Work Out – Strength Squad 5×5

Our strength squad has been working through 5×5 work outs this month. Their reviews: all 5-star. These kind of work outs are high volume, meant for strength more than size. They focus on full-body movements so the volume of work is outstanding, despite that it includes merely 5 different exercises.

I have 3 PDFs to share with you. Do them 2-3 times a week, with at least 2 days between. Vary as you would like. You’ll need load, whether dumbbells, bars, resistance bands, or just body weight. the PDFs have video to click for technique. Don’t go so heavy that your technique suffers.

A few of us used the weight vest because we’re just getting that strong! Boo-yah!

Work Out A. Full Body
Work Out B. Full Body+Deadlift
Work Out C. Full Body Leg Focus.


Kids Gym – Boxing and The Floor is Lava

Kids enjoy games even more when they get to design them. So, in addition to a free-form kick-boxing hour, in which they decided to perform flying kicks, we had a “The Floor is Lava” hour, where they designed a course of “rocks” and “trees”. Fall off or step from the object and you’re toast! Yes, I burned up a few times.

Click the thumbnails for the larger image.
boxing1 boxing2 boxing3 The-Floor-is-Lava1 The-Floor-is-Lava2 The-Floor-is-Lava3

Go Keto – Fat Beats Fat and Lethargy and Hunger and Cancer and . . .

Ketosis-Diet-PyramidThe Primal diet is different from the Paleo diet in that Primal encourages eating high fat.

Many, perhaps most, Paleo eaters often focus on lean meats. Not Primal. I’ve eaten Primally for five years. Being Primally-aligned means eating low carbohydrate, moderate (enough) protein, and high fat. Why? Because fat is the best macronutrient for fueling our bodies:

  • our bodies evolved to prioritize fat for fuel
  • fat causes the least hormone stress and inflammatory damage as we utilize it
  • every cell in our bodies needs fat (saturated fat!)
  • fat has 9 calories of energy and doesn’t raise our insulin level like carbohydrates do, so, yes, you’ll get more calories but less body fat when you switch from carb-heavy to fat-heavy way of eating. You have to quit believing the marketing and lobbyist-driven government recommendations.
  • fat helps us sleep better
  • fat helps us avoid constipation (yes, your high-fiber diet is making it worse)
  • fat clears up acne and other skin ailments

Fat beats lethargy. Fat beats hunger. Fat beats fat. Fat beats chronic autoimmune diseases. Fat also beats cancer. So, while I advocate a Primal lifestyle, I also support those who choose to transition to a ketogenic lifestyle. Here’s why.

Is Fat Healthy for Me?

(Jim McCarter, MD, PhD, professor of genetics, from The Quantified Self community.)

What is Keto?

A ketogenic diet (“keto”) can be defined a few ways. The biomarker for ketosis is when your ketones are elevated, and secondarily, when insulin is suppressed as a result. In order to be fully keto-adapted and to start burning stored body fat for fuel, ketone levels must be between 0.5 to 3.0 millimolar. You can usually get there when you’re eating 50g or less of carbohydrates, moderating protein, eating 75-85% of your calories from fat, and exercising.

Click to view the process (from

The three primary factors impacting blood ketone production are carbohydrates, protein, and exercise. Some people need to restrict calories when they start keto and some others may need to supplement with ketones to start. Also, you should be getting just enough protein to support your lean body mass and no more, since much of the protein we consume is converted to glucose in the liver. Exercise can start keto right away, only if you do NOT consume carbs or alanine afterward.

Eating high fat and low carbohydrate means your body begins to make more ketones. You create ketones from ingested fat or stored fat. Ketones then become your body’s primary source of fuel. (For those of you new to this subject, be clear that ketosis and ketoacidosis are not the same thing.)

Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Panel

(From Ancestral Health Symposium 14, 2014, with Colin Champ, MD, Dawn Lemanne, MD, Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, Ellen Davis, Rachel Albert, Miriam Kalamian, EdM,MS,CNS, Jimmy Moore) This is a long video and has a great deal of information.

Insulin and glucose drive cancer metabolism. Cancer rates are very rare in cultures that don’t consume processed foods (grain and sugar). You’ve never heard of that? Hmm.

Research and success-stories are showing that cancer is a metabolic disease. By eliminating the pathways through which cancer cells feed, you kill them. They aren’t resilient like other cells. One caveat mentioned at the symposium: we have clinical data only for animal studies so far. No human has been cured of cancer through only keto. Most often, keto is used in conjunction with chemotherapy to show better outcomes than chemotherapy alone.

I Am Keto

I was Paleo/Primal for 5 years. I’m keto pretty consistently now. I drop out occasionally, because I’m not a purist or fanatical about anything. In other words, I eat what I want, when I want, as much as I want. Dogma is anathema to me. That means beer sometimes and cake for birthdays and dark chocolate. Still, I can’t even seem to finish a whole 16 oz beer anymore! I’ll discuss my steps from Paleo to Primal to intermittent fasting and keto in a later post.

However, if you’re hot to get started on feeling better or recovering from metabolic issues, read read read. Don’t rely on what you grew up hearing. It’s all bullshit.

Do this!

Join the quantified self movement. Get a ketone meter. Get a glucose meter. Watch what levels do as you vary your diet and record how you feel.

Want to know even more about keto? Visit the Ketogenic Diet Resource Site.

A terrific resource for how keto beats chronic autoimmune disease can be found in the The Wahls Protocol. This is the book that got me started on keto.

[xposted from WOMANSTRONG]

Why You Can’t Lose Weight – You Need to Be Intermittent Fasting

intermittent-fasting-IF-strong-woman-strong-personal-training-coralvilleYou’re counting calories, cutting carbohydrates or fat, exercising regularly and you haven’t lost a pound in weeks or months. It makes no sense, right? I’ve seen this over-and-over. Getting lean requires four things: healthy nutritious food, good sleep, low stress, and regular activity.

So I tell my clients to quit counting calories and quit working out every day. That craziness is self-defeating. It’s cortisol-inducing! But I know it’s hard. It goes against everything you grew up believing. It seems logical, right? Yes, it does, but that’s because you haven’t heard about the carbohydrate-insulin theory and intermittent fasting.

Here’s an excellent video that explains the science and research behind IF as the key to how we evolved. This video series can answer many of your other questions as well. (The full series HERE)

Calorie Restriction

You probably lost some weight by cutting calories, but then you stalled or even added it back. Calorie counting is a losing battle. Why? Let’s call it what it is: calorie restriction is chronic starvation, something your body fights against. “Burning” calories during exercise is a misleading activity, as well. You are not losing pounds by your hours in the gym. All the diet and exercise advice you grew up with is short-term thinking refuted by research that has not reached mainstream media yet.

Why aren’t you hearing more about this when the research has been going on for decades and is absolutely not controversial among scientists? Because media outlets are funded by companies who aren’t interested in telling you to buy less. Every company wants you to buy more: they tell you their product is the game changer.


Your fatness is all about your hormones (insulin, adrenline, ghrelin, leptin, and hGH) not your calories. You need to get your hormones working well and working together. The things I mentioned above: healthy nutritious food, good sleep, low stress, and regular activity all help these hormones. And you can help them even more with intermittent fasting (IF).

Don’t We All Fast All the Time?

We all fast while we sleep. You may fast for 8-12 hours between your night meal and your morning meal. That’s not very long. The more fat you want to lose, the more energy you want to feel, the more hours you need to fast. Humans are not grazing animals. We evolved as feast-or-famine animals.

No, it’s not starvation. Starvation is when you chronically cut food intake (via calorie counting) over weeks and months. IF is acute, only hours or days without food followed by eating a lot within a window. IF is different from nightly fasting in that you extend it longer. That is, not only have we as a nation added more food to our diets, we’ve added more eating periods, too. We eat from 8am to 8pm or 10pm or later with meals and snacks every 2-3 hours. We eat more hours out of the day than we fast. We eat  ALL. THE. TIME. Think about the office snacks, the drinks, the piece of candy, the latte. We now graze, so our natural fasting periods are shorter than they were 40 years ago.

IF taps your stored fat for energy while stimulating adrenaline and human growth hormone. IF is anti-aging and life-extending because it spurs autophagy — your body eats its own dysfunctional and dead cells.  You lose and gain at the same time. Autophagy also protects against infections and cancer. IF has been shown to improve recovery from surgery, chronic illness, insulin sensitivity, and mood disorders. IF preserves lean muscle.

There are many ways to start — extend your nightly fast to 14-18 hours or skip eating one day a week, for example. There are also different foods to consider. I’m a Primal eater, and a low-carb, high fat, moderate protein way of eating (woe) is extremely easy for me to fast on. I lost 8 pounds of fat — only fat — in two months on IF, despite my increase in actual calories and despite that I was already at a “healthy” weight. I can’t tell you how much my energy (already abundant with my Primal lifestyle) increased.

Go ahead. Do the research. Google “intermittent fasting” and you’ll find much more information and communities who fast with different woes — vegans, carnivores, even religious. Search PubMed and watch the video above.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. IF is magic. This video explains why. It’s long, so you can start at minute 56. Then you’ll want to go back and watch the entire series.

Kids Gym – Shut the Box Fitness Dice

coralville iowa personal training kids-liftingFor our Kids Gym, we’re always thinking up new ways to make fitness more game-like. Kids are building habits and learning how to discipline themselves, and bringing a little fun to something difficult can make all the difference. Heck, it can make all the difference with adults, too.

How To Play

Each day of exercise, each child rolls 2 six-sided dice to determine which exercises they will do. Each child rolls for their own work out and for each exercise/box. They can add dice together or use them separately each time. The goal is not to have to re-roll the die/dice to match a remaining exercise in a box. For the first roll in which the child cannot select an exercise because the numbers left in the box are not the same as the die or dice they rolled, they must do 10 push ups. For each additional roll they do until they match the die/dice to an exercise left in the box, they must do 5 butterfly sit ups. When they have a 3 options left, they can pick rather than roll.


Click to download the PDF


They roll for 2 exercises in each of boxes 1,2,4 and 1 exercise in each of boxes 3,5. Total of 8 exercises for the day. They do the exercises in box order (1-5) and mark them off. Also list the weight, tube color, bench/box height used next to the exercise. They do all 8 exercises for the day. Keep the paper to use on following training until they have rolled/completed all exercises. Modify the exercises where needed for ability and equipment.


As with any exercise program, always review it with your doctor. If you haven’t trained for a while, start out slow and go easy. If at any time you feel you are exercising beyond your current fitness abilities, or you feel discomfort, pain, dizziness, or nausea, you should discontinue exercising immediately. You are responsible for exercising within your limits.

Kids Gym – Strength Training For Tweens and Teens

personal training coralville iowaOur Kids Gym includes a variety of physical activities. Two days a week we have strength training. Strength training in children can:

  • Increase muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect muscles and joints from injuries
  • Develop proper techniques that kids can continue to use asthey grow older
  • Strengthen bones
  • Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Help maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve confidence and self-esteem

How Safe?

personal training coralville iowa kids-strength-trainingHealth care and fitness professional groups — including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association — agree that a supervised strength training program that follows the recommended guidelines and precautions is safe and effective for children

Weight training programs should be individualized on the basis of age, maturity, and objectives. This is why we limit Kids Gym to those 10 and older.  Early-elementary kids have very different physical and mental abilities than those approaching adolescence. Tweens and adolescents can work together depending on the maturity of the kids.

Here at New Moon Fitness, we more interested in daily functional fitness and instilling a joy of exertion and a mastery of movement than in sports performance.  As with adults, we focus on form and technique through the full range of joint motion for new clients. We perform larger-muscle exercises before smaller-muscle exercises, complex exercises before simple exercises, and multi-joint exercises, before single-joint ones.

We use primarily free weights, rubber tubing, and medicine balls. Even in adolescence, kids are still developing their balance and coordination, but we will include agility exercises and balance challenges, such as BOSU. We also have bars for climbing and swinging and a heavy bag for punching and kicking.

Children can improve strength by 30% to 50% after just 8 to 12 weeks of a well-designed strength training program. Kids need to continue to train at least 2 times per week to maintain strength. The case reports of injuries related to strength training, including epiphyseal plate fractures and lower back injuries, are primarily attributed to the misuse of equipment, inappropriate weight, improper technique, or lack of qualified adult supervision.

For more information:
Strength Training in Children and Adolescents
Strength Training: OK for Kids?

Kids Gym – Now Enrolling

personal training coralville Iowa kids-partyWe’re bringing kids back to the studio! We’ve had kids in the studio for special classes, trainings, and parties. Now, we’re offering weekly sessions.

Join us for hour-long morning sessions for kids 10 years old and older. Yes, even teens. These are the kids who are beginning to sit more and move less. The program is aimed to give homeschooled kids structured physical activity. We do recess games with balls (crab soccer, 4-square, etc) and gym class with light weight or body weight.

Visit the Prices & Schedules page for times and fees.
Visit my Staff page for more information on my exprience with kids.

*The Iowa City Home School Assistance Program (ICHSAP) has an afternoon FitKids. FitKids is a terrific, free opportunity for you if you have afternoons open and belong to the HSAP. I enjoyed running the program and encourage you to participate, but I can’t currently due to scheduling. That’s why I’m excited to offer morning sessions.


Work Out – Metabolic Nightmare

Click to download PDF

I like to get feedback immediately after a work out. I’m used to getting 4-5 stars from clients (on a scale of 1-5). I record the feedback and decide how to use or modify the routine in the future.

Last night, we had our Tuesday HIIT group, five clients who varied in their fitness levels. I tried the routine posted here. It tanked at 3.5 stars. Why? It was too hard. Booyah! That’s a keeper. That’s why I call it the Metabolic Nightmare.

Modify: Okay, so it may be a little taxing on your lower back. In that case, do the burpees as walk outs rather than jumping back and/or do the snatches with very low weight. Be sure to follow good technique, squatting rather than leaning forward (the PDF has a video you can view). You can use a tube for the pull down and dumbells for the kettle bells. Try to go with heavy weights on the step-up and twist or move more quickly if you drop the weight. Consider the warnings before you start.

Enjoy your exertion. I know I did!


Your Flex Spending Can Be Used for Training

personal training coralville iowaYes, it’s the new year, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost all your Flex spending money.

Has this happened to you? It’s happened to me, where I’ve found at the end of the year that I had money left in my account. Funny thing about those accounts: you use it or lose it.

Don’t lose it!

If you’re thinking about training, your Flex can help. You’ll need to ask your doctor for a letter recommending exercise with a personal trainer –and what MD wouldn’t recommend that? We will invoice you for training fees, and you can submit the invoice for Flex reimbursement.

Many companies offer a 2-3 month grace period after the end of the year. It’s a convenient way for some of our clients to manage their year-end budget.

So it’s a win-win. You don’t lose your hard-earned money to the company black hole…and you get fitter!

The New Year’s Day Work Out – Oh Yes We Did!

We rocked the studio with HIIT Small Group Training today and had personal training clients, too. We know how you want to start the new year full speed…and so do we!

Our “Welcome to 2016″ HIIT was a tough ten minutes of cardio and strength intervals, followed by a core kicker to make it a tough 20 minute burn out. You can download both interactive PDFs and give them a try.

personal training coralville womanstrong-PULSE-image
10 minute HIIT. Cardio and strength intervals.
personal training coralville womanstrong-kicker-CORE-image
Core focused kicker

Personal & Small Group Training

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