Take Getting in Shape off of your New Year’s Resolution list once and for all.

I am looking for 5 to 10 people who’d like to help me become an amazing nutrition coach.

I am a few months into my Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification, a year long program. I’ve written extensively about my own experience with Precision Nutrition. I have licensed the Precision Nutrition Procoach Platform, which is the same tool that my coach uses to support my nutrition and fitness goals. If you’ve been curious about the program, but haven’t felt ready to make the financial commitment to sign up with Precision Nutrition (they start new cohorts in January and July – presale link), I’m offering you the opportunity to experience the program at no cost.

How it works: This is not a quick 12-week transformation. This is not a “diet.” There are no restricted foods. This is a  year-long habit based program that will change your relationship with food and physical activity. Each day you will receive a lesson, a habit to focus on, and a workout. You will need to commit 45 to 60 minutes a day to your health and wellness for optimal success. At the end of the year-long program, you will have created your personal “owner’s manual” outlining your individualized approach to fitness and nutrition. I will be there for the year to support your efforts.

Next year, you can take “getting in shape” off of your New Year’s resolution list. 

Master Meal Prep

What’s the catch? Why is this free?

I have mixed feelings about offering this for no cost. I think people value their experiences more when they pay for them, but, I need to begin coaching as part of my own training. I want your honest feedback about how well I am supporting your efforts. I can’t become great without practice and critical feedback. If I do a fantastic job, and help you change your life, I want glowing testimonials from you for this service.

Contact me if you’re interested in volunteering. Start today!

Nike Slogan: Just do it then do it again

Nike slogan that seemed appropriate

My Precision Nutrition (PN) coach asked me if I would be willing to write a few sentences that speak to my experience doing the PN Coaching program for a second time. Why did I sign up again? What do I value most about my second year so far?

It got me thinking, that repeating the PN coaching program is a lot like repeating a grade in school. I really didn’t think I was that kind of person. I skipped second grade, and senior year of high school. I took human pathology at Emory Medical School without having taken the prerequisites of human anatomy, histology and physiology. I like to leap ahead, skip foundations and just dive in over my head until I figure it out. Why was I getting PN Coaching again when I’d succeeded at it the first time?

And, repeating PN Coaching is truly like repeating a grade. It’s exactly the same material the second time around.

  • 50 weeks of daily lessons that are 100% the same.
  • 24 habits – a new one is introduced every two weeks in the same order
  • 12 phases of workouts – each month you start a new phase
  • 13 workshops that dive deeply into the material

And, I can still access the prior program’s material in my PN Coaching portal. It’s all there – every habit, every lesson, every workshop, all my answers, and every workout. I can even still select variations of those old workouts if I want to. I did that in June while I was waiting for my second year of PN coaching to start.

From talking with the women in my group from last year, some people repeat the program because they didn’t fully commit to the program and didn’t meet their goals. I had a great year, and met or exceeded my fitness goals.  I did 95% of the lessons. I nailed the consistency of my habits. And I knew from my month of waiting for the next cohort to start, that I could continue the program successfully on my own.

So why did I pay for a second year?

  • I love the structure of the PN Coaching (ProCoach) program – with the lesson, habit, and workout of the day. It makes it easy to stay on track, and provides a visual record of my overall consistency. I’m trying to automate my fitness and make sustaining my current level of fitness as effortless as remembering to brush and floss each day. The PN Coaching program makes it easy.
  • I trust and respect my coach, and knew that I could continue to receive her guidance by signing up for another year. While I hit my fitness goals last year, I wanted a safe environment to continue to experiment with my exercise and nutrition programming to continue to change my body composition. I will especially need her support if I decide to mass to add more muscle (and fat) to my physique before leaning out again. I know what to do, but I will fear less scared knowing she’s monitoring things, as she’s done it before.
  • I knew that there were different workout profiles built into the platform, so I changed my fitness goals this cycle to access new programming.

What do I value most about my second year so far?

  • My coach. She keeps me honest about the trade-offs of some of my conflicting goals. If I want to mass, I will likely need to give up some of my running. Am I willing to do that? Would I be I be willing to try it? What would that look like?
  • I love the new workout program this year that is much more focused on building strength (vs. weight loss). I wouldn’t have been ready for it last year, but it’s been consistently the right difficulty this year – hard but fun. I have DOMS all of the time.
  • It’s interesting to see how my answers to some of the lessons have changed this year. So, the program is the same, but I am not. Since my perspective has shifted, how each lesson impacts me is slightly different.
  • I am also discovering new insights from the lessons. With a new lesson each day, it’s hard to click through to  explore every single book, video, or article that’s referenced, so I’m always finding something new (to me) within the content.
  • I am finally discovering the value of focusing on the process and consistent daily actions vs. being fixated on the outcomes and the ever changing finish line I have in my mind.

I am 16 weeks into my second year of Precision Nutrition Coaching. I described my first year previously. The Cost of Getting Lean is one of my favorite Precision Nutrition articles. One of my long-term goals had been to get into the 16-19% body fat range (similar to 6 to 9% for men) shown below. The health benefits are clear, but the tradeoffs are hard to sustain. I had a DEXA scan done on Friday (at Body Fat USA in Denver) to assess my body fat percentage. I am finally there, 18.9%, albeit barely!

Side note: there is a lot of controversy on the best way to measure and track body fat. For daily use I use an older version of the Omron bioelectrical impedance device. Some folks think they are terrible, but mine has been very close to my DEXA measurements. Typically my Omron is about 0.5% to 1.0% less than my DEXA results. There is day-to-day variation based on hydration, but I use weekly averages for tracking. So, while it’s not perfect, it’s great for trend data. And really does it matter if I’m exactly 17.9% or 18.9% fat?

This was my fourth DEXA scan. I’ve done three in 2017 to track my body composition progress. For my first, in 2002, I participated in a research study that included a DEXA scan and cholesterol testing. My body fat at that time was 33.2%, and my cholesterol had hit 288, with my LDL was 200. I was 34 years old and felt like an old lady. While not quite obese, I certainly was not healthy. It’s hard to see from this old DEXA, but my fat distribution was more like Waygu (Kobe) beef – marbled throughout with a thick layer on top, versus my more recent scans.

Changes in DEXA scan over time

Body Fat Metrics
The DEXA images and table with more specific data show that I’ve always carried most of my fat in my legs and hips. I still remember being called “thunder thighs.” I am still working towards getting significant muscle definition in my legs, but they are slowly, millimeter by millimeter, leaning out. My arms and torso have leaned out nicely over the past 16 months. I am starting to see striations in my shoulders, and muscle definition in my arms. My lower abdomen is oddly vascular.

Goblet Squat

Getting Stronger


This 4 month cycle had my second formal “cut.” In terms of nutrition, my diet generally follows Precision Nutrition Guidelines – lots of mostly green veggies, lean protein at every meal, smart carbs (fruit, corn, potato, oats, brown rice, chickpeas), and healthy fats (nuts, nut butters, avocado, olive oil). I still eat too many protein bars as snacks – muscle milk, Quest, Perfect, Pottentia (hard to find but these, especially coconut date, are fantastic), and even Kirkland (Costco) protein bars. I do love protein bars! And I discovered Halo Top “healthy ice cream. Luckily, I generally avoid that aisle of the grocery store.

With my current workout schedule (below), I maintain on about 2,150 to 2,200 calories a day. For cutting, I was targeting a small deficit of about 250 to 300 calories a day, so ~1,900 calories a day with 150 grams protein, 175 grams carbohydrate, and 66.7 grams of fat.

Like last time, I meant to keep it up for 12 weeks, but completely caved after just 8. I’d find myself late at night eating all natural peanut butter from the jar with the refrigerator door still open. So, the last month has essentially been at maintenance. That wasn’t the plan, but it’s what happened. Still, I’m not upset with my progress, but I am ready to take a break from tracking every gram of nutrition that goes into my body, trying to hit certain macro-nutrient targets at specific times of day based on my workouts. It’s simple and it works, but it’s not easy to sustain.

Current workout schedule:

  • M, W, F = Precision Nutrition weight lifting workout as assigned in training portal first thing in the morning
  • T, Th, Sat, Sun = 90 Minute Hot Yoga Class at night
  • T, Th = short HIIT run in the morning (2 to 2.5 miles max, focused on running cadence)
  • Sat = longer, slower run (~4 miles, still focused on running cadence)
  • Sun = maybe a long walk, more of rest day except for hot yoga class
  • Daily = slow walk on treadmill at night, if needed, to hit 10,000 steps for the day
October 28, 2017 Photos Shared with my Coach

October 28, 2017 Update Photos Shared with my Coach

After 12+ years of consistently better nutrition and daily physical activity, I almost accept that I’m a fit person without qualifiers (for a PhD, for a non-athlete, for almost 50, etc). I am fit. Of course the fitter I get, the more I learn that there are whole new levels of fitness, such as  extraordinary fitness, where I currently hit only one of the ten physical measures (I can do the pull-ups) listed. There is always more!

What’s next?

I’m planning to just maintain for the next month or two. Then I  need to decide if I’m mentally ready to mass and put on more muscle (and fat) to get stronger with more muscle definition. There are many benefits to women adding muscle. And I trust the science. But mentally, I’ve spent most of my life trying to get leaner. It’s hard to wrap my brain (emotions) around gaining weight on purpose, even if I logically know gaining weight with my currently training plan will not suddenly create the soft doughy body I used to have. But for now, I’m just going to live in this one, and enjoy feeling fit, and while getting stronger and faster every day.

Renaissance Periodization published a post today called “No more Sugar Coating!” And it is hilarious. And full disclosure, I’m guilty of everything in there. Snippet below:

Last time I checked, the RP Diet was not called “The Eat What You Feel Like Eating Every Day AND Lose Weight!” diet.

And it wasn’t called the “You Can Have a Cheat Meal per Week while Cutting and STILL Get your Best Results!” diet.

And it wasn’t called the “You Can Eat Everything You Eat Today and Still Lose Weight!” diet.

And it sure as sugar was not called the “Mass Without Eating Much Food” diet.

It’s not quite as snarky as “The Best Fat Loss Article on the Motherfuckin’ Internet” by Aadam, but equally worth a read and reality check if you are not reaching your goals.

I have been working with a Precision Nutrition fitness and nutrition coach since July of 2016. And while my physical transformation has not been fast, I am in the best shape of my life through consistently (a) doing the workouts, (b) eating to support my fitness goals, and (c) measuring and tracking those things that I want to improve.

Because I’m a scientist I track a ridiculous number of metrics: sleep (amount & quality), distance per day (walked, jogged, run), running cadence (actively trying to improve this), total calories, grams of protein, fat, fiber, & carbohydrates, workouts done, time spent lifting weights, number of reps, sets, weight used, how much alcohol consumed if any, weight, body fat (daily bioelectrical impedance, quarterly DEXA), and numerous body part girths. If I had to prioritize these, my two primary goals are related to (1) body fat percentage and (2) sleep. Everything else being tracked may impact those primary goals.

Here’s the funny thing. I have the RP diet templates, the book, & the physique templates for weight-lifting (20% off discount code = fall20 – expires October 16, 2017). I know that if I just followed their programming 100% for 8 to 12 weeks (they break everything into 12 week cycles), I could make dramatic physical changes relatively quickly. So, I’m definitely on the receiving end of the rant! I am not ready to be that hungry and tired. For now, I use RP’s strategies to tweak my much more sustainable Precision Nutrition programming for short bursts where I lose a few pounds and then hold. For me this is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m focused on staying injury free, not getting completely OCD about my nutrition and exercise, and finding the joy in my body becoming stronger, faster, and leaner. And I can get joyful about very small things – 5 unassisted pull-ups in a row, 1 arm planks, my first feet elevated push-ups, getting my running cadence close to 180 for a few miles, doing a front squat correctly (after my coach sent me video of how place the bar correctly), etc.

One arm plank

I don’t know why this makes me so happy!

One article Precision Nutrition coaches like to share is “Side Effects may include Leanness.” In my first year of coaching I hated everything about this article. I wanted to achieve my goals quickly, get to my destination. Are we there yet? (Yes I was that kid in the backseat of the car during long road trips.) I am finally starting to appreciate the sentiment in this article. It’s the journey. It’s just life and the choices we make every day.

In June, shared my love of Precision Nutrition’s coaching program, and its impact on my fitness, after finishing up a year of receiving coaching. I redid my PN Level 1 certification, required every 2 years, in July. Essentially the Level 1 program teaches strong nutrition fundamentals with some coaching basics added on. With PN Level 1 Version 3, they updated the text and the videos making the curriculum more fun and accessible. They’ve also made the coaching section of the text better match how the PN coaches work with clients in the coaching program.

Image of PN portal

What I see in my Precision Nutrition Portal: Yellow arrows point to completed programs. Blue arrows point to ongoing programs. I seem to be alternating between receiving coaching and learning to coach. 

On Monday I start the PN Level 2 Coaching Certification Program. FAQ. This is a year long mentored program with daily assignments, case studies, etc. Curriculum PDF.

Why now?

Well, now is always the best time to start!

Why this?

I don’t know if I will ever do any fitness or nutrition coaching. So, my primary goal is to be a better mentor and manager to the people who work for me. PN coaches have, and I want to learn, a magical skill of energizing others to achieve their goals. I want that superpower to consistently be able to turn talk into action, about any goal!

I do have a few secondary goals. I’ve been PN L1 certified for a few years. I’m in my second year getting coaching. I’m the fittest I have been in my life. (Follow up DEXA and quarterly photos coming in November). People have begun to ask me if I’m fitness coaching on the side, and randomly ask me fitness and/or nutrition questions. And yet, I haven’t hung my shingle. I am not sure what’s standing in my way, but perhaps this will push me over the edge. While I have deep academic knowledge re: nutrition and fitness, I do not yet know what is needed to motivate people to make better choices, consistently, over time – to get out of their own ways – to achieve their goals.

I will.

I’ve been trying to sleep more, consistently, for the last few months. Initially this started as a fitness goal since everything I learn, states that recovery and sleep might be almost as important as the training and nutrition when it comes to gaining muscle, losing fat, etc.

See e.g.

So I’ve been trying some of the suggestions in this article about hacking sleep. Over the last few months, I’ve increased my average sleep duration from under 6 hours to a little more than 7. I’d like to get closer to 8 blissful hours. I just feel better when I sleep more.

But there are hints, that sleep might be even more important than these initial articles, and my own personal experience, suggest.

Yesterday, John Berardi posted this comment to the Precision Nutrition Certification Students & Grads group on Facebook.

Facebook post from‎ John Berardi‎ to Precision Nutrition Certification Students & Grads

Facebook post from‎ John Berardi‎ to Precision Nutrition Certification Students & Grads

This aligns with a tantalizing post he made back in May 2017, about a research study in collaboration with UCLA on exercise, nutrition, and sleep. To summarize that longer post, sleep was the magic ingredient needed for dramatic body composition change. Hopefully the peer reviewed article will be published before the end of the year.

But muscle gains and fat loss aside, sleep is also astoundingly important for behavior and brain development. I sometimes get research publication alerts on former colleagues. Jim Sutcliffe (we went to grad school together, same PhD advisor) recently co-authored a manuscript, Shorter sleep duration is associated with social impairment and comorbidities in ASD. ASD is Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Let me sum up:

Decreases in sleep duration are associated with lower IQs, maladaptive behaviors, and reports of ADD, depressive disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder in ASD. Regression results indicated that more severe social impairment, primarily a failure to develop peer relationships, is the core symptom most strongly associated with short sleep duration.

OK, fine, this is a group of kids who already have autism spectrum disorder, what about typical people? From the intro:

In typically developing children, sleeping too little is associated with attention, behavior, and learning problems. Insufficient sleep is also associated with increased risk for depression, and in teenagers, increased risk of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts (Paruthi et al., 2016). Notably, recent evidence suggests that sleep promotes normal brain development (Kayser, Yue, & Sehgal, 2014) and sleep disruption during development may affect adult brain connectivity (Billeh et al., 2016). This indicates that sufficient sleep is essential for normal neuronal development. Sleep deprivation has been observed to affect the neural circuitry underlying emotional regulation, including abnormal connectivity of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex (Maski & Kothare, 2013); this abnormal amygdala-prefrontal cortex connectivity has also been observed in ASD (Wiggins & Monk, 2013).

I definitely need to prioritize sleep more.

My time spent consuming vs. creating content has been 99:1 for the last few years. One of my goals for 2017 was to change the balance and create more. I’m late getting started.

My friend Clay has started old-school blogging again – no list posts, no single theme – just his thoughts and creations. I love it. He inspired me to do some website clean-up. I’ve collapsed a bunch of categories and added SSL to the site. I deleted numerous websites from my blogroll. So many of my favorite writers have stopped making new content, or are exclusively posting on Facebook. I’ve noticed myself doing the same, for quick thoughts on single ideas or moments. I miss having the old-school blog archive of those moments in time.

Thematically my consumption has been largely focused on Fitness & FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early).

I completely fell down the FIRE rabbit hole. If FIRE interests you, I’ve been reading through the archives from:

Retirement savings in the USA are terrible. Side note: major financial crisis coming – look at the median savings! I’m better than average, but not where I should be for a nice comfortable retirement. I’m playing catch up! I’ve maxed my 401k and IRA for this year, and automated a savings plan. At this rate, I may only need to work full time until I’m about 70 or so. Good thing I like working. If you have favorite writers on this topic please let me know. I’m still soaking it all in.

In terms of Fitness, there are just a few resources I consistently consume.

  • Precision Nutrition (my go to for the last decade) – numerous PhD’s, peer reviewed research, coaching, works with world class athletes
  • Renaissance Periodization – again numerous PhDs, coaching, templates for training and nutrition, works with world class athletes
  • physiqonomics (humorous but accurate)

I still love Precision Nutrition. I am L1 certified. I’ll be starting my L2 certification next month – it’s a year long program. I’m a few months into my second year receiving coaching. My fitness goal for this year was largely to “automate” my fitness and get a bit leaner and stronger. I’m getting closer. I’ll do a more formal fitness update at the end of the 12 week cutting cycle I’m on. I feel like finally internalizing the habits that will make this sustainable in the long term.

Speaking of habits – watch this:

And read his post:  Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.
I’ve been working towards this for the last few years without consciously realizing it. He says it out loud and writes it down.

Let me sum up: Habits/Practice >>> Goals/Motivation

I discovered Renaissance Periodization last year as I was looking to lean up more. Their programming is magic if you love Microsoft Excel (I do). All of the templates are Excel based. I have cutting (nutrition) & physique for women (strength training). I started with their women’s book, and may at some point do a full on 12 week cycle with both their nutrition and training plans. For now, I am using some of their recommendations to tweak what I’m doing with Precision Nutrition. I also joined their members only section (RP+) of the website to watch scientific lectures (seriously) on emerging research on fitness and performance nutrition/training. Gloriously geeky.

I think all things fitness/nutrition/performance are fun and interesting. And while I don’t remember how I found Aadam or got signed up for his newsletter, I am so glad that he’s contributing his perspective, humor, and drawings to the field. If you read nothing else that I’ve linked here, read his post – The Best Fat Loss Article on the Motherfuckin’ Internet. It’s a great tough love summary.

My year of Precision Nutrition (PN) Coaching (coaching FAQ) ends on June 30, 2017.

I first started my fitness journey back in 2004, with Body for Life, doing back to back 12 week “competitions.” The program worked well, but I did not have a good transition strategy for maintenance. I got into running, then marathon training, and completely got out of the habit of strength training, for years. Body for Life did however start me on a path of exercising at least 6 days a week, with ever improving daily nutrition.

When I started PN last year, I was exercising 6 or 7 days a week, but exclusively cardio (run, walk, elliptical, and hot yoga). My nutrition was already aligned with PN guidelines and my weight was stable. My health and fitness were good, but my body fat percentage was increasing a bit each year (same weight, tighter clothes).

I knew what needed to change: less wine, more strength training, and better sleep. I just was not doing it, even though I specifically listed these three things as part of my annual fitness goals for several years in a row. They say insanity is doing the same thing again and again but expecting a different result. I knew something needed to change. I decided I needed a guide, a coach, for my fitness journey to hold me accountable. I still hate admitting that I needed help. I needed help.

I signed up for PN Coaching in large part because I’d been following their program, business model and growth as a company for a decade (see timeline). PN was founded by PhD researchers who also used to be fitness competitors. Everything in the program is scientifically validated. No quick fixes. No fads. I had recently completed their certification program where they train people to coach others using their program. Knowledge however is not action. I knew what to do, but I just wasn’t doing it.

PN Timeline

My investment in all things Precision Nutrition

The year long PN Coaching program opens twice a year – January and July. There is an online platform where lessons (why yes, there is homework), workouts, and habits are posted each day. Every workout has full gym or limited equipment options. And, there are more than a dozen workout plans depending on your specific goals. You can customize how difficult each individual exercise is, complete with video tutorials on how to do each movement correctly. I love this feature. Finally, every 4 weeks, a new workout series is delivered so that the specific exercises and energy systems targeted are changed. In addition to the program on the platform – I had a dedicated coach, a private Facebook group for the women in my cohort, weekly group calls (zoom meetings), biweekly calls with my coach, peer mentors and an assistant coach. A new healthy habit to focus on rolled out every two weeks. I’ll admit that I found the pacing at times to be frustratingly S-L-O-W (especially because I knew what was coming). However, two weeks is about the right amount of time to internalize a new habit and it keeps the changes from being overwhelming. So, in the grand scheme of things, not much happens on the outside during the first few weeks and months – learning habits, doing the workouts, doing the navel gazing lessons, but never really starting a “diet.” With time, one of the “side effects” of PN might be leanness.  There are ways to tweak the principles (cost of getting lean), but they are not core to the overall coaching program which is designed to foster a long-term healthy lifestyle.

Does it work?

I’m down about 14 pounds and 12 inches. I can finally do real pull-ups and push-ups. I have serious abs for the first time in my life! I had a DEXA done this week, and my abdomen is now 8% body fat. Like many women, I carry my fat in my hips and thighs. Total body fat is down to 20%, which apparently for a 49-year-old female is amazing. I’m still working to find muscle definition in my legs, so would like to bring this down another percent or two. But overall, I’m happy with my progress, and how sustainable this feels.

PN Before After

Precision Nutrition: Before & After

I will confess that for the last 9 weeks, I adjusted my nutritional macros and food timing to align with a similar, but more goal oriented (food scale required), program called Renaissance Periodization.  I discussed this experiment with my PN coach (the amazing coach Jen) before embarking on it. She enthusiastically supported my efforts. She’s a rock star athlete who has challenged her own body in many ways – Ironman, figure competitions, & now competitive power lifting. Like PN, Renaissance Periodization (or RP) has an army of PhD scientists building their nutritional guidelines and programming, more for specific competitive training goals than day to day living (though they did just release new templates with that target audience in mind). My goal was to lock things down and get leaner; and RP is amazingly effective, but somewhat challenging to follow. I may do another few weeks of cutting using RP before relaxing (nutrition) into a 12-week maintenance phase. From there, I’ll either cut some more to lean out my thighs a bit more or try to add some mass to my back and shoulders.

But I’m going to do it all from the safety net of another year of PN coaching which will start mid-July. My real goal is to make all of my fitness efforts as effortless as remembering to brush and floss each day. One more year should lock it all down.

Additional Resources:

Precision Nutrition 

Body Fat Testing in Denver, CO

  • Body Fat USA: DEXA, VO2 MAX, RMR Testing in Denver, CO. I did all of these tests – the office is clean, professional and private. Highly recommend. 

Renaissance Periodization

Sedona Red Rocks

Sedona Red Rocks

I am behind on a few travel reports.

2015 had some hard parts. My uncle finally died from complications of diabetes and end stage renal failure. My mom fell, broke her ankle and went from living independently in her own apartment to moving into an assisted living center where her own mom died. I find this hard; I suspect this is hard for my mom by 1,000.

I needed a personal health reality check. I decided to do a spa vacation at Christmas. I initially looked at Canyon Ranch but mostly the descriptions scared me. I wanted a health check, and respite, not necessarily boot camp. So I searched for spas of that quality that did not look so intimidating. I landed at Mii Amo, also in Arizona. While I’d been to Arizona a few times – Phoenix, Tucson – I’d never been to Sedona. It was exactly what I needed, in spite of the unprecedented daily rain/snow during my stay.

It’s a 2+ hour drive from Phoenix to Sedona. Although I arrived a few hours before the official check-in time, I was met by my personal spa greeter who gave me gift #1 of my stay (a necklace), a tour of the spa, and my take home robe, water bottle, sport bag. The fireplace in my room was on, as was the Native American Spiritual music. The tone of the trip was set. The room was great – large sitting area, private patio (too cold for that), luxurious bath (separate shower and gigantic soaking tub). At Mii Amo, there are two days a week the guests are allowed to arrive – so there was an orientation event- mix of middle age female solo travelers (Me. And, I include the amazing Ginny turning 70 on Christmas Day before spending the holidays with her family in this group), moms and daughters, couples, and one recently widowed father with his two adult (young 20’s) daughters. Nice group; nice people; all with their own reasons to be there.



Those of us who were Mii Amo spa guests (it’s part of Enchantment Resort) had a group dinner where we learned how to navigate the rest of our stay. We had the special blue (all inclusive) robes – spa treatments (2 x a day) included (tips prepaid); all meals included (except adult beverages or protein powder or supplements in the various daily juices). The food was fantastic. Fresh; all of the food colors; much locally grown. Nothing was salted but there were 3 types of salt (black (Asia), pink (Himalaya), & mixed color (?)) on the tables. Nutritional breakdown and calories were provided for each item on the menu (love! And why yes I bought the cookbook).

Oh, would you like your dessert delivered to your room while you’ve having your evening spa treatment? Unlimited room service included. Crazy.

For me each day was the same, the days ran together; and yet, it was both too much and not enough. Each day I enjoyed a guided red-rocks hike with 3 to 4 other guests of various abilities – Tea Cup to Devil’s Sink Hole; Jordan Trail; Jim Thompson Trail. Some spa treatments were awesome (deep tissue massage; thai massage; rejuvenating facial) and some were just strange such as the Abhyanga Shirodhara – 2 person massage with lots of oil – hold hands to start; cold room; finally lots of blankets – warm oil poured on forehead & hair for 30 minutes. Relaxing but odd. Some of my cohort loved the experience. I just found it strange.

I took a variety of random fitness classes trying to expand my comfort zone – Foam Roller Release Class (ouch; need to do more of this); Full Spectrum Yoga (targeted to least fit person in room; no); their signature WOGA activity (walking + yoga = >>> walking vs. yoga; yawn, no); Tabata (kicked my butt; 20 seconds on; 10 seconds off; I’m adding this in. YouTube is a great resource for this. Ouch; more.); Fitness Walk (same as WOGA but faster and without the flicker of spirituality); one-on-one Pilates (ouch- even the memory- I have fit parts and wimpy parts; she found every wimpy part and worked them hard; this 100% met my expectation but ouch; her comment after laughing (chuckling?) at my imbalances – “you need to add something; not just another type of yoga…” harsh but true); Restorative yoga (more than 1 blanket needed; I may need this but it’s not even my 10th choice as an activity; no for now).

Each day there were new gifts in the room. Fire place and Native American Spiritual music always turned on while I was out and about.

Fog in Sedona

While each day was packed with activities, I had ample time to dig into my goals for 2016. More on that later. Mii Amo was a great place for resting and navel gazing (err quiet contemplation).

On the final day, there was a departure ceremony to share our purpose for coming; and what we learned/received from our experiences. My departure group was me and the family in my orientation – dad, two daughters (Mark, Avery, Emily) – who used to come with their wife/mom who’d died recently – and me. They were raw, candid, good people, gracious about sharing the moment and I still wish they’d had their privacy. Guide + Them; not Guide + Me + Them.

And then, it was over. I spent a touristy day browsing shops in Sedona and the art district Tlaquepaque. I bought some memories at the Renee Taylor Gallery.  I’d never heard of Larimar but now own some. And no, it’s not local to Sedona, but I liked it best. And I don’t think it has any magical energy properties.

This may come as a surprise to some of you who know I collect (academic) credentials (PhD, MBA, PMP, Salesforce Admin, blah, blah, blah) the way other people collect art or beanie babies or stamps or something. But, once upon a time, September 13, 2012, I signed up for the Precision Nutrition Certification Program. And, I never finished it. Sure I paged through the almost 500 pages of text and skimmed the workbook, but never watched the videos, did the exercises, or took exam. A few years passed. From time to time I reminded myself about Sunk Costs and thought perhaps one day I’d get back to it, recommit, something.

Incredibly, I never lost access to the program.

And, recently, the amazing folks behind it updated the learning portal into chapter by chapter modules with better electronic nudges to move one on to the next section.

So, I dusted off the text (and videos, and workbook questions) and slogged through it. Apparently, I just needed those electronic nudges. I am now official.

PN Certified Coach
Of course, there is now a Level 2 option (coming April 2016).

Aside from self-experimentation, I am not likely to do anything with this one. But I’m glad to have (finally) finished it. Ever and always I’ve loved the science behind Precision Nutrition, and the creators’ desire to make it accessible, actionable. And these days, who doesn’t love infographics?

This is one of my favorites – the cost of getting lean.

What’s the cost to get there? To maintain it? I am solidly healthy on the chart. But, I also have an aesthetic (leaner) fitness goal, and it’s not going to get easier with time. Hopefully, I hit the training/fitness goal faster than the educational one.