17 Foods To Avoid at All Cost

17 Foods that you Should Avoid at ALL COST!!

1. Sugary Drinks

Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet.  However, some sources of sugar are worse than others, and sugary drinks are the absolute worst.  When people drink sugar calories, the brain doesn’t “register” them as food.  For this reason, people don’t automatically compensate by eating less of other foods and they end up drastically increasing their total calorie intake.

Sugar, when consumed in large amounts, can drive insulin resistance in the body and is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is also associated with various serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Sugary drinks are also THE most fattening aspect of the modern diet, and drinking them in large amounts can drive fat gain and obesity.

Alternatives: Drink water, soda water, coffee or tea instead. Adding a slice of lemon, fruit, or spice to water or soda water can add some taste if you don’t like it plain.  Check out this article from my blog for some great water recipes!

2. Most Pizzas

Pizza is one of the world’s most popular junk foods.  This is not surprising, given that it tastes awesome and is incredibly convenient to eat!  The problem is that most commercially prepared pizzas are made with seriously unhealthy ingredients.  The dough is made from highly refined wheat flour, and the meats on them are usually processed. Pizza is also extremely high in calories! Just leave it alone!

Alternatives: Some pizza places use healthier ingredients. Homemade pizzas can also be very healthy, as long as you choose wholesome ingredients.  Check out this recipe for cauliflower crust pizza!

3. White Bread

Bread is generally made from wheat, which contains the protein gluten.  For this reason, all wheat-based breads are a bad idea for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, most commercial breads are unhealthy, even for people who do tolerate gluten.

This is because the great majority of them are made from refined wheat, which is low in essential nutrients (empty calories) and leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar.

Alternatives: For people who can tolerate gluten, ezekiel bread is an excellent choice. Whole grain bread is also definitely better (or “less bad”) than white bread.  My personal favorite substitute is a whole wheat or corn tortilla!

4. Most Fruit Juices

Fruit juice is often assumed to be healthy, but this is a BIG mistake!  Many fruit juices are actually little more than fruit-flavored sugar water.  It is true that the juice contains some antioxidants and vitamin C, but this must be weighed against the large amount of liquid sugar.  In fact, fruit juice contains just as much sugar as a sugary drink like Coke or Pepsi, and sometimes even more! Who knew?

Alternatives: There are some fruit juices that have been shown to have health benefits despite the sugar content, such as pomegrenate juice and blueberry juice.  However, these should be considered as supplements, not something you drink every day to quench thirst. Drink water instead!

5. Industrial Vegetable Oils

In the last 100 years or so, people have increased their consumption of added fats.  However, this is entirely explained by a drastic increase in the consumption of refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil and canola oil.  These oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which humans never consumed in such large amounts before.  Our bodies do not know how to metabolize these trans fats, so we store them inside fat cells.  There are many serious concerns with these oils. They are highly sensitive to oxidation and cause increased oxidative stress in the body. They have also been linked to increased risk of cancer.

Alternatives: Use healthier fats like coconut oil, real butter, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil instead.

6. Margarine

Margarine used to be considered a healthy alternative to butter.  Fortunately, most people have now realized that this is far from being true.  Margarine is a highly processed pseudo-food that has been engineered to look and taste like butter.  It is loaded with artificial ingredients, and is usually made with industrial vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to make them more solid. This increases their trans fat content significantly.  Keep in mind that manufacturers are allowed to label their products with “no trans fat” as long as it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, which is still a significant amount.

Alternatives: Use real butter instead, preferably from grass-fed cows.

7. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes

Most pastries, cookies and cakes are extremely unhealthy.  They are generally made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour and added fats, which are often disturbingly unhealthy fats like shortening (high in trans fats).

These tasty treats are literally some of the worst things that you can put into your body. Almost no essential nutrients, but tons of calories and unhealthy ingredients.

Alternatives:  Treats made with one ingredient whole foods and fruits.  Check out these two recipes for healthy alternative and 21 Day Fix approved sweet treats.  Fudgy Avocado Brownies and Frozen Blueberry Bites

8. French Fries and Potato Chips

Whole, white potatoes are actually very healthy for you!

However, the same can NOT be said of the products that are made from them, such as french fries and potato chips.  These foods are very high in calories, and it is easy to eat excessive amounts. Several studies link consumption of french fries and potato chips with weight gain. These foods may also contain large amounts of acrylamides, carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are fried, baked or roasted.

Alternatives: Potatoes are best consumed boiled, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, try baby carrots or nuts.

9. Agave nectar

Agave nectar is a sweetener that is often marketed as healthy.  However, agave nectar is not as healthy as some people think. It is a highly refined sweetener that is extremely high in fructose.  High amounts of fructose from added sweeteners (not whole fruit) can be absolutely disastrous for health.  The truth is, agave is even higher in fructose than other sugars.  Whereas table sugar contains 50% fructose, and high fructose corn syrup around 55%, agave nectar is 85% fructose.

Alternatives: Stevia is a healthy, natural and calorie free sweetener. Honey is also a good choice.

 10. Low-Fat Yogurt

Yogurt can be incredibly healthy.  Unfortunately, most yogurts found in the grocery store are

extremely bad for you.  They are frequently low in fat, but loaded with sugar to make up for the lack of taste that the fats provided.

Put simply, the yogurt has had the healthy, natural dairy fats removed, only to be replaced with something much, much worse.  Additionally, many yogurts don’t actually contain probiotic bacteria, as generally believed. They have often been pasteurized after fermentation, which kills all the bacteria.

Alternatives: Choose regular, full-fat yogurt that contains live or active cultures (probiotics). If you can get your hands on it, choose yogurt from grass-fed cows.  Greek yogurt is a great choice too because you get more bang for your "calorie" due to the higher protein content in Greek yogurt.

 11. Low-Carb Junk Foods

Low-carb diets are very popular these days, and have been for several decades.  There are plenty of real foods that you can eat on a low-carb diet, most of which are very healthy.  However, this is not true of processed low-carb replacement products, such as low-carb candy bars and meal replacements.  These are generally highly processed foods that contain very little actual nutrition, just a bunch of artificial ingredients mixed together and then sold as food.

Alternatives: If you’re on a low-carb diet, eat foods that are naturally low in carbs. Remember, Low-carb junk food is still junk food.

12. Processed Meat

Even though unprocessed meat can be healthy and nutritious, the same is NOT true for processed meats.

Studies show that people who eat processed meats have a higher risk of many serious diseases, including colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Most of these studies are observational in nature, so they can not prove that the processed meat caused the diseases.

However, the statistical link is strong and consistent among studies, so I do believe there is something to it.

Alternatives: If you want to eat bacon, sausages, pepperoni and other “processed” meats, then choose wisely and try to buy them locally from sellers who don’t add a lot of unhealthy ingredients. Quality counts.

13. Processed Cheese

Regular cheese is healthy.  It is loaded with nutrients, and a single slice of cheese contains all the same nutrients as an entire glass of milk.  However, processed cheese products are nothing like regular cheese. They are mostly made with filler ingredients that are combined and engineered to have a similar look and texture as cheese.

Cheese is healthy, but processed cheese is not. Read labels, and make sure that the cheese you’re eating is actually cheese.

Alternatives: Eat real cheese instead!

14. Most Fast Food Meals

Generally speaking, “fast food” chains serve only junk foods.  The majority of the food they offer is mass-produced, highly engineered junk food with very little nutritional value.  These places are often very cheap, but keep in mind that junk food costs you twice.  For every penny you save there, chances are that it’s going to cost you many times more in the future. Poor health is expensive.

Alternatives: Fortunately, all sorts of healthy fast food places have started to appear. Chipotle is one great example.  Additionally, even McDonald's now has a healthy salad option.  Be smart when you order!

15. High-Calorie “Coffee” Drinks

Coffee has been unfairly demonized.  It is actually very healthy, and loaded with antioxidants.  Studies also show that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of serious diseases, like type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s.  Unfortunately, stuff is sometimes added to coffee that turns this wonderful beverage into harmful sludge.  If your “coffee” has a ton of artificial creamer and sugar, then it is NOT good for you.

It is loaded with liquid, empty calories, and will be just as unhealthy as any other sugar-sweetened beverage.

Alternatives: Drink plain coffee instead. Black is best, but small amounts of heavy cream or full-fat milk are fine as well.  Best option is to sweeten with Stevia and use unsweetened almond or coconut milk as a substitute for creamer.  Due to the very low calorie count, unsweetened almond milk is actually considered a freebie on the 21 Day Fix meal plan!

 16. Anything That is High in Sugar, Refined Grains and Vegetable Oils

One of the most important things you can do to eat healthier, is to read labels.  It is important to avoid (or at least minimize) foods that contain:

Added sugar (and high fructose corn syrup).

Refined grains like white flour.

Industrial vegetable oils.

Artificial trans fats.

These are some of the unhealthiest (and most common) ingredients in the modern diet.  The importance of reading labels can not be overstated, and this applies to all foods, even so-called health foods.  This is going to apply to most common condiments and sauces like ketchup, barbeque sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc.

Alternatives: Eat whole, one-ingredient, clean foods.  Pay attention to the label and it is much easier these days to find a healthy option in the grocery aisle for many of these condiments.

17. Most Highly Processed Foods

By far the simplest way to eat healthy and lose weight, is to avoid processed foods as much as possible.  Put simply, if it looks like it was made in a factory, then it’s probably bad for you.  We will learn more about this when we talk about  the principles of clean eating tomorrow.

A good rule to remember, is that real food doesn’t need an ingredients list, because real food IS the ingredient.

What is HIIT??

What is HIIT??

What exactly is HIIT? What is the all the hype? HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.

HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions, such as being overweight and diabetes. HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including cycling, walking, swimming, aqua training, elliptical cross-training, and in many group exercise classes. HIIT workouts provide similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts, but in shorter periods of time. This is because HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout.

Why is it so important to push yourself until you are breathless?? What is the After Burn?? One of the greatest advantages of HIIT workouts is experiencing the "After Burn". A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts. Not only will you burn fat during your workout, but you will continue to burn fat throughout the rest of the day through EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).

EPOC is the measurable increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s oxygen debt.  In order to erase the body’s oxygen debt, fatty acids are released and used as fuel for recovery. This all happens in the time after a workout is complete. You will not receive this great benefit simply doing low intensity exercise. You need to be working out in your anaerobic zone at maximal heart rates to really see that added fat loss effect.

This EPOC has been shown to last for over 24 hours. 

This after burn is what causes your body to continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours after you are finished with the workout! I don't know about you.... but, I think that is GREAT!! That is the scientific explanation of why it is so important that you go breathless during the short HIIT interval! So, make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone for 45 seconds, become breathless, and BOOM!!! Burn fat for the next 24 hours!!!

HIIT increases your metabolism!  Combing high intensity with interval training results in EPOC, which speeds your metabolic rate and translates into a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a complete HIIT routine! This means you’ll still be burning fat even after you’ve left the gym!

Another great advantage of HIIT is that it is good for heart health! They say that extreme training helps build extreme results. It’s hard for most people to push themselves to an anaerobic zone where you become breathless and can feel your heart pounding faster and faster. With interval training, it’s easier to push yourself to that intense level because of the rest interval that comes right after you reach that point. Exercising and training this way really strengthens and trains the heart muscle. This helps keep a healthy heart and helps blood flow effectively throughout your whole body.  This is why many professional athletes incorporate HIIT training into their routines.

HIIT me with your best shot!! Did you know that there are also some hormonal benefits to HIIT? HIIT is one of several ways to boost both testosterone and growth hormone levels. Since these hormones are highly responsible for muscle gain and fat loss, you should be doing all you can to keep these levels high!

Because we all want to lose fat and not muscle, right?? Steady cardio is often associated with losing muscle. HIIT workouts, however, combine weight training (the weight being your body) and effectively allows dieters to preserve their muscle gain while still shedding weight.  Another fantastic benefit of HIIT!!

I don't know about you... But the fact that I can save time AND experience these great benefits is just a Win/Win to me!! So, I say keep HIITing me with your best shot!

Who is great candidate to try HIIT training? Anyone who says that they don't have time to work out!  That's right... I am talking to all of you busy moms out there who say that you just can't find the time to work out and juggle it all!  Well, HIIT to the rescue!! You can find 10 minutes a day, right?  All you need is 10 minutes if you use those 10 minutes effectively with HIIT principles!

Another great benefit is that there is no equipment necessary! HIIT workouts are extremely cost efficient because you need zero equipment! All you need is a little open space. HIIT workouts utilize your own body weight, so any workout that gets your heart rate up quickly such as plyometrics, high knees and jumping jacks can be implemented into a HIIT workout. In fact, weights can actually make sometimes make the workout less effective because your main focus in HIIT is getting your heart rate up rather than toning a particular muscle group.

Would you like a couple of examples of some easy and fast HIIT workouts?? Ok... you asked for it! Here you go!

5 minute Total Body HIIT workout

Quick HIIT workout inspired by Insanity:

  • Run in place for 8 counts alternating with 4  hook punches up high, then 4 hook punches down low in squat position (do this for 45 sec with no rest)
  • Rest 20 sec
  • High knees with a twist (45 sec with no rest)
  • Rest 20 sec
  • High low punches with a jump (45 sec with no rest)
  • Rest 20 sec
  • Floor switch kicks (45 sec with no rest)
  • Repeat TWO times!!  You got this!!

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Baked Asparagus "Fries"

Baked Asparagus "Fries"

These are absolutely 

amazing and definitely a must try recipe!! Enjoy!


1. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Dredge the asparagus in the flour.

2.  Dip the dredged asparagus in the beaten egg. 

3.  Coat the asparagus with a mixture of the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. 

4.  Transfer to a wire rack set on a baking sheet.

5.  Bake until golden brown, about 7 to 13 minutes. Serve immediately.

Would you like to join my next FREE healthy eating fitness challenge?? Just fill out the below form and let's get started!!


Healthy Ranch Dressing - Fix Approved

Healthy Ranch Dressing -- 21 Day Fix Approved!

I just LOVE ranch dressing, so I really had to figure out a way that I could eat it on the 21 Day Fix meal plan!  I love to dip almost anything and everything in ranch and it is by far the most superior salad dressing in existence! So, I had my work cut out for me to find a tasty and healthy alternative to Ranch dressing that was Fix Approved.  Well, look no further because here it is....

Simple and Easy.....

1/3 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk

1 tbsp ranch seasoning

Now, it really doesn't get much simpler than that, now does it??

I like to make my own ranch seasoning, but you can use any store bought brand.  In the spirit of eating clean, I do make my own. I do oftentimes quadruple the below recipe to make a larger batch and I store it in old spice bottles that have been emptied. Here is my recipe for the seasoning:

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp parsley

1/2 tsp dill

That's it! That is all there is to it!! Now.... Go forth and dip!!! Enjoy!!

Would you like to join in my next FREE healthy eating fitness challenge? Just fill out the below form and let's get started!!


What is Clean Eating?

What is Clean Eating?

What does clean eating really mean??

The phrase “clean eating” has been rising in popularity these days. It’s such a vague phrase, so what does it really mean?

Let's talk first about what it is NOT......It is not a defined diet– there are many ways to interpret “clean eating”. Clean eating is not  necessarily a diet for weight loss, although it can have those effects.  Clean eating is not about your food being dirty. It’s about avoiding the processed foods with a million ingredients. 

Here’s my short and sweet definition:

Clean eating: eating the healthiest options in the food groups, like fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy, whole grains and lean proteins, and avoiding processed junk food and fast food.

So basically, clean eating is healthy, fresh, well-rounded meals. This is definitely a trend I can get behind! You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat clean, and you don’t have to cook fancy meals or go on a cleanse.  The easiest way to eat clean is to shop the perimeter of your grocery store.

Below are some tips for shopping each section.

Fresh Fruit & Veggies:

Anything in this section is basically a free-for-all. Load up on anything and everything that you like. Kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, oranges and berries are delicious, nutrition-packed options.


Here’s where label reading will come into play. Look for meats that are nitrate-free, and lower in sodium.  Buy straight from the deli rather than purchasing the pre-packaged deli meats.  Try to buy cheeses with less than 150mg of sodium per serving.


Aim for grass-fed and pasture raised meats. Those without these labels were probably raised in filthy environments. It’s more expensive, but cutting down on your meat consumption can help the environment and your waistline. 


Choose cage-free eggs and low-fat dairy products like milk, low-sodium cottage cheese, and light sour cream.  *I like Egglands Best for eggs.

Frozen Fruit & Veggies: Make sure you’re choosing those without added sodium or sauces. 

Fresh Breads:

 Check the labels and try to find those with less than 150mg of sodium per serving. Look for whole grain bread.

Center Aisles:

Go in for the toilet paper and then GET OUT! Just kidding… you can stay in the middle for a little longer, for items such as low-sodium canned beans, canned tomatoes, plain pasta and rice, nuts and seeds, nut butters, high fiber/protein cereal, and of course any cleaning or household products you may need.  

So how can you start eating clean?

First, reading labels is KEY!! Check out the ingredient lists for everything with a label. Look at sodium, sugar, and how many ingredients the product has. Does it have a long list of ingredients with unrecognizable names?

If foods have more than FIVE items on their ingredient list, they’re probably not clean


Second, PLAN! I cannot stress how important meal planning is to a healthy diet. It will make such a huge difference. If you don’t know what you’re eating for dinner, and it’s already 4:00pm, what are you more likely to do? Scramble together a meal at home, or just pick up food on the way home? 

Do you eat clean? What are some of your favorite clean eating recipes?

Please feel free to leave comments and let’s help each other!

Most of all,

please remember the 80/20 Rule!!

 What is the 80/20 Rule you ask??  The 80/20 principle is no diet — it's a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable weight loss. Folks who have suffered on rigid, limiting diets in the past find that this new rule teaches them about balance and moderation, a concept that does not exist with fad diets.  The breakdown is simple: 80 percent of the time you focus on eating clean, good-for-you foods, and 20 percent of the time you have the freedom to indulge as you please. Don't be concerned about the math, but it's simple: if you eat three square meals a day, three of those meals every week are your 20 percent cheat meals; if you eat five small meals a day, then seven of those meals could be up for grabs as a cheat meal.  The point is build a lifestyle change that you can stick to and live with for the long haul!!  

Because think about it.... You can't be 100% ALL of the time, but you can be 80% ALL of the time!! Right??

Would you like to learn more about Shakeology?? (Shakeology is the healthiest meal of the day and is the ultimate in CLEAN EATING!!)


Do you want to join my next FREE clean eating fitness group?  Just fill out the below form:



21 Day Fix
Overview of Program
Meal Planning Tips

The Master's Hammer and Chisel
Overview and Equipment
Frequently Asked Questions
Hammer and Chisel - Day 1                    Hammer and Chisel - Day 31
Hammer and Chisel - Day 2                    Rest Day
Hammer and Chisel - Day 3                    Hammer and Chisel - Day 33
Hammer and Chisel - Day 5                    Hammer and Chisel - Day 34
Hammer and Chisel - Day 6                    Hammer and Chisel - Day 35
Hammer and Chisel - Day 7                    Hammer and Chisel - Day 36
Hammer and Chisel - Day 8                    Hammer and Chisel - Day 37
Hammer and Chisel - Day 9                    Rest Day
Hammer and Chisel - Day 10                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 39
Rest Day                                               Hammer and Chisel - Day 40
Hammer and Chisel - Day 12                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 41
Hammer and Chisel - Day 13                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 42
Hammer and Chisel - Day 14                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 43
Hammer and Chisel - Day 15                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 44
Hammer and Chisel - Day 16                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 45
Hammer and Chisel - Day 17                  Rest Day
Rest Day                                               Hammer and Chisel - Day 47
Hammer and Chisel - Day 19                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 48
Hammer and Chisel - Day 20                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 49
Hammer and Chisel - Day 21                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 50
Hammer and Chisel - Day 22                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 51
Hammer and Chisel - Day 23                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 52
Hammer and Chisel - Day 24                  Rest Day
Rest Day                                               Hammer and Chisel - Day 54
Hammer and Chisel - Day 26                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 55
Hammer and Chisel - Day 27                  Hammer and Chisel - Day 56
Hammer and Chisel - Day 28                  End of Program
Hammer and Chisel - Day 29                  
Hammer and Chisel - Day 30                  

Ten Tips for Eating Out

Ten Tips For Eating Out

The decision is yours!!


Plan ahead!

Check out the menu ahead of time to plan your healthy choice. Chain restaurants often have nutrition information on their websites, which can further guide your decision. This is a




Make your own rules!

Choose your dining-out rules and then STICK TO THEM!! Some common rules include: deciding to review only certain sections of a menu, choosing only non-fried foods, refusing the bread basket, leaving 1/3 of your food on your plate or eating dessert only when shared by the family. Be creative with this and make rules that you can live with!


Review the menu!

Look for menu items that are steamed, broiled, grilled, stir-fried (with broth or water), roasted or poached while avoiding foods that are described as buttery or buttered; crispy, sautéed, fried or pan-fried; and creamed, scalloped or au gratin.


Order it “dry”

Request foods prepared “dry” or without oil/butter. A food may be prepared in a healthful manner and yet have plenty of “hidden” fats added which rack up the calories. Broth, lemon, wine, herbs, spices and salsa can provide plenty of flavor without concentrated fat calories and can be ordered on the side or requested.


Make substitutions and skip the bread basket!

Substitute a vegetable, side salad or fruit cup for a potato, pasta or rice. This one substitution can save you a couple of hundred calories!!  


Be careful at the salad bar!

Although salad bars sound healthy....steer clear of cheeses, creamy potato/macaroni salads, bacon bits, croutons and sweetened dried fruits while choosing a plethora of vegetables with some lean protein such as chicken, egg or beans, which will also help fill you up!


Watch the dressing!

Opt for fat-free or “light” salad dressings. For extra wellness points, ditch the dressing altogether and use balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice on your salad...Or ask for oil/vinegar.


Take it with you!

When your food arrives at the table...immediately ask for a to-go container. Pack up a portion of your meal, close the lid and enjoy the rest of your meal another day. Better yet, request that half your meal be packaged in the kitchen prior to it being served.


Savor it!

Eat slowly and mindfully, savoring each bite and stopping when satisfied. Your feeling of fullness will increase over the next half hour after eating. Have a healthy snack planned in a couple of hours so you do not feel the need to overeat in order to carry you to the next meal.


Avoid sugary soda and sweet tea!

You really do not want to drink your calories... you want to EAT your calories, so don't waste them on sugary drinks!! Choose sugar-free beverages such as water with lemon or a cup of coffee. Soda calories add up quickly, especially when refilled automatically.

Would you like to join my next FREE healthy eating fitness challenge? Just fill out the below form and let's get started!!


Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli Bites

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli Bites

These roasted broccoli florets come together with just 5 min prep, tossed in Parmesan-garlic goodness. Plus, it’s the perfect and easiest side dish to any meal!

Every bite was so worth it...So garlicky... And just so crisp and crunchy! YUM!!

Prep Time:

5 minutes

Cook Time:

10 minutes

Total Time:

15 minute


  • 24 ounces broccoli florets*
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Place broccoli florets in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  • Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until tender.
  • Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan and lemon juice.


*24 ounces br

occoli florets is equal to about 5 cups.

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Grocery Shopping Tips

Grocery Shopping Tips


Make sure you eat a balanced snack or meal prior to venturing out to the grocery store. This is critically important if you are stopping to shop following work. Pack extra snacks, bring them to work and eat them toward the end of your day or on your way to the store. If you find yourself at the store and you are hungry but did not prepare a snack, go to the pre-cut veggies and grab something healthy like cut cucumbers. You can also ask for a sample of sliced turkey when you are at the deli or order a few slices. This will fill you up with smart choices, so you will stick to buying what you need!


Prior to going to the grocery store, take the time to surf the web (Pinterest), read recipe books or review your own recipe file to plan out your meals. This way you will know the ingredients that you will need before heading out to the store. Instead of mindlessly shopping and ending up with items that don’t serve you well, you will be mindful and aware of what you are buying. Supermarkets and manufacturers know how to market merchandise to consumers, especially hungry ones that shop without a plan!


When you have a plan and create a list, you will be less vulnerable to give in to temptation as you go up and down the aisles. Make a commitment to stick to your list. When you take the time to make a shopping list from a meal plan that also includes snacks, you will be more likely to stay the course of your good intentions to eat well.


Shop the perimeter of the store first. This is where you will typically find the fruits and veggies as well as the dairy, meat, chicken and fish departments. Within the inner aisles of the store you will mostly find packaged and processed foods. Limit your time here!


Stop and ask yourself while shopping, would my grandparents or ancestors have had access to this food 100 plus years ago? Our ancestors did not have access to processed foods long ago. Consider eating whole, fresh, natural and unprocessed foods as much as possible... your body will LOVE you for it!



Choose romaine, kale and spinach over iceberg lettuce. Buy sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Consume brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice. Choose more vibrant colored vegetables instead of the pale variety. Colorful vegetables are packed with more nutrients. Purchase whole grain bread or sprouted breads along with brown rice and whole wheat pasta as they contain more fiber. They also help to balance your blood sugar levels, which allow you to stay fuller longer.


Do not put sugary drinks into your cart! Say goodbye to sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices. These are liquid carbs and are made up of empty calories! They cause your blood sugar to rise significantly. Purchase sparkling water and cut up lemons and limes instead.  

You might consider purchasing a water infusion pitcher so you can add berries, watermelon, mint or even cucumber, among other combinations to flavor the water naturally. Check out my previous blog post

Detox Water Bar

for some really great water recipes to change things up a bit! Buy herbal and green teas and make pitchers of iced tea.  There are some really great flavored green tea varieties out there! These are tasty alternatives to sweetened drinks! Try to avoid (if possible) drinks that contain artificial sweeteners like Crystal Light with aspartame.  There are some varieties that are made with Stevia now that are a much healthier option.


Just as you create a list and meal plan for your week, do the same with balanced healthy snacks. If you eat 5 or 6 smaller portioned meals or snacks each day, your blood sugar will be more stable and you’ll feel full longer. 


Eating healthy for the long-term is about balance. Cutting out foods indefinitely doesn’t work for every one. It’s okay to give in to some of our cravings. If we don’t, we may choose to binge or give up our lifestyle changes when we can’t be perfect. Be smart about your indulgences. If you love ice cream, don’t buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, buy the small


mini-pint size and have that available to eat once or twice a week.


Think about purchasing single ingredient foods. For example, broccoli and apples are single ingredient foods. Avoid processed foods that contain additives, preservatives, trans fats, etc.  

Adopt the rule: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

 Attempt to stick with items that have 5 ingredients or less and limit foods that are in a box, bag or can. Just because the package says “low fat” or “low calorie” or “good source of”  …. Does not mean that it is healthy!

Would you like to join my next FREE healthy eating fitness challenge?  Just fill out the below form and let's get started!


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Hammer and Chisel - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Master's Hammer and Chisel?

An innovative resistance-training system that includes all three phases of muscle sculpting—known as SSP Training—
to rapidly build, chisel, and refine a masterpiece physique in just 60 days.

• Sculpt your ultimate physique with 12 brand-new workouts that incorporate the three phases of SSP Training— Stabilization, Strength, and Power—that are essential to building a powerful, perfectly defined body.

• A comprehensive program from seasoned trainers and award-winning fitness competitors, Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese.

• Includes options to adapt certain exercises if you have limited access to equipment.

• Includes a modifier who demonstrates some moves at a lower intensity.

• Fuel your body for demanding workouts and achieve your best results with a straightforward portion-control nutrition plan that you can customize to meet your goals—whether you want to lean out, sculpt and maintain what you’ve got, or build muscle.

Who is the target audience?

• Men and women looking for a comprehensive resistance-training or muscle-sculpting program.

• Those who enjoy Body Beast®, 21 Day Fix®, or 21 Day Fix EXTREME®.

• Those who like the motivating styles and proven training methods of trainers Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese.

• Those who crave a simple, flexible nutrition plan to help them reach their unique goals.

What makes The Master’s Hammer and Chisel program so effective?

• The Master’s Hammer and Chisel is built on the three phases of SSP Training—Stabilization, Strength, and Power. Other programs only focus on one or two phases, which might give you decent results. But The Master’s Hammer and Chisel program incorporates all three methods to help you relentlessly chip away fat and carve every muscle for a strong, visually stunning body in 60 days.

• The program combines the expertise and proven training techniques of two seasoned trainers who’ve spent decades acquiring the tools, skills, and experience needed to transform your body into a masterpiece—fast.

• Co-creator Sagi Kalev was crowned Mr. Israel–twice–and is a Master Professional Personal Trainer, IFBB Pro, member of the IFBB Propta Hall of Fame, Certified Nutrition Specialist, and Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist.

• Co-creator Autumn Calabrese is a celebrity trainer, best-selling author, and working mom who has held certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), and has competed at the national level in various bikini competitions.

How does The Master’s Hammer and Chisel program differ from Body Beast and 21 Day Fix EXTREME?

• Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese combined their own effective body-sculpting techniques into one comprehensive resistance-training program.

• Body Beast is a bodybuilding program that focuses on muscular hypertrophy. The Master’s Hammer and Chisel includes aspects of bodybuilding, but also focuses on improving endurance, power, agility, strength, balance,
and range of motion to sculpt a powerful, defined physique.

• 21 Day Fix EXTREME is a shorter, goal-specific program, whereas The Master’s Hammer and Chisel is a full 60-day program with slightly longer workouts. 21 Day Fix EXTREME focuses on getting you shredded in the
shortest time possible, while The Master’s Hammer and Chisel also helps you improve other aspects of your fitness, such as muscular endurance, power, strength, and agility. It’s a whole new approach to helping you
achieve a strong and chiseled body.

What equipment requirements are there?

• A few dumbbells of various weights appropriate to your strength and fitness level.

• A bench or stability ball.

• A chin-up bar or a resistance band and a door attachment (you can just hinge it around the door knob without using an official "door attachment").

What are the unique benefits?

• A strong, chiseled, perfectly defined body.

• Improved strength, power, cardiovascular endurance, balance, and agility.

• Incredible definition that you might not have been able to achieve before.

• The flexibility to lean out, sculpt and maintain what you have, or build muscle, depending on your unique goals.

What’s included?

• 12 workouts on 6 DVDs that rapidly build, chisel, and refine your body using SSP Training.

• A set of 7 portion-control containers and a Shakeology® shaker cup to help you master the art of nutrition—and sculpt your ultimate physique.

• The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Program and Nutrition Guide, with your straightforward eating plan, easy-to-make recipes, and Sagi and Autumn’s expert tips for getting the most out of your workouts.

• Quick-Start Guide lays out your 3-step blueprint for building the body you’ve always wanted.

• 60-Day Calendar that shows you which workout to do each day for efficient and effective training.

10 Min Ab Hammer: Carve definition into your core while strengthening your entire ab complex AND
10 Min Ab Chisel: This core-crusher will transform your midsection, without ever getting on the floor.

***EXCLUSIVE! When you purchase this program through me with me as your coach, you will get the FREE bonus workout, The Master’s Cardio!***

When Sagi and Autumn want tough, fat-chiseling cardio, The Master’s Cardio DVD includes their go-to moves.  Short, but intense, this workout boosts aerobic capacity, power, and muscular endurance—without impacting your
lean-muscle gains.

Can I stream The Master’s Hammer and Chisel workouts?

Yes! If you purchase The Master’s Hammer and Chisel and become a Premium Team Beachbody® Club member, you’ll get unlimited access to Beachbody® On Demand, where you can stream The Master’s Hammer and Chisel and hundreds of proven Beachbody workouts via any desktop, laptop, tablet, TV, or mobile device—wherever you have an internet connection. Just look for “Purchased Programs” on Beachbody On Demand to access The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.

Related Posts: My Journey with Hammer and Chisel: Overview

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Fill out the form below and let's get started!!

Hammer and Chisel Journey - Day 26: ISO Speed Hammer

Day 26 - ISO Speed Hammer

uh... can I have her abs??

Please see my previous blog post from Hammer and Chisel - Day 5 for a full description of the workout to include pictures of some of the moves.

We have not seen this workout since Day 5 and it is now Day 26! One thing about this program is that you never get bored doing the same old workouts over and over!  There are so many different workouts that I have a hard time keeping them all straight and remembering which one is which!  I would say that this Hammer and Chisel program really defines the term muscle confusion!  

This workout really BURNS the muscles and works them to fatigue which induces change.  It really goes back to the basics utilizing push ups, squats, lunges, lateral raises, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks (this is not a full list), but you get my point. Sagi really covers all the basics with this workout and works all of your muscle groups.  This workout is very challenging, but in a good way! I really like this one!

Hammer and Chisel Journey - Day 15: Total Body Hammer

Day 15 - Total Body Hammer

...and this workout will REALLY leave you feeling sore!

Please see my previous blog post Hammer and Chisel - Day 7 for a full description of this workout to include pictures of the moves. 

I used the same weight amount that I used on Day 7, so there is nothing new to report today regarding the workout itself. I will say that I am REALLY sore! I can't believe how sore that I am.... oh, and did I mention that I am feeling VERY sore???  Oh, and satisfied!  I will admit that it is a satisfying feeling for sure!

OK... see you tomorrow for Hammer and Chisel- Day 16 (if I can move, that is!) 

Hammer and Chisel Journey - Day 49: Total Body Hammer

Day 49 - Total Body Hammer

Please see my previous blog post Hammer and Chisel - Day 35 for a full description of this workout to include pictures and video clips of the moves.

...And this workout will definitely make you sweat!!

I don't think that I did a good job telling you how much weight that I was using on previous blog posts for this workout, so I will outline below the weight that I was using and try to highlight increase in weight as appropriate.

Round 1: 

Bench Press –  I used the stability ball for this – but a simple bench press! I used 25 pound dumbbells. (a significant increase from the first time that I did this workout using 12 pound dumbbells)  This was heavy for me... 20 pounds probably would have been a better choice!

Squat – a simple squat with knees shoulder distance apart. This move gets significantly harder with the weight over time. I used 25 pound dumbbells.

Reverse Grip Row – Bend at the waist and pull towards you, focusing on your back. I used 15 pound dumbbells for this move.

Round 2:

Incline Fly  – Same as the bench press but you do a fly move on an incline...so that you work your upper chest more. I did this on the stability ball using 15 pound dumbbells. (an increase from 10 and 12 pound dumbbells)

Reverse Lunge– Step back lunges. Round one is the right leg, round 2 is the left leg. I used 25 pound dumbbells.

Wide Pull-Up – HARD!!!. I am still using the resistance band attached to the door for this move.  My husband uses the pull up bar.

Round 3: 

Military Press –  Shoulder workout – I performed this seated on the stability ball using 10 pound dumbbells (an increase from 8 pound dumbbells).

Split Squat – One leg up on a chair (couch for me) and then you squat with the other leg. Round 1 is the right leg, and round 2 is the left leg. I used 25 pound dumbbells for this move.

Post Delt Fly – This is a one-armed deltoid - just swing your arm up to the side from a bent over position leaning on the ball. This one is a lot harder than it seems and really becomes very difficult by the end.  I used a 10 pound dumbbell, an increase from an 8 pound dumbbell.

Total Body Hammer Review & Thoughts: 

 This is definitely the most “classic weight lifting” round of the program.  I really enjoy it and I always work up a crazy sweat – the rest period between moves is very short! I have been able to increase my weights a little bit since the last time that I completed this workout, so I know that I am getting stronger! Be sure to track your weights and track your progress! I wish that I was doing a better job writing my weights down... so learn from my mistakes on this! :)

Hammer and Chisel Journey - Day 51: MAX Hammer Strength

Day 51 - MAX Hammer Strength

...and this workout will surely make you sweat!!

Please see my previous blog post Hammer and Chisel Day- 9 for a full description of this workout. 

I can tell that I have gotten much stronger as evidenced by the fact that I can do push ups for a full minute without having to go down on my knees! This is new for me! When we started this journey, I struggled to do 30 seconds before dropping to my knees! 

The moves are as follows:   (body weight –> 60 secs and weighted –> 8 reps)

  • Reverse Lunge without weight followed by weighted Reverse Lunge (left then right) for eight reps. I used 25 pound dumbbells. My 11yo son who joined me today used 12 pound dumbbells
  • Push-ups for one minute followed by Chest Press (Bench Press) (on ball or bench or floor even) I used 25 pound dumbbells and performed it on the stability ball. My son used 12 pound dumbbells.
  • Body-weight squats for one minute followed by shoulder squats (dumbbells on shoulders) I used 25 pound dumbbells. My son used 12 pound dumbbells.
  • Pull-ups for one minute follwed by Lateral pullovers on the stability ball (one dumbbell) I used one 25 pound dumbbell. My son used a 12 pound dumbbell. I did the pull ups using a resistance band attached to the door.  My son used the pull up bar and was able to do 12 pull ups! :) *On a side note, he has been chosen by the school to represent the 6th grade in their First in Fitness event where he be participating in the triathlon event. He will run one mile, do sit ups for one minute, and as many pull ups as he can do! I am very proud of him! This will take place in April.
  • Good mornings for one minute followed by dead-lifts. I used 25 pound dumbbells and my son used 12 pound dumbbell.
  • Chin-ups for one minute followed by one arm row (Right/Left) for eight reps. I used a 15 pound dumbbell. My son used an 8 pound dumbbell. Again, I did use the resistance band attached to the door for the chin ups.
  • Low sumo squat for one minute (you remain in the squat position throughout the entire minute and never fully stand all of the way up) followed by weighted sumo squats (1 dumbbell) I used a 25 pound dumbbell. My son used a 12 pound dumbbell.
  • Resistance Band military press for one minute followed by seated military press. I used 12 pound dumbbells (an increase from 10 pound dumbbells). My son used 8 pound dumbbells.
  • Bulgarian split squat for one minute followed by single leg step up  (Right then left after completing both moves) The single leg step up is REALLY hard by this point! I used a 10 pound dumbbell. My son did it without weights.
  • Ledge calf raises on edge of bench or step (or on the floor) for one minute followed by seated calf raise (with dumbbells on thighs) I used 25 pound dumbbells. My son used 12 pound dumbbells. 

I enjoy this workout... It is a good workout, gets the heart going by using the large muscle groups with all of the squats, and definitely leaves you feeling worked!  And..... I am pretty sure that I am going to be sore, lol! I feel like I have been sore every day for the last 51 days, lol.  However, I actually have started using Beachbody's Recovery Formula and I can tell a difference. I think that I would be much more sore without it.  I started using the Recovery about half-way through this program, and I can definitely tell a difference!

See you tomorrow for Hammer and Chisel - Day 52! 

Hammer and Chisel Journey - Day 17: Max Hammer Strength

Day 17 - Max Hammer Strength

Please see my previous blog post Hammer and Chisel - Day 9 for a full review of this workout by Sagi Kalev. Nothing has really changed for me with regard to this workout from Day 9 to Day 17.  I used the same amount of weight for the exercises.  I definitely feel as though my legs are getting stronger, but don't be fooled... this workout is still a BEAST!  The above picture is a good one to represent this workout because this one will definitely leave you SORE afterwards! The heavy lifting for eight reps is very effective, I can attest to that! 

If we could really just to go Costco for a body like Sagi's versus working hard for 30-40 mins EVERY day... I would do it in a heart beat! Ha! The Costco reference is an inside joke... once you have done the workout, you will get it! 

See you tomorrow for Hammer and Chisel - Day 18!