BABY GOT BACK! My Glute Activation Routine. Yes, you should be intrigued!

Alright, let’s talk about this obsession everyone seems to be having about getting that “Big Ol’ Booty!” I’ve got to be honest and say, I’m not devastated that our society has seemed to move away from the “huge breasts” obsession that has ruled since…who knows how long now. Now, I’m not encouraging an obsession about any particular body part, however I don’t necessarily mind the encouragement of building some fabulous glutes.


Get lifting for some seriously sexy results

Let me explain…

Glutes are insanely important for a healthy and biomechanically sound body. They are the strongest and largest hip extensor you have. So having your glutes in proper working order is HUGE for your overall health.

Here are just a few benefits to having strong and healthy glutes…

  • Hip joints are properly stabilized
  • Improved hip mobility
  • Strong hip extension and retraction
  • Reduction in back stress, especially lumbar related
  • Proper knee traction for decreased injury and healthy long term movement
  • Proper movement through your knees into your feet
  • Decreased hamstring injury risk

Hopefully this long list is enough to paint the picture that glutes are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are crucial to the overall health of your body! A massive population of Americans have joint related injuries and conditions. While there are many reasons that could cause this, having weak glutes doesn’t help the cause. In fact, over time your joints become even more broken down because they don’t have what they need from your surrounding muscle tissue to support them.

I’m sure you get the picture by now! However, I want to switch focus and blast some myths that may be swirling around in your head right now.


They don’t want to work hard for you! Your body will recruit every other muscle to complete an exercise! This is especially true for women, unfortunately. Glutes are typically the last muscle to join the party when working out. You have to be tricky to get these guys rocking and rolling for you. 

  • Just because you SQUAT, does not mean you are working you glutes! The unfortunate reality of people in general, is that most do not know how to squat with proper form or get lazy with their reps and rely more on their hamstrings and quads to get through the movement. Even if you squat with proper form, your glutes may not be carrying the load for your body! Isn’t that frustrating!?
  • Many individuals do not even have the capability of squatting correctly because they have improper biomechanics and/or alignment. If you feel this is you, I HIGHLY recommend corrective exercises in order to fix that issue. Without correcting those movements, you will be continuing to train your body improperly, leading to injury and incorrect alignment throughout your joints.
  • Many of my readers know me well enough to have heard this phrase exit my mouth on several occasions… “Weight on your heels and hit 90 degrees with your knees.” If your knees come past your toes or your heels do not bear the weight of your squat, you are training your QUADS! Your glutes are still tucked into bed, lazy as heck and dreaming about who knows what. Why do people do this? Because glutes are lazy and without focusing on every single rep, you may as well give up on squats and hit quads with a leg extension. Sad but true.
  • Just because you “lift heavy” doesn’t mean you are getting maximum gluteal engagement. Sucks right? I know. Without properly waking up those “sleepy glutes”, your body will once again rely on other muscle groups to get through the movement. Glutes are functional! This means that you need them to perform at their best so you can move correctly in every day life. So until you know how to properly activate and wake those guys up, focus on form and lighten the load so you can get it right!

I hope you are saying to yourself something like…. “Kelsey, what the heck am I supposed to do then?” Don’t worry! I wouldn’t present you with a problem without having the answer for you! TWO WORDS!


This is one of my very favorite things in the world of fitness! Again, without proper “muscle firing” or “activation”, you could be wasting your time on leg/glute day. That’s bad news! I hate wasting time! I am going to share with you my glute activation routine, aka WAKE UP LAZY GLUTES! This is a quick 10-15 minute warm up to get your glutes screaming at you and ready to lift any load you throw at them when moving through your weight training program. They will have no choice but to stay engaged throughout your workout. You WILL feel and see the difference, I promise!

You need just one piece of equipment for this! HIP CIRCLES! Hip circles are basically highly durable resistance bands that create a lot of tension when used properly. Let me tell you right now, not all hip circles are created equal, trust me. So of course, I set out to find the right ones that I could stand behind and talk about happily!

First of all, I like the idea of different levels of resistance when it comes to my legs and glutes, so one band was not going to work for me. My current favorites, I got on Amazon! (If you know me at all, you would know I have an Amazon problem. I don’t have time to shop in REAL stores, not a thing.) These Hip Circles are created by Victorem and come in a package of THREE for $34.99! I was pumped! Anyway, I opened them up and put them to the test! You will have one band that is a heavy resistance, one medium resistance and one light resistance. Check them out here…Victorem Hip Circles – Set of 3

Here we go! Do this at home or bring them with you to the gym! EASY!


HIGH Resistance Band: Hip Circle Forward Walk

With band just above your knees, keep legs fairly straight as you walk forward taking slow and big steps with each leg. Be sure you are creating enough resistance to make this difficult. Take 20 total steps forward, then 20 total steps backward.

HIGH Resistance Band: Hip Circle Side Shuffle

With band just above your knees, face to the side and take small yet slow steps in one direction. Make sure you are maintaining solid resistance with the band. Take 20 total steps to the right, then 20 total steps to the left.

MEDIUM Resistance Band: Hip Circle Hip Thrusts/Bridges

With band just above your knees, lay down on your back with your feet close to your heels and knees to the ceiling, hands by your hips with palms facing down. Spread your knees just enough to feel some good resistance with the bands. Concentrate on keeping your knees out and the resistance high as you elevate your hips off the ground slowly, pause at the height of the movement, squeeze your glutes before returning back to the floor. Complete 15 reps.

MEDIUM Resistance Band: Hip Circle Clam Shells

With band just above your knees, lay on your side and bring your knees to a 90 degree angle closer to your chest, heels towards your glutes. Keep one leg firmly planted on the floor as you open the other leg to the ceiling. Be slow and controlled in your movement to maintain solid resistance as you release leg back to find the other. Complete 15 reps on one side before flipping to the other side to finish.

LOW Resistance Band: Hip Circle Body Weight Squats

With band just above your knees and feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, push knees out as you squat down to 90 degrees, maintaining solid resistance with the bands (don’t let your knees break to the middle). Stand up and repeat for 15 reps.

REPEAT for complete 2-3 rounds! Your glutes should be on fire and fully activated!

Congratulations! They are ready to rock of the remainder of your workout!

To be honest, I do this glute activation routine at home three days per week. Reason? My medial glutes are weaker than they should be and I want to prevent hip injury and joint issues. It’s a quick 15 minutes and I’m done! Sometimes, I follow it up with a trip to the gym. Other times, it’s part of an active recovery day. Either way, I know I am doing something good for myself and I encourage you to do the same!

Let me know if you have questions! I am here 🙂



BREAKFAST Baby! Why you NEED it!

I just had breakfast! I freakin’ LOVE breakfast and I always feel good about sitting down to take the time to nourish my body first thing in the morning because I KNOW the benefits of “the most important meal of the day”. As I was happily finishing my egg whites, oatmeal and super foods orange juice, I started thinking about WHY I am so enamored with breakfast and thought to myself…”Do people know this stuff?” I better tell them! So hear we go!

WHY you NEED BREAKFAST every day! .jpg

WHY you NEED Breakfast!

There are a crazy amount of theories and nutrition programs that have you skip breakfast, one is know as “intermittent fasting”. While I can appreciate that there is a place for this in the fitness community, it is not something I would ever do myself or recommend. I have done too much research, experimenting on myself and just have the general knowledge that intermittent fasting is not for me. So I’m going to share all the reasons WHY breakfast is in fact, the most important meal of the day, what to eat and when to eat it!

The research that supports NEVER skipping BREAKFAST is overwhelming! Let’s get into it…

Fact #1: People already have a hard time getting their nutrients in during the day! Why skip breakfast and put yourself behind the 8 ball? If you consume a nutrient rich breakfast every morning that addresses some of the concerns you may have about your own health, you could prevent SO MANY illnesses and diseases in the future. Concerned about your genetic makeup and what “runs in the family”? Be proactive! Look into your family tree and find out what you may be suseptical to, then start planning your breakfast to start each day FIGHTING the future of illnesses. I have Heart Disease and Alzheimers in my family, so I begin each day with oatmeal, berries and sliced almonds! BOOM!

Here are some staggering numbers for you…

Barely 11% of the population gets the daily recommended amount of fiber needed to maintain a healthy digestive system and therefore, a healthy immune system! Suffering from a crazy amount of colds and flus this season (or worse)? Fix your digestive system!

Over 50% of the entire world is Vitamin D deficient! WHAT?! You know that’s an even higher number here in the Northwest, where sun hides for most of the year. Vitamin D deficiency leads to depression, osteoporosis, muscle weakness and reduced stamina and chronic pain, amongst other things.

Under 5% of the total population gets the recommended amount of potassium!

More than 75% of the population is calcium deficient. Over 10% of the population will have bone related diseases and conditions because of this fact.

I could go on and on and on about how deficient we are as people, however I would need to break this up into several blog posts and I think you get the idea, right?

  • I will be touching on all of these numbers in more detail in February Blog Posts, so if you are interested in learning more about each of these deficiencies, FOLLOW the blog and you’ll be the first to hear about it! Worried about someone? Share this so we can help them together.

Fact #2: Dramatically decrease your risk of diseases and illnesses!

These first two facts go hand in hand. Without the proper nutrients and amount of those nutrients, your body isn’t getting enough weapons to fight these illnesses. Skipping breakfast is an entire meal where you could be giving your body the weapons it needs to stay healthy for you and your family.

Did you know?

  • Women who often skip breakfast are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes? The the type of diabetes you CAN control!
  • Skipping breakfast is associated with hypertension, insulin resistance (hence diabetes) and elevated blood sugar (hello weight gain!)
  • Eating breakfast increases cognitive function and memory! I’m saying NO THANK YOU to Alzheimers in my family!

Fact #3: This is one of my favorite facts because I KNOW you all wanna hear about how to get leaner and sexier. Duh! Who doesn’t?! You LOSE WEIGHT when you eat breakfast!

Studies have shown…Are you ready for this number?! People who ate a well rounded and larger breakfast to start their day lost an average of ALMOST 18 POUNDS IN 3 MONTHS! What?! Eat breakfast people!

Your body has been fasting since you ate the night before…Your metabolism has slowed WAY down and it’s starving for fuel to jump start it again.

Let’s paint a picture…

Your alarm goes off at 6:00 am to get ready for work. You are tired and barely able to move. You hit the snooze button and turn over, “just five more minutes.” You doze off just long enough for that alarm to wreak havoc on your morning again. You reluctantly crawl out of bed and slowly make you way to the bathroom to start your morning routine. You’re tired, you need coffee and you don’t have it in you to rush around and be productive yet. You JUST WOKE UP! Totally understandable. But guess what? Your metabolism is doing the same freakin’ thing! It has also been sleeping because it hasn’t had fuel to drive it forward for at least 8 hours (hopefully). It’s not concerned about your fitness goals right now, it’s tired and pushing the snooze button too. Those pretty little Fitness Fairies are in their cute little tree houses with the doors tightly locked up dreaming about pretty unicorns and rainbow protein shakes. They aren’t doing a damn thing for you right now.

So when are you going to decide to wake up your metabolism (Fitness Fairies for the sake of imagery)? Do you want to burn fat or would you rather hold onto it for longer periods of time because you like how it looks on your waist, ass and thighs? No thanks! WAKE THEM UP!

But Kelsey, how do I wake up those perfect buff little Fitness Fairies to jump start my metabolism?

EAT BREAKFAST! Blow those massive golden trumpets in your Fitness Fairy Village and get those guys out of bed to ramp up that fat burning immediately. 

Set your alarm to get out of bed 15 minutes earlier, head to the kitchen and eat breakfast. Enjoy this extra time with yourself and feel good about ramping your metabolism first thing in the morning. Ideally, you want to eat within about 30 minutes of waking up. Yes, you may have to adjust your schedule in the morning, but it’s for the greater good of your Fairy Village. Get up earlier, go to bed earlier to compensate and spend some time with yourself in the morning eating a balanced and nutrient dense breakfast. I promise, you will feel good about this!

What should you eat?

This is obviously a matter of preference and like I said, do your research into your family tree and start making a game plan as to how you can arm yourself best against genetic illnesses and disease. However, here are a few guidelines that will address many health concerns.

Consume a breakfast rich in protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat! Throw in as many veggies as possible OR you can cheat like me…I have greens in my orange juice every morning! HELLO VITAMINS and MINERALS! Check it out on Amazon for Amazing Grass Green Superfood ! Then I don’t need 4 pounds of Kale in the morning with a side of spinach! HA! It’s on sale right now too so obviously, I ordered five! For real, this is a daily routine for my and hubby.

Some amazing choices include the following…

  • Oatmeal, blueberries, almond milk and  sliced almonds on top
  • Veggies and egg white omelette cooked in 1/2 tbsp coconut oil and slice of whole grain toast
  • Greek yogurt parfait with berries, nuts and a couple tbsp of granola.

Build a breakfast that YOU like! Just remember how CRAZY important this meal is and make sure you create a routine. Your body will thank you for it, I promise.



PS. Please follow the BLOG for more info on all things health and wellness and receive monthly newsletters filled with more tips and tricks! 

Should I do Cardio BEFORE Weight Training? Here we go…

Bicep Curl.jpg

This is BY FAR the most popular question I get asked by clients. I have to admit, I have been saving this blog post for a day I am feeling especially “spicy”. If you know me well, you would know I am super passionate about this topic. So passionate in fact, that I get unnecessarily frustrated when individuals do the opposite of what science tells us. Yes, I’m stubborn, I know.

Let me give you an example…

You’re sitting down for lunch with your mom who is desperate to lose 50 pounds of body fat. You have watched her addiction to sugar and processed foods and are relieved to hear that her doctor has told her to stay away from both! She explains she needs to eat greens, drink more water and consume small meals every few hours to be successful. You are listening intently and happy to help support her with a plan! You volunteer your help by going to the grocery store, making healthy meals and hitting the gym with her. Her eyes light up and she is relieved to have an answer to the her health crisis provided by you and her doctor. You are feeling proud of the plan you have hatched together! Success! The Fitness Fairies and their mommies are cheering!

Then the waitress comes to take your order. You order a grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side and a hot tea hoping to set an example for your dear sweet mom. The waitress smiles then turns to your mother who quickly glances down to her menu. She then looks to the waitress and begins…

“I’d like to start with the mozzarella sticks and onion rings please. You can bring that out first, dear. Then I’ll have the chicken fried steak with country gravy. I suppose I should have a green salad instead of the steak fries…..but maybe I’ll take a Diet Coke instead of regular Coke, so I can order those fries!” She turns to you and says, “Aren’t you proud? Now that’s a great compromise!” Your mouth drops to the table because she’s not done. “I’ll also take the ice cream sundae instead of the Colossel Mudpie this time around….trying to watch my figure, dear.”

Mom, are you freaking kidding me right now? You can’t even form words because you are flabbergasted! What did you just spend 15 minutes talking about?

Ok, let me get off my soapbox before I really start to piss someone off…


Simple answer….NO!

Obviously, I will back this up based on science and physiology.  Ready for this?

  • GLYCOGEN: Glycogen is stored in your body as energy. This energy is needed to get through workouts! When lifting weights, your body demands more use of glycogen because lifting weights exhausts the muscle . When hitting cardio, you use less glycogen stores and can even train your body to run on extremely low glycogen stores to get through your cardio session. This is especially true with endurance athletes!

If you do cardio first, your glycogen levels will deplete and therefore, your performance when lifting afterwards will suffer because you have little left to give. People usually have NO IDEA they can give more during lifting because they don’t know the difference. You will perform better lifting first! Better performance = Better results!

Hitting the weights first will use those glycogen stores/energy in order to get STRONGER! The stronger you get, the higher your metabolism. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn just being alive! WINNING! After weights, move on to cardio. You are now in the fat burning stage of your workout, typically about 30 minutes in. This is where you get maximum fat burning. Yes please!

  • PERFORMANCE AND FATIGUE: The goal of any weight training program is “Progression Overload”. Which means, you are trying to gradually increase your resistance over time in order to become stronger. You need to do this by performing at your best and most rested in order to demand the most from your muscles, to reach goals and create the changes you are fighting so hard for. WIN!

When hitting cardio before weights, this is what happens…

  1. Muscle fatigue will set in, which will compromise muscle force production, performance and results.
  2. Your heart will be taxed and exhausted, which effects energy transportation and ability to get through your lifting session.
  3. You may be mentally fatigued, which will impact your focus and motivation.

Basically, you will not be your best and your results will suffer.

Now on the flip side, lifting BEFORE hitting cardio can still impact your cardio session but on a much smaller scale. Here’s why…

  • Cardio does not demand as much from your glycogen as lifting, so you will probably have enough leftover to hit your cardio afterward.
  • By the time you transition to your cardio routine, your Type 1 muscle fibers have recovered enough to get you through effectively anyway.

Ok, so let me go on record saying this…

If doing cardio first makes you happy? By all means, do it! But when you are choosing to pair both forms of exercise together, lifting and cardio, I know I have done my due diligence of providing the science behind the question. However, you’ve got to do what makes the most sense to you and keeps you happy!




MY FAVORITE VEGGIE RECIPE! Tricky Cauliflower! 5 Ingredients!

So if you know me at all, you would know I am not a huge fan of veggies. Terrible, I know! I’m a personal trainer, sports nutrition coach and a certified health coach and I’m not a fan of veggies. So before you judge me too hard, let me just say…I eat them anyway! As many as I should? Probably not. Although, I am a huge advocate for Super Greens supplements and Shakeology. All the great micronutrients are in there and it makes me feel a little better about being a total six year old about  my veggie intake.

Cauliflower is one of those veggies I could never get onboard with. Every once in awhile, I’m cool with a cauliflower mash, rice or pizza crust. But even then, I’m not a huge fan! You better believe I would NEVER EVER put raw or steamed cauliflower in my mouth and just chew it up and swallow. No sir!

So a few years ago, a friend of mine shared a cauliflower recipe she found and SWORE that I would love it! I was incredibly skeptical but I figured…”Ok I would like to get more veggies in me, so stop being a baby and just branch out.” So I did! She sent over the recipe and I went for it! I modified it ever so slightly to match my own personal preferences but OMG! This recipes in one of my favorite things in the world to eat! Seriously! I could eat it every day and be perfectly happy. In fact, I have cauliflower and parsley in my fridge right now and feel like that’s definitely “a happening” for dinner tonight. Even my hubby is obsessed with it and he feels the same way about this weird white little vegetable!

Here it is!




  • 1 Cauliflower head, cut into small slices and/or pieces
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread out sliced cauliflower evenly. Place coconut oil in microwave for 45-75 seconds until melted, then pour over cauliflower (option to use olive oil). Sprinkle minced garlic over cauliflower. Also add salt and pepper to taste, I like about 2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper on mine. Toss cauliflower so it is evenly seasoned and spread out again over the cookie sheet.

Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. How long you bake it, really depends on how you like your cauliflower texture. I LOVE mine a little crispy, so I let mine bake long enough to get pretty brown. Toss cauliflower with spatula every 15 minutes or so, to evenly bake. When your cauliflower is looking like it’s pretty close to how you would like it (about 5 minutes left in the oven), take it out of the oven, add lemon juice and parsley and toss again. Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Take out and let cool! ENJOY! It’s so yummy!

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Which is more effective? Straight Sets or Super Sets


Do you know the difference between straight sets and super sets when hitting the weights? I often take for granted what I know about fitness and nutrition, then talk about them like it’s a normal conversation about the weather. I realize that’s silly! So I am here to educate you! Let me tell you how this topic came about for me…

Here at HellaBella Athletics, we are running a 21 Day Total Transformation Challenge! This Challenge is all about changing the SHAPE of the body through fitness programming and meal plans that confuse your body to target fat stores and burn those first. Now, I know I am writing straight from a personal trainers perspective but I promise, I will make sense of it all. So hang in there! While HellaBella is a nutrition coaching business, I LOVE LOVE LOVE programming fitness and we get to revisit this passion with Challenges that we often run. And I have to say, Amy and I are badass programmers. I should hope so with 20 years of fitness experience between the two of us!

Interested in doing a Challenge with us? Check us out on Vimify!

So yesterday and today, I’m writing the Fit Plans for the Challenges and we are using progressive training to take our clients from baby steps to monster steps. We like to educate people so they know WHY we are programming the way we are. We are nerds, what do you expect? Anyway, the first week we focus on Straight Sets! The second week, we get to focus on Super Sets. Yes, I say “get to” because I prefer super sets, although that doesn’t mean they are superior! Let’s talk about it…


Straight Sets are amazing when you are trying to get stronger and build some serious muscle. You lift to failure and take adequate rest so you can do it again!

These should be performed to muscle exhaustion and obviously with great form! It freaking KILLS me when I watch individuals throwing weights around with focusing on form and tempo. Yeah, cool guys, I can curl 35 pounds too if I just yanked my body around and used momentum like circus acrobats. You know my little Fitness Fairies in the audience would be gasping as they watched through their fluttery little wings! Don’t be those people!

SOAPBOX WARNING: When performing any type of strength movement, you should ALWAYS focus on proper form and tempo. Proper form keeps the contraction in the muscle you are working. When you start to get sloppy and drop form, other parts of your body get involved and start taking over the work. Perfect example…a bicep curl. If the weight is too heavy and you start to swing your body in order to bring the weight to your shoulders, you are no longer performing a bicep curl. You are performing a bicep dumbbell swing. And who really know what the hell that is, except and injury waiting to happen. Your body starts to take over and you no longer have the benefit of your bicep doing the work for you. But hey! You look pretty cool doing it, right? Wrong! You look like someone who needs a workout date with a certified personal trainer who knows what they are talking about. I cannot tell you how many times I want to walk up to a massive dude at the gym performing a “bicep swing” and grab his elbow, hold it at his side and say, “glue your elbow here and don’t move the rest of your body as you try to get that weight up to your shoulder counting two seconds up and three seconds down.” Guaranteed every time, it wouldn’t happen. Now who feels sheepish?

Anyway, straight sets! Straight sets are when you do one exercise, for one set until muscle failure, then rest. Repeat until you are done with all of your sets. You do not move on to another exercise until you have completed all sets. Because you complete these sets to muscle failure (meaning you cannot do any more reps than you did in that last set), you will need enough rest between sets before moving gone to the next set.

Straight sets are extremely effective for strength training and muscle building. The only issue I have with it….I get bored. That’s it! I just get bored while I rest and recover between sets. That’s a stupid reason, huh? Yeah, I know I know. My Fitness Fairies roll their eyes at me all the time (if you haven’t met the Fitness Fairies, go back to where they originated…

Should I Workout on an Empty Stomach?

Now I know it’s a silly reason to not prefer straight sets, but I can’t help it. I still DO them because I know they are awesome! I just don’t prefer them! Coincidentally, the reason I prefer super sets is because I don’t get bored! HA! I’ll explain (obviously).


Super sets are when you perform more than ONE exercise in ONE set! So let’s say you are working glutes specifically….You decide to perform a wide leg press with walking lunges. If you are working super sets, you perform all of your reps on the leg press then immediately follow with your walking lunges. Only after you have performed both of these exercises with no rest in between, will you have completed one set! Super sets kill my boredom issue for two reasons…

  1. I get to do more than one exercise in each set
  2. With no rest between, I get to keep moving and elevate my heart rate for more focus on metabolic training.

Now don’t get me wrong, you still get rest when performing super sets! You just get the rest after you perform one round of each exercise within that super set.

So back to the question….Which is superior? Straight Sets or Super Sets? Well, the answer is really all about what you are trying to do for your fitness training and goals. My personal opinion? You should do both so you have a vast array of training techniques. This will keep you well rounded within your fitness goals. I mean, unless you are trying to be a bodybuilder, then I may have something different to say…Otherwise, try both and have fun doing them!



Healthy Family Food! Part 2….Quinoa, Chicken and Broccoli

So my son, is very different from my daughter in lot of ways. Although, I am currently referring to their appetites and food preferences. She is all about the carbs and sweet treats, while he loves eating chicken and broccoli! Weird, right? I mean, if I add chocolate to every meal for this quirky little 9 year old, he’s in paradise.

While chicken and broccoli is a great way to keep the physique you may want, it’s boring and monotonous! So obviously, I do my best to stay creative for my family so they don’t roll their eyes when they see the same meal presented at the dinner table every night. I can’t imagine them actually rolling their eyes at me, but let’s not even start.

Now, I’m going to be honest (hence the name of my blog)….I hate chicken breast! I really do. It’s so incredibly rare when it’s prepared WELL. Most of the time, it’s dry, overdone and under seasoned! All of these adjectives lead to YUCK! Yeah, yeah, yeah….I know if it’s prepared right and seasoned well, it’s “better”, but even then….I just never think to myself, you know what sounds good? A chicken breast. As a personal trainer, I feel blasphemous because I know how incredible this protein source is in helping others (and myself) reach fitness goals. So maybe I’m being a five year old and pouting about chicken breast, but what can I say? Therefore, I have to find alternatives OR use chicken in a way that I can get on board with.

So when I know that lean protein needs to be my jam and my little Fitness Fairies are sick and tired of jumbo shrimp, white fish and turkey, we get creative! I pull out the chicken and make it happen! Besides, my little Brady Bear will be thrilled! And trust me, when this kid smiles and laughs, he lights up the room. Totally worth it!

One of MANY ways I have prepared chicken breast and made it the feature in a recipe, is by preparing casseroles. Don’t get all bent of of shape and think of your grandmothers soggy, gloppy mess of a creamy disaster. I want you to picture a medley of healthy protein, carbs and veggies, prepared perfectly for you and your family to enjoy. Brady LOVES this recipe and even loves the leftovers! #WINNING

Quinoa, Chicken and Broccoli


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup canned light coconut milk
  • 1.5 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast (diced and raw)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli florets (cut into bite size pieces)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray casserole dish with non-stock spray. Place quinoa evenly on the bottom of the pan, lay chicken breast on top, then slowly add warm water.

In sauce pan over medium heat, heat olive oil then whisk in flour. Cook flour for two minutes stirring constantly, add chicken stock, coconut milk and spices very slowly into the pan, whisking until creamy and smooth. Pour gently over chicken and quinoa.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until chicken and quinoa is cooked through.

In the meantime, steam broccoli until bright green and al dente. 3-5 minutes. Add broccoli to the baked casserole and carefully stir, adding up to 1 cup of water if needed to keep creamy and smooth. Sprinkle cheese on top and place back in oven until melted.

Remove from oven, let cool and ENJOY!

Need another healthy family option? Check it out…

Healthy Family Food! Part 1…Steak and Potatoes!

Finally Mastered My Sweet and Smoky Chili Recipe!

German Volume Training…Oh the love…

A pile of sports equipment on the floor

German Volume Training at Nine Months! Sure, ok!

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Portland and I am excited about a lot of things happening in life right now. Obviously, adding a new addition to our family is amazing and has been on the fore front of my mind for the last few weeks. My kiddos are enjoying a lazy Saturday in pajamas and my handsome husband will be home from training his clients soon to enjoy the rest of the day with us. It’s a great day.

As I am working on my Mac this morning in my office, I am thinking about my blog post for the day. I have a lot of ideas but none of them are truly slapping me in the face with, “Yep Kels, great topic! Do that!” So I open up some work projects I want to get done and start cracking. As I am working and crossing things off my to-do list (oh so satisfying), I am drinking my massive bottle of water because duh, I want to be hydrated and healthy. Let’s talk about how many bathroom visits you have to take when you are properly hydrated….at least a million, right? Let’s add the fact that my uterus in over 1000 times the size it normally is and therefore, bladder space is minimal. I think we could safely double that number to 2 million.

When is she going to talk about German Volume training? Yeah yeah yeah, hang on….

First bathroom trip, here’s what happens… I stand up, then sit right back down! HOLY CRAP! My legs are sore! I mean, I knew they were getting sore from a workout two days ago, but sitting for the last couple hours in front of my computer really did me in. So let’s talk about the cause…German Volume Training? Yep, you guessed it! Two days ago, Amy and I decided we needed to test out one last leg workout for our 21 Day Total Body Transformation Challenge. We decided to hit squats using this method. We always love mixing up our nutrition and fitness routines for better results, and it had been at least a week since our last German extravaganza. So we got after it!

What is German Volume Training?

Also known as the 10 Sets Method, it is exactly that! You are doing 10 sets of one exercise at 10 reps per set! You did the math in your head, right? That’s 100 freakin reps! This style of training was popularized by Rolf Feser back in the 70’s to help weightlifters put on muscle fast during the off-season to move up in weight class within a 12 week period of time. If you don’t know, that’s extremely ACCELERATED results.

The idea is to recruit the higher threshold muscle fibers to overcome strength plateaus. You’re goal is to load your body with about 60% of your 1RM (1 rep max, how much weight you can push around just one time). Once you have this load, you perform ONE exercise for 10 reps then rest for 60-120 seconds depending on the rest of your program. Then you repeat for 10 total sets.

We chose to hit this Super Set…

  • 10 Weighted Squats on Smith Machine 
  • 10 Reverse Lunge Jumps (each side) for Amy, 10 Dumbbell Static Lunge (each side) for this girl (me), ready to pop at any moment.

REPEAT for 10 total sets!

You may read this and think, she is freaking crazy! Ok, that’s fair. However, let me explain…60% of your 1RM is hard, yes. However, completely possible. We are exhausting one muscle group with high volume in order to create some big changes. You will be expending a lot of effort but may even get bored before you get too tired. Ha!

My favorite part of this story was when I woke up the next day and walked into the bathroom after my hubby gets out of the shower. I dropped my hair band and went to pick it up (no small feet when your stomach is massive) and let out that “Ohhhhhhh my legs are sore” exclamation. He smiles and says, “Well what did you do?” At this point, I know I might be in a bit of trouble. He really wants me to take it easy and try to relax during my workouts. Completely fair! In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was having some pain and cramping during exercise that forced me to tone it down and make modifications. He is a concerned daddy and hubby. Knowing this, I take a big inhale and smile back mischiveioulsy thinking I could maybe, just maybe make it sound less scary by saying, “We did squats yesterday, 10 reps.” He ducks his head slightly looking at me with raised eyebrows, “You did 10 reps? And then what?” MAYDAY MAYDAY! I’m going down and the chute is malfunctioning! I’m toast and I cannot tell a lie so I reply meekly, “10 set of 10…with lunging super sets.” He pauses for what felt like 9 more months of pregnancy. So let me get this straight… “You’re 9 months pregnant and you are doing GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING?!” He cracks a big ol’ adorable smile and adds, “I don’t feel bad for you at all then! HAHA!” 

Okay, so SOMETIMES I overdo it a tiny bit! But listen, my legs look great today and match the belly I’m sporting in the front! Woot woot!

If you are ready for a Challenge and want to learn more about what we do and how we do it, check out our 21 Day Total Body Transformation Challenge that starts on Monday. You’ll see some German Volume Training featured here and I promise, you’ll get through it!




KATU News Segment! Fit Pregnancy

My “Fit Pregnancy” segment aired yesterday and posted on KATUs website today! I had so much fun with Tra’Renee doing this pregnancy segment. If you would like to see the original blog post with the full workout and details, visit KATU News At Home Pregnancy Workout!

Follow me, here on my blog for more tips on a healthy pregnancy and recovery post-partum with baby!

Here is the video link from Afternoon Live with Tra’Renee!

For more tips on how to reach your own fitness goals in 2018 using fitness and nutrition advice from me, visit…

Very special thanks to our Fuel Plan member and hair and make up extraordinaire, Shay Slyter for making me look rested and fab for the show! Check her out at Glow Salon in Portland!

KATU News At Home Pregnancy Workout!

Let’s be completely honest, when you are pregnant, you have limited energy! Let’s take it a step farther, when you are nine months pregnant and ready to pop, you are even more exhausted!

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, it is very important to keep my body healthy by moving often and eating a balanced and nutrient dense diet. It makes my pregnancy easier, the delivery smoother and the post-partum recovery faster.

Here are a few tips for you to get through your pregnancy feeling successful and strong!

  1. Move for 20 minutes per day! Research shows that within the first 20 minutes of exercise, your body gets the most health benefits. Therefore, that little munchkin you are growing does as well! Go for a walk, hit the gym, do a workout video or hit this quick workout at home.
  2. Listen to your body! And your doctor! Trust me, you are going to know when it’s time to slow down. Stay active and strong but be aware that your body is going through some major changes and you need to adjust.
  3. You are NOT eating for two! You are eating for yourself and a tiny little peanut. While your body may need 1700-2500 calories per day, you’re unborn baby does not. Doctors suggest 150-250 additional calories in the first trimester, 250-350 calories in the second trimester and about 500 calories in the third and final trimester. Trust me, you want to pay attention to this so you aren’t packing on the pounds and struggling after your baby arrives to lose the weight. Remember a healthy weight gain during pregnancy is 25-35 pounds!

With all that being said, knowing that I need to take care of my body doesn’t exactly give me additional energy in getting to the gym. I know you know what I’m talking about ladies! So here is a great 5 minute routine, that was featured on KATU Afternoon Live, I do at home to keep me moving. The best part of this routine, is that I can repeat it for however long I feel like I can so I can get my heart rate up for longer periods of time and work on my endurance! Which let’s be honest, I am definitely going to need here in a week or two.

Kelsey’s KATU News Pregnancy Workout

This is a full body workout that can be done without equipment if needed! Otherwise, I suggest a yoga ball and dumbbells for resistance training. Complete 60 seconds in each exercise before moving on to the next! Set a timer on your smart phone and get to moving.

Body weight squats: Stand with feet shoulder width apart or farther is that is more comfortable, bend your knees and lean slightly back as you lower your body in a squat. Be sure your knees stay behind your toes and your weight is on your heels. Stand back up and squeeze your gluten before repeating. Hold dumbbells in hands if you are feeling good!

Bent over Low Row: With dumbbells in hands and palms facing each other, bend at the waist and knees to get your chest close to parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and eyes on the floor 3 feet in front of you as you bring the weights to your ribcage, squeeze into your shoulder blades and back before returning to straight arms at the bottom.

Push-ups: Perform push-ups from knees or toes in a plank position. Squeeze glutes and quads to support your back and core. Keep your hips slightly elevated as you lower your body down to hover over the floor, then push away to straighten arms again with an exhale. As your belly grows, find a stable base to perform and incline push-up to modify the movement.

Bridge on yoga ball: Sitting on the yoga ball, walk your feet out slowly and carefully so that your upper back and neck are supported on the ball. Squeeze your glutes and elevate your hips to become parallel to the floor before slowly releasing back down, then repeat.

Bird Dog: Kneeling on the floor on all fours. Take a big inhale and reach your right arm and left leg to outstretch away from each other, then return to starting position. Repeat to opposite side with left arm and right leg, then return to start.

REST for one minute, then repeat for as long as you feel great!

If you would like to join me on my journey through the rest of this pregnancy and getting back into tip-top shape after baby, follow my blog! If you know someone pregnant, send this to them post to help them along their journey. This blog is filled with health and fitness tips, workouts,  yummy healthy recipes and just a splash of Kelsey honesty and fun!

Healthy Family Food! Part 1…Steak and Potatoes!

It’s a new day and I’m feeling pretty fabulous after the yucky day I had yesterday! I took some time this morning on self-reflection, found some great inspiration in bettering my skills of letting toxic people go and I’m moving on! See my sad little post yesterday… Letting Go of…People that Suck! I’m over it!

Time to get back to doing what I love and helping those that need and want it! So here we go! Recipes are in high demand with our clients and members. I hear you and I’m ready to help! For the next week, my focus for the blog will be “Healthy Family Food”. 

I plan on sharing my favorite recipes that my picky family actually enjoys. Let me paint you a picture….My 11 year old daughter love all carbs! If they happen to be coated in butter, she’s the happiest person in the world. Think mashed potatoes, pasta and parmesan cheese or white rice with butter and salt. Ugh,…just thinking about it made my insulin spike! My 9 year old son is all about mac n cheese, chicken, broccoli and chocolate. Seriously, that’s his jam! Luckily for me, my hubby will eat pretty much anything. Keeping in mind that he is a personal trainer as well, so health and fitness means a lot to him. Obviously, protein and veggies need to be in every meal. OH DARN!  Haha!

As a mom, I make sure my kids are educated and understand the choices they make with their meals. That doesn’t mean I micromanage them and their decisions, because I don’t. It just means that I guide and educate them to make healthy choices. They know what protein does for their body and muscles, they know that carbohydrates give them energy that needs to be burned off with activity and they know that healthy fats make them think and move better. Do they make perfect choices all the time? Of course not, they are kids! However, I am so proud of what they know and how they use that knowledge to fuel their bodies.

So here are a few rules we follow with our family dinners…

  1. Everyone MUST have veggiesof some kind. No getting up from the table until I am satisfied with their consumption. It can be a quick salad, grilled or steamed veggies or veggies hidden within the dish.
  2. Everyone must have some form of protein. Same rules apply, don’t leave the table until you have your protein in.
  3. When you want seconds of carbs, they always do. They have to have seconds of the protein or veggies, first. Often the question of seconds, comes with me asking, “Are you still hungry or does it just taste good?” This is not meant to be a guilt trip, it’s meant to get them thinking about what it feels like to feel satiated or just having an appetite for the yummy stuff.
  4. We don’t do dessert. I never got them in the habit of having dessert. When we have sweets in the house, it’s usually for a fun reason. Sweets come with  birthdays, holidays or sometimes, just because Jadyn likes baking and I like to get her moving in the kitchen. Dessert in our home, is for an occasion.

Yes, we sit at the dinner table together. Yes, we like to have conversations during our time together. We usually ask questions like, “What was your favorite part of the day?” “What challenge did you come across today?” I want them to start thinking about how to overcome and how to celebrate their day.

Now that I have painted you a picture of our dinner table, I have a recipe for you!

Lets start with Jadyn’s favorite…Brady’s will be featured tomorrow 🙂

Grilled Flank Steak and Asparagus with Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Marinade and steak

  • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger or 2 tsp ground dried ginger
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 2 pounds flank steak

Roasted Potatoes

  • 1.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp ranch dressing dry mix
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
  • pepper to taste

Grilled Asparagus

  • 1-2 bunches of asparagus
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients for marinade (except steak and green onions) in small bowl and whisk together until combined.

Place steak in deep dish and pour marinade over the top. Sprinkle green onions atop the steak, then cover and place in fridge for at least two hours or up to 8.

An hour before you want to serve dinner, preheat oven to 400 degrees for potatoes. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Place all ingredients for potatoes recipe in large ziplock bag and toss until potatoes are evenly coated. Spread potatoes on cookie sheet evenly and place in oven to bake 30-40 minutes. Toss with spatula every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven when sides are crispy and the centers are tender.

In the meantime, snap end off one piece of asparagus to see where to cut the rest of the stalks. Once all stalks are cut, brush long pieces of asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on plate and get ready to grill/broil with steak.

Heat your grill on high! Place steak directly on grill and let cook for 4-6 minutes per side or until reaching desired temp of 125 degrees to 150 degrees, depending on desired doneness. Throw away the rest of your marinade. When done, place on cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Place asparagus on grill and cook until desired doneness, place on new plate and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

If needed, use broiler instead of grill for steak and asparagus. Heat broiler and follow the same steps above, flipping steak 4-5 minutes into the cook.

Cut steak against the grain of the meat for the best tenderness when eating.

  • Enjoy dinner with your family and feel good about the healthy meal you provided! You nailed it!

Food prep tip: I OFTEN double or triple my recipes because I am NOT about cooking every single day for every single meal. I like to spend just a bit more energy by making a larger recipe so my family and I have healthy options on the days that follow our healthy family dinner.