Tag Archives: Pamela Hernandez

5 Go-To Fitter Fast Food Menu Items

Eating out as a vegetarian who says no to dairy (most of the time) is a challenge. That’s why I don’t do it often. But fast food can be a necessary evil on a busy day of errands, if I forget my lunch, or if I’m traveling. While chain restaurants are being required to post calories, calories don’t provide the whole story. Lower calorie options can be loaded with sugar and lack protein, leaving you unsatisfied and headed toward a blood sugar crash.

Eating healthy on the go means being prepared and doing your research. It helps to have a go-to list of preselected options so you can grab and go. Try these fast food finds to make eating on the go a little healthier.

veggie skillet

Denny’s Fit Fare menu: At IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West, I had the privilege of having breakfast with Kymberly and Alexandra from FunandFit.org. When Denny’s, which was across the street from our hotel, was suggested I was skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised however by their Fit Fare menu. Since they serve breakfast all day, try the Veggie Skillet. With egg whites, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms and potatoes it has 20 grams of protein and only 330 calories. While it may not be as fast they do offer take out service. (more…)

The 5 Best Non-Diet Books for Your Fitness

I’ve read a lot of diet books in my time. I worked at a bookstore in college so I had access to every one of them. I started my own fitness journey with two great books – Body for Life by Bill Phillips and Weight Training for Dummies. Body for Life taught me how to manage portions and eat a more balanced diet. (I was the vegetarian who didn’t eat vegetables and certainly lacked in protein as well.) Weight Training for Dummies taught me how to get off the treadmill and use those mysterious dumbbells.


You don’t have to work at a bookstore to know that there are thousands of diet and fitness books published annually. While each one claims to have THE ANSWER and their way is THE WAY to fitness, they actually all say pretty much the same thing:

  • Eat less (doing this by either cutting out entire food groups or with a specific meal plan/food combinations/nutrient timing).
  • Eat better (give up sugar, wheat, animal products, dairy, processed foods or some combination of these).
  • Exercise (although not always).

I do believe you can learn just about anything from a book, but I have a better use for your book budget and precious reading time when it comes to fitness. The top five books I recommend to my clients are not about nutrition or exercise but they will help you live a fitter life. (more…)

5 Ways to Make Your Community a Healthier Place to Call Home

One of my favorite books is The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Author Dan Buettner looks at areas in the world, dubbed Blue Zones, with large populations of people who live past 100.

He’s taken their life lessons to create The Power 9. These nine habits create a “blueprint” to living a longer and healthier life. The interesting thing is none of the people he studied consciously followed these Power 9 or set a goal to live to be 100. They just did. Their lifestyles and communities were set up to make long life possible.

green hands

Would you say the same of yours?

My community is working on it. We are working on taking the Power 9 principles and making Springfield, MO a healthier place to live. There are a lot of exciting ideas floating around, especially after Buettner’s visit to our fair city this month. In his presentations, he gave us examples of work in other towns (and almost the entire state of Iowa) using the Power 9 to create an environment that supports overall healthy and longevity.

Do you want to make your community a healthier place to live? Here are great ways to get started from his talk: (more…)

5 Strength Training Exercises for Runners

Cross training is included on many running training plans, but many beginning runners don’t know what it means or what they should do on those days.

Cross training day is the time to do something other than your sport to help prevent injury from repetitive stress and work on activities that help you do what you do better. For runners, strength training is a must. Strong and healthy muscles support the joints, give you more power, and help increase endurance. To make your next 5K a little faster or improve muscle endurance for your first half marathon, try these five strength training moves on your cross training days.

lateral lunge

  • Calf raises: I love to do calf raises off a step or stair to increase the range of motion. Raise up on toes then lower down past the edge of the step or stair. Raise back to start and repeat. Do this move slowly, counting 1, 2 down and 3, 4 up. (more…)

5 Easy Steps to Going Vegetarian

I have been a vegetarian for about 14 years. I know it makes me healthier and it gives me great energy. I also know it’s not a magic bullet for weight loss and good health. You can do it wrong.

For example, vegetarians can start out as carbitarians. Pasta is an easy dish that pleases most everyone, making it a staple for new vegetarians. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables seems to be easy enough but what else do vegetarians eat? Where does the protein come from?

If you give up all animal products (making the jump to veganism) it can become even more confusing. You may start to rely on overly processed vegan substitutes that can be loaded with extra sugar or chemicals to make up for the missing animal ingredients. (more…)

5 Ways to Get Michelle Obama’s Sexy Arms

During last week’s inauguration we got a glance at Michelle Obama‘s toned, fit arms in that gorgeous sleeveless gown she wore to the ball. The first lady has always had an admirable figure, but her arms truly speak to the dedication she has to her fitness regimen. They don’t come easy, but if you follow my guidance here, we can start working on a set of strong arms of your own.

We want to see the curves of the bicep and the nice little cap of the deltoids. We absolutely do not want to see the tricep waddle! A lot of curls and kickbacks may create some shape in your arms but they are not the most efficient way to build muscle and burn fat. So how does a girl build fabulous arms and shoulders?

First, I will tell you how it’s not accomplished.

Not with infomercial gadgets that promise you fantastic muscles in only 10 minutes a day.

Not with endless curls with soup cans or water bottles.

Not with starvation diets.

Here are my top five tips to get fantastic arms you want to show off in your tank tops and shoulder-baring dresses. (more…)

5 Rookie Fitness Mistakes You Can Correct Today

Would it surprise you to learn I was once an unfit mess? Not that I am perfect today, but about 14 years ago I started a journey to fitness and a quest to reclaim my life and health.

I was a poor college student who didn’t even know what a personal trainer was, much less had the spare cash to afford one. I started with a very inexpensive gym membership and two books: Weight Training for Dummies and Body For Life. Both are great books and I still recommend them today. But they leave a lot of room for interpretation, especially for someone as headstrong as I am.

Needless to say, I made quiet a few mistakes in the beginning of my journey. Let me share a few examples of my early missteps in hopes of saving you the time I wasted and the frustration I experienced.

1. Lifting weights like a guy. I had no idea how to train for fat loss vs. muscle gain. There is nothing wrong with a body part or upper/lower split, like the workout plan in Body for Life, it just isn’t the most effective for ladies trying to lose fat. This is especially true in the beginning. It took me quite a while to learn the value of a well-designed full body workout full of multi-joint compound movements like push ups and squats. (more…)

5 Ways to Say No to Food This Holiday Season

We all have that one person in our life who refuses to take no for an answer. Perhaps it’s the office baker who simply can’t understand why you turn down her famous chocolate peanut butter pie. Or maybe it’s Great Aunt Helen who ends every visit with a care package of cinnamon rolls, somehow still warm yet you never saw her turn on the oven.

We all have a food pusher in our lives. They love us but don’t understand us. For them, food is the ultimate expression of love. For us it’s fuel, nothing more and nothing less.

This conflict is never as pronounced as it is during this festive time of year. Not only is food love, it’s tradition. It’s a gift. And it’s not easy to say no to a gift.

But to stay true to who we are and to keep our hard-earned fitness we have to learn to say no. You need to have a holiday defense strategy that includes ways to say no politely but firmly. Here are my top 5 ways to say no to food:

No, thank you. Simple and quick. No need for a detailed reason on why you refuse cake, just move on to the next topic of conversation. (more…)

5 Things Your Personal Trainer Should Stop Doing Immediately

Let me start this post with a disclaimer:

I am not perfect.

I am, however, a professional. I take what I do, as a personal trainer, very seriously. If someone has trusted you with his or her health, fitness and general well being you absolutely should take it seriously.

The problem is many personal trainers do not.

I can’t speak for every gym, but I know the big gyms where I live don’t treat or pay trainers well. When you’re not treated well it doesn’t translate to the best experience for your client. Or many personal trainers are training while they learn to be something else. This isn’t a bad thing, however, it can affect the trainer’s focus. And then there are athletes and body builders who train to support their sport, using their training techniques on clients who have very different goals.

If you’re currently working with a personal trainer, or are considering working with one, here are the things you need to know that a personal trainer SHOULDN’T be doing. (more…)

Saturday Morning Drills: 5 Medicine Ball Exercises

When I first started as a personal trainer I didn’t have a studio. I worked in my clients’ homes. I had many clients with rather impressive selections of exercise equipment. However, they needed me to hold them accountable to actually use the equipment.

Others had nothing. I brought with me any tools we might need. I quickly learned how to design programs using body weight, bands and other simple pieces of equipment. One of my favorites was the medicine ball.

A medicine ball can be used in many exercises like a dumbbell, but also provides a new level of versatility because of their shape and their ability to be thrown or bounced. You can use them for strength or cardio. Check out my favorite medicine ball exercises to see what I mean. (more…)