Book Review: Chelsea Streifeneder's Studio Shape Up

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If you own a pilates (fitness, yoga, dance) studio, you need Studio Shape Up!

I have to start this review with a confession. Chelsea Streifeneder sent me an advanced reader copy of Studio Shape Up back in January. Yes, January!

And I actually read it right away, because I know that Chelsea never does anything half-assed and expected this to be great (which it is). But I am just now officially reviewing it at the end of May. No excuses, because life always happens.

That said, this book is truly indispensable for both new and veteran studio owners.

Short, simple, and to the point

This is 144 pages of gold, and I do not give out praise like this lightly.

This book starts with a list of questions. Hard questions, like, “Are you okay with not getting paid?” and “Can you handle face-to-face confrontation and not-so-happy clients?” Basically, you should know the bad as well as the good.

Streifeneder then continues with an exhaustive studio start up checklist - including everything from proper payroll set up and liability waivers to studio supplies and marketing materials.

She then moves into your meetings with clients (“Let’s be honest. A first session with a trainer is like a first date - for the client and the trainer.”) and growing and managing a team.

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Customer focused

The customer is the focus here, and Studio Shape Up reminds us to show them thanks in myriad ways, from the basics of being on time and ready to focus to birthday and holiday gifts, contests, referral bonuses, and community building both within your studio and with other businesses in your area.

Streifeneder even walks you through specific client scenarios, like “Clients balk at new pricing” or “Our substitute teachers get a grouchy reception,” offering responses for each.

Self-care for studio owners

Pilates teachers are notoriously bad at self-care. We work a lot and tend not to focus on ourselves as much. But I am always reminded that if my well runs dry, I am in no position to serve my clients.

Streifeneder reminds us to replenish our own energy reserves by making time for our own workouts, as well as taking regular time off and getting enough sleep. She also outlines some basic quick Pilates workouts, because sometimes we forget. After all, there is always something else to do in any studio that seems more important than exercise.

So Many Great Ideas

If you implemented even 30% of what is in this book, it would be a win. I try to only learn from people who I know for a fact are successful, and Chelsea Streifeneder is one of those people. If you either own a studio or are thinking about it, get this book right now! Click below to purchase on Amazon with my affiliate link.

Pilates Fundamentals for Lower Back Pain

Just 6 simple pre-Pilates exercises used morning and evening and your back will feel much better!

Most people I know suffer from lower back pain (except most of my clients, who feel better). And most people would like some simple exercises to help get things under control.

This video that I put together a few years ago offers you a simple and free solution to MOST chronic lower back pain.

And these exercises won’t hurt, either.

Literally thousands of my Pilates and fitness training clients have successfully eliminated chronic back pain using this simple program.

I hope it helps you!

From Famine to Feast on FASTer Way to Fat Loss®

I always thought I was fat

Today I want to talk about all things food! I have a long and complicated relationship with food, which left me in starvation mode starting at the age of 13.

My mother always battled her weight, and unfortunately went through that when the only options were strict old-school Weight Watchers and Atkins. She was also bipolar, and would project a lot of her crap on me, including calling me fat.

She took me to Weight Watchers, where they played along and gave me a diet plan. She also tried to take me shopping in Lane Bryant (plus size only), where they laughed at her because I was not plus size.

So basically, I thought I was overweight when I wasn’t. This led me to have no idea of what healthy should look like (apparently it looked like me, but who knew?) and to a place where I just ate 600 calories a day and weight 103 pounds (that is 60 pounds less than I weigh now, and I am at a healthy weight).

I starved myself for decades

From then on, I either ate whatever I wanted and overexercised (I remember doing hundreds of situps in my room at 3am when I couldn’t sleep), or starved and overexercised. After I started endometriosis treatment, and especially after my hysterectomy, I found it impossible to lose weight or fat at all.

I remember carrying lots of snacks and eating little tiny portions every few hours. Stuffing snacks in between Pilates clients was never fun! Then there was the plan that had me counting bites of food (nothing overly controlling about that ;)), the no carb diets (Atkins, South Beach, and Keto - they all ended in a pile of mashed potatoes with bread), and the general calorie cutting plans.

For exercise, I would push myself to do tons of long-form cardio (which I HATED) as well as strength training (low weight/high rep for fat burning, remember?) and Pilates. This took at least an hour every single day. Plus teaching and running around. Why rest?

I was hungry all the time

As you might imagine, I was hungry all the time! All the time!

And I just couldn’t lose weight. I was stressed out, seriously overweight (I went up to 208 at one point), and totally frustrated.

Me at 163 pounds today

Me at 163 pounds today

Me at 208 pounds

Me at 208 pounds

Finally, my thyroid and adrenals went. I started a low dose of levothyroxin, and as I started to feel better I searched for solutions.

Enter the FASTer Way to Fat Loss®

My friend Amanda Tress started talking about this program she had developed, and I watched her gain muscle and lose fat before my eyes, as she was literally eating donuts! I tried some pieces, like intermittent fasting and adding two rest days per week, and immediately started to drop weight and fat.

So when she opened the program up to train coaches, I raised my hand! And here I am, over a year later, still eating more than I have in years and helping others find there happy place. I almost can’t believe how much I eat and don’t gain fat!

I eat full calories for an active woman

Having always lived on around 600-1400 calories per day, I had no idea how much I am actually supposed to eat. When I calculated that on My Fitness Pal, I was amazed to see that I could eat closer to 1600 calories every day! I am never hungry anymore.

Did I say “fasting”? How is that a feast?

Intermittent fasting as I practice it and teach it, simply involves eating within a time window. For me that is 8-12 hours a day, which means that I am fasting 12-16 hours per day (a chunk of which is sleep time).

Because I fit a full 1600 calories into that window, I eat a lot! I just ate a giant chicken cobb salad with avocado and bacon for lunch, after breaking my fast a few hours ago with a protein shake. No deprivation here!

Did I mention donuts?

I also carb cycle, which means that two days per week I intentionally eat very low carb. Not every day, just two days per week (matched with HIIT cardio). The other days I either rest or lift weights, and eat balanced macronutrients (50% carbs).

Because I never want to feel deprived, on a heavy weight training day I will enjoy a treat. Donuts, cookies, pastries, ice cream, and even fried chicken or a burger and fries may show up as my treat in any given week.

Life without treats is not a life I wish to live. That is another reason why I love FASTer Way!

I would love to help you come to a healthy relationship with food that you can maintain forever. My next round starts prep week on Monday, October 29th. Click below for more information and to register!

My Results After One Year of FASTer Way to Fat Loss®

Has it really been a year of FASTer Way?

My parents always said that time flies, and I really notice that more in my 50s! It has actually been a little over a year since I started making the FWTFL program a part of my life AND I became a certified FASTer Way to Fat Loss® coach.

My fat loss and weight loss results

Fat loss and weight loss are different things. In the FWTFL program, we do a lot of heavier resistance training and eat enough carbohydrates to support the work it takes to build muscle, combining this strategically with low carb cardio days and plenty of rest. Because muscle is denser and weighs more than fat, you can lose fat and actually weigh more.

Now, I needed to lose both weight and extra fat, and have not only lost both, but maintained it! I lost 45 pounds that I have maintained pretty effortlessly, and gained obvious muscle (my body shape is completely different and I am down many inches - 3 sizes worth).

AFTER

AFTER

BEFORE

BEFORE

My cholesterol and thyroid results

I take prevastatin for high cholesterol and levothyroxin for my underactive thyroid. About six months ago I was able to cut the prevastatin down to 3x per week, and my TSH levels improved even more, on top of the low dose of thyroid hormone replacement. My energy is better (I did have to make some adjustments to my fasting schedule to account for adrenal fatigue, but more on that in another post), and I am stronger than ever! I look great, but most importantly, I feel great!

Intuitive eating

After a year of tracking my nutrition and calories per FASTer Way to Fat Loss guidelines in My Fitness Pal (MFP), I am now able to eat intuitively and know what my body needs and when. Some days I eat in an 8 hour window, while others I expand to a 12 hour window, depending on how I feel.

I know now what a day of low carbohydrates looks like and what to eat, as well as a full carb day. Every once in a while I input a day into MFP to check myself, and I am always on point.

What I eat on FWTFL

I eat everything. Seriously, I eat everything. On low carb days I treat myself to higher fat foods - ribs, brisket, salmon, organic aged cheese (I tolerate dairy), lots of vegetables, full fat salad dressings and yogurts, berries for when I need a little sweetness. On regular and rest days I add carbs - rices, pastas, quinoa, and sometimes even good bread. And on leg day I treat myself.

Lately hubby has been baking, so I have had everything from orange iced shortbread cookies to flourless chocolate torte and lemon poppy iced bundt cake! But sometimes my treat is Blue Ribbon fried chicken with sweet potato fries. Seriously, what I don’t eat is junky processed food. Everything else is fair game!

LUNCH ON REGULAR DAY

LUNCH ON REGULAR DAY

LEG DAY TREAT - SHORTBREAD COOKIES

LEG DAY TREAT - SHORTBREAD COOKIES

How much do I exercise on FASTer Way to Fat Loss®?

Not too much, actually! I do heavy strength training (including Pilates for full body powerhouse work) for a total of 30-45 minutes, 3x per week and higher intensity cardio for about 30-45 minutes (including sprints + lower intensity fat burning ending), 2x per week. The other 2 days I either rest but for dog walks or do some gentle pilates or yoga.

Nothing crazy. Not an hour of high intensity exercise every day, like some programs require.

Would you like to lose fat and improve your health?

Women and men of all ages have had success with FASTer Way to Fat Loss®. The combination of enough whole foods in the correct proportions, intermittent fasting with carb cycling, exercise, and enough rest, is powerful and life changing. It worked, and continues to work, for me!

My clients ALL feel satisfied and full at the end of the day, because they are giving their bodies exactly what they need. No deprivation, no depression over what you can’t eat - because in your week you can eat all the foods you love. In fact, I usually have to encourage my clients to eat more, since so many of us have eaten way too little for way too long.

My next round of FASTer Way starts prep week on October 29th, and I would love to see you there. Let’s get stronger and healthier together!

Online Pilates Workshop to Benefit Sunni Almond 8/8/18

Sunni and Scott

I give thanks every single day for my husband and our marriage, and as he gets into his 60s I feel some anxiety. My friend and colleague Sunni Almond, the vivacious creator of Going More Joe, lost her husband Scott suddenly and unexpected just a few weeks ago, leaving her without many financial resources.

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From Sunni,

"What happened instead, after the doctor was going to turn us away this third time, was, I told the doctor that I wasn't taking Scott home until he diagnosed him. After the Ultrasound, the doctor didn't find a hernia, but Scott had spent three solid weeks in bed in pain, and I demanded an answer. I pressured him to do further diagnostics, so a cat scan was done, and stage IV inoperable colorectal cancer was found. It had also traveled to the lungs, lymph and liver."

Scott Almond passed at home, in hospice care, just 6 weeks later. I just can't even imagine.

After buying an advertising subscription on Going More Joe and donating to the Go Fund Me page, I thought, "what else can I do?" Well, what I can do is teach some online Pilates workshops and give half the money to Sunni!

Mastering the Mat - Sunni Almond Benefit

In this 2 hour Mastering the Mat online workshop for Pilates teachers, we will explore the basic and beginning Pilates mat, standing exercises, 2x4, and wall exercises, along with modifications and variations for special populations. We will also explore where we see these shapes on the apparatus. Just this one training will give you tons of ideas for your current and upcoming Pilates classes.

Workshop includes unlimited access to the workshop video (in case you can't make it to the live event) and a private Facebook group for questions and discussion.

And I am sending 50% of proceeds directly to Sunni to help with ongoing expenses!

Mastering the Mat - Sunni Almond Benefit

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 3-5pm EDT

$75

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Register for the workshop.
  2. Look for email with links to liability waiver and Facebook group..
  3. Complete waiver and join private Facebook group (if you are not on FB, I will send meeting and video links via email)..
  4. Join online workshop on Zoom meeting or view the video (via FB group or emailed links)..
  5. Try new ideas, give feedback, ask questions and get answers!
  6. Enjoy unlimited access to the workshop video, along with online community access for Q & A and general support. 

Gut Health Supplements and Life Update

Just when you thought I might never blog again, I am back! 

Sinus Infections and Adrenal Fatigue (Yawn)

The past few months have been tough. I ended up with adrenal fatigue, and then managed to get two sinus infections within the past month. What zithromycin wouldn't kill, levofloxacin plus a NeilMed sinus irrigation system has. (However, the neck and shoulder pain that I sometimes get with Levoquin are tough to take.) 

In the interest of getting my health back on track, I have made a few changes to my routine. Instead of doing a 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol, I am doing 12:12, which immediately helped my energy. I dropped back down to beginner/intermediate workouts, and not every day, and have actually gained some more muscle and lost more fat (who knew?).

I also found a new gynecologist, who is transitioning me to an FDA-approved oral HRT regimen that is still bio-identical. Instead of being on a dosing cycle of every 12 hours with the compounded cream I have been using, I will take the energy-producing estrogen and dhea in the morning and the sleep-promoting progesterone at night. Since my dose will be more regulated, I look forward to less sweating and more sleep!

In supplement news, I stopped taking fish oil after so many studies showing that it has no effect on cardiovascular health (plus I eat fish and good fats all the time), but have continued with probiotics and collagen for gut health and to keep the candida at bay after so many antibiotics!

And that brings me to the lates gut health supplements I have tried, both of which I received free in exchange for a review.

Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics

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How could I ignore an email with "The Princess and the Probiotic" as a subject line? As I know from working at an A-list private island resort, even royalty has gut issues with travel, so why would Meghan Markle be any different? 

What makes these probiotics different? They are fermented for three years with an organic prebiotic food blend. Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics are shelf-stable and effective. I took a capsule twice a day, and found them to work very well, keeping me regular and feeling great. The only issue is cost. To make a quality product like this is not easy or cheap. These will run you $43 per month on Amazon.

These work so well because they are a blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.

"The three-year fermentation process at seasonal temperatures encourages survival of the strongest bacteria and makes the blend (12 Probiotic Strains) shelf-stable without refrigeration. Unlike other products that claim billions of freeze-dried non-native bacteria is better, we understand that 'more' is not better. Dr. Ohhira’s formula takes probiotic support to a whole new level by providing the biogenic ingredients Postbiotics needed to support your exclusive probiotic ‘fingerprint’."

I also highly recommend their Kampuku Beauty Bar, which fits the hand perfectly, works on face and body, has no smell, and rinses clean.

Hello Beautiful Collagen & Multivitamin Powder

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I take collagen every day, whether hubby's awesome bone broths or a powder. Collagen helps our guts, as well as supporting our structural supports and skin. I am convinced that collagen helped me heal my crushed toe back in 2013! So, when I received an email asking if I would try Musely's Hello Beautiful collagen with multivitamin, I said yes.

They sent me one box of the unflavored and one of the wild berry flavor (20 packets each). The unflavored is great! It mixes easily into coffee, oatmeal, and my protein shake, and I love getting my vitamins and some electrolytes from the dried coconut water in the process. No smell, no residue, just clean collagen.

The mixed berry flavor is very lightly flavored. It mixes well in berry oatmeal and berry smoothies, and I even tried it in cold water, which worked well, much to my surprise.

I do prefer a more robust multivitamin, so this would not replace that for me. But if you have a hard time remembering to take a pill, but will carry and use a packet of powder, this will work for you! Prices range from $29 per box to under $20 in their subscription program.

Are You Ready For Summer?

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We are beyond excited about our NEW opportunity for FASTer Way To Fat Loss coaches because we’ve made it even easier to do what you love, change lives, and make an incredible income!

If you’ve been on the fence about trying FASTer Way To Fat Loss and becoming a certified FASTer Way coach, then now is the time to act! We’ll explain everything at our LIVE Special Recruitment Event on April 23rd, but here’s what we can tell you right now.

We have a brand new backend system to make the registration process completely seamless for you. We will take on the liability and insurance so you have one less thing to worry about. We will provide you with all the branding assets and marketing materials you need. We’re handing you a business in a box!

But we aren’t just simplifying the process and making it even easier... we’re structuring the FASTer Way so you can earn even more money!

Here’s how it works! You will earn 75% commission on all of your sales (with an average of $200 per sale going directly to YOU). This is the HIGHEST in the industry (by far!). But it gets even better. For each coach that you bring into the FASTer Way family, you will earn a $1,000 referral bonus PLUS once you have 5 coaches on your team, you’ll earn 10% on all of THEIR sales! Are you already running numbers in your head? That’s right. HUGE potential! Not only that, if you apply during our special LIVE event, you’ll receive $1,000 off your Tier 2 coaching package!

Don’t wait! Space for this LIVE event is limited, so register now and experience the life-changing benefits of FASTer Way, before we fill up! 

You will start Prep Week on Monday 4/23, AND will be eligible to join the LIVE coach recruitment event! Click here for more information about being a FASTer Way To Fat Loss Coach.