New Years Resolutions

6 Goals I Will Achieve Before New Year’s Eve (And You Should Too)

Only 95 days until New Year’s Day 2018! While you’re depressed to think about snow, I’m excited to start on my New Year’s Resolutions. Why not start now? It takes time to rewrite processes, retrain my body and mind, and make the appropriate environmental changes. While my life is wonderful (and very blessed), here is my early list of resolutions that I will achieve by the start of an epic new year.

Physical Goal: Train my left side to handle daily activity more comfortably and efficiently.

Ironically, I’m complaining about favoring my right side (ie hand and leg), and I’m a personal trainer. Your reply may be, “Why haven’t you fixed it already, Mr. Personal Trainer?” (which is a fair response). Like most people, though, even when you know what you need to do for yourself you don’t necessarily do it. I preach perfect posture and a symmetrical approach to life, but at times I still succumb to laziness while watching a movie on the couch or holding my newborn son in the same arm over, over, over, over, and over again. Yes, I’m extremely mindful of my physical approach, but I can’t help depending on the right side of my body (which I’ve done for the last 38 years). As a result, I'm unable to efficiently handle daily movements with my left side, such as brushing my teeth (try it and poke your eye out) and eating with a fork (if the food reaches my mouth 50% of the time that’s success).

No more!!! The right side of my body needs a break! I’m determined to train the left side of my body to be more functional and will consider it as a first option for various movements!

Physical Goal: Perform 30 consecutive pullups.

Pullups are one of the best (and toughest) exercises for the upper body. You utilize your lats, traps, shoulders, bis, tris, abs, and more! While I consistently perform 15-20 reps, I’ve never pushed for more…until now!

Nutrition Goal: Make 85% of my diet based on plant-based foods (limiting dairy, grains, meat, processed foods, etc.).

At one time I said, “I will become vegan when I turn 50 to reduce the risk of injury and disease and to protect my health for the last 50 years of my life :).” Why not start now, though? If you’re like me, you grew up on meat, potatoes, pasta, and donuts (or something similar). Although you’ve gotten away with it until now, careless eating will catch up to you. I don’t want to wait around to see what the wheel of disease will serve me in a decade. While my diet is already far better than the general public (and personal trainers), it doesn’t mean it’s the perfect combination for me. An anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense diet is surely the best way to keep me lean and fit while describing my college years to my grandchildren. Of course, this approach requires a great modification of grain, dairy, alcohol, meat, refined sugar, and processed food intake…which I’m willing to do 85% of the way. My wife and I love to eat at restaurants and want to allow some flexibility for indulgences. I’ve already tested a number of plant combinations and found this is easier (and cheaper) than it sounds. Time for a bigger step!

Schedule Goal: Limit my administrative work to the weekdays.

For the last 5 years, I completely stopped training and working on administrative tasks over the weekend. It’s amazing what a difference a 2 day mental break makes! Luckily, I look forward to my job every day. So, it’s not easy to stop working. I would still work over the weekend if given the opportunity. Knowing myself, though, I realize how easy it is to burn out if I don’t pull myself away. Instead, I work 55-60 hours during the week and don’t think twice about it.

Now that my son, Preston, has been born it’s time to rethink my approach. I realize that the perfect, efficient system that I created nearly 5 years ago doesn’t apply as well when I add a new time commitment (aka parenting). Recently, work has been spilling into my weekends, and I still approach Monday with a short list. With this new focus, I will analyze my time commitment to every facet of life including my client schedule, workouts, morning routine, laundry, and every task that requires my attention. I will reshuffle these pieces to efficiently approach everything during the week (not on the weekend). What can I multitask? What isn’t a priority? What can I outsource? All questions that will certainly place me closer to another effective schedule solution.

Lifestyle Goal: Arrive 3 minutes early.

To maximize my time, I normally fit 3 million tasks into a minute. With this being said, I usually hate to arrive early and waste any time waiting. The consequence: I’m always tiptoeing the line of being on time, and my stress levels increase tenfold while in a rush. The underlying goal in every line item above is related to the reduction of stress, and it’s no different here. If you’re constantly cutting it close, you’re most likely constantly pushing the boundaries of safety and stress to arrive on time (i.e., speeding, cutting off people, running through stop signs, etc.).

Since the root of this behavior for me is the fear of wasting time, I will now keep a running task list of things I can achieve from my phone. Basically, I will always have access to fun-filled business activities no matter where I go or how early I arrive. No time wasted anymore!

Lifestyle Goal: Don’t check my phone while driving.

While I have minimized the amount of time on my phone while driving, I still find myself fooling around with the GPS. Of course, when checking the GPS, I can often be distracted by a new text message, too. Ultimately, this behavior is risky and places myself as well as everyone else on the road in danger (even if I only glance for 1 second). I will set the GPS and check my messages before I put the car in “Drive” or pullover if absolutely necessary.

What habits do you want to change? What goals will you achieve by New Year’s Eve?

Photo Credit:
The Balance .com–Should we wait until December 31st to start our celebration?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
6 Goals I Will Achieve Before New Year’s Eve (And You Should Too)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"10 Foods to Give Up for Lent—and How Many Calories You'll Save" Review

Although nearly a week has passed since the start of Lent, it's never too late to commit! Whether you're trying to lose weight or honoring the sacrifice during this time, here are 10 foods that you may want to cut out of your diet for the next 5 weeks (from the article 10 Foods to Give Up for Lent—and How Many Calories You'll Save).


Soda is the source of hundreds of unneeded calories, so now's the time to make the switch to water. Forgoing a soda a day for 40 days will save you 124 to 189 calories a day.

Total amount: 40 sodas
Total calories saved: 4,960 to 7,560 calories


They're salty, fried, and addictive, and it's hard to stop at just a few. Giving up your normal once-a-week order of medium fries for the Lent period will save you 350 calories a week.

Total amount: Six medium orders of fries
Total calories saved: 2,190 calories


If Lent means giving up your twice-a-week bowl of vanilla ice cream in front of the TV, you'll be saving 460 calories a week (more, of course, if you go for the fancier flavors).

Total amount: 12 bowls of ice cream (1/2 cup each)
Total calories saved: 2,760 for vanilla ice cream or 3,000 for chocolate ice cream


A glass of red wine a day can be beneficial to your health, but if you normally drink a glass of red wine with dinner, you'll be saving 127 calories a day if you stop for Lent.

Total amount: 40 glasses of red wine (five ounces each)
Total calories saved: 5,080 calories


Want to go for the whole meal? If you normally pick up fast food once a week, skipping out on a typical fast-food meal will save you 1,200 calories a week.

Total amount: Six fast-food meals
Total calories saved: 7,200 calories


These unhealthy snacks deserve their own category! If you're giving up that twice-a-week potato-chip habit for Lent, you'll be saving 153 calories per bag (306 calories a week).

Total amount: 12 bags of chips
Total calories saved: 1,836 calories


Many people choose to give up coffee for Lent, whether it's because they want to wean themselves off their caffeine dependence or just because that daily Starbucks run can add up money-wise. Giving up your daily Starbucks Grande latte made with two-percent milk will save you 190 calories a day.

Total amount: 40 Grande Starbucks lattes (16 ounces each)
Total calories saved: 7,600 calories (if you normally buy nonfat-milk lattes, you'll save 5,200 calories)


Meat can be an important part of your diet if you choose lean protein options, but too much red and processed meat is bad news for your health.

Whether you want to see what it's like to go vegetarian for a while or you realize that your diet contains too much saturated fat for your liking, giving up a once-a-day red meat habit for Lent could save you anywhere from 207 calories per serving for one four-ounce steak to 184 calories for four slices of bacon.

Total amount: 20 servings of red meat and 20 servings of bacon
Total calories saved: 7,820 calories


A piece of dark chocolate every day can quell sweet cravings while still providing you with a long list of benefits, but if your daily chocolate habit is getting out of control, then what better time to give it up for a few weeks? For example, not eating three squares of dark chocolate a day will save you 170 calories. You'll save 210 calories a day if you eat one serving of milk chocolate Hershey's Bliss squares (six pieces).

Total amount: 40 servings of chocolate
Total calories saved: 6,800 for dark chocolate or 8,400 for milk chocolate


Snacking can be a dieter's best friend, but only if you choose the right kind - ones that are filling and nutritious, without all those empty calories. Avoiding a serving a day (10 crackers) of Ritz crackers, for example, will save you 160 calories a day. Forgoing a one-ounce serving of Cheez-Its every day (about 27 crackers) will save you 150 calories per serving.

Total amount: 40 servings of crackers
Total calories saved: 6,400 calories for Ritz or 6,000 calories for Cheez-Its

What else do you think is worth giving up for lent?

Picture Credit: - What can you give up to put a smile on your Chicago personal trainer's face? My guess is that fast food will always be on that list :)

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article 10 Foods to Give Up for Lent—and How Many Calories You'll Save on
"10 Foods to Give Up for Lent—and How Many Calories You'll Save" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants" Review

Just when I thought I couldn't be shocked by another list of ridiculously unhealthy, weight-gaining, belly-popping menu items, I came across the recent article "The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants" on How these dishes are served anywhere astounds me.

Let the drums roll.....Here's your new list of 10 menu options proven to help you GAIN WEIGHT:


Hand-Battered Fish&Chips:
1,490 calories, 100 g fat, 17 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 1,920 mg sodium, 104 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 45 g protein

Attack of the beige! Whenever your dinner is monochromatic (in this case, the off-brown hue of deep-fried junk), you know you’re in trouble. Choosing a dish like this is easily one of the 40 Bad Habits That Make You Sick and Fat. Don’t blame the fish—the seafood is packed with lean, muscle-building protein and heart-healthy fats. No, the trouble here, lies with a massively unbalanced fish-to-fat ratio. A coating of crispy batter and a heaping pile of deep-fried potatoes is no way to treat the golden child of nutrition. When it comes to seafood, always abandon ship on fried fish and opt for grilled instead.


Country-Fried Steak & Eggs With Sausage, Grits, Bread:
2,260 calories, 115 g fat, 39 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 3,640 mg sodium, 268 g carbs, 10 g fiber, 114 g sugar, 51 protein

What has more than a day’s worth of calories and salt and more sugar than seven Snicker’s Ice Cream Bars? This sneaky diet-derailing dish. Where all that sugar comes from we may never know, but we can tell you this: This is one breakfast that will offer zero benefit to your day. Stay far, far away—especially if you’ve been trying to cleanse your body of junk!


Large Mussels Josephine:
1,698 calories, 120 g fat, 58 g saturated fat, 3 g trans fat, 4,418 mg sodium, 43 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 83 g protein

In their purest form, mussels are one of the lowest calorie proteins in the sea. But despite their innocent appearance, these are not your average mussel. After the chefs at Bonefish doused these guys in a fatty lemon wine sauce, the appetizer became your body’s worst nightmare, serving up more than a day’s worth of trans fat! But that’s not all: Even if you split the entire lot with a friend, you’d still take in nearly an entire day’s worth of salt—and that’s before your entree even arrives! There are much smarter ways to spend your spare cash.


Large Boneless Wings:
2,580 calories, 172 g fat, 53 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat, 10,490 mg, 147 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 27 g sugar, 100 g protein

Each wing on this platter packs 107 calories, 7 grams of fat and a shameful 1,049 milligrams of salt. That means if you eat just two wings before your dinner arrives you’ll have taken in a third of the day’s fat and just under a day’s worth of blood-pressure-spiking sodium! And let’s be honest, who really stops after just two? Wings may be tasty, but there are far better ways to spend your salt allowance than on two tiny pieces of chicken.


Thin Crust Meat Cravers Pizza:
1,590 calories, 76 g fat, 32 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4,620 mg sodium, 132 g carbs, 8 g sugar, 5 g fiber, 94 g protein

You had to have known that anything with the phrase “meat cravers” in the title wasn’t going to be healthy—but we bet you didn’t realize that it would have more salt than 33 slices of bacon and more carbs than what you’d get in eight slices of white bread. If you ate just one of these pies a month, you’d take in enough calories to gain 5 1/2 pounds in a year. Scary stuff, right?


Cavatappi Franco with Whole Grain Spaghetti:
1,214 calories, 74 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 2,192 mg sodium, 87 g carbs, 17 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 49 g protein

Grilled chicken! Mushrooms! Sun-dried tomatoes! Broccoli! Oh and let’s not forget that whole grain spaghetti! When you read the list of the ingredients that goes into this dish, it’s hard to imagine it would be such a nutritional nightmare. But this is the restaurant industry we’re talking about here. Would you expect anything less? If you order the dish as pictured above with the tube shaped pasta, you’ll actually save 191 calories and 26 grams of fat. Sub in the healthier sounding whole wheat variety, and you’re actually far worse-off. No, we don’t get it, either—and yes, we double-checked the math. Just keep things simple and steer clear of both versions of this preposterous plate of pasta.


Pasta Carbonara with Chicken:
2,291 calories, N/A fat, 81 saturated fat, N/A trans fat, 1,628 sodium,144 carbs, N/A fiber, N/A sugar, N/A protein

We give the Cheesecake Factory props for rolling out some lighter options as of late, but its menu is still home to some of the most caloric fare in the nation. What’s worse, the Factory insists on keeping its nutritional info under lock and key. When it comes to the question, “Are you trying to hide something?” the answer for this restaurant is “Yes. A million times yes.” This creamy pasta dish, topped with peas, bacon, and chicken, has more than a day’s worth of calories and more saturated fat than 50 eggs! And that’s just according to the nutrition data we could actually get our hands on. The Factory refused to dole out the latest stats when we asked. Take it from us: Shady business is never good news for your body.


Beef Bacon Ranch Quesadilla:
1,800 calories, 135 g fat, 46 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat, 3,980 mg sodium, 68 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 80 g protein

With nearly a day’s worth of calories and more fat than 10 hot dogs, this southwestern inspired steak and bacon stuffed quesadilla will pop the button right off of your skinny jeans! Even if you shared it with a friend, you’d be taking in 2.8 times the American Heart Association’s recommended daily intake of saturated fat. Make it a rule to avoid anything with the word quesadilla in the title when you’re at Chili’s (yes, even the salads) none of the options have less than 1,400 calories per serving—not what you should be eating if your goal is to lose belly fat.


Slow-Cooked Slow-Cooked Pot Roast:
1,390 calories, 37 g fat, 19 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, 4,710 mg sodium, 166 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 65 g protein

With nearly two days of salt and half the day’s trans fat, this meal for one should really be split into thirds or quarters. Eat at your own risk!


Clamstrips Platter:
1,720 calories, 103 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 3,340 mg sodium, 171 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 19 g sugar, 28 g protein

Unless you’re stocking up to hibernate for winter, there’s no reason to ever order a menu item that contain the word “platter.” More often than not it’s code for “way too many calories, carbs, and fat.” Don’t believe it? Consider this: This bland bowl of beige serves up more carbs than 19 chocolate chip cookies and more calories than 122 small clams.

What other foods do you think we should avoid?

Picture Credit: Eat This, Not That! - As a personal trainer in Chicago, I know that it isn't realistic to eat healthy all of the time. Should we ever eat anything with 135 grams of fat, though?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants on
"The #1 Worst Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"25 Salads That Have More Calories Than a Big Mac" Review

Does this weight loss salad look familiar? I hope not. This bacon and blue cheese salad from Mimi's Cafe is a whopping 900 calories and 60 grams of fat. Which begs the question...Are salads always a healthier option than a 530-calorie Big Mac at McDonalds? You might be surprised by the 10 salads found in the article "25 Salads That Have More Calories Than a Big Mac" on No garden should have this much fat or calories while trying to lose weight with a Chicago personal trainer .


Calories: 873
Fat: 51g
Protein: 49g
Carbohydrate: 48g
Sodium: 1705mg

This salad has nearly two times as many grams of fat as a Big Mac (27g).


Calories: 880
Fat: 53g
Protein: 36g
Carbohydrate: 67g
Sodium: 1780mg

At 880 calories, the Carl's Junior Beef Taco Salad is a poor excuse for a salad.


Calories: 900
Fat: 60g
Protein: 48g
Carbohydrate: 47g
Sodium: 1770mg

This salad is deceptive. Though it seems relatively healthy, its toppings — bacon, strawberries, blue cheese — and dressing are what really raise the calorie count.


Calories: 960
Fat: 62g
Protein: 51g
Carbohydrate: 58g
Sodium: 1770mg

This salad is loaded with extra less-than-healthy toppings and "crispy" (essentially just fried) chicken, adding up to a whopping 960 calories.


Calories: 1120
Fat: 90g
Protein: 54g
Carbohydrate: 30g
Sodium: 1820mg

Though caesar salads are widely considered a simple dish, they can be packed with calories — especially if you include their fat-filled dressing. This one passes the 1,000 calorie mark.


Calories: 1240
Fat: 45g
Protein: 65g
Carbohydrate: 149g
Sodium: 3440mg

If you're on a common 1,200-calorie diet, this salad will take care of the entire day.


Calories: 1280
Fat: 85g
Protein: 53g
Carbohydrate: 80g
Sodium: 2250mg

You already know that the word "taco" and "salad" are a risky combination. Adding "grande" to the mix is a recipe for disaster — a 1,280-calorie disaster, to be exact.


Calories: 1290
Fat: 105g
Protein: 64g
Carbohydrate: 25g
Sodium: 2560mg

If the caesar salad from The Old Spaghetti Factory is bad news, the cobb salad (think blue cheese, bacon, egg, etc.) is next level.


Calories: 1310
Fat: 78g
Protein: 45g
Carbohydrate: 110g
Sodium: 1510mg

And the award for the most calorific taco salad on the list is from Jason's Deli. The added chili isn't doing your diet any favors.


Calories: 1348
Fat: 92g
Protein: 58g
Carbohydrate: 73g
Sodium: 2325mg

At 1,348 calories, you can forget calling this a salad at all. It has 2,325 milligrams of sodium and 92 grams of fat, making a Big Mac look like a bag of spinach by comparison.

What are the worse salads that you have found in restaurants?

Picture Credit: - Looks can be deceiving. MIMI'S CAFE BACON & BLEU CHEESE SALAD is no mini dent in your personal training diet . You may want to check the nutrition facts before adding a salad to your weight loss plate .

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article 25 Salads That Have More Calories Than a Big Mac on
"25 Salads That Have More Calories Than a Big Mac" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods?" Review

It's the start of a new year and you're overwhelmed with endless weight loss information of about what to eat. How do you know what's credible? Check out this recent article "What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods?" from It'll provide the foundation for your weight loss grocery list.

According to a Consumer Reports survey, 90 percent of Americans polled said they believed that they consumed a diet that was at least "somewhat" healthy.

But are we really eating healthy?

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound that way. Another report published in 2011 (based on data from national food-consumption surveys), found that 90 percent of Americans are NOT getting the essential nutrients we need to stay healthy. According to this report, the 11 nutrients we are falling short on include: potassium, fiber, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, zinc, folate, magnesium and iron.

So, what is it that we’re doing wrong?

Americans' shortages in these key nutrients are attributed to the fact that we aren’t eating enough of the foods that supply these vitamins and minerals.

If I asked you what the most nutritious foods were, what would you guess?

The answer is probably easier than you think. Remember back to when your mom told you to "Eat your vegetables"? Well, she was right.

Vegetables and fruits are the most nutrient-dense foods you can find (followed by legumes/beans, nuts and seeds, and then whole grains).

If your mom was always prodding you to “eat your spinach and Brussels sprouts,” she was really on to something!

THE MOST nutrient-dense foods are all green vegetables:

* Bok choy
* Watercress
* Kale
* Collard greens
* Mustard greens
* Swiss chard
* Spinach
* Arugula
* Romaine lettuce
* Brussels sprouts
* Broccoli

These foods rank at the very top when using the Aggregate Nutrient Density (ANDI) score that ranks the whole foods rated by highest nutrients per calorie as described by Dr. Joel Fuhrman in his books “Eat For Health” and “Eat Right America Nutritarian Handbook.” (Dr. Fuhrman defines a “nutritarian” as “a person who bases food choices on maximizing the micronutrients per calorie.”) Whole Foods grocery stores adopted the ANDI system.

ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an extensive range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, beneficial phytochemicals (angiogenesis inhibitors, organosulfides, isothiocyanates, and aromatase inhibitors) and antioxidant capacities.

Did your mom try to get you to eat kale, watercress or arugula when you were little? Mine did not, and I’m pretty sure those greens were not on many people’s radar in the 1970s or 1980s. Today, you’re likely to find kale and arugula as tasty salad options at most restaurants.

Next on the scale of nutrient density, green leafy vegetables are followed by non-green vegetables:

* Carrots
* Cauliflower
* Bell peppers
* Asparagus
* Mushrooms
* Tomatoes
* Sweet potatoes

Fruits that are high on the nutrient-density list are:

* Strawberries
* Blackberries
* Plums
* Raspberries
* Blueberries
* Grapes
* Pomegranates
* Cantaloupe
* Papaya
* Oranges

OK, so what should we do to fix our nutrition and health issues?

We have to start eating foods with a bigger nutritional bang, rather than processed junk. For example, you could eat about 20 corn chips for 176 calories, 8 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein, 1 percent of vitamin A, 0 percent of vitamin C, 6 percent of calcium and 5 percent of iron.

Or, you can choose to eat 3 cups of raw kale for 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, 20 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein (more than double the protein in the 20 chips!) plus 618 percent of vitamin A, 402 percent of vitamin C, 27 percent of calcium and 19 percent of iron. Now it makes sense why your friends are snacking on kale chips, right?

As Michael Pollan wrote in “In Defense of Food” in 2009: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” It makes sense when you look at ANDI scores because eggs, low-fat dairy and meats such as chicken and lean beef rank lower in nutrient density than plant-derived onions, sunflower seeds, kidney beans and oatmeal.

White bread and corn chips rank lower than eggs, meats, and low-fat dairy products in nutrient density.

If you’re one of those people who reaches for corn chips, crackers or vanilla ice cream at night, be aware that these foods rank very, very low on the list of nutrient-rich foods. They are just a small step above soda, which is at the bottom of the list.

Which of these foods will you add to your grocery list?

Picture Credit: - It's time to add more color to your weight loss table. Does your table look like this one?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from JESS BARRON's article What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods? on
"What Are THE MOST Nutritious Foods?" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.