Benefits of Sleep


Making sure you get enough sleep each night may be a tough task. However, getting enough hours of rest is vital to your overall health.

Some benefits of proper sleep include:

  • Better focus

  • Ability to think clearer

  • Improves your cardiovascular health

  • Boosts your immune system and breathing

  • Hormones can release to repair cells

  • Increase your recovery time for your workouts

How can we make sure that we are getting enough sleep? Be sure to go to bed at a reasonable time each night. Aim for about 6-8 hours of sleep per night.

If you find that you are having difficulty falling asleep, try and limit exposure to blue light 30 minutes before bed. You can also try adding in some sleepy time tea to help calm your body & mind.

What helps you get enough sleep per night? Share with us in the comments below.

Blog written by Evolve Trainer, Shannon Dowd

Are you letting your body recover from a workout? 


I have always struggled with finding a balance—working out and allowing my body to recover.  How much recovery does your body need? How do you know that you have recovered? Is a lack of soreness the only measure? 

When I started to get frustrated with finding a balance, I went in search of numbers…I don’t know about you, but I like data.  I came across heart rate variability (HRV). Harvard Health defines HRV as “a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat.”  This variation in time is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which can be divided into the “rest and digest” system and the “fight-or-flight” system.  A healthy individual can quickly switch between the two subdivisions when they encounter stressors (i.e. hard workouts, lack of sleep, contentious interactions).  

If your body gets “stuck” in the “fight-or-flight” system after experiencing a stressor, your HRV will be low (there will not be a large variation of time between heartbeats).  If your body is under the control of the “rest and digest” system, your HRV will be high.  A high HRV can be a signal to you that your body is ready for another intense workout; a low HRV should signal the need for a rest day or a mild workout (ex: walking, yoga, Thai Chi).    

It might sound as though this would be difficult to measure, but it is likely that you already possess a piece of technology that can measure it! How did I start? I used an App on my iPhone called HRV4Training.  Every morning when I woke up, before getting out of bed, I would open the App and place my finger on the camera of my phone.  I thought this worked pretty well, but I was not super confident in the accuracy of the readings.  I have since invested in an Apple Watch which will measure your HRV after every workout and after every “Breathing” session.  I make it a point to breath for one minute in the morning and assess my HRV.  If it is low, I know that I need to plan a mild workout, if it is high, I am ready for some intense training!

If you are like me, you might ask, what are the magic numbers? What is low? What is high? But I cannot really give you those answers.  You will need to set benchmarks for yourself because every body is different.  I recommend tracking your HRV for two weeks to establish a baseline level.  If you record your HRV and workout each day for two weeks, you should get a sense of where your body is when it is recovered and when it is stressed.  From here you can use your daily HRV to plan your workouts effectively!

Have you tried measuring your HRV? Let us know your initial reactions!   

Written by Evolve Coach & Trainer, Jackie Katz

4 Mistakes to Avoid if You Are Trying to Lose Weight


Having healthy snacks throughout the day is important for weight loss, but it can also be a culprit for weight gain as well. How? Here is what the experts are saying that can cause you to actually gain weight instead of lose weight when it comes to your snacks.

1. Skipping your Snacks: Many of us get caught up in the mentality that we must eat LESS to weigh LESS, but skipping your snacks can actually do more harm. Having snacks throughout the day will help you from overeating later.

2. Snacking when you are NOT hungry: Reaching for a sweet or salty snack when you are not hungry, just from pure boredom, can prevent you from reaching your goals. Snacking when you are not hungry can quickly add on the calories, so be sure to snack when you are hungry and not just bored.

3. Incorrect portion sizes: Snacks like nuts and seeds are great, but they too can quickly add up in calories. Be sure to serve yourself the appropriate portion size.

4. Not Planning: If you have a light lunch, but forget to bring a snack for the middle of the day, you are more than likely to grab a less healthy option at dinner because you are starving. Be sure to prep healthy snacks to bring with you to work or to your day to day activities to prevent you from getting too hungry.

Do you prep your snacks ahead of time? What are some of your favorite go to snacks? Share with us in the comments below. 

Afraid to Squat?


The squat is a great movement that targets the legs, but it is a movement that often scares people away. Coach Shannon shares with us the benefits of performing squats in your workout routine below.

3 major benefits of squats

1. Squats assist every day movement. They can make walking up and down the stairs and getting up out if a chair or car easier. These are just a few examples of how performing squats can be beneficial to your daily routine.
2. Squats can benefit other physical activities such as running/walking, cycling and all other sports. Squats will strengthen all leg muscles which will protect the joints. Therefore, will make these activities even more enjoyable.
3. Squats are a full body exercise. That being said, they will not only strengthen your legs but your core as well. This includes the muscles in your abdomen and back. Your cardiovascular system will also improve. when you perform them. Squats will also help mobilize your joints along with proper stretching and warm up time which will also carry through other daily activities.

Do YOU like to squat? Share with us in the comments below!

New to Working Out? Here are Some Helpful Tips to get you Started


As the summer comes to a close, you might be thinking about starting a new routine once the kids are back in school, or you are back to a routine after Labor Day Weekend. Many of us get this same feeling.

The summer is fun and filled with parties, BBQs, food and alcohol, but you are now feeling like so many of us and think it is time to start or pick up on your health & fitness routine.

But where do we start? There is an overwhelming amount of information out there which can be very confusing, especially for first timers. I recommend that you think simple and start gradual. You want this to give you longterm results, and not just a quick fix so we want to develop a routine that we can turn into our lifestyle.

Here are 4 tips to get you started on your health & fitness journey

  1. Start walking. Studies have shown that outdoor exercise is associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, while decreasing tension and depression. Set a goal to take a 10 minute walk and be sure to schedule this in your day.

  2. Make short term goals. When first starting out on a new fitness routine, it is important to set goals that are achievable quickly to help stay motivated.

  3. Build intensity. Now that you have established a routine, don’t get stuck doing the same thing every day. As you get more comfortable with your routine, start to explore different weights, intensities, and increase the time spent performing the exercises.

  4. Keep exploring. Make sure that your routine is fun and does not feel like a punishment. You will be able to turn this into your lifestyle if you actually enjoy your workouts. Try different activities, classes, training styles, and events. Keep your body guessing and change up your routine from time to time.

Looking to start up your health & fitness routine but unsure of where to start? Reach out to me! I am here and happy to help you get started, or get back to your routine. Leave a comment or question below and I will be happy to respond.

Benefits of HIIT Cardio


We all don’t enjoy doing cardio, but we know that it is important for us to keep our heart healthy and it helps torch calories so we do it. There are many questions regarding what type of cardio is “the best” to do, and honestly I recommend completing a mixture of both steady rate cardio and HIIT cardio in your weekly workouts. 

What is HIIT cardio? HIIT is a form of training that involves changing your pace at different points throughout a workout. It keeps your body from adapting and getting too comfortable with any one exercise while, simultaneously, helping you burn calories post-workout. The Evolve Fitness classes do exactly that!

HIIT starts out with a short warm-up session followed by a short, high-intensity burst of energy followed by easy-to-moderate effort for the same amount of time. The high-intensity intervals call you to push yourself as hard as possible. The following low-intensity periods allow you time to recover. The pattern repeats until you finish with a cool-down period similar to your warm-up.

This cycling of intensity gobbles up way more calories, both during the actual time you're exercising and for 24 hours afterward. That's important because the "afterburn"—called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC—is just as valuable in the overall equation of weight loss as the actual number of calories you burn during a given activity. Increasingly, studies have shown this type of workout trumps steady-state cardio in which you maintain a constant heart rate throughout the activity.

But you can't just jump right into this workout protocol, even if you're already doing some cardio. Since HIIT is so intense, you risk injury if you're not careful. You may also experience burnout or overtraining.

If you are looking to include HIIT cardio training, be mindful of the amount of HIIT cardio you are completing each week, mixed up with some steady rate cardio and traditional weight training. A good mixture of the three, plus a clean diet will lead you to success! 

What type of training do you enjoy most? Share with me in the comments below.

Stuck in a rut?

“I feel like I am in a rut.”

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“I am bored with my workouts & meals.”
“I feel like I am stuck in the same routine when it comes to my meals & workout routine”

Sound familiar?

Don’t freak! It happens to all of us, even me!

Just like anything in life, too much of a good thing is not beneficial and when it comes to your health & fitness goals, too much of the SAME things will not get you to your longterm goals & it can leave you feeling bored, repetitive, and unmotivated.

How do we prevent this from happening?

Here are a few things that I do to make sure that I don’t get bored, stuck or unmotivated when it comes to my health & fitness routine!

1.Change up your workout routine. This can be done a few ways meaning change up the days that I workout, the times that I workout and the style of workouts that I am doing. Morning person? Try working out at night to change it up! Tired of doing cardio & HIIT training? Try mixing it some weightlifting days! Your body & mind will thank you! Luckily at @evolve we have cardio & weightlifting classes, so you will never get bored!

2. Change up your meals weekly! If you eat the same things everyday, you are going to get bored & you are not going to look forward to eating your next meal! Try looking up different recipes, or order from an awesome meal prep company like @nutritionkitch to give you some different flavors throughout the week!

3. Set short-term goals each week! What do you want to accomplish this week? Maybe it is incorporating 1 fitness class or doing 3 workouts at home! Or maybe it is to cook 2 different recipes at home for you and your family to try! Keep it fresh & keep it interesting to avoid burnout!

4. Accountability. Do you have it? Is someone checking in on you making sure that you are sticking to your goals? If you don’t have this, I highly recommend getting it! Hire a coach, personal trainer, join a gym that has a great community, or ask a friend/family member to check in on you! Join a Facebook group that empowers you to live your best life DAILY! Whoever it is, get it! This will definitely keep you on track!

5. Know your WHY. I have talked about this before, but in my opinion, it is SO important! Know WHY you decided to make a change or live a healthier lifestyle. Write it down & read it daily. If you don’t know your why, it will be very difficult to stay motivated.

Are you struggling? Give these 5 tips a try & let me know how it helps you! Or, reach out! I am here & happy to help you stay accountable each week!


In order to make a change, we have to create NEW habits, but also DELETE bad habits in the process! Here are 3 habits that I suggest DELETING in order to achieve your goals!


Quit this habit NOW! Criticizing your body is NOT going to get you to your goals any faster! If anything, it will most likely derail you, so instead of focusing on what “needs work” focus on all of the great areas of your body & what your body does for you daily. You’ll have an easier time loving your body when you STOP picking it apart daily


Start being mindful of your thoughts TODAY. Stop following the people on social media that don’t make your feel GOOD & make sure that you are surrounding yourself with others that support & encourage you! Start focusing on YOUR journey & less on what “others” are doing.


You are capable of SO much & everything you need is right at your fingertips. You are enough & you are worthy so stop feeling guilty for making yourself a PRIORITY. You will never operate at 100% for others if you are not filling your own tank. Stop the excuses & start focusing on 1 thing that you can do TODAY.

What habits are you going to kick to the curb in order to start achieving your fitness goals? Share with me in the comments below!


Have you heard the news? The FREE 5 Days to end Extreme Dieting Challenge kicks off July 8th and I would love to see you there!

Click the link below to save your spot!

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6 Tips for Staying on Track!


Okay guys, we only have ONE body to live in and it is important to remember that. So as easy as it is to say that you are going to skip the gym and rush home from work to eat junk food and watch Netflix, it is not the smartest decision that you can make.

Making fitness a part of your life is so important. As one of my clients says, “Going to the gym is like brushing my teeth! It has become a part of my routine and my day would not feel right if I didn’t go to the gym or do some sort of movement!” Making fitness part of your life is SO much more than losing weight or going on a diet.

Whether you are working out in Evolve, following one of my online training programs, doing your own thing, or just getting started on your fitness journey, here are 6 tips for staying on track when it comes to maintaining your overall mental and physical health.

  1. Stop weighing yourself!

  2. Drink plenty of water (Half of your bodyweight in ounces daily).

  3. Go to the gym first thing in the morning OR directly after work.

  4. Don’t buy unhealthy foods.

  5. Love yourself from the inside out!

  6. Meal prep and plan your meals ahead of time.

The scale does NOT define you or your success. Water is life and a great way to kickstart your weight loss journey. Pack your bag the night before with your workout clothes. If we keep the junk food out of the house, we are less likely to eat it. And one last reminder, you are so much more than any number or percentage, it doesn’t matter how long you worked out in the gym & do NOT allow that little voice inside of your head tell you any differently…YOU ARE STRONG, BEAUTIFUL & WORTHY.

I have built a community around these staples and we are always accepting new members! Click here to join our PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP. I would love to see you there!

Coach Kelly

Master your Mindset

Struggling with your diet & exercise routine?

Has anyone ever helped you with your mindset?

Check out Coach Kelly’s Master your Mindset guide that she has created just for you! This guide will give you 5 tips that you can start implementing immediately to start mastering your mindset, which will allow you to master your diet & fitness routine!



The Importance of Meal Prepping


Talk to any weight loss expert, and he or she will undoubtedly tell you that meal planning is an essential part of dieting success. The same is true for home organization experts, personal growth gurus, and busy moms on the go. Every last one of them will tell you one of the most important keys to their success is having a meal plan. It is one of the easiest things you can do to make your life healthier and better in general, but is one of the first things we neglect when life gets busy.

The advantages of meal planning are numerous. Planning meals helps you manage your time better and makes meal preparation easier. It can turn a hectic week into one that is nearly stress-free. It also helps you improve your own personal health and the health of your family. Meal planning is so important, fitness experts and those preparing for fitness competitions consider it a must. They not only plan their meals down to the ounce, they spend most of at least one day each week prepping those meals.

If you are searching for a way to make everything in your household run smoother and you want to improve the health of your family, meal planning helps you do it. Meal planning benefits include:

-saving time and money

-eliminates the last minute stress

-helps you avoid unhealthy choices

-makes shopping easier 

So, before you go food shopping write out a plan for the upcoming week. Go into the store knowing exactly what you need to buy and spend an hour or two prepping your meals out for the week. Not only will you save time and money throughout the week, but you will also find it much easier to stay committed to your fitness goals!

Do you meal prep? If you answered “yes,” share with us in the comments WHY and HOW you meal prep!

Thinking of doing some CARDIO? Think Again!

Public health guidelines primarily focus on the promotion of physical activity and steady-rate aerobic exercise, which enhances cardiorespiratory fitness and has some impact on body composition. However, research demonstrates that resistance exercise training has a profound effect on the musculoskeletal system, contributes to the maintenance of functional abilities, and prevents osteoporosis, sarcopenia (loss of body mass), lower-back pain and other disabilities. 

More recent research demonstrates that resistance training may positively affect risk factors such as insulin resistance, resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, body fat and gastrointestinal transit time, which are associated with diabetes, heart decease and cancer. Proper weight training involves precise controlled movements for each major muscle group and does not require the use of heavy resistance. Along with brief steady-state aerobic exercise, weight training should be a central component of your daily workout routines. 

Benefits of Weight Training:

-Reduces risk of diabetes

-Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease

-Lowers high blood pressure

-Lowers risk of breast cancer (reduces high estrogen levels)

-Decreases or minimizes risk of osteoporosis by building bone mass

-Reduces symptoms of PMS

-Reduces stress and anxiety

-Decreases colds and illness 

What do YOU prefer? Lifting weights or doing cardio? Share with us in the comments below!


5 Things you need to know for staying "On Track" this Summer!


Life is all about exploring and creating memories with friends and family, but sometimes the stress of traveling and staying “on track” with our health/fitness goals gets in the way of that. Traveling can also take a toll on your energy level, immune system and workout routines. Below are 5 tips that you can use to help keep you on track while traveling and/or enjoying yourself this summer!

  1. Bring healthy snacks with you! Bring some fresh fruit like apples and bananas, make some homemade trail mix made up of nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, and even some dark chocolate if you are looking for something sweet (*everything in moderation). Rice cakes and nut butters are also easy to pack or keep close by for snacking. There are some “healthier” bars out there, but be careful of sugar levels and ingredients in these bars.

  2. Be sure to pack your staple supplements! I recommend your normal probiotics, fish oil, mutltivitamin, protein powder and possibly digestive enzymes. You want to keep your routine as “normal” as possible when traveling. 

  3. Stay hydrated! It can be difficult to stay hydrated when you are traveling or at BBQs/parties, but do your best to keep water with you at all times. Bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout your trip/party. When drinking alcohol (*in moderation) it is crucial to hydrate your body. 

  4. Make time for your workouts! The weather is getting nicer, so take your workouts outside! Make the family go for walks and enjoy some vitamin d. The beach is a great place to do some body weight exercises like pushups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, sit ups and walking/running. If you are going to a BBQ, try and get your workout in before the party because it will be SO much easier to blow your workout off after the party. 

  5. Bring a dish with you! Going to a BBQ? Make a healthy dish and share it at the party. This is a great way to help out the host of the party, and it also is reassuring to you that you know that there will be something healthy for you to enjoy. 

Bottom line is life is meant to be enjoyed, so enjoy it and everything that it has to offer but in moderation! 

What tip listed above can you start implementing to stay healthy and happy this summer? Leave us a comment below!


There are so many theories out there on what is the best way to lose weight, gain muscle, workout, eat, hydrate, and so on, but the it comes down to 1 thing…

What is going to work best for YOU & YOUR life!

Losing weight, eating balanced meals, being healthy & strong are just a few things that you will conquer when you join EMPOWER & EVOLVE. I create programs for my clients that help them achieve their goals, but also allow them to still live their lives!

There are 3 main components that I suggest you look into when picking a lifestyle/program for you…

Nutrition. Listen, if you can’t see yourself eating this way for longer than 3 months, it is not the plan for you! If you are forced to cut out foods that you enjoy, why would you do it? Losing weight is a science. You must be in a caloric deficit in order to achieve fat loss, so be sure that you are consuming fewer calories thank you are burning through exercise & just being alive! That’s it! You don’t have to sacrifice the foods you love in order to lose fat.

Workouts. I can’t stress this enough, but if you HATE your workouts, you are not going to lose fat because the odds that you stay committed to this program are slim! Be sure to follow a workout program that you enjoy! Don’t force yourself to do something that does not make you happy, because why bother?! Find a workout program that fits your schedule, your lifestyle, gives you the results that you are looking for & that you enjoy doing!

Lifestyle. Ok, life happens & things in your day are going to happen, so you are going to want a program that allows for this! A workout program that allows for you to skip a workout because the dog got sick & you had to take him to the vet, or your kid had to stay after school! A nutrition program that gives you the freedom to eat out with your girlfriends on Wednesday night because you are working towards your goals, but you are also living your life too! 

Whew! That was a lot & there is a lot of information out there, so if you want to skip over all of the guessing games & frustration, I’m here for you! Send me an e-mail and lets talk about creating the lifestyle of your dreams!

Written by:Kelly Mahoney

Abs are Made in the Kitchen!


You have probably heard the saying, "Abs are made in the kitchen" and it couldn't be more true.

Regardless of what type of training you are doing, if your diet isn't in line, you aren't going to see the results you desire. I hope that by now you understand the importance of strength training for your overall health, BUT weight training is also one of the best and fastest ways (if done correctly) to lose weight!

Research has found that the more muscle your body has, the more calories your body will burn at rest. If you are properly weight training your heart rate will remain elevated the entire time which will allow your body to burn fat and build muscle at the same time…WIN! But like I mentioned above, your success is not only determined by what you do in the gym, but outside of the gym!

Experts say that people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn during a workout and then compensate by eating more than they burned-which a little simple math says you’d end up gaining weight even though you are working out. So when it comes to healthy eating for a fit and active lifestyle, certain facts are undeniable. That being said, your body does have different nutritional needs when you are weight/strength training. Take a look at some important tips below…

  1. Water is crucial

  2. Eat as many veggies as you want- stay away from butters and oils please!

  3. Fuel up before your workout- Doing so can give you more energy to help you work even harder in the gym which means more calories burned!

  4. Eat a snack before your workout- a smart snack before a workout would be around 100-200 calories and about 30 minutes before your workout. You don’t want to have something too heavy in your stomach! Shoot for a carbohydrate and a healthy fat for energy! (Ex: banana and nuts)

  5. Get in your protein- Getting in enough protein is important when strength training to help you maintain and build all of that precious muscle that you are building!

  6. Eat regularly throughout the day- for some people that is 6 small meals, and for others it is 3 larger meals. Do whatever works best for you and your schedule!

  7. Limit saturated fats, added sugars and alcohol.

  8. Stay active- this does not mean that you need to be in the gym 7 days a week! Set a goal of 3-5x per week, and do other activities like walking, hiking, bicycle riding, etc.

  9. REST. Rest is just as important as your workouts.

  10. Don’t overthink it. Eat regularly balanced meals throughout the day, stay away from processed junk, drink plenty of water, stay active, and enjoy the process.

Keep in mind that people who exercise regularly have different requirements to sedentary people because the greater expenditure of energy usually requires a greater intake of food, BUT this does not mean that you can eat whatever you want! I made that mistake before. Your weight training is to assist with fat loss while attempting to maintain/build muscle. When we are trying to lose weight it gets a bit tricky…we want to hold onto muscle and bone while shedding fat. This is why weight training is SO important in any weight loss regiment: it helps to maintain muscle while you lose fat.

So be sure to pay close attention to your nutrition. “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions regarding your specific nutritional needs. I am here and happy to help you along this journey!

Written by: Kelly Mahoney