Perfect Butt Building Exercise for Bad Knees

A few years ago, I underwent surgery for my right knee. The procedure was a lateral release and a scope to clean out all the damaged cartilage in my knee. A lateral release is used to loosen the knee cap by cutting the tendons and ligaments to create a floating knee cap. This surgery removed almost all knee pain I had been having for some time. I got tired of feeling like an ice pick was being jammed into my knee and this surgery did the trick!

Because of this surgery, my knees become very tender if my legs and butt are not strong. Because I haven’t been working out as much as I was before, my knee is getting tender quicker than usual during a workout so I’ve been trying different things to help make it stronger without always doing squats and lunges.

Rich Klingel of Bexa Body Fitness is the king of creative exercises. He always thinks of the best things to do for different injuries and is able to think on his feet. He showed me this exercise yesterday (for my bad knees) that I absolutely fell in love with and I think would be a great addition to anyone trying to build a better lower half but struggles with their knees.

You want to get an infinity band (one that makes a full circle) and wrap it around something like the support bars on the squat rack. Make sure the band is thick enough to hold the weight of your back leg and provides resistance when you go back on it or else you will fall and injure yourself! Watch in the mirror as you go down to see if your legs are bending at a 90 degree angle and your core is tight. You do not want to curve your back so pull your abs into your spine and tighten them as you go down.

Once you get the hang of the movement, try to complete 3 or 4 sets of 10-12 reps. My legs are so sore today! If you want to kick up the exercise to a full body movement, add dumbbells into the mix like in the second video shown below.

Struggle with balance? You can always have someone hold your hand or get a body bar to use as a balance pole to hold on to until you get the hang of it!

Gluten-Free Post Workout Shake Recipe

My gluten-free muscle-building shake.
My gluten-free muscle-building shake.

I get asked frequently what gluten-free whey protein powder I use or what I eat after I workout. I’ve tried many different kinds and I think Tera’s Whey is my favorite. It’s been the easiest on my stomach and doesn’t seem to cause any problems.

However, I’ve decided this month I’m completely changing the way I eat. I’m experimenting with a plan for the next 30 days and if it works, I’ll share it but until then I’ll just post some snippets like what I’m using instead of protein powder.

I’m concerned about the chemicals in any of these protein shakes. What the heck are those ingredients? Have you ever looked at them? It always baffled my mind as to how there could be so many odd things that we are putting into our bodies. If you aren’t allergic to egg, this is the perfect option for you. I really don’t enjoy eggs all too much but these are tasteless and pasteurized. It’s great!

This is my new favorite post workout shake.

The Lean, Mean, Green, Muscle Building Machine Shake is super easy.
2 cups of raw organic spinach
1/2 cup of either coconut milk or 1/2 cup of lactose free milk
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of frozen organic mixed berries – mine are blueberry, strawberry and raspberry
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
3 pumps of the International Egg Whites  (affiliate) You can see my review of them here –> Protein

Blend everything and enjoy…


I needed this tasty treat after I did a workout this morning and then took the dog to the park!




The Extra Challenges Associated with Fitness and Celiac Disease

After going through my own weight loss journey, I realized the fitness industry was severely lacking the kind of trainer I needed and wanted – someone who was educated on fitness, motivating to keep me coming back for more and just as excited as I was when I started seeing results.

You see, time after time, I went to a gym or met with a trainer that always wanted to push his own goals on me and then brushed me off when I said that I wanted to do something else. I also ended up with a knee injury requiring surgery because I had damaged it so much during our training sessions from being told that it was “weak” and I needed to lift heavier. Quite the contrary actually – the knee was so damaged, I needed to go lighter.

I’ve had trainers that didn’t pay attention to me the whole session because they had so many other people training at the same time. I’ve had trainers that took me to Chipotle after our workout sessions. I’ve had trainers that didn’t listen to me when I said something hurt or didn’t feel right. I’ve had trainers that wanted me try unsafe moves or exercises to “sculpt” me.

I opened my own business to be the complete opposite of everything horrible I saw while I was losing the weight myself.

You see I’ve learned over the past 4 years, people want to feel like they belong somewhere. They want to feel a bond with their trainer and the environment. Losing weight is an intimate process. Not everyone wants you to prod them, take pictures of them and feel their sweaty bodies during measurements. They don’t want to feel like a scolded child if they go out for drinks one night and have a life. While I certainly believe there are people out there that are hardcore and want their trainers to yell at them and force them to do crazy stuff, there is a larger group of people who want to be nurtured towards their results. Trainers that push their clients to do fad diets, crazy weight loss plans, extreme cardio or other unsafe weight loss mechanisms will see results very quickly. However, that will soon fade and those clients will be binge eating at a food truck sooner than you can say “grilled chicken.”

Your goals are not my goals. Your goals drive the results of the training sessions. It is not your trainers job to force goals upon you during or after your sessions. Results are a direct response to your goals.

Which is why this post is completely relevant to those of you seeking fitness services while having auto-immune diseases like fibromyalgia, celiac disease, arthritis, endometriosis and the rest of the lovely things we all struggle with along with celiac.

It is essential for us to find a facility with a great reputation for being caring, supportive, encouraging AND results oriented.

You should NEVER feel bad, awkward or uncomfortable talking to your trainer about any pain, physical struggles and emotional struggles. This is an essential component to our health and wellbeing. If the only thing we can do is show up to the session and try our best, than that is what should be acceptable. You are paying THEM to help you get to your goals. Don’t let them treat you poorly. I’m not saying they shouldn’t give you a push or challenge you, but they need to understand there is a limit. I would never want anyone leaving my facility to go home and cry because of me!

Last year I struggled tremendously with my own fitness program and I know how hard it is to get out of bed when you are exhausted and in pain. All it takes is a gluten incident, lactose incident or some other weird food thing to make me ill forcing me to stay at home than go to the gym. A migraine can off shoot 3 days for me sometimes. The cramping from the endometriosis didn’t get better when I worked out.

We need more trainers in the world that are understanding and caring to their clients individual needs. We need more trainers that want to learn about our conditions and help motivate us to keep going even when we would rather lay on the couch and watch tv. I can tell you someone who tells me I’m lazy or a wimp will not motivate me what so ever.

This industry is so quick to say you aren’t trying hard enough or you’re lying about your diet when weight loss goals aren’t met. No one thinks that you could have a hormone problem causing you to retain the weight. No one thinks that maybe you are struggling with water retention from a health condition preventing weight loss. No one thinks that those pills you are taking for XYZ could be adding pounds to the scale and not your eating habits or work ethic in the gym.

At Bexa Body Fitness, we focus on our clients 150% – their goals are our goals. We understand that not everyone is looking for a tremendous weight loss story or wanting to run a marathon. There are lots of people out there that are just trying to improve their quality of life, not win a body building competition. We need to educate trainers on our diseases and start training them to have more coping and coaching skills to go right along with their awesome motivational and training skills.

I realize that my life experiences have put me in the position to intimately know the emotions and physical distress but it’s unfortunate to see so many people struggling with seemingly nowhere to turn. I’m ready to help educating this industry to the best of my ability, hoping to help so many more in the future.

A love letter to my dreamy husband Aaron – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day and I spent last night making Aaron a delicious gluten free meal that was completely different for us and outside the box. You see my husband is a simple man. And not stupid simple but basic simple. He just wants the basics to live debt free (which will never happen because I owe my life to the student loan industry), well fed, well rested and happy. He doesn’t need or want fancy things or to go on fancy trips to make him happy. I make him happy. He makes me happy. It’s amazing how time, life events and maturity can make life that simple.

Valentine’s Day Roses dipped in Gold so they would last forever.

When I had a full time job making a good salary, I loved buying things. Nice and expensive things. I had Coach bags, designer clothes and shoes and we went on vacation a lot. But in life priority changes and situations change making you adapt or struggle. While I loved having a steady paycheck, I stopped loving my job. I was miserable and unhappy. Looking for ways to go out on my own. Aaron was and is my number one cheerleader. It’s funny how when the money went away, so did my desire to buy stuff all the time. Opening a business of my own was what I wanted to do and I couldn’t do the things we did before. We both made sacrifices for my business and Aaron did it with open arms (ok well with a few battles here and there).

I’m not going to say our life is perfect because it’s not. In the past 5.5 years of marriage we’ve certainly been tested. There have been fights, nights slept on the couch, trips to my mom’s house (alone), yelling, swearing but there have been many more times of laughter, love and joy. To say Aaron is my soul mate would be cliche but true. He makes me want to be a better person and perform at the top of my game. He also eats gluten free with me and makes me gluten free foods without complaints. I’d say that’s love right there…

In the past year and a half, I opened Bexa Body Fitness, was diagnosed with celiac disease, hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, a latex allergy, endometriosis and starting Pretty Little Celiac. It’s certainly been quite the journey. Aaron has always been there. I never had to question his love, dedication or happiness in our marriage. We accept each other for our strengths and flaws but I obviously have fewer flaws! (ha jk I’m a hot mess)

He tried acupuncture with me even though he never has anything wrong.
He tried acupuncture with me even though he never has anything wrong.

So for this Valentine’s Day, I listened to him and tried to make him a great dinner. Aaron usually cooks for us every night so I think he enjoyed coming home to a delicious dinner and gluten free desserts! Although whenever I make dinner it usually starts with , “Now I’m not so sure about this, I just made it up.” He did end up doing the rest of the dishes.

To my dearest Aaron:

You are the love of my life, my best friend and partner in crime. I couldn’t imagine my life without you. The last 8 years have been such a growing experience and I’m glad we could grow together. I really can’t wait to see what the next 50 years have in store for us, but I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. Now, let’s see if you actually read my blog.

I love you,

Your Pretty Little Wife




That’s It… I’m Done… Time for a Change… Who’s With Me?

For those of  you who also read my bio, you know that I am a fitness expert as well as a gluten free/celiac blogger! Well, the celiac diagnosis has taken a toll on my health, not to mention the hypothyroid problems that came along with the gluten allergy.

I love working out. I really do. Admittedly, I haven’t been adhering to my own standards and beliefs because honestly I just haven’t wanted to. I spent the last 8 months trying to figure things out, frustrate myself and run myself in circles just with the celiac disease – let alone work out.

Yesterday, I ran the Hell Run 5k with my husband and today – I hurt. My knees throb, my back aches, my shoulders are sore and my core is tender. When I ran the Mud Ninja in July, I felt fine. What happened to this fit girl in the picture above? This is what I frequently say to myself almost every day when I look in the mirror. Sure, you might not notice anything in the photos but I feel the difference.

I feel weak.

I feel vulnerable.

So I decided today will be my last day feeling weak and vulnerable. Starting tomorrow, I’m taking control of my health. I’m taking control of my fitness. I’m taking control of my diet.

October 1, 2012 is the day I take control.

I saw online that October is Celiac Sprue Awareness Month, but so is May so I’m not entirely sure which one is correct. But, I think its a great place to get started. I’ve purchased all my “whole” foods. No more snacky snacks. No more processed junk. Just good, whole foods.

Steak, fish, rice, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, tuna, spinach and berries. That’s it for the next few weeks. I’ve got my coolers out, my containers ready and my food prepped. Preparation is key. I know how to do all of this – I just need to stick with it!

Back to my workout regimen of 5 days per week. It feels good for me to be in the gym. I need to sweat and pump iron

I’m incredibly busy the next 10 weeks and I absolutely have to make time for myself.

No excuses. Hold me to it!

Who wants to commit to an October change with me? Post your October resolutions below and let’s get this party started!!!

I’m going to promise Coach I will take him to the park at least 3-4 days per week so he can get exercise too!