Q n A Sept 13th, 2013

Challenge workoutsQuestion: Shawna, I had to scale back as I do now with any program that relies on a lot of squats, step ups, lunges etc. due to a very bad knee. I love to do them, love the burn, not the pain in the knee, and the results. I ice my knee down after each work out and also wear a brace while exercising. I was wondering if there are less knee intensive exercises to replace some of these that will still yield good results. I am 55 years young and am looking better everyday but it is taking a toll on my joints. Thanks for your reply.
Sincerely, Debbie

Answer: Debbie, I’m in the same boat as you as far as the knee goes, I have to be careful not to aggravate it. Currently I’m able to do most moves but I feel this is due to maintaining muscle to support the knee and ensure proper tracking. When my IT band gets tight, I’m in for issues. Using a roller on the IT band is painful but very helpful.
I know your issues may be different, but the point is, we need to maintain strong muscles that support the knee, no matter what the issue. Many of the programs I suggest rely a great deal on lower body work like squats, lunges and even bodyweight moves. My best advice is to use the program but limit the load and the ROM (range of movement) on the exercises that cause you issues. Unless you’re going to do something like swimming, you’re always going to be working around your knee. My pal, Rick Kaselj has some good information for you on rehabbing your knees here.

I highly recommend a program that has follow along videos like my Challenge Fat Loss or Craig Ballantyne’s Home Revolution. The follow along videos will take you through each move and we’ll mention ways to modify and intensify each exercise. You can reach out to me or Craig once you get the program for more specifics on the exact exercises that cause you pain and then we can provide an alternative. You’ll be able to do the majority of the exercises and will reap the benefits. Hope that helps.


Question: Can my 12 year old do your Challenge Jump Rope and Challenge Burpee workouts? burpees 2

Answer: YES! These workouts mainly use body weight exercises so they are excellent even for the younger crowds. These can be used for conditioning and preparation for sports too. Of course, said 12 year old MUST be game, otherwise they’ll put a bad taste in their mouth about exercise.






Question: Shawna do you have any tips for nutrition and family friendly foods? I want to cook healthy meals, but my family is a little resistant. I don’t have time to cook two different meals all the time. Help…. Sandy

Answer: Guess what Sandy? If food is unhealthy for you, it’s also unhealthy for your kids/family. Everyone should be making healthy choices as far as nutrition goes. No offense to Mr. Kraft, but his ‘dinner’ is NOT a meal, even if the kids think it is.

Here are a few guidelines and how I’ve handled things with my family:

  • no food is ‘taboo’ but some just aren’t in the house regularly and may be eaten only on occasion
  • healthy food is the norm not to ‘lose weight’ but to ‘be healthy’ (I’ve never focused on eating a certain way to ‘be skinny’)
  • I offer low gylcemic and high fiber carbs at meals even if I don’t eat the carbs (like wild rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta – we aren’t gluten free in my house)
  • offer a TON of interesting vegetables, usually at least two at each meal
  • include lean protein – always
  • drink water – not calories (no pop, juice etc)
  • eat often, snacking on healthy choices is encouraged
  • start eating before you’re hungry, stop eating before you’re full
  • when my kids were small, I never promised dessert if their plate was cleared

My children are older now and I think they have a healthy relationship with food. For the most part, they make healthy choices in my absence (a good sign that something took!). I’ve always tried to impart the knowledge that food is fuel for performance and health. Yes, food is meant for celebration, part of our culture and tradition, but other things should be focused on during special times, not just food.

If you’re looking for some family friendly recipes with REAL food, check out the recipes here. I’ve made many of these recipes and they are easy and yummy.

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If you’re interested in Paleo recipes check here. These are super delicious recipes, I’ve included some on the blog here and here.

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Question: What are some healthy snack options if I have to stop at say a 7-11?

Answer: Here’s a short video to help you make wise snack choices from a convenience store:

Abs are made in the kitchen but if you can’t be in your own kitchen, you need to make healthy choices on the go. Everyone drops by a convenience store at times. What are the best choices you can make when you’re in a pinch that will support your fat loss goals?

Here were my top picks:

-protein shake – watch for added carbs, keep it under 10 g   (I use this protein)

-hard boiled eggs

-fresh fruit

-roasted almonds

-protein bars – watch for carbs, often times bars have 40+ carbs, keep carbs under 10 g, sugar alcohols and fiber don’t count towards total carb count (I eat these protein bars and cookies)