Featured here are tips for healthy and mindful living. We will feature fitness tips from our Fitness Guru Lisa Rogers at Cali Girl Fitness. We will also feature healthy family tips from Andrew Woods owner of Training Wheels Health Care, a truly holistic approach to health. 

What is Healthy?

Healthy doesn’t mean thin. Yes, I said it. I have met many people who were thin that were very unhealthy. I have also met my fair share of people with “amazing” figures who had terrible eating habits. This page is designed to help provide information to create a healthier and more mindful YOU. Our hope is that you will take some of these tips back home to your family and make them your own. Our goal is to inspire mindful and active living so let’s begin.

Our first entry is from Lisa Rogers of Cali Girl Fitness. It talks about how to get those amazing summer abs and build core strength. So I ask you, is it all about the six pack? The answer is no. Let’s talk about your core. Do you carry around a heavy diaper bag all day? Pick up your toddler over and over again? Carry heavy groceries? Pick up those toys on the ground that you nearly trip over? How about work…on a computer all day? Perhaps driving around from one place to the next? How’s your posture? How’s your back? I bet you’re wondering why I am asking all of this when it comes to abs. The answer is simple…core strength. A solid core is the best defense against injury not only at the gym but in your daily life activities as well and abs are only the beginning…so let's begin.

Meet Lisa:

Lisa Rogers, owner of Cali Girl Fitness, is one of LA’s most sought after Personal Trainers & Group Fitness Instructors. She has been teaching people how to get fit for over 15 years. She has helped teenagers to seniors and every age in-between master their workouts! She has helped numerous people in their quest to lose weight, gain muscle, rehab after injuries, & rehab post surgery, and taught safe pre-and post natal exercise. She is dedicated to helping others get stronger and feel good about their physical health! Lisa is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, NESTA PFT & AFAA Group Fitness Instructor. She graduated with her BS in Communications. 

Lisa's Tip #1: Cali Girl Secrets to Sizzling Summer Abs!

It’s bikini season in Cali & all around the nation! It’s time to take off the sweats, slip into that bikini & hit the beach! Sounds so simple right? I don’t know any girl, including myself, that doesn’t hyperventilate a little the first time she has to throw a swimsuit on after a long holiday season break. Memorial day is the first time we know we’re past the holiday hump, and have to make amends with our bump, or pooch as I so lovingly like to call my low belly. If we were good over the winter break, we might be pleasantly surprised. If life happened and we took a fitness or food break it can be a little scary. After 16 years of being in the fitness business, I always struggle with a battle of the pooch. I think that all women do! First I want to say, STOP being so dang critical! Even at my very best or goal weights I don’t think I’ve ever thought in my head, oh I’m rocking my bikini today. I always seem to find some type of imperfection as to why I shouldn’t be representing. There will always be some girl that’s younger, skinnier, prettier etc. If I let my fears rule my life I’d never step out of my house! So first own what you’ve got! I would like to make this bikini season a little bit better for you. I’m going to share my flat ab secrets that have helped me over the years. If you’re not doing this you need to start doing it now.

You need to engage all of these 3 points during your ab exercises, at the same time,  and keep them on! 

1) Knit your rib cage together.
2) Suck your pooch in. Draw your naval to spine! 
3) Activate a small pelvic tilt. Scoop your tailbone, to fully activate your pelvic floor. 

Sounds simple right. I bet you are probably doing one or two of these things, but probably not all of them. When you lay down and do a typical crunch most of us huff and puff and push the pooch out. That’s only pushing your ab muscles up and out. Yes, that’s what our bodies will do naturally. We have to train them to do what they should be doing. Our bodies will always take the easiest route. That’s why you need the pelvic tilt. Draw your naval to spine. Knit your rib cage together, THEN the huge part as you exhale for your crunch try and use your breath to connect your flattened tummy towards the floor! BOOM! You’re on your way to flatter abs! 
I hope you enjoyed these Cali Girl Fitness Tips! It’s countdown to www.CaliGirlFitnessGuru.com interactive web classes broadcast live from LA launch! YOU turn on YOUR webcam & become one of the fitness STARS! To kick off the launch I will be offering a better bikini bod summer slimming series! 
In the mean time I will be posting videos to my you tube : Cali Girl Fitness and on my website: www.CaliGirlFitnessGuru.com to show you how to properly activate your bikini body abs soon! 

Thank you Willow&FernCo fitness friends! 
xoxo Lisa Rogers  
Cali Girl Fitness 

Lisa's Tip #2: Calories, Calories, and more Calories...

How can I lose weight? 

Ok here comes some REAL advice. Let's talk numbers for a second. I’m not a huge numbers person, but when you get serious about making a change to lose weight and actually keep it off, we have to look at the numbers a little. 70% of weight loss comes from diet, period. It doesn't matter how hard you workout if you consume more calories than you burn! Your mouth is not a garbage disposal! It all adds up and it’s got to go somewhere. 


Here it is… The Magic Number that you’ve all been waiting for! To safely lose 1lb a week AND keep it off you have to subtract -500 calories a day from what you’re currently eating. That’s not 5 days a week, it's 7 days a week which adds up to 3500 cal a week.  This is important, so I’m going to say it again. To lose one pound of fat a week you have to subtract 3500 calories a week. I like to give myself daily goals. It’s a lot easier if you break it out by day. One day you might have more calories than the next, but overall you have to hit that 3500 mark to lose one stubborn pound of fat to keep it off. An easy way to skip the calories would be to lose the add on’s. You know, the chips, guac, soft drinks, beer, wine, appetizers, and nacho’s. Yup, nachos with your daily meal will kill your 500 cal a day weight loss plan. As an example let's take Chipotle...I love Chipotle’s Chips and guac! I could eat those yummy lime chips and guacamole all day! Just one serving of the chips alone are 570 calories (as posted on Chipotle's online menu) add the guac and you're now at 800 calories! Now that’s just the sides. We haven’t even included the meal! So as much as I love the chips and guac I realize that I can’t have it every time I eat there. And if I’m being totally honest, I don’t have enough will power not to order them when I’m there. So I avoid that place when I’m trying to be good, and I try to drive past a place with a healthier option. Because when I’m there, it’s one of my favorite things, and I’m going to order it! I’m not a huge fan of cutting certain food groups out of your diet completely, because eventually you will re-discover what you loved about them and let’s face it, dieting stinks. Working out, and eating better takes “Work”. It’s a lifestyle change. Working out for one week, won’t fix 7 years of bad habits so give it time to work. In the end, just be aware of your choices, and try your best to have an over all healthier lifestyle because those choices add up too for the positive! I’m not saying never eat chips and guac again, just be mindful, do it in moderation, and enjoy every moment when you do! 


So you have 2 options:  1) Eat 500 cal less each day or 2) Burn them off working out. I personally like working them off more than eating less, but I'm getting older and things stick to you longer. So I have to do a combo of eating healthier and working out. Cardio will help you scorch some calories, however building muscle will help you burn more fat throughout the day. Muscle is fantastic. It’s sleek and smooth. Fat rumples under our skin like cottage cheese. Fat is bulkier and can lead to some serious health risks if it’s not kept at a healthy level. Now, I’m the first one to admit, I love my fatty foods. However, I try not to eat it every day or even every week, because it all adds up. Does that mean I’m going Pizza Free? No way! Never! I pick and choose my battles. I know that if I eat a few slices, and add a soda, that’s going to cost me at least an extra spin class at the gym! If I do get desperate and hit a drive through for a burger, I make sure to order water for my drink, and skip the fries. ( I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fries, so that’s hard for me to do. ) Muscle needs protein to repair after weight training, and yeah I hit up a burger joint occasionally. I especially like the fancy artisan burgers they offer in LA, but I choose not to do it every day. I believe in moderation in all things.

Let’s get back to Muscles. If you want muscles like Magic Mike, you gotta work for it! Muscle is fantastic on so many levels I can not write about them all in this post! Here’s just a few. Muscle holds up your frame, decreases risk for injury, burns more calories throughout the day, and helps us with daily activities such as picking up boxes, going up and down the stairs etc. The stronger your muscles are, the more calories you will burn, and hopefully live a longer heather active lifestyle! For all of the mom’s out there it will help you when picking  up your your little ones especially as they keep growing! So take it a day at a time. See where you can cut an extra 500 cal a day with either food or workout combo, and gradually your clothes will start fitting better and you will start to feeling better about your weight and overall wellbeing.

XOXO Lisa 

Lisa's Tip #3 Stop Swinging your weights and start Squeezing them.

I recently went home to visit my family. My parents moved to Alpine Utah. They have this cute little park near their house with a tire swing. I immediately hopped on it, because who doesn't like a good tire swing!  

 I love that Willow and Fern Co. motivates us to get outside and play in nature! Life can get so stressful and feel so disconnected.  It feels so good to get outside and embrace your inner kid! 

 As a Personal Trainer I spend a lot of time indoors in a gym, so I relish every chance I get to play outside!

As I sat there happily playing on my swing, I kept thinking about how as a personal trainer one of my biggest pet peeves is watching people SWING their weights. I want to run up to them and tell them STOP SWINGING and start SQUEEZING!! 

Why can something be so fun on a tire swing, but so wrong in the gym! I will explain...

Now, first let me say that it's not wrong to swing on a tire swing, you just have to look at what you're trying to do. If your intention is to have fun, and possibly get in a little cardio, swinging on a swing set will get your heart rate up, and help you with your CARDIO. Plus, it's a fun way to get your family outside and active.

If you are trying to build MUSCLE then swinging your weights during a bicep curl is not the way to go. If your swinging your weights during the bicep curl 99% of the time either your weight is too light, or you're probably using improper form. 

Now let's discuss this for a minute. I realize that my Willow & Fern readers are both Women and Men. So let's break it down a little. Women I typically see doing too little weight, and Men I typically see doing too much. So how do you know what the right weight is for you. That's where the SQUEEZING comes into play.

For my Girls: 

Ladies if you are lifting 3 to 5 pound weights for your bicep curls and you feel like you could swing them all day long, you're not really doing cardio, and you're not really building your muscle so you're basically not doing much other than moving. When you are truly weight training you should be lifting a weight that is challenging your muscles, but you should also be able to use proper form. Let's start with the basics. Two Sets with 8-10 Reps. (Now why do I say 8-10 instead of  8 or 10) That's a good question. It all depends on your weight and form. So let's say you've been grabbing those 5lb dumb bells for years to do your biceps perhaps  because that's what you have at home, as a trainer I challenge you to pick up a heavier set of weights. Let's start with an 8 pound weight and do two sets of 8 to 10 bicep curls. I want you to SQUEEZE your weights as hard as you can in your biceps rather than swinging them. I want you to pretend that they feel like 100 pounds! Good! Now if you can't make it to 10 repetitions stay at 8 reps. When 10 repetitions become too easy for you during the two sets you know it's time to move up in weight to the 10 pound dumbbells. Don't stick with the same old weight forever. It doesn't matter how old or young you are, if you want to see progress you have to challenge your muscles. ( That being said, I am a trainer not a doctor. My job is to make your muscles stronger. It is always advised to seek medical clearance before exercising.) 

For the Dudes: 

Men have the exact opposite problem of the women. They tend to lift too much and start recruiting all of the wrong muscle groups to get the weight up. Hence where the swinging comes in. Ever see the super buff dude at the gym with his head phones on. He is lifting crazy heavy weight and jamming to his tunes. You notice he is swinging his hips to help get the weight up? This is SUPER bad on your back. Yup... that's right, that dude is totally cheating! He probably doesn't even know it. I'm sure he doesn't want to cheat. He just wants to lift heavier. Our body is so smart, it's sometimes stupid. When one body part can't do it on it's own it will recruit other body parts to help it. Now in a survival situation this is a good thing! If we are hanging off of a cliff and need to do whatever it takes to pull ourselves off of a cliff. However at the gym doing bicep curls that's the exact opposite of what you should be doing. As a trainer, I want you lifting only as much weight as you can hold your form! If your hips swing, shoulders go up, or your back arches like mad, the weight is too heavy. You really don't want to throw your low back out doing a bicep curl! It may be harder, and you might not be able to lift quite as much at first, but if you lift with proper form you will see better results and your body will thank you in the long run. 

Lisa'a tip #4 SPARE TIRE WEEKEND WOES. 8 ways to combat your weekend food belly!


Are weekends leaving you feeling like your carrying around a spare tire around your waistline? 


For most people they do. It’s easy to stay on track during the week. It’s even harder with happy hours and activities starting on Thursday evening carrying over through the weekend. During the week, we typically have a similar schedule and do a decent job staying on track with our eating habits and workouts. The weekend happens and everything you’ve worked so hard for rolls out the window, and leaves you feeling defeated come Monday morning when you wake up feeling like you're carrying around a spare tire. It’s no wonder why Monday’s are one of the highest traffic days at the gym! 


As a trainer, I always know that my clients are coming in off of the weekend, and they are not feeling their best. They run down their weekend activities, and give me a laundry list of food and drinks during their social activities. The sentence usually ends with, “Oh man, I totally over did it with food. I’m so regretting that now!” The good thing is that they’re back at it, and they didn’t let it defeat them completely because they got right back on their workout band wagon. Consistency is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in your workouts. Now I like to think that I have magical work out goddess powers, but the truth is no trainer can out work your eating habits. I only see my clients 2-3 hours a week. Now I can’t magically fix the damage they’ve done if they are treating their stomach like a garbage disposal. And anyone who knows me, knows that I like to eat. I’m not telling people to stop eating, or to stop going out and having fun at social activities. I am saying don’t blame your trainer when you partied up all weekend and the 2 hours a week that you’re working out doesn’t burn off the thousands of calories that you inhaled! ha ha 


So here 8 of my trainer tips to help keep you on track over the weekend:


1) Check out the menu’s online before going out with friends. Be the first one to suggest healthy options, and it’s very likely that your girlfriends will do the same! 

2) Have an accountability buddy over the weekend. Whether that be a friend, or spouse. It’s really hard for a wife to eat the salad, when her husband is chowing down on the burger with cheese, bacon and garlic fries with the aeoli sauce. Commit to healthier choices before you go to an event. 

3) Eat before you go out, so that you won’t be tempted by everything that’s in front of you. They tell you not to go shopping at the supermarket on an empty stomach. Don’t go to BBQ’s or parties overloaded with greasy foods and fats on an empty stomach. That’s just pure torture. 

4) Plan a hike or do something with the family or friends that keep you active. 

5) Ride bikes to the activity. In California beach cruisers are the way to go. Every little bit helps. It sure beats sitting in the car, or sitting on the couch mindlessly eating empty calories while catching up on your Netflix marathon. 

6) Get in extra weekend workouts. Try not to skip out on the weekend when possible. Carve out some time for you. This is when most calories are consumed. 

7)  If you’re traveling check out in advance to see if the hotel has a gym. Ask the concierge for a list of healthy places nearby to eat. Or better yet, when you’re mapping out your trip check out nearby places online. If you know where to go in advance it makes it easier to make healthier choices. 

8) Carry snacks. I’m a little hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). When my blood sugar drops, so do I. Literally, I have passed out at Nordstrom’s and took down a clothing rack while dropping to the floor. At the country club swimming pool in my bikini, yeah that was fun, and standing in line at Ralph’s trying to stock up on food. So I’ve learned to have some little snack packs to get me by. They can be life savers to hold you over until you can get a real meal. 

In closing, a healthy combo of eating mindfully and working out is key if you want to see results. I hope that these tips will help spark some ideas before this next weekend hits. Regardless, get back on the workout train. Get back in the game by planning time in to get your workouts in. You’ll leave with happy endorphins and feeling better that you did! I promise!  


Lisa Rogers your Cali Girl Fitness Guru www.CaligirlFitnessguru.com


Meet Andrew:

Andrew has dedicated himself to the world of boxing, fitness, and health through instructing, educating, and inspiring communities for over 10 years. He started his formal boxing training in the city of Watts, California at the Broadway Boxing Gym as a (ABA) American Boxing Association coach while continuing his education in World History & Kinesiology at Cal Polytechnic University Pomona.  Andrew’s achievements also include training amatuer fighters as a certified Level 2 USA Boxing Coach, Level 1 Boxing Referee and teaching group fitness boxing at the Equinox Fitness Clubs in South Bay, Newport Beach, Westwood, Downtown LA, and Century City. He is also a well respected speaker, educating the community about nutrition, wellness, and fitness for the greater Los Angeles public schools, churches,  recreation centers, and community colleges.

Andrew's Tip #1: Shopping with Your Baby 

One of my most favorite times of the day is going grocery shopping with my son. The wonderful world of fruits, vegetables and snacks puts me in a state of euphoria as my son and I laugh and sing down each aisle wih no shame! Now you may be asking "how can a grocery shopping experience be that good". My answer is, "It can be, when you treat the store like a fun activity instead of a chore."

For example, I make it a point let my son browse through the refrigerator before we go shopping. While I hold the check list, I allow him to tell me what we need that's missing in the fridge creating  a sense of independence for my son. He may say animal cookies or gold fish half the time but I give him options while emphasizing that, with those choices, comes much responsibility. I reiterate to my son the importance of veggies and fruit as a source of getting big and strong like daddy; and he agrees whole heartedly.

When we arrive to the store it's a few spins in the grocery basket, some choreographed dance moves in the aisles to the grocery store's playlist and a spelling bee contest in the produce section to make sure my baby is being educated about what we are choosing while having fun. At the end of the day it's all about using the possible burdensome or tedious things in life and creating fun and entertaining ideas around them. Your children will pick up on those habits and become better problem solvers and critical thinkers as they grow up because mommy and or  daddy have led by example. At end of the day, life is only full of set ups not set backs. 

Be Well and Be Healed.  -A.Woods

Andrew's Tip #2: Cooking with Your Baby

Yes! breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. This is true for two reasons. First, the body needs nutrients first thing in the morning to prevent the body from storing fat and to help fuel the body for the daily tasks ahead. Secondly, when you start the day with your family at breakfast, you are subconsciously preparing your family for life's challenges. I start my son and I with prayer first so he knows that whatever he may be confronted with, God has his back 100%. Then it's off to the kitchen for his favorite; daddy's famous garlic scrambled eggs. He loves them so much that he finishes every bite with a "mmmm good." While I prepare our meal, I always give him two assignments; to pick out the eggs carefully and help set the table with our two plastic bowls and fancy napkins. We then join hands for another prayer to bless our food and  it is then time to begin the day. Even though this may not seem like much to the average parent or family, I am creating "PBM" or what I call, positive bonding memories. We then use these PBM's  when times get rough or frustrating outside of the home to bring us back to what matters most, family.

"Though darkness may come, the flicker of a light can save the day" A.Woods