Comments Off on Good for You, Good for the Planet

Good for You, Good for the Planet

Category : Active Living, Exercise

Here are some ways to make you and the planet healthier!

1. Leave your car at home. 

Not everyone is lucky enough to live walking distance from their place of work. If walking is out of the question, consider biking to work at least a couple days per week. If getting to work must involve a car, think about walking from your place of work to run errands (ok, you can walk) or go out to lunch. The less you drive, the better!

2. Eat less meat.

Visit for more information. According to their website: Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

3. Eat organic foods.

Foods grown without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, factory farming, hormone use, and antibiotics are not polluting the earth or your body.

Don’t try to be perfect…instead, follow the 80-20 rule. This means eat organic about 80% of the time. You will feel good about your choices without driving yourself crazy.

4. Reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.

Eat whole foods. They are better for you than foods which have loads of chemicals and filler plus they tend to require less packaging which means less garbage heading for the landfill.

Compost. Not sure how? Visit According to their website, studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. of material per household per year from the waste stream. If your flower beds are clay like mine they could use some compost!

We hope that in recognition of Earth Day you will consider making some lasting changes for a healthier planet and healthier body.


Yours in Health & Fitness,

Karin & Ryan and the XO Fitness training team


Comments Off on What is Orienteering?

What is Orienteering?

Category : Active Living, Exercise

Orienteering is navigation using a map and compass.

For beginners…
It’s a fun way to exercise your body and mind as you enjoy the outdoors.

For those with experience…
It’s a timed race.

Do you want to learn?
If you want to learn how to read a map and use a compass contact Ryan He would LOVE to help you get started! The Badger Orienteering event at High Cliff is a great place to start. Please join us on April 21 at 10 am.


Comments Off on Changing your Usual

Changing your Usual

Category : Exercise

Spring is a time of change. Humans, in general don’t like change. We like things that are predictable and safe. We go to the same restaurants and order “the usual”. We have many routines and traditions. Sometimes that’s good. It’s efficient, it’s comforting to know what to expect. However, some routines and habits are sabotaging our health.

If you do what you’ve always done,
you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
-Tony Robbins

Examine your USUAL

If you want to change your body, you may have to change your “USUAL!” Start by making a list of your “Usuals.” Some of them may be good; some of them may not be so good. Here is a list to get you started:

• What do you usually eat for breakfast?

• What is your usual morning routine on weekdays (before work)?

• What do you usually have for lunch?

• Do you usually have a snack or two during the day? If so, what do you usually have?

• What do you usually do after work?

• What do you usually have for dinner?

• What time do you usually eat dinner?

• What is your usual evening routine?

• What do you usually do on Friday night?

• What do you usually do on Saturday? How about Sunday?


Pick one and ONLY one

Don’t try to change everything all at once! Now that you have identified the things you would ideally like to change, pick ONE thing that you are ready to change. According to Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less, people have an 85% success rate when they focus on changing only one habit at a time. If they attempt to change two habits at once their success rate drops to 35%. Trying to change three habits is a recipe for failure…only 10% succeed.


Rules for Success

In the blog, Zen Changes, also by Leo Babauta, he outlines the rules you must follow in order to change a habit.

1) Start with an easy habit. How certain are you on a scale of 1-10 that you can make this change? If you aren’t a 9 or a 10, you should start with a different “usual” or “replacement”. Don’t worry, the ones that seem too difficult to change right now won’t be once you have gained some momentum! Start with small successes and soon you will have the confidence to tackle the tougher ones.

2) Make it measureable. At the end of the day did you do it or not? It should be easy to tell. If your goal is to exercise set a goal in minutes. If you are going to eat more vegetables, decide how many times per day you are going to eat them. If your goal is to get more organized, spend 10 minutes putting things in order.

3) Be consistent. This is your new usual, so it will most likely happen at the same time of day every day.

4) Report daily. When you are getting started you should share your goal with someone who you can report to daily. So tell your spouse, your best friend, your sister or your personal trainer. You need to be accountable to someone! You may also want to keep a daily journal.

5) Keep a positive attitude. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect. You will get better at your new habits the more you practice them.

Courage doesn’t always roar.
Sometimes courage is the little voice
at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.
-Mary Anne Radmacher


When can you change another Usual?

Wait at least one month to make sure you have given yourself enough time to develop your new usual. If you are really struggling, you may need to give yourself more time. Remember, the more you love your usual, the more difficult it will be to replace it. Of course, it doesn’t have to mean you must refrain forever, it just means it is no longer your usual…instead it is an out-of-the-ordinary treat!

If you really want to change your body it’s time to examine your “Usual” and become aware of the many things that you do on auto-pilot. Some habits lure us into a sedentary lifestyle such as turning on the TV or checking email and facebook. Others cause us to eat more calories than we intended. (Why is that candy dish on your desk, anyway?) We automatically do other things that are good for us for instance fastening our seatbelts and brushing our teeth so it is possible to other adopt good habits too! This month choose that first habit you want to change, tell someone what you are planning to change (email me if you’d like), then get started! You can do this! XO Karin

Karin Jennings owns and operates XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere with her husband, Ryan. She has been a certified personal trainer since 1996. XO Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. They focus on helping people reach their health & fitness goals through exercise and lifestyle changes.


Comments Off on >America’s #1 Health Problem

>America’s #1 Health Problem

Category : Exercise

>Americans are, in general, stressed out and the holidays just put the icing on the cake. According to the American Medical Association, stress is a factor in more than 75% of sickness today. Also, the World Health Organization states: Stress is America’s #1 Health Problem.

How do we reduce stress-levels? First, you must make reducing your stress a priority which means finding time to manage it. Reflect on this:

“If we do not make time for health we’ll have to make time for sickness.” ~Marilu Henner

How is stress affecting you?

Some people have physical symptoms:

Headaches/Back pain/Heart disease/Heart palpitations/High blood pressure/Decreased immunity/Stomach upset/Sleep problems

Others experience:
Anxiety/Restlessness/Irritability/Depression/Angry outbursts/Lack of focus/Overeating/Drug or alcohol abuse/Relationship conflicts

Most of these physical symptoms, feelings and behaviors cause more problems and more stress and lead into a downward spiral. Yikes! How do we put on the brakes? Put on the brakes by taking a break. Here’s my favorite new quote:

“The time to relax is when you
don’t have time for it.”
~Author Unknown

Stress Busters

5 minute stress-buster 
Find a quiet place (even your parked car) where you can close your eyes and breathe. Try progressive muscle relaxation. In this relaxation technique, you focus on tension and relaxation. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense each muscle group for five to ten seconds and then relax and move on to the next muscle group. Most people hold a lot of tension in their upper back, neck, jaw and face. You may not even realize that you are tense in those areas until you try this technique. Imagine letting the tension “melt away”…this really works great.

10 minute stress-buster
Exercise. You just knew I was going to say that didn’t you? It doesn’t take as much time as you may think. Even a brisk 10 minute walk can help to clear your mind. Physical activity increases the production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.

30-60 minute stress-buster 
Longer bouts of exercise (if squeezing them in does not stress out your schedule) are highly recommended. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, cycling and swimming will all give you some “me time” which is great for sifting through your list and solving a problem or two. Another suggestion: relax, breathe and get re-focused with yoga or tai chi. Do you need to get totally distracted? Try a playing a sport or attending a choreographed exercise class which will keep you focused on the activity at hand with no chance to dwell on your problems. Visit to see our group training schedule.

Put things into perspective. I love the question: “Will this matter 5 years from now?” Some things will, but a lot of things won’t. Try to identify them. Follow this well-known advice:

Don’t sweat the small stuff…
and it’s all small stuff.
~Richard Carlson

Have a Happy Healthy Holiday Season!

Karin Jennings is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere.
Please visit for more information about our personal & group training services.

Comments Off on >Back to Fitness: The 3 R’s

>Back to Fitness: The 3 R’s

Category : Exercise

Did your fitness routine go freestyle this summer? The trouble with summer is that people tend to be inconsistent about exercising. This happens for a multitude of reasons: a) the kids are home; b) week-long vacations and travel; c) relying on outdoor activities like gardening and walking for exercise.

Now that September is here it is time to get back to fitness! How to start? ”Back to School” and “Back to Fitness” have a lot of similarities. Here are the “Three R’s”:

Regular Routine

Schedule your exercise. Consistency is the key to success. “I am going to get in shape this fall” is far too vague. Instead, say “I am going to exercise for 30 minutes three days a week for the next 4 weeks.” You should consider being even more specific and schedule the days you will exercise on your calendar. Notice how this statement is measureable in couple of ways (minutes of exercise & days per week) it also has a time frame of 4 weeks so when you have successfully exercised through out the month of September you can reward yourself. Then you can set a new goal (maybe 4 days/week) for the month of October!

‘Rite it down
There are two things to write down:

1) Write your goals. Post them somewhere you can see them regularly and act upon them. It is important to review your goals daily…for one minute. Spencer Johnson, M.D., in his book The One Minute Mother gives us this motivational quote: “I take a minute, I look at my goals, I look at my behavior, I see if my behavior matches my goals”.
2) Record your workouts. It may seem silly, but most grown-ups are just as motivated as grade-schoolers by something as simple as a chart on the wall with gold stars. Try this at home: Place a calendar which is dedicated to keeping track of your workouts in a prominent location such as your refrigerator. Everyday you workout give yourself a star on the calendar. You may also want to record your time, distance and/or the activities you completed.

A lot of us are motivated by the numbers.

Most people feel they MUST weigh themselves, however don’t measure success by that number alone. Here are some other numbers to consider:

 Body composition (the ratio of fat to lean body tissue) is much more important. This can be measured with a skin fold calipers by a fitness professional.

 Keep track of inches lost with a tape measure. Record your girth measurements around your waist, hips, and upper leg. Measure them again in one month. The tricky part is measuring the same spot the next time, so take good notes. For example, when you measure your waist pay attention: did you measure across your belly button or two inches above your belly button?

 How many push-ups you can do without stopping, how many chair squats you can complete in 30 seconds and how long it takes you to walk/run a specific distance such as one mile (works best on a track)? Re-test every eight to twelve weeks and you will be impressed with yourself!

 How many minutes and/or miles you complete weekly or monthly?

Turn over a new leaf this Fall…follow the “Three R’s” and get fit this fall. Remember, consistency is the key to success! If you have a health & fitness question or need help with your fall fitness routine contact me:

Karin Jennings is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere.

Comments Off on >XO Fitness welcomes Ann Oviatt to their personal training team!

>XO Fitness welcomes Ann Oviatt to their personal training team!

Category : Exercise


Exercise is more than just burning calories, exercise can improve your quality of life, so keep moving!
My mission is to educate others in the many ways exercise can improve their health and quality of life. For example: Exercise can lower blood sugar and blood pressure, improve bone density and even help improve some of the issues that come with cancer treatments – the nausea and fatigue, as well as the anxiety and depression that are so common.
My decision to become a personal trainer was officially made when I found significant evidence of how exercise could have improved my grandmother’s quality of life – and nobody had ever suggested she do anything but “take it easy”.
I spent several years as my grandmother’s caregiver while she was struggling with diabetes, complications from osteoporosis, and finally pancreatic cancer. While researching her general conditions, I found vague references about the benefits of “keeping active”, but not enough information in a useable form to be much use to me and my grandmother.
Later, as I did more research to improve my own health and try to avoid the health issues that run in my family I kept coming back to fitness – strength, cardio and balance training.

  • NASM certified personal trainer
  • First aid and CPR certified
  • Studied dance for 18 years including ballet, tap, jazz and modern (Later I discovered belly dance and it was love at first shimmy!)
  • Currently studying to complete a B.S. Human Biology with an emphasis in nutritional science at UWGB
  • Spending time with my family
  • Gardening
  • Belly dance
  • Making jewelry

Ann will be available for trainings starting September 6th.
Her hours will be typically be 2:30-7 PM, 2011

Comments Off on >Improve your Metabolism

>Improve your Metabolism

Category : Exercise

>By: Ryan Jennings

I recently attended a fitness convention in Chicago to update my personal training skills and earn CEC’s (continuing education credits). One of the most cutting edge workshops I attended was entitled: “Metabolic Training: The New Cardio Program”. The course promised to help people identify one of their own metabolic markers and systematically use it to improve their metabolism. The training was presented by Fabio Comana, who teaches exercise science and nutrition at the University of California-San Diego and is also the exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

A Quick Review of Energy Sources
To understand metabolism you need to recognize that your body uses different sources of energy for different purposes. The two major sources of energy are fats and carbohydrates. Fats provide most of the energy your body needs at rest and during low intensity activity for respiration and circulation. Carbohydrates provide the majority of energy during higher intensity exercise to keep up with increasing demands of the muscles.

History of Cardio-Vascular Training.
Historically, cardio exercise has been dominated by two competing schools of thought: Low Intensity and High Intensity. Lower intensity exercise targeted ‘calorie quality’ by burning mostly calories from fat. High intensity exercise targeted ‘calorie quantity’ while ignoring the type of calories burned. Opting to burn fat meant lower total calorie burn and vice-versa. The promise of Comana’s work is that you can increase the amount of total calories burned while improving the quality of the calories burned.

Comana also expresses concern with any exercise program that uses ‘target heart rates’ based on standardized age formulas. Age is irrelevant to Comana because “Your metabolism is as unique as your fingerprint”.

Establishing a Metabolic Marker
So if we shouldn’t use standard age formulas to establish target heart rates for exercise intensity, what should we use? According to Comana, most people can benefit from establishing the ‘crossover point’ where the body transitions from burning mostly fats to mostly carbohydrates. This is the Ventilatory Threshold (VT1) and is unique to each individual and cannot be predicted by using age formulas.

Comana notes that the test for VT1 is straight forward and is commonly known as the ‘talk test’. You can establish it by slowly increasing your exercise intensity until speaking out loud just becomes uncomfortable. Ideally you will use a piece of cardio equipment and maintain any given intensity for at least 2 minutes before reciting something from memory out loud that is 20-30 seconds in length. Repeat this cycle until you find the point at which you are no longer sure it is still comfortable to speak. This is your VT1 or ‘crossover point’. Note: Be sure to consult with your physician before attempting this or any fitness test or beginning an exercise program.

Cardio Training Using VT1
Once you have established your personal ‘crossover point’, Comana recommends developing a cardio-vascular training program that gradually works just above and just below this metabolic marker. By doing this, exercisers can actually shift the crossover point and continue to burn mostly fat at higher intensities. This is exciting news for anyone who wants to improve their metabolism.

Do you want more information about improving your metabolism or VT1 testing? Contact us

Ryan Jennings is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere.