Mending the fabric of the female health story.


Mending the fabric of the female health story.

101: Strength Training 101

This day in age, there is no shortage of studies showing us how powerful strength training is for optimizing human health and performance. And, yet, many women still have fierce resistance to making it a regular part of their life.

I get it.

It can be overwhelming, intimidating and even a bit scary to step into an arena that you may not be all that familiar with or have had a bad experience in.

If you are a woman who understands the importance of strength training but has some fear or resistance that is preventing you from engaging with it consistently, today’s episode of the Grace & Grit podcast is for YOU.

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100: Learning to Celebrate with Grace and Grit

Today I am celebrating and I’d love you to join me!

I may not know you personally, but I am pretty certain that you have achieved a few things in your life that required focus, hard work, and a hefty dose of GRIT.

Today the Grace & Grit Podcast is celebrating its 2 year anniversary AND the 100th episode! And, to be honest, what it took to make that happen is the exact same stuff to create ANY kind of success. Listen in to today’s episode and I will tell you more about how I dealt with doubt, failure, and frustration over the past couple of years to make this day possible.

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099: Understanding the Unique Challenges of Female Physiology w/ Stacy Sims, PhD

As someone who has dedicated her life to helping women up-level their health, I am always on the lookout for people who understand female physiology and the unique training challenges that women face. Women, after all, are NOT little men, as my guest on the show today, Stacy Sims, PhD, so perfectly states.

Stacy Sims, a nutrition scientist and exercise physiologist, understands female chemistry in a way that very few people do. Her book, ROAR: How to match your food and fitness to your female physiology for optimum performance, great health and a strong lean body for life is chock full of research and education to help women and anyone who trains women, optimize performance and recovery.

I cannot emphasize how much I appreciate this book. It validates so many things I have long wrestled with as a female athlete and a health coach who works solely with women.

This podcast is RICH with insight and tips to help optimize female physiology. Have a listen. You will not be disappointed that you did.

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098: Simple Solutions for Minimizing Toxins in Your Home w/ Tonya Harris, MSHN

Human biology is an amazing thing in that it is equipped to deal with stress in small doses. The problem is, we are dumping way too much stress on our poor little bodies in this day and age, largely due to lifestyle choices.

The Grace & Grit podcast is fast approaching the 100th episode and while we have discussed mental, emotional and physical stress intensely, I have only had a few guests on the show to dish out tips on managing environmental and chemical stress. So, I am thrilled to have Tonya Harris on the show today.

Tonya Harris is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® and graduated from Hawthorn University with a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition.

Today one of the primary focuses of Tonya’s work is to educate people (parents in particular) on how easy it can be to have a safer, more non-toxic home through safer brands to buy, how to read product labels for hidden toxins, and how to do it on a budget. She does this through working with clients both individually and through the online program she created, “The Healthy Home Project.” She has been writing about the health implications of common chemicals in our homes and their effects on our children since 2008, and now blogs on her website at Healthy Home, Happy Family.

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097: Big Arms, Big Life w/ Kourtney Thomas

A LOT of women come to work with me b/c they want to lose weight, and weight loss can be a powerful initial motivator but it often isn’t weighty enough to carry people into long-term health. So I often ask my clients, WHY do you want to lose weight, and what lies underneath is typically something that speaks to them wanting to live a bigger life. They want more confidence, they want to move more freely, they want more self-respect etc. So you can see that just having a goal of becoming smaller can feel at odds with living bigger.

Well, my guest today, Kourtney Thomas, whose mantra is “Big Arms, Big Life” has a knack for helping women reconcile this type of conflict. In prepping for this interview, I read the following excerpt on Kourtney’s website, which made me all the more excited to interview her today:

“I played small, I stayed small. Eventually, I experimented with embracing bigness physically, and that led to the ability to create a bigger life than I ever imagined. While I did work through what it felt like to take up more physical space, my mindset changed right along with my body, what I really learned was that building big arms was always about more.

It’s not just about the arms, and it never was. It’s about exploring the possibilities. Shedding old stories, and writing new ones. Bigger muscles, absolutely. But really, bigger choices, and bigger voices.”

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096: Why you might NOT want to hire me to help you improve your health.

I am entering launch mode for my Signature Program, which basically means, according to online entrepreneurial standards, I should be selling myself and telling you all of the reasons WHY you should invest in working with me. The truth is, however, as much as I want people to be interested in the work that I do, I also want to be sure the people I invest in for the next year of my life are a good match for the level of work that I teach.

There was a time in my career, I would have worked like a maniac to convince nearly everyone I encountered that I was the perfect person to usher them towards greater health. Now that I am older and slightly wiser, I realize, I am NOT the right person to help all people and not everyone is ready for the work I do AND…

That is ok!

I invest a tremendous amount of time and energy into my clients, so it is really important that we are a good match for doing great work together. I believe one of the best ways to begin that process, is to tell potential clients why they might NOT want to hire me.

So, if after reviewing this list of NOTs with me (which are filled with great tips too), you are more excited than terrified, then, of course, I encourage you to take the next step.

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095: 12 Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

It is all too easy to lose traction with our health around the holidays. Often women are doing more on less sleep and compromising their own self-care to bring everyone else holiday joy. It is no mystery why so many women tumble into the New Year a hot frustrated mess.

If you want to get through the holidays this year without sacrificing your health (or your sanity), give this podcast a listen.

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094: Lift Like a Girl w/ Nia Shanks

I have been a fan of Nia Shank’s for a very long time and she has been a champion among an army of women who’s message inspires the work that I do as a health coach, trainer and host of this podcast. If you go to Nia’s website, and I strongly suggest you do, you will see that she introduces herself as a coach and a writer who shares health and fitness information that doesn’t suck.

Not only does the information she deliver not suck, it is helpful, real and goes against the grain of what the mainstream diet and fitness industry are feeding women. And frankly, I think we need a lot more of the type of information that Nia delivers in the world.

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093: Surviving the Hardest of Days w/ Alexandra Franzen

Life is full of uncertainties, but a few things you can be certain you will face in your lifetime, and one of them is adversity. No one gets through life without facing challenges, and HOW we choose to face those challenges has everything to do with the quality of life we will live. Adversity shapes us, for better or for worse.

My guest on the Grace & Grit podcast today, Alexandra Franzen, just authored an entire book on the subject of adversity and how to rise above the disappointment of things not playing out in the way that we expected.

Alexandra and I covered a lot of ground in this interview, including: how to persevere, why awareness & honesty are so necessary for success, how to stay focused while living in a world of distraction, the power of morning routines and how self-care feeds creativity. This is an episode not to be missed.

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092: Beating Crohn’s Disease w/ Kristen Boehmer

Now, typically when I schedule podcast interviews, I schedule them based on when my schedule aligns with the schedules of the guest I want to host. There is really no method behind how the podcasts are organized, which makes it extra special when I am able to host a guest like Jenny Carr to discuss inflammation and then immediately host my guest today, Kristen Boehmer, who has an incredible story of triumph in managing a serious disease via diet and lifestyle after medications and surgeries failed her.

Kristen Boehmer is the founder and creator of Living Loving Paleo, and from her own experience, is a true believer that food can be a powerful medicine. Tune into this episode for a serious hit of inspiration.

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091: The Secret to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet w/ Jenny Carr

Halloween is now over (I am sure I am not the only mother out there whispering “thank god” under her breath). I love a lot of the traditions of Halloween but the sheer volume of candy involved in the holiday drives me crazy! I went trick-or-treating for all of 25 minutes with my son and, in that short time; he must have collected several pounds of candy. Ugh!

Sugar makes things taste good, but as far as good qualities sugar provides, it ends there. I really try hard not to label foods “bad” but in the case of sugar it is really hard not to, because of all of the inflammation it creates in the human body.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to nearly EVERY dis-ease known to man. Our bodies have a lot of stressors to contend with on any given day; there are lots of reasons for our system to get inflamed outside of the food choices we are making. So, we aren’t doing our body any favors when we ingest things that cause even MORE inflammation.

Inflammation is a very important topic that I have addressed on this podcast many times, and it is a topic I have every intention on continuing to talk about. Today’s guest, Jenny Carr, is a health coach who specializes in the topic of inflammation, has been on the podcast before to speak with us about this topic. Jenny just authored her first book, called Peace of Cake: The Secret to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet, so I begged her to come back to share some more of her wisdom with you! And low and behold, she said yes!

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090: Taking Back Your Time w/ Amber De La Garza

I know I sound like a broken record when I say that if you want to improve your health, you are going to have to create time to improve your health. Many health issues I see women struggling with are a result of women having gigantic expectations and poor time management.

You may very well be someone who schedules your days; you might have an awesome planner and the perfect pen to hash out your to do’s. When I say poor time management, I don’t mean that women aren’t making an effort to schedule their days. What I see is women creating schedules that are often misaligned with their values and jam-packed with outrageous expectations for what any one human can accomplish in a day.

I also see so much focus on DOING, that RESTORING is often neglected, which, as you well know if you are an avid listener of this podcast, is a recipe for a lot of dis-ease in the human body.

So, knowing how much women struggle to organize their time to create a level 10 life, I asked my friend and productivity expert, Amber De La Garza, to come on the show and talk about time management and to give us some simple tips for creating realistic schedules that are in line with our life goals and still leave room for the important stuff like rest and play.

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089: Be More With Less w/ Courtney Carver

Simplicity, in my opinion, is a topic we cannot talk about enough because we are living in a time that is everything but simple.

Building the skill of living more simply isn’t sexy (just as most of the things that will truly improve our health are not). It forces us to slow down, become aware and make conscious choices and it is easy to rationalize not having time for that in a world that pushes more is better and hustle as the only ways to be successful.

You are listening to this podcast because there is something you want for your health that you don’t currently have. I don’t sugarcoat, so here is the truth, if you want to up-level any area of your life, you are going to have to make room in your life to do that and most people I know are living with too much stuff to manage and too little time. Which, ultimately, is a recipe for breakdown and dis-ease, not a recipe for health & happiness.

And look… I get it, simplifying your life can feel really complicated and hard and overwhelming, which is why I am SO grateful there are people in the world like my guest today, Courtney Carver, who has a knack for showing people how to be more with less.

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088: The Art of Money w/ Bari Tessler Linden

I have long wanted to do a podcast episode dedicated to the topic of Money. “But Courtney, this is a podcast about women’s health”

Yeah, I know…hear me out.

I firmly believe that money IS very much a women’s health topic. Money is linked to nearly every aspect of our health because at the end of the day money provides us with choice and choice grants us freedom;

The freedom to choose our health care providers,
The freedom to choose a way of life that is in line with our values,
The freedom to honor our body’s need to rest and restore regularly,
The freedom to choose work that feeds our soul.

I encounter women nearly every single day, who struggled to reclaim their health because:

They feel they have to work 60-80 hour work weeks… because of money.
They can’t afford the level of health care they need to address the underlying cause of dis-ease in their body… because of money.
They can’t afford to take time off despite feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and absolutely depleted… because of money.
They stay in jobs and relationships that are literally robbing them of their life force… because of money.
For all of these reasons, and many more, it was really important to me to do a podcast episode dedicated to empowering our relationship with money.

Personally, there was a time in my life, I couldn’t really talk about money because it induced so much stress, but avoiding it, I knew was not going to improve my relationship with it. And so, I started to do some research, which leads me to guest today, Bari Tessler Linden.

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087: The Value of Becoming Behavior Focused on the Road to Better Health

For years women have sought me out to help them improve their health, and often they come expecting a list of “what” they should be doing (via specific meal plans, calorie loads, foods to avoid etc.). They are often surprised when I ask them to start questioning HOW they might need to show up differently for themselves to elicit a different response.

How you greet the day is just as important as what you plan on doing in the day.

How you eat is just as impactful to your health as what you eat.

How you move is just as important as what modality you choose to up-level your physicality.

HOW should proceed the WHAT, because how you do anything has everything to do with the impact “the what” will have in the long term.

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086: Natural Hormone Healing w/ Madeline MacKinnon

I have had several guests on the show to discuss the power hormones have in the health equation because honestly, I do not think this is a topic we can discuss enough. Hormones influence and govern everything about our physiology: weight fertility, mood, energy, sleep and sex drive…just to name a few things. And their disruption can cause havoc on our tissues, our systems and ultimately our sanity.

While there may be a time and place for pharmaceutical intervention to help balance extreme hormone challenges, there are a lot of ways to balance our hormones naturally, which are often overlooked.

So today, I have invited to the show, Madeline MacKinnon the founder of Natural Hormone Healing to give us some insight into the wild world of hormones and how to create a state of hormonal bliss.

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085: Simple Ways to Become More Consistent with Exercise

Exercise inspires a host of emotions in people including: fear, dread, resistance and frustration. It is a shame that something that has been proven time and time again to be so good for us, can feel like such a hardship at times.

If you have every struggled to stay consistent with your exercise program, you are not alone. Everyone struggles at some point. So, in this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast I deliver my best tips for staying the course, even if you don’t feel like it (because to be honest, there will be many days you won’t feel like it).

Enjoy and please share it with the women in your life who you feel might benefit from listening too!

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084: Reworking the “Cheat Meal” Mentality

“Cheat meals” and “cheat days” are an integral part of the diet culture vocabulary. And while many people could argue that it is just “semantics” and, therefore, no big deal… I beg to differ.

Cheating implies dysfunction and deep health is not born out of dysfunction (not by a long shot).

If you have every found yourself in a position of trying to make amends with food choices that aren’t necessarily in line with what you say you want for your health, check out this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast for tips and tricks that can help you rework the “cheat meal” mentality.

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083: Kitchen Hacks to Elevate Health and Decrease Overwhelm

You may have the best intentions for improving how and what you eat, but if you don’t have some strategies in place for doing so easily, you will never take action on it, or you will fail to take action with it consistently.

I get it. Been there done that.

Through my own process of working to elevate my health over the years, and hundreds of women to do the same, I have a few (okay…more than a few) suggestions for making shopping, meal prep and even meal time more simple and even fun, so you can easily turn those intentions in to REAL ACTION.

If you could use a few new ideas for how to organize your shopping, cooking and meal prep to live a more health-FULL life, check out this episode!

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082: Body Kindness with Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN

Sometimes I think we have come so far in the conversation of what it means to be a healthy woman, and other times it feels like we are having the same exact conversation we have always had using different words.

We have gone from:
Atkins to Ketogenic Diets
Aggressive cardio to aggressive strength training
Cosmopolitan Magazine to Instagram
“Skinny is sexy” to “Strong is the new sexy” (as my friend, Steph Gaudreau would say, “No! Strong is just strong.)

The platforms for these conversations may be new, but the underlying threads of the conversations are, sadly, the same:

-You MUST go to extreme measures to return to health.
-Health is a look.

Then there are women like, Rebecca Scritchfield, who are working hard to change the conversation and expand the definition of what it means to be a healthy woman.

“Most people mistakenly focus on their appearance as evidence of good health (or lack there of), but looks have very little to do with it. You can be healthy and have cellulite, thick thighs, junk in the trunk or virtually any body shape. Health is not just measured physically. Emotional health is an equal part of the equation. What people really mean when they say they want “ health and happiness” is they want to be WELL. The secret to being well is treating yourself well and establishing healthful habits you can feel good about.” – Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN

If you are ready to be a part of a different kind of conversation, make sure you check out this week’s episode of the Grace & Grit Podcast and share it with the women in you life who you feel could benefit from listening too!

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081: Hungry for Happiness w/ Samantha Skelly

“I really love being a diet”, said no one ever.

Dieting sucks. You know it and I know it.

Being in a constant battle with food and exercise is downright exhausting, deflating and not a spectacular use of our 1 shot at this thing called life.

I am a huge fan of nutrition and exercise science, AND I think that a big part of dis-ease in the human body has stemmed from people seeking so much outside perspective about what is best for them, that they have become completely detached from their own awareness and insight.

Thank goodness there are people in the world like Samantha Skelly, who help women repair the bridge between their body and their mind, so they can stop being a hot frustrated mess and step into being the unstoppable, confident being they are meant to be.

If you are ready to care for yourself from a place of possibility and expansion rather than one of fear and shrinking…

If you are ready to dive deeper into what you are truly hungry for, do not miss this episode.

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080: Breaking the Habit of Quitting

Compromising, negotiating and rationalizing your way out of your good intentions to improve your health goals are behaviors that can all too easily become habits. Quitting can also easily become a habit. In fact, the diet industry has been benefitting for years off of people going from diet to diet to diet; it has thrived off of its customers making a habit out of quitting.

Gyms too make money on the predication that you are going to quit on yourself. They know that after your initial burst of inspiration to sign-up for a gym membership, it is highly likely that at some point you will stop showing up for yourself (but still pay on the contract you committed to).

It is a sad reality, but much of the diet and fitness industry benefits financially from you making a habit out of quitting on your way to your health goals.
Which sucks! And, while, the diet and fitness industries need to develop better systems and processes to prevent people from quitting, the quicker solution is found in learning how to break the habit of quitting on yourself. And that is the topic of this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast.

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079: Navigating Your Way Back to Health Smartly

It seems we have become a culture of wanting the solution to all of our health woes to be delivered in 1 nice (and cheap) little package and, man, have a lot of people designed products and programs that promise just that.

Look, I get it…

It is easier to have someone tell you exactly what to do all the time: what to eat, how to move, which meditation to do, how much sleep to get, etc. And I am not trying to diminish the tremendous benefit of coaches, trainers, and processes that can make the road to stellar health a bit straighter, but at the end of the day…

The depth of your health is really dependent on the depth of your relationship with YOURSELF.

YOU are the only person who knows if you doing something because it is truly
enhancing your life, or because you are just really comfortable settling into the standards of the circles you travel in.

YOU are the only person who knows if the things you were doing 5 or 10 years ago to elevate your health are in line with this stage of your life.

YOU are the only person who really knows if your body, mind, and soul are being nourished or depleted by your lifestyle choices.

YOU are the only person who knows how happy and fulfilled you truly are.

Over the past decade of coaching women to reclaim their health and happiness, one of the most common obstacles I see women bumping up against is that they chase so much outside perspective on what they should be doing that they forget to go inside and fetch their own insight.

Check out this week’s episode of the Grace & Grit podcast to find out how to start getting reconnected with your own body’s wisdom.

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078: Living with MORE intention and LESS stuff w/ Evan Zislis

Living life in the 21st century is a blessing in so many ways. We have education at our fingertip and more freedom to choose than ever before. And…

Having so many options at our disposal has increased overwhelm, the time, energy and money we spend on this that just aren’t all that important and we are more distracted than ever before. None of which leads us to a more health-FULL life. Many women I have coached through the years are so busy managing their stuff and schedules that they have lost themselves along the way.

Personally, in my own life, I have been on a journey to simplify my life to amplify the things that matter most. It has been no small feat, but every item I decide to purge, every thought I chose to release, every moment I choose to line up my actions with my values… allows me to breathe more easily.

So, once again I have invited my friend Evan Zislis to the show to give us some practical tips for releasing the unnecessary things in our life to make room for the things that will help us create true abundance, health, and freedom in our lives.

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It doesn’t matter why you think you can’t. You absolutely CAN.

This is not just health coaching—it’s a personalized road map to the prime of your life. It’s coaching that will make today feel like the best days of your life are ahead of you, no matter where you’re at right now.



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