Does Your Workout Work For You?

When you get ready to head out to the gym do you know what you’re going to do when you get there? Do you have a plan or do you just get there, hop on a piece of cardio equipment and go through the same routine you’ve been doing for years? I can tell you that I have seen the same people year after year at the gym that look exactly the same as when they first joined and here’s why…

1. You do the same routine or go to the same class every day.

You need to add variety to get results. The body will adapt quickly to the same 30 minutes on the StairMaster every day. Do a combination of strength training and cardio, check out a different class, or get on a different piece of cardio equipment. I personally love kickboxing, there’s nothing like punching and kicking a heavy bag to release stress! If you really want to torch some calories I suggest adding in a kickboxing class.

2. You have no idea what you’re doing or how to use the equipment at they gym so you only go to the machines you know how to use.

My suggestion is to find a trainer that can help you learn how to use the equipment and create a plan for you to meet your fitness/weight loss goals. When working with a trainer start from day one writing down your workouts so you can use them on the days you are not with your trainer. For most people having a trainer is not a luxury, it’s a NECESSITY! Having a standing appointment with a trainer will help keep you motivated, safe, and most importantly ACCOUNTABLE.

3. You multi-task while working out. What I like to call “Cell phone cardio”.

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times each day I see women sitting on a recumbent bike, walking the treadmill, or some other piece of cardio equipment while texting away on their cell phones. If you can text while you’re working out, you’re not working out hard enough. I put one of my clients on an elliptical machine and she flipped out because her heart rate went up to 12o BPM’s she told me that “someone” told her that for her age/size she shouldn’t go above 120 BPM’s. I gently explained that you need to go by how you feel, NOT the number on the screen. Can you carry on a conversation? If the answer is yes, you are not working hard enough.

4. You find a routine in your favorite fitness magazine or one that a “celebrity” is doing and expect it to work the same for you.

I applaud you for making the effort to pull out the routine and try it. Unfortunately, more often than not, you’re not putting in the same kind of effort/intensity required. The model or celeb in the photos is working with a trainer and nutritionist on a regular basis. Not to mention, they airbrush these people to make them appear perfect. Find something you like to do, put the effort in, and stick to it!

5. You tell yourself that since you went to the gym today you should reward yourself with a bag of cookies or chips. WRONG ANSWER!

You can spend hours at the gym working out but if you fill your body up with processed junk food, you are wasting your time. You need to feed your body with healthy nutritious food not empty calories. Every Saturday I go to the grocery store and stock up on what I will need for the upcoming week. Fuji apples, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms, chicken, turkey, oatmeal, egg whites (in the carton), almond milk, protein powder, etc. On Sunday, I grill/cook all my chicken and veggies so that it’s all ready to eat. Every night I put together my cooler and fill it with my breakfast and lunch for the following day. I also include a shaker for protein shakes, small Tupperware containers with 1 serving of protein powder, and apples for snacks. A little preparation goes a long way!

These are just some of the mistakes I see at the gym on a regular basis. If you are committed to making a change in your life through exercise and nutrition then find the help you need to get you where you want to be. Go to the front desk at your gym, look around at the people at your gym find the most fit person and ask them what they do. Go online and order books on fitness & nutrition. The book I’m currently reading and one I’d highly recommend is IMPACT by Todd Durkin it’s filled with great information, motivation, and inspiration.

Most of all just get up and MOVE!!!

xoxo Fit Chica

The MOST Important Meal of the Day

BREAKFAST! It’s not just the most important meal of the day it’s actually my favorite meal of the day. Breakfast is the fuel that keeps our minds and bodies running throughout the day. We’ve heard how important breakfast was since we were kids and if you have kids, I’m sure you do everything in your power to get them to eat breakfast every day. Well, how often do you heed that advice?

With our hectic schedules, it’s easy to stop by the nearest Starbucks®  grab a cup of coffee and a bagel, a muffin that’s loaded with fat and calories or, skip breakfast altogether. Well, I can tell you that a cup of coffee and a muffin (or bagel) does not count as a nutritious breakfast. A Caramel Macchiato has a whopping 270 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 34 grams of carbs and we haven’t even added the calories from the bagel or muffin. A reduced fat blueberry muffin had 450 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 86 grams of carbs. So, if this was what you had for breakfast this morning, you’ve just ingested 720 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 120 grams of carbs!

Many people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, this is not a good strategy since you are more likely to gain weight than lose it. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more than usual or make unhealthy choices at their next meal. These people often reach for unhealthy, high calorie, sugary snacks before their next meal to silence their growling bellies. People who eat a well-balanced and nutritious breakfast are more likely to be successful in losing body fat and maintaining a healthy weight than those who skip it.

So, you ask, “How is eating breakfast good for weight loss?” Think of it this way, you have been asleep for 6 to 8 hours so, your body is in starvation mode and your metabolism is very slow when you first wake up. Not eating for an extended period of time, as we do when we are sleeping, causes your metabolism to go into slow motion. Eating breakfast within the first 30 minutes of waking revs your metabolism back up, gives your body the boost of energy it needs to start your day, and increases your bodies’ fat burning ability. Skipping breakfast or any other meal for that matter will only slow your metabolism down. So, if you are trying to lose weight, you want to keep your metabolism running fast.

Let’s face it, when we think about breakfast visions of warm, fluffy pancakes with sausage links, a giant banana-nut muffin, a big bowl of Cap’N Crunch®, or an omelet stuffed with cheese and bacon usually come to mind. Well, as tasty as those things are they do not make up a healthy or nutritious breakfast. Stay away from white breads, pastries, muffins, and sugary cereals because they digest quickly and spike your blood sugar level setting you up for a crash. Bacon, sausage, and cheese are loaded with fat and calories so you should avoid these as well. A combination of lean protein and fibrous carbs will satisfy your hunger and keep you full and focused.

What exactly is a healthy and nutritious breakfast? A healthy breakfast should have a combination of lean protein, complex carbs preferably from whole grains, and a healthy fat. Some sources of lean proteins include eggs or low-fat dairy products like Greek yogurt. I love Voskos® and Fage® plain non-fat Greek yogurt. Protein powders (i.e. whey or soy) from your local nutrition shop can also be used as your protein source. I use MyoFusion® and Elite 12 Hour protein powders because they each have a great blend of protein and taste delicious! Complex carbs include oats or oatmeal and whole grain breads or cereals. Oatmeal is a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, iron, and magnesium it is also a good source of protein and fiber. Healthy fats include nuts and nut butters, flax seeds, and avocados.

A good example of a healthy breakfast would be 3 to 4 egg whites, ½ cup of oatmeal, with a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and ½ cup of fresh blueberries. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and provide an excellent source of vitamins C and E. My breakfast consists of ½ cup of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 scoop soy protein powder, and ½ cup of almond milk with cinnamon and stevia for sweetening. I cook the oatmeal and chia together then add in the protein powder, almond milk, cinnamon, and stevia. I look forward to my breakfast every morning! If I’m running short on time, I blend my protein powder, ½ cup of oatmeal, splash of almond milk, water, and ice together and have my breakfast to go!

If you prefer cold cereal for breakfast, make sure to read the label and choose one that lists whole grains as the first ingredient with no added sugar. Uncle Sam® and Kashi® Go Lean cereals are great options as they are both high fiber and low sugar cereals. If you’re thinking of grabbing one of those breakfast or energy bars, keep in mind that they are not as healthy as they seem. Make sure to read the labels as many are high in sugar and fat.

If a traditional breakfast isn’t your thing consider having a whole grain tortilla filled with chicken breast and veggies, a baked yam sprinkled with cinnamon and a lean ground turkey patty, or non-fat Greek yogurt with blueberries and a handful of natural (low sugar) granola, these are all good choices for a nutritious breakfast.

A healthy and nutritious breakfast is the best way to start the day. Eating breakfast improves your thinking ability, keeps you focused, and helps prevent obesity. The morning meal is the fuel that keeps us running throughout the day. Try it for a week and see how much better you feel. Let me know, I love feedback!

Jennifer Billings, BS, CPT
Fit Chica Fitness
SPX Fitness Trainer
TRX Suspension Instructor


Each year, millions of Americans gain weight over the holidays. Lean muscle is the secret to keeping your metabolism firing to burn fat all day long. People who are active are more likely to maintain their weight during the holidays.

Don’t be a statistic! Get FIT, boost your energy, and shed pounds this holiday season by working out! Now is a perfect time to get a jump on that New Year’s Resolution.

Here are some tips for keeping weight off during the holidays:

  • Physical activity. People who are more active are more likely to maintain their weight during the holidays. Park farther away from the entrance to the mall and get a little walk in.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can be a major source of hidden calories. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram, almost as much as fat (9 calories per gram) and nearly twice as many calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein (4 calories per gram). Just one apple martini has 235 calories and almost 12 grams of sugar! Stick to a flavored vodka & soda or a light beer. Don’t forget the water. For every alcoholic drink you have, drink at least 1 extra glass of water. This will help your body metabolize the alcohol and may counteract some of the dehydrating effects of the alcohol on the body, such as next-day hangovers. And ALWAYS have a designated driver!
  • Limit soda and other sweetened beverages. These drinks add extra calories, too. Simply put, they are drinks high in fat and/or sugar. A can of soda, for example, has 150 calories and 42 grams of sugar! I love light egg nog but have now switched to Rice-Nog, it’s delicious and only 80 calories per serving. Water is always the best choice!
  • Schedule holiday celebrations at normal meal times. Celebrations outside of normal meal times encourage people to pile on extra calories. This one isn’t always easy to follow with work parties, just do your best 🙂
  • Choose foods with fewer calories. Foods with fewer calories for their size make you feel fuller sooner. Reach for those celery sticks and stick to lean protein snacks like shrimp or turkey slices.
  • Use smaller plates. The bigger your plate, the more food you can pile on it, which means you’ll be more likely to overeat.
  • Eat a healthy snack beforehand. You’ll be less likely to eat a lot of fattening food at parties. Try an apple with almond butter or a protein shake with a small piece of fruit.
  • Weigh yourself weekly. Plan how you’ll get back on track if your weight begins to creep up.

What are your tips & tricks to avoid holiday weight gain?

Welcome to Fit Chica

My name is Jennifer Billings. I am the daughter of parents who emigrated from Mendoza, Argentina to Los Angeles, CA in 1960. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles called Glendale. When I was 13 years old, the Jane Fonda workout hit video stores across America and I, like millions of Americans, was hooked! Leg warmers and all, I would workout religiously to her video in front of the TV in our very small apartment in our even smaller living room. It was right about this time that a gym opened up down the street from our house and I begged my mom for the money to join. I took aerobics classes regularly but didn’t really lift weights because I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t want to look foolish. Two years later `The Terminator’ hit movie theaters and as I watched the scenes of Linda Hamilton with those kick-ass arms, I knew I wanted arms like that.

It took a little while but I ended up working out at a now defunct gym called 20 Minute Workout and I managed to get the courage to hit the weights. Oh how I remember the spandex and butt floss leotards that were all the rage back then. There was a little women’s area so I went ahead and jumped on all the machines and used the free weights. I just copied what I saw other people doing and voila! I felt like a pro 😉

I’m 40 years old now and have never lost my love of fitness. Over the last few years, I’ve added yoga, pilates, and TRX® Suspension Training to my repertoire. After being laid off in November ’08, I decided to focus my energies into figuring out what it is that I enjoy and what I really want to be when I grow up. After thinking it over I realized that what I really love to do is workout and what I really wanted to do is help people achieve their fitness goals. For years  friends have asked if they could workout with me and even a few strangers who would see me at the gym regularly asked if they could workout with me. So, after training people for free for years, I decided to get paid for it 🙂

I am now a certified personal trainer. Along with my personal training certification, I am certified to train others on the TRX®.

I like to incorporates traditional weight lifting with BOSU® balance training and TRX® Suspension training. I believe that a workout today will make you a better person than you were yesterday. That staying fit is the key to a long and healthy life.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts. I look forward to hearing from you.

In Good Health,
Jennifer aka Fit Chica