Category Archives: Articles


“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”  Attributed to Augusten Burroughs

On my hike this weekend in Staunton State Park I saw my first dandelion of the season. Signs of spring were everywhere: buds on trees, bright green blades of grass springing up among the brown, and birds chirping madly to each other. I got to thinking about how it is a season of renewal and a good time to slow down a bit, and reflect on where you are in your life. How is your health? How are you treating your body and mind? Are you eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising appropriately? Are you taking time to slow down, rest and enjoy your life and the people around you

Very often, I see people walking around with their shoulders up around their ears due to stress. Life these days is fast paced and filled with many pressures and responsibilities. Now, today, as you are reading this: stop and breathe. Relax for a few minutes and let your “to do” list go. Bring those shoulders down. Ponder how you are living your life for a few minutes. It’s a good time to re-adjust if your health has been a low priority lately. Think about how you can take small steps to improve your eating, physical activity and overall well-being. What do you need more of? What do you need less of? Take an inventory:

  • Are you eating in a healthy and balanced way?
  • Do you get enough servings of fruits and vegetables each day?
  • Do you need to lose weight and if so, what is holding you back?
  • Are you physically active several times per week?
  • What is your stress level like? Are you taking active steps to control it?
  • Are you getting enough sleep? If not, what can you do that change that?
  • Do you limit alcohol and drink plenty of water?
  • Are you up to date on all doctor/dentist visits and testing (mammogram, colonoscopy, cholesterol, etc)?
  • Your health is of paramount importance. Don’t ignore it and take it for granted. Now is a great time to take stock, figure how you need to re-adjust and do just that. Take action – even one small step towards being healthier, will give you energy to continue to improve. Summer won’t be log off and you will be better able to enjoy it when you are at your healthiest and feeling your best!

Your health is of paramount importance. Don’t ignore it and take it for granted. Now is a great time to take stock, figure how you need to re-adjust and do just that. Take action – even one small step towards being healthier, will give you energy to continue to improve. Summer won’t be log off and you will be better able to enjoy it when you are at your healthiest and feeling your best!

Creating Goals That Work!

Deb Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach and Certified Nutrition Specialist

The annual season for creating resolutions is upon us.  This year, we suggest you try a different approach to the dreaded Annual Resolution. Instead, create realistic goals.  If you have tried to set goals in the past but didn’t reach them, you may have become disillusioned with the process. As a trainer for over 12 years who has the privilege to help people make life changes, I can tell you that goal-setting works. But, like most things you get out of it what you put in it!

First, your goals should be specific and measurable. Saying that you are going to “lose weight” is nebulous. Instead, if you express your goal in concrete terms, you can measure your progress along the way. “I will lose 25 pounds by April 1st, 2018” is very specific and something you can measure. You can also break this down into smaller mini-goals, which is a key tenet in any lasting behavior change.

Second, invest time to write down why you want to do this and what might stand on your way. Make sure this is your goal and not one created for you! To succeed at anything, the drive and motivation has to come from deep inside. Really spend some time with that “why” question. When you think you have the answer ask “why” again. Sometimes, you will uncover a deep wish, fear or important personal value that can help you stay truly committed to your goal. Write down the obstacles that will keep you from reaching your goal – be specific! And then, write down how you will surmount those obstacles.

Lastly, define your action plan: what are the specific steps that you need to take to get you from where you are now to where you want to be? Break your goals down into the smallest component parts that you can. For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds by April 1st, you will need to lose about 2 pounds per week. That’s a realistic and measurable mini-goal. Create action items and assign dates to them. Make yourself accountable to completing these actions. Share your goals and your journey with friends and family members who will be supportive.

Throughout your journey it’s important to keep a journal. Write about your successes and setbacks. There will always be setbacks, but by journaling about them you can get perspective and make a plan to avoid the setback in the future. When there are setbacks, learn from them and move on. Don’t look back, change is about looking forward and what’s possible.
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

How Do People Stay Motivated for Long-Term Exercise?


I am always impressed with people who have been exercising for years and years. They reap numerous physical and emotional benefits and feel like something is amiss if they do not exercise. Like all of us, they get injured and sick. They travel. They have busy work and family lives. They have major life events happen that could easily distract them and yet, still they continue to exercise. How do they do it?

I recently polled several of our clients about this very subject and the response was both educational and intriguing.

From Cheryl, who has been exercising for 30+ years:

Cheryl on a hike on the Napali Coast.

I started swimming in my 20’s and found out that I could then hike with better endurance and I lost weight, so that continued my habit.  Because I like to eat, I realized that I could eat more if I exercised. Then in my 30’s, exercise became “me time”.  Time when I did not have to be a mommy and I could escape the stress. In my 40’s I started to gain weight, and discovered that weight lifting worked magic in weight control.  In my late 40’s I was going through a divorce so exercise become a survival tool to get endorphins. In my 50’s I rediscovered hiking and skiing and continue to exercise to be able to pursue my passion of mountain activities.


From Theresa: “What keeps me motivated is knowing that as I age I’ll be able to keep my body moving and hopefully ward off any injuries.  Being motivated helps me to be active in everyday life but yet helps me to enjoy those days of play, like hiking, waterskiing and being in the outdoors.”

From Kerry: “Staying young in body to help stay young in spirit; maintaining vitality to experience yet more places in the world where I haven’t been; desire to be an example to my daughter and participate in physical pursuits with her.”

From Peter: “For me I just know that I have to do it. I don’t always want to exercise but I know it’s a slippery slope if I miss even one day.”

From Sue: “What motivates me is being able to ski better and rock climb stronger!  At my age (67!)

Sue and John all smiles after climbing up Old Mill trail.

I feel good about how strong I am and how good I feel doing all my activities, plus the fun I have exercising.”

For most people, a common thread is that they have found an activity that they are interested in, and sometimes passionate about. This often leads to additional activities. For example, Sue started strength training with us about 8 years ago and then, as a result of how good she was feeling, she took up rock climbing in her 60’s.

Another common thread is that they make exercise a habit and miss it when they do not do it. They make it a non-negotiable part of their lives, like eating and getting the oil changed in their cars. It is a priority, therefore, it gets scheduled.

Lastly, several people participated in a variety of activities. All of the people surveyed were active clients with us who regularly do strength training. But, most are also involved in a variety of other physical activities (rock climbing, skiing, hiking) so that each feeds into the other. This also helps to prevent boredom.

So, if you would like to become more consistent with your exercise, consider incorporating these ideas into your life. Let your passions drive your exercise! If you need some structure and support around your fitness, please contact us at 303-816-1426 to learn how we can help.

A Paradigm Shift

Deb Brown, nsca-cpt, cwc, cns

If you have been trying for years to shed 10-20 pounds, with little or no results, I would like to propose a radical idea. Stop trying to lose weight. You won’t hear that from many personal trainers, but stay with me a bit.

The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I have seen many people obsessed with losing weight over the course of years by adopting crazy diets, starving themselves and/or working out in an unhealthy way. After years of work, guess what? Some people are right where they started. In addition, they are constantly beating themselves up mentally. They feel like failures. They live in a state of constant frustration and stress because they cannot take off the weight. That’s not healthy!

Most people know what they have to do to lose weight. However, there is a significant gap between people knowing what they have to do and actually performing those actions day after day. A certain percentage of people can adhere to new healthier habits. Many are just not willing to make the sacrifices it takes to attain weight loss. If you have significant weight to lose and/or your weight is affecting your health, consider seeking the guidance of a doctor. But, if you are obsessed with losing 10-20 pounds to look better, and you have been working on it for years with little success, it may be time to take a different tack.

I propose a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is when your perception about the same information or situation changes dramatically, providing a new insight or a new way of looking at things. It was coined by an author named Thomas Kuhn, in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

I propose that you stop focusing on weight loss and, instead, focus on your overall health and longevity. How can you be the healthiest, strongest person possible? How can you treat your body so that you feel good living inside of it and you can take part in the activities you want to? How can you have more energy, be happier and more at peace with yourself? Ensure that you are eating in a healthful way? How long do you want to live and be an active participant in life? If you start to focus on these things and take the actions necessary, you may or may not lose weight, but you will be healthier and feel better in the long run. Life is too short to live in a way where you are constantly mentally beating yourself up. If you are someone who has been trying to lose weight for years on end, consider changing your whole thought pattern. Start to focus more on your overall health and well being and see what happens!

I’ve made my goals now what?

Good Morning –

It’s me again. I know you all thought I was done when I got you to send goals. I would still like some more from those who haven’t sent them. I’ve heard some vocalized at the Studio, but it’s a much more powerful commitment when goals are written down. This is long, but aren’t your goals worth it?
Just writing down goals isn’t enough. There has to be a conscious effort to make them come to fruition. I think Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said – By failing to prepare, you are planning to fail.

Since I started this with my goals, I’ll talk a little about that I do. With my running goals I have to do something I’ve avoided for a long time; I have to plan the week of running out ahead of time. Why? With any type of workout recovery must be built in to see adaptations. In my case I’m also working out and trying to fit a mtn bike ride in occasionally. All of these activities must be laid out in a way where they don’t negatively impact my running and recovery. I also must be cognizant of when I eat so I’m properly fueled for each activity.

My point is goals require work and planning. If I don’t put the work in for my running I won’t see the results I desire. This is no different than any other type of goal.

As an example let’s talk weight loss. Weight loss is needless to say a popular goal. Often when people don’t reach their weight loss goals they are frustrated and Deb and I will get questions about why they aren’t losing weight. When we inquire if they have been keeping a food journal, limiting alcohol and restaurant visits or if they have been doing cardio 5-6 times a week the answer in almost every case is No. This is the work and planning component I referenced. There is no new better way. Take Food Journals for example, one study showed people who kept a food journal lost twice the amount of weight than those who didn’t.

I like how Stephen Covey put it in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 2 is Begin with the End in Mind. First visualize what success means for you. Then begin each week and day with what success for that week or day means to you. Plan your week, then each morning (or the evening before) plan what you want the next day to be like and how you want to feel at the end of the day. I also like writing the One Thing that you will accomplish that day that gets you closer to a single goal.

Goals take work, but when worked on and broken down into smaller pieces each week and day your chance of success goes up significantly. Reply back letting me know 1) you read this and 2) what steps you took as a result of reading this.

You have to live your goals.

Have a great day!


What are your goals for the summer? Here are mine, they may surprise you.

Here’s a recent email I sent to our clients regarding their goals I think everyone may enjoy.

Hi Everyone –

I just got back from an awesome run that went better and longer than planned. I have such a sense of peace after a run like I just had. On the run I thought about what I wanted to say in this email. Some of it may surprise you. It’s a tad long, read it all anyway. If you don’t you may have to do 5 sets.

With summer approaching it’s time to start thinking about what your goals are so we can make sure your workouts are designed appropriately. It also gives a greater purpose to each workout.

So what are my goals? As everyone knows I have run goals and everything I do in regards to how I treat my body is targeted to make my run goals come to fruition. This includes how I eat and recover, as everything is targeted to put my body in the best place possible to be strong. There are, of course, obvious health reasons for this too.

My goals also center around lifting consistently. Here’s a confession. While I’ve been consistent with running, hiking, and some mountain biking I have not been consistent with my lifting. This may seem odd for a Trainer, but we are human too. So Why? you may be thinking. First and foremost, I haven’t felt like it. Also, when I lift it can fatigue my legs for running. I also am concerned about inflammation it can cause in my body. I know once consistent it will not affect my running, but will strengthen my running and also help prevent injury as I’ll be stronger and my body will work more efficiently. To limit inflammation I just have to follow strict progressions.

Now that I’m back to it I yearn for it again. So nice to have the yearning back! So there’s my confession and goals. So where do you want to head this summer? It may seem like a time to kick back and smell the roses. I can assure you it’s not. It’s time to dig deeper so you can create new experiences and memories this summer.



Things Our Clients Are Doing Better as a Result of Working Out

Dave & Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt

Mary Anne coming down the Old Mill Trail at Staunton State Park. Up and down is a lot work on this trail.

You would not believe the variation in the number of activities that people participate in! Working out properly can help with so many diverse things – some of which may surprise you:

Weekend Activities and Hobbies
From running, hiking, mountain biking to rock climbing, a consistent exercise program helps clients build and maintain muscle strength, endurance, core strength, flexibility and balance so that these activities are easier and more enjoyable. Even doing projects around the house like painting, heavy lifting, and fire mitigation become easier when you are in shape. Our clients are able to do all of these things better. Some clients are most excited about being able to keep up with the grandkids or just walk up the stairs easier. That makes an enjoyable event even more fun!

We have clients training for their first 5K and cycling events; as well as clients who have many years of eventing under their belts, but want to improve their performance. One client is successfully working on increasing her running speed after a 20 year running career. Another has just gotten back on her bike after a long hiatus.  Along with a strong foundation in general fitness, we work with these clients on sport-specific movements that will give them the edge during their events, as well as help to prevent injury while training for the event.

Overall Health
Clients have been working (successfully!) on controlling the effects of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis.  With smart program design, consistency on the part of the client and a conservative approach taken by us trainers, clients can see steady and safe improvement in these areas.Some of our clients have been able to reduce or completely eliminate medications. Several clients have experienced a complete life change as a result of significant and lasting weight loss. There is no feeling comparable to finally getting into that size 8 jean, not requiring the use of the seat belt extender when on an airplane or having your cardiologist exclaim, “Whatever you have been doing for your heart – keep doing it!”

Several clients have come to us after having had surgery. They have been through their work with the Physical Therapist, but are not back to 100%. We have been able to do post-rehabilitative work on ankles, feet, knees, hips, shoulders and backs to enable our clients to get back to full capacity with their activities.

So, no matter what you are interested in, what projects or activities you are into, you can benefit from consistent working out!

Let Your Fitness Power 2017

Dave Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

I love April! It’s a time of renewal and looking forward. With longer days come more opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun. For me personally, it’s a time when I’m deep in my trail run training with a half marathon coming up in Fruita in the middle of the month. It’s also a time where I’m thinking about what other runs and hikes I plan to do during the year.

Spring is when people start making plans; vacations (fitting into summer clothes), signing-up for endurance events, hiking, deciding which mountains they want to summit over the summer, etc. All of these have one thing in common: being in better shape makes everything more enjoyable. Let’s delve into the Why!

When we exercise we’re pushing blood flow to every part of the body. More blood flow means more energy and oxygen available to the body. This process also powers our muscles during our workouts. The longer and more consistently we exercise our muscles, including our heart, they become stronger and operate more efficiently. This is what drives the possible!


Anyone who has started a new exercise program has noticed the body is initially uncoordinated and resistant to movement. Why is that? Put simply when you’re not exercising, especially after 40, you’re becoming both weaker and less coordinated. The term Use it or lose it! could not be more true.

Fortunately for us the body is an adaptive machine. It loves to move and rewards us greatly when we do. When we start exercising, the first thing that happens is the body starts to move more efficiently. This process is called Neuromuscular adaptations. The body never uses one muscle when performing exercises. Many muscles must be able to move together in concert for efficient movement.  If you’re pushing weight while standing in an upright position, your chest, shoulder and tricep muscles work to push the weight, but if we can’t stabilize the body with our abdominal muscles we’ll have a tough time. Believe it or not the abdominal muscles actually have a job other than being airbrushed on magazine covers.

Let’s take an example of running. Most people think about just the legs working, but there’s so much more going in. We have muscles in our hips and inner thigh that help stabilize the knees. Our abdominal, back, and lateral stabilizer muscles must also work to stabilize the upper body. If our upper body is stabilized we run more efficiently. A properly designed workout program takes all of these factors into account to build a stronger runner.


When we are stronger and can move better new things become possible. The hike/summit we once thought impossible happens. The half marathon or cycling event that was once just a dream is now a reality. On vacation, you have the strength and energy to experience more, making for a more enjoyable trip with new memories you can look back on years later. I love looking back at pictures of our family adventures. Many not possible if I was not in good shape.

My favorite stories from clients are when they experience new things due to their increased fitness. You can see examples on our web site in the Client Photo Gallery section. That can be you in 2017! All it takes is getting started.

Nature – Renew Yourself by Getting Outside

Dave Brown, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

Earlier this week I had the pleasure to run on Mason Creek at Staunton State Park. It’s that time of year where one day there’s snow on the trail and after a few days of a melt/freeze cycle it’s an ice flow. With our warm weather of late the changes are happening quickly and it can make for interesting gear choices. The ever changing trail conditions is a beautiful sight to see. The frequent changes portends of the coming changing of seasons. For many, the next few months is the time of year when they come out of hibernation to enjoy the beautiful outdoors surrounding us. Being outside provides so many positive things for our body and mind.

Numerous studies continue to show the positive effects that being in nature has on our brain. With all the new research telling us what we already know, the act of actually getting outside and enjoying our beautiful surroundings is not something most do enough. With so many known positive attributes to being outside, why do many not enjoy the outdoors while knowing so well how good it is for us?

Unfortunately renewing self generally comes last on the list of to-dos. This time in nature allows us time to reflect on our lives and to reset our personal compass in the direction of what’s most important. For me personally, being outside on a run, hike or mountain bike ride is truly like a drug. So much so, that many of the people working at Staunton know me well. I’m generally there at least 3 times a week. This time in nature provides a time for my mind to rest, bring clarity and remind me that every day we have on this earth is truly a gift.

The great thing about where we all live is that we have so many wonderful places to spend time outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short or long hike. The key is to just do it. It could be a stroll up Staunton Ranch trail or maybe a longer more intense hike up Mason Creek in Staunton. They each have their magic. If you have not hiked up Mason Creek, it’s like entering a different place.

So here’s a challenge this week: get outside for a hike. Head to Staunton State Park or another local Open Space and just hike. Don’t go heads down trying to just get it done. Stop occasionally and take in the view of all of the surrounding beauty. Close your eyes and just listen. Look at the trees and see how many colors of green you can see. If there’s a stream, sit next to it and clear your mind. Listen to the water; observe how it flows. Before you know it, your mind will become clearer and you’ll have a sense of lightness. This is relaxation. It’s sadly too foreign for most people these days.

If you accept this challenge, I can guarantee that you’ll have a clearer mind, you’ll approach the next day or coming week happier, more patient and more fulfilled.

The Current “Lifestyle Crisis”

Deb Brown, NSCA-cpt, cwc, cns

istock_000005831265mediumI had my annual check up with my primary care doc today and we fell to discussing how hard it is to get folks to change their habits so that they can become healthier. He commented that it’s not so much that we have a health care crises in this country, but a ‘lifestyle crises’. That term immediately hit me as correct! Many people have chronic health issues that they simply take meds for. Imagine what could be possible if folks worked on changing their lifestyle to positively affect their health? Below are some ideas on how you can do just that! Please note that if you have a chronic health condition, you should get your doctor’s approval on any and all lifestyle changes.

  1. First, do some soul searching. Take some time to think about the current state of your body. How did you arrive at this place? What in your life is contributing to the health problem? If you continue on the same path, what are the ramifications? What will be your motivation to change and change for good?
  2. Move more! Do you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or extra weight to lose? You absolutely need to get moving – TODAY! Make exercise a daily part of your life. Start slow. Even 5-10 minutes of walking at first will benefit your body. Work up to longer sessions. Sweat is your friend! Get involved in local classes, work with a personal trainer, grab a friend for a few hikes. Don’t even think about using the fact that the weather is getting colder as an excuse that you cannot get outside. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Buy microspikes. There are tons of research studies out there about the positive effect that exercise has on the above issues. Don’t let “busyness” get in the way of your health. It should be your top priority.
  3. Get serious about the quality and quantity of your food intake. Stop eating processed, prepared, junky foods. Focus on increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Yes, eating real food often does require some planning, prep and cooking. Making time for it is making your health a priority.
  4. Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake. Not only will you shed pounds if you curtail your drinking, but you will have more energy and several of your internal organs will thank you.
  5. Lastly, start NOW. Don’t wait until New Year’s to start investing in your health. The only thing that will be different between now and then is the date on the calendar. You aren’t going to get magically motivated in January, at least not the lasting, real, deep kind of motivation.  Get motivated NOW to make lasting change!!