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Fitness is about more than simply working out a few times per week. While exercise is essential for building muscle and burning fat, it may not have much of an impact if you aren’t following a solid nutrition plan. One factor that can throw a wrench into your fitness goals is consuming alcoholic beverages, even if you follow an otherwise healthy diet.

Alcohol is often considered to be a source of empty calories, since it’s high in sugar and generally contains no substantial nutrients. However, alcohol also has adverse effects beyond simply being a source of excess calories. In other words, drinking a cocktail can have a greater impact on your fitness than eating a donut or having a bowl of ice cream. When you consume alcohol post-workout, you hinder your body’s ability to build muscle tissue. In addition, alcohol affects your endocrine system, so it can throw off your hormonal balance and impair your metabolism. Continue reading for a closer look at the relationship between alcohol and muscle growth.

Understanding How the Body Builds Muscle

To understand how alcohol impacts your muscle gains, it’s important to know how the body builds muscle tissue. Working out causes damage to muscle fibers, which triggers a process called myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS). This process repairs the muscle tissue and helps muscles grow bigger and stronger over time. That’s why you need to have plenty of protein in your diet to fuel that muscle repair and growth.

How Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth

Alcohol has adverse effects on muscle growth because it interferes with MPS, causing the body to break down protein at a rate faster than protein synthesis can occur. Even if you add more sources of protein to your diet while drinking alcoholic beverages, your body simply cannot synthesize protein fast enough to catch up.

Another factor to consider is how alcohol impacts your metabolism and digestion. Alcohol makes it more difficult overall for your body to absorb key nutrients from the food you eat, because drinking alcohol raises your blood sugar. Drinking also has a significant effect on liver function. Excess alcohol consumption creates a fatty liver, which can in turn slow down your metabolism and change how your body stores energy—that’s one reason why alcohol is often associated with a beer belly. Whether your primary fitness goal is weight loss or muscle tone, the effects of alcohol can slow down your progress and limit the results you see from your hard work in the gym or with your at-home workouts.

Consuming Alcohol While Staying Fit

While there’s a strong case to be made for avoiding alcohol altogether, it’s not impossible to enjoy the occasional spirit or glass of wine and still see progress with your fitness. Many of the negative effects of alcohol compound over time, so celebrating special occasions with a drink or having a weekly happy hour with friends won’t completely counteract your workouts. Drinking greater amounts of alcohol or binge drinking, however, can be incredibly detrimental to your muscle recovery as well as your overall health. To minimize the impact of alcohol on your fitness, keep the following strategies in mind. 

Improving your fitness involves an ongoing effort, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Body Essentials can help you create a comprehensive fitness and nutrition plan with our virtual personal training services. We offer fitness classes on-demand, group personal training, and private training sessions to help you achieve your goals with dedicated attention from experienced fitness experts. Call us at 802-345-9644 or request a consultation online to begin your fitness journey with us.

When it comes to the benefits of regular exercise, it’s common to focus only on physical benefits like weight loss and improved muscle tone. While these are important effects of exercise, it’s also helpful to think about the mental health benefits that can come with regular physical activity. Working out doesn’t just help you look good; it can help you feel good as well. In fact, research shows that exercise can have a positive impact on many different mental disorders, including depression and anxiety. 

If you are struggling with any type of mental illness, consult a mental health professional to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. It’s likely that exercise will play an integral part on your road to recovery. Continue reading for a closer look at how your mind benefits when you get your body moving.

Improve Your Mood

Physical activity works in multiple ways to boost your mood. First, it produces feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which immediately help you feel positive and more energized. Along with this immediate improvement in your mood, exercise can boast long-term benefits for your mental health by stimulating physical changes in the brain like neural growth and reduced inflammation—in turn, you may experience more feelings of calmness and overall well-being.

Exercise is also a great distraction. If you find yourself fixating on negative thought patterns, taking a walk, lifting weights, or participating in an exercise class can take your mind off those thoughts for a while and lift your mood.

Gain Higher Self-Esteem

Even before you start seeing changes on the scale or in the mirror, exercise can have a strong impact on your self-esteem. As you start noticing improved strength and stamina by working out several times a week, you’ll gain a sense of achievement that can help your self-esteem skyrocket. And of course, once you do start seeing more results through weight loss or toned muscles, you’ll feel even better about yourself.

Sleep Better

Disturbed sleep is a common effect of mental illness. It can also contribute to low daytime energy, overeating, and a negative mood, among other issues. Fortunately, exercise can improve your nightly sleep so that you enjoy a higher quality of life every day. For optimal benefits to your sleep schedule, get your most intense exercise—like fast-paced cardio and weight training—in the morning or early afternoon. The evening is the perfect time for more relaxing physical activity, like a gentle yoga practice, to wind down the body and mind.

Enjoy More Energy

Major depression and other mental health problems are often accompanied by symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, and poor focus. Regular physical activity can contribute to an increase in energy as well as sharper cognitive skills. By simply increasing your heart rate a few times per week, you’ll notice that you have more energy to take on your day and gradually increase the length and frequency of your workouts. The same endorphins that help lift your mood after a workout will also help improve your cognitive function—you’ll feel sharper and more focused over time. These effects aren’t short-lived, either. Continued physical activity can prevent age-related cognitive decline so that you have a lower chance of dealing with dementia and depression as you get older.

Reduce Stress

Stress manifests both physically and mentally, and it can take a toll on your wellbeing. Exercise helps break the stress cycle by curbing the production of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. In addition to chemical effects in the endocrine system, exercise also helps the muscles relax and release tension, so you can combat the aches and pains that tend to accompany daily stress. Exercise can improve other symptoms of stress over time as well, such as stomach upset, insomnia, and chest tightness.

Build Resilience

Unfortunately, it’s simply not possible to remove all of the mental and emotional challenges in life that can impact your mental health. However, it is possible to build more resilience to these challenges, so you can utilize healthier coping mechanisms. If you tend to respond to stress and negative emotions with comfort foods, alcohol, or other destructive habits, beginning an exercise routine can help you avoid these behaviors. Along with your mental fortitude, your physical resilience benefits from exercise as well. Regular activity can improve your immune health to lessen the physical impacts of stress, so you feel healthier overall.

No matter where you currently are with your physical fitness, Body Essentials can help you build an exercise regimen that works for you. With on-demand personal training, group fitness classes, and semi-private group training, you can find the program that’s right for your wellness goals. Our trainers are personally invested in the success of our clients and offer flexible scheduling to help you get fit on your own terms. Call us at 802-345-9644 to begin your fitness journey.

Despite their many potential pitfalls, fad diets are everywhere. These types of diets are easy to spot—they promote seemingly magical results with promises of rapid weight loss. Unfortunately, they also tend to be incredibly restrictive and not based in solid nutritional science. At best you might see a single study or a few anecdotal testimonials supporting claims of a fad diet’s success. Still, it can be tempting to try out a new diet if it promises to help you lose 10, 15, or 20 pounds in a matter of weeks. Here’s a closer look at why you should avoid that temptation.

Fad diets don’t promote long-term weight loss.

Juice cleanses, the Keto Diet, the Fenoboci Diet… these are just a few of many recent diet trends that have been featured all over social feeds, magazines, and other media. You may even know someone personally who raves about their results with one of these programs. However, they’re called fad diets for a reason.

Although there’s always some trending diet making headlines, the individual plans are never the same—that’s because they simply don’t work. Most of these diets rely on extreme measures like cutting out entire food groups, significantly restricting your caloric intake, or even fasting for long periods of time. These strategies don’t add up to long-term weight loss. Even if you see results on the scale initially, they aren’t likely to last.

You may experience dehydration, malnutrition, and serious health problems because of fad dieting.

Fad diets tend to rely on claims that cutting out key foods or combining certain foods will result in weight loss. However, when you eliminate whole food groups, you may not get all the vital nutrients you need for good health. For example, avoiding carbohydrates altogether could have you lacking fiber in your diet. Instead, it would be more beneficial to swap out simple carbohydrates for complex ones, such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice.

Following a restrictive diet plan, you may experience dehydration, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and constipation. The Keto Diet even warns followers of the Keto Flu, which may include symptoms of irritability, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, and poor concentration—clear signs that the body is struggling to adapt to an extreme diet. Over a longer period, these effects may significantly damage your health and put you at risk for more serious problems.

Fad diets don’t provide adequate fuel for your workouts.

Because fad diets aren’t nutritionally well-rounded, you may be lacking the building blocks you need for cardiovascular and strength training workouts. Exercise is a key ingredient for weight loss, as it helps you burn calories, build lean muscle, and boost your metabolism. However, you need a solid foundation of good nutrition to get your body ready to exercise.

To ensure that your body is fueled for your workouts, you should focus on balancing what you eat. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to your diet while working to avoid processed foods, added sugars, and high sodium foods. In addition, you should stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your day and even more during your workouts. Pre- and post-workout snacks including protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates—for example, a banana and a handful of nuts—can help you quickly refuel and stick to your fitness plan.

You’re likely to gain all the weight back after transitioning away from a trending diet plan.

If you’ve ever followed an incredibly restrictive diet, you know that food cravings and temptations don’t simply disappear. It’s tough to stick to extreme fad diets, and most don’t even encourage sticking to the diet long-term. So inevitably, you’ll transition back to a different way of eating, most likely falling back on old habits. As a result, you will probably see weight gain, which can ultimately be even more dangerous. Yo-yo dieting can throw hormonal levels off balance, put stress on your cardiovascular system, and cause you to gain more harmful belly fat.

Focusing on sustainable habits is a formula for success.

Selecting the right diet plan isn’t always easy. There are lots of factors to consider, including your dietary preferences, your previous experience with different diet plans, and your individual weight loss goals. That’s why the lifestyle and nutritional coaching programs at Body Essentials are customized to your needs and include ongoing support from a dedicated coach. As part of our Flourishing Program, we offer 21 Day Nutrition Challenges every other month that include different food themes, live group coaching, & weekly educational video lessons. The purpose is to support participants while providing accountability to the varying nutrition needs of all participants. Our next challenge begins on Tuesday September 14th!

Before you commit to any diet program, schedule a one-on-one consultation with a lifestyle and nutritional coach at Body Essentials. Our online personal training and coaching services can help you fit nutrition and wellness into your busy lifestyle. We also provide on-demand fitness classes and personal training sessions, so you can stay fit and active throughout your journey. Call us today at 802-345-9644 or request a consultation on our website.

If you’re exercising to lose weight, you’ll need to incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your routine. However, you may be unsure which type of cardio workout is right for your goals and current fitness level. Working with a personal trainer can help you identify the right targets for your workout and create a routine that puts you on track towards your goals. However, it’s also helpful to understand the difference between fat burn vs. cardio zones. 

Fat burn and cardio zones refer to your working heart rate and indicate how hard your heart is working during a particular workout. You might think that aiming exclusively for the fat burn zone is ideal for fat loss, but that’s not necessarily the case. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about achieving a fat burning heart rate during your cardio workouts. 

How the Body Burns Fat During Your Cardio Workout

Whether you’re walking, running, or riding a bike, your body needs to access energy to keep moving. Our bodies convert both fat and carbohydrates to usable energy (ATP) that our cells can access. However, it takes more oxygen to convert stored fat into ATP, so higher-intensity exercise is primarily fueled by burning carbohydrates consumed in the food we eat. The body does not always need oxygen to convert carbs to energy, and oxygen is less readily available to cells during intense exercise. In other words, higher-intensity workouts that put your heart rate in the cardio zone will use a higher proportion of carbohydrates than body fat to fuel your workout. But a high-intensity workout also burns more calories overall, which is helpful for weight loss. 

Identifying Your Fat Burn Zone and Cardio Zone 

As you’re weighing the differences of fat burn vs. cardio workouts, it’s important to understand where these zones are for you. Your heart rate zones will vary depending on your age. To calculate your cardio and fat burning zones, you’ll first subtract your age from 220. This will yield your maximum heart rate. The fat burn zone is 55-70% of your maximum heart rate, and the cardio zone peaks between 70-80%. 

So, a 40-year-old adult’s maximum heart rate would be 180 bpm. Their fat burn zone would be between 99 and 126 bpm, and the cardio zone would be between 127 and 144 bpm. Achieving a heart rate anywhere between 99 and 144 bpm will improve cardiovascular fitness—the difference lies in how your body is fueling your workout as discussed above. 

Setting the Intensity of Your Cardiovascular Exercise 

When you work out and target a higher heart rate zone, you’ll burn more calories overall with a lower proportion of fat calories burned. However, you will still likely see more fat calories burned. Consider the following example: 

If you walk for 15 minutes and achieve a heart rate of 55-60% (in the fat burn zone), you’ll burn about 100 calories; about 75 of which will be from fat burn. However, running for the same amount of time and achieving a heart rate over 70% of your maximum (in the cardio zone) will burn twice as many total calories with about half being from fat burn—a total of 100 fat calories burned. 

In addition to burning more calories at the time of your workout, you’ll see prolonged benefits from higher-intensity workouts as your body continues to burn more calories while you rest. But before you pack your schedule with workouts exclusively targeting the cardio zone, you should remember the importance of recovery. Maximum intensity workouts are harder on your body, so you’ll want to balance them with more moderate workouts that keep your heart rate in the fat burn zone. For example, you might choose to take three 30-minute walks and one 30-minute run each week. Alternatively, you may utilize interval training to target different heart rate zones within the same workout. No matter which cardiovascular workout plan you choose, you’ll need to measure your heart rate during your workout to stay in your target zone. Wearing a smart watch or fitness tracker is an easy way to keep an eye on your heart rate.

Fueling Your Body for a Cardio Workout 

With cardio workouts of any level of intensity, your body will need fuel from the food you eat. Ideally, you should have a small snack about 30-60 minutes before your workout. Pre-workout snacks should be high in carbs with some protein, and low in fat. Optimal choices include non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, a banana with a dollop of peanut butter, a handful of trail mix, or a smoothie containing non-fat yogurt. Avoid working out just after a large meal—give yourself about 2-3 hours before beginning a cardio workout. 

Starting a fitness routine doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult. Body Essentials can provide the support, guidance, and on-demand workouts you need to achieve your individual fitness goals. Access our online personal training programs today to start living your healthiest life!

Intermittent fasting for weight loss has been a frequent topic of conversation within the health and fitness community over the last few years. But what exactly is it, how does it work, and how can it benefit your weight loss journey? In this blog, we look at the basics of intermittent fasting and how working with a nutrition coach can help you decide if it is right for you.

What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?

In a nutshell, intermittent fasting involves having periods where you are fasting and periods where you are eating throughout the day or week. Intermittent fasting is not a diet from a timing standpoint. We repeat, it is not a diet. It is a shift in your eating patterns to initiate changes within your body to aid in weight loss. Often, people hear the word fasting and immediately think of going without food for lengthy periods, and that is an option, but it is not the only way it can be done. 

What Are the Different Methods of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?

Overnight intermittent is really the easiest method for those who are not breakfast haters or skippers. With that method you eat your meals in 12 hours and then nothing but water or whatever for the overnight 12 hours so 6am-6pm food and nothing again for another 12 hours. Truly sustainable for the long term. 

The next method is called Eat-Stop-Eat. This method is closest to the type of fasting some people imagine when they think of intermittent fasting. With this method, you would fast for a full 24 hours once or twice a week but eat as usual the rest of the week. The fasting period can begin at any time of day.  

Finally, there is the 5:2 diet. This method involves limiting caloric intake to only 500-600 calories two days out of the week while eating on a normal schedule on other days. Your limited intake days don’t need to be taken consecutively.  

No one method is the best intermittent fasting for weight loss. We suggest working with your nutrition coach to determine the method that is the most sustainable for your lifestyle, as well as your dietary and exercise needs. 

What Are the Advantages of Intermittent Fasting?

We mentioned that intermittent fasting causes changes within your body that facilitate weight loss. These changes include increasing growth hormones within your body to help burn fat and increase lean muscle without stringent calorie reductions. Fasting also triggers the release of the hormone noradrenaline, which is a fat-burning hormone. You’ll also lower your blood sugar and insulin levels, which makes it easier for your body to use up stored body fat and reduce insulin resistance. All these changes combined can result in an increased metabolism. In short, you are burning more calories than you are consuming, so you are likely to lose weight. 

What Are the Disadvantages of Intermittent Fasting?

The most frequent concern with intermittent fasting for weight loss is extreme hunger resulting in binge-eating. After 16 hours with no food, hunger is normal. A common strategy to limit hunger is to eat protein-rich foods for dinner, which will help sustain your body until your first meal in the afternoon. However, without careful planning, you run the risk of overeating later on. Even though intermittent fasting is not a diet, you still want to be mindful of the calories you are consuming during your eating period. The people who are the most unsuccessful at using intermittent fasting for weight loss think that 16 hours of fasting gives them a free pass to eat all they want in the afternoon and evening.

It’s also essential to plan fasting around your exercise schedule. If you work out first thing in the morning, your might feel sick or fatigued. This is because working out on an empty stomach leaves your body with little fuel for your workout. Your body needs some glucose before workouts and protein afterwards and, with intermittent fasting, you are not getting either of these. If you work out and are interested in intermittent fasting for weight loss, work with a nutrition coach to discuss the best options for you. 

Ultimately, the biggest disadvantage is that there is minimal research about intermittent fasting. There are some studies that have been conducted, but there is just not enough research to say definitively if this is the best weight loss option available. 

Intermittent fasting may not be beneficial for everyone. You should consult with a health professional before starting intermittent fasting, especially if you have a history of eating disorders, fluctuating blood sugar, diabetes, low blood pressure, or taking medications. Women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have menstruation issues should also seek medical advice before fasting. 

Body Essentials offers lifestyle and nutritional coaching to support you in your weight loss goals. So, if you’re interested in intermittent fasting for weight loss or discovering other nutrition plan options, call us at 802-345-9644 or set up a consultation online

You’ve made the decision to get healthy, so now what? Where do you start? Maybe you’ve tried before but eventually you just lose your motivation. Alternatively, you might be embarking on a fitness journey for the first time. Either way, you can set yourself up for success with these top fitness tips for women!


The leading cause of failure is setting unrealistic goals. To be successful in fitness, you should set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based goals. Goals like “start running” or “lose weight” are too general. A more specific goal would be “I want to run a mile”. To make this a SMART goal, you might say “I will be able to run a mile within 4 weeks”. How far you want to run is specific, measurable, and attainable; the deadline of 4 weeks is time-based. To make this a relevant goal, consider if it’s one that you are motivated to accomplish. You should never make a goal just because you think you should. Consider your motivation in any goal you set. 

2. Don’t Skip the Most Important Meal

Breakfast gets the spotlight as the most important meal of the day. However, when it comes to fitness, the most important meal is the one you have after a workout. Eating a combination of 10-15 grams of protein and 20-30 grams of carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout helps to promote muscle recovery, refuel your body, and amp up your energy. Getting plenty of protein also keeps you full to reduce the risk of reaching for an unhealthy snack. 

3.Get Some Sleep

We’ve all been told we need eight hours of sleep per night. This isn’t just important for brain function but also for fitness and weight loss. You may notice that you snack more frequently when you’re tired. Getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep will lower your chances of grabbing for that random snack for a quick pick-me-up.

4. Be Realistic

Are you a morning or night person? If you are a night person, working out after work or in the evening will come more easily to you than waking up early in the morning to work out. The best thing you can do is plan a workout schedule that works with you. Setting unrealistic expectations of yourself will lead to disappointment. You are more likely to stick to a new routine if it naturally fits into your schedule. The same goes for considering how often you plan to workout. Start small with 2-3 days a week and then work your way up. If you jump right in expecting to work out 4-5 days a week, you’re likely to get discouraged the first time you realize you’re overdoing it. 

5. Look for External Support

You’re more likely to stick with a fitness goal if you have a partner to keep you accountable. Consider starting your fitness journey with a workout buddy to keep you on track. Even better, start working with a personal trainer. Small group training can offer more accountability from both your trainer and your group members. 

6. Hide the Scale

There is nothing more discouraging that stepping on that scale and watching the numbers fluctuate from one day to the next. Weighing yourself too frequently contributes to depression and can discourage you while trying to achieve your goals. One strategy you might use is to put your scale away and pull it out only once a week. 

7. Take It One Day at a Time

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by your fitness goals, so remember to focus on one day at a time. If you’re just not feeling a long workout, doing something small is better than nothing. But that means the next day, you pick back up where you left off. Don’t let one off day stall you. Also, setting long-term goals is terrific but it is more important to focus on the day-to-day victories. Set small daily goals for yourself such as increasing your water intake by 8 ounces or shooting for 10 extra minutes on your workout. 

8. Change It Up

Going to the gym, doing the same circuit plan every day can get monotonous. It is perfectly acceptable, and encouraged, to explore a variety of workouts to avoid issues like Overtraining Syndrome. Online fitness classes make it easy to change it up with something new, like yoga or a Total Body Blast group workout. 

9. Do Your Research

Heard about a new juice cleanse or a new diet? Extreme diets brag about radical results with little to no reliable evidence to support them. The problem with plans like these is that they severely restrict caloric intake, which can have a negative impact on your health. Be sure to do your research and work closely with your trainer to find effective, sustainable strategies that are right for you. 

There’s an abundance of fitness tips for women out there, but it’s always worth doing the research to make sure those tips are right for your needs. 

10. Try a Group Fitness Class

Even the most independent person can benefit from a group fitness class. Working out in a group can help to increase motivation and improve your mood. Being around other people who are excited to be there and having fun is contagious! 

Body Essentials offers a variety of group classes including spinning, yoga, strength training, and total body—all through the convenience of a virtual platform! Learn more about our programs and start achieving your goals by calling 802-345-9644. If you’re in search of more fitness tips for women, browse through some of our previous blogs

For many people, physical activity isn’t something that comes as a part of a normal daily routine. Especially if you work a job that requires sitting at a desk for significant portions of the day, you may have trouble getting the exercise that you need to stay healthy. Therefore, you might consider adding a daily workout to your routine. Doing so can have numerous perks for your health. Continue reading for a look at the benefits of daily exercise and some tips for designing a routine that you can stick to. 

Immediate Benefits of Daily Exercise

You’ve probably heard of a runner’s high before—maybe this is even a sensation you’ve experienced. But feeling good because of exercise isn’t exclusive to runners. Your body needs to move to stay healthy, so it rewards physical activity with the release of brain chemicals that improve your mood, help you sleep, and help your mind feel sharper. In addition to feeling good right after you work out, you’ll notice an immediate effect of reduced blood pressure. Over time, daily exercise will have even more benefits. 

Long-Term Benefits of Regular Exercise

Longer-term benefits of exercise can be achieved without working out every single day. If you get moving on most days, you’ll notice far reaching positive effects on your health. Perhaps the most important benefit is for your heart—regular exercise strengthens your heart and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. It also lowers the risk of at least 13 different types of cancer.  

Thanks to benefits like improved coordination, stronger bones, easier weight maintenance, and better balance, daily physical activity also helps reduce your risk of fall-related injuries as an older adult. Furthermore, studies have linked daily exercise with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s, depression, and other conditions that can impact your brain health. In addition, there’s a growing body of research that suggests a link between exercise and improved immune function. Given this data, it’s safe to assume that your fitness routine may pay off in ways you don’t yet even realize. 

What are the best exercises to do every day?

Because muscles need time to rest and repair after a hard workout, you might wonder if it’s okay to work out every day. In most cases, it’s safe and deeply beneficial to exercise every day or on most days of the week. The best way to work out daily is by varying your routine to give different muscle groups a break and prevent yourself from getting bored. Utilizing group fitness classes or on-demand training is a great way to keep your work out varied and dynamic. You can also select classes based on your target muscle group. 

Ideally, you’ll include endurance exercises, such as moderate to intense cardiovascular workouts, as well as strength and flexibility exercises like weightlifting or yoga. 

How long should your daily workout be?

The CDC recommends getting about 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily (moderate meaning that you’re having to put in a strong effort, but you’re not giving 100% throughout your workout). Even better, you can shoot for about half of that time to be comprised of intense physical activity. You can, of course, work out for longer sessions each day, but simply increasing the intensity of your workout may have better results. It’s better for your fitness to do a short workout each day than a long workout occasionally. So, even if you can only put in 5-10 minutes, it’ll be much better than no workout at all. 

What are some stretching exercises to do every day?  

If you’re feeling tired or sore, incorporating stretching into your exercise routine can help. Even in the absence of soreness, dynamic stretching before a workout and as part of your cooldown helps reduce your risk of orthopedic injuries and improves circulation. Taking a Mind-Body group fitness class can introduce you to some gentle stretches to move your body, relax the muscles, and connect your movement to your breath. 

How can you improve your motivation to work out daily?

Despite the numerous benefits of daily exercise, it may still be challenging to take that first step and start a new fitness routine. Alternatively, maybe you find yourself regularly starting up and burning out with the same set of exercises. Working with a personal trainer can help you overcome these hurdles. A trainer can offer accountability to help you stick with your workout in addition to offering new and exciting ways to get moving. Even more importantly, a personal trainer can ensure that you’re going at the right pace for your current fitness level and utilizing the right form in your workouts. This means that you’re less likely to get sidelined by an injury that prevents you from reaching your goals. 
Find fun and welcoming fitness classes along with online personal training at Body Essentials. We offer a variety of virtual programming to help you get fit and stay fit on any schedule. In addition to great workouts, we offer ongoing support and motivation to keep you focused on your self-improvement goals.

This week last year at Body Essentials (BE), we wondered what would become of working out in person! We spaced people out on bikes in Spinning class, altered our training sessions and other classes for more space and less equipment and fully disinfected each piece of equipment before putting away after every single workout each day. We even prepared for possible zoom or face-time workouts. Who knew we would be HERE now 1 year later!

The studio was ordered to close down on Saturday March 20, 2020 within an hour of having closed for the weekend after the morning classes! I was on my way to the studio to workout and clean when I heard the news from Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, while listening to public radio I quickly alerted all of our members and invited them to come and borrow equipment so we could workout together online while we waited out the pandemic. Little did any of us know at that time, we would never move that equipment back in because the pandemic kept dragging on but also because we enjoyed the convenience and ease of working out online! Less than 24 hours after closing our doors we all gathered for our first online workout, Mindful Movement. We needed that  quiet stretch that day and to figure out the Zoom setup. NONE OF US knew what we were doing, we just gave it our best shot and have never looked back.

On Business.......

Over the last year we have mirrored what we did in person online thru zoom, maintaining the same group fitness schedule and training schedule, we simply increased the size of our semi-private groups from 2-3 to now 4-5. Jumping so quickly into Zoom was not only a matter of survival but a means of community and service and connection during a period of time that was 100% uncharted territory for all of us. It would have been easy to be all doom and gloom about how bad virtual training was and that is what the outcome would have been but my mindset is that anything is possible and awesome if you engineer it that way and that was what we did. 5:30am online workouts all of sudden offered us more sleep because we did not have to commute. All that equipment we bought in years past, thinking we could workout at home on our own, all of a sudden came in handy and driving to the gym after work and not getting home until 7pm to still have to make dinner no longer happened. We engineered a schedule and system that increased the wellbeing for all of our clients.

By June when there was still a lot of unknown about COVID, but the slow down of life felt good as a human being I took another leap of faith and decided our studio would go permanently online maintaining our zoom virtual space indefinitely. Turns out it has been a great decision. Although I was still paying expenses on a physical location and then started remodeling an in home studio, I was by no means saving money but was very fortunate for the space at home to create a professional appearance. Our members did the same thing, leaning in to creating a permanent studio space or nook in their home and it has been so much fun to see how at home workout spaces have evolved!

There are so many highlights of creating a virtual studio from a business owner perspective. Being my own landlord is probably my favorite. It has allowed less headaches and 110% more creativity in programming and enhancing our mission beyond simply fitness. This time has allowed for reaching our greatest potential in nutrition and lifestyle programming especially as we have started 2021!

On Life.........

As March of 2020 turned to April and it became clear I needed to get comfortable at home finding a balance of running a business in the space that was also my place of respite. What I knew for sure and said out loud to my beloved husband, Tom was that this pandemic was (thankfully and optimistically) going to be a once in a lifetime OPPORTUNITY to shed what was not working in any aspect of life and make time for the things that I was seeking in all aspects of life. For me this meant slowing the hell down and figuring out how to create a healthier flow to work and life including getting more sleep, adding in more leisure time activities, working less on the weekends to just scratch the surface. Whether it is noticeable to any one else I have been able to accomplish more than I thought possible. I will not bore you with the details. What I know for sure is that we become conditioned to working far too much, sleeping far too little and letting trivial details clutter our head space when in reality and when willing we can cut all of it back to a healthier (literally healthier, like prevent risk factors for disease level) levels and accomplish more, doing less. Life is short, we must play hard and not wait until retirement to do all the things "we don't have time for" while we are working professionals.

On Fitness & WellBeing......

I consider myself a warrior of health because I wholeheartedly believe that only I am in responsible for my level of fitness and wellbeing, physically and mentally. In 2019 I made the switch to a Naturopathic Dr as opposed to a general physician. What a difference a Dr makes, focusing on health and not working from a place of illness. It even inspires me to want to do better. As such, this year I have increased my meditation time to 30 minutes per day because it truly helps me slow down my pace physically and mentally and be more fully present in everything I do in a given day. I have also spent the first part of the year cleaning up my nutrition which I can guarantee was not that "filthy" to begin with but was not as great in 2020. So that means now I practice 95% of my weekly nutrition being gluten, dairy, alcohol and added sugar free. The 5% means that I may have a beer per week or a toasted english muffin, or something else that would seem healthy to the average person.

Nutrition & exercise will always be the greatest form of medicine to me. I have never had so much clarity and energy and so little inflammation in my body as I have in the last month especially since upping my nutrition game and walking away from work when feeling frenetic, getting out in nature when feeling suffocated by working and living under one roof, and getting 8+ hours of sound sleep. There is no prescription medication that can make you feel as good as getting your lifestyle in order.

Perhaps some of this sounds preachy but I take the work that we do at BE very seriously and practice what I preach 100% but am on the journey just as much as our members are. Doom and gloom gets me no where and it is astounding to me that it took a global pandemic to create enough space to fully embrace the business and life of my dreams.

If you are skeptical about virtual fitness, I invite you to schedule a time to meet with me to find out how we are breaking all the rules about what it means to workout virtually. I say with confidence that we provide more extensive support, accountability, structure, programming and inspiration virtually than any in person gym in our local area does and beyond our local area. This post only scratches the story of the progress we as a collective community have made! Schedule a consultation on our website at

Cheers to a brilliant 2021 & surviving OR thriving thru a global pandemic!



Self-Care defined is the "active practice of protecting one's own well-being & happiness in general and during times of stress."

In our most recent healthy living workshop we discussed the topic of self-care and also skin care as we creep away from winter and plan for spring.

Here are some thoughts on both topics.....

Categories of self-care that are beyond exercise and nutrition, which we are active in day in and day out with our members.

Skin Care as Self-Care: Good skin care is good health care emotionally & physically, allowing us to age gracefully. Here are the steps our member presenter and 13 year Mary Kay Consultant Lisa Miglorie shared with us to practice regularly:

  1. WASH daily in the morning & evening
  2. Moisturize with SPF on face & neck using an out & up fashion to avoid pulling skin down. Apply eye cream with ring finger as it is the finger with lightest touch.
  3. Exfoliate (Wednesdays & Weekends)
  4. Supplement (Facial Mask)

What are some areas in self-care & skin area that you are doing well with and what are some areas you can improve upon?

Starting Monday March 8th, we will be launching our newest live online group training option, Adult Fitness Training. This program is perfect for adults who have not recently or ever engaged in a structured exercise program led by a certified fitness and health coach. Sessions will occur on a rolling basis on Monday & Thursday from 1:15pm-2:15pm and include all of the following:

As a result all participants will experience improvements in:

-increased strength

-decreased pain

-increased confidence

-increased endurance

-increased energy name just a few

The cost is $97 per month.

To register, learn more or set up a consultation, contact Christie @ [email protected] / 802-345-9644.

Enrollment is ongoing and a waiting list will be utilized as needed.

Move more and eat less—that’s the key to weight loss, right? Unfortunately, most people end up struggling to lose weight and keep it off with this advice alone. In reality, losing weight to get healthy isn’t so simple. That’s where a weight loss trainer comes into the picture. If you’re on the fence about hiring a weight loss personal trainer, here are three reasons you should take the leap. 

A weight loss trainer can develop a personalized program. 
Are you exercising often and still not seeing any results? There may be lots of reasons you’re not getting the results you want. You may be doing the wrong exercises for your body type, or you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. A trainer will devise a plan that focuses effectively on the changes you want to make and that challenges you safely. A customized plan designed with your goals in mind will give you boost you need to stay motivated with consistent results.

You will learn how to exercise safely. 
There are right ways and wrong ways to work out. If you’re consistently doing movements with the wrong form, you could also risk serious injury—and fail to see results from your workouts. Personal trainers are educated in body mechanics and can show you how to complete your workouts safely, so you can remain active. 

Your weight loss trainer is an accountability partner. 
Losing weight is hard, so support is crucial. Your personal trainer for weight loss can help you stay on track by helping you stay accountable. It’s harder to blow off a workout when you know a trainer is waiting for you, and they can make sure you work hard throughout your session. This kind of support can be what makes the difference between you succeeding in reaching your goals and giving up. 

At Body Essentials, we’re here to help you become the best version of yourself. We offer a variety of training services designed for all fitness levels. Request a free consultation now.

In order for our clients to be fully prepared for a complete year of amazing fitness and health, I hosted our first Fitness Fest in place of our usual line up of classes on Saturday January 2nd. For four hours we focused on all the important details of starting and maintaining a fitness routine that will get results which of course includes many "not" fitness specifics. Here are the top tips from each hour for you to consider on your own journey.

  1. Know your body. There are plenty of subjective ways to measure improvements from exercise like being able to lift heavier weights over time, feeling and being more stable and balanced when doing 1 foot exercises, having more energy, experiencing less pain, clothes fitting differently, being able to exercise longer. However everyone likes numbers when it comes to body improvements from exercise so dump the scale and just take body measurements when you start and then periodically do it again (like every 2-4 months). Photos of your journey before, during and more during is a great way to see change over time! AND instead of trying to remember things in your head, write it down. What was your body feeling like when you decided you just had to start exercising or change your eating plan? Take daily or weekly notes. It is so easy and beneficial not only to write it down but to actually be mindful about what your body is feeling and perhaps how bad lifestyle habits are part of the problem and more importantly to see how breaking some bad habits can make you feel oh so much better! Not to mention, knowing your own body well can save a lot of wasted time going to the Dr's for every cough, ache, and sniffle.
  2. Before our clients first workout we complete a movement screen with them that helps us understand areas we, as coaches, need to address right away to start building an effective program. It provides a great time to start good conversations about proper posture, stability and movement patterns when performing different exercises and in daily life! If you are beginning an exercise program on your own start slow and build up. Just like we meet clients where they are at (never intentionally making them so sore they have a hard time sitting down), meet yourself where you are at! You will be much more successful and less of a statistic of those who drop out of exercise after a short time, especially in January!
  3. Be clear WHY you are putting time into exercise and what you are trying to get from it and what that end result will look and feel like and WHY that will improve your life. Understand your own track record with creating a healthy lifestyle and be honest about how motivated you are to work thru the thick and thin of reaching your goals. Know who is on your side and will support you to work towards improved health vs those who will deter you from it. If you cannot answer 8 out of 10 as to how committed you are to seeing a consistent exercise program thru, spend more time considering why you should do it, stick with it and how amazing you will feel as a result! Anything less than an 8, especially working out on your own will make it very challenging to persist.
  4. Now perhaps most importantly, is how you workout and by that I mean make sure your exercise routine is based off of strength training the uses adequate weight being lifted. There are a couple hard and fast rules that we live by in our training. 1 is that there is VERY RARELY a reason for any of our clientele to lift a weight lighter than 6lbs. Women are not going to bulk up by lifting heavy weights, and I am not talking big barbells here. I mean 10, 15, 20, is not going to happen. If you are working out and doing 3 sets of one exercise for 10 reps and you get to the end of that 30th rep and you do not feel fatigue, you are not lifting heavy enough (that is rule 2). Knowing your baseline weight on numerous different exercises and movements takes the guess work out and then depending how an exercise is scaled, you scale the weight to match. And most importantly do the exercise well, know what should be moving and what should be stable. If you do not overload the body in a reasonably safe manner you will not get results. Same goes for life. Status quo will get you know where.
  5. And finally, take good care of the rest of your life. You cannot out exercise a crappy diet and sleepless nights. Your body needs a well-rounded lifestyle to benefit from your workout routine. Wear good shoes, drink lots of water, surround yourself with good people, practice good posture in all your daily activities whether working out, cleaning your house or working at a desk and go to a physical therapist, massage therapist or chiropractor as needed and be knowledgeable about how to take care of pain points on your own with a foam roller, therapy ball or some type of percussive massage device like the Theragun. Whether you workout or not, your body is going to give you pain. Take care of it. And strength train so it is mostly good pain!

Make 2021 your  fittest and healthiest year. YOU deserve it!

Here we are three weeks from the end of 2020. We are all feeling different emotions of what this year was or was not but one thing we have to agree on if you are reading this is that YOU are going to survive! 2020 was not for the faint of heart and on January 1, 2021 we are not just going to flip a switch and go back to pre-pandemic life. If you struggled continuously or periodically in 2020 , you are not alone. This was a year that impacted absolutely everyone and we all had a choice of how we would respond to all the restrictions, changes, and cut backs. What was or is your coping mechanism? Blame? Anger? Grief? Relief? Curiosity? Something different entirely?

Personally, I am allergic to negativity of any type. This does not mean that I do not have bad days or have not suffered hardships. It is precisely those experiences that I wanted to be more resilient against that set me on a path to automatically moving to a growth mindset where I constantly ask myself what am I learning from this challenge and how can I improve because to me, any other response is a waste of my energy and does not take me in the direction I want to move in my business, my life or with the clients I serve

So you may be reading this and rolling your eyes, thinking that is such "pie in the sky," idealistic thinking and that is just fine but if you are reading this and thinking, I would love to get out of that rut of negative thinking and immersion that seemed especially pervasive this year, then I want to talk to YOU. Since March 22nd, our community has run entirely online with 13 live group fitness classes per week, and countless private and semi-private training sessions. As a personal trainer, coach and group fitness instructor it is imperative to go above and beyond 100% to be able to get the most maximum potential out of our participants and like so many businesses, when I made this pivot it was an act of survival so bringing over 100% energy and positivity to every hour of remote work was partially for myself and the eventual sustainability of my fitness community. Suffice it to say, it worked. We are thriving and feeding off one another's positive energy and each month, week and day that energy multiplies and creates great things like results, physically and emotionally and the vision for more possibility.

Body Essentials is indefinitely staying as an online fitness and wellbeing facility and now that we have mastered how to provide live fitness online well we can get back to other important aspects of our eight year mission to be the most comprehensive provider of fitness, nutrition and well-being services as we start 2021 and we want to serve you.

Here are some of the most exciting options coming up as soon as 2021 launches!

See what I mean by most comprehensive provider of fitness, nutrition and wellbeing services??

If ANY of this sounds compelling to you please e-mail me at [email protected] or text me at 802-345-9644 to set up an absolute zero obligation consultation so you can learn more about what it is like to workout at a virtual studio, so I can learn more about your goals and we can learn more about how we can collaborate to get you feeling better than you ever expected. Let me remind you, it will take work on your part!

And you are probably wondering about cost! It always depends on what training option becomes the best for you based on my recommendation. So perhaps it is less than $100 per month or up $300 per month. Is your health worth it? are YOU worth it?? If you are only concerned about the cost of services, we are not the studio for you.

Just contact me today to learn more. We have limited space in our live programs and the earlier you join our on-demand program, the more money you will save.

I cannot wait to meet you!

Christie Garofano

Chief Empowerment Officer

Can you believe that we’re talking about the holidays & the new year already?! I mean, I can. Honestly, I’m psyched. I have been waiting to watch Polar Express and Elf! The best time of year!

Today’s motivation is all about helping you find what healthy during the holidays looks like for you! Maybe you’re reading this and you’re like, yeah okay…. healthy during the holidays? That’s impossible! Yes I get you. BUT. After years of figuring out what “healthy” actually looks like to me, I’ve finally figured out that healthy during the holidays looks different for everyone, and I’m determined to help you find yours.

I’d like to say I’m a lover of all things health and wellness, with a side of Christmas cookies. Or rather, Dad’s mint pie (to die for!!!).

You're ready to hear all of the quick fixes and pro tips I have on how to lose weight fast before the Holiday's hit?

Okay here it goes...ready?? If you want to lose a quick 5lbs, workout like crazy, eat chicken and asparagus for every meal and completely restrict yourself. Yeah, sounds pretty miserable right?

I'm assuming you implement one of these two approaches people usually take with Thanksgiving and Christmas. One, you either have this "ALL IN" mentality. You eat and drink whatever you want, keep telling yourself it's the Holiday's and you'll start after New Years. You pack on the pounds and immediately following NYE you regret everything. OR you go into total restriction mode, fearing food or eating a damn carbohydrate, you go extra hard in the gym, track every morsel of food and ultimately dread attending Holiday parties because all you're thinking about are the calories you're consuming.

IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE THIS WAY! You can achieve balance with fitness and living your life. So for once, ditch your one sided mentality and try a different approach to get through the holiday season!

Here are a few tips:

1. Keep moving (try a holiday 5k with family, or bring a friend to the gym to keep you motivated)
2. Watch your portions (try grabbing a smaller plate. A full-smaller plate gives you the illusion that you're eating more food)
3. Lots of water (a glass when you wake up, & a glass before each meal)
4. More protein (whatever you put on your plate, make sure there is some protein! Protein will make you feel fuller for longer…perhaps room for only 1 dessert… no seconds!)

Most importantly, ENJOY yourself & the time spent with family and loved ones. Not only is this time of year stressful and busy, it is also cold and flu season! Make sure to continue eating healthy, working out regularly and hydrating with water throughout all of those holiday parties on your schedule. It is okay to indulge a little (within moderation, of course) to enjoy this time of year, but your body will support you better if you replenish it with what it truly needs to run at its best.

Happy Holidays!

I love food! And really who doesn't? What I do not like about food is grocery shopping and wedding thru food items that manufacturers are trying to sell as healthy when I do actually partake in a grocery shopping trip. I enjoy preparing food at home when I have ample time to do it in a manner that does not seem like I am just doing it to fuel myself (AKA rushing to put the healthiest thing together in the quickest amount of time) and obviously I enjoy eating food!

First things first, the BEST thing to happen too Rutland, VT is the Hannaford To Go service. Being able to order my groceries online from the comfort of my home with the ability to check the fridge and pantry to assure I do not over look something is as AMAZING as it is to walk into Hannaford and get great customer service at the HTG check out area when I pick up my groceries. Lets face it, most of the challenge of eating well is in the plan and prepare phase. Hannaford has lightened the load in part of that process. The only redeeming aspect of physically doing the grocery shopping now is seeing any new products on the shelves that I may not have seen in the online grocery store BUT similarly the same thing happens when I shop online at Hannaford, I see things I may not have found walking around the store. Truly this is not meant to be a manifesto about HTG but it has been a game changer in my weekly schedule for over 2 years now!

In August I reflected on how 30 days of no alcohol made a difference in my life so in September I went on another nutritional journey and eliminated as much added sugar from my diet as I could. Added and processed sugar is a huge issue in the Standard American Diet (SAD). According to the American Heart Association (2009) Men & Women over 19 years of age average 18-25 teaspoons of added sugar per day. The recommended daily amount if no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men and 6 (25 grams) for women. Given that data was from 10 years ago, there could be some changes but they would not be improving numbers. If you read nutrition labels at all when you are shopping, you may see an added sugar total on some labels under the total sugar number. As of January 2020 this will be mandatory  on a majority of food items  with the date being expanded for others. So depending on your nutritional knowledge base, just because something says it has sugar, does not always mean it is added sugar, some are naturally occurring in the food product  such as some dairy and some grains. It can be confusing. I have a relatively healthy diet but it is not perfect and a month of looking a bit more carefully at this particular ingredient further enhanced the quality of my diet and overall health.

As I started my month of no added sugar the first two changes I made were that I only bought plain greek yogurt which was already a staple but I would allow a flavored yogurt as a snack (and I could write an entire post on the spectrum of bad to good flavored yogurts). I also stopped using maple syrup. Shhhh, do not tell my husband. Although maple syrup is all natural it is still sweet so I wanted to go entirely plain on my yogurt which is the only place I use syrup (aside from the occasional pancake, french toast or vanilla ice cream). These changes were relatively simple because what I found as I continued this process is that I really don't have a diet high in added sugar so the flavor changes were not huge for my palette. I did minimize bread intake which again I was doing anyway but even more so in September. I have a weird weakness for toast but months earlier I had switched from regular bread (cue the Klingers Jewish Rye) for whole wheat sandwich thins which have less than 3 g of sugar. One of my biggest learning came from my affinity for Cabot Cottage Cheese (great source of protein for snack). I had no idea some of the sugar was added sugar. No more cottage cheese which meant more fruit and plain yogurt. Next up was my love of lattes on any given day of the week and when one certain coffee shop in Rutland starts selling pumpkin lattes in September, the challenge is on. Thankfully THESE pumpkin latte's are made with REAL pumpkin, not that flavored sugar syrup of many coffee shops so I was in the clear especially since I prefer oat milk from Planet Oat which is low in sugar from the oats and no added sugar. Otherwise the challenge was in condiments which are not huge for me but when my husband does the cooking he is more likely to use BBQ sauce if grilling chicken and just loves sauce in general. AND of course, salad dressings. Unless you make your own salad dressing, you are accumulating added sugar even from locally made dressings. So I did some research when I was shopping (online of course) and ended up going back to an old favorite, Briana's French Vinaigrette. Any food not mentioned is because it is fresh protein with only fresh herb flavoring, fresh fruits and fresh or frozen vegetables so sugar was not an issue at most lunch or dinners. Moreover, staying away from things like ice cream and other sweets was quite easy. Now that October has rolled around, I got a bit more lax the first week but have stuck with most small changes I needed to make and the box of chocolates I just received are hidden and unopened!

Another area that I was unsure about was oatmeal but I was pleasantly surprised that I was in the clear here. So overall I was reassured the my diet was above average with no plan to change anything!

So if I have piqued your interest as to what are some big offenders when it comes to added sugar (aside from the obvious), here is a list of things that I talk about regularly when coaching & advising nutrition to clients:

-Boxed/Shelf Stable food items including boxed meals

-Processed food items from the shelf, frozen, food section, in the dairy section AND in the "healthy food section"

-Pasta Sauces


-Condiments (Salad dressings, BBQ Sauces, Ketchup etc)

-Bread Products

-Flavored foods (like frozen veggies with added sauce, or frozen prepared foods, or canned goods with additives).

-Flavored Coffee Creamers

-Dried Fruit

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, just some items that always shock people where other high sugar items are obvious including alcohol & most everything you can buy at a convenience store. The best strategy when trying to reduce sugar in your diet is to get things as plain and natural as possible and then added your own flavoring via fresh or dried herbs, prepare your own foods as straight forward as possible (AKA not from a box and with fresh or plain frozen veggies).

Source: American Heart Association, Scientific Statement on Dietary Sugars Intake & Cardiovascular Health (2009)

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