The following articles were authored by Sharon

Fitness Trainer Hiking With A Gila Monster

When I’m not training clients or working out in the gym, I enjoy hiking the many scenic trails of Tucson, Arizona. In April I hiked the Pontatoc Ridge Trail in the Catalina Foothills. I always have my camera ready to capture spectacular views or wildlife. This day I happened upon a Gila Monster. Click on the link below to watch how close he gets to me.

Gila Monster Close Encounter

Sharon Powell

Female Personal Trainer

Weight lifting tip of the day

Use thick-bar training to improve grip and forearm strength. If your gym does not have Thick-bar barbells, invest in a pair of Fat Gripz. They are made of dense, hard rubber and fit over any pair of dumbbells or barbells. The wide grip will recruit more muscle fibers, thereby increasing muscle size and strength. You may need to decrease the weight normally used as the wide grip will increase difficulty.

Fat Gripz can be purchased at:  www.FatGripz.com or www.Amazon.com

Sharon Powell

Fitness trainer of Tucson


Weight Loss Tip of the Day

If you have reached a plateau with your weight-loss or muscle building goals, try this. Instead of working out once a day for a long duration, break that down into two short workouts. For example, do a 30 minute workout in the morning and a 30 minute workout in the evening. Currently, I perform a high-intensity, 30 minute weightlifting workout in the morning; and in the evening I do 30 minutes of sprint intervals.

Changing your routine in such a manner as this should successfully break your plateau.

Sharon Powell

Personal Trainer of Tucson

Personal Trainer Tip of the Day: Perform Overhead Squats

Overhead squats are rarely performed but offer a great full-body workout. They also help to improve posture if you have rounded shoulders. Here’s how it’s done: place a dowel on top of your head and position your hands so that elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Now raise the dowel above your head so that your arms are straight and fully extended. Perform a regular squat keeping the dowel over your shoulders with arms fully extended. Focus on keeping your shoulder blades down and pinched together. This will help keep the dowel stay in alignment. Be sure to also maintain correct squat fundamentals such as keeping your heels planted and knees in line with your feet. Once you can successfully perform the overhead squat with a dowel, add weight by using a BodyBar or barbell.

Good luck!

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer of Tucson

Are Your Skin Care Products Toxic?

Not all products are safe. Here are some facts you need to know. Skin care products are underregulated and commonly made from chemicals that have not been thoroughly tested. Manufacturers can use almost any ingredient they choose. Current laws do not require safety tests or the recall of harmful products. Some products may contain chemicals linked to serious disorders.

EWG, the Environmental Working Group, the nation’s most effective environmental health nonprofit organization, created this Skin Deep mobile app to help the consumer when purchasing skin care products. I use it myself and is very helpful. Swipe the barcode or enter the product by name. The app then gives you that product’s rating of safety on a scale of 0 to 10.

Check it out – it’s free!

Skin Deep Mobile App

For more information on the Environmental Working Group, go to:  http://www.ewg.org

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

Personal Training Tip of the Day: MOVE!

The structure and function of the human body was designed to move and be active. Muscles function best when they repeat a cycle of contraction under tension, followed by relaxation. This process has many health benefits such as, reducing muscle glycogen which in turn reduces insulin resistance. If you have Type II Diabetes or are at risk, exercise will help. The structure of joints were designed to bend and rotate. This action releases such chemicals as synovial fluid which lubricates the joint.

Our bodies were not meant to be sedentary. Sadly, most of our current jobs are. Even sitting for as little as 20 minutes has negative effects. Certain muscles shorten like the hip flexors (muscles located in the front of the pelvic bone). This can create hip and low back pain. Sitting for extended periods of time also lowers various chemicals (hormones), which set up your body to store more fat. Worse, when we get home from our jobs or school, we sit all night watching TV or at the computer.

Whenever I have a day where I have to sit much of the day, I always experience more soreness and stiffness. On days where I move a lot, I feel great. If you have a job that requires you are seated, I recommend getting up every 20 minutes to stretch and move. Even if you are not able to leave your desk, move at your desk. Perform body squats, leg swings, march in place – anything to get your blood flowing and the body moving.

Take away for today – MOVE!

Sharon Powell

Fitness Trainer of Tucson


Fitness Trainer Tip of the Day: Avoid These Unsafe Foods

In the mood for a Yoga Mat Sandwich? Check out the article below. A chemical found in yoga mats is approved as a food additive in the U.S. The article includes a database listing the food manufacturers and products using this chemical.

Yoga mat chemical found in nearly 500 foods

Sharon Powell

Personal Trainer of Tucson

Fitness Trainer Tip of the Day: Stop Counting Calories!

All calories are not created equal. Counting calories is ineffective because different foods metabolize differently in the body. Some food sets your body up for fat storage regardless of the amount of calories consumed. Click on the link below to learn nine simple rules for easy fat loss.

The Calorie Lie: Nine Simple Rules For Fat Loss

How To Lose Belly Fat? Part One

The number one question I get as a Personal Trainer is, “how do I lose belly fat?”. And thanks to many infomercials, it is portrayed as easy to attain and is a marker of health and success. Our society is obsessed with being skinny;  skinny is sexy – thin is healthy. But is it really? What is the truth about fat?

“Why do we even need fat cells? The flippant answer is that without them, girls would look like boys. The evolutionary answer is that fat cells are repositories of energy and are necessary for survival of the species, especially in times of famine. Fat cells are protective; they provide cushioning of vital organs. In addition, specialized fat cells provide heat after you’re born, to keep you from succumbing to the elements. Fat cells are not just storage devices. They are active participants in, and are necessary for, your metabolic health.” Excerpt from “Fat Chance” by Dr. Robert Lustig.

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Fat cells have a purpose. Unless you are an elite athlete or professional bodybuilder (actively competing), it is actually unhealthy to have extremely low body fat percentage. There are two kinds of fat in the human body; subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the fat just below the skin. It’s the fat you can pinch. Visceral fat is internal around and in your organs. It’s the visceral fat that is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Visceral fat is the one that you want to lose. Research shows that individuals with some subcutaneous fat are healthier and live longer.

Watch for future blogs on the facts about fat and the elusive question – how do I get flat abs?

Sharon Powell

Female Fitness Trainer

The “No Trans-Fats” Scam

It is well accepted that trans fats are bad for you. Any health-conscious consumer looks for food labels stating “No Trans-Fats”. Well, guess what? Regardless of the claim, there still may be substantial amounts of trans fats in the product. Here is an excerpt from the book, “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Drs. Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra:


When the government mandated that trans fats be listed on the nutrition facts label of food, big food lobbyists sprang into action. They somehow created a loophole that lets manufacturers use trans fats while legally claiming “no trans fats!” on their packaging. Here’s how:
Manufacturers can claim “no trans fats” as long as there is less than half a gram of the stuff per serving. Sounds reasonable, until you remember how clever and ruthless Big Food can be. By making “serving sizes” ridiculously small, and by keeping trans fats to just under half a gram per “serving,” they were able to technically comply with the rules. But the end result is that if each artificially small “serving” contains, say 0.4 g of trans fats, you could quite easily consume a gram or two of the stuff just by eating what most people would consider a “normal” serving size. Do that a few times a day and before you know it you’ve raised your heart disease risk by quite a few percentage points.
What to do? Simple. Ignore the “no trans fats!” legend on the front of the package and read the ingredients list instead. No matter what the label says, if the list of ingredients contains partially hydrogenated oil or hydrogenated oil, the product has trans fats. Period. (Typically, you’ll see partially hydrogenated soybean oil in the ingredients list, but it could be any type of oil at all. What you’re looking for are the keywords hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated.)

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If you’re thinking that a small amount of trans fats won’t hurt, “research shows that for each 2 percent increase in trans fat calories consumed, the risk for coronary heart disease roughly doubles!” Dr. Sinatra’s recommendation: “The ideal intake for humans is O grams.”!

Sharon Powell

Personal Fitness Trainer of Tucson



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