Gym Intimidation

I’ve always loved being physically active. I’ve always worked at a gym in some form or fashion for over 10 years: managing, teaching group fitness, or floor staff. I’ve seen countless, endless people not feel comfortable in a gym. They don’t think they’re in good enough shape or they feel judged. For a lot of folks, the hardest part of starting a health and fitness program is walking in the door. Keep reading for my suggestions on how to make the transition into the gym or a new fitness class easier for you!

rock your trip to the gym

  1. Wear something that makes you feel good! This is difficult when you’re not feeling confident in your body, but I promise it helps. It's like going out with a fresh haircut. Whether it’s something that you feel hides your “trouble areas” or something new and colorful, pick something that makes you feel good. Got a new VS sport tank? Rock it!

  2. Let them know you’re new! Going to class for the first time? Let the instructor know you’re new so they can keep an eye on you. I know you want to blend in, but deep down it’s that you don’t want to do something wrong. They’ll make sure you’re set up right, instead of walking around confused.  As an instructor I loved knowing when I had new folks in class; it made me be more conscious of my cues. I also always made a point to speak to first timers after class to make sure they were successful and gave them tips for their next visit.

  3. Scope it out! I hate that feeling of not knowing where to go. Go in during slow hours and look around. Find what equipment you want to use. Figure out where the bathrooms are. That’s also a great time to ask the staff how to use the leg press or to show you some moves with the kettlebells. Chances are if it’s a slow time of day, the staff will be thankful for the break!

  4. Stop comparing! Here’s the thing yall, no one is immune to gym-timidation. Guys in great shape compare themselves to stronger guys and feel weak. Women in great shape still feel self-conscious. It all stems from comparison. Ever heard “comparison is the thief of joy”? It’s so true. You cannot compare where you are to anyone else’s journey, plain and simple.  

  5. Bring a friend! Remember gym class when you had to pair up or choose teams? You naturally reach out to your friends because they make you feel more comfortable! Besides that, they’ll help your performance. You’re more likely to show up and less likely to quit early when you have a workout buddy. Make your girls go to that new spin class together. If your friend already goes to that gym, find out about the guest policy so you can go with them first! Strength in numbers yall.


Tracking Progress

What is it about measurements that scare people so much? I used to be one of those girls; I never wanted to know how much I weighed, cut the size tags out of my jeans, and refused to even let the doctor read the scale out loud. The thing is, a lot of us have a warped relationship with measurements, specifically the scale. Raise your hand if you’ve heard someone, or said yourself, “I want to lose 30lbs” or “I’ll be happy at 160”. A lot of times that goal number is just some arbitrary thing that has been assigned too much worth. *Unless a doctor or registered dietician gave you those numbers* The scale is likely not an indicator of your overall health or fitness levels.



There is less than a 10lb difference between these photos. The scale doesn't tell the whole picture!

So why measure at all? Well measurements are extremely important indicators of your hard work,because you’re working hard on your health and fitness goals, right? Measurements are tools to monitor and adjust as you progress on your health and fitness goals.

Let me repeat, measurements are a tool. You are not a tool, that # doesn’t define who you are as a person.

We use these measurements as indicators to see what may need changing. It opens up a dialogue with your coach, or maybe gives you a chance to be honest with yourself, about what is or isn’t working.

soooo what should I be measuring?

INCHES are a great place to track results. Often when the scale doesn’t move while you’re dieting and strength training, that can be attributed to muscle gain and that will be reflected in inches. I cringe when I see/hear people say “muscle weighs more than fat”... well kinda. 5lbs of muscle weighs EXACTLY the same as 5lbs of fat. Duh, 5lbs. But muscle is more dense, which means it takes up less space. So where the scale doesn't move, but your jeans are fitting better, girl you have lost inches. I’d take a loss of 2 inches in my waist over 2lbs down on the scale. The scale doesn’t tell us where we’re shrinking or if we’re progressing in losing fat and creating lean muscle. Also, I really encourage using a tape measure vs. jeans or dress sizing. Unfortunately ladies all know too well that sizes vary store to store. Luckily with a tape measure you get accuracy. 8 inches is 8 inches.

BODY FAT is another great indicator of your progress. The term “skinny fat” is most often what I picture when I think of not monitoring my body fat percentage. Someone at 130lbs with 18% body fat would look a lot different than that same woman weighing 130lbs with 30% body fat. Your body fat percentage tells us more about your body composition, how much of your body is composed of lean muscle vs. fat. If your goal is fat loss then you should absolutely be measuring body fat. Most gyms have skin calipers or a hand-held device. The most important thing there is consistency. Use the same device, not switching from calipers to a hand-held, and measuring a consistent time of day to track the difference. The device may not be 100% accurate but it will be able to tell you your progress, like if you’ve lost 4%.

PHOTOS are great indicators as well.  In January I started a weight loss challenge, yes I let myself go over a stressful time in my life last year and gained a lot of weight. I took pictures every Monday. At first it was really difficult to see those photos. But it was awesome to compare them back and see these big changes. Sometimes the scale moved less than 3lbs and I would be so discouraged. Then I’d compare photos and see how my hips and legs were shrinking. Once a week was probably (definitely) overkill, but I am so happy I had those beginning photos to see how far I’d progressed. Numbers are great but there’s something extra special about visual confirmation of your progress.

"That which gets measured, gets improved" is true, but measure consistently and with a purpose. 

Fuel Like a Fitness Professional

I’ve known Jessica Cornett for around 5 years. I first met her teaching group fitness classes at Hendrix College and 10 Fitness in Conway. Jessica is a full time mom to two boys (8 and 4 months),  runs her own business, and teaches 6 group fitness classes per week all while keeping her health and fitness a priority. I wanted to sit down with her and chat with her about how she fuels her body and get some take-aways you can add into your own daily routines!

 10 Fitness Conway Body Pump

10 Fitness Conway Body Pump


workout schedule

Jessica keeps a very consistent schedule but allows for flexibility. She’s currently teaching 6 classes per week at 10 Fitness in Conway: spin, BodyPump, and yoga.  But she tries to workout OUTSIDE of her classes 6 days a week! Roughly 12 workouts per week is a lot!  “They’re all 30 minutes or less,” she told me about her home workouts, “The baby only sits still for so long.” I asked how she was able to workout with a 4 month old while her husband is at work. “He loves the outside,” she explained. By doing her workouts via Beachbody On Demand she’s able to workout in her backyard while her son is in his bumbo or pack’n’play.


I asked how much of a role nutrition plays in keeping her fueled for 6 classes a week, plus 6 home workouts, and taking care of two boys.  

“I mean huge! If I’m not fueled, i won’t be able to push through my workouts. I get weak too fast trying to power through a strength section in class or at home. It’s not going to be a pretty workout.”  If you’re going to make time in your busy, busy day to workout, make sure it’s the best it can be by taking care of your body.

Besides not being able to push herself, she’s not able to recover. “I need to eat after workouts! Just to get your energy back up. Food is energy for me!”

Jessica will sometimes do fasted workouts in the mornings and need to feed right after.  That’s when she grabs pre-made meals from Healthy Chew, it just works out perfectly. She will be STARVING after a fasted workout and having something prepared doesn’t let you give into the junk. The same applies to everyday meals.



take aways

Meal prepping takes up a lot of time. Especially when you’re busy. Jessica said she asked herself, “Should I outsource my meals?” She could make them herself, and used to, but that means losing hours working her business. “If someone else can do it, outsource it.” This has allowed her to be more productive in life and business.  Plus it takes away temptation! If you have a meal already portioned and made, you’re less likely to roll through Wendy’s (they don’t even serve spicy nuggets anymore so forget them anyway!)

q & a

  • Biggest tips for new moms who are wanting to achieve health and fitness goals?

Have patience. You won’t have the perfect day. You’ll set a time and then the obstacles start coming in. “Be ready to be flexible” As long as you get it in, you get it in. It won’t be perfect timing.

  • If you could suggest 1 thing that everyone with health and fitness goals needs to take from your routine, what would it be?

Be consistent. Pick a program you will do and you will love. Not everyone likes to HIIT train. If you don’t love it you won’t do it long term. If you love it your body will adjust to needing and wanting it.

  • Go-to snack that you always carry with you?

I always have a cooler on me. Shakeology, trail mix with nuts and berries, and usually has greek yogurt with frozen fruit. Buy frozen fruit! It won’t go bad!

  • Favorite Healthy Chew meal?

I do gluten and dairy free. The Chicken Marsala was amazing and I really like the salad. Oh, the cashew chicken! Makes you feel like you’re cheating.

you can follow Jessica on Facebook and Instagram to find out more on her class schedule + her health & fitness tips


Baby Fat Off!! with Alden

By: Pete Nguyen

(DISCLAIMER: Results are different and vary for each individual. This story is to inspire and shed a little light in the world of losing weight. This story is in no way professional medical advice. Please consult with your doctor for more information.)

We decided here at HC to give the spot light to Alden M., a professional bodybuilding competitor and a new mother to a beautiful 7 month old daughter. Like most women who struggle losing "the baby fat," Alden successfully did it through the power of confidence, knowledge and consistency! 

Weighing at 182lbs, she began our meal prep program this past January in hopes to get back to her regular weight which was at 162. It is upfront knowledge that women expect to gain weight during pregnancy. Some fortunate to easily drop back the their regular weight in weeks; and others not so fortunate. NCBI reported that 3 out of 4 women will keep at least 20lbs post partum. However, the shocking news is on average women gain 40% of their regular weight.

Fortunately for Alden, she created a master plan to get around this! With her professional knowledge in bodybuilding, she prepared herself with workouts she could manage during her pregnancy. Workouts consisting of a combination of light strength training, cardio, and HIIT (high intense interval training).

Alden managed to only gain as much as 20lbs postpartum. Though 30 percent of the solution of losing the weight is being physically active, the other 70 percent is clean eating. Alden knew full well that being a new mother can be unpredictable. She also knew she needed a solution to clean eating with only little time for her as she was juggling with her demanding work schedule, being a mother and a wife. She finally found Healthy Chew!

It was a breeze for Alden as she knew how much to eat and figuring out her own macros. With our standard lean fix program, she received the correct portion of food from our variety weekly menu. She was able to receive her delicious meals with no hassle and not the worry of finding recipes, grocery shopping, cooking, portioning, and cleaning dishes. All she had to do was crack the lid to her container, microwave, and ready to eat!

Within months, she was losing the weight and the inches! Her fears of staying in the “plateau phase” did not come true. To summarize her progress, she was weighing in the beginning at 183lbs. As of March going into April 2017, she now weighs 167lbs. She hopes to reach her goal this May. She is also confident she will compete in women’s bodybuilding next year. Keep on keeping on Alden!!

Healthy Chew takes off!

As Spring is coming, Healthy Chew is preparing for it's grand opening. With it's Little Rock location opening soon, owners Chef Pete Nguyen and Tj Clark hope to be successful in the food, health and fitness industry. 

"We are excited and nervous at the same time. This is a huge stepping stone for me as I will be taking on many clients" Chef Pete states. The location will be at 9813 W. Markham, same vicinity as Andy's. "We are planning to have the location operated as a warehouse only. Hopefully with enough requests we will open it up to drop in's as we will already have food pre-made without any ahead ordering."

"I want to make sure we give the best quality in customer service in the city. I also want to make sure both our clients and team is happy" Tj states. "We have big plans and a super big marketing campaign we will launch soon when the shop is close to opening. We will bring something new to the city."

Everyone mark your calendar. This is an opening you do not want to forget! We hope to continue hearing news and success stories soon.