Do You Need Yoga Props

Maybe you are just getting into yoga or have been practicing for a few years, so you may have noticed some props like blocks or bands. Have you ever wondered what they’re for, or if you should buy them? Well, I am going to tell you the uses for props and if they’re worth buying. Side note it is not a sign of weakness to use a prop, the purpose of most is to help you with your poses.  

Yoga blocks

Blocks comes in a few forms from rubber foam and wood. Typically blocks are rectangle but they could also be square or circles. The uses for blocks is to help you to extend your arms or legs. If you are struggling to reach the ground you can use blocks so you can feel safe and comfortable in the pose and not on your fingertips. I would recommend getting a Two  yoga blocks to help you in your practice.  


A strap lets you stretch with ease without putting strain on the rest of your body. Like the blocks, straps can help you to extend your arms to help you into poses you are struggling with like dancer pose for example. Straps are inexpensive and I think they’re a good buy, and your shoulders will thank you


Blankets are commonly used in restorative yoga to help prop you up. Blankets are also good if you have knee problems or low back pain and need a little extra support. You can also use them if you get cold in some studios or with other exercises in where the workout room might get cold. Blankets are only useful if you are only doing gentle yoga or if you need more cushion.   


Are like blocks except they don’t have a flat surface they’re not as helpful. Most people use eggs to help with down dog or handstand. Eggs are not worth buying there is not a lot of use for them so save your money and stick with blocks.

Mat covers

Mat covers are meant to help you with grip so you don’t slip. It is also good for hot yoga if you sweat a lot then you won’t get it on your mat. If you don’t slip or do hot yoga then you probably won’t need a mat cover. Don’t use a mat cover instead of a yoga mat.


Like blankets, pillow/boosters are mainly used for restorative and prenatal classes. I love my yoga pillow for that time of the month, it really helps to open your hips and reduce cramps. You can you the boosters for meditation and for support during your practice. For example, if you need to sit cross-legged but it is uncomfortable you can place two boosters under your knees for support.     


The main use for the wheel is to help with backbends as well as crow pose and asserted child’s pose, and if you have high blood pressure. I do not own a yoga wheel I think they may help if you have a hard time with backbends which  makes it easier on the spine. I don’t think they are worth buying, their price is a bit high average price $40.


I have mentioned trx in a previous blog post, it is a great piece of equipment. Did you know you could use it for yoga as well? It can help to improve your current practice or make it more challenging. At the moment there is not a whole lot of yoga classes that teach with the trx I did find a workout on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V188iayDmk8 You can use the TRX for other workouts and you can find Suspension trainers in many gyms. It is quite expensive but If you have a place to hang it is worth the buy.

Essential oil

If you are having a hard time with breathing during exercises essential oils like peppermint can help with breathing. Essential oil can also help to set the mood creating a relaxing environment.

There are many more props on the market for yoga. I just listed the most common ones that you will see at target or at sports stores. As you get more into practicing yoga you may come across props. Please leave a comment letting us know what you liked about the blog.  

All props are on my Amazon store

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My favorite workout shoe brands. As a personal trainer.

My Post (19)

Before I get into my top picks I will only mention shoes you can use for your workouts or for lifting weights.

Choose the best shoe in where you move around in easy without pain in your feet. We all have different feet, you may have high arches, flat feet or other issues. If you are experiencing discomfort you may need new shoes or see a doctor. There is an easy test to tell what type of feet you have, all you need is a sunny concrete surface and water. Wet the bottom of your feet and take a few steps. Look at the shape of your foot. if you just see ball and heel then you have high arches. If you see your whole foot you probably have flat feet. If you just see your ball single line from your big toe to your heel then you have normal to a slightly high arch. If you are interested in a specific activity like running or hiking there are specialty stores that can help you find the best shoe for your foot type.

Okay, now that that is over with let’s get into the list.

My third favorite brand is Adidas

I feel that Adidas is more an active leisure brand than a workout shoe. Hear me out I know I am going to get a lot of hate for sneakerhead, but based on their design the shoes are just not comfortable enough for workouts. They are definitely, not the worst you can buy, but keep in mind what is better, your feet or how they look. The two types I like the best are ALPHABOUNCE AMS SHOES,


Reebok comes in number two. The one thing I don’t like about Reebok is that they support Crossfit, I will write about the dangers of Cross Fit in a later blog. The brand itself made a huge turnaround it went from almost going out of business to doing really well. I do like their website where they categories the shoes,(running training) so if you are looking into a specific activity you can do some research beforehand which is nice. My two favorites are  REEBOK FLEXAGON, REEBOK JJ II VALOR.

My number one is Nike! I love Nike because the shoes are most comfortable for me, and they last the longest. Just like Reebok they also have a section where you can research which shoe would be the best for the activity you want to perform, from running to golf. My favorite shoes are Nike Free TR 8, Nike Free x

Let me know what your favorite workout shoe is? and why you like it

If you are interested in health coaching or personal training

Email me at shannonstoy@gmail.com



Best Home Gym Equipment According to a Personal Trainer.

You don’t need a gym membership to get into an amazing shape.If you are completely broke all you need is your body weight.  You don’t need a lot of equipment to get a good workout. I’m going to share what I use and what I think is the best for beginners. I have collected a lot of equipment over the years some I loved and some I didn’t. I tried to find all the products on Amazon the link will bring you to my affiliate page on Amazon where you can find most of my equipment.   https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/CWUY769DL4EI?&sort=default . These are the six at home equipment I think is the best.  


1 Resistance Tubing or bands

The best thing is that it is portable, and countless exercises you can do with them. I recommend getting a band with a door attachment. When using the door attachment never use it on the side of the door opening always use it when the door closes. There are different types of bands there are bands, rings, belts, resistance tubing with handles pretty much any equipment that is rubber and stretches, which is in the resistance category of exercises equipment. I’m just going to share three and the exercises associated with them.

Price range $5-$200




2 Swiss ball/ yoga ball

This is wonderful equipment also great to use as an extra chair. In my opinion, one of the best exercises especially for beginners is using the swiss ball to help you squat. Most people do not have good squatting form for many reasons, from weak or tight muscles, never properly learning how to squat, or body misalignment. The Swiss ball is best for core strength and stability you can, however, get a full body workout. I personally like Swiss balls that are weighted down just because they are less likely to move around.        

Price range $10- $40




3 Yoga Mat

Even if you don’t do yoga it is nice to have a mat to cushion your back and also a yoga mat doesn’t slip around as much as other mats. You can use any type of mat you want, a yoga mat is just my favorite for exercise.    

Price range $12-$100




4 Set of Weights

If you are not a fan of resistance bands than weights are for you. In some cases, it is easier to use weights then using bands. It’s more what you enjoy using and what works for you. The next blog I  write will be about strength training. You don’t need to buy a lot of weights I would recommend getting two I mainly use a five pound and ten pounds.

Price range $10-$200



5 Jump Rope  

You don’t need to buy an expensive cardio equipment all you need is a jump rope. If you haven’t done cardio in a while jump roping is a great way to start. I downloaded an interval timer app and set it to 45 seconds jumping and 15-second rest I do this for 10 minutes. You can adjust based on your fitness level

Price range $5 -$50







The only reason I didn’t add this to the list above is that it is costly however you will get an amazing full body workout from it. The problem is that even though you can use it on your door it’s best that you mount it so that you can do any workout and harder workouts if it’s mounted.

The price range 169.95- 219.95






You don’t necessarily need every one of these equipment but I would choose at least 2 to mix up your workout. If you feel you don’t have the time or motivation to exercise you may need a health coach to help you to reach your goal. What exercise equipment you use in the comments.    

What is Your favorite workout equipment?

If you or someone you know is in need of a health coach check out my website for a free week of health coaching. adventuretogreatnesshealthcoaching.com


There are New Guidelines for High Blood Pressure


The new guidelines come from The American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association. The update happened back in November 2017. I am going to break down the new vs the old. I hope I can inform you on how to lower your blood pressure, as well as knowing your risk.


Old Guidelines

Blood Pressure Category Systolic

Mm Hg(upper #


Mm Hg (lower #

Low Blood Pressure


Less than 80 or Less than 60
Normal 80-120 and 60-80
Prehypertension 120-139 or 80-89
High Blood Pressure

Hypertension stage 1

140-159 or 90-99
High Blood Pressure

Hypertension stage 2

160 or higher or Loo or higher
High Blood Pressure


Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

New Guidelines


Blood Pressure Category Systolic

Mm Hg(upper #


Mm Hg (lower #

Normal Less than 120 and Less than 80
Elevated 120-129 and Less than 80
Stage 1 130-139 or 80-89
Stage 2 Greater than 140 or Greater than 90


With the new guideline, it will put more people in danger of having hypertension. If you haven’t been to the doctor lately you may want to get it checked out. The reason for the change is because more authoritative studies are showing a correlation between high blood pressure and an increased health risk for high cholesterol, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death. There are some ways to lower your risk,, but unfortunately, as we age the harder it becomes to control it. Other factors include being obese as well as ethnicity, African Americans and Hispanic are more at risk.


Lowering your risk comes down to lifestyle change. Getting plenty of exercises mostly cardio based. Having a health coach guide you in changing your lifestyle will help improve your quality of life. The thing you can do on your own is to decrease your stress, eat a high fiber diet and follow the dash diet to help lower your risk. Unfortunately, you may need to try different styles of exercises and diet to find one that works for you.  The better you keep up with your health the lower the chances of you developing high blood pressure and the diseases associated with them.


If you are interested in health coaching go to   adventuretogreatnesshealthcoaching.com for more information and to receive a free week of health coaching.



Idea fitness magazine

Lelbach, A., & Koller, A. 2017. Mechanism underlying exercise-induced modulation of hypertension. Journal of Hypertension Research. PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults Hypertension


Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Hello happy people.

I love Italian food but not always the biggest fan of pasta. If you I are trying to cut back on carbs this is a great dish for you. It took me around 45 minutes to make but it was well worth it.


Easy eggplant parmesan


2 medium-sized eggplants

1 cup mushrooms (sliced)

1 cup basil, spinach or arugula

½  medium onion

½ medium bell pepper (optional)

2 cups marinara sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup shredded mozzarella and ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese


Wash and slice the eggplant (about ½ inch slices) and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Broil them on the highest rack of the oven for 3 to 4 minutes then flip them and broil the other side for 3 or 4 minutes. Take them out of the oven and layer them in an oiled square baking dish. Slice the mushrooms and finely chop the onions and bell pepper, then in an oiled skillet saute the vegetables for a few minutes and add salt and pepper and pour them over the eggplant. Add the marinara sauce and top it off with the cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes at 400 F

I help people all over the world to help them reach their goals. If you are reading this you can get a free month of health coaching all you have to do is go to my website


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Best Salmon Ever

This is my favorite way to cook salmon it comes out juicy and soft every time. I use to hate salmon.  I converted from being a vegetarian because sushi is amazing! Anyways I thought I would like salmon by itself, but no, it was dry and had a funny taste. Salmon is delicate, add too much salt and it won’t be edible, overcook it and it will turn to rubber.     

You will need a baking dish,( I used 10”X 11”)  a bowl to mix the lemon oil mix, and tin foil to cover the baking dish.


8 oz Salmon

Pinch of salt sometimes I don’t add salt until it’s done.

Juice of one lemon

2 Tab olive oil  


In a bowl squeeze, one lemon then add the oil and salt. Hold back one tablespoon of oil to use for salad dressing, or to add more flavor to the salmon at the end of baking.

Pour the rest of the mix into the baking dish cote both sides of the salmon and put it in the fridge let marinade. If you are heading to work it will take five minutes to make the marinade place the salmon skin side up wrap with plastic wrap.  

Preheat oven to 420 F 215 C

Flip the fish so the skills down. There should still be some liquid in the pan this will help to create steam so the salmon will come out soft. Cover the baking dish with foil. At this temperature, the salmon will cook fast so check it in   

20 minutes if the salmon was a bright red then it will be easier to check because it will become lighter in color. Or you can stick a thermometer in the thickest part and it should read 145F. I served it with a salad I made the night before. 

I hope you enjoy this dish, comment down below if you made it, I would love to hear from you.

If you or someone you know is in need of health coaching go to   https://www.adventuretogreatnesshealthcoaching.com/  


Stress Less is The Key to Happiness



One thing that I know well is stress. I suffer from chronic stress and fibromyalgia brought on by stress. Just a disclaimer I am not a sociologist and if you need help I will link numbers of help hotlines at the end.

I am going to write this from my perspective. As I’m writing this I’m pretty much at rock bottom. I lost my job and had to move back in with my parents, I am also trying to start a business from nothing. So you can imagine I have a lot of stress in my life. I want to share my story not just to complain but to shed light that you are not alone. Stress can make or break you, when you break it feel as if you have no control no way out. Just know you are not alone I am with you along with so many others. Finding your way to happiness means overcoming the things that cause you to be unhappy. For now, I am going to share my strategies at keeping stress at bay   


Just breathe

You will be surprised how effective breathing can be. Just take a few deep breaths in and out. Try to clear your mind. Counting to 10 can helps breath in for 5 breath out for five. Counting helps to focus only on your breathing and nothing else. Sometimes our brains need to restart before continuing on our day to day tasks.

Take a few minutes or seconds to yourself

Find what calms you down. I like to close my eyes and picture myself on a beach and relaxing. You could try to give yourself a pep talk, sometimes we need expert advice. You can make a list of everything you need to do that day and tackle them one by one. If you hit max stress point then you just need to stop, everything will be a lot easier with a calm mind. Sometimes listening to music can help.


Managing your stress takes practice. Meditation has shown to reduce stress. It works wonders for me. Sometimes you just need to close your eyes take some deep breaths and stop overthinking. There is usually a root cause of why you stress so much is it work, money or not sleeping. Once you start to work on your stress you will start to stress less



If you’re not interested in meditating exercise is also a wonderful stress outlet. It takes your mind away from your problems. A 10-minute walk can do wonders for your stress. I for one like boxing there’s something so satisfying about punching something to get my stress out.

I hope at least one of these tips help you. please share your tips and tricks in the comments down below let’s help each other conquer our stress.

There is always a way out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.







I help people all over the world! I help people reach their wellness goals. If you are reading this you can get a free month of health coaching all you have to do is go to my website


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Organizing your mind and space.

 There are many books on this topic that I will list at the end. I took bits and pieces of each book and created tips and exercises to manage your never-ending to-do list. Most people feel that they have so many things to do and feel as though it never gets done. When you are feeling overwhelmed pause for a second close your eyes and take a deep breath. Sometimes taking a quick pause can help you refocus on what needs to get done first. In culinary school, I learned a phrase mi zɑ̃ ˈplas Which means everything in its place. Putting several dishes together at once with other people doing the same thing, It is a very stressful environment. Being able to organize your brain and your environment makes everything go smoother. In your mind make a list of things you need to get done each hour starting with the task that takes up the most amount of time. In cases where you don’t know how long a task might take you can try to juggle easier tasks. I’m going to use pizza making as an example, I hope this doesn’t make you crave pizza. The end task is a pizza but there are many steps to making a pizza. First, you have to make the dough which is a 12 step process this will take the bulk of your time so this would be your major task. You need to juggle another task in the order of what takes the longest to complete making tomato sauce, cutting up vegetables, grating cheese, baking, and then enjoying. If you just take a minute or two to organize the things you need to do it becomes a lot less stressful.

Understanding your strength and weakness can be hard, no one likes to dwell on the things they are not good at. But taking a hard look at what we can improve on can help make your day run more smoothly. You might be wondering how this exercise has to do with organizing your brain. It’s not so much to help organize but to take your weakness and change it into a strength to help improve your productivity. You will need a piece of paper you are going to to make 4 boxes at the top of each square you are going to write strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats.


The things you feel you are great at. This could be in your personal or professional life. The tasks you can do with not much thinking  


Aspects of your day to day activities that you struggle with. Whether it is finding time to get everything done or tasks that challenge you.  


To take your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. This takes work and brainstorming to find what works for you. Each week work on one weakness at a time to see how you can make your weakness into a strength


This is where you think about what is holding you back from turning your weakness into strengths. Some of our weaknesses take longer to work on but working more efficiently will help reduce stress.  


With this exercise it allows us to be honest with yourself and to work on the things that are difficult. Time management helps to free up time but it needs to come from organizing your mind, to work better and with less stress.

Keeping your workspace organized, a side note there are different types of organization. I feel that the best one is keeping it simple and clean. Having a clean space and organized workspace helps to keep your mind calm and work more efficiently knowing where all your stuff is, this includes your computer. Using color to organize to be able to find things easily. Keep things close that you use most and in the same place. Moving on to your home take part in decluttering and keep things organized and clean will help you to be in a relaxed environment. Keep your environment and your mind free of clutter will help reduce stress and free up time.

Keep it simple we stress so much about the things in our day. Then we don’t truly appreciate the moments of our life that bring us true joy. One of my favorite quotes is by Archbishop Desmond Tutu “You are made for perfection. But you are not yet perfect you are a masterpiece in the making”. When we keep working on yourself to improve and better our lives, it puts things in perspective.The whole purpose of these stress management is to help you not have stress and to live a more joyful life. My goal for you is to be able to enjoy life to the fullest.






Amazing Banana Oat pancakes

Keeps you full and happy!

Super quick and delicious!! There are only 3 ingredients and it only takes 10 minutes. I use an electric griddle but you can use a frying pan. If you don’t have time in the morning this is perfect for you. You can use any quick oats you want unless you like uncooked oats. The oats I use are Qia supersedes & grains, you can find them at Whole Foods or Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Qia-Superfood-Organic-Hot-Oatmeal/dp/B00RD8O7GK/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1514670588&sr=8-3&keywords=qia%2Boatmeal&th=1

image_6483441 (1)


Time 10 minutes. Calories 335 without syrup


1 banana smashed

1 egg

1 oatmeal pack

Heat a griddle to 350( add coconut spray) or frying pan at medium-low heat and add a little vegetable oil for frying.

1 Mash up the banana

2 Add egg mix together until well blended

3 Mix in oats

It’s best to make small size pancakes it helps to cook them more evenly, also easier to flip.


Let me know how they came out?

If you or someone you know is in need of personal training or health coaching check out my website. https://www.adventuretogreatnesshealthcoaching.com/


Gym season is upon us!!!! Read this before joining a gym

Things to think about before you join a gym. Full disclaimer this is not about gyms being bad, just helpful information so you can make the right decision for your health and budget. If you are in need of a personal trainer or health coach check out my website.




Enough with the shameless plugs. Let’s get into it!

Fitness companies have been planning for months for your arrival hiring staff, working on the best marketing plan. Most are offering some type of deal that seems promising but in the end, if you don’t end up using it, it could cost a lot.

1. Joining a gym

If you are looking into getting a gym membership, be aware you will need to pay a lot of money up front. Unless the initiation fee was waived. Most initiation fees cost is about half the amount month payment so if the gym you are looking at is $60 a month then your upfront cost would be $90. If you come across a gym that is basically charging you an initiation fee and last month membership fees then you will be paying $150 up front. If a gym is trying to do this run the other way! It won’t end well for you. If you find a gym that is claiming that they are month to month no contracts that is somewhat of a lie. You will have to cancel 30 days before the next payment period. Which will be written in your contract.

2. Gyms with contracts.

Most but not all chain gyms will make you sign a contract. Read the contract carefully, chances are they won’t let you bring it home. Before signing the contract ask yourself:

When was the last time you went to the gym and did you enjoy it?

How often will you go to the gym? If you are paying $100 a month for a membership and you only go to one spin class a week, it might not really worth it. You would probably better go to a spin studio.

Knowing how to workout

As a personal trainer, it is my biggest pet peeve to see someone with horrible form. If you are unsure about of how to do an exercise learn how before you add weight. I learned by doing and practice but getting a personal trainer (hint hint) who can guide you into doing the movement correctly is probably the best way to go.

3. Do what you love!

If you hate running (ME) then try something new. Groupon is a great place to find small studio that offers a wide range of different workouts like boxing, spin class or you might even enjoy a good boot camp class. If you are doing a work out that you enjoy doing, you are more likely to stick to it.

4. Weight loss

I will write a longer topic later but here is the short and sweet version. Exercise alone will not help you lose weight sorry to burst your bubble. Diet plays a bigger role in weight loss because it is easier to control. If you have spent years struggling with your weight you may need help from a health coach.


If you want to join a gym make sure it fits your budget and time. A side note, when I look at gyms I see if they have things that I will use. See how well kept it is if the equipment is working and easy for you to use.

Look into expanding your horizon as far as fitness goes there are so many different types of exercises out there don’t just settle for what you know. You may be surprised you like something new like spin.

You can workout from home online personal training with me!

I hope this helps you make an informed decision about your new year resolution. If you have any questions about fitness or about health coaching leave a comment I would love to hear from you.


Best Slow Cooked Tomato Chicken Soup

Slow cooked tomato chicken soup

cook time 4 hours

I used a slow cooker, stove top will be less time


8 oz Boneless skinless chicken breast  

½ cup Cherry tomatoes

½ Onion

2-4 Cloves Garlic

2 Carrots

1 Bell pepper

4 cups Vegetable broth

½ Tsp each of these spices, Smoked paprika, cloves, salt, pepper, thyme and 1 bay leaf  


Using a slow cooker plug it in and set it on high. Add a little olive oil to keep from sticking. Chop Cherry tomatoes, Onion, Cloves Garlic, Carrots and Bell pepper. Add all the ingredients into the pot and cook on high for 30 minutes. Turn down to low and cook for three and a half hours, the chicken should be soft and thoroughly cooked. The chicken should be able to shred easy. Let cool a little and then enjoy.   


Low Sugar Banana Bread

I love banana bread but it can be high in sugar. I have seen recipes that called for a  whole cup of sugar and a half cup of oil.                                                                                               IMG_3691

 Dry ingredients                                                                                                                          One cup ap flour                                                                                                                            http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-unbleached-all-purpose-flour-5-lb                                                                                                                                                  1/2 cup white whole wheat flour                      http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-white-whole-wheat-flour-5-lb 3 teaspoons baking powder                                                                                                         1/4 teaspoons kosher salt                                                                                                               1/4 teaspoon each clove, and all spice                                                                                         2 teaspoons cinnamon or as desired( I love using fresh cinnamon and a lot of it)           walnuts  3/4 cup  optional

Wet ingredients                                                                                                                              Three over ripened bananas ( it’s okay if they are black)  Smash the banana until smooth                                                                                                                                             Add 3 tablespoons of Honey (if you don’t want to use honey you can use agave syrup or maple syrup.)                                                                                                                                   2 eggs                                                                                                                                                 3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
Preheat oven 325 F 160C Bake time 50-60 minutes

Start with two bowls, the dry bowl should be larger than the wet. Starting with the dry bowl combine all ingredients and whisk the dry ingredients to create air this is easier than sifting the flour. Moving on to the wet bowl, take your bananas and smash them into a wet paste. add the rest of the ingredients and whisk them together. Once the wet bowl is thoroughly combined add it to the dry scraping the bowl into the dry. The next few steps are the hardest, there is not a whole lot of sugar or oil so it will be on the dry side if you over mix. let the wet ingredients sit in the bowl for a minute, using a rubber spatula gently mix the ingredients together. Best way to go about it is using the spatula along the bowl and bringing the dry ingredients to the top moving in one direction only make about 18 folds if it hasn’t combined let the gluten rest before mixing it again. I like to grease a loaf pan with coconut oil add parchment paper on the bottom or flour the pan.  Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.

learn more about health coaching and how it might be able to help you with your life style change. 


Note: if you do you have diabetes replace honey with Stevia 1/2 pack.


What I Eat In A Day

I like to start my day off right by eating a good breakfast. I really enjoy eating yogurt in the morning. It’s light, easy to make especially in the summer with all the summer fruit. I am going to workout today so I am going to eat an extra 100 calories than I would normally eat if I didn’t workout. This will help my body repair and recover.       




Mango Cardamom Yogurt


½ Mango

4 Tab Yogurt

¼ teas Cardamom seed

Small squeeze of honey


I started by cutting up mango and putting it at the bottom. Then I drizzle a small amount of honey on the mango. Top it off with plain yogurt of your liking, ground up cardamom and sprinkled on top.       

I eat mixed nuts throughout the day. I also have protein smoothie after I workout


Salad !!! I love vegetables I really like taking advantage of going to the farmers market and buying fresh vegetables.



Simple Greek Salad

Mixed greens

Red onion


Bell pepper



Grapeseed oil

Cut up all the veggies and mix. That is why I love salad it is so so easy to make. Drizzle a small amount of oil on top.  




I typically keep it easy only spending 30-40 minutes on dinner.


Baked Salmon with Brown Rice

IMG_3274 (1)


6 oz Salmon

2 lemons

Dried dill

Salt small pinch ( salmon can be unpredictable salty)  

2 cloves garlic

1 Tab Olive oil

Preheat to 420

First get all your ingredients ready. Start by peeling lemons and place the peels in a baking pan that is large enough to fit your salmon. Place the salmon on top of the lemon rinds. This adds a bit of flavor but it also makes it so that the salmon doesn’t stick to the pan and it makes it easier to clean later. Add dried or fresh dill to the top along with the salt, garlic, lemon, and oil. Once assembled cover the pan with foil and punch holes to allow steam to come out. Cook for 20-25 minutes       





How Fat Moves Through The Body

Have you ever wondered how fat moves through the body? It might just be me but it is an interesting phormium. We have learned how fat leaves the body through sweat, exhaling and peeing it out. But how it moves is important to understand so that we can maximize it for weight loss. If you have read my previous blog about carbohydrates, then you would remember that fat is the second most used energy source.

So why do we get so fat? Eating too many calories and not exercising, but believe it or not fat actually plays a role in the body. It is not pure evil although it can be if you have too much of it. The main purpose of fat is that it is an excellent way to store energy, in fact, fat is twice the energy storage than carbohydrates. The purpose of fat storage is to help the body function when you are fasting or if you run out of energy while exercising. However not eating for a full day will not make you lose weight, and it is also not a healthy way to lose weight

When you store too much fat or produce too much, can have a major effect on your health by increasing your chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and many other health problems. Fat is stored in two places in the body. subcutaneous fat is found just under the skin the fat you can squeeze, and visceral fat is found around vital organs which protects them from harm.  Visceral fat is the most damaging to your health, and the main cause for health problems. Even if you are skinny you could still have an unhealthy amount of visceral fat.

You can’t tell the percentage of fat you have by weighing yourself. There are tools and methods to determine your body fat percentages(BF%). The most common way to measure is the use of scales that can read your BF% also known as Bioelectrical impedance analysis.  The idea is that the electrical impulses sends waves throughout the body and measures fat muscle and bone. This technique is not very accurate, especially if the scale is low quality or not calibrated properly. Skin-fold test is another common way of determining fat but not very accurate it only measures the subcutaneous fat and not visceral fat. There are many other ways of measuring fat. I will insert a chart for reference at the end.

Have you ever poured oil into water and noticed that the water and oil did not mix, the same occurs in the body.  The body is made up of 60% water. When you need fat for energy it moves through the bloodstream and carries a protein called albumin. The fat is carried through the capillaries veins surrounding the muscles. Fatty acids can be removed from albumin and taken into the muscles. But first, the fatty acids must cross two barriers to get from the blood into the muscles. The first being the capillary wall endothelial and the second being muscle-cell membrane sarcolemma. This process takes a long time for fatty acid to make its way inside the muscle. Once inside the muscles, a molecule called coenzyme A is added to the fatty acid. This molecule is a transport protein it prepares the fatty acid for either oxidation to produce energy or storage within the muscle. Eighty percent of fatty acid entering the muscle is oxidized for energy. Fatty acids burned for energy (oxidized) in the muscle can come either directly from blood or from intramyocellular triacylglycerols (IMTAGs). For fatty acids to be oxidized, they must be transported mitochondria. A mitochondrion is an organelle to produces cells it processes fatty acids to curate a readily usable energy currency(ATP)

When you are exercising blood flows to adipose tissues and muscles. It releases more fatty acids from adipose tissue to the muscles. The type of intensity of the exercise has a greater impact on fat oxidation. We actually burn more fat during moderate, intense exercise then high-intensity exercise. During low-intensity exercise, most of the fatty acid comes from the blood. During high intensity, the level of fatty acids oxidation falls and carbohydrates become the main energy source.

I hope this helps to gives you an insight into the body, If weight loss is your goal, moderate exercise is 60% Vo2  to find out your Vi2 max you can find that out by talking if you are having a hard time making out full sentences then you are about at the right intensity. If you want to find out your Vo2 max find a personal trainer to help you.

Tips for Hiking or Running Alone.

Hiking or running alone can seem scary it might even stop you from getting fit. Not only did I run a hiking group I also hiked a lot on my own. I hope these tips can help you and give you the confidence to hike and explore the world.

.1 Know your limits

It’s not just about how fit you are, it is also your energy and stress level that you need to consider. You can run the same path every day, but may have different results. If you are trying a new path take it a bit easier than you would on familiar paths. Take extra breaks even if you don’t feel you need one, especially if you are hiking, take time to enjoy the view. From my personal experience, I once looked up a hiking trail and found one that claimed that it was an easy 3-mile hike. It turned out to be a 7-mile hike, it wasn’t hard but it was longer than I anticipated, and ran most of it. If you feel tired rest and stretch a bit there is no shame in needing a rest, and bring plenty of water.   

.2 Tell someone

Before heading out let someone know where you are going and how long it might take you. Be very specific on what route you are taking. If you do get lost or hurt, then at least someone will know where you are, and you will be found a lot faster. If you do get lost or hurt do not panic and stay where you are if you can.  

.3  Have an ID and emergency contact

It is a good idea to have identification on you as well as an emergency contact phone number and list your health problems and allergies. You can keep a piece of paper with your name and your emergency contact info on it. If you don’t want to use paper you can have your information on your wallpaper on your phone lock screen. Or you can get a bracelet or necklace I like road ID, I have one it is easy you don’t have to think about it just slip it on and that’s it. http://www.roadid.com

.4 What to do if you get injured

First, don’t panic it can be hard but you need to focus. Stay calm and take inventory of your injuries which helps for you to not go into shock. Keep your brain focus on doing first aid on yourself  use your phone to call for help. If your cell phone doesn’t have reception don’t panic. If you follow my tips you would have told someone where you are and when you would be back. Only move if you feel you are not safe where you are, otherwise stay put. Always have a first aid kit with you even on short hikes. Buy a kit that has instruction on how to do first aid on yourself. I would recommend taking a first aid class.

.5 Animals

If you are outside then there are animals you need to be careful of. Stray dogs, I love dogs but stray dogs can be dangerous you don’t know if they will attack you. If you see a dog in the distance try to go a different way.  If one approaches you and seem aggressive make yourself tall back away slowly don’t run keep your eyes on the dog, yell tell the dog to sit. Use your phone for help or try to get someone to help you. If you come across coyotes or a mountain lion do the same thing. There are very few mountain lion attacks just be aware of your surrounding. Mountain lion typically hunt from above and ponce on prey. Bears are different if you know that there are bears look for tracks if  you see bear tracks you probably want to turn around and go home. For the most part, if you don’t bother the bear it won’t bother you. But if it does don’t run bears can outrun you back away slowly don’t make yourself look too big. Bears are not intimidated at all by you if you show aggression it will more likely attack you. It might be a good idea to have bear mace just make sure you are pointing it in the right direction. For snakes, you can’t really do anything just keep a lookout and avoid them. For the most part animals are just as scared of you as you are of them. We of course are also animals and expenses a very similar fight-or-flight response.    

.6 Avoid getting lost

I have gotten lost a few times and it is not fun. To avoid getting lost, make sure you know the trail. Plan ahead and for the most part, there is a lot of useful information on the internet just look up the place you want to hike, and there are usually a few sites that will help you with direction. Rock stacking is something a lot of people do on trails to help find their way back if you see rocks that are stacked it is usually a good indication that someone has been there and that you are probably going the right way, it could be useful if you stacked your own rocks. Backtracking, if you feel you are lost go back the way you came, if you have a bad memory take pictures every few miles so that you can remember.      

. 7 Apps that help

These are a few apps that I like

# 1 map my run

# 2 trails.com

#american red cross app first aid

. 8 What to bring

This list is mostly for hikers but if you are running more than 3 miles (5 k) then you should have water. For a hiking a trail that is easy to moderate and less than 5 miles you should have lots of water, first aid, red blue or green flashlight, emergency contact information, granola bars nuts, and emergency food, extra socks, a sweater, emergency blanket, and medication if you need it. The most important thing is that you stay hydrated.

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any tips leave a comment.

If you are interested in online personal training or health coaching fill out the contact form for a free consultation. 

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Are you Getting Enough Protein In Your Diet?

The main role of protein is to act as a structural component to cells and tissue. Protein is a complex molecule made up of tiny amino acids compounds.  If you don’t eat an adequate amount of protein, your cells and tissue are not able to function. There are two types of protein complete and incomplete protein. A complete protein has all nine essential amino acids necessary in the human diet.  The main complete proteins that you can consume are meat, eggs, soy, and some grans. If food has an incomplete protein, you can mix other food with it to make a complete protein like beans and brown rice. If you are vegetarian or vegan you should research the complete and incomplete proteins to get a sufficient amount of amino acids.

When you consume too much protein it will be stored as fat. Most people consume more protein than they need. The idea is to consume about 12 to 20 percent of your daily caloric calories in protein. Of course, it can be higher if you have an intense workout regimen. You may want to discuss your diet with a nutritionist to get a better understanding of your dietary needs.  Down below I have listed the amount of proteins you need and then the calories you consume.

1200 Calorie diet 45-75 Grams of protein

1500 Calorie diet 56-94 Grams of protein

1800 Calorie diet 68-112 Grams of protein

2000 Calorie diet 75-125 Grams of protein

2400 Calorie diet 90-150 Grams of protein

2500 Calorie diet 94-156 Grams of protein

2700 Calorie diet 100-168 Grams of protein

3000 Calorie diet 112-188 Grams of protein

112 Grams  Boneless skinless chicken breast 26 grams of protein

100 Grams lean ground beef 20 grams of protein

100 Grams Salmon 17.1  grams of protein

1 can Tuna 42  grams of protein

100 Grams Sea bass 23.6  grams of protein

½ cup cottage cheese 14  grams of protein

½ cup  Plain Greek yogurt 12 grams of protein

255 ml Milk 8.5 grams of protein

1 Egg 7 grams of protein

¼ block Tofu 9.4 grams of protein

2 tab Peanut butter 7.2 grams of protein

1 cup Lentils cooked  17 grams of protein

½ cup beans  8.8 grams of protein

½ cup garbanzo beans 6.8  grams of protein

180 grams Rice 4.7 grams of protein

I hope you find the information helpful if you have any questions leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.

All above info is public knowledge. My sources are Applied Nutrition 4th addition and ace fitness Personal Training Manual.

If you are interested in online personal training or health coaching fill out the contact form for a free consultation. 

Thank you so mush for your support.

Shop my Amazon Store for all your health and wellness needs.


I do live workouts on facebook 


Follow me on Instagram at   Happyandhalthy

Get my 8-week guided self-help book

If you are interested in collaborating or sponsoring fill out the contact form. ( Please note I do not support selling supplements)

What is a Carbohydrate

First off what is a carbohydrate (carb) Carbohydrate means ‘hydrated carbon’,  this means that the carbon contains hydrogen (water) and oxygen. Carbohydrate is an excellent source of energy fore the body as well as our brain. Red blood cells and nerve cells primarily use glucose which are found in complex carbs. If you are not consuming enough complex carbs you may feel tired. You can classify carbohydrate in two types simple and complex.  

Simple carbs commonly called sugar. List of simple carbs are raw sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup/ high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, white bread, white rice most processed foods, candy, ice cream, cookies. You can still eat simple carbs but keep it to a minimum of once or twice a week.

Complex carb or Polysaccharides is the second major type of carbs, which generally consists of a long chain of glucose molecules called polysaccharides. Complex carbs will keep your stomach feeling fuller longer and will help maintain more energy over the day. You can increase your consumption of complex carbs by eating whole grains, Legumes, Lentils, Broccoli and dark green vegetables, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), old-fashioned oats, sweet potato, squash, black beans, 100% whole wheat bread / sprouted grain bread, 100% whole wheat pasta, brown rice, farro,  and green peas. When you consume complex carbs, you also increase your fiber intake which most of us are lacking.

How much carbs you consume is based on your activity level. Before I get into the amount I am all going to include fat as well, I will write a follow-up a blog for fat and protein We rely on both fat and carbs to give us energy. Energy from fat is usually used during rest and low intense activity. Even though this is true I would not recommend following high-fat, low carb diets. High fat, low carbs is not a good diet, mainly because red blood cells only use glucose for energy. If you do eat a low carb diet it may affect your energy, mood, and focus. These ratios below are for fat and carbs and are only for healthy adults. If you need more information on diet, talk to your doctor or a dietician Finally, let’s get into activities, light exercising like walking, light cleaning, gentle yoga or any relaxing exercises is  12.5 % Carbohydrate and 87.5 (healthy) Fat

Moderate exercise like biking, dancing, most workout classes, and weight lifting is 45% Carbohydrate and 55% Fat. High intense workout such as swimming, sprinting, running(10k or more), boxing and high intense training workout that elevates your heart rate to vo2 max is 67% Carbohydrate and 33% fat.

I hope you have a better understanding of carbohydrates. The purpose of this blog was to help you to understand carbs. There is a lot more to carbs then what I wrote, this is just general knowledge. If you are interested in a diet I highly recommend that you see a registered dietician or nutritionist to get diet advice.                


nutrition an applied Approach Janice Thompson Melinda Manore

Ace Nutrition

Ace personal Training

Ace Health Coaching

What To Do If You Don’t Feel Motivated to Exercise.

Sometimes working out can feel like a chore. There are days I don’t want to workout especially when I spend my day getting other people to work out. We spend a lot of time having an internal conversation with ourselves. We talk ourselves out of exercising or going to work functions. We all do it, I think even pro athletes have struggles going to the gym.  I am going to give you some tips to help you lift things up and put them down, or run if you’re into that.

Number one take a class.

If your gym offers group x classes (group fitness) Try one you never have done before. If you don’t have a gym membership there are workouts you can follow on Youtube. Working out is a lot easier when someone is telling you what to do. You don’t have to think you just follow along. By doing a class you never have done before might be more exciting, not knowing what to expect and the class will be over quicker.

Number 2 Take a walk

A walk can do wonders for your body and mind. It doesn’t have to be a long walk 30 to 45 minutes will do wonders. It might be a normal workout for you, but it can help you to get into the right head space to do an additional workout after your walk. If you still can’t find motivation at least you went for a walk.    

Number 3 Ask a friend

Having a friend to workout with you can help you motivated. It can be more fun to workout with a friend and it can make your workout more challenging. Try to find a friend that loves to workout and can keep you motivated. If you don’t have a friend that likes to exercise then join a group on Facebook meetup.

Number 4 Just do it

I know it is a copyright of Nike but they have a point. Just tell yourself I will workout for 45 minutes then I will watch my favorite show.  We all have a tendency for negative self-talk or our thoughts are not in our best interest, so just do it and you will be happy you did.

If you are interested in health coaching or personal training email me at shannonstoy@gmail.com

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Personal Trainer View on the Body Positive Movement.

I am going to start off by saying I am all for body positivity and feel that the fitness industry needs to catch up. With there never-ending advertisement about losing weight, and to put pressure on looking good, I think that it is time to focus more on our health and happiness. If you feel amazing being plus size, then you will feel good no matter what size you are. It is wonderful to feel confident in ourselves and in our body, no matter what the tag on our clothing says. We should all strive to feel good about our bodies, and not fall for advertisements that want you to only focus on looking good, you are already there. You look amazing!

The focus should be about your health, eating right, exercising, managing stress. If you need to lose weight your doctor will probably tell you or maybe you want to live a healthy lifestyle all on your own. I have worked out with plus-size models and their workouts are no joke most of the workouts are just as hard as Victoria’s Secret models. Genetics play a big roll in your size along with other factors such as medication and health problems. Work towards being healthy in the size you are, more than likely you will lose weight.

Like many women, I also feel the need to be skinny and focus on the size I want to be, but sometimes I get frustrated. The point of working out and eating right is to decrease the chances of disease and to be able to move with ease when you’re in your in your 70s. Self-love is a wonderful aspect of health. Next time you stand in front of a mirror don’t focus on your flaws think what you like about yourself. It can take time to train your brain to think more positive, I know I struggle with it.

You are more than just a body. Never let the way you look define who you are as a person.

If you are looking to lose weight or get in shape you can email me at shannonstoy@gmail.com for a free online session.

A Letter To Everyone Who Is Struggling.


Have you ever come to a point in your life when you feel like you have no control. That is how I feel on a daily basis. I love being a personal trainer, in fact, my job is one of the only thing making me feel happy besides my family. The last few years have been hard causing me to feel overly stressed and feeling depressed. I will admit I am an overly dramatic person and I’m way too hard on my self. But is it so bad to want to be successful, I know I not the only one who feels this way. Being honest with ourselves is one of the hardest things to do. Knowing when to ask for help or even making a drastic change in life so that you can quiet your mental demand that consumes our lives. What is that is feeding the demands is it fear of failing, fear of being out of control, or is it something holding you back.


Falling is my fear. Every motivational speaker I ever heard says you only fail if you stop trying. This might be true failure is scary no one likes to fail, but without failure how would we learn. With my business, I was trying so hard to make it work and doing it the wrong way. I was so focused on making my business like other fitness business that I failed and its okay. I learned from my mistakes and I will try again.  


When you come to a point in your life that you feel trapped alone, scared of the unknown. Just remember you are not alone there are people in your life you care about you, who want to help. Life can be hard so you have to be tough its okay to ask for help or seek help. In no way does this make you week.     

Don’t lose your light

I’m so sad about the tragic death of two people that I’ve looked up to. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain they have inspired me so much over the years. Depression is the hardest thing to deal with,  battling your inner demons. Ending it all seems so easy but it leaves a lasting impact on the people you love and the people you inspire. Sometimes there just isn’t help that’s when you have to reshape your reality. Coming from someone who suffered with depression I understand what they went through. I say shaking your reality meaning sometimes you have to make drastic changes in your life. It can be anything from moving separating yourself from loved ones whatever it takes to find that inner peace.  In my heart, I don’t think suicide is the answer. finding joy and new things new possibility can really help. I came to a point in my life where I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Partly why I haven’t been writing so much is because I’ve been feeling so depressed so defeated I’m not even a good writer and I know it, but still brings me joy it allows these dark thoughts to be placed on paper and out of my mind. finding solace in the people the places the beauty of the world. No one in this life is perfect we all suffer so much it makes life seem not important but maybe the purpose of life is to live through the fear the depression to find the light and yourself and love yourself unconditionally. how many of us can really say that we love ourselves unconditionally, I feel I love my boyfriend more than I love myself and I would do anything for him but I don’t know if I would do everything for myself. we all need to take time for ourselves say no to things that make us sad or overwhelmed. These are random thoughts I felt the need to share with all of you. I want you to know that you’re not alone and even though I do not know you I am happy that you share this Earth with me. I appreciate you for what you give to this earth. You are not suffering alone, there are so many others with you. we should all try to build each other up, this world is not a competition we should stop making at one and make it about being kind to everyone.


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