Personal Blog

  • What are the best home workout programs?

    How to Lose Weight Working Out at Home.

    So, you are suddenly quarantined for Coronavirus and wondering how to get your killer workouts in AT HOME? Or maybe you’ve never worked out at a gym before but you are just getting started on your weight loss journey, and you figure, why not work out at home? For many, the idea of going to a gym is intimidating anyway, quarantine status notwithstanding. 

    This post will share with you– a list of the best workout programs for working out at home, as well as a list of some of my favorite home-gym equipment– from least expensive to most expensive. Get ready to sweat– because I can share, as someone who has been working out from home for 20+ years, you can get in outstanding shape from your own home or apartment– and with equipment you can easily store in a closet or under a bed! 

    Do you need equipment to work out at home?

    You don’t NEED to have equipment in order to get a good workout in at home. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say- in my opinion and my experience– you’ll have more options and the ability to get better results over the long run if you buy some equipment- especially some weights. 

    Below is an example of many no-equipment moves that can be combined to make a great number of circuit workouts– that can deliver a solid sweatfest and get your muscles working:

    1. Pushups
    2. Sit-Ups + Crunches + Planks
    3. Tricep Dips off a chair or bench or steps.
    4. Step ups on any chair or bench or stair. 
    5. Stationary lunges or walking lunges.
    6. Squats- body weight only. 
    7. Plie Squats and pulses.
    8. Sissy Squats and Pulses.
    9. Shoulder focused “push-ups” inspired by Tony Horton.
    10. Yoga Poses
    11. Barre Moves
    12. Walking
    13. Running
    14. Jumping Jacks
    15. Plyometrics
    16. Jump Rope
    17. Bear Crawl
    18. Calf Raises
    19. Hip Thrusts: Body Weight Only
    20. Pullups

    What You Should Buy For a Basic Home Gym Situation.

    Let’s be real. The photo above is NOT what most people who are working out from home have: a lot of space. So – everything I mention here will take into consideration that you might very well be working out at home or working out in an apartment with limited space and not a lot of storage space either. That’s been my experience– I’ve always had a combination of storing my weights under my bed and other stuff in my closet. You do what you gotta do. 

    Below is a list of what I’d recommend you consider to have a BASIC but solid home gym equipment situation.

    The 20 Best Home Gym Equipment Buys.

    1. A Step Bench: I definitely recommend investing in a step- with extra risers. Why? This can be a WEIGHT BENCH too! And you can take risers OFF one side and add to the other so you can do incline weight moves as well. Further– using the step for STEP-UPS and REVERSE LUNGES and CURTSY STEPS is awesome for building the glutes! Plus you can do one-armed rows with heavy weights leaning on the bench and pullovers which are great for upper back. This is a STAPLE piece of equipment and so flexible. I’d recommend getting this step (buy on Amazon using this link: CLICK HERE.) and then getting this high step version so you have a lot of extra risers. 
    2. An Exercise Ball: Great for all kinds of core-focused moves. Another staple for a home gym. CLICK HERE to buy. 
    3. Valslides: My friend Valerie Waters— celebrity fitness trainer– was the first to come out with these sliding discs and they are so flexible- you can do all kinds of LEG moves with them and they can create deathly serious ab/core work for you too- just go to YouTube and type in Valslide moves to see a ton of free ideas. And head to Valerie’s website to check out her home workouts. 
    4. A set of Resistance Bands is another key thing- and what’s also great– you can pack these in your suitcase when you travel. I always pack these plus my Valslides (above) and my TRX (below) when I go on a personal or business trip. P.S. If you see this post and hit Amazon.com for resistance bands and discover they are out of stock, another option for you is to order from ME via Beachbody– we have bands with a ton of our workouts and you can score x 2– get a brand new workout and some home gym equipment! Just email me kelly@kellyolexa.com
    5. TRX Training System: I have been in love with TRX since I first found out about them like 10 years ago. This system is so portable and what I love to do most on the TRX is upper body work, but it’s really got dozens of moves you can do if you take the time to watch their videos. 
    6. Resistance Loop Bands— there are a LOT of options now for bands-and I’ll record some videos on the different moves to do for the different bands but with these LOOP bands, I use them for what Cathe Friedrich calls “firewalkers” where you put them around your ankles and move side to side in a semi-squat position. OMG THE BURN! 
    7. Bootie Bands: I call these thicker bands “bootie bands” because most often you’d use these ABOVE THE KNEE– and to focus hard core on GLUTES– these can often be used when doing hip thrusts and weighted hip thrusts. 
    8. Workout Gloves: the more you lift weight, you will understand the need for weight gloves. The more you sweat, the more you need a good grip. Invest in some solid weight gloves. 
    9. Weight Lifting Belt- For Back Support. This is a really good idea if you plan to continually increase your strength training (and you should)– especially for doing things like deadlifts and squats — get yourself a solid belt. 
    10. Yoga Mat: Even if you don’t do a ton of yoga it’s a great idea to have a yoga/exercise mat of some kind. You’ll use it. 
    11. Ab Wheel: I used to see things like this and think they were cheesy but after 3 of my best trainers told me to use this at home, I realized that this one was legit. And it will humble you trust me. 
    12. Foam Roller: Everyone should have a foam roller and learn how and why to use it. You’ll learn to love to hate it or hate to love it. 
    13. Stretching Band: You will find that a stretching band like this can help with sore/tight muscles more than you think. 
    14. Bosu Ball: This weird looking contraption is a lot more flexible than you think: my first trainer Jay had me do deadlifts on it and balance challenging moves all the time. It’s fantastic.
    15. Bowflex Adjustable Weights: One of the best investments I made was getting the Bowflex Adjustable Weights. And now that my man has to work out at home with me, he is loving having up to 52LBS each dumbbell. Totally worth it.
    16. Spin Bike: I don’t have one at this moment but when I bought this model of spin bike for my place, I LOVED IT- so intense. You could also look into Peloton of course for a lot more money.
    17. Dumbbells: Start investing in some dumbbells now and you will love yourself later. I’d suggest starting – if you are new to working out and want to get the most bang for your buck, get a pair of 5lb dumbbells and 10lb dumbbells. Go up to 15LB next and then add 20lbs when you are ready. 
    18. Barbell: I got this brand and am very happy with it. CAP BARBELL. FYI they’ve been sold out for a while but I found this set from another brand: CLICK HERE.
    19. Barbell Plates: Duh. Get you some weight on that barbell. 
    20. Kettlebells: Adding Kettlebell swings in to your routine can do wonderful things. It can really get your heart rate up and does wonderful things for working the whole body at once. CLICK HERE to get a nice adjustable set at a great price.

    My Top 10 Best Home Workout Programs.

    After YEARS of working out at home in addition to the gym I have TONS of recommendations to make. Below are some of my FAVORITE workout programs and people. Feel free to reach out to me and ask any questions- I’m happy to help. 

    1. Way back in the day, I started out with mostly cardio workouts. I’m going to share some of the oldies but goodies — and if you can get past some of the really bad fitness fashion there are some great sweat-fests in here. First of all- I LOVED doing TaeBo- now Billy Blanks has DVDs all over the place online but it doesn’t appear that he was as savvy with his business back in the day because now- I am hard pressed to find a Taebo website or streaming service. Very odd. That said, Taebo is a fun kickboxing workout and you can find a LOT of his workouts FREE on his YouTube Channel
    2. When I started doing weights, it was because I was inspired by The FIRM workouts. Now– apparently you can find the next generation of FIRM trainers doing FIRM workouts at GAIA. I’m bringing up The FIRM workouts because honestly- the original workouts– high cut spandex and leg warmer outfits aside– were GREAT workouts and some of the earliest to have WEIGHTS for women. Yup. They were in my experience the front-runners. Most of the stuff out in the early days was all cardio. If you want to check out previews of the workouts they have a ton on Anna Benson, the founder- on her YouTube Channel. If you dig  what you see you can buy many of The FIRM workouts on Amazon. 
    3. After I was doing The FIRM for a while I discovered Cathe Friedrich (photo of her above). Let me just tell you- Cathe is amazing. She has been producing workout videos for decades and just keeps getting better. You can buy her DVDs or subscribe to her online streaming program at Cathe.com. I love Cathe because 85%+ of her workouts are focused on INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED. So if you are a gym rat working out from home all of a sudden and want to train hard like you mean it– Cathe is your girl. Further– what I also love is that on her YouTube Channel she shares like 10 minute+ previews of her workouts!! I interviewed Cathe on the podcast- CLICK HERE to listen.
    4. I mentioned Valerie Waters previously and she has KILLER WORKOUTS FOR THE HOME GYM FANATIC. Click here to shop. I interviewed her on the podcast also– you can listen here.
    5. Chris Freytag has another fantastic online fitness platform- GET HEALTHY U. I also interviewed Chris on the podcast: click here to listen.
    6. I have also been a fan of and customer of Beachbody for YEARS. In fact, I just signed up as a coach (!) with my BFF Jenelle Summers because I think Beachbody has some of the most legit home workouts on the planet– they’ve added a ton more since I last was buying the DVDS– and now they have an insane streaming program that is way too reasonable to turn down. I also interviewed Jenelle on the podcast and you can listen to that 2-part interview by clicking here.  What are my favorite go-to Beachbody workouts? I did P90X and bought all of Tony Horton’s additional workouts (P90X One on One)- and that program is amazing. Body Beast is a personal favorite and I loved Insanity back in the day– now I love that Shaun T has a ton more shorter HIIT workouts as well. Brazil Butt Lift is surprisingly intense and I’ve always been obsessed with TurboFire. SO fun. What do I plan to dive into with Beachbody workouts next?? Hammer & Chisel, Core de Force, Shift Shop, LIFT 4, 80-Day Obsession, 6-Weeks of The Work and 10 Rounds. And the Barre program. Holy crap. No excuse to complain when quarantined with this variety. You can shop all these fitness programs and Beachbody on Demand and the nutrition and equipment products by CLICKING HERE to my site. 
    7. Udaya: has incredible Yoga programming. I’ve bought their DVDs and have used their online streaming program. 
    8. The Ultimate Yogi is by Travis Eliot- he’s an amazing guy and awesome human. I interviewed him on the podcast as well. LISTEN HERE.
    9. Suzanne Bowen has some killer BARRE workouts on DVD. CLICK HERE to check out Barre Amped. 
    10. Jari Love is based in Canada and she honestly has some killer workouts. Most of them you can buy on Amazon. Here’s one– and then you can check out the rest on Amazon as well. I’ve done her workouts for years and they are a great burn. Her YouTube channel has some previews. Don’t let the bad set design fool you- she knows her stuff. 

    Don't Wait. Just start working out at home today.

    As I said above- I have been working out from home for years! I love it– and yes, I absolutely love working out with a trainer at the gym and I plan when we are out of this coronavirus madness to go try a lot of new local classes– but — working out at home is convenient and can get you shredded!! I’m planning to share my next 60-days of working out from home + sticking with my diet plan (will publish that later this week- make sure you are subscribed!) results– and what I eat every day and what I do for workouts every day- on my social media – particularly instagram

    Let me know if you have any questions about equipment or any of the workouts I mentioned above. Let’s SWEAT! 

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  • How to deal with chronic headaches and migraines.

    How to address chronic headaches and get your life back.

    My story: Dealing with chronic headaches and migraines for over 7 months.

    If you are reading this because you’ve been dealing with headaches and/or migraines on an ongoing basis – and you think you might go crazy– you are in the right place. I can’t say that I can 100% solve all your headache problems, but I’ve been through hell and back and the past 7 months and I am currently- as of writing this blog post, on week #7 of feeling NORMAL again. In fact, I have not had a visit by The Dirty Bastard (what I call migraines now) in these past 7 weeks. That’s HUGE.
    Be encouraged. Get hopeful, because I’m certain that some of the learnings I will share with you here will help you find relief from the chronic pain that headaches and migraines deliver. You’ll be able to proceed down a path that hopefully for you as well, will give you back a normal life, free of never ending headaches and migraines. 
    If you haven’t done so yet- please listen to my 2-part podcast on my experience with chronic headaches and migraines. I go into great detail on when I had my first migraine, when they became more common, when the headaches became a daily thing, and the steps I took to start ruling out causes. CLICK HERE to listen. 

    MY HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE HISTORY.

    In case you don’t have time to listen to the podcast, I’ll share some big picture highlights of my history with headaches and migraines.
    • My first ever migraine was after my OB/GYN put me on LoLoEstrinFe Birth Control— after I was experiencing massive bleeding on a seemingly nonstop basis. I urge you ladies, if you are on LoLoEstrinFe and experiencing horrible side effects like I did (I gained 20lbs fast and my skin worsened and I had migraines for the firs time ever. Go to some user review sites like THIS and THIS and read. I was horrified when I saw all the tales of weight gain and acne and depression and suicidal thoughts. Don’t let your OB/GYN slap a prescription for birth control on you for every single symptom. Birth control is truly one of the worst things for our hormones!)
    • I didn’t experience migraines again with any noticeable regularity until I moved from Chicago to Austin. That’s when I brought it up to my doctor — he suggested I start taking Migranol and that I cut out all artificial sweeteners (y’all know how much I love me some diet soda, I can’t help it). 
    • When I moved from Austin to San Antonio in March 2019, that’s when I recall the headache situation getting pretty intense. I was taking Excedrin — truthfully- like every day. I’d wake up with a headache and have it all day. When we went on vacation, I actually made an appointment with an opthamologist in San Jose so I could get prescription reading/computer glasses with blue blocking. I thought for sure this was the answer. It wasn’t. 
    • The glasses seemed to work for about 3 weeks then the headaches came back. 
    • I started to think it was my STRESS level and tried to focus on stress reduction techniques. I’m sure you can imagine, that didn’t do much.
    • My doctor told me he felt that if I just went strict Paleo, my headaches would go away. I strongly disagreed and still do- but I did give it a try. Didn’t work.
    • By July- I was not only having headaches all the time, I was getting migraines and somewhat regularly. We were back in Chicago for the July 4th holiday and I had to spend the day in the hotel in bed – missing a family cookout, because I had a migraine. Steve went to pick up a prescription for Sumatriptan – it didn’t do anything. 
    • When I get a migraine– it’s a 3-day ordeal. I get severely nauseated and feel like I can only eat plain bread or oatmeal or rice. I can’t begin to stomach eating protein or veggies….and yet, when I do eat carbs to ease the nausea — it doesn’t. It’s a vicious  cycle. The pain from my migraines is 90% of the time on the left side of my head and feels like someone has put a 25lb kettlebell on my head– and I can’t get it off. The pain is nonstop and it’s a dull continuous pain. NOTHING makes it go away. It’s crippling because– you can’t read, you can’t really watch TV and focus on it, you can’t work- because looking at the computer hurts your eyes so you have to literally just LAY THERE– and I mean the pain will last 12 hours at a time. Then I may be able to sleep but I wake up- feel ok for an hour or two then it comes back. 3 days of hell. 
    • By Fall of 2019– the headaches and migraines were getting more common. I never knew when the migraines would happen– and I was trying to get my new businesses off the ground — and more often that not, I could not work. I’d have to tell Steve that I was home lying on the couch again. The guilt I felt was SMOTHERING. I’ve never been a financial burden to someone- I’ve always taken care of myself and usually others– not the other way around. I am so thankful for Steve’s love and understanding and support and care– I plan to make it up to him the rest of my life for how loving he’s been with me through this horrifying time. Neither of us had any idea what the hell was going on– it was so bizarre. 
    • Of course one of the things I started to do was to see a chiropractor. I firmly believe in the power of chiropractic treatment, so this was a no brainer. When I got x-rays done, it showed that my neck was in very bad condition. I started getting an adjustment 3x a week for a couple months. The first three weeks- no migraines– I was so excited!! Then, over Thanksgiving– I got another migraine and was so upset because I was back at square zero! 
    • Somewhere around the time the holidays came around I started to do some research around histamine intolerance and allergies. I stumbled on a lot of forums about people who had moved to TX from other parts of the country and experienced major ALLERGY issues and SINUS INFECTIONS– which can PRESENT AS SIMILAR TO MIGRAINES!! HA! I thought I was on to something. Most of the people in these forums said they got relief by taking an OTC anti-histamine and a TBS of LOCAL TEXAS HONEY WITH BEE POLLEN in it daily. I ran to the store. I have been taking a TBS of this honey every day and started taking D-HIST again every day (my man also does this- the honey and the D-HIST as we he was experiencing allergy symptoms)
    • I stumbled on this book by Dr. Becky Campbell on Histamine Intolerance: I highly recommend it and she’s going to be on our podcast later this year. 
    • I found a new local primary care doctor and went to see her- as I still was having headaches and migraines even after doing the allergy prevention stuff. I knew I would need a referral to a neurologist. She referred me to Dr. Hanah Homafar.
    • Dr. Homafar is my life-saving neurologist. Oh how I love this woman!! Read on below for what she taught me and what treatment I’m now on that’s working.

    How I am treating my chronic migraine and headache situation- what's working.

    What’s funny is this photo was taken at The London House Hotel in Chicago— (review on that hotel coming up in a future post on Chicago- travel focused– be sure you are subscribed) a day before I ended up getting ANOTHER MIGRAINE. Yes- while we were home for Christmas break, I had 2 migraine incidences. Good times. We had to cancel our 2-year anniversary dinner so we could stay home and eat in. God Bless My Man. I’m telling ya.
    So- here is what I have incorporate into my life that is working– and please note– what sucks about chronic headaches and migraines- is that there are soooooo many possible causes and triggers, it’s quite often hard to identify what the sole cause is, if any. Truth be told, I have zero idea what it is that caused this storm of headaches/migraines– all I care about is that I have MY LIFE BACK. I can work. I can work out. I can make an appointment (let’s pretend we aren’t in Coronavirus-World for the sake of this blog post LOL) and not worry that I will have to cancel it the day before. I am SO GRATEFUL.
    Dr. Homafar explained to me that there are TONS of possible causes for migraines (and headaches)- we went through a printed out handout from the American Council For Headache Education.
    Hello- if you click over there you’ll see some startling statistics. 1 Billion Migraine Sufferers globally. 25% of households- and 20% of women are dealing with migraines. That’s no joke.

     

    What are some dietary triggers for migraines and headaches?

    One of the first things Dr. Homafar told me was that HYDRATION is of utmost importance with headache and migraine prevention. I recognized immediately how bad I’d been at hydration. She said to focus on drinking 64oz of water every day. I bought these BPA-Free water bottles for my man and me and we drink so much more water now.

    For all of my friends who practice intermittent fasting, it’s important to listen to your body. If you are doing fasting of any kind and find yourself prone to getting headaches– it’s time to let go- and just focus on caloric deficit (trust me, that’s the MOST IMPORTANT THING ANYWAY in losing weight– watch this to learn more.) If you get to the point I was with headaches ruining your life- you’ll do it.

    So get this– possible triggers for headaches and migraines are: chocolate and cocoa, alcoholic beverages, caffeine, figs, raisins, papayas, avocados, plums, very ripe bananas, beans, most commercial breads, cultured dairy products (buttermilk, sour cream), chocolate milk, cheese (blue, brick, gouda, gruyere, mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, romano, roquefort, cheddar, Swiss, Stilton, Brie), Aged/canned/cured/processed meat– anything with nitrates or nitrites, canned soup, soup or bouillon cubes, chocolate ice cream, pudding, cakes or pies, any yeast-containing doughs and pastries, nutrasweet, MSG, yeast, yeast extract, seasoned salts, processed frozen foods. 
    Basically- the entire world of food and drink COULD be a trigger. 
    NOTE: this is NOT to say that all these foods are collectively all a trigger– it could be ONE of these foods that is highly reactive for YOUR body. This is why I am so glad Dr. Sebring had me take this MRT Food Reactivity Test. (Please note: I am going to have their top dietitian on the podcast to talk about what this test is, what it tests for and how they work with people after identifying the foods that are reactive to them- to first eliminate them and then later- after they have healed their gut and autoimmune issues- to reintroduce some foods– see my results below. If you are interested in getting this test done it does have to be ordered by a doctor- feel free to fill out the Contact Me form here and I can help you.). Because if I hadn’t taken that test, the thought of doing an elimination diet for all of these things might drive me batty. 
    For the record– my LEAP results came back showing that I was HIGHLY REACTIVE to CORN and moderately reactive to: Turkey, Flax Seeds, Soy, Yeast, Brewer’s Yeast, Wheat, Bananas (and my beloved plantain chips which I was eating every day) Mangoes,  Brussel Sprouts, Pumpkin, Sesame Seeds, Zucchini, Onions, Peppers, Cauliflower and Tea.
    Friends, I was having zucchini ALL THE TIME. Brussel sprouts to some degree on a regular basis. Corn? OMG. Corn tortillas at a restaurant because “wheat tortillas” are gluten and we all avoid them right? Plus I’d always have some corn chips with salsa. Plus– people- in this country, CORN SYRUP IS IN EVERYTHING. Every candy at the movies has corn syrup as the first ingredient. Corn syrup is in ketchups and salad dressings — literally like everything. I clearly can’t have any cauliflower pizza dough stuff anymore! And peppers and onions?? Try making an omelet without that. Or eating at a Mexican restaurant without peppers, onions or corn! LOL. And turkey- hello- me and my turkey meatloaf were BFF. Interestingly enough I did NOT show reactive to DAIRY OR WHEY = go figure. 
    Here’s something fascinating: I cut out these foods and guess what disappeared? The bizarre-skin-bumps-situation that has plagued me for 7+ years and that no doctor has been able to figure out. I’ve been getting rock hard, painful, sometimes itchy bumps on my neck and sometimes chest and back and sometimes face- not acne, not a rash– no idea. And cutting out the foods– the bumps that were all over my neck — GONE. Then I accidentally had some candy with corn syrup in it and BAM: bumps back in my life. 
    Friends that’s about as real as it gets. Clearly when our bodies become reactive to foods, we need to break up. It is a wonderful thing to KNOW let me tell you.
     
     

    What Else Can Cause Headaches and Migraines?

    The other things that can cause chronic headaches and migraines– changes in sleep patterns: getting a lot MORE sleep or suddenly not getting sleep. Hormones: changes in estrogen can cause headaches. Being in perimenopause or menopause can cause migraines. Weather changes can cause migraines, as can changes in elevation. Stress is of course a major trigger– both bad stress and good stress. Physical exertion- overtraining or injury can cause headaches too. Eyestrain from being on your computer and/or exposure to blue lights from our computer and phones/tablets is a trigger. EMF exposure is a less known trigger but limiting exposure to EMF has shown to work for many. 

    What a neurologist recommends for migraines.

    Please note– I’m planning to have my neurologist on the podcast– but for this blog post I’m sharing what she’s explained to me– and what she is doing for me — this may not reflect what a neurologist in your area would do for you but this woman has given me my LIFE back! 
    She said insurance companies need to see that you’ve tried three phases of treatment (these are my words)
    1. “Atomic” or Holy Crap Make the Pain Go Away
    2.  Preventative
    3. Top Tier
    So phase one are prescription drugs like imatrex or sumatriptan — your doc prescribes these pills that you take WHEN YOU GET A MIGRAINE. For me, the sumatriptan did literally NOTHING. 
    Phase two is preventative and there are three types- I’m going from memory here so bear with me: there are drugs used to lower blood pressure, anti-depressant drugs and beta blockers. I’m on NADOLOL 40mg. I started on NADOLOL 20mg but that didn’t do anything. Once we upped my dose to 40mg- it was magic. 
    Phase three is when the first two aren’t working- and that’s when you can get Botox injections (it’s not in the forehead like we get for our shallow needs) or there is another injection done monthly that performs well. Both these treatments are very expensive so your insurance company will expect you to try level one and level two before trying out level three– KNOW THIS BEFORE YOU WAIT AND WAIT TO SEE A NEUROLOGIST– I expected to be able to go in and demand Botox but it turned out I didn’t need it. 

    Supplements You Can Use to Dramatically Help Chronic Migraines and Headaches

    There were 3 supplements that my neurologist told me to take and a couple extras I’m sharing, because they fit in here.
    1. 500 MG of Magnesium: We had already been taking the CALM supplement from Natural Vitality- now we just upped the dose. Buy on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.
    2. CoEnzymeQ10: I was already taking these in my daily vitamin packs that I order via Isagenix. If you’d like to chat with me about getting on a solid vitamin pack routine with my other nutritional recommendations, I am a rep for the company – because the products have changed my life. Fill out the contact me form and we can chat– happy to answer any questions. If you are anti-social and prefer to just order from my Isa-website you can CLICK HERE I won’t be offended. 😉
    3. Riboflavin or Vitamin B2: Just go read through the reviews on Amazon— you’ll be like how did I not know that this could help with headaches and migraines so much?
    4. Additionally:
    5. Licorice Root : I have LOW cortisol according to my bloodwork and I did not want to take Hydrocortisone as it can cause weight gain. I did some research and they said Licorice Root is a miracle worker. Again- read the hundreds of 5 star reviews from people on Amazon saying how this changed their lives. NOTE: Low Cortisol can also contribute to headaches. 
    6. I found this all natural headache balm-– thought I would share this here as well. 

    You may be sleeping on a bad pillow with no neck support, which can cause headaches.

    I had to cancel an appointment with my friend Allison one day (which was the story of my life- cancelling podcasts, meetings, appointments, phone calls, you name it) because I had yet another migraine. I knew she suffered from them too- she texted me about upgrading her PILLOW- and that it gave her neck more support. I immediately was like whattt because I’ve always in the past loved VERY SOFT MUSHY PILLOWS. I KNEW my pillow had zero support. I immediately ordered these HIGHLY RATED pillows from Co-OP and I gotta tell you- they made a HUGE difference in part of my headache nightmare. Before these pillows, I was waking up literally EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AT 3AM on the dot with a POUNDING HEADACHE. Got 2 of these pillows and no more middle of the night headaches. I strongly recommend them. Buy on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.
    If you’ve ever been lying on the couch trying to hold a cold compress or ice pack on your head– you will want one of these headache ice-wrap things. BUY ON AMAZON.
    Along the same lines – -I bought this ICE ROLLER– it’s so amazing– you keep in the freezer and can roll it all over your face to decrease puffiness or on your forehead when you get a headache. BUY ON AMAZON HERE.
     
    Also there is a book by Suzy Cohen on headaches called Headache Free. Buy it on Amazon of course. 
    Words cannot describe how grateful I am to have my life back. These migraines and headaches were DESTROYING my world!! I lost – literally- 75-80% of my work time and working out time from September-January and it was spotty as hell before that. I hope this post  and the podcast I recorded helps you understand some things and start to move in the right direction. 
    FEEL FREE to leave comments with your questions– remember, I’m going to have the LEAP TEST experts on the podcast as well as migraine experts and my neurologist– so let me know what you are confused about so I can get you answers!! 
    THERE IS HOPE!! 
     
    Please note: This blog post contains affiliate links.

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  • The Real Secret to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off.

    If you've "TRIED EVERYTHING AND CAN'T LOSE WEIGHT", read on. Because, yes you can.

    The Secret to Losing Weight
    Are you stuck in a weight loss plateau? Do you feel as though no matter WHAT you do, you can’t lose weight? Do you eat healthy and work out regularly but still feel like the fat on your body won’t budge? Does real fat loss seem like a distant dream to you?
    I hear you. I have felt this way for years, and many of you that have been following me for a while KNOW this. I’ve been a woman past the age of 40 (update: I’m 50 now!) with hormonal imbalance, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, Low Cortisol, Adrenal Fatigue and even Adrenal Burnout, and a host of other health concerns– dealing with all the issues that come with a slow AF metabolism.
    I FEEL YOU.
    The good news is, I have recently experienced a massive breakthrough around what it takes to lose weight, even if you’re at a weight loss plateau, even if you have hormonal imbalance issues, even if you have Hypothyroidism, even if you are past the age of 40….yea, all of you. I’ve GOT YOU.
     

    Let me bring you up to date: My recent history with weight gain, and weight loss plateaus.

    Kelly Olexa How to Lose Weight
    So many of you that follow me have seen me share my struggles with health setbacks and the resulting problems losing weight and getting my fitness game back on track. Most of you have asked that I share the history, and I think it WILL be helpful for you to hear what happened and what I learned from the past couple of years (in other words, read on and learn what NOT to do when you want to lose weight and keep it off!)
    Stressed Out

    How STRESS can destroy your fitness efforts if you let it.

    It was the end of 2016- around Fall to be exact, when I began to experience problems. This is where, in retrospect, I can see that the STRESS I was experiencing in my personal and business life was affecting my body. I’m certain that this was when my adrenal fatigue was developing and my cortisol was starting to plummet. (I’ll go into detail on all these things in other posts, so stay tuned). Without going into too much detail- I was under a tremendous amount of stress. Our company was going through changes, I was not the leader I needed to be, and as such, there was a lot of turmoil within the culture of our business. I often had trouble sleeping– and when we don’t sleep, that causes a HOST of problems for our overall state of health. It certainly affects our workouts and our eating– we tend to make poor choices in food when we are overly tired, and we often can’t do the workouts we want to because of fatigue. No bueno.
    That fall, I sold most of my stuff in Chicago (that was a GOOD thing: I decided to get rid of all the dishes and furniture and paintings that reminded me of my past life with my ex-husband, and start all over- moving down South. I strongly recommend the practice of NEW BEGINNINGS and CLEARING OUT SPACE IN YOUR LIFE for new and better things to enter in. I didn’t want to sleep in the same bed that I slept in with my husband. I didn’t want to eat on the plates we were gifted from our wedding registry etc.) – and I moved to Austin TX. 
    NOTE: I was intending to move to Phoenix. But the stop in Austin was initially intended to be a stopover: I had met 2 business contacts (a married couple who described themselves as baller management consultants with Silicon Valley experience and their goal was to consult with our company and help transform our business model) and they had invited me to stay in their “guest house” in Austin while we launched a podcast. The plan was to stay for 4 weeks and move to Phoenix. What happened instead was that I fell in love with Texas and decided to move there. 
    Sadly- what happened over the next 4-5 months was a combination of me 1) experiencing a LOT more chaos and drama within our business life (MORE STRESS) and 2) following the advice of this self-proclaimed “expert” in health and hormonal balance. Yes, the same man who claimed he was this serial entrepreneur with a brain equal to Steve Jobs, also claimed to know everything about medicine and health and healing my hormones. 

     

    Lesson #1: Don't take health advice from an unqualified self-proclaimed expert.

    Ladies, let me tell you this. When you are in a bad place with your body- when you feel like you are totally lost and you can’t lose weight and you are broken, understand that you are vulnerable. And when you are vulnerable AND desperate- that’s a bad combination, because you will FALL FOR ANYTHING. It is so important for us to listen to our GUT, trust our intuition– and I cannot stress this enough. WHEN WE IGNORE THOSE GUT FEELINGS, WHEN WE DON’T TRUST OUR INSTINCTS, THAT IS WHEN WE MAKE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES. My first biggest mistake was trusting this con-artist (I did not discover until later that everything about this man was a fraud)— both from a business perspective and also from a health perspective. I did whatever he told me to- because he had me believing he could heal my body– the body that had suddenly started feeling fluffier and that suddenly could not lose any weight. 
    He told me to essentially STOP WORKING OUT– that because my adrenals were in such a bad spot, I should be only doing calming movement- going for easy walks. No intense, Kelly-O-Style workouts. He also was a hardcore Paleo Diet fan — only he wasn’t about DIETING. Rather, he told me to eat, and eat a LOT. He was a fan of this controversial doctor in New Orleans (Dr, Jack Kruse) and they were both convinced I had to reset my leptin- so he had me eating a plate of raw oysters every morning 30 minutes after waking. Then I’d have a plate of pasture raised eggs (about 4 usually) and bacon with guacamole and 2 bulletproof coffees. 
    FOR BREAKFAST

    Ladies– he did not have me counting calories AT ALL (truth be told I had not been in a calorie counting mode for years) but was one of those “Just eat Paleo and you’re fine!” advocates. Bullshit. That breakfast alone (because the coffee had a big chunk of grass fed butter and 2 egg yolks in it) was easily 1000 calories. EASY. But– MISTAKE #1– I did not trust myself, I didn’t think I could know what to do for myself- and I FOLLOWED ADVICE I HAD A BAD FEELING ABOUT.

    I did not feel right about STOPPING MY WORKING OUT and eating all this high fat FOOD.
    He had me eating a Paleo lunch (I’d guess average was 500+ calories) and a Paleo dinner (probably 750 or so)and then I remember I’d have sweet cravings so I’d want an apple or nut butter- and he’d scold me for that. He said that eating a piece of fruit was “bad”– eating anything but eggs, meat, guacamole and coconut oil was “bad”. I fell for it- even though my instinct told me RED FLAG.
    LIFE LESSON: DO NOT IGNORE YOUR INSTINCT. TRUST YOUR GUT. WOMEN’S INTUITION IS A STRONG POWERFUL THING. Don’t EVER ignore it.

    Bad Advice = Bad Results

    That’s me above in April 2017. You can see the disgust in my face, can’t you? That was me working out 6 days a week and eating healthy and I was just THICK. 
    So what was the result? I blindly followed this guy’s advice and got FATTER. YUP. As the months went by, my clothes got tighter, and I was MISERABLE. If you followed me on social media back then, you’d notice a big LACK of post-workout selfies. I was embarrassed by my body and I also wasn’t working out because this idiot told me not to.  
    I fired the idiot in April and that’s when I discovered what a total fraud he was and how I had dodged a bullet. I fired him and he went BATSHIT CRAZY on me – desperate to come to my apartment to get money from me. In the coming weeks, I did some overdue due diligence on him and discovered that I was his 5th or 6th “mark” – he had tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate other companies, gain shares and walk away with money not due to him. He was (and is) wanted in several states for hundreds of thousands of dollars due to various businesses and other ex-wives– yea, the classy loser doesn’t pay child support. He’s a dangerous lying con artist who is still at it. He finds women he can con and then usually marries them, opening up bank accounts in their name and under like 100 different business names so he can avoid the IRS taking his income. Truly the biggest loser I have ever met in my life. 
    I Finally went to see my now primary hormone doctor- Dr. Sebring. I was so desperate to get normalized again- we did bloodwork and my hormones were all over the place. We were starting from scratch. 
    He put me on HCG– and let me be clear. This is a controversial topic– I’ve done 2 separate rounds of HCG and whatever you think of it- it does create results— and I think at that time, it gave me what I needed. This was April of 2017– and I’d been miserable and gaining weight for 6-7 months. When I did the HCG Diet, even though the weight on the scale only moved 2 pounds, I shed a lot of fat. It was the jumpstart I needed and – frankly, I do not regret it. 
    I’ll do another post on HCG and what I feel about now and I plan to interview a woman who has been living the HCG life for years and doing it very successfully. You can make your own decision.
    The key with HCG— and here is LESSON #2 my friends– YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR RESEARCH. You have to know all the components of something before blindly jumping in. 
    See a trend here? When I’ve been very insecure and vulnerable and desperate, I’ve made impulsive non-informed decisions that backfired later. MY MANTRA NOW: Make informed decisions! 
    I didn’t ask enough questions about HCG so I didn’t understand how it worked and how important it was to reverse diet out of it. So – that summer when a friend of mine told me to dive right into Faster Way to Fat Loss, I did. I stopped taking HCG on a Sunday, and went right into FWTFL. That was an uninformed decision. 
    I think because I was training so hard with a trainer and eating pretty well, I didn’t have major problems like most would experience with NOT reverse dieting out of HCG. In fact, for the rest of 2017, I made great progress with building muscle and leaning out. I have quite a lot of feeling flyAF selfies during this time, compared to the end of 2016.

    Sometimes Momentum Creates Great Success.

    What worked in 2017.

    The picture above is me in June 2017. I had some great success in 2017. Sure, I started it off with a relatively extreme diet, HCG, but it was the jumpstart I needed. Sometimes, a boost of success can create massive momentum and I firmly believe that can be the best drug ever to keep you going!
    As I jumped from HCG into FWTFL, once again, I did the Kelly O thing: I was impatient. I wanted more results and wanted them faster. So I didn’t do the FWTFL workouts – I trained with my trainer at Gold’s Gym. HARD. And thus he made suggestions to my diet. Big time. He was a purist and told me a lot of things to not eat. LESSON #3: This is me listening to the advice of too many people: my doctor, my trainer, my FWTFL friend, and social media. I was applying 700 different “rules” about losing weight and working out. I was adding way too much extra training and extra 24 hour fasting days– I was pushing my adrenals to the extreme. By the end of 2017 and early 2018, I began to lose steam. I was TIRED again. A LOT. I didn’t realize it but I was edging toward Adrenal Burnout. Work stuff was getting bad and stressful: I was in the middle of a potential lawsuit against a vendor and I had a lot on my plate.  So, STRESS + OVERTRAINING + inconsistent dieting = a bad hormonal state. I kept going at it but was finding myself lost. I felt that I was perpetually in this state of “almost fit” but never there. I was always at about 15-20lbs over my ideal weight. As such, I asked my FWTFL friend to help me- tell me what to eat, how much to eat, how to diet: I was so confused with information overload– all the fitness BS I’d been told or read or heard and tried to apply- it all conflicted with each other. She recommended a dietitian. I hired this woman and retained her for the rest of 2018. BAD CALL. 

    Sometimes even a dietitian can be wrong.

    What did the dietitian say to do? She said to stop intermittent fasting because it wasn’t serving me. She realized that I was terrified of all foods (true) because of all the conflicting rules I was trying to follow. She wanted me to eat intuitively- no rules, nothing off the table. I could eat whatever I wanted. And I was told to stop all intense workouts. (Does this sound familiar??) I was told to only do weight training that didn’t elevate my heart rate. These “rules” about working out scared me and I tried to comply PERFECTLY. All my intense workouts stopped and I worked out less overall. 
    I remember my man saying to me as I started to feel fatter around June “how can you not gain weight if you are eating MORE and working out LESS??
    He was so right. But – LESSON #4:  I didn’t trust myself. My gut, my instinct said that all this was WRONG. But I convinced myself “I don’t know better. I’m not a certified trainer or dietitian, I have to listen to them“. So I kept on paying this dietitian. (Please note: I feel strongly that this dietitian’s advice was 100% WRONG for me but I do think she is immensely smart and talented and I’m by no means saying dietitians are bad; this is more about me knowing my body and trusting my gut: SOMETIMES, we know better what’s best for us!!) I got thicker and thicker. By the time Steve and I went to Park City the end of August, all my jeans were barely fitting me. I remember distinctly every time we went out for dinner and I was SQUEEZING myself into my clothes and barely able to button my jeans. I began living in blazers again to hide my core. This photo above is from a photoshoot that depressed me beyond belief. I was so hot and miserable and felt like a sausage stuffed into my Spanx. I can just SEE how swollen my face was and how thick my middle was.
    In the middle of all this- I’ve been dating the best man in the universe, the love of my life and– I’m mortified by my body. Embarrassed to have him see me like this. Wanting to look my best for him and failing. It was depressing.
    By December of 2018 I was the heaviest I’d been in years. I distinctly remember heading to Houston to spend the holiday with Steve’s family and I had to go out and buy a pair of “fat pants” to fit me. I didn’t want anyone taking my picture. I was hot. I couldn’t fit in literally- anything in my closet. I was so angry I knew it was time for change.

    2019: Taking Matters Into My Own Hands.

    I finally got some nerve and terminated my contract with the dietitian in January of 2019. The man and I made plans for me to move from Austin to San Antonio so we could get a place together: we were so tired of going back and forth between San Antonio and Austin every weekend and not seeing each other during the week. I was determined to make 2019 my comeback year. 
    I don’t have a TON to share about my fitness lows or highs in 2019 because the truth is, as many of you know– 2019 was the year that chronic pain took over my world.  I moved to SATX the end of March– Steve and I took a vacation trip to wine country right after-and I remember the headache situation affecting that trip: I got my eyes tested at an eye doctor while I was out there and spend $1500+ on new designer blue blocking glasses to help my headaches. Didn’t work. That summer the headaches got progressively worse and more often– and then the migraines joined them- and got worse and longer and more often. 
    I’ve shared on social media that in 2019 I probably missed 70% or more of my WORK time and WORKING OUT time. Not an exaggeration. I’ll be publishing an entire post on that in detail (I’m sure you are picking up on how my blog posts here are going to be less often (2 weekly) but more detailed and higher quality— so stay tuned (be sure you subscribe– I’m launching a newsletter series next week FINALLY!) and sharing an eBook of all my research and findings on solving chronic headaches and migraines. Stay tuned. 
    So- 2019 was the year of chronic pain and of me lying on the couch in fetal position most of the time. God bless my man for putting up with me and supporting me and taking care of me. He is an angel and then some. God I am SO BLESSED by his love. 

    THE DIET BREAKTHROUGH: THAT CALORIC DEFICIT MAGIC.

    I had the biggest losing weight breakthrough OF ALL TIME (not joking) in November. So there I was still dealing with headaches, getting ready to go on a trip to Chicago for Christmas, and somewhere online I stumble on Jordan Syatt. I honestly don’t remember how but who cares? This guy was talking about Caloric Deficit and it drew me in– especially when he mentioned he had a podcast interview with a woman with Hashimoto’s- I tuned in right away. That podcast (the one from 9/24/19) BLEW MY MIND! This woman was just like me– she’d been complaining that she’d “tried everything” and that she was “eating healthy” and couldn’t lose weight because of her Hypothyroidism! And then she hired Jordan and he asked her about tracking her food- and LIKE ME (and probably like you) she said, dude I KNOW WHAT I’M EATING!! Cut to the end– she starts tracking calories to reach a specific caloric deficit and loses weight. GO FIGURE. I immediately applied this and GUESS WHAT- SAME FOR ME. 
    I experienced such great success by applying this simple BUT HUGELY IMPORTANT principle– I published a 3-part video series on it. See below. (NOTE: I interviewed Jordan on my podcast. Two parts- amazing interview. Go listen!

    The Truth: If you want to lose weight, you have to DIET.

    This is so huge and so impactful I want to urge all of you to drop all the obsessing and worrying about everything else and get back to basics. DIET is not a dirty word. In fact, diet should be your best friend. The fitness industry has put out a lot of BS the past couple decades about “diet” being a dirty word. It’s what you need to do and do well, for a short period of time (NOT ALL YEAR!!) if you want to drop the pounds. You gotta do it. You gotta do it seriously and to the letter. 
    But you can make it fun- and you can- if you do it like me — I’ve created a program for myself that takes my caloric deficit, uses intermittent fasting combined with calorie cycling and 1-2 cleanse days a week- and that lets me have a bigass cheat day on Fridays which I often spread over to Saturday (meaning I typically don’t use all calories on Friday so I have leftovers to use Saturday). I’ll go into detail on how I do this in my next post as well as talk about the next big breakthrough I had this past week- around SNACKING. People, I’m telling you – it’s like I’ve found the holy grail. The way to lose weight without losing your mind- the way to lose weight and get in great shape while still having wine and cheeseburgers when you want…the way to get it DONE and then move on to maintenance mode.You stay tuned, this is the year you’ll see me do it. I’ve never been so confident about it – ever and I hope you join me. 
    Now that you’ve come this far, here are some links to more resources that I know can help you. 

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    Talk to me. What are YOUR biggest frustrations with losing weight? ?

    I’d love to hear from you. Chime in and leave a comment so I can be sure the content I put out here and on the podcast and YouTube is what you want! And if you like what you see here, spread the word, tell a friend about this blog or share on social, THANK YOU! 
    P.S. I am getting my NASM certification this year so I can be even more helpful as I work with women coaching them on losing weight and getting in outstanding shape. 
    P.P.S. If you’d like to set up a consult with me to design your diet program and have me make nutritional product recommendations– use the contact me form or just leave a comment with your email. 

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