Ask the Expert – Erin Holt – September


Q: I have been hearing a lot of buzz about chia seeds lately. Can you tell me what the hype is all about?

A: Chia is one of the most powerful and nutrient dense superfoods in the world. Chia seeds were a mainstay in Mayan and Aztec diets and are emerging again due to their incredible health benefits. Below are a few reasons why chia seeds are a staple of my own diet and active lifestyle.

Nutritional facts about chia seeds:


  • The chia seed is an exceptionally nutritious food packed with high levels of bioavailable (easily digested) omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, and much more.
  • Chia seeds are slimming! The unique gelling action of their mucilaginous fiber keeps you pleasantly full for hours while the fiber keeps the digestive tract functioning at an optimal level. With proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients, we sleep better, shed unnecessary weight, and feel physically and emotionally lighter, partly because we are not weighed down by undigested food in the colon.
  • Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants that help prevent infections and boost immunity.
  • Chia seeds have a very mild flavor so they can be paired with tastes your palate enjoys, whether smoothies, salads, sauces, etc.
  • Each seed soaks up to ten times its weight, so when inside your body, the seeds help you stay hydrated longer and retain electrolytes.
  • Also known as the “Indian running food,” chia seeds enhance endurance and have been used by indigenous cultures for centuries.
  • They’re regenerating!Due to the ease in digestion and assimilation, their nutrients travel very quickly to our cells to help replenish and repair them.

More than just hype, these seemingly simple seeds are the real deal and can be purchased prepacked or in bulk at local health and nutrition stores such as Whole Foods, Lazy Acres, and Lassens Natural Foods & Vitamins.

A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and TPI fitness professional,Erin Desharnaisalso holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of New Hampshire.

More than a runner’s high; it’s a runner’s therapy

You may already have noticed that you feel calmer and less anxious after a run. Studies show that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and beta-endorphin. These neurotransmitters can elevate your mood and help reduce depression. Madhukar Trivedi, M.D.’s research shows that therapeutic benefits of exercise increases with intensity. Running at a moderate to high intensity for 30 to 35 minutes, three or four times a week, is most effective for getting rid of your blues and irritability.

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Taking on Tunnel

Hike of the Month: Tunnel Trail 

Length of the Trail: 10.5 miles round trip

Elevation: Approximately 3,000 feet

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

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Ask the Expert – Erin Desharnais – November


Q: What’s your number one tip for becoming a successful fitness professional?

A: The number one reason I have been lucky enough to have a fulfilling (and busy) career as a fitness professional is because I am fluent in being personable. I remember people’s names and something about them such as what sport they play, how many kids they have, or the name of their spouse to name a few.

In Dale Carnegie’s classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he states the following: “Remember that a person’s name is to that a person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment. But forget it, or misspell it, and you have placed yourself at a sharp disadvantage.”


Take a minute to think about a time when someone called you by the wrong name or kept asking your name. I bet the negative impact on you was huge. Now, think how good it feels when someone remembers and uses your name! You feel that your important to them and that they care about you as a person.

If you really want to connect with people, remember their names and something about them. The ripple effect of being fluent in being personable is massive. It enables me to give encouragement and feedback that’s specific to my clients as well as earn their trust. In turn, they’re willing to work harder since they know I care about them and their goals, and that leads to better results.

The key is being able to balance hard work, determination, passion, and fun, all with a personable approach. This is always a work in progress but, in my opinion, connecting with people is an invaluable asset and critical to a successful career as a fitness professional.

A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and TPI fitness professional, Erin Desharnais also holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of New Hampshire.

You have back pain? You’re not alone

There are reasons why 80% of our population will experience significant back pain at some point in our lives. Humans are built with great weight distribution that allows us a lot of mobility and dexterity, but there is a spot in our body that eventually pays the price for this: the low back. The weight above the waist needs to be transferred and supported by the lower body, and the low back works the hardest to make this happen. Another reason is that we’ve become a society that presents few physical challenges on a day-to-day basis. We sit for meals, sit in a car to and from work, sit at work, then again in front of the TV or computer at night. Some of this sitting is obviously necessary, but if you don’t counteract this sitting with physical challenges, problems inevitably arise. Sitting turns off the muscles of the low back when we should be turning them on and keeping them strong to avoid serious pain.

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10 Tips for Better Health

1. Exercise.

We all know we should exercise regularly, but exercise can help with things you never suspected. Leslie Shinkle, an ACE certified instructor at the YMCA, reminds us that, “exercise boosts our self-confidence and allows us to perform daily tasks easier.” Even housework can help. Leslie recommends adding lunges while you vacuum or curls while you carry your groceries. “Anything to get you off the couch is a positive step towards health.”

2. Supplements.

No matter how much “good food” we consume we are just not getting the nutrients we require. A multi-vitamin and mineral formula keeps our body functioning properly and can curb food cravings. Add amino acids, most of which we can’t produce ourselves and are needed for many processes in the body.

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