Featured Fit Chick – Libby


Libby Fitzgibbons

How long have you been a member of Fit Chick Express and what brought you here? I have been a member of Fit Chick for less than a year.

What keeps you motivated? What obstacles have you had to overcome? I love knowing that it will be a different, challenging workout every time I go! My biggest challenge is listening to my body and knowing that there are some things I just shouldn’t do.

 What is your favorite part of FCE?  I like the format of a half hour of hard work in the boot camps. It’s quick but effective. I also love the constant instruction and guidance from Angie. I feel like I have a personal trainer while I’m working out to tell me if I’m doing something wrong or offer advice for better form or intensity. I also love the variety of different work outs.

 What advice would you offer to newbies? Try it out! It’s a great group of women who provide a supportive atmosphere.

In one sentence how would you describe your experience at FCE.  Supportive, tough, rewarding and fun!

Why Artificial Sweeteners are Terrible for Your Health (Part 1)


Why Artificial Sweeteners are Terrible for your Health

We all know that sugar added to food and drinks is a problem – especially for folks that have health issues (such as diabetes) and for people that are trying to lose weight.  However, most of us are used to enjoying sweet foods, and don’t want to live our lives without them.  Therefore, food manufacturers came up with chemical artificial sweeteners, which have the ability to stimulate the sweet taste receptors of our tongue without the calories of sugar.  These products are very sweet, and are commonly added to foods and drinks that are then labeled as “weight loss friendly” – due to their low calorie count.  But despite the use of these low-cal sweeteners and diet foods, the obesity epidemic has only gotten worse.

There are Many Types of Artificial Sweeteners – These are the most common ones:

  • Acesulfame-K (found in Sunett and Sweet One)
  • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal)
  • Neotame
  • Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Appetite Regulation

“I just want something sweet!”  How many times have you thought or said this?  Well, we are all alike in that we all seek “reward” from our food, not just nutrition.  And usually this is in the form of seeking out something that tastes sweet.  When we eat sugar (REAL sugar), brain chemicals and hormones are triggered as part of the “food reward” pathway.  This pathway results in feeling satisfied after eating (and shares pathways with addictive behaviors too).

When we substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar, it is believed that the lack of calories prevents complete activation of the food reward pathway, and studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are often linked with increased appetite and further cravings for sugary foods, and may lead to overall increased food intake, which is not what you want if you are trying to lose weight!

Artificial Sweeteners May Increase Sugar Cravings

All artificial sweeteners are (pound for pound) much sweeter than actual sugar.  Some studies have shown that this unnatural sweetness increases sugar cravings.  Flavor preferences can be “trained” in humans with repeated exposure – for example:  reducing salt in the diet for a few weeks results in a preference for lower levels of salt.  It’s no different with sweeteners:  The more we use artificial sweeteners, the more we may desire eating sweet things.

Studies on Artificial Sweeteners and Body Weight

Some observational scientific studies have found that artificially sweetened drinks are linked to weight gain rather than weight loss.

Artificial Sweeteners and Metabolic Health

In observational studies, artificial sweetener consumption is linked to metabolic disease.  Metabolic disease includes an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  One study found that diet soft drinks were linked to a 121% greater risk of type 2 diabetes!  Another study found that these beverages were linked to a 34% greater risk of metabolic syndrome. (References:  Ley RETurnbaugh PJKlein SGordon JI. Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity Nature. 2006 Dec 21; 444(7122):1022-3.  Musso GGambino RCassader M. Obesity, diabetes, and gut microbiota: the hygiene hypothesis expanded? Diabetes Care. 2010 Oct; 33(10):2277-84.)

Another study showed that artificial sweeteners caused a disruption in the gut bacterial environment and induced glucose intolerance in both rats and humans.  Why does this matter?  Well, gut bacteria are incredibly important for our health – we cannot exist without them.  Further research must be done to understand the gut flora disruption.  Disruption of gut flora has been implicated in obesity and type 2 diabetes. (Reference:  Suez J. et. al. Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota. Nature. 2014 Oct 9; 514(7521):181-6.)

Long-Term Consumption of One Artificial Sweetener May Cause Brain Problems

Rats that were given aspartame showed a lower concentration of glutathione, which is linked to age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.  They also observed vascular congestion in the rat’s brains.  Excessive intake of aspartame can lead to damaged neurons and can contribute to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s/dementia, Parkinson’s disease, hearing loss, ALS, and other conditions.

Next time I’ll be asking you if you are suffering from health issues that are a result of using artificial sweeteners…

Contributing post from Bobbie Covert~Nutritionist for Fit Chick Express

If you would like more information about Bobbie Covert, or more information about our fitness program for women, visit us at www.FitChickExpress.com.

Emotional Eating-What to know

emotional eating

Learning to identify and avoid emotional eating

Emotional eating is when you eat to fulfill an emotional need, rather than eating because you are hungry. You might be eating because you feel sad or lonely and you want some comforting foods. You might also be eating because you feel happy and want to reward yourself. Emotional eating is not necessarily a bad thing when done in moderation. Most people eat for emotional reasons on occasion. Emotional eating becomes a problem when you can’t control it.

Here is a good chart showing the difference between emotional eating and eating out of physical hunger:

Emotional Hunger VS Physical Hunger

Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. Physical hunger comes on gradually.
Emotional hunger feels like it needs to be satisfied instantly. Physical hunger can wait.
Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. Physical hunger is open to options–lots of things sound good.
Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied with a full stomach. Physical hunger stops when you’re full.
Emotional eating triggers feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and shame. Eating to satisfy physical hunger doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself.


How to help with emotional eating

The first step is to identify your emotional triggers.  Some common reasons for emotional eating include stress, negative feelings, feelings of emptiness, boredom,  learned habits from childhood, and social influences (like families that overeat together). The best way to look for your own patterns is to write down when you are eating for emotional reasons. Write down what you were feeling at the time, what you craved, what you ate, how you felt while eating and after eating.  After doing this for a week or two you can look for patterns.

Once you’ve identified your patterns, you can start to be more mindful about your emotional eating and work on changing your behaviors.   When you realize that you are feeling like you want to eat for emotional reasons the first thing to do is pause and think about what you want to eat and why. Think about how you would feel after eating what you are craving.   Next, find another way of dealing with that emotion.  You may consider exercising, going for a walk, dancing, talking to a friend, reading, drawing a picture, writing, meditating, or doing some yoga poses. The list is endless but you need to find things that work for YOU.

One reason people struggle with emotional eating is that they are uncomfortable with their negative feelings.  When you learn to accept your negative feelings, you will no longer feel the need to fight your feelings with food.

The last thing, which I think may be the most important thing, is to be kind and forgiving to yourself.  We all mess up and eat things we know we shouldn’t. When this happens, forgive yourself and move on. Try to do better next time but don’t beat yourself up over it.

We are going to be talking about emotional eating at my Emotional Fitness group on Friday Nov 14 at 10am and Sat Nov 15th at 9am. Knowing that you are not alone with this struggle can also be very helpful. I hope to see you there!

Ann Noble, MA, LPC, ATR

If you would like more information on classes at Fit Chick Express, check us out at www.fitchickexpress.com




June Cardio Challenge is Complete!



June Cardio Challenge Finished With Impressive Results!

We did a little cardio challenge last month with two categories: Most Miles and Most Activities (which included Kickboxing, Zumba, running, biking, hiking, walking, etc).  With the final results tallied, and the contestants anticipating results, we finished with huge cardio numbers.  All the girls finished well, pushing hard with miles and activities completed well above what they may have normally done.  We are VERY proud of their accomplishments.  Here are the winners.

Most Mileage in June

1st –Lora Ann L with 303.54 miles
2nd — Raluca M with 166.17 miles

That’s a lot of miles!

Great job girls! Lora Ann will receive a pedicure from KC Salon (our very own Fit Chick Casey Lee is the owner) and Raluca will receive a gift certificate for $50 off an acupuncture treatment from Good Life Acupuncture and Wellness Center (from our very own Stacey Donelson).

Most Activities in June

1st — Stephanie B with 44 activities
2nd — Amy S with 38 activities

Great job ladies!! Both Steph and Amy will receive a $25 gift card to Brown’s Shoe Fit Co here in Longmont!

Also some honorable mentions for sticking right up there with the top 5!
Jennifer S had 137.62 miles
Erin C had 129.19 miles
Diana D had 114.19 miles

Lora Ann had 35 activities
Jen had 34 activities
Erin had 33 activites

Fabulous job to all the cardio challengers!! You all did a wonderful job and should be proud of all that you did!!

Can’t wait for the next challenge!  Join us!

If you would like more information about or program or classes, please visit us at www.FitChickExpress.com

Body Awareness: How it applies to you


What is body awareness and why is it important?

Body awareness can mean many things depending on the context but in this instance it is being used to describe how we move through our daily lives. For example the way we pick something up off the ground, sit in a chair (see previous post here) or do squats at the gym. It can even be something as small as how we move our eyes or turn our head. Bringing awareness to simple movements or sensations can enhance these movements so that they are done with ease and efficiency as well as in way to prevent damage to our bodies!

So why is this important?

When we are less aware of how we move then we are more likely to get injured doing the repetitive motions that fill our day or the random movements like picking up something heavy without thinking about it or how we sit at our desk on a daily basis.

What this means for your workouts?

When doing a workout there is a tendency to do repetitive motions. Those repetitive motions work through the same joints over and over again. Now imagine that this movement was a squat and that it was done without awareness and one knee is twisting each time. Even if it is just a tiny movement of the knee out of alignment it could be causing other compensation in the body.

Through becoming more aware of where your body is in space and how to feel when things are moving well it enhances the workouts by making them more efficient and less likely to produce injury.

Starting to develop more awareness in ourselves!

To start to develop awareness in our bodies there are some simple movements you can start with. You will need a tennis ball and a small bouncy ball (like the ones you get out of a gumball machine, there are 8 packs sold for $1.99 at King Soopers).

The feet!

The tennis ball is to start bringing awareness to your feet which in turn will loosen the body up all the way into the hips and low back.

  • Start off by taking a walk and get a baseline for how your feet feel when you walk and what your knees, hips, back and shoulders feel like as you move.
  • Then standing or sitting with bare feet roll the tennis ball under one foot very slowly and gently. It isn’t about putting a lot of pressure through the tennis ball but about feeling the sensation of the tennis ball on the bottom of the foot. In fact if you are standing most of your weight should be on the foot that isn’t on the tennis ball. You want to do this slowly and be conscious of what you feel. This sense of sensation work to repattern the nervous system and teaching it where your foot is. That is why it is important to get the whole foot including all the toes! Do this for a minute.
  • When finished take a walk before doing the other foot so you can feel what has shifted then do the other side! This can be done throughout your day and even while sitting at your desk to keep you back loose during the day!

Increasing awareness of our feet gives us a better sense of grounding and support from our lower body allowing our upper body to be able to rest and not try to hold us up so much! When we can connect to our feet we can also access more power from out lower body which is important when doing your workouts. Think about the way you do squats and notice next time if you are using your whole foot to do the movement! If not then you lose some of the power. Try doing to the tennis ball exercise before doing squats and see if you notice a difference in the way you do them! For more information on Squats be on the lookout for my next post!

The Hands!

Next use the bouncy ball to do the same thing for your hands! This is best done if you can use a table to rest your hand on!

1. Once again take a walk and just notice how your neck and shoulders feel.

2. Take a bouncy ball and place it under the palm of your hand and then rest your hand on the table.

3. Roll the bouncy ball under your hand for a minute like you rolled the tennis ball under your foot. You want to feel each finger with the bouncy ball and the whole surface of the hand. Remember it is the sensation of the slow conscious movement that creates there patterning of the nervous system so that your body is more aware of where your hand and arm are.

4. While doing this be aware of what the ball feels like on your hand and make sure to take deep breaths. Also watch that you’re allowing your shoulders to rest and your armpits to relax!

5. Be careful to be very light near where your hand and wrist meet as this is where there are nerves.

6. Do one side and then take a walk. See what the whole arm, shoulder and neck feel like then do the other side!

This is a great way to warm of the shoulders especially before/after an arm workout!

Do you want to learn more about how to be aware in your body especially in your workouts?

Watch for more information and a follow up post in April!

We will be going over Pushups, Squats and other exercises to help with biomechanics and form with the intention to reduce injury!


Lauren Harmon Certified Rolfer™

Certified Equine Structural Integration Practitioner

Rolfing ® Structural Integration Longmont and Fort Collins Colorado


Fitness Success: 4 Tips To Remember

Fitness-Tips4 Tips To Keep In Mind To Lose Weight

1. Make sure to incorporate at least 3 days of strength training and cardio training to your fitness routine.  If you do them on the same day, strength training comes first, then cardio. To make your workouts even more quick and effective, do supersets when doing strength training and interval training for cardio.  Three days of workouts at 30-45 minutes each time. Done! Perfect workout!

2. Eat 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism boosted. Make sure you incorporating lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats when planning your meal and space them about 3-4 hours apart.

3. Pre and Post workout meals are the most important meal of your day. The pre workout meal gets your muscles ready for an intense training workout. The post workout meal is to replenish your muscles and help to rebuild them. Your post workout meal should contain protein and carbs, but not fats and make sure it is into your system no later than an hour after your workout. That is why I prefer shakes for both my pre and post workout meals.

4. Drink plenty of water to flush the nasty toxins out your body and keep you hydrated. If you get tired of the same old water, try adding some lemon or lime or fresh berries to refresh the taste.

Stick with these 4 simple tips and you will be well on your way to achieving your weight loss goals!

Image courtesy of fitnesswithhealth.com