Function and Fitness Blog
Function and Fitness Blog
Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Don't Mow The Lawn If The House Is On Fire

Having been evacuated myself this past week, I understand the sensitivity around "burning houses." Still, the concept of mowing the lawn while the house is on fire is an important topic that's been on my mind for a while. 


Mowing the lawn while the house is on fire is the concept that you're focused on one thing while there's a big ole other thing happening that probably needs more of your attention. Here's an example: you're wondering what kind of protein shake is best after a workout... you spend all your time researching protein brands... you buy that protein and have it religiously within an hour of finishing your workout.. but you're still hitting up the McDonald's drive-through every morning for breakfast. See what I mean? Even the BEST brand of protein will not counteract that Egg McMuffin habit. Now when you have that protein shake for a healthy breakfast (along with some healthy carbs and fat), now we're talking! 


There are so many healthy tips and fad trends, not to mention fad foods, pills, supplements, etc... that get thrown around in the media. The second a Kardashian endorses a fruit, a drink, a whatever, it becomes something that "everyone should be doing." So we drink the drink, take the pill, and still don't see any results. With all these fads we've gotten so far from the basic tenets of good nutrition: eat balanced meals when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full. It really is that simple. Oh, and drinking water! How else are you going to put out that fire? 


On that note, stay safe everyone! 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

My Four Tricks to Losing Weight

I know, I know, no one is thinking about losing weight around this time of year. If anything, we're all just hoping not to get too big during this next month. But let me tell you this, if you can secure your healthy habits during the holiday season, you can do just about anything! That being said, here are my four tricks to losing weight (during any time of year):

1. Have a STRATEGY. Knowing how you're going to attack weight loss is key. There are so many ways to tackle weight loss: calorie counting, watching portions, adding in exercise, eliminating certain foods, etc... Whatever that strategy is, know that you might need to adjust as you lose weight. For example, you might start out with just walking 4 miles a day. As you progress and lose more weight, you'll need to increase that amount of walking and even add in weight training, etc... in order to continue to lose weight. 

2. Meal Prep. It's a known fact that when you fail to plan you plan to fail. That's where meal prep comes in. And here's a little trick - meal prep for your weekends so that you don't get into that "Oh, but it's the weekend!" mentality. 

3. Accountability. Figure out a way to hold yourself accountable. Write down what you're eating. Set an alarm on your phone to drink more water or meal prep. Have an accountability buddy. 

4. Consistency. If you can do the top three things and do them for a while - like, I'm talking MONTHS - you WILL be successful. True weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. If you're in it for the long game you will have success. 

If you need help with any of these, we have launched personalized nutrition counseling at FUNction and FITness. Even if you aren't a member, come on in and let's discuss how you want to tackle your weight loss goals - whether they be for the holidays or for the new year! 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Thanksgiving is Only ONE Meal

"Thanksgiving." Need we say more? It's that special day once a year where we stuff ourselves silly. Growing up, the running joke in our family was "there goes Jessie, to take her Thanksgiving nap." After gorging on turkey, yams covered in marshmallows, mashed potatoes, and pie I would stumble into my grandparent's bed and pass out for the rest of the afternoon. It was my very own Thanksgiving tradition. 

A couple years ago (and yes, this only dawned on me a few years ago) I read a quotation: "Thanksgiving is only one meal." Whaaaaa?! Is it not fourteen meals in one as I had always treated it? On that note, I give you my Thanksgiving Day tips:

1. Treat it as ONE meal
2. Remember that you can Thanksgiving food all year
3. Sides like sweet potatoes, green beans, and vegetables can all be made as a "healthy version." Think olive oil, salt, pepper, and that's it!
4. Not everything requires a side of gravy
5. For every glass of wine, have a glass of water 
6. Concentrate on the real meaning of "Thanks-giving"
7. If your Thanksgiving is bound to be a stressful one (as big gatherings of family can be) figure out a way to de-stress. Maybe that means taking a walk with the family members you actually want to be around. Maybe it's making a list of what you're grateful for. Let's ensure that the stress of the day doesn't turn into stress eating or drinking.
8. Come to our BURN the BIRD workout at 8 am Thanksgiving morning!
9. If you're going to multiple Thanksgiving dinners, rather than eating full Thanksgiving at each dinner, choose which sides you'll eat where. For example, I'll have turkey and sweet potatoes at the first dinner, turkey and green beans at the second, pumpkin pie at the third. Side note: try to have protein (ahem, the turkey) at each meal to ensure you're eating balanced meals.
10. Host. I know this sounds crazy, but if you host you can control all the ingredients that go into the meal and your mouth. 

Wishing you and yours a WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING! We'll see you in the gym for our 8 am BURN the BIRD workout!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Getting Through the Holidays

’Tis the season - of treats.

As we round the corner into the most festive time of the year it can feel almost impossible to stay away from all the treats. To help keep you in check, we’ve put together a little list of reminders to help you survive the holiday season. 
  • Eat two healthy, satiating meals before the “big meal.” For whatever reason, we all seem to starve ourselves the morning of Thanksgiving/Christmas/etc… so that we can “eat more” during the actual meal. Um… what?! Make sure you get some healthy in there.
  • Remember that most holidays are JUST ONE DAY. Think about this: if you limit your “splurge” to JUST Thanksgiving dinner, it’s really not that bad. Just because we’re going to “go big” at one meal, that doesn’t mean you need to eat poorly all season.
  • Eat a healthy snack before the party. Something about a buffet turns us all into plate-piling-monsters. Fill up on the good stuff at home before you hit the party, or just commit to only eating one plate of food… and not three.
  • Remember your last year’s New Year’s Resolution.
  • Wear tight pants. This one sounds a little silly, but wearing tighter clothes can help to remind you to not stuff your gullet at the holiday party.
  • Remember that you can still make macaroni and cheese/casserole/stuffing at any time of year. Sometimes we think “oh, I’m not going to have this again for a while so I’m gonna fill up on it now.” Remind yourself that you can make those foods at any time of year.
  • Bring the healthy option. Fear there won’t be anything “safe” for you to eat? Why not bring the “safety” food? You might just inspire healthy habits in your fellow party attendees.
  • Make a healthy meal. Just because it’s a “holiday” that doesn’t mean you have to eat badly. There are so many ways to create your favorite foods out of real ingredients that feed your taste-buds as well as your “feel goods.” Think: sweet potatoes without all the brown sugar on top, or actual cranberries instead of that gelatinous tin-shaped guck, asparagus that tastes like asparagus instead of a pound of butter, you get the idea.
  • Exercise. Sure, we want to see you in the gym, but we know how scheduling around the holidays can get tight. If you can’t make it to a team training or a semi-private because you're with family and friends, why not suggest a walk around the neighborhood that everyone can do?At the same time, remember that exercise can help keep you on track, or at least keep you in check.
  • Balance out your plate with the green stuff.
  • Remember it’s not about the food. Sure, the food is a really awesome part of the holidays, but it’s really about getting everyone together. It’s hard to stuff your mouth if you’re too busy catching up with everyone.

Getting through the holidays without gaining weight is hard, but it’s completely doable! And remember: we’re always here to help! For example, we’ve got our “Burn the Bird” workout at 8am on Thanksgiving morning! 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

FUNction and FITness' REAL CHANGE Nutrition Coaching Program

I'm so excited to announce that we are launching a new nutrition coaching service at FUNction and FITness! 

Are you ready for real and lasting change? Rather than giving you a meal plan and sending you on you’re way, let’s get to the bottom of why you keep returning to “day 1.”


A weight loss program built around YOU!

Weekly accountability check-ins with a Precision Nutrition Certified Coach.

* We know accountability is the number one reason people are successful. We’ll

check in with you in whatever way works for your schedule - either by phone,

email, or in person meeting. We have to make this work for you!

6 weeks to as long as you need.

* We ask that you give us a 6-week minimum because Rome wasn’t built in a day.

3 (if wanted) InBody assessments performed Bi-weekly.

* We want to track measurable changes. That’s often done with numbers - aka

hopping on the scale. BUT this is not a requirement. If you want to go off of how

your jeans fit, then let’s do it that way.

HOW it’s different:

Rather than giving you a meal plan you'll never actually follow, we'll look at addressing the real reasons why you haven't lost weight or why you're on the yo-yo diet routine.

We’ll take a look at the food and exercise habits you already have and build from there. Yes, you'll need to change some habits and yes, it will be difficult, but you have to do what you've never done to get the results you've never achieved before.

It’s personalized. We’re going to look at YOU and what your goals are. Maybe that’s gaining muscle, maybe it’s finally achieving a responsible relationship with food, and maybe it’s just to look awesome in your skinny jeans. We’ll base your plan on what you want.


Because you’ve been stuck in a loop of weight loss to weight gain and are tired of it.

Let’s actually get to the root of the problem so we can make some real and actual changes that will carry over for the rest of your life. This is the challenge to end all challenges!

Contact the gym for more details on how to get started! 

2833 Honolulu Avenue
Verdugo City, CA 91046
(818) 369 - 7775

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

The Scale Mistake

Well, I did it. The same mistake I tell my clients not to: I got on the scale, looked at that number, and then I let that number define me for an instant before considering what that number even means.

And bottom line: it means nothing.

Unless you have a scale that runs an electromagnetic pulse through your body to measure the water in your muscles and fat, the number that appears on that screen means absolutely nothing. It’s a fact I forgot.

I think most of us have an ideal scale number. We know that at “X” weight we will feel and look our best. For most, it’s a number that was programmed years ago and remains stuck in our minds. With the invention of scales like our InBody body composition measuring machine, we’re now able to see what our body composition is. Body composition is exactly what it sounds like – what amounts of fat, water, muscle, etc… our bodies are made up of.

For women aged 35-55 years, the suggestion for body fat percentage is to be between 23-38%

For men aged 35-55 years, the suggestion for body fat percentage is to be between 10-25%

I encourage you to make your new goal “number,” or rather “numbers” based on your body composition because these relate more to body health than the number on a traditional scale.

Additionally, it’s important that you also evaluate how you feel. Do you have energy to get you through your day OR do you hit a slump mid-afternoon? Can you lift your groceries into the car OR do you struggle even lifting a bottle of water? There are a number of other ways to measure your fitness and I encourage you (and “you” also includes me) to take a look at those “definers” over the number on that scale.


Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Should I "Sweat it out?" #fluseason

We’re entering flu season and that means one thing. Well, actually it means a lot of things. But the thing I’m talking about is the question of “Should I exercise when I’m sick?” For personal reasons (and for the sake of your fellow gym-members) I’m going to say “NO!” Ideally, we don’t want any germs spreading around the gym. If that doesn’t have you convinced, get ready for some convincing.

“Sweating it out” is something that has crossed all of our minds. And it makes sense. And truth be told, it can actually boost your immunity. In this instance, it’s important to define a difference between “working out” and “getting physical activity”.

Work Out
When you “work out” you’re breathing heavily, sweating, and experiencing a slight level of discomfort. This hard work awakens a stress response. Healthy bodies then adapt to this stress. This is what makes us stronger (and helps us fit in our jeans a little better). Add sickness to this “work out” stress and it might be more than your immune system can handle.

Getting Physical Activity
So now for “getting physical activity”. Let’s clarify the activity that would fall under this category. This list includes low intensity activities like walking, riding a bike, or gardening.

This type of activity has been shown to boost immunity and can help you recover faster because there isn’t an intense stress on your immune system.

It’s important to add this caveat – if walking feels like a heavy work out to you, 1. We need to talk ASAP, but 2. think about how your body would perceive the activity stress-wise.

Let your symptoms be your guide and just remember this: the gym will ALWAYS be there when you get back to feeling 100% again!

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Why Does Exercise Sometimes Taste Like Blood?

I was recently asked why exercising can sometimes cause a metallic or blood-like taste in your mouth. Seeing as I’d never experienced this myself (and since the question asker is NOT a vampire) I thought I’d get to the bottom of the question.

I’m not the only one to get the question. As Ryan Dirks, a physician assistant and director of team medicine at South Sound sports medicine clinic in Auburn, Washington explains, “There’s not always a simple answer – truthfully, we don’t always know why it happens.”

Luckily, there are some theories that might explain it. It could be because you are sucking in cold or dry air that causes inflammation and tiny cracks in the lining of the nose and throat. It could also be because of the increased pressure on the lungs the red blood cells in a person’s lungs can leak into air sacs and cause that taste. Luckily, this isn’t something to worry about, according to Gerald Zavorsky, PhD and associate professor of heath and sport sciences at the University of Louisville. Zavorsky’s research also suggests another reason: mild pulmonary edema caused when fluid leaks between the space between air sacs and capillaries.

While the exact cause isn’t known, based on what these experts have studied, it’s not something to worry about. But if you’ve coughed up blood or are having issues breathing you might want to see a doctor to rule out any major health issues.

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

“… but I have kids.”

Okay, I just became a new mom, so I’m not going to act like I know everything. In fact, I’m giving you full allowance to turn to me 10 years from now and utter those dreaded words: “I told you so.”

That being said, I’m going to address a statement (ahem, excuse) I hear pretty often: “but I have kids.” For some reason, we’ve allowed our children to take our healthy eating goals hostage. Sure, you would LOVE to get rid of all the unhealthy things in your kitchen but then what would the kids eat?

Could it be that they might actually eat something that’s nutritionally beneficial to them?

I grew up in a household that favored unhealthy foods. Most nights, before I headed to my gymnastics practice I would have McDonald's. Sometimes, that’s McDonald’s Happy Meal would be substituted with Carl’s Jr. or a microwaveable Kid Cuisine Meal. Snacks were cereal, slices of Kraft American Cheese, and Laura Scudder’s Peanut Butter sandwiches. All delicious, but nutritionally void. I don’t fault my parents for these choices. They simply didn’t know or just didn’t realize how unhealthy these items were. And even if they did know, I’m sure they were just trying to make sure I was fed.

That being said, I’m hoping to do better for my kid.

I can hear it now, the “oh, just you wait.” Yes, my son is far from being able to complain about the food he’s getting now. And no, I haven’t yet had to bribe him with food to get him to behave but I’m hoping that in addition to working through those things (with healthy options) I’ll also be able to encourage the following habits:
  • Knowing what healthy food is.
  • Choosing healthy options.
  • Teaching kids about where their food comes from.
  • Teaching kids about how their food gets to them.
  • Encouraging eating until full (and not just to finish a plate).
  • Understanding TRUE portion size.
  • Getting them involved in meal prep.
  • Finding different ways to get “5 servings of fruit and vegetables” every day.
  • Being a role model myself (perhaps the hardest one on the list)
Perhaps the hardest thing in enforcing these habits is/will be consistency, but I’m finding that’s basically a lynchpin of parenthood… and for healthy eating in general. 

So feel free to bookmark this blog and ask me about it 10 years from now. Fingers crossed I've held true to these words and "...but I have kids" hasn't interrupted my kitchen. 

Coach Jess
5:00 AM

Glutes! Activate!

We talk about it a lot. In fact, you’ve probably heard us cue it a lot. “Let’s activate those glutes!” But like much of cues, if you don’t know how to actually activate your glutes, then the cue doesn’t really matter. So, let’s talk about what we’re talking about.

Butt Why?

As we spend more and more time sitting on our butts, it’s causing them to become super inactive. This is a problem because your glutes are the control center for a lot of the movements our lower body does. When your glutes are “shut off” that means other muscles are taking on the extra load. So many times you’ll do a ton of squats, etc… to just wake up the next day with sore quads and hamstrings, when really your butt should be the sore one. This can cause posture issues, muscle pain, and can also increase your chance of injury.

So what can we do abutt (sorry, last one) it?

We can activate those glutes with glute activation exercises! Complicated, eh? Actually, not really. Truth be told, we always build in a few glute activation exercises into our RAMPs (warm-up exercises). For example, glute bridges are something we always throw in. You can also do clamshells, as well as resistance band lateral walks. All of these exercises warm up the glutes so that when you’re moving onto deadlifts and squats, the glutes are like “Hey, I’m here! And I’m working!”

We also have to make sure that “mind-body” connection is working so you’ll need to actively think about where you should be feeling the movement. Ding! Ding! You guess it, you should be feeling it in your butt.  Sometimes even just thinking, “my butt should be doing the work” can help those glutes turn on and start working. You should feel an active tightening in your booty area.

Once we get your glutes firing working, your glute muscles should be handling a lot of the movement and load. This can help save your quads, hamstrings, and lower back – something we’re all looking to keep out of the equation. So just think “Glutes! Activate!”

As always, we’re here to help! So if you ever hear a cue or something that just doesn’t make sense or leaves you wondering, “Okay, so how exactly does that translate to my body?” never hesitate to ask. We’re here to help you make that mind-booty (okay, seriously, last one) connection.