Staying injury free after forty

“My back hurts. I need to take time off from the program.”

“I can’t run because of I have degenerative disc disease.”

“I have to put my membership on hold because I need to get an MRI.”

We built embody for these exact reasons, to help heal, and yet people want to put their membership on hold when they have pain. Should an injury create opportunity to revert to unhealthy habits. If your pain improves with wine and cheese while you watch Netflix, please let us know because we want to meet your doctor. We all want the same prescription.

As active fitness professionals finishing up our forty’s we have a unique perspective on living in pain. Personally we are never injury-free. A trip over an aggressive pine cone can lead to a knee injury which would derail most runners. A muscular imbalance that causes debilitating back pain might send most people to an MRI . How do we continue to train for our first 50 miler? We have the secret to feeling great in your forties and beyond.

You will get hurt.

The first moments, hours and days after an injury are important and what you do in that time can seriously impact the outcome. Keeping a sprained ankle totally immobile will absolutely prevent the sprain from getting worse. However, this will also likely lengthen the recovery period significantly. Ibuprofen, while decreasing the pain, will not allow you to know what a safe range of motion is for your injury.  If you can tolerate the pain, avoid the ibuprofen.   We are not fans of liberal pharmaceutical use, but take meds when it’s necessary.  But before we drive to a pharmacy we usually make an acupressure appointment for some much needed body work .

Pain is part of life.

Knowing the early warning signs of a strained muscle can be the difference between no injury and a MCL tear that sidelines you for weeks, months, or a lifetime. That little twinge when you go downstairs is something. Listen to your body. While the twinge is not likely serious, it is your advance warning signal that something is out of balance.

Understand the diagnosis.

A diagnosis is not a reason to get unhealthy. Most people over 40 have degenerative disc disease. If you start poking around with imaging you will find something. Understanding the source of pain is a reason to design a healing plan. Anything involving the spine is scary, and a disc disease sounds horrifying, but not moving will decondition your muscles, decrease your balance and increase the likelihood of a fall.


What you put into your body can greatly impact your outcome, as well. We have had, and seen many people with, significant injuries and one of the most important points to stress is nutrition. Eliminate inflammatory, increase anti-inflammatory foods. If you think that there is not connection, simply ask anyone who has followed an anti-inflammatory diet when injured. We are not sure why people think they can put a medicine into their bodies to be digested, metabolized and be delivered to an injury site in their bodies, but that foods would be handled differently.

Of course there will be an injury that requires rest, but pain or injuring yourself is not a reason to not get healthy. We have a unique perspective as wellness coaches completing our forties. Be an active participant in your recovery, and we guarantee the recovery goes faster. We are not special because we stayed fit in our forties.

“I hurt my knee. My physical therapist told me take time off from the program.” Statements like this are commonplace, and unfortunately, understandable. No one wants to be responsible for someone making an injury worse which could happen if you overexert an injury, even stretching it too far. So while, stretching and mild movement is great for an injury, there is too much room for misunderstanding and misinterpretation for a medical professional to give that advice. The safe answer is to rest and take ibuprofen. While this answer isn’t wrong, it’s not right.

Check in for guidance with a licensed professional and see if someone can explain what might be some safe movements for you to do instead of keeping the area immobile and stiff. Don’t limit your focus to just the injury because spot healing(intense focusing on managing the pain without focusing on the entire body) will just lead to more injuries. Heal the entire body with fitness, nutrition and restoration.

Sure there are some injuries, that usually involve broken bones, that require stability, but most muscles, ligaments or tendons would appreciate some TLC.

embody includes an intense restorative program for a reason. Take advantage of the embody 30 minute Stretch and Core Class. Enjoy a special Spa Yoga Class. Commit to balance with Tai Chi in the fall. Don’t miss a functional training session. Finally, food is medicine! Nothing heals like a healthy lifestyle.

Yours in health,

Anne and Nicole

Navigating A Night Out

Anne Rollins MS CSSD RD LDN

Summer is full of beach days, get-togethers and perhaps a bit more eating and drinking than usual.  This week I had a few extras: hours at work, extra days of work, a few extra hours on customer service calls, and a few extra hours of training, and the few extra added up.  After my long run yesterday, I sent out the ‘who’s available tonight because I’ll not be able to manage much more than sitting around chatting’ text, (and that may be weird and challenging by myself).

I have great friends who I met at a local restaurant, and who had prior to my arrival, ordered the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten.  Truthfully, this could have been anything since I had just finished a long run, but this was really, really good.   A fancy Philly Cheesesteak Taquito with horseradish sauce.  The beauty here, is that I didn’t order this dish, and was handed only the last few bites immediately upon arriving.  This is a great strategy that allows you to enjoy a dish that is a little less than healthy.   I should also add that we were in a scratch kitchen restaurant, so a taquito while still some type of fried yumminess, is way better than a taco shell from chain restaurant.

I ordered my favorite summer cocktail, Gin and Tonic with lime, and a basket of Truffle Fries to start.  I don’t have many rules in my life, but one is that if I am somewhere and they have Truffle Fries on the menu, I must ordered them.  Needing a few extra carbs post run, this was a win:win.  A bit about the cocktail.  I avoid drinks with sugary mixers because this add so many extra calories I don’t need, and I also find that I don’t feel so great the next day and not from excessive alcohol.  The metabolism of sugars from alcohol combined with sugars in juices and whatever else in in the mixer does not sit well with me.  So, I’ll choose tonic (some sugar), soda or on the rocks.  And, don’t let that bar fruit be a garnish! A squeeze of lime provides some Vitamin C.  Additionally, there is some solid lore that you should not drop your bar fruit into your drink, because who knows wear that fruit has been.

I shared the fries with everyone so not to over do it, (full disclosure, I ate most of them) and then noticed that a salad on the specials was sourced from a local farm.  I couldn’t say no, even though this may not have been my first choice.  The salad was a Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad that included candied pecans and radishes.  The radishes and the greens were from a farm in my town, and since we were not in my town, I was even more obliged.  I don’t eat much dairy, but if I do, I will have a non-cow product. 

My meal had been pretty light, but perfect for chatting with the girls and leaving room for a few bites for dessert.  Fortunately, the Honey Caramel Cheesecake was incredibly popular and had sold out, because I’m not quite sure I could’ve shared that offering very well.  The choices were narrowed down to a chocolate brownie a la mode sundae creation, and a berry mascarpone cream over blueberry ricotta cake combo.  The final choice was left to me, and I went berries.  Again, we all shared, and while the dessert was heavenly, a few bites remained. Feeling compelled to finish dessert is common, but a few bites of something sweet after your meal can sometimes be all you need to hit the spot.  Move on with some great conversation, and some water, tough as it may be. To be clear, this was no fruit salad because berries were involved. No justifying this. This is absolutely a calorically dense, sugary treat. Going out to eat can be challenging trying to find something that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and guilt ridden.  Enjoy your choices of food, and while I indefinitely love food, I love the company of my friends and family more.  Place more importance on the people you are sharing the meal with, and take some of the pressure off the food.  Including the social aspect to your meal can be just as important as the foods you choose.

Oh, and the minute I start photographing my food the conversation usually turns toward nutrition. Intermittent Fasting was brought up (and not by me!) and I got to hear about what some folks are thinking and adding some new twists on an age old eating pattern. We are doing lots of investigating on the IF craze and the IF Challenge starts for us on August 1. Definitely not for everyone, our challenge is designed to help people walk through IF and see if IF would be beneficial for them, most importantly with some guidance and support on principles and how to implement them. Woohoo! Challenge!

Summary of Tips

  • Eat/taste your friend’s indulgences
  • Order what you love
  • Enjoy your company more than the food

Happy Dining Out!

I can’t eat another burger…

Excerpt from a blog post by Jamie Burgess, Boston University Dietetic Intern
Fun, flavorful and festive – Part 1 Appetizer With the start of summer and July 4th right around the corner, you may find yourself with an abundance of cookouts to attend and beach days to plan…but what can you bring that will please the crowds, provide a nutritious punch and be ready in less than 30 minutes all at the same time?  An avocado quinoa walnut salad might be the perfect appetizer.             Avocados are a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, and these micronutrients help you convert your food into energy, keep your immune system running in tip-top shape and support strong bones.  In order to stop your avocado from turning brown through oxidation, be sure to gently coat with lemon juice.  Fun fact – Lemon juice is high in Vitamin C and interacts with oxygen before it can turn your avocado brown keeping the beautiful green color.             Quinoa, (yes, it gets a bad rap) has naturally gluten free, high protein, whole grain.  Talk about a superfood! But why are whole grains better than refined grains like white flour or white bread? Whole grains contain all three parts of the grain- the bran, the germ and the endosperm providing more fiber and more micronutrients than refined grains. To bring this appetizer together, sprinkle on some walnuts.  Research shows that hose with a walnut rich diet have lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Woohoo!! Walnuts also pack in the fiber and micronutrients for a wonderful snack or addition to any salad!
Avocado Quinoa Walnut salad2 avocados2 cups quinoa2 cups grape tomatoes¼ c chopped walnutslemon juice (prevents the avocado from browning) Olive oil2 lemons, juiced

1. Prepare quinoa according to directions on package (making sure to rinse before using). Allow to cool.2. Dice avocado into bite side pieces and spritz with lemon juice3. Cut grape tomatoes in half4. Add in ¼ cup chopped walnuts.5. Gently stir and enjoy!  

Party Night Day Plan

So you’ve crushed your nutrition all week, you’re feeling great, and you’re totally in a groove, wIth this sort of momentum, combined with increased energy, and visible results nothing could go wrong…right?  But then comes Saturday night and that cocktail party, or kids birthday, or nieces wedding, or any one of a million possible events that you’ve had on the calendar for weeks or months and you know you will have little to no control over food choices while attending.  

In the past, something like this could have created anxiety or negative thoughts as it approached.  We fear it may knock us out of that awesome groove we’ve been in and grind our results to a halt. An indulgence night or “cheat night” can and should be a part of your successful nutrition plan, so designating this night as such is always an option.  Sometimes however, you will have a particularly busy weekend or month, or just want a bit more control to guarantee you won’t feel guilty about straying from your plan. A good way to do this is to plan the rest of your day out to provide much more flexibility at the party or event.  

The goal of this day plan is to pack your other meals with a lot of protein and minimal carbs.  Finger foods, comfort foods, and cocktails are almost always carb dense so we’ll save the majority of our carb consumption for the event.  We’re loading up on protein for two reasons. One, it satiates us more than carbs do so you won’t be starving throughout the day and you will show up to the event with an appetite, but not feeling like you haven’t eaten in days and wanting to eat the entire tray of crostinis you see as you walk in.  The other reason is that we don’t know if there will be many protein packed options at the event so to make sure we get enough throughout the day we will load up on it early.

I’ve kept the meals purposely simple because it will most likely be a weekend day and you will probably be busy.  They are also options that could be easily ordered at many restaurants. Without further ado, here is the plan:


  • 3 free range eggs
  • ½ C egg whites
  • 1t ghee
  • ½ C of your favorite veggies (green pepper and sweet onion pictured)

Directions – saute veggies in ghee, then stir in eggs/whites until cooked through.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition – P=22, F=20, C=4

Lunch: Tuna (or chicken) Mixed Green Salad

  • 2 C mixed greens (or any lettuce besides iceberg)
  • 1 Can tuna (preferably in olive oil for taste, OR 4-6 oz chicken breast)
  • 1 T hemp hearts
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 t olive oil (may need a bit more if using tuna in water or chicken to coat salad)
  • Any other veggies you prefer (use the same as the scramble if you have extras)

Nutrition – P=21, F=17, C=12

Snacks:  One serving of almonds or cashews, OR one serving turkey jerky (only if needed)

And there you have it.  You can go out and enjoy the event and know that you’ve given yourself enough protein for the day, have eaten tons of veggies, and limited most of your carb/ sugar intake to a single meal.


MCT Bullet Coffee


Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are fatty acids that are shorter than LCTs (long chain triglycerides), making them easier to digest and break down for energy. There are four types of MCTs: caproic acid, capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid. Caprylic acid has been shown to be beneficial on its own, so you’ll sometime see it sold as an oil or supplement that can be consumed the same way as MCT oil.


MCTs are easy for your body to absorb and break down, meaning that your body will quickly use them as an energy source rather than store them as fat for later use. Any fat will make us feel satisfied after a meal, so choosing a fat that is easier for your body to process than store will aid in weight loss or weight maintenance. MCTs have also been shown to deactivate the hormone ghrelin, aka the hormone that tells us we’re hungry even if we don’t need anymore food. They’re also an anti inflammatory, aiding in muscle recovery and helping prevent diseases such as atherosclerosis, arthritis and others.  


MCTs can be found in foods such as coconut oil, grass fed butter and ghee, or straight in MCT oil or caprylic acid supplements. These foods are energy dense, so enjoy them in moderation. Remember that 1 serving of oil or butter is 1 tbsp or less. MCT oil or caprylic acid can be purchased on Amazon or from the Vitamin Shoppe, but be sure it is from an organic, trusted source.


Anywhere you use oils or fats! In moderation they can be used in salad dressings, as a coating for vegetables and meats when cooking them (they have a relatively high smoke point). For breakfast, combine in a blender 8-10oz of coffee, 1 tbsp grass fed butter and between 1 tsp and 1 tbsp of MCT oil for Bulletproof Coffee!

Vegetarian Fed v Grass Fed

Red meat and US raised meats are something I try to avoid unless they are labelled grass fed, lot free, hormone free from a reputable farm.  This evening, I was looking forward to trying a new ground beef labelled hormone free, vegetarian fed beef.  I wasn’t paying attention when I purchased the beef and fell for all the things I would typically warn against.  The smaller package in the high end section of the meats was packaged in the same shape, size and similar labelling as a grass fed, lot free beef that I usually buy.  I didn’t give it a second thought until I went to prepare it this evening and read the package again. Vegetarian Fed?  Ugh.  Corn is a vegetable, and I certainly don’t want to eat beef that’s eaten corn.  Cows were not meant to eat grains, and the bacteria in their gut can be set off balance.  The cows are typically given antibiotics to keep them healthy.  These antibiotics accumulate in their tissue and we eat these medicines in our steak tip.  The package also claimed anti biotic free.  To make label claims, farms submit their forms and may never be subjected to another inspection. I would guess that if a label says vegetarian fed, the beef is not grass fed.  Marketing and buzz words provide a false sense of security.
Years ago when I was still in school, we were shown a film about the treatment of cattle that was horrifying to say the least.  Now we can draw connections to adverse health conditions, yet somehow these industries are still thriving.  
For a multitude of health reasons eat less meat and higher quality.  Eating less meat may be better of you, and higher quality meats should be free of many of the unhealthy hormones, and not be corn fed, antibiotic fed. Spend the same money and buy less.  Support local farms with reputable practices that allow cows to grow naturally over years by eating grass instead of growing faster with fortified grain feeds that alter the gut microbiome, don’t confine cows to feed lots, slaughter under stress

Find your healthiest self in 2019!

Lose weight and exercise more are the most common New Year’s Resolutions, yet just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions according to a 2013 Forbes article.

Currently, 94% of our members weigh less than the first day we met them.  Less than 8% of our members haven’t had success with the program…yet. We have some suggestions for the 6% of our members and 92% of the average person working on New Year’s Resolution

Stay AccountableMXLLS

The members with the most success are willing to be held accountable with weekly weigh-ins.  Those weigh-ins are not about judgement, just support, and a measurement of how the program is working. Weekly weigh-ins hold the staff and program accountable, as well.  We learn so much about how the program is working for the individual during those weekly weigh-ins.  
In addition to weekly weigh-ins, technology allows coaches to stay with members all the time.  The most successful members ask questions and are open with challenges through texting and phone calls.  We can be with our members all the time as they learn to embody the lifestyle.

Be Ready to PivotMXLLS

Long term success never moves in a straight line.  A journey will be met with obstacles and missteps. Those missteps are just signposts on this long journey.
We learn how to fail better when we are willing to pivot and change on this journey.   
Success is contagious! If you surround yourself with people that encourage bad habits it will be very difficult to find results.  Temptation is everywhere so if we don’t have the support of a successful community it is challenging to be on island by yourself.

Join a Healthy CommunityMXLLS

​​ Success is contagious! If you surround yourself with people that encourage bad habits it will be very difficult to find results. Temptation is everywhere so if we don’t have the support of a successful community it is challenging to be on island by yourself.
Celebrate MilestonesMXLLS

“I only lost 1 pound this week.”  Not everyone begins at the same place, and we are all at different places in our journey.  Losing 1 pound in a given week when the member standing next to you has lost 8 may seem like a failure to some, but learning how to navigate your success and not someone else’s can unlock a door of exponential success.  Learn how to celebrate small accomplishments, for the large do not come without the small.  Running your first 5k is an amazing accomplishment. Our coaching staff can help walk you through your biggest challenges that may have made you give up in the past.

Real FoodMXLLS

We don’t sell shakes, protein bars or a quick fix.  Our meal plans are designed with real food with a specific lesson in each week.  As you walk through the meal plan with our guidance, you ask questions, like an intern in your own life. Understanding your current habits, we work together to create a healthier version of you.  We don’t have free foods, points or anything that doesn’t teach you to obtain, shop for food, cook or navigate restaurants when necessary.  You learn how best to make changes that make you feel better and live healthier with less stress, less pain and at a healthy weight and body composition for you.

Fitness with a PurposeMXLLS

Our current fitness culture has encouraged mindless fitness.  Treadmill desks, CNN on every TV, or trendy workouts that have not made us healthier.  These intense and extreme trends developed to offset or increasingly sedentary lifestyles and have resulted in more injuries and a higher obesity rate. Exercise with a purpose!  We focus on functional fitness – a level of fitness that allows you to move though your day with ease and free of pain.  The exercises target individuals needs in small group training sessions, and while some are intense, others focus on muscle balancing, stretching and relaxation.  Reallocate your “fitness hours” to include movement that makes sense for you.
A healthier 2019 shouldn’t end in February.  Learn how to create habits that are sustainable.

Healthy or Dressed Up Junk Food?

While standing in the checkout line today in the grocery store, I noticed a product in the impulse purchase area (the items near checkout that allows you to grab them without much thought ) and I was drawn in.  I typically get questions about specific items and so I like to give a look when I notice something new.

This box was clean and simple, and clearly appealing to a consumer who would like a healthy product.  Some standard buzz words, “gluten free” and “low sodium” , float above six single items that lead you to believe that those are the only six ingredients, and they are seemingly healthy choices – nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolate. 

 I believe most consumers looking for a healthy trail mix or bar type product would try this believing this to be a healthy choice.  Intrigued, I look at the ingredients and nutritional panel.  I found that there are actually 14 ingredients in this product.  The additional ingredients are chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin (this is an inexpensive way to recreate dark chocolate), sunflower oil, sugar, salt.  There are 13 grams of added sugars and that is separate from the naturally occurring sugars in the dark cherries and the cranberries.  Sunflower oil has some health claims, but I’m not a fan as it is high in omega 6 fatty acids.  These are associated with inflammation, and I’m always recommending that people include more omega 3 fatty acids that are associated with anti-inflammatory properties. The sunflower oils are yet to be GMO and are more favorable than the typical GMO soy, corn and canola oils. The product proudly boasts that it is Non-GMO.
At face value, the product is Non-GMO, low in sodium, gluten free and offering a handy, non-refrigerated snack item.  While this is not a fast food fiasco full of offensive and toxic compounds, this is not as healthy as the label leads you to believe.  If you’re going to include added sugars, by all means have a pastry!  Don’t waste it on trail mix!
Buy your own dry roasted cashews, almonds, peanuts, craisins, (read the labels on these, too!) tart cherries and dark chocolate chips (read the label!) and make your own trail mix.  I frequently do this with a variety of nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolate.  Place all your ingredients on a large bowl an scoop out 1/3 cup and place in baggies or reusable containers.  You have a pre-portioned trail mix that IS a healthier option!
Great for on the go, grab and go snacks that don’t require refrigeration!
Serving 1/3 cup
 1 cup cashews1 cup almond2 cup walnuts1/2 dark chocolate chips

Should I eat beets?

Are beets good for me?
Beets and beet juices have recently jumped to the forefront of the superfoods list, and sometimes the sound bytes “sound” good, but frequently we don’t really understand the science behind the claim. Beets contain a compound called nitrate that is converted to nitric oxide (NO) by the time it reaches the stomach.  This process begins in the mouth saliva, and researchers have found that mouthwash can actually negate the beneficial effects. (Sidenote, try to remember when someone offers you a shortcut, that you often miss a critical step of the journey!)
Research shows that increasing dietary consumption of nitrate containing foods can increase blood levels of NO that can have a beneficial impact on blood pressure and exercise tolerance.   That means that eating beets, lettuce, celery, broccoli and other leafy greens can improve your blood pressure and endurance during exercise.  Studies show that oxygen consumption and utilization is improved with increased NO, and that translates to improved your cardiovascular and aerobic systems by eating more beets.
How do I include this safely into my routine?Incorporating beets into your daily routine would be prudent, unless you are prone to kidney stones (the oxalates in beets may increase production of stones in those who have a history of kidney stones, but not typically in individuals who have no history of stones.) Include 2 beets daily, and endurance athletes may include 3-4 beets daily.  If you are concerned with blood sugar management you may want to avoid, limit or eat in combination with protein and fat to minimize a sugar spike.
What to ExpectWe will only absorb approximately 25% of consumed nitrate and the rest is lost through urine and typically will tint it red or pink.  Don’t panic!
Eat beets for good health, but eating one healthy food doesn’t a healthy lifestyle make.  I recommend including beets as part of a healthy lifestyle that is rich in all vegetables.  

Lifestyle V Dieting

Dieting and lifestyle are incredibly different pathways with some occasional overlap.  MLXLS

​​In short, dieting describes extreme behavioral changes that are not to be maintained for extended periods of time.  Lifestyle changes are less extreme, layered in changes that are meant to be sustained, resulting in a healthier you.  Which is better for you?
If you plan to live well into your eighties or longer, think about the percentage of time a 21 day fix or 2 week diet represents.  Your health reflects what you do most, and smaller more sustainable lifestyle changes will likely be a better plan for most people.
Living well doesn’t mean never having bread, dessert or a few glasses of wine, and we should figure how to have this becomes a part of your life style.  In fact, that’s exactly what we teach to our members.  Remember that your health reflects your behaviors. Sitting and enjoying a pastry with a family member as part of a celebration likely brings you joy, but if celebrating with pastry is a regular occurrence this likely brings excess weight, displaces better nutrients and interferes with other health systems long term.

Participate, but don’t indulge.LXLMS

​​Another part of living a healthy lifestyle that I have personally experienced and hear from many of our members is that the coveted cheat night often makes people not feel good the next day. Cleaning up your food choices, adding physical activity and taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally leads to a healthy lifestyle.  However, once in this mode, eating your favorite meal can sometimes make you sick. Your favorite Italian Take Out is a date night fav that elicits nostalgia and lights up your taste buds.  But now, you develop a stomach ache the next day?  Everyone has their level of cheat, but the longer I choose healthy habits, the less I can tolerate what I used to consume frequently without issue.  Ugh.  I really wanted to be able to participate without giving up feeling well.  How do I do this?

​​Evaluate your “cheat.”
I don’t love using the word “cheat” to describe something that is a less healthy or unhealthy behavior, but when I do everyone knows what I mean.  So, let’s remember that in this particular instance, cheat refers to something that you don’t do on a regular basis, not something that is frowned upon. That said, make your cheat worthwhile, and make your cheat real.  We always talk about sleeves of Oreos or Chips Ahoy – cookies that are filled with corn syrups, GMO flours, preservatives (shelf stable for how long??) and other compounds that are devastating to your body.   Perhaps I’m judgmental about my cookies, but these are not cookies.  Compare an oreo to a fresh bakery cookie, or homemade cookies.  (Last weekend I had a raspberry filled fold over cookie from one of my favorite childhood bakeries.  Not even in the same category as a Chips Ahoy.)  I vote for bakery or homemade.  If you are going to indulge, make it worth it, and make it real.  
Real ingredients are sometimes not the end of the line for health, either.  Certain flours and other ingredients can be contaminated with pesticides, contain gluten or other lectins, or be a GMO crop.  Find some delicious and “healthy”  ingredients to help you discover some decadent flavors and maybe help you feel less like you have a hangover after eating a chicken farm.  (Try sharing this dish to participate, but not indulge!)