tuesday ten

Tuesday Ten: Why You Need A Local, Licensed Nutritionist

As a recovered exercise bulimic and binge eater, I never thought I would ever have a healthy relationship with food. I went through three nutritionists before I found one that meshed well with my personality and my mind. Before you get up in arms, the other three weren't bad at their jobs at all (and Sarah is my spirit animal). My brain wasn't in the right place to actually make any changes. Once I entered consistent therapy, got on medication, and made a very conscious effort to address my underlying issues, then I was able to make a lifestyle change.

But I couldn't have done it without my spirit animal, food guru, and friend Constance Shelby, CEO and owner of Perfect Fit Nutrition.

Who knew fruits could be so funny? Constance Shelby did. Perfect Fit Nutrition will get you healthy and keep you smiling. Seriously!

Who knew fruits could be so funny? Constance Shelby did. Perfect Fit Nutrition will get you healthy and keep you smiling. Seriously!

1. Accountability

Real accountability. It's no secret I remotely train clients but I've never shied away from the fact that seeing someone in person consistently is better than analyzing a few lifts here and there.

Nutrition works the same way. Constance has face-to-face consultations and follow ups. You can't cheat your logs. You know your meeting is coming up and it helps keep you on the primrose path.

Also included in some packages? Unlimited email and text check ins and contact. I once woke up at 11:00 am one day (I think I went to bed at 5:00 like a wild woman) and was like "Um...do I skip breakfast? Do I skip lunch? Do I eat everything now? HALP". I texted her and she shot me an answer back quickly. And without judgement.

2. Personalization

Sure, you can pay $25 to follow a cookie-cutter template for whatever you think your goals are from some Instagram celebrity who only has an online certification from Diets Are Us (I made that name up so if it's real it's a coincidence. Don't sue me, please).

But are you going to see real results? Probably not. Everyone is different so we all need different things in our diets. More than that, we all work differently. Someone may be able to count macros but someone else may need meal plans only because numbers send them into a tail spin (*raises hand*).

Constance will use whatever system works for you to help you achieve your goals without you going insane.

3. Credentials

"I lost 50 pounds and now I'm going to tell you how to do it" is NOT a credential. Also, most states have laws against people without credentials and state licensure creating meal plans and giving advice.  Spoiler alert: Mississippi is one of them.

I love Constance for many reasons but one of them is the fact she has worked with EVERY population out there. Seriously. Folks with diabetes and heart disease. Those who wanted to lose weight. Others who wanted to gain weight. Juveniles and adults.

Did you know she was the Health & Wellness Director at a nonprofit for 5 years? Or that she was recognized as the 2015 Young Dietitian of the Year? She has a BS and Masters in her field?

So, yea. Constance knows her stuff and will keep you healthy without ruining your metabolism and mind.

4. Improved Sports Performance

Local sports teams, functional fitness athletes, triathletes, and olympic weightlifters have used Constance to gain an advantage on and off the competition field. Each sport requires different fuel so sit down with her to iron out your goals to get you on top the podium. I lost 25 pounds but my muscle mass continued to increase as did my bench press.

That's actually me in October after only 8 weeks. Hay girl hayyyyyyyyy

That's actually me in October after only 8 weeks. Hay girl hayyyyyyyyy


5. Combat Genetic and Lifestyle Diseases

I personally have a family medical history that includes everything under the sun: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke risk, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Constance worked my plan so I could offset those concerns.

But if you are currently suffering from health concerns, it's not too late to work with a trained professional like her. You need the correct information and strategies to make sure you stay healthy for the long run.

Plus, paying for medications all the time is expensive. I can't promise she can ween you off all medications but I know she has kept me off medications so far. And a lower dosage could mean less money that comes out of your pocket. We ain't made of money! (Well if you are please consider buying training packages or donating to Mississippi Barbell)

6. Budget Friendly

You don't have to pay an arm and a leg for professional nutritional advice. Perfect Fit Nutrition has options for every sized wallet.

I'm not rolling in dough (oh like you didn't know. A criminal defense attorney, weightlifting coach, and nonprofit owner? Please. I'm like Robin Hood without the cool hat. Or being a fox) but I was able to find a package that worked with my budget and lifestyle. You get what you pay for.

7. You Won't Starve

Probably my favorite part about working with Constance and Perfect Fit is the fact I wasn't deprived of the things I loved. I love cheese and dessert. So guess what? I get both every single day. And I still lost weight and had a beautiful mindset about it all. Gone was the guilt and shame associated with foods. She taught me foods aren't good and evil: they are food.

Quit playin, yall. Get you some cheese and live your life!

8. She Is A Real Human Being

If I were blonde and enjoyed being social, then I like to think I would be Constance. She is my spirit animal in the fact that she is as real they come. Seriously. Don't let her bubbly personality fool you. She'll give you tough love if you need it BUT she will do it without judgement. And with a smile on her face.

She's a wife, a mom, and a business owner. She knows what it's like to run around like a chicken with her head cut off most days. If you need meals on the run, you aren't going to have to live out of a Tupperware container. She added in days where I could eat Chick Fila and Newks when I was running around. Once again, no shame. No judgement. Just delicious food.

Also, if you don't follow her social media, you really should. She cracks me up.

9. You Will Learn Something

If your nutritionist or dietician hides things from you then they just want your money. Find someone who empowers you. Like Perfect Fit Nutrition.

Once again, just another reason why Constance is head and shoulders above some peers. Rather than just throw a meal plan your way, Constance sits down and tells you WHY she wrote it that way.

She has Education only sessions in some packages as well. Learn everything you want to know about food and how it fuels your body. Her Fitastic Challenges (the private facebook group) do just that--- every. single. day.

10. You Want A Lifestyle Change

I know in this day and age everyone wants quick results. You can go on crash diets, slap caffeine patches on your body, or give in to whatever Shake of the Week gimmick is on facebook and get those results. Then gain the weight back.

Working with Constance will get you long-lasting results. They won't be super quick but you will see changes. And they won't leave you quicker than your paycheck does when you go to Whole Foods.  By promoting healthy and consistent eating habits, you will feel better and begin to live your life again.

Is there a local business you'd like to see promoted in a Tuesday Ten? Comment below or send me a message.

Have you ever had a nutritionist before? Did it work? Tell us your personal stories (you can remain Anonymous if you'd like).



Tuesday Ten: Stupid Questions You Shouldn't Ask Your Coach

Your elementary school teacher used to say, "There are no stupid questions." Well, she was wrong. There are stupid questions and if you ask your coach one of these ten questions, you're likely to get punched in the face (results may vary).

1. It says Snatch. Does that mean full snatch or power snatch?

It means I hate you.

2. What am I doing today?

Learning how to read your program apparently.

3. Did you see (Instagram Loser Name Here)'s video? He/she posted it at 11:43 am.

No I was working. Also, I don't care.

4. Should I compete at the event we are hosting?

If you want to remain on this team you will.

5. If my back hurts on squats then I should just keep squatting, right?

You should keep on walking right out the door and into a chiropractor's office.

6. Can I max out today? Everything feels so easy! I mean I know I'm competing in a few days but I want to.

Sure. But I'm not coaching you at your meet coming up BECAUSE YOU JUST RUINED MY LIFE.

7. Is it cool if I don't pay you this month?

Only if you don't want a program this month. I know your 18,000th pair of shoes and 6,000th shot of Patron this month was worth it.

8. Why does my form suck? I only missed two months of practice.

Go directly to jail. Do not collect $200.

9. Do I have to stretch?

Nah. Just injure yourself and complain about it for 3 months.

10. Why aren't you coming to my meet?

Because you signed up without telling me, told me three days before, and it's 12 hours away.

Have you said any of these things?  Heard any better "stupid questions"? Let me know what they are in the comments!

Purchase programming and training packages in our new online Sheppard Strength store.

As always you can comb through the Archives to see some past Tuesday Ten gems, read some of my national publications, or check out some before and afters of Sheppard Strength clients.

Tuesday Ten: What No One Tells You About Mental Illness Recovery

I've always been open & vocal about my eating disorder history. But I've also suffered from severe depression and PTSD. Today's Tuesday Ten isn't about Pure Barre but what real life recovery from mental health issues can look like. I still throw in some comedy gems so don't worry, you'll still get some lolz.

I had no idea what picture to put here. Recovery can be h**l so this picture with baby flames will suffice. Screen shot it and send it to your friends in a group text and make fun of me if you need to.

I had no idea what picture to put here. Recovery can be h**l so this picture with baby flames will suffice. Screen shot it and send it to your friends in a group text and make fun of me if you need to.


1. Talking (And Writing) Is Therapeutic


Everyone has their own way of healing. My illnesses love secrecy. I was hesitant to share my experiences at first because I felt like I would be stigmatized. But articulating your thoughts and issues can help. It can help yourself and more importantly, others.

I have depression. Some days I would wake up crying and couldn't stop. Other days I was perfectly fine. Some days I had all the motivation, others days I would lay in bed until 1:00pm unable to even sit up.

I was physically abused. That explains to some of you why I don't like hugs or I flinch a lot. I have worked on both of those things a lot this year.

I've been sexually assaulted. It took me a very long time to even open up about that to my therapist. I felt broken. It affected relationships. I had night terrors and would wake up screaming in my bed or at the front door. I still get triggered sometimes and I've cried in moments I "shouldn't have". But again, this too has improved considerably.

Dialogue can save lives. Talk when you are ready.

2. Medication Isn't Your Enemy

When I started regular, consistent therapy in May after struggling from severe depression and PTSD, I fought hard against medicine. I utilized behavioral and cognitive therapy but things weren't improving. Eventually I gave it a try and my life began again. Without getting into too much detail I realized, with the help of multiple doctors and friends, "Hey Amber. You really aren't insane. It's a chemical imbalance. Try it." I'm glad I did.

3. Animals Totally Help

I may be biased but my catdog helped me out tremendously. Having a pet forces you, hopefully, to get out of bed. Care about something. And the cuddles are awesome. Their love is unconditional and when you feel like you're surrounded by dark clouds, some days they can be the only light you see.

4. It Won't Happen Overnight

No spoiler alert there right? If you're like me you want everything done, or fixed, NOW. Patience is not my forte even if it is a virtue. Healing is a slow process. I'm still working on it.

5. You're Probably Going To Relapse

Debbie Downer, right? The world isn't sunshine and rainbows. Some days those dark thoughts, or dark urges, will creep up on you. You may not give in to them but you might. Does that make you a POS? HECK NO! You're human. The perfectionist in me had/has a hard time with this but my mantra has been, "Progress not perfection". Just get back on the horse. It's not over. It's never over.

6. There Is Still Stigma Attached To It

Should there be one? No. But there is, especially if you are dealing with a Mental Health issue. So much so that it can hinder recovery; some people refuse to seek treatment. I hung the phone up three times before finally making my first appointment. Don't be like me.

When you're ready, if ever, talk about your struggles with friends or family. It makes these issues more relevant and personal to that person thereby helping to eradicate that stigma.

7. Relationships Can Be Hard

Whether you were in one prior or if you start one after (or during) treatment. Personally, I felt the need to list my "problems" early on. I did it because I felt insecure. Eventually I realized the right person wouldn't see it as a "problem". After all, I was actively getting help. And eventually someone proved me right.

8. Pinterest Can Help

What a basic thing to say, right? But pinning on boards and seeing what other people had to say helped me. You can access my Recovery and Mindfulness Tools boards anytime you want. Most of the things I pinned can be used for many different disorders.

9. Don't Alienate Your Friends

Some days you want to curl into a ball and stay there. But try to keep your close friends at least informed. They care about you. They want to help. They may even make you laugh. They mean well and will understand. If they don't, then say "Bye Felicia".

10. It Gets Better

Is this cliche enough? But it is true.

I had some points where I thought if I died it would be better than what I was suffering through (I don't think this way anymore so don't blow my phone up). When things were very dark I cancelled all of my plans I ever made. I didn't even like the gym anymore. I cried in the bathroom and I cried between sets because I didn't feel anything but numb. Something I once loved so much and I felt absolutely nothing. I felt like a worthless failure because I quit a job and that just wasn't "Amber"; Amber never quits.

But I needed to take care of myself for the first time in my life. Really take care of myself. And I did so for six months were all I did was "recover". Seriously: I made that my job. Fortunately I had quite a bit of savings to help me get by (but I still stressed out about it every single day) and I know not everyone can do that. But I'm a workhorse---had I kept a full time job I never would have allowed myself the time to recover and get the help I needed.

Quite honestly I needed routine therapy (behavioral and cognitive). I needed those 45 minute nature walks by myself. I needed nutritional help. I needed group therapy. I needed to cry and express how I felt. I needed to face what had happened to me. I needed medicine.

I promise that while treatment and recovery isn't easy, it IS worth it. My self esteem now is the highest and best it has ever been my entire life. I had to hit rock bottom and crawl, scratch, and climb back up. It was so hard. But I did it.

Keep fighting.

Have you ever suffered from an illness or during your recovery process? What was the hardest thing you faced? Share your story below to help fight against Mental Health & Substance Abuse Stigma.

If you or a loved one needs help please seek out trained professionals. A good place to start is the National Alliance of Mental Illness. I'm always here to listen as well (but bear in mind I am not a licensed therapist or trained professional).


Tuesday Ten: Why Pure Barre Isn't Just For Rich Snobs

Last week we talked about the Ten Meet Essentials you needed to have a successful meet. This week we are doing a 180 and talking about my new obsession: Pure Barre.

Hold your horses. Before you roll your eyes, ask me my Lululemon size (10), and question my sanity, hear me out. As a member of Team Infirmary I promise I won't steer you wrong.

1. Not Everyone Is In Head To Toe Lululemon

First of all, there is nothing wrong with wearing head to toe Lululemon. They have breathable fabrics and they last forever.

But I show up in tie dye cat shirts, rolled up pants, and get compliments on them.

2. It Isn't As Expensive As You'd Think

Yes, it is pricey if you compare it to a chain gym. But half of you reading this pay an arm and a leg for functional fitness gym memberships. Most studios have unlimited packages (which can be expensive dependent on your budget) BUT they also offer 5 or 10 package classes as well so you can spread them out as needed. Plus you find money for what you really want (within reason).

3. It's Not All Stick Thin Humans

Body shaming in any form is ridiculous. Big or small: people are people. Genetics are genetics. Sit down.

I'll be honest. I felt self conscious the first time I went. I was bigger than the regular clientele but no one batted an eye. Plus, I can do the push ups on my toes. I am the 1%.

4. Fancy Sticky Socks Aren't Required

I wear mismatched socks half the time. Or big obnoxious white socks. Do I slip on occasion? A little but it's only on the :90 planks and I welcome the rest so I'm not complaining or buying more socks.

5. The Music Doesn't Suck

I've totally danced around when the beat drops on occasion. The beats can be boss. But that's coming from a 28 year old nerd who likes Moby Dick Concept Albums.

6. Those Tiny Movements Suck Out Your Soul And Replace It With Structural Balance

You may scoff at the ballet/Pilates fused class thinking it's easy and people don't work in it.

Image credit: https://i.imgflip.com/1bbr8l.jpg

The class will burn out whatever muscle you are working and it's typically all unilateral movements. My quads and glutes burn like fire. Your abs, which you think you work now, are going to get an intense workout too. Your lifts are going to thank you for them all.

7. Women Aren't The Only Ones There

It isn't 1804. Men and women are both taking classes just like men and women both lift weights.

If you are a woman who constantly posts about how women lift weights too and it won't make them bulky then don't let me see you talking s**t about men in Pure Barre. Guess what? Men need structural balance too.

Bye Felicia.

8. It Isn't Just Cardio or Strength Training

It's a little bit of both. They also offer Platform: a cardio based, higher intensity strength training class. I sweat in both but my lungs and muscles scream in Platform. Pick your poison and enjoy both.

9. Instructors Aren't Stuck Up And Rude

I know as a group instructor, you have to be "on" and nice all the time. But I can smell a disingenuous human from a mile away. So far, I've been greeted by each instructor at the door, they repeat my name during class, and again when I leave.

Yes, I know that's Rule 101 for instructors/sales but not everyone actually does that. Or means it. So far, so good.

10. I Go There

Seriously. Y'all know I don't roll around in dough, Lululemon, or walk around with my nose up in the air. I pick up coins off the ground, wear Old Navy pants, and walk around taking pictures of my catdog.

The class is fun & different for a strength nerd. Plus it doesn't hurt my injuries.

Let your unique flag fly and check out a class.

Have you tried a Pure Barre class? Comment what you thought below. Do you want to try a class? Why haven't you yet?

In the meantime go back in the Blog and check out older pieces. You can always mosey on over to the Archives to read my nationally published articles too.