The Importance of Attitude

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”  – Thomas Jefferson

Moving into spring and summer remember to stay positive.  Use the results you’ve seen thus far as a motivator to stay on track.  If you’re unhappy with your results then you can use that as a motivator too.  Use the next six weeks to make some positive changes and turn your attitude around.  Staying positive truly is the key to success both inside and outside of the gym.  Keep it up and good luck!!

Fish Chowder for Under 300 Calories


  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds halibut fillets or other firm white fish, skinned
  • 3 slices bacon, uncooked
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot (about 1 medium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces


Bring 4 1/2 cups water and bay leaves to a simmer in a large skillet. Add fish; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan with a slotted spoon. Cut fish into large pieces. Reserve 2 1/2 cups cooking liquid and bay leaves.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add potato, onion, and carrot to pan; cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Add milk and butter; simmer 25 minutes until potatoes are tender (do not boil). Stir in fish, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with bacon.
Nutritional Info:
One cup of this chowder contains 242 calories, 8.6g of fat, 21.8g of protein, 18.4g of carbohydrates, 1.5g of fiber, 42mg of cholesterol, 1.1mg of iron, 531mg of sodium, and 166mg of calcium.  The recipe makes ten servings.
Visit for nine more creative fish recipes that are healthy and low in calories!

Another Total Body Workout to Try!

When you’re doing a total body workout, it’s always best to start with the largest muscle group and work your way down.  For that reason, we’ll start with legs and glutes by completing 15 bulgarian split squats on each side.  Be sure to keep your front foot far enough out front so that your knee stays behind your toe as you dip down.  You’re going to complete two sets of these on each side practicing active rest between sets by performing 30 seconds of mountain climbers.

Following your second set of split squats, go right into walking lunges with a twist.  Be sure to twist toward the leg you step with.  Complete 10 lunges on each side followed by 15 jumping jacks and 10 more walking lunges on each leg.

Move right into 15 chest flies lying flat on your back.  Use a stability ball rather than a bench for increased core work.  Complete a set of 10 burpees with a pushup in between your two sets of chest flies.

When you finish your second set of flies it’s time to move onto an upper back exercise.  Complete two sets of 15 single arm dumbbell rows with each arm.  Keep your core engaged throughout this exercise and complete 30 seconds of left, right punches with five to ten pound weights in between your two sets.
Now it’s time for some shoulder work.  Complete two sets of 15 upright rows with a set of dumbbells.  Be sure to keep your elbows out and pull the weights all the way up to your chin each time.  Complete a set of 25 regular crunches between your two sets.
Continue on to two sets of 15 triceps kickbacks from the plank position.  Be sure to complete 12 repetitions with each arm during both sets.  Roll over onto your back and complete 25 straight leg lifts with your hands under your butt in between sets.

Finish up with two sets of 15 lying biceps curls with a resistance band or cable.  Complete 25 crunches bringing your right elbow toward your left knee and vice versa in between sets.  You’ve just completed a pretty challenging total body workout, give yourself some credit!!

Shrimp Salad Stuffed Tomatoes Courtesy of Melissa (so you know it’s good!)

Makes 4 appetizer or salad courses or 2 entrée servings.
  • 4 medium/small round, ripe tomatoes
  • 12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • ½ teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce OR 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce such as Texas Pete or Tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise (low fat or no fat)
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning plus ½ teaspoon extra reserved
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Dill (for garnish)

Cut the top off of the tomatoes and move the meat and seeds. Discard. Turn the tomato upside down and slice a very thin slice from the bottom of all the tomatoes to assist them in standing upright on the plate. Turn the tomatoes upside down and place on a paper towel on a plate to rest and drain excess juice.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the dill and additional ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning. Mix well. 
Season the inside of the four tomatoes with the remaining ½ teaspoon of season salt. Add black pepper if you would like. 
Divide shrimp salad mixture into four and stuff each of the four tomatoes with the shrimp salad. Sprinkle dried dill on top of each.
Refrigerate lightly covered for about 15 minutes then serve and enjoy!

30 Minute Total Body Workout

Perform 60 seconds of squat jumps.  If you cannot handle the impact substitute regular squats.
Move right into 60 seconds of pushups keeping your hands wider than your shoulders.
Next, use a heavy resistance band to perform a minute of squats into low rows.
Move on to 60 seconds of plank ups.  Add a regular pushup to the up position each time for an extra challenge.
Following your plank ups, complete 60 seconds of bench dips for your triceps.  Try keeping your legs straight during this exercise.  If you reach fatigue before the end of your minute, try to continue the dips with bent knees.
Standing with both feet on a moderate resistance band or one foot on a heavy resistance band, move right into a minute of curls.  The key to this exercise is control.  Make sure you’re not letting the band snap back down too quickly.  Keep a nice, steady motion throughout the entire set.
Spike your heart rate with a minute of burpees.  This is the fun part!
Finish up with a minute of bicycle crunches making sure to straighten your opposite leg completely out with each repetition.
Take a two minute rest and repeat the circuit two more times.

Outstanding Effort and Achievement Award!

Wendy Satkowiak has earned herself the “Outstanding Effort and Achievement Award” for March!  
Wendy and I have been training together since December 2009, and in that time she has lost more than twenty pounds and fifteen inches.  Her body fat has dropped nearly 4% and her endurance has increased to an impressive high.  As we enter April 2011, Wendy’s success is nowhere near slowing down.
In home personal training is proving to be the right formula for Wendy.   In our last three months of training, alone, Wendy has lost more than ten pounds and ten inches.  Her body fat has come down a percent and a half, and even though she still looks at me like I’m crazy when I call on her to do the previously impossible, she sucks it up and does it every time!  (And she does it well too!)
In addition to our workouts twice a week, Wendy is committed to a weekly Weight Watcher’s weigh in that keeps her on track with her diet.  Her dedication to Weight Watcher’s is not only impressive, but inspirational.  She has really made a lifestyle change by sticking to her plan of action and using it to her advantage month after month.
Wendy, I have to say that I have been beyond impressed with the effort you’ve put into improving your health in 2011.  Your hard work and dedication to working out and watching what you eat is paying off in a big way.  I applaud your attitude and aggressive state of mind.  You view your progress as if there is always more work to be done.  There is more work to be done, but make sure you give yourself credit for how far you’ve come!  Keep up the great work!!  I love training you and look forward to seeing what other milestones we can accomplish.  You’ll be running a half marathon in no time! 😉

A Good Whey to Get Your Protein

Building muscle mass is an important part of most fitness goals.  It’s not just about getting stronger; the more muscle mass a person has the lower their body fat percentage becomes.  A low body fat percentage means a higher metabolism and more ease with weight loss.  
What most people don’t know is the importance that protein plays in enabling us to build muscle.  Our bodies break down protein into amino acids which become essential for healthy muscle, tissue, hair, nails, and more.  If we’re not getting enough protein could stand to get more amino acids.  While foods such as beef, fish, and poultry are high in protein, an active person may need a source even higher in protein to help repair the muscle tissue they have broken down during their workouts.
It is suggested that an active adult ingest between 0.8 and 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to ensure that they are burning fat rather than muscle during exercise.  To figure this out, you must first know your weight in kilograms.  To find that number, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2.  Multiply that number by 0.8 to find the low range of your protein intake in grams and multiply the same number by 1.0 to find the high end of your intake range.
Taking in the right amount of protein can:
  • Increase your ability to build muscle mass
  • Increase your ability to repair damaged muscle tissue after a workout
  • Reduce your chances of workout related injuries
  • Increase your muscle endurance during your workouts

If you feel like your diet, as is, could stand to have more protein in it, consider visiting a local nutrition store and picking up some whey protein isolate.  Look for something high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates.  In addition, be conscious of the amount of calories in each serving.  There is nothing wrong with choosing an isolate that is higher in calories, just be aware that it may serve as a meal replacement if that’s the case.

While it is a good idea to include some sort of protein in your pre-workout meal or snack, I suggest saving your high protein shake for after your workout.  While you want to include some carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal for energy, high protein after a workout ensures aid with muscle tissue repair.