5 Tips to Handle Events When You Don’t Have Control Over the Food Being Served

By: Suzanne Klaus RD, LD

It is so easy to go to a party, wedding, or work event and leave feeling stuffed, lethargic, and disappointed in how we handled our food choices. We have every intention of making healthy choices to support our goals, but that goes out the window after we have stuffed ourselves with appetizers. Suzanne discusses five tips that will help you navigate an event where you do not have a choice over the food being served.

It is important that you know WHY you want to make healthy choices at the event and beyond. If you have not thought about that, then it is very unlikely that any number of tips will help you through the event. But, if you have identified your driving force and follow Suzanne’s tips you will have a recipe for success!

Tell us about some events where you were successful. We would also love to hear questions. Maybe you have an upcoming event. Comment below and Suzanne would be happy to help!

Kettlebell Swing Breakdown Series

The Hinge

We are breaking down the kettlebell swing! This is the first of 10 videos that will help you learn or refine the kettlebell swing. The most fundamental part of a good kettlebell swing is the hinge so that’s where we are starting. Without understanding how to hinge your swing will never reach it’s full potential.

Some of the key points to remember:

  • Maintain a neutral spine (head, upper back, and butt stay on the stick)
  • Push through the ground as you stand up keeping the whole foot on the floor (don’t lift up your toes)
  • Soft knees (knees bend, but they don’t come forward)
  • Exhale as you stand up

Let us know if you have any questions. We are always happy to help with proper form!


Comfort Lacks Confidence

By: Cati Davis

How many times have you heard us say, “you can go heavier than that,” “is that too easy,” or c’mon, one more rep, you got this?” Too many times to count, right? We don’t just say these things to say them. We say them to challenge you. Because, hey, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. We love to see change. And, the look on someone’s face is priceless, when they have been doing dumbbell presses with 20 pound weights, you hand them 30 pounds and they pump out 3-4 reps, or when they accomplish a goal on the goal board and better yet, get their name drawn from the achieved jar.

There are so many ways that you can challenge yourself in life and step out of your comfort zone to achieve goals and become a more confident person. This is exactly what I experienced and learned when I received my HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification) and went to the Perform Better Summit in July. There were situations where I wasn’t completely comfortable, but ended up succeeding because I went out of my comfort zone to challenge myself.

Let’s look back at, “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. When the day came to come in for the HKC workshop, I was nervous as ever because I had no idea what to expect. I am the kind of person who likes to have things planned and I definitely do not like surprises. Let’s be honest here, I had an extra set of clothes packed, along with the ones set out on the bed the night before, and of course I couldn’t forget snacks. Was I prepared? Yes. Did I use any of the things that I brought besides a water bottle? Of course not!

Obviously there were going to be 23 trainers judging me for my goblet squat, Turkish get up, and kettlebells swings. And that was if I even got through the entrance test of holding a hardstyle plank for 60 seconds. Now, was any of this true? No. I held my 60-second plank and moved on. There were several times where I was not fully comfortable with the task that I was asked to perform. But, I always pushed through, which gave me the confidence to move to the next task. The whole day could not have gone better. Thanks to two great instructors working with everyone the entire day, I was able to learn so much more than I ever imagined and was able to earn my HKC. And, I walked out of Forward Fitness with more confidence than I thought was possible.

The Chicago Perform Better Summit was next up and I was totally pumped for it! I was so ready to fill my brain with new knowledge to bring back to Forward Fitness. On Saturday we attended a Todd Durkin session where there  were 300 trainers in one room doing a conditioning workout. I’ve never seen so many people high fiving each other and cheering each other on, it was amazing! The workout was intense, but I knew I had to keep going. The push ups were getting tough, but I heard Suzanne’s voice over 300 people cheering me on to get one more in! That was it, I challenged myself to get one or two more in. I left that comfort zone and kept going. I walked out of that room of 300 people and had a complete boost of energy and felt like I could take on the world! I left Chicago with a positive mind, motivation, and confidence to help others.

People, take a step back and look at how you challenge yourself in life. Whether it be during your daily life or when you get your training in for the day at the gym, push yourself to the next level and see how much can change for you, mentally and physically. You will find yourself with more confidence than ever and hey, you are going to feel great too! So, next time you reach for the 20 pound dumbbell that you have been comfortably pressing, kick it up a notch and step out of your comfort zone, gain the confidence to help make the change, we’ve got your back!!

2 Weeks to Change My Brain

Hi, I’m Maggie! I recently joined the FF team part time to become the first non-trainer staff member, assisting with administrative, membership and miscellaneous organizational stuff. Excited to contribute and grow!

Prior to this I’ve been a member at Forward Fitness doing fit camps and challenges for about a year and a half. I’ve gotten so much stronger! Seriously, like I can’t help but make people feel my biceps sometimes; I’m so proud. I make healthy eating and cooking decisions way more often and more easily than I used to. I’ve lost weight and inches. But most importantly, I have a tool to help me stay motivated, to stay on track, and to keep making and working toward goals. This is my unsolicited testimonial for why you should start. Just start. It’ll all make sense.

2 weeks. That’s how long it took for the first light bulb to go off. I started very motivated for change, but filled with insecurity. I started worried about how I looked, and what people thought about me. Yeah, I did Pilates and yoga videos at home, but I was scared of not knowing anything about fitness.

A snapshot of my brain in those first days:

Day 1 – What should I wear?? Am I going to feel totally out of place? What If I can’t do something? Are my legs too fat for these workout pants?

Day 2 – What’s a Ladder? Oh ****. Okay, I survived. I met a Burpee today.

Day 4 – Sore.  I can barely keep up. I’m not as good at this as these other people. Do they think I’m silly for being here? But they knew my name when I walked in. I love that!


Day 7 – I should be an expert by now, but I’m still getting modifications for every other exercise. Embarrassing. Well… actually, I’m kind of good at these rows. That feels good.

Day 9  – (Driving in the car I felt my arm outstretched toward the steering wheel) Umm… could my arm muscles possibly be bigger already? (Obsession with feeling arm muscles begins)


Day 11 – I’m really good at wall slams. I’ve already moved up in weight on dumbbell presses. But I jiggle a lot doing box jumps. Blaaah.

Day 12 – Oh geez, the circuit workouts where you bounce around a lot are so much harder for me than the strength days. But a little easier than the first time already! And I helped someone keep proper form for a side plank.

Then at 2 weeks… I didn’t plan for it to be a shift, but it was. I walked into a fit camp and It was a class I had done a couple times already. I knew every movement, I tried heavier weights, my reps felt solid. I smiled at people I had seen a couple times, they smiled back.  I felt confidence. I felt a little success. I wanted more. I wanted to make this feeling a permanent part of my days, a part of my routine

Not all my insecurities were cured after 14 days, I’m definitely still a work in progress, but because of the trainers, the personalized attention and the super fun atmosphere, something clicked, and I started to feel like I belonged. For me that new found comfort and acceptance was the thing that made me want to keep coming back.

I let my brain allow me to believe that this was for me, and I’m still reaping the benefits of the daily motivation, accountability, and honestly…friendship.

Give it 2 weeks!

Dumbbell Workouts- Great for Travel

Dumbbells are a pretty standard piece of exercise equipment. They are the one item hotel workout rooms are sure to stock. We all know you can press dumbbells. But, how do you create a total body workout with dumbbells? Knowing how to create a great workout while traveling, whether it’s for work or fun can be the hardest part. Have you ever walked into a gym and then just walked out because you didn’t know what to do? Or, maybe you stayed and put together a haphazard workout. Our goal is to give you the tools to be successful even when you are not in the gym. Mike created two great total body workouts you can do with only dumbbells. You can take the guess work out and get a great workout!

Dumbell Workout A is pretty straight forward. It covers the basics and gets you in and out in no time.

Dumbbell Workout B is a great unilateral workout. That means it works one side of the body at a time (left vs. right). Think about it. In life we are always doing things unilaterally. We walk (or run) with one foot in front of the other.

Enjoy your workouts! Let us know what you think and how you are staying active on the road.

5 Benefits to 5am Workouts

By; Cati Davis CPT

There are few things better than starting off your day with an awesome workout. Cati, one of our 5am FIT Camp coaches personally loves to raise and shine at an early hour. Check out some reasons why she is such a big fan of the 5am workout!

  1. Build routine

We all know our body thrives off of routine. Waking up for a 5am workout can help you build routine. Having a set “appointment”  will help prevent hitting the snooze button in the mornings. and begin to head to the gym to get in your workout for the day. 


  1. More energy and focus for the day

When we exercise hormones known as endorphins are released.  These endorphins can trigger a positive feeling in your body, which can then lead to a great start to the work day. Working out helps clear your mind and set the standards for your day.


  1. Don’t skip it, dominate it

Have you ever scheduled a workout on your calendar for an evening after work? Sounds great at the time, right? That’s until, your boss asks you to stay late to finish a project, or better yet, co-workers ask if you want to do happy hour after work. Or maybe, your energy is depleted from the day, the couch is calling your name, and your favorite trashy tv show is on tonight.  Set the alarm a few minutes earlier in the morning to get that 5am workout in.  That way, if Suzie from 3 cubicles over wants to hang out, your schedule is free and your workout is already done for the day!


  1. Better night’s sleep

Back to Endorphins! When you exercise, your body excretes those energy boosting hormones.  Gaining that energy and trying to go to bed after a workout can cause for a hard time falling asleep and a restless night. This is where the 5 am workout comes into play. Your workout is done for the day and when 9 or 10 pm rolls around, your body is telling you to get some good rest for the night. This can also help build routine and make the morning a little easier to wake after a good night’s rest.


  1. Eating habits and hydration

Getting that 5 am workout in can help set healthy eating standards and adequate hydration for the day. Most likely you aren’t eating a strawberry filled glazed doughnut before or after  your morning run or heading to FIT Camp. You want to get a good meal that fuels your body for your day, not drag you down. You are also grabbing that bottle of water before leaving the house, which is a great way to start hydrating early in the day and continue it throughout  with water intake. Starting your day with a healthy balanced breakfast is going to help keep you going for the rest of the day with choosing better eating habits.

If you would like to make the change and be part of the #5amClub, we would love to have you! If you are not yet part of the Forward Fitness family, email Suzanne at Suzanne@ForwardFitnessSTL.com. She will be happy to get you set up to rock your 5am workouts!

10 Things to do in St. Louis That Don’t Involve Food and Drink

Social events tend to be centered around food and beverages. Think about the last time you hung out with a friend. Did you grab a drink, eat dinner, or go to brunch? Do you avoid hanging out with friends because you are trying to be healthy? Don’t worry! There are other options! Check out these 10 things you can with friends or by yourself that don’t involve food or beverages.

  1. The Botanical Gardens

    The botanical Gardens has many events throughout the year that take place. Starting spring 2017 is the Gardens of Glass, the Japanese Festival (Labor Day weekend), and Best of Missouri Market (October). There are plenty of options for youth and adult classes and programs. The butterfly house is also a great place to visit in the gardens

  2. St. Louis Zoo

    Voted America’s top free attraction and best Zoo, this is a great family attraction. There are so many different species of animals to see. They also have family friendly events including Jungle Boogie (free summer concert series), seal lion shows, and the stingrays at Caribbean Cove. The Zoo event hosts holiday events! Boo at the Zoo and the US Bank Wild Lights are two of the more popular ones! See what else the St. Louis Zoo has to offer! 

  3. Lone Elk Park

    This is a great option no matter the weather. There are numerous trails to check out during the nice days. If it is a rainy or cold day you can stay in the car and drive through the park trying to find elk, deer, bison and other animals. The World Bird Sanctuary is also located in Lone Elk Park where you can see birds from around the world and they also have bird shows as well. 

  4. Art Museum

    Located in Forest Park, this is a great indoor option on cold winter or hot summer days. With works of art and exhibitions year round, this is a great option for a quiet morning or afternoon.  www.slam.org

  5.  City Museum

    For children and adults of all ages, the City Museum is a great activity to enjoy with family or friends. There are caves, slides, obstacles and plenty more to keep you entertained for hours. They also offer overnight stays and yoga.  See what else the City Museum has to offer! 

  6. Escape Rooms

    This is a fun group option where you get clues and puzzles to solve and help you escape from a room within 60 minutes. There are various rooms with different themes to choose from and different locations in St. Louis including Escape the Room and No Way Out.

  7. Indoor Rock Climbing 

    Indoor rock climbing can be a ton of fun and a great workout. There are a couple different indoor options for rock climbing here in St. Louis, Upper Limits and Climb So iLL. Both offering group and individual climbing courses and also summer camps.

  8. Footgolf

    Eagle Springs Golf Course is the one golf course in St. Louis that offers FootGolf. It has the same basic rules as golf, but with a soccer ball. This is a great group activity for all ages. 

  9. Yucandu Art Studio

    Located in Webster Groves, this is an art studio with endless options. They offer open studio time, classes, parties, and many more. Create a work of art with friends or go by yourself to relax.

  10. Parks and Trails 

    We have the great privilege of having numerous parks and trails to visit in the area.  Some include hiking and biking trails. Laumeier Sculpture Park, Castlewood State Park, Powder Valley, Chubb trail, Grant’s trail, are a few of the many parks and trails. Check out a full list. 

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

If you haven’t tried cauliflower mashed potatoes, you are missing out! I received a Vitamix for Christmas from my wonderful husband and this was the first thing I tested out. They tasted amazing and the texture was so creamy and smooth. We had been using the Magic Bullet and it was doable, but the Vitamix made this so much easier.

Instead of using heavy cream or milk, I use coconut milk. This is a great way to get in some healthy fats and still get the creaminess that the dairy typically adds.



1 head of cauliflower, chopped

3 TBSP butter

1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Parley, for garnish


In a large pot that will accommodate a steamer basket, bring 3-4 inches of water to a boil. Place chopped cauliflower in a steamer basket. Once the water is boiling, place the steamer basket in the pot and cover with lid.

Let the cauliflower cook for about 15 minutes or until tender when stuck with a fork. Remove from heat.

In a blender, add the steamed cauliflower, butter, coconut milk, salt, and pepper. Make sure there is an opening in the lid. (There should be a plastic piece that is removable.)

Blend until smooth. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Pecan Chicken

By: Suzanne Klaus RD, LD, CPT

I love this chicken dish. The pecans are a great source of healthy fat. They really give the chicken a great flavor and keep it juicy.


3 chicken breasts, boneless

8oz pecans

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp basil, dried

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a Vitamix, Magic Bullet, or food process pulse the pecans until they are finely chopped. (There will be a portion that is almost a flour consistency.)

Place the pecans in a mixing bowl and ad the remaining ingredients minus the chicken. Mix together.

Place the chicken on a cookie sheet. (I line mine with aluminum foil lightly sprayed with oil.)

Coat the top of the chicken breast with the pecan mixture. (I find it easiest to use my hand and pat the mixture onto the chicken.)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.

Turn the oven to broil. Broil the pecan chicken for a few minutes. It really helps to bring out the pecan flavor. Do not leave the chicken unattended as it browns pretty quickly.

Enjoy! Let us know what you think when you try it.