Traffic Light Training

How to Manage your Yearly workout calendar.

I know that most people rarely think of their workout in terms of the year, in fact most only think of the upcoming week

The calendar is the single greatest training tool you have for success. The training diary and the food journal are also absolutely necessary, but these two tools both tell you your history:

What you ate and what you worked (input and output)

The calendar is proactive. The calendar gives you ideas about where you want to go and a bit of a roadmap to this destination.

I first heard Dan John teach about the idea of traffic light training back at perform better in 2012. The traffic light idea, is diving your yearly calendar into Green light workouts, Yelllow light workouts and red light workout.

Green you can focus on challenges and programs that demand focus, drive, and intensity It’s not a lifetime commitment! It normally is 6 days of workout 60-90 minutes long, and perfect clean eating for three or six weeks, you can pound through the pain

Green light training you can be a little crazy, with long hard workouts, followed by lots of sleep and recovery, and modalities to keep you healthy. This phase is very hard to sustain past 6 weeks.

Yellow means caution, slow down and get ready to just punch the clock (your typical average joe workout) Its an opportunity to understand that  perhaps for long stretches, where you need to get your workouts finished, eat fairly clean, and take care of basic recovery. This is normally 3-4 workouts a week and good eating.


Red, of course, means stop… well sort of… you never really stop ;o) There are certain situations that come up in life that don’t allow for time at the gym. But movement and activity (like brushing your teeth and good hygene) need to be a constant. So these peropds have short sporadic workouts.  Ideally it is 2 45 min  workouts a week and one activity

Every person has a natural red,yellow and green period in their life.

School teachers for example. Green months are end of June- middle of August, September is almost a red month. October and November are yellow. 2 weeks in December are red, while christmas break is a green. Jan-March is yellow. Apr-beginning of June is red. And so it goes. so there is never really falling off the wagon. But prioritizing everything.

Now what if you currently only workout 2-3 days per week? You my friend are in a red/yellow holding pattern… if you really want to make big changes you better step it up to Green for 6 weeks. Now that holding pattern is also just fine, and you deserve a big congratulations! You have figured out how to make a sustainable lifestyle change! But just know where you are and where you are heading, and be realistic with your goals.



Download a calendar here to get you started. Traffic Light Training

Baby Boot Camp Dana Point/San Celemente

I am a big fan of mom-centered workouts. As a new mom, it’s an incredible feeling to be able to find a workout that allows you to bring your baby and no one looks twice if you have to nurse, change a diaper or clean up spit up.


Angie Menendez is the owner and head trainer of Baby Boot Camp Dana Point /San Clemente. She also runs other programs, fitness for runners, and Body Back a more personalized small group fitness.


1) The ladies for Baby Boot Camp meet up at the playground  at Lantern Bay Park next to the Marriot. They run/walk to various points along the park and the harbor and do exercises, step ups, burpees, push ups, planks, etc.  It is a gorgeous view!

2) Angie is a seasoned professional, she’s been training for a long time, and has had the experience with her boot camp to give precise queuing for exercises and while handing out stickers to keep little ones occupied. She also has some of her “veteran” moms who have been there a long time pair up with newbies to make sure the exercises are done right.

3) This is a great workout, but I would say that if you are not comfortable walk/jogging at least a mile it will be hard to keep up

4) Everyone was great, but don’t turned off if there isn’t a lot of socialization right away, the moms are multi-tasking (as you will be too) working out and keeping an eye on their little ones.

This is a great workout that is perfect for moms!

Pros: kid friendly, beautiful location

Cons: only offered at 9:30 am Mon-Fri (although that is usually a perfect time for moms!)

Angie Menendez




SHEfit- Aliso Viejo

SHEfit Aliso Viejo Crossfit

Crossfit has a reputation for being “intense” so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in. I was prepping myself for a hard workout with a lot of really fit potentially intimidating ladies

Boy was I wrong! Barbara Murphy “Babs’ is the coach, a former police officer she turned her love of fitness into her career. Originally she begin this workout as a “Fitness over Forty” workout. It grew in such popularity amongst young ladies, moms, and the over fifty crowd that she named it SHEfit.

I had such a wonderful workout and was so inspired by these ladies.

  1. Held inside Aliso Crossfit, It’s pretty typical of the crossfit “box” warehouse style atheletic space. Plenty of room to move and not be in others way. The music is loud but the genre varies widly depending on their day.  
  2. Babs spent 15 minutes on the warm up, going over the mechanics of the lifts, setting up pull up stations that had proper assistance for everyone. She really made it clear what we were doing.
  3. The workout itself was a typical WOD for crossfit but she really made sure to not emphasis the time part. She coached everyone to do specific rounds, some of us did 3 and were done early and then we finished with stretching and foam rolling, others did 8 rounds.
  4. From the moment I walked in and met the Manger to the other two coaches I met and the ladies working out with me everyone was very kind and welcoming.

Pros: They do have a little child area. It’s not really babysitting as its just a cornered off area where the kids can see the moms working out and moms can see the kids.

Cons: Only offered at 9:30 am 4 mornings a week.




PHONE: (949) 215-2220


Total Training Fitness- Beginner’s Review

To start my awesome first week I chose Total Training Fitness in Laguna Hills. They are relatively new to an actual brick and mortar, owned by an amazing couple that TRULY cares about the people who come to work out with them. I honestly cannot say enough nice things about Tammy and Gregg!

As a beginner, make sure to show up a tad early for your first class of your trial- you will sign into their system and you get to use a heart rate monitor. These things are AMAZING for 2 reasons- they tell you if you’re in your target heart rate and they tell you how many calories you’ve burned. If you’re like me, knowing how many calories you’ve burned is a motivator. Every time I felt like I made a mistake by doing any type of activity I just looked up at the tvs above the treadmills and had a little competition with myself! Hint: Don’t compare your calorie burn to any of the men in the room, it will possibly make you wish you were a man for a brief moment.


Once hooked up to the heart monitor, Tammy explained how they work. You’re doing 6 minute circuits switching from treadmill work to “on the floor” which is where you get to use weights, mats and bosu balls (things that were created to show you how terrible your balance is). I am not a treadmill fan but this was great because they don’t tell you what SPEED to use, only what level and incline you should stay at. There are guides on each treadmill so if you’re lost you can get right back on track!

Their classes were SO motivating you guys…when I go to the gym on my own I just do NOT get the results and burn that I get from classes taught by instructors!

NOW ON TO THE RATINGS!! ( 1 star- 5 stars, 5 being the BEST!)

1. Affordability–  5/5. They have pricing for ALL budgets and the best part is that you can choose auto-pay and get some ridiculous discounted classes, i’m talking a little under $9 per class if you choose their 16 class per month package! You can cancel at any time with a 30 day notice and you’re not bound to it like most other gyms! LOVE that because life DOES happen, trust me, I know!

2. Availability– 5/5. Classes are all day at all times, the mornings and evenings are busier because of work but the 12pm class was a great size!

3. Difficulty3/5. As a beginner, some parts were super hard but I pushed through! The day after my first class I felt like a truck ran over me and the day after that maybe just a smaller truck…but still a truck. LOL! It’s definitely high impact but I absolutely LOVED that they gave modified options for the beginners! BUT I did burn almost 700 calories in an hour so…worth it!


4. Variety5/5. Every class is completely different! I took a class by two different instructors and they were 100% different which I also loved because i’m one of those people that gets bored with at home videos because of the repetition!

5. Intimidation Factor5/5. I did not at any time feel like the fat kid in class even though I was.

They are centrally located in Laguna Hills right off Moulton and La Paz! Such a great, clean studio with instructors and owners that truly care about you and motivate you!


Go check them out and try them for a week for free and tell them Nicole sent ya! It’s worth it!! Oh yeah, and ask them about their Rewards Program 😉

Total Training Website

26552A Moulton Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

****closed***winners announced below*****GIVEAWAY!! $100 gift cards


Winner winner chicken dinner! 
$100 gift card to Trader Joes goes to Soon Tia 

$100 gift card to Target goes to Cheryl Shiek


Winner have until Monday morning at 9 am to email 

With correct spelling of their first and last name and their address 

If prizes aren’t claimed a new winner wi be drawn 


Hi Friends,
As we pick up speed on our blog and continue to  fulfill our mission to highlight the variety of fitness and health options available in Orange County we will be bringing our Fitness on Tour to the OC in October. This is a completely free workout tour for participants. BUT as a prep for this we are having a giveaway!! There is nothing to purchase and this is open to all ages 18 and older. There will be 2 winners the first in the drawing will win $100 gift card to Trader Joes and the name pulled in the drawing will win a $100 gift card to Target. There is no exchanges or substitutions. You can read all of our terms and conditions below.

You simply click on the rafflecopter entry form below and visit and like the various facebook pages and friend Natalie Purefitnessoc so you can get ALL the updates for Fitness on Tour. The contest runs from 12am on Thursday September 10, 2015 to 12 am on Friday September 18, 2015. The winner will be drawn via and announced on Friday September 18, 2015 at 8:30 in the morning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




*****Trainers! Interested in being included in our next giveaway? Or are you interested in being a Vendor for the Fitness on Tour? You can learn more here…

or email us

The Fit Mom Project

Hey everyone! My name is Nicole and I am SUPER excited to join Natalie and Fitness Reviews to bring you reviews on local fitness studios from a beginner’s perspective!

Like a lot of moms in Orange County I have a lot going on…I am a mom to two toddlers (1.5 and 3) and a business owner. I have zero fitness background unless you count chasing toddlers, which in my opinion, should be considered as an olympic sport. Are you a beginner too? Are you hoping to find somewhere to get active now that your kids are back in school? Are you down for the winter prep for summer bod lifestyle?


Do any of these sound like you?

  • The thought of running outside in the daylight makes me want to eat cake.
  • My kids are my excuse but they should be my reason.
  • I don’t know where to start to find myself a studio that is right for me as a beginner.
  • I am not motivated enough (yet) to go to the gym on my own, I need some guidance and motivation.
  • I am intimidated by most gym settings because of all the models and Ryan Reynolds look a-likes running around while i’m there.


If you said YES to any of these you want to pay close attention to this series!

I am going to be searching high and low for local Orange County fitness studios- anything from yoga and pure barre to HIIT workouts and I am going to try them out FOR YOU. Okay, for me too. I am going to be honest, raw and thorough in my reviews, focusing on these 5 key points for us beginners.

  • Affordability– What are the package prices, what do they include? Are there drop in classes? Special deals for new sign ups?
  • Availability– If I need to go during a certain window (in my case, my son is in preschool from 12-3 monday through friday) is there a wide range of class times to fit a mom/business owner’s busy schedule?
  • Difficulty– As a true beginner it’s always going to be difficult to start something up but will these classes leave me feeling like road kill on the side of the road, thus scaring me from going back?
  • Variety– Are there levels? Different kinds of classes?
  • Intimidation factor– This is HUGE for me. I don’t like walking into places and feeling like I am the newbie. Do you feel welcomed? Encouraged by others around you?

I am stoked for this journey and the fact that I get to share it with you all! Please follow along and join me for classes! I am ONLY trying out studios that have free trials and the length of each will be specified!

Follow on instagram @thefitmomproject to see where i’ll be! Join me for a class, ask anything you’d like! This is going to be fun!!

Total Training Fitness – Laguna Hills

I got a chance to take a class at Total Training Fitness in Laguna Hills. The owner, Tammy Neiman, has been a leader in the outdoor boot camp fitness , running a very popular, Irvine based one for nearly a decade, and has now opened her first indoor location.

It is beautiful inside – brand new, state of the art, with treadmills across the board. The classes are run in groups of 15-20 people. It is a circuit, you will be on the treadmill for five or six minutes and then swap out on the floor for weight training. and go back and forth between the two. This is a great workout if you’re someone who tracks your heart rate and try to get that extra caloric burn – you can full sprint on the treadmill, and then use heavier weights, and try to increase the rounds completed. You can also scale the workouts given to make it more intense if you would like.

The trainers are not only extremely motivating but are highly trained and experts in the in their field. Your form will be addressed and corrected. This is not common in most boot-camps and circuits, they are usually run like aerobics classes with everyone doing the same workout. Here the trainers are there to help, but the workouts are also projected from a Power Point on a TV screen so that you always know what to do next.

The Breakdown:

Skill Level: Although this is a circuit/boot camp style workout, it is aimed at the older, less fit population. You’re not going to walk in and see an instructor in a sports bra, flexing their six pack (not that there’s anything wrong with that), they are more concerned about getting you through your workout and getting to reach your full potential. No one is going to be yelling at you, drill instructor style, to bring “beast mode”.

Injury: They won’t address your injury or fix it, but they can work around it.

Daycare: No daycare is offered

Music: Loud! It has a set volume, and though it is turned down while the instruction is given, when the workout begins it is turned up to a set level they have for all the classes.

Final thought: Overall a great experience, a lot of fun energy, and they do a great job.

CKO Kickboxing – Laguna Hills

Yesteday I went and checked out CKO Kickboxing in Laguna Hills. It’s brand new, just opened May 5th. All of the equipment is brand new, state of the art. It is a smaller studio, with fifty-five bags lined up down the row. They have combo classes where you do kickboxing and then weight training with ropes, tire flipping, and sandbag work. The workout is done in rounds to some really fun music.

The instruction was great, Allan does a great job of keeping the class moving. It is alot of fun, but more intense, so more for people who have a somewhat active lifestyle. I would say a beginner could try the class, and lower the scale as needed, but understand that there is impact to the hands and legs, and twisting of the hips. So if you have an injury, especially a back injury, you don’t want to go to this type of studio.

The first class is free, and then it ranges from $95-$150, depending on how often you plan to go and the length of the contract. You will need to have wraps and gloves, even to participate in the free class, and they can be purchased there for $20, or you can get them anywhere fitness supplies are sold, really.

The breakdown:
Childcare offered: No, but they do offer a kids class every Thursday from 4:15, a 45 minute class for 6-12 year olds. Fifteen is the youngest that they will allow someone to work out without an adult.



How to find the right fitness-fit for you.

In many of my moms groups I have seen someone post up “I am having a hard time getting rid of the baby weight, any suggestions?” and then 100 people comment with tips, suggestions, challenge groups, etc. Most of them try to sway the person to come join their group, or gym, or boot camp, whatever their preferred method of fitness is, and this isn’t a bad thing! The majority of fitness industry professionals are operating their solopreneur, small businesses and I can’t tell you how many times people say “Oh! I didn’t know this was here!” or “I didn’t  even think to look up xyz fitness.”

The reason is that most people do not seek fitness out. In fact, statistics shows less than 10% of the population are actively fit,  meaning that day in and day out, fitness is part of their regiment. That 10% seek out what they are looking for, the rest of the population doesn’t seek out anything until they are ready (fed up with weight gain, their back hurts, become motivated to get fit, etc.) and so the advertisements you might see or flyers that come in the mail are passed over by people because it simply isn’t on their radar… things that are on their radar? Pizza, dry cleaning, nail salon offers etc.

Here is what I know for sure, your fitness  MUST fit you and your personality, your lifestyle, and meet you where you are at in your life. It can, and should, change throughout your journey. You may start something at the beginning of your fitness journey then you might change in the middle to try something new or to get better gains from the workout.

My suggestion is to consider the following 4 points:

1) Location: if you are just getting into fitness (especially if you are not particularly motivated) you want the fitness studio or boot camp you pick to be very closely located to your home or office. The more you eliminate opportunities to make excuses, the more successful you will be. No matter how “cool” it is, or how outstanding the instruction, when you are tired and unmotivated and it’s even 15 minutes out of your way, all of the sudden that 15 minutes gets turned into an hour, and then you think about how long it will be until you can go home and put your feet up, and it is so easy to just head home. If, however, your fitness studio or boot camp is literally on your way home, you have eliminated that as an excuse. In Orange County there are SOO many fitness options around that it won’t be hard to find one near you.

2) Personality: It doesn’t matter if your friend loves it, it doesn’t matter if your neighbor lost 20lbs doing it, your workout must fit you – your style and your personality. Do you love loud music? Do you love jumping and high impact workouts? Do you love things that are more dance oriented? Do you prefer yoga over sprinting? Answering all of these and finding something that resounds with you is another check mark in the staying motivated category.

3) Qualifications: There are literally dozens of challenge groups, free workout groups, and boot camps led by unqualified individuals who are selling a product… and there really is nothing wrong with this, until you get an injury or unless you have an injury. Go into these groups eyes wide open. Understand that nothing is free in life, and they most likely hold the group in order to also get you to purchase their product. If you are someone who already is interested in the group to begin with, then the free workout or challenge group is an awesome bonus! Just understand what it is you are getting, and gaining.

4) Change and challenge:  It isn’t the be all, end all. Yes, workout xyz changed your life, yes Trainer “Joe” is the best and completely changed your life, but you need to try different things in order to continue to grow and change on your journey with fitness. You can love, honor, respect, and still participate in the workout  or the training that you initially lost 40 lbs in (or whatever great change you made) while still continuing to participate in new things that might be your next challenge. For example, you might have started with studio xyz 5 times a week for the last two years, but maybe now you train there 3 times a week and somewhere else 2 times a week to keep that spark alive.



Pilates Plus – Yorba Linda

This morning I travelled up to Pilates Plus to take a “Mega Reformer” class from a good friend, Natalie Da Rosa. It wasn’t what I would call traditional pilates, instead they incorporate the “Lagree Method”. Traditional pilates is hyper focused on every minute detail of your movement, which is wonderful but can also leave you wanting more. Lagree simplifies the movements to maintain proper form and gives you a killer workout through slow methodically times exercises. It was Awesome!!

 1) Space/Facility:  This small boutique studio, opened two years ago, and has a very chic upscale feeling to it. White brick walls, polished concrete with a few pops of color, it is a very clean space with 10 “mega reformers.” The upbeat modern music motivates you when those movements get tough!

 2) Quality of Instruction:  the queuing of the exercises adequate for a beginner as well as for someone advanced. My friend Natalie just received her Pilates certification, and so with this class I was intending to support her and check out the studio, and it was awesome! I think Pilates in general does a really good job training their instructors – I have found that the instructor training is usually spot on in tePilates rms of queuing, biomechanics placement, and overall structure for the client.

 3) The workout itself: Lagree Pilates is the method, it is low impact and easy on the joints, but it will push your muscles hard. It is focused heavily on lower body and core exercises, and they burn out one limb before moving on… so you will do 8-10 exercises of 60-90 seconds all on one leg before you rotate to the other leg.

4) The friendliness of staff: Jamie is the owner and is very involved in every process of her studio like client intake and teaching. Everyone is extremely friendly, its definitely a community vibe, all the members seem to know each other very well and chit chat before and after the workouts.