Untitled design (8)It’s Tuesday (but feels like Monday) after a holiday weekend. One thing I love about taking a break from the normal is the chance to focus on those whose memory and sacrifice we honor and enjoy time with friends and family. Often, we travel, hang out, try new activities, and eat all the food.

Coming back into daily life for some may be accompanied with guilt over an over-indulgent weekend. “I have to work off what I ate this weekend with extra cardio” or “I deserve this dessert because I killed it at the gym today” or “I can’t believe I ate that; tomorrow I’ll eat just salad all day.” We use food as reward or let it control our worth. We beat ourselves up or joke about having to work extra hard to burn off the burgers and beer from the day before.

…But what if we just enjoyed the burger and beer? With nothing attached? No justification or guilt over consuming them and simultaneously, no obsessive pleasure, either? Just had a burger and called it good while still being conscious of our health and fitness goals. This means we don’t give food more power than what it deserves – positive or negative. It means knowing that eating a greasy burger and having beer all.the.time won’t serve your health and fitness goals but – for you – might have a place in personal satisfaction and a moderate lifestyle. It’s our goal at Valeo that you, our members and readers, have a healthy relationship with food. It’s why you might see us (your trainers) out enjoying fodder and libations on a Friday night. This may mean you enjoying a burger and beer on Monday and then getting back to choosing foods that are more in line with your goals out of enjoyment, not guilt. It means trusting yourself.

Similarly, we often use exercise as punishment. It’s a philosophy that’s been instilled in us since we were young: Consequence for missing the mark or disobeying during sport practice? Take a lap! Give me 10 push-ups! Exercise becomes the thing that is the.worst.ever.consequence. No wonder we grow up thinking sweating, moving, and being uncomfortable during activity is such a negative chore.

Much disdain toward exercise may be because it’s viewed as hard work. We don’t know where to begin, so we…don’t begin. We don’t always know what will best serve our goals, so why do it anyway? For these reasons, we’re pretty passionate over here about taking away some of the hard work for you. Every Semi-Private member is greeted with their exercise program customized just for them each time they walk through our doors. We open the sessions for up to three people at a time to keep the energy high and conversations between sets fun. We specialize in the most effective form of metabolism-boosting activity (strength training, btw) so you can experience more freedom in what you choose to do the rest of the day.

While other gyms may be flooding your inner dialogue with a “you did something bad, now you need to punish yourself” mentality (hint – it’s evvvvvvverywhere), we hope you find Valeo to be a place where the hard work of exercise is enjoyable because you’re awesome and your body is strong and you are so capable and worthy of all the good things exercise does for you.

So, as you strengthen this mindset muscle of eliminating the “food as reward / exercise as punishment” mantra, may your chia seeds, kale, appropriate portions and occasional burger be delicious and your exercise endorphins strong.

Cheers to a strong, powerful, effective life!

Jess + Team Valeo


  1. Ashley Martz June 1, 2016 at 1:21 am

    Awesome truths here Jess!!! Working on this myself!! I want to get so much better at this so that u can be a positive reinforcer for my children and teach them early to have a positive relationship with food!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Joni Owen June 8, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you Jess! I have never really thought about the reward/guilt/punishment before. I needed this lesson before I head to MI to be with my family. I will savor the moments, not mentally add up the calories and let guilt tarnish the memories. What we eat is a life style, not a dictator. Thank you!

  3. Corrie June 8, 2016 at 4:59 pm


    Wonderfully written, friend! Wish we could train together! 🙂

    • Jessica Luepke June 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Thank you, my friend. That would be a dream!! Next time you’re in Michigan, let’s hit the studio!

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