate - boost the rate that you burn calories all day long, which in turn, accelerate allover body fat loss.  That is what we are looking here for, ladies, body fat loss...and the toning and firming of the muscles you have, not water and muscle loss by dieting only.  As a TRX & bodyweight exercise specialist, circuit and interval training utilizing these major muscles are the way to go to lose body fat and even attack that stubborn belly fat!  Two of my favorite leg exercises that tighten and tone the legs and glutes are lunges (walking with weights, or on the TRX suspension cords), squats with body weight on the TRX or with resistance on a cable machine) Call to action, ladies! If anyone in my area would like to sample a 30 minute lower body blast for FREE, please give me a call/text message (i am in merrimack valley area, MA (haverhill), and the first 5 people to sign up receive a Free fitness consultation (1.5 hour worth $60.)  For more info and my phone number, check out my website at  and come on over and lets have some fun!
Beat the heat & your craving for a frozen dessert with this clean, summer-perfect ice pop!

Protein Smoothie Ice Pop - ready in 10 minutes (plus 30 min freezing time), makes 10 servings

2 cups plain, low fat yogurt
2 scoops of vanilla whey protein powder
2 cups of frozen berries
1/2 cup agave nectar

  1. place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Process until just combined.
pour mixture into ice-pop molds. Freeze. Enjoy!

Protein Smoothie Pop  vs. Vanilla soft-serve ice cream

calories - 90 vs 191
total fat - 1gram vs 11 grams
saturated fat - 0.5 g vs. 6 g
sugars - 12g vs. 18 g
Cholesterol - 5 mg  vs. 78 mg
sodium - 45 mg  vs. 52 mg
protein - 6 g vs. 4 g
total carbs - 13 g vs. 19 g

This is my "bodyweight" fat burner of the month equipment necessary! This can be done in bits and pieces and work your way up to the full workout guidelines. (that is what im going to try to do too!)  Here it is (it aint for the faint of heart either!)

Repeat exercises in the order listed 5 times, with 1 minute rest in between exercises. Have fun with this one! Get ready to sweat!!! 

  1. 30 jumping jacks
  2. 10 push ups (on knees or regular if you can)
  3. 25 high knees jog in place
  4. 7 Burpees (back in 1970-80s we called these squat thrusts)
  5. 15 AB crunches
  6. 10 jumping squats
  7. 10 push ups
  8. 15 AB crunches
  9. 10 push ups
  10. 10 jump squats
  11. 30 jumping jacks
  12. 1 minute wall sit (knees behind your toes!)
  13. 10 push ups
  14. 25 high knee jogs
Remember, slowly work your way up to it, for this is tough for most people, but its excellent for those who need to lose body fat & lose weight and increase their functional training endurance and bodyweight strength.  If you have a chair or bench handy, i would add tricep dips in there too so we can blast those jiggly underarms!  If any of you ladies would like to be coached thru this workout, call me and we can set up a small group training workout together that would save you money! Have fun! Melanie 978-994-0498