Keeping it Real This Holiday Season Ep 120

Personal Trainer Pamela Hernandez introduces the 4 Keys to Real Fitness Coaching Club and asks you to keep it real this holiday season.

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Introducing the 4 Keys to Real Fitness Coaching Club


Diets don’t work.

I say this often because I know from experience. It started with watching my mother trying to lose weight by eating Figurines or following the T-Factor diet. It became my own story in my late teens and early 20s as I religiously avoided foods with fat and sweated it out with my Susan Powter aerobics video. When that didn’t work, I would starve myself during the day only to buckle at night when I was tired, lonely and depressed.

Now I see the proof in clients who come to me feeling hopeless because they have tried everything. They have starved and punished their bodies with all the popular diets only to feel as though they are in the worst shape of their lives. They lose weight, temporarily, but they can’t sustain it. The come to me hopeless and feeling like failures.

They have not failed. The diets have failed them. Diets are by design temporary. That “jump start” program to help you lose 10 lbs in 10 days is not meant to help you keep those 10 lbs off. The 30 days of giving up almost EVERY food you love is only a month for a reason. You can give up bread and bananas as long as there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Where is the exercise?

Most commercial weight loss programs encourage some form of exercise but fail to give you a plan on exactly what to do. Most people will default to cardio because it’s familiar. We all know how to walk, right? Riding a bike is as easy as well…riding a bike. The problem is cardio won’t help you build a healthy metabolism and the shape you want.

Luckily, I figured this fallacy out when I was in my mid twenties. I learned how to give my body the fuel it needed. I harnessed the power of strength training. Most importantly, I learned that real fitness was not about dieting. It is about learning to live a new way, every day, for the rest of my life.

My 4 Keys to Real Fitness is not a diet. It’s a road map.

If you can master the basics you will have a solid foundation for a journey meant to last a lifetime. I hope you have taken advantage of your FREE copy of my book that outlines these principles, the same ones I use with all my clients. If you have read The 4 Keys to Real Fitness I suspect you have questions. How would you like a chance to ask them – in person? How would you like a chance to participate in workshops that cover each of the 4 Keys in depth with bonus tools to help make them real in YOUR life?

  • Learn how to do foundational strength exercises safely with modifications for your fitness level.
  • Discover the most effective kind of cardio for your needs.
  • Understand what foods help you balance protein, fats and carbs on your plate.
  • Get recipes for balanced breakfasts, lunches, dinners and smoothies.

I understand if perhaps you still haven’t applied these principles. I know that while the formula seems simple the application is never easy. Change is hard. Overcoming a lifetime of habits is like a rocket trying to break free from gravity. Think about how much effort that takes! It’s even harder when those around you aren’t willing to make changes too. Clients come to me as much for support and accountability as they do for the workouts. They come to me to help them figure out strategies for behavior change. They want to be around others who have done it, who are living a life of real fitness. They need to be around others who GET IT.

  • Wouldn’t it be nice to be part of a group of like-minded women, all trying to get healthy and fit?
  • Wouldn’t it be great to have a coach to lean on anytime you felt like giving up? To email with exercise questions or a confusing food label?
  • Wouldn’t it be amazing to have someone who is going to tell you the truth when you need to hear it?

I wish I had I had all of those things when I started my journey.

Part of why I started Thrive Personal Fitness was to help other women learn about living healthy and not make some of the same mistakes I did in the beginning. I do that with my personal training clients every day but I also realize that personal training sessions aren’t the right fit for everyone.

Maybe it’s a work or childcare schedule that means workouts happen at odd hours, whenever you can fit them in. Or perhaps you’ve got a consistent exercise habit but you feel something is missing and preventing you from reaching your goals. You might have exercise down but need extra help with nutrition. Maybe what you’re doing isn’t working and you want to get more information about how to get off the diet roller coaster and start living a healthy and fit life.

I am proud to introduce the 4 Keys to Real Fitness Coaching Club.

This 16 week program includes:

  • Four weekly in person workshops covering each of the 4 Keys to Real Fitness
  • A 12 week exercise program (not personalized but modifiable for your fitness level. Custom workouts will NOT be provided)
  • A healthy cooking class
  • 2 bonus online workshops on Supplements and Stress Reduction
  • Mix and match recipes to create your own custom meal plans
  • Worksheets to help you develop goals and create your plan for success.
  • One thirty minute personal coaching session (via phone)
  • Access to my coaching services via email – ANYTIME during the program!

I am so excited to be rolling this program out to the Springfield area in January 2015! I also want to give you plenty of time to ask questions, think it over and be ready to COMMIT when registration opens on December 29. Spaces will be limited and registration will only be open until 5 pm January 2 (unless spots are filled before then). Before registration you can email me with questions. Be sure to sign up to for my mailing list to receive a reminder on December 29 when registration opens.

If you are looking for a way to lose 20 lbs before Valentine’s Day or your class reunion, this is not the program for you. If you want fast weight loss with no effort, don’t even bother with me. If you need a quick fix or jump start I encourage you to look elsewhere.

If you are looking for a lifestyle change, get ready. If you want help forming healthy habits to last a lifetime, I have your answer. If you want to build a foundation for real fitness then the 4 Keys to Real Fitness Coaching Club is for you.

One-Minute Holiday Stress Busters

One-Minute Holiday Stress Busters

Despite your best efforts to keep things simple it’s hard to avoid stress this time of year. Not only are you doing all the normal stuff that stresses you out (like the never ending laundry pile and two hour long staff meetings) but you also have to juggle the holiday party invitations, gift shopping and school programs on top of it. Keeping your fitness real at Christmas time is not just about being smart with your workout time. You also need quick ways to diffuse the tension before Christmas dinner with your in-laws or before braving the crowds to take the kids to see Santa.

You can take your stress level down a notch or two with this quick list of grown up “timeouts”.

  • The Three Wise Men were on to something with giving frankincense as a gift.
    Frankincense essential oil is a great stress reliever and is generally safe for topical use. Just place a tiny dab on your temples or wrists to help ease stress. You can also make an easy to use spray by mixing distilled water with a few drops of the oil in a spray bottle. Keep it in your desk or purse for a quick spritz of calm.
  • Lock yourself in the bathroom or car and take some deep breaths alternating nostrils.
    Block your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Hold your breath for 2-3 seconds, block your left nostril and exhale through the right side. Repeat, starting by inhaling through the right nostril. Continue to alternate sides for one minute.
  • Get a good laugh by checking out the Ellen app or EllenTube.
    You can catch the best highlights from The Ellen DeGeneres Show on her app for free. Or you can check out the latest viral dance video or cute kittens on her EllenTube app.
  • It may seem like my answer to everything but tea drinking is a great stress reliever.
    I love herbal teas with lavender or chamomile. Try the Honey Lavender Stress Relief from Yogi Tea or the De-Stress Hawaiian Way from Maui Rainbow Tea to help you stop and breath for a few minutes at your desk. At night try Bedtime tea from Yogi to help unwind instead of a glass of wine. I promise it will help you sleep  better (and feel better in the morning) thank alcohol.

What’s your best one-minute stress buster? How do you keep the holidays from overwhelming you?

The Goal of What I Ate Wednesday

The Goal of What I Ate Wednesday Photo 1


It stands for What I Ate Wednesday. I am not sure who started it or when. When I first encountered it, via blog posts from fellow FitFluential members, my first question was not what but WHY?

I do get asked what I eat a lot. I’ve shared an average day in the past on the blog without much fan fare. I don’t find what I eat especially complicated although I do understand it is different than the Standard American Diet. That, I suppose, is what makes people so curious. If you don’t eat meat, then what do you eat? If you do eat out for lunch what do you order? What if you don’t have leftovers? I hear these questions over and over.

I decided to participate in WIAW on Facebook. It was the easiest way to share with the most people in “real time”. It was just over a year ago when I started to post everything I ate each Wednesday. I was surprised at the initial reaction. Everyone wanted to know what was in my oatmeal, the recipe for the date balls (which I think I have now shared at least 100 times) and why do I take the yolks out of my hardboiled eggs? (I’ve done it since I was kid.)

The Goal of What I Ate Wednesday Photo 3

I enjoyed the discussion but I was also worried.

In my mind, the idea was to satisfy curiosity and show that I too live in the real world. I am a woman running a business, running a household and on the go constantly, just like most of you. My hope was to spur ideas of new lunch combinations or snacks. I worried however that people thought I was expecting them to EAT JUST LIKE ME. If you’re a 30 something vegetarian who has been on her fitness journey for over 15 years that would work just fine but my guess is you are not. My patterns and foods work for me after years of trial and error. My goal is sustain myself and my blood sugar on a high energy day. I am maintaining my body, not pursuing fat loss. I eat the whole foods I want my clients to eat, that I want YOU to eat, but I also practice 80/20. Occasionally there will be dessert, pizza or a chai latte. If I have it on Wednesday you don’t get to see that I DON’T have it on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as well.

The Goal of What I Ate Wednesday Photo 2

The Secret to My Success…

It took some time and discussion but I think my intentions became clear. But another problem arose – boredom. I asked not too long ago if my Facebook fans wanted me to continue WIAW. Yes, they said, but could you have more snack ideas? Or could you have different recipes? I suppose I could but then it wouldn’t be real. I eat pretty much the same thing every day. I have habits so I don’t have to make too many food decisions on a chaotic and full day in the gym. The secret to my success is consistency. I know what works for me and I try not to venture too far off that path unless it’s a special occasion, like vacation or Thanksgiving.

I considered the suggestions as I keep up the WIAW routine. I try to share recipe links when I can and explain a little more about why I make certain choices. I also try to share choices from other days on occasion, on Facebook and Instagram. My daily diet however does not really change much. To me that is the real lesson of What I Ate Wednesday. It’s the truth of what it takes to stay healthy and fit in real life. Real fitness doesn’t come from cleanses or 30 day challenges. It shows that real fitness is about consistency. It’s about forming new habits. It’s about finding foods you love that also love you back.

I hope my Facebook posts give you some ideas to experiment with. You may find something that works for you but you’ll find plenty of things that don’t too. You’ll start to develop a routine that supports your goals, your health and your life. Pretty soon others will notice the change in you. They’ll start asking you what you’re doing. They’ll want to know what YOU are eating. Then you can start sharing your food photos every Wednesday too.

Your Keeping It Real Holiday Fitness Plan

Your Keeping It Real Holiday Fitness Plan

I am striving for simplicity during the holidays this year. With each year I worry less and less about the shimmering objects, baking SPECIAL HEALTHY cookies for the cookie party or watching EVERY version of A Christmas Carol. (Although I have to watch Scrooged. Christmas just won’t happen without it.) I try to make it about focusing on time spent with family and friends, giving back and being grateful for all the good things that have happened in my life over the past year.

The 4 Keys to Real Fitness

I want to help my clients (and YOU) keep things simple this holiday season too. I know things are going to get busy this time of year no matter how hard we try. I want exercise to remain an escape, a stress reducer and not another source of stress. As I put together homework and notes for each session, I am trying to focus on the critical few. What do we (you, me and them) need to focus on to keep moving forward? The basics. We need to keep The 4 Keys to Real Fitness front and center. That means:

  1. Strength training first.
    If something has to fall off your plate let it be cardio. You can raise your heart rate by keeping rests minimal or doing 30 second cardio intervals between sets and doing mostly compound movements in your strength routine. Need some help with your strength workout during the holidays? My 12 Days of Fitmas workout starts on December 12. Be sure to check my Facebook page every morning starting December 12 for your assignment.
  2. Keep cardio short and sweet with intervals.
    Not only is it more efficient but also it keeps your metabolism kicked up longer. Try something simple like a  weekly session of kettlebell swing intervals for 10 minutes or one of my One Minute Workouts sprinkled throughout the day.
  3. Manage your portions and find a way to stay accountable to them.
    The tastes and bites can add up. Allow room for them or stay away from them.
  4. Get your protein, veggies and healthy fat.
    Don’t try to starve yourself to save up for a party. Keep your plate balanced and your eating schedule as regular as possible. It’s okay to enjoy some holiday treats but not at every meal all season long.

80/20 Rule

After saying all that, remember to also practice the 80/20 rule. There will be meals or days where the rules go out the window and that’s okay if they are the exception, not the rule. I want you to enjoy the holidays, not survive them. I want you to have time to be with those that matter while you continue to take care of yourself. The secret to real fitness is consistency. Your habits are what make you, for better or worse. If you stick to the basics of the plan you’ve followed all year long, one or two days of traditional holiday treats will not hurt you. No stress and no guilt this year. Keep it simple. Keep it joyful. Keep it real.

How to Host a Holiday Tea Party

How to Host a Holiday Tea Party

Is it your turn to play hostess for the book club holiday party?

Are you overwhelmed at the thought of having plates full of leftover cookies from your annual cookie party?

Do you want a way to keep things a little simpler this Christmas as you celebrate with friends?

All of these problems can be solved with one fantastic solution:

Host a holiday tea party!

Despite what you may see on London travel websites or Downton Abbey, taking afternoon tea does not have to be a fancy affair. It offers the perfect combination of warmth on a cold snowy day and the opportunity to sample new tastes without going overboard. You can put together a tea party in less time than it takes to explain the rules of the ornament exchange (again) to everyone. Here’s your How to Host a Holiday Tea Party checklist.

Pick a date and time.
While a tea party is best in the afternoon (so everyone has time to come down from the caffeine buzz) it can also be an evening affair. The time of day you choose to have your tea will dictate the varieties of teas you will share with your guests. When you send out the invitations, ask everyone to bring their own tea cup (for easier clean up).

Plan your tea menu.
I would suggest serving 3-5 teas at your party. You want some variety for the fun of it plus you want to meet the needs of your guests, some of whom may not like or be able to drink caffeinated beverages. Just before Thanksgiving Mama Jean’s Natural Market helped me host a holiday tea, in the evening, for my clients. Our tea menu was as a follows:

  1. Blackberry Sage black tea (Republic of Tea)
  2. Pumpkin Spice Tea black tea (Republic of Tea)
  3. Milk Oolong
  4. Good Hope Vanilla roobis tea (Republic of Tea)
  5. Hot Apple Cider herbal tea (Republic of Tea)

I might also suggest a jasmine or genmaicha green tea to round out the tea varieties.  Using bagged tea will make preparation and clean up much easier. Just look for bagged teas that are whole leaf if possible.

Choose a simple selection of tea foods.
Mama Jean’s made this easy for me! The staff planned an amazing menu that can use as template for your own tea party.

selection of tea foods.

  • Roasted Sweet Potato Slices topped with garlic hummus (olives and green onions, optional)
  • Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad (recipe courtesy of Karen Brooks-Pender from the Republic Rd Mama Jean’s see below.)
  • Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Raw Date Balls
  • Apple Crisp (This is another recipe courtesy of Mama Jean’s see below.)

We had more than enough food for 10 people so feel free to select only 2-3 dishes for your tea party. Make the tea the focus, not the food.

Make sure you have other supplies in addition to food and tea.
You may need extra napkins or small plates but silverware needs should be limited. Make sure you do have one or two pots of hot water for the guests to use to make their cups of tea as well as a place to dispose of tea bags.

Plan an activity or two.
If you don’t have a book to discuss you might consider putting out playing cards, trivia games or any other activity that might spur laughs or conversation. If you and your friends are crafty have them bring their knitting or scrapbook pages along.

The day of the party all you have to do is set the table, find the Christmas station on Pandora, make a simple dish or two and boil some water!

What’s your favorite low stress way to have fun with friends over the holidays? Do you have a favorite holiday blend of tea?

Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

Autumn Brussels Sprouts Salad

Roast 2 qts halved and rinsed Brussels sprouts in olive oil with salt and pepper.
In a separate pan heat 2 cups of orange juice and ½ cup maple syrup and add 1 cup each dried and fresh cranberries.
Bring to a boil, letting the fresh cranberries “pop” and the mixture thicken. Cool.
Chop Romaine lettuce and toss together with pecans and other ingredients once they have completely cooled.
Adjust flavor and ingredients to desired visual and taste.

Apple Crisp

In a pan mix:
6 cups diced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup golden raisins and
1 dash of salt

In a separate dish mix the topping ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter Spread.

Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until brown.