The Skinny on Protein Shakes Vs Meal Replacement Shakes

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is choosing the wrong type of shake for their fitness goals. At first glance, it may seem easy; “Just choose the one with the most protein and the fewest calories right?” Wrong! Here is everything you need to choose the right shake for you.

Protein Shake

drinking protein shakeThe protein shake is the most common shake. Unfortunately, the name “protein shake” is used so loosely, many people call any shake that has protein in it a protein shake even if it’s not really a real protein shake. Let me explain.

You see, not all protein shakes are created equal. You have protein shakes that are high in calories and fat for weight gain and/or muscle gain (like bodybuilders and football players). There are low carb, low calorie options created for calorie-conscious dieters (like me!). You also have protein-infused supplement shakes that are marketed for the older population (like Ensure).

protein powderIn addition to how much protein, fat and carbs are in your protein shake, there are many other factors to consider. For instance, there are different types of whey protein and whey blends. The two most popular are whey isolate and whey concentrate (undenatured and denatured).

Whey isolate has slightly more protein, gram for gram, than whey concentrate, but undenatured whey concentrate has loads of immunity benefits to support overall health, including far higher amounts of growth factors that can be effective for both athletes and “normal” people just wanting to be in good health. Undenatured whey is particularly good for people who are looking for products to support anti-cancer and immune stimulating activity. (Click here to read’s article on whey isolate vs whey concentrate)

Vegan smoothiePlant based protein for vegans, vegetarians and people who are lactose intolerant have also become very popular. Vegan friendly companies use a wide variety of plant based protein sources like soy, hemp protein, brown rice protein and pea proteins. However, soy protein is now red flagged as one of the worst sources of protein for muscle development as well as overall health.

Once you decide what type of macro nutrients and protein you need, then there are all the chemicals to consider. Do you want a protein powder that is filled with toxic chemicals and artificial sweeteners or do you prefer going the organic natural route?

Lastly, protein shakes are not ideal for replacing a meal because they are lacking nutrients. If you are looking for a post workout shake to be consumed right after a workout or at bedtime for overnight muscle recover, then you want to invest in a high quality protein powder. However, if you want to use protein shakes as a snack or meal replacement, then you need to get a meal replacement shake. They both are useful, but they both are very different.

This is my protein shake’s label for comparison.

Notice, I chose a low-calorie, low-carb, low-fat powder. The protein is not extremely high, but I opted for a higher grade very bioavailable (easily absorbed) protein (undenatured whey) which is optimal for my overall health, as well as muscle development. Some protein powders boast high protein content, but are loaded with fillers or proteins that are not usable protein. What that means is you still get all the calories, but you may not be getting all the protein. 72 calories of the 90 calories are strictly from protein alone. 

TIP: Notice the label is small with few ingredients. No artificial chemicals, no fillers. Just protein and sweetener basically. 
IsaPro Protein Shake

Meal Replacement Shakes

meal in a cupThink of a meal replacement shake as a complete meal in a cup. A meal replacement shake is required to meet strict dietary standards in order to be get the “meal replacement shake” title. And, for good reason. It must replace an entire nutritious meal.

If you see a meal shake that is under 100 calories, that is not a meal replacement shake because it is too low in calories. Another thing to look for is if the shake seems to market itself as a meal replacement shake but it doesn’t say “meal replacement shake” on the label.

A good meal replacement shake should be very filling and satisfy all your nutritional needs, not just your protein needs. If you have a shake and are starving an hour later, something is probably wrong. To maximize absorption, and to give your body the fuel it needs to run well, your meal replacement shake should be loaded with nutrients just like a traditional balanced meal. As a result, you should feel full, energized and satisfied.

protein shakeMeal replacement shakes should be jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, just like you should be getting from the perfect whole food meal. Each meal should have the perfect balance of protein, carbs and fat. If a meal replacement shake is lacking enough macronutrients, you may feel hungry and unsatisfied. This is why you may get hungry one hour after drinking a protein shake. Protein shakes lack all the nutrients of a real meal. However, a really good meal replacement shake can keep you full for hours.

Expect the label on a meal replacement shake to look completely different than a label on a protein shake. A meal replacement shake needs to have fats, carbs and fiber to energize you and keep you feeling full. The protein content should be high (ideally over 20gms of protein) to support muscle repair and good health. Finally, the label should have a lot of ingredients listed because it should have a lot of real nutrient-dense whole food in it. Remember, once again, it’s a meal.

This is my meal replacement shake’s label for comparison.

Notice my shake has only 240 calories (which is a really low calorie meal) with 24g protein, 24g carbs (a perfect 1:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates), 6g fat, 23 vitamins and minerals, probiotics and digestive enzymes. That is a LOT of nutrition packed in only 240 calories. There is no way you can get that in a lean cuisine, or even a home-cooked meal for that fact.

TIP: Just want a snack? Just cut your serving in half for a perfectly balanced 120 calorie snack!

IsaLean Meal Replacement Shake Label

This is the ingredient label for my dairy-free meal replacement shake for comparison.

Notice the ingredients include recognizable foods like brown rice, kale, beets, olive, flax seed, pumpkin, sweet potato, apples, chia and squash! 

dairy free meal replacement shake

There are SO many more things I would love to share with you but hopefully that helps you figure out which type of shake is for you. And, likely, you will want to utilize both (like me!) and this blog will help you know what to take and when to take it.

Click here to contact me if you would like more information on the line of supplements I use.


red mountain resortOne of the many wonderful opportunities Steve and I have gotten over the years is to lead wellness retreats.

All wellness retreats are different. While we will lead many different workouts, our main focus is what we will give you to take back home with you. That is why our retreats are focused on education, motivation and encouragement. We know if we can give you the tools you need to succeed on your own, the retreat can not just change your body, but change your life.

Steve & Bonnie Pfiester

More Than Workouts

Workouts are great, but a few workouts won’t change your life. Although we will be teaching a lot of classes including yoga, boot camp, kickboxing, power walking, strength training, injury prevention, abs and core and more, the most valuable classes will be on how to make lasting healthy changes that you can implement anywhere.

Our focus on education and motivation is what makes our retreats so valuable. It’s not what you do while you are with us that matters as much as what you take home with you – and it’s our desire to give you as much of us as we possibly can.

Exploring Together

transformation vacation at red mountain resort.The next retreat we have planned will be held at Red Mountain Resort in Utah November 30th – December 3rd. Known as the adventure resort, this property is surrounded by a natural playground where we can do yoga on red cliffs, horseback riding, biking, hiking, repelling, climbing, kayaking and so much more!

In addition to all the excursions and adventures you can experience, we can also just chill together by the pool or get pampered in the spa. A real wellness retreat should leave us feeling refreshed and renewed, so we should all make sure we are getting rest and relaxation too!

Making Memories Together

wellness retreatMy favorite part about the retreats is building relationships. Often times we are finally meeting people we’ve known for years online. It is so fun to spend quality time together and making lasting memories. And, while we do spend time together, we make sure too make the most of each moment – teaching and sharing healthy lifestyle tips as we go.

Eat with us. Train with us. Walk with us. Explore with us. Relax with us. If you commit to spending 4 days with us, we’ll commit to giving you everything we’ve got!!

Sweating Together

Although we plan to burn a lot of calories during this retreat, we promise we will make burning calories more fun than you could ever imagine! Workouts will include a wide variety of different exercises, easily modified for every single fitness level. So, if you are a Nervous Nelly when it comes to group workouts, have no fear! This is a stress-free environment, with workouts geared to challenge you but not overwhelm you. Once you have gone to one of our retreats, you will be able to enter any gym or class with confidence.

Book & Save!

CLICK HERE to learn more about our upcoming retreat! Register by Sept 1st and get $300 OFF using the coupon code below! ! Plus, they offer payment plans to make it possible for everyone to be able to do such an amazing luxurious retreat!

COUPON CODE: Pfiester300


Are You Dreaming Big? Are You Dreaming at All?

Many people don’t dream in fear of failure. As a result, they only set small goals in fear of never achieving bigger ones – which are the goals and dreams the REALLY want. In other words, they settle.

“Too many people set goals too low and try to complete them too quickly”- Rick Warren (From the Awesome Power of Faith podcast)

DREAMWe are often taught to set achievable goals. However, if everyone in the world only set goals they knew they could reach, no records would be broken, no inventions would be created and no discoveries would be found. Attempting the impossible gives us an opportunity to truly discover what is truly possible – not what we think is possible, but what is our real potential when we strive for better things, higher goals and bigger dreams.

While I do believe you need to have goals you can reach, you also need to set bigger goals, beyond what you believe are possible. It’s called dreaming – and we ALL should dream. So many people have NO idea of their potential. As a result, they set goals based on what they believe they can do. I see this all the time. People set low goals, but then they want to achieve them too quickly.

For instance, someone may want to lose 30lbs. But, the need to lose 70lbs. 70 seems impossible, but 30 seems doable. Or, they want to lose 20lbs this month, when 20lbs is totally doable, but it’s not realistic for you to do that in 30 days. Some people may set a goal to do a 5K, when a 5K is totally possible, but a half marathon is more of a challenge. Still possible, but will take more effort, more time to achieve and also bring you much more joy when accomplished.

This applies in all areas of life too beyond fitness. We want to reach possibles goals – and we want to achieve it tomorrow. We want to make more money – tomorrow. We want a better marriage – tomorrow. We want our diet to pay off – tomorrow. These things take a massive amount of work, and if you are bold enough to dream bigger, you will be amazed what God can do in your life when you dream a God-sized dream.

dream bigWhat is a God-sized dream?

A God-sized dream is a dream you can’t achieve alone. You’ve got a BIG God, so why dream small?

Big goals and dreams require FAITH. If we set goals that we can achieve on our own, we are basically saying we don’t need God and don’t even WANT to need God. Why in the WORLD would we want to exclude an all-powerful God that knows best and has all the resources we need? Whatever our goal is, whatever we want to overcome, anything is possible with His help. Even losing weight.

Overcoming Failure

get past your pastI have to admit, I always used to be a BIG dreamer. We achieved some pretty incredible things, from growing a very successful business and landing a role on 2 major TV networks – life was GREAT and exciting… BUUUT, since other humans are typically involved in your dreams (because they are involved in your life) – AND, because you are human and you too mess up – we experienced a ton of failures along the way.

Over time, as people let me down and no matter how hard I worked, my dreams crumbled so I stopped dreaming. I was just surviving. I saw no hope of digging myself out of the mess I was in. I lived in survival mode for 4 long years. I wasted so much time in survival mode, feeling hopeless and feeling like such a failure. I was scared to try something new. I was scared of failure once again. So, while where I was wasn’t where I wanted to be, I remained there.

Well, God doesn’t call us to just remain the same and just live to survive. Just because people let me down and just because I made mistakes, it shouldn’t mean I should give up on my dreams – or God. Just because I messed up and made poor decisions doesn’t mean I can start making better ones.

I’ve learned this over the last few years and, while it took a bit to get over the loss of a business, betrayal, rejection and failure, I slowly realized “all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to HIS purpose” (not mine). While I started out right, I got off track and ultimately ended wrong. I failed.

Fail to Learn

FAILSometimes failure has to happen in order to discover your REAL purpose – God’s purpose. We learn from failures as long as we don’t give up. We needed a major reset, we needed to refocus (on Him, not our dreams). Over time, God has used failure to bring us to our knees, forcing us to lean on Him (when we should have been leaning on Him fully the entire time). He has healed my heart and grown me to the point I started dreaming again. I am trusting God and doing things now I NEVER thought I’d EVER do – and God is not IN it, He’s LEADING it. Ironically, my dreams have not changed much. What has changed is the purpose behind the dream. God’s ways are not our ways, but they are BETTER ways!!

I’m so amazed what God has done in our life over the last 3 years following His lead, and more specifically the last 6 months. It took a HUGE step of faith to start a new nutrition business. It takes a HUGE step of faith to obey Him daily. It takes a HUGE step of faith to dream again, but boy does God love showing off in our lives.

If you stopped dreaming, that is not how God desires us to live. I actually think it’s impossible to follow God and not dream, because as we follow Him, He gives us desires and passions. We realize that the sky is the limit because HE is unlimited. HE does the impossible and He does it through ordinary people all the time. We see Him radically changing lives. If He can cast out demons and turn a murderer into a apostle, He sure as crap can transform a person’s unhealthy habits.

It’s not about being rich or famous, or smoking hot and super fit looking. It’s about you being your best. His dreams always grow you and improve your life in order to impact others. A real dream is bigger than you. His dreams have an eternal purpose. His dreams change lives. Finally, I feel like I am getting it. While we’ve always been in the business of “helping others”, now we are learning how to serve others. Big difference. A lot of the same actions and same work, but different driving force and a much bigger reward.

Dream Bigger Than Your Ability.
Dream a God-Sized Dream – a Dream that Can ONLY Be Accomplished with His Help!

Big Dreams Require Faith

weight loss dreamWeight loss may not seem like a God-sized dream, but changing who you are is. Most people need more than just weight loss.They are overweight because they have to make serious changes to their life, not just their waistline. They have to change how they respond to pain if they are a comfort food eater. They have to change the way the respond to stress if they are a stress eater. They have to change how they manage their time if they spend most of their time being unproductive, unorganized and not having time to take care of themselves. They have to change how they eat and what they put in their body. They have to change their life.

Anyone can white knuckle it for a while, but a lasting change requires a change from the inside out. You will need help, you will need strength, you will need to know your value and that it honors God to honor your body. You will have to change the way you look at YOU, food, time, energy and others. Your weight and health is more than just a number on a scale. It’s a reflection of how you live your life. If you want to truly change, it will take faith and obedience.

If you want to make a lasting life change, you need a God-sized goal. Ask God to place on your heart HIS desires for you. I guarantee He wants you to take care of yourself. I guarantee He wants you to be healthy and energetic so you can live the life He intended. And, I guarantee He WANTS to help you, transform you and grow you. So, let Him do His thing. Trust Him fully – even with the small stuff.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Simple Ways to De-stress Your Life Today

stressed outStress is the devil. That’s all I can say! It devours our life, our mindset and our health if we let it – keyword “let”. Unfortunately, most people spend more time and energy combatting the affects of stress rather than reducing stress to begin with.

If you don’t take your stress seriously, I can tell you for a fact, your body does. It takes it very seriously. Here are just a few facts about how stress affects our health.

  • 75-70% of all doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments or complaints
  • 43% of adults have stress-related health issues
  • Stress can cause headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety
  • Stress is one of the main factors causing insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • The stress hormone cortisol not only causes abdominal fat to accumulate, but it also enlarges individual fat cells, leading to what researchers call “diseased” fat

If you want to kick stress and enjoy your life, you will need to be proactive. You will have to take steps DAILY to avoid unnecessary stress in your life and to combat the affects of stress. Here are a few things that help me manage stress.

start your day right1. Start the day off right.

If you wake up late and you start your day rushing around, you will likely experience one stressful situation after the next. From getting behind a school bus on the way to work to spilling your coffee down your shirt. If you want to start your day stress-free, simply wake up earlier. So much of our life has extra stress in it because we don’t plan well. Since I started waking up earlier, making enough time to do a few chores and get alone with God, my days have been so much more pleasant.

2. Get out the scented oils.

Scented candles and air diffusers are not just for romantic nights. I use them daily to create a stress-free atmosphere all day long. Since I work from home most of the time, I make a point to create the kind of environment that can allow me to focus and stay calm. I don’t know about you, but I can’t have a stress-free day facing a kitchen full of dishes and a cluttered office. So, before I tackle work, I clean up any messes and fill the air with sweet aromas using scented oils, candles or diffusers. To make things even better, I always make sure to play a bible teaching or the Bible app so I am preparing my spirit while preparing my home for a positive productive workday. (My current audiobook: “Overload” by Joyce Meyer.)

3. Release pinned up aggression.

It is super easy to blow off exercise when you feel fatigued and stressed out, but that is when you need it most. If you are having a stressful day, exercise can’t be an option. I must be a priority. Exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Exercise may take energy, but it gives back even more energy in return. Not only will your body feel energized, it makes you proud.

adaptogens4. Normalize cortisol levels naturally.

Cortisol is released in response to stress by the adrenal glands. Over time, cortisol can build up in our system causing anxiety, mood swings, forgetfulness, brain fog, concentration problems, insomnia, and weight gain. You can reduce cortisol levels daily by taking better care of your health. Exercise must be first priority. Next to exercise, I recently discovered the magic of adaptogens. Taking Ionix Supreme, which has a blend of powerful adaptogens, has been a total game changer for me. I am so much clearer, more focused, energized and less stressed. Eating healthy is also a must, but it’s also important to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs (I take Complete Essentials). The healthier your body is, the happier it will be.

socialize5. Party the right way.

Many people run to food or drink as a stress reliever, but that can only add more stress to your life. However, you should make time to socialize. Human connectivity and physical touch relaxes your parasympathetic nervous system.This is something I often have to force myself to do. In addition to the chemical effect it has on your body, I have found investing in others also helps me take my eyes off myself and my own problems. So, despite my knee-jerk reaction to stay home, I make sure I get out regularly and invest time in quality relationships whether I “feel like it” or not.

Your life isn’t going to get let less stressful on it’s own. You are going to have to take the necessary steps to de-stress – and, hopefully, this little list will get you going in the right direction!


Summer Fun Fitness Gear

Some people reward themselves with a cheat meal. I reward myself with fitness apparel. So, I thought I’d share my latests finds.

Barbells & Ponytails

Barbell and PonytailsI saw this hat online and that was what drew me in at first. I love that warn look and I really needed a dark grey hat. The style fits great and it’s cute too! Whether I wear it at the gym or with jeans, it will definitely be a good go-to hat.

Once I looked around the site, I spotted this cute retro tank too with the cartoon of the girl lifting the dumbbell. I threw it on with charcoal capri leggings and charcoal victoria secret sports bra – and BOOM! Totally cute and cozy workout wear! Better than cake!

Get the Tank

Get the Hat


fabletics darci capriI have been ordering from Fabletics for several months now, but my friend (Danielle Burke) is the one that told me about these legging. I would have never noticed their secret powers if I didn’t see Danielle tucking her phone in her slick thigh pocket on our run. My eyes popped out of my head and I was like “I’ve GOT to have THAT!!” For a girl who is constantly snapping shots and needing to keep her phone by her side, this was a MUST HAVE!

So, I ordered them right away and they quickly became my go-to leggings. They were the perfect travel leggings to wear when flying to Phoenix for work. Super comfy, fashionable (with the sheer cutouts) and practical (with my secret pockets! Yep, this too is a must have!

Get Fabletics’ Darci Capris


workout womanI discovered this tank on facebook (because you know how facebook knows you even better than your bestie! LOL). They are constantly showing me stuff I want – and, well, it’s working! I clicked on the facebook ad and purchased my Workout Woman tank, but my purchase became a welcomed discovery. Teespring is an incredible site for gifts. **BOOKMARK!**

Once you go on the site, enter any topic or theme to discover tons of stuff! For instance, I typed in “Wonder Woman” and it gave me over 1,000 items to choose from. I searched “cupcakes” because my BFF love cupcakes and narrowed the search to tank tops and there were 552 tanks just about cupcakes!! What an amazing site to find the perfect gift for your friend who loves (fill in blank here).

Get the Workout Woman Tank

What’s Your Latest Find? Comment Below!

6 No-Nos for Great Abs + 5 Great Workouts

absEveryone wants a smaller, tighter, fitter midsection. I get more questions about ab exercises than any other exercise. People want to improve their belly, but there is no ab exercise in the world that can make your stomach look great if you aren’t improving other things than contribute to the big belly issue.

Here are a few other issues that need to be addressed if you want to get a six-pack!

  1. Poor posture. One reason we battle the bulge is because we are lazy. We don’t maintain good posture and hold our stomach in like we should. Laziness causes us to lose our resting tone in our abdominal muscles, allowing our gut to stretch out the abdominal wall. We can increase muscle tone simply by keeping our tummy tight and standing up tall.
  2. Overeating. I’m not just saying that because overeating makes you fat. When we eat large meals our stomach increases in size, pushing out against our abdominal muscles. It’s a lot easier to maintain a smaller, tighter waistline by simply eating smaller portions.
  3. Plank yogaLack of knowledge. If you think it’s too late to get a six-pack, think again.  Look at all the women who retrain their ab muscles after pregnancy. The same can happen to a beer belly too. Crunches, sit-ups and plank exercises get great results and don’t require a gym membership or equipment. However, there’s a lot of other incredible exercises and equipment to help you get that 6-pack a little faster. Don’t rely on crunches alone. Try exploring new ab workouts regularly or hire a trainer to put you through a new ab workout to try new exercises and techniques.
  4. Avoiding cardio. Cardio not only reduces body fat that covers your abs, but some cardio actually works your midsection more than others. Trade the bike for exercises that allow the arms to swing and the upper body to rotate, like running or the elliptical. Aerobics classes, like kickboxing, are also excellent because they incorporate a lot of rotation through the mid-section. Concentrate on the ab area while exercising, maintaining good posture and tight abs throughout the exercise.
  5. Diets make absNot tracking food. We can do abdominal exercises until we’re blue in the face, but it won’t do a thing about the fat that’s covering our muscles. The only way to trim off the fat is to take in fewer calories than we burn – and you can’t really do that guessing your way through your diet. Otherwise, we will just have a six-pack under the keg. I personally follow a set amount of calories and macros when I’m trimming down to guarantee my success. Lord knows, I don’t want to do all that work for nothing! So, I make sure I’m working as hard in the kitchen as I am in the gym.
  6. Looking for shortcuts. So may people try everything in the book but the right way to get results. They try diet pill, supplements and the craziest exercise apparatuses promising crazy results in less time and with less effort. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Let’s face it; we can’t get a six-pack in six minutes without changing what we do in the other 1,434 minutes that fill our day.

So many people are doing a TON right, but they are still doing enough wrong to not get the full benefit. I challenge you to address each one of these possible issues and apply these tips for 30 days and see how much faster you can uncover your abs!

Here are 5 ab/core workouts to try!





Meal Replacement Shakes Revealed: 6 Important Questions

A DRINKER colorI used to be anti-meal replacement shakes. The only shakes I used to drink were protein shakes. I looked over nutrition in search of high-protein, low-calorie muscle building drinks with no consideration of everything else my body needed for optimal health, repair, energy and growth. I looked fit, but I wasn’t healthy.

Whether you choose to create your own homemade meal replacement shake or you choose a product that meets your nutritional need, I am now a believer. I don’t drink it because I’m lazy or because I’m fat (although I did lose 10lbs by replacing 1 meal a day with a healthier shake option), I do it for my health. I have less inflammation, I have faster muscle repair, I have fewer cravings and I feel amazing. I actually am healthy! Go figure!

If you’ve been considering a meal replacement, I say go for it! Ideally, I’d LOVE to get everything my body needs in whole food. That is optimal, but not realistic for me. Honestly, in today’s hectic world, most of us need to improve our nutrition, and this is a practical way to do it. More nutrients, fewer calories.

Before you go pick up the first meal replacement shake you see, here are a few things to look out for because not all meal replacement shakes are created equal – and some are downright horrible for you!

How To Choose a Healthy Meal Replacement Shake

1. Does it say “Meal Replacement” on the label?

shakeThere are strict guidelines a brand needs to follow to be labeled a true meal replacement shake, so look for those key words on the label. Breakfast shakes, protein shakes, energy shakes and smoothies don’t count. Why is this important? Well, first of all, it’s important because a meal needs to be filling. It needs to give you all the nutrients you need, but it also needs to hold you until the next meal. Experts have decided a meal will require a certain amount of calories and nutrients to give your body what it needs to perform at 100%. If it is a complete meal, it should be very satisfying and filling. Besides, what is the purpose of drinking a meal replacement shake if you want to eat an hour later?

2. What is the calorie content?

nutrition labelThat brings me to the next point. A shake under 200 calories isn’t a meal replacement. Breakfast shakes also rarely count. That’s also why they don’t label them as a meal replacement shake; because they can’t legally put that on their label. Sadly, mainstream brands prey on dieters’ desire to lose weight so they give consumers what they want, not what they need. So, they give dieters low-calorie options while cutting out other important nutrients. For instance, Ensure Active Light is not only too low in calories to be a meal, it has no staying power. With only one gram of carbs and 2 grams of fat, you will be lucky if that satisfies you for an hour. Extreme low calorie meal replacement options are nothing more than a small snack.

3. Does it have balanced macros?

meal replacement shakeMacro nutrients are protein, carbs and fats. Fat slows digestion, improving nutrient absorption. Carbohydrates and healthy fats also give you energy. Protein helps prevent muscle deterioration but it also can help keep you feeling full. Higher protein meal replacement shakes (over 20gms) will keep you feeling more satisfied, as well as help with your fitness goals. However, just because something is high in protein doesn’t make it the best option either. You need healthy amounts of fats, carbs and protein in each meal. If your label is not very balanced (like this Slimfast drink, left), it’s likely you need to choose a different option.

4. Does it have the proper amount of vitamins and minerals?

Green-Goodness-Bolthouse-Smoothie-1A legal meal replacement option must have a full range of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The guidelines require a meal replacement should have 30% of the daily value of most vitamins and minerals if you are replacing at least one meal a day with a shake. This makes sense because a third of your meals should have roughly a third of required nutrients. My shake has over 23 vitamins and minerals, but I’ve seen many other meal replacement-like shakes that are lucky to have 3 or 4 vitamins listed on the panel. Ironically, some of the healthiest “looking” options are lacking is more ways than one. For instance, this Bolthouse Farms Green Goddess smoothie boasts Vitamins A & C, yet it only has 20% of recommended values for vitamin A and only 35% of vitamin C. I addition, they only have 8 vitamins listed on the panel, one of which is 2% calcium, 6% iron and 10% Riboflavin, which isn’t anything to brag about for sure.

I used to think I could slap some peanut butter and oatmeal in a protein shake and it instantly made it a meal replacement shake. While it might hold me longer, it was missing all the other nutrients my body needed. What have learned is this; when your body is getting the nutrition it needs, it isn’t “starving” for nutrition (AKA: Food). The importance of having a shake packed with vitamins and minerals goes beyond our health, it actually helps us be happier (more satisfied) dieters too!

5. Does it have any artificial ingredients?

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 1.32.31 PMI am constantly shocked at what so-called healthy companies are putting in nutrition supplements. The majority of companies, like Pure Protein, uses Sucralose to sweeten their products. Ensure, and nearly all the other popular brands, are packed with artificial everything – from sweeteners to flavors. Sadly, even if the shake has a good macro-nutrient profile, it often relies on fake sweeteners and flavors to make up for what they lack in other areas. The fact is, the FDA and other organizations that regulate the food industry don’t require brands to use natural ingredients. As long as it’s optional, most companies will always take the cheapest and easiest way so they can make the most profit. We may want to get healthy and lose fat, but big brands want a healthy bank account. That is business at our expense.

6. What does it cost?

grocery shoppingWhen we shop for a car or house, we all know something must be wrong if it’s super cheap. Right? Yet, we expect great things for cheap prices when it comes to food, diet, gyms, etc. This is why it’s hard to find high-quality products on the shelves today. People don’t want to pay for it. However, it is impossible to create high quality products for cheap. In order for items to make it in the grocery store, corners much be cut – plain and simple. Basically, we get what we pay for. We can complain about it all day, but I don’t know why we would expect to get all the nutrients we need in a high-quality meal in less than what it costs to purchase a high quality whole food meal. My meal replacement shakes costs roughly $2.80. I couldn’t buy a lean cuisine for that, much less a balanced healthy meal with ample protein, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals that actually tastes good. I think $2.80 is a fair price. Most people are comparing apples to oranges. While you can get a Boost high protein shake (pictured above under tip #5) for around $1.25, you will get exactly what you pay for, including sugar and corn syrup (first ingredients after water), artificial flavors, inflammatory vegetable oils (5th ingredient) and soy protein (which is a whole other scary topic in of itself).

Hopefully, you can see by now that all meal replacement shakes are not created equal. And, hopefully, I’ve helped you know what to look for when shopping for the right shake for you. Luckily, there are a few good quality products out there for everyone. Whether you are wanting to supplement a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, trying to lose weight or just want to be the healthiest you possible, meal replacement shakes are a convenient healthy alternative – especially in this crazy unhealthy world!

CONTACT ME if you would like to learn more about my nutrition solutions or if you need other help. I love connecting with my readers and would love the chance to help!


Lose the Easter Bunny Belly

We all do it. We blow our diet over the holiday weekend. We really didn’t eat poorly, but we ate more than usual. Oh, and Steve DID get me an easter basket with a few treats I had to try. LOL

Like many holidays, our Easter was centered on a nice big dinner with family and friends. We enjoyed smoked chicken and ribs, with a Kale salad, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, brown rice and a delicious blueberry cobbler – and I am happy to admit I had a HUGE piece! haha :)

Unfortunately, although the holiday is over and your mistakes are behind me, they aren’t really behind me YET. I brought those mistakes with me because me because I still carry all that food in my gut.

picnic The Mayo Clinic explains that the average transit time, from the time you eat the food to elimination, is 40 hours – 33 hours for men and up to 47 hours for women. While you wait to get rid of you poor choices, here are a 5 things you can do to help you feel thinner again, even before the actual body fat is lost.

So, while I know one big meal didn’t cause me to gain 5lbs, it will take me a few days to get that food out of my system. Here are a few of my tips on how I work to bounce back fast.

5 Ways to Lose the Holiday Weight Gain

drink-water11. Drink a LOT of water

Dining out and eating snacks can cause you to hold more water due to increased sodium. Water retention can account for up to 5lbs of additional weight from eating foods high in sodium. Flush your body by increasing your water intake – every day, all week long. Not only will you flush out toxins and excess water retention, you will feel fuller and healthier too! We try to get a gallon of water a day for a solid week. Even if you don’t get the full gallon in, you’ll get a lot more than if you didn’t try.

running with beats2. Go for a run

Get your sweat on and burn some calories! Not only does running help you sweat out the toxins built up from your poor choices over the weekend, but it tightens the core and will help burn off those extra calories and “erase those sins”. In addition, cardio helps move water around which relieves water retention and swelling. I also just love burning off those food sins. Plus, it just feels good getting my head and body back in to action.

3. Eat smaller portions

Healtthy Chocolate banana smoothieWork on shrinking your stomach by limiting portion sizes. It will take a few days for your copious amount of weekend food to get out of your system, but you can feel thinner quicker if you immediately go back to small portions. The less you have in your belly, the smaller your belly will look and feel. If you struggle to limit portions on your own, you can do convenient meal replacement shakes like I do. I typically have 2 shakes a day for a few days after a vaca or diet fail. Then, I go back to my own shake a day for maintenance. I like doing shakes over just reducing calories because my shakes give me tons of nutrients for a lot fewer calories – resulting in a more satisfied (and happier) dieter!

cleanse4. Cleanse

When I totally blow it, I like to reset my system by doing a cleanse combined with an intermittent fast. My cleanse protocol includes 4 cleanse drinks, combined with cleanse support products I use to help suppress my appetite. I normally do some chicken broth for dinner if I really am wanting a hot meal. The end result is a mental, physical and cellular reset that leaves me feeling energized, thinner and healthier. Note: You never want to do a cleanse until you have at least 2 healthy nutrition days. 

5. Plank it out

woman-plankIf you are like me, you’re probably tired of trying to hold your stomach in all weekend. Why? Because it’s hard to suck your tummy in when it is completely stuffed all weekend. Plus, if you didn’t workout over the weekend, your stomach muscles have probably gotten relaxed and stretched out. However, if you tighten up your core with some exercises, those muscles will tighten right back up – and it will be a lot easier to keep your stomach flat.



CONTACT ME if you would like a customized diet plan or help choosing nutrition support to match your goals. Consultations are always free!

Tighten Your Tummy: Four Your Core Workout

Running Motivation: Run For the Future You

Run becauseWhen you are struggling, take a time machine forward a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade. Think of what you do NOW and how it will affect your future.I don’t run for me, I run for her – the future me.

There was no part of me that wanted to wake up at 4 AM just to run. But I didn’t do it JUST to run. I ran for my health, for my strength, to practice discipline and because it makes me feel good, healthy and proud. I did it because I knew how I would feel AFTER the run was over. I knew how I’d look and feel in a week from now and a few weeks from now. Running is an investment in my future.

I’m not a fast runner. Some runs are pretty pathetic actually. Truth be told, most of them are probably pretty pathetic. But, I run – and I finish each run in victory because I beat my flesh into submission and didn’t let laziness rule me.

“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27

Running mirror’s the discipline I desire in other areas of my life. I might fight every step some days, but life is like a run. Some days are hard and you feel so heavy, and some days are light an easy.  You keep showing up no matter what the day holds.

If you can practice that in fitness, it will carry over in all other parts of your life. It’s a practice called discipline. Note, I said “practice”. You don’t just have it, you have to PRACTICE it. Like with any practice, you have good days and bad days, but you keep showing up and continuing to practice what you desire to improve. It’s not always fun, but it’s always rewarding.

My Toxic “Fit” Life: Time to Come Clean

big sweaterIt’s that time of year when people are realizing that it’s time to shed the layers of clothes – AND FAT!! Yes, bikini season is around the corner and, if you are like most people, you aren’t quite ready for it. What a better time to do some spring cleaning to that diet of yours!

Unfortunately, we live in a very toxic world. Not only are our surroundings toxic, our food is toxic too. Even when we try to eat clean, we can still be unknowingly fill our bodies with toxins. Between artificial sweeteners, taste-enhancing chemicals, pesticides and so many other toxic ingredients, there’s no wonder most people do not feel their best.

toxinsAre You Toxic?

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle Ache & Pains
  • Inflammation
  • Mood Swings
  • Skin irritations or allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Scent sensitivity
  • Bad breath
  • Weight gain or plateau
  • Digestive issues
  • Mental Fog
  • Acne
  • Premature aging

My Toxic “Fit” Life

Steve and Bonnie PfiesterOnline Trainingabs around pro

skin rash stomachAs I began to type this list, I started to reflect back on the last two years. I have been SO fit – NOT! I LOOKED fit, but I did not FEEL fit! I had so many health issues. I seriously didn’t even put it all together until right now.


#1 Skin Problems

My first health issue was this ridiculous skin rash all over my body. So bad, I had to be treated by a dermatologist and be put on steroids, along with all kinds of other meds, to try to kick it. This was literally a yearlong battle. It started on my back and stomach, then moved to my arms and face.

#2 Digestive Issues

Hospital selfieIn addition to my skin problems, I had a series of digestive issues that put me in the hospital. I thought I was having girlie issues with ovarian cysts. But, as I lay on the hospital bed listening to my prognosis, the doctor explained I had two issues. One, he said, was indeed an ovarian cyst. The other, he explained, was something he said was equally concernng; constipation.

At the time, I had no idea that constipation was so harmful to the body. Uncomfortable, yes, but harmful? Since then, I learned how important out digestive system is for getting toxic waste out of our body. When this isn’t done in a timely matter, that toxic waste just sits there – slowly poisoning us. Eeek!

foam rolling# 3 Muscle Pain

If skin rashes and constipation wasn’t bad enough, let’s talk about pain. One of my chronic issues I was dealing with was my muscles were staying sore for days. I mean, we all have heard of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but I was remaining insanely sore for 3-5 days.

My muscle soreness was crippling for me. I got where I was dreading every workout, trying to figure out what body part I could actually train because I stayed so sore all over, all of the time. I even got to a point where I told Steve I thought something was wrong with me. Yep, you guessed it. That was another sign of toxicity. But wait, there’s more.

afraid# 4 Back Pain

A once very healthy girl, who had no car wrecks or any accidents, started having low back issues. Not just back aches, but my back would lock up on me, putting me to the ground. I hurt constantly. I no longer could do certain activities and exercises, especially burpees. This was NOT good for a trainer!

It got so bad, poor Steve was exhausted from my complaining. Long rides killed me and even sitting on the couch at night became miserable. I just couldn’t get comfortable, and that made Steve’s life just as uncomfortable.

Steve began trying to feed me fish oil and turmeric to help reduce inflammation, but it didn’t budge it. He even began to tease me about falling apart, but I knew he really was just annoyed and also legitimately hurting for me. And, truth be told, I really started to believe it. I thought, “well, I’m 45 and I guess this is just the beginning.”

#5 Tendonitis

tendonitisOn top of the skin rash, constipation, muscle soreness and back pain, I began to get tendonitis in my right elbow. If anyone watched me on LiveExercise, they have witnessed all these issues firsthand. I couldn’t do upright rows or straight bar curls. I couldn’t do daily chores, like lift groceries out of the trunk with that hand either.

While I worked around it, I was constantly holding my elbow and trying to massage the pain out. The elbow stayed noticeably swollen. I kept doing what I could do and ignoring it the best I could, hoping it would magically disappear one day, like most people.

#6 Depression & Fatigue

Believe it or not, all this led to depression. I know! This sounds ridiculous, but this was my life. Fit on the outside and a hot mess on the inside. My family had a little intervention session with me and told me I needed to “take this little pill”, essentially. Ha! I knew they were right. Being in pain non-stop is exhausting. Dealing with itchy bumpy ugly skin is depressing. No wonder I was tired and depressed. Who wouldn’t be?

Depression paralyzed me. I remember being over at our friends’ house in Utah and I had to write a blog. I literally couldn’t focus enough to even type one sentence. I had no drive, no creativity and no brain function. I was tired and my head was in a fog. This was SO not me! I’m Mrs. energetic and creative. However, all of these problems mounding up on me was even too much for this little Miss Happy to endure.

thinkingIronically, I was still a pretty happy person, despite my grumbling. I just was frustrated. I felt like I was being held back. I wanted to BE as fit as I looked. I wanted to feel good again. Steve probably suffered more than anyone.

I just knew something had to change. I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer al the time and wanted to be a fun wife again. I was ready to make some serious changes. So, I decided to make a new commitment in 2017. I decided to focus on my health and take better care of this body than I ever had before.

In with the New, Out with the Old!

golf coupleFast forward to today. Zero chronic pain, zero skin issues, zero digestion issues. zero swelling. I can do burpees pain-free and upright rows like it’s nothing. I don’t take any medication and I have incredible energy – and I sleep like a rock. I literally feel like a brand new person; Bonnie 2.0!

What changed? A LOT!! As I have written in other blogs earlier this year, I explained how my nutrition changed and that I committed to taking better care of my health this year. But, in addition to pouring in good nutrition (which instantly started changing the way I felt), I began eliminating toxic foods from my diet too.

I switched all artificial sweeteners to stevia. No more splenda. I canned the diet drinks and ditched the sugar. I threw out all supplements that were not all natural and cleaned up my pantry. I honestly wouldn’t have believed that my nutrition could have this much effect on my body, but it is undeniable.

We began doing a weekly cleanse and I started researching toxicity and studying labels even more. Energy went through the roof and inflammation went down in just a few days. I still have a lot to learn, but like always, I wanted to share what I’ve learned because it has seriously changed our lives. I say “our lives” because I’m not the only one that benefited. Steve has also had quite the change too.

The man that used to loathe running, has been waking up at 4am to run before work – and I’ve been right there with him. That has NEVER happened. He used to hate running because it literally hurt and I hate mornings so you can see how that has changed. After he improved his nutrition and started to detox his menu, he started having more energy and less pain than I can ever remember. We got a new lease on life!

Clean Up, Lean Down! 30-Day Challenge

toxic-There are more reasons to clean up your diet than just eliminating pain. A toxic body can effect weight loss and a host of other issues that can interfere with getting trim and fit. Toxicity can also cause cancer and all kinds of health issues years from now. Since I had such an amazing experience, I decided to hold a 30-Day Challenge to encourage you to get the toxins out too and just see what it does for your body!

You don’t have to do the same cleanse I do or follow my nutrition protocol. You can do your own detox program with the help of our tips. Whether you want to try to completely detox your life or just start with on thing on the list. It’s totally up to you.

I will have two private facebook groups where I will manage the challenge. One will be for everyone in the challenge, no matter what exercise routine they are doing or cleanse protocol they are on. The other group will be a specific product support group just for the people doing what we’re doing.

If you are ready to draw a line in the sand and take control of your health, then join me in the Spring Clean Challenge. It’s totally FREE. You will get tips to help you detox, a few recipes to try, a list of detoxifying foods to eat and a sample workout program to follow.

CLICK HERE to complete the form and join the challenge. Materials will be emailed to you. Finally, you will need to send before and after photos to the email that is in the enrollment form by Monday March 20th.

There is nothing to lose except a lot of toxins! Who’s with me!?SPRING CLEANING CHALLEGNE SQ poster copy

Older posts «

» Newer posts

%d bloggers like this: