Importance of Staying Hydrated

We need water to stay alive. Yet, we lose it all the time through sweating, respiration and excretion. Staying hydrated is important for many reasons; it lubricates joints, can help delay the onset of fatigue, regulates body temperature and brings nutrients to cells to name just a few.

Adequate hydration before exercise ensures optimal physiological and performance responses. Unfortunately, many individuals workout in an already dehydrated state, which can put them at a disadvantage for performance and recovery.

How Much Water Do I Need?

So, how much water should you drink?

Most adults need about three liters of water every day. But, as always, many factors should be taken into consideration:

  • Larger individuals need more than smaller individuals.
  • Sick? You will probably need extra fluid replacement and electrolytes, too.
  • If it’s hot out or dry, you could use 500 mL more.
  • And if you’re working out hard, you could be looking at up to six liters a day!

For example: when individuals workout and work in warm environments, their water needs can be considerably larger than those for sedentary individuals and may increase up to 10 liters/day.

Estimate your fluid needs by using this calculation:

  • Body weight in pounds divided by 2.2= Body weight in kg
  • Body weight in kg x 30-40 mL of water
  • If you prefer to work in ounces, take that number in mL and divide it by 29.5

As with your nutrition needs, water needs will vary depending on the above as well as how long and how intense your workouts are. Be sure to consider the amount of time you spend exercising. You will need additional fluid around the time of exercise and more if it’s hot out.

For Kids/Teens

Why is hydration important for kids and teens? Hydration is the key to feeling energized. Even if you feel as if you drink a lot of water, drinking water when you are at school all day and then practice in the evening can be a challenge. Creating a hydration schedule can help get you in the habit of drinking at regular times throughout the day.

Use this as your starting guide:

• Girls and Boys 4 to 8 years = 7 cups
• Boys 9–13 years old= 10 cups
• Girls 9–13 years old= 9 cups
• Boys 14–18 years old= 14 cups
• Girls 14–18 years old= 10 cups

8 gulps is roughly equal to 1 cup of fluid. If you stop and take 8 at least 4 times throughout the day, you consume 4 cups of water without even realizing it.

1 gulp = ~1 ounce of fluid! 8 gulps = ~ 1 cup.

Body Water

Water makes up about 55-60% of our bodies.

Over half of you is water.

Bone (22%), body fat tissue (25%), muscle and brain tissue (75%), blood (83%), eyes (95%), etc.

For example, if you are a 130 pound female, your cells are soaking in about 72 lbs of water on most days. If you’re on your menstrual cycle, it will be more. Our body composition and hormones all play a role in how much water we carry around.

This is one of the reasons that the bathroom scale doesn’t always tell the whole story. Weight fluctuation from fluid balance can affect the number on the scale more than you might realize.

Staying Hydrated

Water is critical for most of our body’s functions.

  • Water helps to dissolve proteins, bring nutrients to cells and carry waste products away.
  • Water helps to lubricate joints and acts as a shock absorber for the spinal cord and eyes.
  • Water helps to regulate our body’s temperature. When we workout, our body temperature increases…and we sweat. As the sweat evaporates from our body, it cools us off.


Electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) are often lost in urine and sweat.

If sweating lightly, water is an acceptable fluid replacement beverage, but many individuals lose a large amount of sweat during training and that loss can be accompanied by a large electrolyte loss. While plain water is a good thirst quencher, it’s not effective to rehydrate in this case. Only when water is combined with foods/liquids that contain sodium, chloride and other minerals will sufficient water be retained to promote rehydration.

Hydration from Food

Depending on our diet, we can get water from the food we eat.
Foods like raw fruits and veggies are mostly water, high-fat foods, like nuts and butter, have very little water.

Even coffee and tea, pre/post workout supplements can help with hydration.

Yes, caffeine acts as an diuretic, as it increases urination. But it doesn’t increase the ratio of excreted fluids to fluids taken in, if you are accustomed to it. The body adapts (as always).
But, if you are drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, its diuretic effect will drain your body. Generally though, the typical 1-2 cups will have a minor effects.

The more dehydrated your body is, the more concentrated your urine becomes which makes it a darker the color. That being said, make sure you’re peeing light yellow to pale or clear pee…that reflects a good balance. #peecolormatters

Our body helps us regulate hydration needs through thirst so we take in more water when we need it, but it’s not a perfect system. There’s a “lag time” from when we lose fluid and feeling thirsty. We typically don’t notice the sensation of thirst until we’ve lost about 1-2% of our body water.

And unfortunately, even a slight dehydration can lead to decreased focus, performance and concentration.

Importance of Hydration

We lose water when we sweat, if we don’t drink enough before, during and after, losing even small amounts of water can directly affect our performance at the box and energy levels throughout the day.

The following occurs as fluid loss affects bodyweight:

  • Losing only 0.5% of body water could result in an increased strain on your heart to pump blood through your body (this means your heart rate will have to increase to deliver the same cardiac output).
  • If you lose just 1% of body water, you could decrease your aerobic endurance.
  • If you lose 2% of body water, you could experience a measurable decrease in performance
  • If you lose 3% of body water, you could be looking at headaches, dizziness, a reduction in muscular endurance and a 5% loss in power output.
  • If you lose 4%, it could result in reduced muscle strength, decreased motor skills and an increase in heat cramps.
  • If you lose 5%, you could be looking at fatigue, 30% decreased work capacity, reduced mental capacity, even cramping and heat exhaustion.
  • If you lost 6% of your body water, it could result in physical exhaustion, heat stroke and even a coma.
  • 10-20%…death.

Ask Yourself

What’s your sneaky tip to make sure you’re getting enough H2O? Do you add fruit? Use an app?

Share your answer on our Facebook page.

Learn More About Staying Hydrated

You’ve got questions about staying hydrated, counting macros, nutrient timing or simply eating right to boost energy? We’ve got your answers.

Set up a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your individualized nutrition plan today.

Pre Workout Drink: What to Have Right Before Your Workout

What is the Best Pre Workout Drink?

It doesn’t matter where you train or how you compete, carbohydrates are the critical factor that determines how well you perform and whether or not you will endure and fight to the finish. Some people prefer to eat solid foods, but for most, having the right pre workout drink can make all the difference.

To perform your best you need a clean carbohydrate fuel source that moves through the digestive tract as fast as possible. But, with so many pre workout drink and recovery options on the market, it can get confusing and overwhelming to know which to use.

You need proof that the pre workout drink that you choose will deliver on its performance promises and is proven to be superior!

Vitargo: Best Pre Workout Drink for Athletes

Vitargo is a revolutionary breakthrough sport fueling and recovery drink. It provides the fastest muscle fuel and an unrivaled post-workout insulin boost for athletes from the recreational weekend warrior to elite Olympians worldwide. It has been around a while and has been proven to work.

Specially engineered from a variety of starch sources (mainly barley), Vitargo uses a patented process with several benefits over traditional sources of carbohydrate drinks such as dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin and other glucose polymers.

Workout Carbohydrates That Don’t Make You Feel Bloated

Some pre workout drinks can make you feel bloated.

That’s because the kind of carbohydrates used in typical formulas (with dextrose, fructose, maltodextrin and other glucose polymers) act like a sponge that draws water into the stomach leading to that “heavy stomach” feeling. These sugar-laden drinks can lead to uncomfortable (and unnecessary) bloating, cramping and distension.

Not good when you’re about to attack a workout.

Vitargo, on the other hand, has been proven to empty the stomach 2x times faster than many popular sports drinks. Because of it’s low osmolality, it spends less time in the stomach and more time in the intestinal tract where it is rapidly digested and absorbed.

This means no bloating or discomfort for your workout.

When to Use Vitargo Around Your Workout?

Vitargo is a great pre workout drink, but it also works wonders as an effective intra- and post-workout supplement. Used before training or competition, Vigargo delivers readily available carbohydrates for muscle if taken around thirty minutes before the workout.

Hitting a wall or feeling lightheaded in the middle of your workout?

During your training or competition, athletes can use Vitargo to maintain high intensity performance. Personally, whether for weightlifting or CrossFit, I have found Vitargo extremely effective as a pre workout drink and an intra workout supplement to keep me going at peak performance and stop the mid-workout bonk.

Training or competing multiple times a day or again the very next day?

You need Vitargo! To accelerate recovery and rehydration, consume Vitargo after your workout or competition. This will help deliver higher rates of muscle refueling and muscle tissue repair.

Simply put: this means faster recovery between sessions.

For those training twice a day, this is key. You can even mix unflavored Vitargo with your favorite protein powder for the ultimate post workout shake.

Sports Drink for Kids

vitargo for kids

Is Vitargo a safe sports drink for kids?

You bet!

Youth athletes need the right workout carbohydrates to fuel their sport activities or training, too. The problem is, most energy drinks you see on supermarket shelves are so high in sugar. Some well known drinks even have vegetable oil added and chemicals added.

Vitargo is safe for youth athletes and it gives them the energy to continue their sport training.

Both of my kids love Vitargo to fuel their trainings and game-days…so much-so that I had to buy them each their own shaker bottles! 🙂

How to Consume Vitargo?

Mixing Vitargo in water can prove difficult or result in a lumpy texture if you don’t have a shaker ball. I recommend the following mixing strategy to ensure Vitargo is properly dissolved:

  • Use an insulated shaker bottle
  • Add some water first
  • Then add your favorite Vitargo powder
  • Shake the bottle vigorously for 15 seconds
  • Add a little more water
  • Shake again before you drink

If you let your pre workout drink stand for too long, be sure to shake vigorously again before consuming.

My favorite shaker bottle to use is insulated. You can pick it up on Amazon:

Save on Vitargo

Vitargo is the cleanest carbohydrate supplement that I’ve found. All of their products are certified banned substance-free, gluten-free, Kosher and Vegan. I know that every athlete has their own unique refueling needs and preferences, but I personally use it for myself and my kids as a pre workout meal and intra workout fuel.

I love it so much, I’m #TeamVitargo!

So, stop being so afraid of carbs and give Vitargo a try! You can thank us later.

Save with code: ANGELA15 next time you order at



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Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Healthy breakfast ideas… they can be the Achilles heel of the modern day parent.

As a mom of twins, I know that mornings are crazy. Between dragging the kids out of bed and making sure they’re ready for school, it can be tempting to give breakfast the backseat and go for convenience over nutritious.

I get it. You don’t want to be repetitive with food items every morning, yet you have to be practical and keep things as easy as possible, too. But, the fact is: if you’re too busy to prepare and eat a nutritious breakfast, you’re simply too busy to be lean and healthy.

What about intermittent fasting? Sure, some individuals intentionally skip breakfast in effort to drop body fat, but it doesn’t seem to work in the long run.  Some studies show that those who skip breakfast are up to 5 times more likely to be obese than those who make their first meal of the day a nutritious, daily habit.

The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice nutrition for convenience.

It’s time to think outside of the donut box. Here are 15 healthy breakfast ideas to help you make your mornings a little less chaotic and a lot more nutritious.

sweet potatoes for breakfast

15 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Try these healthy breakfast ideas (kid-approved) to keep variety and interest up.

  1. ★Sprouted grain toast, eggs over easy, avocado, cucumber,
  2. ★Egg Sandwich using Birch Benders Paleo pancake mix as your “bread”
  3. ★Sweet potato, scrambled egg whites, one whole egg, no-sugar bacon, avocado
  4. ★Stove top oatmeal with fresh fruit (mashed banana works wonders!), flax,fresh pumpkin seeds, or a few nuts (need more protein, mix in some of your favorite protein powder – just add extra water), and unsweetened nut milk
  5. ★”Noatmeal” made with eggs, nuts, raisins, bananas. Blend all together then cook stove top with coconut oil
  6. ★Lara bar, seasonal fruit
  7. ★Hard-boiled egg, avocado, banana
  8. ★Loaded egg white omelet with turkey sausage, spinach and fresh berries on the side
  9. ★Plain Greek yogurt parfait: layer plain organic yogurt, walnuts and fresh or frozen berries
  10. ★Birch Benders pancakes or waffles with heated fruit spread on top (blueberries & bananas work really well), side of egg whites. Birch Benders also has pumpkin flavored mix, for all you pumpkin fans.
  11. ★Sprouted grain toast, grass-fed butter or nut butter (no sugar added) spread
  12. ★Protein shake mixed with half frozen banana, unsweetened oat milk, and nut butter
  13. Steves PaleoKrunch with yogurt or unsweetened nut milk
  14. ★ Egg White Muffins (fill each muffin slot ½ – ¾ of the way with egg whites and add in your favorite healthy ingredients like spinach, peppers, onions, tomatoes, turkey sausage. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are golden)
  15. ★Dinner leftovers (seriously!) Don’t be afraid of eating vegetables, or “dinner food” (like chicken and salad, or chili) for breakfast Try my Butternut Squash soup – it would make an amazing morning meal!

★or try your hand at your own cereal recipe!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas Made Easy

As a busy parent, I know it’s hard to resist the reliance on boxes and packaged goods. The key is to find the healthiest alternative and sneak in a few homemade options as well. Just start with one healthy breakfast idea to make from scratch, like Noatmeal or Butternut Squash soup. Try it on the weekend when you have a little more time and choose something that’s easy to prepare ahead. You’ll find that it’s easier than you think once you find some new favorites and get into the rhythm.

The key is to establish a routine that you can stick with

Try a New Healthy Breakfast Idea This Month

I challenge you to try something new this month. Have your child scroll through and choose the healthy breakfast ideas that sound good to try!

Jot down your favorites post it somewhere so everyone can see. Add new ideas every month or get creative and make new combinations!

Get kids involved with the cooking and have fun!

What to Eat Before and After a Workout

what to eat before you train

Not sure what to eat before and after a workout? How about when to eat it?

It all depends on your goals and your training regimen.

Here’s a quick overview of nutrient timing and who could use it.

What to Eat Before and After a Workout: Who’s it For?

Determining what to eat before and after a workout all depends on your goals and training regimen. Just like your workout programming and recovery strategies, nutrient timing is a helpful tool to provide framework for performance.

But, not everyone needs to worry about special nutrient timing strategies.

For most recreational exercisers hitting a workout to look and feel their best or burn off some steam, nutrient timing probably doesn’t need to be on top of the priority list.

Instead of stressing about what to eat before and after a workout, it’s advised to:

  • focus on eliminating any nutrient deficiencies, ensuring your portion sizes are on point
  • eat a balanced meal of carbs, protein and fats one to two hours before a workout
  • eat another balanced meal of carbs, protein and fats one to two hours after a workout

For competitive athletes or you’ve hit a really hard workout that leaves you feeling drained or depleted, these strategies can make a big difference in energy, performance and recovery. Now you know it’s time to put some nutrients back into your system to stop muscle breakdown and replenish your glycogen stores. That being said, if nutrition isn’t dialed in the other 23 hours of the day, nutrient timing won’t really change much.

What to Eat Before a Workout

Pre-workout nutrition is essential to help athletes sustain energy, boost performance, stay hydrated, preserve muscle and enhance recovery.

  • Protein. Protein will help you maintain (or even boost) muscle size, reduce muscular damage – speeding up recovery and flood your bloodstream with amino acids.
  • Carbohydrates. Carbs will help you fuel training and speed recovery in both long endurance sessions (more than two hours) as well as shorter, high-intensity sessions. Carbs help to preserve muscle and liver glycogen – aiding in muscle retention and growth and stimulates the release of insulin. When carbs are combined with protein, it not only enhances protein synthesis but also prevents protein breakdown.
  • Fats. While fats don’t necessarily improve or diminish performance, they do help to slow digestion and maintain blood glucose. Some research tells us to avoid fats before a workout because they slow digestion, so just remember to keep portions in check to avoid feeling sluggish during your training session.

Of course your actual needs will vary depending on your body size, goals and the duration and intensity of your workout.

What to Eat During a Workout

Do you need to eat or drink during your workout?

It all depends on how long it has been since your last meal, the duration of your workout and the type of exercise you’re doing.

Did you know?
Different intensities of exercise require different fueling strategies to get the best performance. During longer exercise bouts, you may need to take on additional fuel during your session. For example:

  • For most low-intensity workouts lasting less than an hour, the main focus should be on staying hydrated. Water will do.
  • Longer endurance workouts can be fueled with a combination of fats and carbohydrates.
  • For high-intensity workouts lasting less than an hour, focus on hydration and approximately 15-30 grams of carbohydrates.
  • For high-intensity workouts longer than an hour, consider consuming approximately 15 grams of protein and 30-45 grams of carbohydrates.

Hydration should be such a simple thing. You workout, you sweat, you get thirsty, you drink water and repeat. But, many commercial sports drink brands have made it overly complicated and as a result, less effective. Some are laden with sugar and other “light” version have dangerous sugar substitutes, which you absolutely don’t want.

Be a label reader. Look for fast absorbing drinks that don’t have added junk in them, like Vitargo (use code: Angela15 to get 15% off!) Vitargo is a  carbohydrate fuel replenishment that you can use pre-workout, during exercise, and after to get glucose to muscle cells faster.

What to Eat After a Workout

Post-workout nutrition is essential to help athletes recover properly, rehydrate, refuel and build muscle as well as improve performance for future sessions. It’s time to restock your stores.

  • Protein. Eating protein after a workout will help to prevent protein breakdown, stimulates synthesis and increases (or maintains) muscle tissue. It’s essential for recovery, performance and adaptation. Past research has pointed to proteins such as whey or casein; however, newer research shows that fast-digesting proteins are not necessarily any better for us than whole food proteins.
    • Want convenience? Choose a quick, post-workout protein shake.
    • Want to eat real food? Make a high-quality, high-protein meal (approximately 40-60 grams for males (approximately 2 palms) and 20-30 grams for females (approximately 1 palm) within 1-2 hours after your workout.
  • Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates after a workout are essential to restore glycogen and lead to improved next-day performance. Opt for a combination of whole, minimally processed whole foods with some fruit to speed up glycogen replenishment.
  • Fats. Consuming fat after a workout is beneficial for recovery as long as you consume adequate carbohydrate and protein

Final Thoughts

Healthy individuals who work out regularly:

If you eat a balanced, nutrient-dense meal one to two hours before a workout and another balanced, nutrient-dense meal within one to two hours after a workout, you’ll most likely meet your workout nutrition needs without any other supplements or strategies.

If your goals are modest and you don’t necessarily have any unique physiological needs, it’s best to balance quality sources carbohydrates, protein and fats before and after a workout.

Endurance athletes who train for high-level competition:

For endurance athletes or CrossFit athletes who log a lot of high-intensity hours each week, your carbohydrate and caloric needs are likely higher than average.

Consider adding a protein and carbohydrate drink during long (60 minutes) training sessions.

Strength athletes who train for high-level competition:

For strength athletes or weightlifting athletes with serious strength and muscle growth in mind, your protein and calorie needs are likely greater than average.

You could also consider adding a protein and carbohydrate drink during long (60 minutes) training sessions. You could also benefit from the muscle-preserving essential amino acids during your training.

Sports Nutrition Coaching

Overall, what you eat day-to-day will profoundly impact how much you have in the tank, which directly relates to exercise. Whether you’re a regular CrossFit athlete, swimmer or weightlifter, it’s important to have “enough of the right stuff” if you plan to go hard or go long.

As mentioned above, much of these factors are very much individualized. This is just a general overview. For more specific recommendations on nutrient timing for your own unique needs, please contact Coach Angela, Sports Nutritionist, at

More Sports Nutrition Blogs

When Should You Choose Organic?

when to go organic

If You Choose Organic, Does That Mean It’s Healthy?

“Organic” always means “healthy,” right? Well, sometimes. Choose organic foods and you’ll avoid a lot of toxic chemicals, which is ideal… but think twice before you rely on the “organic” label just to justify that organic pastry or lollipop for your kids.when to go organic

What separates conventional farming from the organic way?

The National Organic Program, a regulatory program within the USDA has established national standards for organically grown foods. To earn the label of “organic” in the U.S., farmers must adhere to certain standards such as: submit to audits conducted by accredited certifying agents, give animals access to the outdoors, make use of crop rotation, mechanical tillage, hand-weeding and other management methods to control weed growth. They must NOT: treat animals with antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed made from animal byproducts, fertilize with sewage sludge, apply prohibited substances to their land for at least three years prior to harvest.

Simply stated, organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. “Organic” does not necessarily mean animals are humanely treated, free to roam pastures or grass-fed. And it is not synonymous with healthy, low-sugar or unprocessed food…but, that’s what marketers want you to believe. You know, so they can charge you more. Confused yet?

Be a smart consumer. Here is the organic label lingo to become aware of:

Organic Labels

Many people get caught up on trick labels like “healthy,” “fresh,” “natural.” It’s easy to get confused. Always check the ingredient list and the nutrition-facts panel to see what’s really in your product. If you can pronounce the ingredients, you won’t need a chemistry degree to decipher the label.

  • “100% organic”: This product must contain 100% organic ingredients.
  • “Organic”: This product must have at least 95% ingredients organically produced.
  • “Made with Organic ingredients”: This product must have at least 70% organic ingredients.


Choose Organic with the Dirty Dozen

Each year, the Environmental Working Group identifies the fruits and vegetables that contain the most—and least—chemical pesticides. They call them the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.” The ”dirty dozen” list is a good place to start going organic.

  1. Strawberries (these are the worst offenders hording the most pesticide residues)
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
  13. *Hot Peppers

NOTE: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.

Even though it didn’t officially make the list (because it’s processed), the EWG also included a special report about raisins. EWG says that 99% of nearly 700 raisin samples tested positive for traces of at least two pesticides, and one sample had 26 different pesticides. “If we included raisins in our calculations, they would be number one on the Dirty Dozen,” said Thomas Galligan, Ph.D, a toxicologist for the EWG, in a press release. So, go organic with your raisins!

Clean 15

The Clean 15 list, on the other hand, includes produce that is least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Almost 70% of these food samples had no pesticide residues whatsoever. You can typically go conventional with these fruits and vegetables.

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas
  6. Frozen Sweet Peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Cauliflower
  10. Cantaloupe
  11. Broccoli
  12. Mushrooms
  13. Cabbage
  14. Honeydew
  15. Kiwi

Keep in mind, organic foods can cost up to 50% more than conventional products, so do your research first and choose wisely.

Do Your Research

Is there a trick label that often confuses you? Take a moment to look it up, define it and share it.

But, I know, Google can be equally confusing. Here are a couple more reputable sources to consider for your own research:


More on our Salus Nutrition Coaching Blog:

Overhead Mobility Test with Coach Lisa DPT, PT

overhead mobility test

Overhead Mobility Test

Try this easy and important overhead mobility test to assess where you’re at right now and see what you need to fix. Overhead mobility is important to be able to safely support heavy weights extended overhead. Don’t settle for suboptimal shoulder mobility. Take the time to understand it, assess it, fix it, and then you can enjoy your training knowing you have the best foundation possible.

This drill will not only tell us a lot about our overhead mobility but it is one of the most effective ways to achieve a better position. Video yourself from the side like coach Lisa does while you do the test to watch your position and assess your mobility.

Take the Overhead Mobility Test

Here’s a quick overhead mobility test to see how consistently you move your arms into a fully extended position overhead.

  • Hinge at the hips
  • Put arms in a “Y” position
  • Attempt to lift overhead
  • Note how high your hands get
  • Then in standing, put your arms in a “Y” position
  • Hinge at the hips
  • Compare the height of your hands from the first time to the second time.

Typically, in the first test, you can’t get your hands as high. That’s because you’re not preparing your trunk to give your shoulder the ability to move through the full range of motion. It’s important to depress our shoulder blades and extend our upper back. You should be able to do that first (prepare your trunk), then hinge at the hips and get your hands just as high as when you start in standing.

Practice that so that every time, your trunk is in the same position.

Member Spotlight: Sensei Benny Shares Self Defense Tips

Sensei Benny shares self defense tips

In this Member Spotlight, we interview Sensei Benny Gonzalez and talk with her about her fitness journey. As a 4th degree black belt, Benny has a wealth of knowledge and shares some important self defense tips for men, women and children to keep in mind.

Meet Sensei Benny Gonzalez

Benny started karate 34 years ago after she was mugged in an elevator and felt helpless by the ordeal. She is currently a Sensei, which is 4th degree black belt, studying Josan Lu Karate under Shuseki Shihan Sana in Garwood, NJ.

In addition to teaching karate whenever possible, she also teaches self defense regularly.

I think it is important for everyone, especially women and children, to be more assertive in certain situations. My motto is “it is better to know it and not need it, then need it and not know it.”

Benny has been a member at Salus for a few years now and also attends with her husband and son as well. We think she’s pretty amazing!

I would love to add that Salus is the perfect complement to my karate. Since I started at Salus, my upper body and kicks are stronger. I also have more energy which is something I thought at my age would not happen. I am thankful for the opportunity to give something back to this wonderful community and would like to thank my inspirational teachers.

Self Defense Tips

  1. Be aware! Look over your surroundings.
  2. Keep distance between you and others.
  3. If in danger, BE LOUD! An assailant wants a quiet victim.
  4. Survey your surroundings and have an escape plan.
  5. Take a self-defense class more than once. Move the moves a habit.
  6. BONUS: Avoid distractions such as looking at your phone while walking or listening to music with headset on both ears.

Member Spotlight: Chelsea Talks Music and Athletics

member spotlight Chelsea

In this Salus member spotlight, we talk to Chelsea about what got her started at Salus, how her routine has changed while working out at home and how music and athletics go hand-in-hand.

Meet Chelsea

Time for a Change

In the past, Chelsea found herself feeling bored at different commercial gyms. She would go for a little bit, but  didn’t really know what to do, so it didn’t become a part of her routine. “The only thing I saw from the gym was just my payments every month.”

Earlier last September 2019, she decided to make a change for herself. “I felt like I was just I didn’t have a lot of energy to get through the day teaching and my after school obligations. I just felt lethargic.” So she decided to step outside of her comfort zone.

“I always thought [CrossFit] was a little bit intimidating but, I wanted to learn something new.”

When it comes to her lifestyle, Chelsea now makes working out more of a priority.  Weightlifting became a draw for her and she loved the feeling of learning something new every class.

She says that it’s the community that has allowed her to push herself to show up, even on days that are difficult. “My energy levels are definitely way more than they have been before. After a workout, I feel great!”

Music and Athletics

Chelsea has been playing the cello since she was nine years old and I find it interesting how she has made the connection between music and athletics. She shares that the discipline and consistency with just showing up to practice (even if it’s just a minimal skill), go hand-in-hand.

Her advice?

“It can be scary to start something new (at any age), but just have a positive mindset and take one day at a time.  Just as I tell my students:

Practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent.

How Much Should I Eat? Portions Explained


How Much Should I Eat? Portions Explained

Not sure how much to eat? Portions can be tricky. The best place to start is by using your hand.

Fit in a good balance of protein, veggies, smart carbs, healthy fats by using your hand(s) as your guide to build your plate for each meal.

Use Your Hand As a Guide


Females: 1 palm (~ 20-30g of protein)
Males: 2 palms (~ 40-60g of protein)


Females: 1 cupped hand (~ 20-30g of carbs)
Males: 2 cupped hands (~ 40-60g of carbs)


Females: 1 thumb (~ 7-12g of fats)
Males: 2 thumbs ( ~ 15-25g of fat)


Females: 1 fist
Males: 2 fists


Eating like this for 3-4 meals a day put you around 1,200-1,500 calories each day.
Active women do best with 4-6 servings of each food group per day (~1,500-2,100 kcal).


Eating like this for 3-4 meals a day would get you around 2,300-3,000 calories every day.
Active men respond best with 6-8 servings of each food group per day (~2,300-3,000 kcal).

⚙️ From there, customize by adjusting the number of portions to meet your unique needs and goals.

For example, you may need MORE food because you…

• Are larger in stature
• Are feeling light headed during your workouts
• Eat less frequently throughout the day
• Are very active
• Are trying to gain muscle
• Aren’t getting muscle-gain results

If that’s the case, add the following:
Men: 1 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1 thumb of fat to a few meals every day.
Women: 1/2 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1/2 thumb of fat to a few meals each day.

You may need need LESS food because you…

• Are smaller in stature
• Feel full after meals
• Eat more frequently throughout the day
• Are not very active
• Are trying to lose weight
• Aren’t getting weight-loss results

If that’s the case, remove the following:
Men: 1 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1 thumb of fat from a few meals each day.
Women: 1/2 cupped handful of carbs and/or 1/2 thumb of fat from a few meals each day.

As always, pay attention to hunger cues, emotions that drive decisions, hormones and stress. Then adjust as needed.

For Kids/Teens

One easy way to size up portions is to use your hand as a guide. Kids have smaller hands than adults, so it serves as a reminder that kids should eat smaller portions, but note: athletes may need more than the average child. The purpose is to teach a point of reference for kids. Think of it as a visual learning tool. Without it, they may not have an understanding of portion sizes and end up under or over eating.

As always, pay attention to hunger cues, energy, activity levels and stress. It’s normal for children to have appetites that vary when they’re growing. Adjust as needed. The point of this challenge it to help kids find a good balance of protein, veggies, smart carbs and healthy fats for optimal energy and to prevent deficiencies.

5-Minute Meditation with Gina

guided meditation gina

Starting a New Fitness Journey

As a Yogi, Gina was already active, but she craved more. She actually started CrossFit as a way to connect with her family’s conversation at the dinner table. But, soon found she discovered she was competitive and even loved lifting weights, too!

Her progress was motivating. New deadlift PRs, first-time handstand push-ups…the list goes on!

Shifting Her Mindset with Nutrition Coaching

Soon after joining Salus, Gina began working with Coach Angela on her nutrition and continued to make an amazing transformation. Coming from WW, which uses a point-based system for weight loss, she shifted her mindset to a behavior-change approach for healthy living.

Her view on what and how she was eating changed and that gave her a new-found freedom over food. Her mind and body both responded positively.

Meet Gina:

Gina brings an amazing energy everywhere she goes, especially as a Reiki Master. Find out what Reiki is all about and how Gina uses this mindset in her everyday life.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. According to, “While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.”

Try This Guided Meditation with Gina, Reiki Master

In this guided meditation, Gina offers an opportunity to bring awareness to our breath, settle the mind, and dedicate a few minutes to self-care.

We are honored to have her lead us through a 5-minute guided meditation. Please join us: