CornerStone Blog

Category: News & Updates

Good News – Chocolate Has Benefits!

We’ve all heard that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. But, who among us wouldn’t like to hear “eat more chocolate”? Sounds too good to be true, right? But nutrition science is happily revealing that chocolate can, in fact, be good for you!  Amazingly, chocolate has many benefits.

Chocolate has benefits - one is improved blood flow.
And you don’t have to eat massive amounts to reap the rewards.  Eating just 1 to 2 ounces of chocolate every day may result in some major health benefits. But, it’s important to choose the right kind of chocolate.  Make sure you choose dark chocolate with at least 70% or more cacao/cocoa content. The darker the chocolate, the higher amount of key vitamins and minerals. These include things like magnesium, manganese, fiber, iron, copper, selenium, phosphorus and potassium.

Improved Blood Flow

The flavanols found in dark chocolate help arteries relax, improving blood flow and preventing clots.

Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

The compounds in dark chocolate reduce LDL (low density lipoprotein – otherwise known as “bad cholesterol”).  They also support cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

Chocolate has benefits - another is improved cognitive function.

Cognitive Function

Researchers have found that chocolate increases blood flow to the brain.

Diabetes Prevention

Studies have revealed that people who ate about 3 ounces of dark chocolate a day for 15 days lowered their insulin resistance significantly.

Stress Reduction

Dark chocolate produces stress busting endorphins.

Chocolate has benefits - another is stress reduction.

Fights Fatigue

Dark chocolate enhances the actions of neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin, to help regulate your mood and sleep.

Good for Teeth

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been proven to harden tooth enamel.  It also contains cocoa butter which covers teeth with a protective coating, impeding bacteria growth.

Improved Gastrointestinal Flora

Dark chocolate is a probiotic food.

Athletic Performance

Findings published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest that a little dark chocolate might boost oxygen availability during fitness training.  The scientists believe that the success of dark chocolate in this case is that it contains flavonols known as epicatechins, which enhance the release of nitric oxide in the body.

This Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to buy your loved one a box of chocolates – just make sure they are dark chocolates.  When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it a great choice for a treat (after you’ve eaten a meal of healthy protein and good veggies and fruit of course)!

Start The New Year Off The SMART Way

Whether you believe in creating New Years Resolutions or not, the beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous year and create goals and intentions for the next year.  Creating new goals is a great way to grow and to challenge yourself, but how do we go about actually achieving these goals? We are constantly creating New Year’s Resolutions and then joking about how we never follow through with them.  Statistically, more than 80% of New Year’s Resolutions never come to fruition, most attempts being lost come the second week of February. So what can be done differently so that your goals do not fall by the wayside like so many others?  I would like to suggest two changes: how you go about setting your goal, and how you go about setting your mindset to achieve said goal.

Could there be a specific formula in creating a goal that can put it at better odds of coming to fruition?  Don’t we set goals all the time?  Must we really have a lesson on creating a goal? We have all been met with an overwhelming desire to eat healthier, move more, drink more water, get more sleep – do we really need to learn how to create a goal?  While these are all excellent ideas, there are a lot of pieces missing. A system for creating clear goals with actionable steps to achieve them is summed up in the mnemonic SMART. 


Specific – Drink more water, eat healthier, exercise more.  These are great, but what they lack is specificity.  What exactly does it mean to “eat healthier”? When will you know if you have actually “exercised more”?  Up your goal setting game by making your objective very specific. For example, consider the examples of eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  This goal is far more specific as opposed to “eat healthier”. Alongside the actual WHAT of the goal, you can consider the specifics of WHEN you will take the steps to achieve this goal (every meal, I will eat a serving of vegetables), WHERE this action will take place, and WHY this goal is important to you (I feel better when I include more fresh produce in my diet). 

Measurable – Once you have created your specific goal, now is the time to figure out how you will track your progress through measurement.  How will you know you have achieved your goal? Let us consider the above goal again of eating more fruits and vegetables. Rather than vaguely defining “more fruits and vegetables”, be specific and state that you  will aim to eat 5 servings.  By adding a specific measurement, you can assess where you are now (perhaps you only eat 1 serving every day), what your next steps could be (aim to eat 2 servings), and you will be able to know exactly when you have successfully achieved your goal.

Achievable – We are all pretty familiar with the saying “Your eyes were bigger than your stomach” with regard to food. Well, this same idiom can be used with regard to setting a new objective.  It is certainly a worthy goal to want to run a marathon, but if running isn’t part of your normal exercise routine yet, aiming for a more achievable goal like running a 5k will set you up for greater success.  Goals will probably stretch your ability, in fact we often do the most growing by being in uncomfortable situations, but they shouldn’t be so out of reach that they become impossible.

Relevant – Why would achieving this goal be important to you?  How could this add to your life? Answering this question can help keep you going when you might want to otherwise give up.  Other questions to ask yourself to find out if this is the right goal for you right now could be: Does this goal align with the other values in my life?  Does this goal match the effort that I am willing and able to give? If you answer yes to these questions, then you are well on your way toward success.

Time-bound – Finally your goal should have a deadline to help keep you on track and focused.  What steps do you need to take today, this week, this month to get closer to your deadline?  When we don’t create a deadline for ourselves, it is easy to let other actions take priority.


So you have created your goal with the SMART principles, now what?  What else can you do to set yourself up for success? Maybe you have created goals that follow SMART and you still weren’t able to succeed.  What gives? The truth is that with change comes a lot of discomfort, and we as humans don’t really like to be in uncomfortable situations. Unless we address our mindset and environmental structures that are constantly acting against us, we might still struggle to succeed, even with a super specific and measurable plan.  But fear not, here are some ideas to consider:

Think small – start breaking your goal down into the smallest means possible.  Will this take longer?  Perhaps. Will this be more sustainable and more beneficial?  Absolutely.  As stated before, we don’t like being uncomfortable.  However, overcoming mild discomfort lights up the reward centers in our brain and propels us forward.  As you continue overcome small obstacles, your brain will start saying, “I like this”, and you will be motivated to keep going.

Keep your commitments to yourself – If you make a commitment with a friend, you generally would hold yourself to it, right?  We don’t often make lunch plans with people and then constantly cancel on them. Why not? Because we care about these people and respect their time, and additionally we all know after a while of continuing to do this, people might not want to make plans with you.  So consider this goal as a commitment to yourself that you will keep because you value yourself and this is certainly worth the effort. YOU are worth the effort.

Set up your environment for success – Identify things in your daily life that are constantly battling your efforts.  Perhaps you wish to eliminate processed snacks from your diet, but that bag of chips in your cupboard is constantly laughing at you and looking to derail your progress.  Perhaps you are trying to limit your fast food intake, but the golden arches are calling your name as you drive home from work absolutely ravenous. Don’t approach these challenges as something you must endure, rather use this as information to create a plan to make this easier on yourself.  Don’t bring things into your environment that don’t serve you. Set up your kitchen so that it will aid in your success, if this is applicable; only bring home foods that put you closer to your goal and throw out what sets you back. Pack healthy snacks if you find yourself constantly battling hunger at 4:00pm. 

Build your support team – there is strength in numbers, and along with the personal pressures that you might find yourself battling, we are constantly inundated with societal influences and pressures that might not be beneficial to you.  Create a team to help you carry out this objective or that will encourage you toward the finish. Speak to your partner about dietary changes you would like to make so that they can either do this alongside of you, or at the very least, be aware of the changes you are making for yourself.  Consider making a weekly walking date with a friend to keep you accountable with movement. You shouldn’t have to do this alone, and people like to be there for others in support. Who knows, perhaps the people in your life also want to make changes, and you vocalizing yours might be the springboard they need to take steps in their lives.  Sometimes we never really know the positive effects our actions may make on those who observe them. 

Now that we have provided you with some steps to create a path for success, go forth and conquer!  

Surviving The Holidays

If you’re like me, you hear the word holidays and you initially get this excited feeling remembering all the great things that the holidays bring – fun music, beautiful decorations, smiles from the kids and a warm, cozy feeling while you spend time with family and friends. 

Warrington Wellness Coach Kim Stone and her family at Cliff Walk in Newport, RI.

Then reality sets in, and you realize it’s not quite the Norman Rockwell moment you have pictured in your head.  Stress and anxiety begin to set in just thinking about everything that needs to get done and the conversation in your head starts to go something like this: 

“Did I actually say that I wanted to host this year?  I must have been on crack when I said that.”

“How many days are left until the new year?  Crap!  I haven’t even started working on my resolutions from THIS year yet.”

“How am I going to stay on track with healthy eating when people keep bringing in such yummy cookies?  I mean I don’t want to be rude and not eat ANY of them with all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making them.  I’ll just have one or maybe two.  Well this third one was stuck to the second so that really only counts as one, right?”

“When am I going to find time to get shopping done let alone workout?  Ugh!”

Trying to juggle it all on a daily basis as a mom is pretty exhausting.  Now,  throw in the chaos of the holidays and I go into straight up survival mode.  This usually means falling back into old habits where exercising and eating healthy fall to the bottom of the priority list, but I am determined that this year will be different.  So how do you manage to survive the holidays and stay on track with your health?

  • Bring Something to the Party – Not only will your host be happy that you’ve brought a delicious dish, but you’ll also have food that can help keep you on track with your health goals. Try this Faux Cookie Dough Dip.  This recipe is a definite crowd pleaser for all ages.
  • Get Plenty of Sleep – Lack of sleep can lead to mood swings, decreased productivity, lowered immune function and sleep shopping (you know when you are so tired and you purchase items online that you have no recollection of actually purchasing the next day like a giant blow up unicorn sprinkler…no regrets). Getting enough sleep each night will ensure that you are your best self for the holidays and also prevent you from biting everyone’s heads off.  Trust me, your family and probably your co-workers will appreciate it.
  • Be Mindful – Did you know that diet and exercise are only 50% of the equation to weight loss? In addition to diet and exercise, you need to make sure you are moving (more on that below) and that you have a positive mindset.  Mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga require no special training or ability and they have been scientifically proven to improve physical health, reduce anxiety and enhance happiness.
  • Keep Moving – It’s great to exercise, but it’s even better to make sure you are staying active and moving throughout the day. What’s the difference?  Exercise is a type of movement with a distinct goal – burn fat, build muscle, get faster, get stronger or train longer.  Movement is just what you do when you are living life.  We are built to move.  Go for a stroll and go shopping at Peddler’s Village, take the stairs instead of the escalator at the mall or simply go for a walk with the dog or your family (whichever one you enjoy more).  Aim for 10,000 steps per day which equals about 2 hours of movement.
  • Give Yourself Grace – Hey, it’s the holidays. It’s crazy for everyone.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Now is not the time to get all judgy on yourself about not having the perfect health routine.  You may indulge a little bit more or your workout routine may be slightly off this season, but don’t stress yourself out.  Chronic stress can actually be harmful to your health and forces your body to pile on fat especially around the middle.  Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace. 
  • Get Support – Are you feeling overwhelmed and need some guidance on your fitness goals? You are not alone on this journey.  We are here to help you.  Make a free appointment with a wellness coach.  That’s what we’re here for – to help support you in your goals towards better health.  You can schedule your appointment at any time by calling your preferred club location.
    Doylestown – 215.794.3700; New Hope – 215.862.2200; Warrington – 215.918.5900

How To Eat Healthy When Dining Out

It is often a challenge to eat healthy when dining out.  As we enter into the holiday season, you may find yourself not only partaking in holiday cheer at home, but dining out more than usual as well.  Americans already dine away from home nearly three times more than they did in the 1970’s and this increases during the holiday season.  I ask clients not be a statistic during the holidays. The average weight gain between Halloween and New Year’s is 7 pounds.  One of the ways you can avoid this and start the New Year off a bit healthier is to practice “dining out techniques” that will allow you to enjoy yourself without feeling uncomfortable or unhealthy.

Eat healthy when dining out.

Like anything else, following “healthy” dining out techniques gets easier with practice. See how many you can implement not only during the holiday season, but all year round.

Prepare for success. Pick the restaurant based on your research and know where you can get fresh, healthy, lower calorie, low fat meals.

Look up the menu and nutritional data before you go. Knowing what you are going to order before you get there will help.

If you know you are going out to eat, don’t skip other meals, but eat less to prepare for your restaurant meal. Shakes can be a “decision-free” meal option.

Have a high-fiber snack before you go to curb your hunger. Try something like an apple, carrots, low-sodium vegetable soup, Triscuits.

Decide in advance what you will splurge on and what you can do without.

If you drink alcohol, keep to wine or light beer. No sugary drinks. You may want to skip fruit during the day. Alternate drinks with water or sparkling water.

Put off ordering a drink until you have food in your belly. If you drink on an empty belly, you’re likely to forget about your intentions to eat healthy and rack up 1,000 calories.

Skip the bread and chips. This could be 300-500 calories before you get to your meal.

Share apps. Make sure there is something for you. Try shrimp cocktail, edamame, veggies, mussels marinara.  No potato skins or Buffalo Wings (approx. 200-250 calories/piece)!

Order salad dressing on the side, or just use plain oil and vinegar. Go light on the oil. No Caesar dressing!

Consider ordering off an appetizer and a side dish instead of a full entre.

If you order a main entre, you may need to divide your meal in half (on the plate) immediately. It is extra important to pay attention to serving sizes when eating out.

Split an entrée with a friend or loved one.

Don’t let people push you into eating things that are bad for you. Be proud to be an example of eating healthy. You may encourage someone else.

Main Course – think broiled, boiled, baked, steamed or grilled. Not crispy, sautéed, au gratin or fried.

Remember that the leaner a protein in its natural state, the more calories and fat when fried. No fish-n-chips.

If you are stumped, order grilled protein and a double order of steamed vegetables.

Enjoy your company. People often lose site that they are dining out to enjoy the company of friends and family. Make that the priority instead of your meal. However, you should still order something that you will enjoy. Be satiated by multiple senses – vision, sight and taste.

Opt for fresh berries or fruit salad for dessert. To opt out of dessert, order a warm beverage to keep your hands busy while others enjoy their desserts. You will be less likely to pick at the high calorie, high fat desserts that others have ordered.

Eat healthy when dining out by planning ahead.


Lastly, keep in mind that healthful eating in not about being “perfect”. If you get carried away, hopefully on really good food that you can’t get all of the time, don’t sweat it. One night of over-indulgence won’t rack up lots of pounds. Just be sure to get back on track the next day.


Injuries Can Have An Upside

There’s no predicting when injury will occur.

It happened in about half a second. My knee extended too far forward in a lunge.   Then, I felt a little tug in my calf that quickly gave way to a feeling very much like a ‘charlie-horse’.

Almost an hour later when I went to walk out of class, I knew it was much more than a cramp. Later that afternoon, a doctor in the urgent care told me that I likely had torn my calf. A subsequent MRI showed ‘longitudinal tears in the medial head of the left gastrocnemius.’

Even with this relatively minor injury, I was looking at having to sit out almost 4 weeks of fitness classes. Anyone who knows me will realize that this was a HUGE blow.   The psychological jolt was likely more of a shock to my body than the actual initial injury (I teach or participate in 10+ classes a week . . .) .  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some moments of panic.

Injuries can have an upside according to Cornerstone instructor Michael Strouse.

Michael, post-recovery, teaching Group Active in New Hope

Injuries can create fear, doubt and other negative thinking.

“Will I gain weight? Will I instantaneously become less fit? Will my class participants be OK?”    I’m not necessarily saying those moments of panic were rooted in reality. But they were there!  I could have let injuries get me down as I have in the past.  I could have let what I CAN’T do lead the way. I also could have said “well, you can’t spin so working out isn’t possible.”

I am lucky, though, to have access to a great group of fitness professionals.  After talking to a few of them, this injury started to become less of a setback and more of an opportunity. I decided to be my own Wellness Coach and navigate my way to something positive.

Injuries can be an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Instead of focusing on the calories I wouldn’t be burning, I realized I could train in a totally different way. Conversations with my colleague Cameron Crosley (a strength and conditioning trainer) resurfaced in my mind and the plan started to take shape. I have a tremendous amount of cardio endurance, but training cardio consistently can limit one’s ability to build muscle. By taking a break from cardio for a few weeks, I could really dial in a hypertrophic training plan, especially for my upper body.

In addition, I had to look at my diet to make sure it matched this training pattern by supporting muscle growth in addition to fueling (and not over-fueling) my daily activities. While this is something I am always conscious of, a back-to-square-one approach can be both refreshing and eye opening to bad habits that we have allowed to creep into our daily life.

The disruption hasn’t been easy but it’s been helped along, not only by my colleagues at Cornerstone, but also by the members! Because I didn’t let my injury keep me benched, my workouts are accompanied with well-wishes and smiles! It’s more than enough to make me work harder outside of my comfort zone.

Injuries can have an upside according to Cornerstone Wellness Coaches.

Michael in the ‘always welcoming’ New Hope Wellness Office

As a Wellness Coach, I meet with members almost every day who are dealing with injuries or setbacks. By showing up, they’ve made the decision to make a change! It’s my job to connect them to the resources they need for success! Our Wellness program isn’t just for when you join! Wellness at Cornerstone is a resource for all of our members who experience or desire a change! As a true fitness community, we all have the opportunity to contribute to each other’s success. I’m thankful that the community was behind me as I dealt with my own injury, and you should know that the entire Wellness team is behind YOU as well!

Schedule a free appointment with any of our wellness coaches at any time by calling your preferred club location.

Meet one of Cornerstone Doylestown’s seriously strong, and seriously decent, lifters.

Meathead. Lunk head. These are just a few of the pejorative terms used to describe weight lifters.  For many people, the perception of serious weight lifters is based almost entirely on old-fashioned stereotypes – a sense that they are narcissistic gym rats who grunt and groan their way through the fitness floor annoying others by dropping heavy weights and monopolizing certain pieces of equipment. The fact is – weight lifters get a bad rap.  They are no more likely to be rude, inconsiderate of others or full of themselves than any other group of fitness club members – be they long distance runners, soccer players or the casual gym goer.

Connor O'Hanlon

Recently, I sat down with Connor O’Hanlon, one of a group of dedicated weight lifters at our Doylestown location and walked away deeply impressed with this intelligent and serious young man.  Connor graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a Certificate of Real Estate, both from the Smeal College of Business. Currently, he’s a real estate salesperson at J Carroll Molloy and the conveyancer for South Main Closing Services.  He’s also a competitive powerlifter, an Esports Coach at Delaware Valley University and a strength training coach for young people ages 7 through college age.  As if he didn’t have enough on his already full plate, Connor is also running for Township Supervisor in Doylestown.

Connor O'Hanlon

Quite frankly, I was impressed that Connor is able to stick to his fitness routine despite the other demands on this time.  Powerlifting is a serious sport that requires commitment and dedication. Connor competes in the squat, deadlift and bench and trains regularly to remain competitive.   But, as a seasoned athlete (he played football in high school and started competing in powerlifting as a sophomore in college), he’s used to making time for working out. 

Serious Equipment for Serious Lifters

I asked Connor why he chose to train at Cornerstone.  One reason, according to Connor, is that our Doylestown location has made a commitment to serious lifters by investing in the equipment they require to train – specifically brand new power bars, specialized plates that are calibrated to the precise weights required by competitive lifters and a weightlifting platform that softens the sound when weights are dropped after a lift.

Connor preparing to lift in competition.

Camraderie and Support

The second big reason is the camaraderie and support that he’s found among a group of other like-minded serious lifters.  They possess a depth of knowledge that comes with competing that they happily share with each other – and any newcomers who want to learn about power lifting.

Connor at competition.

Connor and his fellow lifters train hard, but respectfully of others, proving that those old stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth.   


Suzanne Is Living Proof That Age Is Only A Number

“I still love to run even though I’m now in my late 70’s”.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life. It seems unusual, but I still love to run even though I’m now in my late 70s. I bike and do yoga and I truly believe it keeps me young. Many people are surprised when they find out how old I am but I know it has a lot to do with my commitment to health and fitness. As a mother of three, my children are also athletic and they support and encourage me. One of my daughters has run several marathons and is hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which my older brother ran in his 80’s!

Doylestown member Suzanne Nesi, Personal Trainer Tracey Kling and Suzanne’s daughter Anne Kathryn Bromm.

Setting goals, training and persevering are the keys to success.

This month, my daughter asked me to join her in the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and I accepted the challenge. But I knew I needed to be prepared, which is why I asked my Cornerstone Personal Trainer, Tracey Kling, to help me. Tracey was fantastic; she guided me through a training regimen that allowed me to compete in this race. I’m sorry to say that one day while running early in the morning, I misstepped and fell. Luckily, I caught myself, and the injury only affected my hand.  It was serious enough to require a splint and rehabilitation, but Tracey kept me on track and my training wasn’t interrupted.

Support makes a difference!

September 15 (the day of the half-marathon) dawned bright and beautiful but did get hot, and in all honesty, despite my preparation, it was a challenge. It was tempting to quit. But my daughter ran with me and Tracey came to Philadelphia to offer support and encouragement! I’m proud to say I finished first in my age category and I am so very grateful to Tracey for helping me achieve that feat!

Cornerstone has been a huge source of support and friendship and I am very happy to be a member!

Suzanne and her trainer, Tracey, hitting the road.

How Meal Planning Can Help You

Meal planning for better health and lower grocery bills.

Image courtesy of

It seems like once we flip the calendars over to September, not only are we saying goodbye to summer, but we are saying hello to our regular routines and schedules. September means back to school, no more BBQs and parties every weekend, and back to reality. This is what makes September the perfect time to focus on your health. As boring as it sounds, having a routine is what makes most people so successful. When you have a plan, it makes hitting the gym and making healthy food choices so much easier. This is why so many people do weekly meal planning to stay on track. Meal planning keeps you organized, can help you stick to a grocery budget, and can help you make healthier food choices throughout the week.

What Is Meal Planning?

Meal planning means exactly what it sounds like…having a plan for your meals each day. It can be as simple as keeping a list in your head of what you want to make for dinner each night, or it can be as detailed as you writing down what you plan to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.

If you’re new to meal planning, I recommend starting small. Start by planning out your dinners for the week. Dinner tends to be the hardest meal for people because evenings can be so hectic. And if you don’t have a plan, the fast food drive-thru starts to look really appealing.

How To Get Started

Getting started is really easy! Grab a pen and paper and start thinking. If we continue with the dinner example from above, then sit down and write out what you want to have each night for dinner. Then think about the ingredients that you need in order to cook each meal. Check out your kitchen for things you already have on hand, and then write down whatever you will need to buy at the store.

Once you have your grocery list ready, you can shop with confidence knowing that you will have all of the ingredients on hand to stick to your weekly meal plan! Once you have all of your groceries, now you can sit back and relax knowing you have a plan for the week. The key is now making sure you stick to it!

Tips For Success

Having a plan is only helpful if you actually stick to it. I always recommend choosing meals that fit into each night’s schedule. For example,  if Monday nights are crazy in your house, maybe choose a meal that cooks all day in the Crockpot, or a one-pan meal that cooks in the oven while you help your kids with homework. Don’t choose a brand new, complicated recipe for a night that is busy.

With that being said, plan for leftovers! There’s no need to cook every night! If you know there is one night that is pretty slow in your house, make that the night you cook double. Then the next night you don’t even have to worry about cooking.

Once you’ve mastered meal planning your dinners, you can take it to the next level by planning out your other meals too. While meal planning might sound time consuming, it actually helps save you a lot of time during the week! It can also help save you a lot of money by cutting down on the money spent out at restaurants. Give it a try and I bet you’ll be happy with the results!  

A Couple Shares Their Love Of Tribe Team Training

Recently, I had the great pleasure of speaking with Sean and Jackie Wise, members of our Warrington location, after some of our staff members mentioned how impressed they were with this dynamic couple. Since research has shown that working out together is not only a great relationship booster but also a terrific way to reinforce healthy habits in one another, I was curious to learn their story. 

Sean and Jackie have been Cornerstone members for about 2 years.  With two little ones (now ages 1 and 3) they were initially drawn to our Warrington location for its high quality childcare.  So, they joined and started working out on their own.  After the birth of her second child last summer, Jackie was feeling frustrated about her inability to lose the “baby weight”.  That’s when she noticed other members leaving a Tribe class.  They were sweaty – and she was intrigued!  Noticing a sign advertising Free Trial Week, she signed up for a free TribeCORE™ class and liked it enough to sign up for a full season.

Participating in Tribe has been life changing.

According to Jackie, “it was great, but challenging.”  In the past, she said it felt hard to stick with her workouts given the demands at home with the kids. But, by signing up for a season of Tribe, she felt it kept her accountable. And better yet, knowing that her kids were being well cared for, she could enjoy these workouts guilt-free.

After taking Tribe for about a year, Jackie convinced her husband Sean to give it a try.  He signed up for season 7 of TribeFIT last November and hasn’t looked back. Since that time, Sean has lost 18lbs and gained muscle mass.  He says that Tribe classes give him “a lot structure, help with adherence and also influence you to be healthy throughout the week because you want to eat better to support your workouts.”  Jackie feels that Sean is a much happier person because his workouts help offset his stressful job.

A results-oriented, professionally supervised program makes all the difference.

Both Jackie and Sean stressed that they enjoy being constantly challenged and that they appreciate the regular re-assessments built into the program so they can measure results.  Both also feel that there is a huge difference between doing a program designed by trained professionals versus trying to figure one out for yourself.  Tribe is results-oriented and, according to Jackie, it really works.  “I love how strong I feel. I never felt myself as strong before.” Finally, both agree that Tribe has been great for them as a couple.  They share their thoughts on their workouts and love having something in common that they can focus on as a couple apart from the kids.

This year, Sean joined with two fellow “Tribers” and competed in his first Triathlon. Even though it was a long term goal, he says he wouldn’t have done it if not for Tribe because the training physically prepared him for a successful event. Since then, both he and Jackie have made good friends with their fellow participants and often do things together like go on group bike rides.

It’s an investment in health and community.

Sean sees Tribe “as an investment.”  Both he and Jackie consider it worthwhile since it’s a systematic approach to exercise under professional supervision. Sean said, “If you go to gym on your own, you might experience some results.  But you won’t experience the progressive and serious results that you get when you do a Tribe workout.”

To people who might be a little intimidated to give Tribe a try, Jackie has a message.  “I walked in 3 months post-partum and in bad shape from both before and after my pregnancy.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I ran.  But my Tribe coaches kept telling me to do what I could and that tomorrow, I would be able to do more.  The other participants were supportive too.  They were beginners at one time as well.  They helped me hang in there. The community aspect is great.”

Season 6 FREE TRIAL WEEK starts 9/16!

Ready to give Tribe a try? We offer CORE, LIFE and FIT classes Monday – Friday at our Warrington location. For class description and program policies, CLICK HERE. To sign up for a free class, CLICK HERE.

Why Diets Don’t Work


I don’t know about you, but summer is here and I have not achieved my summer bod goals “yet”.

Despite countless hours spent here at Cornerstone!   I am working out like crazy, taking classes, training hard with my girl, Lisa, eating healthy, and limiting alcohol (ah hem).  Like so many others,  I start stressing…  Holy cow, I have to wear a swimsuit, in public, in X amount of time!!!  In full panic mode, I start researching… what can I do in the next couple of weeks?   Then I regroup, because deep down I know that fad diets, yo-yo dieting, and  so called “miracle” pills DO NOT WORK – at least not in the long term!

In fact, research shows that 95% of the population will regain the weight they lost after choosing these diet methods, while two thirds of those people actually gain more than they originally had intended to lose.   And if you’re like me, at some point you feel like you have tried them all!!  Atkins.  South Beach. The Zone.   I’ll try one of these thinking it will give me a jump start, maybe help me lose these last stubborn 10 pounds.  This time, maybe this one will REALLY work!! 

To be honest, they all have been proven to yield some weight loss BUT they can be harmful  and are most likely not providing my body with the essential nutrients I need.  Moreover, they often lead to weight cycling (lose weight, gain weight, repeat) which is more harmful to our bodies than actually being at a heavier weight.  Most of us are more likely to return to an unhealthy eating pattern as a result because we did not learn how to eat healthy while following these diet plans. 

Recently, we are hearing more and more about the Paleo diet which is focused on eating  lean meat, fruit, vegetables and nuts, but will the lack of grains and dairy have a negative impact? Where will my body get necessary calcium?  The Ketogenic diet,  which encourages high fat consumption to put our body into ketosis thus mobilizing fat for energy, is also currently very popular.  Can our bodies sustain eating like this long term?  How will these diets affect our hearts, our kidneys, (our wallets, too!)?  Deep down, I know I have to consider plain old cutting back.  But remember, overly restrictive diets can take all the pleasure out of eating!  Food is to nourish our bodies and that is something we all tend to forget.  Food is not the enemy.  I need to remember to enjoy what tastes good to me and not deprive myself –  the goal is to think about portion control and moderation.   I know I need to keep in mind that skipping meals or starving myself is never a good idea!! 

I guess the take home message is this:   create  a healthy eating plan for YOU!!  This plan will become your lifelong program for everyday good health.   A good rule of thumb in the weight- lose game is to  eat healthy and exercise more! 

~ Kristen Fredericks, Wellness Coach, Cornerstone Doylestown

*As a member of Cornerstone, you are entitled to a COMPLIMENTARY Wellness visit!!  This includes our new InBody body composition analysis, a functional assessment and a comprehensive individualized Wellness plan for your journey in health here at Cornerstone.  Schedule your appointment by stopping by or calling member services at any location.


Kristen and her husband Josh showing how it’s done!