Monthly Archives: November 2015

Client Spotlight – Andrew Kelso – From Refereeing to Recovering from Knee Surgery



This isn’t your “I lost this many pounds or ran a marathon” kind of spotlight.  No, this one is very different.  Inspiring in a whole new way.   Andrew came to me for training over a year ago, and then we had very different goals.  Things happened, and his goals changed significantly.  This is a life-chaning in a much different way – spotlight on someone re-habing, recovering and rockin’ it.

It’s coming up on a year from when Andrew had a major knee surgery, and his progress has been amazing.  I went away last year for a few days and got a text from Andrew saying the words a trainer never wants to hear – I have to have knee surgery…  UGH.  He made it through the surgery just fine and then started training with one of my favorite physical therapists – Perry Hamilton at Pro Motion Physical Therapy.  Check him out!

After finishing all of his major PT, Andrew was ready to come back to me to try to help him gain even more functionality back, and that’s EXACTLY what he’s done.  It’s been an honor to work with someone in this way – to actually SEE him be able to do step ups on his “bad” leg, to be able to go up and down stairs with weights and now even running!!  He has brought tears to my eyes several times seeing how far he’s progressed.

Andrew comes in weekly and never complains.  No matter how hard the exercise is that I give him or whether or not he believes his knee will do it – he always tries and always conquers it.  Andrew, thank you for training with me, for working so hard, for an always positive attitude, and for making such huge strides (literally and figuratively)!!  Happy basketball reffing season, and this time – NO INJURIES!!  🙂

Here’s a little more about Andrew and his journey…

-Tell me about you, your surgery and the story behind your injury.  


I am a TSSAA High School Basketball Referee during the months of November through mid February. I am continuously on the highways traveling to high schools from Spring Hill to Portland to Macon County to Henry Countyduring that time. I’ve been doing this for 9 years now and enjoy this time of the year immensely. Every now and then we referees get hurt during a game..

So I was refereeing a game at West Creek High School on November 14th, 2014 when during the girls basketball game, and I turned quickly on a fast break and heard the infamous “pop” on the left knee. I feared the worse and knew I was in trouble. The next day I went to Dr. Chad Price at Elite Sports Medicine and had the MRI and was told I needed surgery. Dr. Price didn’t know the extent of the injury until he was able to get into the knee itself. After waking up from the procedure; I was told it was a Micro facture of the knee. A Micro fracture is where they make new cartilage from blood in your knee area. The recovery is brutal with 6 weeks of no weight bearing so I was stuck on crutches for that time and started physical therapy as well. Physical therapy was tough for me as I had to learn to walk again and build back muscle that had been dormant for the 6 weeks while I was on crutches.  

-How long have you been in therapy and whats the recovery like?

I spent 8 months recovering from this injury and learned so much about myself. I realized we should not sweat the small stuff and appreciate what we have. I remember falling multiple times during my time on crutches but every time I fell, someone was there to help me back up. Strangers would stop what they were doing and come to my aid. I’ve learned that people out in our world today deep down really do care. They helped me up, opened the door and showed a side of compassion that I thought had been lost from our society. It took me getting hurt to better understand that compassion still exists out there in our community.


-What have you learned from going through this?

Today, I am able to do the daily activities that allow me to appreciate walking up steps, jogging and feeling the complete normalcy of daily living. Most hate doing those daily activities but I’ve learned to appreciate them and to not take the small things for granted. Without the training that  I get once a week from Megan, my leg wouldn’t be where it is today. I have strengthened it more in the last three months that I ever thought I would.


-How has training helped you?

As basketball season is about to kick off (next Tuesday is my first game back on the court) I can’t emphasize enough the importance of training. There were many days that I didn’t want to do or didn’t feel like going but I pushed myself to better me as a person by going to see Megan. I knew if I didn’t do this for me, I would not be able to succeed as a referee this coming season. I know I won’t be the same because of this injury but I know I have worked my tail off to try.



Pumpkin Polenta with Roasted Vegetables




This is just a pumpkiny, hearty, filling dish that I kept coming back to, but I ended up being SO full because it is so dang hearty!  Think cheese grits with pumpkin flavor topped with roasted veggies.  Are you mad about that?  Didn’t think so.

I treated myself to a spa day last week – complete with a massage, facial and pedi.  While I was in the waiting room, I checked out The Food Network magazine, which I used to get in the mail, and I found some good little dishes – this being one!  I didn’t really change anything besides using almond milk instead of regular milk.  All I had was vanilla almond milk, and it really gave it a sweet flavor that I loved.  I’m a fan of sweet and savory.  I also didn’t use quite as much pumpkin as it called for.  I didn’t want the pumpkin to overpower everything.  Feel free to add in more of the park or sage as well.

I think you’ll enjoy this dish as much as I did!  And now I have to go subscribe to the Food Network Magazine again.  🙂

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (about 4 cups)
1 pound cubed peeled butternut squash (about 3 cups)2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups almond milk
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/2 can of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), plus shaved parmesan, for topping
2 tablespoons unsalted butter2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer. Bake until tender and browned, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2-4 cups water, the milk and 1/2 teaspoons salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the polenta. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until creamy, about 6 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin. Cook, whisking, until warmed through, about 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan, butter and sage; season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with the roasted vegetables and shaved parmesan; drizzle with olive oil.

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili

 Ok, ok, ok, ok…. It’s FALL and it’s FOOTBALL season, so that means one thing – CHILI.  You heard me – chili.  I’ve already made this 2, maybe 3 times, and I have to say that it’s the  I found the original recipe on one of my favorite blogs – , and made just a few changes based on what I had available.  This one is super delicious, healthy, hearty and filling!  I love a good dish that you can just eat and eat and eat and not feel guilty about!
A perfect addition to any chili this football season is Chobani Greek Yogurt.
It’s a great alternative to sour cream, and waaaaay healthier!   So, go grab some Greek yogurt and all the goods to make this yummy and enjoy Sunday football!
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced, about 1½ cups
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (I like to use Trader Joe’s already cubed and ready!)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, and diced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle paste or powder
  • 1 teaspoon tomato and garlic spice (optional)
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-4  cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • juice of ½ to 1 lime
  • 2 packets of stevia
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, carrots, jalapeño, butternut squash, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables just start to become tender and the onion is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat if necessary.
  2. Add the chile powder, chipotle powder, and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and black beans and then add 3 cups of the vegetable broth. Simmer until the butternut squash and carrots are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add a big squeeze of lime. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and spices to your liking. If your chili is too spicy, stir in a small splash of apple cider vinegar. If it’s too thick, add another cup of broth.

*Additions – Chobani Greek yogurt, lime, avocado, pumpkin tortilla chips, cheese…  Add your favorites to the top!


GF and Vegan Pumpkin Maple Granola

Well, I decided to take on No Sweets November, so I’m having to find alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth that isn’t a baked good, ice cream or candy.  Yes, a personal trainer with a VERY sweet tooth.  (My dentist loves me.).
I had a sample of pumpkin spice granola at Trader Joe’s this weekend, bought some, and couldn’t stop eating it.  So, last night, I decided to make my own!  I love making my own food because I KNOW WHAT’S GOING IN IT!.
So, for a fall sweeter treat that doesn’t have sugar – try this out!!  I found the original recipe on The Minimalist Baker, but really adapted to make it my own.  I took out any sugar that was in there and just used maple syrup only as the sweetener.  Place your granola in a mason jar, and it will keep longer.  It also makes a beautiful holiday gift!  This morning I had it with vanilla coconut milk, but also goes great with Greek yogurt or just on it’s own!


  • 3 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ tsp of sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or sub agave or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F.
  2. Mix the oats, nuts, seeds, spices, and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin puree and whisk. Pour over the dry ingredients and quickly mix with a wooden spoon.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly onto two baking sheets (or bake in two batches) and bake for 23-33 minutes, stirring a bit near the halfway point. If you prefer chunkier granola, don’t stir as it breaks up the clusters. Instead, just rotate the pans at the halfway point to ensure even cooking.
  5. Once the granola is golden brown (usually about 25 minutes), remove from oven and let cool completely. It will crisp up as it cools.  Add in 1/2 cup of dried cranberries.
  6. Transfer to an airtight container. Should keep for a couple weeks. Enjoy with almond milk, dairy-free yogurt, or on top of oats!