Why? What? How?

Challenge workoutsRead on to find out the answers to:

  • Why do I promote other people’s programs?
  • What are my favorite oblique exercises?
  • How do you modify my most challenging program?
  • Can I get visible abs after losing lots of weight?
  • Another sugar substitute?

Let’s get started….

Question: I often get asked ‘why do you promote other people’s programs?’

Answer: I was happy that my friend, Rick Kaselj shared a note a customer sent him. I’ve featured Rick on my blog several times. We support each other because we believe in each others programs and expertise. You can read about Rick here, here and here. This is a reminder that the people I support are helpful in getting customers one step closer to their goals. Here’s the email that Rick received:

I have completed the following fat loss programs since Sept 2013:

I’m 64 years old and I’ve lost 40 lbs and 6 inches from my waist. My amazed doctor took me off of my Diabetes II and Cholesterol meds.

I’d say this is a great reason to share programs from other authors that I believe in. And this is why I share other people’s programs…


Question: What are the best exercises for oblique muscles?

Answer: Here are my picks: Cross-Body Mountain Climbers, Side Planks and Hanging Leg Raises to the side.

cross leg mtn clmbr

side plank


pull up exercises





Question: On the 21 Day Challenge Diet , can I have the bacon frittata every day for breakfast? Can I mix and match all the recipes?

Answer: Yes, you can mix and match the recipes. Yes, have the frittata every day for breakfast if you enjoy it. This way you know that breakfast is taken care of and you start your day with a good serving of protein to help you feel full and satisfied.

The calorie goal is about 1400 calories per day. Please keep in mind there might be more or less depending on the exact recipes you choose and the portion size. A helpful tip is to stop eating when you’re about 80% full. When you tap into this awareness you will be listening to your own body signals so you will tend to overeat less.

The 21 Day Challenge Diet plan and community will help you meet your fat loss goals.

ch diet product grp






Question: I am extremely out of shape. I’d really love to try your Challenge Fat Loss program. Is it for me? Can I benefit from it or will I end up hospitalized? (Kidding, sort of…) Ted

Answer: If you decide to try the Challenge Fat Loss workouts, I think you can be successful if you do a few things:

  • Take ALL  modifications we do in the videos (what would seem to be the ‘easiest’ of exercises)take it easy
  • Stay upright for exercises at first (do incline push ups and planks vs a wall) to reduce the getting up and down issue that can be difficult and cause a little nausea and dizziness, slowly we can work you to the floor and working planks from your knees not toes yet
  • Do ALL non impact HIIT, that is do marching in place, step jacks, full body extensions etc instead of jumping exercises (don’t jump up and down)
  • START OFF SLOWLY – only work at half speed at first and gradually work a little harder each day
  • Do NOT do deep squats for starters, go half squats or let pain be your guide, if it hurts to go deep, do shallow squats, shallow lunges or replace with a wall sit

The good news is you actually have 60 days to test drive the program. If you find it doesn’t work for you, you can get a full refund.

You need to start some where, so the follow along videos where I can modify/intensify exercises is a great place to start short of having a qualified trainer actually in your living room.

Hope that helps, all the best to you. I think you can get on top of your health/weight issues. It’s not too late. Keep me posted.


Question:  I am interested in your Challenge Fat Loss program.  I am in really good shape. I am 59, female although I am an ex-runner, I can’t run anymore (for obvious reasons).  I do work out all the time, though – weights, yoga, speed walking.  Is this program suitable for me?  I don’t want any plyo moves at this point but I can definitely do pushups, etc.

full body extensions

Answer: You definitely will be able to do non impact options for all exercises and you have the video workouts to guide you. Here’s my favorite non-impact option called the Total Body Extension. It may not look like much, but man oh man, it gets your heart rate up. =====>

The Challenge Fat Loss program is geared to increasing your strength through bodyweight exercises and other exercises using simple equipment. There’s no need for impact moves and you still can get lean and strong.



Question: I have always thought that I would not be able to have abs….well showing like yours since I’m 5 feet tall and was 100 lbs all my life. When I got pregnant with my three kids, I ate like porky pig and gained 60 lbs for each baby. I lost it all afterward but didn’t have the knowledge we have today so even though I lost it all, I didn’t know how to exercise then.

In the last 25 years I have climbed up to 148 lbs…way too much for my size. So I’ve started to lose some weight, so far, I have lost 12 lbs and it feels wonderful.

Would your Challenge Fat Loss program help someone like me?  I want to be a sexy, toned and a  muscular older lady!   D.K.

Answer: I think my program can help you but I must be honest. You will get leaner, but if your tummy was really stretched, you may not be completely happy with the tone of your skin. You’ll definitely look and feel 100% better, but you may only be rocking a tankini and not a bikini.

I’m being totally honest. The elasticity of our skin loosens with age. But for the most part, you have the ability to get leaner and be much healthier.

I don’t want to promise you something that’s unachievable.

Having said this, if you’re not happy with the program, you have 60 days to return it.

I hope that helps, all the best to you and your fitness.


Question: I have a stress fracture in a metatarsal in my foot. Impact and ‘cardio’ is out. How can I help my legs and triceps from turning to jelly?

Answer: Building and maintaining the muscle you have is key to the tone, so work hard at strength type moves. strength training

You can do a great deal to strengthen and tone your legs without impact. Squats and lunges, wall sits, and RDL’s are all great. I’m not sure you can do one legged exercises, so the lunges may be out, especially with the extension of the toe, so you’ll have to experiment with that.

As for your triceps, any push ups, get ups, over head presses, skull crushers will be great. But be careful with the foot position and the toe extension.

Do back movements, and core ones as well (rows, more planks, side planks, stick ups, etc) and these will help keep your sanity and will help build metabolically active muscle everywhere to help you burn calories even at rest. Don’t worry that you can’t do impact or ‘cardio’ as long as you do some strengthening or resistance training.


Question: What about erythritol to be used as a sweetener? I’ve been told that it’s a good substitute for sugar and I have been using it in my coffee and tea. I would really appreciate your take on it.

Answer: Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a sweetener that doesn’t provide as many calories as sugar. But the reason that sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar is because they’re not completely absorbed into your body. For this reason, high intakes of foods containing sugar alcohols can lead to abdominal gas and diarrhea.

challenge workouts nutritionAlso, bear in mind that while sugar alcohols are lower in calories, gram for gram, than sugar, they are not calorie-free, and if eaten in large enough quantities, the calories can be comparable to sugar-containing foods.
Some sugar alcohols are reasonable to consume in moderate quantities — for example, xylitol doesn’t spike blood sugar levels in the way that high-fructose corn syrup might, and it is anti-bacterial and actually helps prevent dental cavities.

In general, erythritol is free of side effects in regular use, so in moderation, erythritol is a suitable sugar substitute.

Do YOU have a question? I’d be happy to help you, just pop me an email or comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

For the Girls: Menopause Mayhem?

getting olderMy age is no secret. I’m not ashamed to say I’m in my 50’s, although I have a bit of trouble believing it myself. I always figured that I’d have a few things figured out by now: like how to cook a turkey (or anything edible for that matter).

But I do have a few important things figured, like how to stay lean and sane when many women my age are pulling their hair out. Being lean is great, but sanity is better. I think one of the things that drives women crazy is their inability to get rid of the expanding waist line, so by solving that issue, the sanity one is also (partially) solved.

Now, I don’t want to offend anyone regarding menopause by saying ‘what’s the big deal?’, but for me,  menopausal issues have been minimal. Chronologically speaking,  I should be experiencing menopausal horrors but I attribute less severity of ‘symptoms’ to lifestyle choices. It’s not to say that I’ve had none, they’ve just be ‘less’ so to speak.

Maybe I’m lucky? I can tell you that it’s not a genetic thing. My sister was ‘suffering’ big time with symptoms even though she’s not overweight at all and appears to look fit. With a few ‘suggestions’  she’s recently become a ‘burpee convert’ so she’s really upped her fitness level; it’s too soon to tell if this has helped turn down the heat on the flashes, but my guess is it will help. As well, my Mom had a heck of a time, although she was thin, she didn’t have a healthy lifestyle.lifestyle

It’s all about lifestyle.

I get lots of questions about the big “M” so I thought I’d address a few of the questions here:



Why do women over 40 need a special program and what are their biggest concerns? Read the rest of this entry »

What to do if you hate yoga…

Challenge workoutsQuestion: I’m looking to improve my range of motion and flexibility. Like you, I’m not a big fan of yoga. Is there any way around not having to endure a yoga session? Bill

Answer: Bill, I feel your pain as far as yoga goes. I know that yoga is one of the BEST ways to improve range of motion, flexibility and flush toxins out. I know all the benefits of it but I can’t bring myself to attend yoga or do it on my own with any regularity. So, an alternative is actually body weight training. It’s a great way to “get back in touch” with your body and develop control and awareness that you never even thought you had.

To work up to the forest bw strong prdt grppoint where you can, for example, do a pistol squat, you have to learn how to tense and control certain muscles in a different sequence than you do in a lot of exercises.  You also have to develop mobility in the ankles and hips that you may not have now.

There’s a great video on the pistol squat progression from Forest Vance on his Body Weight Strong page that you can view. It’s a great example of how you’ll work on range of motion and flexibility while getting strong at the same time.


From time to time a client will send me a cool workout that they created themselves. I think that’s fantastic! Today I have a workout from Cinthy. I asked her if she’d mind my sharing it. It most closely resembles something that you’d find in my Challenge Burpee program. It’s a good one: Read the rest of this entry »

Pizza, Pull Ups and The Perfect Sub

Challenge workoutsQuestion: I love pizza 🙁  Do you have any alternatives so I can still enjoy it guilt free? Sort of like having my cake and eating it too, (but only pizza). Martin

Answer: Martin, here’s an interesting alternative that may solve your pizza dilemma, it’s definitely guilt free given that it’s dairy and gluten free and full of protein. Give it a try…

Pizza Chicken Roll

For the Dairy Free Cheese Spread

  • 6 oz (about 1 cup) raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon waterfamily friendly fat burning food grphc
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ clove garlic
  • dash of pepper

For the Pizza Roll

  • 4 organic chicken breasts
  • 30 slices pepperoni
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cups pizza sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a casserole pan with olive oil.
  2. Wash the chicken breasts and pound out to ½ inch thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Spread 2 Tablespoons of the Dairy-free Cheese Spread on top of each chicken breast. Sprinkle with basil, then arrange pepperoni on top of the chicken breasts in an even layer. Roll each breast and place, seam side down, in the prepared casserole pan.
  3. Pour the pizza sauce over the rolled chicken breasts and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until cooked through.
  4. Slice each chicken breast roll and serve warm.

You don’t need to feel guilty and you won’t get ‘fat’ and bloated from this meal. You can have ALL of your favorite foods with ZERO GUILT because all of the recipes in this cookbook are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and soy free.

And, in honor of author, Diana’s birthday, you can get it until tonight for half price. She has a ton of recipes so you can eat delicious foods and still burn belly fat all day long. Even I can make her recipes and they’re definitely worth the effort since they’re so healthy and yummy.

Check out the meals (and desserts) you can enjoy guilt free here.


Question: I’m on day 10 of the 21 Day Challenge Diet and I’m doing great. I have a function this weekend, would a couple Canadian 67 beer really hurt me at this point?  I had 10lbs I wanted to lose, I’ve lost 3.5 this week.  Chris

Answer: You need to ask yourself what your goals are and if you mind being set back a few days. It’s a slippery slope to not hitting your goals. If you can enjoy the weekend and a few beer and then get right back into the swing of things, then just realize that you’ll be a few days behind with your goal. It’s up to you. My purpose for you in doing the 21 Day Challenge Diet is to develop lifestyle skills that will be ongoing.

It’s all about finding a healthy balance, only you know what that is for you. I hope that helps your decision making. There will always be an event or occasion where food/drink is a temptation. It’s healthy to give in SOMETIMES, especially when you plan for it. Perhaps you’ll make this part of your treat meal that’s suggested in the program.


Question: If you could give ONE tip, what would you say to help me get from 5 to 10 pull ups? Don

Answer: Don, you’re doing the first thing already and that is to actually DO pull ups. Some folks do too many other movements, like pull downs and assisted machine pull ups and expect to increase their pull up power. This won’t work. Do more pull ups to increase max pull ups ;)

Now, to increase your max pull ups, here’s a good strategy.

  1. Do a max pull up test when you’re fresh.  ultimate pull up ebook cover
  2. Let’s say that on a good day, you get 6 clean pull ups.
  3. Every time you come across a pull up bar, do 1/3 of your max reps. (Just one set.)
  4. So you’ll do multiple sets of 2 reps all the time through out the day when ever you see a bar that you can pull yourself up to (at the gym, on a door frame, at the play ground, where ever you can!).
  5. Do this for 4-6 weeks.
  6. Re-do your max test.
  7. You should see an increase in your maximum reps without having over trained or risked injury to your joints.

Grab my Pull Up Challenge program for a dedicated plan to increase your pull up power. The cool thing with this program is that it’s very balanced so you’ll increase your strength and power in many lifts. You’ll also transform how you look and impress others 😉 cuz doing pull ups is bad @ss)

*****************************************************full body extensions

Question: I am unable to perform high impact exercises. Do you have any substitutions for jumping exercises that I can do?

Answer: The perfect non-impact exercise to replace burpees, jumps and more is the Total Body Extension.


Question: Are the 21 Day Challenge Diet  workouts meant to be done every day with a recovery day over the 21 days? I noticed there were 18 workouts so figured there was 1 recovery day per week. Sometimes I do my own workout. What do you suggest?

Answer: I love getting your questions but make sure to be asking questions and commenting on the Facebook group page where you’ll get a ton of support and encouragement.
As far as the 21 Day Challenge Diet workouts go, the whole point is to MOVE every day with intense workouts that are short. My intent is that you do something EVERY DAY, if you have your own workouts that you do, then that’s fine, but they need to be of the nature that mine are to experience the results that others in the Challenge Diet community are experiencing.

If you go for a 40 min run, you won’t get the same results as if you do a burpee workout for 20 min.

I’ve included 18 workouts, but some will be repeated depending on your fitness level, access to equipment and preference. Try to do some kind of workout daily, this is really the ‘challenge’ with the 21 Day Challenge Diet since you’ll see that the eating part is a piece of cake – well, not quite ‘cake’, there’s no real cake on the plan, but you know what I mean 😉


Marcus Lutrell and meI was fortunate to be able to attend the Patriot Tour featuring Marcus Lutrell and several other ‘heroes’.

Four speakers took the stage prior to Marcus to share their stories of serving their country and what it means to them. The crowd was receptive and there were several standing ovations. Then Marcus and his dog, Rigsby took the stage.

Now I’ve read the book Lone Survivor and I’ve also seen the movie; while these were incredible, they just didn’t do Marcus justice. This man is truly a modern day hero. He comes across as a humble and modest man, really the reluctant hero.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story, basically four Navy Seals were dropped into the hostile mountains of Afghanistan with the mission to capture a known terrorist. The team encounters the Taliban and a 3-hour gun-fight ensues. I’m not really spoiling the story by telling you that Marcus is the ‘lone survivor’. The story is beyond tragic but filled with inspiration and hope.

During his talk, Marcus clarified some points that were somewhat misrepresented in his movie. (If anything, the movie downplayed the situation that Marcus and Team Red Wing endured.) He spoke a little of his purpose to serve, all the while, his dog Rigsby sat on stage lazily.

As a Canadian, it was a little strange to be surrounded by all these American patriots on stage and in the audience. I have the utmost respect for Americans and particularly those that serve and protect (from all walks of life).

It was an honor to be able to shake the hand of Marcus, a man that was pushed to the limit doing the right thing.  He rose to the ‘ultimate challenge’ on the mountain. From what I can tell, every day since that fight for his life has been a challenge since. He’s driven to be a testimony to the men that died on the mountain that day. Please keep Marcus, and the families of the fallen men, in your prayers, I know I do.

What Can I Eat? (Snack ideas and more)

challenge workoutsQuestion: Please let me know the next 21 Day Diet Challenge window since this one was completely passed by due to an insane schedule that barely allowed me to catch my breath.

Answer: You can jump on board the 21 Day Diet Challenge at anytime. You don’t have to wait for Monday or a certain date. People are starting at different times and it all works.

You’ll see folks starting, in the middle or finishing the challenge on the private page, but the good thing is that everyone is cheering everyone else on and providing advice and encouragement.

I hope you decide to join us!


Question:  I am a meat and potato guy who never acquired a taste for vegetables other than potatoes, green beans, and maybe a carrot at times and can’t stand the taste of fish.  Are there any healthy recipes out there that you can recommend to a person like me????  Pasta and beef, or beef and potatoes are staples of mine.  Lean pork and chicken are good also.  But what I liked about your 21 Day Diet Challenge and workout plan was that you have all those great recipes for people (other than me).  People like me need your help too.  I am not so far out of shape, but good use a better diet, but a diet I will enjoy eating.

Answer: I wish I had a better answer for you :/ meat and potatoes

I think if I had an answer or diet that was super yummy with pasta and potatoes and could promise weight loss, I’d be the fat loss savior.

I honestly don’t think it’s possible and if anyone tries to tell you or sell you on a pasta and potatoes diet without any veggies, they’re probably full of it.

I hated veggies as a kid. At the age of 18 I decided that I wanted to be healthy and eat responsibly. So I kind of forced myself to try new things (veggies) and I developed a taste for them.

That’s my best advice. Try veggies cooked in various ways, try different salads and interesting combinations.

Yes, my answer may be lame, but it’s the truth, sorry I just can’t try to sell you a bunch of bologna (altho maybe you’d eat bologna? 😉


Question: I love to eat tuna on whole grain cracker for lunch.  What is your suggestion for an alternative to crackers?

Answer: The tuna part of your lunch is great, the crackers, not so much. I’d choose a lettuce leaf over a cracker if possible. If that won’t work, you could try the Wasa crackers (not sure if they have them in your area), but they’re as low carb and low calories as you’ll get.

Most crackers are (sadly) very unhealthy.

I love this resource. It really helped me learn about fat burning foods, what’s healthy and what’s hype. Check it out here.


Question: I love to snack but it seems all snack options are not very good for me, any advice?

Answer: I’m an advocate for eating often. It helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and energy levels up. I know that it may seem difficult to find delicious snack options that are healthy and quick. Here are some ideas:

real healthy recips pic

  • Handful of nuts      
  • Vegetable sticks like celery and carrot with healthy hummus or tzatziki (recipe follows)
  • Protein powder and a bottle of water ready to mix (keep this with you ALWAYS)
  • Small cans of tuna
  •  Protein and low carb muffins
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Apple and natural nut butter
  • Small tub of cottage cheese with fruit or veggies chopped through
  • Small bowl of natural Greek yogurt with berries and cinnamon

For more great ideas, go here

Try this fabulously tasty and healthy recipe for hummus with a twist from Diana at Real Healthy Recipes

Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus

  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini (feel free to leave this out if you’re on a strict low-fat diet)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon waterhummus Snacks on the Run
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4-6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  1. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and combine until smooth. For a thinner consistency add water, 2 Tablespoons at a time.

12 servings

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals:  72 calories, 2g fat, 100mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 3g protein

Make it easy for yourself and take a little time on the weekend to plan for the week ahead.    These ideas and many more can be found at Family Friendly Fat Burning Meals


bday dinner NYC 2014Speaking of food, I have a confession…I went to NYC to visit the one and only Kate Vidulich for my birthday. We ended up at the Strip House on Friday night.

Now, don’t get all excited here, the Strip House is a steak house in the village 😉 (What were you thinking?)

Man oh man was it a great meal: filet mignon, Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli, also someone ordered potatoes fried in some kind of delicious-ness and a few may have accidentally fallen down my throat.

Of course along with the food, the company was spectacular, we alwbday dinner Kate and me nyc 2014ays have a great time together. In a way, Kate and I live parallel lives. We both do online coaching, we both run a Fit Body Boot camp, and we both have a love of….cheesecake…

I figured I’ll only turn 51 once in a lifetime so we dug in….It was about the size of my head, so there was plenty for the four of us. Possibly the best cheesecake I’ve ever had.

NOT on the recommended ‘get lean’ snack list, but it sure was yummy. Sorry if my ‘Strip House’ confession disappointed you…were you expecting something else? 😉