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Workshop: LIFETIME LEAN, Saturday August 29th

Not a day goes by where my Facebook feed doesn't contain at least one diet post, whether it's a friend trying to lose weight, an advertisement for the next big miracle, or an acquaintance selling some kind of "shrinkage" elixir. Dukan, juice fasting, MLM supplements, 5:2, cabbage soup, Skinny Bitch, Grapefruit diet, Atkins, the Zone... even new trends of drinking clay and ingesting tapeworm eggs just to lose weight- totally gross! Obviously, this all makes my job very tough- my clients point to Susie Q who's on an extreme low calorie diet losing 4 lbs. a week and wonder why they're only losing a quarter of that. They see these 12-week "amazing before and afters" that required 1,000-calorie-a-day meal plans and 2 hours of daily exercise and they get sad. I relate because I used to buy into that crap myself, to the point where I was popping handfuls of (now illegal) fat burners and vomiting up my food. Not cute!

This industry I'm in... a lot of it totally blows.

So, here's the deal- next Saturday afternoon, August 29th, I will be hosting an intensive three hour workshop along with Master Trainer and Nutrition Coach, Roz Alexander, to help people cut through all the stinky diet and fitness B.S. and actually learn how to create a sustainable, long-term plan. Real transformation requires commitment to learning, hunger for change, and a willingness to reprogram both mind and body. There's no quick fix, and you don't just wake up one day a brand new person- it's a daily commitment. Change IS hard work- the diet companies won't tell you that- but if you have a blueprint in place, some useful tools, and a real willingness to turn the corner for good, I know you can get to a place of strength, joy, and peace living in a body that you're friends with. If you're looking for an instant turnaround or you need to squeeze into a dress in two weeks, this workshop is not for you. If you're ready to unravel the diet world mess and do the work to be healthy, strong and confident, please join! If you think this may be useful to someone you know, share it! 

To learn more and secure your seat-->



Personal Trainer Wanted: Eight Points to Consider

You better adore your personal trainer- you'll be spending a fair amount of time together! 

You better adore your personal trainer- you'll be spending a fair amount of time together! 

I’ll never forget my first personal trainer- a welterweight boxer at a commercial gym in New York who used to march my pin thin, chain-smoking body into the ring and have me jump rope for minutes at a time while he furiously punched out texts on his mobile phone. That relationship didn’t last very long, and losing $900 out of the deal in my broke college days taught me a valuable lesson about handing over dreams to someone without doing due diligence first. Now, as a coach and trainer who hires other coaches to train me (I have a competitive event I’m gearing up for and just enlisted a qualified pro to prepare me- more on that later…), I’d like to think I’m a little bit wiser than the twenty-something wisp of a chimney I used to be. With that disclaimer out of the way, here are eight points to consider when seeking a personal trainer or coach:

1. Make sure that the trainer is accredited by a well-respected international organization and holds current CPR and AED certifications. ACSM is known to be the “gold-standard certification,” and NASM and ACE are also highly regarded. Be forewarned- there are many trainers in Singapore who are not certified from a reputable source. Don’t be afraid to ask for certification verification.

2. Trainers are never “one size fits all.” Think about your specific goals and find a trainer who specializes in what you need. For instance, if you are aiming to stay in shape while pregnant, locate a female trainer skilled in prenatal fitness. Looking to build strength and gain definition? A personal trainer or coach who specializes in weight training and who is a bodybuilder would be very helpful. Looking to run a marathon? Hire a trainer who has been there and done that, and who has a track record of getting clients to the finish line.

3. Do you actually like this person? A personality match is key to a successful relationship between client and coach. Before committing to anything, schedule an initial meeting with the trainer to make sure that the two of you click. Good personal trainers and coaches almost always offer a complimentary assessment or initial training session prior. Use this as an opportunity to see if you can actually hang out with this person, as you’ll be spending a fair amount of time with them!

4. Does the trainer or coach have a high level of empathy? Empathy should be a job requirement in the health and fitness industry. You need to know that your trainer can give you emotional support during your fitness journey, and that they take a real interest in your well being. Work with a trainer who will listen and be responsive to your needs. If the trainer or coach bullies or belittles you, or tries to get you to do things you’re uncomfortable with, RUN!

5. Umm, how’s your trainer looking? This may seem shallow, but wouldn’t you rather work with a trainer who is in good shape? Won’t you be more motivated by a person who takes pride in their appearance and physically challenges themselves?
A personal trainer who does not seem to care about their body may not care about yours either, and likely doesn’t have the experience necessary to guide you on your journey. Of course, there are exceptions, but they’re rare.

6. Communication skills should be tailored for the 21st century! Does your trainer use desktop tools and applications to monitor and graph out your progress? Can your trainer or coach offer sessions over Skype when you travel, or keep in touch with you through social media and mobile apps? Professionals who can harness new technology to keep you on track offer advantages that should make your life easier in the long run.

7. Exercise is only one component of getting in shape- don’t forget nutrition! Look for a trainer who has education and certification in nutrition, either as a nutrition specialist, nutritionist or dietitian, depending on your needs. If your trainer doesn’t possess this knowledge, is he or she working with someone who does? Your trainer or coach should be able to guide you in making healthier food choices. If you’re an athlete or training for a specific event, a professional with sports nutrition and supplements knowledge may also be beneficial to you.

8. Finally, find a trainer who can stick with you throughout your journey and get you to your goal. Remember, however, that your trainer or coach is only actively with you a few hours a week, and has no control over what happens when you open the refrigerator door! That said, if you commit to putting in the work, your trainer should be able to guarantee results.

What other qualities do you think a trainer should have? Are you currently working with a personal trainer? Any memorable training experiences- good, bad or ugly? Leave your comments below- I’d love to hear from you!



Paleo Christmas Treats: Blondies and Macaroons!

paleo blondies.jpg

With the Christmas holiday approaching, sweet treats are inescapable, pestering us from every shop window, party tray, and restaurant. Even if you locked yourself in your home, your soclal media feeds can be counted on to showcase friends gorging on Peppermint Mochas and Cranberry Bliss Bars at their local Starbucks (providing them with well over 100% of their daily value of saturated fat in one go, but I digress...)

That said, just because something is chocolatey, gooey, and divinely delicious doesn't necessarily mean that it's evil. Instead of bringing over a fruitcake or pecan pie to your next family gathering or soiree, why not whip up something a little more health-conscious? With these recipes for Paleo Macaroons and Blondies, no one will even notice the difference. 

Paleo, otherwise known as the "caveman diet," is an approach to eating as nature originally attended- free of grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. Paleo has been widely adopted not only by athletes, but by the millions living with autoimmune disorders, inflammatory diseases and allergies. I've been eating "clean" for quite a long time (no processed foods), and I decided to take it one step further and adopt the Paleo lifestyle two months ago to support my bodybuilding goals and healing from endometriosis. So far, I've noticed that my energy levels have skyrocketed and I don't fatigue so easily at the gym. 

Paleo Blondies (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Blondies ready for the oven.

Blondies ready for the oven.

4 large ripened bananas
2/3 cup of tahini
2/3 cup maple syrup (the real stuff!) 
1/3 cup of almond butter
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 175 celsius. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix all of the ingredients except for the dark chocolate in a food processor, until smooth.
3. Pour batter into the lined pan and smooth out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the finely chopped dark chocolate on the top. 
4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Set to cool for 1 hour and cut into small squares.

Makes approx. 25 small squares


Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons (Paleo, Grain-Free)

3 cups shredded coconut 
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut cream
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 160 celsius. 
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except for the egg white.
3. Beat the egg white with an electric mixer, until peaks form.
4. Fold the egg white into the rest of ingredients and mix well. 
5. Scoop out small balls of dough with a spoon or your hand and pack them together until firm.
6. Place the dough balls onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes. 
7. Cool for an hour on a wire rack.
8. Optional- dip the bottoms of each ball into melted hot chocolate. 

Makes approximately 18 macaroons 

*Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons recipe adapted from Against All Grain.*

Enjoy, and if you're interested in learning more about Paleo, leave a note below or email me and I'll include more information about it on the blog!



Welcome to Tangram Fitness!


After months of preparation, I am so excited to officially launch a new kind of fitness and wellness business in Singapore! Tangram Fitness takes a "long view approach" to fitness by giving each client the tools they need for lifelong health and wellness, incorporating mobile personal training, nutrition education and health coaching. We have more than a few unique features, including Singapore's first and only "pay as you please" bootcamp; an eight week weight training course for women called "Lifting the Weight"; and a Q&A blog to answer all your questions about transforming your body, shifting your habits and ultimately, changing your life. Tangram Fitness also aims to raise the bar by beginning a new conversation about real health and wellness issues facing women today- no fluff and no fads. Topics you'll read about here include:

- The truth about diets and metabolic damage
- How to set up "non-negotiables" in your life and stick with them
- Why women should lift heavy weights
- Places to recharge your batteries in Singapore
- How meditation can boost athletic performance 
- Why Asia needs to REJECT the American diet!
- Sweating away anxiety and depression 

- Focus on Food: mussels for muscles, quinoa, bitter gourd, green drinks, and hundreds of other "power" foods. 

So, without further ado, let's get this new community going! 

What are YOU interested in learning more about? What types of fitness and wellness services would be most beneficial to you? Do you have a burning question about fitness? Send your wishes, requests and queries to I look forward to hearing from you!




© Tangram Fitness 2013