Body Image Issues And Why I Stopped Doing Fitness Testing

Recently one of my ladies brought up this study, which led to a conversation about body image during Pilates class. We (I include myself) are a chatty bunch and I do my best to keep my group focused and moving, while allowing them to socialize and have a few laughs. If things get to out of control I throw the hundreds/ criss cross/ scissors combo at them and the room gets real quiet real quick.

Back to the study, which showed that sixty seconds of exposure to either a “plus size” or a skinny model can affect our perception of beauty. See a bigger person and bigger people are more attractive to you. See a skinny model and skinny starts looking good (I am paraphrasing, follow the link above to watch the three minute video). Being aware of how the images we see can affect our perception of beauty may help us (and our daughters) develop a healthy body image.

My legs are strong vs. my butt is jiggly.

As a personal trainer I help my clients establish goals to track their progress. “I want to feel better” is vague. “I want to to fit into this pair of pants by August” is specific and measurable. Prior to 2012 I took all of my clients through fitness tests that included push ups, sit ups and a waist measurement. In 2012 I stopped doing these.

anne waist measurement

Here’s why: My clients had been complaining about the push ups (I nodded, smiled and ignored these complaints) but when they complained about the waist measurements I started asking questions. I found out these tests were not being viewed, as I had hoped, as a benchmark for success. They just made my ladies feel bad about themselves and dread test day – who needs that?

While I have not quit doing these entirely, the tests are no longer standard practice. When a new client comes in we discuss her health history, establish her goals, and our plan of action. When it is appropriate I will offer certain strength and cardio tests which may include stairs, a plank hold or push ups, wall sits or squats, and – if they request it – a waist measurement.

Val Squat 2.13

I want my clients to feel successful. This “success” varies depending each client and each session. One day they may push their limits, cursing and sweating through a grueling workout, the next session may include quiet release work done lying on the floor (which can be just as challenging in a different way).

When my clients leave feeling positive about their bodies I feel successful.

How do you feel about body image and fitness? Let me know in the comments below.


Anne McCranie is a Portland, Oregon based personal trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She works with her clients one on one and in small groups using a combination of movement + massage to aid in pain relief, stress relief and improve muscle and joint function. Contact her today for your complimentary consultation.

Three Tips For Healthy Weight Loss

Looking to shape up for spring? Try these three weight loss tips:

  1. Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy foods, 20% fun. It is a lot easier to sustain a healthy diet if you know you have a cocktail or sweet treat waiting for you at the end of the week. No need to give up your favorite foods entirely, in fact if you allow yourself the occasional indulgence you will feel less deprived and be more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan.
  2. Replace “I have to” with “I choose to”. No one is holding a gun to your head and telling you to eat a salad. What is your goal? Smaller pant size, toned arms, having the same amount of energy you did in your 20’s? Keep your end result in mind when choosing what you eat, how you spend your time (and who you spend your time with).
  3. Get plenty of sleep. Studies show that those who sleep less often weigh more. While every body is different most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Trouble sleeping? Try going to bed at the same time each night, limit booze and caffeine, especially right before bed. Turn lights (including electronics) down in the evening to let your brain know you are about to snooze.

What tips have you used to reach your fitness or weight loss goals?


Anne McCranie is a Portland Oregon based Personal Trainer and Licensed Massage Therapist. She works with her clients one on one and in small groups utilizing a combination of Movement + Massage to help them reach their fitness goals. Need help establishing or sticking to your plan? Contact her today for a free consultation (503) 705-4762

F.I.T. Functional Interval Training Class This Friday at 9 am

Are you off this week? Come on down to FIT Class Friday at 9 am at Sellwood Yoga’s Align Fitness Studio.




The hour will fly by as we start with Pam’s signature warm up, followed by quick one minute intervals using weights, bands, kettlebells and our own body weight (think lunge rows, burpies, squat kicks..). We finish with core work (of course) and long luxurious stretches for your hips, shoulders, back and legs.  A fun and fast workout that will leave you feeling sweaty, strong and stretched!

Who: You

What: FIT Class – cardio and strength intervals

When: Friday March 29th, 9 am to 10 am

Where: Align Fitness Studio *(see note below)

Why: To look and feel your best!


Preregister for class here:

This is a one time gig for me not a regular class that I teach. I am subbing for Pam who is on vacation this week.


About Align Fitness studio: This is the newly opened sister studio to Sellwood Yoga. It is located upstairs in the same building as the bike shop, Sellwood Cycle Repair. You enter the building through a door on North Side using a key code. (If you stand on the southwest corner of 13th and Miller and turn around and look back at the big brick red colored building behind you it is the door on the right).


Call Anne for the code or with any questions about the class (503) 705-4762.

Happy New Year! Five Tips For Goal Setting

Happy 2013 to you and your family!

What are your health and fitness goals for this year? Here are a few tips to get you where you want to be:

1. Look at the big picture. What is it you want to accomplish this year and how will you feel when you meet your goals? When you start to veer off track keep your big picture in mind.

2. Set specific, realistic goals. “I’m never eating dessert again” feels a lot different than saying “I am going to limit my sweets to a small portion of my favorite dessert once a week”.

3. Speak in the present tense. I am healthy, I feel energized, I surround myself with positive, loving people. By saying “One day I will be this way…” you are keeping your goal at arms length. Visualize yourself as this new and improved person.

4. Reward yourself. Make it to all of your workouts this week? Get yourself a pedi, or meet a friend for a movie.

5. Focus on what you can control. While you may not be able to magically move the number on the scale or instantly lower your stress level, you can control the foods you eat, the people your surround yourself with, your activity level, and your self talk.

Need help setting your 2013 goals? Contact Anne today for a little push in the right direction.


Anne McCranie is a Portland, Oregon based personal trainer and massage therapist. She can be reached at (503) 705-4762 or

8 Fat Free Foods You Should Avoid

If you are trying to loose weight you may think that fat free foods are “healthier” and will aid in weight loss. Not according to the latest research. This article from Women’s Day suggests fat free foods are often loaded with chemicals and may cause sugar cravings and weight gain. When fat is removed from foods something must be added to give the foods a nice flavor and texture, usually sugar, salt and in the case of fat free chips fat-mimicking chemicals that can cause intestinal cramps, gas and diarrhea. Yuck.

I suggest you avoid the fat free versions of the following: salad dressing, peanut butter, dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream), packaged cookies and chips and frozen meals.

Let’s look at salad dressings. Researchers from Purdue University found that while fat-free dressings are lower in calories than fat-based dressings, they block absorption of fruits’ and veggies’ nutrients, while dressings made with monounsaturated fats (from olive oil for instance) boosted the absorption of the veggies’ nutrients.

To make a quick and easy dressing at home whip together one crushed garlic clove, a few tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, salt and pepper and a small handful of fresh herbs (I am a fan of thyme).


When shopping for nut butters, look for natural versions with no added sugar.

I like this raw almond butter from Trader Joe’s. The ingredient list – almonds.

How about fat free dairy? Again fat helps your body absorb nutrients and by taking out the fat something has to be added to keep the creamy consistency, usually sugars and stabilizers. I like full fat Greek yogurt because it is high in protein and low in sugar.

When it comes to snack foods like cookies, chips, frozen meals you are better off avoiding them altogether. If you are hit with a cookie craving look for ones with the least amount of ingredients (and you should be able to pronounce them). You will feel more satisfied with one or two cookies made from real ingredients than the dry tasteless fat free versions. When it comes to chips again look for a short ingredient list – corn and salt – and portion the amount you plan on eating in a bowl instead of snacking straight from the bag. Frozen meals can be useful in a pinch however they are loaded with salt. You are much better off preparing a large batch of food on the weekends and freezing individual serving sizes for later in the week. I do this with brown rice, beans, soups, meats, etc…

What are your favorite healthy eating tips?