An Open Letter to the Person Who Wants to Make Lasting Health Change in 2019...

To the Person Who Wants to Make Lasting Health Change in 2019,

Imagine my surprise as I’m driving on the interstate, en route to my New Year’s Eve plans on the final night of 2018…when I blow a tire! I don’t know if I hit a pot hole, a gopher, or just a piece of “let’s mess with Adam one more time in 2018.” All I know is my night’s plans were suddenly ripped out of my grasp.

flat tire.jpeg

So here I sit, home alone on New Year’s Eve, writing this article. Funny thing is I’ve been crafting this article in my head all day. I just didn’t know I’d be writing to you now. Be thankful in all things, right?

Here’s the thing: Most of us who want to step up and say, “This is the year I take care of my health,”…won’t. We will start on the road to health change. We will put on our workout gear and head to the gym. We will find ten healthy recipes, make a huge grocery list, and head toward the super healthy grocery store. And we will blow a tire. An obstacle of some sort will present itself, and we will find ourselves on the side of the road, parked next to our good intentions. Allow me to be your preemptive roadside assistance!

In my fifteen years of providing fitness and nutrition coaching, I’ve partnered with people to help them succeed like never before and achieve remarkable health change! If you want to make 2019 the year that you make lasting health change, here are three things you MUST DO to succeed like never before!

2019 Health Change Tip #1: Adopt a “No Carry-over” Approach

Imagine you were to go on vacation for two weeks. Of all the things you packed, you accidentally left your vitamins at home. As a result, for fourteens days you didn’t take your vitamins. Upon returning home, would you down fourteen days worth of vitamins in a single sitting, just to make up for the lost days? Of course you wouldn’t!!!

And you shouldn’t. When most people miss a day of vitamins, they don’t take double the next day. Not to mention taking fourteen days worth!

When I say “adopt a no carry-over approach”, what I mean is this: Don’t set goals that allow you to carry over today’s misses into tomorrow. If you want to set a running goal, don’t set a goal to run five miles a week. Set a goal to run one mile for five days of each week. One mile a day. No carry-over. Don’t miss four days of running and then run five miles in one day. Run one mile today. Commit to it. Make it happen. Then run one mile tomorrow. If you miss a day, you still run one mile tomorrow.

Here’s why a “No Carry-over" approach is important. We will have 365 days in 2019. When we set a goal for the year, and we don’t take action on that goal on a given day…no big deal. We still have 364 days to take action. Miss the first 26 days of the year? No big deal. We still have 339 days to hit that goal. Setting long-range goals can fool us into thinking that TODAY isn’t important. Today is all we have! It’s important.

When you set a goal for TODAY, it fosters urgency and focus. If you missed it, you missed. Often times we buy the lie that we can bail ourselves out tomorrow for inaction today. Winning in 2019 involves focusing on today’s action step. If you miss your step today, hit reset and try again tomorrow. Adopt a “no carry-over” approach, and you will find your action and outcomes are within reach sooner than you ever imagined!

2019 Health Change Tip #2: Create Friction For Yourself

Have you ever promised something to your child, niece, or nephew? “I’m taking you to the zoo, tomorrow!” They get excited. You get excited because they got excited. And then tomorrow comes and something happens that ruins plans for the zoo. What happens? You break the bad news that you can’t take them to the zoo. And they tear up and say, “But you PROMISED!” You feel horrible. You feel…friction.

Let’s say we write out a nutrition plan for the week. Breakfast is all planned out for the week. Same with lunch, dinner, and snacks. And then a co-worker orders pizza to be delivered to the office. You have your planned-out lunch sitting in the office fridge. And your brain goes, “You know, pizza does sound pretty good…”

Then the inner child in your brain goes, “But you PROMISED!” Friction. When we make a food plan or exercise plan, we promise our brain a future outcome. When we considering bailing on that outcome, our brain freaks out because…we promised. Creating weekly food and fitness plans are so important because they create the opportunity for future friction. Whenever we consider sliding off plan, our brain makes us hurt for considering the idea of breaking the promise we made to ourselves. That doesn’t mean we won’t break the promise and go off plan, but IT DOES MEAN we will feel more friction (and disappointment) for breaking our promise.

Planning food and fitness each week creates a promise to ourselves. Failing to make a plan (a lack of an internal promise) makes it more likely to act on someone else’s plan for us. Always have a plan…and you will always have friction when someone else attempts to sabotage your plan. Having a plan helps keep us on track, in part because of the friction applied when we consider going off-plan.

2019 Health Change Tip #3: Have a “Plan B” and Expect to Pivot

I see it all the time. “I’m going to workout an hour per day, five days a week.” Then the boss schedules an end-of-day meeting. One workout missed. Then traffic is horrible. Two workouts missed. Then your kid forgot about the extra practice the coach added, and they need a ride. Three workouts missed.

I’ve seen a lot of client planners and schedules in my day. I’ve never seen “Horrible traffic jam because of an accident” on someone’s schedule. I’ve never seen, “My kid forgot their uniform at home” planned out on the calendar. Unexpected thing happen. We need to be able to roll with the punches and make lemonade out of lemons when our day takes a turn for the unexpected.

The best way to respond to the unexpected is to prepare for the unexpected. Traffic will add two hours to your commute at some point. Your boss will re-arrange your day…and your child will as well. Plan on it. Expect it.

How will you respond when your day blows up? What’s your Plan B? You need to have one. You need to have a 15-minute workout that you can do at home when your day gets destroyed and the gym plan doesn’t happen. You need a snack in your car for when your day changes and your nutrition plan gets tossed by the wayside. Pivots help you to stay on track when life tries to throw you off track.

And the key to pivots: they involve lowering the bar. The meal ”you planned for” had a protein source, a good fat source, and veggie. Your pivot snack is a Lara Bar. Who cares! Most pivots allow you to stay on track because you lowered the bar! Bend but don’t break. That’s what a pivot allows you to do. Pivots may involve slowing things down, but at least you stay on track!

Life happens. Murphy’s law will apply, and your day will take a turn for the worse from time to time. Count on it! Because life happens, you need to be able to pivot. You need to have Plan B’s in place for your exercise and your nutrition. Bend, but don’t break!

In closing…

If you want to make lasting health change in 2019, you need to be able to adopt a “no carry-over” approach, create friction for yourself, and expect to pivot (have a “Plan B”). Want help with any of those things? I can help! It’s my job.

If taking control of your health in 2019 may require a partner or a plan, I’d love to have a conversation with you about how to build the plan to get you to the place you’ve always wanted to be with your health. For my little company, 2018 was the most successful year in our 15-year history. Here’s to partnering with you in 2019 so that you can achieve unparalleled health success!

Adam Erwin
Three Changes to Make When Yo-Yo Weight Loss Has You Hanging by a String...

As I sat in my home office in Plymouth, MN (in between personal training sessions), my attention was grabbed by the familiar Facebook prompt: “So-And-So mentioned you in a comment…”

Curious, I entered the productivity killer of social media to see why I had been tagged in a comment. A woman named Libbie asked about how to keep weight off. She said she’d yo-yo’d the same twenty pounds for years, and that was driving her insane.

What does it take to achieve long-term weight loss? How can we make success sustainable? The trick is to be purposeful in fortifying our healthy standards. While the blueprint looks different for everyone, here are three ways to best position yourself for your weight loss success to last.

Personal Trainer Tip to End Yo-Yo Weight Loss #1 : Demote Your CEO

When an organization wants to change directions or raise their standards, they often times fire their CEO.


We all have a CEO. Who is yours? Is it your friend, spouse, or sibling? They are our partner in crime, our sharer of treats, our…Chief Enabling Officer!

The greatest challenge in raising our standards (and keeping those standards) is that we often are surrounded by people who don’t raise their standards with us. That’s our CEO. They are the one trying to convince us that we deserve a night out when we promised ourselves we wouldn’t go out for apps, drinks, or dessert. They are the one texting you a photo of them at your favorite restaurant, asking if you want to swing by. Your CEO likes you just the way you are…in part because it is close to the way they are.

To maintain weight loss in the long run, we need to marry the higher health standard we’ve been dating. Make it permanent! Make it official! And who is standing in the way of our permanent improved relationship with our health? Our Chief Enabling Officer! I’m not suggesting you disown your sibling or best friend. I am suggesting that you re-work the rules and roles of the relationship to guarantee your success.

Change your schedule to force yourself out of your CEO’s most enticing standing offer. Is it apps and drinks at Trivia Thursday? Join a group fitness class for the next ten weeks that meets on Thursday nights. Is watching the game with him going to result in a caloric and gluten tsunami capable of wiping out your entire week of clean eating? Watch the game at your place while you cook clean food for the upcoming week.

Maybe you invite your former CEO to join you at the fitness class and clean cooking. Maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s important for you to recognize who your CEO is, which rules you need to change in the relationship to guarantee your weight-loss success, and what new role they will best serve in your life. You may have room for them as your CMO (Chief Makeover Officer…when you have earned a non-food reward like a massage or pedicure).

Losing weight is hard work. You deserve every opportunity to maintain your progress. Demote your CEO to make sure you can protect your new, healthier standards.

Personal Trainer Tip to End Yo-Yo Weight Loss #2: Get Yourself a Bulldog

The best way to fortify your healthy standards is to find and hang out with a bulldog. You know who I’m talking about. They are the one who has standards that intimidate you. They are the one who can do things in the gym you only wish you could do…or can’t imagine yourself doing. You admire the strength of their discipline (and discipline, by the way, is the muscle we must strengthen most when we want to make lasting health change).

Maybe it’s a personal trainer like myself (I typically serve the western suburbs of Minneapolis). Maybe it’s your friend that we don’t see as much since they raised their health standard (does that make us their former CEO???). Find someone who has the type of standards and discipline you want. They are the type of person that takes accountability seriously. You start slacking off? They will get in your face about it. You keep slacking off? They won’t have time for you. They are, after all, a bulldog.

Your bulldog won’t let you skip a workout. They will text you to ask if you stuck with the lunch you brought to work instead of partaking in the pre-diabetes party your co-workers like to call “Flatbread Friday!”

Your bulldog should deliver the discipline, accountability, and consistency to help you fortify your healthy standard. If you want to end your yo-yo weight loss, get yourself a bulldog!

Personal Trainer Tip to End Yo-Yo Weight Loss #3: Integrate Fresh Ideas Into Your Program

Variety is not only the spice of life…it is the self-imposed road less traveled that keeps us traveling down the healthy path! A new recipe and a fresh set of exercises can go a long way to keeping us on track. A bit of variety allows us to stick with what works without finding ourselves so bored we stop doing the work.

What’s missing from your food plan? Do you need a good soup recipe as the temperatures turn colder? Is it a sweet tooth that begs for you to find a Paleo blueberry crumble (I love the one in Diane Sanfilippo’s book “Practical Paleo”)?

I’ve done the math. There are 1.2 gazillion recipes on Google, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Make it a point to integrate a new recipe twice a month or more. A fresh idea keeps us engaged, delivers fresh energy, and helps keep our eye from wandering from the game plan we know is working for us.

As you may have experienced, new and different exercises can surprise our body. Recently, I did a hamstring exercise I hadn’t done in awhile. During the exercise, I could REALLY feel my hamstrings getting good work. I was excited about how good it felt to engage my hamstrings in such a way. And then I was sore. For eight days! I REALLY surprised my hamstrings!

I’m not saying the goal is to be sore for days on end because of a new exercise. What I am saying is that our bodies can get into a groove with our exercise routine…and sometimes that groove turns into a rut. By integrating new exercises here and there (safely…and in moderation…lest we get sore hamstrings for EIGHT STINKING DAYS!), we can defend against a stale fitness experience.

New ideas provide the variety we need to keep us engaged. By keeping our program fresh, our journey keeps us engaged, which helps us fortify our healthy standard!


Winning with weight loss for the long term is no easy task. If losing weight requires raising our standards, then keeping off the weight requires fortifying those standards. If you can create distance from your chief enabling officer, find yourself a bulldog, and keep your program fresh, you will be on the path to cutting ties with yo-yo weight loss.

Plymouth Personal Trainer Has Peculiar Fitness Tip: Lower Your Standards to Win With Your Health!
Plymouth personal trainer has perfectly imperfect advice!

I’m hired by people who live in Plymouth, Maple Grove, Wayzata, and other western suburbs in the Twin Cities who want to raise their standards. Most of the people who reach out to me via this website want to lose weight, get back to 100% after a frustrating injury, or just get accountability creating and executing a healthy plan.

I hear various versions of this statement all the time: “I’m tired of living in a body that I’m not proud of, and I’m ready to make a change. I just want to feel better and look better…like I did when I was _________ years old!”

Before we get you fitting in THOSE JEANS you’ve kept all these years “just in case…”

Let’s tackle the problem keeping many people from executing a healthier version of their life. It’s standards. Pie-in-the-sky standards (why can’t pie ever just be at mouth level? I digress.).

“I need to workout for an hour before work,” says the perpetual night owl. Not gonna happen.

"I need to find a way to avoid chocolate,” thinks the chocoholic who needs more than a 12-step program for their cravings.

I help my clients learn to lower their standards, not raise them. Here’s what I mean.

Lower Your Workout Standard! How long should you workout? 40 minutes? 60 minutes? I recommend six minutes! On some days, like the days I arrive at your door for in-home personal training, let’s crush it. Let’s get after it for 45-50 minutes and work hard. You will hate when I show up. You will love when I leave. And you will wonder why YOU paid ME to work YOU so hard! But on the other days? Workout for six minutes. Three exercises, for two minutes apiece. You will do focused work. You will work hard. And you will get yourself to actually do it.

Maybe you will do more than six minutes. Maybe you will get done with six minutes and think, “I can go for another six minutes!” Or you may say, “Now that I’m warmed up, I’m going to crush on the treadmill!” By agreeing to six minutes, you got a workout in that will probably extend past six minutes. But even if it didn’t…you reinforced a healthy habit, burned some calories, kept a promise to yourself, AND physiologically got yourself in a spot where you will crave more exercise next time AND desire healthier food! Those are huge returns on a six-minute investment!

Lower Your Food Standard! When it comes to food, let’s try to put less work in and settle for an easier path. Most of my clients don’t have time for breakfast in the morning. And fresh cooked dinners are great…but how often do we have the time AND energy for that?

My job is to help you make healthier easier. It’s time for nutrition hacks! Breakfast can be an easy grab-and-go proposition. Things like Applegate Sausage, fruit, Lara Bars, egg bake muffins, and smoothies (when built correctly…it is easy to take the healthy out of a smoothie really quickly!) make breakfast a cinch.

Lunches and dinners? Forget about it! Quick recipes that we plan and make in advance (yes, I COOK WITH and COOK FOR many of my clients) can make life easier. There’s nothing quite like getting home after a long day and reaching in the fridge to grab a perfect dinner that is already prepared! We don’t need a fresh dish each night. We don’t need you staying up all hours of the night doing food prep. Let’s lower the standard. Let’s make healthy easier to execute.

You won’t be saying, “I hate cooking!” when we build it correctly. It’s manageable. It’s not an added stress to you. I help my clients find a way to make healthy work for them. Easier execution, less pretense.

Lower Your Expectations for Yourself! I’m not worried about you executing the perfect food and fitness week. Forget the perfect week. Forget the perfect day. Let’s focus on a small win…like not letting your co-worker tempt you with her weekly batch of cookies!

Stacking up small wins is the name of the game! When we start to stack up small wins (6-minute workouts, easy and healthy dinners we eat instead of a drive-thru option), momentum starts to kick in. Small wins turn into big wins, and we look back at our week and think, “I CRUSHED IT!”

Eat a quick and healthy breakfast. Small win. Take the stairs at work. Small win. Donna (your co-worker with the cookies) throws you a curveball and offers you a cupcake? “Not today, Satan…I mean, Donna!” Because you’ve got a chocolate chip muffin (reach out to me via email to and I’ll send you the recipe) for a mid-morning snack…and now Donna wants to know if you brought enough of your treat to share. Small win that feels like a big win!

Often times we look too far ahead at the long line of perfection we expect of ourselves and get tripped up by the small hurdle immediately in front of us. Lower your standards. Let bite-sized success become the thing you are good at. Focus on the next small win…and win you shall!

Adam Erwin
Paleo Recipe Recommendations from Plymouth, MN Personal Trainer

Following a paleo lifestyle has benefits for health, joint pain, and potential weight loss.  If you've adopting the paleo diet for a while, you may be looking for a few new recipes for some variety. 

Here are nine new recipes I've enjoyed recently.

These should all be gluten-free (all Paleo is supposed to be)...but there are a couple of treats in here!

Chili Lime Pork Spare Ribs (Keto-friendly)



 Sausage and Cauliflower Casserole (Keto friendly)



Coconut Lime Chicken (Keto friendly)



Paleo Twix Bars



Paleo Breakfast Stacks



Paleo Spaghetti Squash Pesto Chicken (Keto friendly)



Turkey Meatball and Kale Soup (Keto friendly)



Healthy Breakfast Burrito Wraps (Keto friendly)



Raspberry Crumb Bars (NOT Keto friendly)



Looking for more tips to implement the paleo lifestyle?  I'm here to help!  

Danielle Allen
Plymouth Personal Trainer Tips: Foam roller exercises for knee and hip pain

Knee and hip pain can keep the best of us from remaining active. But what if I told you about a few simple exercises that would help you feel better and remain active?  Even better, in less than 15 minutes a day you can be on your way to healthier joints and feeling great again. 

1. Foam Rolling Your Quads

This simple exercise will help you stretch out the muscles in your quads. 

  • Start with foam roller on the floor or mat. 
  • Lie face down with your quads resting on roller and toes pointed straight down
  • Start just below your hips and crawl forward on your elbows to just above your knees. 
  • Keep elbows in the same place (forward so they don't bend under your torso)
  • Roll 10-15 times
  • Repeat with toes pointed to left and right

2. Foam Rolling Glutes (Medius)

Use this exercise in combination with quads and hamstrings

  • Start with foam roller on mat on floor
  • Lean on roller putting pressure on your glute
  • If rolling right glute, your right leg should be bent under left leg and leaning on right elbow
  • Roll small area just below hip
  • Roll 10-15 times
  • Switch sides and repeat

3. Rolling Hamstrings

  • Start with foam roller on mat or floor
  • Sit on roller just below your hips with feet off the floor
  • Support yourself with arms on floor behind you
  • Toes should be pointing towards ceiling
  • Roll from just below hips to top of the knee
  • Repeat 10-15 times
  • Point toes outward and repeat

If you're ready to start working on your knee and hip pain, using your foam roller with all three of these exercises can help.  I typically do all three exercises 3-4 times per week to help with joint pain. Here at Healthy Obsession, we're here to help.  We offer in-home personal training in Plymouth, MN customized your joint pain to help you get back to being active again. 

Danielle Allen
Plymouth Personal Trainer Tips For Making Intentional Changes for a Healthy Life

Making changes to improve your health doesn't always come naturally.  Through my personal training business in Plymouth, MN, I see a variety of clients wanting to make changes to their diet, their exercise plans, and their mental health. 


When we're wanting to make a change, we need to know and understand why that change matters.  Change that lasts is change that matters to us.  It's a change that will not only impact our lives, but sometimes can impact the lives of people we love. 

What matters to you? 

What we eat matters. How we sleep matters. How we exercise, if we exercise, how we de-stress, how we hit the reset button after a bad day or bad week...matters.

So how do we make intentional changes that matter?  I have a few tips to help us set goals that matter and see them through. 

1. Remind yourself of your why

Knowing our why motivates us to keep going when the change we want gets challenging. In the middle of our health journey, we need reminders of why we started and why it matters. We need things to prime us, to grab our attention when we are being pulled in a million directions, that how we take care of ourselves matters.

2. Decide to prioritize your health

Decide to make your health a priority. Remind yourself of the benefits you'll experience as you choose healthy consistently. 


3. Make a plan

Knowing how you'll get there is half the battle.  Make a plan with your exercise. Make a plan for your meals. Execute on your plans.  I advise my clients to commit to meal planning and prep each week so when life gets crazy, the food choices can remain consistent. 

4. Add some fun

Find those things that you enjoy.  Schedule some fun into your life. Make sure you include some goodness into your intentional changes. 

5. Set an intention every day

As you start each day, choose an intention for your day when it comes to your health. Choose to follow your meal plan or schedule your workout. Ask yourself what are the important things you need to do to make today healthy. 

Making consistent changes to your health takes commitment. 

How do you and I start making those consistent changes? With reminders. Reminding ourselves of why we started.  Reminding ourselves of what matters when it comes to our health. 

 What reminders, quotes, photos, habits, and rituals do you use to keep on the path and stay focused?

What I’m asking is: how do you make it matter?

If you are ready to make it matter, then I'm here to help.  Contact me about personal training in Plymouth, MN. 

Danielle Allen
The Difference Between the Keto Diet Vs. Paleo

As a in-home personal trainer, I've traditionally encouraged my clients toward a paleo lifestyle as much as possible. But recently, I've been intrigued by the Keto diet and the results some of my clients are seeing with this eating plan.  If you're wondering whether you should make the jump to Keto, read on for an overview of the major differences. 

What is the Keto diet? 


Originally developed to prevent and treat seizures, the keto diet can help you burn fat more efficiently by entering a metabolic state called ketosis. The benefits of keto include dramatic weight loss and improvement of blood sugars for those with Type 2 Diabetes. The diet follows a strict ratio of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. Dieters eliminate carbs and sugars and replace them with healthy fats and sometimes dairy. 


What is the paleo diet? 

The paleo diet, on the other hand, focuses on eating whole, unprocessed foods and is a grain and dairy free eating plan.  Unlike Keto, paleo can provide a more balanced macro nutrient balance with 35 % fat, 35 % carbohydrate and 30 % protein  Paleo focuses on support for digestive gut health and can improve autoimmune conditions, blood sugar imbalances and help with weight loss. 

What are the primary differences between the two eating plans? 


The differences reside in the macro nutrient consumption. Keto tends to be a targeted approach eliminating foods most people crave. From your everyday carbs to some fruits and vegetables, your intake on keto is limited.  

I like to tell my clients that Keto is much more precise (hitting your marks on macros each day), and less forgiving (no cheats or bonus meals!). But is also better for fat loss. Paleo is better for anti-inflammatory (assuming dairy in the keto plan), and I think it is easier to maintain overall. 

So which plan is for you? 

It depends on you! Each plan has benefits for health and weight loss goals. The plan that will work for you is the plan you can stick with. Your eating plan is part of a healthy lifestyle and should be a plan you can maintain for lasting changes. 

Still unsure? Healthy Obsession is here to help.  Contact Adam to get started with in-home personal training. 

Adam Erwin
4 Lessons Our Newborn Baby Is (Re-)Teaching Me About Achieving Health Goals
Our sweet baby girl is resting peacefully here as her personal trainer dad blogs about health change!

Our sweet baby girl is resting peacefully here as her personal trainer dad blogs about health change!

My wife gave birth to our brand new baby girl last week.  She's beautiful, a joy to cuddle with, and sounds like a kitten meowing when she's ready to be fed.  She's also an amazing teacher, taking her dad to school on life truths on an hourly basis.

If you have kids, you will relate both to what I am experiencing now and what I am learning (again).  If you don't have kids, God bless you and your awesome, quiet, free time.  And yes, you will certainly be able to connect with the truth shared here about cultivating winning habits for your health goals.

First, I'm a personal trainer.  I've been at it for fourteen years.  I spend most of my days going from home to home, helping clients achieve maximum health change across the Twin Cities (mostly west metro areas like Plymouth, Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen...and occasionally as far east as the Dellwood/White Bear Lake area).  So when I experience something profound (like becoming a dad again), it's through the lens of a personal trainer.  

It has become clear to me that caring for an infant is a lot like caring for newly born health change.  Here are the 4 lessons our newborn baby taught me about achieving health goals...

1) Nutrition is a priority, not an afterthought!  With a newborn, it is clear when it is time to for more nutrition.  They will cry until you feed them.  There's no skipping breakfast, working through lunch, or forgetting to eat dinner.  You gotta feed that baby several times a day! 

Our bodies are the same way.  When we don't eat, our body cries.  Blood sugar levels drop, mood changes, muscle tissue starts to break's a sad story.  If you want to achieve your health goal, you need to make nutrition a priority.  You can't win without it!

2) Going out requires strict planning!  Ever try being social while caring for an infant?  You better plan like crazy.  What to feed them, when to feed them, extra diapers and wipes, change of clothes if a mess happens, proper blankets and clothing to protect against the elements, nap time much planning.  

If you care about your health goal, planning is a MUST when going out with friends or colleagues.  If our goal is a priority, we need to plan our nutrition (eat in advance?), bring an extra diaper (a "friend" is going to crap on our goal because we refuse to lower our standard in their company), consider how long we may be out (healthy snack for the ride home?), and even manage expectations by telling someone in advance you won't be using the social time as a pre-diabetes party.  

In a country like the United States where over 60% of the population is overweight, going out requires strict planning!

3) Quality sleep is instrumental to quality health.  Life is all fun and games until your sleep schedules gets turned upside down.  As I slog through nights with severely interrupted sleep, I'm noticing that my workouts are not very good.  Strength is down, endurance is down.  My brain is foggy at times. 

And I crave...garbage!  Sleep is a primary vehicle for healing the body.  Food is another.  When we don't sleep well, our body says, "Guess we'll have to do this the hard way.  Bring on the calories!"  My cravings for unhelpful food are off the charts right now.  And how often does that happen to you when you don't get sleep?

Wanna win with your health goal?  Get good sleep.  Make it a priority!

4) Poop is going to happen, adapt accordingly!  It is amazing how many diapers we go through with our newborn.   And sometimes when she's fussy (gassy), she'll cry, then stop crying, stare me right in the eye, and destroy her diaper.  I can't believe how much poop this little thing can produce!

Ever experienced poop with a baby goal of yours?  You decide to make your paleo or keto menu and eat perfectly clean for the week...and on day two of your clean eating expedition you forget your lunch at home.  Poop!

Or you are going to workout every day this week, and you even pack your gym bag the night before and put it in your trunk so you can go to the gym right after work tomorrow.  Fool proof plan...until your spouse needs to borrow your vehicle the next morning and calls you as they drive away to remind you to take their car today.  Poop!

The reality is this:  whenever we make a health goal, that commitment will be tested!  Poop will happen!  We understand that babies poop, and we expect it.  Baby goals get poopy sometimes too...expect it.  When you find yourself without your healthy resources, become resourceful!  Adapt.  Make a change and get rid of the poop.  

Bringing it home...

We are only as good as our habits.  Going about health change requires a change in habits, a change in expectations we have for ourselves, and (often times) a change in the amount of intentional focus we put into the way each day plays out.   If we want to win with our new health goals, we need to be more intentional about food, planning social situations, sleep, and changing accordingly when poop happens in our day.  

If you'd like help making successful health change, I'd love to have a conversation with you.  Please fill out our little Contact Us form and I'll be glad to reach out to you!

Adam Erwin
Plymouth Personal Trainer Tips for Paleo Superbowl Snacks During the Big Game

Remembering why you started is a great way to stay on track with becoming a healthier you.  In order to stay on track, I typically advise my clients to plan ahead and work the plan. 

You may have noticed that Super Bowl fever has hit Minnesota.  As you gather with friends or just watch at home, snacks can sometimes be an issue.  So whether you're going to a Super Bowl party or just craving a little something extra, finding snacks and treats that are on plan can go a long way in helping you execute a healthy week - week after week. 

The choice is yours

When it comes to snacking, we get to choose what we'll plan to eat.  You can choose to challenge Chester Cheetah when it comes to what you snack on....


Or you can plan your way to healthier snacks.  When it comes to paleo snack ideas for the big game, I love these go-to ideas that help me stay healthy and still enjoy the party. 

Snack Idea # 1: These wings are life changing! 


I love easy and simple and these wings deliver.  Do yourself a favor and ditch the drumsticks and buy wings instead. Baked entirely in the oven, these wings come out crispy and tasty for a snack everyone will love!  

Snack Idea # 2: Dipping Anything (Healthy) in Guacamole


Who doesn't love guac?  Am I right?  I love dipping pieces of chicken and enjoying each bite.  Whether you make it from scratch or buy a paleo approved version, consider bringing a big bowl with dippers like raw veggies, homemade Applegate bacon chips or yes, chicken to your next party.  You can't go wrong when it's dipped in guacamole! 

Snack Idea #3: Hot Beverages


Let's face it!  It's Minnesota and you may need a hot beverage to warm up.  These are 2 of my favorite go-to hot drinks.  On the left, Caribou Green Tea.  It's a great hot drink for a cold day. On the right, a paleo maple latte, which includes coffee, coconut cream, maple syrup, and Kerry Gold butter. Tastes like it came right from your favorite barista. Yum! 

Snack Idea # 4: Bring a bar


Carry a paleo-friendly bar in your purse or pocket.  When heading to a party, you never know what kinds of foods will be served.  You can always be prepared to fill up on a healthier choice with paleo-friendly snacks that work for you and keep you on track.  Personally, I love the Epic bars which are all-natural and filled with protein.  Just grab a bar and go. 

Snack Idea # 5: Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Muffins


I love these coconut flour chocolate chip muffins which are a healthy treat that satisfies your sweet tooth.  I make a couple of substitutions to make them paleo. Simply use Kerry Gold or another organic butter and enjoy life chocolate chips. These muffins are a great party or anytime snack to keep yourself on track. 

Need some help getting and staying on track when it comes to your health? 

Healthy Obsession is here to help!  Simply get in touch to find out more about our in-home personal training packages in Plymouth, MN. 

Adam Erwin
Plymouth Personal Trainer Tips for Kickstarting Your Health Goals in 2018

Christmas is less than two weeks away! While you may be focused on the list of things to get done before Christmas like gift giving and planning that holiday party, you may also be thinking about 2018 and New Years' Resolutions. The most popular resolution this time of year is to get healthy.  And if you've been wanting to find a way to make healthy easier, then Plymouth-based personal trainer Healthy Obsession has some tips to get you started. 


Personal Trainer Tips for kickstarting your health in 2018

You've been here before.  Maybe resolving to create a healthier you has become a New Years' tradition that is quickly forgotten by the 1st of February. Or maybe this is the first year you want to get serious about health and healing. Wherever you are, there are some simple tips that can help you be successful in 2018. 

Make sure you have a plan

Having a plan, specifically a food plan, is like wearing blinders in a race. No distractions, just run the path in front of you. Easiest way to win with your body.

Having a plan, specifically a food plan, is like wearing blinders in a race. No distractions, just run the path in front of you. Easiest way to win with your body.

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  And while this is a quote popular in business circles, it's true when it comes to creating your healthy lifestyle, as well. I encourage clients to make a plan each week and stick to it.  This includes menu planning every week and committing to meal prep at the start of the week. 

How does this help? Having a plan on those crazy, busy days helps eliminate the temptation to grab your lunch from the drive-thru. When you've planned out each meal and executed it through meal prep in one day, you are ready to experience your healthiest week one week at a time. 

Change your perspective on the scale

Your weight is like your tax refund. It’s one number that never tells the whole story. If you want the truth about your health direction, we must measure success in more ways than one.
— Adam Erwin, Healthy Obsession

If you're like most of us, you tend to start with the scale.  What do you weigh? How can you lose weight faster?  But what if I told you that the number on that scale doesn't give you the whole picture? Here at Healthy Obsession, I work with clients to reset their thinking and focus on planning, healthier choices, and workout routines that work for them while getting them to their goals, instead of solely focusing on the scale. The results? Most clients still drop that number on the scale all while focusing on healthy choices that make them feel great. 

Develop Your Fitness Game Plan


A better fitness game plan will mean a better outcome for your health goals. Choose a fitness plan that works for you, accounts for any injuries you may be facing, and that works efficiently with your body. I typically custom design strength training routines that incorporate the best exercises for quick results. And an added bonus for Healthy Obsession clients? Video recaps so they can keep their fitness routine up between training sessions. 


Know when you need help 

Sometimes the best way to make progress on your health goals is to find someone who can help you focus and help with developing your new heathy life plan.  Here at Healthy Obsession, I meet with clients in their homes or at Anytime Fitness in Champlin and customize a health and fitness plan you can execute to get and stay healthy one week at a time. 

Danielle Allen
Plymouth Personal Trainer Healthy Obsession Maintain Challenge is Here!

You've been working hard. You've been eating healthy and working out.  Your biggest challenge between now and Christmas when it comes to your health is maintaining all that good work you started.  Healthy Obsession, your Plymouth personal trainer, has you covered with our five week maintain challenge. You can maintain your success with some helpful tips. 

Details on the Challenge

This is a five week challenge starting the week November 13th and running the week of December 11th. 


Join the challenge and attend group fitness classes

When you join the challenge, you'll get the benefit of two group fitness classes with me and the other challenge members.  Additional group classes above 2 per week are just $ 5 per class.  All classes meet at Anytime Fitness in Champlin, MN. Choose from the following options: 

  • Mondays 6PM - 6:30 PM
  • Tuesdays 6PM - 6:45 PM
  • Wednesday 7PM -7:30 PM
  • Saturdays 8 AM - 8:45 AM 

Benefits of joining the challenge

What do you get when you officially join my maintain challenge? 

Discover healthy cooking made easier


Learn how to make healthy cooking easier with sample meal plans, over 40 favorite recipes and cooking videos for many of the recipes. 

Get help with menu planning and cooking

Get help with your menus, cooking and more! Team cooking sessions will be held on Thursday's at Adam's house in Plymouth from 6:30 PM - 8PM (not meeting on Thanksgiving).

Execute better workouts on your own

Benefit from quick fitness videos you can follow to challenge yourself and get fit faster. 

Cash Prizes


You can earn cash prizes both for winning the challenge and weighing in weekly! Here's how it works...Weigh in weekly and win cash weekly!  Step on the scale the same day each week (Saturdays for example). If you have maintained or improved upon from your first weigh in, you get $ 5. Those who make or exceed their weigh-in goal will also be entered into a weekly drawing. 

Win the big cash prize

Prizes are estimated and determined by number of participants.  For first place, $ 200. 

How cash prizes are determined

The participant with the most points wins! Points are awarded as follows

  • 1 point for every pound lost between first and last weigh-in
  • 10 points for every 1% of fat lost between first and last weigh-in
  • 5 points for every weekly menu that is submitted on time
  • 5 points for every weekly weigh-in where you maintain or lose weight

Your Investment

As a healthy obsession client, your investment is $ 45 and for non-clients $ 125.  There will be no refunds on challenge investment once it has been paid

Are you ready to join the challenge? 

Danielle Allen
Plymouth Personal Trainer Fitness Challenge

What does it take to win a fitness challenge?  Here at Healthy Obsession, we are in week 4 of our weight loss and fitness challenge. Contestants in the challenge are seeking to execute their healthiest week 6 weeks in a row to feel great, get fit and lose weight. 

During week six of HOC, participating contestants can choose to earn bonus points toward their final score by competing in the 10-Minute Fitness Challenge. If you're just learning about the challenge now or are playing along at home, you too can choose to work on getting fit by playing along. 


How the Fitness Challenge works 

Pick one exercise from the primary strength exercises (bench press, leg press, lat pulldown), one exercises from the secondary strength exercises (seated shoulder press, preacher curl, tricep pressdown), and one exercise from the cardio exercises (Jacob’s Ladder, stepper, row machine).

If you're participating in the challenge with us, you can use your ten minutes to hit performance benchmarks for each exercise to earn up to five bonus points per exercise (15 is the maximum amount one can earn).

Each participant must spend a minimum of two minutes at each station. And if you're doing this at home, make 2 minutes per station your goal as you set your own fitness challenge. 

Performance Benchmarks For Each Exercise:

Primary Strength

  • Bench Press-1 pt per 1,250 lbs pressed (Example: 20 reps x 62.5 lbs)
  • Leg Press-1 pt per 2,700 lbs pressed(Example: 20 reps@135 lbs)
  • Lat Pulldown-1 pt per 1,100 lbs pulled (Example: 20 reps x 55 lbs) 

Secondary Strength

  • Seated Shoulder Press-1 pt per 500 lbs pressed (Example: 20 reps x 25 lb bar)
  • Preacher Curl-1 pt per 500 lbs curled (Example: 20 reps @25 lb bar)
  • Tricep Pushdown-1 pt per 600 lbs pressed (Example: 20 reps@30 lbs (end station)


  • Jacob’s Ladder-1 pt per 80 feet climbed
  • Stepper- 1 pt per 12 flights climbed
  • Row Machine-1 pt per 200M rowed
Better you.jpg

I’ve chosen to set up this challenge so you can pick exercises that feature your strengths, or can work around an injury. If I were competing, I would build it with doing my primary exercise first, secondary exercise second, and cardio last. I would focus most of my ten minutes on the exercise(s) where I’m most likely to gain the most points.

For those trying these fitness challenges at home, focus on your strengths as you get fit and have fun. 

The best way to choose exercises (assuming you are injury-free) is to choose unique muscle groups for each exercise. If I’m doing bench, I’d probably pair it up with curls and the ladder or stepper, for example. Bench press, shoulder press, and tricep pushdown feature many of the same muscles. Likewise, lat pulldown and preach curls feature some of the same muscles. I’d avoid these pairings.

Start going after these exercises so you can get a handle on what your challenge should look like and have fun while you're doing it!  Questions? Let me know!

Danielle Allen
Plymouth Personal Trainer Tips on A Successful Weight Loss Challenge

What does it take to experience a successful weight loss challenge? As a personal trainer located in Plymouth, MN I've personally competed in and run challenges for my clients. And in every challenge, I've observed the key habits that help participants achieve success on their goals throughout the challenge. 

1. Remember Why You Started

My goal for the Healthy Obsession Challenge is to help you execute your healthiest week, 6 weeks in a row.  How do we do that? We start with our why.  Why did you sign up for the challenge in the first place? Was your goal to be healthier? Lose weight?  Discover the energy to play with your kids?  Whatever your motivation was to press yes and enter the challenge, remind yourself daily this is why you started. 


2. New is tougher than familiar

If you've been with us from the beginning, you are currently in week 2 of the challenge. The reality is that new things are tougher than what's familiar. It would be easy to go back to your old patterns. Instead, remind yourself that is going be tough but worth it.  Take this six week period as a time to try new things, get moving and experience results. You can't become who you've never been before without doing things you've never done before. 


3. Make a plan and stick to it!

The best way to be successful in any fitness challenge is to make a plan and stick to it.  Take the time each week to sit down and plan your meals, your snacks and your workout schedule. Do some meal prep on Sunday so you're not caught off guard when life gets crazy busy.  Prepare some go-to snacks and meals that you can just grab and have with you when that meeting goes long. Commit ahead of time to when and how you will work out.

After you've made all those plans - don't forget to stick to them. Stick you meal plan on your fridge. Put your workouts in your phone. And execute your healthiest week six weeks in a row for a more fit and healthy you! 

Danielle Allen
Plymouth Personal Trainer Healthy Obsession Challenge

Welcome to Healthy Obsession Challenge!

Each year I issue a challenge this time of year.  Execute your healthiest week for 6 weeks in a row as you compete for the best improvement and cash prizes.  My mission in all this is to make healthy easy and fun as we encourage each other in the challenge. 

The challenge starts this week on September 25th and runs for 6 week.  It's not too late to get started.  Simply e-mail me and I'll send you a packet with all the details. 

For those who are already in and ready to get started, I am THRILLED to get started with you. 

First, the Packet...

Once you've registered, I will be sending out your starter packet.  This is our first and best conversation on getting started.  The packet shares insight and strategy on food, fitness, habits, and hormones.  Please read this ASAP!


Need an RSVP...

I'm looking to get some dates for Week 1 on your calendar.  In our first seven days we have six group workout opportunities and one cooking class.  Please RSVP for the following dates/events:


RSVP #1-Group Training (pick up to two of the following dates/times):

  • Monday-6am-6:45am, 6pm-6:30pm
  • Tuesday-6pm-6:45pm
  • Thursday-6am-6:45am
  • Saturday-7:30am-8:15am, 8:15am-9am




RSVP #2-Cooking Class


9/30/17-10:30am-12:30pm-Cooking Class at Adam's in Plymouth-We will be cooking entrees from the week two menu (which you will receive during week one...around 9/27).  Not only will we learn how to cook cool stuff, we will complete most of the week 2 cooking in ninety minutes (with extra time to package and clean up if need be)!  Can I get an amen?


Important to note: cooking class includes your share of the cost of groceries.  If you are participating, expect to spend $85-$100 or so on groceries.  I will do my best (Costco, etc.) to find great deals to be a good steward of your funds.  


Materials to Follow

I wanted this to hit your inbox quickly.  The next email will include:

1) Week one menu (a list of ideas, and not necessarily what you should do...I will be expecting you to create your personal menu...and I'm glad to help!), 

2) Recipe list of 20+ awesome Paleo recipes

3) An invite to join the private Healthy Obsession Challenge Facebook Group (where cooking videos, exercise videos, and other items will be posted).


Ready to RSVP to Group Fitness Classes and Cooking Class?


Danielle Allen
Plymouth Trainer Healthy Obsession Challenge is Back

Are you looking for a good fitness or weight loss challenge?  Look no more!  My Team Challenge is back running for six weeks started September 25th. My goal is to help you have your healthiest week- six weeks in a row! 

The Team Challenge Benefits

Ever team challenge member receives added tools to help you on your healthy journey.  Check out what you can take advantage of: 

Group Fitness Classes


We want to making working out fun and offer group fitness classes at Anytime Fitness in Champlin for any team challenge members.  Choose from the following classes: 

  • Monday Mornings 6-6:30 AM
  • Monday Nights 6-6:30 PM
  • Tuesday Nights 6-6:45 PM
  • Thursday Mornings 6-6:30 AM
  • Saturday Mornings 7:30-8:15 AM and 8:15-9 AM

Save Time & Money on Meals


Team cooking in Hyvee's Cooking Lab in Brooklyn Park.  These are tentatively scheduled for two Saturdays during the challenge at 10 AM. 

Make Healthy Cooking Easier

We'll provide menu plans, recipes and cooking videos each week. 

Better Workouts

You'll benefit from our quick fitness videos each week so you can follow the challenge at home and get fitter faster. 

Give Back to the Community

Give back to the community while you get fit as we use our newfound energy and strength to do some lifting (serving) in the community. We'll provide 2 dates where you can serve. 

Compete for Weekly Drawings & Prizes

You can compete for our weekly drawings and cash prizes. Our prizes are determined by the number of participants. Cash prizes are $ 450 for 1st place, $350 for 2nd place and $ 200 for 3rd place. 

Cash prizes are determined by...

  • 1 point for every pound lost between first and last weigh-in
  • 10 points for every 1% of fat lost between first and last measurement
  • 5 points for every weekly menu that is submitted on time
  • Up to 15 bonus points earned at the 10-minute fitness challenge completed at the last weigh-in

Your Investment

So what's all this cost? $ 45 for Healthy Obsession clients and $ 145 for non-clients. No refunds. 

Are you ready to get started on living your healthiest week, six weeks in a row? 


Adam Erwin
Plymouth Personal Trainer Meal Planning Tips

My goal with clients is always the same. Let's make healthier easier.  One of the ways we can get stuck is failing to plan our meals for the week.  So here are some quick and easy tips for planning a successful week on plan. 


Set up a meal plan calendar

Find a way to do your planning.  Use an excel worksheet or your day planner and pick your day. I like to use my own meal planning woksheet: 

Evaluate you weekly schedule so you can plan for any unique events. 

Research recipes

One of the best keys to sticking to a meal plan is to keep it filled with foods you love.  Consider a mixture of go-to paleo meals and adding a new recipe or two to your plan. 

Write Everything Down

When we fail to plan, we will plan to fail.  Make sure you have written down everything from your breakfast meal to your late snack.  Knowing what you are going to eat at every meal will help with those derailing, last minute cravings. 

Time To Prep

Once I've got the plan on paper and finished the shopping, I get to work and meal prep for the entire week.  Staying on track is easier on those extra busy days when I can grab all my pre-made meals and snacks as I head out the door. 

Not every week can be a perfect week. Having a meal plan ALWAYS beats not having a meal plan. 

Need help with meal planning? I can help!

Adam Erwin
Paleo Breakfast Ideas

What's for breakfast?

Like millions of Americans, many of us are in a rush when it comes to starting our day and getting to work. I recommend paleo breakfast ideas for a quick and easy start to your day. 

Not Your Mama's Breakfast

I typically recommend throwing your ideas about typical breakfast foods out the window.  Yes, there are plenty of paleo options for pancakes and egg bakes. But what if I told you that breakfast can be easier on those rushed mornings? 


Grab some lean protein and veggies and top it with pesto or guac for a great meal. Recently, I put together an amazing breakfast of chicken with zoodles pesto.  Yes for breakfast! It tasted amazing and kept me satisfied for a great and healthy start to my day. 

Consider eating those great tasting non-breakfast items for a meal that satisfies all morning long! 

What is your quick and easy go-to breakfast for staying on plan all day long?  I'd love to hear from you so comment here



Adam Erwin
Plymouth Personal Trainer Tips: Healthy Obsession Challenge

What the best way to be successful at the Healthy Obsession Challenge? 

That's what most of my clients ask me.  My answer is the same as my typical routine. 


Every week, I sip some green tea while I crank out menus and recipes.  Just like me, you can invest in your health and do the same. Succeeding at my Healthy Obsession Challenge can be simple. 

Meal Planning is the place to start

If you fail to plan, you may be planning to fail. Invest in you and plan and prepare your meals for the entire week. A one hour investment in planning your meals for the week will go a long way to helping you succeed. 

Get Moving

Once you've planned and prepared your amazing meals for the week, schedule your workouts. Join the Healthy Obsession Challenge community with my group workouts. 

Combining these two quick tips will help you execute your healthiest week, six weeks in a row! 

Interested in locking down the next six week of food and fitness with me? We begin on September 25th. 

I'd love to hear what helps you create success when it comes to your health. Simply comment here as we help each other make healthy easier. 

Adam Erwin
Paleo Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Guacamole Chicken

Simple, delicious, and healthy.  It's where I live!  When I come across a paleo recipe that meets my criteria, I tend to lean on it quite a bit.  As an in-home personal trainer based out of Plymouth, MN, I am relied upon by my clients to make their cooking time shorter and easier.  This dish is a "MUST ADD" to your paleo recipe list.


A few quick words on what I do to make this dish as healthy as it needs to be...

1) I use Applegate-brand bacon.  It is uncured, antibiotic-free, nitrate-free, humanely raised, etc.  It's a quality slab of bacon without all the extra garbage added to it.

2) I use Smart Chicken breasts.  Smart Chick is also hormone-free, antibiotic-free, etc.  From what it eats to how it is treated, what goes into a chicken impacts the quality of the meat we eat.  Smart Chicken is a brand that does a nice job, so I trust them when I buy chicken.

3) Guac is almost always paleo, so I usually buy it pre-made.  Make sure you read the ingredients just to be sure nothing silly is lurking on that label!


-4(6 ounce) chicken breasts, butterflied or pounded thin -salt and pepper to taste

-1/2 cup guacamole                             

-8 slices bacon 

Cooking Instructions

1.       Lay the chicken flat, season the outside with salt and pepper, spread 1/4 of the guacamole on each of the chicken breasts, roll them up and wrap each in 2 slices of bacon

2.       Grill over indirect medium heat, with the lid down, until the bacon is crispy and the chicken is cooked (160F to 165F), about 20-30 minutes, or bake in a preheated 400F/200C oven on a wire rack on a baking pan until cooked, about 20-30 minutes, turning the oven to broil for the last 5-10 minutes to ensure that the bacon is crispy.

3.  Add a veggie to it (salad, grilled asparagus perhaps), and you are ready to eat!

As always, I want to make sure I credit the source of the genius.  I found this recipe here:



How to Win At DietBet

How to Win at DietBet

I bought a new softball glove this week.  It is beautiful!  The smell of the leather, the feel of the laces.  The best thing about my new glove?  I paid for it with my winnings from DietBet competitions I won in March.  I’ve competed in four DietBets in 2017, and I’ve won money in all four. 

I love to compete.  I love to win.  Most of all, I love strategy!  To win a dietbet, strategy is key.


I make my living as a personal trainer in Plymouth MN helping people win with the scale.  In a 4-week game like DietBet, the challenge is to have a steady approach for the first three weeks.  We can’t win a 4-week DietBet in the first three weeks, but we can sure lose during that time.

I want to help you win your DietBet (and if you want to compete in our current game, click here to join our DietBet Challenge).   Weight loss can be a million-piece puzzle, so I’m going to distill the process for you to help you focus your efforts on a few strategies that are likely to put you in the best position to win.  If you want to win this scale game, here’s where I’d encourage you to invest your efforts:

1) Write out a meal plan in advance of each week (with Paleo recipes!).  

Obvious tip, right?  It’s so obvious that most people won’t do it. 

A written meal plan is a written goal.  It’s also a contract…an agreement you make with yourself. It is much more difficult to fall off the food wagon after you’ve gone through the effort to write out a meal plan.  Because your brain knows better.  If you eat fast food when you specifically wrote down that you were going to eat bacon-wrapped guacamole chicken (yes, I’ll send you the recipe AND the cooking video), you experience specified disappointment.   You know exactly what you should have done, and you did something you know you shouldn’t have done.  If we don’t have a plan, we don’t feel as bad about our decision because we didn’t choose against a specific good food.  Without a plan, it’s almost as if our brain gives us permission to behave badly.  “It was late and I was so tired, and I didn’t know what to eat, so I drove thru Wendy’s,” our brain says. 

Fast food restaurants exist because they are counting on us not having a plan.  They are counting on us forgetting that we get hungry each morning, midday, and evening.   Fast food chains want our predictable bouts of hunger to take us by surprise, rendering us helpless as we pull up to their window.

It is easier to win with food when you make your food decisions in advance (and I’m assuming that, along with your written plan, you went ahead and made some meals in advance).  When I get home at night and I’m tired after a long day, if I know what I have planned to eat and it is already waiting for me, I’m going to win.  If I do not have my plan ready and food prepped, I am going to lose with my food.   It’s as simple as that.  And I’m going to jump out on a limb and guess that you may operate the same way I do sometimes.  When you are hungry and tired (or hungry and busy, or hungry with kids hanging on you), you will reach for whatever is closest and easiest.  If you have planned for healthy to be close and easy, you will eat healthy.   

I have a meal plan template I’m ready to send you.  All you need to do is email me and ask for it (   To win this scale game, you need a meal plan created in advance of your week.  If you do this, you are very likely to be in position to win.

2) Exercise with intensity for at least 9 minutes a day. 

According to volumes of research, when weight loss is the goal, most forms of cardio are for suckers.   I can hear you thinking, “that’s a little dramatic, Adam, don’t you think?”  Yes, it is.  Cardio has value for our health, but it does not have near the amount of value for weight loss as most people lend to it.  If we jog two miles (at a 10-minute pace), we will burn somewhere around 200 calories.  Big deal.  If we lift weights at a moderate pace for twenty minutes, we will probably burn less than a 100 calories

Winning a scale game is not about how many calories we burn during exercise.  Winning a scale game is about how many calories we burn BECAUSE we exercised.  The person who lifts weights at a moderate pace is likely to burn several hundred more calories in the 24 hours post- exercise than the person who performed moderate cardio for the same time duration.   I don’t care how many calories I burn during my short workout.  I care very much about how many calories I burn in the 24 hours after my workout.  That’s the number that matters more.

To burn the most calories post-exercise, the duration and modality are not nearly as important as the intensity.  Exercising with intensity is how we win a scale game.   I recommend applying a Tabata interval to your exercise.  It is an easy interval format that will help you win with the scale.

A Tabata interval works like this: 20 seconds of exercise (bicep curls, for example), followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Then 20 seconds more seconds of bicep curls ,followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Repeat this format for 8 sets, which will take four minutes.  Guess what?  In four minutes you have destroyed your biceps for the day.   Rest for a minute, then do another Tabata interval with another exercise that challenges anything but biceps (mountain climbers, perhaps). 

In this example, you crushed biceps for four minutes, rested for one minute, then tore it up with mountain climbers for four minutes.  In nine minutes you broke a sweat, provided great work to some muscle groups, and did so with reasonable intensity.  You just won the scale game for today in the workout department.

Most people don’t exercise as often as they should, and part of the problem is their rigid definition of exercise.  For most people, the exercise experience is defined by a change of clothes, a drive to the gym, a warm up, 30-40 minutes of structured moving around, followed by a drive home and shower.   

Do the 9-minute thing.  If you have time for more, great.  If not, you at least crushed it for 9 minutes and DID SOMETHING.  Leave your “I don’t have time to exercise because I don’t have an hour to burn” excuse at the door.  Tackle 9 minutes with some intensity and reap the rewards of your effort.

3) Sleep like it is your job!  

If we break down weight loss into categories and percentages, I believe it looks like this:  70% of weigh loss is about food, 20% is about exercise, 5% is about habits, and 5% is about hormones.  The funny thing is, you can get 95% of the equation correct, but if your hormones aren’t in agreement, losing weight is going to be incredibly difficult.  And nothing helps regulate hormones like sleep.

Quality sleep helps balance hormones like cortisol (our fat-storing hormone) and leptin (the master hormone, which tells us how hungry we are and how much energy we have…amongst other things).   Sleep also helps aid in recovery from exercise.   If we sleep well, our muscle tissues and connective tissues recovery much more quickly than if we don’t sleep soundly.   

If we do not sleep well (enough hours, or deep quality REM sleep), our body uses our “backup” system to help repair muscles and tendons: food.  When we don’t use sleep to recover, our body will crank up our appetite in hopes that we consume more nutrients and achieve recovery from increased nutrition. 

I encourage you to take a hard look at your sleep habits and winding down process at night.  If you focus on getting more quality sleep, it will help you win your scale game!

Weight loss is a million-piece puzzle.  I do believe that writing out a meal plan, exercising with intensity with a few muscle groups for 9 minutes or more each day (or most days), and nailing down your sleep schedule will put you in position to win from the start!

Here’s to your healthy success with your scale game!

Adam Erwin