Happy New Year!!!

Can you believe it is 2020?! Not only do we have a brand New Year ahead of us … we have a NEW DECADE! We’ve said goodbye to 2019, and we’re launching into 2020 with fresh energy. This is YOUR YEAR.

Are you ready to get FOCUSED?

Here’s a great mind exercise that can set the tone for your entire YEAR!

Take a few minutes to think about how you really want to live this year … What word describes how you want to feel in 2020? What do you want to work on … or what inspires you? What changes do you want to make?

Some possible words might come to mind as you consider all this:

Strong – Joyful – Connected – Resilient – Brave – Renewed – Grateful – Faithful – Peaceful – Loving – Inspiring – Confident – Present – Happy – Healthy – Fit – Calm…

Your job is to pick JUST ONE WORD that resonates with you, and make it your mantra for the year!

It doesn’t have to be a word from the list above – this word should be unique to YOU. It should evoke an emotion within you – inspiration, relief, clarity – because of the meaning it carries for you.

This word will be in your thoughts and actions every single day.

Use it to clarify the decisions you’ll make, the actions you’ll take … and even how you view the people around you.

It’s incredible how ONE WORD can give a specific intention to everything you do. This will help you be more present and “in the moment.”:
Look at your word first thing when you wake up in the morning, and when you go to sleep at night.
Post it on your desk.
Make it your screensaver (on your phone & computer!)
Repeat it a couple times a day
This habit can fall by the wayside after a few days, so keep those reminders posted!

One reason this is such an effective practice is that it’s SIMPLE. It’s JUST ONE WORD. Let’s make 2020 a year to remember.

You can find emails and tips just like these when you join our New Years Bootcamps – We are focused on inspiring and motivating you to keep you goal setting all year long.

See you in the studio!
The Elevate Team

In July I received a notification for a training client who scheduled me for a Monday afternoon.  Brand new, no prior visits to the studio, and no background information.  This usually strikes fear in my heart because you never know what condition or injuries this person may have.

So of course I contacted her and we decided that we’d learn everything we needed to know about each other during our initial training session. 

She came in with serious back issues – herniated disk, an extra disk in her spine, what seemed to be plantar fasciitis, some shoulder tightness and for the most part had never worked with anything other than resistance bands.  She didn’t seem all that thrilled with strength training but knew that it was  something that she needed to do to stay healthy – a necessary evil.  And she certainly expressed no interest in incorporating cardio into her routine.

Her big worry was squatting – she did not want to squat and told me that every time she did a squat for her previous trainer she would be in pain. 

I ran her through the paces that first session – I didn’t give her many breaks and she was really gassed at the end.  But she rebooked!  

Over the course of the summer, we found ways around squatting, we worked core smartly, she picked up weights, she did pushups, planks, assisted pull-ups and a lot of other crazy stuff she’d never done before.  Before long she was doing three sets of every exercise and supersetting those exercises.  The weight poundage kept increasing.  And we started seeing weight loss and muscle definition.  She gave me feedback on every workout so that I had the ability to figure out what worked and what didn’t worked.

Early Fall we started adding biking intervals – first slow, just getting a feel for adding cardio and making sure we weren’t going to ruin her back in the meantime. 

Fast forward to now.  She’s doing high intensity biking intervals – jumping off the bike, supersetting weights from 10lb to 20lbs in all sets.  She has lost over 17lbs and her bodyfat/body shape has changed dramatically!  This woman’s core is stronger than almost anyone I’ve ever met.  WIN!

But for me, her biggest change was not physical.  It was the desire and confidence I saw growing in her every session – she never missed a session.  You could see she loved getting stronger and was actually enjoying it! Well..  maybe not enjoy but certainly wanted to be there 😉

Her desire to get better, get stronger, and do it the right way; was and is, shining through every time she walks in the door.  In addition, she’s regularly on a spin bike at home running intervals and doing weights when she’s not with me – a far cry from where we started in July.  And this photo is one I received from her today. It makes me so happy!

When what you do for a living changes someone for the better, there’s no better feeling!  It’s the validation that all the work you do does matter :).  Thank you to this wonderful client who reminds me that this is why I love my job!

If you looked around at Elevate not everyone is crazy fit or zero percent body fat.  And that is perfectly fine – in fact it’s pretty much the way it should be.  Not all goals are the same, not all bodies are alike and not everyone wants to wear a bikini on the beach.

What makes our clients excel in our classes and camps is our approach to group workouts. We’ve tried a lot of different approaches over the years some successfully and some not.  

In the past, we would regularly design workouts that would bring people to their knees. That approach worked with some people. We’ve also approached workout programming with a lower intensity.  That approach worked with some people too.

The approach we take at the studio now is a combination of both.  Fortunately for you we are doing it with a lot more knowledge, experience and a lot more compassion.  

It’s working.  We see it daily.

Our workouts are not easy.  I know because we design them to be challenging.  That “bring you to the edge pace” is still worked into each one of our workouts. And we still love bringing new crazy exercises into the mix.


Anyone can do them.  They are all modifiable and they are all easily adaptable to most any injury or condition.  We regularly have people walking on treadmills, not running.  We regularly program bike routines for our clients who can’t run or row.  We always have a modification for every single exercise we perform on the floor because we know most everyone has something going on that doesn’t allow them to perform every exercise we do.  

We’re not in the business to hurt people and break them down, we’re in the business to help people and make them better.

So if you’ve been reluctant to come in because you’re scared, unsure or worried about what people will think of you – DON’T.  That’s not our vibe, that’s not the way we roll.  Come in because you want to get better.  We can help you with that 🙂

There’s been an abundance of “calorie burning” going on according to my Facebook newsfeed lately.  “800 to 1000 calories per workout” was one I saw the other day!  Wow!  Personally unless I’m red lining my heart rate (which is freaking impossible to do lately); I’m only burning 400 to 500 calories per hour – and that’s if I’m doing all the moves and screaming my head off at my campers at the same time….I believe that a great diet and 3 to 4 (if you’re lucky to get them in) hard core HIIT workouts during the week coupled with endurance running/cardio session can transform your body like nothing else.

Just in time I ran across this article by Dr. Jonny Bowden in the Huffington Post.  Great points, great straight forward information that I think is worth reposting:

“My mentor, the late great nutritionist Robert Crayhon, used to say this: “The two great dangers with nutrition are thinking it does too much, and thinking it does too little.”

The same can be said of exercise.

This article is about exercise. And about weight loss. And about the relationship between the two. Which, sad to say, is probably a very different relationship than you might think.

Now before we get started, a disclaimer. I exercise regularly. I think you should too, no matter who you are. I think exercise is the greatest anti-aging activity on the planet. And the data are clear: Exercise can help with depression, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, and reduce the risk and complications of diabetes. It can even grow new brain cells.

What it can’t do is cause you to lose weight.

(I told you this was news you didn’t want to hear.)

In a new book called The Cure For Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness and Happiness, Timothy Caulfield summarizes the data on fitness and exercise, and takes apart some of the common myths associated it. And the news ain’t good.

Although the benefits of exercise are legion and well-documented, the fact is that most people exercise for vanity reasons, not primarily for health. Weight control and looks top the list of every client I ever worked with back in the days when I was a trainer at Equinox, and they continue to top the goal list of gym members everywhere. (Sure, everyone gives lip service to heart health, but most people secretly just want six-packs.) So here — in Caulfield’s terms — is “a crummy dose of reality”: It’s horribly difficult to seriously change the way you look through exercise alone.

Sure, there are tons of exceptions, and you’ll see them in “before” and “after” pictures in dozens of infomercials and print ads for weight-loss products, though the fine print always says “results not typical.” And that’s precisely the point — those results are very far from typical.

For every person who managed to make the annual weight-loss issue of Peoplemagazine, for every healthy guy smilingly holding up an old pair of pants twice the size of Cleveland, for every 100-pound-lighter winner of The Biggest Loser, there are thousands more who lose, regain, lose, regain, give up and essentially look the same year in and year out.

If exercising alone could produce weight loss, we’d be a whole lot skinnier as a nation and those “success” stories would be far more common.

In general, and in the long run, as Caulfield notes, “The data simply does not support the use of exercise as a primary tool for getting thin.” Here’s Caulfield quoting Todd Miller, professor in the Department of Exercise Science at George Washington University: “People don’t understand that it is very difficult to exercise enough to lose weight. If that is why you are doing it, you are going to fail”.

The idea that exercise causes weight loss is firmly embedded in our national consciousness, and is accepted as a basic truth even by people who don’t exercise. One reason is the widely-accepted theory that weight loss is all about calories.

According to the theory, weight loss is all about calories in, calories out. (There are more than a few problems with this hugely out-of-date oversimplification, but let’s just go with it for a minute.) Since exercise burns calories, it stands to reason that all things being equal, exercise should cause weight loss. After all, if you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight, and since you burn “a ton” of calories during exercise, the pounds should just melt off.

Good luck with that.

For one thing, you don’t burn a ton of calories during exercise, unless you’re Michael Phelps. Fact is, you only burn about 300 calories a half-hour, if that – (it’s dependent on size and energy output)— a calorie “deficit” that is almost immediately wiped out by a couple of Gatorades, let alone one mocha low-fat latte or a “low-fat bran muffin.” (Don’t believe for a minute the calorie readouts on the exercise machines at your gym — those manufacturers have an interest in overstating the calorie number, making you think you’re burning a ton of calories by using their devices.). (Kathy: and note that fitness trackers are the same way!)

Problem number two is the phrase “all things being equal.” They’re not. The calorie math works great if you eat the same amount of food but increase the number of calories you “burn,” creating a calorie deficit. But most people don’t. Mounting evidence suggests that exercise makes us hungry and that we wind up eating more extra calories in response to that hunger than we “burn up” doing the exercise that made us hungry in the first place.

Caulfield calls out those among us — you know who you are, my friends — who are fond of saying things like “I work out so I can eat what I want.” Umm… not so much. As trainers are fond of saying, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” Knocking out 300-600 calories on the stairclimber doesn’t begin to “compensate” for a supersized fries and a medium shake, nor even the most modest dish at El Torito or Olive Garden. So sure, working out may allow you to “eat whatever you want” if whatever you want to eat is limited to meat and broccoli. But if you think that hour in aerobics class bought you a free pass at the all-you-can-eat pasta station at the Bellagio buffet, you’re delusional.

But exercise does have a relationship to weight — it’s just not as perfect a relationship as most of us would like. While exercise by itself is fairly useless for losing weight, it appears to be critical to keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it. But to do that, you may have to work harder or longer than you thought.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed the exercise habits of over 34,000 women and concluded that it took about an hour a day of moderate (3 mph walking) exercising to maintain weight. This research supports the findings of the National Weight Control Registry, which reports that 90 percent of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off exercise on average for an hour a day.

Now that sounds like a lot. But remember that nearly all of this research focuses on moderate-intensity exercise like walking. And walking is fine — for all the health benefits mentioned above — but it’s pretty inefficient for weight loss.

A much better and more efficient way to exercise — and one that research is clearly showing works a lot better — is to do high-intensity circuit training. Put the beauty bells down and lift some iron. Shorten your rest periods. If you’re doing “aerobics,” do some interval training where you sprint for a while then jog to catch your breath.

And by the way, forget about “toning.” It doesn’t exist. You’re either buildingmuscle, maintaining the muscle you already have, or your muscles are slowly shrinking. The first two are accomplished with weight that’s heavy to lift. The third is accomplished by doing nothing.

Please understand: No one believes in exercise more than I do. But trying to lose weight with exercise alone — particularly the long, slow, arduous and generally not-fun method of running mindlessly on a treadmill — is a doomed strategy if your goal is to lose body fat.

Here’s a much better strategy:

One: Revamp your diet, concentrating on carbohydrates. Carbohydrates — particularly sugar, soft drinks and starches like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, cereals and crackers — drive levels of insulin, your “fat storage” hormone, through the roof, which makes it brutally hard to lose body fat. Eat more protein and fat, get your carbs from vegetables and fruits, and eat less of everything.

Two: Exercise regularly, but exercise smart. Increase the intensity and shorten the time. Circuit and interval training are the modalities that have trainers and exercise physiologists the most excited these days when it comes to both health benefits and fat burning. Pay attention — they’re right!

Three: Recognize that fitness and six-pack abs aren’t the same thing. Exercise for fitness and for health, and to maintain your gains. But don’t expect your morning walk to transform your body, especially if you don’t take serious aim at your diet.

Eric Ravussin, professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. and an expert on weight loss, put it best: “In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss.”

But — as Robert Crayhon would have reminded us — that hardly means it’s useless for anything.”

Mindset Matters! 

If you have ever tried to ignore a box of doughnuts at work, you know how hard it is to keep your hands to yourself and walk on by.  And once you walk by, the battle isn’t over.   Even if you are in a different room and down the hall, you can’t stop thinking about those doughnuts.  Why is it so hard to resist something as small as a doughnut?  It has to do with habit—and mind set.

Hardwired habits are the draw you feel from that doughnut that goes way beyond just a mild interest:  you are wired to want it, and resistance is hard.  

When you taste foods that contain excess sugar, fat and salt, your brain releases opioids into your blood stream. Opioids are brain chemicals that cause you to have intense feelings of reward and pleasure, as well as relieving pain and stress.  The pleasurable effect is similar to the feelings that morphine and heroin users experience.  The desire may be so intense that you keep taking one bite after another:  it can be hard to stop.  It’s one of the reasons when we are sad, we turn to comfort food.

BUT why do you give in and approach that doughnut box in the first place?  Why not just refuse to take that first bite?

The answer is another brain chemical called dopamine.  Dopamine is responsible for motivating you to seek out the doughnut so you can get the opioid release.  You remember how good it tasted and how great it made you feel.

Dopamine energizes you to work for that doughnut.  It causes you to concentrate on it and drives you to seek it out. Once this process happens a few times, the whole cycle becomes a habit that is very reward focused, very ingrained and very hard to break.  Your brain’s circuitry has become mapped and wired to want the doughnut.  And you don’t even have to be near the doughnut for this process to start—the dopamine can kick in even when there are no doughnuts in site:  ever made a run to the store for a treat that you just had to have right then? 

 The dopamine process is not just limited to food.  Alcohol, drugs, sex give dopamine highs too and as most of you know millions of people have alcohol, drug and sex addictions.  Dopamine is some powerful stuff.

1/3  of all adults in our country are obese.   The habit of eating unhealthy food and too much of it is widespread. Everywhere we turn we are bombarded with unhealthy food, and also some hard wiring within us that drives us to pursue that unhealthy food.  

The good news?  you can start right now to change the path that you are on.  You can rewire your brain and begin reducing the power that those opioid-producing foods have over you.  You can draw a new map in your mind that will have you passing by the doughnuts.

The secret is mindset or in easier terms, self control.  You must want something else more than you want those fleeting moments of pleasure .  What is it? What do want?  Maybe you want to drop a couple of jeans sizes.  Maybe you want to be off your blood pressure medication. Maybe you want to be more ‘athletic’.  Maybe you want to keep from becoming ill.  Or maybe you just want the satisfaction of being in control of yourself!

How to stop the madness??

1.  Stop.  There is no other way : you must stop eating foods that are not good for you.  In the beginning, it’s really difficult.  When everyone around you is tossing back pizza, beer, ice cream and soft drinks, you will struggle.  You will smell the pizza, you will be in an atmosphere of relaxation and dopamine will be flowing in your bloodstream.  Think about what you want more than that doughnut; think about what you can only have by resisting the doughnut.  Sheer will power is what you have to use at this point.

2.  Victory!  Once you come out on the other side having successfully won the battle within your own mind, you will have accomplished much more than just saying no to a piece of pizza.  You have begun ‘cooling’ the stimulus.  You have taken the first step toward weakening the circuitry in your brain that drives you to habitual patterns of behavior.  The next time, it will be easier.  

3.  Focus on new rewards.  As you remap your brain, you are creating new neural pathways that in time will be stronger than the weakening, “doughnut-centered”

pathways.  Make sure these new rewards are healthy and not an equal replacement for the doughnut/

All well and good on paper, but it’s really hard to do this… and now I want stupid Doughnut!

So as many of you know, Kyle has been my trainer in the trenches for about 2 and 1/2 years now. I won’t get all sappy and say how awesome a person and trainer she is or how she followed me around for 2 years learning everything I did Kathy Kylebefore she started training or how she’s gotten so reliable I trust her solo with my campers or how she hauls that trailer around and does the shit work and how she’s come to my rescue when I just couldn’t teach one more hour…because that would be a little bit overkill, wouldn’t it? 😉

So in the spirit of my thanking Kyle; I’m going to give her the dubious honor of doing the content for this email…so here it is!

Stop wasting Time!
Are you wasting your most valuable resource?

Imagine if you had a magic wallet with $1,000 in it. You could spend it on whatever or whoever you wanted.

Every morning you’d wake up with a new $1,000. Heres’s the catch, use it or lose it!

What would you choose to do? My guess is you’d spend it! Why waste money?

You might spend it on an experience, something you’ve always wanted to buy, or maybe you’d spend it on others.

Right? After all, if it’s gonna disappear tomorrow might as well spend it today.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not really talking bout money.

I’m talking about the resource that’s infinitely more valuable, non-refundable, and non-renewable:

I’m talking bout, TIME, sucka!

Every day we can spend our most valuable resource on things that just don’t freaking matter.

A job that we hate. With people that don’t bring us happiness instead of with those that do. Being mad at things that don’t matter.

But we feel like we have infinite time. We readily throw it away. Spending it on things that don’t bring us challenge, growth, or happiness.

Time is the most valuable resource on the planet, infinitely more valuable than money. Why would you waste it!

How many times have you wished you were in better shape? Wished your clothes fit better? Wished you looked in the mirror and liked what you saw?

If only you had more time! Well you do and you can, Stop wasting it!

Yup tomorrow I’ll wake up early & workout, Tomorrow I’ll eat better, Tomorrow I’ll limit my sugar & alcohol intake…

Guess what TOMORROW is today!

You know how many times I hear…. I’d come to class BUT I’ve got to…fill in the blank ______.

Work, drive, sleep, bring, or do something other than what you should do to make yourself happier and healthier.

Guess what a happier, more fit and energetic you will make your life and the lives of those around you better.

All it takes is time. Time that you make for yourself. It’s not selfish to put yourself first.

So stop wasting your time and spend it (at least some it) on yourself!

The clock is ticking!
Peace out – Kyle

There are some days where fitness tips and relaying information onto you guys is easy.  And other days, I am blanked.  imageToday was one of those days.  When that happens, I try to pull out a relevant email or article that I’ve written you in the past.  Alot of you have never seen some of this information, so that’s good, right?  And some of you never read it all, so it may not even matter LOL.


For a stretch in camps (last year?), we did a weekly challenge.  For about the first five months it was very successful.  Then..well then it wasn’t.  Most lost interest, some didn’t have time and others just didn’t want to face the fact that they might really NEED these challenges; they either got lazy, got bored or just didn’t find the time to do it.  Let’s see if we can revamp our motivation for THIS challenge

Instead: (definition) as a substitute or alternative to; in place of.

HUH?  This challenge is going to be different for all of you.  The reason being that we all have different weaknesses.

AND…it’s OK to have weaknesses (after all, we are only human). We just have to recognize what they are and be able to handle them when we feel vulnerable.

This week, I want you to find your instead.  Bear with me..

Instead of trying to STOP a bad habit, you should replace it with a HEALTHIER option instead of trying to get rid of it all together.

Trying to stop something will only make you focus on what you can’t have.  

You can give it up entirely and be miserable or you can trade it in for a better option.

So, I’d like you to:

1.  Identify ONE of your “not-so-great” habits or weaknesses in your diet that you want to change. And don’t tell me you don’t have any bad habits or weaknesses – I’m not buying it!

2.  List out (actually WRITE them down) 2 ways you are going to plan for success.

3.  Throw away, give away, or donate your “Weakness” item.

4 Go to the store and buy your “INSTEAD” item!

Remember…you HAVE to make a change in your BEHAVIOR if you want to see a change in your BODY.

beach 630

So a lot of you noticed Kyle’s clipboard today – yes we are taking attendance at beach camp.  We are going to be giving away a prize to best attendance – if there is a tie, we will figure out a tie breaker.

WHY oh WHY are you REALLY taking attendance Kathy???  Well, that’s a good question.  Here is my answer:  I WANT YOU THERE!!!  No two ways about it, I want all my camps at full capacity for every time slot – and I want you to prioritize these two days a week.

If you’re wondering:

  • You can’t get fit saying you’re doing beach camp
  • You can’t get fit signing up for beach camp
  • You can’t get fit PAYING for beach camp
  • You can’t get fit not showing up for beach camp

Here’s the piece to the puzzle:

  • You have to COME to camp.  Pretty simple huh?

It’s happened to all of us.  You know the feeling – you are away from home running errands, or you are out late because you had to stay at work longer.  And you realize that you are hungry.  Not just a little hungry though, you’re ravenous, your head is starting to throb, and you can’t even think straight.

You have to eat.  Now!

Obviously because you are busy there is NOTHING even remotely healthy anywhere in the house, the office or your car.  Okay a quick stop to McDonalds for a “Salad” with grilled chicken will do right? NOPE – processed, manipulated, transformed – you better think again.

And if you did do that? You just  put food into your body that will lower your immune response, raise your blood sugar, reduce your energy and put weight on you.

We’ve all been there.

Sometimes you really do have to eat ‘right now.’  But over time, these eating emergencies add up and significantly impact your health and fitness.  Right now  I’m all out of the “Healthy snacks” because I haven’t grocery shopped in oh about 8 days…I’m setting myself up for disaster – because guess what?  The snack cabinet with the chips is totally stocked.  Funny how that happens.

You need to plan for eating!

The first step is to make a list of healthy, on-the-go foods that you enjoy eating.  Make sure that you include things with healthy fats, protein and carbs (if it’s around your workout time).  When you are very hungry, you need to have all the macronutrients covered in order to get quick energy, satisfy your hunger and clear your brain fog.  This does not have to be a complete meal, but it needs to be balanced enough to  substitute for one if needed.

Unsalted nuts.  Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts.  (These will provide protein and good fat)

Raw Veggies.  They are crisp, juicy, cold and sweet and full of the micronutrients your body craves.

Protein shakes – easy, portable and good for you


Cheese (PLEASE USE MODERATION IF AT ALL).  If you eat dairy, having a small slice of your favorite cheese will give you a complete protein, a little fat and be very


Nut butters.  Cashew, almond, peanut…find your favorite.  Almond butter is great on a banana; cashew butter is perfect on whole grain crackers.  

Boiled eggs.  Do you like cold, salted boiled eggs?  They are a powerhouse of protein.  Just be sure to get free range eggs.

Water.  You have to drink water.  

The second step seems obvious, but it has to happen if you are going to eliminate impulse eating:  buy the food on your list.  You have to get it in your house, so you have it when you need it.

The third step is to plan to bring your food daily.  This food has to travel with you, and you have to decide how you are going to transport it.  Make it convenient!  If you only have five minutes to grab your snacks on your way out the door before work, it has to be streamlined.  Ideally you will leave yourself more than five minutes, but life happens.   

Get a Small cooler.  Put Plates, utensils, napkins in the cooler. Pickup Small storage containers or plastic bags. You need individual containers to put your food in.  Don’t take the whole package of  cheese!  Make sure you pack the snacks – and voila – run out the door.

Make sure to always have these favorite snack items on hand and you’ll never be caught with no healthy alternatives…

So today was a stellar day for our first day of camp.  Kyle and I got everyone out with a bodyweight workout and loads of sand running. 2016-05-10 05.29.45 My favorite kind of workout because there’s nothing but us and the beach..totally beautiful and totally challenging!

I love where we live – and this is the greatest office in the world!

Great Job today Campers!