TUESDAY TUNES: Songs for Comfort


Tuesday TunesWhile traveling last week, I started building a playlist for a friend of mine who lost her husband over the Holidays. As I started building the playlist, I decided to ask my facebook friends for suggestions. I was overwhelmed by everyone’s eagerness to participate and help me build this very special playlist.
I took all those suggestions and built a playlist of all the suggested music that was special to my friends. I loved everyone’s suggestions so much I decided I would collect songs this month and share them as a gift back to all of you and my friends this Christmas.
Music is such a gift and has such power to minister to broken heart, uplift the downtrodden and inspire people to do the impossible. It pumps us up, it comforts, it heals, it speaks to us in a way regular words sometimes fall short.

This week I am looking for high-energy positive music. All songs should be clean, positive and uplifting music. It can be all genres – pop, christian, rock, gospel, etc.

CLICK HERE to contribute and give me your favorites on facebook.
COMMENT BELOW to suggest playlist topics!


Here is the original post to add more songs or to view the list: https://www.facebook.com/bonnie.pfiester/posts/10159054997573117 

Eat Like a Pilgrim, Look Like a Rockstar

I doubt Pilgrims had the weight issues we have today in America. There was no Boston Market or Honey Baked Ham stores. There was no Cracker Barrel or even a Publix supermarket to pile up all those ingredients for your favorite casseroles and pies.

As I pondered how Thanksgiving has changed over the years, I wondered what would have been on the table back in 1621 at the original “The First Thanksgiving” between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony. As I started my investigation, I was shocked at my findings.

If we ate more like a Pilgrim, we’d all be pretty darn fit and trim!

8 Surprising 1621 Thanksgiving Facts


The first thing that popped out at me was the high-protein menu. While turkey has always been a Thanksgiving staple, waterfowl was top on the list of foods, including duck, geese and swan (can you imagine?!). Venison was also included in their hunt but the most surprising items were lobster and clams. Since wild turkey was plentiful in that region, is is fair to say other fowl, including turkey, were included in this high-protein feast but I wouldn’t have even thought about seafood.


Ham couldn’t have been on their menu since they didn’t have pigs for another couple of years. Can you imagine, no pigs? No bacon? No Virginia ham? Virginia ham was always a holiday treat for us thanks to my Uncle Mac who shipped us the most amazing Virginia ham every year.IMG_0322


When I think “Thanksgiving”, I do not think “stew”, However, stew might have been on the original menu. Historians say there were reports of the Wampanoag guests arriving with several deer. Experts say they would have likely roasted deer on a spit over a smoldering fire and used some of it to make a hearty stew.


I love corn. Corn on the cob, creamed corn, roasted corn, grilled corn and popcorn, but it is not likely it was on the table in 1621. While the pilgrims were actually celebrating the successful corn harvest, experts say it’s not very likely they had corn on the table as we would picture it today. Instead, they would have used the corn to create cornmeal for a corn mush or porridge. I wonder when they discovered corn was good by itself, and even better with a little salt and butter?

berries5. LOTS OF FRUIT

As a compliment to the massive amount of protein, they would have offered a beautiful array of fruits indigenous to the region including blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and, of course cranberries – most of which are also some of the lowest calorie fruits available and rich in antioxidants. Fruit would have probably been like dessert and appreciated as much as we appreciate a good pecan pie with ice cream on top.


While squash and pumpkins were reported to be included in the original feast, the oven had not been constructed yet so the likelihood of any kind of pie was pretty low. They also had no butter or flour to make pie crust. Historians do say that some of the early settlers did experiment with a pumpkin dessert by hollowing out the pumpkin, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes. How creative!


OK, I admit, there are no reports about Pilgrims’ struggling with manly underarm odor, but there was a lot of testosterone at the table since 78% of the women who had traveled on the Mayflower had died from the harsh winter. According to eye witness accounts, there were 22 men, 25 children and teenagers and just 4 women enjoying the meal together. What this says to me is I bet men were very helpful in the kitchen! (hint hint!)


One of the most beautiful things to hear is reading about how the American Indians and colonists shared a meal together, each bringing something to the table. This is a great reminder of what our Thanksgiving should look like. It is a time to set aside differences, beliefs and cultural distinctions and embrace friendship and each person’s value. It is really easy to do what is easiest over the Holidays.

Coordinating schedules, trying new foods or recipes and being more flexible takes a lot of work. Fight any laziness to do what is easy, but do what is best this year. You will likely burn more calories, build stronger relationships and, in the end, have more fun!



Comparison Kills: 10 Ways to Fight It and WIN!

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Bisque and White Traditional Life Quote Instagram PostHave you ever thought life was just harder for you, weight loss was just harder for you or you just felt like you seem to constantly get the short end of the stick?

You aren’t alone. The world we live in almost encourages comparison. With photo filters that erase wrinkles and so many opportunities for people to create the perfect social media post, it is easy to compare your normal life with someone’s photoshopped and perfected creation.

On social media, we can post our best moments, our prettiest photos, our best workouts and healthiest meals. We can post that perfect family photo without anyone seeing the dirty dishes or hearing the bickering conversation that led up to the final shot acceptable for the world to see.

Comparison Kills Joy


 “We compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels.” – Craig Groeschel

This statement really hit home to me. I realized I was just as guilty of playing the comparison game as many others. Steve often says “keep your eyes on your paper” when it comes to workouts and weigh-ins, but I wasn’t keeping my own eyes on my paper.

I have to admit, I have been so guilty of looking at someone’s social feed and felt a sense of jealousy or bewilderment that someone could have such perfect of a life; a life of travel, riches, time-freedom and ease. But, that is an imbalanced view. We don’t see the hours of counseling a struggling couple went through to get to the other side. We don’t see the hours worked or what people gave up to climb their corporate ladder or to get that time-freedom that seemed to come with such ease.

IMG_2011Just this weekend we were trying to take a quick family photo in front of our Christmas tree. Marley was refusing to sit up nice like Miller and stay still. We normally would have fought our way through 20 pictures to get the best one. This time Steve just propped his foot on Marley and we took 2 shots and just hoped one worked; and Marley’s head didn’t even make the shot at all. Oh well. An imperfect photo to match our imperfect life. That is actually pretty perfect!

If only I had the courage to be more transparent, more imperfect and more honest. What if we all were to take on that challenge? I think we would all be so encouraged. It is just so easy these days to fall into the trap of “woe is me” simply because we are contrasting our normal flawed life with an unrealistic depiction of someone else’s life.

“The fastest way to ruin something good is to compare it to something else.” - Craig Groeschel

Comparison Robs Others Of Hope

Most of us are not that unique. We all struggle. We just don’t all share our struggles with the world. We don’t expose our flaws, our raw hard moments. Can you imagine if we all posted all the cheat meals and binges instead of the healthy ones? What if we posted our feet under the covers when we decided to sleep through our alarm clock instead of going to the gym? Or how about announcing to the world that we have gained 5lbs instead of posting a story about our weight loss victories? Who wants to do that? No one.

Screen Shot 2020-11-11 at 10.12.14 AMHowever, the fact we hide our struggles just fuels the fire  of comparison. If we aren’t careful, we can become unrelatable and then we become ineffective in helping people. I am not suggesting you need to share all of your sins, but I do feel it is important for all of us to risk being a little more vulnerable in order to encourage people and give struggling people the hope they need to not give up. It’s so easy to lose hope when you feel alone and feel like no one understands.

The good news is, there are PLENTY of people who DO understand. Be encouraged. For every struggle you have, there is someone who has the same struggle and more, but they are living in victory.

Remember our mind can get out of balance and it takes constant work to keep our mind healthy.

Fight the Temptation of Comparison

  1. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid to be vulnerable.
  2. Seek to follow leaders who will lead with honesty and integrity.
  3. Avoid getting sucked into the world of comparisons, even if you have to unfollow certain people to protect your mindset.
  4. Limit time around people striving for worldly perfections and achievements.
  5. Learn to celebrate small victories and the most simple blessings.
  6. Don’t be afraid to tell your story if you think it can can encourage someone.
  7. Ask God to help you accept yourself and all your flaws (this is a huge struggle for me)
  8. Study the Word and learn who you are in Christ.
  9. Be brave and be real.
  10. Be careful who you spend the most time with. We become like the top 5 people we spend the most time with.


What Are You Fighting For?

street-city-art-peopleYou know the song, “Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in his site. Jesus loves the little children of the Republican Party”. NO! That’s not how it goes!

“Jesus loves the little children of the WORLD!”

Fighting for What?

Christians fail when we spend more time and energy complaining, fighting leadership, arguing to prove points or belittling others because they have different opinions and convictions. Jesus would have never done that. He would helped them, healed them, eaten with them, and welcomed them no matter if they were red or blue, rich or poor, righteous or the worst sinner. He would have never posted rants on facebook or made fun of people, whether they seemingly deserved it or not. He would never share the latest crime or someone’s worst moment caught on camera and posted on youtube (scripture says love COVERS sin, not reveals it). Jesus respected authority and simply focused on loving and helping people.

“Here’s one thing I am sure of after yesterday: we can not continue to operate as if half of the country does not exist.” – Michael Wear

Pledge_of_Allegiance_plaque_(5708570071)We are still a nation under God. We are an extended family of all colors, passions, financial brackets, beliefs and needs. We may not all share the same convictions but we are all important to Him so we must become important to each other. We must bring respect back.

We need to learn what love really looks like. THAT is worth fighting for. Not conditional love but agape love – love despite differences, inconvenience or conflict. Loving others because GOD loves others – and He even loves me. Loving and respecting our leaders, even if we don’t agree with them or like them because that is what God teaches us to do. We are to go even further and love even our worst enemy.

“I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up.” Matthew 5:43-48 MSG

Where is Peace?

peaceWe live in a time when we need peace more than ever, but peace is not the absence of conflict or elimination of enemies. That is division. Peace is the willingness to sacrifice in order to show God’s love and live in UNITY despite of differences and diversity. That is when unity is most beautiful.Peace costs and we have to be willing to pay the cost and literally STRIVE daily to live in peace. The cost may be forgiveness. The cost may be being uncomfortable or suffering persecution. The cost may be holding your tongue or the work it will take to get along with even the most unlovable. However you look at it, peace WILL cost.

“…STRIVE for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.” – ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬together-2408616_1280

No one taught this better than Jesus. He brought Jews and Gentiles together despite massive hostility through His love, which would have seemed impossible before He showed up. He could have fixated on their stupidity and wrong thinking, and led with correction and condemnation, but instead He preached another message of love, forgiveness, mercy, kindness and obedience to God. He inspired us to want to be better by His own example, not by finger pointing, blaming or accusing people.

He never argued with people. He never even defended himself. While His mere existence may have created division by those who were threatened by Him and all the changes that followed His path, He never fueled it or tried to get people on His side or to see His view.He created unity despite of diversity, joining educated and uneducated, admired religious leaders and despised tax collectors, wealthy and poor, righteous and the most sinful people of all.

God was like a magnet and was the glue that stuck everyone together for a greater good going far beyond right or left, black or white or Jew or Gentile. Religion and democracy pale in the comparison of the importance of eternity and loving one another. Once we get right with God, it is so much easier to get right with others despite our differences because we have respect and love for one another as God’s creation; His kids, equally valuable and cherished by our Father.

“We are not at peace with others, because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not a peace with God.” – Thomas Merton

prayI am personally praying to learn and practice being a peacemaker. To demonstrate love and to show people their value no matter who they are or how opposed to me or my values they are. Everyone doesn’t earn respect but we can show respect, mercy, love and grace because I didn’t earn any of that myself, yet God has granted those things for me – even when I was the ugliest and at my worst.We have all failed. We are all human. We all matter and we can all learn to forgive, love and respect one another because this is pleasing to God:

“The wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. Then it is PEACEFUL, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good deeds, impartial, and sincere. A harvest that has God’s approval comes from the peace planted by peacemakers.” - James‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭GW

‬Let us pledge to be peacemakers everywhere we go. The world needs it more than ever. WE need it.

This post was inspired by a teaching entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers”. Click HERE to listen to an amazing message on Peacemakers by Jon Tyson from Church of the City, New York. www.church.nyc

Do You Have Some COVID Fat to Burn Off?

damage controlI’m in the gym business. I would love to be able to say that exercise is the answer to your weight problems but it rarely is.

In fact, I think many people workout too hard. Sure, there are people who don’t get any exercise at all but many gym goers spend way too much time at the gym and not enough time in the grocery store shopping for healthy foods and in the kitchen food prepping.

I actually have seen many people get better results focusing more on their nutrition and less on their workouts. They still workout, but the are not enslaved to it.

If you really want to know the truth, even when I am training for a competition, I see people working out way harder than me. I often have people ask me about training, workouts and maybe even what I am taking. But, rarely does anyone ask what I am eating. Why? Because that is the last thing people want to change. They are willing to take a fat burner, add another protein shake or preworkout drink. They are even willing to do another workout, but don’t take away their wine or coffee creamer. Oh no!

Listen, you don’t need to diet hardcore, but you have to have guidelines. You need a plan. You need rules. That applies to everything in life.

We have to be accountable for what we eat like we are accountable for what we spend. Our body is just a physical bank account of calories going in and out. The only thing is, we can eat them a lot easier and faster than we can “spend” them (or burn them).

Let’s clean up our diet to lose weight and workout to get stronger and fitter; not to erase all our dietary sins.

The gym is not where we are supposed to feel like we are “serving time”, it’s a place to grow, make friends, try new things and reach new goals.

What are you trying to work off?

Did you gain the COVID fifteen?

I am starting a 21 Day Reset June 15th.

CLICK HERE to request more info!

Upper Body Home Workout

After being forced to close our gym, we started leading online workouts via zoom and taping them for people who can’t join us live. This is one of our upper body workouts we did with our members.

Whether you have dumbbells or you use 2 cans of soup or 2 gallons of water, this is a very effective upper body workout you can do at home.

20 Hamstring Exercises You Can Do At Home

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 2.20.23 AM copyIf you are like me and stuck working out at home while you are in quarantine during this COVID-19 crisis, you are looking for new workouts and exercises.

One body part I think gets left behind (pun intended) is the back of your thighs (hamstrings).

If I had to guess, I bet your list of hamstring exercises is pretty short. Most people rely on machines like prone and seated leg curl machines to target their hamstrings. You aren’t alone. The hamstrings are a little hard to work without big fancy gym equipment.

So, what can you do when you don’t have access to your gym’s awesome machines? Plenty!

15 Hamstring Exercises

Here are some hamstring exercises that require little to no equipment so your hamstrings don’t get left out of your home workout routine. Choose 3-5 exercises per workout. Do 3-4 sets of 18-20 reps (25 reps for exercises with no resistance).

  1. Dumbbell Stiff-legged Deadlift
  2. Barbell Deadlift
  3. Romanian Barbell Deadlift
  4. Dumbbell Single-leg Deadlift
  5. Prone Hamstring Curls With Bands
  6. Cable (or Band) Hamstring Curl
  7. Geronimo
  8. Bridge
  9. Bridge With Leg Lift
  10. Swiss Ball Leg Curl
  11. Swiss Ball Glute Bridge
  12. Resistance Band Hip Raise
  13. Dumbbell Leg Curl (using multi-purpose bench)
  14. Reverse Hyperextension
  15. Good Morning

5 Hamstring Stretches

  1. Straight Leg Stretch
  2. Balance Ball Hamstrings Stretch
  3. Lying Hamstring Stretch
  4. Crossover Leg Stretch
  5. Foam-rolling Hamstrings

SEEGet A Better Backside: 4 Tips and a Workout

Pinterest & Instagram Graphic

20 hamstring 650 copy

5 Tips for the Best Home Workout

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 1.23.08 PMWith all the gyms closed and everyone stuck at home in lockdown thanks to COVID-19, there is a lot of talk online about working out at home. Just because it’s a hot topic doesn’t mean everyone is happy about it. In fact, most people really struggle working out at home.

As a gym owner who is dedicated to helping our members stay active during the COVID-19 crisis, I thought I would share a few tips we are sharing with our members to keep them moving when everything seems like it is at a standstill.

1. Stick to a workout schedule.

Our gym, Lift Fitness, has all of our online classes scheduled in our member app so people can reserve their spot in our virtual classes in advance. Not only is this great added accountability, it also helps people plan their workout schedule. While we don’t expect everyone to attend all of our live workouts, scheduling classes in advance helps people make a plan and map out their workout routine for the week, whether they do the classes live or they do them later on demand.

2. Get ready for the gym.

If you think you are going to have a great workout barefoot in your pajamas, think again. What you wear and where you workout matter more than you think. We suggest you throw on your favorite gym clothes and lace up before each home workout. Not only does it get your body ready, it gets your head ready too.

90931147_3466890309994607_3028353724985638912_n3. Prepare your gym space.

In addition to getting your body ready, you need to have your home gym ready too. Decide what device you will use to stream or watch workouts. Gather all the gym gear you have and get it ready for use, even if it’s just a yoga matt and a set of dumbbells.

Whether you are just working out in your garage, living room or back patio, workouts will feel more comfortable and normal the more prepared you are and the more often you use your home gym space.

4. Get psyched up.

It is easy to get geared up for your workout because you have time in the car to help you make that mental transition from work to workout. However, if you are working from home, it’s not as easy to walk a few feet away from the computer and be excited about a workout.

As you your online workout approaches, give yourself enough time to switch gears. Turn off work and turn on your favorite high-energy tunes to get your body ready to rock.

92547835_3505545596129078_6053563512435769344_n5. Stay connected.

We work very hard to make our online workouts as interactive and engaging as possible because we know the importance of community. One of our favorite quotes is from an African proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Community is the secret to lasting success.

If you don’t have an opportunity to do online interactive zoom workouts with your coaches or friends, you can stay connected on social media. Tag friends in fitness related posts. Challenge friends to do the same workout as you are doing. Post workout #ProofPics for added accountability. Stay connected with all your gym friends so you can lift each other up every day. Believe me. There will be days you don’t feel like working out but one of your friends will inspire you when you need it most.

Working home is different but you can have a great workout if you prepare for a great workout.

Learn more about our online workouts at www.LiftVero.com.

2 Gallon Lower Body Home Workout

All you need is 2 gallons of water and a great attitude for this workout.

As most of you know, many gyms were forced to shut down, including ours. So, we had to set up our studio at home so we could continue to serve our members. I decided to record our LIVE ZOOM workouts we did with our members and share them with you.

If you are interested in joining in our live interactive ZOOM workouts, just shoot us an email using our Contact Page. It’s been fun working out together!

Hope you enjoy this workout!


20 Low-Calorie Holiday & Celebration Ideas

Steve Pfiester's Birthday
Birthdays and holidays are always hard when you are on a diet. But, if you really think about it, people don’t need a cake. They just want the day to feel special and have a little fun. 

As an example, Steve’s birthday was yesterday and he’s been dieting so I don’t want people to give him a birthday cake. So, our staff gave Steve a “Birthday Chicken” for his birthday, complete with candles, “birthday boy” decorations and a chicken dance at the gym.

This was a great reminder that celebrations don’t always need to revolve around self-sabotaging events and unhealthy foods. Going out to Cheescake Factory LOL or buying a cake is the easy way to celebrate. Let’s not be lazy. Being creative may take work but there are TONS of healthy ways to celebrate and have a day that feels special and is fun – without the guilt!

Healthy Celebration Ideas

Trade going out to dinner, birthday cakes and traditional “partying” for something different.

  1. Group mani-pedi party
  2. Spend the money you would spend on dinner on something to support your goals – new jeans or a workout outfit
  3. Have a Healthy Recipe Swap Party – have everyone bring their healthiest dish and recipe
  4. Go bowling
  5. CAA4BEBB-D23D-41D4-88C9-F07E071FDF64Do mini-Golf or Top Golf driving range
  6. Enjoy a trip to the zoo with the family
  7. Have a picnic or cookout at the park
  8. Group workout or run with your besties
  9. Go to a trampoline park or rock climbing gym
  10. Do Paintball Wars
  11. Go to a go cart track
  12. Mark something off your bucket list
  13. Explore, hike, site-see! Get outside!
  14. Go Green Party – you provide the meat and everyone else brings a green veggie dish
  15. DYI party – make a craft or make something with friends (great for thanksgiving – look at Pinterest)
  16. Invite friends over to have a paint party or help you do a project you have been putting off as their gift to you
  17. Invest in inexpensive fun outdoor games like cornhole, frisbee, badmitten, horseshoes, etc for the family or friends to all play
  18. Schedule an event and art teacher at a specialty painting school, bead shop or pottery place
  19. Do a themed party like a Luau, 70’s disco theme, etc and focus more on costume
  20. Schedule a photo shoot with your BFFs, family or just yourself! (that will keep you dieting!) This is great for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
There are so many ways to make a day seem special. Plan ahead, be creative and take lots of pictures so the special day lasts and lasts!

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