The How-To on Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

As a group of working people such as ourselves, it’s hard to just shut your mind off to all the things that surround you at home, work, and in bed. Screaming children, sirens, snoring of your significant other, and all other types of WHITE NOISE. And what is our solution? We toss and turn and toss and turn until we are restless and our eyes are begging for some rest. Here are a few tips to try out at home, to help put your body and mind at ease so that your lack of sleep won’t effect your work, studying, and other activities of daily life.


1. Mental Imagery – Imagine yourself walking in a new room you have never seen before; picture yourself walking through rooms, and hallways, winding down staircases, or even dialoging with someone else. It stimulates the hormones in your brain to help induce sleep. Who would have thought?!

2. Lower your Core Body Temperature – One of the biggest causes of insomnia is overheating, which makes any human being uncomfortable. Try sleeping in light clothes, and maybe try a shower before bed to allow your body to obtain a peak core temperature and slowly cool down, also inducing sleep.

3. Find that Right Position – Tossing and turning to find the right position is always a tough battle with insomniacs. Really pay attention to positions that begin to pull you into a slumber and try laying in that same position every night before you go to bed. The fetal position is actually one of the most common positions that help with sleep, so give it a shot!

4. Contract and Relax – Just like in yoga and pilates, your body naturally will want to relax by practicing the contract, relax technique. Start from your toes, contracting the toes and then relax; move to the arches of the foot and repeat. Then to the calves, knees, quads, hip/pelvis, etc. all the way to your neck. Focus on the relaxation and breath while doing this exercise. Trust me, your body will thank you.

5. Resist all Temptations – Your body is an amazing thing; when you are ready for bed and get all comfortable, your body “tests” itself to make sure you are ready for sleep. Ever feel your limbs tingling? Slight pressure all over your body? It’s your brain telling your body to “sleep”! Be strong and resist that temptation to scratch that itch or roll over and over. Get comfy and just RELAX.

Give them a shot, try something new; Next thing you know, you may be counting sheep 😀

Week 1 Extreme Transformation: Taking the First Step

With the new expansion at Allegro underway, I thought it would be pretty cool to find a local media person in Grand Rapids to share what we do best at Allegro Coaching- transform lives through fitness and personal training.  Of course, as a business owner, I thought it would help expose us to more viewers, new members and all that other good stuff I should be doing when it comes to smart marketing.

A few weeks after I posted to offer a FREE 12-Week Extreme Transformation (24 personal training sessions, Shakeology, weekly menu planning and nutrition coaching) I got an email from Sarah Brodhead at Fox 17.  Couldn’t believe it.  Not only is this my favorite morning show (watched them religiously in the wee morning hours while my newborn would wake up and need to be rocked back to sleep) and think the entire cast is absolutely hilarious.  I was pumped.

After Sarah and I met, I realized that she is a down-to-earth, fun hearted and an everyday kind of girl.  I also knew that she wanted to do this for all the right reasons and was 100% committed.  One week later, we got started with our first training session at the studio and a new meal plan to get her back on the right track.

As a personal trainer, I want to share my perspective of this program with you, the reader, who may be in the same boat as Sarah.  You want to get started but just not sure where to begin.  I encourage you to join along with us as we progress each week with new exercise goals, nutrition tips and real life breakthroughs to make you laugh, relate to and stay inspired!

#1:  Getting Motivated.  Unfortunately this is not something you can buy on the shelf or borrow from a friend.  In all honesty, you just have to do it.  Once you take action, you’ll see results.  You’ll have more energy, look slimmer, feel stronger and in turn, find the motivation to KEEP going.

#2:  Find a friend to hold you accountable.  You are 3x more likely to stick with a new fitness program if you have someone to keep you honest.

#3:  Sweat more.  Our bodies are creatures of habit.  Don’t get so comfortable in a routine that you forget to challenge yourself.  Sarah needed more than her basic Pilates classes 2x/week so we added 2 more days of cardio on the weekends and 2 days of strength intervals at the studio with me.

#4:  Eat more towards the first half of your day.  With Sarah’s crazy schedule, she needed to have lunch close to 10 am, even though this feels wrong.  But her energy levels were dropping every afternoon.  We moved her dinners up to at least 3 hours before going to bed so she could shift everything more forward in the day.  Your body can metabolize food better at the start of the day and it ignites the process early!

#5.  Replace starchy carbs with veggies.  No, not potatoes and corn but colorful veggies.  Save your starchy carbs for AFTER your workouts only, and in the correct portion size.  Every meal should have a good source of protein and 1-2 servings of vegetables.  Less calories, more nutrient density!

Week 1: Let the Journey Begin!

Allow me to introduce myself. Wait, that’s too formal already and I am definitely not formal. My name is Sarah Brodhead. I’m just another hard-working lady who loves summer, wine, shopping, a girlie movie you could watch at least a 100 times, oh and wine. I’ve lived in Grand Rapids for the last five and half years working the fourth shift as I like to call it. I co-anchor FOX 17 Morning News weekdays from 5-9 a.m. One of the most common questions I get is when do you have to go to bed and when do you wake up. I usually try and get to bed by 8:30 p.m. at the latest and the first alarm clock goes off at 1:45 a.m.; I’m at the news station at 3:00 a.m. to start my workday.


I’m telling you what my schedule is like because it makes working out and eating healthy a true challenge. I’ve always tried to eat healthy and workout when I can; that seemed to be doing the trick up until a little friend named Metabolism stopped by and decided to slow down to the pace of a snail…on a good day.


I’m going to turn 30 in December and I don’t know if it was that scary number or the viewer who will remain anonymous who tweeted me asking me if I was expecting about a month ago. (I’m not btw) Bottom line, I need to make a change in my life and it needs to be one that lasts. I’ve never really had to worry about my weight until about three years ago. My sister and niece were killed in a car accident and I lost a lot of weight really fast during the grieving process. I gained it back and then some and ever since then it’s been impossible to get back on track.


That’s where Allegro Coaching comes into play. Coach Kendra has offered to put me through an “Extreme Body Transformation.”  It’s 12-weeks of personal training, menu planning and quite honestly, the kick in the rear I need to get moving again.  I know it’s not going to be easy and knowing me, I’ll probably get discouraged and want to give up after a month. Quitting is not an option. I’m doing this because for once in my life I want to be able to wear a bikini and not nestle myself into the sand for hours without moving or standing up. I want to get into Lake Michigan for the very first time and feel confident.


So if you’re reading this…it’s supposed to be a blog of my extreme body transformation. But I’ll be honest; I’ve never blogged about anything before so these posts are going to be anything but formal. I want to be open with you guys because I know how hard it can be to get up and motivate yourself to make a change.


Hopefully with some hard work, a meal plan and a ton of dedication I can stop being tired, stop asking if I look fat in this and finally feel how fabulous life is supposed to feel.


No Time? No Money? Need Help? 5 tips for making cheap, quick and tasty meals!








As a population that has to work a 40 hour week or more just to make ends meet in a family of 3 or more, we don’t exactly have the time nor the money to make an elegant meal. But maybe those elegant meals aren’t even what we want?! Here are 5 simple tips to remember as you think about what you are hungry for and maybe even help you to realize your full cooking potential!

Think Simpler.

Gourmet meals are great, but when we are all in a time crunch, it’s hard to spend all that time in the kitchen to make a meal that will last you 20 minutes or less. Making meals that have 5 ingredients or less take less time, and cut out all of the additives that you would normally find in processed food.

Be Creative with Leftovers.

Sure, no one wants to eat leftover lasagna for lunch every day of the week, but using things like leftover rotisserie chicken, pasta, cut up vegetables, avocado, etc. are simple ingredients that you can make into something delicious! Make a pasta/vegetable/chicken medley with a light vinaigrette dressing for a simple, filling lunch. Leftover ham is always good for a simple ham wrap the next day too!

Plan Out Your Meals. 

Words from the wise…never go to the grocery story hungry. You’ll end up with an overhaul of food (sometimes unhealthy) and end up throwing away most of it after it goes bad. Make a list before hand based off meals you would like to make for the week. You will save time AND money!

Buy in bulk and divide into portions.

Yes, this strategy is mostly a way to cut down on cost. But buying in bulk — anything from vegetables, to meat, to grains — can also cut down on shopping time, so there’s more time left to prepare healthy meals.

Involve Your Kids!

Kids love helping in the kitchen; they are intrigued by the colors and the sizzle of the skillet and the aromas that stem from the room. What better way to teach them the tools of the trade than having them help you with these simpler meals? Allowing them to help could even potentially cut down on cooking time! Double Whammy!

We all have our weeks where we are super stressed and need an outlet; THIS IS IT! Get in the kitchen and enjoy some family time, and some good food!


Here are some recipes ideas and blogs we love to follow for cooking inspiration!

5-Ingredient Meals by Cooking Light

Under 30 Minutes by Skinnytaste

He & She Eat Clean

The Lemon Bowl – a Grand Rapids local who focuses on creating healthy meals that are equally tasty!