August Member of the Month Spotlight – Kelly O’Keefe

August Member of the Month Spotlight

Kelly O’Keefe


Kelly O'Keefe


I am so excited to announce that the March Member of the Month is Kelly O’Keefe!


Kelly just celebrated her 3 year anniversary with Forever Fit SCV and she has made some major changes over that time!


She first came to Forever Fit SCV with her husband Lance to participate in the New Year, New You Transformation Challenge and to say the two were competitive was an understatement.  I remember each one looking the others shoulder as they did their body fat measurements to see who was lower.  That competitive nature is one of the things that has made Kelly so successful during her journey.  She never backs down from a challenge and always gives her all.

Kelly and LanceKelly - MAX Lunge


Kelly also happens to be one of the most caring and giving people I know.  Whether it’s traveling to Haiti to help out at orphanages, volunteering at Real Life Church or creating memorable parties for family and friends, Kelly is always so giving of herself and makes others around her feel special.


Kelly’s journey from fun-loving, care-free wife to mom has been so exciting to watch and she has learned that exercise and fitness plays a key role in her helping her help others. I was able to catch up with her to find out how and why she’s been so successful and here’s what she had to say:


Craig: When did you start training at Forever Fit SCV?

Kelly: I started training at Forever Fit SCV a LONG time ago (before a baby) to engage in an activity with my spouse that would yield a positive investment. I found that working out could do this for us! We could spend quality time together, get in a workout, and build community.  AND I wanted to feel fit, fit into those “skinny jeans” and really just feel confident to life my best life.


Craig: What has made you so successful at Forever Fit SCV?

Kelly: A few things, one is the open door policy that Forever Fit has. When I need something more I know I can always ask for it.  A perfect example of this is the advanced strength training class or the 5am class time that is now offered. The answer is always NO unless you ask. The second thing is the sense of community which has been really been crucial to keeping me accountable. And finally, the emphasis that Forever Fit SCV puts on creating changes that are not just immediate, but changes that are everlasting lifestyle changes.


Craig: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome during your fitness transformation?

Kelly: Myself! I’m an all or nothing kind of person and I want immediate results so staying motivated is challenging.

Kelly O'Keefe Before and AfterKelly O'Keefe Band Dead Lift

Craig: What advice would you offer to others who are just starting out on their fitness journey or have hit a road-block?

Kelly: Think of every decision you make today as an investment. What will the return yield in a day, week, year, or years from now?


Craig: What drives you to ‘KEEP MAKIN’ CHANGES’?

Kelly: The desire to live my best life today, not tomorrow!  I want to be a light in dark places and I can’t do this without my health in check. If I don’t feel good, I can’t show up for my calling!



Coach’s Corner – August 2016

Tech Neck…..yep, it’s a real thing!


Are you reading this on your phone or tablet right now? If so….pick your head up! 🙂

In this information age, we are killing our posture with all of the handheld devices and computers.  They’ve even coined a new term for our bad posture, Tech Neck!

According to Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, it’s a real thing.

“We did a study on the issue of poor posture and how it affects you, especially when you’re on a cell phone or smart device,” says Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitative Medicine. “It’s a lot of load, an amazing amount of weight to be carrying around your neck.”

Not convinced? Well get this. “When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds,” he says. “At 15 degrees [forward], the neck sees 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it sees 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds.”



image courtesy of

That’s a whopping 60 pounds of weight on muscles and nerves that are meant to handle 10-12 pounds of stress, and that can do a lot of damage over time.  I can’t tell you how sad I get seeing teenagers walking around looking at the ground, not even having the strength to walk while looking out in front of them.

Despite the importance of having good posture, most of us don’t do anything to improve it. We go about our lives with hunched backs and imbalanced hips, and deal with pain because we think it’s normal.

Living with bad posture can be a dangerous thing. The muscle and ligament imbalances that result from poor alignment can lead to all sorts of problems:

  • Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle atrophy and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Digestion issues
  • Impingement and nerve compression
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Dr. Kelly Herta-Himes, one of the top chiropractors in the

Santa Clarita Valley, says that many of the problems people complain about on a daily basis (sore/painful wrists, sore/painful shoulders, etc.) are caused by poor posture.

So what can we do about it?

Well, let’s face it, you’re not going to stop using your phone or tablet.  But there are some ways you can relieve the stress on your neck while using them.  Dr. Herta-Himes suggests getting a plate holder from the dollar store and using it to prop up your tablet on a table or your lap.  You can also put a pillow on your lap when laying in bed or prop your feet up and rest our forearms on your knees when holding your device.

We can also strengthen the neck by doing some simple neck nods and rocking.  Here is a great video demonstration on how to do neck nods (the video talks about relieving tension for headaches, but gives a great demonstration on neck nods).


GI Joe


As G.I. Joe said, knowing is half the battle. Don’t let Tech Neck cause problems for you down the road.  Use the simple tips and exercise above to stay strong and healthy.

Focus on Nutrition with Kim – August 2016


Going Nuts

Nuts….we all love them! And for good reason, they are DEE-LICIOUS!


But here’s a little secret, they are good for you too. Shh, don’t tell anyone!


Seed and nut butters contain healthful fats that benefit heart health, reduce the risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes and even lower the risk of obesity despite their high fat content. Each variety offers something a little different and all are beneficial in their own way. Butters tend to be rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the healthy ones).


35% of your diet can come from fat if it’s the healthy kind. Healthy fats, in addition to the fiber and protein found in nuts and nut butters, leads to greater satiation. Just one or two tablespoons of almond butter will keep you full longer than a handful of pretzels!


A study from the Harvard School of Public Health examining 51,188 women found that regular nut consumption was associated with a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity.


Did you know that nuts and nut butters can be a healthful addition to your diet even if you’re trying to lose weight?


The key is eating them in moderation. ADA guidelines recommend 4 ounces of nuts or seeds per week so you can incorporate nut butters into your diet every day. Just stick to a couple of tablespoons per serving. For reference, two tablespoons of a seed or nut butter contain, on average, 16 grams of fat.


Nut Butters


One good tip is to choose natural nut or seed butters.  The ones that we all remember eating as kids like Skippy and JIF contain added sugars and trans fats. Look for varieties that contain only nuts and salt (optional).  To keep the oil from separating during storage and avoid having to stir every time you use them, stir once the first time you open them, then store the jars upside down.


Here is a list of healthy fats to enjoy:

Nut Butters

peanut butter

walnut butter

almond butter

pistachio butter

sunflower butter








sesame seeds

flax seeds/meal/oil

chia seeds

pumpkin seeds

sunflower seeds



olive oil

coconut oil

Focus on Nutrition with Kim – March 2016


Carrots: Friend or Foe?


Have you ever met someone who didn’t like carrots?  I know I haven’t.


There are a thousand ways to eat them.  Sweet, savory, in a soup, raw, etc.  We all have our favorite ways to enjoy them, but did you know that they are the most consumed antioxidant in the U.S.


These little orange rockets can also significantly lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and recent research has revealed another category of phytonutrients in carrots, called polyacetylenes, found to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. They have also been shown to lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, boost your immune system, improve eyesight and reduce the risk of stroke and diabetes.


However, even with these known benefits, many people still choose not to consume them because of their reputation of having ‘a lot of sugar’ and sabotaging weight loss efforts.  You may have even heard that carrots are high on the Glycemic Index.  What’s that all about?!


WARNING, things are about to get science-y for a minute.


The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale that ranks foods and beverages on their potential to raise blood sugar and insulin levels. It indicates how rapidly a carbohydrate is digested and released as glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream.  Foods and beverages that rank above 70 are considered “high GI” foods and are ‘likely’ to raise your blood sugar levels.


Sharon Palmer, R.D., writer for Today’s Dietitian reminds us that the Glycemic Index isn’t perfect. Many factors affect the GI of foods, including ripeness and storage time, processing and cooking method. The GI of a food is also different when eaten alone or combined with other foods. And get this, chocolate has a lower GI than oatmeal. So if we followed the GI in this case, we would be eliminating healthy foods from our diets and adding chocolate!  And NO, that would not be a good thing. 😉


Dr Jonny Bowden  PhD, a clinical nutrition specialist and author of the book “150 healthiest Foods On Earth” suggests that you should absolutely not let the Glycemic Index of carrots deter you from eating them even if you’re on a diet. The Glycemic Load is a far more significant measuring stick for how a food affects blood sugar and insulin levels.  Glycemic Load is a ranking system for carbohydrate-rich food that measures the amount of carbohydrate in a serving of food. Foods with a glycemic load under 10 are considered low GL foods, 10-20 moderate GL and above 20 High GL which could tend to cause blood sugar spikes.


Carrots are an example of a low GL food that many people think will raise their blood sugar a lot but it’s not true. Carrots have a GL of 3-6. Unless you’re going to eat a pound and a half of carrots in one sitting (I mean really, who does that?), carrots will have very little impact on blood glucose levels.


The bottom line is that the benefits of carrots far outweigh any kind of negative that crazy nay-sayers can think of.  Carrots are, most definitely, our friends.


So eat those friendly carrots and reap all of their amazing benefits!


For a comparison of Glycemic Index versus Glycemic Load go to


Coach’s Corner – March 2016

Press RESET On Your Body


Reset button

Picture this…’re sitting at your computer, typing a paper or working on a project for your boss and your computer starts to act funky.  It’s running very slow and not responding to your commands.


What do you do?


You press CTRL + ALT + DELETE to reset your computer.


This allows you to wipe the slate clean, close all those programs that were causing problems and get your computer back in working order.


Does that only work for your computer and other electronics?


Nope.  It can work for your body too!


You see, we were all ‘programmed’ with certain movement patterns from the time we were babies.  Nobody ever showed you how to breathe, crawl or walk, you just figured them out on your own because those were things that your body was meant to do.  They were ingrained in us from birth and we never really forget how to do them.


The thing is, as we get older, we start sitting more, tightening up and the outside world starts to influence the way we move.  So we need to Press RESET and wipe the slate clean.


How do we do that you ask?  Well, here are 2 easy ways for you to Press RESET on your body so you can start moving better and feeling better right away.

  1. Breathe!
    OK, this sounds easy right, I mean, we all breathe every single day.  But as we age and get more stressed, we change the way we breathe.  Instead of using our diaphragm to breathe, we start using more of our neck muscles which causes more tension in our shoulders and back.Ever hear someone say, “I carry all my stress in my shoulders.”?  Or, have you ever seen someone whose super angry and stressed?  They tense everything up and shrug their shoulders, right!anger
  2. So, here’s how to breathe properly and RESET your body.
    1. Lie down in a comfortable position with your hands on your belly.
    2. Close your eyes and start taking some deep breathes.
    3. Make sure you feel your belly moving up and down under your hands*** TIP: Play with your foot and hand position.  Some people like their legs flat, others like their knees bent with feet flat on the floor, others like their legs up on a couch or wall, etc.  Just find a way to get comfortable.  ***
  1. Rock it out!
    Rocking is one of the best things we can do to Press RESET on our bodies.  We all sit too much, whether it’s at work, in the car, on the couch, at school, etc.  This leads to tight hip flexors and hamstrings and leads to that hunched over look later in life.The simple act of rocking back and forth on the hands and knees can help to loosen those tight hips, build some more strength in the shoulders and neck (which improves our posture) and get more blood flowing throughout our bodies.Here’s how to do it:
    1. Get on the ground on your hands and knees.
    2. Look straight ahead (this is great to do while watching TV)
    3. Rock your butt back onto your heels, then rock forward as far as you want.

Well, there you have it.  Two simple ways to Press RESET on your body to start moving and feeling better right away.  Incorporating these two things into your daily routine will improve your results in the gym and you life in general!



March Member of the Month Spotlight – Gordon Keller

March Member of the Month Spotlight – Gordon KellerGordon-MOM


I am so excited to announce that the March Member of the Month is Gordon Keller!

Gordon has been with Forever Fit SCV for a little over a year now and is stronger and healthier than he’s been since he was taming the wild seas!


In the time that Gordon has been with Forever Fit SCV, he has come quite a long way.  His strength levels have skyrocketed and he’s become more active than ever before.  He’s had 2 ACL injuries in the past, but he’s been working to stretch and strengthen that area so it doesn’t stop him from cycling, strength training, running or building fences around his daughter’s property!


Besides being a regular in our 7pm sessions during the week, Gordon is one of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever met.  He always goes the extra mile to welcome newcomers and has forged many new friendships within the Forever Fit SCV Family.  And it helps that he has the support of his amazing wife Brenda each and every day during training.  They are a force to be reckoned with in the gym and outside the gym as well.  Kayaking, cycling, hiking, running….you name it, they do it.


IMG_7018 IMG_7896

Gordon is an extremely smart man that knows slow and steady wins the race and continues to improve each and every day.  I was able to catch up with him to find out how he’s been so successful and here’s what he had to say:


Craig: When did you start training at Forever Fit SCV?

Gordon: My wife and I were invited by our friend Lisa Kimura


Craig: What has made you so successful at Forever Fit SCV?

Gordon: Craig has been really good at making sure I am pushing my limit.


Craig: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome during your fitness transformation?

Gordon: Potato chips!


Craig: What advice would you offer to others who are just starting out on their fitness journey or have hit a road-block?

Gordon: Keep at it and don’t give up.  On the days that you don’t feel like working out, do it anyways!


Craig: What drives you to ‘KEEP MAKIN’ CHANGES’?

Gordon: I want to continue to keep getting stronger and more fit so that I can reduce some mediations I take everyday.


The Keller Family

For the Keller’s, training is a family affair!




February Newsletter Introduction – I Love You!


February is the month of LOVE……a time for showing people the love you have in your heart.  And, coincidentally, it’s also American Heart Month.


With all of the focus on love and the heart, I can’t help but think of health and fitness (go figure!).


As we enter February, most of us are gearing up for Valentine’s Day.  And when most of us think of Valentine’s Day, we think of heart shaped boxes of chocolates, fancy dinners and indulgence.


But guess what, I’ve got a secret for you.  There’s a way to break the mold this Valentine’s Day.  Here are a few ways you can enjoy this festive holiday and show someone you love them without derailing their fitness goals:

  • Strawberry roses – Insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of some fresh strawberries. Dunk them into dark chocolate. Once the chocolate is cooled off, arrange the strawberries in a vase or similar container.
  • Edible Arrangements – If you aren’t handy in the kitchen and just want to order something, edible arrangements are a perfect gift!
  • Picnic Hike – Pack a picnic lunch and take a hike.  It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors with the one you love and it shows that you’ve taken the time to plan a special adventure. If you don’ t feel like packing lunch, stop by a local deli and grab some fresh meats and sides.  You can find some great hikes here:
  • Plan a Spa Day – There are numerous day spas and resorts that offer couples treatments and its the perfect way to spend a day with the one you love or a good friend!
  • Watch a Movie – Snuggle up to an old classic movie (and some wine if you’d like) with someone special.  Pop some light popcorn or grab a bag of Skinny Pop at the store, sit back and relax.  I personally like Father of the Bride and Knotting Hill (don’t judge!), but here’s a list of some movies to choose from:


Focus on Nutrition with Kim – February 2016

Snack Your Way To Fit

by Kim Brown


It’s no secret that small, frequent meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism revved up and your energy levels steady.


But what is the difference between a meal and a snack?

image courtesy of

image courtesy of


A meal typically has at least three components (example: toast, egg, banana). Also meals don’t necessarily have to be consumed at traditional times. For example, someone who wakes up early and exercises within an hour. You will not have time to digest a meal before you exercise. They would have something smaller (snack) and then eat your breakfast after they finish their workout.


Snacks, on the other hand, typically have one or two components (example: apple alone or with peanut butter OR Greek Yogurt with berries).


Snack components can be placed into 3 categories (the same as meals): carbs, healthy fats, and proteins. Carbs provide energy and there are 3 food groups to choose from: grains, fruit, and vegetables. It is always a good idea to have a carb source for one of your snack components. Then, you “pair” it with either a serving of good fat or a protein source for steady energy and to balance blood sugar, which is great during exercise or to keep up your energy levels throughout the day.


Here is a BONUS pre-workout snack tip: choose your carb (energy) source carefully. The one you choose should provide 15-30 grams of carbs. Vegetables do not provide the same energy by volume as fruit and grains. Therefore, pairing a vegetable with a good fat or protein source may not be the best choice at that particular time of day (though it would be great for another time of day). Fruits and grains deliver more energy making them perfect for a pre-workout meal/snack.


What about dairy products? Dairy products are unique in that they have 2 components already built into them (combo food). Non-fat dairy products (ie. Yogurt) already contain a balanced amount of protein and carbs. Note: 4% fat dairy products will have a 3rd component: saturated fat which is not a good fat.


Here are some snacks to enjoy between meals:

Carrots and Hummus

String Cheese and 1 Orange

Apple and Peanut Butter

½ small avocado on whole grain bread

Zucchini Sticks and Greek yogurt + Dill Dip

banana and 1 boiled egg

Cottage Cheese and Whole grain pretzels

Almond milk, banana, protein powder (shake)

Greek Yogurt and Strawberries

Quest Bar

Coach’s Corner – February 2016

image courtesy of inside

image courtesy of inside

Staying In Sync With YOUR Body

by Danielle Cueva

Ever wonder why somedays you feel ‘a little off’?

Well wonder no more because I got a few lifestyle hacks that will get you back on track and feeling your absolute BEST!

3 Tips for Staying In Sync With Your Body 

  1. Eat Healthy Food – Wow, who knew!  Not to gross you out too much, but unhealthy bacteria in your gut can mess with your digestion and disrupt some of the rhythms in your body.  That’s why it’s so important to eat healthy probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt!  Also, fresh fruits and vegetables are chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep your body working efficiently.
  2. Keep Exercising! – If you are ever feeling a bit off during the day, get that workout in. Exercising has been shown to improve moods, boost energy and help stabilize out of sync rhythms.  Plus, it helps promote better sleep, and who doesn’t need that?!
  3. Keep Mealtimes Consistent – Your body, believe it or not, is like a well oiled machine and your stomach has its own clock.  Eat at unusual times and that clock it gets thrown off.  That causes it to send strange signals to the master clock in your brain and your whole system gets thrown off. This can also affect your sleep cycle, causing you to feel even more tired and rundown then you probably are.  So whether you eat 5 times per day or 3 squares, keep it consistent.

Follow these 3 tips and watch your results skyrocket!



February Member of the Month Spotlight – Brenda Tiemann

February Member of the Month Spotlight – Brenda Tiemann


Brenda Tiemann

Forever Fit SCV Rock Star Brenda Tiemann


I am so excited to announce that the January Member of the Month is Brenda Tiemann!


Brenda has been with Forever Fit SCV for almost 4 years now and is stronger and healthier than she’s ever been!  She’s committed to living a truly healthy and happy lifestyle and it shows in everything she does


During Brenda’s time with Forever Fit SCV, she has been a true inspiration.  Whether she’s wowing us with a headstand during cool down or knocking out some heavy squats during training, Brenda never ceases to amaze the people around her.  Add her husband, Tim, into the mix and you’ll see a competitive side come out that will knock your socks off!

Brenda break dancing!

Brenda break dancing!

Brenda rockin' the ropes!

Brenda rockin’ the ropes!











But don’t let her strength and power intimidate you, Brenda’s infectious smile lights up the gym every time she walks in and makes everyone around her feel at ease.  She’s a true display of strength and beauty and a great role model for everyone around her.


I was able to catch up with Brenda to find out why she’s been so successful and here’s what she had to say:


Craig: When did you start training at Forever Fit SCV?

Brenda: My workout routine had included yoga for many years.  I felt I had a strong core but I really had no physical endurance.  I was looking for something to add to my workout routine when my neighbors told me Craig was opening a new group training program.  I went a couple of times, working out in Craig’s garage, in the early beginnings of the gym!  The group training and wide variety of exercises which included strength and endurance had me hooked after just a few sessions!  It was like working out with family.   Everyone, including Craig, was so encouraging and friendly.


Craig: What has made you so successful at Forever Fit SCV?

Brenda: I think success comes with establishing consistency in a workout routine.  I had joined other gyms in the past but I never really “penciled” it into my weekly schedule.    Some weeks I would have time to go workout and others I wouldn’t.   Now I have it on my calendar weekly and I try to stick to it.   I also believe the friendly and encouraging atmosphere at Forever Fit keeps me coming back.  I have heard horror stories about fitness boot camp in which the “coach” yells at you.   That would not have worked for me!  I love that everyone knows me by name and if there is someone new, Craig always makes a point to introduce us!


Craig: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome during your fitness transformation?

Brenda: My biggest obstacle has been practicing self-care habits in my work, eating and fitness routine.  At first, I would say “Oh I can eat that cake, I just worked out”.  I think changing my mindset so that I maintained healthy living/eating habits during the hours/days I am not in the gym was the biggest obstacle.  I feel Craig has really helped me understand that it is not just about the workout routine at the gym.  He readily shares healthy recipes and provides video workouts and weekly challenges to keep me on track!


Craig: What advice would you offer to others who are just starting out on their fitness journey or have hit a road-block?

Brenda: I would say that you have to just jump in and maintain consistency.  Never give up no matter how busy life can get!  There were times when I could only get to the gym one time during the week but would make a point to go on a long hike with the family to stay active.  Change does not happen overnight!


Craig: What drives you to ‘KEEP MAKIN’ CHANGES’?

Brenda: I think what drives me to “keep making changes” is setting new goals for myself.  In the beginning I wanted a well-rounded workout but what I got was so much more.  I got a lifestyle change and friends to workout with and encourage me along the journey.  My goal right now is to get in shape for my son’s wedding in July!  Thanks for helping me reach my goal and to never give up Forever Fit family!


Brenda is STRONG!

Brenda is STRONG!

She's one of the original members of Forever Fit SCV

She’s one of the original members of Forever Fit SCV