Monthly Archives: July 2012

A real before and after


You often see “before and after” pictures in fitness magazines and on television commercials. Pictures and videos of dramatic changes to people’s figure. Many of these pictures are doctored up, and almost all of them have the subject go through a dramatic physical change on purpose, just for the picture. Some pictures may even be of a bodybuilder during and off of competition season. The point is, before and after pictures are usually made with unrealistic situations for the common person. This is in no way talking down about the specific people who have appeared in these pictures. Bodybuilder or not, they had to somehow make the change (assuming the picture wasn’t photoshopped) that you see in the picture.


These pictures are usually used as a marketing tool to make us think that taking that supplement or trying that special workout will make us have that dramatic of a change in a short period of time. Usually, that is not the case. Most of the time, making that dramatic of a change, in that short of a period of time isn’t healthy for the body.

I would like to share a before and after that is honest. No photoshop. No promises of any type of supplement or workout dvd. This came about from years of hard work, dedication, and trial and error. I recently did an interview titled A Real Life Fitness Mommy, about a modern day mother who did not let a busy life and raising two young kids prevent her from pursuing her fitness goals. In the interview, Aubrey explains what her journey has been like, and how she stays fit. Recently she shared a before and after picture of herself, and was gracious enough to allow me to share it on FM.


Hard work pays off


Pretty dramatic change, right? Congratulations on the success, Aubrey. She explained that this was a process of successes and failure. Between the time of the before and after picture, she spent 2 years of trying different inconsistent diets and workouts. However, once she was got consistent with her healthy eating and workouts, she was able to reach more dramatic results over a 6 month period. But, you know what? You wouldn’t be able to tell there were failures along her journey. This is exactly why I wanted to share this with FM viewers. This is yet another example that with hard work and determination, goals can be met. Yes, the most cliché thing in the world is to say that “if you work reallllly harrrrd, you will reach your dreams, yay!”  Cliché or not, it’s true, and sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Sometimes we win some, sometimes we lose some. What matters, is that we keep moving forward and make the necessary changes along the way. This serves to motivate every one of us.

What changes have you made that you are proud of? We encourage you to share with the FitMentality community. Inspiring each other is a beautiful thing.

How do I stay healthy? How do I not get sick?


Getting sick sucks. Straight up. We all know it. When you get sick, you think “AW MAN WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!.”


Staying healthy is a topic of much discussion. For now, here is a video collaboration with FitMentality and Funk’d Up Tv with a few ideas on how to stay healthy.


What are your strategies for staying healthy? Comment on this post and share!!


A FitMentality reader’s workout and meal example

FitMentality is not just a place where I write about what inspires me and what keeps me moving forward in an attempt to live the healthiest life I can. FM is a community. A place where we can inspire, motivate and teach each other, as we travel a similar path.

I always encourage FM readers to share meals or workout plans that they follow, so that we may see how different people work on reaching their own personal goals. Recently, I was excited and grateful that my buddy from grad school, Joe, agreed to do just that. It makes me so happy to be able to share an example of how he goes about fitness and nutrition.

Here, we have an example of a lunch that Joe recently packed for work. His explanation of why he eats what he eats and why he plans his meals how he does, follows:

“Being 36, my healthy and balanced nutrition assists me in maintaining a very active lifestyle. My identity is strongly tied to being active and outdoors; being fit allows me to push myself both physically and mentally while doing things that I love like soccer, working out, and hiking. My main motivators for healthy eating are to minimize health risks, develop good life long habits, and to keep up with the young bucks on the soccer field. I know that my lifestyle will allow me to age more gracefully and enjoy life to its fullest.”

Joe’s philosophy about nutrition and the connection it has to enjoying a healthy/strong life is totally in line with the framework of FitMentality. Though we each adjust our own workout and nutrition plans to meet the goals we have, this is an example of one person doing just that. He explained to me that the meals seems a bit boring, but it makes him feel great and allows him to continue doing what he loves.

Here is an example of a workout that he created himself, by pulling from different workouts he has read about. It’s a circuit type of workout.

Repeat the list of exercises a total of 3 times.  No rest between exercises once you start, but rest 3 minutes once you have completed each cyle.

“Takes me about 10 min or so to do one full set.”

20 jumping jacks
35 push ups on a fitness ball (feet on a block)
20 jumping jacks
14 reverse lunge/toe touch (7 per side)
20 jumping jacks
11 pull ups
20 jumping jacks
14 goblet squats (20 lb or so)
20 jumping jacks
14 curls (14 per side)
20 jumping jacks
14 side lunges (7 per side)
20 jumping jacks
12 hip raises (6 per side)
20 jumping jacks
11 chin ups
20 jumping jacks
20 single leg, dead lifts (10 per side)
20 jumping jacks
14 hammer curls

This is a great example of a very effective circuit training workout. Though there are many different exercises built in to the workout, it’s actually pretty simple. He took different separate exercises that he learned about/liked and stuck them together. Structuring your workout in this way, increases its efficiency. Interval and circuit training have been shown to be very effective at burning calories, while still building muscle. Notice how the types of exercises are dynamic. There are many different exercises in this circuit, which helps keep the workout from getting too monotonous.

When Joe talked about how eating well and staying active helps him age more gracefully, he’s not kidding. The man looks years and years younger than his actual age. This goes to show, all the hype about fitness/wellness keeping us young is true. Why not get the benefits yourself?!

Thank you so much for sharing with FitMentality an example of how you eat and stay active. To the rest of FM readers, let’s hear about your examples! Let’s continue to learn and grow from each other.

Quick and easy meal when you have little time to cook


One of the biggest struggles people have when trying to eat healthy, is trying to do so when busy with life. Working full time, or having many places to be in a short period of time, can all lead to little time to prepare clean meals.

Yes, there are freeze dried calorie and sodium laden meals. Cardboard boxes filled with foods that can barely be equated back to the original food form they were supposed to be. We know these meals are a nutritional punch to the face, but who has time to put together a good meal?

I’ve had many conversations with people about this topic and a common concern is, needing ideas of HOW to go about eating well while short on time. Here are a couple examples that I put into action today.

I worked a long day and didn’t get home till after 7:30pm. I was tired and hungry, and didn’t want to spend a long time preparing food! This is what I rustled up.




A very simple meal that pares some foods you may not think to combine. Who cares if you wouldn’t normally think to compare these foods. It was delicious. I essentially took what I already had in the fridge and combined them. Along with some sparkling water and splash of juice, I had a good tasting, healthy and satisfying meal.

The spinach is organic and you can get a pretty good size tub/container of it at Costco. The berries are also organic and you can get a good size box of it at costco for a few bucks. The sausage is made of chicken and turkey, is organic, and is minimally processed with no nitrates or nitrites.

After I finished my delicious dinner, I thought to myself “aw man, now I have to prepare lunch for tomorrow.” It can be a pain to prepare lunch, but I always recommend it over giving up and figuring you’ll find something to eat later. That strategy makes it much less likely you’ll have as much control as you should over the food choices you make. Luckily, I used the same strategy I used for my dinner. I used ingredients I already had, and was sure to keep it simple.




I can hear the nay-sayers now. “That’s it?” “That looks boring.” This isn’t the most exciting meal in the world. But you know what, this a relatively clean meal that is easy to make and allows you to continue on a path of solid nutrition. You can add or subtract anything you would like. You can add a good quality salad dressing if you would like. In my case, I added yams to the meal because I wanted to add the extra carbs/calories because of my specific fitness goals. In your case, if you wanted to cut back on the calories, you could have less or none of the yams, and add different fruits or veggies you already have in your house.


Being busy is no excuse for not treating your body the way it deserves to be treated. With a little effort, your body will thank you. You deserve it.

“Healthy” Chips?


Yes, chips are what you might refer to as a “cheat” food. Something you don’t want to have toooooo often. If you’re downing a bag a day, we might have a problem. If you only have them from time to time, then you’re probably okay. As we know, it’s up to each of us how strict we want to be with our nutrition and what goals we have for our own, as well as our family’s health.

However, no one is perfect! Sometimes we want to enjoy a guilty pleasure. I’ll admit it, I like a good chip with a meal. As I was browsing the chip isle for a bag of chips that may be somewhat less detrimental to my health than your average bag of chips, I stumbled upon a nice alternative.



Ingredients: Organic Blue Corn, High Oleic Sunfower and/or Safflower Oil, Organic Sprouted Flax Seed, Organic Sprouted Quinoa, Organic Sprouted Daikon Radish Seed, Organic Sprouted Chia Seed, Sprouted Broccoli Seed, Pure Sea Salt.

You can see all the seedy goodness.

The reason why I am sharing this is because, even when you are allowing yourself to cheat a bit on your nutritional plan, you don’t have to completely throw out all reasoning. This ingredient list has some cool things. Yes, they are processed, but I figure this might be a better choice (or less nutritional punch to the face) than your average bag of fail. I would prefer the oil be a bit further down the list of ingredients, but hey, you win some you lose some.

To be clear, I am not kidding myself, nor am I trying to kid the reader. This is in no way a “health” food. This is still a bag of chips. It is still processed and it does not replace the individual ingredients from a good diet. Don’t go around telling everyone that FitMentality told you to go eat a bag of chips (although, feel free to tell everyone you know about how awesome FM is and how it made your life 90798X better than before you discovered it).

The term “healthy” get’s thrown around a lot when comparing different food’s affect on our health. I simply used it in the title to refer to the relativity of what some may call something when comparing it to similar foods. With all things considered, there are worse choices that could be made when looking for something to snack on. I found these puppies at Whole Foods. Two bags, for 5 bucks. Not bad!


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