Friday Roundup: Favorite Exercise of the Week and Gluten-Almost-Free

I’ve been crushing it with comprehensive articles on da blog lately, so take a look at what’s been happening this week!

Favorite Exercise of the Week

One of my favorite core exercises is the kneeling ab roller. This VERY challenging exercise is one of the top movements for recruiting abdominal muscle activity, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). It’s one of the ONLY pieces of ab equipment I’ll ever recommend. It’s inexpensive and effective. If you’re up for it, you’ll definitely feel it the next day.

Ab_rollerOnly attempt the ab roller if you’ve mastered stability ball rollouts and have a strong core, otherwise you can strain your lumbar spine. Here’s another good video that explains why you need to crunch your abs to perform this movement.

How We Check Form Online

Speaking of proper form, I’m always tweaking my online personal training services to meet my clients’ needs, and videos have become a critical piece. While most of the time only minor tweaking is needed, it can be eye-opening to realize you’re using a machine backwards or squatting instead of hinging at the waist!

I’ve decided to make deadlift and squat selfie videos mandatory for new online training clients since these are foundation movements. Client also send me videos of themselves doing other exercises so we can both feel confident they’re on top of proper form. I also love seeing my clients in action!

Most people also have some type of muscle imbalance that can negatively affect their form and even cause injury. One reason is that when you sit at a computer all day or use other repetitive patterns, your body becomes stiff and overcompensates to find the path of least resistance. Old injuries can also cause muscle imbalances, and you’re probably not even be aware of it. So I ask all clients to perform a simple video assessment so that we can correct these problems with their training program. Cool stuff!

This business has evolved over the last year into quite the comprehensive training service, and I’m proud to say I have some long-term clients who have trained with me many times. Check out my updated training page if you’d like to learn more about how online training works.

Cutting Back on Gluten

I’ve always known I was probably gluten-sensitive, but the rebel in me wouldn’t admit it. I love my cereal and bread! However, with all the dang water I was holding the last few weeks I decided to try reducing gluten in my diet… feeling like I’d gained three pounds was wearing on my mentally. So this week I cut back on gluten in cereals and bread and indeed I did stop holding onto to so much water. Feeling comfortable again!

I’m looking for ways to reduce gluten without cutting it out completely, so if you have ideas, books, or recipes, please share below!

My FitStory

When I started tweeting and blogging back in May 2010, one of the best ways to meet people was by participating in the #Fitblog Twitter chat run by Katy Widrick. We had the BEST time being silly and connecting about fitness and nutrition every week, and I met long-lasting friends through that chat. It ended a few months ago, and even though I had been too busy to participate for awhile, I was sad to see it go.

But the good news is that my local friend and RUNspiration founder Alicia Benjamin brought the the Fitblog email subscribers a new way to stay connected – FitStory. It’s a chance for anyone to share their fitness story and what they learned with everyone on that original Fitblog list (plus more). I was featured in November and you can read my story HERE!

(And if you’re into running, be sure to check out to read Alicia’s blog, inspiring running stories, and much more.)

And now friends, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on social media to get the absolute latest and most trusted information about fitness and nutrition. I read everything I share to ensure that it meets my high standards of proven, safe, and effective training and diet information.

Stay warm! And see you in nirvana ~

This article originally appeared on

10 thoughts on “Friday Roundup: Favorite Exercise of the Week and Gluten-Almost-Free

  1. I’m working on reducing my “gluten load” so perhaps we can help each other out. I’ve done well with corn tortillas instead of wheat, saying no to pasta and loading up on bean and lentil dishes. Of course eggs are always in heavy rotation.

    I love the AB Roller! My clients, however, do not. 🙂


  2. Clearly, I’m not ready for the ab roller (yet)! Do you have any ideas for “foundation” exercises for getting my abs back in shape (after being stretched over another human being for 9 months)?! I’ve been reading your 65 Tips download, and it is so full of great information!


  3. Funny- I was going to ask about ab rollers. My gym has them but I’ve never tried them.

    What kind of gluten free recipes are you looking for?


    • None in particular, do you have any? I don’t expect my family to eat gluten-free. You can try the ab roller if you think it will not strain your back, or start with the stability ball roll out first!


  4. I’m still trying to perfect the wheel form. I always tend to arch my back more than I should. Pretty hard. And you know I will help you with the gluten-free diet. I plan on writing the post for you soon. Don’t worry I’m working on it.


    • Try rounding your lumbar spine. Only exercise where you can do that;). I will hit you up for gluten-free ideas! I have questions about different grains like spelt (fun to say?).
      I am not worried about a post from you… looking forward to it though!


    • It’s one of those exercises where there’s lots of girly grunting going on ;).
      You can be sure I’m not giving up gluten, my bread-lovin sista! My tummy’s upset by dairy and eating out, too, so going gluten-free won’t solve ALL my problems…


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