Health- What Does It Mean To You?

The health and fitness industry can be overwhelming with all of the information- information that contradicts itself and information that is unpopular from the mainstream. You have to read all the sides and decide what is best suited to you- with all your health history and complex individual requirements. We think its helpful to consider what health means to you? Is it a 6 pack abs and big arms, is it good blood panels, is it being able to move without pain, is it eating nutritious food, is the ability to keep up with your kids, grandkids, and fur babies, is it NOT having to take prescription medicines, is it all of the above and then some?

We view health and fitness with the overall ability of the body to thrive. Physically, mentally, externally, internally, handle stress well, fuel your body with the right foods and environment, and have the ability to live life without being limited by pain, poor health, and other restrictions. We don’t view health and fitness as simply having a nice looking body. What looks good on the outside might be in turmoil on the inside- either from poor dietary habits, inability to cope well with stress, or too much emphasis on the physical and not enough on the mental, emotional, and internal needs of the body. All of those factors cumulate to make up health and fitness.

We want to be upfront that we aren’t your typical gym that just pushes a good looking body and doing whatever it takes to get there. Sure that is nice and a reflection of health but without all of the other aspects, no matter how toned and trim your body is, you can still be unhealthy or unfit.

So take a moment to reflect on what being healthy and fit means to you. If you’ve been hesitant about going to a gym because you’re concerned it’s all about what you look like, then look no further than SA Functional Fitness! Our gym is tailored to what your body can do, not what your body looks like. Come as you are, and as a byproduct of regaining and training function, your body composition will change along of the way. But remember, that shouldn’t be your sole focus because the way you look doesn’t always align with the way you feel and the way your body performs.

Fitness is defined as “an organisms ability to survive and reproduce in a particular  environment.” This is from a biological standpoint and not what popular opinion defines fitness as. So if you hold true to this definition, then are you fit? Are you able to navigate the daily demands and real world conditions of your environment, without turmoil, pain, anxiety, aches, and being overwhelmed, exhausted, and incapable?

Being fit determines your health, the more adaptable you and your body are to the environment you live in, the more strength you can use to handle the physical demands, the more focus you can exert to manage stressful situations without feeling like you need to cope with a drink or comfort food, the more energy you have to make it through the day without fueling yourself with caffeine just to have another restless night of sleep because your body and brain are too wired to rest, truly rest.

As all of the layers of health and fitness work with each other, the better your body is at existing in reality. Instead of forcing your body to workout and eat a nutritious diet because you know it’s good for you, your body will start to want these things because it feels good when you treat yourself right.

So stop working out and dieting solely for “looks” when you know health and fitness goes deeper than the superficial vanity you see on commercials, movies, advertisements, and peer pressure from all sides. Fueling your brain and body that way is exhausting and it’s why we don’t truly have health. The rat race of beating your body up and extreme dietary deprivation places the body in a stressed state and then it doesn’t have the means to heal itself so your hormones become out of whack- and then you’re working against your weight loss goals and so you start working out even more to lose those last few stubborn pounds that just won’t come off. But if you take a step back it’s because your health habits aren’t really that healthy.

The calorie restriction and daily cardio and strength training, stresses your physiology out and your body goes into survival mode to keep from losing more weight, and then when you try to workout harder, you still don’t lose weight because biologically your body is working to stay at homeostasis. True health and fitness is a mind shift from what you’ve been told and seen most of your life and learning to encompass physical, mental, emotional, and physiological aspects of health to truly thrive as a human being.

So, rethink your definition of health and fitness. Does it align with where you see yourself in 10, 20, 30 years. Is it sustainable or are you pushing the extremes to look good now, without regard for what’s going on inside of your body and how that impacts your future health and fitness?

“Live intentionally and not habitually.” – Naudi Aguilar



Exercise for Health, Not Appearance

Exercise motives that are based strictly on looking good or losing weight negatively affect our health. Everybody has a different idea about what they believe to be a healthy looking body, but if looks are the only reason for exercising, that can limit the potential for progress in other aspects of our health. Exercise is a great tool for physical strength, mental well-being, managing pain, improving our quality of life, and preventative healthcare.

When our only objective is to lose weight when we exercise this can lead us on a path of body destruction by doing whatever it takes to lose that last 5 pounds. This can lead to overtraining, poor form, building bad habits, and crash dieting. It really is true that “slow and steady” wins the race. We have to think of our health as something long term and not something that is going to be fixed overnight or maintained without continuous effort.

The quick fix is enticing for everyone because we want our efforts to pay off immediately. When all of our hard work doesn’t illicit results right away we start getting frustrated and turn to magic pills, not eating enough, and then eating too much, exercising so intensely that our form turns poor and our chance of injury increases, or we just get fed up and throw in the towel all together. Instead of eating a little less at each meal and exercising a little more at each workout and building habits that we can maintain, we sabotage our success by trying to change everything at once and then expecting that change to manifest into accomplishing our goals right then and there.

Instead of having goals based only on physical aspects of health, like trying to look like the fitness models in magazines. Create goals that enhance other aspects of your health. Start off small, like trading french fries for a salad, and do it for the benefit of adding more veggies to your diet instead of doing it because it’s less calories so you know you’ll lose weight. If your goals change from losing weight to eating more vegetables you’re more likely to choose meals that are lower in calories anyway, so you’re still likely to lose weight but that’s not your only focus and therefore not the only benefit. By eating more vegetables you can experience natural energy through the day instead of feeling run down, with the new energy you don’t have to wire yourself with caffeine, and so you don’t get dehydrated as often. So now instead of beating your body up to lose a few pounds, you’re building your body up by fueling it with good food and staying hydrated. Habits like these will inevitably lead to healthy weight loss, one of your goals, but not the only one.

If you prioritize other aspects of your health as your motivation for exercising then it’s more likely that you’ll accomplish your goals. From losing weight and getting stronger to managing anxiety and living a fit and healthy lifestyle. Life is short but if your health is compromised then the days drag on and quality of life starts to suffer. Exercising with the right intent will sustain your body and your health to enjoy everything life has to offer for years to come. Keep yourself in the game and take care of your body to promote longevity and function. The days of exercising to look good are fading and the era of exercising to look and feel HEALTHY is in demand!


Green Juice Recipe

Liquid vitamins ? energy for the week ahead ??medicine for the flu season ?
Each bottle contains Apple, Carrot, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, Lime, Ginger, Parsley, and Cilantro… just enough sweet to drink up all the health benefits ?
Health is a matter of what you eat to fuel your body. Let food be thy medicine ?

Weight Loss Transformation

Deb’s 30 day “Before and After” weight loss transformation. Deb has been a client of ours since we opened and comes to workout twice a week for functional strength and conditioning training. In addition to that she walks 3-4 times a week on her own and consistently eats a Whole 30 based diet.

While it’s nice to see the changes in only 30 days, it’s important that she continue the habits of exercise and healthy eating or it will be very easy to gain back the weight that she lost. It’s goes deeper than 30 days because it’s about establishing the habits of a healthy lifestyle to keep your body fit and healthy in the long run.

Noticeable changes include less fat around the abdominals, arms, and face. In addition to the decrease in body fat, Deb reported that her energy increased, she slept better, her joints hurt less, and she had more mental clarity and focus. Eating healthy isn’t just for looks it’s also about making you feel better, and that’s the true definition of health!

In the course of 30 days, following a consistent exercise routine and Whole 30 nutrition principles, Deb was able to lose 12 pounds! That’s not her end goal but it’s a starting point to show her that with a lot of dedication it is possible. Now it’s time to continue the habits she’s created these last 30 days to promote steady weight loss and not get caught up in trying to lose weight fast. If we try to lose too much too fast we end up crash dieting and no healthy habits are built during the process to maintain the weight loss and continue to lose weight in the future. When it comes to weight loss it’s important to remember that slow and steady wins the race. It’s not just 30 days, it’s a lifestyle!

If you need help creating healthier habits to promote a healthy lifestyle we are here to help guide you in the right direction and make sure you establish consistency with your habits to obtain the results you’re looking for! 

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” -Thomas Edison
It’s time to go back to the old ways… modern medicine has its place but if you understand how to prevent disease from occurring you won’t need to rely on medication for the rest of your life.
Let food by thy medicine and optimize your health. Real food is powerful and if you eat it in the right amounts and balance what you eat then you’ll find that when your friends and family catch a cold or are suffering from allergies you’ll be as healthy as a horse because your immune system is functioning at high capacity because you fuel it with high quality foods.
  • For starters limit grains, avoid fake foods because they’re ridden with chemicals that disrupt our normal metabolic function, cut down on your alcohol and caffeine consumption, and drink more water. Red meat is fine just make sure it’s grass finished with no hormones or antibiotics, same with eggs and other sources of protein.
  • Fats like olive, coconut, and avocado oils are great, even REAL butter too. You can never go wrong with an avocado, and snacking on nuts instead of a bag of chips will really transform your energy levels!
  • Load up on vegetables of any kind, the more color variety the better… and yes potatoes count as a vegetable. Just don’t turn a potato into junk by constantly using cream and making mashed potatoes or loading up a baked potato with sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits. Try baking them and then cutting them up and sautéing with protein and veggies like beef, chicken, or eggs! Potatoes over rice and rice over pasta and bread.
  • Cut down on your artificial sweet treats and if you can’t then I’d suggest limiting them to a special occasion. Fruit gets a bad stigma because it’s loaded with sugar but it’s sugar in its natural form so fruit in moderation is okay because it’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals to help boost your immunity. Some fruits have less sugar than others and when it’s all said and done, snacking on fruit to get a sugar “fix” is a better choice than reaching for a brownie.
So to recap, drink more water and eat real food: protein, vegetables, quality fats, and moderate amounts of fruit. Limit, cut back, or cut out fake foods, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars, grains, and heavy carbohydrate consumption.
If you found this post to be helpful and want to learn more about what you can do to live a healthier lifestyle then contact us to set up a FREE consultation!

Strawberries, Vitamin C, and Your Health

If you love strawberries then you should know that they are a sodium free, fat free, cholesterol free, low calorie food- containing around only 50 calories per cup! What you may not know is that strawberries pack more vitamin C per serving than an orange, and the best part is that they’re lower in sugar than most other fruits!
Strawberries also provide a good dose of fiber, folic acid, manganese, and potassium AND contain high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols help protect the body against oxidative stress, disease, and inflammation so they’re a potent preventative “medicine” that can improve your health. 
So if you aren’t including strawberries in your diet then you’re missing out on the potential health benefits for your life. Treat your food as medicine now, otherwise you’ll be forced to use medicine as food later. Do your health a favor and start reaching for a handful of strawberries instead of a bag of chips.

Beef, Cabbage, and Garlic- Oh My!

Here’s yet another recipe inspired by one of our clients! We love that our clients take their healthy lifestyle so seriously by getting creative with traditional recipes and making them healthy! This recipe is packed with nutrients to help boost your immunity and loaded with flavor so your tastebuds are happy!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious dish:

  • 1 medium Cabbage head purple or green
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 4-5 medium tomatoes OR 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBS Italian spice/herbs(s)
  • 2 TBS olive or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dice up cabbage as desired. In a big pot put your 2 TBS of oil and add cabbage. Next dice up tomatoes OR add the two cans of diced tomatoes WITH liquid. If you are dicing your own tomatoes add about ¾ C of water to cabbage and tomatoes. Add 3 cloves of chopped or squeezed garlic and 2TBS of herbs. Give this a good stir and cover it with a lid to let it begin to cook down, stirring occasionally.

Next chop your onion and add to skillet with ground beef. Once your beef is browned/fully cooked and onions are sautéed, add onion and beef mixture to the pot with cabbage and spices. Give it a good stir and let this simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

This is such a comfort dinner! So warm, tasty and healthy! You hardly know you are eating cabbage! All you taste is the yummy Italian spices. Bon appetite!

Green Goodness Avocado Dressing

We love the freshness that comes with eating a salad, but we don’t like the poor quality salad dressing that usually comes with it. Instead we decided to make our own with high quality natural ingredients. This way we know what we’re eating and can rest assured that the salad dressing is just as healthy as the salad!

The great thing about this dressing is that it can go on more than just a salad! We’ve used it as a healthy sauce for chicken and a healthy dip for veggie snacks! Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious dressing.


  • 2 avocados
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Pure maple syrup
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt (Himalayan)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBS favorite Italian seasoning (we used one with only natural herbs)

Combine all ingredients in a blender or NutriBullet and wallah! We made this recipe on the spot and played around with the ingredients until we got it just right. This healthy homemade dressing has only real ingredients so the shelf life is not as long as a dressing you’d buy from the store, but your life could be longer because of it 😉

Guidelines for Healthy Eating

All of us pretty much know what food and drinks aren’t great for our health, yet we still over indulge and make poor decisions from time to time. The information that circulates about health and nutrition can be overwhelming, contradicting, and constantly changing. We want to share some helpful tips that you can use as a guide when making decisions about your diet!

  • Lower your carbohydrate intake. Most carbohydrates should be supplied by fruits and vegetables. Try to significantly limit carbohydrates from breads, chips, pastas, and foods that use traditional flours.
  • Avoid corn, wheat, soy, and sugar as much as possible. All of these are filler ingredients in most processed foods and can lead to health complications, from fatigue to leaky gut syndrome.
  • Limit dairy consumption. Dairy can cause inflammation in the body which can further lead to other health issues, such as GI upset and headaches. Note: pasteurized dairy is safer to drink but is linked to everything from allergies to heart disease. Raw dairy has a better nutrition profile but has been linked to harmful bacterial ingestion because it was not pasteurized to kill germs. Overall consider the quality of the dairy you’re consuming, if it has a ton of preservatives then its probably not the best choice. If you do decide to drink raw milk then make sure it’s from a healthy cow that wasn’t fed a bunch of hormones and antibiotics.
  • Lower or eliminate grains, most people have trouble digesting grains so this leads to intestinal bloating and metabolic diseases. From a nutrition standpoint there is nothing positive about refined grains, they are low in nutrients, fattening, and harmful, and most of us are eating way too much of them.
  • WATER- aim for 4 Liters a day, not including other beverages like tea or sparkling water. Water is important for survival, every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly.
  • Avoid sweetened beverages, especially if it contains artificial sweetener. Decreasing consumption of sugary beverages will automatically decrease the amount of calories you consume on a daily basis- leading to weight loss in the long run! You’ve heard the old saying, don’t drink your calories.

While there’s more information about diet and nutrition out there, we wanted to keep things simple and show you that making a few little changes would be the best place to start on a path to a healthier you! Even if you can’t follow all of these guidelines right away or all at once, start with implementing just one into your life. If you don’t drink enough water everyday then start there, if you have no problem staying hydrated then start working on lowering your carbohydrate intake. The best part is that almost everyone can benefit from these guidelines as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Recipe: Smoothie Goodness

The best smoothies have a little bit of everything for a well rounded nutritional boost! This is a smoothie that supplies me with energy throughout the entire day, and it’s also a delicious treat.

To make this one you’re going to need:

  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Water
  • Kale
  • Dates
  • Banana
  • Walnuts

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, to your taste, add ice, and enjoy!

This smoothie packs a powerful punch of nutrition, you get a dose of calcium from the almond milk, electrolytes from the coconut water, magnesium from the kale, iron from the dates, potassium from the banana, and omega-3’s from the walnuts… to only name a few!