What Motivates You?

The Statistics

50% of people give up on their new exercise regiment within the first 6 months. The reason for that is pretty simple, people who drop out so soon don’t value their health and fitness goals enough. It’s a simple fact of human psychology if you want something bad enough you will find a way to make it happen.

You don’t have to be a part of 50%

Do it for your health

Regular exercise and diet help you develop strong and healthy heart, reduce the likelihood of developing cancer and diabetes, keep a sharp mind and reduce your chances of getting dementia, and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. IT IS possible to age without decay and the key is to key to this is to exercise and eating well.

Do it to be strong

There is nothing like bending over and picking up something that normally results in discomfort, strain or even pain, only to find out that it feels like a piece of cake. By getting strong you also reduce your risk of age-related falls and fractures because you have strong muscles to support you and balance to support you.

Do it for your loved ones

Not everyone feels motivated by the promise of better health in the future. If you are that person, it may be helpful to shift your perspective to something else and think about your loved ones, and what YOU mean to them. If you cannot do it for yourself, maybe, you can do it for somebody else. Think about how much more time would you have to spend with your kids, grandkids, and partners if you wouldn’t have to spend the time at the Dr’s office. Or about activities that you would be able to enjoy if your knees and back didn’t hurt with every step you take. Do it for the people that mean the world to you.

Do it for the stress relief

Exercise really does cause physical changes in your brain and nervous system and results in feelings of calmness and well-being. Over time, most people become addicted to exercise (I definitely do) and start craving it.

It worth taking time to discover the powerful motivators in your life, YOUR WHY. Find out what makes sweating worth it. Find out what do you want more than a cookie. Your life depends on it – do what it takes to get moving!



Artificial Sweeteners and How they Affect our Bodies

Most people on the diet avoid or at least decrease the amount of sugar they consume and substitute it with artificial sweeteners. Some fitness “gurus” are against artificial sweeteners because they believe in their harmful effects. As for me, I think moderation is the key. Ideally, you should stick with natural calorie-free alternatives like Stevia and Monk fruit, but consuming “artificial sweet” few times a week is better, in my opinion, that consuming an all natural sugar, and definitely not going to kill you.

Let’s take a look at some facts


This compound was found in 1878 by researcher Constantin Fahlberg. In 1978 studies in rats linked this sweetener to a bladder cancer in rodents. For a while, saccharine was claimed to be harmful to humans but numerous human-based studies have shown that cancer in rodents doesn’t translate into cancer in humans. In 2000, FDA cleared saccharine as a generally safe substance to consume within daily dosage limits.

While saccharine is a calorie-free sweetener, it does raise blood glucose levels to some degree. It can also cause GI distress in some people, allergic reactions and headaches.


Despite the loud claims of the opponents of aspartame who claim it causes cancer, there is no actual evidence to support such a conclusion. To this date, the only “evidence” we have is several studies in rats showing that in some cases, extremely high dosages of aspartame were linked to the development of the brain tumors. That being said, there is no evidence that supports such claims in humans. Agencies in the US and in Europe evaluated aspartame and found it safe for use.

There is only one case in which aspartame presents a risk to health, Phenylketonuria is a rare genetic disorder (present at birth) in which the body can’t break down phenylalanine (one of the amino acids that make up aspartame).


The most well-known brand that uses sucralose is Splenda. Sucralose is a zero calorie, artificial sweetener. Over 100 studies have been analyzed by FDA and European Union Scientific Committee on Food, no evidence of carcinogenic properties was found in the process. Sucralose is safe for consumption by humans.

These are just a few, most common artificial sweeteners that we can find in almost any processed food. While I always support the idea of eating whole foods, I also support the notion of not being paranoid about small things. 

When it comes to artificial sweeteners it’s worth to note that while they don’t have any calories they do give a signal to brain similar or in some cases, identical, to the one that is produced by sugar or other carbohydrates. This sometimes translates in craving extra portion of calorie dense food later throughout the day. That all being said, I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying occasional diet soda here and there as long as you are mindful of your overall dietary targets.

Have a beautiful week, my friends!


Holidays Diet

Holidays tend to test even the seasoned dieters and I have to admit, it can be tricky to stay on track if you celebrate your holidays with a family or a large group of people. So today, I would like to share my take on it and give you some tips.

  1. Remember your goal

Most trainers and people around you will tell you that it’s O.K. To “live a little” and “indulge here and there”, but I am here to remind you that YOUR GOALS HAVE VALUE AND A PRICE. I strongly believe that we have to remember our promises we gave to ourselves and the reason why we started the journey. Diet will always be associated with a punishment if you don’t turn into a lifestyle. And the only way to achieve that is to remind yourself that food will always be there and that holidays are there to celebrate occasions with family and friends. Holidays are about creating beautiful memories and food choices should be made based on your goals.

  1. Be mindful and slow down

The holiday table is full of delicious food and loud conversations. Talking while eating doesn’t let your brain focus on the food and that’s why very often we realize we overate only after the dinner is over. So pay attention to your food, savor the flavor and portion control.

  1. Eat a small healthy meal before going to dinner

This trick works every time. Eat something healthy before you go to dinner. This way you will be less likely to over-indulge in foods that are not so good for you.  

  1. Start with best-for-you offerings first

Veggies, soups, salads are great to start with. They take up space in your stomach and fill you up with fiber (or water in case of a soup).

  1. Bring your own

Bring a healthy dish with you, this way you contribute to the gathering and also have something healthy to eat yourself. And in case you don’t know how to make a healthy version of staple dishes, here is a recipe of a low carb stuffing.

Low carb bread

  • 100g almond flour
  • 80g coconut flour
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 7 eggs
  • 80g butter (melted)
  • 3 Tbsp heavy whip cream
  • 1/4 tsp dry garlic
  • 1/4 tsp dry onion
  • 1/4 seasoning of your choice
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F and oil the bread loaf pan. Misk dry ingredients together first. In a separate bowl wet ingredients and whisk for 2-3 minutes. Add dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until well combined. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 30-40min or until knife/toothpick comes out clean.

Once done, let the bread cool down a bit and then cut it into cubes.


  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1cup chicken or beef broth
  • 6-8  celery sticks, chopped
  • seasoning to taste

In a small saucepan cook all ingredients for 5-8min on a medium heat. In a baking dish add bread cubes, and the cooked veggies, stir and bake for 15-20min at 350F.


  • Heavy cream can be substituted for almond or coconut milk
  • You can use coconut oil or ghee instead of butter
  • If you don’t have chicken broth you can use natural bullion cubes, just make sure to account for the salt content and use a bit less in your bread.
  • I like cheese on everything so I added some to my stuffing, it is totally optional. But who doesn’t like cheese!!

I hope you have a great holiday season this year and create a lot of new memories with your family and friends. Stay healthy and focused on your goals, my friends.

Talk to you soon,


Sweet Tooth Cravings

I haven’t met a lot of people who don’t like sweets. In fact, I’ve had a horrible sweet tooth myself, for the most part of my life. Things have changed for me when I switched to a ketogenic diet. It wasn’t an overnight process, though, it took some time, but eventually, I lost my “thing” for sweets. A ketogenic diet is not for everyone, so even if you are on a regular carbohydrate diet there are ways to battle the sweet tooth. Here are some tips:

  1. Clean your palette

From experience and research, we know that a human brain is wired to want/ crave something that we eat on regular basis. The tastier is your food – the more you want it. Sometimes, in order to stop craving different foods, including sweets, all you need to do is to clean the palette. Sweet foods also tend to be the most calorie dense, which is a plus from an evolutionary perspective but a big problem if you are trying to lose body fat. So when you remove all sweet products for some time, your brain literally forgets the taste of it and no longer craves it. The period of time will depend on the individual. In general, I would say 15-30 days would do the trick.

The trick here, however, is to remember is that this process is NOT a punishment and that you CAN, in fact, eat the sweets, you just CHOSE NOT to. If your mental state is not on point, you are risking falling off the wagon and binging.

  1. Find a substitute

One of my favorite tricks is to eat something salty or spicy when I crave something sweet. It totally confuses the brain and kills the craving. Give it a try!

  1. Emotional Dependence

Comfort Food” can take different shapes. Some love pizza, some pasta and some devour a pint of ice cream in one seating. Many people use comfort foods, alcohol, and drugs as a way to relieve emotional discomfort. The key to battling the problem is, first of all, to recognize the problem, and then find a substitute. Make a conscious choice to do something not related to food when you are under stress or other emotional problem. YOU have the power to change the outcome by changing your actions – one at a time.

  1. Your diet is not balanced

It doesn’t matter if you are on a ketogenic diet or on a regular carbohydrate diet, if it is not structured properly you will crave “something tasty”. To balance it out, make sure to eat enough protein and fibrous veggies. This will keep you full for a while and provide you with all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Only then, add your carbs (if you are on a regular diet) and make sure that at least 80% of your daily carb intake comes from whole food sources (rice, potato, beans, etc.). Last, add fats to fill up the remainder of your caloric needs.

Of course, there could be more reasons for your cravings but these are the most common. That’s why it is important to have an individualized approach to the diet and exercise program.

Stay healthy and fit,


Pregnancy and Postpartum Fitness

Today, I would like to cover pregnancy and postpartum fitness. First of all, let me put you at ease by saying I’m NOT pregnant BUT there are a lot of women around me that are, so this topic just came to mind. The goal of this post is to simply bring awareness to the ongoing issue and hopefully encourage to look at this topic from a different point of view.

While pregnancy and postpartum create a new and completely different chapter of a woman’s life it is often taken lightly from a fitness point of view, and it really shouldn’t be. When we talk about postpartum fitness the first thing that comes to mind is weight loss and getting your body back. But what about the HEALING of the body that created a human-being? How does this get lost in the race for the good LOOKING body? We have this idea in the society that once the baby is out you can go back to doing what you have been doing before pregnancy as long as you “listen to your body”. But why?!

Pregnancy is a huge stress for the body, and the delivery itself creates a trauma. The muscles and connective tissues are overstretched, the hormones are all over the place… I mean, any mom will tell you that for at least one year postpartum she didn’t feel like her body belonged to her. So why do we treat it as if nothing happened?

There are so many nuances that usually accompany pregnancy and postpartum athleticism that are often overlooked or misunderstood.

Here are some examples:

  • Do you know what exercises you (or your client if you are a coach) should be and should not be doing if there is an issue of diastasis recti postpartum (besides generic “don’t do crunches”)?
  • Did you know that recommendation for pregnant women of not going above 140 heartbeats per minute during exercise is far long outdated and should not be promoted as a guideline?
  • Did you know that incontinence affects women who haven’t had babies (and sometimes men), and that 85% of women will develop this issue towards the end of the last trimester?
  • Did you know that overhead movements, jumping and running should not be implemented in MOST cases of pregnancy and postpartum?

And those are just a few of the most common issues. So simple but yet such important topics to look at and be able to screen for, but how many of us actually do that?

A big part of it is a lack of education in all branches of medicine and fitness (for ex. a Dr. who discharges a patient from the hospital with words “go back to your regular fitness activities as long as you feel fine”, along with the trainers and coaches that don’t account for all the changes that female body is going through and prescribe inappropriate exercise routine). Another part of it is social media. The feed is bursting through the seams with “get your body back” posts from new moms. And while the intention of those posts is good, the consequences are often not so much.

We also have female trainers and fitness enthusiasts that got themselves in a good physical shape soon after giving a birth. But how many are actually talking about all the behind the scenes issues that are having? And besides, nobody is claiming to be a doctor just because they are generally healthy, so why is it O.K. to give uneducated advice just based on a personal experience when it comes to postpartum fitness?

So what CAN we do?


  • Educate ourselves on this particular population just like any other
  • Build a better connection with our clients so that they feel comfortable sharing important details that affect their health
  • Know when and to refer to pelvic floor specialists and physicians


  • Work with a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist during pregnancy and postpartum (most insurance plans in the US will cover the visits, at least for some time).
  • Educate ourselves on what is normal and what signs of dysfunctions we should be on the lookout for. And by educate I don’t mean “google it”. I mean talk to qualified professionals in different areas of expertise..
  • Let every professional work in their scope of practice. You Dr is not there to prescribe you exercise program and your trainer is not there to diagnose and treat.


We need to talk about pregnancy and postpartum fitness more. We need to be more aware and educated of this particular population as much as of any other (like kids, elderly patients and people with disabilities). Pregnancy and having a baby is such a huge chapter in any woman’s life and should not be overlooked and taken lightly.

With all that being said, here are some resources that helped me to be more educated on this topic:

1. Brianna Battles – “Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism” course

2. Julie Wiebe PT

3. Dr. C. Shante Cofield

I hope this post helps you look at pregnancy from a bit different angle. Using words of Brianna Battles ” Pregnancy is temporary but postpartum is forever” so it shouldn’t be treated lightly.

With Love,