Let’s get one thing out of the way before we get into this blog post:


Yep. So if you’re reading this thinking that I’m about to drop the best “fat loss” secret, welp.. I’m not. I’m here to let you know what’s important, what you could probably live without, answer some common questions, and explain what certain supplements are used for.

Let’s start with the basic: protein. If you’re looking to improve your protein intake, protein powder is a super simple and effective way to do that. However, there are SO many different TYPES of protein out there, not to mention, so many companies their protein is the best for FAT LOSS or MUSCLE GAIN. *eye roll* I cannot tell you how many supplement companies I’ve seen showcasing a generic protein powder, labeled as some magic fat burning, muscle building powder. This could not be farther from the truth!

Let’s get one thing straight: protein powder in itself does not CAUSE fat loss or BUILD muscle. You could have a diet full of protein powder, and if you’re not eating enough or your training is not conducive to muscle growth – you’re not going to be gaining muscle. Protein powder does not “BURN” fat, and it certainly is not a magic supplement.

As simple as I can put it: protein powder is PROTEIN in the form of POWDER. Period.

Now, there are different TYPES of protein powder that are used for specific purposes. I’m listing my personal favorite brand of each of the following supplements, solely because I trust their ingredients and they do not make any unrealistic claims.

Whey Protein ISOLATE : A fast-digesting unrefined protein, with 98% lactose removed. This specific protein is 98% lactose-free (as compared to regular whey protein) so oftentimes those with digestion issues can tolerate Isolate protein more so than whey. This is the case for myself as well, and this has become my go-to protein choice for my shakes.

Whey Protein: If you want to get super technical, cow’s milk is made up of two types of protein (whey and casein) and whey protein is the mixture of those proteins isolated from whey. You know like, when you open a cup of yogurt and there’s liquid on the top? That’s technically whey protein. I will say: NOT ALL WHEY PROTEIN IS CREATED EQUAL. Just like with anything in life, quality matters. The purity of the whey will also vary from company to company. There are a lot of different ways to check the “value” of a companies protein (that’s a whole nother blog post of its own) but I would start by checking out their ingredients. If you see a lot of synthetic additives, loads of unhealthy sweeteners and artificial flavors, I’d suggest passing on that one.

Casein Protein: Again, LOTS of different types of casein protein, but for this one specifically, Micellar Casein is the slowest absorbing protein of them all. Made from all five of the milk proteins which basically just gives you a gradual release of the amino acids. People typically take Casein protein at night, since that’s the longest period of time they go without eating.

So hopefully that helps you narrow down your choices of protein powder! As for everything else, I’m just going to share with you my personal choices and what I use them for. I don’t think you need to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on supplements, but they can certainly help in certain areas of your health. Think of it as a pyramid:

The base of your pyramid should be your caloric intake and food choices. Whole, nutrient-dense foods, then eating in a caloric surplus or deficit (according to your goals), then macronutrient breakdown, then sleep, THEN supplements. Supplements should never be the base of your pyramid. That being said, this is my own personal “stack”

R&R – This is by far my favorite supplement to take. It’s been a part of my night time routine for months now, and the quality of my sleep has improved tremendously and I wake up much less throughout the night. It’s a blend of magnesium, melatonin, Gaba, Kava and B Vitamins. I take 3 every night about an hour before bedtime.

Berries & Greens – Long story short, this is a way to get some extra micronutrients in. If you’re someone lacking on your veggies or fruits, this is a great (NOT GRITTY) way to sneak some in, and my personal favorite is that it’s made with a probiotic blend so it’s easy on my stomach.

BCAAS –  Amino acids! Again, not a magic supplements, and to be honest with you, I drink these SOLELY because I love the taste. Fresh lemonade is my favorite and it’s not too sweet. One of my least favorite things about supplement flavors is when they have an obscene amount of artificial sweetener and taste “fake”. This doesn’t at all, and tastes super fresh. Every single person I’ve recommended this to has loved it as well!

I personally don’t take a pre workout! I know that’s probably one of the more popular supplements out there, but I just stick to my iced coffee. The simpler the better honestly.

Hopefully this helps narrow down your choices for some supplements that you may have been searching for! I care about quality of my products, digestibility, and taste of course, This has been the first stack that has checked off all of those boxes for me, so I wanted to share it with you guys.

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this time!




I knew from the moment I met Austin I was going to marry him. I remember like it was yesterday, jumping into his arms at the airport and feeling a sense of peace. Like I had known him my whole life. Even before he and I had met in person, talking to him was like we had talked every day for the past 10 years of our lives. He was my safe place. My person. I knew from the very beginning that what we shared was special, and this past Friday, he asked me the most important question that he could ask me. The easiest yes I have ever spoken from my lips.


I knew the whole week that something was weird. I talk to his mom almost daily and spend time with his sister at least multiple times per week, but it felt like they were avoiding me! I even asked Austin early on in the week if Morgan was mad at me, lol. Being an empath, and so aware of other people’s (especially those who I love dearly) emotions/body language/routine can sometimes be both a blessing and a curse.  I overthink and analyze everyone’s behavior all the time! and I just had a weird gut feeling that something with ALL of them was off!

Poor Austin, bless his soul, he’s so pure. He reminded me of a little kid who had a secret he was keeping but kept OVER sharing things to compensate for hiding the secret! He had made jokes about my engagement ring probably 3 times that week, and now I know that the reason he kept asking me about my “video shoot” was because HE was the one who had set the whole thing up to get me out of the house!

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He is close with the owner of Bella Salon – which is who helped him “stage” this video shoot for the salon. She wanted me to model for a promotional video to advertise a kind of “girls night out” style video. I got a facial, hair treatment and blow out, AND my makeup done! Little did I know, Austin and Max (the videographer) had planned all along to collaborate on the video! While I was getting my facial, Max left to meet with Austin so he could film a letter that he had written to me. Austin knew that he wasn’t going to be able to get everything out when he got down on one knee, and he wanted me to have it for the proposal video. Grab your tissues for that letter..good lord.

As soon as I left for my spa day/video shoot, Austin began setting up the house with the help of his mom and our friend, Amanda. He thought of EVERYTHING. They put together a wooden Hexagon decorated beyond belief, candles, rose petals, polaroid pictures of all of our milestones:

It was absolutely stunning. But the part that absolutely melted me was our dogs:


Every single thing was so incredibly thoughtful and detailed, I could hardly take it all in when I walked in the door. But the fact that he included all three of our dogs, knowing how much I love them (literally tearing up as I type this) was just so special to me.

After my spa portion was done, I let him know that I was coming home to pick him up so we could go to the final part of the video to film. I parked my car in the driveway, and as I got out, I could hear music coming from inside the house. I opened the front door, and the first person that I see hiding in the corner of my kitchen was our friend Amanda – and SO many thoughts (and questions) went spiraling through my mind! Clearly, haha:




As I shifted my gaze, I saw Austin, and the three dogs standing there and I immediately fell to my knees. I don’t think I have ever been so overwhelmed in my entire life.

Austin was bawling, and could barely get out two words. I just remember standing there and hugging him, feeling like I was about to collapse from crying so hard.

I know he said that he knew he wasn’t going to be able to get everything out in this moment, but I was in such shock and flooded with emotions that I truly felt like I was in a dream. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and I don’t even think I said yes because I was crying so hard and getting down on my knees as well to hold him.


I honestly couldn’t have dreamt of a more perfect, intimate, and special way for him to ask me to marry him.

Once I looked over my shoulder and saw Shelly (his mom) holding all three dogs with tears in her eyes, I went over to her and we both immediately starting bawling. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her cry so hard. I love that woman so much, and it was just such a special moment between the two of us that I’ll never forget.


I think at this point all of our dogs were going insane and wanting to make sure I was okay. So we let them off their leashes and I finally got to take a moment to take everything in. It was SO beautiful. Every little intricate detail, the song that was playing in the background (10,000 hours), the way the house smelled.. I was just trying to soak it all in. I have never felt so much love in one room, and I absolutely loved seeing Austin so vulnerable like that.

After we wiped our tears and I fixed my makeup, we went outside as it started snowing and took a few pictures of the ring.


It still feels like a dream. I honestly couldn’t even sleep that night because I was so excited and just kept watching the video footage. I stayed up until 2am editing it. If you want to watch the video, you can do so here (just make sure you bring your tissues!)
I’m so thankful to be welcomed into such a wonderful family. And Austin couldn’t have asked me in a more perfect way. I will never forget this day.



Hard work? Not so much.

Being on social media, my life (and my relationship) is always in the spotlight. Although some days are harder than others, I don’t regret it one bit. I have learned – both through triumphs and tribulations – important and valuable life lessons that I have had the privilege of sharing with you all throughout the years.

I have been in a relationship where I didn’t love the person nearly as much as they loved me, I have hurt people, I have been hurt even worse, and man, have I learned about what’s important to me.

Of course after going through probably one of the darkest times of my life, I met Austin shortly thereafter & so many of you have watched the growth within myself over the last year and a half. I often get comments like, “couple goals” or “omg I’m so jealous of your guys relationship” “I hope I find someone like that” etc. While I didn’t necessarily “do” anything for this relationship to blossom into what it has, I can tell you what I certainly did NOT do.

I did not change myself or become anything that I am not.

I was honest from the very beginning. About my demons, my struggles, my goals, what I had been through, I mean.. you name it. I was an open book. I didn’t hide any part of myself from Austin. I had done enough of that already in the years prior.

And to be honest with you, our relationship has ALWAYS been easy. I see people all the time on social media saying things like –

Relationships are hard work. You have to fight every day to make it work.

If I’m being honest? I don’t believe that. Prior to Austin, I had spent years TRYING to make things work. Trying to either change myself, change the other person, change the circumstances, or change SOMETHING because it just wasn’t working. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying our relationship is perfect! Nobodies’ is. BUT. What I will say is that our relationship is easy. In the year and a half that we have been together, we have never argued or become nasty with one another. We have never raised our voices at or spoke ill towards each other. Neither of us has compromised what we believe in for the sake of the other person. Generally speaking, our relationship has been easy.

We make the conscious choice to communicate with each other every day and express our love in different ways.. and obviously, life can sometimes just be, well, LIFE. So it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. But I certainly don’t sit there feeling exhausted at the end of the day thinking, “wow this relationship is really so much work and I have to try really hard to enjoy it”  It’s truly the opposite.

Austin + Manders
It’s easy. 

At the end of the day, I love the person that I am when I’m with Austin & I love who he constantly inspires me to be. I love that I don’t have to worry about trying to constantly make the relationship work every day. I love that we have a very simple view of love, trust, and our relationship in general. Maybe I just lucked out here, but I have been in a situation in the past where I constantly felt drained, or like we were running in two separate directions. I know what it’s like to have to do a lot of “work”  to make something work, and I don’t think that simply loving someone constitutes as work.

I truly wish that I would have learned this earlier on in life. Because growing up in a household where all I ever did was see chaos, arguing, crying and hurt from a relationship, I just thought that was normal.

Now I’ve learned that that’s not normal. Or at least, it will never be my normal.


pictures by @Ironandlacephoto

Important videos for you to watch this weekend!

I just recently took a poll on Instagram, asking people if they knew they could “search” someone’s Youtube channel for specific keywords or titles, turns out 79% of people didn’t know you could do this! Of course I will admit, especially being a creator myself, there are some videos of mine where I’ve included information in the video that wasn’t necessarily in the title, or vice versa – so sometimes even I forget where these videos are.

Anyway, I went through some of my favorite Youtube videos that I put a lot of work in, either from the educational/information side of things, or the things that I find myself getting asked ALL THE TIME (like the raw to cooked meat weight conversion, or how to enter a recipe into MFP) I decided to dedicate a blog post to these videos, with their descriptions so you can reference this post if you need to! Or heck, even send it to someone who may be new to fitness!

Screen Shot 2019-10-26 at 5.52.55 PM.pngClick here to subscribe to my channel!

To start, I don’t know if everyone knows this either, but I do have playlists for things like reviews, favorites videos, full days of eating, and the ever-so-popular: MEAL PREP MONDAY!

Click here for “Full days of eating” videos

Click here for “Meal prep Monday” videos

Click here for “Favorites” videos

Click here for “Fitbit/Fitness watch review” videos

That raw to cooked meat weight conversion I was talking about? I got you!

This might be one of my all-time favorite videos that I’ve ever done.. and it’s for SURE a truth bomb. If you’re someone who’s said “I want to lose fat and gain muscle” or “I’ve lost fat but I’m not TONED” – please watch this video:

Similarly, during a training video (where I take you through a good workout) I discuss the truth about getting lean!


I get asked about my chicken thigh cast iron skillet recipe literally almost every day, good news.. it’s in a full meal prep video 🙂

Struggling to figure out when you should adjust your calories or macros?


How to log a FULL recipe or large batch of something (like chilli or soup) and enter it in MFP to get the proper macros for each serving:

Have a question about meal timing?

Struggling to stay on track over the weekend? I highly suggest planning out your meals ahead of time.. and here’s how I do it!


And last but not least, the video that I refer back to all the time to see not only how far I’ve come.. but reminds me of a really rough time in my life and how I got through it. So if you’re struggling with something, whatever it is, this video may help you!

That’s all I got for you this weekend. Maybe you’ll have some free time to get through some of these videos, and if so, let me know what you think!



How a silent follower turned my entire week around.

I had been having one of those weeks this past week. Probably started with the lack of sleep; I was definitely feeling a bit grumpy, not to mention it just started getting cold here in Iowa, and I was just not really in the best of moods. I actually woke up on Friday and I was like, “man I just wish sometimes I could be normal and not feel pressured to share every detail on my life on social media” you know?

I totally understand, trust me.. I put myself out there, this is what I get, blah blah. But sometimes it’s just SO frustrating to feel misunderstood, or know that people are saying things about you that are untrue. I swear, there are so many days where I just want to delete every form of social media and not worry about people “watching me” anymore.

So earlier in the week, this girl messaged me on IG and said she was in town and asked if she could drop into our gym on Friday. I welcomed her and told her that I coached the 3:45 class that day. She didn’t say anything else to me; just that she was in town, and she was hoping to drop into a class.

Fast forward to Friday, this super small (BUT SUPER JACKED) girl comes into the gym, and after introducing herself, I realized it was the girl from Instagram. She was pretty quiet at first, took the class, we chatted a bit throughout the workout and overall it was a pretty chill afternoon. I asked her if she wanted to stick around for our little version of the “Friday Night Lights” and do the Open workout with me, to which she said she would. We talked a little bit more, and then eventually did the workout side by side. After dying on the floor for about 10 minutes afterwards (lol) we moved over to the corner of the gym and just started talking. And I mean, TALKING. She’s been in medical school forever, now applying for a sports physician position up at Iowa City, has an awesome husband,  We were just going to town chatting it up. I couldn’t even tell you how we got into the conversation that we got into (we were all over the place chatting about things) but  she had mentioned at one point during the conversation that she was afraid I would think it’s weird that she knows so much about me and I didn’t even know who she was.

Erin & I after 20.1 

But in all honesty, I wasn’t thinking about it like that at all. We were talking as if we were real friends, not some weird “social media person” thing and it was SO cool. We clicked instantly, and the entire time that we were talking, I just kept thinking to myself how awesome it was that she wanted to come in here and work out at my gym just because she follows me and felt comfortable enough to do so. Then she proceeded to tell me something that literally made me erase everything negative I had JUST been feeling about social media.

She told me that she has been following me for FOUR years, and seen me go through a lot. She said that I was the only “Youtuber” that she’s consistently watched because she feels like I’m just a real person, and I’ve always stayed true to myself and inspired her in that way. I’m not joking, I literally started crying. LOL. Tears were flowing and I just gave her the biggest hug because I felt like I truly needed to hear that this week.

I mean honestly, how cool is that? She was a complete stranger to me (as many of you are) and yet she felt inspired by me, continued following me over the years, and then dropped into my gym and we had the most amazing time together just bonding and talking about life.

Yes, social media has made me cry (and not in a good way) and made me want to give up entirely, but these moments are what inspire ME to keep going.

So to Erin, thank you so much for choosing to drop into my gym and reminding me that social media is not ALL bad.

And to any of you who follow along silently, support me, or just stick around because of the dogs 😉 I appreciate you so much. I am just a normal person who somehow grew a decent social media following and I NEVER want that to change me. I said this in one of my very first Youtube videos, and it still holds true to me:

I don’t care if I have 100 followers, or 100,000 – I want you to know that I’m just a 25 year old trying to figure life out like the rest of us. And my only goal is to positively inspire people to be better in any way that I can. Whether that’s through food, the gym, the dogs, laughter, mental health or whatever it is, I want to be a source of positivty for those that choose to follow me.

I know not everyone will like me, and that’s okay, but at the end of the day – I just want to remain true to who I am and continue to be the best possible version of myself.

I love you guys so much.



My new favorite protein bars!

Yes. This deserves its own blog post because they TRULY are that good.

I’ll tell you right off the bat, I’m not really a protein bar kinda gal. I prefer to eat my protein sources through whole foods, and I really don’t drink protein shakes much anymore unless I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to prep a full meal. However, I came across these bars and was instantly intrigued by the macros, ingredients, and the fact that they are lactose and casein-free (which would explain why they don’t hurt my stomach at all!) and I’ll be honest, I had very low expectations. At these macros, when I saw the package I thought there was no way in heck these would be good. built-bar-protein-and-energy-orange-chocolate-creme-brand-diet-stage-maintenance-solid-foods-weight-loss-type-gluten-free-bars-bariatricpal-store_734_grande.jpg

Typically a give-away is that bars low in fat and higher in fiber taste like absolute crap, and I’ll be the first to tell you I’m SO picky about the “protein-taste”. For reference, I think Quest bars are absolutely disgusting, as well as Level 1 bars, Detour, Syntha 6, Muscle Tech, you name it. I’ve tried TONS just trying to search for a bar that doesn’t have a nasty protein/gritty taste, has good macros, and doesn’t hurt my stomach.

Nugo Bar is a close second, although the macros on these Built Bars are better, I still genuinely enjoy Nugo Bars – they are just completely different texturally.

My #1 favorite flavor: coconut 

So let’s get on to the texture. Legit milky way. If you like Almond Joys, the coconut flavor tastes EXACTLY like that, minus the coconut flakes. It’s not a fake coconut flavor, and also not overpowering. One of my followers told me to put them in the fridge before eating, and man.. were they right. The cool dark chocolate coating is SO GOOD right out of the fridge, and the soft inside is unlike any other protein bar I’ve ever tried. It’s not “sticky” like a quest bar, but it definitely has a bite to it when you eat it directly from the fridge.

A neat comparison of popular protein bars! 

I know you’re probably thinking with how much I’m selling this that I’m being paid to say this: NOPE. This is 100% my opinion, and I’m not being compensated for this review in any way. THESE BARS REALLY ARE THAT GOOD!

My favorite flavors in order:

  1. Coconut
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Pumpkin
  4. Mint Brownie
  5. Raspberry
  6. Salted Caramel

I was not a fan of the banana one (tasted too much like a banana laffy taffy) or the orange; just don’t like orange mixed with chocolate I guess. But I’m still looking forward to trying the strawberry, black chocolate cherry, mocha, and double chocolate. I doubt I’ll buy the lemon, just because I’m not a fan of lemon mixed with chocolate either.

So there you have it! I’m obsessed with these bars.

Unfortunately, they aren’t sold in stores (yet) – so you can only get them online BY CLICKING HERE.

If you order these, let me know what you think! I can’t believe I just recently discovered these guys. I definitely won’t be on the hunt for a new protein bar for a WHILE, I can tell you that much!


Is “healthy” always synonymous with “low calorie”?

This is something that I have been wanting to touch on for quite some time, and when recently I was given the opportunity to solidify my thoughts on this topic – I knew I had to write about it.

The food industry is notorious for labeling things as

Farm Fresh
High-quality ingredients 

and it’s easy for people who are striving to eat lower calorie (or just simply eat in a caloric deficit) to gravitate towards these types of foods because they seem “healthier”. While this may be true to some extent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the food is low calorie at all.

This week I was able to get behind the kitchen of one of my favorite local lunch spots. It’s one of those “mom & pop” type places, and they have TONS of delicious foods and treats. They also use the same terminology to advertise their sandwiches as using the “highest quality, local, farm-fresh ingredients” and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all, I wanted to see just what all was in this sandwich – and how much.

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I’m sure a lot of people would look at this sandwich on the menu and think, “Oh, chicken breast, fresh avocado, farmers cheese, mixed greens.. this is healthy!” but again, I don’t really know if people are using the term “healthy” with low calorie – or perhaps THINKING it’s low calorie just because it has those fancy terms in it.

So I started weighing everything out, and ingredient by ingredient, I logged the sandwich into MyFitnessPal. Both the owner AND I almost fell over when we got to the final calorie breakdown. Would you believe me if I told you that this sandwich would run you almost 1,000 calories?

Yup! This bad boy came out to about 960 calories. 

Macronutrient breakdown:

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You’re reading that right! This sandwich from a local bakery is nearly double the calories of a McDonald’s Big Mac. Before you come at me with “BUT FAST FOOD IS SO BAD FOR YOU AND FAKE MEAT AND CHEMICALS AND PRESERVATIVES!” I know. I don’t doubt that for a second, but I’m strictly referring to calories/macronutrients here, and if you’re trying to eat lower calorie, you would have been better off going through the drive-through, lol.

Now, I’m not trying to scare you into NOT going out to eat with places that don’t have their nutritional information available, there’s always a time and place for that, but this is more just so to educate you on how easily these types of things can add up calorie-wise. I always suggest for my clients to leave extra room in their macros (if they’re trying to make something at a restaurant fit their macros) for things like sauces, higher fat meats, cheeses, and other hidden add-ons that you may not think about.

I just want to bring attention to the fact that these things, often labeled as “organic” or “non-GMO” are not always synonymous with “lower calorie”.

Organic: produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.

Non-GMO: food that is made without ingredients that were derived from genetically engineered organisms.

Healthy? Sure. I mean, whatever your definition of “healthy” is 😉 but just know what to look for when you are reading menus, labels, or anything that seems to be listed as a “healthy” option!