How to Select the Right Weight at the Gym

Have you ever cut out a magazine workout, finally remembered to put it in your gym bag, and then once you got to the weight rack you decided to give up on it because the article only tells you what exercises to do, and not what weight you should select as well? 

(Or was this just me?)

I (obviously) wasn't always a trainer, and was definitely a typical girl who only ever used 10 pound dumbbells for sets of 10 on every exercise. It honestly never even occurred to me that I should (or could) use anything heavier. 

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Gluten-Free Lemon Cupcakes (Meghan Markle approved!)

Ok, ok, Meghan Markle didn't ACTUALLY approve this recipe, but it was inspired by her so that counts for something right? 

Just in case you've been living under a rock, Megan Markle is an American actress who is getting married to Prince Harry on Saturday. It's a big deal because the couple is breaking with traditions all over the place (such as the fact that she's American and divorced, very edgy).

Last week I was listening to a short podcast about royal wedding traditions (for some reason I'm fascinated by the whole process), and I learned that traditionally the cake served at the reception is a fruit cake. Yep, you read that right, of all the delicious baked confections that the royal family has at their disposal, they decided to go with the world's worst option. 

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How to Build a Better Meal Using Math

I'm one of those weirdos who loves math, numbers, and excel. If you don't believe me, ask to see my ridiculous personal finances spreadsheet, it's pretty next level nerd (I swear I'm fun at parties...). 

But you know why I love numbers? They don't lie. There is always a right and wrong answer, and it's not arbitrary or subject to any creative license. This is actually why I pursued finance in college, I liked the black and white nature of the numbers. 

When I first dove into the health and fitness world, I was excited about new numbers and technical jargon. I loved learning about the digestion system, how to get stronger using percentages of 1 rep max, and what an optimal macro breakdown might look like. 

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Latest Skincare Obsession

I've learned that if you want an honest opinion about something, you should ask a kid. They are basically incapable of sugar coating anything, and they definitely don't understand tact yet... 

In freshman year of college, I taught 1st grade Sunday school with my best friend Nikkie. The kids were adorable and each week there there was at least one or two LOL questions or comments.

But it's also a really honest age... I remember one Sunday, this kid turned to me and asked,  

"Miss Jessica, what are those red dots all over your face?" 

Sigh, there it was. The unfiltered truth. My acne was actually bad despite friends and family reassuring me that "it wasn't that noticeable". You cut me deep kid, you cut me real deep.

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6 Truths That Will Help You Feel Less Self Conscience at the Gym

Starting a new gym can take you right back to 5th grade on the first day of school. Your palms get a little sweaty walking in, you hope that your new yoga pants will make you look cool and legit, and when you get to the locker room you pray you aren't accidentally stealing that super fit girls favorite locker. 

(Favorite lockers are definitely a weird unspoken gym thing. I've seen some ridiculously petty arguments between grown women in towels fighting over "their" space. It's nuts.)  

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Easy 15 Minute Sprouted Grain Pizza

Over the last 6+ years, I've experimented with every diet from vegan to paleo. My Mom (being the saint that she is) even got in the habit of calling before I'd come to visit to find out what my latest dietary restrictions were because she could never keep up. 

(thanks Mom for always accommodating with a smile!)

My obsession with learning more about food and how it impacts health is actually what lead me to become a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. I remember sitting at (yet another) health and wellness talk, and when it was over I thought, "hmm, I didn't learn anything... I already knew all of this!" And that's what gave me the courage to quit my cushy Wall Street job and dive into the health and fitness world. 

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Avoid Injury with These 5 Warm-Up Exercises

Warm-up exercises are like dental check-ups. You know they are important, but it's also really easy to skip them. 

When I worked at my corporate job, I already felt like I deserved a gold star just for making it into the gym. I didn't need extra credit for also starting with a killer warm-up routine (I mean, who has that kind of time anyway?!).

Also, doesn't putting on a sports bra count for something???

(Side note, speaking of sports bras... I was usually getting to the gym later than I wanted, thanks boss, so I'd change out of work clothes as if I was on some timed competition, where the top prize went to the fastest outfit change... Am I the only weirdo who does this?)

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Two Questions For a New Month

I love that we bucket time into months, don't you? When one ends and another begins, we get to start over and try again.  

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty ready to say goodbye to March. 

The weather was meh (even for California), I got violently ill at the beginning on the month, and I locked myself out of my apartment on a Sunday morning... which meant I had to wait for a locksmith in sweat pants and no bra, awesome.  

But yesterday, to kick off April, I had a great catch-up with an old friend. We are both entrepreneurs, and we try to catch up at the beginning of each month to chat about highs and lows from the month before, and set a few intentions for the month to come. 

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It's OK to Take a Break

As a fitness professional, I'm always looking for ways new ways to encourage, inspire and help initiate action for my clients. Because let's be honest, motivation is fleeting, crazy schedules get in the way of workouts, and cooking a healthy dinner after a long day is sometimes almost unbearable to even think about.

But the fitness industry can sometimes take "fitspo" a little too far. And I'm not talking about the pictures of girls in thongs "working out" at the dumbbell rack (those are just obnoxious...), I'm talking about a much sneakier culprit lurking in your social media feed... the well-intended motivational meme.

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Baked Sweet Potato

I used to only eat sweet potato at Thanksgiving. And by "eat sweet potato", I mean I would eat the toasted marshmallows off the top of the casserole, and leave the potatoes on my plate... 

For some reason they weirded me out. They are similar to potatoes... but orange? Weird. It wasn't until I did my first Whole30 in January of 2014, that I really started EATING sweet potatoes. 

If you aren't familiar with Whole30, it's a 30 day strict paleo challenge where you cut out all processed foods, sugar, legumes, dairy, grains, soy, and alcohol (it's kinda no joke). I quickly realized that without rice or white potatoes (when I did it, white potatoes were still restricted, this has now been added to the accepted list), I needed a carb alternative. 

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Non Treadmill Cardio

I've tried over and over again to become a "runner" but it never works, it's just not my favorite. Runners always claim that I only hate it because I've never hit that elusive runner's high, and if I were to run for 8 miles instead of 3 I'd love it. Umm, sure, whatever you say...

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