how shakeology helped Kelli with her Crohn's DiseaseShakeology and Crohn’s Disease – how this nutrition dense shake helped Kelli gain control 

The best success stories arrive in the most unexpected ways!

One of my December challengers was struggling with being consistent with her exercise due to a variety of things from some personal matters and a VERY hectic work schedule … on top of it being the holidays. The challenge was an opportunity for her to FOCUS and get back on track. Working out to ChaLEAN Extreme and drinking Shakeology every day, I followed up with her progress within our challenge Facebook group along with private messages. About mid-way through the 30-day challenge she she shared with me that she had Crohn’s Disease and Shakeology was giving her RELIEF and CONTROL like nothing else had before. I was stunned and very excited and asked if I could share her story on my blog.

You know what she told me, “Yes. Absolutely! This was no info the Dr’s could ever provide me so if it can help someone else then I am all for it!”

I’m SO HAPPY for her … and when Kelli emailed me her story, it brought happy tears to my eyes! I’m absolutely thrilled that she’s been able to receive help in way she never imagined!

So here’s Kelli’s story – directly from her!

“I began experiencing stomach irregularities and knew something about me was different then anyone else was around 7th grade. Every doctor I went to tested me for anemia, low blood sugar, thyroid issues, diabetes, and the regular string of blood tests. I was very underweight for my age but ate very normal. Every doctor said it had to be low blood sugar and passed it of as “I would grow out of it.” Around 11th and 12th grade I starting missing more school because I always felt sick, and was finally referred to a Gastroenterologist.

I went through every test known for upper GI, lower GI, and tests for my colon.  No doctor could give me an exact diagnosis, but deferred it as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS).  Still unsatisfied, I got a second and third opinion.  I had documented my symptoms in a diary by time each and every day and documented what I ate. The third and last Gastroenterologist pulled my Mom aside after reviewing my file and all my tests and recommended I see a psychiatrist, as he felt that my symptoms couldn’t be diagnosed so my symptoms must be something equal to a psychological issue.

At that point I gave up….for five years. My stomach controlled my life. I missed parties, couldn’t eat the same foods as everyone else, experience extreme irregularity, and at the same time, I worked out 6 days a week as a college athlete and ate very healthy.  In many circumstances, this could control IBS symptoms.  Yet, nothing got better.  I struggled through 4 years of multitasking 5am workouts, 18 credit hours, and working 30 hours a week.  Yet, nothing got better.

I moved to Florida from Michigan for graduate school and decided to give it one more shot.  I did a lot of reading on Crohn’s and knew medicine had advanced in the last five years.  The first Gastroenterologist I went to, now knowing that during the appointment I was experiencing a ‘flair up’ was quickly able to diagnose me.  Up until 2 months ago, I took my medicine to control my disease, but just could not gain remission.

I met Vanessa through a Bootcamp class, that up until now, I would not know how impactful this avenue would be.  I recently joined a small group run by Beachbody Coach Vanessa and I started the ChaLean Extreme challenge that included a product drank daily called Shakeology.  After two weeks I noticed immediate results.  I was regular, not getting sick as frequently, and finally starting to control my Crohn’s without it controlling me.  After four weeks, I can’t start my day without it and am finally feeling like there is hope at the end of the tunnel.  With my medicine, ShakeO, and living a healthy lifestyle, I am finally in control.”


Hey Cardio Queen — Slow It Down!

A few years back I was definitely “cardio queen!”  This was during my “big gym” days when my efforts were focused primarily on the treadmill, elliptical or group fitness classes. Cardio was my focus … I wasn’t really friends with the weights section. I would attempt a few reps … not really knowing what the heck I was doing. But who cared! I needed to lose weight and all I needed to focus on was my cardio. WRONG! 

Unfortunately, there’s a huge misunderstanding about fat loss in our society. Many people, especially women, think that if they starve themselves and put in 2-3 hours of cardio daily that the pounds will melt away. Here’s a rude awakening: performing too much cardio is actually BAD FOR YOU … and can put your body into a catabolic state and even burn hard-earned muscle. Yikes! The loss of muscle mass slows down your metabolism and reduces your strength … which means you will struggle burning off fat (especially with those last stubborn 20 pounds).

My girl Chalene Johnson says, “muscle burns fat” in her at-home workout program ChaLEAN Extreme. I learned SO MUCH doing this program … things like the importance of strength training, proper form, being consistent, creating balance and better nutrition. It was like I had my very own personal trainer in my living room!  Turbo Jam/TurboFire and ChaLEAN Extreme were the main programs that changed my life and, unknowingly at the time, were setting the stage for my future line of work!

Extreme Cardio/Exercise

Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer for how much cardio is too much.  I’ve read all sorts of different recommendations, but the one I like most is Jillian Michael’s. She says, in a SELF Magazine interview, “you shouldn’t clock more than 60 minutes of high-intensity or two hours of low-intensity cardio daily unless you’re on a sports team or training for a marathon. Any more than that can cause overtraining, a condition that develops when you haven’t given your body a chance to rest and recover.”

In a nutshell, if you are exercising efficiently and correctly (and you are NOT a a distance runner), anything over 60-70 minutes per day is likely counterproductive, in my opinion. I can tell you my cardio workouts DO NOT last more than 1 hour. Why would I want to do that? I can move on to other things or incorporate some weight training…

Additionally, over training — whether too much cardio or too much weight lifting — can be especially detrimental if you are not consuming enough protein or calories to support the daily caloric expenditure. In order to build or maintain muscle, you need to eat enough food … and the right kinds of food!

Is there such a thing as TOO much cardio?

5 Tips to Avoid Excessive Cardio

  1. Cardio + Strength. It’s important to incorporate strength training into your cardio regiment so you can lose weight AND get a toned, sculpted, tighter body. If you’re only doing cardio, you will plateau and as you lose weight your skin will look flabby.
    • If you’re used to working for 2+ hours a day, split up your time and do half cardio and half strength/weight training with AT LEAST 20-30 minutes of cardio.
  2. Add in different kinds of cardio such as long and short duration workouts, interval training and circuit training.
    • If you’re local come check out my Live 30 Minute INSANITY Class — it’s a great interval training workout that is short and sweet but will make you WERK! Every minute counts in this workout!
  3. Ease into weights! Especially, if you ‘re a little scared or unsure. Don’t get crazy trying to lift heavy off the bat! It’s very important to use proper form so you can get the most out of your workout and avoid injury. More important than the size of the weight is FORM! And by using proper form, you can make 5 or 8 pounds feels a lot heavier!
  4. Try to lift a minimum of 2-3 days a week. Incorporating some strength/toning exercising will help your cardiovascular efforts and help you lose more weight and more importantly, inches!
  5. Change up your routine every 2-3 weeks. Love a particular workout? You don’t have to give it up. Just mix it up and add in some new workouts that will trick your body and avoid the dreadful plateau.


>>>>> What does your current routine look like? Are you cardio queen, or king? How can you change things up?
I would love your feedback! Please comment below.





Where do I start?

I guess we can start with how hesitant I initially was to put these photos up for the world to see. Only a select group had seen this so far. I mean, I knew that this could help inspire others, but my ego and insecurities made me hesitate and actually procrastinate. Because I’ve been wanting to put this up for a while now…

But I knew in my heart that I HAD TO! And if I could INSPIRE even a few people, it would be WORTH it being VULNERABLE and posting it up for whomever to see.

Instead of me just repeating what’s on the About Me page … I’ll share some different insights 🙂

→ So you know, the transformation goes from left to right. And the last photo – the one in the fuchsia pants – was taken around Spring. I’ll be posting some more after photos because I’m still transforming 😉

And don’t you love my mugshot look on the top left <insert sarcasm>!

Most of you know that my soul mate workout is Turbo Fire/Kick. So Turbo has A LOT to do with my transformation. But I was also doing ChaLEAN Extreme during this period, which is a strength training program designed to help build muscle and lean you out without the bulk! After all, “muscle does burn fat!”

I was also drinking Shakeology daily as either my breakfast or lunch. I now drink it generally as a snack for my daily dose of health, because my goals are less weight loss and more cleaner eating, strength/leaning out and overall health. But, what many people don’t often really talk about are your habits and/or your emotions. And to me, this is the MOST CRUCIAL aspect of getting healthier. Yes, working out and nutrition are VERY IMPORTANT. However, without really understanding what makes you tick and without being OPEN to working on YOU on an emotional level, it’s harder to make it a lifestyle. It’s harder to creative positive habits.
And this was key for me. Because it was a struggle at the beginning.

I was definitely losing weight by doing my workouts and learning how to eat better — and people were noticing! But what sealed the deal for making a permanent lifestyle change was truly working on me. I started reading more personal development and surrounding myself with more positive, like-minded people. (Some of the personal development that has REALLY helped me include: “PUSH” by Chalene Johnson, “The Slight Edge,” by Jeff Olson, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers and “People Follow You” by Jeb Blounts.)

Along with personal development reading, I also really worked on my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) … yes, you heard right, I have OCD! And not the Hollywood version of OCD, but the real tormenting one that makes you feel like a prisoner at times.

Working on my emotional help, provided me better opportunity to create those positive habits needed to help me continue improving and evolving as a person, wife, daughter, friend, professional… and I’m not perfect by any means! I’m still a work in progress. But going through this process has helped me with not only my fitness life, but in so many other areas of my life.

You see … everyone has something. No one is perfect. Even the ones you think are “perfect.”

So go work on that something. Go work on you.

And everything else, including a healthy lifestyle, will all fall into place!


Some great resources: