Lifting weights won’t make you look like a bodybuilder

As a trainer, as someone in the gym a lot, and as a bodybuilder myself, I constantly hear the phrase “I don’t want to lift weights because I’m not trying to look like a bodybuilder.”

Women, specifically, ask me for workouts that are tough–but not too tough.

They fear getting “bulky” and “manly.” These women clients typically describe their ideal body as “toned.” Not all women have this same ideal though.

But the one’s whose fears I’m trying to quell with this post usually think muscles are synonymous with men and are for men, and men alone to have.

Our westernized culture assimilates muscularity with masculinity, but I know plenty of scrawny men– that’s an aside. But it’s important to note, because muscularity is also a characteristic of ideal femininity, in my opinion.

Everyone is entitled to have their bodies look how they want them to!

As the famous saying goes:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

But for those of you who are worried about looking like a bodybuilder (I can earnestly say no offense taken here, I love my bodybuilder body) or who know someone who is afraid of looking too muscular, read on!

Here are some straight #facts to ease your mind.

1. In order to gain muscle in a manner that would make you appear to be larger than you typically are, you would have to be in a caloric surplus while also consuming 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, AND implement a strenuous resistance training regime specifically designed to increase your muscle mass. Most causal gym goers don’t meet all of these criteria.

2. Bodybuilders typically utilize hypertrophy workouts which are designed to increase muscle size and not necessarily muscle strength. Usually these workouts aren’t consistent with powerlifting style training routines that result in the formation of hefty dense muscles mass (woo, go powerlifters). But that’s not to say bodybuilders don’t also lift very heavy! This was just the style of training typical to my class of bodybuilding (Bikini) which is the lowest level of muscularity along with the typical high levels of conditioning found in bodybuilding to show off lean muscle.

3. You’re not on a 5 by 5. Aka you’re not hitting Personal Records (PRs) or maxing out sets until failure. Chances are, you’re not upping weight every set until your physically unable to lift it. This is the typical style of training I recommend, as a trainer, to those who are looking to build mass.

4. Without dieting down you will never accidentally become as lean, conditioned, or vascular as a professional bodybuilder. It takes weeks for bodybuilders to prepare for shows, anywhere from 10-20 (a typical prep is usually 12-16 weeks). Some competitors spend YEARS building muscle in between seasons. Competition style preparation requires that your body fat levels reach extreme lows. This is why the muscles that these athletes showcase POP so much on stage and appear cartoonish (the tan also helps)!

I hope you can now rest assured there is no amount of typical gym training, Zumba, or barre classes that will have your body completely transform before your eyes without consistent effort and the specific intention for it to.

Implementing a resistance training program is absolutely essential to building a body that can DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE and feel STRONG!

I always tell my clients, the more muscle you have the more efficient your body is at burning fat.

Seriously, this post isn’t tongue in cheek (albeit, a bit sarcastic at times but what blog post of mine isn’t?)! You’re not going to look bulky by weight lifting.

It always saddens me to see this misconception hinder peoples’ success in the gym and prevent them from reaching their body composition goals.

Don’t fall into this trap. Get the facts, research a routine, and feel free to contact me: with all your fitness inquires, or find me on Instagram @dearfitkris. I would be happy to formulate a training program specific to YOUR needs!

Be well xx.

Finish the year strong

Okay so first off, forgive yourself for all the Christmas cookies you inevitably ate today and stop talking about how you “need” to start a diet.

Be gentle with yourself and let your mind and body readjust from the holiday festivities back to normal life.

Don’t be in a rush to make New Years Eve plans.

Let yourself breath a little.

If you don’t have some swanky party to go to for New Years that doesn’t mean your 2019 isn’t about to be insanely successful.

Finish out 2018 strong by prioritizing yourself.

Think about it, you just spent the past couple weeks brainstorming the best way to make the holidays a special time for your loved ones, purchasing gifts, making time for family parties, and finishing those work projects before their respective deadlines.

Now it’s time to focus on YOU.

If you’re introverted, you might find yourself needing more time at home with a good book to recharge. Or, as an extrovert, you might want to spend time with close friends to feel inspired.

Remove any added stressors in your life.

Has scrolling through Instagram got you feeling down or overwhelmed lately? Delete the app.

You can always re-download social media once you’ve centered yourself.

This also goes for certain people, and places that bring about unwanted feelings or simply don’t produce joy in your life–you can do without them.

Your time and mental energy are best spent on activities that bring you the most fulfillment.

Once you rid yourself of mental clutter, move on to your physical space.

Throw away, give away, or re-purpose the things that have been cluttering up your house, car, and office.

Get a new calendar and start marking down important dates, doctors appointments, pre-determined self-care days, and make it pretty!

It’s fun to plan and it helps to reduce stress.

Remember, you don’t have to prove that you’ve evolved in 2018 and that 2019 is going to be the year you pay off all your debt, start that business you’ve been dreaming of, become the political figure head of a small country etc.

You’ve accomplished so many great things these past 12 months, and no doubt you will in the preceding 12 months. But don’t feel like you need everything to happen for you all at once.

And don’t think that it won’t all happen eventually, because it will!

In good time, all good things take time.

Be well xx.

5 ways to cope with holiday mood swings

So, you’ve seen the Doctor Oz special on how food dyes can cause mood swingS, you’ve read the Healthline articles detailing all the ways your excess sugar intake during the holidays is making you snap like gingerbread, or maybe you’ve always struggled with seasonal moodiness.

Well here are 5 simple ways to help you cope with mood swings throughout the holiday season.

1. Go for a walk– preferably outside! Nature seriously works wonders to sooth a moody soul. Nature walks have been proven to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.

2. Ditch the adults. Go play a round of hide and go seek with your favorite little cousins or make some cookies with your nieces. It will help you remember the true joy that the holidays bring.

3. Avoid shopping. Not only is fighting to walk through crowds of people annoying, it’s super stressful! It’s also hard to be surrounded by all the high priced over dramatized Christmas propaganda that’s in every direction when you’re on a budget.

4. Turn off the TV. Often times we develop certain expectations for the holidays based on what we’ve seen on television or in movies. But not everyone’s Christmas is a Hallmark movie, and that’s OK! Don’t make yourself feel bad by binge watching Christmas movies and wondering why your life is nothing like the main characters.

5. Put away the sweets. Sugar can do crazy things to our brains (those Dr. Oz specials are there for a reason). Make sure you’re getting proper nutrients through a balanced diet and aren’t overloaded on cookies and candies. This will not only stabilize your blood sugar and prevent cravings, but it should also lend a hand in stabilizing your mood.

Let me know how these tips helped you!

And remember– there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel during the holidays!

All of your feelings are valid and deserve to be treated as so.

Be well xx.

Take your power back

Inspired by my “quote of the day” app.

I’m going to keep this post short and simple.

You, and only you, have the power to change anything in your life.

In my very first Wellness (Public Health 101) class ever, I learned about the concept of “locus of control.”

If you have an internal locus of control your world view sounds like “this happened and I was an active party in it” an external locus of control sounds like: ” this happened TO me.”

In other words:

A person with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes, while someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything.

It’s more effective to recognize that we are in control of HOW we react to situations knowing that we can’t always control the situation itself.

It’s your life.

Own up to your failure and bask in the glow of your successes.

Forgive yourself when you fall short.

Keep moving forward.

Set big goals, take small steps.

Be well xx.

Fav sweet treats in NYC 2018

After my trip to NYC today I’m feeling like an authority on baked goods! These are some of my favorites 🙂

1. The Doughnut Plant- any and all donuts! I personally recommend my absolute favorite which is the rose water donut, but it’s seasonal

2. Zarro’s Bakery- cheesecakes and all cakes

3. Magnolia Bakery – cupcakes

4. Haru’s- it’s a Japanese restaurant with some seriously amazing green tea ice cream and homemade dark chocolate brownies

5. Teuscher chocolates- milk chocolate caramels

These are some seriously delicious treats! Try them out next time your in CT and don’t forget to tag @dearfitkris !

Be well xx.

24 things I’ve learned about health

In honor of my birthday coming up (shout out to my fellow December babies) I’ve decided to list 24 things about my health that I’ve learned in 24 years!

1. No one is going to be a bigger advocate for your health THAN YOU! So ask the tough questions, tell doctors your concerns, read nutrition labels before you buy food, give the things you put into (or on i.e. lotion) your body a second thought– they determine how well (or not) it functions.

2. Trust your gut–literally! If you’re having any digestive issues it’s important to PAY ATTENTION. You never know if you have food intolerances, bacteria overgrowth, or other intestinal issues until you get yourself checked out and tested. Take it from someone who has brushed aside her stomach issues– they need tending to and more likely than not they will not go away on their own.

3. Don’t be afraid to try knew fitness trends– minus the fad diets! I’ve learned that trying new things makes staying active more challenging and rewarding than just staying in my comfort zone.

4. The sooner you kick that habit of having sugary drinks the better. I myself was never much into juices or soda, but in college I got on a kick of getting “caramel swirl” in my iced coffees. There’s nothing wrong with some sugar in your coffee every once in a while. But I felt SO much better without starting my day with a cup full of sugar.

5. Caffeine is NOT the enemy. Overconsumption of caffeine however, is no bueno. But seriously, the numerous benefits of caffeine have been studied thoroughly. It’s not necessarily our coffee that makes us gain weight or feel less than our best–it’s what we put in it (see #4)!

6. There is a right and a wrong way to go vegan/vegetarian. I learned this by studying vegetarian and veganism before I dove in. And I learned this again first hand from going from vegan to vegetarian now to pescatarian (are you rolling your eyes yet)?! There are plenty of junk foods that can be labeled “vegan” that are damaging to your body. Which brings me to my next gardein nugget of knowledge …

7. PLANTS ARE THE BEST SOURCE OF VITAMINS AND NUTRIENTS! Yes that’s right. You heard me correctly. It’s better to get your nutrients from plants than from supplements. And no matter what your dietary preferences are in terms of meat, fish, neither etc. it’s best to get the majority of your food from plant sources.

8. Establishing a routine is the best way to ensure that you’ll reach your fitness goals!

9. You can’t undo your hard work in a day, or even a week. Don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t able to be as active as you’d like or if you’ve stopped meal prepping because you’ve been busy. Get back on track and show yourself some compassion.

10. Negative self talk will get you nowhere. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your very best friend– no less nice and just as sassy. Gas yourself up like you do your girls!

11. Confidence is essential. If you’re feeling particularly unsure of yourself recognize that’s normal and don’t let it hold you back or get you down.

12. Fake it til you make it! If you’re trying something new in the gym, or are afraid to, remember that no one really cares. No matter how many eyes you think are on you, no one is really watching.

13. Your health should always be your #1 priority. Mental and physical alike. It’s also important not to neglect your spiritual well being and do some introspective exercises to better understand who it’s a different faucet of who you are apart from both your mental and physical self.

14. Do your research. Make sure you’re constantly learning and evolving. Don’t rest on your laurels. Learn something new, contribute to the conversation.

15. Ease yourself into weight lifting (or whatever you’re into). Don’t just jump right in expecting to deadlift as much as your friend who has been working on her form alone for years.

16. Comparison kills joy. Everyone is so uniquely beautiful and different. Don’t you dare compare yourself to others. It’s not fair to anybody!

17. Speak up! Read an article about eggs and cholesterol you want to share? Do it! Listened to a podcast about the benefits of turmeric? Tell a friend! Chances are they’ve been wondering about what you’ve learned or are interested in it’s benefits.

18. Spend time with loved ones. It’s more important than any workout, measurement, or extreme fitness goal you have. You can get yourself to your goals without neglecting those you love.

19. You will fail. Some days (or weeks) you won’t meet your macro goals or you’ll have a bad workout. You might drive all the way to the track to try to hit your fastest 400 time only to not be able to get out of your car. It’s okay. It’s a part of life.

20. There are more holistic ways to deal with health problems than many health professionals are aware of. As easy as it is to take that prescription that took your nurse practitioner .2 seconds to fill out to the pharmacy, it’s worth the research. You might be surprised how changing something up in your diet or lifestyle can save you the meds.

21. It’s okay to take medication. More than that, sometimes it is absolutely necessary. You may need it to be healthy and there’s nothing wrong with being on medication for whatever issues you have. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

22. If you’re ever feeling like less than a rockstar, go outside, to your local gym, a field, wherever and do something that makes you remember YOU ARE LIVING IN YOUR BODY. It sounds obvious, right? WRONG. Sometimes when we get down we feel almost like we’ve been body-snatched and we’re just going through the motions. Get out of your head and back into your body.

23. Stretching and meditating will change your life

24. You deserve to be healthy. Wow. writing that gives me chills. Repeat it, out loud, YOU DESERVE TO BE HEALTHY. Now say it in the first person, I. DESERVE. TO. BE. HEALTHY. Now say your name in the sentence this time, I _____ deserve to be healthy. Okay, now don’t you ever forget it. You deserve to feel well and radiant. Remember that every time you go to reach for something that was made in a lab, or engage in a habit that you know isn’t benefitting you. Remember that you when fueled correctly, you are an incredible force of nature. And most importantly remember that your wellbeing matters.

Be well xx.

Reindeer mix recipe

If you haven’t already– you’ve got to check out my homemade eggnog recipes to pair with your reindeer mix!


– 1 large bag cheddar popcorn

– 1 large bag kettle or sweet popcorn

– 3 boxes caramel candies of your choosing (I used Junior Caramels, Sugar Babies, and small salted caramel squares)

– 3 boxes chocolate candies on your choosing (I used raisinets, Reese’s pieces, CRUNCH, and Milkduds)

– 1 tin cashews/ peanuts or any nuts of your choosing

– 1 bag chocolate chips

– 1 cup coconut shavings

– 1 bag of cookie crumbles (I used chips-ahoy! minis and put the cookies in whole)

Depending on how much popcorn you use and the ratio of sweet-savory that you prefer, this recipe will fill 8, 8 ounce mason jars!

I used felt stickers and ribbon to decorate the jars and affectionately called my reindeer mix “Rudolph mix.” But, there’s no one stopping you from making “Blitzen mix” or “Dasher mix.”

Whichever you choose it’s bound to be a hit! Especially paired with your homemade nog.

Let me know who you wind up sharing these delicious treats with!

Be well xx.