Things You Should Never Say to Your Personal Trainer


As a personal trainer, I’ve heard it ALL. Ask any personal trainer at my gym, or gyms around the country, and they’ll all agree that we hear some pretty cringe-worthy, my-eyes-just-rolled-so-far-back-into-my-head-I-had-a-seizure, comments come out of our clients’ mouths.


No matter what type of client I work with – young, old, fit, overweight, lazy or motivated – the complaints and concerns are all the same.

1. “I don’t want to use those weights, I’m afraid of getting bulky.”  – Dear LORD, if I had a dime for every time I heard someone say this, I could retire right now, go live somewhere tropical and never have to hear that phrase uttered again. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one for luck. So let me address this one head on – YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TURN INTO A SHE-HULK. You would need to be doing a lot more than lifting the 15 lb dumbbell I just gave you to bulk up like that. It takes a tremendous amount of energy for your body to build muscle. Females do not have enough testosterone (the main muscle-building hormone) to bulk up like that, nor do they tend to consume enough calories to PROMOTE that type of muscle growth.

2. “Can we just focus on my abs? I want to lose the weight there.” – No, no we can not. You can not spot-reduce fat. It just doesn’t work that way. So when I make you do a HIIT workout or total-body free weights and you get mad at me because I’m not listening to you, just remember I know what I’m talking about (you, like, PAY me for this).

3. “I don’t want to do this exercise. Can we try something else?” – I’ll let you in on a little secret…the second you tell me you DON’T want to do a specific move or don’t like it, I’m going to add it to your future workouts. Why, you ask? Partly because I’m a masochist, and partly because I’m guessing you don’t want to do it because you aren’t good at it. What makes you good at something? PRACTICE. Don’t utter “I can’t” or “I don’t want to” around me; I store that info in my brain like it’s a Swiss bank vault.

4. “I don’t get how I’m not losing weight! I only eat Greek yogurt for my breakfast!” – When I hear comments like this, I don’t even usually need to see a food log; I already know part of your problem. If you are only eating Greek yogurt (or insert some ridiculous food that doesn’t quantify as a meal here), you’re not eating enough. Period. The idea of consuming MORE calories perplexes a ton of people, but I’m telling you. Eat more (of the RIGHT foods) and you’ll lose weight. If you don’t eat enough, your body goes into “starvation” mode and stores/holds onto fat for dear life, thinking it needs to protect itself for a future of not getting enough nutrients. You are doing far more harm than good here. To put it in perspective, I eat 5 to 6 meals a day (1 meal every 3 hours). Do I look fat? No.

5. “I’m not seeing any progress. Nothing is changing!” – Says the person who has one session a week with me. What are you doing the other 6 days when we’re not meeting?! I’m not a magician. I can only do so much for you with the time we have; you are responsible for the rest.  Trust me, if I could control every other aspect of your health and fitness, my Type A personality would have a field day. But, it’s hard to keep someone accountable when you have no idea what they’re doing when you’re not with them. Our training is just ONE piece of the puzzle; if you’re not ready to do any other work, the training I do with you is pointless (beyond that it’s helping me pay for my nutrition schooling. Thanks!)

6. “I’m going on vacation in a few weeks and I want to lose 10 lbs.” - Ok. Do you plan to live in the gym until then and do a complete overhaul of your diet? I didn’t think so. This is not a quick fix. If you starve yourself or do something drastic to lose the weight for an “event,” the second you start eating like normal, you’ll gain it all back, plus some. The idea that the weight they’ve spent the past 28 years putting on should just melt off in 2 weeks is deluded.  You shouldn’t be so concerned about what you’re going to look like in a bikini in 2 weeks; what you should be focused on is putting a priority on your HEALTH. I can’t beat that concept into your head (as much as I’d love to). I mean, I get it. I panic a little at the idea of “OMG, I’m going to be on a beach in a few weeks, in front of PEOPLE, and they’ll probably think I’m a beached whale laying there on my towel and roll me back into the water.” But I’m also not in a position where I want to, or need to, crash diet because I don’t base my need to lose weight or be healthy on a vacation/reunion/wedding coming up. This ‘switch’ in how you think about your health is honestly one of the best lessons I can teach you. I’ve had clients come in, FINALLY getting it & I may or may not have ugly cried out of pure joy.

Seriously, this list could go on & on. But because I’m developing an eye twitch just listing them, I’m going to stop here. I know you’ve got more to add (whether you’re a personal trainer or not), so let’s hear ‘em!

5 Day Healthy Eating Challenge


Starting next Monday, February 17th, I am hosting a FREE 5 Day Healthy Eating Challenge, which will include a grocery list, meal plan and 30-minute daily workouts.

free challenge_final

There will also be a prize drawing at the end of the 5 days with whoever finishes the challenge! I put together a nice bundle of fitness/health supplements, including Muscle Milk, C4 Extreme, Cellucor Super HD and some MicroGreens, to name a few :)

I am going to teach you some new long-term, sustainable habits to keep you on track! I’m so excited for this challenge to start!! :)

If you interested, please comment below for more info or email me at Can’t wait to start working with you!!

Low-carb diets and Ketosis


Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve had a lot of clients and friends ask me about high protein, low carb diets. Whether they know someone on one, are experiencing some odd symptoms (extreme thirst, metallic taste in mouth), or are just curious about it in general, I think I’ve talked more about ketosis in the last month than I have since I started personal training.

I <3 Bacon

I <3 Bacon


What is a low carb diet?

A low carb diet is a program where your carbohydrate consumption is restricted (shocker!), and you primarily rely on a large percentage of your calories coming from fats and protein (cheese, nuts, poultry, fish etc.) So think – NO sugar, bread, pasta, donuts. Remember though, there ARE carbs in fruits and vegetables, so depending on how extreme one goes with a dietary program like this will effect what you can and can not eat in those categories.

Some examples of low carb diets are:

  • Atkins
  • Zone
  • South Beach
  • Paleo/Caveman


So, that brings us to one of the biggest things that come up with those undertaking a low carb diet – Ketosis

People hear the word ‘ketosis‘ and ‘body goes into a state of ketosis‘ and automatically assume this is a bad or dangerous thing. Ketosis simply means that your body has converted from using carbs to fat for energy. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy , but when you are ingesting a low percentage of it, ketone bodies (a molecule) develop during fat metabolism.

So, in laymen’s terms, your body goes from being a carbohydrate-burning machine to a fat-burning one. Thus, a person can lose weight and that is why low carb diets have become so popular.


As with most things, there are some risks to be aware of, the first being cholesterol. If you are eating a high protein diet, it is very important to make sure you are getting enough fiber into your system. The reason behind this is, your body recycles out cholesterol through the expulsion of body fluids (to paint a picture: bowel movements). However, if you AREN’T voiding like you should and become constipated, the cholesterol recycles back into your system and that is when things start to become a problem.

So, two ways to avoid this are to make sure you’re getting enough fiber into your diet and/or find some protein that have lower levels of cholesterol – fish is a GREAT example.


There is some controversy on whether prolonged high protein, low carb diets are dangerous for the body. Some doctors say that if you are not properly monitored and continue to exhibit a high level of ketosis, this can put a major strain on your kidneys. However, some researchers say there isn’t any noticeable harm.

With that said…

It is SO important that you consult with your doctor, nutrition consultant or dietitian before undertaking this (or any) type of diet. Every person is unique in how their bodies function and react to things, so just because your friend had an AMAZING experience following (insert whatever diet here) doesn’t mean YOU will. Be safe and take the time to speak with a health professional, who is knowledgeable and properly equipped to help you start and safely maintain a dietary program.

Recipe of the day: Turkey Meatloaf


When I meal prep, I tend to make WAY too much of one thing and then eat it until I’m about to lose it. Why I thought making 8 giant chicken breasts was a good idea, I have no idea.

With the amount I've had this past week, I'm surprised I haven't grown a beak.

With the amount I’ve had this past week, I’m surprised I haven’t grown a beak.

Justin & I both eat a lot, and specifically, because we’re training for different things, so I thought we’d go through the chicken pretty quickly. Well, that didn’t happen. Usually I’m a geek & get excited to eat my next meal because it’s something delicious and exciting. Day after day after day of chicken beats that feeling out of you.

So, the solution? We made steak.


I lovveeeeeeee steak. But eating more than a serving or two a day was messing with my macros (carb, protein and fat). The idea of baking another piece of chicken made me feel borderline homicidal so I decided I’d make a clean turkey meatloaf to balance everything out :)

I posted on Facebook for any recipe ideas. Several of my friends posted their recipes, so I decided to get creative and combine some of the ingredients and hope for the best! I didn’t actually measure anything, so I’m estimating the quantities for the ingredients, but there are so few, you can’t really mess it up.

Turkey Meatloaf

1lb ground turkey
3 Tbs. egg white
2-3 Tbs. coconut flour
1 cup chopped onion, green/red bell pepper and celery
1 Tbs. safflower oil (can sub with olive oil etc.)
Salt & ground pepper for taste

Turn on oven to 350 degrees F. While that is heating up, saute the onion, peppers and celery in a pan with safflower oil over low/medium heat. Mix the turkey, egg white, coconut flour and salt/pepper in bowl. Add onion, peppers and celery when finished sauteing. Lightly grease loaf tin and add the mixed turkey. Cook for 45-50 minutes.

I stole a few nibbles when I was packing up my lunch for today and it was TASTY. I was a little nervous since there are so few ingredients and I didn’t add any herbs etc. but it still came out great! Very  moist and flavorful :)  Hope you enjoy!!

Ab Blast + Sweat Pink Announcement


My ladies in the 21-day Shakeology challenge group are in their second week and feeling amazing – increased energy and improved mood, less cravings etc. I truly didn’t expect to see improvements like that so quickly! So, because they are doing so well and are in the swing of things, I’ve started to provide some exercises and work-out tips to the mix.

Core Blast

Core strengthening is a HUGE one for a lot of people; I always have friends or clients asking for suggestions. So, I threw this quick but DEADLY one together to enjoy on this flippin’ freezing, snowy day.

Sweat Pink Ambassadorship

I am also super excited to share that I have recently joined the Sweat Pink community as an ambassador!


I am so excited to be joining these other strong ladies in helping others discover and embrace healthy living. Every ambassador has their own unique story of how they got to where they are and how they hope to motivate others. It is truly inspiring and I feel honored to now be a part of that community.

I’ve also already ordered bright pink Sweat Pink shoelaces and will be giving away 4 pairs – comment below if you are interested in me sending you some!


Since I’m doing the 21-day challenge along with my Shakeology ladies, I’ve been experimenting with different ‘recipes’ to shake things up (get what I just did there?? I’m so witty :P )

I didn’t sleep well last night, so I knew I wanted to get some coffee in me on the way to work. I got the last minute idea to throw my already brewed cup of coffee into my Blender Bottle with a packet of chocolate Shakeology.


1 chocolate Shakeology packet
6 oz vanilla almond milk
1 cup brewed German Chocolate Cake coffee

I have yet to find a combination I don’t like! I also have vanilla, but I haven’t tried those yet – I’m just having too much fun with the chocolate ;)

Question of the day
What is your favorite muscle group to focus on?

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners



Artificial sweeteners are food additives that replace the use of sugar. They are widely used in about 6,000 products sold in stores, including baked goods, processed foods, sodas and candy, and can even be found in yogurt, baby food and frozen dinners. Because of that, the average American consumes 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners per year (Oz, 2010).


Artificial sweeteners are usually so sweet that they need to be diluted with the bulking agents dextrose and maltodextrin to mimic the taste of sugar. Both dextrose and maltodextrin are caloric, but because the FDA does not require food products with five or fewer calories to be reported on the packaging, “No Calorie” sweeteners are anything but (Bauman & Crystal, 2013). What’s more, our brains cannot differentiate between real and artificial sugar, so these substitutes can still create insulin resistance in the body, which then can lead to weight gain (Murray, 2005).

Popular artificial sweeteners contain aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), saccharin (Sweet’N Low) and sucralose (Splenda).

Aspartame is a chemical that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Its presence in soda is significantly contributed to kidney function decline and can turn into methanol in the
digestive tract. It is considered one of the most dangerous substances on the market that is put into food and can cause headaches, seizures, breathing problems, anxiety and weight gain (Bauman & Crystal, 2013).

Saccharin is a sulfa-based sweetener that was found to cause bladder cancer in rats in early safety studies. The USDA has tried, and failed, to ban the substance in the past and the FDA no longer requires a carcinogen warning label on the package (Saccharin, n.d.). Because of safety concerns, it is not recommended for use during pregnancy (Murray, 2005).

Sucralose is a synthetic additive that is created by chlorinating table sugar (chlorine is a carcinogen). There has never been any long-term study on its effects, but research has shown that it can reduce the amount of healthy intestinal bacteria in our bodies (Bauman & Crystal, 2013), and can cause stomach cramps, inflammation and skin irritation (Murray, 2005).





Molly Pappas
In a Nutshell Nutrition I

21-Day Challenge


I am holding a “test group” of sorts & wanted to see if any of my lovely readers would be interested!


Basically what I want to do is, starting next Monday, January 13th, we’ll kick off a 21-day challenge where we each replace 1 meal or 1 snack per day with Shakeology.  I want to track each participant’s changes in energy, mood, gastrointestinal regularity and squashing of cravings.

As a private Facebook group, we’ll interact daily, keeping each other motivated, sharing ideas, whatever you want! I’m doing this group for YOU.  I’ll share some smoothie recipes and provide any general health/fitness guidance if people want!

I want this to be a way for you to start off the year on the right foot, interact with a group of people I hope will continue to keep each other motivated, with or without the challenge!  I want to answer your questions, I want to be a resource to you.

So, if you’re interested or would like some more information, comment below or email me at