Your guide to fix your knee pain when squatting.

Your guide to fix your knee pain when squatting.

Do your knees hurt when you squat?  This is a follow up article to the last one I did called “Squats are bad for your knees – FALSE!”

In this article I am going to give you the answers to the following questions:

  • When should you go see your Doctor about knee pain?
  • How do you stretch your ankles and hips (the common reasons why people have knee pain when squatting and knee pain in general) to help you squat and move better?
  • The two different types of squats you can do and how to perform each.
  • And a hell of a lot more!

I hope you enjoy!

Quick Squat Tutorial

This is a real quick down and dirty squat tutorial where I go over the two types of squats – The power squat and natural squat.

Tests to determine what’s causing your squat issue.

There are three easy tests we use to assess someone’s ankle and hip mobility (mobility differs from flexibility).  Mobility refers to how easy a joint moves, flexibility refers to how easy a muscle can move.  Think gymnastics for mobility and yoga for stretching.  For our purposes, we want good mobility, but as far as you are concerned the terms can be interchangeable when discussing the squat.

First test – Can you touch your toes?

This test assess your straight leg ankle mobility.  If you cannot touch your toes this doesn’t mean you can’t squat, but it certainly tells us some stuff…mostly that you have tight ankles in a straight leg position.

Second test – can you squat, hips below knees AND hold it there for 10 seconds?

This test is pretty straight forward – Can you squat without pain?  If you want to squat…you need to squat!  This test allows us to assess your overall tightness.  Specifically, we are looking at it from the hips down.  Can you get below parallel?  Can you hold it there?  Bonus points if you can hold it there WITHOUT SHOES ON.  Not a necessity, per se, but that is something to work towards.  Some people can bounce down and up with no problem, we don’t want that.  

Third test – Can you squat with hips below parallel AND keep your toes pointed straight ahead?

This is another pretty straight forward test – Where are your toes pointed once you get into the full squat and what do your knees do?  Do your heels come up off the ground (tight ankles)?  Do your knees cave in (tight hips)?  Do your feet turn out (tight ankles)?    

If you cannot perform any of those movements WITHOUT KNEE PAIN then skip down to the last video on this page – When should you talk to your doctor about knee pain with squatting?  

Start at the ankles.

Most knee pain can be attributed to tight ankles.  What exactly is a tight ankle/how do you know you have tight ankles?  Well…you probably do.  Tight ankles and a tight upper back are the MOST COMMON joint restrictions we see at our gym.  World renowned Strength Coach Mike Boyle (arguably the guy who brought functional training into the mainstream) always says – “You can always improve your ankle and thoracic mobility.”

There are two ways you need to stretch your ankles – in a straight leg and in a bent knee fashion.  You have two muscles that make up your calf (gastrocnemius and soleus – One likes a bent ankle, the other likes a straight leg) both need to be stretched in two different ways.

Then go to the hips.

Hip mobility is the next thing to tackle. Poor hip mobility will cause your knees to do some wonky things during the squat as well as possibly cause lower back pain if you are trying to force yourself into the bottom of the squat.

When should you see your doctor if squatting hurts your knees?

Understand something – Most, as in over 95%, of your aches and pains can be alleviated through proper exercise selection, rest and good coaching/program design.  At the end of the day, it takes time to heal things.   

Case in point.

Having said that – If you perform these stretches, a few times per day, for 30 days and you still have knee pain when squatting, you might want to consult your doctor.  These are just STRETCHES/MOBILITY exercises.  If you came to our gym with knee pain, we would use these exercises PLUS strengthening moves that target the hamstrings and glutes.  But, that is too much for this article.

Here’s a quick video on WHEN you should go see your doctor about knee pain with squatting.

There ya go!  I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helps you squat better without pain!


Do you have knee pain?  Let us help you!  Give us 30 days and we will show you how to fix your knee pain while also getting some weight off of you, improving your energy and teaching you a lot of things about your body you didn’t know!

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How I eat, work out and thrive as a busy professional

How I eat, work out and thrive as a busy professional

Let’s face it, if you are a busy professional, chances are you are – stressed out, overworked, short on time, tired and struggling to fit health and fitness into your life.

Aren’t we all busy professionals at this point?  Running around trying to fit more things into a single day – from spending time on yourself to spending time on your career…don’t forget the family!  Sometimes I even have to ask myself  “Do I have time to workout today?”.

Yes, I know I work in a gym.  You might say “it must be easy for me to workout and stay in shape”.  However, I am still a busy professional trying to balance work, life, family and my health.   

Making time for myself sometimes makes me feel guilty and selfish. Do you ever feel that way?

So for me “Do I have time NOT to focus on myself?” is a better question.

Well when you put it that way…

When focusing on yourself is hard.

Focusing on yourself is HARD.  We as women know that.  But, we usually don’t admit it…aloud.  When I find myself straying TOO far from focusing on myself into focusing on other people/things, I try and map out the the big priorities to SELF-CARE.  For me, that’s working out, de-stressing and food prep.  Your self-care might be different, but it should include those three things.

When Ben was going through Chemo (you can read more about that here if you want), I realized that I was not consistent with movement/workouts, my meals were all over the place and my sleep (self-care) sucked. It was certainly a stressful time, but, I was still a busy professional that had to take care of myself.

Workouts: I was stuck in a mindset that I had to get in 4 hours a week of strength training, then 1-2 hours of conditioning or cardio. That’s 5-6 hours! Unrealistic for me at that time. 

Meals:  I was grabbing and going…with little to no planning or prepping whatsoever. I had this idea that food prep would take hours and I just didn’t want to do it.  I would rather spend time with my husband supporting him while he was going through his battle.   

Sleep: I don’t watch a lot of TV but when I do it was right before bed, with my phone in hand or in bed. I needed a distraction to help me unwind from the day.  

At the end of the day, our health is the only thing we can count on.  I realized I had to get back to taking care of myself.  

So what strategies did I come up with?

These are what I used to help me.  You have to figure out what your making time for, then where do you need to put more time in or what do you need to work on the most.  You might decide to start small by just getting to the gym twice a week or you might try food prep on the weekends.  Whatever it is, commit to that one thing for a few weeks before you add in more.

For my workouts, I realized that I didn’t have to workout 4-6 hours a week to feel strong, maintain my weight or muscle. I trimmed my workouts down to 30-45 min with 1 day of resistance training in the gym and 2-3 days of kettlebell or body weight workouts at home or anywhere. I also added in 15-30 min walks every day.  The dog and I were both happier for it;) 

For my meal planning.  I started planning out what I was going to have for dinner each night and wrote it on our family white board. This allowed me to plan other meals (I don’t like eating the same things everyday) and prep accordingly. If you missed it, check out

For my self care, I revisited my Sleep Hygiene Rules –  no phones in the bedroom EVER, no watching TV right before bed (I just love to lay in bed sometimes and watch TV), take my supplements 30-45 minutes before bed (the last one is hardest for me), if I wake up and cannot get back to sleep, GET UP. I used to lay there stressing out about not sleeping…which kept me awake.  Putting that structure in place really helped me declutter my pre-bed time.  

Are you a busy professional?  We have a great resource for you (see below) that covers a lot of the things I talked about, gives you some great tips and tricks to help you re-focus on your self AND downloadable.  

Just click on the picture below and follow the steps!


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Cellulite, weight loss and wrinkles don’t define you.

Cellulite, weight loss and wrinkles don’t define you.

In my last blog “What I eat in a day”, I mentioned that I only count calories a few times during the year. Over the last few weeks I have been asked why don’t I count calories year long. 
Why I don’t count calories all year long. 
1. It’s a pain in the ass.  Seriously.
2. I don’t want to be confined to a piece of paper or app to tell me what to eat all of the time.  Maybe I want that extra serving, or another beer…or whatever!  
3. I am at the point where I can maintain my weight eating what I want.  I know what works for me to keep my weight steady.  This is the most important point for me.
A little back story about me.
My son, Logan,  was born on February 9th 2004, I was 25 and weighed 180 pounds.  That was really hard for me, because all through high school and my early twenties I weighed roughly 110lbs.  ALL of the weight I gained, from 110 to 180, happened during my pregnancy.  That was a lot of weight in a short amount of time on a 5’3″ frame.

Eventually, I got my weight down to 130 pounds and have stayed within 5 pounds of that  weight for the last 10 years.  It wasn’t easy to lose the weight!  I had a lot of unhealthy habits that I had to break AND build new habits to create a healthier lifestyle.  But, now I have the habits in place to maintain my weight.  
Of course my weight fluctuates, but never really more then 5 pounds.  My set point is 130 (your set point is the weight that you typically hover around for the majority of the year.  You CAN change that set point, it just takes time.)  Sometimes I have a little bit more muscle and less fat (lower body fat percentage, usually during the Spring and Summer), other times, it’s the opposite, more fat and less muscle usually during the colder months.  But, same size clothing through the whole year, just sometimes a little looser then other times.  
I am 100% ok with that.

Could I lose more body fat? Sure. 
Could I gain more muscle? Sure. 
But why?  I will still have cellulite, wrinkles, scars and fat. Those ARE a part of me BUT they do not define me. Do I love them? No. But damn it, I am not going to beat myself up over my “flaws” – those aren’t flaws, those are me!  Beating myself takes up space in my head and doesn’t make me happier with myself.  
This is not necessarily about self-love but more about NOT hating on yourself. 


Flexing in 2011 😉


I’ll never be 110 pounds again. I am not the same person.  I didn’t have a child, a business, a house to take care of, a husband…and I was in my early 20’s!  It was just me – no responsibilities. Plus, I didn’t have MY muscles…I love MY muscles!
I worked hard for my muscles.
I worked hard for my stretch marks.
My scars tell a story.
I worked hard for the body I have – and I am proud of it!

Still flexing in 2017!

I am happy with how I feel, how my clothes fit and how I can perform in the game of life. The number on the scale is just a number.  It doesn’t define you.  You define who you are, not a number, a wrinkle or cellulite.  Stop worrying about what you look like and start focusing on how you feel.  When Ben was going through chemo, I didn’t care how I looked.  But, when I ate crappy food or didn’t exercise, I could tell a difference in how I FELT.
Focus on making your self feel better, stop worrying about the scale or how you look.  We have seen it time and time again, happiness is not tied to how you look.  Stop chasing that.  Start chasing feeling better!  
Are you tired of BEING TIRED?
Are you sick of BEING SICK?
Let us help you turn your life around!  Sign up for our 30 day trial for $99.  No commitments after AND a money back guarantee.  Just click on the link below and start your new life!
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What I eat in a day.

What I eat in a day.

“What do you eat?” I get asked this a lot. I mean A LOT!  “How does a personal trainer eat in a day?” 
In last’s week blog, How I Mastered Meal Prep, I gave you guys the inside scoop on what my prep day looks like, as well as some helpful tips.  This week I am going to put it all together and break down what my meals look like in a day.

First, I have to admit that I don’t like to eat the same thing every day.  Life is a little easier if you eat the same things every day, but, as we always say to our members, the best plan will be the one that you will follow.  I enjoy eating different things, so sometimes I might substitute turkey for chicken or onions for peppers or the like.  This is how I like to eat.  As long as my subs aren’t too crazy, it all works out in the end.

Second, I eat to maintain my weight, not to lose weight.  I have found that I can eat more or less (add a meal, skip a meal) and my weight doesn’t really fluctuate that much.  I am at a pretty good “set point” right now.  Your metabolic set point is the weight from which you have a hard time budging.  That means that your body is most comfortable at that point.  You can think of it as, your body has spent enough time at that weight and it feels comfortable there.  You can always move your set point, but it takes work.  If you’re carrying a lot of weight—say, 250 lbs.–and you think that’s your set point, it may not be.  Your set point will always be a weight that is healthy for your height.

I don’t usually count calories.  However, every once in a while, I will plug my foods into myfitnesspal and see where I am at.  I am generally within 10% of where I need to be, but sometimes I find myself dropping 20% or more below my ideal number of calories.  I think it’s important to understand calories and know how many you are consuming, but that does not mean you have to count calories for the rest of your life.  Sometimes I veer off track.  I may not get enough protein, or may consume too many or too few calories, or may not eat enough veggies.  I know when these things happen, so I just need a reset.

When do I count calories?  Generally, when I have been off the wagon for a while (like holidays) and I need a reset, or if something comes up (like a trip) and I want to drop a few pounds.  Ben can count calories all year long.  I don’t want to live my life that way.

A few details that important for you to know. 
I weigh 135lbs and I am around 23% body fat (ish).  I don’t usually check my BF%, so that’s a pretty good educated guess.
My calorie goal is 1500
Macro breakdown is 
40% Protein = 600 calories from protein.
30% Carbs = 450 calories from carbs. 
30% Fat = 350 calories from fat.
If you weigh more then 10 pounds off of me, or work out more then me, or have a more active lifestyle then me…don’t follow my calorie/macro breakdown. 

Sometimes I eat breakfast; sometimes I don’t.  It depends on how I feel.  On days I work out, I usually will have a work out recovery shake of carbs and protein.

I have an active lifestyle, but it’s not as active as most people think.  My job is closer to a factory worker who has to walk around a big warehouse and lift things every hour than it is to a farm or construction worker.

Sometimes I eat breakfast, sometimes I don’t.  That depends on how I feel. On days I work out, I add some calories in from my work out recovery shake. I have an active lifestyle, but, it’s not as active as most people think.  My job is closer to a factory worker that has to walk all over a big warehouse and lift some stuff every hour then it is to a farm worker or construction worker.

I eat 3 meals per day plus snacks.  Every meal has a source of protein, fat and fruits/veg.  
Saturday and Sunday I tend to eat based on how I feel.  I like to enjoy some adult drinks during the weekend, so I account for those drinks by eating a little bit less food.

I sometimes end up switching meal 2 and 3.

Do you need help getting your nutrition in check or getting back on track? I can help! 
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How I mastered Meal Prep.

How I mastered Meal Prep.

I get asked A LOT about what I eat, how I prep and how I get enough protein/veggies/fruit/fat in.  That’s a lot to go over in one blog, so over the next few weeks, I am going to focus on a different aspect of my nutrition plan – from prep to how I normally eat to how I get enough protein in.  In today’s blog I want to share with you some of my prep tips.
I want you to understand something first – I am not someone that will spend HOURS in the kitchen working on my meals.  I want to eat healthy but I don’t want to spend long hours in the kitchen weighing and measuring everything and I know a lot of you feel the same.

This is NOT me on food prep days!

But, prepping is vital for a healthy lifestyle.  Structure creates freedom. If you have that dinner already planned and prepped you hopefully won’t get talked into pizza by the kids, or snack too much before you even to get to dinner. If breakfast is ready you won’t stop at a local coffee shop and grab a bagel. With proper prep you don’t even have to think about what you are going to eat…which to me has been a game changer. I don’t obsess about food – and we don’t want you to!  But let’s face it, if you don’t watch what goes into your body, you will watch how your body stores it.
Meal prepping at first can seem very tedious and time consuming, trust me I have been there.  Ben and I moved in together over 8 years ago, he’s a prepper(as far as food goes), I never really was until we moved in together.  My idea of a meal was a bag of chips with a monster energy drink and maybe some beef jerky!  Initially, prep was something I fought, then I tried it his way…but that took too long!  Eventually, we both found a happy medium that allows us to have our meals prepped while not spending hours in the kitchen.  Before we got to that point, I used to spend hours each week looking up recipes to prep and writing out a weekly menu for all meals.
It was very time consuming and not ideal for our lifestyle so we tweaked it. Our weekly menu now consists of just dinner that we do NOT prep unless we will be home late. So our prepped meals are breakfast, snacks and lunch.  We cook dinner together if at all possible, and if not, generally one of us will come home to a cooked dinner every night.

Our weekly dinner menu

Create a menu for dinner.  This will ensure you are at least prepping and planning one meal per day that will most likely give you left overs you can eat the next day. My prep of course always starts with shopping – but on a DIFFERENT day than prep. I do not like shopping and prepping in one day!  I try to minimize my time prepping so it doesn’t become a long chore that I HAVE to do rather than one I WANT to do.  We will generally shop on Fridays and prep on Sundays.


I never understood when I was a kid why my mom always dragged me to 3 different stores just to get groceries. I hated it! I definitely get it now though. My routine starts at Sterns for veggies, BJ’s for meat/bulk items and Hannfords for the remainder.  Sterns has cheap veggies…NO they are not organic…and thats OK.  Eating organic is a choice not a necessity.  With 2 guys at home that eat a ridiculous amount of food buying all organic is too expensive. My rule is if you eat it everyday or multiple times a day it should be organic or at its best quality.  I will say that we eat more organic veggies and fruit in the warmer months because it’s more cost effective.  Ben likes to call it “seasonal eating”.


If shopping and prepping are too daunting to do a in a day – break them up! BJ’s generally has the best deal on meats.  Between Ben and Me, we consume on average 300 grams of protein per day.  That’s the equivalent of around 3-4 WHOLE chickens per day.  That’s a lot of chicken, pork, hamburger, steak, seafood, dairy, etc.  It’s cheaper and easier for us to buy it in bulk at BJ’s and freeze the stuff we won’t eat that week. You don’t have to shop at 3 different places to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It works for us, I don’t always find everything at 1 store so thats why we go to 3.  We also generally only go to BJ’s once or twice a month.


Buy meat in bulk, freeze the stuff you won’t use.  This will help cut down on the amount of time you spend getting your staples every week.  Less time shopping means more time enjoying NOT shopping!



Our prep looks like this.  This isn’t a complete list, but it’s definitely our go to list and will consist of 95% of our weekly meal prep.  Note – this list is not what Ben and I only eat during the week.  We aren’t 100% meal preppers, meaning, you don’t find tupperware containers in our fridge full of packed and organized meals.  That’s not our style and we don’t have to do that to get the results we want.  BUT!  That may work of for you!


5-6 Peppers(all colors) sliced

3 bunches of Broccoli cut up into florets

1 head cauliflower(boys don’t like this as much) cut into florets

3-4 onions sliced

1lb of green beans – cut the ends off

4-5 sweet potatoes sliced

1 bag of small red potatoes cut in halves

I should also mention prep happens when I am already cooking a meal. I find that it saves a lot of time.  On Sundays (our free day) we will eat a late breakfast/brunch and then dinner later in the day.  Sometimes we will do our prep while breakfast cooks.  We really like to do the least amount of stuff on possible on Sunday to recharge.  So, that means maybe we only cook once on prep days.


If possible, prep and cook at meal at the same time.  I take about half of the peppers, broccoli, onions and cook those up for prepped meal then I leave the rest raw to snack on or for other meals like Ben’s breakfasts. If you haven’t seen his veggie/egg breakfast combo head over to Instagram…it’s a serious spread!




Protein: I cook all of this THEN weigh it!

2 lbs of skinless boneless chicken breasts

1 lb of lean turkey sausage

1 lb of bison (I prefer bison over gr. beef but its more expensive so i mix them)

1 lbs of 90/10 ground beef

1/2 dozen eggs hard boiled (just for me, Ben is better about making breakfast.)

Each meal consists of 4-6 oz. of protein then I add some veggies. This will give us about 2 meals a day for 4 days.


Be consistent!  Try something for a few weeks before you decide to change it.  We will stick with that plan for 11 out of 12 weekends.  Listen, we’re not perfect!  Sometimes we don’t feel like prepping on a Sunday.  That’s that one week out of 12, but we still get our prep done, we just do it during the week in smaller batches on those weeks.

Do you need help getting started?  Are you confused about how to begin?  Let us help you with a FREE Strategy Session!
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15 quick facts about water.

15 quick facts about water.

Here are 15 quick facts about water!

1) Drink 8 oz of water per hour in an airplane. You get dehydrated when flying due to the low moisture content of recirculated air in the plane.

2) Men are made up of about 75% water via women’s 65%. This is due to more muscle mass in males.

3) Your sweat rate will vary depending differences in the environment (heat and humidity), exercise intensity, exercise duration, mode of exercise (the less accustomed to the activity, usually the more work and sweat loss) and type of clothing (water absorbency).

4) You can lose up to 100 ounces of water in an hour of intense exercise on a hot and humid day, or as little as 3 ounces doing yoga in an air conditioned room for an hour.

5) With age, thirst becomes a less effective indicator of the body’s fluid needs. Seniors who have relocated to locations where the weather is warmer or dryer than the climate they are accustomed are also more susceptible to become dehydrated. They need to drink water regularly. Dehydration in children usually results from losing large amounts of fluid (such as from play) and not drinking enough water to replace the loss. An infant can become dehydrated only hours after becoming ill. Dehydration is a major cause of infant illness and death throughout the world.

6)  Water is essential to consume during competition in hot environments.  But what about cold settings?   Dehydration is not as deleterious because cardiac output (heart rate x stroke volume) is higher in colder environments, thus enhancing cardiovascular performance.  This is thought to occur because core temperature is lower

7) To determine sweat rate, measure body weight before and after exercise (wearing no clothes), the amount of fluid consumed during exercise, and the amount of urine excreted (if any) during exercise.
Sweat rate varies from person to person due to body weight differences, genetic factors, heat acclimation ability and metabolic (energy production) efficiency.

8) What are the differences in herbal, vitamin, purified, spring, mineral and artesian water?
   a. Herbal water features flavors derived from herbs that tout health benefits associated with antioxidants.
   b. Vitamin water is fortified with various vitamins and other additives, including a sweetener that adds calories to the drink.
   c. Purified water is usually produced by some type of distillation process.
   d. Spring water flows naturally from an underground source.
   e. Mineral water comes from a protected underground source and must contain some minerals.  This is what I like to drink the most of.
   f. Artesian water is drawn from a well that taps a confined aquifer (underground layer of water permeable rock, sand, clay or silt).

9) Sweat is 99% water and 1% other trace elements and electrolytes.

10) Monitoring the color of your pee is still a good indicator for hydration status.

11) Will drinking water help with weight loss?  There is some evidence for men and women that water intake with a meal may help to promote satiety and take the edge off hunger.  Water has no caloric value, however, stay away from flavored water as there is usually added sugar in that.  Also, remember, water is the main vehicle for transport in the body as well as the catalyst for almost all chemical reactions in the body.  Altering your fluid status would certainly cause detrimental effects to weight and would not help it in any way.

12) Sponging the head and torso with cold water or a water spray is a skin wetting technique. Although perceived to be performance enhancing, this practice has not been demonstrated to reduce core temperature or improve cardiovascular performance.

13) Expectant mothers and those who are breast-feeding need additional fluids daily to stay hydrated. Women at risk of gaining too much weight are encouraged to consume more water (no calories) and limit their consumptions of sweetened fluids (with calories).

14) Hyponatremia (“natremia” comes from the Latin word for sodium, and means “sodium status”) means subnormal levels of sodium in the blood. This may occur in prolonged cardiovascular events such as a marathon. Symptoms include vomiting, headache, bloating, swollen feet and hands, disorientation, undue fatigue and wheezy breathing. Fluid intake overload is the main cause of exercise-induced hyponatremia. An excessive loss of total body sodium is another cause or contributing reason. Medical intervention is necessary in order to clearly discern whether symptoms are from a heat disorder or hyponatremia.

15) The temperature of water does not affect how fast it’s absorbed into the body, nor does it make a statistically large different in calories burned, i.e. consume cold water to burn more calories.  Yes, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal.


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