Lose The Guilt

Crawl your way out of your insecurities and take the journey to a fitter, healthier, and happier you

Fitness Focus: Zumba

zumbaCurrently a trend in the fitness community, Zumba is a Colombian dance personal training program brought to us in the 1990s by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Berto” Perez. The current popularity of Zumba has become explosive maybe because of the explosive dance and aerobic workout elements supported by hip and upbeat dance music.

Zumba classes are known to be fun; thus, the countless sign ups and offered classes in gyms or fitness centers. Zumbauk.co.uk describes it as “hypnotic musical rhythms and tantalizing moves to create a dynamic workout system designed to be fun and easy to do!” The same website states that “As of July 2009, Zumba is taught at over 40,000 locations, in 75 countries, has sold millions of DVD’s and has an astonishing 5 million students practicing Zumba on a weekly basis.

But how effective is Zumba when it comes to weight loss or muscle gain? Acefitness.org conducted a study and states that “researchers found that participating in a single Zumba fitness class burned an average of 369 calories or about 9.5 kcal per minute.” The interval between high intensity and low intensity workouts make it a bit similar to jogging yet it burns more calories (and I bet more fun) than jogging. It is also mentioned that Zumba burns more calories than cardio kickboxing, step aerobics, hooping, and power yoga. This high energy personal training workout is also said to be good for core strengthening and flexibility improvement. Not to mention hands and feet coordination because it involves dance.

With so much fitness benefits, why not try signing up for a Zumba class? How about signing up with your friends? Just make sure to consult a personal trainer if you have health issues and want to be part of such an intense yet fun dance workout program.

Zumba class



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What Happens In a Health Magazine Photoshoot?

personal training magazine shoot

Model Danielle Holbrook

I was always curious about what happens behind the scenes of a magazine photo shoot. What more if its a fitness magazine shoot?

Lo and behold! Shaping Change recently shared the on goings behind a magazine photo shoot. Personal trainer Chris Heron, also the founder of Shaping Change, along with personal trainer Alex Easby worked with UK magazine Health and Fitness design a gym ball personal training program that helps with body fat loss / weight loss and maybe with a bit of muscle gain as well.

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Simple and Guilt-free Carbonara


Just like pizza, pasta dishes are very much loved by almost everyone! But not to those who are undergoing body fat loss personal training. Hearty pasta dishes can be disheartening to weight loss watchers. Plus, the carb content may not appeal to dieters.

But lo and behold! I am here to give you a pasta dish recipe that will not you make feel guilty after eating it. It’s easy to make and everyone will surely love it!


-250g whole wheat spaghetti pasta noodles

-1 garlic clove, finely chopped

-1/2 white onion, chopped

-150g prosciutto, thinly sliced and chopped

-250ml low-fat all-purpose cream

-200g Hunt’s pork and beans

-1 can chopped button mushrooms (or use whole mushroom and just chop it yourself)

-1/2 tsp cumin

-1/4 tsp chili powder

-1 tsp paprika

-salt and pepper to taste

-Parmesan cheese



  1. Boil water in a pot and once it has reached boiling point, boil the pasta for 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Set aside.
  2. Sauté prosciutto until crispy and then set aside.
  3. Use oil from prosciutto to sauté garlic. Once golden brown, add onions.
  4. Next, add mushrooms. Sprinkle paprika, chili powder, and cumin.
  5. Add low-fat cream and pork and beans. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Once the cream sauce have thickened, add the prosciutto. Grate Parmesan cheese or sprinkle store-bought grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Serve and enjoy! You may also add the prosciutto prior serving. (Makes 4-5 servings)


Note: If you want, you can use whole wheat fettuccine or whole wheat angel hair noodles instead of whole wheat spaghetti noodles. To make it even more guilt-free, use just a little amount of salt. If you don’t like prosciutto, you may substitute it for Vienna sausage, ground lean meat, hotdogs, or whatever you like. But you’ll have to add the meat after sautéing the garlic and onions so make sure you use extra virgin olive oil when sautéing the garlic and onions. You may also add more chili powder and a hint of Tabasco pepper sauce to turn up the heat.

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Guilt-free Sweeteners


Fat, oil, carbs, and sugar. These are the most popular items that should be avoided when on a strict body fat loss diet. But what if I told you that you can have these even when you’re on a weight lossdiet? Just know that there is bad fat and there is good fat like Omega-3. Carbs are a good source of energy so it is a staple. The only bad thing about it is having too much. The same goes to sugar. Too much sugar can really be unhealthy. But it’s hard to avoid sugar especially since many dishes call for the sweet stuff. So here are some sweet healthier alternatives that you can use:

stevia herb

Stevia rebaudiana flowers

  • Stevia – From the stevia herb, stevia is being praised by many for being calorie-free and for its low glycemic index yet it is 200-300 times sweeter than refined sugar. Native to Paraguay, stevia has been used for many centuries.
  • Coconut Palm Sugar – Coming from the nectar of the coconut tree, coconut palm sugar has a similar taste and texture to brown sugar. And no, it doesn’t taste like coconut.
  • Sucanat – Offering a rich, molasses flavor, sucanat is organic dehydrated sugar cane juice. It is sugar in its purest form. It is made of many nutrients.
  • Raw honey – Notice the word “raw”? That’s because processed honey has been stripped off of the antioxidants and natural enzymes included in this natural sweetener. But take note that it has a high fructose content.
  • Maple syrup – Similar to honey, this natural caramel-tasting sweetener derived from the sap of maple trees is healthy in a sense that it naturally contains minerals. Just make sure to opt for the unprocessed or low-processed versions.
  • Agave Nectar – Also containing a low glycemic index, agave nectar or agave syrup is a popular sweetener. Derived from the Agave Americana and tequiliana plants, this nectar is sweeter than honey but is thinner in consistency compared to honey.
  • Coconut nectar – Coconut nectar has a low glycemic index (35) and is in rich in nutrients. Watch out and avoid highly processed ones.

Remember that a healthy lifestyle does not always call for total abandonment of the most scorned food items. Just avoid the more refined or processed versions of food items. Substituting can be a great healthy method. Make sure everything is in moderation or better yet, balanced. A balanced diet (Remember the food pyramid?) is what describes a healthy eating lifestyle.

agave syrup

Agave nectar





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Putting the Fun in Fitness

gym buddies

There are times when you may become too lazy, bored, or undetermined to continue weight loss efforts. You end up in a fitness rut that could eventually halt your body fat loss or worse, bounce back to your starting weight. Don’t give up and think about all the efforts your past self did. You shouldn’t let your past self down so if you find yourself in a stump, think of ways to lift yourself from that. Maybe reading fitness blogs and articles should help. Reading online advice might come in handy, too, like the following fitness tips that would help you find the fun in fitness again.

1. Of course, most people would prefer lounging on the couch while watching their favorite TV shows than hitting the gym. If this is you, then why not catch your favorite TV show at the gym instead? You’ll be so entertained you won’t notice that you already burned so much!

2. Music can help us shift our moods so expand your dance playlist and turn it up! Pumped up beats could help encourage you to stand up and move! Go for it!

party girl3. Who says you’re forbidden to party? Just skip the cocktails/drinks and head to the dance floor! You’ll get to have fun while burning some calories, too. Socialize and live it up! If friends encourage you to drink, just make a health excuse. Remember that water is your only best friend at the party when you become thirsty from grooving too much.

4. Remember your fitness mantra. If you don’t have one, make one! It could be “I’ll feel better once I’m done,” “Limber up! Don’t be an easy zombie-bait,” or “Just do it!” Write it on your mirror; make a banner; turn it into a cellphone or computer wallpaper… whatever fits you! Just make sure it’s there to remind you what you for so long desire.

5. Sometimes, the gym scenery may not be so inspiring visually. Changing the scenery to an outdoor (beach, park, mountain, etc.) one may help you feel more encouraged and refreshed at the same time.

6. Have a fitness buddy! He or she may help you get out of that rut through his or her determination. In turn, you can do the same for him or her when he or she ends up in a rut, too. Plus, working out will be more fun with a friend around.

7. Blog about your road to fitness. This way, you’ll be encouraged to stick to your personal training plan since you wouldn’t want to let your followers or readers down when you stop blogging. You may also get to learn more weight loss tips and helpful wellness advice from fellow bloggers or followers!


Remember that exercise can make you happy as it helps release endorphins in the brain. If you are having a hard time starting your fitness routine, just think that it will eventually pass once you begin since the endorphins will finally be released and will help you find your rhythm again. That’s it for me today; remember to always strive to be fitter in order to be a healthier and happier you. 🙂

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Tricking Yourself Into Eating Less

eat less tricks

Arriving at the verge of obesity can make it difficult for some to begin body fat loss personal training. Aside from the problem of having too much fat stored, the capacity of the large intestine has also increased making it hard for people to fill up. Eating less for weight loss would soon be a struggle since they would be used to having so much food digested in their enlarged stomach and intestines.

In order to avoid overeating and to reduce food intake, here are simple tricks that could help you eat less:

measured popcorn kernels

Popcorn kernels measured before popping and snacking.

1. Avoid eating from the container – Portion snacks so that you’ll avoid eating too much. Eating directly from the big bag / box tends to encourage you into eating more since you might unconsciously aim to finish all of it. Placing a measuring spoon or cup into the big container might help you be mindful of your portions.

2. Chew longer – A friend once told me that one big bite must be chewed at least 20 times. Chewing longer helps you savor the taste which then helps you quickly satisfy your hunger so you won’t have to eat some more. Also, it is said to aid the organism in better metabolizing the food through easier digestion.

3. Use smaller dishware – You might tend to pile up on food when you are given a big plate or a big bowl. You get the urge of filling up the space; thus, you’ll have bigger portions that might even be too much for you. Using smaller dishware could help you eat enough or eat less.

4. Eat food high in fiber – Fiber-rich food can help you feel full without too much calories. It also promotes the feeling fullness for a longer period of time. Then, it aids digestion and metabolism so it really is a good way to encourage body fat loss.

5. Keep a food journal – Writing down what you eat helps you mind what you eat. It allows you to keep track of your daily calorie-intake. Apart from that, you also get to evaluate your food consumption. Do you eat more of the good stuff than the bad stuff in a day? Do you tend to eat more carbs than protein or vice versa? Was your intake today balanced? Having  a food journal around makes you think about your food choices by considering what you’ve already eaten and what you plan to eat later on.

6. Keep wrappers – During your cheat day or reward day, let the wrappers pile up so that you’ll be mindful of how much reward treats you’ve already consumed.

7. Don’t stay up late – When you are awake for much too long, your body will need energy and instead of relying on sleep for energy, it will opt for another way to get it: food. Since food is another way to get energy, your body will make you crave for food and this results to midnight snacking. Midnight snacking is not good because metabolism slows down in the afternoon and continue to decline through the night. So eating midnight snacks will take too long to digest and might even cause indigestion.

8. Eat only when hungry – When bored, you might tend to check the fridge or snack cabinet. Stop yourself when that happens and ask yourself “Am I really hungry?” If not, think of ways to entertain yourself or get yourself out of that boredom so that you won’t munch unnecessarily just because you have nothing to do. Eating sugar-free gum might help when you want to munch on something but you’re not really hungry. This helps keep your mind off eating.

9. Ask for a doggy bag– When eating out, don’t force yourself to finish everything. If you feel full, stop! Make it to-go if there’s still a lot left.

10. Brush teeth after eating – After eating a meal, brush your teeth so that the minty feeling of freshness will help you restrain into eating some more. It promotes good hygiene as well.

brushing teeth

Mint also helps suppress appetite.


Easy and Healthy Shrimp Wraps

Since this is the first healthy recipe I’ll be posting for this wellness blog, I think it’s only right that I should post a body fat loss appetizer recipe. These shrimp wraps are easy and quick to make. You could eat them when you encounter hunger pangs or when you have guests over! Personal trainer Chris Heron from Shaping Change North London shared this on his web blog and I think it’s a gem of a weight loss recipe. Tried it myself and it was yuuuuummmmmyy!

Healthy shrimp wraps

Easy and yummy!


– Romaine lettuce leaves (rinsed and drained)
– Raw shrimp
– Garlic (chopped)
– Grated carrot
– Almonds (sliced, toasted or raw)
– Lemon juice
– Olive oil / coconut or ghee butter
– Sea salt & pepper

1. Dice the raw shrimp and then toss with chopped garlic, salt and pepper, half a teaspoon of oil and lemon juice, let marinate for about 15 minutes.

2. Grate the carrot and get the lettuce ready by putting a handful of the carrot into each leaf of lettuce.

3. Heat a pan on high until it’s hot enough for water to sizzle. Then sauté the shrimp. The key here is to NOT overcook the shrimp. It needs only 2-3 minutes. As soon as it’s all pink, take it out and put it in a clean bowl. If you overcook shrimp, it becomes rubbery and tough.

4. Then spoon the cooked shrimp on top of the carrots and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.

5. Squeeze lemon on each wrap to taste and cover the shrimp with a generous sprinkle of almonds and serve.

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Energizing Songs For Your Workout

Music has been with us since the Ancient times for this art form appeals to us in many ways. It serves as a form of entertainment or inspiration to us. It can even be used to relay heartfelt messages of love, anger, pain, happiness and so on. Thus, music has evolved and continues to evolve in order to soothe our ears. From it, we can draw great inspiration. Music can help us be inspired and get energized for our body fat loss or muscle gain personal training work out.

music playlist for working out

Upbeat music usually helps so here are some of the songs from my playlist that you might want to try listening to and add to your playlist whenever your in the gym, running outside, or weight loss exercising at home:

1. On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez ft. Pitbull – This up-tempo dance song contains heavy synths and elements of Eurodance, Latin American and techno music. Released in February 2011, Miss Lopez’s On the Floor will surely get you pumped up on the floor.

2. Move Your Body by Beyonce – Said to be a part of first lady Michelle Obama’s workout playlist, Beyonce’s Move Your Body will literally get you to move your body. This song debuted for the national obesity campaign “Let’s Move!”

3.  DJ Got Us Fallin’ Inlove by Usher – The DJ will get you to fall in love with working out thanks to this song. Have this on your playlist so you can be have an eargasmic experience while jogging in the park.

4.  Cherry Pie by Warrant – The song maybe old but the crazy music of 80’s rock and roll really never gets old. For a more headbanging upbeat music, try adding this to your playlist as well.

5.  Walk and Best of You by Foo fighters – I recommend these two songs because not only do their energetic loud music gets you pumped up, but the lyrical word play can inspire you as well. Kudos to Foo Fighters for always bringing us amazing songs.

6. Super Bass by Nicki Minaj – This 2011 hit will surely get you going with its booming bass, memorable hook, lyrical context, and chorus.

7. We Are Young by Fun feat. Janelle Monáe – Released in September 2011, this power ballad that incorporates the genres of indie pop, alternative rock, stadium rock and power pop will encourage you to use your youthful energy so make sure you have it on your playlist.

we are young

8. Fight Music by Eminem and D12 – Very befitting when throwing a few punches during boxing or your time with the punching bag, Eminem and D-12’s Fight Music can drive you to launch some powerful punches further.

9.  Turn Around by Conor Maynard feat. Ne-yo – Recently released last October 11, Turn Around is a nice collaboration between newcomer Conor Maynard and Grammy Awardwinning R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer and actor Ne-Yo. The combination of smooth vocals and upbeat sound can either pump you up some more or aid you cool down.

turn around

10. How We Do by Rita Ora – How else to end a great work out than with a happy party song? British singer-songwriter and actress Rita Ora’s song released in March 2012 will definitely give you a good feel while you wrap it up.

how we do

Ask around about other people’s playlist and you may find a few good ones you might like. Ask your personal trainer, gym buddy, or co-worker and you might discover gems for your ear.

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Fun Sports for Weight Loss

Sometimes going to the gym can be pretty boring and blah. It can be such a routine that some find it hard to commit to. Instead of signing up for personal training programs and for a personal trainer at your local gym, why not go for your favorite sport instead? Playing sports can give you the same body fat loss or muscle gain results you want through a more fun way. You’re playing and losing weight at the same time! Talk about a perfect combination!

Here are recommended sports that you can trade for the gym:

swimming a body fat loss sport

  1. Swimming – This sport works on all major muscles which will tone you up. Upper body strength will improve because you are resisting water when you propel your body forward. Proper breathing will be honed as well which could be beneficial to both your lungs and heart. It can be relaxing, too, after your intense laps. Plus, you won’t feel the sweat pouring out of you since you’re submerged in water.
  2. Badminton / Tennis – Although the mechanics of badminton and tennis have similarities and differences, the weight loss benefits are the same. It involves a lot of running which helps improve lower body strength. Upper body strength is also improved thanks to the smashing rackets involved. Quickness in movement and thinking are honed as well.
  3. Track – Running helps improve leg power or lower body strength.
  4. Basketball – Basketball is a total body workout. This team sport is fun and effective. It involves a lot of sprinting for lower body movement, and blocking, shooting, catching, and dribbling for upper body movement.
  5. Soccer / Football – Soccer or football can be a total body workout as well but it focuses more on leg power.
  6. Boxing – Another total body workout sport, boxing allows you to lose weight and gain muscle thanks to the punching, dodging, and stances involved. Yes, this kind of sport requires a gym and a personal trainer but it’s still a fun sport which is does not involve a boring routine. Quickness in movement and thinking are honed, too. The footwork involved will help improve lower body strength. The punching and dodging involved will improve upper body strength. Endurance for pain will improve as well.

boxing a muscle gain sport

If your favorite sport isn’t listed here, then maybe you could still go for both your favorite sport and one recommended here.

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Healthy Grocery Shopping List

healthy weight loss groceries

When on a weight loss diet, we try to plan the meals we are going to have for the week. Sometimes, it can be hard to commit to these meal plans. It’s hard to commit in the sense that external factors could be in the way like sudden dinner invitations, office lunch outs, and so on. If you are often prone to this, then opt for planning a healthy grocery shopping list instead of a healthy daily meal plan.

Not all of us have a personal trainer who can plan or prepare healthy meals for us and discipline us to strictly commit. Also, you never know when you’re going to suddenly eat out so stock your fridge and pantry with the good stuff. Here are food items and ingredients you should stock on in order for you to prepare various yummy  body fat loss or muscle gain healthy meals.


  • Coffee – Skip the sugar and the cream. Opt for black. If you can’t, adding skim milk is fine. Coffee not only gives you that energy boost in the morning, it also helps stimulate your metabolism.
  • Tea – If you’re not a coffee drinker, tea can be your best friend. It contains caffeine, too, so you’d get the same energy boost and metabolic boost given by coffee. Plus, it contains antioxidants and it is a mood enhancer. Slimming teas are available as well if you want to boost your body fat loss speed.
  • Water – Forget the flavored ones or the sparkling ones. Just go for good ol’ plain water. This way, you’re sure it has zero calorie content.
  • Lettuce or romaine – Feeling hungry? Craving for a snack? Then some salad would do the trick without leaving you feeling guilty! So stock up on some fresh crunchy leaves to satisfy your hunger.
  • Cheese – This can go a long waaaaayyy. It can be added to almost any food you want to whip up. From salads to light pastas, cheese can add that final complimentary taste of saltiness and creaminess. Ditch the salt and add some grated cheese. But don’t get carried away and go overboard with it. Remember, everything should be in healthy moderation.
  • Kale – Part of the cabbage family, kale seems to be all the rave lately within the health community. Aside from being a good diet food, it’s said to be packed with many nutrients.



  • Honey – Need some sweetener for your tea or coffee? Or maybe you want honey mustard dressing for your salad? Honey is a highly recommended sweetener for health conscious people. Benefits-of-honey.com states that “One tablespoon of honey has 64 calories, and one tablespoon of sugar has 46 calories. (Or has 22 calories in one teaspoon of honey versus 16 calories in one teaspoon of table sugar.) While the amount of calorie in honey is more, we actually use less of it since it is sweeter than table sugar. And for many people, honey is still a preferred healthier choice because of its vitamins and minerals that can aid in digestion, and its anti-oxidants which can also bring health benefits.”
  • Green beans – From just one cup of green beans, you get four grams of fiber and some vitamin C. Need I say more?
  • Green peas – Green peas are also rich in fiber (3 tbsp = 4.6 grams of fiber). They can be that extra something you want in your salad or pasta. Yum!
  • Baby potatoes– Not only are they cute, but they are quicker to boil. Leaving the skin on (make sure to wash thoroughly) will give you that extra bite when you pop one into your mouth. They can be an added side dish to your meal or serve as a snack when you’re not in the mood for a salad. Just add some salt and voila! You have a much healthier version of french fries! Or bake them in the oven with some olive oil and chopped garlic… yummy!

    baby potato

    Baby potatoes

  • Sweet potatoes – Want some mashed potatoes? Go for mashed sweet potatoes instead. Want some baked fries? Why not go for baked sweet potato fries instead? A medium-sized sweet potato (skin included) offers 5 grams of fiber and only 105 calories. It is also packed with vitamin A, C, and some vitamin E, potassium, iron, magnesium, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
  • Brown rice – Apart from being fiber-enriched, brown rice is also believed to contain many other nutrients. Globalhealingcenter.com shares 8 reasons why it is healthier than white rice.
  • Whole wheat pasta or bread – Spaghetti, bow tie, macaroni… whatever form and shape you want, make sure it’s whole wheat. It’s healthier and richer in fiber. Same goes for bread.
  • Lemons – There are many things you can do with lemons. You can make lemonade, salad vinaigrettes, pasta sauces, or squeeze a few drops to your tea. Or you can just smell some since it can suppress appetite (especially during binges or emotional eating).
  • Raspberries – Craving for something sweet? Fresh raspberries can help satisfy that sweet tooth. A cup of strawberries offers 3 grams of fiber but a cup of raspberries offers 8 grams of fiber. Raspberries are also a great source of vitamin C just like strawberries. Overripe ones can be crushed and turned into juice when you add a little honey and some water.
  • Nuts – Want to munch on something? Then munch on nuts. They’re packed with protein. Eat the salted ones in moderation though. Too much salt can make you feel bloated. Nuts can be added to salads and pasta dishes as well.
  • Chili peppers and other spices – If you can handle the heat, then sizzle with capasaicin found in hot peppers for it is said to help speed up metabolism. Thanks to capasaicin, the body will release stress hormones. The body burns more calories as it tries to cope with the spiciness. It makes you reach for more water, too, which will then trick you into becoming fuller in no time. Spices also adds different flavors to your meals which will help you forget about salt.
cashew nuts

Cashew nuts

As a final tip, try to eat first before you grocery shop to avoid buying unnecessary items not included in your healthy shopping list.

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