Mar 212013

portion distortionIt is no secret; if we eat more calories then we burn off we will gain weight, if we eat less – we lose weight! It is all about the portions and serving sizes or as I like to say the “Portion Distortion!” You can ‘Super Size’ just about everything today. Here are some scary statistics on portions 20 years ago vs. portions today!

* 20 years ago: 140 calories, 3″ in diameter
* Today: 350 calories, 6″ in diameter

Spaghetti & Meatballs
* 20 years ago: 500 calories, 1 cup of spaghetti, 3 small meatballs
* Today: 1,025 calories, 2 cups of spaghetti, 3 large meatballs

French Fries
* 20 years ago: 210 calories, 2.4 oz serving size
* Today: 610 calories, 6.9 oz serving size

I recently read an interesting study; the results showed that even knowledgeable nutritionists and experts tended to exceed standard serving sizes when using bigger plates, bowls or utensils. That makes sense if you think about the above portion sizes and the fact that 20 years ago dishes were a good 2 inches smaller! The most obvious way to avoid ‘Portion Distortion’ is to measure out everything you eat. Good for you if you can do that – otherwise one of the best tools for estimating a proper serving size is your hand.  Although it is not 100% perfect, it does provide a rough estimate!   Best of all – it is customized to fit your needs, for example … continue reading

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy! ~ Tanya

Jan 242013

“How does the weight I’m lifting translate for different equipment and exercises?”  For example barbells, dumbbells and cables?”

Hi Richard –
Great Question!  Thanks for sending it in!  Next time you workout use these tips to determine your weight!

1.  A good rule of thumb is to double the weight of your dumbbells when switching to a barbell. For example:
Dumbbell Chest Press – 60 pounds
Barbell Chest Press – 120 pounds

2.  When working with stability devices it is a good idea to slightly lower your normal weight, at least for the first couple of times.

3.  Unfortunately cables are a little trickier because of the various pulley systems. When working on one cable machine double the weight of a single handle exercise when using a bar or rope.

4.  Up your weight when you can comfortably complete 2 extra reps in your final set.

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy!  ~ Tanya


Dec 022012

The holiday season is here and it is truly a wonderful time of year with family and friends. However, it can be challenging to keep up with our normal routines, it seems like there are more and more gatherings, get togethers and events with more and more food, tasty treats and libations. Top that off with the fact that studies show there is a 15 to 20% decrease in exercising during November and December and all it takes is 180 additional calories everyday between Thanksgiving and New Years to gain 2 pounds. As far as exercise goes, do what you can even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes, it all counts. Remember shopping, dancing, decorating and all the running around we do this time of year burns calories too. To help with all the foods and parties, I have put together a top 10 list of ways to avoid over eating this holiday season – check out the list. My favorite is to use salad or dessert dish instead of larger dinner sized plates!

10. Pay attention to portion sizes
9. Say ‘No Thank You’ to seconds
8. Eat slowly and savor every mouthful
7. Never go to holiday parties or events hungry, skipping meals to save calories generally back fires because you are more likely to over eat when you are famished
6. Check out the food selection and eat only what is special, you can have chips & nachos any time
5. Drink a big glass of water before meals
4. Chose fruit desserts, frozen Yogurt or sorbet instead of cakes, cookies or ice cream
3. When cooking dinner always prepare extra for healthy, ready to eat meals so you’re not tempted to get fast food or take out
2. Offer to bring a healthy snack, appetizer or side dish
1. At parties or buffets use a salad or dessert dish instead of a larger plate

With just a little bit of planning, it is really not that difficult to maintain and not gain during the holiday season! I’d love to hear your favorite – just send a reply below!

Happy Holidays! Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy! ~Tanya

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Nov 072012

I got asked a really interesting question yesterday and wanted to share it with you. “What’s the most important thing for me to remember when I’m working out?” Initially, a hundred things went through my head – but the more I thought about it the answer became clear – Keep your body aligned in a neutral position.

Here’s an easy way to remember how to accomplish this. Simply do a quick body position check: Feet hips distance apart – knees soft – abdominals tight – chest lifted and back straight. Go ahead and try it now and feel how much taller, stronger and more aligned you are. When exercising the neutral position will help promote proper form and help you get the most out of each exercise. When performing exercises lying down, remember: Feet flat on the floor – abdominals tight – low back, shoulders & head on bench.

Thanks for the great question!

Be Fit! Be Healthy! Be Happy! ~ Tanya

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Oct 252012

Great questions send in by one of our members, Anne!

“Hi Tanya! I have a goal to lose weight and am following your strength training program 2 times a week – for maximum benefit, when should I do cardio? Love your site, BTW! Thanks, Anne from Minneaplis”

Anne -Good for you for working on losing weight! Strength/resistance training 2 times per week is perfect – in order to really achieve your goal you need to include cardio workouts as well – 5 to 6 times per week, 30 minutes to 1 hour is optimal – that may sound like a lot but the more you do the better. Here is a great way to get your cardio in during a strength training day; incorporate cardio intervals during your workout. In between each exercise – jump rope, do jumping jacks, run, run up and down the steps or do any other high intensity cardio that you like for :30 to 2:00. Then 3 or 4 other days per week pick a cardio activity that you like and shoot for an hour. Remember to change up what you do and keep it fun! Good luck with your goal and let me know how you’re doing!!

If your goal is weight loss like; remember:
• 2 to 3 full body strength training workouts per week (non consecutive days)
• 1 to 3 sets of each exercise
• 12 to 20 reps of each exercise
• Use moderately heavy weight w/ light to moderate intensity
• Make sure to rest for :15 to :30 between sets (if you’re not doing cardio intervals)
• Incorporate cardio 5 or 6 days per week for 30:00 to 1 hour

Thanks for the great question! Send more!

Be Fit! Be Healthy! Be Happy! ~ Tanya

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Oct 082012

I had an interesting conversation with one of my clients that I want to share with you!  Tom was performing triceps dips on a stability ball, a very advanced move, when he finished he said, “You really have to be careful not to use your legs or shoulders…” That comment got us talking about the connection between your mind and body when you strength train!  Your mind is incredibly powerful; to illustrate that, here is an amazing study. Two groups of people shot basketball foul shots and recorded the results. Then for 1 month the first group practiced shooting foul shots every day for 1 hour. The second group simply thought about the process and mentally pictured shooting foul shots for the same amount of time. At the end of the month both groups shot foul shots and recorded the results again. The group that did the actual shooting improved their performance by about 30% and the group that only thought about shooting improved their performance by about 25%. Isn’t that amazing? I always encourage my clients to know exactly what muscles they are working during each exercise and that is why every exercise omuscle man chest pressn my website includes a muscle chart depicting not only the primary muscle but also the secondary and stabilizer muscles.

Check out this muscle chart it is for a standard chest press. Notice the primary muscle group in red the pecs or chest muscles and the secondary muscles in light green the front of the shoulders, anterior deltoids, and the triceps. Next time you do a chest press focus on all the muscles that you are working and get more out of your workout!

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy! ~Tanya

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Oct 012012


After working out, it’s just as important to stretch and cool down as it is to warm up before working out!  Cooling down for 5  to 10 minutes allows your heart rate and blood pressure to recover and get close to the pre exercise state.  Great cool down activities are as simple as easy jogging or walking.  Always stretch at the end of a workout because it helps to eliminate any left over chemicals in your muscles, such as, lactic acid & helps reduce the potential for ‘delayed onset of muscle soreness’!

Remember to listen to your body, if something hurts or doesn’t feel right stop right away.

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy! ~Tanya

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