The Calorie Myth

Recently I had a great conversation with one of our clients.  She was very excited about a book she had read called The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung.  In it she had discovered the myth and lie that we have been told regarding calories.  


Since 2004 at Forte we have been revealing the myth of a calorie focused view of fighting obesity.  The idea of calories in, calories out is simply a bankrupt view.  Metabolism is very complicated. Everyone has a metabolism and there are certainly similarities, however it is also like a fingerprint – everyone’s metabolism is unique.  One slice of white bread and one slice of a high-quality whole grain bread, even if they were of the same number of total calories simply are not the same.  


Three simple reasons this is true.


1.     The caloric cost of digesting the whole grain bread is more thus it is a small total of potential excess calories.  


2.     The hormonal response is completely different.  The white bread will cause a spike in insulin.  The purpose is to lower the blood sugar levels.  Without going into great detail the pancreas when secreting insulin consistently through the day because we are consuming refined, processed, high sugar foods we cannot lose weight.  In fact we are actually teaching our body to gain weight. Even sugar free foods will stimulate this response because as soon as the taste of sugar hits the tongue our pancreas will release insulin to lower the blood sugar.  It is not an issue of calories but hormones. 


3.     Finally, there is the issue of nutrient density.  A slice of a high-quality whole grain bread versus a highly refined and processed slice of bread is night and day.  The high fiber whole grain bread will keep blood sugar low and the variety of whole grains will provide protein, complex carbohydrates, trace levels of healthy fats, plus vitamins and minerals.  The white bread is basically devoid of nutrients.  Actually not even truly a food but a toxin.  


The key is simple.  Eat real food.  We all know what real food is.  Focus on these whole and natural foods and consume them by volume in this order order green vegetables, all other colored vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, fruits, potatoes and whole grains, and animal products that are pasture raised.  

Real food is self-correcting.  You cannot overeat.  Think about – if you had a snack of an apple and a nut butter and a glass of water or Goldfish and a Caprisun which would make you satiated and deliver nutrients to your 300 billion cells.  How many Goldfish can one eat at a time??? How many apples can you eat in a row??? Do you see my point?  Real food is self-correcting, you cannot overeat.  And when you eat real food your hormones function to maintain a health body weight as well deliver nutrient density to your cells.  


If you find this interesting read the Obesity Code by Dr. Fung or check the Forte blogs that began in 2014:


·       September 3, 2014 Real Food is Self-Correcting

·       December 8, 2014 Calories and The Affordable Care Act 

·       April 27, 2015 We Don’t Understand Metabolism

·       August 16, 2016 You Can’t Outwork a Poor Diet 


Eating real whole foods and moving your body are true medicine!  





Working her way through pregnancy!: Betsy Conroy’s Journey

betsy C.JPG

1. How did working out throughout your pregnancy help with your mental state and stress management?

Working out during my pregnancies helped my mental state so much! On days where I was nauseated or tired, pushing through the workout always gave me the energy I needed to power though the day. Also, I gained such a sense of accomplishment, as my body was able to do more than I thought possible while pregnant. Having a trainer with experience in training pregnant women made me feel safe and confident throughout each workout.

2. Do you feel it helped your body bounce back quicker after delivery by working out while you were pregnant?

Absolutely! While modifications were made as the pregnancy progressed, I was completely amazed by the exercises I could still do in the third trimester. When I returned to the gym, I started slowly. I listened to my body and followed the guidance of my trainer. But,, the muscle memory was there! I jumped right back into my workout regimen. It was easy to tell that my body was stronger and more responsive to the training compared to after my first pregnancy, where I did not workout during the pregnancy.

3. did exercise help keep weight gain down during the 9 months?

Exercise certainly helped me to keep my weight gain under control during pregnancy. While weight gain is an inevitable part of pregnancy, I know that my body looked and felt better thanks to my consistent workouts.

4. were your trainers helpful in modifying and keeping your training safe, smart, and effective?

Yes. While pregnant with my first child, I didn’t have a trainer. At 12 weeks pregnant, I pushed myself too hard and had to be seen by my OBGYN. After that, I was too fearful to workout for the rest of the pregnancy. I started at Forte shortly after my first pregnancy five years ago. During my second and third pregnancies, my trainer did an amazing job of guiding me though proper and appropriate workouts for each stage of the pregnancy. There were some moves safe for the first trimester but not after. It felt so empowering to be with a trainer who had the knowledge and expertise to educate me on effective pregnancy fitness.

5. Any tips for future moms!?

Let’s talk about postpartum exercise! Working out during pregnancy has tremendous benefits but getting back to the gym is so important. Forte has served has my fitness quarterback following all three of my pregnancies. I value my time with my trainer so much. It’s my time to focus on my mental and physical wellbeing. In addition, I weigh in every Monday. I love starting my week knowing that I am closer to reaching my fitness and weight loss goals. Thanks to Forte, I know that all of my goals are attainable with hard work and dedication.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us Betsy. You are an inspiration to many especially your Forte Family. We appreciate the hard work you put in as well as your dedication to your fitness lifestyle. Keep up the great work!

betsy 2.JPG

What Is The Best Fat Burning Supplement???

One of the most common questions I am asked is which supplement is the best fat burner?

It is understandable and natural that people would ask this type of question.  If you are on a trip and your goal is to arrive at a particular destination most of us would take a “short cut” if it is available. 

However, the only short cut to losing fat is discipline.  There is no avoiding discipline when it comes to reaching goals especially the goal of losing fat. 

Supplements selling the promise of weight loss are a lie, a gimmick and waste of your money and time.  Human physiology is not easy to trick.
There are supplements that can be beneficial to one’s health and support one’s training.  But, depending on these supplements as the “silver bullet” will not get anyone where they need to be. 

We are all disciplined and focused.  We are always applying our discipline and focus to some thing.  The key is directing this discipline and focus in the best direction. 

What is the best fat burning supplement to focus on and apply one’s discipline???

  1. A lifestyle of healthy eating habits. Focus on eating lots of plants - vegetables of all colors and plenty of green, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains and some animal products. Avoid foods that have been processed and changed from their original state.

  1. Exercise. Exercise every day! At least a walk. Two to three days per week exercise including a lower body exercise (lunge, squat, deadlift), plank or plank variation, upper body push and pull. 4-5 days per week cardio (fast walk, jog, run, sprint, row, bike, treadmill, elliptical). You pick but get moving and move in all planes of human movement.

Just make sure you are taking the right supplement - discipline! You can do it!

Quick, Healthy Summer Lunch

Italian Tuna Salad Pita Sandwiches

  • Can of Safe Catched Tuna - drain into a empty bowl - separate with a fork

  • Rinse a can of Cannellini Beans and add to the bowl

  • Chop a big handful of parsley and add to the bowl

  • Add a tablespoon of capers to the bowl

  • Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Mix with salt and taste (not too much capers are salty)

  • Cut the whole wheat pita bread in half and lightly toast

  • Stuff pita with tuna salad

Summer Tomatoes Salad

  • Slice summer tomatoes

  • Dash of salt - drizzle of extra virgin olive oil - drizzle of vinegar

  • Cut strips of basil and spread over tomatoes

Ripe Summer Cherries

  • rinse and serve

Buon Appetito!

Get Your Day Started Right!

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It literally means to break the fast. After eight hours of sleep we must re-fuel. Sleeping is rest but your body does not stop working. Often people communicate to me that they don't like to eat in the morning or they don't have the time. This is understandable but your health is worth trying a new habit!

This breakfast may seem gourmet but it really very simple and takes very little time.

Open Face Egg Omelet

  • whisk two eggs in a bowl

  • chopped green scallion

  • two sliced mushrooms

  • two cherry tomatoes halved

  • in one pan on low heat drizzle some olive oil then add eggs

  • in another pan on low heat add vegetables and stir fry

  • plate the eggs and scatter veggies on top of eggs

  • salt and pepper to taste

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

  • 1 Banana

  • 1/2 cup juice (your choice)

  • 2-4 cubes of ice


Spencer Nation: Forte Fitness Client

It is hard to put into words just what the people that comprise Forte Fitness have done for me. I can remember being 19 years-old and being nearly 300 lbs., on the “fast track” to a half-lived life. I was afraid of the gym, avoidant of real physical exertion, and I was ashamed when I looked at myself in the mirror. I wouldn’t face my situation for what it was: I had never really embraced any fitness in my life. I remember the day I decided that something had to be done; the day my 42” pants no longer fit. It was June of 2014. I’d heard about Forte (under a different name, but the same management) from a friend, who told me that it was a non-judgmental environment with friendly staff. It sounded like the right type of place, considering my fear of exerting myself physically around others, especially in a gym-like environment. My friend’s words, I discovered, rang true. I met Kyle Johnston (at the time the manager of Forte) who talked me through the process and answered any and every question I had, all with a smile on his face. From the beginning, I was placed with a trainer who knew anatomically what needed to be done to get me to where I wanted to be, through both physical and nutritional education. Over the months, I came in and sweated it out, never once having any doubt that the people working with me didn’t know what they were doing. I would stay at Forte for a few months. I had started my journey.

To make a long story short, I ended up coming back to Forte in August of 2018, nearly 4 years later. In that time, I had my own ups-and-downs. I had sporadically put on weight and taken it off, put on muscle and then let it atrophy, changed my diet only to end up putting junk fuel back into my body’s engine, and I’d seen the hills and valleys of my own mind when it came to changing just who I was. I’d had hundreds of personal training sessions, met dozens of various gym staff members, and gotten a lot of perspective on my situation. I knew this would be the last time, that a permanent change had to take place if this was going to last. I came back to Forte because, after all those gyms and various trainers, after all those years, I remembered the people at Forte. I remember how they treated me. I lost 80 lbs. in less than 70 sessions. I can remember the day it started. Russ, my trainer, pulled me aside - when I thought that I was cursed, when I didn’t know just what I was going to do with myself – and he took the time to help me realize that changing one’s body is about much, much more than just what is physical, than what is corporeal. Never once did he ever doubt me, never once did he ever say that I couldn’t do this or that I couldn’t do that, and never once did he ever stop trying to help me become the person I am supposed to be. I would liken very similar statements to every single person I’ve dealt with at Forte. I have met and been among truly great human beings, people who bring out the best in one another and in themselves. Day in, day out these individuals show up, faces grinning & eyes brilliant, seeking out to help others in any way they can. I am very fortunate to call some of these people my friends now. There is no place or group of people that I would rather expel my blood, sweat, or build upon with. All of this in a little spot, a few rooms, down by the riverside.

If you’re asking yourself if this is worth it, it is. Few endeavors in life are worth the sacrifices and pain that accompany something like changing one’s mind and one’s body. You will be in pain, you will be in doubt, and you will want to quit. When those times come, and they will come, you’re going to be glad that you had people like these to push you forward. There is no doubt in my mind. The only question is: Are you ready?

Sincerely -

Spencer Nation

Finding Balance!

Balance is everything. We humans spend our entire lives searching for balance, whether it's eating a balanced meal, balancing our checkbooks, or finding balance in how we spend our time. It just so happens that one of the most overlooked and arguably one of most important keys to health is balance.  To have a truly functional body we must have balance.  As we age it's imperative that we are working to improve our ability to balance.

Think about a toddler before learning how to walk. Most of the time spent prior to learning to walk is finding the balance point. It is only after gaining control of their movements - finding the balance point - that the toddler is able to put one foot in front of the other. Just as it is important for the toddler to maintain a certain level of balance, it is equally important that we as humans continue to work at building a body that can maintain balance for a lifetime. 

The strength, control, and agility that comes from improved balance assists us in our daily lives more than we know. Whether it's athletics, playing with the dog, chasing down an Uber, or simply walking up a flight of stairs balance is essential. A good sense of balance and a strong awareness of one's body in relation to one's surroundings aid in reaction time reducing the risk of injury.

As a trainer I have often found that many people are not even aware that their balance is diminishing.  A loss of balance can truly sneak up on people as we age. 

I want to challenge you to try these simple balance exercises today!

1. See how long you can stand on one foot. A good goal would be 30-45 seconds.
2. Try walking on your tip-toes. Next time you find your self checking the mail give it a go!
3. Cross your legs while standing in one place. Try this for 60 seconds. To make it even harder try standing on the tip of your toes.
4. Walking heel-to-toe in as straight a line as possible. 

5.  Can you complete 5-10 walking lunges per leg.  
5. How long you can hold a plank? Aim for between 45-60 seconds. 

Core strength and balance go hand in hand. To build a strong core resulting in a healthy level of balance incorporate ground based exercises like variations of lunges, squats and deadlifts.  After all we live on our feet! Don't be scared thinking these are exercises for massive weight lifters.  These are movements that we all do in regular life and can be modified for anyone.  

Give the challenges above a shot.  If you notice a deterioration in your balance now is the time to address the issue!  If you can begin an exercise program on your own, great!  If not, a personal trainer even for a short period of time can make a big difference.  Your quality of life and independence is worth it! Go find your balance!

I Love Breakfast


  • boil for eight minutes

  • chill in bowl of ice water

  • serve with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and red chili flake 


  • steam in 1/2 inch of water for 2 minutes 

  • season with olive oil and sea salt


  • follow oatmeal directions on box

  • top with mixed nuts

  • season with cinnamon, sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil and honey


  • peal and divide clementine

Enjoy a great day after a healthy breakfast!!! 

Can You Touch Your Toes?

I often hear people speak about flexibility.  Frequently people believe flexibility is about being able to touch your toes.  People state they need to stretch more.  They probably should. But, they are stating this with the idea that if they stretch more they will be more flexible. This is only partly true.  

Flexibility primarily has gender and genetic set points.  Females in general will be more flexible than males. The female hormones estrogen and progesterone play a role in opening the birth. These same hormones in most cases will cause all other joints to become more lax. Testosterone makes joints tighter.  Therefore, males having higher testosterone levels are generally less flexible than females.  

Is being able to touch your toes the bench mark of flexibility? 

It certainly is not bad if you can touch your toes; however, it is not necessarily bad if you cannot.  Flexibility needs to be understood more in terms of range of movement and mobility. The ability to move in all planes of human movement for the general tasks of daily life and movements specific to activities you enjoy.  

I am sure you have experienced stretching and the sensation of a greater degree of flexibility. On the other hand, I am sure you have also felt this new found flexibility quickly dissipate and return to your normal state. For decades people believed weight lifting caused a loss in range of movement making one less flexible. Improper, unbalanced weight lifting programs could have this result. However, a well designed weight lifting program is the best way to create flexibility, range of movement and mobility.  

Each muscle has an opposing muscle, for example the chest and back, the quadriceps and hamstring, the biceps and triceps. When opposing muscles are trained in balance a healthy range of movement around the joint is developed. Balance is not always 50/50. The correct ratio between a quadriceps and a hamstring is 3:2. This means if one performs an exercise that is primarily quad dominant, and 30 total repetitions are performed, then 20 repetitions of a hamstring dominant exercise should be performed as well.  

Too loose makes one injury prone and too tight makes one injury prone. Proper balanced weight lifting is critical to building a body that is not too tight or too loose. 

This does not mean don't stretch. The best time to stretch using static stretching techniques is after running or weight bearing exercise when the muscles are very warm. Before any workout the best method to warm up involves dynamic stretching, which includes the following types of movements: knee hugs, walking quad pulls, walking bent knee toe touches, easy leg swings, walking lunges, and walking side lunge.  

By all means stretch! But, do it at the end of your workout. Truly to really build a functional body incorporate weight bearing movements into your fitness routine focused on developing all muscles in balance.


Raw or Cooked

Raw or Cooked? Which is better? 

The answer to this question is that it is complicated. Some plants are more nutrient dense raw but others are at their best when cooked. This is not an exhaustive list but check it out.



Cooking asparagus breaks down the fibrous membranes which in turn allows for greater vitamin and folate absorption. 



Broccoli in its raw form delivers very high doses of sulforphane which is a cancer fighting compound.  However, many people do not prefer it raw and a lightly steaming still delivers a good punch of the cancer fighting properties.  



The carotenoids in carrots are more biologically available for absorption when cooked. Carotenoids fight chronic diseases. 



Like broccoli the cancer fighting sulfur compounds are more readily available when consumed raw. Use them as a condiment to add flavor to salads, tuna fish, rice and beans, eggs and more.


Red Bell Pepper

Often the color of a plant tells you which vitamin is most prevalent in a plant. This is certainly true for red peppers. Red plants are generally high in vitamin C. The vitamin C in red peppers is more readily available in its raw form. With their sweet taste red peppers can be enjoyed alone or with hummus, salads, eggs, as a side, or simply chopped and added to just about any dish!   



When tomatoes are cooked the human body is more able to absorb the lycopene.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that is good for your brain and your heart.  Obviously great for pasta sauce but try it over eggs or a grass-fed burger! 


This is good information to know to make better use of these plants.  However, the most important thing to do is eat a variety of plants at every meal!