Eat for Endurance

5 tips to boost your health and performance

You spend hours training. You buy the latest and greatest in clothing performance and bike gear. You might even hire a coach or join a club. In fact, triathletes invest at least somewhere between 5,000 and 24,000 dollars a year in racing, training, and equipment. On the bike alone, thousands are spent to save seconds of speed, desiring the more aerodynamic and efficient equipment possible. 
But, here’s the problem. You can spend all that money and without a diet to match your training, you could arguably be throwing your money down the drain. A bad diet can cause inflammation, reduced sleep, inadequate recovery, and a weakened immune system. All of these results can lead to decreased performance and more importantly, health. Not only are we training for events that require at lease a decent amount of endurance, but we are also training for life- the very definition of an endurance event. There are three things we can control that can ruin a race: improper fueling, a lack of hydration, and chronic overtraining. In the same way, proper fueling, adequate hydration, and appropriate rest or recovery can lead us to not only our best races, but also our best life. 
Here are 5 ways to improve your diet, fueling your bodies for health and performance. 
  1. Ditch the processed foods. The world of athletics is filled with processed foods. We tend to be surrounded with pastas, breads, granola bars, energy gels, and drink mixes. All these processed foods, though sometimes a necessary part of training, don’t provide much nourishment to our body. When choosing your carbohydrate sources, remember that real food is always better than supplements. The closer you can get to eating the food from the ground, the better it is for you. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great sources of carbohydrates that can provide not only the carbohydrates vital to our bodies, but also other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals important for our performance. image
  2. Increase your greens.  Your mom was right when she told you to eat your green vegetables. Fibrous, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, sprouts, and green beans contain ample amounts of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K, folate, iron, and calcium. These vitamins and minerals are essential to the health and performance of an athlete. For example, Vitamin A can help fight inflammation from training stress and also reduce your risk of skin damage and cancer from long hours in the sun. Vitamin C is beneficial for strengthening the immune system. The mineral iron is crucial to blood rich in hemoglobin, making it an effective transporter of oxygen and calcium is important to our bone strength and health.  As an added bonus, combine your leafy greens with an acidic food, such as tomatoes or citrus fruit, to help release more of the nutrients when you eat them. 
  3. Boost up the berries and cherries. Unfortunately, fruit contains a lot of sugar. And sugar is NOT the athlete’s friend. In fact, excess sugar consumption could be one of the worst things we can do for our health. The American Heart Association recommends 24-36 grams of sugar a day. That’s not very much – about 1.25 apples or 1.5 bananas. The solution to this fruity dilemma? Berries! Berries have much lower sugar amounts than most other fruits. They also boast a high content of antioxidants and fiber. Cherries are the exception to the rule. Though often included with berries, they have a much higher sugar content. However, they are listed here because tart cherry juice has been shown (in smaller research studies) to help reduce muscle damage, increase recovery from intense cardiovascular sporting activities, and help improve sleep quality. Try adding tart cherry juice to a protein shake post workout to help your body recover better when you don’t have time for a sit down meal.      image
  4. Healthy Fats. The endurance world is plagued with athletes concerned about weight. Carrying a few extra pounds of fat over a long race can bring extra wear and tear on the body. The good news? Fat doesn’t make you fat. That’s right! The nutrition gods are changing their tone. A fat deprived diet is horrible for athletes and non-athletes alike. Healthy fats help regulate our hormones, are essential for vitamin A,D,E, and K transport, help keep our brain and heart healthy, and help satiate our hunger. image
  5. Potatoes. Potatoes get a bad rap. Maybe because they are most commonly associated with french fries, potato chips, mashed potatoes, and scalloped potatoes. However, both sweet potatoes and white potatoes are starches that are very beneficial to the athlete’s body. White potatoes have almost double the amount of potassium that a banana has, making them an excellent source of real food nutrition on a long ride. Sweet potatoes have antioxidants and are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, making them a perfect pre or post workout fuel source. Just like with anything else, remember that the cooking and condiments are an important part as to the “health factor” of the potato. 
For Free: vitamin D
Here’s the good news, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on food to fuel your body. In fact, many times it’s as simple as eliminating the bad and swapping it out for better choices. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of local farmer’s markets with fresh fruits and produce. Watching for sales, deals, and buying in bulk can also cut down on a lot of the costs seemingly associated with buying healthy and nutritious food. And, unlike the bike shorts or helmet that will eventually wear out, think of the money spent on food as an investment in the quality of your health for the rest of your life. You are not depriving. You are nourishing, fueling that passion and energy from within you.

Putting Power in your Story

Changing your perspective to change your life.

Do you believe that EVERYTHING that happens in your life happens for a reason? Even what we see as bad? I do.

Here’s why.

In a month I am blessed to be going to China to present with Ken Weichertand Stephanie Weichert, which was one of my original goals when I began my journey in the fitness industry. But, I want you to look at the series of events that got me here…

In college, my focus area GPA of my studies was too low to continue in the education major and so I switched my major to Exercise Science and a minor in biology. (Which I considered a FAILURE and haven’t told many people… EVER.)

BUT because of this change, I started working with the football team where I met Shawn who I would eventually date 1 month before I moved home to NY to teach HS (my original dream job).

A week before I graduated, I applied to the local YMCA, believing that the job was outdated. Allison Raeh called me the next day asking when the earliest I could come interview was….

So, I went home, and discovered that I loved teaching and coaching fitness more than I loved teaching in a school setting. (good thing I switched my major!)

BUT, Shawn could only get job offers in Ohio, NOT New York. Bummer. I remember being VERY resistant to this one at first. Why should I have to leave all my friends?

So, I moved to the land of camo, zero starbucks, and stinkbugs.

Being in Ohio made me more central to travel locations and so I traveled to DC for IDEA PTI East and braved a BLIZZARD to stay to hear this SGT KEN guy on the very last day. And I really didn’t think much of it (quite possibly because I was TOASTED from the workout) other than wow, that man made me feel like I was the most important person he was going to talk to all day!

I got back to OH and felt the need for change- I was going to teach circuits for the National Guard and write a blog (HA!). That was my new life goal. But then I met Brian Anderson and his belief in me helped me grow to bigger things- and thus began the very early and VERY unexpected makings of my own fitness business.

Then, I drove to Atlanta for a weekend of training and this same SGT Ken was there and at the end of it, he asked me to come help him at the same DC conference in two weeks where he asked if I wanted him to be my mentor (YESSS!!!)

In a year that was supposed to be a quiet and easy year, I got pretty sick, had surgery, learned a lot about myself, started a course by Brené Brownand started the process of becoming a Holistic Health Coach…. In a year of sickness and slowing down- I took on more of a studying approach to my career, which truly, I HATED at the time.

I also started THRIVEfitt, LLC. And then life took a turn and I needed my own location. And it was ROUGH. Trust me. I almost quit several times. Maybe more than several. But the course work I had done in my sick time helped with my resiliency. BUT, I’ve been blessed with faithful clients and friends and a husband who said it would get better, just keep going. And in the mean time, if I failed, AT LEAST I TRIED.

And it did. It got better. And it didn’t fail, though I had some failures along the way.

With our grand opening of THRIVEfitt 2 weeks before, Operation GET THRIVE FITT happened and I got to be a Master Instructor for START fitness with Ken and Stephanie, which has led to a whole host of networking and opportunity.

… which led to China. And presenting in Canada at Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. (canfitpro) this August.

BUT, this all started with my apparent FAILURE- grades not quite high enough to say the course in the plan I had for my life.

You see, we can look at failure in many different ways. We can let it cripple us, hold us back, cause us to hide OR we can face it, learn from it and come back stronger and better. Life isn’t fair. I’ve seen it. And I don’t get it. But life isn’t easy. It’s the toughest arena you will ever be in- its cruel, evil, full of failures, disease, and hardships.

But, just as terrible as all that sounds, there is a side that is completely opposite. There is joy, reward, success, laughter, love, and peace. And that comes from within you. No one can take it from you or make that for you. That comes from within. And it’s a practice. I could have chosen different paths. I could have chosen misery while I was sick. I could have chosen to sit in my house and be angry about moving to Ohio. I could have transferred to another school and continued in my major. BUT without those trials, I wouldn’t know the joy I have today. And I might not be going to China. I might never have met the wonderful town of Marietta, OH. I might not have met the man I married.

I don’t know how my story would have gone, but I do know tonight, I’m thankful for my failures and hardships that led me to where I am today. <3


7 Tips for Success in 2017

How to reach your goals and stick with them this year.

If you are like me, you’ve probably set goals, reached them, and then quit them. 


I do it often. Like this blog. I’m going to be consistent. And I’m really good for a month. Then 3 months later, I haven’t written a post. Oye. 

I’ve got good reasons. I’ve got motivation. I’ve got good intentions. We all do. And yet, there is this cycle of set, achieve, break-down…. 

I’m with you people. 

I came up with 7 tips that I have found that have helped me start to break this pattern that I want to share with you so that you can have your most successful, best year yet in 2017. 


  1. Stop making excuses and apologizing. One of my favorite memories from high school comes from public speaking. We were in the middle of giving speeches when one of my classmates accidentally whacked the stand with his hand gesture. Immediately, he looked at the stand and said, “I’m sorry!” and continued on with his speech. At the end of his speech the teacher asked him why he apologized to the stand. He looked at her quizzically. She explained that he had apologized to the stand, instead of  moving on with his speech. We all laughed and I still find it a funny story. BUT SERIOUSLY. We do it all. the. time. We apologize when it’s not necessary and we make excuses. Not legitimate excuses. Just excuses. I’m too tired. Too busy. Too ______? Or my personal favorite…. “I couldn’t help it.”  When I stopped apologizing for nothing, stopped making excuses, and started owning everything that came out of my mouth and head, man, did I start to achieve.img_4604
  2. Stop trying to fix others. Work on YOU. This one is HARD. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable. Like running faster or lifting heavier weights. When you have to own YOUR actions… it’s open. honest. vulnerable. Let’s be real, no one want’s to admit they have faults to fix. But when we work on ourselves (because we have no control over others, just our reactions), we see great progress. When I have wanted to fix a relationship, I fixed me first. If I want to change my clients attitudes towards me, I fix my attitude towards myself first. It starts with ME. How will you work on you this year? 12321607_10208108963580297_4699332845072083586_n
  3. Set REALISTIC goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting a goal that isn’t achievable. I want to win the lottery, but I’m not going to play. It sounds funny, but c’mon, we do it all the time. I want to be __ size. I want to weigh __ but I want to be able to lift __ weight when I bench press. I want to swim every morning at 5 am but I want to get more sleep. Maybe this is the year you are headed on college visits and sports trips and not the year that you can train for a half marathon. THAT’S OKAY! Adjust your goals, maybe you can be really good at 5k races this year. Or maybe your goal needs to be just working out 5 times a week for 45 minutes. THAT’S OKAY. If you pick something realistic, you are more likely to stick with it and achieve your goal.
  4. … and list the “joys and sucks” of your goals. Which brings me to honesty in goal setting. :-) When we set goals, there will be joys in our goals and there will be “sucks” (for lack of a better term). If you want to lose weight to be healthier, joys are losing some weight, clothes fitting better, feeling better… and sucks are … well, it requires hard work. not eating that extra dessert. working out. saying no. dedication. Those are SUPER hard. Goals often have “yays” and “nays” that come with them. Be real about these before you decide on that goal. This will help you determine if you are even willing to try for this goal. Sometimes we have goals that we want before we realize what it is going to take. 
  5. Find someone to hold you accountable (someone who will tell you the truth!) Enough said. But let me caution you… a partner or family member may not be the best idea. (Ladies… who really wants your husband to say, “Man, babe, those pants are getting a littttttle tight in the tushy.”) For me, it means I have a professional to help me with my goals and my training buddies to keep my workouts honest. Family tends to make things sticky or offensive when it comes to truth. Find someone who can give you an honest kick in the pants and ask them to be your buddy. 
  6. Write them down. Research tells us that there is power in writing things down. Write down your goals. Post them where you can see them. Read them often. Adjust if needed. Make them pretty. Make them crafty. Have them pop up on your phone. Just write them down. Own them. Make them a piece of the history of you.img_4545
  7. Invest in yourself. I think this one is so important because I neglected it for so long. If you don’t know how to do something, pay someone to help you! Are you struggling with lifting, hire a trainer for a few sessions. Don’t know how to eat healthy? Get nutritional guidance. Struggling with relationships? Go to counseling. Can’t cook? Take a few lessons! It doesn’t have to be a crazy amount. But if it’s important to you, learn to do it CORRECTLY. Yes, there is joy in struggle and it definitely builds character. But what doesn’t work is being completely frustrated, or injuring yourself, or burning down your house. Be willing to invest in your goals and interests. It’s an important part of becoming the best version of you. 11008434_10206048930680762_6047084068857221625_n

I am confident that these tips will help you succeed in 2017. Do you have any other tips that you find helpful? I would love to hear them! Sharing makes us stronger :-) 

Blessings for an excellent, strong, and beautiful 2017. 



Resilience.... learning to grow through what you are going through.

“What you go through, you grow through.”


Resilience is:

  • the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

  • : the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc. (click here for definition)

I love this image. What can be pulled, stretched, bent, and crushed and then returned to its original shape? Only something with incredible resiliency. 

We take this for granted in life. Resiliency is limited to athletes and military personnel. We neglect to see its importance to our lives.

 But life can try to crush, bend, and break us. 

Cancer. Sickness. Death. Floods. Fires. Job loss. Fights. War. 

Our lives are filled with bad things. It is inevitable. Terrible things happen. 

Why do we neglect the importance of resiliency? It is paramount that we be able to become strong, healthy and successful after the bad things happen. That is a key part to our health and wellness. It is key to our thriving. 

Practice resiliency today. Practice with the little things: recovering from a botched meeting, a failed dinner plan, or spilled milk. Practicing resiliency with the little things allows our brain to practice responding in this way as the need for more resiliency increases. Integrating resiliency into your daily health routine is critical; it is an unmistakable component of our health. It will allow you to THRIVE. 


How will you practice resiliency today? 

Some of my favorite sources are:

Brene Brown 

SGT Ken’s course The Road to Resilience

Both of these are FANTASTIC resources that have changed my life. Check them out today… at the very least follow them on social media! 



From Darkness into Light

A journey from a dark past to a place of light, freedom, and health.

Hello everyone! I’m really excited to have my client Jess guest post for me today. Jess has an amazing story and I think that we can all learn from her journey and from her spirit. Over the past year of training, I’ve watched her grow and glow. I’ve admired her dedication and her holistic attitude. I’m honored that she is willing to share her story with us. Take it away Jess…..

I must admit when Amanda ask me to write this it struck fear in me.  First, how could I share a story that I’ve yet to fully accept as something I want public and second how will my story really help anyone.   But it might and that is enough for me.  

My story started a little over two years ago.  I was overweight, miserable, no self-esteem to speak of and hiding a secret that I was positive would ruin my life.  My marriage although a good one was having some ups and downs due to my low self-esteem and bad body image.  My husband told me either I get help or something would have to change.  I couldn’t tell him why I could never love the person I saw in the mirror.  I couldn’t own up to it myself and say the words out loud.  Instead I ate my every emotion, blamed being busy and tired on the reason why I just couldn’t lose the weight and why I hated the world.  I spent twenty years hating my body and always finding a reason to explain why I tried to lose the weight but never actually succeeded.  I needed help and I knew it. 


I sought out a therapist with no intentions of telling her the truth, this was simply to pacify my husband and keep my marriage together.  My second appointment I said the words out loud as my mind was screaming this is too much to hold any longer.  I said the words “I was raped”.  At 18 years old, I had something put in my drink, within minutes I was out and could not move my body.  I woke up to my boss at the time raping me.  I couldn’t move, I couldn’t do anything but wait for it to be done.  When I was able to leave I couldn’t believe that this kind of thing really happened and how stupid was I to allow it to happen to me.  No one would ever know…. This meant he got away with it, this meant that I now carry the burden of knowing that he did this to others because I couldn’t share what happened.  I can’t change that.  But saying those words out loud to another person meant it was time to heal.  The hard part was telling my family and husband. But again I found the strength and shared what I had convinced myself didn’t really bother me.  

  This started my journey to find my healthy and my happy.  I haven’t looked back.  I now know that you can’t get truly healthy until you fix the things that led you to eat your emotions to begin with.  I lost weight several times but always gained it back as I never fixed the root issue.  So my first step was to find a trainer.  I found Amanda.  She helped me change my entire outlook on food and my body.  I always wanted to be skinny but that is no more.  I want to be healthy, I want to feel strong and push my body to be better.  I don’t want to be defined by a number on the scale or the size of my clothes.  


So with the help of a therapist helping me to realize I was more than what happened to me and Amanda teaching me the ins and outs of nutrition and how to build muscle I have dropped four sizes and found my confidence.  Through trial and error, I have figured out what foods work for me and what doesn’t.  In the midst of all of this I found out my thyroid decided to get lazy and stop working correctly.  This made it twice as hard but didn’t stop me. Once I had seen how far I could push my body with a healthy lifestyle and exercise I refused to give up.  


Now instead of hiding behind baggy clothes, eating my emotions and self-sabotage I look forward to seeing how many pushups, sit ups and reps I can do!  I knew the day that I stood in the middle of a park for an E.V.E. program with a microphone in hand and read aloud my story of rape and how I found myself after twenty years of living in the dark to a group of family, friends and total strangers that I had learned how to live again.   Diet is no longer part of my vocabulary, it’s a healthy lifestyle and exercise is now something I look forward to doing.  I spent many years feeling weak and now as a woman about to turn 40 I feel amazing, strong and I know that I’m setting an example for my kids.  I was raped, I was at my lowest point ever and yet in turning to the help of others I found the strength I carried within me all along.  I wasted so many years fighting an internal battle with my own mind when all along I only needed to ask for help.  In doing so I figured out that when you start a journey you must clear the path of all roadblocks and this means figuring out the reason you turn to food and self-sabotage to begin with.  Once you clear that path you find that your body and mind are both strong enough to take you as far as you hope to go.  It took me twenty years to find my happy, healthy place but even though I took the long way around I wouldn’t change the lessons it taught me for anything.  I’m stronger for the road I traveled.    



Thank- you so much for being brave and sharing your story Jess. I am confident that someone reading this post needed to hear it. Thank you for being willing to be open and vulnerable. 


Editor’s note… If you have been or are currently being abused, please seek professional help. A personal trainer or wellness coach is NOT enough. We are trained to help assist you on your health journey and guide you through the exercise portion, but cannot and should not replace professional counseling. 

Learn more about a “burpee” and how to do hard, harder, and hardest versions … as well as my favorite burpee version 😉