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Month: February 2015

Our featured client of the week: Sandra!

Our featured client of the week: Sandra!


Sandra started off as a Fitness Warrior in our “Bad Ass Bootcamp” series and turned into a personal training client a couple of months ago. At age 51, this mother of three has always been active. She ran track throughout her childhood and began running for fun in college. Since then fitness has been on and off for her until she began training with us a few months back. In fact, this is the first time she has exercised with a focus on strength training.

It is important to incorporate strength training at any age as it offers more benefits than just gaining muscle. Strength training can help prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination, and can increase your basal metabolic rate.

As mentioned Sandra started with our Bad Ass Bootcamp class. This was a great transition for her because while it still provided cardio benefits, she was introduced to your basic strength movements using the HumanX Gear Power Amp Cables for resistance, free weights and kettlebells. A typical bootcamp class consists of plyometric movements such as Gate Swings, Tuck Jumps, Burpees, High Knee Runs, and Speed Skaters to name a few. These high-intensity exercises are usually paired with strength & bodyweight exercises to form a circuit. Sandra worked hard each week on maintaining her form, increasing her endurance & performing each full body workout at maximum effort.

After a couple months of bootcamp, we began training Sandra one-on-one. Her main goals were weightloss, to increase her overall strength as well as increasing her lateral strength. Being a runner, she was constantly in the linear plane, never focusing on her abductors or performing any lateral work. Sandra is also an architect and sits at a desk for the majority of the day which can cause tight hip flexors and lower back pain. We decided that strengthening those weak muscles would be extremely beneficial to her body.

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Here are a couple exercises that we have been working on with Sandra during her training sessions. Our favorite tools to use with her are the HumanX Gear Power Amp xXx Cables (shown in this video) as well as the Balance XT and Stretch Ropes.

Stay tuned for an update on Sandra’s progress!

~Josh & Alessandra

Why “clean” eating can do more damage than good

Why “clean” eating can do more damage than good



I used to declare myself as a “clean” eater. Throughout most of my bikini competition prep this was my lifestyle. What exactly did being a clean eater entail to me? It meant consuming nothing but whole, nutrient-dense foods. No processed foods at all. I mainly ate chicken, tilapia, egg, spinach, asparagus, potatoes, rice & oatmeal. Every single day. I didn’t have ketchup on my eggs nor did I have salad dressing on my salads. Why? Because I deemed these things as “dirty” or bad foods. I ate the same thing every single day for months…..EXCEPT on cheat days.

I scheduled weekly cheat meals for myself once per week. This meant I could have absolutely anything my heart desired, which usually was pizza, ice cream or some kind of extravagant dessert. I would eat a HUGE meal probably worth my entire day in calories. Immediately after I would not only feel guilty, but I would be SO incredibly stomach sick. My stomach would blow up looking like I was 8 months pregnant, I would be in severe distress, and the next morning  I would wake up still puffy & miserable just to go back to my “clean” diet. Cheat meals were usually on Sundays, and every Monday I would promise myself that next week I would not put myself through that again. That it wasn’t worth it, yet every week I continued to do the same thing. Why? Because I was so DEPRIVED. Eating plain oats for breakfast everyday, and the same boring lunch of chicken and broccoli followed by dinner of tilapia and asparagus was not only as boring as it sounds, but I was driving myself into a deep, unhealthy diet & binge hole.

I missed enjoying my own 23rd birthday cake because it wasn’t clean. I brought tupperware to countless family parties enjoying foods that I grew up eating. I skipped weekends out with my friends because I didn’t want to even be around those unhealthy options I at the time frowned upon. For what? To look good in a bikini? That no one would see me in because I didn’t have a social life? It was time for a change.

I eased up on my eating habits upon moving to San Diego, however I kept those items as staples in my diet, along with intuitively eating choices that I once considered bad. Let’s face it, if you’re restricting certain foods like that and being “clean”, can you honestly say you are going to eat “clean” for the rest of your life? That you will NEVER have a cookie, ice cream or anything “off-limits” again? I don’t think so. Although I felt better mentally, and was enjoying myself more, I knew there was still improvement to be made. I had gained some weight since doing so, and I wanted to find a way to enjoy myself yet achieve the body I always desired. I worked so hard in the gym, so I know that my fitness was not the issue- it was my nutrition.

I stumbled upon Flexible Dieting via Instagram during my “clean” obsessed stage and obviously thought it was crazy. These girls were eating things like pop tarts, Oreos & ice cream and had amazingly strong, beautiful bodies. I didn’t get it. So I did more research, found Dr. Layne Norton aka BioLayne who not only explained the benefits of Flexible Dieting, but Reverse Dieting. With science as proof…I was finally convinced.

My journey with Flexible Dieting began about 2 months ago now. I have lost 10lbs, decreased my body fat percentage and I enjoy my favorite foods every single day in moderation. I have ketchup on my eggs, use salad dressing and although about 80% of my diet is still nutrient-dense, I don’t restrict any type of food. I perform short cardio sessions twice per week when last year at this time I was doing cardio multiple times per day. I have reverse dieted up to almost 2,000 calories after consuming a little over 1,000 during my contest prep. It took me 6 months to reverse diet and I am still going.I can honestly say that I will NEVER go back to clean eating. I did not have a healthy relationship with food and was borderline developing an eating disorder called Orthorexia which is defined as “an excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy.” With it being National Eating Disorder Awareness Week I wanted to share my story of my relationship with food with you, in hopes that you will share it with someone you know who may be going through a similar situation.

Interested in hearing more? Here’s some commonly asked questions about Flexible Dieting.

What is it?

I would define flexible dieting as a simple, effective way to get the body you want with little effort and the least anxiety. It is a scientific approach to nutrition and allows you to find a system that works for you while achieving your goals. There are no rigid rules, but just a relaxed guideline to help you achieve this lifestyle. It is a balanced take on nutrition based on what your body needs to fuel you through your day.


What it isn’t…

Flexible dieting is NOT eating as much junk as you want all day long. It is not a fad diet where you cut major food groups or nutrients. It does not label food as “good, “bad”, “healthy”, “unhealthy”, “clean” or “dirty”. This is not a quick fix diet, 30 day challenge, detox, cleanse or temporary. Once adapted this “diet” (I don’t even like using that word) can be a lifestyle.


Who is flexible dieting best for?

Everyone. Whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain your current weight, or put on muscle and growth, flexible dieting can be altered throughout your entire life as your goals change. It is solely based on your current weight and activity level. It can also be used to maintain your weight by reverse dieting or slowly adding in calories at a pace that will not result in weight gain. What’s the point of that? Well you get to eat more food, without gaining weight because you are increasing your metabolism. What sounds better than that?


The science behind it…

Flexible dieting is based on your overall caloric intake and your macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat). Every single person requires a different amount of macros because everyone is different. For example, the business man who works a 9-5 desk job only to go home and sit on the couch does not require as much energy as a personal trainer who is on their feet, demonstrating exercises and working out all day, therefore they require different macros. Using MyFitnessPal, I have my clients track their daily intake in the form of grams. This may seem daunting at first but after a week or so it actually becomes second nature.


But what if I don’t have time to prep meals?

The beauty of flexible dieting is just that…it’s flexible. If you forget your lunch one day, it’s not the end of the world if you pick something up on the go, because as long as you adjust the serving size to fit your macros- your “diet” is not ruined. You are NEVER cheating. Cheat meals are no longer necessary since you get to indulge in your favorite foods daily in moderation. Example? When I used to eat clean, I would plan weekly cheat meals and have an all out BINGE fest. The result? I would gain weight back and have a miserable stomach ache. Since switching to a flexible diet, I have an Oreo or two every day, Pop Tarts before my workouts and don’t gain a single pound because I never go over my macros. And if you go out to dinner? Fear no more! I used to be so stressed when going out with friends- so much that I once stopped going out all together. Now I just plan ahead if I know what restaurant I’m going to. I check out their menu online and see what my options are.I’ve never been in a predicament where it didn’t work out.


What’s the best part about this “diet”?

In my opinion, it’s stress free. I used to get such bad anxiety about eating bad foods. I would feel so guilty. With this lifestyle worrying about what I’m eating is no longer an option and since this is 100% science-based, I lost 10 pounds within the first month of trying it out. Now I am maintaining weight but my body composition continues to change. I am down body fat and more “cut”..and actually putting ON muscle. It literally feels like magic!


How can you get started?

For those of you unaware, my boyfriend Josh & I run a personal training  business called SD Evolution. We offer online training as well as macro programs now. We support this method so much that the majority of our clients are currently on a flexible dieting program and having extreme success. To purchase your own plan under the guidance of Josh & I as your coaches, head to our website Click Services, then personal training and you will see the Online Training section. Each plan is a one-time fee of $75 where you will get your calculated macronutrients, lists of nutrient-dense foods to fill the majority of your day with, instructions how to track your macros, as well as weekly check-ins for up to 12 weeks with us to make sure you are on the right track. We believe that we can help you transform not only your body but your relationship with food and have dedicated our lives to helping others do just that. Are you ready to join the Evolution?



Meet our featured client of the week: Tiffany!

Meet our featured client of the week: Tiffany!

What I love about my job as a personal trainer is watching my clients progress and motivating them to learn to LOVE their bodies and how they perform. Josh & I have both always been very active. I was a competitive dancer my entire life while Josh was a multi-sport athlete. With my Mom owning a fitness studio, it was kind of in my blood to live a healthy lifestyle. With that being said, I know that is not the case for everyone, which is one of the reasons why I became a personal trainer- to inspire people to enjoy fitness as much as I always have. While this is more challenging with some clients more than others, our first client of the week, Tiffany made my job incredibly easy!

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Tiffany Duncan is a wife, mother of three boys and one of our fitness warriors at SD Evolution. Tiffany is 43 years old and what we like to call a “SuperMom“. She began training exclusively with Alessandra in September of 2014 and in just 6 months has gained strength not only physically , but mentally.Her passion and devotion to exercising and living a healthy lifestyle is inspiring…and that’s an understatement!


After 6 months of learning the basics, acquiring great form and increasing her fitness level, Tiffany is ready for the next step. With a fat loss goal in mind, we have Tiffany on a Macro-based diet. What does this mean exactly? We have calculated her specific macronutrients for her body based on her age, gender, height, weight and current activity level which is 5 days per week. She trains with Alessandra twice per week currently and also participates in strength based classes at her local gym.

Tiffany’s goals for the next couple of months are to decrease her body fat percentage as mentioned, however with all clients we like to set goals that aren’t necessarily aesthetic as well. This could be anything from increasing your mile run time, increasing the weight of your squat, or even build the confidence to walk into the weight room!

Tiffany’s fitness-specific goal is to increase her upper body strength. She has never been able to do a pull-up or a perfect push-up (although her form has gotten a lot better since September!) so with those two specific athletic goals in mind we will get to work!

When working together we have Tiffany using the Power Amp xXx Flex Fast Cables from HumanX Gear which are available here—> HumanXGear’s Website. These resistance cables are so versatile- the amount of exercises you can perform with them is infinite which is why they are one of our favorite tools from HumanX Gear.  Since Tiffany wants to focus on upper body strength, we are going to be focusing on a variety of exercises including cable presses and rows to focus on the chest and upper back, cable curls and extensions to focus on the arms, lateral raises, front raises, band pull-aparts and upright rows to focus on the Deltoids or shoulders as well as a variety of partner exercises.


We will keep you posted on Tiffany’s progress and show you what tools we are using to help her reach her goals!


Stay tuned!


Alessandra & Josh

You reached your goal…now what?

You reached your goal…now what?



Although many of us are still in the beginning phases of our resolutions for the New Year, or just all around trying to become a healthier person, I thought I would address what may happen down the road. Let’s say your goal is to lose 15 pounds and after months of hard work and dedication to the gym as well as what you have been stabbing with your fork, you did it! Congrats! But….now what happens?

Many people don’t think about what they are going to do AFTER achieving their goal, in fact some may think that after losing that weight, they can lighten up the load, slack off a little bit or just stop doing whatever it took to achieve that goal all together. So to set the record straight: once you lose the weight, gain the muscle or whatever your fitness-oriented goal may be, if you stop doing what you were doing to achieve that goal, you’re going to end up right back where you started. In the Exercise Science world, this is called the Principle of Reversibility. In other words, “Use it or lose it!”.

What I like to do for my clients as well as myself, is to set not only one BIG goal, but a lot of smaller goals to achieve on the way. This not only promotes positivity, but it keeps you on track. To stay motivated pick small, attainable goals that you can reach monthly, bi-weekly or even each week. For example, at the beginning of each week, I write down what I want to achieve in my planner (in which I refer to daily- I LOVE my Erin Condren Life Planner because it has a specific section for goals+notes!). This week it’s to stick to my set macronutrients within 5-10grams. Next week, I will not only continue that goal but add another small one in. Before I know it, those small goals or tasks just become a part of my daily routine.


So back to what to do after you achieve your BIG goal. Well….set another one! Continue performing the actions that allowed you to reach your first goal (chances are they ARE pretty much habit by now) and decide where you want to go next. Never settle with where you are mentally, physically or emotionally. We are all constantly changing, becoming interested in new things and there is always room to grow as an individual. You’ll be surprised with what you can achieve with the right mindset!

Need help with achieving your goals? Email us at !!!




The Most Overlooked Tool for Success.. You Probably Aren’t Using It!

The Most Overlooked Tool for Success.. You Probably Aren’t Using It!


We often overlook the power of our minds, especially in its simplest form. A little bit of imagination goes a long way. I’m talking about visualization. You don’t need to be an artist to be able to use this tool. You know what you want right? Ok so imagine it. Imagine fitting into those old clothes, that special dress, imagine packing on those pounds of muscle! I’m not talking about taping that picture of the model you idolize to your steering wheel.. You need to use your mind to create the image of what you’re looking to achieve. If it’s weight loss or muscle gain, you need to see yourself already at that form. Guys, that might be a chiseled 225 with abs carved like a washboard. Girls that might be the slimmed down, toned up look in your new bathing suit. PICTURE IT. This is actually an incredibly powerful tool.

Some of you may or may not have heard of the mind-muscle connection, but it is a much talked about topic in the fitness industry. It’s about focusing on the feeling of every single rep. The lift, the contraction, the stretch, the burn. You feel the growth as it’s happening. It may sound silly, but if you try it, it’ll take your workouts to another level. Anyway, visualization is the same concept in a bigger picture, longer-term aspect. You create the image of yourself in your perfect form. By doing this, your mind’s next step will be to create the path to get there. You will do whatever it takes to get there.

This may sound silly until it is put to practice. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but as far as I go, I was always very down on myself. The progress was never enough. Even though the results were there, I never saw them. I put on 20 pounds of muscle over about 4 months, but I still saw myself from where I started. I literally thought I looked EXACTLY the same. This is actually extremely common and is joked about in fitness magazines and social media posts as “Big-orexia”. This may seem a little insensitive, but it really isn’t a joke. It’s like a disease. “The day you started lifting is the day you are forever small.” That’s another joking “meme” you see on Instagram, but again, many of us have this mindset.

I recently read an article by Arnold Schwarzenegger detailing his use of visualization to build his legendary body. That got me thinking about my mindset, and lead to the writing of this blog so that I could share it with you all. The power of our minds is undeniable. Our outlooks on everything in our lives stem from our minds, they are 100% in our control. One of my all-time favorite quotes is this- “You can’t have a bad day with a good attitude and you can’t have a good day with a bad attitude.” I’ve done my best to incorporate that into my life, and it does make a HUGE difference. But I never thought about using that to my advantage in the gym. That has been my goal this week, and I challenge you all to do the same. Every time you look in the mirror, every time you get out of the shower, look at yourself and SEE YOURSELF where you want to be. The purpose of this blog was to use that in transforming your body, but it doesn’t have to stop there. See yourself in that new car, see yourself getting that big raise, see yourself buying your dream home! I will leave you with this: if you can’t even imagine it, how the hell are you supposed to accomplish it? The challenge has been extended. It’s up to you to put it to the test.


Until next time,


Your at-home workout just got a lot more challenging!

Your at-home workout just got a lot more challenging!

I’ll be the first one to admit that I usually hate working out at home, but when a super-snowstorm was headed our way in CT last week I really had no choice. Luckily I had received my ActivMotion Bar just a few days before and had yet to give it a try! I’ve seen plenty of bars like this before in the numerous gyms I have been a member at so when receiving this huge package in the mail I wasn’t too excited….that is until I picked it up. This wasn’t like those other weighted bars, The ActivMotion Bar has rolling steel weights inside of it that move with every movement of your own. I picked it up and almost dropped it to the side because I wasn’t expecting it to shift its weight! So what’s so special about that right? Well because it is unstable, you are forced to contract your core muscles at ALL times while using this bar. The science behind it is based on disruptive training which challenges your body by creating an unstable, changing stimulus. Even a simple lunge, or overhead press suddenly became a challenging, intense exercise for me!

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Here’s a sneak peek at what my workout looked like- and of course I had to add increased instability by working out outdoors in the snow!

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I would highly recommend The ActivMotion Bar to anyone who enjoys working out at home, or for anyone who could always use a backup like I did! For more exercise options and information about this product visit their website here: ActivMotionBar.

I love sharing awesome products that can be used by any fitness level with you guys! Let me know if you have any questions!