Reaching My Goals in 2013 – Tips from Moni

Good morning from sunny California! I’m here visiting as part of a blogger event with Nature Made vitamins. Yesterday I got to tour the corporate headquarters and the packaging facility, learn about the Nature Made brand and their new product line called VitaMelts. More on all this soon…

For now, I want to do something a little different and share some advice I received from a friend of mine, Monica Nelson. She’s a fitness expert, personal trainer and the lady behind Moni’s Meals, a recipe site where she shares healthy comfort food recipes.

DHG malibu 300

So jealous of her beautiful surroundings in California. How awesome would it be to do yoga here everyday?

In only a few short months I’m going to be walking down the aisle and like most brides, I want to look and feel amazing in my dress (and in my bathing suit on our honeymoon!). With this goal in mind, I reached out to Moni, told her about everything going on in my life and asked her expert opinion. As a health coach I know a ton about nutrition, eating natural whole foods and weight loss, but sometimes I feel like I’m lacking in the knowledge of what workouts I should be doing to reach my goals. It’s also nice to get tips from other health and fitness gurus…. you never know what ideas they might have that you never thought of.


See why I wanted her advice? 😉

Moni shared lots of great information with me! I thought her tips were super useful and asked her if I could share them with you all and she said yes! (She also kindly let me use her photos.)

Here’s what I sent over to Moni when asking for her advice:

  • I want to look and feel my best for my wedding. The two areas I would really like to focus on is my stomach and arms. I’m at a healthy weight for my frame so I don’t want to lose weight, but I wouldn’t mind losing body fat. What would you recommend for this? I want to make sure I’m doing the correct amount of training — both cardio and strength wise for my goals.
  • Do you have any tips for help with mindless snacking or boredom eating? I eat really healthfully but find myself having issues with portion control.

Moni’s response:

  1. Give yourself more time to reach your goals and you treat getting toned as a new longer approach, more realistic, lifestyle change that sticks with you rather, than a short, quick fix.
  2. To help with mindless snacking, you should keep a food journal. Check out this post: Top 5 Tips to keeping A Food Journal <– This is something I recommend to all my clients as well. I already do this, but I’m going to keep it up!
  3. Workouts: No matter what the activity, you have to be consistent every week with it.  <– I love this tip! I enjoying working out and do it almost every day but I don’t normally stick with a consistent routine of doing the same things each day of the week for consecutive weeks. I’m definitely game for trying it to see how it works for me. Below I’ve posted a sample week of workouts that Moni suggested.


Sample Workout Schedule

DAY 1– CARDIO: 25-45 mins, HIIT IF YOU CAN but see how you feel, is it a hard intensity day or just a light-moderate day?

DAY 2– BODY PUMP CLASS, or body weight movements say from a DVD OR Incorporate 20-30 mins of pretty strenuous WEIGHT TRAINING

DAY 3– REST DAY or if you want you can have a light active recovery day; walking, light bike ride, light stretch and foam rolling

DAY 4-YOGA or if you want to do cardio and feel good, then go for it. 20-30 is great.

DAY 5-CARDIO: 25-45 mins, see how you feel, is it a hard intensity day or just a light-moderate day?

DAY 6– WEIGHT TRAINING Or another Body Pump or Circuit Class. The goal is to try to keep your muscles growing and getting worked. The more muscle, the more calories the body needs so it will use stored fat to replenish!

DAY 7– REST DAY or a light active recovery day; walking the dog, light bike ride, light stretch and foam rolling

Workout notes from Moni:

  • It is best if you can do hard cardio but let’s get real, not every day we have that in us. So it is better to get rid of the all or nothing mentality. So that is why I say do 25-45 of cardio. This is so if you have the energy to go hard for a shorter amount of time-then do. For those days that you do not though, you can still get a great exercise in and let go of how hard it has to be. Something is better than nothing and often times when we know something is hard and we are tired, then we will skip it all together when you could just do something lighter. A great example of something mellow is the elliptical, treadmill, or a hike. You can do these and just bring down the intensity but just go for a longer duration. This way you do not skip and you still get that movement for the body.
  • WEIGHTS: I am all for heavier weight rather than light.You must have good form when lifting heavy. I don’t mean crazy heavy either, just enough to get the muscles working and changing. You really will not get stronger or see results with light light weights. Body weight movements are great but you still need to lift weights as well. Here’s a refresher on how important weight training is: 8 Reasons to Hit the Weights
  • In my own personal workout routine, I go hard but I really know when to rest and back down– where many people think more, more, more is better. REST is so important and I think it is the most underestimated tool! Remember LESS is MORE.

I really value Moni’s advice and now that my knee is feeling a bit better, I’m going to try to start a consistent workout routine following Moni’s guidelines in the sample workout schedule above. I’m excited! I hope you all liked hearing Moni’s tips — definitely check out her site if you’re interested in learning more. And check out her recipes as well — she just posted a quinoa mac and cheese that looks delish.

Here’s to reaching my goals in 2013! Do you have any specific fitness goals you’re hoping to reach this year? 

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  1. Hi! I really enjoyed this advice you shared from your friend. I am so bad about skipping a workout when I’m not in the mood for hard work! Good to hear that I don’t have to feel bad about needing a break every now and again…Love the less is more mentality!

  2. <3 Monica Nelson!!! 🙂 She's definitely the right one to go to for some GREAT advice!!

    A tiny bit of advice I have for you about mindless snacking is for you to include more protein in your diet. I know that when I eat a lot of protein, I don't snack AT ALL because the protein keeps me full for a long time. Give it a try if you'd like and let me know if it helps you!

  3. b! this is great info!!! i am a big advocate of HIIT for cardio. i love my treadmill HIIT runs (only 20-30 mins depending on if i’m also lifting that day) and my Turbo Fire HIIT (from BeachBody). i have been following this type of workout plan since jan 1 and i’ve already lost 4 pounds that never came off from my workouts before (note: i am also eating very clean so of course that is a big factor to the weight loss)!

  4. Hi Brittany!
    WOW. Thank you so much for having me featured over on one of my absolute favorite blogs—-> YOURS!

    I hope your AWESOME readers learn a tip or two (or maybe even grab a Moni Meal recipe!)

    I had the best time helping you out and you always know who to ask for some expert advice!

    You are already stunning as we all know-(DUH!) but you will GLOW even more on your special day. So No worries there! I know we all can’t wait to see you soon as- The”BBB”: Beautiful Bride Brittany. 😉

  5. I REALLY appreciate your advice. I’ve never enjoyed working out and not as healthy an eater as I should, buut, up until 9 years ago, I was always slender even though I wasn’t in great shape. 9 years ago, I got into a horrible habit (and haven’t been able to obtain full control since) of eating stupid amounts of food and *super* unhealthy food. Overtime, I became 65 pounds overweight. I’ve finally cleaned up my eating….mostly. But I still eat WAY too much. And my lifetime lack of regular fitness caught up and I’m flabby…EVERYWHERE. I like Monica’s advice about being kind to yourself and focusing on small steps to make this a full lifestyle change. Thanks again! I will definitely incorporate Monica’s advice and keep reading your blog!

  6. There are some fantastic tips here, I definitely need to start making a weekly workout plan.

    My first main fitness goal for 2013 is to run the Race For Life in July. It’s a 5K run which may not sound much but I’ve never been much of a runner, despite my best intentions.

  7. Thank you so much for this bit of advice. I can not thank you enough for sharing this as I too am trying to achieve my final leg of weight loss after weighing 220 lbs!! I am now down to 137 and wish to be at 130. This helped as I was not sure where and what to do to achieve with lasting results. I also wanted to take the time to share that I am so excited and thrilled to have found your website. You have given me information and recipes that I have been putting into use since I found you!! I was excited to share your protein pancakes with my family, they tasted so yummy that we had to have them for two days in a row! 🙂 Do you have any suggestions as to what you can do when you are craving sweets? I did last night make your Creamy Clementine Smoothie just to take the edge off, which was great by the way!! 🙂 Its just so hard as I am trying to rid myself of always having sugar instead opting for natural sweetness. Instead trying to find an alternative. Thank you again and look forward to future information!!

  8. Great advice! The consistent workout schedule is something I really struggle with. I workout 3-5 times per week, but it is never the same week to week. A great goal to work on. Thanks for sharing!

  9. These are GREAT tips and I love the weekly plan! I am definitely going to start doing that! One of my goals for this year is to get muscle!! I will push to get arms like Monica!Thank you for this post!

  10. Thanks for sharing Monica’s advice! I’m trying (as always, it seems) to get back to a better level of overall fitness. I used to be a college athlete in great shape, but slacked off after knee surgery and after starting grad school – just being lazy after years of hard work. I’m making a huge push this year to be more consistent than I have been and to be smarter about exercise, so ideally, I get fitter with less time at the gym (like Monica’s explanation of rest + as intense as you can go). I’ve loved your recipes to keep on track too! Thanks again, and good luck to you!!!

  11. Thanks for the expert I like these tips and also like the consistent exercise part, I need to work on that 🙂

    I actually made the cheesy quinoa last weekend as a side dish to SkinnyTaste’s bangin shrimp and it was a delicious meal! With the leftover quinoa I used it on salads during the week, which is definitely my new favorite thing, makes the salad more filling and flavorful.

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