The IronPlate Guide to Post-Natal Exercise


Congratulations! Your new baby is here! Take some time to enjoy it and get used to having a new member in your family. It’s quite an adjustment. Don’t be in a huge rush to “get your body back”. Contrary to social media and celebrity comebacks, getting back in shape in the real world takes time and patience. It took 9 months for your body to prepare for your new bundle of joy. Allow it some time to come back to you. It needs time to recover and retract back to its original (or close to its original-some things are just never the same!) placement. This process can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, sometimes longer. It’s important to keep in mind some things may never go back exactly how they were before and that every person’s experience and body is different. Some people may bounce back or feel up to working out sooner, others may need more time.   

  • Prior to beginning your exercise program again make sure you get the “OK” from your doctor.

  • Begin with walking

  • Post natal abdominal and pelvic floor exercises. You’re core and pelvic floor are going to be weakened since they’ve been stretched. You want to focus on strengthening them without stretching them further.

    • retrain breathing

    • focus on keeping core tight

    • do what you feel comfortable

  • Exercises that will help strengthen core and pelvic floor include:

    • Heel slides

    • Heel taps (Also known as knee folds)

    • Mini crunch

    • Superman’s

    • Squats

When you feel comfortable enough to begin a regular exercise program again, generally around 6-8 weeks for most, and after being cleared by your physician, start with a slow and low intensity. Gradually progress and build upon your intensity each week as you feel up to it. Workouts this early don’t always go as planned (welcome to parenthood!) so try to be flexible and creative in your workouts. If you train with us at IronPlate, or are considering a personal trainer during or after pregnancy, keep in mind you can bring your child to the studio with you. We are excellent baby whisperers. :-)

If getting out of the house is tricky, you can workout from home when you get a minute with IronPlate’s online personal training program. Your workouts will be laid out for you and monitored by one of our certified trainers, but you can complete it at a time that works for you. All at once, in sections, etc. OR workout from home and still get the benefits of working live with our certified personal trainers with FaceTime training.

If you want best of both, try Hybrid training. Meet with our personal trainers 1x per week in studio or on FaceTime and have the rest of your workouts for the week created and laid out for you to complete on your own time.

However you decide to restart your fitness journey, make sure you take things at a pace that is comfortable for you. Extreme dieting and over exercising will only make you more exhausted and unable to care for both yourself and your new child. Have patience and flexibility!

Fit Mama


The guidelines for exercising during and after pregnancy have changed quite a bit over time. We now know that working out during and after pregnancy is beneficial not only for you, but for your child as well. Studies have shown that children of women who workout during and after their pregnancy have lower (healthier) birth weights and decreased likelihood of obesity later in life. Working out and eating well after your child is born sets a great example to your children about what a healthy lifestyle looks like. So by working out before during and after pregnancy you are not only healthier, look and feel better, but you are stronger for both labor, delivery and after are of your child, and a great role model for promoting a healthy lifestyle for your family.

Many people think that workouts have to be cut way back once you find out that you are pregnant. This is not the case, especially if you have been working out all along. (Always check with your doctor prior to beginning or continuing an exercise program). If you haven’t been working out, it’s still not too late to get started. It’s no time to decide to run a marathon, but adding walking and some light resistance training and yoga to your routine can only help you both during and after your pregnancy. Somethings you may want to avoid, especially as you get into your second and third trimesters are:

  • Any activity that may increase your risk of falling

  • Contact sports (talk to your doctor- some will ok continuing contact sports for part of your pregnancy)

  • Higher impact activities that involve jumping and bouncing as they tend to put increased pressure on pelvic muscles and ligaments. Especially later in your pregnancy

  • Exercise in hot, humid weather

Our certified personal trainers at IronPlate Studios both in-studio and online are experienced in pre- and post-natal fitness to safely monitor and coach you through this exciting time in your life!

Working out by trimester

1st Trimester

There are no restrictions (unless otherwise stated by your doctor) to working out in your first trimester. You may however experience a number of symptoms including fatigue and nausea that may impede your ability and desire to workout. There is a significant amount of growth and development that happens during the first trimester, so the main thing we usually tell our clients is to listen to their bodies. If you need extra rest, take it. If you’re feeling up to your normal workout go for it.

A couple other things to keep in mind:

  • Your body starts to produce Relaxin which is a hormone that is released to prepare your body for childbirth. It loosens your ligaments and joints causing them to become more flexible which is great, but also can increase your chance for injury. It’s important to be careful not to over stretch and to use slow and controlled movements through your exercises. (As you should already be doing anyway :-p. )

  • Your center of gravity changes as your uterus begins to grow which can affect your balance.

  • Make sure you are eating enough healthy calories to meet your need for pregnancy as well as exercise. It is recommended without exercise to intake an extra 300 calories a day. With exercise that can increase to 500 calories per day. (Will vary on the duration and intensity)

2nd Trimester

Just a couple of limitations as you enter into your second trimester.

  • Any crunching and twisting abdominal exercises are no longer advised.

    • Exercises that are OK for abs:

      • Planks-front & side

      • Heel taps

      • Opposite arm/leg extension.

  • No laying flat on back with heavy weights.

    • You have a major vein called the vena cava that runs down the center of your body and laying flat on your back causes your uterus to put added pressure on the vein disrupting blood flow back to the heart.

      • Give that bench a slight incline

      • Things like hip bridges where you lay on your back are generally still ok as long as you feel comfortable.

  • No prone exercises

    • This may seem like common sense, but any exercises where you lie on your stomach should be avoided

  • Running and biking (stationary-not advised to road bike during pregnancy due to fall risk) may become more difficult as belly continues to grow.

    • Listen to body. Some people feel comfortable enough to continue running throughout their entire pregnancy. Others need to stop well before.

3rd Trimester

Same as 2nd trimester. Listen to body and do as much as you feel comfortable doing. You will probably find some movements becoming more difficult and the need to take things slower. Everyone is different at this point in their pregnancy so it’s important to again listen to your body and do what feels comfortable to you.

Some of the most beneficial exercises for pregnancy*:

  • Squats

  • Hip Bridges

  • Pelvic Tilts

  • Heel taps/heel slides

  • Planks

  • Side planks

  • Sumo squats

  • Side lunges

  • Back rows

  • Brisk walking

  • Prenatal yoga-modifications necessary to support growing belly and keep twisting motions open.

  • Alternating arm/leg raises

  • Swimming

*Stop exercise if any of the following occur*:

  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking fluid

  • Regular contractions

  • Dyspnea (Shortness of breath) before exercise

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Chest pain

  • Muscle weakness affecting balance

  • Calf pain or swelling

Relative Contraindications to exercise

  • Severe Anemia

  • Unevaluated maternal cardiac dysrhythmia

  • Chronic Bronchitis

  • Poorly controlled Type I diabetes

  • Extreme Morbid Obesity

  • Extreme Underweight

  • History of extremely sedentary lifestyle

  • Intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy

  • Poorly controlled hypertension

  • Orthopedic Limitations

  • Poorly controlled seizure disorder

  • Poorly controlled hyperthyroidism

  • Heavy smoker

Absolute Contraindications to exercise (No exercising)

  • Hemodynamically significant heart disease

  • Restrictive lung disease

  • Incompetent cervix/cerclage

  • Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor

  • Second/third trimester bleeding

  • Placenta previa after 26 wk of gestation

  • Premature rupture of membranes or labor

  • Preeclampsia/Pregnancy induced hypertension

  • Preeclampisa/Pregnancy-induced hypertension

(Source: ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription Ninth Edition Pg. 195 Box 8.1)

The IronPlate Guide to Fitness


May 4 is National Fitness day ( and while we’re a few days early, we think it’s a good time to talk about the concept of overall fitness. We all know fitness is important to our health and well-being. We know it is important for:

  • cardiovascular and respiratory health

  • bone health

  • reducing the risk of illness

  • improving quality of life

But do you know what your own personal fitness levels are? Or what intensity you should be working out at? Or how to improve your fitness level? Chances are if you see us at IronPlate, we take the guesswork out for you. If you are working out on your own, or are curious as to how fit you are compared to other people your age, read on!

What’s your fitness level?

There are many different ways you can test your fitness level and compare it to other people of the same age and gender. Here are a couple of simple, minimal equipment required ways you can assess yours.

** NOTE**

  • It is important to make sure you have been cleared by your physician to perform physical activity prior to attempting any of these fitness tests.

  • It is also important that you properly warm-up for 5-10 minutes prior to trying any of these fitness tests.

  • As with any exercise it is also recommended that you are not completely alone. Grab a partner or head to a gym with proper supervision.

12 Minute Run (Cooper Test- founded by Dr. Ken Cooper in 1968)

  • Used to determine aerobic fitness, it allows you to compare cardiovascular fitness with others of your same age and gender.

  • Usually done on a track, but can also be done on a treadmill if you set the incline to 1% so simulate outdoors.

    • Set the timer for 12 minutes and run as far as you can in that time period. (4 laps around the track=1 mile.)

    • to see how you compare to others in your demographic.

Resting HR

  • Take Heart rate in radial artery

    • With palm facing up, use pointer and middle fingers of opposite hand to trace thumb down into the wrist. Feel for first nook under wrist bone, press down lightly into that nook and you should feel a pulse

    • Take first thing when you walk up in the morning.

    • Count each beat for 1 minute.

  • The average resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute. (bpm)

  • Generally, the lower the resting heart rate, the better cardiovascular shape you are in. (Heart pumps more efficiently with each beat).

    • It’s not uncommon for a well trained athlete’s resting heart rate to fall somewhere between 40-60bpm.

Push Up Test

  • Set the Timer for 1 minute

  • Count how many reps you can do in that time frame. (Count only full down and up repetitions only!)

  • See chart below for how you compare.

Waist Circumference

  • Proven to be an indicator for obesity and risk of disease.

    • The higher your waist circumference, the higher your risk for heart disease and type II diabetes

  • To measure your waist circumference:

    • Stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hip bones.

    • Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

    • See chart for where you may fall.

3 min step test

  • Used to assess cardiovascular fitness level, by assessing your heart rate immediately post exercise activity.

  • Tools: Use a 12in. Step

  • This YouTube site: for a timer and metronome. (To make the test more standard, each person must step up, up, down, down to the same beat.)

  • Instructions:

    • Start timer and begin stepping up on the step in an up, up, down down pattern to the beat of the metronome in the video/timer.

    • Continue this pattern for 3 minutes. (Timer also on video)

    • At the end of the three minutes, immediately sit down and count your pulse for 1 minute. (Best to use wrist pulse over neck)

    • Compare results in the chart below

How to improve fitness level

You’ve tested your fitness level and you see where you compare, and now you want to improve it. How should you go about doing so?

If you don’t work with us already, contact our amazing trainers at IronPlate Studios and IronPlate Online who will be able to safely and appropriately progress you through your workouts both in studio and at home.

Workouts are commonly progressed using the FITT principle or:

F-Frequency (number of days)
I-Intensity ( speed, incline, resistance, weight, reps etc)

Generally speaking, when trying to improve your fitness level, you want to slowly increase one of the four above components at a time.

It’s recommended that you get an average of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 4+ days a week, but everyone’s starting point is different. If you are currently under those recommendations then increasing your frequency or time would be a good place to start. If you are meeting those requirements, then you will want to focus on increasing intensity or time.

Changing the type of exercise is going to be important for cross training, so your body doesn’t get too comfortable with one type of exercise. This is true for both cardio and weight training. It’s important to rotate the type of your workout (unless training for a specific event) every so often. For cardio, I like to recommend switching the type 1 day a week if possible. (For example if you use the treadmill 3 days a week, try treadmill 2 day days a week and the elliptical 1 day.) For weight training, it varies a bit more, but I tend to switch up weight training routines every 6-8 weeks to give your body time to progress through the workout. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to try a new workout class, exercise or routine more frequently. Again, it’s important to remember that everyone’s goals and body’s are different and that these are general guidelines. Everyone’s individual program may vary.

Am I working out hard enough?

How do you know if you’re working hard enough during your workouts? Rule number one, listen to your body! If you’re getting lightheaded, dizzy or nauseous at all during your workouts or you’re exhausted and overly sore, you need to ease way back. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re not even breaking a little bit of a sweat, you probably need to amp it up a bit!

The easiest measurable way to see how hard you’re working, is to use your age predicted target heart rate zone. (THR). For moderate physical activity, your heart rate should be 40-60%  of your age predicted maximum heart rate for a duration of 30 minutes. For vigorous exercise, your heart rate should be 60-85% of your age predicted maximum heart rate for a duration of  20-25 minutes.

The easiest way to figure out what your heart rate range is:

  • Take 220-age to get your estimated Max HR.  

  • Then you multiply your age predicted Max HR by each percent to get your HR zone

  • EX) 20 year old: 220-20=200 (Age predicted max)

    • Low Range 40% =200 x 0.4=80 / 60%= 200 x 0.6=120

    • High Range 60% =200 x 0.6=120 / 85%= 200 x 0.85=170

    • Moderate Range is 80-120 beats per minute

    • Vigorous Range 120-170 beats per minute

Hope you have fun trying some of these and seeing where you fall and how you can continuously improve!  Remember that these are just a small sample of tests used to assess fitness level and health risk. The only true way to assess your fitness and health is under the supervision and control of a lab or physician’s office. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or to start improving your fitness level today at

The IronPlate Guide to STRESS


Our lives have become so scheduled and chaotic that some amount of stress has become a new normal. Some stress is actually be good for us, as it:

  • enhances motivation;

  • forces people to problem solve which can create more overall confidence;

  • can strengthen bonds between people going through same or similar situations;

  • adds meaning and accomplishment when you complete something that is more difficult;

  • Physically stresses your body every time you work out, which is what makes your muscles and organs stronger.

However, prolonged stress can have detrimental effects on our body.

Some common physical effects of stress on your body include:

  • Headache

  • Muscle tension or pain

  • Chest pain

  • Fatigue

  • Change in sex drive

  • Upset stomach

  • Sleep problems

    • Mood

    • Anxiety

    • Restlessness

    • Lack of motivation or focus

    • Feeling overwhelmed

    • Irritability or anger

    • Sadness or depression

Prolonged stress also negatively impacts the systems of body:

Central Nervous System and Endocrine System

  • This system is in charge of our flight or fight response

  • The hypothalamus in brain tells adrenal glands to release stress hormones adrenaline & cortisol, which increases heart rate and sends blood rushing to areas that need it most.  (For example our muscles, heart, and other important organs.) When that fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. However, when stress is continued, that system doesn’t shut down and release and response continues.

  • Repeated high heart rate affects our blood pressure, and heart muscle.

Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems

  • Prolonged increase in heart rate and breathing rate to deliver oxygenated blood to body.

  • Prolonged constriction of blood vessels leads to an increase in blood pressure which over time increases risk for stroke and heart attack.

Digestive system

  • Under stress, our liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to boost energy. Chronic over production increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

  • Hormones released also upset digestive system, increasing stomach acid which can lead to heartburn and even ulcers.  

  • Stress can affect way food moves through the body causing diarrhea or constipation.

Muscular system

  • Our muscles become tense during stress. (Tight neck and shoulders anyone?)

  • Prolonged periods without these muscles relaxing can cause headaches, back and shoulder pain and even some muscle imbalances.

Sexuality & reproductive system

  • Short term stress can cause men to produce more testosterone, however this effect doesn’t last.

  • With prolonged stress, testosterone levels drop and interfere with sperm production, causing erectile dysfunction or impotence.  Stress can also lead to infection of male reproductive organs.

  • For women, stress can affect their menstrual cycle causing it to become irregular, heavier, and or more painful.  It can also magnify the physical symptoms of menopause.

Immune System

  • Stress stimulates our immune system, which in the short term is great! Over time, however, the immune system becomes weak & reduces body’s responsiveness to foreign invaders increasing risk for illness and infection.

  • When you do become ill or injured, the time it takes to recover Increases because your system is too weak to fight the infection.                              

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? The majority of us have probably experienced one or more of these a some point or another. Since we want to do our best to take care of our body, here are some ways we can help manage the stress in our lives:

  • Physical Activity: Produces endorphins which are our feel good hormones. It also acts as active meditation to distract your mind from your stressors and focus on the movement of your body.  

  • Meditation/yoga: Offers you some time to re-center and reflect without distractions giving your body a break from the stresses in our lives and allowing our systems to relax. Yoga also produces those feel good endorphins.

  • Hobbies: Gives us a distraction from what may be bothering us or from the responsibilities we are overwhelmed with.  Without realizing it, when we start to enjoy ourselves, our body’s naturally relax giving our systems as much needed break.

  • Socializing with family and friends: Gives us a chance to talk about what may be bothering us, or again offering distraction and naturally letting us relax in a comfortable environment.

  • Take time for you! Do something that you enjoy just for yourself.


The IronPlate Guide to Health


Merriam-Webster dictionary defines health as “a condition of being in sound body, mind or spirit.” Since April 7th was World Health Day, we challenge you to take a look into all aspects of your life and see if you are truly practicing good health for yourself.

While our main focus at IronPlate Studios is your fitness and nutrition, we believe that in order to make permanent positive changes in your life, there should be a positive balance in all areas of our lives. We believe the components of your overall health are linked and impact each other.

Depending on where you look, there are anywhere from 4 to 11 dimensions or pillars of wellness. I chose to focus on 7 I believe are important in achieving overall health and wellness.

Dimensions of wellness:

  1. Social Wellness: The people you surround yourself with impact your attitude and outlook on your life. It’s important to establish and maintain positive relationships with family friends, co-workers. If there are negative relationships in your life it’s important to take a look and evaluate what purpose these people serve in your life. (Easier said than done!)

  2. Emotional Wellness: Many times we react a certain way due to other people’s or society’s expectations of how we should react or feel. It’s important to understand ourselves, acknowledge our feelings no matter what they are and cope in a positive way with life’s challenges. Make sure you seek help if you are struggling with making peace in any areas of your life.

  3. Spiritual Wellness: Establish peace and harmony in our lives. No matter what you believe, it’s important to give yourself time to sit in the quiet and reflect. Get in touch with your feelings and listen to what your mind and body are telling you. You can do yoga, pray, meditate, read, take a bath, spend time in nature-whatever it is, it’s important to recharge with some quality YOU time where you can get in touch with YOU.

  4. Environmental Wellness: Make positive impact on quality of environment. This includes your indoor and outdoor environment. The latest craze is “Kondo-ing” where Marie Kondo teaches you how to rid your environment of clutter and unnecessary things in our lives to make your home a place you can enjoy and relax. Spring is here, so what better time to purge and spring clean than now! It feels so good! It’s also important to keep the areas you spend outdoors clean and a space you and others can continue to enjoy.

  5. Occupational Wellness: Fulfillment out of careers while still maintaining balance in our lives. How many of us can say we’re 100% happy with the careers we’ve chosen? Take some time to reflect on what would make you happy in a career. What steps would need to be taken to make those changes happen?

  6. Intellectual Wellness: Keep our minds open to new ideas and always have a desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek new challenges. Often times we get comfortable in a role or our daily lives and it can get mundane and boring. If you look for new ways to challenge yourself and learn you can not only improve your intellect, but your relationships with others, advancement in a career or hobby, etc.

  7. Physical Wellness: Maintaining our health. We have to recognize how our behaviors impact our wellbeing. The foods we eat, the activity we do all has a reaction. It’s up to us to realize if we want to turn that into a positive or a negative reaction. Simple things like routine check ups, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting proper sleep can lead us to positive physical wellness.

Achieving overall health and wellness is a constant challenge and balancing act as things in our lives are always changing. But it’s necessary to be mindful of all the areas in our lives and what can happen if any of them are off balance. Take the time to get to know and be comfortable with YOU. In the words of my high school gym teacher, “you are in control of your own destiny.”  The work and effort you put in to yourself will be reflected in your overall wellness.


The IronPlate Guide to Walking


The weather is finally warming up and today is National Walking Day.  (The American Heart Association sponsors this day to remind people about the health benefits of taking a walk.) What better way to celebrate than by getting outside, breathing some fresh air and taking a walk? Walking is often overlooked as an option for cardiovascular exercise, however, if done correctly, walking can provide a number of health benefits. Not to mention it’s generally easier on our joints and it’s free!

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends the average person gets “30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week.”  

Moderate physical activity can be defined as brisk walking where you are still able to carry a conversation.  Your heart rate should be somewhere between 50-70% of your max predicted heart rate. And you should accumulate 150-300 min of activity per week. (30-60min 5 days/week)

Vigorous activity requires a lot more energy to complete. You should only be able to talk in short phrases and your heart rate range should be somewhere between 70-85% of max predicted heart rate. Vigorous physical activity should accumulate 75-150 min of activity per week. (20-30min 3-4days/ week)

Multiple 10 minute exercise bursts (of moderate to vigorous intensity) spread out throughout the day has also been proven to be just as effective as a continuous 20-60 minutes of exercise. So if you can’t find a chunk of time to string together, try two to three 10 minute sessions throughout the day. (I.e. before your shower, lunchtime and before bed)

Benefits of 30-60 minutes /day walk:

  • Lower blood pressure and strengthened heart

  • Decrease in loss of bone mass

  • Increased longevity

  • Improved mood from released endorphins

  • Weight loss (if accompanying diet is healthy)

  • Improved immune function-decreased chance of getting sick, and if you do get sick, symptoms are generally more mild and shorter in duration.

  • Improved sleep

  • Increased endurance

  • Slowing in mental decline/Alzheimer’s risk

  • Eased joint pain -walking protects joints and lubricates and strengthens muscles supporting them.

So if running or jumping on a stationary machine isn’t your thing, give walking a try.  Grab a friend to chat with or your dog and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air!


The History of Women in Fitness


Women have come a long way in a short amount time in many areas. One area in particular is the fitness industry. Men have been encouraged to be physically fit since the beginning of mankind in order to hunt, prepare for battle, competitions etc., while women were encouraged to be dainty, lady-like and were considered  to be “weak, frail and vulnerable.” It wasn’t until recent decades that women were encouraged to participate in some type of physical activity.

In the 1960s, women were told their bodies couldn’t “handle” exercise. Rumors even went as far as saying exercise would make women barren, turn them into a lesbian or make it impossible for them to find a husband. (WHAT?!) By the 1970-80s, women were finally encouraged to do enough exercise so they would be long and lean, but not too much so they would be muscular.  

It wasn’t until the 1990s when muscles on women started to become socially acceptable.

Now here we are in 2019 and so much has changed. We’ve seen a shift from the desire to be “skinny” to healthy, fit and strong and this seems to be translating to other aspects of our lives as well. Girl Power!  Since March is Women’s History Month, and IronPlate Studios is a woman-owned and operated small business, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the evolution of women’s fitness over the last 120 years.

The beginning of “physical fitness” for women began in the 1900’s with stretching (while wearing long skirts!). Rowers and stationary bikes were introduced between 1910-1920, but were considered a big luxury.

In 1920, a device called the Vibro-slim was introduced to “shake the weight off”.

1940’s: Body weight exercises were introduced

1950-1960’s: Hula Hoop & Twisting and ”Trim Twist” were popular.  “Twisting away your love handles”

1970s-1980s: Aerobics, Jazzercise, leotards, leg warmers, headbands, Jack LaLanne, Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda become popular. Richard Simmons was among the first to bring attention to weight loss, diets, and obesity.  He commonly spoke about how nutrition and exercise go hand in hand.

At this time there also was an underbelly of the fitness scene which included Pro Bodybuilding competitions and competitors like Bill Pearl, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu and Lou Ferrigno which were inspiring women to lift.  Such ladies included Rachel McLish (the first Ms. Olympia bodybuilder which was held in 1980), as well as others such as Bev Francis, Carla Dunlap and Cory Everson. These women set a precedent and a new “look” that other women started taking notice of.  Women’s Bodybuilding became a sport within the governing committees such as the NPC and IFBB and throughout the decades more women began to compete in "fitness" and other divisions started to emerge.

1990s: Cardio-inspired training continued to evolve including Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo and other aerobic-style classes, but at the same time, other competitive divisions were created for women including Women’s Fitness (which is physique judged but combined with an athletic routine that included dance, gymnastics and strength) and athletes such as Mia Finnegan, Monica Brant and Saryn Muldrow entered the scene continuing to be an inspiration to women everywhere.

2000: Latin dance inspired Zumba becomes popular and women's weight lifting becomes Olympic sport for first! Clearly women with a more muscular and strong physique was becoming more mainstream and widely accepted. Around this time because Women's Fitness was so popular, the NPC and IFBB developed the Bikini division to make the competitive arena more attainable for more women. No routine was needed nor was a gymnastics background. In 2010 Sonia Gonzalez won the first ever Ms Bikini Olympia.

Present day: In this time there is a noticeable shift from skinny to strong and athletic. Women with muscles and curves is now considered attractive and is what most women are looking for. We are living in an era where just as many women are lifting weights and working out as men. CrossFits are filled with women and the competitive arenas of fitness are filled with women too. It is exciting to see what the future holds and what else is out there for women to accomplish in the amazing sport of fitness!

The IronPlate Guide to Water


Happy World Water Day!  We want to celebrate with you by talking about the importance of water to our bodies. Our body is made up of 45%-70% water. Without adequate hydration, we can feel sluggish, experience muscle cramps, have dry skin, headaches, nausea, and dry mouth, eyes and nose. Without any hydration we can only survive about 3 days. (Without food we can live up to 3 weeks!)

Hydration is important for:

  • Maintaining the body’s fluid balance for

    • Digestion

    • Absorption

    • Circulation

    • Creation of Saliva

    • Transportation of Nutrients

    • Maintenance of body temperature

  • Calorie Control

    • Drinking a cold glass of water before meals helps curb appetite

    • Drinking water over other high calorie beverages reduces calorie intake

  • Energizes Muscles

    • Helps balance electrolytes

  • Keeps skin looking healthy

    • Decreases dry skin and wrinkles

  • Helps kidneys filter waste

  • Maintains normal bowel function

Fluids are lost daily through urine and stool, skin evaporation and breathing.  We must replenish the fluids lost in order to maintain proper function. Sweat with exercise, extreme heat, or higher altitudes can increase our fluid intake requirements.  Thirst is the first sign your body is beginning to become dehydrated.

Tips for increasing your water intake:

  • Begin every morning with a glass of water

  • Keep a large water bottle with you at your desk

  • Bring water with you when you run errands or are out and aobut

  • Have a glass of water with every meal

  • Flavor your water with fruit or vegetables (lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, etc)

  • Try seltzer water if you crave carbonation

  • With Exercise

    • 2hrs prior to exercise consume 1 pint (2 cups)

    • During exercise: 6-8oz. For every 20 min.

    • Post exercise: for each pound lost during exercise, replace with 1 pint of water

      • To assess this, weigh yourself prior to your workout, and then again after.  If you’ve had any weight loss in this time frame, it is water weight and should be replaced.

IronPlate's Truth Series: Dietary Fats


It was a common thought that if you ate fat, you got fat. But the facts about dietary fats have become clearer and the differences between "good fats" versus "bad fats" much less of a mystery. Here's what you need to know about the third misunderstood macronutrient: dietary fats.  

For all intents and purposes, dietary fats are broken down into "good fats" and "bad fats" with the body requiring little to none of the bad fat. Good fats are referred to as unsaturated fat (liquid at room temperature such as olive oil, canola oil and flax oil) versus bad fats which are referred to as saturated fats (solid at room temperature such as butter and margarine). What the human body does with each type of fat is very different and the implications on weight loss and health significantly different as well.  


Types of Unsaturated Fats (mono-, poly- and omega-3)

  • olive oil

  • flax oil

  • flax seeds

  • nuts

  • salmon

  • sardines

Types of Saturated Fats (incl. trans-fats)

  • fats found in red meat

  • full-fat dairy products

  • cheese

  • butter

  • margarine

  • shortening 

So how is it some fat is beneficial to our health and some fat is harmful? Saturated fats basically serve no purpose to our health whatsoever and in fact, are able to alter HDL and LDL levels (not to our benefit) as well as Triglyceride levels thus putting one at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. They provide unnecessary empty calories to the body and provide zero nutritional value. Unsaturated fats provide the same calorie value (9 calories/gram) but have the opposite effect and alter the human lipid profile to our advantage putting us at decreased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes. There are also some characteristics of these healthy fats that actually aid in metabolism and are beneficial to the metabolism of unwanted body fat.  So this disproves the myth that if you eat fat, you get fat.  

Recent recommendations have been made to decrease the amount of total calories to less than 10% for saturated fat in the diet.  So if you're on a 1500 calorie/day diet, this is less than 150 calories daily (16g daily) which is about the equivalent of 1 tbsp of butter.  The remainder of your daily fat intake should come from foods rich in healthy fats.  

But beware! If you're looking to lose weight, too much of a good thing might derail goals and surpassing the recommended amounts of healthy fats can prevent weight loss. If weight loss is the goal, make sure to make a solid plan with portions and grams accounted for so as to not over-consume too much of the good foods, track your intake, measure foods out if you're unsure and stay consistent.  

The Importance of Sleep


Who doesn’t LOVE sleep?! Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t seem to get enough of it for varying reasons and it could be hurting our health. It’s recommended that the average adult gets somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, however,  ⅓ of us average less than 6.5 hours per night. Trying to fit everything we need to get done into 24 hours can be tough and leave us feeling groggy, stressed, and actually more unproductive.

Fun fact: Guinness Book of World Records says the longest a person went without sleep was 11 days and 25 minutes. And you thought you were tired!

Although scientists aren’t sure exactly why we sleep, they have discovered that it is important for:

  • Restoration

  • Controlling body temperature

  • Controlling metabolism

  • Immune function

  • Keeping heart and blood vessels healthy

  • Tissue repair and growth

  • Regulating appetite and weight

  • Reducing stress

  • Improving Memory

Lack of sleep causes:

  • Decreased alertness

  • Impaired memory

  • Increased risk for car accidents

  • Increased stress

  • Prolonged lack of sleep: increases blood pressure, increases risk of heart attack and stroke, depression, obesity

There is good news though! A short midday nap (think 10-20 minutes) can provide major benefits to our health and wellness and even help us catch up on some of those zzz’s we may be missing. Short naps have been shown to:  

  • improve memory

  • Improve cognitive function

  • Improve mood

  • Promote relaxation

  • Alertness

  • Improve productivity

Many companies such as Google, NASA, Ben & Jerry’s, Uber, Zappos and Nike all promote and provide an area to rest and nap on the job. They’ve realized that their employees’ alertness, productivity and mood are improved when they practice a more preventative approach to health. (Rumor has it even IronPlate Studios has a place to nap :-p) Here’s to hoping more companies follow suit!

Monday, March 11th, is National Napping Day and we encourage you to take advantage for your health! Find a quiet place in the office or hide under your desk and take a 10-20 minute power nap. You can tell your boss we made you do it!


The IronPlate Guide to Your Heart


Heart disease is still the number one killer for men and women in the US. Luckily, it can mostly be prevented. Our heart is one of the most vital organs in our bodies, it acts as a pump to deliver freshly oxygenated blood to our other organs and muscles. “Did you know that the heart beats approximately 100,000 times a day, over 36 million times in one year and about 2.9 billion times in the lifetime of someone who lives to be 80?” (Exercise physiology for health care professional pg 216) That’s a lot of work for one organ!  Which is why it is vital that we do everything we can to make sure it pumps as efficiently as possible.

So what are some of the factors we can control to help prevent heart disease and improve our overall heart health?

Diet: Diets high in processed foods have high sodium and sugar levels, and low nutrient content.  These cause high blood pressure, increased harmful fats in the bloodstream, high cholesterol and obesity.  Keeping our nutrition to unprocessed whole foods including lean protein, lots of vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats can keep our blood pressure and cholesterol at a healthy level. (for the majority of people)

Smoking: Contributes to high blood pressure (hypertension) and injury to the vascular wall of the heart. These injuries create an area for plaque to build up narrowing and hardening the walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which further contributes to hypertension.  Smoking can also cause diseases in the lungs and over time lead to decrease oxygen levels which overloads the heart causing heart failure.

High blood pressure: Our blood pressure reading is expressed in two numbers, usually something like 120/70 (the ideal blood pressure).  The top number is our Systolic Pressure (or peak pressure during the pumping phase) and the bottom number is our Diastolic Pressure (pressure measured during the heart filling-or relaxed stage).  If these numbers are high, we are diagnosed with high blood pressure. This is a problem because the heart muscle has to continually work against that higher resistance which, over time, stresses our heart muscle. The muscle of the heart wall hypertrophies (gets bigger) and the chamber of the heart (left ventricle) gets smaller and more stiff, so the muscle cannot relax enough during the filling stage.  These changes in the heart muscles makes our hearts less efficient at ejecting blood to the rest of our body.

Lack of exercise: Sedentary behavior has recently been labeled the “new smoking”.  Studies have shown that not engaging in physical activity can be worse of your body than smoking.  It is recommended that individuals get 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity 5 days/week.  This includes a mix of both resistance and cardiovascular training.

  • Benefits of heavy resistance training:  Resistance training requires heart to contract more forcefully with each beat which, over time, increases the thickness of the heart wall, but the difference between increasing heart wall size with exercise vs high blood pressure, is the size and elasticity of the left ventricular chamber does not change at all. The elasticity remains the same or even slightly better and the wall of the heart muscle is stronger making the output to the rest of the body more voluminous and efficient.  (your heart doesn’t have to work as hard during normal activity)

  • With aerobic training. There is a large increase in stroke volume (amount of blood ejected) out of Left ventricular chamber to the rest of the body.

The combination of both aerobic and resistance training makes heart stronger and more efficient.

High cholesterol:  Cholesterol is broken into:

HDL (Good cholesterol- may play a role in protecting against heart disease) and

LDL and VLDL (bad cholesterol-contributes to development of atherosclerosis.)

A poor ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol can lead to inflammation of the arteries and cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries of our heart and other areas in our body.

Diet and aerobic exercise have been proven to increase HDL’s anti-inflammatory properties. (

Diabetes: Over time, diabetes leads to increased atherosclerosis, diabetes related hypertension,  increased VLDL and decreased HDL in bloodstream, and obesity.

Other risk factors you should be aware of, but can’t be controlled are:

Family History

Age: Risk increases with age

Gender: ”Men generally face a much higher risk of heart disease than women. They also tend to suffer heart attacks earlier in life. After women reach menopause however, they are just as likely to have heart attacks as their male counterparts of equal age; they are also more likely to die from such cardiac complications than the latter.” -

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of heart disease and to seek immediate medical attention should you or a family member experience any of them.  It is also important to know that women’s symptoms can oftentimes present differently than men’s symptoms so there are two lists below.

Signs & symptoms of heart disease

Signs in women

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

With or without chest discomfort.

May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Learn more about heart attack symptoms

The IronPlate Guide to Self Love


February is the month of love. There’s even a well-known special day set aside for us to show our loved ones how much we care about them, but there’s someone else you should “show the love” to this month (and every other month): YOURSELF!

At IronPlate studios, one of our mottos is helping you “become the best version of you there is.” This doesn’t just mean helping you with physical changes to your body: it means helping you from the inside out so you can be happy with your body, mind and spirit to give you the confidence and the drive to accept, face and overcome new challenges. All too often, we focus on our flaws and the things we want to change about ourselves. We overcommit to social engagements and put in long hours at work or at home caring for loved ones. While this can sometimes be beneficial in helping us develop and grow, it can also lead to health problems such as fatigue, anxiety and illness. Even if we want to, we can’t fully give our love and respect to our family, friends, jobs, etc. unless we love and respect ourselves. Those that take time for themselves have a better sense of well-being, confidence and even overall health.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
– Buddha

Make sure to set aside some time… just for you.

Make sure to set aside some time… just for you.

Learning to love yourself:

  1. Acknowledge your strengths.
    - What are you good at?
    - What are some things you like about yourself?
    - While it’s important to be aware of our weaknesses in order to grow, we often dwell on them and forget what makes us great!

  2. Change the way you talk/about yourself.
    - If you’re constantly making negative comments about yourself or your appearance, soon you’ll start to believe only the negative.

  3. Try Journaling.
    - Write your own freestyle or look for one already written with prompting questions.
    - Try answering three questions a day with this worksheet:

  4. Accept compliments.
    When was the last time you actually accepted a compliment with gratitude instead of coming back with a comment of denial, self-insult, devaluing, looking for more reassurance or transferring the credit to someone else?

  5. Set aside some time — no matter how short — for just you.
    - Exercise session, yoga, meditation, catch up on your favorite book or show, meet up with friends, etc.

  6. Appreciate the little things.
    We often get so busy we forget to embrace and cherish the small things that happen to us each day. Take a couple minutes at the end of each day (could be right before you go to sleep or while you’re in the shower, etc) and reflect on the little things that made you happy that day.

  7. Pamper yourself
    Enjoy a massage, mani/pedi, a night out with loved ones, some time alone.

Including daily self love and positivity helps us feel confident, refreshed, rejuvenated and able to fully share our love and attention with the ones we care about both on Valentine’s day and every other day of the year.

The IronPlate Guide to Meal Prep


Meal prep can seem daunting to people just starting on their wellness journey.  When we hear the word “meal prep” our minds immediately visualize a single day spent cooking all of the meals for the week and dividing it into a bunch of containers with perfectly portioned food.  While this can be beneficial and maybe ideal for some people, for other others it may seem more like a serious time commitment rather than saver. Meal prep doesn’t necessarily mean you spend one day a week in the kitchen and the rest of the week reheating your meals.  If that works best for you great! If not, a little forethought and planning can go a long way in helping you prepare your meals each day.

I like to think of meal prepping the same way you would think about preparing for a meeting or presentation.  You wouldn’t give your boss or colleagues an important presentation you hadn’t prepared for. Instead, you would:

  1. Create a plan

  2. Gather all the facts and data necessary to make your points

  3. Organize them into a thoughtful order, and

  4. Practice what you are going to say.  

The same holds true for meal preparation.  Most of us go to the grocery store with at least some idea of what we need to buy for the week, especially if we are feeding more than ourselves.  The more we plan out the easier the rest of the week will be. If you’re just starting out with meal prepping, pick the meal that gives you the most trouble.  Breakfast? Your on the go snacks? Dinner? Pick one or two of these to focus on first and, as you get more comfortable you can plan more.

Steps to Meal Prepping:


Step 1: Plan: Take a calendar, a sheet of paper, or your phone and write out what recipes you plan to eat for the week or even the month. (Keep the easiest meals or meals you can do the most prep work for on days you’ll be the busiest)

Step 2: Gather: Create a grocery list for the week and stick to it.  

(if the “bad aisles” are too tempting for you, try ordering only what you need online so you can avoid seeing the temptations-also a time saver! )

Step 3: Organize: Take a look at your calendar for the week.  If there are any days that will be particularly busy, try to prepare the meal as much as possible ahead of time.

  • Choose a crockpot meal that can be ready when you get home

  • Pre-measure out all your ingredients so they’re ready to be poured in

  • Wash and chop veggies so they can just be pulled out

  • Marinate your protein prior to freezing it

  • Pre-portion your on the go snacks

  • Pre-slice protein for specific recipe before putting in the fridge or freezer.  

  • When making things like quinoa for a meal, you can make extra and freeze into convenient portions for a later meal

  • Leftovers are your friend!  Cook more than you need to take leftovers for lunch the next day or set aside as a freezer meal you can pull out when your in a pinch.

Step 4: Allow for some flexibility.  You can only prepare so much before life happens.  Use the tools at your disposal to make the best of the situation handed to you.

Step 5: Practice: If you’re not used to planning out your meals and are more of a fly by the seat of your pants type of person, this is going to take some getting used to.  It will get easier the more you do it and maybe even make you more adventurous to try new meals!

As with most things, the more you can plan and prepare, the easier your week will go and the more successful you’ll be on your journey!  Reach out to your trainers at IronPlate to help get you started!

Healthy Superbowl Snacks

Your healthy habits don’t have to stop just because you’re attending a Superbowl party. You can still treat your tastebuds while staying on track and enjoying the game (or commercials). Here are some of IronPlate’s favorite options:

Buffalo Cauliflower
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Servings: 8


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1t garlic powder
1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-1/2” florets (organic!)
1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce (feel free to sub with Sriracha)
1T extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray aluminum-coated baking sheet with oil.

  2. Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.

  3. Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 25 minutes or until starting to brown. While the cauliflower is baking, whisk together the hot sauce and olive oil in a small bowl.

  4. Remove cauliflower from oven, put in a bowl and mix together with hot sauce. Serve hot with celery and no-fat blue cheese dressing. Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 2-3 hours | Servings: 6-8


2 pounds lean, grass-fed ground beef
2 eggs
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups pasta sauce (preferably homemade, but we like Victoria’s marinara, which has no sugar added)


  1. In a large bowl combine the egg, oregano, onion, garlic, salt and pepper to the ground beef. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands to combine.

  2. Form this mixture into meatballs about 1" in diameter and set aside.

  3. Pour two cups of pasta sauce into your slow cooker. Add meatballs on top of sauce and cover with remaining sauce. Cook on high for 2-3 hours, until meatballs are firm. Enjoy!

Boss tip: For even better texture, you can brown the meatballs in olive oil before adding to the slow cooker


Chunky Chili


1 lb 90% lean ground beef (ground turkey works well too)
1 medium onion chopped (I usually use half onion)
2 cans (14 ½ oz. each) diced tomatoes undrained (I personally like the ones with green chilies for extra spice)
1 can kidney beans
1 can northern white beans
1 can chickpeas
½ cup salsa
1T chili powder
1 ½ tsp ground cumin

Optional to taste:

1 jalapeño, minced, with seeds
Ghost pepper salt (pinch)
Pepper and crushed red pepper to taste


  1. Cook beef and onion in a large skillet at medium-high heat until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain and discard fat

  2. Add all ingredients to the crock pot (I drain and rinse all my beans prior to putting them in).  

  3. Cook on low for 5-6hrs.




2 ripe avocados
1/4 onion finely chopped
1 jalapeno finely chopped (optional)
1 bunch Chopped Cilantro
1-2 teaspoons of lime juice
salt to taste
1-2 tomato finely chopped


  1. Peel the avocado and remove the core.

  2. Mash the avocado in a molcajete until it reaches your desired consistency.

  3. Add the onion, jalapeno, cilantro and tomato and mix well.

  4. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

*Eat with your favorite vegetables instead of chips

IronPlate's Truth Series: Carbohydrates

Some people say they’re “addicted to carbs,” while others profess to “not eat carbs after 6pm.” But what are carbohydrates and why are they such a constant source of debate and argument?

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients and are the sugars found in starches, dairy, fruit and grains. They are made of of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen and are the body’s preferred source of energy (stored carbs are referred to as glycogen). Where they become tricky is that there are many different types of carbs and how they respond in the body varies depending upon the type.  

Generally speaking, carbs are classified into either simple or complex carbohydrates. Simple carbs are either mono- or disaccharides (one or two molecules of sugar) versus complex long chain carbs which are three or more.  Examples of each are listed below:

Simple Carbs
Sugars found in candy, baked goods and syrup

Complex Carbs

Understanding carbs is also about understanding how they are absorbed and how much the body can hold. Simple carbs are absorbed more rapidly than complex, which in turn, spikes insulin levels. Generally speaking, this is undesirable when looking to lose weight as insulin also promotes the storage of those carbs, and if that fuel tank of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) is full, it can be metabolized into fat. You see, the human body can only store a finite amount of glycogen at any given time, and any spillover essentially gets turned to fat. And as we all know, the fat fuel tank is infinite.  

All carbs are not bad, but understanding which ones might be better at certain times and understanding portion sizes play a huge role is the key to conquering the carb phobia and making them work for you.  Carbs can be helpful in order to fuel workouts and for satiety, but too much of a good thing is not helpful.  They also can be useful in acting as a glycemic shuttle for amino acids during the anabolic window (2 hour post-strength bouts) which helps to replenish muscle tissue of glycogen and amino acids for reparation. This helps in the whole quest to increase muscularity and tone.  

Some tips to ensure you’re getting the right types of carbs and proper timing of carbs are as follows:

  • Pair your carbs with a protein - it will slow down the glycemic response.  

  • Be mindful of portion sizes of your complex carbs. Fill up on fibrous veggies instead at most meals. 

  • Save a high glycemic carb (like a banana) for post-workout along with a protein. It will help drive those amino acids from the protein to muscle cells for quicker, more optimal repair and replenishment.  

  • Don’t fear carbs - they can aid and be worked in to any weight loss regimen. They do not need to be avoided.

  • They are not addictive - don’t sweat that you might need carb rehab.  

  • For most meals, stick to low glycemic, unrefined complex carbohydrates like brown rice, oats, yams and quinoa.  

  • Give up any refined carbs like sugar, soda, baked goods and candy. They serve no purpose.  

To reiterate, carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, along with protein and dietary fats, that are necessary in order to maintain ideal function in the human body. They can aid in any strength and/or weight loss program and can, in fact, be beneficial. Giving up carbs forever is not realistic, so don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, learn about them, understand the differences and what they do in the body and use then to your advantage.   

Stay tuned for Truth Series: Dietary Fats coming up on our blog.  And always!  Email us at with any questions.

On Track Through The Holidays


So we made it through Thanksgiving relatively unscathed. (Or maybe you didn’t… don’t beat yourself up; get back up!) Just when we think we’re safe and getting back into our routine, the holiday invites start rolling in. Parties here, family gatherings there, co-workers bringing in tasty treats. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and fall back into that all or nothing mentality, but it’s important to remember you have a strong support system here at IronPlate and are capable of enjoying your holidays while sticking to (or close to) your healthy  routine.

Let’s focus on adjusting your routine and mentally preparing for the holiday season.

Redefine your workout

Perhaps you normally have an hr to devote to your workout, but now you’re wondering when you will sleep let alone workout. We get it. There’s shopping and preparing to be done and events to attend, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Just because you can’t commit to the full hour now doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You can cut the length of your workouts by increasing your intensity. Try a 15 minute workout before you jump in the shower for the day. Take 15 min on your lunch break and get the blood moving. Keep an eye out on our Instagram and FaceBook pages for some quick workouts to get you through the holidays.

Exercise early

You may not be a morning person but for a short time you can do anything!  Just knowing you don’t have to get up early forever helps, especially if it means you’re continuing to work toward your goals. That early morning workout also give you time to yourself before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

Change the way you shop

Although online shopping is so convenient, it feeds into our sedentary behavior. Shopping IN STORE allows you to move and maybe even get a little cardio in. Try:

  • Speed walking from store to store.

  • Park as far away from the entrance as possible.

  • Shop local. Go into your town and walk shop-to-shop to find the perfect gift. You’ll get fresh air, have fewer crowds, be able to take in the holidays decor and be getting some exercise!  

Family Fun Activities

Just because it’s cold and snowy out doesn’t mean our outdoor fun has to stop!

Sledding, ice skating, snow shoeing, skiing (downhill and cross country) are all family friendly activities that require some fitness. Still not into going outside? Try some more active board games like: Charades, Twister, scavenger hunt, Cranium Hullabaloo, Hopscotch, or dust off that Wii you haven’t used in years, etc.

Plan indulgences

You’ve heard this before. Although it seems the holidays sneak up on us, they happen EVERY year. Come up with a strategy for the month to deal with your busy schedule and temptations. (Your IronPlate trainers are here to help!)


  • If you have a slew of parties to attend, pick your favorite to splurge on, and be on point for the rest. One event won’t throw you off, but continuous indulgences will.

  • Scout out the food before taking your plate and decide what will be worth it to indulge on and what you should pass on. This way you’re not loading your plate the first time you see everything.

  • Take time to mingle and enjoy friendly conversation before going back for more food.

  • Listen to your body — are you truly hungry?  

  • Eat normally leading up to an event or occasion and drink LOTS of water.

Remember what the holidays are all about

Holidays are NOT about the food. They are about spending time with people you care about. Take time to reflect on why the holidays are important to you and what else you enjoy about them (besides the tasty treats). Remember that and enjoy the conversations and activities with friends and family. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you forget about the temptations.

Above all, don’t let your fitness and nutrition add to the list of things to stress you out this season. The more you plan ahead and make peace with the decisions you make, the less likely you’ll be to completely fall off the wagon. Reach out to your trainers or peers for help if you need it!

IronPlate's Truth Series: Protein


It’s common knowledge that we need to make sure we get enough protein in our diets — especially those of us in the fitness world on a quest to build more muscle and tone — but do we know why we need it? Do we know how much we need in a day?  And do we know what foods are rich in protein…?

Proteins are one of the three macronutrients which are simply long chains of amino acids that the body requires in order to do a lot of cool things. Think of protein as a long chain, and the amino acids are each link. Those links can be laid out a lot of different ways, therefore, there are a lot of different types of proteins. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but building muscle is not on the top of your body’s to-do list when it comes to the distribution and usage of protein. Your body requires those amino acids (the “links”) to also build skin, nails, hormones and enzymes in the body and then if it has some leftover, well, then it will use that overage to help out build those guns you’ve been working on. This is why it’s imperative to take in extra protein when you’re training as compared to your sedentary counterparts.  

“How much protein is enough?” one might wonder. It can be confusing with loads of different recommendations out there and various calculations but according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the people who credential Registered Dietitians and Sports Dietitians), for those engaging in higher levels of exercise, a good rule of thumb is 1.2-1.4g/kg bodyweight for endurance athletes and 1.6-1.7g/kg bodyweight for strength athletes. The recommendation for regular non-exercising folks is .6-.8g/kg bodyweight (for comparison purposes).  

5’6 female, 140 pounds (63.6 kg)
Endurance requirements: 89g protein daily
Strength requirements: 108g protein daily

There are other “methods” for calculating needs out there including assuming 1g protein per pound of bodyweight. So in the case of our 5’6 female, that would amount to 140g protein daily.  But the issue there is for most people who are not professional athletes and have families and jobs and obligations, that can be a hard number to attain. As a registered dietitian, I would then recommend somewhere around the 100g range for this particular client and see how that goes for a period of time. Make sense? 

“So that’s just great - I need 100g of protein daily, but what foods do I need to eat?” Proteins are rich in all of your meats, poultry and seafood including flank steak and all red meat, chicken, turkey shrimp, salmon and white fish as well as other animal proteins such as eggs and dairy. But there are other plant-based sources of protein such as beans, tofu (soy protein), seitan (protein from wheat), vegetable and rice protein supplements amongst some others. However, the protein content is not as abundant as in animal protein sources, so combining both sources is always a great idea in order to meet your intake, and maintain variety in the diet.  

Making sure to get enough protein in is no easy task. It requires planning and time to shop at the store. Looking ahead at your week and knowing what meals you’re going to prepare will create success. Some tips to make sure to get enough protein are as follows:

  • Start the day with eggs, egg whites or overnight oats made with protein powder.

  • Plan all meals around your protein source and build around it.

  • Have a few protein rich snacks such as greek yogurt and cottage cheese on hand for in between meal snacks.

  • Add legumes such as chick peas and lentils to salads.  

  • Include variety and experiment with some protein sources you may have not tried like cooking scallops at home or a plant-based protein that you’ve never had (such as tofu).

In summary, proteins are one of the three macronutrients along with carbohydrates and dietary fats, that are necessary in order to maintain killer function in the human body. Protein in particular, is needed in order to build muscle and create that lean, toned physique you’ve been working for. It’s very important to understand that all proteins are not created equal, and taking in a variety of different proteins daily, and making sure to have a protein at most meals is super important for your health, bodily function and progress in the gym.  

Stay tuned for Truth Series: Carbohydrates as well as Truth Series: Dietary Fats coming up on our blog. And always feel free to email us at with any questions!

Staying On Track This Thanksgiving


It’s getting colder out, and the promise of warm comfort foods and holidays centered around huge traditional feasts can make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Unfortunately, this time of year can be a nightmare for those trying to make healthy dietary changes to their lifestyle. We often find ourselves putting normal dietary habits on pause with the expectation that we’ll get back on track in the New Year. This mentality can seriously sabotage our health and fitness goals. Thanksgiving, a holiday whose entire day is planned around food, can be especially difficult to get through unscathed and can be the gateway to our derailment. Every year the same tips and tricks on what we can do to stay on track through the holiday circles about, but how realistic is it that you’ll follow all of them?

It is also hypocritical to suggest my clients follow a huge list of do’s and don’ts and not follow them myself. Hey, I’m human and love this holiday just as much as the next! How strict you have to be on Thanksgiving — and all the ones that closely follow it — really depends on the timeframe of your current goals. If you have a specific and upcoming deadline, then I am sorry to say, you’ll have to be significantly more strict with your Thanksgiving day this year. If you are a little more flexible with your timeline, then the good news is you can relax a bit.  One day of indulgence won’t completely throw you off track. The key words here are ONE DAY. Often times Thanksgiving dinner involves more than one meal: the appetizers before dinner, alcohol before, during, and after dinner, and leftovers for days following. This is what really throw us off track and sends us on our downward spiral for the remainder of the holiday season. I’ve compiled a short list of “Dos and Don’ts” that I believe are attainable, allow you to stay on track and allow you to enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Do: Make a predetermined plan on what you will eat and/or drink and what you will avoid.  Stick with and make peace with those decisions. Whether you limit your portion sizes, or the types of food, or set no limits whatsoever, is all fine.  Just make sure those decisions are realistic, won’t make you feel guilty afterwards, and that you have a plan in case you feel yourself veering from those decisions.  Let your trainers at IronPlate Studios help you navigate and prepare your plan based on your personal goals.

Tips for Before/During

  • Don’t skip earlier meals to “save room” for big dinner.

  • Don’t fill up on pre-meal appetizers.

  • Savor every bite and eat slowly.

  • Start the day being physically active: get your usual workout in, run a turkey trot, try a turkey burner workout or class, etc. (Check out IronPlate’s “do from anywhere” Pre-Thanksgiving and Post -Thanksgiving turkey burner workouts!)

  • Take a post-meal walk with your family.

  • Avoid foods you can always eat and enjoy the ones you only get once a year.

  • Hydrate!

Tips for After

  • Get right back on track with your normal routine.

  • Don’t feel guilty. This often leads to more poor decisions. Learn from the way you feel and apply it to your future challenges.

  • Make smart decisions with leftovers. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for healthy leftover recipes.

Remember:  Listening to your body, and making healthy changes that work for you is a constant learning process. Each success and failure teaches us what we are capable of and where we might need improvement. Reach out to your friends at IronPlate Studios to keep you on or get you back on the path to success.

Fitting Fitness Into Your Life


The majority of us want to be healthy. It’s not that we don’t know how, or what to do, it’s that adding something new or different to our routine takes work. If we aren’t in the correct mindset then we don’t put forth the effort necessary to make that healthy change. One of the first things we learn as trainers and coaches is how to assess a client’s “readiness to change”. You’re readiness is measured in 5 different stages and allows us to predetermine the likelihood you are committed to making the change. Once we figure out your starting stage, we are able to formulate a plan to help you on your path to success. The five stages of readiness are as follows:

  1. Pre-contemplation: The person has no intention to change or take action within the near future. In this stage, people are usually uninformed about the consequences of their behavior or they may have failed at previous attempts to change. They may avoid seeking information that would help them change their behavior.

  2. Contemplation: The person intends to change within the next 6 months. He/she is aware of both the positive effects and the negative effects of change. This can cause uncertainty as to which approach to follow and result in procrastination and the inability to make a move to change. This person is not ready for an action program.

  3. Preparation: The person plans to take action within the next month. He/she has usually prepared and has a plan of action.

  4. Action: The person has made significant modifications in his/her behavior and way of life.

  5. Maintenance: The person is not working as hard as the person in the Action mode, but is working to prevent a relapse. The person is confident of continuing to change.

Where do you fall? Anyone that seeks out help from a personal trainer or nutritionist is at least in the preparation stage. If you fall into the contemplation stage, you can start your fitness journey but seeking out advice from a personal trainer or nutritionist who will be able to create an attainable roadmap to start you on your journey to fitness. From there you can move into preparation stage and with the help of your coach, set a date to move into action. Our job as personal trainers and coaches is to guide you from your current starting point to action and ultimately maintenance stages. So how can we do that?

  • We take your large goals and break them down to smaller stepping stone goals leading you to your ultimate goal.

  • We help you look at your overall schedule and figure out where you can squeeze a workout in.

  • We help you lay out your workouts for the week or month and plan around any upcoming challenges.

  • We teach and prepare you for unexpected challenges.

  • We can help teach you to fight back against your excuses.

  • We can be the person who holds you accountable for completing your workouts.

  • We push you out of your comfort zone to prove to you that you CAN do more.

We can only guide you however. We can’t force you to make the change. The desire has to come from you. In order to fit fitness in to your life, three things need to happen:

  1. Priority: We can’t be with you 24/7 and force you to complete your workouts. The ultimate motivation and drive has to come from YOU. We can give you all the tools and tricks in our arsenal, but if you don’t make your health a priority in your life, it will easily be tossed aside to something else you’d rather do. Find out what drives you and use that to motivate yourself.

  2. Routine: Create your new routine. Without creating a new routine, working out will never become a habit and be harder to schedule into your day. (See Setting Routines Blog post)

  3. Schedule: Add your workout to your personal calendar or daily to do list like you would any other appointment or meeting. You’ll be less likely to book over the time slot if it’s already filled.

Set yourself up for Success


Pick an activity you’ll enjoy

  • Make it a game: There’s a bunch of fun apps out there that can take your mind off the fact that you’re working out. One example:  An app called “Zombies, Run!” Simulates zombies chasing you. You’ll hear their footsteps and breathing speed and slow in interval patterns that trigger you to run faster or slower so the zombies don’t catch you.

  • Try classes: They are actual scheduled events and provide motivation from teachers and others around you.

  • Work out with a friend. (just make sure you actually workout and don’t waste too much time chatting)

Make it a competition.

  • Programs like MyFitnessPal allow you to compete with your friends for the number of steps you do in a day.

  • Set a goal to run a 5k, do x amount of push-ups, etc.

Join a team sport

  • You’ll meet new friends and have a commitment you can’t miss out on.

Include kids/family/pets

  • Go for family bike rides, walks, hikes, play a game of tag, etc.

  • Your pets need exercise too! Take them along on your cardio workouts

Time doesn’t have to be an enemy

  • Short workouts can be just as effective. Almost everyone can squeeze in 20 minutes somewhere in the day!

  • Several 10-15min workouts throughout the day can sometimes be more beneficial than one longer one.


Start small and add more as you go

  • New to working out? Start with committing yourself to just 3 days a week. Add a 4th day as a bonus day.

Add fitness to the most convenient part of your day.

Look at your schedule.

Figure out what time of day will work best.

Plan ahead

  • Schedule each workout like you would any other appointment

  • Create a weekly or monthly fitness plan and add it to your calendar. That way, if something does come up, you’ll have a visual of the rest of the week to see how you can accommodate changes to your schedule.

See if your employer will allow for some flexibility in your work hours.

  • Maybe your employer will let you take a longer lunch in exchange for coming in earlier and/or staying later. Or they’ll let you come in late or leave early in exchange for staying late or coming in earlier.

Get rid of the excuses:


If you’re not 100% committed to adding fitness to your life, you’ll always be able to find an excuse to skip your workout. Stay positive and focus on the things you CAN do, no matter how small, to begin to make the change. Be patient with yourself. Change doesn’t happen overnight, adding something new takes time and commitment. Consult with your IronPlate Trainer either online or in person to help get you set up on the right track.

The IronPlate Guide to Eating Out


Eating out at restaurants with your friends or family is one of life’s pleasures, and it can also be a crucial part of your professional life. You shouldn’t have to give up or avoid eating out because of your new healthy lifestyle. You can still enjoy dining out, while being mindful of what you eat if you follow these simple tips.

Before the meal:

  • Take a look at the menu online ahead of time.

    • This will give you time to sort through the menu free of distractions or outside pressure.

    • Ask your trainer to take a look with you to come up with some healthy options together.

  • Look for keywords* that can help you make the best decisions on your meal.

  • Don't skip meals the day of to save calories.

    • Doing so will most likely cause you to overeat later. If you eat as you normally would throughout the day, you won't be thinking with your stomach and you'll be able to make better choices.

  • Have a large glass of water before your meal. (as soon as you get there or before you arrive)

    • The water will make you feel good and slightly full, helping you to make better choices.

At the Restaurant:

This is the important part. Stay STRONG! Choose carefully. You can have a meal that is both delicious and healthy!

  • Don't fill up on the free appetizers (tortilla chips, bread, etc). This is where not coming to the restaurant starving will come in.

  • Do fill up on salads and vegetables.

  • Do ask for dressing on the side.

    • Choose an oil-based dressings. (Italian, Balsamic, etc.)

    • steer clear or the creamier dressings. ( Ranch, Creamy Caesar, etc)

  • Do: Broth-based soups.

    • especially those with vegetables or beans which contain healthy nutrients. (watch out for cream based soups)

  • Do: Customize your order.

    • Meals do not need to be exactly as they appear on the menu.

    • Ask for double veggies instead of starchy side.

    • Ask or look for Grilled instead of fried, Lettuce wrap instead of a bun or bread, etc.

  • Don't feel the need to clear your plate.

    • Most restaurants offer much larger portions than needed.

    • ask for a to go box with your meal and immediately put half of it in the box. (out of sight, out of mind!)

    • share a meal with a friend.

  • Skip the alcohol.

    • Alcohol is an easy way to pack on the calories without even realizing it.

    • If you must consume alcohol, choose lower calorie options such as spritzer or drinks mixed with Seltzer water.

    • Drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. This will both slow your consumption of alcohol down and keep you hydrated.

  • Dessert: The best option is always to skip the desert menu, but it you must indulge:

    • Look for a sorbet, fruit cup, skim cappuccino, herbal tea.

    • Split with friends so you get a few tastes, but not the whole thing.  (Many times dessert portions are also larger than recommended.)

After the meal:

  • Don’t go straight to bed when you get home. Give your body a time to digest the food you have eaten. It doesn’t digest well when you are asleep and you may feel even more hungry in the morning as a result.

  • Do enjoy a brisk walk to burn off a few of those calories you’ve just consumed and some fresh air to refresh your mind.  


*If you find yourself grabbing a spontaneous bite to eat, don’t panic and don’t use it as an excuse to blow off all of your hard work.  Take a look at the key words below. Preparing yourself with these key words and the tips above, will help you navigate the menu to make the best possible choices available to you.