Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

For Fitness, Push Yourself

Monday, July 7th, 2014

For Fitness, Push Yourself



Intense exercise changes the body and muscles at a molecular level in ways that milder physical activity doesn’t match, according to an enlightening new study. Though the study was conducted in mice, the findings add to growing scientific evidence that to realize the greatest benefits from workouts, we probably need to push ourselves.

For some time, scientists and exercise experts have debated the merits of intensity in exercise. Everyone agrees, of course, that any exercise is more healthful than none. But beyond that baseline, is strenuous exercise somehow better, from a physiological standpoint, than a relative stroll?

There have been hints that it may be. Epidemiological studies of walkers, for instance, have found that those whose usual pace is brisk tend to live longer than those who move at a more leisurely rate, even if their overall energy expenditure is similar.

But how intense exercise might uniquely affect the body, especially below the surface at the cellular level, had remained unclear. That’s where scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida stepped in.

Already, these scientists had been studying the biochemistry of sympathetic nervous system reactions in mice. The sympathetic nervous system is that portion of the autonomic, or involuntary, nervous system that ignites the fight or flight response in animals, including people, when they are faced with peril or stress. In such a situation, the sympathetic nervous system prompts the release of catecholamines, biochemicals such as adrenaline and norepinephrine that set the heart racing, increase alertness and prime the muscles for getaway or battle.

At Scripps, the scientists had been focusing on catecholamines and their relationship with a protein found in both mice and people that is genetically activated during stress, called CRTC2. This protein, they discovered, affects the body’s use of blood sugar and fatty acids during moments of stress and seems to have an impact on health issues such as insulin resistance.

The researchers also began to wonder about the role of CRTC2 during exercise.

Scientists long have known that the sympathetic nervous system plays a part in exercise, particularly if the activity is intense. Strenuous exercise, the thinking went, acts as a kind of stress, prompting the fight or flight response and the release of catecholamines, which goose the cardiovascular system into high gear. And while these catecholamines were important in helping you to instantly fight or flee, it was generally thought they did not play an important role in the body’s longer-term response to exercise, including changes in muscle size and endurance. Intense exercise, in that case, would have no special or unique effects on the body beyond those that can be attained by easy exercise.

But the Scripps researchers were unconvinced. “It just didn’t make sense” that the catecholamines served so little purpose in the body’s overall response to exercise, said Michael Conkright, an assistant professor at Scripps, who, with his colleague Dr. Nelson Bruno and other collaborators, conducted the new research. So, for astudy published last month in The EMBO Journal, he and his collaborators decided to look deeper inside the bodies of exercising mice and, in particular, into what was going on with their CRTC2 proteins.

To do so, they first bred mice that were genetically programmed to produce far more of the CRTC2 protein than other mice. When these mice began a program of frequent, strenuous treadmill running, their endurance soared by 103 percent after two weeks, compared to an increase of only 8.5 percent in normal mice following the same exercise routine. The genetically modified animals also developed tighter, larger muscles than the other animals, and their bodies became far more efficient at releasing fat from muscles for use as fuel.

These differences all were the result of a sequence of events set off by catecholamines, the scientists found in closely examining mouse cells. When the CRTC2 protein received and read certain signals from the catecholamines, it would turn around and send a chemical message to genes in muscle cells that would set in motion processes resulting in larger, stronger muscles.

In other words, the catecholamines were involved in improving fitness after all.

What this finding means, Dr. Conkright said, is that “there is some truth to that idea of ‘no pain, no gain.’” Catecholamines are released only during exercise that the body perceives as stressful, he said, so without some physical strain, there are no catecholamines, no messages from them to the CRTC2 protein, and no signals from CRTC2 to the muscles. You will still see muscular adaptations, he added, if your exercise is light and induces no catecholamine release, but those changes may not be as pronounced or complete as they otherwise could have been.

The study also underscores the importance of periodically reassessing the intensity of your workouts, Dr. Conkright said, if you wish to continually improve your fitness. Once a routine is familiar, your sympathetic nervous system grows blasé, he said, holds back adrenaline and doesn’t alert the CRTC2 proteins, and few additional adaptations occur.

The good news is that “intensity is a completely relative concept,” Dr. Conkright said. If you are out of shape, an intense workout could be a brisk walk around the block. For a marathon runner, it would involve more sweat.

“But the point is to get out of your body’s comfort zone,” Dr. Conkright, “because it does look like there are unique consequences when you do.”



Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Friday, November 19th, 2010


By: Amber Tebeau NASM CPT, Manager and Trainer CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

During the holiday season, CoachMeFit in West Bloomfield likes to have a weightloss contest.  The goal of the contest is for our clients to maintain or lose weight during the holidays.  Last year we only had one client that did not lost weight; our clients were really excited about their success.  The following is a copy of some tips that we give our clients to help them  get through the holidays without weight gain.

Here’s some scary food for thought: to gain five pounds from now to the end of January, all you have to do is eat an average of 200 calories per day more than you need — an ounce of fudge here, an ounce of gravy there, some pecan pie. If you need to ‘get a grip’ on eating splurges, the winter holiday months are key to your long range planning. The holidays typically encourage people to indulge in high-fat, high-calorie foods that are low in nutrients, and this is also the time we’re most likely to make excuses for skipping exercise.


One of the most significant diet dangers revolves around sugar consumption. Problems arise from riding on a sugar roller coaster. When you binge on sugar, you crave more and more and your body slows down. Along with sunlight deprivation, sugar binges cause a drop in serotonin, a chemical in the brain that regulates sleep and appetite. A lack of serotonin is often associated with depression. When you’re deprived of serotonin, you won’t feel calm and in control.

To help boost your serotonin level naturally, eat small but frequent meals that include complex, starchy veggies. You can also help control blood sugar levels by eating small quantities of protein three times a day. For example, eat two egg whites in the morning, some turkey at lunch and a small portion of grilled fish at night.


You should keep up your regular exercise during the holidays and accept no excuses. When endorphins are high, you’ll cope better with stress, and regular exercise boosts endorphins.

Here are some other holiday survival tips:

·         Exercise 30 min to 60 min a day during the holidays. Exercise to burn calories, relieve stress, and elevate your endorphins and mood such as a brisk walk, run, or bike-ride.

·         Avoid eating no fat. Eating moderate amounts of fat during the holidays will satiate the appetite and prevent overeating of carbs (about 35-65 grams per day will be sufficient for most people.)

·         Don’t skip meals. Hunger and low blood sugar lead to overeating.

·         Don’t pass up favorite foods or deprive yourself completely. Moderate consumption is the key.

·         Don’t tempt yourself by keeping trigger foods or comfort foods around the house. If you have them, it certainly increases the likelihood that you will overeat.

·         Plan meals by keeping in mind the demands you’ll have on your schedule that day.

·         Don’t go to a party starving. Before you leave home, eat something light or drink a protein shake. Also drink a great deal of water the day of the party.

·         When you attend holiday festivities, don’t station yourself near the buffet table. Make a clear-cut decision to distance yourself from all goodies.

·         If you do find yourself feeling depressed, soothe your spirit with a massage, manicure, pedicure, or facial. Men can enjoy this too!

·         When you shop, eat before you leave home so you won’t resort to cookie breaks.

·         To satisfy your sweet tooth, set limits. For example, you might allow yourself two desserts per week at 250 calories each.

·         Just because it is the holidays doesn’t mean you should give yourself the license to eat everything that passes by. Factor in the little extras into your daily intake.

·         Help out by saving fat and calories when it’s feasting time. Make or buy wild-rice stuffing, baked sweet potatoes and whole-grain rolls.

·         If you are staying with family or friends ask them if you can have a space in the refrigerator and keep foods on hand to snack on like lean deli meats, cottage cheese, nonfat cheese sticks, etc.

·         If you are at the mercy of the dinner host, eat modest amounts of the foods offered and fill up on foods with more fiber and fewer calories. Make a small plate and skip the seconds.


Adjusting Your Expectations

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

By: Amber Tebeau NASM CPT, Manager and Trainer CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you must adjust accordingly.  In the blog posted on July 9, 2010, I talked about my 10k race goal.  I explained that I wanted to run a race in 8 minute splits at the end of August.  I researched running plans and picked the one that fit me best.  My training was going well and my runs were improving.  As I was nearing the race, my runs were getting longer and my pace was getting faster.  I was well on my way to achieving my 8 minute splits.  The goal I had set for myself was a great motivator and I was determined to reach it.  However, my plans were about to change.  In the beginning of August I found out that I was expecting a baby.  Though it was completely safe for me to continue running, it was not safe for me to continue training at the level I was training.  I was ecstatic about being pregnant; however the athlete in me was a little bummed that I would have to put off my goal for a year.   During pregnancy it is important to exercise, but one must be careful to not become overheated or overexerted.  Though I continued running, I am careful to listen to my body and to follow what it is telling me.  If I am too tired or I am having trouble breathing, I slow my pace to a walk or take a break.  The biggest hindrance to my running has been my first trimester fatigue.  Though I was tired through those first weeks, I made sure to still exercise an hour a day, 5-6 days a week.   I did run a race on August 27th, however I decided to run the 5k instread of the 10k.   Even though I did not accomplish my goal, I was proud to have finished the race and to have finished well.  I came in 2nd place in my age group.

It is very important that we set goals for ourselves; however, it is just as important that we listen to our bodies and act accordingly.  Though I was disappointed that I could no longer train towards my race goal, I was wise enough to recognize that my priorities had changed.  The most important thing in my life is now the health and safety of my baby.


Rick Bloom, West Bloomfield’s Featured Client for Sept 2010

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

After my last annual physical my doctor gave me the predictable talk that I had to lose weight.  The doctor has told me this in the past but like most of us, it goes in one ear and out the other ear.  However, this time there was a little more sense of urgency.  His tone was different and he let me know in no uncertain terms that I had to lose weight.  Of course, it’s not like I didn’t know that I had been putting weight on; however, I tried to ignore the situation.  That being said, after my conversation with the doctor I decided to get serious.

After talking to the doctor I decided that my course of action would be two pronged.  The first would be to sit down with a nutritionist to develop better eating habits; something that I know I was lacking.  The other part of the equation that the doctor had recommended was that I start an exercise program and he thought that a personal trainer would be something that I would benefit from.

The thought of going to a personal trainer was not something that I was looking forward to.  In fact, I couldn’t decide what I looked more forward to, going to the doctor or going to a personal trainer.  Although I have consistently ridden an exercise bike I’ve never had a personal trainer (never wanted one) nor did I do any type of formal exercise program, and it certainly was not something that I was looking forward to.  However, after realizing that there were no simple solutions to getting in better shape; in other words there was no magical pill that I had always hoped and prayed for; I did decide to engage the services of a personal trainer.

Before I decided to hire a trainer I did some research as to the different types of training facilities and personal trainers. I didn’t want to make my exercise routine a social event or anything of that nature, nor did I want to be intimidated by a bunch of no-neck body builders.  Therefore, I decided what was best for me would be a private studio.  In that regard, after doing some research on private studios I decided on CoachMeFit.

As painful as it was I did decide to call CoachMeFit for the initial appointment.  When I called I expressed my concerns and the fact that I was out of shape.  I was assured that I had nothing to worry about (yeah, right) and I made my initial appointment.  I wasn’t sure whether I should have a male trainer or a female trainer; it really didn’t matter much to me although, in the back of my mind I was thinking who would laugh less at me.  Anyways, it was recommended I meet with Travis Kneale.

Whether it was good luck or fate, I don’t know, but I could not have a better trainer than Travis.  Travis has been a joy to work with.  He has been upbeat and encouraging without being patronizing.  He has designed my workouts so that every session has been new and challenging.  When I leave the studio I know that I’ve had a workout and I have a sense of accomplishment that feels good.

Travis has been an incredibly patient trainer.  Never having done anything like this before, I certainly think I have been a challenge for him; however, you wouldn’t know that from Travis.  He has been understanding and always encourages me to do my best.

What I also like about Travis is that he doesn’t let me wimp out, while at the same time he is not a drill sergeant.  If I’m not doing something that I should, he has no hesitation to let me know in a positive and encouraging way.  I have no doubt that I could not have reached the results I have without Travis’ assistance and guidance.

My friends and family are constantly asking me how much weight I have lost.  Truly, I don’t know.  I have never been fixated on weight and as far as I am concerned, it is just a number.  However, what is important to me is the pant test; in other words, my waistline.  Since I have been training with Travis and following what the nutritionist has told me, I have literally taken about eight inches off my waistline.  I have put some muscle on (I think) and I know I have more strength and stamina.  However, the most important thing has been the shrinking of my waistline.

For anyone who is thinking of using a personal trainer, I cannot think of a better trainer or a person to deal with than Travis.  My only regret is that I didn’t start this sooner.

After my very first session with Travis, I think I saw my life flash in front of me.  I didn’t think that there would be a session two.  However, I’m now completing my six-months of training and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  Do I like my sessions?  Honestly, not really; however, I do love the results.

Rick Bloom                                                                                                                                             


Brian’s Success Story

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

By:  Amber Tebeau, NASM CPT, Manager and Trainer CoachMeFit West Bloomfield


Brian S. has been a client of CoachMeFit since the summer of 2008.  Brian began working out at the CoachMeFit studio in Birmingham, then after 6 months he transferred to the West Bloomfield studio because it was closer to where he works.   When Brian first came to CoachMeFit he weighed over 300 pounds, had many health problems and he reported being very tired no matter how much he slept. Brian’s blood pressure was as high as 170/105, for which he was taking medication, he was also taking cholesterol medication, kidney medication and he was injecting his body with insulin for his Type II Diabetes.   

Brian had tried to lose weight many times on his own without success.  He tried several diets and he would lose some weight, however he would always gain it back.  Brian stated that he came to the point where the insulin he was injecting was not helping to bring down his sugar and he knew he had to make a big life change in order to regain his health.  At his heaviest Brian weighed 313 pounds and he set the goal of losing 70 lbs.    Due to his failed attempts at dieting, Brian knew that he needed a lifestyle change not another diet.  Brian decided that he wanted to weigh 240 pounds and he started eating the amount of calories that a 240 pound man should eat to maintain his weight.  He also made sure he was eating the proper ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat.   Brian then started working out with a trainer at CoachMeFit three days per week and doing cardio exercise five to six days per week.  Brian immediately started to see a decrease in his weight and an increase in his energy.

Brian’s journey began almost two years ago and his weight is now holding steady around 240 pounds and the only medication that he takes is a pill for his diabetes.  His blood pressure is 117/72 and all of his blood tests are normal.  Brian states that currently his goal is to maintain his weight, and to stay healthy.  Brian’s story is a testament to hard work and dedication.  Brian has worked hard to become healthy and regain control of his body.  Brian is a great example to anyone who desires to turn their life around, lose weight, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


Finding Inspiration

Friday, December 4th, 2009

By Amber Tebeau, Lead Personal Trainer at CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

It is no secret that exercise is an important part of life; however, we can all come up with several excuses of why we cannot or will not exercise. Some of the excuses include being too busy or too tired and, if we’re honest with ourselves: too lazy. As a trainer I hear excuses everyday about why a client has not exercised on their own or why they cannot make it in to the studio for their scheduled appointment. No matter what the reasons, in the end they are all excuses. If we examine our lives we will find that the things we value as important, we always make time for. If you find yourself making excuses and skipping workouts, take the time to examine why it is that you do not value your health as important.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m also guilty of making excuses or skipping a workout; I have my own personal list of excuses. However, I have a client who has legitimate excuses and yet never plays the excuse card. She has a list of health problems including Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a rotator cuff injury, but, regardless she is probably my hardest working client. She never complains about her conditions or her pain and she always pushes herself. She knows that exercise is imperative to her health and she will not be deterred from reaching her goals. She understands her pain and when she can push through and when she needs to quit, which I have yet to witness. Due to her perseverance she has seen amazing results because she CHOSE to make exercise part of her life. When I first met her in the winter of 2009 she could not lift her left arm above her shoulder. However, by May 2009 she could lift her left arm over her head with ease. Her balance and strength have made major improvements and she is able to get up and down off the floor, which she has not been able to do for several years. Other than her physical improvements, her confidence is also greatly improved. She is amazed by her progress and she frequently comments that she is doing things that she never thought she could do. She never thought she would be able to get on the floor again, lift a weight heavier than 5lbs, or work on the Bosu without support. In the summer of 2010 she is going hiking in the mountains and she is confident that with her continued hard work and progress she will not struggle to complete her hikes.

My client really inspires me with her dedication and her perseverance. She never gives up or gives in. I can’t come up with an excuse for skipping a workout that comes close to comparing to the excuses she could give me. So I’m challenged to work harder. Keep a story like this in mind the next time you are tempted to skip a workout: in reality, you can probably make it work.


Couples Therapy.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Paul and Renae are clients of ours here at CoachMeFit in East Grand Rapids, and as often as possible, they train together. They also run and bike several times a week, together. Paul and Renae view this recreation together as an important aspect of what makes their marriage and relationship work.

Paul and Renae are also a terrific example of what it means for your health to have an accountability partner. When thier workouts are hard and exhausting, they are yelling and encouraging one another. When they complete difficult exercises, they give each other high fives. I truly believe that together, they are are achieving greater success than they would individually.

Can you relate to Paul and Renae? Have you found that on your own there are way to many excuses to not work out or to not really push yourself? When you have no one to hold you accountable to workout times and to push you to a new level of intensity, are you more likely to not show up or to slack off?

I would encourage everyone to set up your own system of accountability. Do you need a personal trainer to guide you, encourage you, and push you? Call a CoachMeFit trainer! Do you have friends that workout? Plan ahead and set up a schedule and hold each other to it. Maybe you and your spouse need to completely change your lifestyle and start working out and eating better. Set goals, encourage each other, and make it happen.

Whatever accountability means to you, I encourage you to set your goals, and find someone who will challenge you to meet them. You will find greater motivation and drive, and you will undoubtedly have a greater chance at success.

Have a healthy and successful day!


1 more rep?

Friday, July 17th, 2009


I don’t want to seem like I am ripping on my own profession here, but why do most people only experience benefits from working out when they work with a personal trainer? Why do I personally get better results when I work out with a partner? Why is it that when we are responsible for challenging ourselves, we usually will stop when things get really hard?

I think it is an innate human trait that we have a perceived level of exertion or pain that we think we are capable of being able to handle. This leads me to ask, what is fatigue? Where does it come from? Is fatigue something that is actually physiologically happening making us unable to lift one more rep, or not run that little bit faster? Or is fatigue a psychological stopping point that most of us impose on ourselves?

As I wrestle with this question and it’s implications to not only my training, but my life, I have instituted a new philosophy with my weight training, that I am trying to find news ways in my everyday life to apply it to. When I do a set of 10 reps and my legs are shot and burned out, I try to flip the mental switch and do 11 reps. When I am mentally tired and think I need to relax on the couch and bills or mowing the yard can wait, I realize it, flip the switch, and go to work.

It’s been a long standing philosophy of mine that most people, myself included, have absolutely no idea what we are capable of. Physically, Mentally, Financially, Spiritually. What areas of your life can you do 1 more rep with? Are you placing self imposed limitations on what you are truly capable of? Try it in your training, often the mind will learn things through the body. Make it a habit next week to push one rep past what you thought you could do. And let me know if situations arise in your everyday life where you flipped the switch and decided to ignore the voice telling you to stop, and you did another rep.


True Blue Pod Squad

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The CoachMeFit Corporation has a plethora of University of Michigan alumni on its team including Birmingham studio owner Derek DiGiovanni, West Bloomfield owner Catherine Munaco, VP of Development Brad McFarlane, and CoachMeFit President Lindsay Bogdasarian.

The U of M Alumni Association recently interviewed Lindsay about how a Personal Trainer can change your life.  Click the link below to hear the interview.

University of Michigan Alumni Association Podcast – Lindsay Bogdasarian


Week 5 Update: Joelle Still Going Strong!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

“Biggest Loser” contestant Joelle Gwynn is a client at the CoachMeFit studio in West Bloomfield,  MI.  She works out with the owner of the studio, Catherine Munaco.

“Biggest Loser” airs Tuesday’s at 8:00pm on NBC.

Catherine will be blogging weekly first-hand updates from Joelle’s training

Catherine Munaco and Celebrity CoachMeFit Client, Joelle Gwynn.

Catherine Munaco and Celebrity CoachMeFit Client, Joelle Gwynn

Joelle had an interview with Matt Lauer last Tuesday on the Today Show, so I didn’t see her to workout on Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully, the Today show went off without much drama. Joelle and Carla both looked great, they were friendly, and most importantly they got to show off the hard work they’ve been doing!

Now that Joelle has been eliminated and the interview rush has subdued, we got to spend this week refocusing and getting back to our regular schedule. Joelle meets with me four days per week for her most intense workouts, and then she fills in with cardio classes or recumbent bike riding. The weather in Michigan is FINALLY starting to thaw, so we even went for a short jog together. This week marks the first time that Joelle has jogged a mile straight. That may sound simple, but, like most overweight or unathletic people, Joelle never jogged when she was younger. I started with a mile so she would realize that she could do it. Joelle was extremely proud of herself, and she should be! We’re already talking about road racing together. We’ll probably start with a 5k, but eventually I would like her to run/walk a half marathon with me (she doesn’t know this yet…) The great thing about jogging, if you can do it without your joints hurting, is that it burns a lot of calories and you don’t need very much equipment (a good pair of running shoes is enough). You can get a decent workout in by jogging around your block, even when time is limited. You don’t need to waste time driving to the gym. Plus, with regular jogging you can see vast improvements in a relatively short amount of time, especially for beginners. If you’ve never jogged before, try this beginner routine: Jog for 3 minutes, and then walk for 3 minutes. Go for at least 30 minutes. If you do this every day for a month, you will see you won’t need to walk as long. You may not even have to walk at all!

Joelle is looking forward to being able to run longer distances at a faster pace, but she has been working hard on her treadmill intervals. Every week we’ve tried to increase her speed or her pace. This week she’s running 8.5 mph for 30 second intervals on the treadmill (she walks in between intervals to recover, and does about 12 intervals in all). Next week we’ll increase the speed again. Joelle’s goal is to be able to do intervals at 10mph for 30-45 seconds.

On a personal note, it’s great to have Joelle focused and motivated. I definitely noticed a change since she came home from New York last week. We have a little over two months and we are going strong!