Tag Archive | Fitness

How to Get Mo(re) – From Your Life, Body, Mind + Spirit

Do you want to be feel better in your own skin? Have more energy? Lose some weight? Clear mental fog? Be more connected to your life + body? Whatever your M.O. for living a healthier + happier life, my goal within Macks Mo is to provide you with tools to engage in the journey without deprivation, negative connotations or restrictions. Because I’m of the belief that if you focus on ADDING IN MO(re) good stuff [versus operating from a “can’t do” or “can’t have” mentality], it will create a ripple effect that permeates into all aspects of your life. Meaning more goodness all around.

Which is why I felt compelled to make a list of some of the best things you could add in to start 2016 FULL of feel-good tools that you can keep coming back to. Designed to help you GET MO(re) out of your life, your body, your mind + spirit. Simple + small, but effective and power-packed. Try adding one or a few of these things in today and see what a difference it makes!

  1. Add MO(re) Water. Did you know that cravings for “uppers” like coffee, sugar and alcohol can actually be your body crying out for water? Aim for at least 60 oz. before lunch and 100 total on the day.
  2. Add MO(re) Greens + Vegetables. These are your greatest source of energy and vitality. Try to incorporate them into every meal if possible. The more, the better!
  3. Add MO(re) Chews! Chewing your food starts the process of digestion and makes nutrients more easily assimilated by your body. Try counting 30-50 chews before swallowing and set your for down between bites. Savor, pause and give thanks!
  4. Add MO(re) Gratitude. Recited in your head, written in a journal, spoken out loud to those around you and whenever you think of it – practice being thankful for the blessings in your life. You’ll feel fuller + more satisfed with your life RIGHT NOW.
  5. Add MO(re) Joy + Laughter. Even more important than the food we feed our body is the food we feed our SOUL. Surround yourself with people that make your mouth ache from smiling, belly hurt from laughing and engage in practices that bring you joy. And make it a point to incorporate these on a DAILY basis.
  6. Add MO(re) Self-Care, not Punishment. Shift your focus to how you’re taking care of your body + mind with every decision you make. Ditch the shame + punishment mentality for past decisions and instead think of what you can do NOW to feel your best. {Hint hint, lots of answers are in this list!}.
  7. Add MO(re) Love. Open your heart to giving it without condition. Know you are worthy of any + all love you receive. And definitely love up on yourself and use that love to guide your actions, thoughts and behaviors.
  8. Add MO(re) Quiet + Stillness: Set the device down, turn off the TV, stop the busy {at least for a few moments each day}. Give yourself the space to hear your thoughts and feel your body. Meditate, walk, breathe. Connect with God and create space to live in the highest vibration of your self.
  9. Add MO(re) Intention: Take yourself off autopilot and start tuning in to your body + thoughts. Notice how things + food make you feel and how your mind has the ability to put a positive {or negative} spin on almost any situation. Set the intention to make conscious decisions from a place of self-love with the goal of filling yourself up with all the feel-good’s you can.
  10. Add MO(re) Macks Mo! I am always here to support and lift you up. Because you deserve the very best and you’re part of our family. And it’s my passion to deliver you content, love + tools to live the most vibrant life possible in a body you love.
Sending love to you today and always, xoxo. – Whitney

Say Goodbye to Sugar Cravings!

Winter blues can tend to bring sweet cravings – as we miss the energy, lightness and joy of summer – but did you know that these can often be helped or eliminated by increasing our uptake in sweet vegetables? God knew what he was doing when he made most winter vegetables hearty (comforting) and sweet!!! I’m talking squash, yams, parsnips and beets baby! And speaking of… THIS. My newest winter salad.

So. Freaking. Good.

The Sweet Winter Wonder Salad. Please, please make it today. ‪#‎winnerwinnerHEALTHYdinner‬.

20151215_182136INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 bunch roasted beets + 2 parsnips + 2 carrots, all organic, all peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Quinoa, soaked, sprouted and cooked
  • Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed by cutting pom in half, placing face down in bowl of water and opening/pulling seeds out)
  • Feta Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Currants
  • 1/2 cup sliced Almonds
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Dash of Coconut Oil to toast almonds
  • Olive Oil + Sea Salt for vegetables
  • Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar whisked for dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Toss vegetables with EVOO + salt. Roast for 60 min.
  3. Combine {cooked} quinoa, pomegranate, currants and feta.
  4. Toast almonds, add to salad.
  5. Toss finished vegetables and dressing with salad, then top with fresh basil.
  6. Be prepared for your tastebuds to die and go to heaven. 🙂

When Working Out Isn’t “Working Out”

IMG_1579Hey friends! It’s been a hot second. While settling into this new motherhood thing, I made the decision to put the business slightly on the backburner. But while Macks Mo’s online presence has been sleeping a bit [unlike myself and Regan ;)], I’ve been behind the scenes working on some really awesome new projects for you coming in 2016. And my blog topic inspiration has been through the roof, so you’ll be hearing from me more frequently. Thanks for the opportunity to grace your inbox and be part of your day. It means the world to me to be able to do the work I love.

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I’m often asked how it’s possible to establish a regular habit of exercising without getting burnt out or how to stay consistent when motivation wanes. I believe [as with most things], it boils down to a shift in mindset and a commitment to tuning IN versus out. Our Macks Mo business philosophy has always been to create workouts that functionally support your life. While it’s easy to be drawn to exercise for aesthetic benefits – using it with weight loss goals in mind, lasting fitness is so much more than that.

When we exercise solely for weight loss, fat loss, or physical reasons, we will, at some point experience that burnout and loss of motivation. Because this type of exercise comes from a negative place and is motivated by external factors. It drives us to push and push to create results while simultaneously punishing ourselves for not getting or maintaining results. This external push blinds our ability to let our body and internal compass be our guide. Even worse, this cycle of “shame—punish—repeat” is not sustainable, nor is it a method that achieves that which we desire most – to feel GOOD in our skin. And so, we find that the non-aesthetic reasons for working out are the ONLY way we’ll make it a consistent practice.

Functional [for life] fitness should create energy in your body, give you mental clarity and build better body awareness while creating a stronger + more balanced physique. It should serve as an opportunity to mentally connect with your physical body and be present versus zoning out and “pushing through”. Bottom line – it should be something you enjoy, something that breaths life into your body rather than depleting it.

— So, if your current exercise routine isn’t doing that, it’s time to ask —
are your workouts working for you? —

Choosing exercise that supports the place we’re at in our lives can be tough because sometimes it means going against the grain. The current societal approach to fitness lives within two beliefs – the “no pain, no gain” syndrome and the “my workouts not worth it if it doesn’t kill me” mentality. Both of these cause us to tune OUT and just “push through”. Don’t get me wrong – in order to continue to make fitness gains, we must allow ourselves to get uncomfortable and lean into the work, often breaking through mental plateaus that block our ability to grow {or shrink}. *However*, there is a fine line between being mentally present to this “change” versus throwing caution, body awareness + form to the wind or not feeling physically accomplished until we’ve gotten our asses kicked.

IMG_7817In my work as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, the majority of my clients come to me because they want to learn to be healthier. Generally speaking, this often translates into a desire to lose weight. A huge piece of our work together involves individualizing their physical, mental and lifestyle needs + practices to actually create that health. Doing so requires a willingness to look at the daily choices they make. It means tuning IN to what our body needs versus what we think we need to do to get what we want. And so often, what we think we need to do is completely counterproductive to what our body truly needs to be healthy.

The thing is – no one person is the same {thank goodness!} and there is no one form of exercise that’s going to work for everyone {phew!}. And within each of our individual lives, things are constantly changing; so in order to create vibrant health that moves with us, we must be willing to examine all aspects of our lives and engage in practices that serve and support us in the here and now – and that includes our workout(s) of choice.

For example – if your job is high stress, time-intensive and energetically demanding {whose isn’t these days, right?}, then coupling that with only high-intensity exercise is likely counterproductive to your well-being + weight loss. You see, exercise causes physical stress in the body and as you raise the intensity level, you also raise the stress level. And the body makes no distinction between physical “exercise” stress and emotional or mental “work” stress. So although we may view our workouts as a stress relief, in actuality, we may be compounding the stress in our lives. Interesting, right? On the flipside, if you’re lacking stability, strength and balance, it might be beneficial to add a regular weight lifting practice into your life to help ground you.

As humans, we tend to gravitate towards what’s comfortable and what we know. If we are an “intense” personality – used to working hard and putting our nose to the grindstone – we are naturally attracted to types of movement that require the same intensity. Because it’s familiar. Because we’re good at it. Building on the above example, however, what we might really need is something to counteract all that life/work stress; a physical practice that forces us to calm the mind, slow down and really be present in our body instead of continuing to push. This can mean a change in your exercise modality – from high-intensity exercise to non-impact options [or vise-versa]; or it can simply be a mental shift of slowing down and performing each exercise you do with intention, perfect form and a mind that’s fully present to how you’re moving.

For me, when I’m feeling energized – it’s a good day to expend extra energy in a higher-intensity workout of metabolic strength training. If I’m feeling tense and wound up – yoga, meditation or core-focused movement can help me feel centered and open. And if I’m feeling totally wiped – a walk, getting outside or taking a nap {seriously} will better support my body. And in truth, a blend of many different types of movement – adaptable to the phase of life you’re in, the type of day you’ve had or your current physical, mental + emotional state – is when you’ll find your workouts working FOR you.

11.30So if you’re not feeling your best, not feeling energized, having trouble dragging yourself to the gym or finding an exercise schedule or modality that sticks, my hope for you is that you can let go of the belief that you have to kill yourself in the gym to make physical gains and know that this practice is most likely sabotaging your long-term fitness, weight loss and well-being. I challenge you to make the conscious decision to be present in your body with each workout + each movement. If you can engage in the mental practice of turning your attention inward, I promise that you’ll create more clarity while boosting your ability to follow your intuition. That innate knowing is your best guide to finding your own version of health.

I also hope that you can begin to question why you do what you do {like why you workout}. Your “why” is one of the most powerful tools in your healthy living toolbox. Your why should connect you to your purpose, your values, your lifelong goals and boost your health on a daily basis. Making you feel good. Because when you’re in the business of feeling good, your choices have the power to lift you above the noise of what you “should do” or what you think you need to do, allowing you to make empowered decisions that create change. Change that lasts. #movebetter #feelbetter

Why It’s Important to Celebrate You.

In my line of work – as a fitness professional and holistic lifestyle + nutrition coach, the New Year brings about a time of business excitement and growth. People have “made it through” the holiday season and are ready to commit [or re-commit] to a healthy lifestyle rooted within daily movement and eating “better”. Although, I enjoy the renewed excitement around health, most of the propaganda and language that surround the beginning of a new year just rubs me the wrong way.

Little SecretWhere Regan and I differ from a great majority of fitness and health businesses is that we believe that any action you take towards health should serve your life in a functional, positive way. I’m going to let you in on a little something the fitness and health industry don’t want you to know — working out doesn’t really help you lose weight. It definitely helps create energy and can certainly aide in your efforts to build muscle definition, but the constant state of “killing yourself” at the gym and punishing yourself for food eaten will never, ever help you lose weight. And dieting certainly won’t help you keep weight off in the long haul either. The only way to create lasting health is to find movement you enjoy that supports your body to make you feel better and to eat from a place of self-love vs. self-loathing. And that’s where most New Year’s diet + exercise programs fail you. They draw you in with the language that “you’re not good enough” as you are right now – capitalizing on the fact that you believe you’ll be happier when you’re slimmer with a different body than you have right now. And I have a problem with that.

Why? Because if we’re constantly seeking to change ourselves from a place of belief that we’re not beautiful and enough as we are right now, then we will never be able to create lasting health and happiness. It’s this belief that the diet + exercise industries are banking on in order to continue to generate revenue – you believing that you need them to help you create health because you can’t do it on your own and you’re not enough as you are right now. At Macks Mo, Regan and I are on a mission to change that. And it’s what this year’s annual group challenge is all about. Celebrating you as you are right now, nourishing your body from the inside out with self-love and empowering you to become the master of your own health. No one knows what feels and works best in your body better than you – and trying to force dietary changes or exercise modalities that don’t feel good will never last. So in creating this Challenge, it was our goal to give you to the tools to love + listen. To celebrate you – as you are and also empower you to wherever you want to go, but in a supportive and lasting way. The 2015 Macks Mo Celebration Challenge equips you with the knowledge + support to take full responsibility for your own health + happiness, instead of having to rely on or even pay attention to the latest diet or exercise trend.

You are a GiftWhen we sat down to create this year’s challenge, our main goal was to show our clients that the pursuit of their own health didn’t need to come in extreme ways. And in fact, engaging in extreme measures is often counter-productive to long-lasting changes. We wanted to demonstrate that in order to truly create a life you love – where you’re fit to handle anything life throws at you [physically, emotionally + mentally] – that you have to stop waiting on the weight and instead start celebrating all you can do right now and who you are right now. You are a gift and you are enough — regardless of how you look, what job you hold, what habits you’d like to kick or what changes you’d like to create [physical or otherwise]. And this Challenge is our way of throwing you a New Year’s party to celebrate that.

Unique to Macks Mo programming, the 2015 Celebration Challenge contains lifestyle + health coaching videos that center around deepening your connection to your body’s intuition, empowering you to become an expert in your own health while shedding excess [physical + emotional] weight along the way. We’ll teach you to live more fully by tuning into the bio-individual signs + signals your body sends, which helps create your own unique blueprint of what vibrant health looks like.

As always, our Challenges consist of online nutrition + workout components. Regan and I do this because we understand that sometimes we all need a little help to begin our journey and add ease to the process of stepping into better health + creating lasting, positive habits. The nutrition program is rooted in delicious, seasonal recipes that create glowing energy and support your body’s needs. The programming is vegetarian-friendly and primarily gluten- + dairy free [with modifications to make it completely so if needed] with weekly grocery lists and guided prep work to maximize your time. For our workout programming, Regan wanted to guide you in the process of finding what movement feels best in your body. As such, he created 8 brand new workouts [complete with beginner’s modifications] of varying exercise modalities – there’s yoga, strength training, high-intensity power circuits, full-body endurance training and even a safe Crossfit-style workout – each workout complete with exercise video tutorials + written guidelines. There’s also specific challenges at the end of each workout that give you a baseline to measure progress and get you out of your comfort zone, into the heart-pumping space of feeling alive in the strength + possibilities your body has right now.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You’re tired of trying {fad} diet after diet with no lasting results. Sick of the yo-yo diet cycle, you’re fed up with feeling out of control in your food choices + emotions.
  • Negative emotions – like worry, guilt, shame, stress and fear are an integral part of your daily life, along with negative self-talk. You beat yourself up for how you look, how you eat + decisions you make, then punish yourself with extreme exercise or restrictive measures.
  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You know you’re irritable and moody, unmotivated and lack mental focus but can’t seem to get “out of the funk”.
  • You feel like you eat well and know you workout hard, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. You’re frustrated and constantly beating yourself up for not being able to “get it right”.
  • You “know what to do” to be healthy, but struggle with finding the motivation to consistently follow through.
  • You’re confused and overwhelmed by all the exercise + diet information out there and need help deciphering the information to create a plan of what physically works for you.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices, learn to eat seasonally and experience the difference of eating in line with food energetics that support your body.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You want to increase your productivity + mental clarity.
  • You’re tired of feeling heavy and bloated or suffering from other physical issues like indigestion, gas, headaches + overall body fatigue.
  • You’re always thinking about food – categorizing it as “good” or “bad” and are constantly worried about the repercussions of your food decisions.
  • You feel like a teenager again, but not in a good way – suffering from acne or other skin related issues.
  • Cravings rule your life – you have a “sweet tooth that’s out of control” or images of carbs that dance in your head. You need coffee in the AM to get you moving and PM to keep you going.
  • You want to make health an integral part of your life, but not have it “rule” your life and suck up all your time.
  • You feel like “something is missing” from your life, but can’t figure it out. You want to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • You struggle with balancing the “fun” in your life – eating out, hanging out and eating healthy don’t fit together.
  • You “do good” during the week, but struggle to maintain balance on the weekends – thus feel like you’re starting over every Monday.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” as you know it now, but to instead create a dynamic balance in your life that shifts and changes as you do, unique to your individualized needs. You see, at Macks Mo, know how important it is to make you fit for life and all it throws at you. We understand our circumstances change and we go through various stages of growth + stressors. And you need a health plan that’s meant to weather all the seasons of your life — allowing you to have vibrant energy amidst both the easer and more challenging times.

Celebrate Who You Are and Where You're GoingCreating this vibrant energy involves a whole health approach that encompasses your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It focuses on changing your inner landscape so that the external changes you make [like eating healthy + working out] actually stick and make a difference. We want you to be inspired and full of energy all the live long days – because if you’re always tired, feeling like crap or frustrated with where you’re “at”, then life is no fun. That’s why we think it’s time to approach the New Year from a different perspective — time to celebrate where you’re at and where you desire to go, not to loathe the process of creating it with extreme measures that don’t even last through January. So if you’re ready to finally let that go – let go of the control you’re trying to exercise on your life to “be” healthy and instead learn the steps to actually LIVE it, then I would love to have you join us for the 2015 Celebration Challenge.

To sign up for the Challenge and learn more about the various levels at which you can enter [based on your needs], CLICK HERE! The Challenge begins Wednesday, January 7th when you’ll begin receiving your material and officially kicks off Monday, Jan 12th, running 5 weeks to Saturday, Feb. 14th.


Did you like this post? Join our email list to receive inspirational posts like this one and stay up-to-date on new recipes, workouts and get the inside track + specials on Macks Mo upcoming programs [CLICK HERE]As always, I’d love to hear from you – post any questions, comments or feedback below and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for continued inspiration and ways to create vibrant health!

What It Means to Have Health Freedom

This past Saturday, Regan and I launched the Freedom Prescription (Rx) Challenge – and are so excited to share our newest edition of Macks Mo Nutrition + Workout Programming, along with Lifestyle Coaching Techniques with you.

The Freedom Rx Pic.jpgIn the January 2014 Momentum Challenge, as a group, we lost 318 lbs., 212 inches & had a 48% average improvement on fitness tests in just 4 weeks [check out their stories + our experience here]. Inspired by this and due to popular demand, we created the Freedom Rx Challenge for the season where you want to feel & look your best in a body you’re proud to bare.

Now before you write off the idea of taking it on [because you have no time to “fit it in”], let me tell you we created this Challenge precisely to meet you there – in the midst of your busy social calendar, with Memorial Day + 4th of July, the end of school and fun in the sun.We created it for all the moments you’ll be traveling and the times spent at weddings and summer BBQ’s with drink in hand – this Challenge was designed to help you achieve vibrant health, in a way you’ve never experienced, without having to compromise any other important areas [or events] in your life.

This Challenge is for YOU if:

  • You think you’re healthy, but you don’t feel vibrant and struggle to find the energy to get through the day. You’re know you’re irritable and moody, unmotivated and lack mental focus but can’t seem to get “out of the funk”.
  • You feel like you eat well and know you workout hard, but still aren’t seeing the results you want. You’re frustrated and constantly beating yourself up for not being able to “get it right”.
  • You want to upgrade or spice up your food choices and/or find a balanced exercise routine that WORKS.
  • You sleep “well”, but still wake up fatigued, needing pick-me-ups like coffee and sweets to get you through.
  • You’re sick of yo-yo dieting and feeling out of control with your food choices + emotions.
  • You’re tired of feeling heavy and bloated or suffering from other physical issues like indigestion, gas, headaches + overall body fatigue.
  • You’re always thinking about food – categorizing it as “good” or “bad” and are constantly worried about the repercussions of your food decisions.
  • You feel like a teenager again, but not in a good way – suffering from acne or other skin related issues.
  • Cravings rule your life – you have a “sweet tooth that’s out of control” or images of carbs that dance in your head. You need coffee in the AM to get you moving and PM to keep you going.
  • You want to make health an integral part of your life, but not have it “rule” your life and suck up all your time.
  • You feel like “something is missing” from your life, but can’t figure it out. You want to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • You struggle with balancing the “fun” in your life – eating out, hanging out and eating healthy don’t fit together.

If you are any or all of these things, this Challenge was created for you. Created not so that you can experience “health” but instead VIBRANT health. You see, at Macks Mo, we don’t believe that the absence of disease or an “illness” = health. We don’t even think that exercising hard or eating real, whole foods fully constitutes health or makes you “healthy”.

We believe vibrant health stems from an inner energy that doesn’t stop. It involves a whole health approach that encompasses your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It focuses on changing your inner landscape so that the external changes you make [like eating healthy + working out] actually stick and make a difference. We want you to be inspired and full of energy all the live long days – because if you’re always tired, feeling like crap or frustrated with where you’re “at”, then life is no fun. And who wants to live a life that’s no fun? Even if you fill your life with “fun things”, living in a body that’s weighing you down – physically, energetically and emotionally, will always limit the amount of true happiness you can experience. So if you’re ready to finally let that go – let go of the control you’re trying to exercise on your life to “be” healthy and instead learn the steps to actually LIVE it, then I would love to have you join us for the Freedom Rx Challenge.

Check out this promo video to learn more here, then check out these extra details below:

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT BY MERELY PARTICIPATING IN THE CHALLENGE (Level #1):

  • Coaching videos + handouts with exercises and information to set you free of health barriers holding you captive and bring you towards vibrant health from the inside-out.
  • The tools to create a richer, more meaningful life lived in the freedom of boundless energy and rooted in radical self-acceptance & love.
  • Macks Mo Skin Care 101 – a guide to transitioning your beauty products from toxic to ones that support glowing skin and healthy hair.
  • Food Rules – the “skinny” on need-to-know food information to empower your decisions behind knowledge that makes sense and is applicable into your busy life.
  • Learn how to live a life that supports goals for your body + life without the need to compromise, but instead teaching how to get MORE out of your life while shedding excess physical + emotional weight.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE NUTRITIONAL PROGRAMMING (Level #2A):

  • 6 weeks of nutritional programming – including over 40 new, seasonal new recipes from Macks Mo and featuring recipes from local Seattle chef Aubrey Jenkins of drumbeets.com – we’re talking breakfast, lunch, brunch, party + BBQ favorites, dinner, snacks, drinks and sweet treats.
  • 6 weeks of grocery lists + prep to set you up for success every week.
  • Gain confidence in the kitchen and freedom from low energy, wasted food and stubborn weight – all while eating delicious, real food combinations that make you feel amazing!
  • Macks Mo Pantry Basics – a guide to having the food you need on hand at all times so you can whip up a healthy meal in record time without needing to run to the grocery store.
  • Making Meals Work – a guide to repurposing leftovers; cooking once, but reaping the benefits of that effort to recreate two to three different meals beyond that; meaning less time over the stove for you.
  • The Macks Mo Plate – a guide to understanding how the things we bring to the table [food + more] affect the way we assimilate that food into our bodies. Leads you through the process of intuitive eating and understanding portions.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM THE ONLINE WORKOUT PROGRAMMING (Level #2B):

  • 9 New Macks Mo workouts that can be done anywhere – your home, at the gym, in a park, at a track or in your hotel room that take 30 minutes or less and require just your body weight or dumbbells.
  • The workouts vary in intensity and are designed to meet you where you’re at, regardless of fitness level. Each full-body workout was created to build balanced muscle definition, a stronger core, while challenging & increasing your strength and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Online video tutorials for every workout so that you understand form + posture on exercises and know which muscles you’re targeting. This allows you to maximize your time + effort into efficient movement that WORK every time.
  • Written guidelines to understand the workout formats + journal to track your results and progress.
  • Videos and articles to support you in learning how to maximize your metabolic turn while teaching you the Macks Mo Method of getting the most out of your workouts.
  • Increase your body awareness, improve your posture, gain confidence and experience the freedom of moving your body in a balanced way that leaves you feeling taller, more tuned in and energized.

The Challenge has 4 Levels to Enter:
   – #1: Level 1 includes challenge entry [which makes you or your group eligible for prizes] and also the “what you can expect” material for just joining the Challenge. A $500 value for just $40.
– #2A: Level 1 + Online Nutritional Programming. An $700 value for just $125.
– #2B: Level 1 + Online Workout Programming. A $650 value for just $125.
– #3: Level 1 + both Online Nutrition + Workout Programming. An $800 value for just $220.

Group ShotHOWEVER…we know it’s more fun to work in groups or with a partner – not to mention the added accountability + support that comes with working towards to same goal, so for this challenge we are excited to offer PARTNER + GROUP DISCOUNTS. Get together with your significant other or make a group of 3+ people and receive 30% off whichever level you choose. And group members can participate at different levels – some could just enter at Level #1, while others choose #2 or #3. It doesn’t matter what level you choose or where you’re at – everyone in your group gets 30% off their total purchase.

At checkout, enter “getmosupport” to receive the Group Discount or “sexyrexy” for the Couples Discount [please note that couples need to purchase an additional Level #1 on top of whatever level they choose to participate in].

Like always, we determine Challenge Winners based on measurements [inches lost], weight loss and the percentage improvement made on fitness tests [for couples and groups, we combine your team’s improvements for a total percentage]. We will be offering over $750 worth of prizes to:

  • The #1 and #2 individual finishers
  • The Top Couple
  • The Top Group

We hope that you’ll join us and make the decision to finally free yourself from the things holding you back from experiencing vibrant health. It’s our passion to share this message with you – and we look forward to sharing in your journey!

Visit macksmo.com and join by clicking “Sign Up”, then selecting your Level of Choice. If you’re participating in a group or as a couple, make sure to send us a note to let you know whose on your team! Please email with questions. Challenge begins Monday, May 19th as a “prep week”. If you’re participating in Levels #2A, #2B or #3, you’ll receive the materials to get you started on Saturday, 5/17. Everyone participating will receive your “Freedom Rx” packet on Monday 5/19. Challenge ends on Wednesday, July 3rd.

How to Increase Energy + Focus, While Creating MO(re) JOY in Your Life

AZIf you’re like me, the drear of winter seems to become more present by the time February rolls around. For this reason and the fact that within our business we always do a group challenge at the beginning of the year, Regan & I have made it a habit to schedule yearly sunny getaways in February. This vacation I had one prerogative – to actually recharge my batteries so I could come back with more enthusiasm & passion for my work. I was coming off of 8 weeks of intense working hours – writing, conducting and wrapping up our 2014 Momentum Challenge. We stayed in a condo rented through VRBO.com and went to the grocery store to load ourselves up with good food [mostly fresh fruits + veggies] for the week. The daily routine went like this – sleep in [like a serious, extra 5 hours more than usual sleep in], enjoy a cup of coffee together, move our bodies then cool down/stretch in the sun, eat breakfast, then head to the pool until we lost the sun – doing a little work, a little reading, a lot of relaxing. Then, in the evenings we would pretty much repeat the daytime, except with a fireplace instead of sun.

I have to say, this vacation, felt totally different than any other vacation we’ve taken, because I actually came back in better spirits, shape and frame of mine then when I left. So, my goal since I have been back is to recreate this nourishment every day in some way. Because who says we have to go on vacation to actually take good care of ourselves every day? Can you relate to working yourself “to death” for the weekend or an upcoming vacation? Then find you’re just exhausted all weekend or all vacation? Or maybe feeling the need to pack everything in and live it up because Monday is looming just around the corner?

recharge moreIf your answer is “yes”, I have a challenge for you – to schedule into your day, [at least almost] every day, something that you look forward to. A moment, an activity, a meal, a meet up – whatever. But something that you really can’t wait to do; and hold yourself accountable for doing it. Treat it like a mandatory meeting with your boss; you have to show up. Sometimes in order to be more productive, we don’t need to work more, we need to recharge more {tweet it if you agree – @macksmo}. And I am not talking about doing something for anyone else [even if you do receive joy in doing things for others], I am talking about doing something for YOU. Even if you love your job [like I do], we all need to step away from the work and recharge.

For many of us, we don’t realize how joy-less, stressed or over-worked we are until we take a step back and get committed to slowing down. Believe it or not, there is a direct correlation between the above three factors and poor health, lack of energy, lack of mental clarity + focus, cravings for anything – especially sweets/caffeine/salt and the inability to lose weight. So if you’re feeling “stuck”, like you can’t get ahead or perplexed as to why you can’t lose weight or never feel rested, I have a proposition for you – to embark on a 30 Day commitment to creating more joy in your life.

What would happen if you took a bath and turned on some relaxing music instead of watching your usual Tuesday night TV show line up? Would you sleep better? Instead of forcing yourself through another high-intensity workout when you’re tired & sore, what if you gave yourself permission to attend a soothing yoga class? Or instead of your usual Friday night happy hour, what if you and your gal pals met up for a cardio striptease class [just sayin’…]. Buy some flowers at the grocery store, call your best friend back, walk to the grocery store, play hookie from work, get a massage, learn to make a new recipe [click here for our newest!] or try a new restaurant, do a date night with your partner, pamper yourself with an at-home spa day [try searching Pinterest for DIY facials made from real food!], go to bed 30 minutes earlier – the options are endless! And I promise, the more you start taking care of you – in little ways, every day, the more energized, focused, clear and happy you’ll feel. Are you in? To help you with this, I created this Get More Joy Challenge chart for you to record your daily joys. At the beginning of each week [I suggest Sundays], write out one thing [or more!] each day that you can look forward to and keep it in a place where you can see it every morning – posted on the fridge, inside your closet door, your office, whatever works. I mean, come on – who doesn’t want an excuse to have a little more fun?
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If you like this blog post, but would like more support, we’re here to help! Last week we announced the re-launch of our Momentum Challenge for March in 3 separate flights (you could join 3/3, 3/10 or 3/17). Our January group of 50+ participants lost a total of 318 inches, 212 lbs. and had an average of 49% improvement on their fitness tests. And beyond the weight loss, they all increased energy, joy, self-love and gained a piece of their lives back. And we want to meet you where you’re at, so created 3 separate levels to participate based on your needs: 

  • Level 1 – $30: Includes Building Momentum [opening] and Maintaining Momentum [closing] packets that provide you with the tools to transform your world, while creating a body and life you love. Plus bonus articles, along with group support and discussions created through our closed Facebook group and online access to myself and Regan 24/7 to answer your questions and help facilitate a personal experience for you; complete with individualized check-ins and health coaching.
  • Level 2A – $75: NUTRITION PACKAGE includes Level 1 + plus 4-week complete Nutrition Program with grocery list, 30+ new recipes and articles to change your relationship with food and increase your knowledge ($75 savings from typical Macks Mo pricing!).
  • Level 2B – $75: WORKOUT PACKAGE includes Level 1 + 4-week Online Workout Program with exercise video tutorials and tools to create body-transforming results. All workouts take under 30 minutes, require only dumbbells and are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your home ($25 savings!).
  • Level 3 – $150: MOMENTUM COMBO includes both Nutrition + Workout Programming and 2 Challenge Packets ($30 savings!).

*If you’re ready to take the steps towards transforming your life all while creating a life and body you love, the Momentum Challenge is waiting for you, just click here: SIGN ME UP!

The Weight Loss Secret No One is Telling You

There is something I have to tell you. And it’s what no one else in the weight loss, fitness or health industry is telling you. Why? Because it would mean the eminent death of the “big business” that is health today. shape magHave you ever stood in line at the grocery store and read all the headlines for various health, fitness and weight loss magazines:
– “Lose Stubborn Belly Fat Once and For All!
–  “Love Your Lower Body – Lift & Tone Your Way to Shapely Legs”
– “The 5 Day Diet – The New Foods Plan to Help You Lose Weight FAST”
– “Slim for Life – 7 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss”

Or gone to your local bookstore and been bombarded with the countless number of diet books that all claim to be the be-all, end-all “scientifically-proven, only way to lose weight and keep it off”? Sound familiar? I have to say, I pity the writer who has to constantly come up with these “hot new stories” every month or write the newest diet fad, must be exhausting. But let’s be real – if these mags, books or other media sources didn’t make these catchy claims, would you buy it? Why did you decide to read this blog I am writing? Because of the title? In truth, every media headline and corresponding article like those written above, every marketing claim made on packaged food, every “guaranteed” solution to your fast weight loss is a farce. And in most cases, a flat out lie.

For all my clients [past, present & future], friends, family and everyone I know – I want you to able to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health, so in order to do so, I want to provide you with the knowledge. And you can only have knowledge if you have the whole truth – the big picture. More Important Than FoodMoving your body and what we eat is definitely important. The food we eat literally becomes our body – our blood, our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair and even our thoughts. In essence, your body is a compilation of everything you’ve taken in – all the food you’ve eaten up to this point in time.

But here’s the truth – even more important to health + happiness are the things that feed us on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Believe it or not, all the organic, non-GMO broccoli, kale and spinach won’t make a world of difference if you don’t address what’s going on in your heart and your life. kale The reasons why diets, weight loss plans and our best intentions to make workouts part of our daily life don’t stick is because they all fail to address the elephant in the room – the “WHY” behind what we do.

Anyone in the world who has [including myself] struggled or currently struggles with weight loss all have perfectly good and justifiable reasons for eating the way we do. And it’s not “the what” [FOOD] we’re eating that matters SO much [although it’s of course an important piece of the puzzle], but what’s making us eat the way we do that counts. And those “what’s and why’s” are all wrapped up in our individual lifestyle choices + habits, along with our emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being.Essentially – every diet, fitness or weight loss plan out there doesn’t address YOU. You in all your uniqueness, beautiful imperfections and meet you where you’re at in your life right now. food-fill-you

So the fact is, you can upgrade your food all you want, but it doesn’t feed your soul and it doesn’t make you happy. Don’t get me wrong – as a Board Certified Health Coach and ACE + AFFA certified fitness professional, I firmly believe and advocate that eating true, clean food [grown from the ground or humanely-raised on green grass in pastures] will definitely upgrade your life – increase your energy, help you lose weight and create a positive ripple effect into other areas of your being. But what stops those changes from “sticking” and what holds you back from achieving all the happiness possible for your life goes farther than fork to mouth.

There are many “food associated” factors that lead to weight gain – such as inadequate nutrition, chronic dieting, poor digestion and really, just consuming too much processed, chemicalized, toxic junk. But changing those doesn’t eliminate the stress, change your limiting beliefs, alleviate your emotional suffering. It doesn’t fill in for the lack of a fulfilling career, substitute for a spiritual practice, change lifestyle habits, create meaningful connection & relationships in your life OR help you find a form of movement you enjoy that works for your body. Upgrading your food choices can be revolutionary, but what makes those food upgrades life-altering is by actually addressing all the “lifestyle concerns” first. uprading your food

Every BODY is different – we have different physical needs [fitness and food-wise]. We carry around different emotional “stories” that sabotage our progress and limit our potential for happiness; and we certainly all have different demands placed on our lives + time by various people and situations. And there is only one person who can truly know what works best for you – and that is YOURSELF! To me, that’s exciting. To some, it’s overwhelming [okay, it’s overwhelming to me sometimes too] – because it means that instead of the quick-fix, you have to do a little digging. You have to be a detective and you have to decipher through all the headlines and “personal stories of success” to figure out whether or not the healthy habit, fitness plan or way of eating serves you.

It ultimately means that you have to slow down and get to know you. It takes time, effort and sometimes, tough self-reflection and choices – which some people aren’t ready for…yet or maybe ever. But IT IS the weight loss secret that no one is telling you. My school – the Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls these essential lifestyle pieces your “primary food” – they are fundamentally the real food that will transform your life. Being fulfilled in your primary food means having [or at least actively working towards]:
– meaningful relationships
– a rewarding career
– a spiritual practice
– engaging in [almost] daily physical movement you enjoy

…and it’s where the magic happens – where your ability to lose weight is super-charged by your focus on figuring out what really makes you happy and being willing to address and let go of the real “life weight” that’s been holding you down.   It my passion and life’s mission to support clients in finding this for themselves. And it’s my desire in wanting to help you too.

So I am writing this article to share the truth with you and perhaps shed some light on why your efforts to lose weight or find a maintainable healthy lifestyle haven’t been successful in the past. I encourage you to stop “waiting on the weight” to find your happiness and begin living your life. Instead, shift your focus to addressing your primary food and weight loss will become a non-issue…it just happens. Sometimes it happens right away – depending on where you or any of our the clients are at in his/her life and sometimes it happens months down the road. But like I said earlier – I want you to know the truth, to have the knowledge and the tools to make the best, most well-informed choices for your health. And that’s what our 2014 Momentum Challenge and all our programs are about was about and why we create them – and truly what ALL mine and Regan’s work is about – about you getting to know YOU and what works FOR you; while having our support and guidance in the process. And we’re learning right alongside you. I can tell you that I learn more from my clients every day than I ever could’ve imagined. We are in the journey together. So whether it’s via social media, coaching, in classes + training or through one of our programs, I hope this blog can move you away from “media-driven solutions” and towards a road of life-transforming self-reflection as you dig deeper into your own primary food.

— If you liked this blog, share the love! And connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. If you have questions about programs or offerings, feel free to email me at whitney@macksmo.com or check out our website www.macksmo.com to sign up today! — 

My Confession…

I have a confession to make. I talk about this with my clients, friends, and family all the time, but it is the first time I am sharing it publicly. In reality, this has taken me over a year to write; mostly because I wanted to convey the right message – but also because sometimes it’s difficult to look back at past “learnings” when you’ve come so far. But, I believe the need to share my story with others outweighs the desire to let it be…

If you are like me, supplement companies like Advocare, Shakeology, Isagenix and others are blowing up your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram news feeds. You’ve probably wondered what these are and whether they’re right for you – my opinion [personal & professional], I want to share with you today.

6-pack absMost all fitness professionals (including myself when I first started training), get their nutrition information from the media and “hearsay” – like magazines, published books, articles or blogs, fellow co-workers/instructors/trainers, the professional you trained under (who heard it from someone else) and so on. The number of exercise-based nutrition myths floating out there without any real proof are outrageous… but we’ll get to that. 🙂

One of the things that I find the most inspiring, yet disparaging about the science of nutrition is its intrigue and accessibility to everyone. It’s something that gets people fired up, feeling good and excited to share – which is awesome! However, because it’s so accessible, sometimes we forget that it IS an actual profession with experts, one that’s been exploited by the media and publishing industry and diluted by its conflicting messages. And the most challenging part as a fitness professional is that people WANT nutrition advice from you – and do need some guidance in order to see lasting physical results. So instead of either gaining the expertise from further education or referring out, most fitness professionals decide to create their own programs, based on things they’ve heard or personally experienced; and some, delve into the realm of supplement sales.

I believe [most of] those selling these supplement products have the best intentions – the storyline of “helping people” with “superior nutritional products” is inspiring and powerful. The draw of being able to make a lot of money, create your own schedule AND have financial freedom while “improving other’s well-being” is tempting for anyone. The unfortunate thing, however, is that these individuals – your trainers, your group fitness instructors, your neighbor and your co-worker, have all been misled and just don’t know that these products are unnecessary and possibly even harmful to your health. Why? Because they have no expertise or training in the topic of nutrition. How do I know? Because I used to be one of them.

And I am not writing this to shame or put down anyone selling Advocare [or any other supplement brand], who is aspiring to help people get healthy. It is a noble cause indeed and I appreciate people’s passion for it. However, I believe that knowledge is power and with it we can make the best, most educated decisions. So, without further ado [and a little nervousness on my part], my confession…

Over three years ago, I was approached by a fitness professional whom I trusted and respected about selling Advocare. She told me how amazing the products were, how they were created by a collection of leading doctors and scientists; she raved about the high-quality, superior ingredients that rounded out the “nutritional gaps everyone has, no matter how healthy they eat” to make sure that all the bases were covered. She said it would improve my own athletic performance and help me lose weight, with the amazing perk that I could make a lot of money on the side “helping people get healthy”.

Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notesOf course anytime someone tells you that you can make a lot of money while helping people [and not working very hard], the concept is intriguing. Especially for myself as fitness professional, I use my body a lot. So the goal eventually, for all of us fitness pros, is to find a way where we can make money without physically being present – because eventually, we cap out the money we can make on an hourly basis and in all honesty, albeit intensely rewarding, it’s very physically draining work.

As such, I hesitantly agreed to try selling Advocare. I say “hesitantly” because from the beginning, I had an unsettling feeling. Three main reasons caused this:
#1: Regan [my husband] was skeptical from the get-go (and never would try the products);
#2: in my gut, I felt there was a conflict of interest peddling “health” products; and
#3: anytime I asked questions about the ingredients or exactly what the products did, I never got a straight answer.

For me, in order to sell something to my clients and those around me, I wanted to know exactly what every product did and why someone needed it. The fact that I could never get a straight answer and that finding these answers online was difficult, also raised some red flags. I can [thankfully] and gratefully say that I never went to “Success School”, never had any “mixers” and never had any “distributors” under me from which I made money; but as the story goes [and as you may have guessed], I decided to ignore my intuition + the red flags and move forward in my own personal selling of the product.

At that time in my life, I was doing a lot of research about nutrition on my own – learning through both experience and personal findings. I developed my signature 28 Day Nutrition Program, based in real food recipes developed in my own kitchen and “kind of” sold Advocare on the side. I would mention it to clients as an option to “add-in”, but never forced a sale.

In a year, I had over 50 people participate in my nutrition program with an average weight loss of 10 lbs. and 9 inches in those 28 days. Of those 50+ people, only 8 opted to supplement with Advocare products.

Drum roll please.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding — those 15% who chose Advocare didn’t lose any more weight than those who simply followed my real-food meal plan. And in fact, the biggest difference in the scale came from those who didn’t use the products. So, does the product make a difference? The answer — is NO.

It’s not about the supplements; it’s about the food you’re taking in, daily movement, the thoughts you’re holding, the life you’re creating and the love you’re giving. And I believe that real food is the best way *and only way* for everyone’s body to receive the nutrition it needs. My goal – and what I teach clients, is to eat real food [at least for 85% of the time] and stay away from processed, chemical-ized junk whenever possible.

So, the next logical question would be to ask – what is IN the supplements; are they real food or processed, chemical-ized junk?

When I finally made the decision to trust my intuition and quit selling the products, my “advisor” [in Advocare-speak, that’s the person who brings you onto their selling team] told me that I was making a mistake. As I said from the beginning I never felt good about it. And when I started looking deeper into the ingredients that made up Advocare’s staple products – such as Spark, the Herbal Cleanse, Catalyst and MNS 3 [all part of their 24 Day Challenge], the same ingredients I was telling clients to avoid in their FOOD – like those found in all the processed food and chemicalized junk found on grocery store shelves – were in Advocare products.

If I personally practice and tell clients to stay away from artificial anything as a ruling guideline for eating, then the same would hold true when prescribing supplements. And on top of that, I believe real food trumps scientifically-extracted or chemically-created nutrients anytime. A real food is much more than the sum of its nutrient parts [like the Vitamin C or beta-carotene inside it]; and there are so many phytochemicals, antioxidants and nutritional benefits that are at work inside that whole food, outside the “measurable, big time” vitamins & minerals we hear about. If you isolate nutrients and remove them from their “whole” real food state, the nutrients aren’t alive anymore and we really have no idea how they act outside the whole food they were created to exist in. In essence, most supplement formulas are composed of these dead nutrients – removed from their natural state and isolated from their real food state.

So, the answer you’re looking for is in all the information I’ve provided and something you intuitively know. Food is better. Real food is better. If I tell a client to avoid ingredients in their food that s/he can’t pronounce and/or don’t recognize [such as aspartamesucralosemaltodextrinmagnesium stearate and silicon dioxide to name  a few], then the same holds true for all things that enter their bodies – including supplements.

Catalyst  MNS

Spark 5 Hour Energy

In case you’re wondering how the story ends, post-Advocare and over the last three years, in my own personal journey of health and also my career journey as a fitness professional, I have done extensive research on food, food psychology, food theories, living the fullest & happiest life, fitness methods, the human body and nutrition science [as it relates to food]. In May 2013, I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition [the largest nutrition school in the world] to become a holistic health coach. Over those three years, my relationship with food has shifted, my perception of myself has grown, my body has become stronger & more balanced, and my life has expanded with happiness and gratitude. I have maintained the same [healthy] weight for over 3 years, while increasing muscle tone and strength, lost body fat and increased my energy levels ten-fold.

But it was ALL a journey. There were ups, downs, detours and hiccups. I decided that I wanted to learn more about health & nutrition, but that I also wanted to figure out what worked FOR ME. Believe it or not, there is no blanket approach, theory or method that works for everyone. One person’s food could be another’s poison; and my choice method of exercise could be counterproductive to your body’s needs. And that’s just another reason why these “blanket” supplements aren’t the answer. Personally, today, I take a living probiotic (fermented coconut water) and on the recommendation of my acupuncturist – a food-based iron supplement. I think it’s important to note that “supplements” in general are not bad or good; but quality and ingredients matter; and we shouldn’t be taking them without reason or professional recommendation. Regardless of where you fall on the “supplement spectrum”, I encourage you to always be a health detective. Don’t just believe what you hear or read – experiment and be willing to toss aside that which does not serve you. Ask if what you’re hearing makes sense and above all things, trust your gut and listen to how your body feels.

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A FEW EXTRA NOTES:
THE SCIENCE: The truth is, we have no idea what putting processed and chemicalized junk in our food does – but based on our common sense and the health crisis around us, we can make the connection that when science began messing with our food’s ingredients 30 years ago and moving away from real food, it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. But somehow this chemicalized food “product” has become our “normal”, staple way of eating – invading our grocery stores, restaurants and homes.

Think back to when cigarettes were “normal” – people had an idea that it wasn’t good for you, but it wasn’t until 30 years later when research finally came out that we understood and the medical community followed. Right now, at this moment in time, we are about 20 to 30 years out from when we began adding all these artificial ingredients to our food. You might have noticed that some research IS starting to emerge on these things – for example, the surmounting evidence starting to build against high fructose corn syrup [which was once considered as a good alternative to sugar] is now being touted as one of the biggest health concerns and mistakes of our time.

So, what do we do about the research? It might not be in place yet fully, but we can use our common sense to know that eating real food, that is grown or raised with care, is just better. Real, living, whole nutrients are far superior to those dead ones found in a pill. And we as humans are all different and all have different needs, so one blanket nutrition strategy or supplement strategy does not work for everyone.

MY VIEW FROM A FITNESS PERSPECTIVE, I have to say that it saddens me to see how many “fitness professionals” have jumped on the tiered marking supplement train – making the same mistake I did; and in the same token, it worries me that non-fitness professionals [those without certification or acquired knowledge] are also prescribing certain fitness, nutrition and supplement methods to friends, family and acquaintances. I think we all fall victim to the [misguided] assumption that if something falls under the “health and fitness” tree or is promoted as such, then it IS in fact, healthy. But the question that always plagued me when I explored selling or using Advocare, was WHY do I need this? And the answer is, YOU DON’T. Really. See, the argument for taking supplements is that they “round out the gaps in your nutrition”, but if you’re eating a healthy, balanced, real food based diet, than blanket supplements aren’t necessary.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering – no, you don’t need protein powder either. 99.9% of ALL protein powder is just another form of over-processed junk; and if it’s not, the price tag per ounce is more than you’d pay for high-quality, grass-fed, pastured humanely raised animal meat, so again – I vote for the real food, unprocessed options [and for my vegetarians/vegans out there, there are so many great plant-based proteins out there that have a smaller price tag too!]. And plus, honestly, I don’t know a single person – including myself AND my husband (who is a ridiculous athlete, btw) who work out hard enough & for long enough to need more protein than you could eat through your daily diet. Professional athletes – a different story, perhaps, but let’s be real – you and me, we don’t workout and compete as a career and rely on our athletic performance to earn a living. Our 30-60 minute workouts, no matter how much weight we’re lifting or how much we’re sprinting, pale in comparison to the training regime of professional athletes. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret – what you really need is a lot more vegetables, not protein (I dare you to try that and not feel the difference!). I know what I’m telling you might be contradictory to everything you’ve heard about supplements from trainers and fitness professionals in the past, but it’s the truth. Protein from real food is not only higher quality and more easily metabolized by our body [because it’s REAL FOOD], but it’s also the real deal and all you need. And most people don’t need more protein – they just need more actual food. The best thing you could do for your body post-workout is to refuel it with a nutrient-dense meal [breakfast, lunch or dinner].

To my fellow trainers: I know the pull of money making potential within all MLM supplement opportunities is tempting; and not just tempting, but downright hard to turn down when you’re given actual dollar amounts. But before you jump on, I encourage you to do some research and soul-searching. Just because everyone around you is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the answer. In 6 months of non-pushy, hardly-talking-about-it, “sales”, I made an extra $5000 – and I know if I had actually put my heart into it, I could’ve been making 6 figures (as my “advisor” is now). But money doesn’t mean happiness; and personally, I had to ask myself: at what cost would I be making money? The answer for me was clear: there is a better way to help people and we have the opportunity to lead. If you’d like to discuss further, have an open discussion with me about it or just get more information – I am here. My door is open, without judgement at all times.

Like this article? Share with your social circle and make sure to “FOLLOW” our blog! If you’d like to learn more about the Seattle-based or online programs [group + individual health coaching, nutrition +/or exercise programming] we offer, check out our website. We also post articles, inspirational messages, workouts and recipes to our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts – come join the fun! 

How Do You Get “Those” 6-Pack Abs?

6-Pack Abs are perhaps the ultimate buzz word in the fitness world. The most sought after physical trait, the holy grail of fitness. And everyone wants to know the secret on how to get them. To solidify this argument, just check out the buzz over the 2013 Calvin Klein Super Bowl commercial. ABC News ran an entire piece called “Abs-olutely Fabulous! The Best Abs in the World?” Tuesday all dedicated to the advertisement. And it’s this segment that got me thinking – or rather, got the attention of my client Anne, which sparked this discussion. And from such, comes the inspiration for this blog post.

Calvin Klein

So, back to finding the answer you’re waiting for — how do you get those 6-pack abs? First, I’ll let you in on one little secret…(drum roll and spoiler alert, please). It’s not what you think and it’s ten times better…

You already have them! 

Really. We all do. Anatomically, the rectus abdominis muscle’s Imageshape IS a “6-pack” (reference the picture to the right). All the muscles you see defined on Mr. Terry above are all visible on our anatomical figure as well. Problem is — most of us just have too much extra padding over top to let the muscle show it’s true form.  😉 Not the answer you were looking for? Don’t worry – just keep reading.

If you’ve trained with Regan and I before, you’ve heard us talk about engaging the core through every movement – be it a squat, lunge, plank, crunch, sprint, bent over row, push up; literally EVERY movement. When we first start working with people, most don’t fully get what this means – both in terms of muscle activation and the limitless potential of muscular strength & development.

In the post-Super Bowl media frenzy that Matthew Terry’s ab-tastic commercial caused, everyone wanted to know his secret. His answer? Plank. You might be thinking, “What?! But there is no movement in plank. There’s no way that’s how he got all that definition!”

And so in comes our second secret to a creating a strong and defined core — the most important function of the core during movement or exercises is not to move at all. In an article written for our Macks Mo Get Mo(re) Challenge, Regan explains:

“When we exercise, we typically move at our JOINTS, including the: hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow and wrists joints. These movements allow our body to travel through space. In all exercise aside from rotation, keeping the spine completely still while our arms or legs move should be a primary focus. As an anti-mover, a stable core allows you to transfer energy and power between your upper and lower extremities safely and efficiently. In this respect, all power, quickness and even strength starts and ends with a strong core.” By stabilizing the spine against movement, the core is creating resistance for your extremities to move against and vise-versa. When a force is applied to the core (through movement of other body parts), it grows stronger – and accordingly more defined, through this resistance.

Coming full circle and back to #1 washboard abs & #2 plank, let’s experiment in your body. First take a look at the picture of your core’s anatomy (above) so you have a visual of what the muscles look like. Now, try these two exercises to train maximal core activation through compression and an isometric (non-moving, but active) contraction:

  • Supine Compression: Lay flat on your back, feet on the ground under your knees. As you visualize the different layers of your core with eyes closed, press your sacrum (bony triangle at the base of your spine, inside your hips) and bottom of your rib cage into the ground, leaving the natural pocket of air underneath your spine. Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders into the floor. As you exhale, first kegel the pelvic floor up, then compress (pull in + down) through your abdominal wall – drawing the belly button towards the ground. Think of your core like a shoe’s laces and pull the two sides of the core IN like you’re lacing up the bottom to top of your shoe. Take 10 deep breaths and with every exhale, try to contract the core tighter 360 degrees around the spine. Imprint this feeling of compression into your mind.
  • ImageMoving on to plank, once you’re set, make sure the shoulders are over wrists and feet in line with hips. Create length in the body by reaching both the crown of the head and legs away from the belly button. As you do this, take a deep breath. On the exhale, press your foundation points (hands & feet) into the ground then lift “up” through the abdominal wall + postural muscles of the upper back, again compressing the core towards the spine and drawing the two sides together and in. Soften the shoulders down the back away from the ears and imagine being suspended in space just by your core – as if your arms and legs weren’t there. Hold for a count of one-one-thousand to 30. Every breath focus on getting lighter on your hands/feet and tighter through the core. Try to emulate the SAME contraction you had when you were lying on your back.

Okay, now it’s go time. How your core felt in both the supine compression exercise and plank is how your core should be engaged 100% of the time – during every exercise and throughout your day. Try it – right now. See if you can do a squat or a lunge and focus on engaging and moving from the core first. Can you feel a difference? If you do this, it means your core is working ALL the time. And this will take your fitness and body to the next level, while intensifying every workout.  When you layer on movement – like a lunge, etc. to the already intense “plank” contraction of the core, you get…BINGO! The developing strength, definition and power of your abdominals. You don’t need to do 1000 crunches per day.

Instead:

  1. Learn to stabilize through the core, practice the two exercises above until you’ve mastered the contraction without changing your posture or bringing tension to anywhere else in the body.
  2. Practice breathing while holding the core in these isometric contractions. Always exhale on the “effort” – the push or pull of an exercise.
  3. Start every exercise movement or daily activity by engaging the core: front, side and back. Move with intention. Power and initiate all movement from the core and then transfer that energy out through your extremities.

And last (you may have guessed this was coming) – you must master your nutritional habits. Like I said earlier, we all anatomically have a 6-pack. It’s the layer of fat over top that’s hiding our most coveted asset. My one rule: eat 100% real food. Food you can make in your own kitchen, not a science lab. No matter how hard or how long you exercise or what your movement of choice is, your body composition will not budge if your eating isn’t on track. 90% (or more) of how you look isn’t done in the gym, it’s that “fork to mouth” exercise that is the game-changer. I’m not talking about a diet, I’m talking about a lifestyle of eating delicious, good-for-you food that nourishes you from the inside-out.

And THAT, my friends is the winning formula –>

Take your plank with you every day in every way you can + eat 100% real food

= YOUR MACKS MO SIX-PACK ABS FORMULA.

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And no, that’s not the Calvin Klein model – that’s my Regan. Un-enhanced by any photo program or color (just saying – check out the difference between the advertisement picture and the video where Matthew Terry shows his abs on camera – slightly different I’d say). These are just the results of using the said Macks Mo Formula.  🙂  And you can find yours too! If you need help, we can get you there. Shoot any questions our way: whitney@macksmo.com or post below.

– Put Mo(re) In, Get Mo(re) Out. In your workouts, through your nutrition and into your life. –

12.12.12 Workout

12 exercises, 12 reps. You pick your workout time [20 min, 30 min, 40 min]. Do as many rounds as you can in that time frame.

(1) DB Side Lunge with Crane Twist [left]
(2) DB Side Lunge with Crane Twist [right]
(3) Plank Supermans
(4) Jump Squats [option to criss-cross legs when jump to center, alternating]
(5) DB Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
(6) DB Plank & Row
(7) DB Wide Deadlift Hops
(8) Push Up Jacks
(9) Bicycles
(10) Hover Ups
(11) DB Squat & Shoulder Press
(12) Squat Thrusts

Exercises Explained:

(1) & (2) DB Side Lunge with Crane Twist: Hold the dumbbell [DB] at your chest and side lunge to the left. Engage your left glute & use it to lift you up to balance on your right leg with the left knee bent and lifted to 90 degrees [this is your crane]. Using your core, twist towards the left leg. Repeat for 12 reps on left side, then switch to right.

(3) Plank Supermans: Start in a plank position on hands. Tighten the abdominal wall and lift opposite arm & leg off of ground, pausing for a moment, then control lowering them back down. Alternate until you complete 12 reps. Make sure you keep the hips in alignment [not sashaying side-to-side; your plank looks the same with 4 foundation points down as when there are only 2].

(4) Jump Squats with Criss-Cross Option: Start in a squat position, toes forward, feet outside the shoulders. Hop the feet in & together, landing on balls of the feet “standing” then hop back to squat position. Criss-cross option: Same squat starting position, but when you hop the legs together & land on the balls on the feet, cross right leg in front, left leg behind [squeezing inner thighs together]. Hop back to squat & next time you hop legs in, cross left in front, right in back.

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(5) Stiff-Leg Deadlift: See picture — hold a DB in each hand & hinge at the hips,reaching the butt back [you’ll feel a stretch in your hamstrings], keeping the back flat/spine long; which means keeping the core engaged & shoulder blades pulled together. Look at Regan’s spine — see how it’s one long line from his head to his butt? Perfect form.  🙂  To come up, engage the glutes & hamstrings to pull yourself back up to the standing position.

(6) DB Plank & Row: Get into a plank position holding a DB in each hand, shoulders stacked over weights/wrists. Step feet out shoulder distance [basically width of mat] and firmly engage the core. Like the plank superman, keep your hips steady [no sashaying side-to-side!] as you “row”/lift one weight off the ground, bending the elbow to 90 degrees. Control both the lift & return to start. Alternate sides.

(7) DB Wide Squat Hops: Hold one DB between both hands and set the feet about 2″ outside the shoulders on either side. Sit back into a squat [DB will be in between legs]. Hop straight up in the air as high as you can and LAND back in your squat position. Arms stay straight the whole time. Important to keep the core contracted AND never land “standing” with locked knees. When your feet come back to the ground, you’re right back into your squat.

(8) Push Up Jacks: Get into plank position, hands wide for push ups. Perform one push up [on knees or toes; if on knees, lift them back up to plank when finished]. The end of your push up returns you back to plank [where we started]. “Jack” the feet out then back in and start over with the push up. The “jack” looks just like your feet would for a standing jumping jack.

(9) Bicycles: Yeah yeah, so you “know” how to do a bicycle. Here’s our way. 🙂 Lie on your back with your legs in table top [bent 90 degrees, knees stacked over hips] and hands behind the head. Your gaze will be up to the ceiling the entire time, don’t pull on the neck & drop chin down to the chest. To bicycle, connect your back hip points & sacrum firmly into the ground & engage the space between your frontal hip bones [never let back arch or hips sway side-to-side]. Extend you right leg straight out & contract the quad, keeping back pressed into floor by keeping core engaged. Now, use the obliques to lift the right side of the upper body off the mat and twist towards left knee.Pause in the twist & hold. Return to start & repeat on other side for 12 reps total.

(10) Hover Ups: Oooo, the hover up. FYI, major corner burner, always. And especially after push up jacks & bicycles. Get ready. Lay on your back with arms & legs extended. This is a CORE exercise, so try to avoid using momentum and letting the quads & hip flexors dominate the work. You’re going to be using your abdominal wall – from top to bottom, to peel the upper & lower body off the ground, coming to balance on your sit bones in a modified boat pose [knees bent]. Sweep the arms along your side as you pull your rib cage down to your hips to get the upper body off the ground; and simultaneously engage the space between your frontal hip bones, initially pressing your sacrum towards the ground to draw the legs up & in. After you’ve paused in your boat pose, return to start the same way you came up, slow & controlled, but THIS time and from here on out. Return the head all the way to the floor, but hover the arms & legs off ground before returning to boat pose. To understand what modified boat pose [with knees bent] looks like, check out this video.  😉

(11) DB Squat & Shoulder Press: Hold DB’s hovering above your shoulders and sit back into a squat. With the weight at your shoulders, the tendency is to round the back. Engage the core & keep the spine long while chest stays open, collar bones wide. Keep the postural muscles in the back activated at all times to protect the shoulder joint. From your squat, stand up & press the weights up [all in one motion], then return weights to shoulders as you sit back into the squat again. Full range of motion squats, people.

(12) Squat Thrusts: The best way to end any set.  🙂  Hold DB’s at your side & start standing. Lower through a squat to place DB’s on the floor in front of & just outside your toes. Hop or step the feet back to plank, keeping the core strong and not letting your weight transfer back into the feet. Keep weight over the DB’s [shoulders stacked over wrists]. Then hop the feet back up to your squat position and jump up with weights at your sides, landing back in your squat, ready to repeat. Once you get the movement pattern, make it a continuous, fluid motion. Modifications: step back to plank, step forward to your squat and/or just stand at the top instead of jumping up.

ENJOY!  And let us know how it goes — please post your workout time & # of rounds you got.