Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh the Possibilities!

Today was the first time that I can remember in my life that I'm not trying to lose weight.  This is a huge step for me.  I was shocked at how relieved and content I have been all day.  That is what I want for everyone in my program!

Total Life Fitness explained:  My hope for you:)

Welcome to the rest of your life.  Ask yourself if you want to be happy with yourself, your family, your friends and co-workers.  Do you want to be content and see the world through eyes that are free of the burdens that stress puts on your body and mind?  Do you go through your day constantly wanting to feel better, deep down knowing what you should do, but really not sure how to pull it all together to fit your lifestyle?  Always trying a fad diet, magic pill or the latest thing you should or shouldn't eat of a certain food group?  I've been there and done that!!   

I want to explain what Total Life Fitness is all about.  The main goal and my main mission is to help people live life to the fullest and be happy.  I don't have a magic pill, I don't have every answer to every problem (although I would try to find out), I can't do the work for you.  I will find out what you want in life to be the strongest, happiest and healthiest that your body and mind can be.  This can be as simple as playing with your children or grandchildren, to getting off certain meds, to just enjoying each and every day that you are given.

Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to not be burdened constantly with the worry of what you are going to eat every minute of the day?  What you will do for exercise?  When you should exercise?  How you will get everything done?  Nothing will be perfect, but figuring out the lifestyle that is best for you and enjoying the rest of your life by living that lifestyle is what I can help you with.

As far as the nutrition portion of Total Fitness goes, I enjoy food.  My goal is to teach moderation in everything you eat.  There is not a lot that is banned in my plan, but I push healthy food.  Healthy food can be very tasty especially nowadays with all of the wonderful recipes flying around on the net.  Restaurants have lots of great tasting choices on their menus now.  There are many things that we go over as to what is healthy, and I make sure that you know what a balanced eating plan is.  This is for life, not a few months and then go back to your old eating ways.  There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, water, etc...  This is a realistic approach to living healthy for the long term (meaning something you will stick too).

I hope that this clears up some questions as to what my whole program is about.  Of course, I fell in love with Zumba so if you need a first step then be sure to come to a class!  Fun and fitness that doesn't feel like a workout.  A huge stress buster, what more could you ask for?

You may call me (816) 262-7037 anytime to set up a consultation or e-mail me at  The web site is where I can also be contacted.

Make this a step toward your future for a stronger, healthier, happier life!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Zumba is fun & works! Here's proof!

 Article by ACE Fitness

By Mary Luettgen, M.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Carl Foster, Ph.D., Richard Mikat, Ph.D., and Jose Rodriguez-Morroyo, Ph.D.

 Zumba fitness has quickly grown to one of the most popular group exercise classes on the planet. In fact, the Latin-dance inspired workout is reportedly performed by more than 12 million people at 110,000 sites, in 125 countries around the world.

“Ditch the Workout – Join the Party!” That’s the marketing slogan for Zumba fitness, which attracts exercisers with a fun fusion of dance moves from styles like Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton and Flamenco, and the sort of choreography you might see in a nightclub.

“Historically, aerobic dance was always like paint by the numbers,” says John Porcari, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science. “I think sometimes people get frustrated if dance steps get too intricate and complicated. But Zumba fitness leaves more room for interpretation. And it’s non-judgmental. You don’t have to move exactly like the instructor. It’s more like dancing in a club—people can just move the way they want.”

Just because Zumba fitness is fun, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an effective workout. Despite its immense popularity, to date very little research has been done to document the potential benefits of this form of aerobic dance. So the American Council on Exercise, the nation's Workout Watchdog®, commissioned Dr. Porcari and his team of exercise scientists to determine whether Zumba fitness provides a workout, a party or both.

The Study

Led by Porcari and Mary Luettgen, M.S., researchers from the University’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science set out to determine the average exercise intensity and energy expenditure during a typical Zumba fitness class. First they recruited 19 healthy female volunteers, ages 18 to 22, all of whom had previous experience participating in Zumba classes.

To establish a baseline of fitness for the study subjects, each performed a maximal treadmill test that measured heart rate (HR) and oxygen consumption VO2. This test also enabled researchers to develop individual linear regression equations for each subject to predict their VO2 based on HR readings. This was key because standard metabolic testing gear is bulky and wearing it would encumber the subjects’ ability to dance and properly participate in the Zumba class.

After the treadmill testing, each subject participated in a single Zumba session while equipped with a heart-rate monitor. While the class length varied from 32 to 52 minutes depending on which day it was conducted, the same Zumba-certified instructor taught all of the sessions.

The Results

After crunching the resulting data, researchers found that participating in a single Zumba fitness class burned an average of 369 calories or about 9.5 kcal per minute.

The average HR was 154 beats per minute (bpm), which is roughly 80 percent of the average predicted HRmax for the subjects. Accepted fitness industry guidelines suggest exercising in the range of 64 percent to 94 percent of HRmax to improve cardio endurance, so Zumba meets those requirements.

“If we look at the heart-rate monitor strips from the Zumba fitness session, they kind of look like interval workouts, going back and forth between high intensity and low intensity,” says lead researcher Mary Luettgen, M.S. “Because of that, with Zumba you burn a lot of extra calories compared to a steady-state exercise like jogging.”

As for the average estimated percentage of VO2max, the subjects averaged 64 percent of VO2max, which is well within industry recommendations of 40 percent to 85 percent of VO2max for improving cardio endurance.

Of particular note is that HRmax and VO2max responses for all of the subjects fell within the range of industry guidelines, despite the fact that there was a wide range of fitness levels among the subjects.

The Bottom Line

Zumba fitness may feel like a party, but this research suggests that it’s also a highly effective workout.

“It’s a total-body exercise—a good, high-energy aerobic workout,” explains Dr. Porcari. “Zumba fitness is also good for core strengthening and flexibility gains because there are lots of hip and midsection movements.”

With subjects burning an average of 369 calories per class, Zumba fitness is also a fine choice for those who are looking to drop a few pounds or maintain their current weight levels. In comparison with other exercises tested in the past by the University’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Zumba burns more calories than cardio kickboxing, step aerobics, hooping and power yoga.

“The surprising thing is that it doesn’t matter what fitness level you’re at—our research shows that in Zumba classes everyone is working out at the zone that’s recommended for improving cardio health,” says Luettgen. “Both fit people and less-fit people are going to get an equally good workout.”

Bottom line, Zumba fitness is an effective interval-style, full-body workout with built-in variety because every class and every instructor is slightly different. Equally important is the notion that Zumba classes are entertaining, which means exercisers are busy burning calories and getting fit while enjoying the fun of Latin dancing.

Sounds like our kind of party.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fitness is not just for looks

Eating right, exercising and staying healthy are the things that we know we should be doing.  There is proof at every turn about how much it helps us in life.  I have said it before and I'll say it again that exercise is the fountain of youth.  Aging is inevitable and most people resolve that they should feel a certain way by the time they get to a certain age and accept it.  That's just not for me.  I have had the healthiest body in my 40's than I did in my 20's and 30's.

That being said, I found out just how good taking care of yourself can be when I went to a Quick Trip in Lee's Summit the other day to get gas for my car.  This situation is on the list of my most embarrassing moments, but I am going to share it because it shed some light on the benefits of a healthy life. 

I had been driving for about 2 1/2 hours straight when I stopped.  My legs are usually a little stiff, and I have a knee that doesn't completely bend the full range of motion (that's another story).  I proceeded to connect the gas hose with the car and clean my windshield while trying to stretch my stiff muscles.  Walking to the back of the car (remember that QT's are full of cars and people) I tried to step over the hose and caught my right foot which then caught my left foot on the hose.  There was no slow motion about this.  The next thing I knew  I was on the ground.  I immediately jumped up as people were horrified and asking if I was alright.  I told them that I was more embarrassed than hurt.

I finished gassing up and pulled the car to a parking spot.  It was then that I started assessing the situation.  My left shoulder muscles hurt, but not to where I thought anything was torn.  My hands hurt, but no scrapes.  The way that I landed was on my hands just like someone who was doing the worm would land.  Hands, stomach, legs, feet.  When I went down I just landed like I was going to do a push up. I did a Zumba class that night and felt great after.

Here is my point.  I am in the best shape of my life since high school.  I truly believe that if I weren't where I am today that I would have surely hit my face or busted my head.  My reaction was fast without thinking and my body was strong enough to take the impact.  Plus, the recovery time for when I do get injuries here and there is much faster!

Remember that fitness and eating well are not just for looks.  As we age we need to take care of ourselves so that we can have the best life possible.  That means all of the little things that can be taken for granted, such as, playing with our grandchildren, walking, standing, sitting, going on fun trips etc...

Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

Stronger, Healthier, Happier and Loving Life

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why do I stick with Zumba?

How is it that Zumba has not run it's course with me yet?  The cycle of skipping around from one fad to the next has seemed to vanish since Zumba came along.  The music, the dancing, the fellowship and bonding with friends and family.  What makes you move and stick with an "exercise"?

Zumba has made both athletes and couch potatoes sit up and take notice.  It's sexy, mind/body working, anyone can do it fun!  It really is a party that will work all parts of the body.

The music is what connects us to the whole experience and keeps up coming back for more.  It's runner's high many songs in a row.  Zumba makes you care about yourself and those around you.  You can feel like a dancer when you may not be so coordinated.  Your inner sexy goddess comes out, and because it helps so much physically many aspects of life improve!  Communication becomes easier, you walk around with your head held higher and self-esteem rises.

The hardest step is the first.  Just like a baby taking their first hesitant step each one gets easier as they keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Confidence grows and the body gets stronger while the mind becomes clearer.

Everyone should have a chance to feel this happy and healthy!

                                         "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try"

Friday, June 1, 2012

Catching up with May & Ironmen

Wow, I missed writing in my blog the entire month of May!  It's been a very crazy month for me and my family. For the last several months I have been studying for the ACE Group Fitness Certification.  It was a much larger undertaking than I had imagined.  I wanted to expand my knowledge of the human body and how exercise plus nutrition shapes our bodies.  The knowledge gained would help with the choreography that goes along with Zumba as to what moves will help tone certain muscles.  I am proud to say that I passed the exam on May 10th, and even surprised myself because it had been 26 years since my last exam in college!  I learned so much and want to keep gaining more and more knowledge.

Right on the heels of the ACE exam was a trip to Houston to see my brother Jon-Paul Shores ( and both of my brother-in-laws Scott Sharp ( and Brian Sharp (a 3 time Ironman) compete in the Ironman on May 19th.  The day before was my Birthday so it sweetened the deal! 

I don't know if words can describe the event.  An Ironman is 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and a full 26.6 mile Marathon.  There were 2800 entries of combined men and women.  The training for something like this event is like having a part time job.  The starting time was 7am and they had to finish before midnight to avoid being disqualified.  I am happy to report that all three finished the race!  Our family followed them the whole way, and I felt like I had run a marathon by the time it was over. 
The swim was the craziest sight to start off this most amazing and long day.  As you can see from the picture everyone was just about on top of each other.  Truly the survival of the fittest.
The biking portion ran in the 6-8 hour range and we would only get to see them once.  The family went to breakfast, and then took the children to the mall to play for awhile.  In my head I kept thinking "they are still going". 

The Marathon portion would allow us to see them at various stages.  For awhile the family was spread out, then we all settled in one area where the children could play in the fountains.  Houston is very hot and humid. 

Finally, the victory of finishing the Ironman.  Scott finished 12:48, Brian 12:55.39 and Jon-Paul 14:58.30.  To say that I am proud of all three of them would be an understatement.  Hard work and dedication pay off if you can have the patience to go the distance.  There are so many life lessons in the stories of all who participate in the Ironman. 

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
Christopher Reeve
Congratulations to all three of my Heroes!! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Subconscious Mind - Positively Wonderful

I love double stuffed Golden Oreo cookies.  Milk is a bonus, but I could eat a whole package by myself!  This is why they are not allowed in my house.  Easy access to the wrong foods can really cause a tummy ache for me.  Sometimes when certain things are in sight we seem to trigger an unconscious or subconscious reaction in our brain.  Remember the saying, "out of sight, out of mind"?  Truly it is easier for me to suppress my craving for Golden Oreos when they are not in my sight.  Thus, I don't go down the cookie aisle at the store or if I do I turn my head when I get to that section (yes, it's that bad).  Trying to quit smoking?  It might help to get rid of the cigarettes.  Trying to quit drinking?  Keep the alcohol out of the house.  Negative thinkers need to stop hanging around negative people.

Our subconscious mind is always at work even it we don't know it.  Just like driving home from work, pulling in the drive and not remembering how you got back home because you were too busy thinking of other things. Your subconscious mind did it for you.  Even when I was supposed to stop somewhere else on the way home from work I have sometimes ended up home because I was thinking about other things and my subconscious took over for me.  (Thank goodness it knows how to drive!)

Just as bad things can trigger our subconscious so can good.  Walking by the gym might make you think of exercise or by a fruit plate or salad bar may trigger healthy eating habits.  I have seen signs above doors in locker rooms leading out onto a field or court that have positive "go get em" sayings.  There is a reason that The Biggest Loser TV show has pictures of previous contestants on the walls of the gym.  Success will breed success because whether we know it or not we will take on many attributes of our environment including written words or the people we surround ourselves with.

There is a woman in my Zumba class that keeps her punch cards when they are used up, and displays them on a portion of her wall at home.  It is a visual aid of how far she has come, and motivation to keep going.  What are you surrounding yourself with?  Do the people that you hang around pull you up or down?  What triggers can you display around your house to keep you moving toward your goals?  Your subconscious will pick up on these things even if you are not aware of it at the time.  Put some post it notes on your mirror that say success, happiness, enjoyment just as examples to put you in a better frame of mind in the mornings.  Arrange your kitchen to be a positive influence for you and your family.  Anything will work if it means something to you such as pictures, positive sayings or words.

I want to share this quote by Thomas Edison -

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

 Perhaps a few subconscious reminders will get you to your goals and success!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Have you stuck to your New Year's Resolution?  Did you stick to that diet and/or exercise program? Quit smoking?  Fit into those skinny jeans?  Stop spending your life savings on cigarettes?  There are so many diet books and plans out there to help us lose weight.  Lots of information on what obesity and smoking does to our body's.  Wouldn't that be enough to make us stick to a plan? 

Willpower is a word used all of the time by dieters, and anyone who has tried to stop smoking or quit any other bad habit.  Sometimes it seems that we just have no willpower at all!  So suppose that I told you that it's not about willpower?  According to Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, who has done numerous studies on pursuing goals at work, in the classroom, on the playing field and in her own laboratory has concluded that most of us blame our failures on the wrong things. Dr. Grant Halvorson says that it is not willpower, but self-control.  Self-control defined is the ability to guide your actions in pursuit of a goal - to persevere and stay on course, despite temptations, distractions and the demands of competing goals.

Self-control is like a muscle (biceps, triceps) that needs to be worked out.  The more you use it, the stronger it gets.  I have heard that it takes three weeks to form a habit.  This would make sense that using self-control over a period of at least three weeks would make it easier to build up resistance to bad eating habits, decrease or stop smoking or exercise on a regular basis.   Muscles can become fatigued.  Self-control may also get fatigued.  Let's say you have a stressful day at work, and have to used up a lot of self-control to get through your day. When it comes to having that bowl of ice cream or smoke that cigarette at night most of your self-control is depleted and you give in.  This is why exercise can play such an important role in your life.  When you feel tired and sluggish, and you're trying to make the decision as to whether you should go to that Zumba class (or the gym, or for a walk etc...) think about replenishing that self-control muscle.  Get revitalized, melt the stress away and stick with it for several weeks at least two to three times a week for classes with 30 minutes of walks, runs or biking on other days.  Break it down into three 10 minute walks, but stick to it.  You will be surprised at how it gets easier.  The best part is how great you will feel, and how you will start looking forward to those classes! 

Below is a brief description of the benefits of Zumba. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  You may also contact me through  My wish is that everyone can live a healthy, happy and long life.  


 Benefits of Zumba

Possibly the biggest benefit of Zumba is that it is so much fun people look forward to going to class and working out. At its core, Zumba is a cardio workout which burns calories and improves cardiovascular fitness. However, dependent upon the way the instructor teaches it, Zumba can improve muscle tone and strengthen the body. Zumba is also a great stress reliever. The sweating, dancing, and occasionally shouting involved in Zumba will release stress and tension in your body.

Quoted from

Monday, April 16, 2012

Push Through Week

I just had a push through week.  That's what I call a week that I'm challenged to keep to a healthy diet and not eat everything in sight.  During this week I crave ALL of my favorite things.  My head plays a war game with itself (eat it, don't! eat it, don't).  I know what to do, but just can't seem to do it.  Therefore, it's time to just push through.  I know on this particular week that there will be many mistakes and start overs.  The hardest part is the resistance to beat myself up over every slip up.

Every day is a start over.  I try to keep eating the veggies and fruit along with the slip ups just so that I can stay in the habit.  I stick with the exercise, and keep drinking the water.  Surprisingly, at the end of the week of struggle there is a final push through to the other side! feels good to return to normal.

The weight is not permanent, and my body responds to a getting back to a healthier plan.  The opposite of push through is what I used to do.  "Well, I messed up, might as well give up."  Never give up.  There is a place during this process where I know that I will turn the corner and come back to reality.  In the meantime, I just have to push through!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Aging and Exercise

My birthday is fast approaching which always give me pause to reflect.  Like I said last year, I have felt better in my 40's than my 20's or 30's.  What I have learned as I watched my grandparents age (even my great-grandparents) and my husband's grandparents to ripe ages of 88-93 is that they always kept moving.  They were always busy with volunteer work, taking care of grandchildren, walking...  It's when we stop moving that age catches up with us.  I just read an interesting article today in the paper about the aging of athletes, but it can apply to all of us.  Here is the link For athletes, aging can be a pain  One of the best things in the article is that you can start exercising at any age.  The benefits are always going to be there.

How do you want to age?  There are choices that a person can make to help them have a long, healthy life.  Personally, I want to be able to travel, enjoy my children and grandchildren, walk up and down steps, shop, and do everyday tasks without a lot of pain or stiffness.  At the end of the article there is a quote that says "if exercise were a pill, everyone would take it"  This is true because it's a quick fix.  Feel good in your skin and start moving.  (Zumba promo)  Zumba encompasses all ages, shapes and sizes.  Go in tired, come out feeling renewed.  It's that simple!

Move it, move it!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Really? Almost a year?

Seriously, it's almost been a year since my last blog.  Guess I'll just start typing and try not to stop now.  Zumba is still going strong and I continue to love it as much, if not more, than when I started two years ago.  I know it's because of all of the wonderful friends that I have made through this journey of getting fit and helping others do the same.  Right now I am studying for the ACE Group Fitness Exam to further my knowledge of working in the fitness industry, and helping people achieve their fitness goals.  My eating habits have improved tremendously, although it seems to be a daily struggle.  I definitely feel a difference in my body when I'm eating right.  Fall off the wagon on a regular basis, but always get back on.  That's what counts!  In the past I would give up if I fell off.  That's all I have to say right now, but I'm planning on jumping on here more often.  Hopefully, I can master this blog and post pics along with other added gadgets.

Have a happy, healthy day!