November Fit ‘N Firm Foods Menu Now Available

Our November Fit ‘N Firm Foods menu is now available for you to download here. Orders can be placed in our online store here.

All our meals have anti-inflammatory properties, which means they have enzymes (no preservatives) that break down when exposed to air and can be digested (no bloating).

The meat used in our meals is 100% grassfed & the fish is caught in the wild environment. This means you get your Essential Fatty Acids which oxygenate your body and help prevents cancer (cancer can’t grow where there’s oxygen).

Omega-3s are important for heart health and they are more abundant in grassfed animals and wild caught fish.

Grassfed animals have 2X as much CLA (conjugated lineal acids) which are associated with reduced body fat.

Grassfed meats are lower in fat than grain fed.

We use only high quality fat sources (avocados; coconut oil; EVOO; grassfed organic butter, walnuts, almonds). Meals higher in natural fat reduce inflammation in the body, enhance flavor, and leave you feeling satisfied.

All our meals are <10g carbs. Food items traditionally made from processed flours or high carb sources are made with alternatives such as cauliflower, almond flour, almond meal, etc.

All our food is from farm to table and is cooked fresh daily. We use no preservatives and we never freeze either the ingredient we use nor the meals we prepare. We suggest enjoying them within two days.

Kerrie Bikram, Fit N Firm Foods Chef

I want to introduce you to a remarkable young woman. Her story is a testimony to the power and ability to heal medical conditions and transform your mind and body through proper nutrition; effective, regular physical activity; a steadfast spirit; and a phenomenal support system. The FIRM U is not only extraordinarily proud of her, but we are equally as pleased we have entered into a partnership with her to provide our clients and the community with a premium service we are launching on Monday at The FIRMU called Fit N Firm Foods, home-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals sold onsite at The FIRM U.

Kerrie Bikram

“Hi! I’m Kerrie Bikram, 39 yrs. old, born and raised in the Caribbean island of Trinidad n Tobago. Moved to the US when I was 11 yrs. old with my parents and 2 elder sisters. I am a business owner and recently opened my own catering company.

I was never a skinny girl growing up nor was I extremely overweight, I was always somewhere in the middle. Even when I was in my 20s my mom would say it’s just baby fat, (moms, go figure). When I hit my 30s I started gaining weight and no matter how much I exercised or starved myself, the scale kept going up and up and my clothes got bigger and tighter…so tight I ended up being a whopping size 24. At that weight, I was extremely depressed, I suffered from anxiety of being in public meeting new people, and had very low self-esteem. I couldn’t walk for very far distances or even climb stairs because I would be so winded.

It was back in December of 2015 after the holidays had passed, I was suffering from plantar fasciitis and it had gotten so bad that I ended up on crutches. With having plantar fasciitis and having to use crutches to get around, I found it very difficult because I was extremely overweight. It was one day I had just come out of the shower and was looking at myself in the mirror and was very unhappy with what I was seeing. I knew I had a huge problem on my hands, but self-denial can be a very strong thing and I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to get like this. My skin had become discolored and velvety (the scientific name is Acanthosis Nigricans) especially under my breasts, between my thighs wherever there was a skinfold, it had become discolored (4 shades darker than my normal skin color). I had also noticed my cheeks had become discolored, I remembered thinking “Oh, it might just be age spots,” but that was just me being in denial that something was wrong. I even started bleaching my skin thinking it would go away. WRONG! At that point, I literally felt like my body was decomposing from the inside out.

I started doing some research about Acanthosis Nigricans and after countless hours of reading articles I was faced with the reality that I might be pre-diabetic. I went to the doctor and after doing blood work, guess what? The doctor had his prescription pad out even before I asked what the results were. I was prescribed with medication for high blood pressure and medication to help me in my pre-diabetic state. I refused to take those types of medication, because I knew once I took it I was going to give up and live that way…probably forever or until I died.

So, January 7th 2016 came around…I still remember the date because it was the day I changed my life forever. I began with cutting out all soda, juices, carbs, that “butter” where you so called can’t tell the difference from the real stuff, you know what am talking about. I had done enough research to know that I was going to give the Ketogenic Diet a try. Who doesn’t want to do a diet where you don’t need to exercise to lose weight right. My first 6 months was rough, but I did manage to lose weight. In July 2016, I went on vacation for 1 month which also meant a vacation from my diet. The next day after I returned from vacation, I went hard into Keto and by then I still wasn’t exercising…maybe once a week if I felt like it, but the weight kept coming off. My diet consisted of grass-fed meats; organic, free-range poultry; wild-caught seafood; organic, low carb veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, etc.); lots of green leafy veggies and tons of grass-fed butter; coconut oil and olive oil.

After 6 months passed, guess what? My skin cleared up by 2 shades and the so-called age spots on my face started to disappear. I had begun to like where this was going, so I decided to include exercise. I already had the food part taken care of, now I needed the extra push and help.  In December of 2016, I joined The FIRM U. I had no idea what type of gym this was when I joined. All I remembered seeing was that it was a clinical gym and I thought, “shoot, they can help me lose weight,” plus I knew that I didn’t want to be working out at a mega gym and must deal with all that gym intimidation. So, after driving past The FIRM U for more than 100 times, I mustered up the guts to go in. I met with Ray Bessette, the owner of The FIRM U. We spoke about my health and he told me about what services The FIRM U provides there. After seeing the environment, I knew I wanted to give it a try…plus I was sold the minute I saw the picture of Ray with Mr. Olympia himself…Arnold Schwarzenegger! Who doesn’t love Arnold? I also knew I couldn’t do it on my own, I needed a trainer to help push me. Ray introduced me to Deborah Noel, one of the trainers at The FIRM U, and when I shook her hand for the first time and I’ll never forget it, I thought to myself holy s**t she has a hell of a grip; I am in trouble, but that didn’t stop me from joining anyways. I signed up for 3 months and expected to come out of there with abs of steel, killer legs and a slender new body. Boy, was I so very wrong, instead I got way more.

Fast forward it’s September 2017 and I am still at The FIRM U. I absolutely love it there and I still have my wonderful trainer, Deborah, I went from a size 24 to a size 14. I feel great I am much stronger physically and mentally than I have ever been in my life because of my Keto diet, my weight training and the support of my trainer and everyone at The FIRM U. I no longer suffer with my plantar fasciitis, I can run, walk, climb stairs and not get winded like before. My anxiety is gone and I no longer am depressed, or have low self-esteem, but I still must work on my self-image cause face it no matter how much weight we lose we still have that tendency to feel fat, and yes, I still find myself walking towards the plus size section of the department store. I like that am gradually losing the weight and am more than happy with the pace that I am going.

I recently had my blood work redone and I can happily say I am no longer a pre-diabetic or suffer from high blood pressure, except now I was diagnosed with PCOS, which explained why my weight is slowly coming off and am more than okay with that.

I have learned that things don’t just happen overnight it takes time whether you are building muscle, losing weight, maintaining a healthy lifestyle or just changing your bad habits. I have moments where I slip and eat something bad, but its ok. I no longer beat myself up about it because and it’s just part of being human and no one is perfect, and yes, my body and mind is still a work in process.

I’m thrilled to partner with The FIRM U to provide Fit N Firm Foods. These are FIRM U-approved meals created specifically for and sold on location at The FIRM U. I will use my personal experience with nutrition research to eliminate certain health conditions and to lose weight to create culinary creations. All meals are prepared with the highest quality ingredients, lean proteins, healthy fats and are low in carbs. I use no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors and all meals are made from scratch every day. They are perfect for those with a busy lifestyle.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story. I hope it will inspire you if you’ve been considering starting your own journey to improve your health. If you don’t know where to begin, any of the professionals at The FIRM U can help you get started.”

For More Information

Please call (833) FIRMU-Up for more information on Fit N Firm Foods. Kerrie is available to cater your next special event. She would love the opportunity to provide you with healthy, delicious meals that will satisfy your soul and your hunger.

Photos provided by Kerrie illustrate her transformation progress and a few representations of mouthwatering meals she has created, from top to bottom:

Lemon muffins (Low carb / keto)
Sous Vide Lamb Chops
Grilled chicken and avocado
Red Thai Chicken Curry over Cauli Rice (Low carb / keto)
Pan Seared Snapper, Grilled Shrimp w/Brown Butter Sliced Almonds and Roasted Butternut Squash

       

The weights are your friend…

This says it all. I write this especially for the ladies out there who fear the weights because they are afraid it will bulk them up or make them look like a man (see pic below for proof it doesn’t).  Gals, it is difficult for us to get bulky by lifting weights…our natural hormonal makeup won’t allow it. Don’t fear the (heavy) weights! These are what will build your muscles and create the shapely body many of you want. Doing leg lifts or side bends in your living room isn’t going to cut it! You’ve got to lift weight to get that look. There are countless other benefits to your overall health that you only get from weight training. Ray’s discussed them in his Facebook videos. A few examples: 1) you burn more calories after a strength training workout than you do after a cardio session…there is no metabolic effect after cardio; however, after a weight training session, you continue to burn calories after the workout as your body is repairing itself from the workout you just had; 2) muscle burn more calories at rest; 3) weight training prevents osteoporosis because as you increase muscle mass, your bones must adapt to accommodate the muscle mass increase, so the bones increase in density, thus lowering the risk for osteoporosis; 4) face it…muscle looks better on our body than fat does!

Following is my personal experience over the last three months to illustrate what I’m talking about. With focused training, lifting heavy, eating more (not less), I’m getting stronger and physique changes are happening. I’ve posted recently about strength gains which I’m proud of because of the consistent, hard work. Friday I worked out my back and, again, had gains on all my lifts…except for my pullups. I didn’t get as many reps as the two previous weeks. Why? Not because I’m not getting stronger, but I’m gaining muscle weight, so the pullups are more difficult.

Since March 7, I’ve put on 10 lbs. of muscle; BMI increased 1.1; and body fat percentage decreased 0.3%. This has been done with no calorie restriction. By the way, the heavier weights I’m lifting (55 lb. dumbbell chest press; 45 lb. shoulder press; 65 lb. single arm dumbbell row; 140 lb. deadlifts; 160 lb. back squats) have not given me a bulky or manly look.

To sum it up, girls, pick up the weights and get on the road to getting the body you want. Need help getting started, reach out to ray@thefirmu.com or stop by and see us for a free fitness assessment.

Osteoporosis – How The Firm U Can Help You Circumvent It and Live Your Life with Strength and Energy

I’ve been studying the last couple of months for my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certification. Today I came upon the chapter related to osteoporosis and exercise. Once finished with the chapter, I was compelled to put the book down and write because what I’ve read has stuck me as very important and something over which, we, ourselves, have great influence. I’ve always known that weight-bearing activities (resistance training, training with weights, weightlifting, whatever you want to call it) improves bone density. Not until I got into this textbook did I become clearer about the benefits of weight-training and the risks osteoporosis poses to our overall health.

Consider these osteoporosis facts which I found terribly frightening, especially as I approach the 50-year milestone mentioned for women several times throughout my research:

Hip fracture risks double every 5 years in postmenopausal women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis affects more than 25 million people each year resulting in 1.5 million hip fractures, of which only 20% return to normal functional status. If this isn’t enough to scare us into taking steps to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, then I don’t know what will. This means that 80% of those who suffer a hip fracture will not return to normal functional status. I don’t want to be a part of that 80%, so you bet you’re a$$ that I’ll continue my weight training for the rest of my life.

For training to influence bone mass, it will require approximately 6 months of consistent exercise at high enough intensities. Translation is we must employ patience, consistency and time to see results. Additionally, training must become a lifelong event to ward off this condition.

There are many things over which we have control that will reduce our chance of becoming prone to osteoporosis (1). Let’s look at a few of them:

ENSURE ADEQUATE NUTRIENT INTAKE

CALCIUM: Calcium is a major component of bone so it makes sense that you need adequate amounts throughout your life to reach and maintain peak bone mass. Recommended daily amounts:

Women (ages 19-50) / Men (19-70): 1,000 mg/day
Women (50 and over) / Men (70 and over): 1,200 mg/day

Sources: dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, sardines, calcium supplementation with Vitamin DVITAMIN D: Vitamin D is used by your body to absorb calcium. Without Vitamin D, your bones can weaken and increase fracture risk. Recommended daily amounts: 600-800 international units (IU) per day. Sources: fatty fish (tuna, sardines), egg yolk, and the PRIMARY source of vitamin D is sunlight. Supplementation may be necessary for people who don’t get adequate sun exposure

MAGNESIUM: This mineral helps keep the calcium in the bones and out of blood vessels and other soft tissues. Sources: green veggies, almonds, black beans, kidney beans, nut butters.

VITAMIN K: Needed for normal bone metabolism and helps prevent bone loss. It is found in leafy green veggies, i.e., spinach, kale, broccoli, and in green beans and peas.

MOVE YOUR A$$.

People who participate in resistance training have a higher bone mineral density than those who don’t. Like muscle, bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by becoming stronger. The best exercise for bones is weight-bearing (training with weights) which forces you to work against gravity. Physical activity also improves balance and coordination, thus helping prevent falls and broken bones that may result from a fall.

ELIMINATE TOXINS

Smoking increases bone loss rate. Women who smoke have a lower level of estrogen (the hormone that is necessary for bone rebuilding) than non-smokers. Smokers go through menopause earlier than nonsmokers. There is a direct relationship between lack of estrogen during perimenopause (which can start in early 40s and on average lasts up to 4 years) and menopause and the development of osteoporosis. Any prolonged periods where hormone levels are low and menstrual periods are absent or infrequent contributes to loss of bone mass. (2)

Moderate alcohol consumption can accelerate bone loss and reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium. In addition, it can have an adverse effect on the hormones that regulate calcium levels and reduce the formation of new bone. Moderation is key when using alcohol. For example, one drink per day for women of all ages and men older than 65 and up to two drinks per day for men age 65 and younger. (2)

THINK YOU’RE TOO OLD TO START? THINK AGAIN!
Ernestine Shepherd, 79 years young!

Meet Ernestine Shepherd, the Guinness World Record Oldest Female Bodybuilder, pictured here. She’s 81 years old and started working out at  age 56. She is proof that it’s never too late to start. Ernestine does the same thing day in and day out (consistency) and takes no medications. Depression and anxiety are gone. She is an inspiration to many women (and men!). Her age defining mantra is “Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined to Be Fit!” and “Age is nothing but a number, and you can get fit!” Words to live by!

THE FIRM U CAN HELP YOU

As reported by the National Institute of Health, we know a weight-bearing program is beneficial to bone strength. The NASM textbook (3) cites that for training to influence bone mass, it will require approximately 6 months of consistent exercise at high enough intensities.

How can The Firm U help with this? By working you through a consistent weight-bearing training regimen. All Firm U trainers are certified in working with clients with Types I and II Osteoporosis.

As discussed earlier, we know that adequate vitamin and minerals are essential to bone health. Supplementation may be necessary for those who are low or lacking in any of the vitamins or minerals listed above. Deficiencies can be determined through a blood test.

How can The Firm U help with this? At The Firm U, we order appropriate bloodwork panels (through SpectraCell, the leader in nutritional testing) and review the results with you, making recommendation for any needed supplementation. For the convenience of our clients, we sell pharmaceutical-grade supplements on site and we carry or can get anything you need for optimal health. A few of the brands available at The Firm U: Designs for Health; Life Extension; Rejuvenation Science; Transformation Enzymes, YES (Your Essential Supplements), Douglas Labs, to name a few.

I’m hopeful that you, too, are moved by the facts provided above and the ability we all possess to slow down the onset of osteoporosis allowing us to live an active life free from the danger and worry of living with brittle bones. Would you like more information or are you ready to get started?

(1) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/in-depth/how-to-keep-your-bones-strong/art-20304596
(2) https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/osteoporosis-menopause#1-3
(3) National Academy of Sports Medicine. Optimum Performance Training for the Health and Fitness Professional. 2004