HEALTH HACKS | So you want to tone your muscles?

"I just want to tone!"

We as trainers hear this all the time, but what does this actually mean?

This concept of "toning" is actually an increase in muscle tissue with a low enough body fat to see the definition.  Muscles either expand or shrink, but the muscles themselves don't actually "firm up,"  and fat most definitely does not turn into muscle (or vise versa).

Our trainers working their core in catfish!

Our trainers working their core in catfish!

So how do muscles grow?  Resistance training!  You need to put enough stress on your muscles to give them a reason to adapt and grow.  If you have little to no resistance, what incentive does your body have to change?  Probably none.  We are not saying you need to start bench pressing 100 lbs, but it is TOTALLY OK to push heavier/harder than you might be used to.  That's what's going to send the message to those muscles that they need to step up their game if they're going to keep up with this bad ass workout you're making them do.  

"But I don't want to get bulky!"  Stop.  Only the men will look like men for one simple reason; women do not produce enough testosterone to build muscle the way a man does.  So ladies, unless you're taking steroids or testosterone boosters, you have nothing to worry about!

A beautiful benefit of muscle growth is the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest!  For every pound of muscle you have, your body utilizes 6 calories to sustain itself whereas fat only utilizes 2 calories.  This means your body becomes an efficient, calorie burning machine, even when you're not working out! 

A few other amazing benefits of resistance training include:

  • Better sleep
  • Increased bone density
  • Heart health
  • Stress relief
  • Increased energy

You are stronger that you might think you are.  Push yourself.  Create change.  Be stronger than you were yesterday.  And we're here to help you out with those last 30 seconds and extra spring or two. ;)


The Motivate Team


HEALTH HACKS | Coffee has met its Matcha

Coffee, you beautiful devil, you!  You pick me up when I'm dragging, you're warm in my hands when I'm cold, and you're pretty darn delicious.  You also dehydrate me, stain my teeth, make my breath smell, create an acidic environment in my body, and give me the serious jitters when I've had too much of you!  Your wonderfulness got me to the point where I was up to double espresso lattes morning and afternoon.  When I was starting to question whether I was having heart palpitations or not, I knew it was time to kick the habit!

Enter Matcha!  Matcha is a special type of green tea that is grown and produced in Japan.  The leaves are shaded from the sun for the last few weeks of their growth, which increases their chlorophyll content and creates a gorgeous green color. The leaves are then ground into a fine powder.  The result is a super yummy, antioxidant rich frothy green tea! 

Here are some of the amazing benefits of Matcha:

  • Because of the way it is grown and harvested, the amino acids in the Matcha balance out its caffeine levels. While the actual caffeine levels may be the same as other teas, the caffeine in Matcha creates an calm energy, without the jitters and crash!
  • Matcha is loaded with antioxidants!  We all know that antioxidants fight free radicals, which can protect against some types of cancer, infections, and disease.  Matcha contains over 60x the antioxidants of spinach and 7x the antioxidants of high-quality dark chocolate.  You would have to drink at least 10 cups of brewed green tea to get the same antioxidants!
  • Matcha can help burn stored energy as fat as well as decrease the formation of new fat cells by increasing the body's thermogenesis (the body's own rate of burning calories)!

What kind of Matcha?  The qualities range from kitchen grade (good for blending or baking) to ceremonial grade (best for a latte type drink).  It is also advisable to use a Matcha that is grown in Japan as the Chinese grown Matcha can contain trace amounts of lead.

To prepare, all you need is whatever milk you'd like to use (I use the Whole Foods brand 365 plain sweetened almond milk) or water and a wisk or frother!

Here are the ones I've tried:

Of the three, so far my favorite is the Domatcha; the flavor and consistency is divine!  All of these can be purchased on Amazon, and the first two are also available at Whole foods!

I've been coffee free now for almost a month and, just as the labels promote, It really does create a smooth, non-jittery energy boost!  

I hope you try it and, if you do, let me know how your experience!




HEALTH HACKS | Is winter dehydration a thing?

It's colder outside, and you may not feel thirsty, but did you know dehydration can happen just as easily in the winter as it can in the hot summer months?  As you move about in the cold, you may not be sweating, but water vapor is still being lost through your breath!

Winter is also a common time that we tend to exercise less and eat more.  When hydrated, you body is better able to break down body fat for energy and your appetite is better controlled.  Also, if your body does not get enough water, it will hold onto the water it already has; so hydration will help prevent water retention! 

Feeling thirsty is your body's signal that it's close to becoming dehydrated.  Another indication is the color of your urine (kinda gross, I know).  If it's not clear or light-colored, you need more water!  There are many viewpoints on how much water a day is enough.  Some say it's good to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, each day.  If you're exercising (which you should be!) then you'll need more!

If a tall glass of ice water on a chilly day is not your thing, herbal teas are a great alternative!  Adding low-calorie/low-sodium flavors to your water is great too!  A squeeze of lemon juice or a few slices of cucumber can make getting enough water a lot easier.

Drink up! 

HEALTH HACKS | The Perfect Energy Snack!


As you may have noticed, I love foods that combine healthy fats, carbs, and protein!  These flavorful bites combine dates, peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil!

Dates have anti-inflammatory properties, are great for digestion, boost brain health, and are a great source of ENERGY!  Raw honey, also a great source of energy, has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.  Coconut oil can help regulate metabolism, boost your immune system, and can help fight candida (hello post-Halloween candy binge).  And peanut butter, because everything is better with peanut butter!

Energy Date Bites

3 cups dates (remove the pits)

1 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup raw, organic honey

3/4 cup organic smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Throw everything except half of the shredded coconut into a food processor or blender. Once combined and smooth, form the mixture into 1/2" balls and roll into the shredded coconut.  These are best kept in the refrigerator.




HEALTH HACKS | "Secret Ingredient" Brownies

Secret ingredient..... AVOCADO!

These dairy-free, gluten-free brownies are, no joke, the BEST brownies I've ever had.  Not only are they gluten-free, they're loaded with HEALTHY fats!  Not all fats are created equal.  Good fats (fish oils, coconut oil, avocado, flax, etc) help keep your skin soft, are important for brain function, and are a great source of energy!

Try not to eat the whole tray in one sitting!

Avocado Fudge Brownie

2 large ripe avocados

8 oz 70% dark chocolate bar

3 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

1 c raw coconut palm sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c almond meal flour

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 350F and spray 8x8 baking pan with coconut oil

Place coconut oil and chocolate bar into a medium sized glass bowl.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't submerged in the boiling water (double boiler).  Stir with a rubber spatula until the coconut and chocolate are completely melted.  Remove and set aside.

Peel and core two avocados into a bowl and mash up into a smooth paste.

Wisk avocado and chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Add the coconut sugar until combined, then add the eggs (one at a time) along with the vanilla extract.

Slowly stir in the cocoa powder, almond meal flour, baking powder and pinch of salt.  Stir until smooth and creamy!

Spread batter into the prepared pan and even out with your spatula. 

Bake for 28-30 minutes or until middle is set.