Go ahead…act childish!

May 16th, 2013
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

Kids have a way of exercising without it seeming like a chore, a task, hard work, or just something you “have to do”. Kids just play! And when they play, they are reaping all the benefits of daily exercise. Without even trying! Take a look at a child after they come in from playing: sweaty, a little bit dirty, hungry, and HAPPY! As an adult, I envy that playful freedom. My children inspire me to get out there and play more, whether that means taking time to hula-hoop with them or just enjoying my morning runs a little bit more. Whatever our days bring, we need to make time to exercise like kids–and have more fun getting healthy and fit!

kids playing

Let’s review some general fitness concepts from our P.E. days:

Cardiovascular fitness: heart health…Activities that make our hearts beat faster make our hearts more healthy. This helps us become more fit and improve our endurance (our ability to do something for a long period of time).

Weight bearing exercise: Walking, running, or weight training improves bone strength.

Minimum recommended activity amount: 30-60 minutes each day. This can be broken up into 10-minute increments throughout the day. Don’t forget to add a day or two of muscle- building activities!

Pacing: A good pace means you are not going super-fast or super-slow…just maintaining a comfortable speed. When you are exercising, set your own pace and don’t worry about others around you. You will enjoy your time a lot more!

Walk breaks: Many times, taking a little  break to speed walk and then return to your running will allow you to go further and finish feeling better. Walk breaks are very beneficial–they allow you to recover a bit, re-hydrate, and then get back into your run feeling refreshed.

Haisley Happenings

Go ahead- grab your hula hoop, jump rope, or sneakers and get outside! Here are some ways to act childish while you are working out. I guarantee that, as you wipe your sweat away,  you will have a smile on your face!

hula hoops

Hula Hoop–found at Target, Meijer, or (for more of a challenge) pick up a weighted hoop at MC Sports! They have 1.5 and 2.5 pound hoops that come with directions and are a blast to use.

Jump rope–found at any sporting good store or on-line. Be sure to get the correct length for your height. Spend a bit more for a rope with a bit of weight, plastic beads, and padded handles. It will last longer than a plain rope and will be more fun to jump.

Running paths–Gallop Park and County Farm Park both have beautiful scenery and a mix of wood chip, paved, and dirt paths. The nature and fresh air will make you feel like a kid. It may even inspire you to do some of the fun obstacles in County Farm Park or do some  push ups and triceps dips on the benches in Gallop Park!

Have fun and be fit!


Small changes, big results

April 26th, 2013
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

counting calories

You are scheduling in your workouts. You are trying to eat a more balanced and healthy diet. Why are the pounds not coming off? I was contemplating this question this morning as I packed the family lunches and made breakfast. Sure, we eat very healthy. But I noticed that I “forgot” to count all of the licks of peanut butter, test bites of waffle, leftover eggs, and the extra dash of creamer in my coffee.

When it comes to eating healthy and counting our calories, some weeks things just don’t seem to work out like they should. Well, there are 3 types of calories that dieters often consume that somehow rarely find their way to the calorie trackers:

1.     Liquids still count as calories

This is a weird trap that a lot of people get into their heads. While, yes, water doesn’t count so you can (and should!) drink as much of it as you want, this rule only applies to water and somehow we seem to forget that. We drink something else in the day and often it doesn’t even register at the end of the day when we’re logging the calories.

20 oz bottles of some “healthy” juices

-       Simply Lemonade: 300 Calories, 70 grams of sugar

-       Tropicana Orange Juice: 275 Calories, 50 grams of sugar

-       Ocean Spray Cranberry: 300 Calories 75 grams of sugar

Just because it’s juice doesn’t mean it’s an automatic free pass on the calorie counting. In fact, as you can see, the sugar content of these drinks is a huge chunk of your daily allotment.  Not to mention the fact that these bottles contain more than one serving!

2.     Sauces and Seasonings

It’s a special occasion and you make a delicious meal.

You throw in the ingredients individually and with a serving of each you get the following:

420 Calories

Sweet! That might even leave you enough left over calories for some dessert, right?

Did you count the sauce, dip, butter, or toppings that you may have added? A lot of times these can add to as many calories as the meal itself.

3.     To that end, dressing still counts and all salads are not created equal.

For lunch you were feeling good and decided to go with a salad. There was a tasty Chef’s Salad at the place you went and it was awesome. You get home and add “salad” to your food journal.

Garden Salad:  150 Calories.

You  pat yourself on the back, great choice, right?

Sorry, but the garden salad doesn’t include the eggs, ham, and turkey that are staples of your chef salad. Let’s look at “Chef Salad” and see what comes up.

Chef Salad: 500 Calories.

And that isn’t even counting the dressing. Ouch.

The point is that if you’re going to track your calories you need to track everything no matter how small because when it comes right down to it, it’s the little things that surprise and derail you the most.

I know. I will go back in and add the licks, bites, pieces, and spoonfuls to my daily  caloric intake! Just remember: small changes will yield big changes.


Small Changes at CoachMeFit:

We have switched over from our selection of hot tea to a daily selection of iced tea for your enjoyment. Keep drinking those fluids–our tea is unsweetened and often caffeine-free.


I would like to welcome our newest trainer, Dannille Riley! She has been an incredible addition to the CoachMeFit training staff with her bright personality, personalized workouts, and dedication to her clients.

Dannille, or Dee, holds a BS in exercise science from Michigan State University,  a personal training certification, and 20 years experience as a personal trainer and track coach. She specializes in running and is currently helping one of her clients reach her goal of completing the DXA2 half-marathon!

Welcome, Dee!







Let’s take it outside!

April 19th, 2013



Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

I think we can safely say that spring has sprung! There has been some sunshine, some warm days, and….no more snow! Time to get outside and reap the benefits of all that Mother Nature has to offer.

There is some surprising research-backed news that says “green exercise” may be the best way to lose weight, feel great, and even get smarter. Breathe in some fresh air and chances are you will want to exercise. Being outside is more playful and fun, therefore making your workouts seem less like work!

Here are some more outdoor benefits:

1. Choosing a sunrise workout outside may help you fall asleep faster at night. Natural light resets circadian rhythms, so it may be easier to nod off, according to experts at the Lighting Research Center.

2. Just seeing the color green may make you feel better during your workout, due to its calming effect.

3. It is better and cheaper than therapy! After just five minutes of any outdoor exercise, you’re happier and more confident. This boost can last all day!

4. Creativity and ideas come to you faster. After an hour of nature-time, sans tech gadgets, research shows a 50% increase in creativity.

5. Nature is the new coffee! Just 20 active minutes outside can wake up your mind and body, making you feel more alive. And, it won’t cost you $4!

6. You can gain a sense of peace. Exercisers reported being less tense and tired, and calmer, during any activity done outside. Probably due to the fresh air that your body craves and the serene surroundings.


Ok, so now what? Great news–CoachMeFit is starting up a new running club! Club CMF is getting geared up to start in the next couple of weeks. Here are some details:

*a non-competitive way to get an extra cardio day

*a good reason to get outside with fellow runners

*guided warm-up provided

*map, easy conversation, multiple paces, and fun company provided

*guided stretching post-run

*variety of recovery drinks and snacks will be provided post-run

This group will be open to CMF clients and non-clients! We are hoping to have a good-sized group of people to keep each other motivated and accountable to your exercise plan. Also, the guided warm-up and post-run stretching will be useful for those who generally skip these very important steps. And the post-run snacks will educate those  who may have questions regarding calorie, protein, and sugar intake for  healthy muscle recovery. More information to come–please see our posting in the CoachMeFit studio!

See you in–and out of– the studio!


March Madness

March 7th, 2013
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

March certainly came in like a lion with record snow falls, dropping temperatures, and a lot of grey days! We can only hope that it goes out like a lamb with some warm days, blooming buds on the trees, and some sunshine. Let’s get ready for spring!

March Lunge & Burpee Challenge



C’mon! Who’s with me on this? It will be a fun challenge that you can do anywhere. Email me– jen@coachmefit.com — if you are doing this and we can check off our days together at CoachMeFit!

Blogilicious Recipe

Peanut Butter Power Balls

1 C. peanut butter

1 C. honey

1 C. old fashioned oats

1 C. chopped dried fruit ( I used ginger)

1/2 C. chopped almonds

3 scoops vanilla protein powder

cinnamon to taste

-Heat peanut butter and honey over medium heat until runny. Add oats, fruit, nuts, protein powder, and cinnamon. Mix until coated. Remove from heat and cool in fridge for 5 minutes. Roll into bite-size balls.

These are great for recovery snacks after a fantastic workout at CoachMeFit! Or to take along to fuel a long run or walk outdoors.


Bridal Show 2013

CoachMeFit was a vendor at this year’s Kensington Court Bridal Show. We were able to showcase our studio, gear, and offer some fun Bridal Bootcamp/Workout offers. It was a very fun event and I was proud to be a part of it, especially with such healthy and motivating material to present to all of the brides-to-be! If you or someone you know is going to be in or at a wedding this spring or summer–whether it is as  a bride or a guest–contact us. We can get you in looking and feeling your best for the big event!

Don’t forget to “Like” CoachMeFit on Facebook. And you can “Check In” on your Facebook page via Iphone or Ipad while you are here. Show your friends how healthy and fit you are by sharing your favorite workout studio!

The best compliment we can receive is a referral.


Come in and play with us!

February 21st, 2013


Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Exercising In The Cold
The biggest concern for exercising in the cold is hypothermia, or too much heat loss. When you exercise in a cold environment you must consider one primary factor: how much heat will your body lose during exercise?

Heat loss is controlled in two ways:

  1. Insulation, consisting of body fat plus clothing.
  2. Environmental factors, including temperature, wind and whether you’re exercising in the air or in the water. Each of these factors plays a role in the body’s ability to maintain a comfortable temperature during exercise.

Rules for exercising in the cold

  • Check the temperature and wind conditions before you go out and do not exercise if conditions are dangerous.
  • Keep your head, hands and feet warm.
  • Dress in layers that can provide a trapped layer of dry air near the skin (avoid cotton sweats and other similar materials).

But we are having fun with our workouts inside at CoachMeFit. Check out our clients working hard this last week…




Whether we are working on cardio, strength-training, or balance, our clients are always having a great time reaching goals with their trainers!



The weight-loss mystery!

February 12th, 2013
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor


Nothing taps your panic button quite like gaining weight, especially when you’re on a weight loss program. Unfortunately, it’s an inevitable fact of life. Luckily, you’ve got me here to tell you that, as long as you’re following a solid program, results will come. It’s a physiological certainty (unless you have an underlying issue, like hypothyroidism).

I realize this might take further convincing, considering our instant-gratification society.  I’ve seen and heard many weight-loss issues, most of which were solved by patience. That said, there are some strategies you can use to ensure you’re getting the most out of both your diet and exercise program. Let’s tackle five of the most common weight loss mysteries.

1. I’m following a diet and exercise program perfectly. Why isn’t it working?! 

Cortisol is a word you should become familiar with, as it’s a key factor here. You’ve probably heard that it makes you fat, but you have no idea why “they” say that. What is cortisol? It’s actually a performance-enhancing stress hormone that serves an important function in survival situations. Unfortunately, when we force too much daily stress on our bodies, we shift into a state of chronic cortisol release. This can cause us to store excess fat as a survival instinct. While it sounds pretty dire, it’s generally only a serious problem in those with poor lifestyle habits.
The beginning of a diet and/or exercise program, however, is a survival situation. In a very simplistic sense, your body releases cortisol, which, in turn, causes excess water retention to help you rebuild broken down muscle tissue. While this is cortisol functioning properly, it does lead to a period of water weight gain as you adjust to a new program. It’s nothing to worry about. By following a solid plan, your body will adapt by repairing this muscle tissue. This results in an increase in your metabolism and leads to weight loss if that’s your goal.

2. I’m barely eating. 

This is a tough situation because our natural reaction to weight gain is to eat less. When you’re exercising, it’s important to keep your eye on workout performance, as opposed to how much weight you’re losing. You should be eating enough so that your daily workouts improve over time. As long as that’s happening, your body is adapting, your metabolism is increasing, and you will lose weight provided you also don’t overeat.

3. I’ve been doing hard workouts for weeks. 

If you’re doing the same workouts at the same intensity constantly, you are not forcing adaptations that lead to changes in your metabolism. This is called a plateau.
A plateau, technically, isn’t gaining weight—it’s remaining the same—but a proper diet and exercise program should continually force improvements (in the form of adaptations). Otherwise, your metabolism won’t continue to increase, which is the goal of most weight loss programs.

4. I lost weight for a while but now it’s stopped. 

You eat less to lose weight. Things are going great, but suddenly you plateau—or start gaining. Odds are, your metabolism has slowed down in order to deal with the decreased calories. You’re starving your now fit body, so it’s doing what it needs to do to survive. The answer to this problem is pretty simple: eat more. But not just anything–choose healthy foods that are going to fuel your body.

5. I heard I should stop snacking.

Better advise would be to choose snacks that offer a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—like apples with peanut butter, or carrots with hummus. “A healthy snack can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check and your energy stable,” Rania Batayneh (nutritionist) says. Skipping a snack can cause your blood sugar to dip, leaving you moody and famished—and more likely to overeat at mealtime.

Some healthy snack choices:

Nuts: “They’re great snack items because they’re so filling,” says Katherine Tallmadge, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. Walnuts are desirable because they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids that protect against heart disease. Limit yourself to 1 ounce — about 160 calories.
Fresh Fruits: All fruits nutritional, filling, and low in fat. Take a medium-size pear or apple: Each has only 60 calories. A cup of strawberries contains about 50 calories, and the same amount of blueberries has 40 calories. After you’ve rinsed berries, place them in small containers for snacking.
Peanut Butter: Spread a little on crackers, or make a banana sandwich. Split one small banana — 100 calories — lengthwise. Spread no more than a tablespoon of peanut butter — 90 calories — over one half of the banana and top it with the other half.
Hard-boiled eggs: Make a half-dozen at the beginning of each week for a fast and convenient snack in your fridge!
Greek yogurt: Rich in protein, this snack is both delicious and satisfying. For the least amount of sugar, go plain! If you need a bit of sweetness, you can add your own blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.

And one of the biggest weight-loss obstacles? Skipping breakfast! Think of your body as an efficient running machine. You need to fuel your body in order for it to perform, either in your daily activities or during your workout. Try these delicious breakfasts:

5 Super-Quick Breakfasts:

Berry Healthy Cereal
3/4 cup high-protein, whole-grain cereal (such as Kashi® Go Lean) topped with 1 cup nonfat milk and 1/2 cup berries
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 266, Protein: 13 g, Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 50 g

Cottage Cheese On-the-Go
1 cup 1% cottage cheese served with 1 medium apple, or 1 medium pear, or 1 cup cubed melon, or 1 cup berries
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 257, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 31 g

Crunchy Greek Yogurt
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt with 3/4 cup high-protein, whole-grain cereal (such as Kashi® Go Lean) mixed in
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 285, Protein: 23 g, Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 45 g

The Best Smoothie

In a blender mix 1 cup kale, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 banana,  1-inch piece of ginger root, 2 tablespoons flax seed, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Blend.

Yogo Berry
1 scoop (or 1 packet) Greenberry Shakeology blended with 1 cup strawberry halves, 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 Tbsp. raw honey, 1 cup nonfat milk, and 1/2 cup ice (optional)
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 401, Protein: 32 g, Fat: 1 g, Carbs: 69 g

The fact is, it really is not a mystery at all. Weight-loss is the result of burning more calories than you take in. So keep up all the good work in the gym, keep your metabolism burning with a healthy diet, and watch your body transform!

Mystery solved.



Small changes, big results!

January 23rd, 2013

January 23, 2013

Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Confucius.

Have you ever sat and thought–I can’t lose weight or get fit or change my life because it’s too hard or takes too much time? We’ve all had those thoughts, but did you know, by making small changes a little at a time, you CAN do anything you want. It’s funny how those small changes slowly add up to big changes over time.

Here’s a list of some small changes you can implement in your life that will make a huge impact on your journey to a healthier life:

1. Cut out sodas. Even diet drinks can make your body latch on to excess weight. Even cutting back can make a huge impact. One can of soda has 140 calories in it. If you only cut out one soda a day, that could equal almost 15 lbs lost in a year. Substitute carbonated water with orange slices for a flavored, bubbly treat or better yet, drink more water. Your body needs it to survive.

2. Time your Internet use. For every 30 minutes you spend online, do 5-10 minutes of exercise. This goes back to the idea that we make time for what is important. If you have time to sit for 30 minutes and play angry birds or surf the net, you have time to do some quick exercises. I used to say that I didn’t have the energy to exercise, but once you start, you’ll find that you don’t have any energy when you DON’T exercise so get your body moving.

3. Make a workout appointment. Like you would a doctor or dentist appointment, and keep it. You wouldn’t decide that you were too tired to go to the dentist, but yet this is the excuse we use all the time for not getting in fitness. Make an appointment for yourself and keep it. It is important to pencil in those cardio sessions and at-home workouts, too. If it is on your calendar you will be less likely to “forget” or neglect your workout. Why not put it on your calendar right now?

4. Start small. Don’t take on too many changes at once, but add another step when you feel comfortable. We often start the race at a sprint and then burn out quickly. Take on one new challenge at a time and before you know it, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come!



Fit for the Holidays

Congratulations to all of the finishers of the 2012 Fit for the Holidays program–a weight maintenance program sponsored by CoachMeFit. This is the last week before the final weigh in! Great job to those clients who were determined enough to get through the 8-week program. We will post the results of the three “biggest losers” as soon as we get final results from the trainers…as well as hand out the prizes! Did you like this friendly competition? Would you like more–possibly shorter–programs like this to keep you on track? Just let Jen Rowley know (via email or at the studio)! We can keep you motivated!!

Welcome, Green Fairies…

Please welcome the latest edition to the CoachMeFit home: The Green Fairies! Our female clients noticed their door in the women’s locker room earlier in the week and it seems that they are here to stay! Please help keep the fairies happy by staying “green” while you are at CoachMeFit. We have  separate recycling containers in the studio for our plastic products and paper. Do your part by making a small change and recycling the appropriate materials!

CoachMeFit is going to make their own small change: we will be adding a refillable shampoo/conditioner dispenser in the locker room showers. This will cut down on product waste as well as container waste! Thanks for the great idea, Renee Gregory! We appreciate all client input!

See you around the studio…stay warm out there!

“The best compliment is a referral.” Let your friends and family know how you are staying fit this winter season!





  1. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.
  2. In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.
  3. Over 75% of waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it.
  4. We generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year. If we composted that food, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road.
  5. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod. Recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks.
  6. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy used to make alum cans from new material.
  7. Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour.
  8. Over 87% of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off paper recycling programs.
  9. In 2009, Americans threw away almost 9 million tons of glass. That could fill enough tractor trailers to stretch from NYC to LA (and back!).
  10. In 2010, paper recycling had increased over 89% since 1990.
  11. If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we could save about 25 million trees each year.
  12. Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
  13. Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
  14. Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year!

Stay Fit for the Holidays!

December 14th, 2012
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

…And the countdown begins! The holidays are officially upon us and everywhere you look there are reminders of all the commitments we have in the last couple of weeks of 2012. It can be intimidating, for sure. It may be overwhelming, too. It can wreak havoc on your diet and exercise program if you let it. Or, you can take control and be prepared with a few easy strategies.

The most common reason people lose resolve, instead of weight, during the holiday season is mostly due to stress.  When people get stressed, they eat less healthfully, drink more, exercise less and sleep less. People also have more demands on them during this time of year, leaving less time for healthy food preparation and exercise. These changes in behavior can lead to a weight gain of up to 10 pounds in just 2 short months. The short-term result may show up as weight gain, particularly as belly fat. This can lead to long-term effects such as low self-esteem and higher risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

So, what is the best strategy for eating better before and during the holiday season? To be successful, be sure to have a plan in place. Start with these easy recommendations from IDEA Fitness Journal:

  • Commit to your regular workouts with your trainer, as well as a daily 30-minute walk or run.
  • Keep healthy snacks at work–prepared fruits and veggies, almonds, yogurt–to help you resist the candy jar and office treats.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Try eating a healthy snack before attending a holiday gathering.
  • Incorporate foods into your diet that help combat stress, such as salmon, tuna, turkey, beans, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, dark green veggies, and dark chocolate.
  • Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Use a non-food reward system–new running shoes, a massage–for staying on track.
Early planning and preparation for the holidays is very helpful! If you are doing a lot of traveling over the holidays, be prepared with healthy snacks so you don’t give in to the drive-though or airport fare. And don’t forget to have your trainer write up an exercise program that you can easily and realistically follow while you are traveling. This workout should be dependent upon your access to certain equipment, so let your trainer know if you have a full hotel gym at your disposal or only the bands that you packed in your luggage. Or nothing at all! Remember that you don’t need any fancy equipment to get a solid workout.

6 Ways to Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year, when many of us try to break bad habits and develop good ones. Too often, the brain sabotages our strongest resolutions. Here, doctors who help people overcome addictions —powerful, destructive habits—offer suggestions on how to rewire the brain to kick bad habits for good.

1. Figure out your trigger. “Habits are formed when a behavior is linked to an emotion,” says Virgilio Arenas, M.D., a specialist in addiction psychiatry at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Try keeping a diary to track exactly what emotion or event triggers a habit, both good and bad. Does eating a certain food make you feel guilty? Did you feel fabulous after you finished a tough workout? Track it!

2. Find a replacement habit.  People don’t really break habits; they just replace them. So, to break a bad habit, find a new, healthy one to replace it. Take a walk after dinner instead of lounging in front of the t.v.

3. Look into the future.  Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. Give yourself time to retrain your body and mind. Think of the future benefits, not just the instant gratification!

4. Keep the good habit going for three weeks.  After three weeks, or 21 days, the new habit should become second nature. Stick with your resolutions!

5. Get support. Ask for support from friends and family who encourage and reinforce positive changes. Tell everyone you know about your resolutions; you will be more likely to stick with them!

6. Exercise. Regular exercise has so many physical–and mental–benefits. Weight control, mood improvement, increase in energy, and better sleep are just a few.  And here’s the good news, exercise doesn’t have to be a marathon. Daily walking will do!


 What are you waiting for? Put those resolutions in writing today and ring in the New Year with the goal of being the best you can be!
Happy New Year!
Idea Fitness Journal, December 2012

CoachMeFit Blog

November 19th, 2012
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer

Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your traditions? Like most, it probably involves a lot of  “f-words”: family, feasting, and football. No worries…we’ve got you covered for this holiday with fun alternative activities and recipes.

First of all, CoachMeFit will be open on Thanksgiving day! Start your day off the right way with a solid workout with your trainer. Starting your day off with a endorphin-boosting  activity will make your day better, and not just calorie-wise. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. Or your ability to be kind to your in-laws!

Or, how about these “f-words”: fun family fitness! Sign up for a fun Turkey Trot in the area. Here are two of our favs that will be sure to start your day off right. Earn your turkey this year!



Not a runner? How about your first annual Turkey Bowl, 2012!! I know my family will be doing our second annual Turkey Bowl this weekend, t-shirts and prizes included. Gather your own friends and family, split up into teams, and have a bowling competition. It is a fun, non-traditional way to spend fun time with loved ones without sitting around and over-eating. Like other non-competitive sports, bowling burns a mere 204 calories per hour for the 150-lb. participant. Bowling should be thought of as an enjoyable activity instead of a serious form of exercise, but it sure beats couch surfing!

Still not sold? How about this “f-word”: fresh air. There is something to be said for getting outside in the fresh air…there is nothing like it! Whether it is to play a friendly game of football, go for a post-feast stroll, or to walk your dog around the neighborhood. Just get out there and enjoy!

Here is a list of important health benefits of fresh air:

  • Fresh air is good for digestion.
  • Improves your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • It makes you happier.
  • Strengthens your immune system.
  • Fresh air cleans your lungs.
  • You will have more energy and sharper mind.

What to do with all those leftovers? Try some of these healthy recipes in the days to follow Thanksgiving:

Turkey Couscous Salad
Look for Israeli couscous (sometimes called pearl couscous), a big brother to the regular variety, near the rice and grains. The flavors are similar, but this one’s texture is even more pleasing.
  • Prep Time15 minutes
  • Total Time40 minutes
  • YieldServes 4
Add to Shopping List


  • 6 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 package (10 ounces) white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 packed cups loose spinach (about 5 ounces), trimmed, well washed and dried
  • 1 pound cooked turkey, thinly sliced, room temperature


  1. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and have released their liquid, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. In same skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in couscous, 1 1/4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until couscous is tender, 8 to 10 minutes (liquid should be completely absorbed). Stir in dried cranberries.
  3. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette: In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 4 teaspoons oil, lime juice, and mustard; season with salt and pepper. Pour half the vinaigrette into another large bowl. To first bowl, add couscous mixture and mushrooms (along with any accumulated juice), and to the other, spinach. Toss contents of each bowl until well combined.
  4. Divide spinach among 4 serving plates; top with turkey slices, and serve with couscous.

Many Thanksgiving devotees look forward to the leftover turkey sandwiches as much if not more than the main meal itself. Assemble these sandwiches ahead of time and all you’ll need to do is heat up a skillet for a warm, satisfying winter supper in minutes.

Turkey, Cranberry, and Fontini Panini


  • 8 slices whole-grain bread
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced Fontina cheese
  • 8 ounces sliced leftover turkey
  • 1/2 cup leftover cranberry relish
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


For each sandwich, lay 2 slices bread on a work surface. Lay about 3/4 ounce cheese on one slice of the bread; top with 2 ounces turkey meat, 2 tablespoons relish, about 5-6 arugula leaves and an additional 3/4 ounce cheese. Top with the other bread slice (there should be cheese next to each bread slice). Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Brush the top of the sandwich with olive oil; heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Put the sandwich, oiled-side down, into the pan, place a small heavy pan, or aluminum foil-wrapped brick on top of the sandwich to press it down. Cook until bread is golden and crisp and cheese is beginning to melt, about 5 minutes. Remove the heavy pan or brick, brush the top of the sandwich with oil and carefully flip it. Put the heavy pan or brick back on top of the sandwich and continue cooking until bottom bread slice is browned and crisp, cheese is melted, and sandwich is heated through, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm while cooking the remaining sandwiches.

As for all of that extra pie? Plate up those leftovers on cute paper plates, cover it, and send it along with your dinner guests. They will be happy to have some of the delicious leftovers and you don’t have to worry about that pie calling to you later that evening.
Which brings me to my last “f-word”: fight. As is fight the urge to overindulge! Enjoy yourself, but in moderation. See you next week in the studio!
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

We Want Your Candy!

October 8th, 2012
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

“Trick or Treat!” Yes, it is that time of year again when we fill our homes with treats for our little goblins. It is hard to have that candy on hand for Halloween without sneaking a few pieces here and there. Harmless, right? Not really…those empty calories add up very quickly, not to mention the damage the sugary treats can do to your teeth not just your waistline.

How much sugar is in that fun-sized Snickers bar? How many calories in that tiny pack of M&M’s? Whereas full-sized packages of candy have the nutritional information on the package, the deluge that comes home from trick or treating usually does not.

I found that serving sizes can be tricky, especially with “off-brands.” For example, a Palmer Halloween pack of peanut butter cups lists a serving size as 1.5 ounces. How many PB cups a serving? Well, there are 63 pieces of candy in the 26 oz bag, and we are left to figure it out from there. A serving turns out to be 3.64 pieces of candy! Pretty ridiculous.

Also, “fun size” and “snack size” are often on the packaging, but these sizes don’t really mean anything. A snack size of one type of candy can be the same as a fun size of another. Even worse, I found instances where “snack size” of the same type of candy differed from one bag to another, and it certainly changes over time (they are gradually getting smaller).

Here is the calorie  information in many common Halloween candy treats:

M&M Plain–88 calories
Snickers or Twix miniature bars–average 38 calories
3 Musketeer–64 calories
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups–88 calories
Milk Duds–54 calories
Whoppers–30-100 calories
Kit Kat–73 calories
York Peppermint Patty–53 calories
Twizzler–32-40 calories
Gummy candy–260 calories/2.25 oz.
Blow Pop Jr.–50 calories
Candy Corn–70 calories/11 peices
Animal Cookies–120 calories

Here are some tips to keep those treats out of reach:

  • Buy Halloween candy to give out to trick-or-treaters that you don’t enjoy eating so that the temptation will be reduced during the haunt.
  • Have a bowl of grapes or other type of fruit during the trick-or-treat event (especially if you are the one passing out the candy) so that you have something else to grab and munch on.
  • Your kids got all the candy? Mmmmmmm…temptation is calling! Keep that candy in a cupboard so that it is out of sight. When you start to think about it, distract yourself. Drink some water or chew some gum instead to occupy your mouth.
  • Your kids brought home way too much loot even for them to moderately consume. Have them pick out their favorite pieces which you can divvy out to them over the week. Bring the rest of the candy to work and put it in a bowl (not near your desk) for others to enjoy.
  • Temptations at work? Make sure to have your healthy snack available so that you stay fueled and full throughout the day. When stress arises and you are hungry, all “will power” flies out the door and those treats will call your name. By having your healthy snack available, you can control your hunger better.

Still manage to eat too many treats this season? Try a new activity to burn off those unwanted calories:

26 mins of bicycling = 180 calories of tricks
25 mins of stairclimbing= 260 calories of treats
17 mins of jumping jacks= 160 calories of tricks
60 mins of walking = 240 calories of treats
31 mins of jogging= 250 calories of tricks
28 mins of dancing= 210 calories of treats
46 mins of strenght training= 160 calories of tricks
*calorie burn based on a 145-pound woman

Another great idea for getting rid of that extra candy this Halloween season…

Operation Gratitude will be sending 60,000 care packages (including our Milestone Package in December) and we need tons of candy, literally, to fill them! Last year, we received and shipped 125 TONS! We hope you will participate in this worthwhile and fun activity!

CoachMeFit has collected between 30-50 pounds of candy in the last two Operation Gratitude candy collections through our studio. We will have a collection box in our studio again this year. Help us break a new record by bringing in your Halloween candy! What’s in it for you? With each donation made, you will receive a decrease in guilt, sugar crashes, and weight gain…for free! You’re welcome.

Happy Halloween!