May 2017 - Studio ME Fitness

May 2017

Hormones out of whack?

Hormones out of whack?


Of course, listen to what your doctor says.


And also listen to what your body says.


We both know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms of menopause or hormone imbalance.  Not to mention how common it is for ladies to gain weight at this time of life. (Ugh!)


And as we both know eating better and moving more can help you stave off other issues like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.


What do I specifically recommend to help you “eat better and move more”?



First – Hydrate:


Drink more water.


The general consensus is to drink 8-10 glasses per day.  And, if you don’t feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you’re not thirsty.


I know that’s easy to say but really it’s also easy to do.


Try having a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.


Don’t like plain water?  Add in some berries or chopped frozen fruit.


Prefer tea?  Steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favourite caffeine-free herbal teabag.  This counts toward hydration as well.


You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work so it’s always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you’re not getting thirsty.


Second – Bump up your intake of whole plant foods:


Things like (yes, you guessed it) vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds.  We’re going for quantity here.  Try to include them in every meal and even most (if not all) of your snacks.


Want another reason to eat more plants?


Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes.  Bonus!


Plus, my recipe below is your “no excuse” solution to getting more veggies wherever you go.


Third – Don’t forget high-quality protein:


While you’re chomping your plant foods don’t forget to include some good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).


With animal foods we’re aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can.


Fourth – Some things you want to cut back on:


Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.


With those increases in hydration, whole plant foods, and quality protein, you simply won’t have as much room for alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods with added salt and sugar.


You already know that’s good news, right?


Fifth – Move:


If you don’t do this already try to move up to 5 hours per week.  You can gradually increase that over time, and believe me, you will thank yourself!


To do this, include things like walking (especially outdoors in the sun, if possible), or even some weight-training.


You’ve heard the saying that the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do?


Well, go ahead and do it. 🙂


Sixth – Get enough sleep:


I’m talking 7-9 hours per night.  Seriously!


Sometimes menopause can bring on (or ramp up) sleep problems.


The most important thing to do is set a daily routine where you’re relaxing with no screen-time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) a couple hours before your bedtime.  Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone.  Try reading a book or having a bath.  It’s also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed.  Regular indoor lighting is usually blue light.  Ideally you would use amber or red lights, or even be ultra-stylin’ with blue-blocker sunglasses.


Seventh – Find great stress relieving activities:


Do whatever works for you.  Just make sure you do it regularly as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress.


Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a warm bath?  What about the newest craze of colouring?


Bonus points for using exercise as a form of stress relief.




You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.


Now go ahead and make two of these mason jar salads to eliminate any excuse of not being able to get fresh veggies when you’re out and about.


Recipe (Veggie): Mason Jar Salad

Serves 2












3 tablespoons almond butter

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons sesame oil


Salad ingredients

½ granny smith apple (diced)

4 radishes (sliced)

2 celery stalks (diced)

4 tablespoons of your favourite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

4-6 cups of your favourite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)


  1. Add first four ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.
  2. Add apple to dressing (so it’s covered and won’t brown) and divide between two mason jars.
  3. Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, and greens on top and seal.
  4. When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.

Tip:  Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!



Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potato Recipie







Servings 6

3 medium sweet potatoes
1.5 lbs (about 3 smallish) boneless skinless chicken breast
1/4 cups olive oil
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
3-4 whole chipotle pepper, minced
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoon cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder
salt and pepper
2-3 cups spinach
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish if desired
Greek yogurt, for serving if desired


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash your sweet potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender. Place your chicken in a baking dish and rub with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and peper. Place in the oven with the potatoes and bake for 25 minutes.

Once chicken is cooked, allow to cool and then shred the chicken into a bowl. When the sweet potatoes are done, cut in half and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

In a medium-size bowl combine the rest of the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and wilt the spinach and then add to the chicken bowl. Toss the spinach and shredded chicken together and set aside.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a medium size layer of flesh inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own and place in a baking dish. Brush the skins with with a little of the chipotle sauce and bake for 5-10 muntes until nice and crisp. While the skins bake, mix the spinach, potato flesh, chicken and chipotle sauce together.

Remove skins from the oven and stuff with the chicken mixture and top with shredded cheese if desired. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the skins are hot and crisp.

Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and greek yogurt if desired. You can even add some guacamole or sliced avocado.

*Yogurt and guacamole not included in Nutritional Information.

**You may want to prep but not bake/crisp up the potatoes until serving if you aren’t eating them all that day.

Success Story Update

Remember Aaron? Read about his initial success here.

Aaron has continued to work hard since the first post. Talk about a total transformation! Check out an animated before and and now pic. It is crazy how his body has changed.  Read Aaron’s full story below:

“In January of 2016, my cousin Rachel suddenly passed away at age 44 due to a massive heart attack. Like me, she struggled with her weight and it was a wake-up call for me.

For the past 10-15 years I had slowly gained a bunch of weight. As pant and shirt sizes increased, I would tell myself “This is it, I’m not moving up another pant size”, but I still got bigger and bigger and kept sizing up. It was seemingly endless.

However, I knew with a little bit of work, it was possible to shed some of this fat. My wonderful wife had, over the course of a year or so, worked her ass off and lost a bunch of weight. While she got fit, I made excuses. After Rachel’s passing, and a little gentle encouragement from Larissa, I decided to make a change.

A year ago last week (3/14/2016, to be exact), I started down the path of trying to be healthier. I had my first “Bootcamp” class at Studio ME Fitness (in St. Anthony Main). I about died. It was hard. I was very fat. I was very sore afterwards, but I came back to the next class. Before long, the soreness subsided as the muscles I had been wasting became acclimated to a little bit of physical activity. Pounds weren’t flying off, but I was losing weight.

I was having success, but I would sometimes “plateau” and when I talked to my doctor in May, he suggested using a calorie tracking app, My Fitness Pal, to track what I was taking in. It turns out that eating a little bit less (like one bowl of hotdish rather than 2 and a half) and exercising regularly can help a ton in dropping pounds.

So over the past year, I’ve lost a lot of weight. It wasn’t fast (and as one person said, you didn’t gain all that weight in a couple months, you won’t be able to lose it in a couple months), and it took commitment. No excuses. Sometimes I’d be a little hobbled because I did something wrong, or was just too sore, and Megan at Studio ME would suggest a slightly different exercise that avoided the problem, but still allowed me to keep that heart rate up.

Am I done? Well no, I’ve still got work to do. I havedays where I eat or drink a bunch of crap, but I’m honest with myself. I’ll just work harder next time I exercise, or be smart with my diet over the next couple days. Considering my job is sitting at a computer all day, I might always need to take these steps to remain physically fit. But I feel great now, and I don’t want to lose this feeling.

As of today, I’ve lost 65 pounds. That’s four pants sizes, two shirt sizes and 11 notches on my belt. I’m fitting into clothes that I had when I was in my early 20’s. I’m not an expert at this, but if you’re looking to lose some weight, I’m more than willing to talk about what I’ve done (send me a private message if you don’t want to talk about it on this post). I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed much. I still drink beer. I still eat pizza. I still LIVE and I’m happy doing it.

Thanks to everyone that has helped or given me moral support: My rock star wife Larissa, Megan at Studio ME, The Studio ME bootcamp crew (Tamara, Erin, Sue & Larissa)

Take care of yourself!”





Three supplements you should be taking if you are over 45

3 Supplements You Should be Taking if You’re Over 45 Years Old


Yes, while I always say that it’s better to get your nutrients from food first sometimes supplements are necessary.


Unfortunately there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don’t get enough of.  And they’re absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness.  Especially as we age.


Here I sifted through the supplements that are available on the market and boiled them down to three that can have the best effect.


Supplement #1: Vitamin D


If you live in North America chances are you are low in vitamin D.  It’s the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren’t able to hang out in shorts every day of the year.  Even if we did we’d wisely use a bit of sun protection too.


Vitamin D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45.  Want to know why?


It helps to protect our bones!


Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks.  And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of.


Want to know something funny about vitamin D (but it’s true, I swear)?


People who get enough vitamin D tend to fall less frequently.  Especially as we get older.




Vitamin D can help your bones stay strong and help you fall less.  Win-win!




Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body.


Yes, 300!


As with vitamin D it’s very common for us to simply not get enough.  Not even the 320 mg per day that’s recommended.


Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines.


Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.  In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant’s chlorophyll – it’s actually what causes green plants to be green!  And most of us just don’t get enough green plants into our bodies on a regular basis.  (You know I have a recipe with green leafies for you below, right?).


Magnesium is a very common supplement and is often added to multivitamins.




We’ve all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right?  They’re good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation.


These are all good things when it comes to our health and wellness.


But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week.


While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats.  The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary.


Omega-3 supplements can be found in forms of flax oil, algae oil, fish oil, or even fish liver oil.


Pro Tip:  Fish liver oil (e.g. cod liver oil) also contains vitamin D so check your labels and add the amounts together to know how much vitamin D you’re actually getting.




Three supplements to consider now that you’re 45 are: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s.


Always read the supplement labels to see if there are warnings that would make them inappropriate for you.  And, of course if you have any medical conditions or take medications or other supplements it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new. 


Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl












Serves 2


4 cups baby spinach

1 cup quinoa (cooked)

1 can wild salmon

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

½ red onion (diced) (optional)

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

dash salt and pepper


Split spinach, quinoa, wild salmon, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls.


Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.


Add salt and pepper to taste.


Serve & Enjoy!


Tip:  When looking for canned salmon try to get the ones with the most vitamin D and make sure cans are BPA-free.  Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods” section of many large groceries.



May Member of the Month


Congrats on your successes in just four short months! In February, only one month after joining Studio ME, Nick participated in our semi-annual Rowing Challenge and came in fifth place rowing a total of 94,913 meters in one month. That’s equivalent to 58 miles! We are so glad to have him as part of our crew and are looking forward to sharing even more success with him.

“In high school, I was over 200 pounds and lost 60 pounds through a restrictive dieting that I loathed. I said to myself, never again, as it was an unhealthy and not sustainable lifestyle. After moving to Minneapolis in July 2015, I gained 30 pounds and started hating how my body looked again. I said to myself, “I really want to be fit,” which is something I never considered myself to be. I was looking for a small gym that was close to home and provided friendly competition all while giving me a butt-kicking workout. In January 2017, I became part of the crew at Studio ME with my partner, Justin, and still have fond memories of our first class—Total Body Row. I was hooked! I loved the indoor rowing aspect that was low impact.

As someone with lupus, I was especially concerned about my ability to optimally participate. I did not want to be perceived as a “lazy” person not willing to participate. I remember my first e-mail to Megan about this and she was so helpful and let the rest of the trainers know about my situation. She also told me to always ask for modifications on an exercise if it is too much of a strain on my joints. The flexibility, yet full result of the workout has been great.

Some of my goals include to have my body fat in the “fit” category and to continue to build muscle. I have lost weight since starting Studio ME, which has been thanks to the rowing and helpful food tips. However, instead of worrying solely about weight loss, I am focusing on losing body fat, building muscle, and more stamina. Since my first work-out with Siri, where I was barely able to finish 100 meters in 30 seconds, my personal best is now 18 seconds. Also, I can engage in rowing and barre classes without much pain, other than the “after-burn” of the workout.

I attribute my rekindled love for fitness through the patience, care, and guidance of Studio ME. I love the unique instruction styles of the instructors and have enjoyed getting to know this great community!”