MAX Blog

How to Grow Your Family Gardens

Remember that children, marriages, and gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A few years ago, Steve began a square foot garden. He carefully prepared the soil, planted the seeds, watered them, fed them, nurtured them, and watched them grow. In time, the garden overflowed with strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, beans, peppers, and carrots. Collard greens became a daily meal just to keep up with the abundant harvest. It was a beautiful sight. Because of his continual care, hard work, and dedication, his garden thrived.


steve garden.jpg

For a garden to grow, it requires daily, nurturing care. Too much water, not enough sun, pesky intruders, high winds, and bad soil will surely damage the delicate plants. There are many things in our lives, especially in our families, that require such diligent care, including raising children and building a strong marriage.

Like his garden, we must tend to our child’s every need, especially during the developmental stages. The same holds true for our marriages. We must strengthen our family gardens with love and respect, encourage them with grace and forgiveness, and watch them grow!

Of course, this is easier said than done. There will be trying times and seemingly impossible obstacles. It will require hard work, maybe harder than you are willing to give, and constant care. You will need patience, support, protection, and most importantly, faith. We must put our trust in God and remember His plans are for good, not to harm but to prosper, to grow, and to thrive!


In Steve’s garden, there were seeds that took only days to sprout and were ready to harvest within a few months. Others, like our pineapple, took years…literally years! But, they were worth the wait and the work.

Anyone with a toddler knows the importance of patience. This morning, my precious two year old threw a tantrum within minutes of waking. Such a mean mommy I was to not let her have a piece of Halloween candy the moment she got out of bed! Patiently I waited, teetering back and forth in my mind between prayer and frustration. Eventually, she peeled herself off the floor and we enjoyed a healthy breakfast together snuggled up on the couch. Tantrums require patience. Trying to catch and dress your wild child requires patience. Helping them finish a science project your little darling had a over month to complete requires patience.

Marriages are not any different. We may not lose our cool over a piece of candy, but we are easily frustrated with our spouses. Stress, finances, habits, can all lead to meltdowns if we do not patiently work through our problems. There will undoubtedly be tough times. Crippling times. Our patience will be tested. Despite our greatest efforts, the road to recovery will seem unreachable. It is then we must call on our character-building, faith-defining, patience and wait for our relationships to grow.


There were certain plants in his garden that required additional support. His tomatoes grew upright and became heavy when they produced fruit. Without the support, the plants would break or bend to the ground and be susceptible to disease and pests. His beans and peas would sprawl everywhere without guided support, quickly overtaking the garden.

Children definitely need our support, our guidance, as they grow. We support their hands as they learn to walk, we support their curiosity as they explore, we reluctantly support their choice in boyfriends and then offer support when they are heartbroken. Likewise, supporting our spouses is imperative to a strong marriage. Without support, our families are left to fend for themselves, possibly growing in the wrong direction or becoming overburdened with the pressures and demands of this world. In addition, we may need to seek outside support.

First and foremost, come to the Lord in prayer. James 1:5- If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. Next, seek counsel, a family member, or a trusted friend to help you through life’s difficult times. Raising a child is tough. Being married is tough. Both are absolutely worth it, but tough. A little support can help your family grow!


Steve’s garden was not without its struggles. The Florida sun proved too harsh for some of his plants and required additional shade. A few squirrels became very fond of his fruits and vegetables, causing daily damage. Aphids, birds, and our new puppy also had their fare share of fun in his garden. He introduced ladybugs, built enclosures, and did all he could to protect his developing plants. Even the strongest of trees can succumb to external attacks.

For 30 years, I watched my father’s avocado tree grow. At nearly 60 feet in height, it has survived frosts, droughts, and hurricanes. Despite the unruly environmental factors, it produced an incredible crop year after year. This last crop was a bumper crop, producing an overabundance of avocados. The harvest was so large, we spent hours as a family picking up fallen avocados from the ground before they rotted. The tree was flourishing so we did not even see the disease that began to take over. A couple of months after this great harvest, the tree was completely dead.

Disaster can strike at any moment. In our worst or in our best of times. It can build up throughout the years or arrive in the blink of an eye. We live in a fallen world that is unpredictable and does not discriminate. It attacks your strengths and your weaknesses, comes after you and your family, and appears without warning. Like extra watering or a little weeding, some problems are easily thwarted. Others will crush us. This crazy world will corrupt our children and our marriages, deceive them, offer them “happiness,” and send them down a thorny path. Everyday, we must put on our armor of God, raise our shield, pull out our sword, and defend what we cherish most.

Last year, our house was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma, followed by a series of tragic events that nearly destroyed our family. Our faith was tested, our love questioned, and our future was uncertain, but we believe in the power of prayer, the strength of someone much bigger than ourselves and our problems. We know what it takes to make our garden grow.

Recently, we moved back in and are slowly getting back to our routine. But it is going to take time to fully return to normal. This week, Steve started a new garden, only this time, our daughter was old enough to participate. How wonderful it will be to see the benefits of gardening through her eyes! As she watches the little seeds grow, she will learn important life lessons required for their garden to prosper.

steve sadie garden.jpg

Put in the care. Watch your gardens grow.

Plant a Tree

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
— Greek Proverb

Slowly, but surely, we are settling into our new home. The paint is on the walls, the furniture is in place, and one-by-one, the repairs are getting checked off the list. Our "home sweet home" is soon to be complete. 

When you buy a home previously owned by others, it is common to question the fixture choices, the paint color palette, or even the kitchen layout. But, Steve and I were pleasantly surprised by something growing in our back yard. Our new home is surrounded by towering oak trees that provide shade for the entire yard and a jacaranda tree that just beckons for a tire swing to be hung from its beautiful flowering limbs. But, amid all the mature trees that majestically tower over our new home, is a small, skinny plant just beginning to grow. Why would they recently plant this tree? While questioning their motive, we noticed a few berries beginning to form. It is a mulberry tree! 

Oh, the fond memories I have of mulberry trees. Growing up, my father had what seemed like every variety of fruit in our back yard- oranges, grapefruits, loquats, starfruits, and many more. My favorite tree, however, was the mulberry. The berries were so incredibly sweet, I would eat them right off the tree until I was covered in purple. It was the perfect climbing tree. I spent many of days solving all of the world problems in that tree. Our sweet dog, Scooter, was laid to rest under that tree. I loved that tree. I miss that tree.

shade tree proverb.JPG

We don't know why the previous owners planted the new tree. There are no other new plants in the yard, everything has been there for years.  Who would plant a tree that they would never see grow?  They would never taste the sweet joy of the mulberries or watch their kids climb its widespread branches. Whatever their reason for planting the tree, all I can say is thank you. While this tree is not in their future, it is now in ours. I can't wait for Steve to taste his first mulberry, and maybe one day I will have to drag our children out of that tree to clean up for dinner. 

Sometimes, we let an uncertain future keep us from doing things. We think we are too old to start a new career, or so set in our unhealthy ways to try and change our eating habits. We figure we will not live long enough to see the benefits of recycling or global warming efforts, so why bother? But, sometimes we just have to take a chance. We can't let the fear of moving, of changing, of failing, to hold us back from doing great things. The future, whether it is ours or generations to come, depends on what we do today. 

Plant a tree. Maybe you will be blessed to see it grow and bear delicious fruit. Or maybe, you will pass that joy on to someone else. Either result leads to happiness. Take a chance. Plant a tree. 

                   OUR FIRST MULBERRY

                 OUR FIRST MULBERRY

             3 YEARS LATER, THE TREE IS                      OVERFLOWING WITH BERRIES

           3 YEARS LATER, THE TREE IS                      OVERFLOWING WITH BERRIES



For today's workout, I am bringing back one of the hardest leg workouts I have ever done- "Pumped Up." Start light on those weights and work your way up! Click here to take the challenge and transform your body! 

The BEST Way to Change Your Life

You had better live your best and act your best and think your best today; for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.
— Harriet Martineau

From the moment we awaken, we are faced with the choice of how to go about our day. Do we hit the snooze button, or do we get in our morning workout? How about breakfast- nutritious or convenient? Do we brush our teeth for the recommended two minutes (and don't forget to floss), or do we skimp on our dental routine? During our morning commute, are we "10 and 2" or distracted drivers? That only covers the early morning. How are we at work- do we give our all no matter the task? During training, do we use perfect form, push a little extra on our workouts, and work well with our teammates? How are we as a friend? A son? A mother? Do we give our BEST in absolutely EVERYTHING that we do?

I will admit that many times throughout the day, I do not. 

Sure, we all tend to place our priorities with the things we value the most. If you are up for a job promotion, you will arrive early, give 110%, and work late, as you strive for the new position. For those with fitness goals- whether it be to lose weight or win the upcoming championship- you are pushing yourselves to the limit and refusing to quit no matter how tough. I applaud this determination, perseverance, and commitment, for you know that how you perform today will ultimately effect your tomorrow. Now, the real challenge is to apply this same persistence to be the best in everything that you do! 

Nearly all that is done (or not done) today will determine our tomorrows. Forget to floss? I see a dental visit in your future. Been too busy to call a friend? You may have one less shoulder to cry on when you need it the most. Daily vending machine visits? Don't say I didn't warn you...

How tasking it all seems to give your best in everything? But, how rewarding it will be when tomorrow comes.

Strength training is essential for ALL health and fitness goals. Beyond building essential lean muscle, using weights increases bone density, prevents disease, improves blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, prevents injury, increases balance,  aids in childbearing, improves mental health, and leads to better life quality! Grab a pair of dumbbells and give this workout a try!

"Pumped Up"

  • 3 x 10 Front Squats with Pumps
  • 3 x 10 Lunges with Pumps (each side)
  • 3 x 10 Side Lunges with Pumps (each side)
  • 3 x "Failure" Sumo Squats with Pumps

View video for full workout breakdown and exercise demonstrations.

Fit & Fabulous Challenge- Week 4

We are in the final stretch of our Fit & Fabulous February Challenge! For the past 21 days we created better eating habits, made physical activity a daily routine, and developed a healthy lifestyle that will last well beyond the challenge. 

I am sure there were a few of you who, for one reason or another, were unable to follow the challenge perfectly. Life sometimes has its own plans, with twists and turns and obstacles thrown in, just to keep things interesting!  But, the great thing about what we do is that health and fitness lasts far longer than these 28 days! So, if you messed up and devoured an entire box of Girl Scout cookies one weekend or you got behind on your workouts, you have not failed this challenge, you just took a step back. What you do next, however, will determine your future success!

Now is the time to recharge and push it to the finish line! No holding back. If you had a stumble or two, get back up, wipe it off, and let's get to work. You GET what you GIVE!


Workout #1- "Flip Your Fate"

* Grab a deck of cards and watch the video for workout instructions. You are going to love this one!

Burnout #1 is included in the above video ☺


Workout #2- "Strength & Sprint Circuit"

3 Rounds (4 minutes each with a full recovery after each round):

  • 5 Squat Jumps with 20 yard Sprint
  • Repeat Squats and Sprints 3 more times
  • 5 Push-ups with Left Wheelbarrow
  • 5 Push-ups with Right Wheelbarrow
  • Continue for 4 minutes



* Watch the video for exercise demonstrations and modifications. This is also a great partner workout!

*No room for sprints? Stuck inside? Try running in place or try this great stair workout

Burnout #2- "2 Minute Burnout"

* Click the link to view this awesome endurance-building Burnout!


Workout #3- "Core Centric"

3 Rounds:

  • 20 Rainbow Plate Presses
  • 20 Torso Twists
  • 20 V-up Reach Throughs
  • 20 Pass Throughs
  • 20 Reach Behinds (each direction)




* Please view the video for exercise demonstrations. If you do not have a weighted plate or medicine ball, check out our "No Equipment Necessary" videos! 

Burnout #3- "Holy Hammies"

* Click on the link for this lower body burnout that will make your legs beg for mercy!


Workout and Burnout #4- 

For your final workout (and Burnout) of the Challenge we would like you to check out our MAX Workouts page and pick out a workout that is perfect for you! If you need some help or would like us to make a suggestion, just comment below or contact us on any of our social media sites! We love to pick out workouts!

Active Rest Days

Remember to use your rest days wisely for best results! If your body needs a day to recover, use this day to get a massage or take a soothing bath. Otherwise, your best choice is to keep active. Go for a walk, swim some laps, or grab the kids and play a family game of hockey or football. Have some fun!

Remember to keep track of your progress and check back with us towards the end of the challenge. We have some great prizes waiting for you!

Fit & Fabulous Challenge- Week 3

We have reached the halfway point of our Fitness Challenge! Congratulations to all of our challenge participants for making it this far- every day is a victory!

Research suggests that it takes 21 days to make a habit. At the end of this week, each one of you will have done something far bigger than just losing weight, you will have developed a healthy habit, a routine, a lifestyle! 

Each week, we kick it up a notch. In week 1, we began our workouts and made small changes to our diets. In week 2, we added bonus workouts (burnouts) and started tracking our meals. Now, for week 3, it is time to place a priority on our nutrition. 

Any great athlete will tell you- food is fuel. You have to eat to perform, but WHAT you eat affects your performance.  While technically a calorie is a calorie, the nutrition provided by thus calorie is a huge factor in the way your body functions and looks. Two thousand calories of twinkies will not get you very far in your day before you crash and burn, while two thousand calories of lean meat, fruit, and veggies will power you through the day, assist in muscle building and recovery, and fuel your activities. 

Take a look at last week's food diary. As you were tracking your every bite, were you shocked by how much you really consumed? Those little snacks creep up on you, don't they, and what you thought was one serving of salad dressing really ends up being more like three. It all adds up. So, what's next? 

Like we have mentioned before, Steve and I follow an 80/20 rule. 80% of our diet is healthy, nutritious whole foods, while the remaining 20% is available for our favorite treats. For example, in order to indulge in some homemade cookies for dessert, my dinner would include grilled chicken drizzled with my dad's famous mushroom sauce and summer squash. 

Looking at your food diary, is there room for improvement? Maybe swap out those frozen waffles and syrup for an egg omelet and side of fruit. Still grabbing lunch on the go? Give yourself five extra minutes in the morning to pack something nutritious and delicious! Small adjustments lead to big results. So, take a close look and start tweaking your diet. You have been busting your butt with these workouts, now it is time for your body to show off all those lean muscles! Abs are made in the kitchen.

All right, here we go! This week is going to be tough, but we know you can do it!

Workout #1- "Lordy, Lordy Let's Do Forty"

  • 40 Right Side Burpees
  • 40 Right Side Curtsy Lunges
  • 40 Right Side V Crunches
  • 40 Left Side Burpees
  • 40 Left Side Curtsy Lunges
  • 40 Left Side V Crunches


* Please view the video for exercise demonstrations. Try to finish the workout as fast as you can, but do not compromise technique for time.

Burnout #1- "100 Leg Lift Variety Burnout"

* Click on the link to view this awesome ab workout!


Workout #2- "Buns of Steel"

Part 1

  • 3 x 10 (each leg) Single Leg Squats
  • 3 x 10 (each leg) Single Leg Deadlifts

Part 2

  • 3 x 20 Swimmers
  • 3 x 20 (each leg) Donkey Kicks

Part 3

  • 3 x 20 Hip Thrusts
  • 3 x 20 Hamstring Curls

* Check out the video for exercise demonstrations.

Burnout #2- "Three Way Abs"

* Click on the link and grab a partner for this ab burnout!


Workout #3- "Shoulder Surgery"

3- 5 Rounds:

  • 10 Plate Punches
  • 10 Bent Over Rows
  • 10 Overhead Presses
  • 10 Over Right Shoulder
  • 10 Over Left Shoulder
  • 10 Right Circles
  • 10 Left Circles
  • 10 Front Squats

* Please view the video for exercise demonstrations. If you do not have a weight plate, check out our MAX Workouts page to choose another great workout! 

Burnout #3- "Bootilicious" 

* Click on the link to view this backside-lifting workout!


Workout #4- "Full Body Blast"

  • 1 minute Jumping Jack Touchdowns
  • 50 Chest Press and Leg Lifts
  • 1 minute Jumping Jack Touchdowns
  • 30 Push Up and Row
  • 1 minute Jumping Jack Touchdowns
  • 50 Heel Elevated Squats
  • 1 minute Jumping Jack Touchdowns
  • 30 Skull Crushers

* View video for exercise demonstrations and no equipment modifications.

Burnout #4- "Fab Abs"

* Click link to view this ab-sculpting workout!


Active Rest Days

Click here and scroll down to the Day 1 Workout to see some of our suggestions for active rest activities.  

We love to hear from you! Share your progress with your MAX family by posting, liking, tweeting, and pinning on your favorite social media sites. We are right here doing the challenge along with you and are so happy you chose to join us! You GET what you GIVE!

Fit & Fabulous Challenge- Week 2

The Fit & Fabulous February Challenge is off to a great start! If you are new to MAX Training and/or are interested in joining the challenge, it is not too late! Just click here to see how to join and then click here to catch up. 

Congratulations to all of our Challenge participants! Many of you have updated us throughout the challenge by sharing photos of you rocking the workouts, posting your nutritious meals, and contacting us for support. Keep it up, you are 7 days closer to reaching your goals. Now, it is time to step it up a notch!   

In addition to the workouts, we are now adding our signature Burnouts to the challenge. Whether you love them or hate them, our Burnouts ensure you finish your workout with a bang! Get ready to take your training to the MAX!

As far as your diet is concerned, it is time to take a closer look at what you are consuming. For this week, we would like you track your meals. Luckily for you, there are a variety of great apps out there to make this an easier task than reading labels and measuring food. 

MyFitnessPal, Lose ItNutritionix Track, and MyNet Diary are simple calorie counting apps with massive food databases and barcode scanners to quickly and easily keep track of your food and beverage intake. Having trouble meeting your daily water intake? Try Waterlogged. There are also great meal planning apps that help you create the perfect meal plans for your goals and tastes, as well as, generate grocery shopping lists. Do you have a favorite fitness and nutrition app? Comment below and share with your MAX family!

Remember, continue to keep track of your progress. We also encourage you to share, post, pin, and tweet throughout the Challenge. We love to hear from you!

This week, try and aim to complete all four workouts. Be sure to use your active rest days to recover both physically and mentally.

Workout #1- "Kettlebell Tabata"

Perform each exercise for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 8 rounds (4 minutes).

  • Around the Body
  • Lunge Pass-Throughs
  • Overhead Sit-Ups
  • Front Squats



* Please watch the video for exercise demonstrations. If you do not have a kettlebell, any dumbbell will do. Or, you can try this great Tabata workout that does not use any equipment-"Tabata Time!"

Burnout #1- "10 in 10"

* This ab burnout is sure to become one of your favorites! Click on the link to view the workout.


Workout #2- "Cardio Boost"

4 Rounds:

  • Half Mile Run
  • 100 Double Unders

* Check out the video for the workout and exercise modifications. This is no ordinary cardio workout- it is intense! But do not worry, it is easy to modify to your fitness ability.

Burnout #2- "Pretzel Squat"

* Get ready to feel the burn with this lower body Burnout! Click the link to view the workout.


Workout #3- "Chair Challenge"

Round 1

  • 1 minute Incline Plank
  • 40 Alternating Step Ups
  • 40 Right Elevated Split Squats
  • 40 Left Elevated Split Squats

Round 2

  • 1 minute Elevated Right Side Plank
  • 1 minute Elevated Left Side Plank
  • 40 Right Side Plank Leg Lifts
  • 40 Left Side Plank Leg Lifts
  • 40 Right Lateral Step Ups
  • 40 Left Lateral Step Ups

Round 3

  • 1 minute Decline Plank
  • 40 Right Single Leg Squats
  • 40 Left Single Leg Squats
  • 40 Right Single Leg Hip Thrusts
  • 40 Left Single Leg Hip Thrusts

Burnout Round

  • 40 Dips
  • 40 Sit-Ups

* View the video for exercise demonstrations and beginner modifications.

No need for an additional Burnout- we already added one into the Chair Challenge workout!


Workout #4- "21s"

3 Rounds:

  • 7,7,7 Bicep Curls
  • 7,7,7 Sit-Ups
  • 7,7,7 Bench Presses
  • 7,7,7 Squats





* View our video for the workout and exercise demonstrations. If you do not have access to weights, please check out our MAX Workouts page and choose a workout that is perfect for you! 

Burnout #4- "Plank Burnout" 

* A strong core is a strong body! Click the link to view this tough ab Burnout.


Active Rest Days

Click here and scroll down to the Day 1 Workout to see some of our suggestions for active rest activities.  

Please share your progress with your MAX family! We are right here doing the challenge along with you and are so happy you chose to join us! When things get tough, when you are tired and can not find the energy to workout, when that triple fudge brownie is calling your name, we are here and are rooting for you! You GET what you GIVE! 



Fit & Fabulous Challenge- Week 1

The Fit & Fabulous February Challenge is underway! 

By now, you should have written your goals, taken a "before" picture, planned a week's worth of nutritious meals, and participated in some moderate physical activity (aka "active rest"). Haven't joined the challenge yet? Click HERE

For the rest of the week, you are to perform either 3 workouts with 3 more active rests days or 4 workouts with 2 active rests days. 

Sample Workout Week Plan A:

  • Sunday- active rest
  • Monday- workout
  • Tuesday- active rest
  • Wednesday-workout
  • Thursday- active rest
  • Friday- workout
  • Saturday- active rest

Sample Workout Week Plan B:

  • Sunday- workout
  • Monday- active rest
  • Tuesday- workout
  • Wednesday- workout
  • Thursday- active rest
  • Friday- workout
  • Saturday- active rest

Workout #1- "5 Minute Mania"

Perform each set of exercises Every Minute on the Minute. For example, if it takes you 35 seconds to complete the set, use the remaining 25 seconds to rest.

Round 1- EMOM for 5 minutes

  • 5 Hand-release Push-ups
  • 10 Mountain Climbers
  • 10 Squats

Round 2- EMOM for 5 minutes

  • 5 Knuckle Push-ups
  • 10 Cross Body Mountain Climbers
  • 10 Half Squat Jumps

Round 3- EMOM for 5 minutes

  • 5 Explosive Uneven Push-ups
  • 10 Plank Tucks
  • 10 Bunny Hops

Round 4- EMOM for 5 minutes

  • 5 SEAL Push-ups
  • 10 Sit-throughs
  • 10 Sumo Squats with Calf Raises

* Watch the video for exercise demonstrations and modifications. If the exercises are too hard for you to finish in the 60 seconds, just forget the time and perform them through 5 times.


Workout # 2- "Superhero Strength"

  • 4 x 10 Uneven Bench Presses (alternate weights each set)
  • 3 x 10 Seated Curl and Presses
  • 3 x 12 Supermans
  • 3 x 10 Pull-ups
  • 1-10-1 Push-up Pyramid 

* Watch the video for exercise demonstrations. You will need two different pairs of dumbbell weights, a chair, and a pull-up bar. If you do not have access to this equipment, please visit our "No Equipment Necessary" videos on our MAX Workouts page, or just repeat one of the other workouts from this week.



Workout #3- "The Mailman"

* Please view video for a full description of this workout. Sprinting is tough! If you need to, just walk fast or jog, whatever your ability permits. If the weather does not cooperate, you can always do an interval workout on the treadmill or running in place (30 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow). Or, you can visit our MAX Workouts page for access to over 100 workouts!


Workout #4- "Core & More"

Perform exercises for 3 rounds with 2 minutes rest between rounds.

  • Round 1- Perform each exercise for 1 minute
  • Round 2- Perform each exercise for 30 seconds
  • Round 3- Perform each exercise for 1 minute


  • Wall Sit with Torso Twists
  • Right Lunge with Wood Chops
  • Left Lunge with Wood Chops
  • Toe Touches
  • Right Elevated Hip Raise with Leg Raises
  • Left Elevated Hip Raise with Leg Raises
  • Candlesticks

* View video for exercise demonstrations. This workout is very challenging- you may have to take breaks or lower the time limits. Just keep pushing through and whatever you do, don't quit. We believe in you!


Active Rest Days

Click here and scroll down to the Day 1 Workout to see some of our suggestions for active rest activities.  

Please share your progress with your MAX family! Tweet how awesome you feel after the workout, post a question on Facebook for our MAX trainers, share a picture of your delicious and nutritious meal on Instagram, and be sure to pin your favorite workout on Pinterest. We want to hear from you! We are right her doing the challenge along with you and are so happy you chose to join us! You GET what you GIVE! 

The Challenge Begins!

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch- what make you go beyond the norm.
— Cicely Tyson

Our Fit & Fabulous February Challenge has officially begun! Today, you begin your 28-day commitment to a healthier you. Be sure to join below to be entered into our prize drawings and receive updates throughout the challenge.

Name *







In all the excitement to reach our goals, we tend to just jump right in. But if I have learned one thing from my past failures, it is that success is a continual cycle of preparation, action, and evaluation. So, before we lace up our running shoes, it is time to set some goals.

A goal is only a dream until you write it down on paper! Grab a journal, or if you prefer, I am sure there is some cool goal-setting app out there, and jot down your goals for this challenge. What do you want to accomplish in these 28 days? Remember your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). In your journal, you will also track your progress. To help with this, you may want to include your start weight, waist measurements, pant size, blood pressure, etc. 

Next, take your "before" picture. You can decide later whether you would like to share the photo and earn some prizes! For now, just keep it as reference of your progress. Trust me, you will want it at the end of the challenge. 

Alright, now for the real important stuff- FOOD! From an athletic perspective, I can ensure you that working out all day is not going to get you the results you desire. Food is a huge component in athletic performance, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While a perfect diet is ideal, the chances of you sticking to it are slim to noneOver the years, I have tweaked my diet until I found one that can fulfill my performance needs while still satisfying my desired tastes and overwhelming sweet tooth. Finding your perfect balance takes time. So, for this first week, let's just make some small changes that will lead to big results!

  • Get off to a good start. A healthy breakfast will set the tone for the rest of your day.
  • Include a fruit and/or vegetable and lean protein serving in each meal.
  • Use small plates. This one is tried and true. It is the easiest way to control your portions without all the measuring.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your diet should be whole, nutritious food, while 20% is leftover for your eating pleasure.
  • Water, water, and more water. The goal is half your body weight in ounces (180 pound person should consume 90 ounces of water or about 6 bottles of water) plus one bottle for every workout.
  • Make your own meals. This one is going to take some planning, but will make a huge difference! Consider this, the spaghetti and meatball dinner at Olive Garden is over 1000 calories (not including the breadsticks and salad) while the homemade version is easily half that amount.
  • Finally, plan out your week. A little preparation keeps you from an impromptu (and diet-blowing) visit to the drive-thru window.

For those of you with weight loss as a goal for this challenge, trimming just 500 calories a day leads to one pound loss each week. Start by making the above small changes and then keep checking back throughout the challenge for more great tips, meal suggestions, and sample diet plans.


Last, but definitely not least, let's talk fitness! Bear with me,  I know this is a lot to cover for one day, but preparation is key! For this week, Steve and I have carefully chosen a week's worth of workouts for you that complement one another and appeal to all different fitness interests. The weekly plan includes 2 or 3 active rest days (depending on your preference) which will aid in proper recovery and ultimately better results. While most of our workouts can be done with no equipment and in the comfort of your living room, we will include workouts with weights, medicine balls, jumps ropes, etc. If you do not own or have access to this equipment, we will always include a no equipment version or make another workout suggestion.

Well, that basically covers it! Now it is time for you to take a picture, make your goals, plan your meals, go grocery shopping, and get ready to rock this challenge! You GET what you GIVE!

Workout- Day 1

You have a lot of planning and preparing to do today, so for our first workout, we are going to participate in what I like to call "active rest." Being that this is your first day, you may want to be more "active" than "rest." As the challenge progresses, you may need to use these days to stretch, rehabilitate, and rest your muscles. 

Active rest activities include going for a walk, enjoying a bike ride, taking the family ice skating, or swimming some leisurely laps in the pool. If weather has you cooped up inside, try some housework (you know cleaning those baseboards is no easy task), going up and down your basement stairs, or a favorite among couples- a little bedroom nookie (yes, that counts!) The whole idea is to stay active and not spend your rest day vegging on the couch. 

Enjoy your first day of the challenge, and get ready, because tomorrow's workout is a tough one!




Fit & Fabulous February!

We are excited to announce our first challenge of the year- The Fit & Fabulous February Challenge! 

Challenges are the perfect way to kick start your fitness goals. Together, we will support, encourage, and motivate one another to do our very best, never quit, and make it to the very end. So, don't quit those resolutions just yet. The Fit & Fabulous February Challenge includes 28 days of calorie-blasting workouts, weight loss tips, and great prizes! Are you ready?

Here's how it works...

  • Join the Fit & Fabulous February Challenge here and on Facebook (Not sure if we are Facebook buddies? Click here to follow us) 
  •  Perform the challenge requirements. Don't worry, we have workouts for all ability levels.
  • For those of you willing to share your results with your MAX family, we have some great prizes for you! Just take a "Before" picture prior to beginning the challenge and note your goals- weight loss, fit in your new jeans, improve athletic performance, get stronger, better balance, etc. Then, following completion of the challenge, take an "After" picture and note your amazing results! 
Name *


It is that simple! Get ready for a better version of you! The challenge starts February 1st, so join today.

The Best Way to Lose Weight in the New Year

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.
— Unknown

Just like that, the year is coming to an end. Soon, we will countdown to the New Year, where fresh beginnings and big dreams await our arrival. Are you ready?

New Year quote

Before you draw up resolutions that you will quit by Valentine's Day, consider adopting a more long term solution.  No more fad diets or crazy detoxes or insane exercise practices. Success comes from a healthy LIFESTYLE, not a 21 day fix or a 3 day detox or a 7 day grind. Instead, plan for a year of nutritious choices that allows for sweet treats and a workout plan that incorporates plenty of recovery.

Not sure where to begin? We can help. By this time next year, you will not be worrying about gaining weight over the holidays or frantically dieting to fit in your little black dress. You will be prepared, educated, and healthy.  We will be here to help, support, and encourage you throughout the entire year. Join us now for your best year yet!

You GET what you GIVE!


Check out a few of Rebecca'a favorite stability ball exercises. Put them together for a full body workout or add a few to your regular workout routine.




A Season of Love

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13

It is funny the things in life you can handle, and those that you never quite figure out how to manage. The holiday season can quickly become one of those things...

It all begins with a smile. Maybe it happens the first time you hear your favorite Christmas carol, or when the weather gets cooler, or as you pull out your ornaments full of memories. But, slowly it becomes more of a chore than a season of joy. You are desperately trying to find the perfect gift, frantically attending every party, social event, and Christmas pageant, cooking, decorating, wrapping, traveling... and somehow you still manage to never feel "ready" for Christmas. 

Last night, however, everything changed. A prescription of bed rest, forced me to take a break from all the chaos. There I was, on the couch, making yet another list of everything that needed to be done, when it suddenly hit me. Nothing on the list mattered. The room was lit by the glow of the Christmas tree, Hallmark holiday movies on the TV, the smell of evergreen filled the air, and most importantly, the people I loved most were there with me. 

If there was not a single present under the tree this year, I would still have the greatest gift of all. Love.

If the decorations were not perfect, there would be love. Whether we eat a 20 pound turkey or PB & J sandwiches, there would be love. Even if our loved ones are gone, serving oversees, unable to travel, or smiling down on us from above, there would still be love. 

Love is the reason for the season. God sent us the greatest gift of all. Now, it is up to us to continue spreading the love. Nothing else matters.

Merry Christmas... with love.  



"1000 Rep Fat Burn"

It may sound strange, but one of the best ways to relax is to get in a great workout. You are going to love this rep challenge! Take a moment and try it today!




Fall Fitness Challenge- Week 4

Our final week is here!

Whether you followed our holiday tips or overdid it on the turkey and stuffing, we are going to finish off this challenge with the best week yet! Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it is more important than ever to continue making healthy choices and staying physically active. Remember the 80/20 rule. A diet full of fruits and veggies can also have Christmas cookies! Just be aware of your portions. Keep getting in your daily recommended water intake and be sure to include some sort of workout everyday- even if it is just taking an evening walk to admire the neighbor's Christmas lights. Happy Holidays everyone!

How have you been doing on the workouts? Getting them all in or finding reasons to skip out? Well, no more excuses. This week's workout can be done in your pajamas without even getting out of bed! Wishes do come true.

You GET what you GIVE!


Fall Fitness Challenge- Week 3

The week of Thanksgiving is always a tough week to stay on track with your fitness goals. Luckily for you, we have the perfect plan to keep the weight off while still enjoying your mom's famous pumpkin pie! 


  • Get your sweat on- Now is not the time to get lazy on your fitness routine, if anything, you should pick up the pace! Remember to do your Home Workout Challenge at least 3-4x during the week, and an active rest activity (walking, biking, swimming) on the other days.

  • Drink up- Sorry, I am not talking about martinis, but water. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. So if you are 140 pounds, you should drink at least 70 ounces or about 4 bottles of water. With all the high fat, high calorie food coming your way, your body needs to be hydrated to keep things moving!

  • Rise and shine (and eat)- Do not skip breakfast in order to cut back on calories. Doing so will only lead to pigging out later. Instead, have a nutritious breakfast that is packed with protein and includes a serving of fruits and vegetables. 


  • Out of sight, out of mind- Fill your Thanksgiving table with centerpieces, not food. While a beautiful bird is the highlight of the meal, it is better to keep it out of reach. If you insist on serving the food at the table, bring it to the kitchen after everyone has filled their plates. You will have to make a conscious decision to get up from the table for seconds.

  • Enjoy the company- I miss sharing the piano bench with my cousin, I miss Grandma's Swedish prayers, and I miss my family who has gone to be with the Lord. You can always eat food, but time spent with family and friends is priceless. Savor the moments. 

  • Nibble, nibble, nibble- Grandma's pecan pie, your Aunt's fudge brownies, and Mom's Christmas cookies are not to be missed! Rather than stuffing your face until you are too ill to continue, get a tiny slice or bite of each and enjoy them all without the guilt! 

  • Choose leftovers over seconds- Turkey sandwiches are the best! You don't have to finish up the casserole dish at the table. Saving some for later will keep you from overeating in one sitting and allow you to continue the food festivities later on. Or even better, send the leftovers home with your guests. 

  • Start a new tradition- Before everyone goes into a turkey coma in front of the TV, get outside for a football game of your own! If sports aren't your thing, go for a walk, try a game of corn hole, or if the weather permits, build a snowman! 



Our latest "Home Workout Challenge" takes only 20 minutes. Grab a chair and go!



Fall Fitness Challenge- Week 2

If you are new to our challenge, click HERE to get started.

This week, I want you to continue to track your meals and keep those simple grab-n-go healthy snacks in your fridge. Make sure you are reaching your recommended daily water intake. Sometimes the feeling of hunger is actually dehydration! 

In addition, it is time to take a closer look at your diet. Let me start with this- there is no perfect diet. Fad diets constantly come and go and always call for some sort of ridiculous exclusion of important foods. Many of these diets work for a little while because they require calorie restrictions, however, it is very difficult to adhere to these diets for the long haul. The best diet is the one you can stick to and enjoy. While you can not eat brownies and ice cream all day, there are some easy ways to tweak your diet without completely eliminating your favorite foods.

  • Calorie restriction3500 calories equals one pound. So, if you would like to lose weight, a moderate restriction of 500 calories per day would equate to losing one pound a week. 
  • Increase your protein intake. Most likely, you are not getting enough protein. You should aim for 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, a 150 pound person should consume anywhere from 120-150 grams of protein per day. 
  • Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your daily caloric intake should be healthy, nutritious food full of good-for-you nutrients (think lean meats and vegetables). The remaining 20% can include your favorite foods that may not be the healthiest choices (think chocolate chip cookies). By allowing for a small amount (no, you can not have the entire bag) of your guilty pleasures, you will prevent binge eating and help with diet adherence.

Now, for the fun stuff!  Our workout for this week is my new favorite workout! It only takes about 20 minutes and works you from head to toe. I have a feeling you are going to love it too. Remember to perform the workout 3-4x this week and then choose an active rest activity, such as walking or swimming, for the remaining days.

You GET what you GIVE!


Grab a couple towels and get ready to burn some major calories!

Fall Fitness Challenge- Week 1

Welcome to our Fall Fitness Challenge!



For the next 4 weeks, we will be working out, developing nutritious habits, and creating a healthy lifestyle that will take you into the New Year and beyond!

Our workouts can all be done at home and use common household items for equipment. This week, we start with pillows!  Each workout is designed specifically to burn calories and build muscle in fun, creative ways. In 30 minutes (or less) you will strengthen your body from head to toe!

Before you begin, be sure to check out our preparation list to ensure you get the best out of the challenge. Click here.  


Week 1

  • Aim to perform the "Home Workout Challenge" and bonus Burnout 3 to 4 times this week. I love variety, but this challenge gives you just one workout a week so you can master the moves and try to improve with each workout. 
  • Get 30 minutes of physical activity on the other days. A simple walk around the neighborhood is perfect. Or you can go on a bike ride, play a game of tag with the kiddos, even get around to cleaning out the garage, it does not matter what you do, just get up and get moving!  
  • Remember to track your calories and reach your recommended daily water intake. Tracking calories can be tough, but it is worth it for these next few weeks. You will be surprised how many calories are in your "healthy snacks" or how much larger your portions are than you thought. 
  • Share your success with our MAX community! Post a picture of your nutritious (and delicious) dinner, a clip of you rocking the workout, or a motivational quote that gets you through the day!

Good luck and remember....You GET what you GIVE!




Fall Fitness Challenge

Just as we promised, our next fitness challenge is about to begin! 

Our latest challenge was inspired last year by our crazy busy lives with a newborn. There was a small window of opportunity to squeeze in a workout- between feedings, during naptime, or when the other spouse is available to watch the baby. Not much has changed now that she is a toddler!  I know we are not the only ones who struggle to find time to workout. Thus, came the idea for our Fall Fitness Challenge. All the workouts use popular household items, can be completed in under 30 minutes, and are done in the comfort of your own home! 

The Fall Fitness Challenge officially begins next week, but we recommend you take this week to prepare and complete the following:

  • Enlist a friend (or group of friends) to join you in taking the challenge. There is strength in numbers! Having someone to motivate you and keep you on track will boost your chance of success.
  • Determine your daily water intake. The recommended amount is half your body weight in ounces. For example, a 160 pound adult should drink 80 ounces of water a day (or roughly 5 bottles of water). This does not include any additional waters needed to refuel after a workout. 
  • Get a food tracker. We use MyFitnessPal (iOS, Android, Windows) but there are tons of excellent apps available and most are free and simple to use. Tracking your food helps with portion control and cutting calories. You will be surprised how much sugar is in your seemingly "healthy" shake or how many calories are packed into your morning latte.



  • Stock up on grab and go snacks. There is a reason we reach for the potato chips or the jar of M&Ms instead of the oranges that need to be peeled or the apples that needs to be sliced- convenience. Fill your fridge with grapes, cheese sticks, pre-cut carrots, and single serve foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and applesauce. 
  • Take a "before" picture. Before you panic, I promise you do not have to share your photo. Visually tracking your progress is important. Sometimes the scale does not accurately represent your success, but a smaller stomach and lifted backside does!

We look forward to taking the challenge with you. Share the challenge with your friends and we will start next week!

 You GET what you GIVE!

Be Kind. Change the World.

Ah, kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.
— A.A. Malee

Hurricane Irma, one of the largest storms in history,  ripped through the entire state of Florida, leaving a path of death and destruction in its wake. We were fortunate enough to survive the storm, however, our house did not fare as well. Flood waters flowed throughout the rooms, while a damaged roof leaked water from above. The deck was demolished, the fence laid on the ground, and debris littered the yard. As heartbreaking as it was, this story is not about our devastating loss, but about the days that followed...

After 96 hours straight of rescuing those stranded in flooded waters, Steve was given the day off from the fire station to go home and rest. Unfortunately, there was not time to rest, for water damage restoration is a time-sensitive process. He was exhausted and I was no better off. Evacuating days prior with a one year old and three dogs resulted in numerous sleepless nights. So there we stood in the middle of the damage-too tired to think and too overwhelmed to even know where to begin- when cars began to pull into the driveway. Help had arrived. 

Family, friends, even complete strangers, took time away from their own needs to tend to ours. What should have been weeks of work, took merely hours. They ripped out carpet, bagged clothing and linens, brought cleaning supplies, cut out drywall, picked up debris, and even made dinner. It was incredible, inspiring, and it was only the beginning.

Our friends made a few phone calls and by the end of the day, entire communities had pitched in to help. Someone we had never met, opened both their heart and their home to us so we could have a place to stay. While I made insurance calls, bags of laundry were distributed to people wanting to help, cars were packed with salvaged items, and later unloaded into storage. One good deed after another. We never asked for help, but that is the beauty of kindness, we never had to.

The sun began to set and Steve had to go back on shift early the next morning. It was time to call it a day. A long, emotional, and tiresome day. The drive was quiet as we tried to process it all- the house, the damage, the months to come. How could we possibly afford to start over? How could we handle all the stress? What about the baby? Just when I was about to break down, Steve broke the silence. "They say God never gives you more than you can handle."  We giggled. In our 12 years of marriage, this saying has become our mantra. It seems that God thinks we are pretty tough. Maybe it is because He knows there is still good in this fallen world, and what we can not handle on our own, He places others in our lives who will come to our aid. Little did we know, the acts of kindness would continue. 

We were met at the front door of our temporary residence with a post-it-note that simply stated, "Welcome Home." Inside, we discovered the closets were filled with our clothes, all cleaned, pressed, and hung. The refrigerator was stocked and the pantry overflowed with food, dog treats, and supplies. A borrowed crib had been set up for our daughter and toys were placed nearby. On the counter were gift cards, cash, and notes of encouragement from the neighbors. We were speechless. In that moment, there was a sense of peace that overtook all the fear. We may not know what tomorrow will bring, but we knew everything would be okay. For that day, in the midst of despair, there was kindness. 

acts of kindness quote.png

We live in a world seemingly consumed with fear and divided by hate, but there is good to be found. There are people with a genuine desire to help others, to give hope to those that struggle, and to be the good we so desperately need. These small acts of kindness are by no means small- they are life-changing. In this past month, there have been earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and just this past weekend, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. Tragedy surrounds us and our hearts are heavy. But, in all the devastation, the chaos, and the fear, there is love. Some of the greatest acts of kindness come in our darkest hours. There are those that run towards the gunfight, those that sacrifice themselves to save others, those that do what they can by donating money or supplies, and those that show up after a hurricane to help rip out water-soaked carpet. These are our everyday heroes, and for them, we are eternally grateful. 

In everything you do, be sure to do it with love. Your acts of kindness, no matter if they are great or small, can change a life and change the world. 

Monday Motivation

For all you "Monday starters," this is the ultimate Monday. The Monday above all other Mondays! If ever you were to pick a day to start fresh, today is the perfect day!


Not only is it Monday, but it is the first of the month. There are no more excuses. Today is the day. Get up, get dressed, and get started!


Whatever your goals may be, we have the plan to help you succeed. Our Spring Cleaning Challenge is going on right now and it is the ultimate plan to clean up your life, start anew, and get rid of all the "junk" that keeps you from living out your dreams! Imagine a life without all the clutter, the stress, the mess, the bad habits that hold you down. A simple life that replaces negativity with joy, develops a healthy relationship with food, and encourages value or excess. 

It is Monday. Your clutter-free life begins today.


Click here to join our Spring Cleaning Challenge!

Spring Cleaning Challenge

Spring is officially here! As temperatures rise and melt the last reminders of cold weather, animals awaken from their winter slumber, and new life emerges from the frozen ground. 'Tis the season to get a fresh start and rejuvenate our lives, both inside and out. 

happiness quote.png


While you never had to force this Florida girl to enjoy a little rest and relaxation on the beach during Spring Break, I do tend to put off another springtime essential- Spring Cleaning! It wasn't until I was older that I understood why my mother would use her few days off from teaching to organize and deep clean the house. Decluttering does more than tidy up your home, it clears your mind. Clutter is toxic, it is disorganized, unused, unfinished. Now is the time to let go and clear the way for a better you, to simplify our lives, and make room for the things that are truly important!

It is time to clear the junk, to clean up your home, mind, and body. Join us as we take on the Spring Cleaning Challenge!


The challenge takes you room by room. Try not to get distracted and clean the entire room before moving on to the next. Is it broke? Toss it. Haven't used it? Donate it. We are going to clean every nook and cranny, remove the clutter, and organize our homes, and ultimately, our lives.


As we declutter our homes, we will also clear our minds. Throughout the challenge, you will be required to take personal days. Days to remove the negative thoughts that overwhelm us, cause anxiety, and unhealthy stress. You can take a bath, read a book, meditate, watch the sunset, relax on the beach, crotchet, pray, get a massage, it is your day to do whatever makes you happy. It is imperative that you do not skip this day. You will always be busy, but on this day, the most important thing you can do is relax. 


A total clean up would not be complete without addressing our physical health. Sedentary lifestyles coupled with an unhealthy consumption of junk food are a recipe for disaster. During our challenge, we will dispose of our bad habits and adopt new routines that contribute to the betterment of our lives.

Are you ready for a fresh start? Me too. Here we go!

Have Patience

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow.
— Leo Tolstoy

Four months and eleven days. 

Patience quote.png

In some delusional dream of mine, I assumed I would be one of those supermoms who was shimmying into her favorite pair of jeans within a few weeks. Delusional was right! I did everything by the book- working out, eating healthy, breastfeeding- and sure, a good chunk of the weight came off. But, somehow in all of the books and articles and blogs I read, no one mentioned the saggy skin, pelvic pain, muscular imbalances, and general bloating that I would experience. 

So, I worked. Then, I worked harder. Finally, I was forced to step back and reevaluate my goals. Hitting some "magic" number on the scale was no longer my priority. I needed to address my body first. It had been through nearly ten months of drastic changes followed by the trauma of giving birth (no amount of preparation gets you ready for that kind of pain!) I stretched, foam rolled, took massaging baths (thank you hubby for watching the baby!) and worked toward my new, and more realistic, goals. 

Four months and eleven days later, I am proud to say, I can do a squat without any pain and zip up my jeans without having to decide whether to squish my loose skin inside or leave it hanging out on top ☺ 

Not exactly Heidi Klum walking the runway at six weeks postpartum but, I am genuinely happy with my progress. Sometimes things take time. Sometimes, they take a lot of time! This is when patience will make you or break you. There were many moments I would look in the mirror and be consumed with doubt, moments I would cry during a workout because a skill that was once easy was now seemingly impossible. Moments I was frustrated. Moments I wanted to quit. Being patient is hard! 

Patience is a virtue, Rome was not built in a day, and good things come to those who wait. Keep working toward your goal, but give it time. Your patience will pay off in the end.


In just 15 minutes, "Dumbbell Duos" improves strength, endurance, and core stability! Give it a try today.