What I Wish I Knew About Protein Sooner (The 20g Myth And More!)

What I Wish I Knew About Protein Sooner (The 20g Myth And More!)

Think protein is just for bodybuilders?

Think again.

Focus on increasing protein may be even more important if you’re…

  • Female
  • Over the age of 30
  • Training hard
  • Looking to lose weight
  • Looking to lose fat
  • Looking to gain muscle
  • Looking to stay functionally stronger
  • Looking to stay energized and recover faster
  • Looking to age well and stay mentally with it…

Basically protein is honestly even more key for those of us looking to feel, look and move our best at any and every age.

Yet many of us struggle with not only increasing protein, but wanting to increase it.

Too often we even search out anything we can to tell us we DON’T have to make a change.

But honestly, this desire to not make a change is what keeps us stuck.

And so often our unwillingness to embrace increasing protein, especially as we get older, is what keeps us from ever seeing the results we want.

We keep searching for a way around the hard change of increasing protein ultimately to never see any of our hard work pay off.

That’s why I wanted to share some things I wish I’d personally known earlier on about protein and dispel some common protein myths and highlight HOW it helps.

Because when we truly understand the WHY behind the habit changes, we are more willing to embrace hard habit shifts.

What we value, we prioritize.

And we value things more when we truly understand the benefit and purpose behind the changes.

So that’s why I want to highlight why increasing your protein is something you should value.

Starting with the fact that it isn’t just essential for our aesthetic goals.

This ties into a myth we often also hear that gives us an excuse NOT to eat more protein…

And this myth is “You can only utilize 20-30 grams of protein in a meal.” 

I’ve heard this myth repeated in a variety of ways, arguing that eating more protein during your day will only “go to waste.”

But this amount is just the amount that our body can use in a single sitting for muscle protein synthesis.

However, when you eat protein, all those amino acids aren’t just going to your muscles.

Only a very small portion of that 20-30 grams you’re consuming is actually being used in that way.

Because proteins make up EVERY tissue in our body. 

Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. 

And it’s involved in so many bodily functions including cellular repair.

So if you’re only eating 20-30 grams your muscles aren’t fully getting the maximal amount they can use. 

Not to mention the studies done on this “ideal” protein intake don’t take into account that mixed macro meals, aka adding carbs or fats with the protein, can impact the rate of digestion. 

They also don’t take into account that as we get older, we don’t utilize protein as efficiently.

This makes increasing our intake per meal even more key. 

Consuming less in a meal when we are younger is something we can “get away with” because of the more optimal hormonal environment we have.

As we get older, we need more protein to elicit that same muscle building response. 

Again…more protein is better.

And a recent study has even shown that consuming 100 grams of protein at a meal not only lead to BETTER muscle protein synthesis but didn’t go to waste. 

So if you’ve been trying to tell yourself you didn’t need to eat more protein because it would only be wasted, think again.

And not to harp on this, but it’s probably one of the biggest reasons I push my clients to be so protein centric, but I want them to define how they age. 

There is no denying our body changes with age. But we truly are in control of defining how we age. 

And so much of what we just write off as getting older, is within our power to change and control.

Feel like you’re losing muscle?

Feel like you’re losing strength?

Feel like you’re not recovering as quickly?

Worried about falls and fractures and your bone health? 

Seeing negative changes in your health, including an increase in your blood pressure during menopause?

Or are you frustrated because you’re metabolism is slowing down and you’re seeing the weight creep on no matter what you do as you even slash your calories lower and lower?

What if I told you focusing on protein may be the simplest solution to addressing these things you’ve written off as just getting older?!

Protein honestly is the fountain of youth we don’t often truly recognize.

Now if you want to focus on building muscle and strength, your workouts and challenging yourself with your training is key. 

But so often we see the results we deserve from our hard work in the gym paying off because our fueling doesn’t match.

You can only train as hard as you recover from. And to recover, your body needs protein. 

So if you want to stay functionally fit and strong as you get older, you can’t avoid increasing your protein.

And by building and retaining more lean muscle as you get older, when so often we see a decline in muscle with age, you’ll also help keep your metabolic rate higher. 

Not to mention the thermic effect, or the energy required for the metabolism of food, of digesting protein itself is higher. 

This means more calories burned without us doing anything differently!

And if we want to lose fat, increasing our protein not only helps with this process but helps us avoid losing more muscle, which we are at increased risk for losing already as we get older.

AKA by focusing on protein we improve our metabolic health and body recomp to be any age and freaking lean and strong!

But again, protein isn’t just about rocking those aesthetic results…

It is also key for our health as we get older.

It can help keep our bones strong and avoid fractures, and lower our risk of osteoporosis.

And it can even help lower our blood pressure, which is key especially during menopause when we can see our risk for cardiovascular disease rise.

Now I do want to touch on protein and “risk.” Because this is something I wish I’d realized sooner… 

Protein is honestly the least risky food to include if you want to see fabulous body recomp and your hard work in the gym pay off. 

And I wish I’d known this sooner because it would have helped me get leaner and stronger faster.

Of course there is too much of even a good thing…

And specific health concerns like kidney disease may mean that a lower amount of protein is key for you, although there are some interesting new studies even debating this exact amount…

But for anyone with healthy kidneys who focuses on quality fueling and hydration, higher protein intakes will NOT have a negative impact. 

But I mention “risk” also because increasing our protein intake helps us see results in a much easier way.

A high protein diet is the only diet shown to help you gain lean muscle in a deficit and even avoid gaining unwanted fat while in a calorie surplus. 

It gives you wiggle room in your calorie intake to still see results.

Not to mention, it can help you eat more and feel fueled while still seeing body recomp. 

And being able to eat more will help you keep your metabolic rate higher and create a more sustainable calorie intake that doesn’t leave you feeling starving and deprived. 

Not to mention, protein does improve our health, reducing our risk of so many health concerns…yet too often we only focus on the negatives it may have for specific populations.

But honestly, almost every healthy food can have a negative impact if not consumed based on what we need!

And there are also so many MICROnutrients in protein sources we don’t often realize and value.

We talk about getting more fruits and vegetables, which are 100% key…

But we don’t recognize that protein sources offer a diversity of vitamins and minerals that are essential as well.

And many found in protein sources aren’t available in other sources in the same form such as Vitamin A (Retinol), B12, Carnitine, Carnosine, Creatine, D3, DHA, EPA, Heme Iron, and Taurine. 

These things are essential to optimal health.

So not only is protein essential as a macro, but it packs a micronutrient punch!

Now if you’re like “Ok Cori, I’m sold on increasing protein…But it’s just so hard! I’d like to, but how!?”

I’ll tell you…I get it.

We’re used to consuming foods in the portions we are currently eating. 

And to change our macro split, we have to adjust those portion sizes which often means planning ahead.

Because otherwise we are just going to do what we’ve always done…and we’ve always not eaten more protein! 

I also think we often simply get overwhelmed with the idea which makes our brain freak out and not think in terms of small adjustments.

Or we make changes to hit a number without focusing still on making it ENJOYABLE. 

We go straight to the chicken and broccoli or force ourselves to choke down a protein shake we hate. 

Instead our goal should be to consider ways we may ENJOY adding more protein.

When we are excited to do something, when it is enjoyable over a chore, we are more likely to truly embrace the habit change.

We need to feel like, and remember it is our choice, not something we HAVE to do. 

Yes a protein supplement or bar can be used, but that is too often what we jump to. 

And we want the benefits that whole, natural proteins provide.

So instead, try looking up dishes you may enjoy that have more protein. 

Or take a day of meals you already love and search for small tweaks. 

Massive changes aren’t made overnight.

But one small adjustment that you can build on will add up. 

So even take your meals today and see where you can make one change to increase your protein.

Can you add an ounce more chicken? 

Sprinkle nutritional yeast on something? 

Swap greek yogurt of sour cream? 

Those grams add up!

And this is something key I wished I’d found when I first sought to add more protein because it would have made the process so much easier to see the results I wanted sooner!

Focus on those small changes and really seek to understand the why behind the habit swaps you’re looking to make, like increasing protein. 

It can help you truly value the changes to make them easier so you can see the results you deserve.

Because if you’re looking to move, feel and look your best till your final day on this planet, increasing your protein is the magical habit change that most of us avoid making but that truly makes all of our hard work add up!

Ready to dial in your diet to match your workouts and help you build your leanest, strongest body ever?

Learn more about my Metabolic Shred!

The Underrated Full Body Exercise (that looks a little silly)

The Underrated Full Body Exercise (that looks a little silly)

I know it looks a bit silly….

And I’m not expecting you to go into the middle of your commercial gym weight room floor and start doing it…

But the Towel Taz is an amazing, and deceptively hard conditioning drill that can be a great way to mix up your cardio sessions without all the impact and even put an emphasis on your upper body and core.

It can get you moving in every direction and be done no matter your fitness level.

And it doesn’t require fancy equipment.

Heck you can grab your comforter or even a sheet off your bed if you don’t have a moving blanket.

But I do want to break down the benefits of this amazing move because it can be done without any fancy equipment and is deceptively humbling!

The first reason I love this move, despite how silly it looks, is that it can be used with a variety of intervals to achieve different conditioning benefits.

You can use a heavier moving blanket and easily gas yourself out with quick 10-20 second sprints.

Or you can even learn to use it for more aerobic capacity building longer interval durations of even 1-2 minutes.

But no matter your fitness level you can vary the intensity and intervals you work in to get benefit from this exercise.

And it can really be tailored to what you want to work on – whether you want to focus more on intense quick bursts or more endurance!

And unlike so many of the conditioning drills we do, it gets you moving in every direction while being a full body drill!

When you often think about cardio, our first thoughts are often of running or biking.

If we’re thinking about bodyweight interval workouts, we may start to consider the basic burpee or jump squats, which really still are moving us only in one plane of motion.

And while I think there are some great variations of these moves that can be used to twist and turn and work in every direction, the Towel Taz is a great way to do this without the impact of jumping!

You shuffle laterally as you shake the towel up and down.

Or side to side.

You can circle.

Move forward, backward.

You’re not just moving in one direction like we are with running and riding and your whole body is working.

There is a lot of freedom to the movement, whether you want to make it more core intensive, rotating side to side as you move around…

Or you want to make it more shoulder and arm intensive, shaking the towel up and down.

And it conditions not only your lungs, but so many of the muscles that pay off for other sports.

That towel becomes way heavier than you’d expect and you’re going to feel your arms and shoulders.

This can be a great drill to help keep your shoulders healthy, while improving your conditioning for swimming, not to mention any fight sport.

You may even be surprised by how much it improves your upper body lifts, improving the strength endurance of your shoulders.

And by moving in every direction, you may feel your agility and even reaction times to cut, twist and turn improve. You see your balance and stability improve from your ankles up to your hips.

It also will add diversity to your routine as so many of the cardio moves we do are lower body focused.

While no, we can’t spot reduce an area and just do a thousand tricep exercises to try to lose the bat wing, this move does come in handy for that little extra fat loss benefit when our lifts and nutrition are dialed in.

Studies have shown that more fat is mobilized from areas AROUND the muscle we work. We just then need to UTILIZE that mobilized fat…and a little cardio focused on those areas strategically may make that 1% improvement.

Do your upper body lifting session then finish it off with a killer 30 on 15 off series of Towel Taz while making sure your nutrition is on point, and you may be surprised by how much that helps with that last little stubborn bit!

The Towel Taz can also be helpful if you’re not able to do some of the higher impact conditioning drills or lower body cardio exercises.

If you’ve had a lower body injury and have to reduce impact, you may feel limited in your conditioning drills.

This move can be done seated if needed or even by stepping or quick cuts to move around.

Honestly, this silly looking move is well worth the stares you may get.

And can be a great option if you’re training at home and looking to mix things up.

It is incredibly functional in how it asks us to quickly engage muscles and have so many things work in unison in every direction.

No it’s not a functional movement pattern you will directly do in everyday life, but the benefits of the mind-body connection, conditioning improvements and strengthening in every direction really will have you feeling fabulous.

Now I just wanted to add some quick tips to implement this move….

Use a big and heavy towel. Moving blankets are ideal as they won’t whip you and they have some weight to really challenge your upper body and core.

Focus on quick movements of both your upper AND lower body. While you may shake the towel up and down, shuffle and step in every direction.

If you even swing the towel side to side, focus on walking forward and backward.

Force your upper and lower body to work independently in different directions but together!

Make sure you focus on that exhale as you shake the towel and focus on a speed that challenges you for the intervals of work you’re performing.

If you’re doing 20 seconds, max out.

If you’re using this for 1 minute, consider more of a 65-75% of your max effort pace to push yourself to feel out of breath but be able to work the entire time.

But as much as you may be shaking your head no at your screen, give this move a chance.

It’s humbled many an MMA fighter and you may be surprised by how much it improves your conditioning to even be able to lift more, run faster and cycle further.

You may even be shocked at how much you see improvements in your ability to quickly react and move in every direction!

What untraditional exercises do you love?

Want more workout and nutrition tips? Subscribe to my YouTube Channel…

–> Redefining Strength On YouTube


How To Increase Your Metabolism (At Any Age)

How To Increase Your Metabolism (At Any Age)

Ok let’s get one thing straight – you haven’t killed your metabolism. It isn’t broken even.

It’s adapted.

I want to explain why our metabolism adapts and even strategies you can use to make this work to your advantage.

And just to be clear…your age is not an excuse.

While yes it can feel harder to make changes as we get older, a big part of that is simply the fact we’ve ignored many of these other factors for so long and previous dieting and training practices are catching up with us now!

So first…why does your metabolism adapt?

Our metabolism isn’t a stagnant thing.

Changes in our lifestyle and changes in our lifestyle can have a huge impact on it – from how we fuel to how active we are.

That’s why we have to be conscious of how we approach losing weight, especially if we want to see amazing and LASTING body recomp.

Because so often in search of faster results, and more dramatic changes on the scale, we implement habits that have a NEGATIVE impact on our metabolic health.

While we do need a calorie deficit to lose weight, creating too big a deficit will backfire.

Yet this is so often what we’ve always done.

If calories in vs. calories out is our main focus for weight loss, we almost assume going lower is better.

But it’s not.

Yes, it may be nice to see that scale change quickly, but dropping our calories extremely low changes how our body functions.

Metabolic adaptations occur and our metabolism slows to try to regulate energy expenditure to match energy intake.

Less energy coming in, your body makes sure survival functions are covered first.

This can mean we may find ourselves having less energy to get up and move around extra.

We may find we fidget less.

We may even see our workout performance decline.

Your body will slow down, or reduce, any processes that burn energy it doesn’t feel it has coming in…

And this can also mean muscle being lost.

Muscle is metabolically costly. It requires more energy to be maintained.

Whereas, our fat stores are more pure fuel for our body.

When energy is in short supply, our body is going to do what it can to conserve.

Less muscle means less energy needed to survive.

That is why we can not only struggle to build muscle in an extreme deficit even though we’re trying to train hard, but we can even LOSE muscle.

And oddly enough, the harder we train to try to see the results, the more we may be making that deficit even more extreme…fighting against any muscle building efforts further.

So while yes, a calorie deficit is key…

Slashing our calories lower to try to see results faster started the snowball of metabolic adaptations…

Adaptations you may find accumulate more and more as you get older.

And this is why we start blaming our age for the metabolic slowdown.

Over time, we’ve repeated this yo-yo dieting cycle…

Slash our calories lower and burn more calories in our training.

So we lose fast on the scale.

But we ultimately lose just as much muscle as fat.

Slowing our metabolic rate.

And in the process creating hormonal imbalances which only make matters worse.

Then ultimately we can’t sustain the severe restriction and training regime, so we regain the weight.

But when we regain the weight, we aren’t doing so in a healthy way to rebuild muscle.

Instead we’re defaulting back into bad habits.

All that weight we then gain only makes our body composition worse as we put on fat.

This leads to us even potentially putting on more weight as our body has learned to function better off of the lower calories AND we’ve lost muscle.

So the next time we go to diet down, not only is the process HARDER but our metabolic rate may be slower and may only further adapt as we implement those same dieting practices!

And this is why it can feel like it as we get older it gets harder and harder.

Not to mention, as most of us get older…we aren’t as active.

So lower activity levels on average coupled with improper dieting practices and this yo-yo dieting cycle…

Of course it feels like it gets harder and our metabolism is slower than ever.

Now I do want to mention…age DOES have an impact.

Because while too often we just blame our age and write ourselves off because of it, there are things we WILL need to address with how we train and fuel if we want to see results NO MATTER our age…

As we get older, we aren’t able to utilize protein as efficiently and muscle gains are slower.

Our hormonal environment isn’t as optimal as it once was for muscle growth.

And less muscle as we get older DOES mean a slower metabolism.

BUT again…our metabolism is constantly adjusting…

So as much as our previous dieting practices have had an impact negatively…we can also CHANGE them to not only address our changing needs as we get older but also REVERSE the adaptations we’ve created with previous dieting attempts…

So…How can you use the fact that your metabolism adjusts to your advantage?

Because at any point we can improve our metabolic health and increase our metabolic rate by changing how we fuel and train!

We can eat to be energized and want to move more.

This means NOT starving ourselves as we try to train harder.

We can properly fuel our training as our workouts focus on building lean muscle.

This means we need to stop seeing our workouts as a chance to burn more calories and instead focus on building muscle.

We need to challenge ourselves with our lifts. We need to not just fall into doing more. And we need to focus on that protein.

This will lead to us increasing our muscle mass to burn more calories at rest. AKA raise our resting metabolic rate!

The more we focus on these habits to increase our metabolic rate, the more we will find we are able to lose fat and KEEP IT OFF.

We will look leaner and FEEL BETTER because we are actually FUELING our body to function optimally…

And this can be done at ANY age.

While yes, we don’t utilize protein as efficiently or have that same anabolic environment for muscle growth as naturally, just RECOGNIZING this, we can account for it.

We can focus more on strength training and truly challenging ourselves.

And we can be even more conscious about a small calorie deficit after retraining ourselves first potentially to eat more.

Not to mention, we can emphasize MORE PROTEIN. As by just getting MORE we can create that same muscle protein synthesis we had with less when our hormones were at more “optimal” levels.

But as much as this all sounds fabulous….

I’m going to warn you…

This process of addressing metabolic adaptations takes time…

There are no magic metabolic foods or moves we need to be including.

Honestly, the process of addressing metabolic adaptations is often even FRUSTRATING.

It’s hard mentally because it usually requires us to do the OPPOSITE of what we’ve always done…

And often we feel like we’re LOSING PROGRESS when first making the necessary dietary changes.


Especially if you want to see the scale go DOWN….in the process of helping improve your metabolic healthy, you may first have to embrace the scale GOING UP.

Your body doesn’t like change…even when it is good for it.

So increasing your calories to truly fuel that muscle growth and increase your metabolism may mean seeing the scale increase.

This isn’t just that glycogen stores are being filled from a depleted state…

It’s partly because your body has learned to function on LESS.

So this extra energy to start is viewed as extra you don’t need and will be stored.

That’s why slowly increasing your calories from your deficit just 50-100 slowly over the weeks is key.

This helps restore hormonal balance.

And as you do this, you need to focus on PROTEIN.

This can help you avoid gaining unwanted fat as much as possible as you increase your calories.

And it can pay off because extra as we get older because we need more protein to create that same anabolic, muscle building response we had when we were younger.

And then, even as you see the scale increase, you can’t fear increasing calories.

Which will probably be the OPPOSITE of what you first want to do when seeking to lose weight.

As you build lean muscle, from proper fueling and strength training, your energy demands will increase.

Aka your metabolic rate will increase!

And then you’ll need to eat more to maintain it.

What once may have been enough, then becomes a deficit.

Now you may be wondering…But how do I know I’m not just gaining a ton of fat?!

This is where stepping off the scale and measuring may be key!

As muscle is being built, you will see inches being lost before the scale starts to trend downward.

And while frustrating, acknowledging this and accepting this…and embracing the long term habits…will ultimately pay off.

Because if you do have more weight to lose, the scale WILL start to change.

But it takes time.

Yup…patience…that thing none of us want to have is key.

So if you’ve worried your metabolism is dead…

It’s not.

You haven’t killed it.

And metabolic adaptations…heck you even saying you just have always have had a slow metabolism…

Can be changed at any and every age.

But you DO need to avoid extreme calorie deficits, focus on protein and build that lean muscle with your workouts!

And if you’ve found yourself repeating the same horrible yo-yo dieting cycle, the only way out of it is to make a change and realize your results may go backward before that recomp starts happening!

Because it can be hard to trust the process, having that outside perspective and guidance can be key.

To help you address metabolic adaptations and see the results you deserve, check out my 1:1 Coaching.


15 Reasons To Build Muscle

15 Reasons To Build Muscle

While cardio is important, we NEED to focus on building muscle with our training as well. And no, challenging yourself with heavy weights will NOT make you bulky…

But it may be the secret to you feeling like your leanest, strongest self till your final day on this planet…

Whether you’re a runner…

Want to achieve that six pack…

Or simply want to chase after your grandkids…

You need to prioritize building and maintaining muscle in your training.

Here are 15 reasons why you should care so much about that strength work and those muscle gains at any and every age.

#1: Muscle helps you look leaner.

If you’ve ever felt like you lose weight but don’t see any more definition and even just look skinny but soft, it’s because you’re not focusing on building muscle as you lose fat.

You may even be sabotaging yourself from looking more toned by seeking to lose faster on the scale. 

Because when we look to lose weight faster, we often do so at the cost of losing muscle.

And muscle is what helps us see that definition and look more toned. 

So even if your goal is fat loss, you want to focus your workouts on building lean muscle. 

Don’t slash your calories lower or turn to only cardio workouts!

#2: Muscle helps you KEEP the fat off.

Ever lost weight to feel like it just creeps back on? 

Getting older and feeling like your metabolism has slowed down?

This is often due to the fact that we’ve lost muscle!

And in losing muscle, we aren’t burning as many calories at rest. Not to mention resistance training also increases our metabolic rate.

So to help maintain your results, focus on building muscle to train harder, tackle more physical challenges and even better use the nutrients in your food, especially as you get older!

#3: Strength training protects and strengthens your skin.

With aging, we may find our skin becomes more papery and thin. 

But resistance training has actually been shown to improve our skin health. It increases our skin’s elasticity or the ability for it to bounce back as well as even our skin’s thickness!

This not only keeps our skin looking younger, and helps us fight against loose skin, but also even avoid seeing an increase in cuts and bruising as we get older. 

But focusing on strength training and building muscle isn’t just about looking fabulous, it’s also about moving your best! 

#4: Muscle powers our movements!

If you want to be functionally fit till your final day on this planet, you need to focus on building muscle.

It helps us maintain our capacity to move well and remain independent, decreasing our risks for falls and fractures.

Muscle is really the key to be able to conquer any physical challenges that come our way! 

Whether we want to get down and up off the ground playing with our grandkids or we’re an endurance athlete looking to set a PR and improve our speed and our endurance, muscle is the magic we need! 

#5: Muscle keeps our joints healthy.

Muscle supports our joints.

The stronger our muscles, the better the joint support and protection we have. 

Focus on building muscle with exercises that move you in every direction to keep your joints stable so you avoid the range of joint injuries we see adding up as we get older. 

This strength work to build muscle is especially key if you want to be able to train hard to build your leanest, strongest body ever or continue to even compete in sports you love. 

Not to mention this stability improves your balance, which helps you avoid falls and injuries!

And this strength work can even help ease the discomfort of any arthritis development as you get older.

#6: More muscle means stronger bones! 

Too often we just let ourselves get old.

But through building muscle, we can really keep ourselves feeling younger and stronger. 

We can help ourselves prevent so much of what we just write off as happening with age…like osteoporosis and a greater risk of fractures.

Do your resistance training, even if your strength work is more bodyweight based. 

Because not only does this strength work build strong muscles to protect your bones, it can actually improve your bone mineral density and promote bone development! 

This is even more essential for us ladies as we go through menopause!

And not only does muscle help you look fabulous and move better, it also improves your health in so many other ways… 

#7: Muscle improves your blood sugar levels.

Muscle helps increase insulin sensitivity.

Basically through resistance training and building muscle, you are then better able to handle carbs and move sugar into your muscles for storage.

This can be especially key during menopause when we are at greater risk for insulin resistance and even diabetes.

Along with being able to regulate your blood sugar levels better…

#8: Muscle also helps keep your heart healthy!

Strength training and building lean muscle can help you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and issues. 

It can help lower your blood pressure, lower LDL or bad cholesterol as well as your triglycerides, increase HDL or the good cholesterol and even improve blood circulation.

And while, yes, cardio workouts are key for heart health, too often we don’t recognize the importance of resistance training and building lean muscle. 

Recent studies have found a link between lower muscle mass and higher risk of cardiovascular issues.

So include resistance work and focus on building that lean muscle for your heart health. 

#9: Muscle improves our immune system!

More muscle means a larger reserve of amino acids, or the building blocks of protein which helps your immune system respond quicker to infection or disease.

This helps you not get as sick or stay sick as long. 

Muscle also helps reduce inflammation as weird as that sounds, since building muscle is about creating trauma to the muscles so they have to repair and grow stronger. 

But having on more muscle can help us reduce levels of chronic inflammation, which not only helps us stay healthy, but helps us reduce our risk for age related diseases, such as some cancers.

Now the important thing to note with this is…you can only build muscle and train hard if you are paying attention to your recovery. 

Under recover and you’re going to sabotage your immune system health instead.

#10: Muscle also aids in better recovery from injury and even disease.

Part of this goes back to the benefits muscle has for our immune system.

Muscle also plays an important role speeding up our recovery because it promotes blood circulation and aids in efficient nutrient transport or getting the areas of our body what they need quickly to rebuild. 

And while it’s great that muscle can help us recover, more importantly it can help us better AVOID injuries and illness in the first place.

In the process of building muscle we strengthen other connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments.

But if you are currently injured, don’t keep pushing through the pain.

Training around the injury or issue, to keep your system strong, is key.

This strength training releases myokines, which are messenger molecules from muscles released during and after your workouts. 

These molecules boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why muscle can be so key in our recovery!

#11: Strength training improves mood and anxiety.

While I know we often hear about the “runner’s high,” and many enjoy running for the mental benefits, strength training also has been shown to really improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety and stress. 

Part of this is due to the fact that our muscle plays an important part in our overall endocrine system function. 

And that system helps control and regulate our body’s metabolism, energy level, growth and development, reproduction and even our response to injury, stress and mood.

This is even extra reason to include muscle building workouts in your routine, especially during menopause when changing hormone levels may impact our mood and anxiety levels, not to mention make it harder to build and retain lean muscle. 

#12: Muscle helps you feel more energized.

Having more muscle means you are better able to create fuel from the carbs you consume. 

And this is partly because more muscle means more mitochondria.

Mitochondria create fuel to energize you from the glucose you eat and the air you breathe.

More muscle also means improved circulation. 

And this allows your body to function better and use your energy supplies more efficiently.

Not to mention, you’ll also see improvements in your energy levels because muscle and strength training can also positively impact your sleep. 

Which is my next big reason you should care…

#13: Building muscle improves your sleep.

Some interesting research has shown that resistance training may not only improve the quality of your sleep but even the quantity you get. 

So not only may it help you sleep longer, but get more deep, restorative sleep.

One reason it is believed that resistance training may even beat out aerobic training for sleep benefits, although both help, is that lifting stimulates growth in muscles cells boosting both testosterone and growth hormone levels in the body. 

Both of these hormones have been linked with better, deeper sleep.

This again can be an extra reason to focus on building muscle, especially during menopause or as we get older, where we may see our sleep quality and quantity decline. 

And can also contribute to better brain function as well! Which brings me to my second to last key reason…

#14: Muscle helps keep our brain healthy.

From the mental challenge that resistance training provides…

To the benefits that muscle has on our circulation and blood flow…

To even the release of myokines which can have an impact on overall brain function…

More muscle has been shown to be connected to improved cognitive functioning or brain health. 

And maintaining more muscle, while continuing to strength train, as we get older has been shown to decrease our risk of dementia.

Not to mention if you’re experiencing brain fog during menopause, you may find this symptom reduced by focusing on strength training and building muscle. 

Basically, more muscle means you’re going to feel, look and move your best till your final day on this planet.

And this is the most important overall reason to care about building muscle…

#15: More muscle means a longer, healthier, better life! 

Whether it is conquering any physical challenges you set for yourself…

Whether it is moving well to stay independent till your final day on this planet…

Whether it is avoiding illness, injury or disease…

Or even simply feeling more energized, healthier and happier…

Muscle is truly magical.

So focus on that strength work at any and every age to feel your most fabulous!

Ready to build that lean muscle and feel your most fabulous at any and every age? Check out my 1:1 Online Coaching!

–> Learn More About Redefining Strength’s Coaching

Skin: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10290068/
Resistance Training Benefits: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22777332/
Sleep: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7718168/
Muscle-Organ Crosstalk: https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/41/4/594/5835999?login=true#323027942


10 Mobility Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner

10 Mobility Lessons I Wish I Knew Sooner

I’ve made a TON of mistakes.

Made excuses to skip my warm ups that lead to overload and injury.

Slacked on my mobility work, which led to improper recruitment patterns and pain.

Ignored aches and pains until it was too late and I couldn’t train the way I wanted…

I’ve learned far too many lessons the hard way…

But I want to help you avoid the same frustrations and pain…

That’s why I’m going to share 10 key mobility lessons I’ve learned to help you avoid making the same mistakes and move and feel your best no matter your age!

Because so often what we even blame on our age is simply previous aches and pains and training practices coming back to bite us in the butt!

Sooo the first mobility lesson I wish I’d known sooner was…

#1: It’s Not Just About Form.

I’d always prided myself on having good form. 

But good form doesn’t mean you’re always using the correct muscles.

Actually mimicking proper form may be leading to you overusing muscles not meant to carry the load and seeking out mobility from joints that aren’t really meant to provide that range of motion.

The more advanced we are too, the more we know how a move SHOULD look so we force that movement pattern, using whatever is needed.

And this can result in overload and injury just as much, if not sometimes even MORE than improper form. 

Because we’re forcing a movement we can’t actually perform properly!

So focus not just on form and how the movement looks but your recruitment pattern and what you feel working!

If you can’t feel the correct muscles working, you haven’t earned that movement.

Instead you need to regress to then build up or you need to swap to a different variation you can perform properly as you address the underlying mobility restrictions and muscle weakness! 

#2: The Point Of “Pain” Isn’t Always Where The Problem Started.

When we end up with a shoulder injury, we blame our shoulder. 

Back pain, we blame our back. Often we even think, “Oh this area is injured because it was weak.” And then we overwork the muscle further trying to rehab it. 

But this only perpetuates the issue.

Because often injury occurs due to overload.

Our back becomes overworked because our glutes or abs are weak or not being used efficiently during movements.

Or a lack of thoracic extension leads to us seeking out mobility and stability from our shoulder during the overhead press that it isn’t meant or able to provide. 

Issues elsewhere lead to the injuries.

Often where the pain is isn’t where the problem started.

And this is why, when we are addressing aches and pains we can’t get so focused on the aches and pains only.

We need to assess movements and how joints and muscles are working together.

Because limitations in mobility or instability at one joint, say your ankles, can impact your movements all the way up your body, resulting in overload and injury.

That ankle injury from years ago, may now be why you have knee pain! 

This is also why resting a previous injury isn’t enough.

Which is actually the next big lesson I learned…

#3: Resting An Injury Doesn’t Make It Go Away.

When we have aches and pains or injuries, we first turn to rest to help the pain go away.

While resting an area can be a key first step in recovery, it doesn’t change why the overload occurred in the first place. 

So if you just take time off till something feels better then go back to training as you were, you may just end up injured again. 

You haven’t taken time to address where the mobility restriction was. Or what muscle was weak and led to overload.

You haven’t changed your form or your recruitment patterns. 

And if you don’t address what led to the injury and overload, often you’re just going to end up injured again from doing the same things.

Now you may be thinking, “But I’ll just avoid those movements.”

But this isn’t really a long-term solution.

So many of those movements we do in everyday life.

And at some point, that weakness or mobility issue is going to pop back up.

Instead of just resting, we need to take things back to basics and include the prehab work needed to truly address what added up in the first place.

This can help us from falling prey to this injury becoming chronic so we can consistently train the way we want to see results!

Which is why you need to see prehab as a 3-part process.

And this is lesson #4, which has been the biggest game changer for me so that I haven’t had another injury sideline me and I’ve been able to nip aches and pains before they add up…

#4: Prehab is a 3-Part process.

Addressing an ache or pain means not only relaxing overactive muscles, but improving your joint mobility and even activating underactive muscles to improve stability.

There are multiple components to making sure muscles are working as they should be and joints have the proper range of motion.

Not to mention, the longer we’ve potentially ignored an issue, the more that has built up as we’ve compensated.

It’s why the process of foam rolling, stretching and activation was the biggest game changer for me and I’ve seen it have the biggest impact on my clients functional fitness as well.

It’s why I even had a client say to me “I’m moving better now than I did in my 20s and 30s!”

None of these components alone have the same impact.

The system as a whole is what makes each part so effective.

The foam rolling helps relax overactive muscles we may even tend to overuse. 

The stretching, especially dynamic stretching used prior to a workout, helps mobilize our joints and return muscles to their proper length-tension relationships. 

The activation then continues to help mobilize joints, stretching muscles through a process called reciprocal inhibition as it works to activate underactive muscles. This activation helps improve our mind-body connection to better use these muscles to carry the loads they should when we train and move. 

This process works together to help address all components needed to avoid us perpetuating the overuse, overload and injury!

But even as game changing as this process really was for me and as much as I credit this with even helping me be able to lift more…

You can’t out mobility work your other movements.

Your workouts have to complement the mobility work you’re doing.

Lesson #5: Strengthen Through A Full Range Of Motion.

You’ve done that prehab work to be able to move through a full range of motion and use the correct muscles…

But if you don’t now do the work to actually strengthen the muscles through the range of motion you’ve prepped your body to be able to handle, you won’t maintain it.

If you lift and do half squats after working on your hip mobility, you’re going to only have stability and strength through that smaller range of motion. And you’re going to tighten things back up. 

So basically it’s going to feel like all of your mobility work isn’t adding up and is a waste.

But it isn’t.

Instead, you have to check your ego, and use lighter weights to move through the full range of motion you’ve established with the 3-part prehab process. 

But it’s key that we do adjust the range of motion of exercises to build strength through the range of motion we want!

Now…The next big lesson I learned was oddly a mindset shift….and something I think we too often just ignore…

And it has to do with IMBALANCES.

Every notice one side is weaker? Or that you have stronger muscles around a joint causing restrictions? 

#6: Well, Those Imbalances Are Worse Than Inflexibility.

Feel like the tin man over gumbi? 

Honestly just being inflexible, while something you may want to work on isn’t as bad as we often make it out to be.

If everything is tight, you’re at least EVEN in how you can move.

It’s less of an issue if you can’t touch your toes than if you can’t touch your toes but you can do the side splits. 

This imbalance of muscle flexibility around a joint can lead to overload and injury as you have more movement and potentially less stability in one plane of motion.

It’s why you may need to do imbalance prehab work to address the issues, relaxing only specific muscles while activating others.

It’s why you may need to pay attention to including movements in specific planes of motion and even working specific muscles more! 

And it’s not just discrepancies around a single joint that we need to pay attention to but imbalances between sides.

If one side is mobile and the other isn’t? If one side is stronger?

This can lead to overload of the stronger side when the weaker side can’t keep up. 

Or it can lead to the weaker side becoming overworked and muscles compensating as it tries to keep up with your dominant side.

Imbalances need to be addressed.

Whether it is holding back our stronger side, doing more reps using rest pause technique on the weaker side or even ONLY including unilateral moves so the stronger side can’t take over, we need to make sure we’re addressing those imbalances. 

#7: Flexibility And Mobility Depend On Stability.

Ever move a joint through a bigger range of motion and then go to lift and find you can’t really move through even half of what you had been able to do with your own bodyweight? 

This may be an issue with stability!

Far too often the emphasis is put on flexibility and mobility…

We talk about stretching and mobilizing joints to improve our range of motion and squat deeper or press overhead properly. 

But part of what allows a joint to move through that full range of motion as we correctly recruit muscles to power the movement is STABILITY.

If a joint doesn’t feel stable, your mind is going to restrict the range of motion you can work through.

So if muscles aren’t strong enough, the joint movement may be limited or your active flexibility may seem a lot smaller than what you’re able to do in a static or passive position.

And too often we ignore this signal and push through with heavier loads anyway.

This is then what leads to aches and pains and us seeking out strength from muscles not meant to carry the load or a range of motion from a joint not meant to provide it.

This is why that activation component or even some lighter load work and isometrics…the stuff that doesn’t seem as sexy or hard, may be so key! 

We also don’t want to ignore this instability because it may hint that we actually aren’t properly addressing muscle tightness as well…

#8: A Tight Muscle Doesn’t Always Need To Be Stretch.

Pull a rubber band and stretch it out and it’s going to feel tight.

Decide to stretch it further because it feels tight and you’re going to snap it.

Muscles don’t just feel tight when they’re shorten.

They can also feel tight because they are overstretched.

This is why paying attention to joint stability and even lesson number 2 (that the point of pain isn’t always where the problem is) is so key.

Everything is connected.

So we need to assess overall postures and movements to really see what is going on over just honing in and looking at a muscle in isolation at times.

Our hamstrings are a prime example of this.

Too often they are tight from being overstretched due to tight hip flexors from sitting so much. 

This daily posture can make us feel like we need to stretch our hamstrings, when actually it is our hip flexors that are shortened and in need of stretching.

And due to them being overly lengthened and this overall posture, our hamstrings may also be overworked.

This can create instability at our hip and even our knee, leading to more issues and not just putting our hamstrings at risk for being pulled.

And if we were to just say “My hamstrings feel tight” and stretch them more?

We may even be making matters worse.

It’s why we need to truly look at how muscles and joints function together and our overall movement and recruitment patterns.

Too often we don’t ask ourselves, “What do I feel working?” 

Because if we did, we may notice our hamstrings compensating in moves for our glutes only further perpetuating the feeling of tightness!

And if you’re thinking, “But I don’t have time to address all these things…”

#9: 5-Minutes Is All You Need.

So often we don’t do anything because we feel we can’t do enough.

But if we can just commit to 5 minutes a day of mobility work and do that daily, that time will not only add up but the daily consistency will help results build. 

This is why you need to stop skipping your warm up! 

Which is actually what I was originally going to call this lesson.

But even when it relates to your warm up, you don’t need 15 minutes or a ton of time to prep your body.

That prehab process can be used efficiently to mobilize and activate what you plan to work that day!

Doing a little each day to grease the wheel pays off over letting things add up so you have to peel back each layer that’s built up.

So stop stressing about doing full recovery sessions more frequently even. Just focus on 5 minutes, even if that 5 minutes is an intentional warm up that you don’t skip! 

You’ll be surprised by how even that warm up helps you move better in your workouts to get more out of each session and strengthen through that full range of motion to actually make your mobility work add up even more! 

Which leads me to biggest and most important lesson of all…

#10: Rehab becomes Prehab.

Let’s face it…many of us have had aches and pains and injuries in the past.

Things that are “better” now…

So we get lazy about continuing to work on our areas of weakness. And then when we least expect it, aches and pains rear their ugly heads. 

This leads to us feeling frustrated that we can’t ever fully seem to get momentum with things.

But this is why rehab becomes prehab.

What we did to make things “better” needs to be done proactively to keep things working well.

Otherwise we default back into old recruitment and movement patterns. 

So instead of having to spend a ton of time being reactive or not training the way we want, keep in that mobility work as part of your warm up.

And if you do notice things popping up, don’t be afraid to step back and address those weak links.

Honestly, with all of these lessons, it’s really about being aware and being intentional in our training so we can address things before they really add up!

The more aware we are of how our body is feeling and our movements, the more we can modify and progress as we need to keep training consistently while feeling and moving our best!

Ready for workouts that have the prehab work done for you?

–> Check out Dynamic Strength


Stop Demonizing Exercises! 4 Myths DEBUNKED

Stop Demonizing Exercises! 4 Myths DEBUNKED

The comment section can be…interesting to say the least.

If you spend too much time there, you’ll find out there is only one way to do every move…but no one truly agrees on what that one way is…

But everyone definitely has an opinion. And only THEIR way is the right one.

There are lots of things we’re told will basically destroy us if we do them.

Lots of moves that are demonized and blamed for aches and pains.

But honestly…there really are no “bad” moves…just improper usage and implementation of them.

So often we include moves not right for our specific needs or goals. Moves we haven’t earned.

And then we get injured doing them and demonize them…completely avoiding them.

But what we don’t realize is that by doing this, we put ourselves at greater risk for injury in every day life.

So many moves we do in the gym can be a great way to strengthen muscles and movement patterns essential for everyday life.

It’s why instead of simply avoiding moves, we need to regress to progress and learn to retrain as many movement patterns as possible.

We need to understand why aches and pains and the issues occurred in the first place to find variations of moves we can use to move and feel our best.

The gym should be a place to learn to move well and become functionally fitter so we can be strong and independent till our final day on this planet.

That’s why I want to address some exercises I see demonized and break down how to include them and retrain them, such as deadlifts being bad for your back or squats and lunges being bad for your knees…

Or even jumping and high impact being dangerous for us as we get older!

So first…

#1: Deadlifts Are Bad For Your Back.

Deadlifts are a weighted hip hinge often blamed for lower back pain.

But they are an essential movement pattern we need to all know how to control if we want to avoid throwing out our backs when lifting something up off the ground.

They are often blamed for lower back pain because we aren’t properly engaging our lats to support the weight as we use our glutes and hamstrings to drive the lift.

We aren’t properly bracing and recruiting muscles so our lower back becomes overworked and tries to carry more of the load to lift than it should.

Part of this tendency to overuse and recruit the muscles of our lower back instead of our glutes is due to the fact that far too many of us spend too much time seated at a computer or driving in a car.

Tight hip flexors can result in postural distortions that lead to underactive glutes and synergistic dominance of our hamstrings and anterior pelvic tilt. Which leads to our lower back wanting to work when it shouldn’t.

But it isn’t just tight hips that lead to lower back overload and changes in our recruitment patterns.

It’s also our hunched over posture that can perpetuate the issue.

When we don’t have proper thoracic extension, we are going to seek out mobility from other areas.

In trying to straighten our spine for deadlifts and press our chest out, we may notice we compensate by arching our lower backs. This arch may contribute to more anterior pelvic tilt and perpetuate us not only overusing our lower back but also our hamstrings over our glutes.

So it is key we note our daily postures to address in our mobility work before we needed so we can better activate the correct muscles.

But this is also why we have to notice we are simply leaning forward and not correctly pushing our butt back as we hinge.

And we may especially struggle with a BARBELL deadlift of any kind.

With a barbell deadlift you have to keep the bar basically up against your body as you lift. This means engaging your lats and really pushing the ground away as you drive up to standing.

If you notice the bar drifting away or your butt coming up first as you go to drive up, you’re going to be shifting the load more to your lower back.

Starting out, to change this recruitment pattern and overload, a kettlebell or dumbbell works well as you can hold the weight in the center of your legs and even lower it down and back toward your heels.

But you won’t need to scrape your shins to keep it close and this lowering of the weight down and back can help us remember to hinge over and push our butt back as we lower.

So if you’ve been fearing or avoiding deadlifts due to feeling your lower back, try using a weight you can hold center instead and focus on lowering back toward your heels to help yourself feel your glutes and hamstrings loading!

#2: Sit Ups And Crunches Are Bad For Your Spine.

Your abs power spinal flexion.

Crunches and sit ups are simply that when done correctly – spinal flexion.

Learning to control this move so you can easily sit up from lying down is honestly essential.

So you want to train not only a spinal motion but the muscles that control it.

And these two moves are often great ways to really break down and control this movement without loads as they are more isolated movements, especially the crunch!

Only once you’ve mastered them do you want to move on to more advanced exercises.

Yet so often with sit ups you see people arching their back and relying on their hip flexors alone to sit up and do 100s of reps quickly.

It’s why those ab mats have become so popular.

Use this mat as a band aid to be able to do more reps than you can control properly and use the correct muscles to power.

And THIS is why sit ups end up backfiring in back pain.

NOT the spinal flexion.

But the lack of true ab engagement and ability to even posteriorly pelvic tilt.

The key is making sure you’re actually rounding using your abs to lift in a crunch or sit up.

When you think of doing crunches or sit ups, you should think about exhaling as you roll vertebrae by vertebrae up.

Feel your abs PULLING you up.

And don’t rush it to get in more reps.

If you find yourself struggling to not arch your lower back as you sit up or really use momentum, go back to that basic crunch or even consider a seated hinge.

Learning to control that c curve to your spine as you round back, can help you focus on that spine flexion to engage those abs.

#3: Squats And Lunges Are Bad For Your Knees.

Your knees are MEANT to bend.

And yes, sometimes reducing knee flexion to start is key based on our injuries and aches and pains.

But unless you never plan to sit down again, go up stairs, get into your car or put something in a low cabinet or shelf, you need to learn how to control knee flexion.

Because these are ALL knee flexion!

Practicing squats and lunges in your workouts can help you do just that.

RETRAIN that knee flexion and improve your range of motion in an environment where you can fully control the movement.

It’s why we need to start recognizing our workouts are a chance to learn to move well NOT just burn more calories!

Often squats and lunges cause knee pain because we lack the proper hip or ankle mobility to load muscles correctly and ultimately the knee bares the brunt of it.

While addressing both ankle mobility and hip mobility in our warm ups is key, we can also help avoid this overload by tweaking our form.

This is often why people use the cue, “Don’t let your knees go past your toes.”

A more vertical shin angle on lunging, can help you better load your glutes.

However, it is NOT bad for your knees to go forward and may even be necessary in deep squats based on tibial length.

The key is the loading during this and having the necessary ankle mobility to keep your heels down.

Even purposely having your knee go forward as you lunge can help you really target your quads.

You just need to be able to control this and build up.

So starting with that more vertical shin angle and even limiting your range of motion and instability can be key with both squats and lunges starting out.
If you can’t control the front lunge and keep your weight more centered and knee over your ankle as you are building back from knee pain, try a split squat. This stationary movement reduces the control needed and can help you also improve your hip mobility.

You can also easily control the range of motion you work through and really learn balance.

Same thing can go for the squat. You can control how much knee flexion you work through and the stability demands by just adding a box.

As you can load correctly and control the range of motion, you can always lower the height of the box or fully remove it.

The key is starting with the stability demands and range of motion you can truly CONTROL and then building up.

This brings me to the last thing I often hear demonized especially as we get older….

And that’s #4: High Impact And Jumping.

I’ve even heard clients say they were told not to lift heavy, which is in this same sort of exercise myth vein…

I call them the myths that actually lead to us getting old fast and moving old.

Because exercise is about ability.

You need to meet yourself where you are at due to fitness level, goals, injuries…

But just being a certain age shouldn’t stop you.

And honestly, often when we stop doing the things we did to get strong in the first place, we see decline happen faster.


While high impact is not right for everyone, learning to control landing mechanics while also working on power is essential.

There are so many ways to do this.

It is also key we realize where the risk really lies…

It isn’t in jumping up on the box…it’s jumping off of it.

So even just a tweak to include box jumps as part of your explosive work could be to jump up to a low box and STEP off to start.

And to work on landing mechanics to start, we don’t even have to leave the ground.

It can simply be doing a squat to quickly moving up onto our toes to lowering back down.

This learning to absorb impact through that foot motion and knee bend is key.

It can help us avoid injury, especially if you’re ever on a hike and having to step down off a big rock! Or if you slightly trip to catch yourself on a curb or stair.

The more we learn to correctly handle impact and our body mechanics for it, the more we help ourselves avoid risk of injury in every day life!

And that explosive work only further improves our mind-body connection to be able to react and respond quickly.

Stop demonizing moves and just avoiding exercises and movement patterns. Instead see opportunity in modifications to rebuild and retrain as many movements as possible.

Regress to progress and use your workouts as a chance to learn to move your best and develop that functional strength!

For more on form and modifications for these moves, check out the links below…

–> Deadlift Form

–> Squat Form

–> Lunge Form

–> Crunch Form

–> 7 Big Lies About Exercise And Aging

And if this was helpful, I’d love to cover other moves you want to learn more about in a future video. Comment with some moves you’re worried about or have heard people demonize so we can break them down and learn to retrain those movement and recruitment patterns!