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The Benefits of Shopping at Your Local Farmer’s Market

FF Farmers Markets

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE shopping at my local farmer’s market.

I get to interact with some of the local farmers and support their efforts while asking them questions about how to grow food. Farming isn’t a glamorous career choice and often enough, the individuals who put their time and effort into growing food with integrity don’t exactly rake in the big bucks.

Offering my support to these individuals with my wallet, and my words is the least I can do to bring awareness to the hard work they are doing..

…but the truth is that supporting your local farmers will benefit you in many ways as well.

The Benefits of Shopping at Your Local Farmer’s Market

When you shop at your local farmer’s market, you are positively impacting your health, your wallet and your community.

Your Health

Once a fruit or vegetable is picked (removed from its life source), it starts to lose valuable nutrients right away. When you purchase your produce from the grocery store, you could be looking at several days, if not longer between when the food was picked until it gets to your plate.

When you think about how far your produce has to travel in order to get to the store (sometimes from halfway across the country – or from a different country altogether), you can’t help but to realize that you aren’t getting the amount of nutrients out of your food that is required for optimal health.

On the other hand, when your produce was grown and picked from a local farm, your food wouldn’t have had to travel nearly as far, nor as long to get to you (perhaps only hours or a day or so in some cases). You are getting far more nutritional value out of food that is picked locally than if it had to travel a long distance.

The impact this has on our health is huge. Getting as much nutritional value out of our food is obviously important, which is why we choose to eat healthy in the first place.

So when it comes to the ingredients that go into that salad of yours…wouldn’t it be nice to know that it’s serving the purpose it’s intended for – which is to nourish you properly?

Of course it is.

This is why when it comes to buying produce – local is better.

Your Wallet

Now we have already discussed that when your food comes from the local farmer’s market, it doesn’t have to travel as far.

With less traveling expenses (and the middleman) out of the picture, there is room for a better price to go to the consumer.

Speaking from my own personal experience, I have seen red bell peppers sell at the grocery store for $3.99 a pound. At my local farmer’s market, I have picked them up for $1.69 or less a pound.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most local farmers usually stick with what’s in season. When your buying habits follow this pattern, your farmers are in a position to give you a great price since there is an abundance of product available.

To find out more about what produce is in season in your state, visit this site.

Some people stock up on whatever is in season and then freeze or can the extras to ensure there is plenty of affordable food in their home throughout the year.

This isn’t a half bad idea – and may be something to think about.

Your Community

Shopping from your local farmer’s market is an excellent way to support your community as well as the farmers themselves.

Think about it…

If the farmers have enough demand for their product, it will obviously create the need for additional help.

They would most likely look to hire local delivery drivers, help at the farm and people to work at the market themselves.

And who will they hire for these jobs?

Yep – you guessed it. Locals.

Shopping at your local farmers markets puts your dollars back into your community. When the people in your neighborhood have jobs, it positively impacts the economy in your neck of the woods – and naturally this is beneficial for everyone involved.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when natural disasters hit (and they do in most, if not all areas at least sometimes), food shortages happen.

I know it isn’t pleasant to think about, but it is what it is and we may as well face it.

Supporting your local farmers is an excellent way to keep food growing in your community. If/and/or when food shortages becomes an issue, having people around who know how to grow food will serve as an asset to everyone as long as humans maintain an attitude of cooperation and decide to work together.

It sure beats waiting around for help – which may or may come in time in some cases.

How to Find Your Local Farmer’s Market

Searching for a farmer’s market is relatively easy.

You can go online and do a search for local markets in your area.

Many cities hold “green” markets during the weekends where local people get together and sell produce in addition to other items such as baked goods, homemade sauces, teas, smoothies, soaps and other fun products.

If your neighborhood doesn’t have a farmer’s market yet, I encourage you to get one started. I would imagine you’ll find others in your area who would love to have access to fresh produce…and it just may take a few of you spark enough interest to get the ball rolling.

Do you shop at your local farmer’s market?

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How to Burn More Fat and Work Out Less

FF 4

Now just to be clear – I’m not promoting some sort of quick fix nonsense fad diet and/or miracle exercise thingy.


The idea behind burning more fat while working out less is about working intelligently. The concept is to maximize your efforts by staying focused and present in your activities.

It isn’t hard to do either. In fact, it’s quite simple, and involves the combination of a well-rounded exercise program and sound nutrition habits.

And mindfulness.

So on that note, let’s go over some workout options and then we’ll move on to the nutrition. I’ll also discuss the importance of focused attention in regard to both of the aforementioned physical actions.

How to Burn More Fat and Work Out Less


When it comes to your exercise program, believe it or not, less can achieve more if you know how to go about it the right way.

The best and most effective method to burn fat/calories is to increase the amount of lean mass in your body (muscle tissue).

The reason is simple…

Muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain its form than fat does. This means that while a pound of fat may use just a few calories worth of energy to survive, a pound of muscle, being more metabolically active, requires more. In English, muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat does.

Now the exact number of calories that a pound of muscle burns per hour… to be honest…seems to remain a mystery. While there are claims (and supposed scientific research to back them up), the truth is that I cannot give you an actual number, so I’m not going to.

However, I WILL say this…

You CAN maximize your your efforts in your workout by being FULLY involved in a complete and well-rounded fitness program that includes BOTH cardiovascular and strength training. The reason is because you’ll get your ENTIRE body and all of its systems involved in the process.

Every cell in your body will heed this intention and respond accordingly – because this is what cellular behavior is designed to do.

So the best way to burn more fat while working out less is to create a focused and all-encompassing fitness routine.

Your workouts don’t have to be long, but if you can stay present during your activities, and  really give it your all, you can get away with doing less work while reaping the benefits.

An example to follow is this:

  • Monday – 20-30 mins upper body strength training (chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps)
  • Tuesday – 20-30 mins aerobic activity with high intensity intervals
  • Wednesday – 20-30 mins lower body (legs, glutes)
  • Thursday – same as Tuesday
  • Friday – 20-30 mins total body and core
  • Saturday – yoga (work at your current level of fitness)
  • Sunday – rest

You can mix this up in any way you wish or experiment with different types of fitness activities such as swimming, martial arts, etc.

In fact, there are a few articles written in this blog that offer some excellent ideas in regard to exercise routines discussing the benefits of using resistance bands, kettle bells, full body workouts and slow motion training.

You can also get an effective workout while sitting in a chair, as discussed in this post – which includes several videos to help get you started.

The idea is to be fully engaged in those 20-30 mins because by doing so, you are not only 100% completely aligned with your intent, but you are keeping it realistic when it comes to maintenance.

Another thing to keep in mind is the concept of “muscle confusion”. It’s about keeping your body guessing so it has to work to keep up with what you’re doing. It doesn’t take long for the body to become acclimated to a routine, and this is when things slow down in regard to progress.

So by changing things up and staying focused during your workout, you can accomplish a lot more in less time.


I am not going to be discussing any specific diets here.

The best way to eat if you’re looking to speed up fat loss is to consume a well-rounded, nutrient dense diet that includes a variety of clean foods – and to make sure that emotions do NOT play a role in your eating habits.

What I am suggesting is that a good system to follow is one that enables you to keep your blood sugar stable so that you don’t end up in a hypoglycemic state.

This is because once your blood sugar runs low, all critical thinking goes away while survival becomes the first priority…which is based more on instinct rather than a deliberate and intentional cause for behavior. It is under this condition that one typically gorges on anything and everything they can since the intense hunger that results from low blood sugar becomes the most dominant motivating factor of behavior.

Low blood sugar contributes to quite a few other negative consequences in the body, weight gain being one of them. So if it’s less time you’re wanting to spend in your workouts, using food properly will work to your advantage.

For more info on how to eat for weight loss and overall optimal health, there are a couple of posts filled with useful info that offer some more specific guidelines and offer suggestions – one written by me and the other one written by Jenny.

Just remember, when it comes to exercise and nutrition, if you have any concerns and/or specific medical conditions, speak to your physician or a well-qualified registered dietitian for further guidance.

To Work Less, Stay Focused

If you’re looking to get the results you desire and spend less time doing the actual physical work, then the best way to go about it is to make sure that everything you do is completely aligned with your intended goal and to stay laser focused on it.

This means that your thoughts, feelings and your behavior all work together in harmony…and incorporate a level of passion and intensity to the mix.

It’s a formula – and in order for it to work properly, ALL of the components need to be present. This is how we achieve more by doing less.

Using this approach, 20-30 minutes of full attention in your workout, if combined with other complementary activities such as sound nutrition, will not only get you what you want, but it will most likely become a more permanent way of life for you in the long run.

What are your thoughts about the idea of focused intent to maximize effort in less time? 

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Three Excellent Reasons to Start a Health and Fitness Program Right Now

FF Reasons to be in shape

Now this may be an obvious statement…but the truth is there are many benefits to being in good physical shape.

And while some of the most well-known reasons have to do with our overall health and appearance, there are always those other reasons we tend to overlook until a situation comes up to remind us that we need to be able to count on having some strength and endurance available.

So on that note, I thought I’d bring up a few excellent reasons to get into shape starting today. This way, you’ll be prepared for any event that may show up at the last minute (which has been the case for me on several occasions).

Three Excellent Reasons to Start a Health and Fitness Program Right Now

1 – You Have a (Last Minute) Event to Attend

Over the years, I have had several people ask me how to lose an unreasonable amount of weight in a short period of time (like how to lose 10 pounds in a week).

The reason of course always had to do with a last minute vacation or something similar popping up – and naturally they didn’t feel good about their appearance and wanted to know how to rectify this as quickly as possible.

Now while I couldn’t help but to empathize with their predicament (as I have been in this position and I know what it feels like to detest my appearance with it being too late to do something about it), I was never able to tell them what they wanted to hear because there is simply no way to lose this amount of weight in such a short period of time without either:

  1. Starving yourself.
  2. Taking dangerous supplements that wreak havoc on the body.
  3. Following a fad diet that will guarantee putting twice the weight back on as soon as you eat something.
  4. Overexercising to the point of causing (sometimes irreparable) damage to the body.

It isn’t shallow to want to feel a sense of pride in one’s appearance. In fact, it’s perfectly healthy to care about how you look.

What IS wrong, however, is to participate in anything that can cause damage to your health and well-being in an effort to make up for lack of self-care in an effort to “force” nature to move faster than it should.

The body needs adequate time to adjust to a health and fitness routine – if you care to do this properly that is.

A healthy weight loss consists of a reduction of approximately two to three pounds a week while a strength training program needs to be adapted to slowly and safely – especially if you are new to exercise or have taken a hiatus.

This is why starting a health and fitness routine – RIGHT NOW – using good sense nutrition and a safe and structured fitness program is the best way to just about guarantee that you’ll be ready to go the next time you’re invited to something you want to look your best for.

2 – You Need to Move or Participate in Something Labor Intensive

I think it’s safe to say that most of us, at some time or another, are called upon to embark on a labor intensive project of some kind or another.

Moving comes to mind as a popular one – and I can personally attest to the fact that strength and endurance are required when having to participate in this particular activity.

Lifting boxes, pushing furniture around and even cleaning use up a LOT of energy. You also need to be able to pick up heavy objects while bending and twisting in ways that your normal day to day activities don’t require you to do.

If you are already involved in a health and fitness routine, the chances of you being able to withstand the stress of such labor intensive activities are much greater.

You will not only be able to keep up with the demands of the task at hand, but the likelihood that you will injure yourself is much lower because exercise trains the body to be able to respond to stress in a structured and deliberate manner (especially if you incorporate functional training into your routine).

I don’t think I am off base when I say that moving (or anything related to moving) isn’t any fun. However, if and when the need to move should arise, you are far better off being physically prepared than not.

3 – Flu/Cold Season (or Illness in General)

I think it’s accurate to say that most, if not all of us end up getting sick at some point in our lives.

I also think it’s accurate to say that being sick…well…kinda sucks.

You’re laid up in bed, often in some form of pain and discomfort while the likelihood that you still have responsibilities to take care of (such as kids), and the chances of lost wages due to having to stay home from work are pretty high.

So knowing this, the next logical step would be to either look to lessen the intensity of your illness, or to prevent yourself from being as vulnerable to coming down with something in the first place.

And the way to do this is by having a strong immune system.

Our immune system functions well when the digestive system is healthy. Minimizing the amount of stress in our gut is of utmost importance. This is why a well-balanced diet consisting of clean and natural foods (as often as possible) is a good idea.

Exercise, as mentioned before, helps to prepare the body to handle stress in a deliberate way. Since illness in and of itself is a form of stress in the body, it only makes sense to train it so that it’s better equipped to handle things like illness and any other form of stress with as much ease as possible.

Start Now So You’re Ready to Handle Anything That Comes Up

Speaking from my own experience, I can attest to the fact that having a health and fitness program in place has its advantages.

I have been invited to last minute events – and have had to help loved ones move.

I also get sick from time to time.

With each of these occasions, it has been extremely helpful to have already had a foundation of strength and well-being in place.

The best time to start a health and fitness routine is when you don’t need to experience the benefits right away…so that you can afford to start practicing new behaviors in a safe and structured way and progress from there.

You’ll be happy to have gotten the ball rolling when the time comes to reap the rewards.

In what ways has your health and fitness routine served to benefit you?

Image credit goes to Acclaimed Movers and Storage

7 Best Calorie Burning Activities You Can Do At Home

Calorie burn FF

Now I’m going to come right out and admit that I really do NOT like to clean.

It isn’t because I feel it’s beneath me or anything…it’s just that I don’t enjoy the act in and of itself.

Now with that being said, there is one thing I can find redeeming about cleaning – and that is the fact that it burns calories…and unless we’re talking about a survival situation, caloric expenditure is something that most of us find appealing.

In addition to cleaning, there are other calorie burning activities that can be done at home without engaging in an actual workout…and we’re going to go over several of them today.

Just keep in mind that the exact number of calories that YOU might burn won’t be calculated in this post – as an individual’s specific caloric expenditure follows a formula that is relative to their own body weight, and includes how hard they are working.

So use this information for general guidelines, and for the motivation to tackle some of the housework you may have been putting off for a while.

Seven of the Best Calorie Burning Activities You Can Do At Home

1 – Cleaning

Having mentioned this already, we know that cleaning belongs in this list.

Washing dishes, dusting, cleaning counter tops, sweeping and vacuuming are examples of normal day to day chores that need to be done…and they all burn calories.

The simple fact is that movement in and of itself requires energy, and cleaning happens to use a lot of it.

It doesn’t really matter if you do a once a week full housecleaning session – or a simple surface clean every day. You are moving and you are using energy. It adds up – which makes cleaning in any form a great way to burn calories.

2 – Rearranging Furniture

When I was a kid, I would sometimes arrive at home from school to a surprise in my bedroom.

And no, it was never a new puppy.

What I would discover, however, was that my room had been rearranged. This was one of the benefits of having a mom with a creative streak. I absolutely loved coming home to this…as I had always found it exciting to live in a new(ish) environment every so often.

Moving furniture around requires a lot of energy, and yep…this burns plenty of calories. You are lifting and pushing heavy objects around – and it could take up to a couple of hours until the task is complete (especially if you try a few arrangements out before settling on the one you like the best).

So if you’re feeling a little bored of seeing your home as it is and feel as though you would like a change of scenery, consider rearranging one or more of the rooms in your house.

3 – Walking the Dog

One of the many wonderful things about owning a dog is the fact that they need to be walked.

In fact, depending on the breed, you may need to walk your dog for a good 30-45 minutes at a time…which burns plenty of calories.

It also keeps your dog in great shape and allows them to expend pent up energy. This may be good news for your shoe collection, and your pants size.

4 – Cooking

Think you aren’t burning calories while you cook?

Think again.

You are using energy…and if you happen to have a larger kitchen, then it’s quite likely you are walking from one end of the space to the other on numerous occasions – and this of course uses additional energy.

If you are preparing something healthy, then you are combining physical activity with sound nutrition – which is a pretty cool way to use your time.

5 – Painting the Walls

I can attest to the fact that painting the walls in your home uses a LOT of energy.

While it’s easy to want to hire someone to do the job for you, I can tell you that if you decide to do this yourself, you’ll not only burn a LOT of calories, but you’ll save a few bucks as well.

Obviously if you’re looking for a specific type of paint job that requires a professional, or if you’re dealing with some high ceilings and safety becomes an issue, then feel free to hire it out or ask a friend with some experience to help you.

However, if it’s something that simply requires a bit of prep work and an overall finish that isn’t complicated, then I recommend trying it out yourself. You’ll not only get a workout in, but you’ll also feel a sense of satisfaction when the job is complete.

6 – Washing the Car

I mentioned earlier that I’m not exactly in love with cleaning. Well, the same goes for washing my car.

I find it labor intensive and tedious…and it would be nice to pay someone else do it. But since I would prefer to save the money (and because my husband takes care of the more annoying tasks such as cleaning the rims, inside windows, etc), I do it myself.

I kid you not, it’s quite a workout.

Washing the car uses plenty of energy, and therefore, it burns a lot of calories. Every muscle group is used and you are shifting positions constantly. If you finish the job with a wax, you could be looking at a couple of hours worth of non-stop physical activity.

7 – Spring Cleaning

Now spring cleaning isn’t quite like regular cleaning.

Spring cleaning is more like purging unnecessary items that clutter your home, and quite possibly clutter your life as well.

Going through drawers, cabinets, boxes, closets and other storage areas in an effort to clear up space not only makes room for new things to come your way, but it uses energy – and therefore, burns calories.

It’s a great way to lighten your load, both literally and figuratively.

All Activities Count

Basically anything you do at home that requires energy to be used will burn additional calories – from the smallest of tasks to the more labor intensive ones.

The ideas discussed in this post include some of the more challenging activities – and are often the ones we look to hire out more often than not. If you have any physical or scheduling limitations, then by all means do what you must and seek a professional to help you.

But if you’re in decent shape and can handle the tasks, then why not do these things yourself? You’ll build strength and burn calories while engaging in something productive along the way. The level of satisfaction you’ll experience at the end of the job will serve you well in more ways than one.

What other calorie burning activities do you do at home?

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My 4 Favorite In-Home Workout Programs


Over the years, we’ve seen quite a variety of in-home workout programs come to the market.

And I have to admit that I love the fact that there are so many different styles and available options out there.

On the flip side though, I can also imagine that things can get a bit confusing as well.

So which program is right for you?

Well, only you would know this, as you know more about you than I do.

I don’t know what your current level of fitness is, what you like and don’t like, nor do I know if you’re working with any prior or current injuries/limitations.

So what I’m going to do is share four of my favorite in-home workout programs with you and allow you to decide for yourself which one (or more) may be a good fit for your own individual needs.

The programs I am going to discuss are all different from one another and offer a variety of unique benefits. I’m sure you’ll connect with something.

Four of My Favorite In-Home Workout Programs

1 – Extreme Time Saver With Jackie Warner

The reason I like this program is because – just as it claims on the cover on the dvd, it really is like getting two workouts in one.

Extreme Time Saver is ideal for someone who wants a challenging workout in minimal time. It’s perfect for someone with a tight schedule.

The exercises in this program include multiple muscle groups and combine movements so that your entire body is fully engaged in each of the exercises.

The video below demonstrates several of the exercises you’ll find in the dvd and includes modifications.

The program is intense, so I encourage you to modify if necessary.

2 – One On One Training With Jackie Warner

Yep, this is another Jackie Warner workout. The reason I like this one is because  it’s easy to get a good 20 minute session in while focusing on one specific area of the body. You can also use the entire program at once to get a full body workout in if you desire, and if you have extra time to engage in a longer session.

There are short cardio intervals incorporated into each of the segments as well to mix things up a bit while adding some variety.

This program is less intense than Extreme Time Saver, but it’s plenty challenging, It also includes modifications if necessary.

3 – Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home Videos

I have to admit that when it comes to Leslie Sansone’s workout videos, I don’t have a favorite for two reasons.

The first is because there are so many to choose from, it would be tough for me to have a favorite. The second is because I feel there is something of value to be gained by any one of her videos – as they all have something beneficial to offer.

I have written a post about the benefits of incorporating a walking program into your life and included one of her videos there as well.

The walk at home programs can be tailored to suit your own unique needs – and include workouts for people of all fitness levels and schedules. They can be done in the privacy of your home and regardless of weather conditions.

Whether you are looking to get a one mile fitness walk at a moderate pace, or a five mile advanced walk mixed with strength training and jogging intervals, I can assure you that you’ll find something that will work perfectly for you.

I stumbled across this video and I found it to be an honest and heartfelt review of a few of the Walk at Home programs from someone who had nothing to sell, but simply wanted to share her own experience.

4 – Tony Horton‘s 10 Minute Trainer 

I am a huge fan of short, but effective workouts…and this is exactly what’ll you’ll get in 10 Minute Trainer.

Each 10 minute segment focuses on a specific area of the body, and the program is quite challenging. You will DEFINITELY feel as though you’ve worked hard, although you can always modify the exercises if needed.

I’m going to share a video that explains the benefits of the program and discusses the basics of how it works.

The idea is to put everything you have into these short workouts to maximize your results in little time.

This program, in addition to the rest of them shared here requires minimal equipment…which is another added bonus.

Take Your Time Before Making Any Decisions

I’ve shared several workout programs here – all of them with something to offer.

The idea is to do some additional research and see what you feel is the most relevant to your own needs, tastes and desires – and to make an objective and informed decision.

What is it that YOU need the most from a fitness program?

Do you need a low intensity workout to get started? Or would you prefer a high intensity workout in a short period of time?

Do you have any prior injuries that would benefit from a program that strengthens  the entire body with minimal to no impact on your joints?

When you are clear on what you need, you’ll make an informed and empowered decision – and this is how you’ll get the most out of your workout.

Have you tried any of the programs suggested here? Do you have any of your own to add?

Image credit goes to Walk At