This chapter of my life is called Happiness. This is my Soul Space…

I smile. I sweat. I motivate. I live. Realistically and Beautifully.


August 2013


It takes 8 lessons to really learn a golf swing. (So I hear) It takes 30 days to get into a habit of exercise. If you purposely smile at others, every time, it will become second nature. Catch my drift?? Don’t give up. Do whatever it is you are trying to master, then do it some more. Then do it tomorrow. You will get there and you will feel accomplished and empowered.


A program for combating belly fat.

Here is an amazing article by Jade Teta of Metabolic Effect about belly fat. It also includes a program to combat belly fat and nutritional advice. As a Personal Trainer, I recommend the same style of training programs to my clients. 20-30 minute, high intensity rest based workouts, focusing on sleep and rest, adding walking and eating protein and vegetables regularly. The Bootcamp classes at Anatomie Fitness provide the rest based, high intensity training you need also. Plus accountability. Read this and create a plan that works for you!! If you need help, I’m more than happy to help!!

Belly Fat is a mystery to many. Many people have heard it is all about hormones and others believe it is all about calories. So which is it? Both, actually.

The first thing to understand is there are really two types of belly fat, visceral belly fat and subcutaneous belly fat. Visceral fat is underneath theabdominal musculature and in close proximity to the organs. You can’t pinch it and those who have a lot of it can have abdominal muscles that feel tight and ridged despite the bulging protrusion. Subcutaneous belly fat is above the abdominal muscles and can be pinched. This is the stuff that hangs over the belt.

The visceral fat is more quickly stored and more easily burned. This is because being deeper in the body it has a greater blood supply and is more sensitive to the fat burning catecholamines than is subcutaneous fat.

Belly fat is stored when the combination of excess calories meets the hormonal influence of cortisol and insulin. This is important to understand because those losing weight who take a purely caloric approach may find that the fat around their belly seems to burn off at a much slower rate or lag behind all together. This is because belly fat is as much a hormonal phenomenon as it is a caloric one.

The see-saw battle of cortisol and insulin.

The single biggest influence over the levels of insulin in your body comes form the amount of starchy and sweet foods you eat. The biggest influence over cortisol has to do with stress levels which are probably most directly related to sleep quantity and quality.

What many people don’t realize is that cortisol is a schizophrenic hormone when it comes to fat loss. It increases fat storage due to the actions it has on the major fat storing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). But ironically, it also speeds fat burning by stimulating the major fat releasing enzyme hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). Notice the name of this enzyme is not “calorie sensitive lipase”? That should tell you something about the nature of fat loss. So, cortisol can be your best friend or your worst enemy. By itself it does not have much of an impact on belly fat. Unless, it is “hanging out with” insulin.

Insulin activity shuts down any fat releasing activity of other hormones like cortisol and therefore accentuates the negative fat storing effects. Adding cortisol to insulin is sort of like pouring gasoline on a fire. The two together with excess calories are the real culprits in fat gain around the middle.

Fat Belly Formula

Want to know the formula for a fat belly? (SS + Ft) X St= Fat Belly. Starch and sugar (SS) combined with fat (Ft) represent the worst combination for fat gain. Starches and sugar raise insulin levels and fat is relatively neutral. In other words, while fat supplies calories by itself it has little to no impact on insulin production. But when fat is added to sugar and starch (think doughnuts, French fries, pizza and burgers) you get a huge fat storing atomic bomb of insulin release. Insulin and fat also independently raise another fat storing hormone called ASP (acylation stimulating protein). And when they are combined they drastically enhance another fat storing hormone called GIP (glucose dependent insulinotrophic peptide). Not too mention the combination of fat and starch usually means a hefty dose of calories. Add stress (St) on top of this and the impact is multiplied further forcing excess calories around the belly.

Six Pack Formula

Want to know the formula for a six pack? {(P + V ) X Sl} ÷ IE= Six Pack. Protein (P) and vegetables (V) add a high powered hunger suppressing punch with little insulin production. This means less calories and better hormone balance. Sleep (Sl) magnifies this effect by lowering cortisol and increasing human growth hormone (HGH) a fat burning and muscle building hormone. Throw in intense exercise (IE) that favors weight training and interval training (more HGH and testosterone= more belly fat burning) over long duration cardio (more cortisol) and you start seeing the butter drip off.

Putting it together

If you are still confused here is a quick review. The current diet of the western world is between 70 to 90 percent starch, sugar and fat. 75 million Americans eat fast food every single day. The average sleep time is lower than 8 hours nightly. The number one form of activity is sitting on the couch and when we are active we use an inferior method of weight control by choosing jogging over sprinting or weight training.

The fix lies in replacing the sugar and starch with fiber and raising the protein while normalizing the fat. The foods with the highest ratio of fiber relative to starch are vegetables (can you say 9 or more servings a day?). By the way, if you think beans, corn and potatoes are vegetables that is part of the problem. They are starches, especially when you are after a six pack. The foods high in protein are eggs, and all lean cuts of meat. Cheese & yogurts, while high in protein, can add to the fat and sugar burden so a six pack diet uses dairy foods in small amounts only.

For exercise, don’t throw away your running shoes, but make your dominant form of activity fast paced metabolically demanding weight training. While your doctor knows drugs, he or she was not trained in nutrition or exercise so you will have to trust us on this one. Weight training done the right way is better at burning fat, great for the heart and keeps you from the number one killer today which is frailty. Please tell your doctor that 20 to 60 minutes in the aerobic zone is an inferior method for weight loss… me they need the education.

Here is your sample plan:


Breakfast- Lose the cereal and go for the eggs & no more than 10 bites of starch
Snack- Tuna & Veggies
Lunch- Ditch the sandwich and opt for the salad with chicken on top instead
Snack- Chicken & Veggies
Dinner- Salad, double veggies, lean protein and no more than 10 bites of starch.


Monday- 20 minutes of circuit weight training. 4 exercises (Squat/presses, push-up/rows, back row, lunge curl). Do 12 of each and immediately go to next exercise. Don’t take structured rests, instead push until you can’t and rest until you can (what we call rest-based training). See how many rounds you can get in 20 minutes. Remember tug-o-war, climbing trees, chopping wood and pushing a wheelbarrow? This will be all that and more.
Tuesday- 20 Minutes of interval exercise on a bike (if you’re overweight). 20s hard and then rest for 40s. then 30s hard and 30s rest. Then 40s hard and 20s rest. Then 1 minute hard and one minute rest. Repeat 4 times. OR if you can handle go do track sprints.
Wednesday- See Monday
Thursday- See Tuesday
Friday- See Monday/Wednesday
Saturday- Now you can run, with all the other stuff you did during the week it may help instead of hurt your chances at a 6 pack.
Sunday- Rest


Walk 30 to 60 minutes every single day. Walking is not exercise, it is necessity. And, it lowers cortisol.
Sleep- 8 to 10 hours a night. If you don’t want to do this, that is fine, but just be honest with yourself and admit your nightly sitcom is more important than the six pack you say you want.
Final Thoughts

Finally, and this is the most important thing and the thing no one ever wants to listen to, you can’t do this with exercise alone. You could be doing all of the exercise stuff just right and not lose weight or belly fat and perhaps even gain it because DIET IS THE MOST CRUCIAL ELEMENT IN BODY CHANGE AND FAT LOSS.

Too often people simply say “i am eating right” and they don’t realize this simple fact: if you are not getting results then you are not eating right. If you are not getting results in fat loss, then no matter how good you are eating, it is not good enough for you and you are going to have to take it to the next level. This is just the way it is. Your metabolic formula is different from everyone else and you need to stop being the dieter and start being the fat loss detective. We all need to look at ourselves and realize while we may be comfortable with our current diet practices and be convinced it is enough, it simply may not be. The point of your nutrition practices where you start seeing losses in belly fat is the point where you start seeing results NOT the place you are comfortable with.

Too often people get to a point where either consciously or unconsciously they decide “this way of eating is good enough and I am comfortable here”. Sorry, but your level of comfort has nothing to do with it. If you want change you have to make change and that change may be much more drastic then you have ever considered. It’s not fair, but it is the way it is.

Too often people are spinning their wheels trying to change up their exercise program in an attempt to get rid of the belly fat when in reality it is the diet program that needs to be manipulated, changed, and experimented with the most. This is the real way a six pack is built. Abs are indeed made in the kitchen.


My biggest pet peeve is when a client of mine shows me a picture of a fitness model and says she wants to look like her. Ok, let’s be real. You are not a fitness model. If you want to train for a fitness show, I will refer you to someone who can help you with that. I’m a trainer that focuses on realistic goals and living a happy, satisfied life. If you want to look like Jessie Hilgenberg, you’re going to have to train and eat like she does. If you want to look like you only leaner and more toned, then we can talk. Don’t pick a girl as your “goal photo” that is unattainable. You are setting yourself up for failure. Find a picture that is you only stronger and leaner.

This is my motivational picture. Not only for her physique, but it reminds me that I need to hit the track. Sprints are my nemesis. Ack.


If you can help yourself move past the emotions that you feel to be bringing you down, you will be empowered. Beyond. What a great tool to have in your tool box… The ability to help YOURSELF heal, grow, thrive, change, persevere and learn. At least try….then try again.

Pay attention.

Hey all… So I’ve been thinking lately. Yep, just thinking and not writing. Clearly. Sorry about the dry spell.. I’m back!! I have a thought that has been coming to me a lot lately and I’d like to share it. 4 weeks ago I hurt my back and I could not workout. At all. Because I wasn’t working out I started paying more attention to my appetite. It was there, but not at all like when I’m working out. So I ate small portions of protein and healthy carbs throughout the day. I didn’t obsess about food. I just ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was satisfied. I felt fueled and content. Fast forward to this week. I am totally healed and had the time in my schedule to get back to regular workouts. (For me that is 3-4 days a week… 30 minutes of high intensity interval training with weights) As I finished my workout on Monday my stomach started growling. I had eaten a good breakfast and was about due for my snack, but this growl would not be satisfied with just Greek yogurt and a few carrots. No, this growl was the real deal… Like, feed me a sandwich. (My stomach talks to me often) So I did. I went to Rubicon Deli (my fave) and ordered a sandwich on jalapeño cheese bread and I ate the whole thing. This physical feeling I was having tied in with the action of eating a portion that was about 4 times more than I needed, really got me thinking. When we work out TOO MUCH we are then faced with an appetite that is a force to be reckoned with… and most of the time, willpower will lose. You will end up succumbing to your hunger and you are more than likely going to take in more calories than you burned. If you play that game everyday, guess what? You will gain weight. Because now not only are you adding muscle but you are eating more than you are burning! It’s definitely a slippery slope. Find the balance!

This post is merely information for you to try and understand your body. I don’t know what the exact answer is for YOU. So I challenge you to PAY ATTENTION!! If you’re not working out as much, then cut your food intake down. If you are working out harder or more often, make sure you are fueling your body throughout the day with some extra energy (calories). Try everything you can to keep yourself out of hunger oblivion. The more you understand your body, the easier this game of health will become. I promise you that!


I think the most important piece of food prep is shredded chicken. I will do 6-8 breasts in the crockpot with taco seasoning and Ortega chilies to give myself a huge amount of shredded chicken for the week. I made my chicken Friday and since then I have had it in every staple meal this weekend. So, Friday I used it in corn tortillas with a veggie hash. Yesterday I combined said veggie hash with said chicken and had a tasty quick lunch, today I fried up some of that chicken in a pan with a bit of EVOO then added 2 eggs and scrambled it all together. Adding arugula and avocado to create the perfect brunch! Make your life easy…. Preparation and convenience is always the key to success!

Big happenings in Amy’s world.

Big stuff in the works my friends! Stay in touch with this blog by following through your email! I know there is a link, clicky thingy somewhere on this page that will help you do it. You don’t want to miss the details emerging in the next few weeks!! Link up. Sign up. Follow. Read. You know, stay informed.


Get clear in the head. Think positive. See yourself the way you want to be. It will become you.

Important info about the juice cleanse


How a Fruit Juice Cleanse Affects Your Body
Stripped of essential nutrients, detox diets can be downright dangerous

Last updated: August 1, 2013 | By Laura Beil, Photography By Dan Forbes

Thinking of signing up for a fruit juice cleanse? You might first consider how your body reacts to a week with no protein or fat and fewer than 1,000 calories a day.

After the first sip
Your brain’s hunger signals are answered with a dump of pure fruit-juice sugar. And don’t get any ideas—veggie-based body cleanses aren’t any healthier.

The sweet stuff prompts the pancreas to squirt out insulin, which moves sugar—now in your blood in the form of glucose—into your cells.

After 30 minutes
As your cells suck up the glucose, your blood sugar level can start to plummet and you may feel dizzy.

Meanwhile, lacking enough calories, your body is operating off its supply of glycogen, a form of short-term energy stored in the liver and muscles.

After two days
With each shot of juice, your insulin levels skyrocket, then crash. Your glycogen stores are pretty much gone, leaving your tank on empty—and you feeling weak and listless.

Since you’re getting only about half the calories you need, your body draws on two long-term power sources: triglycerides, a type of energy stored in fat cells (woo-hoo!), and protein, taken straight from your muscles (oops). You begin to lose muscle mass, even if you’re still exercising every day.

After three days
Your brain is not happy. It enters into semi-starvation mode and gobbles ketones, fuel that comes from the breakdown of fat. Ketones work, but they’re like low-grade gasoline; as a result, you may feel unfocused or irritable. (Any “mental clarity” is likely due to a strong placebo effect.)

Sans a fresh protein infusion, your brain is also lacking amino acids, the raw materials that neurotransmitters need to maintain your mood. If you’re prone to depression, you may start feeling blue.

The proteins in your shrinking muscles break down into ammonia and uric acid, unwelcome chemicals that invade your bloodstream. Now your kidneys are busy detoxing your detox.

Stay near the bathroom: The juice’s high carbohydrate load causes a surfeit of water to enter the intestines. That extra H2O in your gut means you’re apt to get diarrhea.

After four days
With no food to digest, your small intestine feels ignored. Its villi—the rows of tiny fibers that move food elements into the blood—start to atrophy. Your diarrhea may get worse, leading to dehydration… and there goes your rosy glow.

On the eighth day
Solid food! But uh-oh—you’ve lost muscle. Even if you go back to your regular eating habits, you now have less muscle mass to burn those calories; instead, the calories are more likely to be turned into fat. (Hence, one reason yo-yo dieting makes it harder to lose weight: Your reduced muscle-to-fat ratio messes up your metabolism and makes calories much harder to work off.)

Sources: Eric Ravussin, Ph.D., Nutrition Obesity Research Center, Pennington Biomedical Research Center; Timothy D. Brewerton, M.D., Medical University of South Carolina; Leslie P. Schilling, R.D., Schilling Nutrition Therapy; Lona Sandon, R.D., and Jo Ann S. Carson, Ph.D., R.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

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