Tag Archives: exercise

Listen To Yourself

Listen to yourself….I had lunch the other day with an old friend. We talked about the many self development programs we have taken over the years.

He helped me remember one of the most profound insights Ive ever had. One particular program incorporated a ropes course and other physical challenges as a way to assist the experience. One exercise was called the morning run, we would get up every day at 6 AM and run 1 mile. The trail we ran on started on flat ground, turn to a very steep uphill run and then to very steep downhill run, ending up where we started on flat ground. The difficult part of the run was that our instructions were to run full out or stop. No jogging, no walking, just running full out or stopping until we finished. Lining the trail were a crowd of assistants cheering us on as we went bye.

It was quite a difficult even though I had been in relatively good shape prior to coming for the week. Mostly I thought to myself how crazy it was that we could only sprint or stop for the whole mile.

As soon as we finished we to a hall to have a long conversation about what had happened. The realization I had was, what a prisoner I was to my mind. The discussion brought up the dynamic that we all live in called, when we experience difficulty or pain we use that as an excuse to stop. That morning I said things to myself like this is stupid, what is this supposed to prove?, My legs hurt I cant go on like this,  what I got to see was that we can think what we think, feel what we feel, have whatever opinions we have… And still keep going. I noticed for the very first time in my life how much I talk to myself and how much that rules what I can or cannot do.

The first day I think I did the run in about 20 minutes. The second day, after noticing what I was using to stop me, I completed the run in less than 10 minutes. There is no physical reason how that could happen, cut my time in half in 24 hours. The only thing that changed was that I could hear what I was saying to myself and not pay attention to it. I was the one giving that conversation power over me. I could be tired, my legs could hurt, I could think it was stupid exercise… And still keep going.

That one exercise has changed the rest of my life. 


Top 10 Pieces of Equipment for At-Home Workouts

The pandemic over this last year has forced many people to change up their workout routine, equipment and even where they go to exercise.

With many gyms closed for several months to some still being closed, many people have had to rethink their workout regimen. At-home workouts have become SO popular over the years and 2020 I think sealed the deal for many, transitioning them from a local gym to exercising at home.

There are many benefits to working out from home, so if you can do it, why not?! You’ll not only save money but also time and gain flexibility as well. I find it so much easier to work out from home some days versus having to get out the door and drive to the physical gym.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love going to an actual gym and having access to all of the equipment and group classes, but there are many perks to exercising at home as well. 

Today I want to share my TOP TEN pieces of equipment to have at home for your home gym so you can work-out effectively and efficiently. I’ll preface this by saying that none of these items are more than $150 and you can likely purchase all of these pieces of equipment for under $1,000 and be well outfitted for your at-home workouts. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money outfitting your home gym, consider buying used from local friends or Facebook marketplace. You can also check stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls which sometimes have exercise equipment steeply discounted.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and find out my ten must-have pieces of equipment for at-home work-outs. 

*Yoga Mat/Exercise Mat: A yoga mat isn’t just for yoga. A non-slip exercise mat is helpful to have for floor exercises and stretching. 

*Dumbbells: Dumbbells are SO versatile and are necessary for strength/resistance training. There are literally hundreds of exercises you can do with dumbbells. Consider purchasing a set with a stand to save space and also allows you versatility with various weights. 

*Medicine Ball or Slam Ball: A medicine ball is soft whereas a slam ball is filled with sand and is weighted. Both are incredible tools for functional and strength-based exercises. Medicine balls can be used for a variety of exercises including core exercises. A slam ball is a great tool to use to get your heart rate up with HIIT type exercises.

*Kettlebell: Another great piece of versatile equipment, especially for functional moves like swings, deadlifts, lunges, and squats. Kettlebells are great for toning and strengthening every part of your body, including your core. 

*Loop Resistance Bands: Loop resistance bands often times come with a few resistances (light, medium, heavy) and a little travel bag. These bands are typically under $15 and you can travel with them and use them virtually anywhere. Loop resistance bands are especially great for strengthening and toning your glutes and hips but can be used for a variety of exercises and stretches. 

*TRX Suspension Bands: The TRX Suspension Training system is a unique system that allows you to work your lower and upper body while also targeting and enhancing your core stability. All you need is a door or a solid backyard tree to hook the bands up to and you are ready to go! These bands are a bit more expensive, but you can do SO much with them and get a full body workout in any day of the week!

*Slider Discs: Slider discs are under $10 and take up barely any space, if space is an issue. A double win! You can also easily toss these in your travel bag with your loop resistance bands and get an effective workout anywhere! Slider discs are also great as a low-impact option that is easy on your joints while still strengthening your major muscle groups. 

*Jump Rope: Yup- a basic jump rope is one of my top pieces of equipment for at-home workouts. It’s cheap and effective! Jumping rope for even just 5 minutes is a great way to increase our heart rates and get in some good cardio work. 

*Stability Ball and/or Pilates Ball: A large stability ball can be used in a variety of ways including as a chair ;). You can use it to target your core, upper, or lower body. A smaller, Pilates ball is a great addition to your yoga/Pilates/barre workouts and can help with core strength and stability. 

*Foam Roller: While you won’t use a foam roller during your workout, it is necessary to help your body recover post workout. Using a foam roller for self-myofascial release (aka massage) is SO important for recovery and keeping your muscles loose and limber.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Easy Workouts That Can Be Done on Your Lunch Break

Easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break. Finding the time to workout can be one of the biggest, if not the biggest hurdle for people when it comes to establishing a consistent exercise regimen. We are all busy and stretched thin for time. As women especially, our time and energy are pulled in every which direction- home, work, kids, community/volunteer service, church, friends, etc. 

One key to maintaining a consistent workout regimen is to get creative with your time management. No need to work out for an hour when you can get just as effective of a workout in in 20-30 minutes! This is one of the main reasons I am a fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. They are short but highly effective! 

Utilizing your lunch break to get in a quick yet effective workout or movement is one way to get creative with your time, especially if you are short on it. If you are working from home, this is even better because you likely won’t need to shower afterwards and can jump right back into work. If you don’t typically take a formal lunch break, I’d urge you to consider blocking your schedule for 30 minutes to invest in yourself and your health and take a much-deserved break in the middle of the day. It’s a great way to reset and be sure you are coming back to work for the second half of the day refreshed, mentally and physically, and able to give your very best to your work. 

Here are 3 easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break! 

*HIIT Workout– Like I said above, 20 minutes of high intensity interval training is enough to get your heart rate elevated and your heart pumping for an effective workout. And the great thing is you don’t need any equipment; there is SO much you can do with just your body weight and by doing plyometric type moves (think jumping type exercises). I like to use the Tabata timer app for my HIIT workouts when I am crunched on time because you can do as many rounds as you have time for and each round is 4 minutes. I typically will do 1-2 exercises per round (each round is 8 times through of 20 seconds of work with a 10 second rest to make up the 4 minutes). The key is to do as much heart pumping work as you can do in 20-30 minutes with little to no breaks. 

*Walking– A simple walk can go a long way! Walking is SO beneficial for our health. Get outside and go for a quick 20-30 minute walk or walk around your building if it’s inclement weather outside. I think sometimes we don’t give walking enough credit, but it is a very effective form of exercise for heart health, hormone health, and overall wellness. Walking is a great lunch time option because you can get fresh air, vitamin D, and move your body, plus you won’t get too sweaty If you need to return to the office.

*Core Workout– This is a great option for a lunch time workout because you won’t get very sweaty. Working our deep core muscles is SO important for improving our overall strength, helping with our posture, and enhancing our other workouts because a strong core is vital for proper form. Working on our core strength and pelvic floor strength is low impact but certainly not a waste of your time and effort. Increasing core and pelvic floor strength can help if you suffer from back pain, incontinence, or if you are trying to heal diastasis recti postpartum. 


Give your lunch time a makeover and use that time to your advantage to squeeze in some movement that will give you a boost of energy for the rest of the day, help you progress in your health/fitness goals, and allow you to spend your after work time doing the other things you need to get done.


Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Benefits Of Strength Training For Women

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

When I was in college, exercising for me looked like jumping on the elliptical or treadmill and doing steady state cardio for 30-45 minutes and calling it a day. Don’t get me wrong, steady state cardio like this is really beneficial for our heart health and cardiovascular system, however it should not be the only means of exercise. For a long time women thought they could just run or do the elliptical to lose weight and get in shape. That may work for a season but eventually you will hit a plateau and your body will stop responding to that type of exercise. 

One of my favorite ways to exercise and truly continue to challenge the body is through strength training. Thankfully there are a lot more resources out there now for women to help them in strength training. In fact, I myself created a helpful tool to teach women how to become their own personal trainers and implement effective workouts, mainly strength training. You can find out more about my Whole Body Fitness Planner at homebodysoul.lpages.co/wbfplanner. 

Strength training and lifting weights is a great way to transform your body composition (muscle vs. fat) and change your physique. The goal should not simply be to lose weight or be a certain weight but to be your healthiest self. Someone can be 130 pounds but carry more body fat than ideal versus someone who could weigh the exact same, look smaller and more toned, and carry more muscle and less fat. This is the ideal scenario because more muscle equals more calories burned at rest throughout the day. How? Why? Because the more muscle on your frame, the higher your basal metabolic rate which is basically the amount of calories you burn at rest throughout the day. We want that number high because that means we can workout less but still maintain our weight. You will still have to workout and exercise but you can make your workouts more efficient and less time consuming. I think we can all agree that that would be wonderful! 

Ok- back to strength training. Here are 3 benefits of strength training for women (just to name a few). Don’t be afraid to pick up the heavy weights and challenge your body! Strength is in the resistance and our bodies truly change in how they look, feel, and operate when we strength train, add muscle, and lose fat. 

  1. Strength training protects your bone health. Building and maintaining strong bones is vital as women especially as we age. One of the best ways to maintain strong bones is through strength training. Strength training helps support our bone density which naturally can decrease as we age.
  2. Strength training is a great low-impact exercise option. For those who have a hard time with high impact exercise, strength training is even more for you! When you work several muscle groups at the same time (i.e. compound movements) with little rest in between sets, your heart rate increases just like it would through higher impact exercise like running. 
  3. Strength training can improve your mental health. There is something empowering about lifting weights, especially as a female. This alone can help boost your mood and make you feel not only physically strong but also mentally strong and resilient. Lifting weights helps us to tangibly tap into our internal mental strength reserves, which can definitely come in handy when life happens and we need that put that mental strength to use. Studies have also shown that those who participate in strength training have a lower incidence of depression. 

I hope I convinced you to pick up the dumbbells and get to it! Are you ready to add in strength training to your workout regiment?!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Why You Need To Add NEAT To Your Day

Ok, you’re probably thinking what the heck is NEAT,  Meghan??, just from the title of this post.  Well, I am here to tell you! NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That’s a lot of fancy words that are probably foreign to you so let me break it down for you.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis are calories burned outside of exercise. Any activity or movement you do during the day that is NOT formal exercise is considered NEAT exercise. Cleaning, walking, raking leaves, moving objects, climbing stairs…basically any activity where your body is moving outside of exercise, eating, and sleeping. Most of us do some amount of NEAT every single day without even realizing it. It’s truly just a part of living our lives. 

So, why is NEAT important and what is the benefit of it? NEAT exercise is important because we can burn more calories by simply moving more throughout the day doing normal daily lifestyle activities. It may be hard to believe, but the energy expenditure and caloric output from NEAT exercise can be substantial and help you to maintain or even lose weight. 

Research has shown time and time again that those who move throughout the day are more likely to maintain their weight or reach their weight loss goals versus those who are sedentary and expend most of their energy in a single exercise session. A greater caloric output occurs throughout the day with various modes of movement than oftentimes you can achieve in a single 30-minute exercise session. 

Most people spend a majority of their day at work sitting behind a computer. This mode of working and living has definitely contributed to our more sedentary lifestyles and obesity epidemic in our nation. One effective way we can shift this is by adding more NEAT movement to our days. 

I often encourage my more sedentary clients who work 9-5 jobs to set alarms throughout the day to stand, go for a walk, or do some air squats near their desk. Try walking to lunch instead of driving if it is feasible. Park further away at the grocery store. There are SO many creative ways we can add more NEAT movement into our day to day lives to help maximize caloric output. Not only can we benefit by burning more calories throughout the day but this will also make us healthier individuals and a healthier country overall. 

NEAT is pretty neat, right?! Give it a try!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

My Favorite Exercise: The Burpee

My favorite exercise happens to be the burpee. Some begin to quiver at the mere uttering of the word burpee. If you’ve ever done one, you know the challenge they pose. If you haven’t done one but have watched someone else do a burpee, you probably got winded just watching them and vowed never to put yourself through that terrible misery. But fear not, today I am going to tell you why this exercise is my personal favorite and why you should add it to your repertoire at the gym. Because there are so many variations of a burpee, surely there is one for everyone, of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. 

So, what exactly is a burpee? The burpee is a total body exercise. No muscle goes untouched with this one and that’s the beauty of it. It’s not only an effective cardio exercise that will get your heart rate up after only one, but it also aims to tighten and tone all the right areas of one’s body…and who doesn’t want that?! 

Why do I love the burpee so much? Burpees are one of my go-to exercises solely because you get so much bang for your buck. I am not a runner; in fact, I practically abhor it. Why you ask? Because running is boring to me and it takes a lot of energy, time, and is rough on my precious joints…oh and not to mention the excruciating calf cramps I get- but that’s a whole other topic for another day. In the amount of time it takes to run 3 miles, I could have completed my burpees, burned just as many if not more calories, left the gym, went into the grocery store, and drove home. Well, maybe not quite all of that but you get my drift. Burpees are one of the highest calorie burning exercises out there. Why? Because you are literally using your entire body- moving that body up and down, in and out. These things are fast and furious!

Let’s learn some history of the burpee and find out where it came from. 

The burpee was first developed in the 1930’s by Royal H. Burpee. Royal H. Burpee was an applied physiologist from Columbia University and was the first one to coin the burpee test. He created this exercise as part of his PhD thesis “as a quick and simple way to assess fitness.” Could you imagine if our only fitness test to this day to assess our fitness was a burpee test? Yikes. And it’s to no surprise, the exercise then became popular in the United States Armed Services. The burpee test was used to test recruits for World War II to quickly and effectively assess for agility, coordination, and strength. 

 So, the burpee not only burns big calories, but it also offers great benefits as a cardio exercise and works all of your major muscles. What’s not to love? 

Another thing I love about burpees is their portability. And by portability, I mean you can do them anywhere your body goes because you don’t need a single piece of equipment. Now that’s great! So, next time you’re traveling for work or need to squeeze in a quick and effective workout at home before the kids get home from school or wake up from their nap, whip out a few burpees. I promise you’ll be sweating in no time and feel like such a star when you’re finished. Their empowering and actually quite fun, at least for this fitness guru. I hope you find them just as empowering and effective! 


Let’s Break Down the Burpee


The burpee at its core combines a squat, a push-up and a jump. Here’s how to do it in 4 steps. 


Step 1: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Squat down and place your hands, palms down, on the floor in front of you directly under your shoulders, being sure to keep your knees over your ankles (like a proper squat) and your chest lifted. 


Step 2: Jump both feet back and extend your arms so that your body is in a high plank position- long and symmetrical. Be sure to create a straight line with your back and keep your hips slightly lifted.


Step 3: Pull your legs back in so you are in a crouching squat position with your palms on the floor in front of you. 


Step 4: Stand and jump straight up in the air with your arms extended upwards, landing softly on the balls of your feet with your hips shifted back and knees in line with your ankles, like a proper squat. 

** Remember to engage your core the entire time! This is also a great core exercise! ** 

This is the basics of a burpee. If you want an added challenge, add a push-up in between step 2 and 3. A burpee with the pushup is the form the Military most commonly uses. 

Like I said before, there are many variations of a burpee. If you have problems with your joints and do not like to jump, simply step your feet back and in and skip the jump up in the air in step 4. You can also simply step your feet back and in if you are overweight and need something with less of an impact and a little easier to begin with. You can always work up to jumping the feet back and adding the jump up at the end. 

Below I will share a few variations of the burpee. Some of the variations include removing or shifting an arm or a leg (requiring more core stabilization) or working in a different direction or adding a more explosive move to increase strength and power in the body. 


  1. Mountain Climber Burpee: Perform the standard burpee steps. When you get to the plank position to do the push-up, perform a mountain climber instead of the push-up. To do a mountain climber, alternate pulling one leg into your chest, alternating each side twice. Be sure to keep your hips from sagging and keep a flat back, core engaged. Return to the plank position before finishing the remaining steps of the burpee. 


  1. Jump Variations: You can also add variety to the jump at the end of the burpee. Varying the jump causes the lower body to do more work by controlling the hips, knees, and ankles. Adding jump variations helps your body to build strength, power, and stability in different planes of motion. Some different jump variations include a tuck jump, broad jump, and a single leg jump. 

For the tuck jump burpee, complete the burpee as usual and at the end instead of simply jumping straight up, jump straight up and tuck your knees in towards your chest. 

For the broad jump, instead of jumping straight up, jump out trying to cover as much distance in front of you as possible. 

The single leg burpee adds great challenge because it requires a lot of core stabilization and balance. You can either do the push-up and the final jump on a single leg or just the final jump on a single leg. Be sure to draw that core in to help you stay balanced and jump as high as you can on that single foot, landing softly. 

So, there you have it. I hope you feel inspired to add a few burpees to your next workout. Start with one and work your way up. Once you’ve mastered the regular burpee, try some of these variations. Take it slow and listen to what your body says. Even if you can’t do the jumps and you’re slowly stepping your feet back one at a time and coming up slowly, you are still burning a lot of calories by moving your entire body up and down and you are working on core stabilization, balance, and coordination.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Get Your Move On

Get your move on with exercise. You may love it or hate it but you likely know it’s good for your physical and mental health. Perhaps you, like many of us, struggle to find the time to exercise each day or even a few days a week. I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to find the time and you don’t need as much time as you probably think you do.  So, let’s get your move on!

There are so many people who think if you cannot commit a solid 45 minutes to an hour for exercise, then why do it at all?! Don’t buy into that all or nothing mentality. You can get a super EFFECTIVE workout while also being EFFICIENT with your time! I am talking 20-30 minutes. That’s it! 

In fact, research has shown that you no longer need to work-out in longer blocks (at least 10 minutes) for it to be effective and count towards your weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. Mini exercise sessions such as a quick jog through the parking lot, doing squats throughout the day, or taking the stairs- it all adds up! Research also supports that small bouts of exercise throughout the day can provide many of the same benefits as a longer, continuous workout. These benefits include improvements in your cardiovascular health, weight loss, and even helping to promote long term adherence and consistency in an exercise program. Short and steady wins the race. It’s a great place to start especially if you are short on time or new to exercise. 

According to an article at Harvard Health, only 19% of women get the recommended amount of exercise each week here in America. So, how do we improve this? How can you improve this in your life? My answer- get your move on. Simply MOVE MORE! Take the stairs, park further at the grocery store, do core exercises while watching TV. Make the absolute best use of your time and I think you’ll be surprised how much movement you can actually get in a day. 

Here are 10 quick ways to get that burst of energy and movement into your day!


  1. Clean…vacuuming and mopping especially. 
  2. Walk around the work floor every hour.
  3. Do core exercises while watching TV.
  4. Play outside with your kiddos- play tag, frisbee, or kick a soccer ball
  5. Run up the stairs a few times.
  6. Do squats or lunges while cooking dinner.
  7. Start your day with 10 push-ups right when you get out of bed…it’ll help wake you up too!
  8. Park further away at the grocery store or Target.
  9. Get a standing desk and do squats and calf raises while you respond to emails.
  10. Go for a quick walk around the block post dinner with the family- quality time and movement time! Double win.
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

The Life Of Normal

I am normal. What I consider to be normal anyway. I have brown hair and blue eyes. My skin is nothing spectacular. My body is what I consider normal. I am 5’7” and have the body of a mom of 3. I am a size 14. I have the dreaded C-section shelf (I had 3). I have saggy boobs but they still look pretty decent. I am a B/C cup. I have a kind of saggy butt. My thighs shake when I walk and I have cellulite. My arms aren’t bad but they jiggle. My stomach is…well…my stomach. I have a muffin top. I wear minimal makeup…don’t get my toes done…or my nails…or tan in a tanning bed. Normal.

I am also divorced, a mom of 3 and 36 years old. Yeah…there is all that!

So I would say I am pretty normal. I am working on feeling better about my normal self though. I will never be perfect. I will never be skinny. I will never have the perfect stomach and that is okay…most of the time.

I can however have a body that I am more comfortable it. That doesn’t mean starving myself or running until I pass out. It doesn’t even mean joining a gym.

Let me tell you what I have been doing for the past 2 months. I have slowly been changing the way I eat. I do mean slowly. I have been watching my calories…not stressing but really keeping an eye on them. I have been trying to eat healthy. You would be surprised how many calories you can consume when you don’t think about it. Don’t get me wrong…I still eat the damn cake!

I have also started adding in exercise. I hate it. I have 3 kids so where is the time…where is the privacy…and don’t get me started on interruptions. I use workouts on YouTube. These workouts are 4 – 10 minutes. You don’t have to about die to feel like you have done a work out. You don’t have to have hours to incorporate them in your day. Just minutes. Let me tell you…I feel so much better when I do them. I am not as consistent with them as I would like to be but baby steps, you know!

Society tells us that we have to take that major jump…keto…30 day challenges…but I am telling you we don’t have to add this stress to our lives. Believe me I have enough to deal with being a working, single mom of 3 kids! I am sure you do too! So I guess the point is…baby steps. A little effort will go a long way and don’t be afraid to be normal while you are taking those steps!


Stop Counting Calories…

Stop Counting Calories…PLEASE!


To plan dinner?

Can’t there be a better way?


Yep… Just take a look at your hand. Use your fist, palm, cupped hand, and thumb to practice calorie control, while avoiding the hassle of counting calories.


If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times:  The best, maybe even the only, way to lose weight is to count calories.


After all, it’s a pretty simple equation: Calories in vs. calories out. Eat more calories than you burn, and you gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you burn and you lose weight.


Except counting calories isn’t that simple.

The problems with counting calories


First of all, on the “calories in” side, you do need to figure out how many calories are in the foods you want to eat.  And that takes handbooks, websites, databases and math. Just to plan your lunch, algebra  Ugh…

Next, you have to assume that the handbooks, websites, and databases’ calorie estimates are correct.  They’re often not.  In fact, research has shown they can be off by about 25% because of incorrect labeling, laboratory measurement error, and food quality.


Then, of course, there’s the “calories out” side.  Estimating your calorie expenditure each day comes with another 25% measurement error because of the equipment you’re using, laboratory measurement errors, and individual differences.

A possible 25% error on the “calories in” side, and another 25% error on the “calories out” side.

Is it even worth___:

  • pulling out measuring cups to a chorus of boos from family members;
  • dusting off the food scale while trying to ignore the taunts of friends;
  • wheeling in the abacus from the den to keep up the calorie tally;
  • subscribing to apps and web services to track these less-than-accurate numbers?


Sure, we should have an idea of how much food we’re eating each day, so we can adjust based on our goals. But counting calories itself is a drag!  No wonder so many people give up and go back to eating the way they were before.

The calorie counting antidote

Here’s the good news: counting calories is rarely necessary.

No more carrying around weigh-scales and measuring cups.  No calculators, algebra, or smart phones.

*All you need is the ability to count to two. And your own hand(s).

Here how it works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your veggie portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.


To determine your protein intake:

For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, or beans, use a palm sized serving.

*For men let’s recommend two palm-sized portions with each meal.

*For women let’s recommend one palm-sized portion with each meal.

Note: a palm-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your palm.


To determine your vegetable intake:

For veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc. use a fist-sized serving.

Men let’s recommend 2 fist-sized portions of vegetables with each meal.

Women let’s recommend 1 fist-sized portion of vegetables with each meal.

Again, a fist-sized portion is the same thickness and diameter as your fist.


To determine your carbohydrate intake:

For carbohydrate-dense foods, grains, starches, or fruits, use a cupped hand to determine your serving size.

Men let’s recommend 2 cupped-hand sized portions of carbohydrates with most meals.

Women let’s recommend 1 cupped-hand sized portion of carbohydrates with most meals.




To determine your fat intake:

For fat-dense foods, such as; oils, butters, nut butters, nuts/seeds, use your entire thumb to determine your serving size.

Men let’s recommend 2 thumb-sized portions of fats with most meals.

Women let’s recommend 1 thumb-sized portion of fats with most meals.


A note on body size:

Of course, if you’re a bigger person, you probably have a bigger hand. And if you’re a smaller person… you get the idea.  Your own hand is a personalized (and portable) measuring device for your food intake. Now once you get the hang of this you won’t look so weird at your favorite restaurant using hand type signals, just kidding!


It’s true, some people do have larger or smaller hands for their body size.  Still, our hand size correlates pretty closely with general body size, including muscle, bone, the whole 9 yards.

Meal planning flexibility


Based on the guidelines above, which assume you’ll be eating about 3 – 4 times a day, you now have a simple and flexible guide for meal planning.


For men:

  • 2 palms of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 2 fists of vegetables with each meal;
  • 2 cupped hands of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 2 entire thumbs of fat dense foods with most meals.


For women:

  • 1 palm of protein dense foods with each meal;
  • 1 fist of vegetables with each meal;
  • 1 cupped hand of carb dense foods with most meals;
  • 1 entire thumb of fat dense foods with most meals.


Of course, just like any other form of nutrition planning, including calorie counting, this serves as a starting point.


You can’t know exactly how your body will respond in advance.  So stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness, and other important goals.


For example: if you’re trying to gain weight, and you’re having trouble gaining, you might add another cupped palm of carbohydrates or another thumb of fats.


If you’re trying to lose weight but seem to have stalled out, you might eliminate a cupped palm of carbohydrates or a thumb of fats at particular meals.


Remember: This is JUST a starting point. Adjust your portions at any time using outcome-based decision making, ask yourself;  “How’s that working for me?”