Common Nutrition Questions Answered

Over the past six months that I have been coaching people on nutrition and how they may improve their nutrition and nutritional habits to meet their goals, I have received a lot of questions. Questions from clients, but also plenty from family and friends. Now this didn’t just start when I “officially” became a nutrition coach, but it has substantially increased in that time. Because many people have been asking many of the same questions, I thought others might find it helpful if I typed up my response to a few of these questions and shared them with the world (that’s right people, this article is going worldwide).

Before we get to the questions I feel it is important to point out that nutrition is a highly individual thing. What works for some may not work for others. What helped you gain or lose weight may not work for your friend or sister. Each of us is a completely unique person with different likes, dislikes, body types, past food experiences, lifestyles and so on. 

By no means do I have all of the answers to all of your nutrition questions. In fact, nobody does. I am grateful that people trust me and that they spend their time and money to come to me for advice, accountability, and encouragement. I hope that if you’re reading this you get something useful out of it to implement into your daily life too.

While different coaches, books, articles, and your sister-in-law who thinks she has all the answers may offer advice about how they KNOW what’s best for you, the truth is you will ultimately have to determine what works best for your body. The foods you eat, eating habits you adopt, and how much or how often you eat will ultimately be determined by you, because you know your body best and how it responds.

1) I know protein is important, but how much protein should I eat per day? And how do I get more than I am right now? 

Chances are high that if you’ve talked to someone who has worked out for more than 37 seconds they mentioned protein and how they need more of it now because they started lifting. (I am guilty of this too. My aunt even calls me protein boy because it’s the first thing I think about every meal. And I love meat.)

While this is certainly true for people that exercise and lift weights, it is also true for those of you who don’t exercise regularly. Your body needs sufficient protein to keep everything functioning optimally, and I often find that people are woefully deficient in it. Add in exercise or lifting to the equation and your needs increase significantly. Protein, and the amino acids that make it up, are the building blocks of muscle. If you don’t sufficiently supply your body with enough you are going to have a much harder time not only building muscle, but also recovering, gaining strength, as well as losing body fat. 

If you’ve been in the wonderful world of health and fitness for awhile, you may have heard that you should eat your bodyweight in grams of protein. And that is good advice! Current research overwhelmingly still supports this amount, and most studies actually propose a range of .8-1g/lb of bodyweight per day.

Therefore, if you weigh 180lb you should take in somewhere between 144-180g per day. 

There is a problem, however. Hardly anybody does that. And that is understandable – it’s difficult! For many, it takes conscious effort to 1) remember to eat protein with every meal 2) eat enough of it each meal 3) find enough sources so we don’t get sick of it, and 4) do it consistently everyday for the rest of our lives. 

So what are you supposed to do? 

The first thing I do before I meet with someone is ask them to record their food for a few days. Chances are they have no idea what they’re eating, and if they do, they are likely not remembering EVERY SINGLE THING they consume. This doesn’t have to be with an app and doesn’t have to be the exact grams, although both of these things can be useful. Taking pictures with your phone, writing it out on a piece of paper, and tracking with an app all work well. Once this is done we go through the log together and see what it looks like. 

Assuming that a person needs to improve their protein consumption and WANTS to do so, we discuss different ways to make that happen, how it fits into their current eating habits and lifestyle, and how confident they are that they can make it happen for a period of time. While everybody is different in how they achieve their goal, the one thing that is consistent is we START SMALL. 

If we sit down and chat and determine you’re eating around 75-80g per day and you would like to be eating 150-160g per day, per the 1g/lb of bodyweight standard suggestion, you have to literally double the amount you are currently eating. Talk about overwhelming! 

Instead, how about adding one more serving per day than you are currently doing? Currently eat three meals with protein? Add a snack with protein. Only have time for two meals and a snack during your day? Add ½ of a serving to each meal. You don’t have any protein at breakfast? Start by adding a serving there. 

What’s a serving? 

To make things simple – use your hand, specifically your palm, as your guide. For women, 1 palm=1 serving. Men, 2 palms= 1 serving. 

Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. If you stick with it and want to continue, try adding another serving for another couple of weeks. Reassess again after a couple weeks and see where you’re at. 

People often have a tough time coming up with protein sources, so here are a few suggestions used by my current clients to help them achieve their protein goals. 

  • Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Eggs
  • NOT PEANUT BUTTER (this is primarily a fat source, check out the label)
  • Protein powder supplements (Jym protein is a fan-favorite, Orgain Protein if you have dairy or gluten issues, or want a plant-based source)
  • Any lean meat or fish (chicken, lean beef, shrimp, salmon, etc.)
  • Beef/turkey jerky or sticks (Chomps brand)

2) Is “x” food bad for me? 

This is a really common question that I receive about a myriad of foods. When it comes up, it’s usually concerning foods that many people love and enjoy but have been told are unhealthy, make you fat, cause “x” disease, and should otherwise be cut out of your life completely if you want to live past 37.5. 

You may be able to guess some of them: sugar, pizza, chocolate, bread, butter, ice cream, salt, and the list goes on. 

My answer? 

Food does not have morality, people. It is neither bad nor good. If you enjoy said food you should find a way to keep it in your diet. 

You’re telling me I can still eat pizza? It’s okay for me to have my dark chocolate that I just can’t give up? 

Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying! No one singular food is going to ruin your entire health, give you a specific disease, and cause you to gain 17lb of fat overnight. If things were that straightforward, we would have solved a lot of our obesity and health problems long ago, and one-third of the United States wouldn’t be obese. 

Yes, there are foods that are going to be more beneficial for you than others. These are foods that are typically more nutrient-dense. They have more vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, etc. But that certainly does not mean you can’t eat other foods that have fewer nutrients. 

So how do you keep those things you love while still working towards your health and fitness goals? Moderation! Anything in excess will eventually become a bad thing. The entire box of pizza a couple times per week? Yeah, that will likely cause you to go into a calorie surplus and gain weight. The entire package of chocolate with all that sugar? Probably not doing you a ton of favors. You can even have too much water – it will eventually kill you! 

What if, instead, you had just a few slices of pizza and only a handful of chocolate each week? And what if the rest of your diet consisted of predominantly lean protein sources, fruits and vegetables, and varying carbohydrate sources? That sounds like a much more sustainable style of eating. It allows you the stuff you love, and you can unashamedly eat those things because you know that you’re eating all of your other nutrient-dense, quality food sources the rest of the time. 

3) My friend/family member/etc. lost weight doing keto/paleo/other fad diet, should I try that? 

Short answer:

Maybe! But probably not.

Long(er) answer:

As was already mentioned earlier, we are all special little snowflakes who are all unique in our own special ways…just like everybody else. 

Kidding aside, we all are vastly different from one another when it comes to the things that influence whether we stick to a specific “diet” over another. Food preferences and tastes, lifestyle habits and choices, work, cooking ability, finances, and about 117 other things influence the food choices we make and stick with. 

For example, maybe your friend lost some weight doing a keto diet. 

(For those unaware a keto diet is one high in fats, moderate in protein, and virtually zero carbohydrates, utilizing ketones as the body’s main fuel source.)

Great, I’m happy they achieved some weight loss and it worked for them. But how long will that weight stay off when they go back to eating a non-keto diet? Do you enjoy all of the foods that are “allowed” on a keto diet? Do you feel good mentally and physically? Can you stand to not eat all of the deliciousness that is NOT allowed on that diet? Does it fit your current lifestyle? Can you afford it? Can you maintain that eating style for years?

Just because something CAN be done and CAN work doesn’t mean that is what SHOULD happen or is what is PREFERRED. 

Fad diets are usually not the way to go. Whether the goal is weight loss, weight gain, weight maintenance, or simply to live a healthy lifestyle (whatever that looks like for you), fad diets are typically very restrictive. You must say “no” to a lot, and that is a hard thing to maintain for an extended period of time. It is mentally exhausting. Your willpower WILL eventually run out; you can only hold out for so long. Yes, there are some people who can pick one of these eating styles and make it fit with their life. These people are certainly not the norm. 

Additionally, you are likely cutting out foods or food groups that your body needs to function optimally because they contain nutrients that may be hard to get from other sources. For example, keto cuts out carbs. This means no grains, beans, legumes, and only small amounts of fruits and vegetables. What do all those foods have in common? Fiber, along with various other nutrients.

Another point to consider, for those of us who exercise and lift weights regularly, is that the body’s preferred fuel source is glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. Your muscles and liver store something called glycogen – which is simply the storage form of carbohydrates. When you do something intense like lift or sprint, your body uses an energy system process called anaerobic glycolysis, in which that stored glycogen is used to fuel the activity. If not enough of it is present, your body will find a way to make it from other stuff.   This is often done through a process called gluconeogenesis (making new glucose). With this process, your body takes protein from muscle (the same muscle that you are training) and converts it into glucose in order to fuel activity.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I want all of my available protein going towards all the cool stuff protein does, like building big muscles and repairing all the different tissues of my body. If some of that protein leaves my hard-earned muscle to fuel my activity, it results in an inefficient and detrimental process, leading to sub-par performance and potentially injury. How is this avoided? Eat carbs to fuel your workouts. 

So what are you to do?

Find something that works for YOU. Something that fits your lifestyle, your likes and dislikes, your budget, etc. Don’t attempt to pigeon-hole yourself into a “diet” when you don’t fit the mold. Change your outlook towards it. Find sustainable eating habits that fit your life and view it as a lifelong game, not a short-term, temporary change.

Not sure how to do that or where to start? Let me know and I’ll help you out. 

Meet the Coaches – Part 2

Welcome back to part two of your favorite new RUFP blog series — Meet the Coaches!

Next up: the spreader of nutritional wisdom, father of a baby who is so cute it hurts your face, is 90% carnivore, and the only person you probably know who actually enjoys eating sardines — Tyler Koehler. Read More

Meet the Coaches – Part 1

Welcome to the first part of the Meet the Coaches series — a brand new series where the RUFP team so hesitantly graciously let me (Jessica, your token gym unicorn) take over the blog for a series of interviews showing you the sides of the coaches we don’t normally get to see.

Read More

Your Hamstrings are not the Enemy- So Stop Stretching Them!


Feelings can be deceiving, and so can the word “tight.” Every day, many people all over the world get on the floor or on their feet and stretch their “tight” hamstrings. Interestingly, those same hamstrings are still “tight” after days, months and years of stretching them. Hmm? If stretching them were actually doing something, shouldn’t they be “untightened” by now? You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

With some fairly uncommon exceptions, on most people, the hamstrings are not “tight” in the sense that they are actually stiff or in a shortened position, needing to be stretched. They are actually being pulled TAUT because they are stuck in a lengthened position, due to the pelvis being tilted forward (anterior tilt). They are in a constant state of being OVERSTRETCHED. In this oh so common situation, what do you think the continued stretching of these already overstretched hamstrings leads to? You guessed it! An even worse position of the pelvis and even “tighter” hamstrings.

Are there some people out there who have hamstrings that are actually stiffened and/or shortened up and are actually “tight.” Sure, some people have a pelvis that is tilted the opposite way, with hamstrings that are being shortened; however, in my experience, about 9 out of 10 people come in with a forward tilted pelvis and hamstrings that are weak and long. The muscles on the front of the pelvis, the hip flexors, are usually the suspects that actually should be stretched, or at least inhibited (shut off), since they are often shortened and amped up from sitting all day. These hip flexors pull the pelvis forward, effectively putting the hamstrings in a tough to deal with position on the back side. To add fuel to the fire, the ever so important glute muscles cannot effectively do their job in this faulty position, which leads to even more problems for the hamstrings. Not only are they locked in an overlengthened position, but now they also have to do extra work since the glutes are out of the picture. The brain engages them even more (or at least attempts to; we actually need to get better at engaging them in a correct manner)  to make up for the glutes’ lack of contribution to the group project. No wonder they’re so “tight” and angry. If you can think of a time that you did most of the work in a group project, I bet you can relate with how pissed off you probably were.

Here’s an easy way to tell if you actually have stiff/short hamstrings: Lay on your back and make sure you low back is flush with the floor, table, ground or whatever it is that you decide to lay on.  Keeping your leg straight, raise your leg up as high as you can.   Ideally, you’d do this actively (you raising it) and also passively (someone else raising it) to get the full rundown but assuming you are on your own, we can just look at the active version for now.  If you can get your leg to between 80 and 90 degrees of motion (your foot is basically facing the ceiling or sky), you have normal hamstring length and probably suffer from one of the situations we talked about earlier, if you tend to feel like your hamstrings are tight.  If you had to put significant effort in to get your low back to touch the floor during set up, this is probably the case.  If you can go beyond 90, you definitely have excessively lengthened hamstrings from a structural standpoint, and stretching should be the last thing you do.    If you are struggling to get near 80 to 90 degrees, you may actually have some legit tissue stiffness (could still be a neurological issue).  The rest of this article will address what we need to do if you fall under one of the first two categories, yet still feel like your hamstrings are constantly “tight.”

So what do we need to do to address the situation?

We need to get hip flexors to chill out a little bit and get the hamstrings to actually shorten up and engage more effectively, tilting the pelvis back to neutral. There are other muscles and factors at play here as well and if you throw in the possibilities of rotation, shifts and any other side to side differences, we have plenty more to talk about, but to keep the concept simple and straight forward, we will focus on the hip flexors and hamstrings for now.

Here are three great exercises you can use to get the process started:

90/90 Breathing–  Set up in a 90/90 position as shown and be sure your low back is solid against the floor.  To do this, think about pulling down through your heels on the wall as you engage your hamstrings, effectively tilting your pelvis back under you.   This action and this position lines our pelvis and ribs up over one another so that our hamstrings as well as our diaphragm are in an better position to work ideally.  Inhaling through our nose while getting three dimensional expansion around our abdomen and chest, followed with a full exhale through our mouth, driving our ribs down, back and in,  will help to solidify a better rib and pelvic position, as well as reset our nervous systems, in order to allow us to create new positions and muscle firing patterns.

The Hip Flexor Stretch-  Many times, taking care of the rib and pelvic positions with the breathing drill above will eliminate the need for this drill; however, it can still be very useful if you do have a true stiffness or shortness in your hip flexor muscles, especially if you sit a lot all day.   Set up in a 90/90 position as shown in the picture.  Simply place your back foot on a box, chair, etc. to increase the pull.   Be sure to keep your thigh and trunk in a straight line to avoid putting unwanted stress on your low back and front of your hip.  Squeeze the glute of your down leg and brace your abs (harden up like you’re going to get punched in the stomach) to create the opening of the front of your hip that you are looking for.  This will help to pull the pelvis back in position, get the hip flexors to open up and let go, while allowing the glute to be in a better scenario to do its job with the follow up glute bridge exercise shown next.

           Be sure thigh and trunk are lined up straight as shown and elevate the back foot to increase the pull

The Glute Bridge–   Lay on the floor as shown below:  Think about “pinching pennies between your cheeks” as you squeeze and engage your glute muscles before you leave the floor.  We need to activate them and wake them up before we intiate the movement, or the hamstrings and/or low back will take over the bridge.  Once we have them engaged, we are going to lift our hips up until we have a straight line between the hips and trunk, as shown in the bottom picture.  We are at hip lockout and are glutes should be contracting nicely.  Lower back to the floor under control and repeat the process.  Shoot for 8 to 10 reps without your hamstrings or back doing too much.  It this is not possible for you right now, you may need to start with your feet elevated on a box to make the exercise easier.  Other regressions are possible if necessary.  Stay tuned for a follow up article about glute bridge progressions and modifications.


Glue bridge -bottom position

                                                                                 Glute bridge- top position

Ditch the stretching, give these exercises a try and watch your hamstring tension melt away!

Build a Healthy Roadmap

By Nick Rosencutter

Upper body training. Probably the most popular emphasis of training that you will see if you walk through most gyms throughout the country. Everybody loves pumping their biceps and building their chests up. If you are lucky, you might even find someone who enjoys chiseling out their upper back. While working the upper body might be a very common thing to come across, very few people actually understand how to train it correctly. This is because very few people understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the activities that occur up top. (and if these things were understood even a little bit, those lovely things below the belt called legs would never be neglected).

So, when we look at gym goers who do hit their upper halves a few times a week, we can generally put people into a few different groups.

Group 1- The Bench and Curl All Day Every Day Group. These people love working the muscles that they see in the mirror and do many variations of pressing and curls with some extra delt and tricep work thrown in for good measure here and there. Neglecting the opposing muscles in the back leads to problems down the road and they are left with imbalances and shoulder issues.

Group 2- The Train with some Push-Pull Balance Group. These people at least understand the importance of balancing out pushing and pulling exercises and try to do some kind of pulling exercise to provide some balance to whatever pushing/pressing exercise they might be doing.

Group 3- The Shoulder Mechanics Involve More than 2 Motions Group. These are those in the know that understand the anatomy and mechanics of the shoulder and train movement and muscle around their upper bodies with some decent anatomically balanced precision; often leading to less shoulder issues and better looking and better performing postures.

Digging into this a little deeper, while group 1 is way off of the map, group 2 at least has SOME realization about balancing out the anatomy. So what is it that they are missing that Group 3 is not? That my friends, is the question that we shall answer with the rest of this article.

To understand how to properly train, we must first look at the anatomy and mechanics. I’m going to keep this straight forward and basic so this doesn’t turn into a textbook lesson. The first thing we need to look at is the scapula (known as your shoulder blade in street talk) and the motions it is capable of. The scapula lays on the back of your rib cage and has connections with your clavicle (collar bone) and humerus (arm bone). When we talk about “push pull balance,” we are generally talking about protraction and retraction of the scapulae (although many people don’t get quality protraction even with their pushing), flexion/extension, and on some occasions, internal/external rotation of the glenohumeral joint (what most think of as the shoulder joint) .

While having some balance here is great, we also need to factor in the multiple other possible actions of the scap and gh joint. The scap can also elevate, depress, rotate upward, rotate downward and tilt forward and backward. The gh joint also internally and externally rotates, adducts and abducts. There are certain muscles that help to perform all of these actions. Anytime we move our arm, whether that be forward and backward, out to our sides or overhead and back down, our scapula, gh joint and our thoracic spine all need to move with a certain harmony amongst each other.  When one of these is off, the other(s) must compensate in order to create further motion.  Most commonly, the scapula stops moving or moves abnormally and the humeral head (top of the arm bone) glides either upward or forward to compensate, leading to impingement.  Simply pushing and pulling neglects many of these actions, although if we are talking pushing and pulling both horizontally and vertically we are at least getting closer to the prize.

Moving overhead involves multiple pieces, including flexion of the glenohumeral joint, upward rotation of the scapulae and extension of the thoracic spine


Pulling with good protraction of the scapulae and pushing with good protraction of the scapulae

Internal and External Rotation of the shoulder joint (in this instance while the scapulae are in a bit of retraction)

When we look at the most common pushing exercises that are performed, the bench press is definitely towards the top of the list. When we look at pulling exercises, a row variation is towards the top of the list as well. When done correctly, the row will work the rhomboids, mid traps and low traps, the main muscles that pull the scapulae into retraction (they pull your shoulder blades together). When done correctly, the bench press will work your pecs, anterior deltoids and triceps with the actual motion of the press; however, a correct set up involves pulling the shoulder blades together (retraction, as we learned a couple of sentences ago, which also utilizes the rhomboids). When we do too much pressing like this, without any protraction of the scapulae and pair it with straight rowing exercises, we end up getting what we call anterior glide of the humerus, where the top of your humerus (arm bone) moves towards the front of your shoulder joint, creating impingement.  This occurs because when the scapulae fails to protract sufficiently during a push motion, the humeral head compensates by moving forward in the shoulder socket excessively (anterior glide); this ends up happening if we never train scapular protraction with our pushing movements.  (Similarly, if our scapulae stop upwardly rotating when we move overhead, the humeral head tends to glide UP in the socket, causing impingement at the top of the joint)

To add further complication, when we add in any kind of shrugging exercise which involves elevation of the scapulae, the rhomboids are under pressure even more since they also assist with elevating the scapulae. Throw in some pulldowns or pullups, which involves downward rotation of the scapulae, which also activates the………guess what?………the rhomboids! So while at first glance, you might think that many people would need lots of rowing and pullups to balance out all of their pushing, you can now see that its not so black and white. When you add in the fact that any kind of pressing exercise and any kind of vertical pulling exercise also involve internal rotation of the shoulder joint, we can start to see some patterns occurring. Pecs, lats and deltoids often become overactive, pulling the shoudler joint into internal rotation and, along with the rhomboids becoming overactive, limiting protraction and upward rotation of the scapulae. While many of these people do have overactive rhomboids, many of them do still need to “open up” their shoulders. So how do we do this without creating further complications?

  1. We need to balance out the types of pushing exercises we do, being sure to include exercises that allow us to get protraction and/or upward rotation of our scapulae

  1. We need to train upward rotation of our scapulae and external rotation of our shoulder joints and/or do this ALONG with retraction.

  1. Some people might be excessively depressed and some excessively elevated. This must also be factored into any programming.

  1. Balancing out our pushing exercises

Rather than just bench pressing, incline bench pressing, decline bench pressing etc. we need to do some pushing that allows us to move our scaps freely. Landmine presses, cable pushes, overhead presses, and pushups are some great ones. These allow us to get either quality protraction or upward rotation, or some combination of the two. Ensuring that our scapula is able to move effectively in these pathways will better allow our humeral head to stay centered in the glenoid fossa (shoulder socket), preventing impingement and keeping our shoulders healthier.

  1. Training our scapulae to upwardly rotate and stimulating the external rotators of our shoulder to help counteract all of the internal rotation going on are essential. Beyond that, we need to train some retraction without the rhomboids taking over. Y variations and basic external rotation variations are great ways to take care of the first two. Face Pull variations are a great way to conquer our third mission here. With a face pull, our scapula is in a position of upward rotation as we pull towards our head. Since rhomboids are also downward rotators of the scapulae, this takes them out of the movement to a certain extent and allows our mid and low traps to do more with the retraction of the exercise. So we have retraction with good recruitment of the mid and low traps in a position of scapular upward rotation, which is great. Add in the fact that we also get some external rotation at the shoulder joint as we pull, and you have a phenomenal exercise that can really do a lot to help balance out all of the issues that we talked about earlier. Both double and single arm variations work well here depending on the situation and person at hand. If there is side to side imbalance going on (one scap is positioned or moves differently than the other) then it is usually best to start with single arm face pulls.


  1. If somebody is excessively elevated in their shoulder girdle, it is important to be sure that they do not shrug up as they perform these pulling exercises as this will add to the tension that they most likely feel quite often through their necks and shoulders. Performing a high to low face pull might also be a good idea to encourage some depression of the shoulder girdle as you pull. Being sure to keep the shoulders down and back on most pushing and pulling exercises is important here as well.


If somebody is excessively depressed, we need to get their shoulder girdle back up to a respectable level to allow optimal movement and to provide better support for the neck. These people often feel like their neck is “tight,” since its always being pulled on and stretched with the scapulae sitting lower than they should be. Factoring in the possibility of rhomboids being overactive from our earlier examples, we need to train elevation without overworking them more. Enter the Y shrug. This exercise allows us to engage the upper traps to help pull the scapulae up without adding fire to the rhomboids and levator scapulae, while also encouraging positive upward rotation of the scapulae via the lower traps, upper traps and serratus anterior muscles. Check it out above.

While I could go on all day about more factors that could possibly be considered in our shoulder puzzle and this is by no means an exhaustive list, these tips can and should go a long way in helping you to achieve a better balance around your joint; not to mention they should also help improve your lifts and your physique if those are goals of yours. After all, you can’t have a full road map on your back without hitting all of the muscles that are part of it.

In case you didn’t watch this video earlier, check it out now.  We go through a lot of the anatomy considerations mentioned in the article and it should help put some of the things mentioned earlier together for you.

Do You Have Stickability?

Check out this brilliant article by RUFP coach Brittney Wilinski


Do You Have Stickability?  By: Brittney Wilinski



Warning: This article is not meant as a fun, leisure read … this article is meant to find what you need to do in order to COMMIT yourself through STICKABILITY.


brit log


Today, I have hit a pretty big record for myself… I have logged my food for an entire year!!! Yes, 365 days in a row! Call me crazy, because I know MANY of you are thinking that, but it’s my way to stay dedicated, motivated, and accountable for what I am eating from day to day. Allow me to set one thing straight before I continue: Yes I logged in everyday, but it doesn’t mean I tracked every single meal or that I measured every single meal. There were days that I would track maybe one to two meals and then try to eat intuitively the rest of the day. There were days I did indeed measure and weigh my food for all five to six times I ate that day. It all varied, but it was my goal to at least put something in for every single day to keep me on the right path. Some days were a struggle, but I had my goal in mind and I knew what I needed to do. Training and lifting heavy, doing conditioning and aerobic work or “cardio” really has never been where I struggled. I struggled more with fueling my body properly. I have not been one to eat “bad;” ask any of my family or friends. I simply wasn’t eating enough, or enough of the right foods at the right time. If you really want to achieve something, then put all of your heart, mind, effort, and will power towards that damn goal. Every day you don’t do something that could push you to meeting your goal is a day wasted.

Why is it that we always make the, “Oh I am going to do this… but not until tomorrow” or the classic “I will start on Monday” B.S. excuses. I know how this goes, because I have been there, done that. The day I stopped making excuses was one of the best days of my life, because I have been able to achieve so many personal goals since then. I want to share some pictures with you, to show you that in order to reach your goal, it takes time! These pictures range from the beginning of March up until November. Before, I was the “just interested” Brittney and the later pictures show the “Commited, Stickable Brittney.” I have put in a lot of hard work, went through my highs and lows, but the journey has been worth it.


brit before brit after

brit before2 brit after 2

Interested                                             Committed and Stickable!


brit bikini shot
(This was my 2nd competition, Pride of the Midwest Physique Competition – I placed 3rd in overall and 5th in my division, Bikini Class A.My first show, NPC Badger State, I didn’t place at all and took 11th. It is a crazy exciting, inspiring, satisfying feeling you get when you meet your goal! You might not be training for a Bodybuilding show, but whatever your goal is, will sure feel damn satisfying when you reach it! I can promise that.)

In the book, Three Feet from Gold, there is a quote that honestly changed my mindset and life: “There is a difference in being interested and being committed.” With commitment comes stickability, and with stickability comes success. Take that and really think about it. How many times in life do we go to the gym for a week or two and we are there 3, 4, or 5 days PER week, and next thing you know, you haven’t been to the gym in over a week. You have slowly started allowing everything to be a priority except for the gym. It’s the same with eating; say you eat really well for 3 weeks, then you crave some chocolate or ice cream, you eat it, and again you fall back to your old ways of eating fast food 3-4 times a week, eating less vegetables, lean proteins, etc. and eating more pasta, deep fried foods, pastries etc., etc. What the **** (fill in as you please) just happened? Why do we allow ourselves to do this?! Why is it that when we stick to our goal for a period of time and everything is going so well, that we allow ourselves to “cheat” or get off track for one day, one meal, and then everything goes to crap. Why is it so hard to get BACK on track after just taking a small detour? The detours should be fun, relaxing, fulfilling, make us happy, and help “reset” our mindset and bodies. There are days and maybe weeks that you do need to take it a little easier on your body, do a deload program to let your central nervous system recover from your last heavy cycle and allow your body to supercompensate to help us repair our muscles and tissues and become stronger. There are days that you need to allow yourself to go out with family, friends, or significant others and have a super tasty burger, pasta dish, or a sundae and not feel bad about it. Heck, you can even make your own “cheat meal” and damn you better make what you’ve been craving or you will not be satisfied. (I have done this and then I am an angry little thing  haha) You need to be able to go off of the beaten path TEMPORARILY with the mindset that you will be able to get back on it without hesitation.

But in all seriousness, you need to answer these questions from above, write the answers down, and put them up somewhere so you can see them every day. It will remind you of what is truly holding you back from committing yourself. You need to figure out why you are only “interested” in your health rather than committing yourself to your health. You need to slowly but surely eliminate whatever it is that is holding you back so that you are able to achieve what you truly want.

We recently did a 21 day challenge at RUFP, and let me tell you, the participants did an awesome job during the challenge! They stayed on track with their eating habits exceptionally well, they were in the gym at least three times a week if not more, and they were building healthier lifestyle habits. Once the challenge ended can you guess what happened? Some of our participants only “interested” themselves for those 21 days; they did not commit. If they would have, they would still be making it to the gym three plus days a week and sticking to their healthier lifestyle habits. I am not trying to call anyone out (please don’t get mad but use this as motivation if it sounds like you!). I am just trying to give facts from real life situations that have recently occurred. If we can commit ourselves for those 21 days and MAKE time for our health, why does it have to end even though the challenge is over? Why can we not find it deep down within us to stay on track, despite the detours, if there isn’t a prize in the end? Can’t you make up your own prize to reach? Just reaping the benefits of a healthier lifestyle should be a big enough prize for many. If this isn’t the case, then let’s figure out what motivates you. Take small steps, don’t just cold turkey everything and think you are going to change all the “bad, unhealthy” habits in one day. You need to focus on one to two things to work on each week, or maybe even each month. Everyone is unique in how much they can truly commit themselves, and that’s okay. As long as you are COMMITTING yourself, full heartedly and honestly, to creating healthier lifestyle habits and not just interesting yourself in the idea, you WILL succeed in reaching your goals and becoming a better you!

After reading this, I hope you aren’t writing down or thinking of 5 to 6 different things you are going to change RIGHT NOW… that sets you up for failure. Instead, write down or think of 1 to 2 things that you can easily start working on that will help stop INTERESTING you and start COMMITING you! For me, I started by balancing out my meals better, making sure to eat some vegetables in the morning and cooking MORE and eating out less! If you want something as bad as you think you do, make it happen. The only thing standing in the way of you and your goals are your actions to become STICKABLE!

Some Thoughts on Food Prep

Here is another nice post from Dan Zwirlein that goes along nice with his last article.  In this post, he covers some brief thoughts on food prep.  Give it a read!



I think everyone looks at food prep as a very daunting task, especially in the beginning. Like anything else, people immediately think it needs to be a complicated process. I think it can be and should be a very easy process that takes out a lot of guess work and decision fatigue from the week. Here are some things to consider/ponder:

*Food Prep and Meal planning saves you time. Consider how long it takes to set up, cook, and clean up every day. Somewhere between 1-2 hrs being conservative. So let’s say around 10 hrs/wk. If you prep for 2-3 meals a day but only once, it should take you 2-3 hrs at most. That saves you conservatively a few hours a week.

*Consider once a week or every 2-3 days. I like to make dinner and then continue cooking for the next 2-3 days after.

*Look at your pre prepped meals as fuel only. Nothing fancy; you just need to get good nutrition in.

*Use as little amount of ingredients as possible. Food prepping meals don’t need to be fancy. You need some salt, pepper, an all-purpose seasoning, oil to cook with, and maybe a sauce to top with.. that’s it. KISS method at its finest.( Keep it simple stupid)

*The crockpot is a lifesaver. Pro-tip, get the plastic liners for easy clean up.

*Save your recipes for one meal a day or rotate which ones you use. I think recipes are great but in the interest of time and overwhelming yourself I think it’s good to cook everything separate and then add ingredients after. So cook all of your meat, vegetables, and carbs separately and then mix and match together. If you want to use a recipe, let’s say for dinner, then all your other meals are already prepped and you only have to use a “recipe” for one meal a day at most. Rotate those over the course of a month or a few weeks. This does two things

1. Gets you really good at making that one meal

2. Keeps you consistent. When you add 1-2 new things in a month that’s 12-24 new meals a year… do you really need more than this? You can do a lot to the same thing to make it novel. For example, I eat eggs everyday but can cook them probably 10 different ways.

*Use things that are easy to prep. Examples are canned fish, nut butter, fruit, non-cooked vegetables, bread/wraps for sandwiches, lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, milk.

This is probably your most important habit to maintain. It teaches you how to cook, ensures that you stay on your plan and always have something to eat, and best of all it saves you time and money.

In Motion Movement Series- The Pull

Check out the third part of our movement series on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s In Motion and learn how to properly pull and row.

Watch the video HEREMJS_Motion_The_Pull

If  you haven’t already done so, check out our 21 Day New Years Challenge Program at www.rufpchallenge.com.  21 days of developing sustainable habits to jump start your success in 2016!