You could not begin to imagine the setbacks I have experienced lately with moving forward consistently with my fitness regimen. It has been one thing after another, after another, which have made me settle down and take another look at what is going on, why and if I need to redirect my efforts or slow them down a bit. I definitely need to do an assessment to ensure I am not missing the message. Because lately, it sees that my fitness progression is going “Backwards“.

A week or so ago, I loaded my truck with several laundry bags to take to the laundromat to clean our clothes. Little did I know, doing so put strain on my lower back and put me out of commission. Oh my goodness did my back hurt! Not being cognizant of the lower back strain, that following Monday, I got in my regularly scheduled workout. I pushed out 100 squats, and 2 Burn Body Fat miles using 3 pound hand weights. The next day, I could barely move. The intensity of the pain in my back was quite surreal. As I stated, I could barely move, and lifting anything was totally out of the question. Needless to say, that set me Back! Since then, the obvious has occurred…NO WORKING OUT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! Quite a bummer!

While on my necessary hiatus, I began to think things over. I wondered, why am I experiencing these things that are causing me setbacks. I also wondered since I have gotten myself to a healthy state of being, am I over doing it? Do I need to reconsider the intensity of what I am doing? Do I need to taper it a bit and scale back even? All sorts of questions begin running through my mind. I have not arrived at any conclusion to date, but what I will say is, I will continue to take it easy until I have things ironed out. My back was getting better, but then yesterday, I was bending to take off my socks, ,when something in my back popped, and it felt as if fire shot up the left side of my back and yes, I was back to square one. Really?! I think it is safe to say that a trip to the doctor to see what is really going on is in order. I am trying to self medicate with heating pads, epsom salt baths, and rubbing alcohol before taking that trip. I will keep you posted.

It is also fair to say that due to lack of exercise, my joints and muscles feel stiff, my agility compromised and again, it seems I am going Backwards versus pressing forward. Life happens and this too shall pass.

One thing I have realized is that my efforts are for a lifetime and are a lifestyle for me. I am no longer on a journey to lose weight, but to obtain good health, which if I achieve, will naturally lead to weight loss.

I am not discouraged at my setbacks, just taking the time to reflect and refocus to ensure I am in fact being safe, healthy and most of all fitandfree!









#healthandwellness #fitandfree #setbacks #keeppressing #walking #cardio #3poudweights #burnbodyfat

Simply Water

Since so much has happened since my last blog post, I am going to delve right into my story. You all may have realized by now that I love blogging my experiences. I am not a nutritionist, a fitness guru or things alike. I can not render medical advice in any way, nor can I tell you what works best for YOU. But what I can tell you is what I have learned, things I have experienced and both the positive and negative effects and changes  I have noticed as I continue on the path to being physically fit and holistically free.

Since my last blog post, there were some days that I did not consume as much water as I typically consume on any given day. As a result of that day’s water shortage, I noticed being incredibly bloated, having an extremely dry mouth and going to relieve myself of waste seemed to have taken a bit more effort than usual. Drinking the recommended dietary allowances of water helps with that. I learned in anatomy and physiology class that we are composed of 72% water, which helps with eliminating waste, removing bacteria from my system, hydration, lubricating joints and a plethora of other healthy benefits. Click the link to find other benefits of water according to the USCG.

I hope you had a chance to click the link to learn more about the healthy benefits of drinking water.

As I stated, there were a couple of days that my water intake was completely off. So were some of my body’s functions. Typically, my water regimen begins shortly after I arise each morning and continues through out the day. I begin my intake with about 8 ounces of warm water. I try to avoid really cold water in the mornings because cold water on an empty stomach does not agree with me. Warm water helps the digestion system and gets it flowing. At least that has been my observation. I love water. It is a part of my regimen that helps keep me healthy and strong.

When I am not drinking as much water, my body becomes bloated, I feel incredibly swollen, my feet, legs and hands swell and I feel completely awful. It feels as if I have gained 30 pounds. What a horrific feeling!

What am I saying? In a nutshell, water is important. You can’t live without it. And you should remember to get in your recommended dietary allowance of it. Some suggest 64 ounces per day are enough. Others suggest you should drink half your body weight. I try to adhere to the latter. Water is to my well being as breath is to the air I breath that gives me life. Can you see the importance here? Water is good! Water is refreshing! I drink water all the time! I encourage you to do so too!

#water #hydration #h20 #oxygen #hydrogen 20170405_102115



Walking Walking & More Walking

In the midst of life happening over the past nearly 2 months, my workouts have shifted from structured to unstructured. Due to temporarily not having a vehicle, I was forced to do more walking than usual. I walked everywhere. I walked to the store. I walked to take the kids to school. I walked to the bank. I walked to pick the kids up from school. Walking, walking and more walking. While I did not get in my Leslie Sansone or Beto Perez workouts, I did get in walking.   I noticed that the more I walked, the longer and farther I was able to walk. I also noticed my agility was off the chain. Springing up from a sitting position was seamless. While I missed my multi-moving walks with Leslie, I enjoyed distance walking. Walking is good for the heart. Distance walking is good for your stamina. But multi-muscle moving workouts get the whole body working.

While walking is wonderful, I’ve learned in the absence of structured workouts that move your total body, the joints get stiff, your muscles ache. Your agility becomes compromised and suddenly you are no longer able to stand as swiftly as you once could.

Being fitandfree is a process. Some weeks are not as productive as others. But as long as you keep pressing and being deliberate, you will prevail. And remember, it’s not all about working out, ensure to add healthy choices to your work outs so that you are being healthy and not just looking to drop a few pants and/or dress sizes. Be deliberate, be physically fit and holistically free.

As for me, IMAG0875I have bounced back in the swing of things and life has stabilized again. I got in 4 miles with Leslie Sansone yesterday. I felt amazing! I am thankful for it all! Walking, Walking and More Walking. But also, moving multi muscles, and getting fitandfree!





Going Green

It is not at all unusual for me to replace at least one meal per day with a delicious healthy smoothie which usually consists of kale greens, spinach, a banana, flax seeds and water. It sounds undesirable. But it is actually very pleasing to the palette. And not to mention healthy, and loaded with plenty vitamins and minerals needed to help with proper nourishment for ordinary daily functions of the body.

Last week, I decided to “Go Green”. I decided for the very first time that I would have a smoothie that consisted of only kale greens (both green and red) and water. I highly anticipated the smoothie to be completely nasty, yet a good and healthy choice for me for that day, at that time.

To my surprise, it was good! Not delicious. But good. It was something I could definitely get used to having. “Going Green” was not as bad as I had imagined it would be. Now, don’t be misled, I am a vegetarian, so being green is already a part of my every day diet. But going completely green in a smoothie without a fruit sweetener was non-chartered territory.

Let’s  face it, when consuming food, be it liquid or solid, we want our food to be delectable. We want to feel the texture of the food on our tongues. We desire it to be tasty and delicious to the palette. But sometimes, what tastes good to you, may not always be what is good for you.

Growing up in our parents households as children, our meals were the exact opposite of the meal I described above, and often included, meat for protein, a carbohydrate (or two) for starch and some type of vegetable (for vitamins and minerals). At the end, you were given some type of beverage to wash it all down. And in some cases, you were given dessert. Never did your parents consider “Going Green” as a meal option.

In fact, “going green,” and not just by way of green smoothies, has so many health benefits. According to, going green, reduces the chances of getting the diseases of the Western World such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, toxin build up, obesity, et al. All of which seem to be taking over the health of many Americans.

As I stated earlier, meals in my household included the traditional governmental recommended dietary allowances, that we were all taught were healthy by American standards in our society. But I have learned that the very meals that we considered to be normal and healthy, are actually very abnormal and unhealthy. But that’s a different blog for a different day.

Since I now know that “going green” gives me all the vitamins and minerals I need, (well, I have to ensure that I am taking in vitamins d and b12), I find ways to make it palatable and doable. Delectable even. It is actually exciting and so amazing to find so many healthier alternatives to animal products and chemically laden, unhealthy processed foods. I am exploring the healthy stuff and getting more than my share of calcium, vitamins a, k, c and e, living healthy and feeling better.

I can feel the affects and benefits of a clean, plant-based lifestyle. I feel healthy and quite amazing! I am even dropping a few pounds as a result it seems. I am Cassandra. And I am feeling healthy, fitandfree!  And I am not ashamed to admit that I am quite excited to be “Going Green!”

#cleaneating #plantbasedlifestyle #vitamins #minerals #healthy

Resting versus Pressing

Typically when I am going through the process of PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome), I have noticed that my body goes through a tremendous ordeal. I find that I am incredibly fatigued. I have to go to the rest room more times than I care to share. My body retains what seems to be 30 pounds of fluid (actually around 10). My breasts ache. My head pounds intermittently. My back aches. And honestly, all I desire to do are the bare minimal and rest. Since I hold myself to a certain fitness regimen and schedule, this is a humongous interference and inconvenience with getting my work outs in and feeling great. After all, it is my endeavor to be fitandfree right!?

I am learning that even though my mind may suggests “get those work outs in. You do not want to regress”. My body says that I need to engage in “resting versus pressing”! And I have according to how lethargic I feel, I have to agree! PMS and the menstrual cycle is just that, a monthly cycle that women have to go through to thicken and shed the lining of the uterus, the cleansing process and preparing the body for reproduction. The egg is being released from the ovaries, travelling through the  fallopian tubes (whether fertilization occurs or not), hormones are being released, estrogen increased and well, you are probably familiar with the whole process. Overall, a lot is happening as the body is preparing itself for reproduction (even if it does not occur). And often times for me, I am totally exhausted many months as a result of it. This exhaustion coupled with exercise, no matter how sincere your commitment, can lead to over exhaustion and set backs.

While in the past, I have tried not to give in to, but press past the fatigue,  I found that it is more advantageous for me to “rest than press” during that most sensitive time for a woman’s body. There has been times when I have pressed, and afterwards suffered even more lethargy than energy. I learned the hard way.

I am learning to listen to, and be in tuned with my body and its signals. And that, that too is part of being “physically fit and holistically free.” If the body says rest, then I should rest. When it is feeling better, then, and only then, am I free to be ME. Although, getting the required rest at the most sensitive times in my existence, is being the best “fit” me that I can be. Being “fit” is not all about working out, cardio, strength training and HITT. It is also about taking the time out and nurturing the body through not only exercise, but also, by “resting versus pressing” and engaging in activity that benefits you both physically and holistically.

As my motto goes: “be deliberate…be fitandfree”! imag0699

Walking, Side Steps Kick backs and Knee Lifts

Since the new year typically brings a sense of starting over, re-commitment, new beginnings and dedication, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to revisit “MY WHY”.  The year has changed, and resolutions and commitments of others have changed, but the reason why I’ do what I do has not changed.

I have always been cognizant of being physically fit. I have engaged in exercise programs from Billy Blanks’ Boot Camps, to working out at the gym and to walking and jogging the local out door neighborhood tracks. But it was not until after I suffered with gestational diabetes with both of my children (thank God it went away after both births), enduring the horrific experience of ithe highs and lows of blood sugar levels, injecting myself with insulin twice per day until delivery for both births, and having to control my diet with limited calories and carbs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and to top it all off,  once I overcame the whole gestational diabetic experience, ballooning up to a hefty size 18 in some cases, and a whopping 224 pounds, yes, I said a whopping 224 pounds, (the largest I had ever been in my entire life pre and post pregnancy), did I began getting really serious about taking back control of my weight and getting in a much more healthier state of being. I was definitely not “physically fit, nor holistically free”. My stamina and endurance were tremendously compromised during that time.  Summer months were hot and miserable. While winter months brought on feelings of heaviness and being overly stuffed in all of my winter gear. Needless to say,  I was miserable! For an elongated testimony of what led me to the title of this blog, ‘Walking, Side Steps, Kickbacks and Knee lifts,” you’ll have to click the link at the end of this blog to view my youtube video on “What is My Why”.

In my efforts of taking back my health and getting my weight under control, I added faithful and consistent walking to my regimen. Which after so long, led me to a walk at home program led by my walking coach, the infamous Ms. Leslie Sansone!

If you know and have been walking Leslie’s way, then you are aware that “Walking, Side Steps, Kick Backs and Knee Lifts, are four key moves that are incorporated to help you “walk yourselves strong, happy and lean!”

Those four moves help to strengthen your glutes, ham strings, thigh muscles and calves! Not to mention help to burn hundreds of calories and yield thousands of steps, to help get you in the leanest, best shape possible. Walking Leslie’s way is so healthy. It is a multi- muscle burning workout that  is so healthy for your heart, mind and body!

 I try to consistently get in at least 3-4 work outs per week. Some times that number decreases and/ or increases depending on what life’s necessary distractions may bring. My weekly goal is to have that number to increase more and decrease less and less. But consistency is key! With a 10,000 minimal steps per day goal, and a 3-5 workout per week goal,  I have made walking an intricate part of my life.  Therefore, it  is not surprising that I have adopted Leslie Sansone as my walking coach and have opted to Walk, Side Step, Knee Lift and  Kick Back my way into a leaner healthier me!

Here’s the program I’m working now. Today, I got in 4.25 miles! I felt amazing! You can join me if you desire so that you too can walk yourself strong!


Here’s the link I promised if you desire to hear me testify of Why I launched my weight loss journey.



Getting My Act Together

Last year, I decided that I wanted to take being fitandfree to a whole new level. Since working out has become intricately woven into my lifestyle, brings me great joy, and has led to a plethora people soliciting my advice on being fit and healthy. I decided it would be advantageous for me to go on to secure the information and training and become the next certified Group Exercise Instructor (GEI).

To that end, I did some research to ascertain information on the certification process, who to become certified with and where to go to delve into the necessary training.

Since I am a huge fan of my walking coach Leslie Sansone, and found that she received her certification through the American College of Sports Medicine, I thought that would be a good place to start.

In my research, I soon learned that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the cream of the crop when it comes to fitness certifications. I even found that once you are certified through the American College of Sports Medicine, securing a Group Exercise Instructor position is pretty seamless. As an ACSM certification is widely recognized in the world of fitness.

So after researching the process, I found that I needed to study the following manuals in preparation for the exam. Which costs a whopping $200 plus. I know! Sort of steep! At least to my pocketbook. lol.

But the following manuals are what I needed to obtain for studying purposes. So I headed straight to Amazon to make my purchase!




Not only did I find that I needed to take a test to become certified to teach people how to be fitandfree. I also discovered that I needed to be certified in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me.

After having secured all the necessary information, I began studying for my test.  I even checked out more American College of Sports Medicine Books from the library to further assist with learning all the information and taking it all in. Here is one of the library’s books I checked out to assist with that endeavor:


As you can see, I am very serious about this!

While I was super excited about getting my goal underway. I faced one barrier to getting it all done. That barrier was TIME. With all of life’s other obligations, this one got planned forward to a later time. But that’s okay.

Since this is the start of a new year, and is the time when we all begin setting goals and planning for the days, weeks and months ahead,  I thought now would be as good a time as any to work this important endeavor into my long-term list of important things to do this year.

And if I plan on being the next Group Exercise Instructor (GEI as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine) I had better organize myself, and begin GETTING MY ACT TOGETHER!

Even though this goal got planned forward last year to this year, I am excited to currently make it a priority on my list of things to do, to have accomplished in the next 7 months. Yes 7 months! It takes a while to study and ensure that you are beyond prepared.

That being said, I solicit  your prayers and blessings as I begin Getting My Act Together to achieve my goal of becoming the Next Group Exercise Instructor! 

#groupexerciseinstructor #americancollegesportsmedicinecertification #cardio #anglinfitandfree #servetohelpothersbecomefitandfree #physicallyfitholisticallyfree #walkingcoach #lesliesansone #cprcertification #library #amazon