Science Says: Best Workout To Lose Belly Fat

Science Says: Best Workout To Lose Belly Fat

Have you noticed, after the age of 40, that things shifted in the body? It is now easier to gain inches around the middle (and elsewhere!) than it is to lose them?

Why is that?

Well, if you are a woman you can thank the decline of the hormone estrogen (read study here).

This is a natural fat-burner for us and it also dictates where our fat is distributed, and now with middle-age upon us the distribution is happening around our mid-section.

And, if you are a man you can thank lower testosterone levels as you get older.

But, there are other factors involved as well and include:

  • Poor sleep
  • Eating crap (scientific term)
  • Eating too much crap or the good stuff
  • Stress (Our stress hormone cortisol loves to pack on the pounds around the mid-section. Now, it’s not being an a-hole, the body is simply doing what it is meant to do – protect us. And in this case protect our internal organs.)
  • Not exercising enough AND not exercising the right way (hence today’s blog)
  • Listening to Donald Trump’s over bloated ego while also watching his equally pretentious hair piece

Funny Donald Trump hair photo - Fitness with PJ blog

What Does Science Say

In a study released by Harvard researchers (Obesity, 2014) they found that men who did 20 minutes of strength training a day had a far less of an increase in abdominal fat than those who spent an equal amount of time doing aerobic activities.

Now, this study wasn’t all bad news for the aerobic group.

The men who performed the daily aerobic activity actually lost more total body weight than the weight training men did, BUT they were unable to stop their waistlines from growing. Their middle-age paunch kept on growing while they keep on running.

That is pretty darn interesting, wouldn’t you say?

Moral of the research: twenty minutes of pumping weights works far better on reducing the ol’ belly fat than twenty minutes of running does.

What About Us Ladies?

If you are a woman, you are probably thinking the same thing I did when I read the study “What about us?”. What about women?

Kathryn Schmitz, a professor at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, performed a similar study with premenopausal women and found the results to be similar in women.

Great news.

More Research To Get You Lifting

Looking beyond losing belly fat the Journal of Diabetes Metabolic Disorder (April 2015) reported that a combination of diet and strength training was far more superior at losing body fat , than aerobic alone, or aerobic with diet.

This study included both men and women, ages 18 years to 69.

Strength training for weight loss just isn’t for us middle-aged folk either.

In a study published in PubMed (JAMA Nov 2014) it was found that a combination of aerobic and strength training was the best tool to fight adolescent obesity.

Why Is Pumping Weights So Good For Weight Loss?

One of the explanations as to why strength training is the best weapon against fat (when we get older), is because we have lost some of our muscle mass.

Losing muscle mass is a natural occurrence with age (as is losing our minds, our ability to read the small print and our inability to tolerate loud music in a restaurant).

Most of us will lose between 5-7 pounds of muscle each and every decade and ladies after the age of 30 we will also see an increase in our intramuscular fat (that nasty and dangerous fat that is located throughout the skeletal muscles and has been associated with conditions such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes).

Now, because of this loss of muscle mass our metabolisms decrease (significantly), and with that comes a body not able to burn calories and fat like it used to and followed after that is the middle-aged spread.

But, there is a very easy way to offset this.

How Do I Increase My Muscle Mass & Lose The Belly Fat

Perform a regular strength training program and I’m not talking about a workout par sae.

You want a full strength training program that addresses stability, core, balance and mobility, while also progressed each week so that you continue to see changes in your fitness and your body composition.

Need ideas? Check out my YouTube channel,

Experts recommend 2-3 times a week strength training (I recommend 3 times, especially if you are a woman over the age of 40 who wants to lose weight), accompanied with 2-3 times a week aerobic activity, and HUGE daily doses of daily walking, stretching and basically moving the body as much as you can, as often as you can.

However, if fat loss is your goal (especially belly fat) you want  weight training as your main activity.


Click here if you are a woman over the age of 40 and are new to exercise and want to start building a body you love.







PJ ox

Never Eat This For Breakfast

Never Eat This For Breakfast

And 50 Things You Should Eat Instead

While on this journey to better health and fitness (because this is a journey and not a destination), there are some things that can help with your journey and some that will just side-track it to hell.

Today I am going reveal one of the biggest impersonators in the weight loss and healthy food world.

This one food pretends to be healthy, all fortified and full of nutrients. It has also been known to toot its’ own horn because it is a “delicious, wholesome beginning that fills bellies and fuels bodies and minds”.

However, once the fanfare has stopped and you delve a little deeper you will soon see that this breakfast favourite will instead:

  • Stall weight loss
  • Increase our appetite for more food (and the wrong kind)
  • Raise our blood sugar levels
  • Leave us feeling tired, sluggish and brain-dead by mid-morning

Cereal and Kim Kardashian

That innocent box of cereal in your cupboard, impersonating as a healthy start to your day, is about as innocent as Kim Kardashian is at being camera-shy.

While I understand the draw to cereal (it’s quick, it’s easy), and I am not against all packaged food par sae (you will notice below in my recipes I use protein powder). What I am against, though, are unhealthy choices that we think are healthy choices because that’s what food manufacturers have duped us into believing.

I am also against starting our day with a product that is high in refined carbohydrates and high in sugar. Both of these are bad news, and even worse for us over 40-year olds.

You see, at this age we need now more than ever to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day and foods high in refined carbs and sugar do the exact opposite.

A steady-eddy blood sugar level through the day will help us feel fuller for longer and teach us to only eat when we are really hungry. Two powerful allies to weight management in our middle years.

How Cereal Is Born

First, the process of how cereal is made is very unhealthy for the body – no matter what organic, expensive crap from the health food store you buy.

All cold breakfast cereals are made by a process called extrusion (Weston-Price). And, the extrusion process is roughly 5 steps of hell for an innocent piece of grain.

In the first part of the extrusion process the grains are mixed with water in a slurry and then processed in a machine called an “extruder” (sounds like a character in the “Terminator” movie, doesn’t it?).

Once the grains and water have fought with the extruder/Terminator (“I’ll be back” – they say… haha, couldn’t resist. Sorry.), the grains/sludge are then pumped out of tiny holes using high temperatures and pressure. These holes are what create the shapes of cereal that we find in our cereal box.

[bctt tweet=”Eat all of the junk food you want. So long as you cook it yourself. – Michael Pollan”]

Certain grains from the above process will then be passed through the extruder again to produce puffed wheat, oats and rice. Afterwards all of these shapes are then sprayed with a coating of oil and sugar to seal the deal.

This sealing process is actually the most crucial part to a cereal’s success. You see the cereal must stay crunchy while floating in a bowl full of milk for it to be successful.

Unfortunately they don’t stop the processing there.

Due to the high heat and pressure used (during the processing) this pretty much destroys most of the grains’ nutrients (Fighting the Food Giants Paul Stitt), and since the manufacturers have to sell Mom and the rest of us that this particular box is breakfast-gold, the food manufacturers take the cereal through one more process.

This time adding back the vitamins and minerals synthetically that their processing stripped of the grain that it had naturally in the first place.

To put it simply, they suck all the goodness out of the grain, then pump artificial “goodness” back into it.

Grain: I was just minding my own business when all of sudden I was sucked into this vortex and stripped of everything that makes me – me! “.

Funny Don't Eat Cereal Photo

How Sweet It Is

Most of us know that cereals like “Lucky Charms” and “Frosted Flakes” have a ton of sugar in them. That’s a no-brainer.

But, what if I were to tell you that even the most “healthiest” cereals have an unnecessary amount of sugar in them?

  • Sugar that will raise our blood sugar levels too quickly
  • Sugar that does not satisfy the body, instead leaving it craving more, and more often
  • Sugar, that will add girth to our waistlines
  • Sugar that increases inflammation in our bodies – leading to such diseases as cancer and metabolic syndrome
  • And sugar, that the World Health Organization (WHO) is advising us to half our daily consumption of

In addition, some cereals are high in sodium, that same sodium that Health Canada is telling us to watch out for.

Serving Size Disillusion

Another problem with cereal is that most people free pour it. Who has the time, or even wants to, pull out a measuring cup?

However, we all know what happens when we are left to our own devices to judge how much we are eating. We all over do it.

Sugar. It ain’t a great way to start your day.

Let’s take a look at some the “healthiest” cereals on the market today and see how they measure up for sugar grams.

Kashi GoLean (1 C) 9 grams sugar (just over 2 tsp)

Kashi GoLean – Crunch (3/4 C) 13 grams  (3 tsp)

Barbara’s Original Puffins (3/4 C) 5 grams (just over 1 tsp)

Bob’s Red Mill Granola (1/4 C) 8 grams (2 tsp)

Cheerios (1 C) 1 gram – while this is a low amount of sugar, don’t allow that to lull you in a false sense of security that you are eating healthy. Not only are the ingredients full of GMOs, the FDA even agreed  that Cheerios did not live up to the hype that General Mills was pumping out, and issued the company to change their marketing and box wording.

Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1 C) 13 grams (3 tsp)

Koola Crisp – Nature’s Path (1 cup) 11 grams (almost 3 tsp)

Fibre One (half a cup) 14 grams (just over 3 tsp)

Smart Start Healthy Heart – Kellogg’s (1.25 cup) 17 grams (just over 4 tsp)

Corn Pops (1 cup) 14 grams (4 tsp)

Raisin Bran (1 C) 19 grams (over 4 tsp)

General Mills Granola (half of a cup) 18 grams (over 4 tsp)

Raisin Bran Crunch (1 cup) 20 grams (5 tsp)

Grape Nuts (1 C) 10 grams (over 2 tsp)

Kellogg’s Just Right Fruit & Nuts (1 C) 15 grams (4 tsp)

Quaker Natural Granola with Raisins (1 C) 30 grams (almost 7 tsp)

sad-cheerios Fitness with PJ blog

What You Should Eat For Breakfast Instead

Most nutritionists and trainers would love for you to eat a balanced breakfast. One that has a ratio of complex carbs, protein and good fats – and one that you prepped all by yourself.

If cereal is your thing than try large-flake or steel-cut oats. (Try this awesome oatmeal recipe.)

50 Breakfasts That Are Better For You

  1. Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
  2. “Wasa” Crisp bread with almond butter and sliced apple
  3. Scrambled eggs with salsa and avocado
  4. Egg-scramble with veggies
  5. Nut butter, whole grain tortilla shell & a banana (wrap & go)
  6. Avocado spread on toast with a poached egg
  7. 2 hard boiled eggs chopped in a bowl with a half an avocado
  8. Last night’s leftovers (my fave is cold salmon)
  9. Greek yogurt, berries & mixed nuts
  10. Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
  11. Baked Banana Oatmeal
  12. Baked Quinoa with Apples
  13. Baked Breakfast Peppers
  14. Avocado and Baked Egg
  15. Zucchini Noodle Breakfast Bowl
  16. Baby Kale, Mozza, Egg Bake
  17. Protein Pancakes
  18. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal
  19. Breakfast Salmon Egg Bake
  20. Paleo Breakfast Casserole
  21. Raw Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Chia Bowl
  22. Energizing Green Smoothie Bowl
  23. Overnight Oats Banana Split
  24. Banana Chia Pudding
  25. Raw Buckwheat Porridge
  26. Easy Breakfast Salad
  27. Vanilla Chia Pudding
  28. Veggie Quiche Cups To Go
  29. Grain-Free Applesauce Pancakes
  30. Healthy Bran Muffins 
  31. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
  32. Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bake
  33. Tofu Scramble
  34. Coconut Protein Chia Pancakes
  35. Breakfast Kabobs
  36. Superfood Porridge
  37. 5-Minute Oatmeal Power Bowl
  38. Black Bean Breakfast Burrito
  39. Ricotta Tomatoe Toast
  40. Creamy Berry Quinoa Parfait
  41. Mushroom Tomatoe Omelette 
  42. Mediterranean Morning Scramble
  43. Slow Cooker Red Pepper Asparagus Frittata
  44. Banana Oatmeal Protein Pancakes
  45. Coconut Lemon Chia Seed Muffins
  46. Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Breakfast Cookies
  47. Savory Pesto Breakfast Pesto Bowl
  48. Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie
  49. Baked Apple Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal
  50. Loaded Veggie Avocado Quinoa Frittatas







PJ ox

Total Body Sandbag Workout

Total Body Sandbag Workout

In my quest to give you the best workouts, sometimes I gotta show you a routine that may require some equipment, like today’s Total Body Sandbag Workout.

But, I get it. Not everyone has a sandbag, a bag or even sand. If you are one of those people you can buy the pink sandbag that I use, you can make your own, or you can use one dumbbell for all the exercises (just make it heavier please, like a 10-20 pounder depending on your fitness leave).

Regardless of what you use you have to try this workout, though!

It is the BOMB! I loved filming it and I will be adding it to my regular workout schedule.

My Total Body Sandbag Workout is a fantastic:

  • Fat burning workout
  • Full length – I warm you up, work you out and cool you down
  • A high intensity workout, but suitable for all levels
  • Great at toning the legs and the strengthening the core


Hey, and if you like these types of workouts (aka – workouts that kick your butt but give you results), then you are gonna love these:

STEP or BOSU Ball Plyo Workout

30-Minute Dumbbell Tabata 

20-Minute Fat Blast

Check out my newest blog series: A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – menu planning, prep tips and how I cook healthy.

Click here to check out Week 2.

Total Body Sandbag Workout

Total Body Sandbag Workout


Looking for some tough love training? I’ve got small group classes, one-on-one appointments, and online personal training. In other words – everything you need to get started! Check out my website here.

For more healthy living tips, recipes and workouts please subscribe above to this blog

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

If you are really interested in getting started on your own weight loss and fitness journey, shoot me an email!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly blog by clicking on the box above. I’ve got lots of awesome workouts, exclusive content, and exciting offers available to subscribers only!

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A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 2

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 2

Well, this new blog, A Trainer’s Weekly Menu, that I have added seems to be a bit of a hit! Thanks or being so supportive. I appreciate it and want to give back and make sure that you set yourself up for success.

Click the link below and download my weekly meal planner. That, as well as valuable food prepping tips, will be emailed right to you. How cool is that???

Download your free Weekly Meal Planner here.

Notes about last week’s meals

  • I loved the Southwest Kale Power Salad  from Cookie + Kate and it will definitely be a regular thing on my weekly lunch rotation (lunch only though, cause loving husband WOULD never eat any of that)
  • My sister from another mister does have my favourite twice-baked sweet potatoe/yam recipe up on her blog. Check out Risse’s blog and awesome recipe here.
  • Wednesday night leftover night never happened because loving husband pulled a 12 hour day and didn’t get home until 9pm. So, I had the tuna salad from the night before and the leftovers were pushed to Thursday and Thursday’s salmon dinner was pushed to Friday. So, we never had a chance to try Two Peas and their Pod Grilled Steak Fajitas, but I will definitely try it in the future. We only eat red meat, at max, once a week and loving husband MUST eat salmon once a week. That’s our deal, much to his chagrin.
  • And, after 6 days of my Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Steel Cut Oats (recipe coming) you would think that I would be pumkin-ed out. But, I ain’t. In fact I really wanted to make it again for this week’s breakfasts, but alas common sense kicked in.

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Oct 18- 24, 2015


Herby Frittata with Vegetable & Goat's Cheese - Cooking Light
Herby Frittata with Vegetable & Goat’s Cheese – Cooking Light

  • 1/4 C mixed nuts and herb frittata with vegetables and goat’s cheese.
  • I am a huge fan of mixed nuts as a breakfast side dish and as a snack. I find by adding more healthy fats to my diet it helps me feel fuller, for longer, and therefore keeps my waistline in check.
  • I will be changing the frittata recipe somewhat. First, I will use 6 eggs and a cup of egg whites. Second, I will put it all it in a casserole dish and bake it for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. And, third, I will probably use dried dill. I love fresh herbs, but I find I throw away more than I use. (Yes, I know about the ice cube tray trick – freeze your fresh herbs in an ice cube tray – but I never seem to get to that.)
  • With these changes to the frittata recipe I will have 6 servings. So, one prep day and I am golden until next weekend for breakfast :).


  • I found this recipe on a new food blog that I am following, Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoe Chicken & Quinoa Soup.
  • How brilliant is that? A slow cooker meal (so nice and easy to prepare), with all my favourite foods.
  • I am on the fence, though, about whether or not I will add the chicken. I usually don’t eat meat during the day. I just never really have the appetite for it. So, if I decide to go sans chicken I will add some more black beans, or quinoa to the recipe to amp up the protein.
  • For dessert, cause lately I have been craving something sweet after lunch, I will buy a big ass bag of grapes. I love grapes when my sweet tooth (teeth!) kick in. They always squash the craving and fill me up. Now, I have been seeing (on my Instagram account) cotton candy grapes and they are apparently awesome. I haven’t seen them make an appearance locally, though. How about you? Have you heard/tried them? Let me know below in the comment section. I’m curious about them.

Sweet Potatoe Chicken Quinoa Soup - Chelsea's Messy Apron
Sweet Potatoe Chicken Quinoa Soup – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Download your free Weekly Meal Planner here.



  • We are hoping to hike on Sunday (if the weather cooperates), so if we do I will use a Slow Cooker Beef Roast and Veggies meal that I have in the freezer, ready to go (the recipe in the link uses only carrots, I also added a parsnip, potatoe and a sweet potaote).
  • If we don’t hike, then I will make a double batch of Skillet Enchilada Bake (loving husband requested this), and freeze one batch for future use.


  • Meatless Monday is a hard one in my house. Loving husband, in case you didn’t know, has the tastebuds of a 10-year old boy. He will not eat:
    • Quinoa
    • Tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, most squashes, sweet potatoes (he will eat the odd chunk in a stew, but not a whole one), avocado
    • Black beans, white beans, etc (he will only eat canned beans in tomatoe sauce. However, I do make him eat the others when I add them to a dish. There’s only so much patience I have.)
    • Yogurt & sour cream
    • Salsa – he puts ketchup on his tacos
    • Healthy peanut butter (he will only eat Skippy)
    • Any nut butter
    • Almond milk
    • Berries, pineapple, any citrus fruit
    • Cheese (I can get away with cheese in some dishes, but I always use half of what any recipe calls for)
    • Seafood (he will only eat fish & chips, haha…go figure, and the mandatory salmon I bake every week)
    • Now you know the pain I go through, each and every week, when it comes to meal planning 🙂
  • This meatless Monday we will have the twice-baked potaote again (me sweet potatoe, get the recipe here) and I will bake them with my prep later today so we just have to re-heat the day of.
  • Kale salad, this is my fave and loving husband will eat it to.


Crockpot Split Pea Soup - Family Fresh Meals
Crockpot Split Pea Soup – Family Fresh Meals


  • Leftovers from last night for Larry, a protein bar for me 🙂 I am teaching until 7:10pm and then I am off for a presentation right after. There will be no time for me to eat and I do not want a meal at 9pm at night. So, I will munch on a bar while travelling to the event I am presenting at and then have a mug of Natural Calm when I get home.
  • Natural Calm is awesome. It restores a healthy magnesium level and balances out your calcium intake—the result of which is a natural stress relief. After a speaking event I always find that I am really wound up, so this will help calm me down, fill my belly a little (I won’t lie, I will be going to bed hungry though) and help me fall asleep.


  • White Chicken Chili – Once Upon a Chef
  • Recipe adaptations: I will NOT be using a jalapeño or the poblano peppers. Both loving husband and I do not like spicy. We find we are spicy enough.
  • Spinach Salad prepped from Tuesday night

White Chicken Chili - Once Upon a Chef
White Chicken Chili – Once Upon a Chef


  • Salmon Casear Salad
  • Instead of croutons I use pumpkin seeds – surprisingly loving husband does not complain about this and eats them.
  • I do not make my own dressing, though. I have tried in the past only to have loving husband not like it and barely eat any our supper (he never complains, he just doesn’t eat it). This, in turn, leaves me wanting to stab his eyeballs out with a dull spoon. So, to save our marriage (and keep me out of jail for attempted manslaughter) I use this store bought dressing that we both approve of.

Renee's Half the Fat Caesar Dressing
Renee’s Half the Fat Caesar Dressing


  • Eat out or take out 🙂
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am a cookie fiend! I love cookies and will either bake some, or pick one up at our local coffee shop in Beach Grove where they sell Fieldstone Cookies.
  • Fieldstone’s is a bakery in South Surrey (near Crescent Beach) that makes the BEST baked goods, including cookies, in the world. If you are local go check them out. They are awesome.

Don’t forget to click on the link below to download your free Weekly Menu Planner, and share below what you will be prepping for the week ahead.

Download your free Weekly Meal Planner here.

 Looking for some tough love training? I’ve got small group classes, one-on-one appointments, and online personal training. In other words – everything you need to get started! Check out my website here.

For more healthy living tips, recipes and workouts please subscribe above to this blog

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

If you are really interested in getting started on your own weight loss and fitness journey, shoot me an email!

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly blog by clicking on the box above. I’ve got lots of awesome workouts, exclusive content, and exciting offers available to subscribers only!

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