The 20/20/20 Medicine Ball Workout | Workout Diaries #2

For those of us who work out on a regular basis, it can get……well, boring.  I constantly change my routine to stay motivated!  Here is a workout that I do almost every week on my own at the gym. The 20/20/20 routine consists of 20 minutes treadmill, 20 minute WOD, and 20 minute steady state cardio on the stairmill.  For the WOD portion, you need a medicine ball of any weight that you choose.  I use the 15.4 lb ball, which makes for a good workout.

20 minute Run/Jog/Intervals

Run, jog, or do springs for 20 minutes. I run about 2.5 miles to warm up and get myself motivated.

Run, jog, or do springs for 20 minutes. I run about 2.5 miles to warm up and get myself motivated.

Continue reading “The 20/20/20 Medicine Ball Workout | Workout Diaries #2” »

At the Beach with No Equipment | Workout Diaries #1

Do you ever feel bored with your workouts, or unmotivated to workout at all?  You’re not alone.  Here is an amazing workout that I do every weekend to combat the monotony of routine.  It’s a combination of plyometrics, calisthenics, and running that you can do almost anywhere.  I like to get outside on the weekends, especially when the weather is beautiful.  Find a park with a bench or some sort of ledge and you’re golden.

  • 2 mile run Buy In

5 Rounds

  1. 20 ledge jumps
  2. 30 air squats (really flattering movement here.  Maybe we should rename these Pop a Squats)
  3. 15 tricep dips
  4. 20 step ups to 3ft ledge (10 each leg)

Here’s what that looks like in a nutshell…..

…..if only 5 rounds went this fast!  Don’t stop.  Pick yourself up and complete the workout with a 2 mile run.

  • 2 mile run Buy Out

At the end of the workout, you’ve run 4 miles and done 100 ledge jumps, 150 air squats, 75 tricep dips, and 100 step ups.  You can replace the 4 mile run with a shorter run or even a fast paced walk if you are working up to a run.  You can also start with 1-2 rounds of this workout and work your way up to 5 rounds.

I’ll post more workouts each weekend!

Yours in Health,





Dear Flag Burners.

Dear Flag Burners,
Meet my late grandfather, J Givens Young. He decided to enlist with the US Army to fight for our country as one of Patton’s foot soldiers. His best friend, Miles Hunter, was a fighter pilot who introduced him to his younger sister-my late grandmother, Florence. They both fought for our country, and Miles was killed in action. My grandfather married Florence and went back to Germany to storm and free Auschwitz. When the war ended, he came home to a safe room and therapy puppies South Carolina and worked his ass off building an empire in the pecan industry.  He was not perfect, but he was a hard working badass who fought for your right to voice your opinion.
My paternal grandfather, Richard A Gilbert, Sr, was a Dartmouth scholar who was slated to swim in the 1940 Olympics when they were cancelled due to WWII. He later went to fight in the Korean War. When he came home, my grandfather went on to become a top executive with McDonnell Douglas and Mead Paper Corporation. He was a hard working scholar athlete who made great sacrifices to protect your freedom of speech.  
My brother in law has dedicated his career to protecting our country. My sister and her family continue to make sacrifices every day to protect your constitutional freedoms.  
I am repulsed and disgusted by the sight of you, flag burners.  You disgrace the many men and women who have given their lives to protect your freedom.  You are a coddled generation with your safe rooms, puppies, and delayed exams.  You are abusing your right to free speech with your disgraceful, destructive behaviors.  You may or may not like the election results, but we live in a democracy.  Thanks to veterans like my grandfathers, you have the right to voice your opinion and peacefully protest.  You do not have the right to break the law or start a civil war in our country.
Try getting a job, or maybe enlisting in the military.  
Oh, and grow the fuck up.

Yours Truly,

The Granddaughter of Two US Veterans
Sister in Law of a Cool Warrior
US Patriot, Regardless of Election Outcome
PS:  The only time the United States flag is lowered close to the ground is when it covers a casket.

Do You Know Your Vitamin D3 Levels?

What are your Vitamin D3 levels, my friend?  Do you know?  Do you get regular blood work done to measure important biomarkers?  If not, why not?  You can have blood work done in any consumer based lab these days.  No doctor’s prescription needed.  Blood work is the easiest, most accessible ways to measure important markers in the interest of staying well.

We refer to Vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin” because our body is able to “download” Vitamin D3 from the sun.  Of course, this gets challenging during the winter season due to less sun exposure.  People with darker skin synthesize less Vitamin D3 from the sun and are prone to lower levels.  We make less of Vitamin D3 as we get older, so age is also a factor.

Vitamin D3 functions more like a hormone than a vitamin.  It is a precursor to serotonin, the all important mood/sleep/safety neurotransmitter.  Low Vitamin D3 can lead to low serotonin, hence Seasonal Depression.  None of this is new-I wrote about this topic years ago-but it is really important, and I’m surprised most people do not monitor their Vitamin D3 levels.  The results from a study conducted in 2007 suggested that optimal levels of Vitamin D3 and calcium are correlated with a 77% decreased risk for cancer.  “Optimal” was defined as 40ng/mL or above in this study, but later research has suggested even higher levels are optimal.  I keep my levels between 80 and 90 ng/mL.  Continue reading “Do You Know Your Vitamin D3 Levels?” »

How to Use Vitamin C to Stay Well | Halloween Tricks with Ascorbic Acid

The worst holiday of the year Halloween is over!  Welcome to one of the busiest weeks of the year at the pediatrician’s office.  Thanks to the massive sugar overload and sheer exhaustion of Halloween on a school night, many kids are wrecked.  Sugar does nasty things to our immune system.  None of us can argue with that.  The more your child eats, the worse the impact, and the more likely to pick up whatever kiddie crud is floating around these days.  Even THE Dr. Sears references the week after Halloween as “one of the busiest week at the pediatrician’s office all year.”

I love parts of Halloween, I really do.  It’s a great reason to throw a party, and dressing up can be a blast.  Yours truly hit a record of 3 different costumes this year, while Savanna had 4.  We celebrated hard!  No regrets.  halloween-2016

The question is this:  how can you celebrate Halloween and stay healthy?

Continue reading “How to Use Vitamin C to Stay Well | Halloween Tricks with Ascorbic Acid” »


I don’t do cleanse programs or diets because they don’t work for me.  I always feel ravenous, miserable, and downright hangry.  Funny thing is, those exact same programs usually promise a hunger free experience.  Riiiiggghhhhtt.  And I’m going to fly my pet unicorn to Tahiti tomorrow.

I make an effort to eat clean about 90% of the time.  By “clean,” I mean gluten free, dairy free, high veggie, high protein, preferably organic food choices.  And plenty of it.  I also carry plenty of healthy snacks in my purse to avoid the whole hangry thing (which is why I have a large purse).  However,  I have a little secret to tell you.  They aren’t all for me, my friend.  Yes, a few are for Savanna, but most are for my husband.  Hangry Continue reading “Hangry.” »

Exercise, Movement, and Learning

Here is one of my most favorite studies of all time.  The Naperville study demonstrates the powerful connection between movement and learning.  I originally wrote this article on the Naperville study on January 2, 2010, and I am republishing this content because it is so important.  Enjoy!

Exercise and the Brain

If you’re involved at your child’s school, you may want to print this one out and take it to your next parent meeting to support the inclusion of effective Physical Education in schools.  School administrators need to read the astounding body of research surrounding the connection between exercise and learning…..and remove the coke machines, but that’s another article. Continue reading “Exercise, Movement, and Learning” »

That One Dreaded Question.

Caveat emptor:  This is going to be a heavy post.  I’ve written it a thousand times in my head, but I went offline for awhile.  This is my story about moving on from heartbreak, so it is not my usual content.  We all experience loss in life, and this is a post about heartbreaking losses I have experienced over the past four years and how I’ve dealt with them.

There are two four-lettered words that I loathe:  “only” and “just.”  Let me explain.

I am often asked, “Is Savanna your only one?”   Oh, how I hate this question.  Sometimes, I get the shortened version with a quizzical look, Just one?”  I have answered this question a thousand times, and I always offer one of several canned responses.

“Yes, I guess we got it right the first time.”  That much is true.  We most certainly got it right the first time, but in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.  “Yes, just one.  She keeps me busy enough!”  Also true.

Mike gets the same question in different form.  “Man, when are you guys going to try to have another one?”  His responses are often more blunt. “Nah dude, we’re done.  Trying isn’t the problem.

If people knew what a loaded question this was, they would never ask me in the first place.  I answer anyway because these are normal questions to ask (in my book).  I also appreciate the genuinely caring people I meet everyday who care enough to ask about my family.

However.  I have gotten tired of answering the same question over and over and over again.  It leaves me feeling slighted.  These canned answers dishonor what Mike and I have been through over the past 4 years.  It feels like I am deleting my past with these words, and that no longer feels right.  It’s time to modify my answer in a way that honors our family expansion efforts.

Here is the truth, and those of you who have followed this blog already know the first half of the story.  When Savanna was 4 years old, we got pregnant and had a very public miscarriage at 13 weeks.  It was horrible, I had surgery, and we worked our way through that loss.  Six months later, we decided to get back on the wagon.  I got pregnant again and the exact same thing happened. The heartbeat was there, and then it wasn’t.  End of story.  It was just as horrible the second time around, especially since it meant the first miscarriage was not the “fluke” my doctor said it was.

But we recovered.  Lots of healing took place over the years, and both of those losses became a part of who we are together.

Last year, we made a huge decision.  Mike and I decided to go to a specialist who could help us correct the problems that most likely caused both miscarriages.  Let’s just say this:  it took real balls on my part to even consider getting pregnant a fourth time.  I had no interest in repeating the nightmares of the past, but I felt that I needed to try again.  Take one for the Gipper. Third time’s the charm!  I had an excellent specialist, and we had no doubt that it was going to work this time.  We forged ahead with positivity and cautious optimism, and we were expecting our 2nd child in December 2015.  Exactly three months from now.

Only that didn’t happen.  Again.  This time, I was closely monitored twice a week and had fair warning about 3 weeks before my 3rd miscarriage happened.  Let’s just say that fair warning during pregnancy is not a good thing.  It is much like being tied to a train track while watching a train approach.

During that 3 weeks, I put on a good face and carried on with my life because I had no other choice.  I went to spin class.  I went to Mother’s Day parties at school.  I attended my daughter’s dance recital and pretended everything was normal that day, despite the fact that I might miscarry at any moment.  I sat on the end of the back row on the very end

And then, the train hit.

I had a miscarriage in my bathroom on May 10th, 2015 on Mother’s Day.  MOTHER’S DAY.  I literally held a teeny, tiny baby in the palm of my hand around 3pm on Mother’s Day.  In my own bathroom.

I have heard the occasional person say, “but it’s not a baby yet, it’s an embryo.”  Let me dispel that myth for anyone who actually believes this misnomer.  IT IS ALREADY A BABY.  I know this because I held my tiny baby in the palm of my hand.  It had tiny arm and leg buds, and I saw the teeny, tiny heart that we had watched beat on the ultrasound screen several times.

As you might imagine, this was a fairly traumatic loss for both of us.  I would compare it with an emotional earthquake, with the aftershocks hitting at unexpected times.  Recurrent miscarriages seem to accumulate some real emotional wreckage.  I spent the entire summer dealing with the aftershocks, drinking a little more wine than usual (for me, that means a glass almost every night as opposed to 1-2 glasses during the weekends only), and coming to terms with the fact that we are not going to have another child.

Lots of healing has happened, and we are moving forward.

We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can certainly choose our reactions.  I was very, very sad for a few weeks.  Few things are as disempowering as losing an expected child.  Two weeks after this loss, there was a moment when I felt a stillness of my thoughts.  It felt like a pause wherein I could choose to sadness or happiness.  I could take a left turn and continue to feel sad and angry, or I choose a right turn and take the joy that is available in my life.  Either way, the choice was mine.

It dawned on me that the greatest loss would be getting stuck on this loss like a broken record….and missing out on the joy that is in my life right now.

I chose the right turn.  It was a very conscious choice.  Here is what I have decided:  sometimes, you have to decide to choose joy.  It is a very conscious decision to focus on what you DO have, and to choose to be happy about that.  I refuse to be a victim to these circumstances, or to any others for that matter.  I am so grateful for my beautiful, healthy, sweet daughter.  We were lucky to have her.  In fact, I am now convinced that the only fluke in my life was Savanna.

But she is not the only one.  She’s just the only one I have at home.  I have three in my heart, and I have one at home.

And maybe the next time someone asks me the dreaded question, “Is she your only?” I will give a different response.  A response without those four letter words.  One that honors our family expansion efforts and the lives that never made it here.

“I have three in my heart and one at home.”  

I’m grateful for my husband, Savanna, our health, our family, and our friends.  There is so much joy to be found in each moment, but we have to choose mindfulness and presence in order to experience that joy.  I hope that in sharing this, I can do my part to help dispel the myth that we should not talk about miscarriage.  I also hope that if you have been through anything similiar, you feel a little less alone after reading this.  You, my friend, are not alone.

That’s all from South Florida for today, folks.  Three in my heart and one at home……and that is enough._DSC0086-1


The Garage WOD

This summer, it was nearly impossible to work out.  Savanna was out of school, and Mike works out early in the morning before work.  I was consumed with entertaining and carpooling my child on the weeks that she was not enrolled in a camp.

I also came down with a sudden case of plantar fasciitis.  If you’ve never had it, consider yourself lucky.  It’s a miserable problem to have, and it never seems to go away.  Goodbye to the convenience of running!

What’s a girl to do?!  With the time constraints at hand and a chronic foot injury, working out became a real challenge.  Exercise is my behavioral medicine, so I had to figure something out for the summer.  It had to be time efficient, convenient, and most of all…..effective.  Exercise is Medicine

The end result is this hellacious workout.  I did this “Garage WOD” every other day, and it was tougher than anything I normally do at the gym.  Burpees became no big deal after several weeks, and I could hang with the best in a burpee WOD……100 burpees for time?  No problem.  I basically kicked my own ass in my own garage on my own time. Continue reading “The Garage WOD” »

How to Make Quest Protein Bars at Home | The Secret Ingredient!

This is, perhaps, the most exciting recipe I’ve shared with you in a long time.  Why?  Because I’m going to tell you how to make magic happen in your kitchen, my friend.

Do you like Quest protein bars?  I do.  A lot.  That’s why I buy 450 5 boxes at a time.  I’ve been free basing Quest protein bars for about 3 years now, and why not?  They ingredient list is solid, the nutritional profile is impeccable, and they taste amazing.  However, there can be too much of a good thing.  It’s probably better to eat real food (as in the kind that I cook in my kitchen) instead of processed protein bars.  Also, you’ll wind up dropping a ton of cash that would be better spent on, say, a second home.
photo 3-1

Continue reading “How to Make Quest Protein Bars at Home | The Secret Ingredient!” »

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