Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 3/30/14

How Long to Form a Habit – You may have heard along the way that it takes 21, 28, or maybe 30 days to create a habit. This is commonly heard in the health and fitness industry particularly when it comes to forming dietary habits. I’ve read and heard experienced personal trainers claim 3-4 weeks based on their anecdotal evidence. Although these estimates might be true for some, where did these guidelines come from? The answer might surprise you! When it comes to changing habits it’s been suggested to use the baby-steps approach by picking one and only one habit you’re ready to change. Don’t try to change everything all at once. According to Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less, people have an 85% success rate when they focus on changing only one habit at a time. If they attempt to change two habits at once their success rate drops to 35%. When trying to change three habits only 10% succeed.

The health hazards of sitting – Low-back pain is a primary cause of musculoskeletal degeneration seen in the adult population, affecting 80% of all adults.

The Magic of 10,000 steps – In 2013, Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, and Nike FuelBands accounted for 97 percent of all smartphone-enabled activity trackers sold at brick-and-mortar stores or through big ecommerce sites, according to NPD Group, which tracks the digital fitness device market at the point of sale. Fitbit’s devices accounted for 68 percent of devices sold; Jawbone UP sales accounted for 19 percent of all devices sold; and Nike FuelBand sales made up 10 percent of sales. NPD Group found the overall digital fitness device market to be worth $330 million in 2013.

The Best Kept Secret: Why People Have to Squat Differently – This is an awesome analysis of how and why some people have to squat differently than others, using photos of actual bones and joints to explain the anatomical differences.

Pinpointing the higher cost of a healthy diet – Study finds it takes $1.50 more per day to eat a nutritious diet rather than an unhealthy one.

The Real Biggest Loser Is the Show Itself – Interesting perspective! Nonetheless, approximately 34% of Americans are obese which equates to approximately 72 million Americans. The same trend is occurring among youth (ages 2-19) as more than nine million young people are overweight or obese. Experts predict nearly one in four kids will be overweight by the year 2015.


Certified Personal Trainer

Favorite Low Calorie Breakfast Cereals

I decided in light of my last post it might be nice to share with you guys some of my favorite low calorie cereal’s. I do want to note that during my cereal exploration I did spend more time investigating calories and not as much time focusing on the cereal’s in terms of nutrition. For that reason I decided to include a link to all items in Foodeducate to help you understand nutrition on each cereal as well. For those of you not familiar with Foodeducate it is a website that looks at manufacturer’s nutrition labels and ingredient lists and will assign a grade of A through D to various foods. Foods which are minimally processed and nutrient dense will receive higher grades. This means “real” foods are going to receive higher scores over processed foods. So an apple will get an A where Club Crackers will receive a D+. I highly recommend playing around on the website and checking it out for yourself!


My favorite guilty pleasure cereal is Whole Foods 365 Every Day Value Peanut Butter Balls. Let me warn you this cereal is sweet, peanut butter goodness. I treated this cereal more as a dessert then a way to kick start my morning. It tastes delicious with just almond milk or I have even mixed it in with cottage cheese, fruit, or even grabbed it by the handful and mixed with some nuts and dark chocolate chips to make a trail mix. Whole Foods also recently launched this cereal in a version with Coco balls. I still like the original better, but the coco one is great for mixing it up.


cereal 2


Both cereal’s come in at 1 cup for 110 calories. Foodeducate gives the Peanut Butter Balls a C+, but interestingly enough the new Peanut Butter and Coco Balls a B- even though they are pretty much the same. Both cereals are part of Whole Foods Private Label Brand 365 Everyday Value and can only be purchased there.






Another recent addition at Whole Foods is the 365 Every Day Value Crunchy Cinnamon Squares cereal. If you grew up being a fan of Cinnamon Toast Crunch then this is the cereal for you. Again this for me is great for an after dinner treat or nice when I need a handful of something to indulge my sweet tooth.  1 cup comes in at just 90 calories and Foodeducate gives the Crunchy Cinnamon Squares a B+ rating which is not too shabby. Crunchy Cinnamon Squares again is part of Whole Foods Private Label Brand 365 Everyday Value and can only be purchased there.



I found the Kashi Indigo Morning Cereal on my last business trip to Arkansas at one of their local grocery stores. After a long day of flying all I wanted was to go to my hotel room and have a big bowl of cereal before bed. I really like this cereal better dry then with milk. Once the cereal is in milk it loses a little bit of the sweetness it has, which for me makes it a little less delicious. However if you do not have a sweet tooth like me and want this for breakfast then with milk is the way to go. I also am not a fan of the dried fruit in it, so I will usually pick that out and add in my own blueberries. One serving of this is 3/4 cup at 100 calories and Foodeducate gives Indigo Morning Blueberry a B-. This cereal is a little harder to find, but I have found it in Molly Stones Grocery store and some other random smaller grocery stores.



Arrowhead Mills has two of my favorite cereals that are not on the sweet/sugary side. The first is Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Sprouted Corn Flakes and the second is Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Wheat Berry and Quinoa Flakes. Both of these would be the cereals I would go to in the morning if I needed a quick breakfast. I also like to mix both kinds in with some of the other sweeter cereals in order to make the bowl a little less sweet and more hearty.

The Wheat Berry and Quinoa cereal has a slightly lower calorie count coming in at  1 cup at 100 calories, while the Sprouted Corn Flakes is 110 calories for 1 cup. Foodeductae gives both the Sprouted Wheat Berry and Quiona Flakes and the Sprouted Corn Flakes a B for nutrition. I mainly buy these at Whole Foods, but have also found them in Safeway and other mass grocery stores.

Cereal, My Binge Worthy Food. What is Yours?


You know that food, the one for whatever reason makes you lose all self-control? You tell yourself you are only going to have one bite, a handful, or even one bowl. However the moment you start you just can’t resist it. You feel your ability to control your actions all of a sudden out the window and the temptation is too great. The next thing you know you have eaten way more than you were intending or even wanting to.

For myself I am lucky. My binge worthy food is not potato chips, it is not French fries, and it is not even cookies or ice cream, its cereal.  All of these other foods are delicious and I do on occasion eat way too much of them at a party or special occasion. However through my weight loss process I was able to learn how these foods made me feel when I did indulge too much and I have been able to develop a pretty good relationship with them. Now I see them as an occasional indulgence and I am usually satisfied with a bite or two.

For me the one food that makes me lose all of my normal self-control from the moment I start is cereal, which for me is my after dinner indulgence. So this is where I consider myself lucky. Cereal in reality is really not that bad for you, well depending on the kind you buy. Which I have scoured through grocery stores, counting calories, and looking at nutrition labels to find splurge worthy cereal that would not break my “Calorie Bank” so to speak.  I partner my healthy cereal finds with Almond Milk, which I love, to even help lower the overall calorie count.

After finishing a big bowl of cereal I will feel nice and full. However this is where the problem starts. I am full, but I want more. I go back and fill up another bowl. Again after finishing I feel even more full and satisfied, but I still want more. Sometimes I am able to control the urge, but more often than not I keep giving into the craving and the next thing I know I have eaten way more than I wanted.

In order to help reduce the amount of cereal I was eating, I started thinking of ways to help fool myself into thinking I was eating more then I truly was. I learned I always wanted seconds with cereal. Instead of pouring one big bowl and then going back for a second large bowl, I started breaking my first big bowl into two portions. This way I would think I was having seconds when in reality I ended up only having only one bowl. Next I started to eat my cereal out of a smaller bowl so my mind would think it was eating more than it really was. I found it to be much more satisfying to see my bowl filled to the top then just a small portion in a larger bowl. It is interesting how your mind perceives portions. Next I started to add in blueberries or other fruit to help fill up less on the cereal and get in an extra serving of fruit.

Through all of my tricks I found I was able to slowly reduce the amount of binge eating I did with cereal. These small tweaks ended up making a huge difference to my perception. Even though I have been able to reduce the amount I am eating, I still feel like I use cereal to curb something else at the end of the night. I eat it out of habit, not out of hunger or need. Now I am working on trying to slowly wean myself off of my late night treat. It has been officially 3 weeks since I have had a bowl of the great stuff. The first week was hard, trying to find something else to do after dinner to occupy my time. Tea has been a life saver! However now 3 weeks in I feel like I may have taken control of the habit. However time will tell 🙂

Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 3/23/14

Certified Personal Trainer

Healthy Banana Oat Cookie Recipe

One of my favorite quick and easy desserts to bring to social gathering’s is my healthy banana oat cookie recipe. This recipe came my way from a co-worker after she brought these Delicious treats to celebrate my birthday at work this year. The beauty of this dessert is it is not really a dessert at all. It can be a quick grab and go snack or even a breakfast staple. It does not require a lot of ingredients and is simple and easy to make. I have made a few modifications to the recipe which I have listed below. Usually I find people cannot stop with just one. In fact I had a group of 3 men eat an entire 2 dozen in 15 minutes. Enjoy!



3 ripe bananas

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped (I substituted chocolate chips, but you can also use coconut, or nuts.)

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I substituted this for unsweetened apple sauce! These cookies still taste amazing and It also saves on calories)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


I added in one tsp of cinnamon

You can also use 1 Tbsp of honey or 1 tbsp of cocoa powder


Pre-heat Oven to 350 degree’s F

In a large bowl mash the banana’s, stir in oats, oil or applesauce, dates (or whatever you chose), and vanilla

Mix well and allow to sit for 15 minutes

Once ready drop about a teaspoon size amount onto a greased cookie sheet

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown


Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 3/16/14

Certified Personal Trainer

Things I Love This Week



Walking down 24th street in the Mission District admiring some of the amazing mural art. If you have not taken a stroll in this part of the mission district you should go check it out. It is eclectic, unique, and has a very different vibe then what you find down on 16th and Valencia. New restaurants and bars are starting to pop up here as well, so a good area to keep on your radar.


The other day I ordered the Curry Chicken open faced sandwich from The Grove at Yerba Buena downtown for a quick lunch while shopping. In order to keep this meal a little healthier I only ate one slice of the bread, but all of the chicken and greens. I finished my meal feeling satisfied and full.



Coffee off of Polk Street in Russian Hill at Saint Frank’s Coffee. Walked in around opening at 7:00 am after my Pop Physique class. Bright, open, relaxing, minimalist space. I ordered a delightful pour over coffee and topped it off with some almond milk and a little sugar.


The other love of my life Cooper. I wonder if it is possible to fit a 3rd ball in that mouth, I know he would love to try.

   photo photo

My new vintage coat, I love a good find.  Growing up my mom owned a kid’s consignment store, so I have used clothes in my DNA. This one is via Buffalo Exchange in the mission. This steal was $30 which for a nice wool coat can’t be beat.



Friday night I ate dinner at a new restaurant in Russian Hill called Verbena. This restaurant opened just three months ago and what I find noteworthy about it is all of the vegetables they use are sourced from a small local family farm. The ambiance is warm and inviting, but the place also keeps a sophisticated feel to it. I would say the best approach to eating here is to split a few different dishes. This way you can try a little bit of everything on the menu. None of the portions are huge, so be warned you probably won’t want to go here starving as it could cost you. However the food was quite good and very flavorful. The presentation of the dishes also made me feel like I was eating something truly special. The dishes we tried were the Sprouted Seed bread with chevre with beet sauerkraut, The beets with hazelnut curds, teviso, with citrus, and lastly the Koji Quail. Can you tell I like beets?


We may have lost some light in the morning with the time change, but I decided to not let that stop me from wearing some color in spin class this morning.

Dustin’s Health & Fitness Articles of the Week – 3/9/14

Happy Sunday Everyone! As I mentioned last week my boyfriend Dustin is working towards becoming a personal trainer. Well on Friday he passed the NASM-CPT certification exam! This means my honey is now officially certified to personally train people, which I could not be more proud of him. So now starts the journey we all know and love of finding a new job.

Last Sunday I sent out a weekly article which was inspired by my boyfriend and the weekly health and fitness articles he has been sending out to a small group of our close friends and family. With that said we decided instead of continuing to send out his weekly articles to the small group it might be better served to share the articles in a place where more people would be able to read and enjoy. Every Sunday be on the look out for Dustin’s guest post on this.

As he outlined when he first started sending the article’s to our group “Not all of the articles will interest you, some you might disagree with, some you might already be familiar with, and some you won’t even read. But my goal is to simply provide awareness and if the information interests or benefits you then that’s a plus!”

Enjoy everyone!

Certified Personal Trainer

Easy Roasted Veggie Breakfast Hash

One of my favorite ways to eat vegetables especially in the cold winter months is to roast them. It is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness while they brown and caramelize in the oven. Vegetables higher in starch and sugar like squash’s, sweet potatoes, and root vegetables tend to lend them selves naturally to roasting. I also like how easy and quick roasting vegetables can be. The longest part is typically the cutting and prepping the vegetables. However if you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s grocery store close to you it is easy to find pre-cut vegetables for a great price. This makes prepping and cooking even faster, which for any of us who lack time and energy after work is a must!

Last weekend I decided for breakfast I was going to use what I had around the house to make a scrumptious and easy vegetable hash. My hash consisted of 2 sweet potatoes, 1 head of cauliflower, 1 bell pepper, and 1 apple.


I like to roast vegetables in a basic nonstick roasting pan which I spray with just a non-stick cooking spray. I find the exact temperature for roasting is really not strict. I typically roast vegetables around 375°F, but anything in the 350°F to 425°F range will work. The lower the temperature the longer you will need to roast and vice versa. So at 350°F you will probably want to roast your vegetables closer to 40 minutes where at 425°F it will take closer to 20-25 minutes.

First I peeled both sweet potatoes and cut them into 1 inch cubes. I had a bag of pre-cut cauliflower heads so that one was easy. I through the cauliflower and sweet potatoes into the sprayed roasting pan and sprinkled with a little sea salt and cinnamon. I then put them into the oven to start to roast. Next I cut up the apple and pepper. I like my apples and peppers to still have a crunch when I eat them so I waited till there was about 5 minutes left of roasting to throw them in. I also tend to like a little sweetness so I also through in about a tablespoon of brown sugar over the top at this step as well. All in all the veggies took about 25 minutes to bake at 375°F and this overall makes about 4 servings.

Once done a put into a large bowl and served with a side of fruit, a piece of whole wheat toast, and coffee. It hit the spot! I hope you enjoy!

Pop Physique San Francisco- No longer a Pop Virgin


As I have said before and I will probably say a few hundred times more, I am obsessed with Barre workouts! I also happen to love finding a killer deal and trying something new. So when I saw Pop Physique had a special of $45 for 5 classes I was automatically in!

Pop Physique is an LA based company which is easy to identify after visiting their website. The site radiates an allure and sex appeal to it. A well defined ladies derriere is front and center upon logging on. The bursts of neon color’s, and the “Pop Virgin?” question start to take a hold of you just taunting you to join to see what this place is all about.  In San Francisco I practice Barre weekly at the Dailey Method and Avant Barre, both two very different and amazing studios. I have also tried Cardio Barre along with Barre Classes at Studio Mix. I have found most studios in the city will let you try a class for free for the first time or at a great rate for a newbie.  If you are not afraid to try new workouts or going to new places I highly recommend always taking advantage of the new client specials along with looking for deals on sites like Groupon or Living Social.


I purchased my Pop Physique deal back in January, but with the location not being as convenient to my apartment and with the popularity of the place I had a tough time getting a class booked. I finally ended up just deciding to book all of my classes a few weeks in advance so I could make sure and take advantage before the expiration in April.


This morning I took the 6:00 am Pop Sculpt class. Since the studio is about 20 minutes from my place so I had to get up around 5:25 am, which I have to admit was really early! I made my way across town and I found parking pretty easily, which I think was mainly due to the early hour.


Walking into the studio you immediately feel like you have walked into a place for the elite and cool. There were several girls sitting on the side and waiting anxiously in hopes of a space opening up. I stepped in line to check in and noticed all of the well dressed, attractive, and hip girls before me.  I soon made my way to the main studio which was one of the most beautiful and zen spaces I have worked out in. The room was filled with dark hard wood flooring and giant windows in the back overlooking a garden space. Overhead were giant white light fixtures that were able to give a mellow, yet warm enough glow. I grabbed my pink ball, mat, and weights and the fun began!


Pop Physique was similar to The Dailey Method and Physique 57 in that all of these studios have you incorporate weights into the workout, which I personally love for resistance training. The workouts were fast paced and challenging, but also spread out in a way that you could still feel pushed without overly exhausted. Overall and I would rate this place a 3.8 out of 5 stars. The biggest pro for Pop Physique is really the workout itself, it was awesome and I definitely got my sweat on! The space is also amazing and unlike its competitors in the city, Pop Physique will offer fantastic deals throughout the year to all clients, not just new members. The biggest cons here are there is only one studio in the city, which if you do not live close to makes it less convenient. Classes book up really fast so you have to be a pre-planner in order to get in and parking is tough on any normal business hour. However it was a great first experience and I am excited for the next 4 classes ahead of me!