Get Fit With HIIT Cardio!

Hey everyone! I’m back from the beach and back with a new post! But this time, I am happy to announce that this post is written from one of my fellow (and amazing) personal trainer co workers, Chelsea Henderson!

We both work for HomeFit + both want to build our own personal brand. This girl rocks it with her clients and in her own workouts.

Without further ado, here it is!

By: Chelsea Henderson MS, CPT

Do you feel like you are struggling to blast off the fat pounds? Are you feeling like your cardio is taking a little too much of your day? Have you become tired of the same walking or jogging cardio routine?

Sounds like it’s time for you to HIIT!

So…What is this all about?
HIIT? Sounds aggressive, right? Well… it IS! Especially when it comes to maximizing your body composition potential (i.e. having a greater muscle mass to fat mass ratio on your body). HIIT stands for “high intensity interval training.” With incorporating HIIT training, you will save more time AND get comparable or even better results than a slower paced cardio program alone. HIIT training can be done with weight training AND cardio training but for the sake of this blog post (and your author not going on a never ending tangent road to nowhere!) we will stick with discussing HIIT cardio training.

HIIT cardio has a VAST array of benefits! Not only does it do an excellent job of fighting fat by raising your metabolism more than nearly every form of exercise but it also is extremely effective in combating metabolic syndrome (group of conditions that lead to development of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes). Due to the high intensity of HIIT, a heart becomes more conditioned and glucose in the blood is better regulated… which means that your internal organs will work more efficiently and effectively and that blood sugar from the food you consumed at a meal will have a greater chance of being used as muscle fuel rather than being stored as fat tissue.

Sounds GREAT! Where do I sign up? How should I begin?

You can perform HIIT cardio virtually ANYWHERE! Your options and types of HIIT are almost endless. It requires NO equipment; your own body weight is definitely sufficient!
NOTE: Before going all out incorporating HIIT cardio into your exercise program, ALWAYS check with your health care professional FIRST, especially if you have certain medical conditions (always play it safe).

If you have never done HIIT before, you will want to build yourself up to these high intensities. Aim to progress a little each week in some form of fashion (whether it be going faster, lasting longer in an interval, lessening a rest period, lengthening the overall HIIT session, etc) and definitely keep track of your progress via an app/online program or old fashioned pen and paper (my personal preference). Also, ALWAYS make sure to warmup before HIIT intervals with some light aerobic exercise for a few minutes (such as light walking/jogging) and don’t forget some dynamic warmups to aid in preventing muscle/tendon/ligament related injuries (try this dynamic warmup routine from Greatist: )

Putting it ALL Together!
There are no strict guidelines for HIIT except to have periods of intense intervals and periods of rest intervals. The RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale can aid you in judging your own personal intensities in your HIIT cardio.

The level of intensity of your “intense” intervals should be pretty high (at least around a 7 or greater on the RPE scale) and rest periods should never be more than a moderate activity level or less (6 or less on the RPE scale). How long the intense or rest periods are will depend on one factor…YOU! Everyone is different and at a different fitness level, so begin at intensities that YOU are comfortable with and then progress a bit each week. The overall length of the HIIT cardio workout varies by the individual but as a rule of thumb, know that it isn’t really necessary to go over 25-30 minutes. If you are truly following appropriate high intensities in your intervals and using rest periods properly, this will definitely be plenty of time for your HIIT session (of course, start out with much less at first and build over time).
1.) Jump squats- 1 minute
2.) March in Place- 30 seconds (recovery)
3.) High Knees- 1 minute
4.) March in Place- 30 seconds (recovery)
5.) Jump Lunges- 1 minute
6.) March in Place- 30 seconds (recovery)
7.) Sprint/fast jog- 1 minute
8.) March in Place- 30 seconds (recovery)
***repeat 2-4 times

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie

Happy Friday, y’all!

Can you believe it is the first day of JUNE??

For me, this means my beach trip is only a number of days away and I cannot wait!!

Today I am sharing with you a peanut butter pie I made over Memorial Day weekend last week. I wanted something like this, but less in calories, sugar, little to no dairy, etc.

I think this pie turned out great and it seemed to be a hit with the parents too!

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie


-1 pie crust (pre-made graham cracker OR the kind you have to bake first…I used a gluten free crust.)

-1 8oz container of cool whip of choice (I used this kind)

-8 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (I used 5 oz vanilla Greek and the other I used a vanilla almond milk base yogurt)

-1/2 cup powdered peanut butter (can add a tablespoon or 2 of regular PB if you want)

-Chocolate chips to top the pie with (I used these)


1. IF using pie crust that you need to bake, follow instructions and let cool COMPLETELY.

2.Next, mix together the cool whip, yogurt, powdered peanut butter (and/or regular PB) all together.

3.Spoon mixture into pie shell and sprinkle with chocolate chips of choice.

4. Place + store in freezer until ready to eat!

When ready for a slice, let the pie sit out of the freezer 5-10 minutes to soften just a little, and it should be ready to cut!

Question for you: What is YOUR favorite kind of pie??

Memorial Day Recap + Eats

Happy Tuesday!

I promise I’ll be better at posting more consistently!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend and were able to enjoy it with friends, family, good food, and fun! 🙂

Yesterday morning started with training a couple clients, and afterwards I headed to my gym for the Memorial Day “Murph” workout!

I munched on some dates on the way there and finished up my morning coffee.

We had a great group to show up for the workout. When you have class times spread throughout the day, you don’t always get to see everyone.

”Murph” is a workout in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in 2005 in Afghanistan.

(Before + After)

My friend, Amber, and I split up the workout. It was both our first time to do this workout so we decided to run the miles together and split it into rounds and take turns: 5 pull ups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats. Those pushups got to me more than anything, even with me having to do a modified pull-up.

It was rainy the whole morning, so we ended up getting pretty wet by the end. We finished in 51:50 and I say we rocked it! It was tough, even splitting it up, and my arms are so sore today!

Haley, Amber, and Me. I’m not resting in the squat position, i promise. Lol

Austin beat his Murph time from last year and it was my first time!                B

I had a protein shake + a rice cake with nutural peanut butter on it before going out to eat with the family.

We decided to go to Cheesecake Factory instead of grill or smoke anything.

Dad and I split the Beet + Goat Cheese salad. Mixed in with arugula was beets, goat cheese, and pecans. I love both beets and goat cheese, but it’s usually a distinguisged taste for others.

For my main meal, I actually ordered a turkey burger and decided to skip on the bread and take my side salad home for dinner.

I ended up taking a nap when we got back! Dreary, rainy weather always makes me want to nap….

I woke up close to 4, made myself a cup of coffee, and finished my Halo Top (dairy free) Birthday Cake ice cream. This is one of the BEST dairy free ice creams out there…besides Ben + Jerry’s dairy free. I love anything birthday cake flavored and this even has sprinkles in it!

For dinner that night I had my green salad I took home from lunch. I added more lettuce to it, and mixed in a packet of garlic + herbs tuna for more protein and healthy fats.

I ended the night watching more Supernatural and munching on a few of some Fig + Olive crackers I found at Trader Joe’s the other week. (I forgot to snap a pic and since I finished them up, I threw the box away!)

It’s still another rainy, wet day…thanks to Alberto. I plan on working more on blog posts, doing laundry, and running an errand or two before the gym tonight…and as we speak, the lights just went out. Woohoo!

Stay safe today and dry as possible! 😀

Chase After Your Dreams, Goals, + Passions

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and were able to relax, have some fun, and enjoy time with family and friends!

Today I want to share a little Monday motivation:

Chase after your dreams, your goals, + your passions.

Last week I had a moment where I almost decided to stop blogging. I wasn’t going to delete my blog…just stop for a while. I was getting discouraged about people not reading it, may not be interested in what I have to say, etc., and I was discouraged that my blog seems to be at a standstill when I want it to grow.

I immediately snapped out of it (after a few hours), and thought to myself, “Emily, what are you doing? People read your blog, they love what you have to say, and growing my blog isn’t something that will happen just overnight.

We all have dreams, goals, passions in life, and one of my passions is this blog. I’ve changed the name a few times since I’ve started blogging (To Love and Live fits me now), and I’ve been on and off with blogging too, when I get discouraged; but whenever I stop blogging, I miss it and I need it back in my life. I love to write and reach out to other people.

My goals for this blog are to not just reach people, and have people enjoy what I write, but for my blog to grow and be able to reach people all over! I want to help people through more than just my personal training, but through writing.

Of course, everyone’s goals, dreams, passions, are all different. Some are small, some are large, some are important and some may be for fun. We all have something we want to achieve though. You may have a goal of being able to do 10 pushups just because you want to, or for someone else it could be to build strength for everyday activities.

You may have a dream of being promoted at work, or just being able to land the job you know you will love. Whatever that is for you, chase after it and don’t give up.

I didn’t get the clients I have now just overnight, and my blog won’t get as big as I’d like it to overnight, but with hard work and perseverance, we can all be able to accomplish things we may have thought we couldn’t.


Mother’s Day Recap, Eats, + a Mug Cake Recipe

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and were able to spend it with loved ones, especially your mom!!

I had a good day spent around my mom and my Granny.

These two ladies have my heart! They are so special, strong, and encouraging. This picture was actually taken last weekend at my church’s ladies luncheon.

I may not be a mom, but I am a DOG mom. I love my Jack, but he doesn’t like pictures…

I started the morning with my coffee and a couple of these peanut butter protein bites.

Later I made a smoothie and drank it while getting ready for church. It had banana, strawberries, spinach, almond milk, and vanilla protein powder.

For lunch, we got ribs from Full Moon BBQ and I paired mine with a small spinach salad.

After lunch we all sat around and talked, and I enjoyed some coffee while Granny found a Hallmark mystery movie. 😊

Even though it was hot, I wanted to get out for a little bit, and I grabbed this lemon luna bar out the door.

Dad and I sat outside talking + just enjoying each other’s company. He’s loving being retired, and I’m loving it too! Lol

For dinner I was feeling an easy dinner, so I whipped up ground turkey + egg whites. Plain I know, but sometimes that’s what I’m craving!

I did want something sweet after, so I made a mug cake with Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips. Heres what I did:

-2 1/2 T almond flour (or whatever you want to use)

-1 T stevia/truvia

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-pinch of salt

-1 large egg white

-1/2 tsp vanilla

-1/4 cup almond milk

-sprinkle of chocolate chips

I mixed all ingredients in a mug I sprayed, and cooked it in the microwave for about 2:30 minutes, checking it after each minute.

Do you have a favorite quick dessert you enjoy whipping up when your sweet tooth hits??

Let me know! 

Setting Spring + Summer Intentions

The Merrimack-Webster online dictionary defines the word Intention as 1. a determination to act in a certain way and 2. what one intends to do or bring about

Since spring has arrived and summer is right around the corner, I started thinking on making intentions for the upcoming seasons.

2018 started out hard, but it was also a turning point for me to reevaluate my life, who I am, the people in my life, and my passions. It was time for me to start setting goals, being hopeful, and being open to new things.

While the year may have started out tough, I am the happiest I’ve been in a long, long time. Now that I’m in a great place in my health and happiness, it’s time to start setting some different intentions not just for the summer, but for the rest of the year and on.

1. Be open to new things/activities/adventures.

2. Discover something about myself I never knew.

3. Love more, worry less.

4. Be more present in the now, and not caught up in the past or future.

What intentions will you set for this season?

Making Life Easier + Healthier With MealFit

If you look at our society today, it seems that everyone is always on the go, go, go.

Between school, work, working out, running errands, dropping kids off, picking kids up, all the after school activities and sports, its no wonder a lot of people turn to fast food or the quick and easy options like frozen pizzas to provide lunch or dinner.

Not saying that doing that everyone now and then is ok, because it totally is. I am all about finding a good balance…and I love my pizza too. But when we are constantly on the go, we want to be sure we are fueling out bodies with the proper nutrition it needs to thrive and function.

That’s where MealFit comes in.

Thomas Cox, the finder/owner of MealFit takes into consideration those people who are always busy. He says, “We are giving them time.” By providing these healthy meals/foods already prepared, this allows people to have more time to be at their kids games, to spend time with loved ones, and not to worry about what will be for dinner. It takes the extra time out that would normally be needed on a weekend in order to prepare foods for your week.

(Look at my friend Regina’s stash of prepped meals! She enjoys them while at work.)

MealFit started out as meal planning, and has grown into a successful business providing results oriented meal programs: healthy catering, meal planning, meal prep, family meals, personal meals, and even gym nutrition programming, support, + guidance.

MealFit originally started in 2013 in Cookeville, Tennessee, and since October 2017, it has been in Birmingham, the hometown of Thomas.

They provide meal plans, catering, and even gym nutrition programming, but something I love about them are the meal prepped meals.

Every Monday him and his staff come in and cook food for anyone who ordered meals/bowls on his website. Between 4-6pm people can pick up their food from one of several locations in the Birmingham area, most of them being gyms.

You can choose items such as the roasted chicken, ground turkey, and steak, to bowls such as the Baja Beef Bowl, Vegetarian Bowl, or Chicken + Rice bowl. You can even choose what starch you want in some of the meals: sweet potatoes, red potatoes, or jasmine rice (all of which are delicious!)

Every week there are special bowls or foods that are offered. He recently had a Baja Bowl, and this week a cauliflower crust pizza was featured.

You don’t have to order every week, so there is no commitment to ordering all the time. The only requirement is that you order at least 5 items, which is easy to do, and very worth your while!

The food provided is nothing but great quality, wholesome foods to provide nutrition for the bodies God gave us.

Thomas showed me how he cooks some of his meats. He starts off by searing it with some of their from scratch seasonings they make in their kitchen. Then it’s off to the smoker!

Cooking for large quantities of people for catering events and even these prepped meals, calls for a big smoker. This one can fit a lot of meat in there at one time, and it’s smoked with cherry wood, giving the meat it’s delicious flavor.

Full of energy and passion, Thomas gives back by providing not only great food, but time. His business is already thriving here in Birmingham: he is catering a myriad of events, providing meals and plans, and is growing with his pick up locations for these prepped meals. He told me he will soon be providing all the food for the Highlands College Students. God is doing great things and has given him a wonderful gift of outreach and helping/providing to others.

If you want in on what Thomas is providing, check out his website here. If you want to order and try any of the prepped meals, be sure to order by NOON any/every Sunday, and in check-out be sure to click on the location for your pickup.

Pick-up options are everywhere, so there will be one within your area. (Be sure to click on Birmingham and not Cookeville if you’re in the area!)

I can’t wait until my next order! If you try it out, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think and what your favorite is!

Let’s Be Honest With Ourselves

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Today I want to share something that’s on my heart this morning:

Self Love.

The last few days for me have been rough: both physically and mentally. I have had hardly any energy, I’ve been tired what feels like 90% of the day, I felt weak, “fluffy” (as I like to call it), not liked what I was looking at in the mirror, and in my mind I was picking out all my flaws and things I wish would change.

I’ve come a long way since my eating disorder (If you missed my story, you can read part 1 here, and part 2 here), and while I overcame it, it’s something you never truly heal from. I still have my moments and struggle with things.

I was complaining about it last night to Austin and this morning I woke up to him telling me “It’s a new day, just look forward and put in the work.” He also told me to stop beating myself up about it (referring to last night’s workout). This is exactly what I needed to hear! It made me realize how badly I was  beating myself up over the last few days. I need reminders like this sometimes.

We all have these moments, and this is where self love is more important than we realize. Self Love has always been a struggle for me. It dates back all the way to my early teen years when I had my eating disorder. We see more self-hate today than ever before. We are always seeing products advertised to make us lose weight fast or to look beautiful. Seeing girls on social media looking a certain way makes us think we look terrible.

Well let me tell you something…and I am not only telling you this, but telling myself…


Flaws and all, you were made in the image of God and He has you just the way He wants you. Yes, some days we all will struggle with wanting to look different, smaller, nicer, etc., but when these thoughts start consuming you, it’s time to rethink who made you to begin with: the master artist!

I was scrollingg theough Instagram the other day and came across an artist I have loved since her Disney Channel days: Jordan Pruitt.

She has such an incredible voice, wonderful music, and an outlook on life that I admire. She posted a picture the other day and what she put underneath it was what I needed to hear. We need to be honest with ourselves…accepting all that is and all that we are. I will leave this here as I end my post. Please remember you are beautiful, strong, and capable of amazing things…just the way you are.


Weekend Eats, Workouts, + Curls

Happy Monday friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready to take on another week. Can you believe how fast April is flying by??

I have a beach tripped planned in June and it cannot get here soon enough!! 😀

I thought I’d share a little weekend recap with you guys. Let’s start on Friday…

I started my morning with a client, and fixed a quick breakfast of scrambled egg whites with spinach, and a low carb tortilla with peanut butter in it.

I had my bootcamp class at 10:30, and had an 11:30 meeting with the owner of a business called MealFit. I have a blog post all about this I will be posting later this week! I ate a cookies + cream Quest bar on the way there.

I love what this business is and all they do. I cannot wait to share!

After my meeting I ran to the bank, and had a quick lunch in my car.

Ground turkey, spinach, and sweet potatoes, with a banana on the side.

I had a little time to spare before my next client, so I decided to go get my nails done! It has been so long, but I was SO overdue for a manicure and a little self care. I love this shade of purple!

After my afternoon client, I headed home for a quick cup of coffee and a pre-gym snack of dates with peanut butter.

Because Friday was the 13th, we had a 13 themed workout. It was called “Lucky 13”

It was a lot harder than I thought! Of course, I always love the push.

It was a smaller crew on Friday night, but we all still worked hard!

I ended up really wanting ice cream for dinner….I know, I know….terrible. But if you’re a girl, you know the feeling of food cravings when you hit a certain time.

Since I was wanting ice cream, but didn’t want to blow it completely, I went with this Arctic Zero ice cream. A lot of their flavors are pretty good, and some of them have the whole pint at only 150 calories. So if you felt like eating the whole pint…..

I did have this green juice before the ice cream though, so no worries…balance. 😀

Saturday morning rolled around and I got up, drank some coffee, watched an episode of Supernatural, and headed back to the gym for a cardio + abs workout with the group.

We partnered up in this workout and swapped out between ab moves of standing oblique crunches, Russian twists, and sit-ups, and rotated the cardio between rowing, assault bike, jump rope, and running. Total rounds: 10.

I can’t begin to describe how much I love Powerhouse and all the people that I am surrounded by!

After the gym, I ran home to grab a protein shake and an RX bar, and headed out to my mid morning clients.

I came back afterwards, rested and showered, and made lunch: 1 whole egg, egg whites, and spinach, with a side of dates and a low carb tortilla with peanut butter.

After lunch, Dad and I ran some errands before any rain or bad thunderstorms came in. (You never know what to do about severe weather threats here in the south).

I mean….

I ran by Hobby Lobby to get a couple things for a craft project I’ll be doing and blogging about for you guys.

After our stops, I came back home, made some coffee, and ate a snack.

This SILK yogurt was pretty good! I topped mine with a little bit of oats and a tad of peanut butter.

I was waiting to see about going to a friends for a shrimp boil, but I wasn’t sure about any more storms. Driving in downpours or storms makes me nervous and anxious!

I ended up staying home, not sure about what it was going to do, and watched a couple more episodes of Supernatural, worked on this blog post, and by then it was dinner time!

I threw some leftover chicken and some roast meat my dad cooked onto a bed of spinach, and cooked a side of homemade fries on the side.

These are super simple to make. You peel and cut up your potato into your “fries”. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet, sprinkle with desired seasoning, and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes!

Saturday night ended with Star Wars watching and a little more blog work, and then it was lights out for me!

Sunday morning started with coffee, then Dad and I went to the 8am Church of the Highlands service. The pastor there started a 7 week sermon series on wisdom. I can’t wait to hear the rest!

I was also really excited about how my curls turned out too! I’ve been learning how to curl my hair only in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been using my flat iron. I’m getting better!

Afterwards, I headed to my home church one exit back, and enjoyed a little more coffee and this ONE Birthday Cake protein bar that is delicious!

After the service, it was time for lunch!

I had a Bubba Turkey Burger and a side of a riced cauliflower medley.

For dessert I had this SoDelicious Key Lime yogurt.

I did a little more blog work, then headed over to Austin’s where we decided to go to Sonic!

My favorite thing ever to order from Sonic: tater tots and a diet cherry limeade. Never gets old!

We came back and watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi and I headed back home as he left for work. I ate a bowl of cereal when I got home and hopped straight into bed!!

I hope you all have a great Monday and be on the lookout for some other good posts this week!

4 Benefits of Collagen Peptides

Happy rainy Thursday everyone!

It’s almost the weekend and I thought I’d starte this Easter weekend by sharing some benefits something I’ve started taking over the last month or so: Collagen Peptides.

Collagen Peptides are an easy to digest and highly bioactive form of collagen.

But first, what is collagen?

Collagen Is an important building block and makes up about 30% of the proteins in our body. Collagen is key to making sure the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of the connective tissues we have, including skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones, are good.

Essentially, collagen is strong and flexible, and has been referred to as the ‘glue’ that holds everything together.

You can get collagen in pill form and powder form. I believe powder form is the best, because it’s more versatile. Plus, I’m not a fan of having to swallow pills, so I like the easiness of being able to take the collagen.

On to the benefits!

1.Supports Skin Health

Collagen helps with strengthening your skin, rejuvenation,and its elasticity. A lot of people make sure their intake of collagen is higher in the winter due to drier and colder weather conditions that can be harsh on our skin.

2. Healthy joints + ligaments

We don’t always think about the upkeep/health of our bones, joints, or ligaments until we have injured them. 90% of our bone mass is made up of collagen.

Collagen peptides aid in stimulating osteoblasts, which are the cells that help in bone formation.

3.Aids in Digestion

We all experience the uncomfortableness of our digestion after eating different foods: fried, greasy, certain vegetables, etc. It happens.

The amino acids found in collagen provide a reparative property that actually helpe to ease/soothe our digestive tract. It gives a boost to the stomach acid and helps not only with easy digestion, but the absorption of nutrients from our foods.

4. Very Versatile + Easy to Consume

One of my favorite points about collagen today is how versatile it is in powder form. I do NOT like taking big pills so this powder collagen is fabulous.


One scoop of collagen gives you 11 grams of collagen peptides, no carbs, no fats, 10 grams of protein, and of course, tons of benefits. I love to mix mine in with smoothies, protein shakes, and even my oatmeal.

You can also bake with collagen peptides, too. I made a batch of almond butter cookies and they were wonderful! I’ll have to make more soon and post the recipe.

However you want to take it, you’ll still reap the benefits, even if you just mix it in your water or coffee, which I’ve seen people do. It’s tasteless so the possibilities are endless.

I’m excited to be able to continue with this and see what it does for me health! 😀

NOTE: There are different brands of collagen peptides you can purchase. Sports Research and Vital Proteins are my top go-to’s. You can find them in the links below.

Sports Reseach (listed above in post): Find HERE.

Vital Proteins: Find HERE.