Fitness to a Science with Alex

Meet Alexandra Bernardin  

Huntington Beach, CA

Kilo Strength Society Elite Trainer



So, you’ve got the gym routine down. You eat pretty well too… but, you just aren’t seeing the results? Or you just want to get next level?  Sounds like it’s time to mix a little bit of science into your fitness routine and Alex is exactly what you’re looking for.

I’m always amazed by the things I learn when I walk into a gym with a new expert. Alex served up so much technically specific knowledge during my time with her. From her vocabulary to her understanding of each persons unique physiology. It was a blast exploring all that Kilo (her state of the art gym) has to offer. She exudes an inspiring strength and positive energy. She takes her clients progress seriously but don’t be fooled into thinking she’s a total drill Sargent! She’ll definitely get you laughing while you work out… a nice bonus for those abs!

Check out the video below to get a glimpse into my day of training with Alex:

Where are you from originally?
I’m from Montreal, Quebec actually.

What brought you out here to California?
I’ve been in the states for 12 years. I first worked in a private facility in St. Louis where we trained a lot of general population, but a lot of pro-athletes too. Then I moved to Rhode Island and I worked for a company where I was one of the educators. I was traveling the world teaching a certification to other trainers. After 4 years, my friends and I decided it was time to move on to our own thing and set up our own company!

We had always wanted to live in California so we said, why not!

What originally inspired you to become a personal trainer?
Well, my first degree was in nutrition (dietetics), it was very clinical by itself. I had also been a gymnast my whole life and I was a gymnastics coach. I’ve been coaching since I was 15. So, while doing the nutrition I got more into training and it allowed me to incorporate both of my passions. It was the best of both worlds.

What personal fitness goals do you have right now?
When I first started out I did fitness competitions, because I have the gymnastics background. I don’t even know if those types of shows still exist… The last two times I competed I did figure comps. I don’t know if I would want to compete again. As you get older you just want to stay as fit as possible.

The thing about strength is that it’s infinite. You can always get stronger there is no ceiling…

as long as you’re taking good care of your body! So my goal is to gain more strength.

What/Who has been your biggest fitness inspiration? 
My biggest mentor is Charles Poliquin. He is a fellow Quebecer. He is a strength coach. The way he taught me how to train people on more of a scientific basis, how to keep track of people’s progress, how to manipulate people’s programs, all of that was inspiring. Not just winging it. A lot of trainers, unfortunately, make their programs on the fly. Everything I do for my clients is very methodical. Also, I would say Monica Brant was a huge inspiration back in the day when she competed.

What kind of clients do you take on at Kilo Strength Society? 
We take on anyone! We have a variety of clients. Right now we have a 22 year old woman who had never trained before in her life. We also have an ex-NFL player who trains here. He loves the structure and the coaching.

What makes you unique as a trainer? Whats you’re training specialty? 
The coaching. Beyond just the reading. You can read all the coaching books you want… but, if you’re not in the gym perfecting the art of coaching your clients won’t progress. I put in a lot of hours in the gym over the last 20 years. Also my gymnastics background, precision of movement. All of that is definitely my strength.

What does a savage body mean to you?
Having a savage body to me is having strength.

I think strength is the new sexy.

It’s very empowering, especially for women. A lot of women tell me they want to get strong when they come to see me. Opposed to 10 years ago. They want to be able to do the big lifts! Teaching them correctly, they get the confidence to  able to do it. I think if you train for strength and you train properly the body follows. You have to eat well too though. It takes the focus away from just looking at the visual aspect of what your training is doing and it becomes more internal. It can drive you forever.

Where you can find Alex teaching

Huntington Beach, CA

Lets get down, dog.

Meet Brooke Taylor

Huntington Beach, CA

Yoga Instructor & Apparel Designer



Today Brooke and I went down to the harbor for a vinyasa flow.

I’ve always been a big fan of yoga for its benefits spiritually and physically. Yoga as a whole is a great practice for getting in tune with your self. I love weights and grinding it out in the gym, but yoga adds a unique element to muscle conditioning. Most serious and even professional athletes will tell you, yoga is one hell of a challenge.

Watch as Brooke breaks down three poses she believes are essential to a good yoga practice and get a peek of her boutique on wheels!

Here’s what Brooke had to say when we sat down to talk about her yoga experience…

Why did you get into yoga?
“I got into it because I had ADHD and it was really difficult for me to focus. I used yoga to gain focus and piece of mind. The mental and physical work out really interested me. Also, I was a figure skater and it was my off ice training.

I ended up liking yoga more than skating to be honest. “

“What do you hope your yogis get out of your class?”

“I hope they leave at ease. With peace of mind. Ready to take on their day with new strength. With lean bodies and centered minds. My favorite thing is to see yogis in savasana in my class. So relaxed.”

“You’re a vegan… Tell me a little bit about how that has impacted your practice?”

“I feel more energized, healthier, lighter. My skin is clearer. I think I became a vegan through yoga, because yoga taught me to be a more compassionate person. One of the 8 limbs of yoga is ahimsa, which stands for non violence. With that mind-set I’m just a much happier person.”

“Being vegan isn’t easy, but you make it sound so awesome. What advice do you have for people who are interested in making that lifestyle change?”

“If you think you might be interested in it, great! Just don’t jump into it. I was a vegetarian for 9 years. Becoming vegan is a process, but it’s definitely a goal that you can attain. Take it on with baby steps. Meal plan! In today’s world it is a lot easier to be vegan. There are a lot of options if you do your research.”

The video above features us wearing

Check out some of my top picks from her line, including the “Samantha Set”, named after yours truly! Click to shop any of these looks!


Below are some of Brookes favorite vegan meals (click for details) 


Where you can find Brooke teaching

  • My Om Yoga Home

Huntington Beach, CA

  • Monicas HARD Yoga

Huntington Beach, CA

  • Equinox

Huntington Beach, CA

A Patriotic Pump, Fury – A Savage Body Pre-workout of choice


Have you been searching for something extra to boost your workout and your results?

I spent a long time working out with out using any kind of supplement. I didn’t want to take anything, because I was afraid of putting unnatural chemicals into my body. I was used to walking into supplement stores and leaving feeling completely confused about the products. The ingredients on the labels we’re so foreign to me. The testimonials seemed bought and paid for… I knew I wanted something authentic. I wanted something real. Something that would make me feel good during and after my workouts. That was when I discovered FSN Labs.
When I found Fury, I discovered I didn’t have to compromise my goal of remaining all natural while also enhancing my performance. To make it simple, I’ll break down into bullets why FSN Labs and Fury stood out to me.

  • Fury is 100% natural (just take a look at the table of ingredients)
  • Fury contains a total of 2.5 Grams of Creatine per scoop (powerfully concentrated)
  • FSN Labs is owned and operated by United States Veterans
  • Proceeds are donated to Veterans Relief fund each year

If you know me, you know how much our United States Military means to me. The fact that FSN Labs gives back to the men and women who serve our country makes it so much more than a run of the mill nutrition brand.


I’ve been fortunate to partner with FSN and they have agreed to offer the readers of A Savage Body 10%!

Use code SAVAGE10 for 10% off at checkout

FSN Labs, the makers of Fury…

Finally, a protein company I can stand behind.

Finding Strength with Syd

Meet Sydney Stephenson

Huntington Beach, CA

Personal/Group Trainer and Kickboxing Instructor

@sydforfitness &


This weeks feature is a little bit different than anything that’s been on the blog thus far. It touches on a very real, VERY important subject matter. In the interview below with Syd you will find great information about physical aspects of fitness, but you’ll also learn about the importance of developing and maintaining good mental fitness. Its easy to place all of the focus on our exterior when we spend so much time working on a fit physique, that’s why its important to remember that a healthy mind is crucial in achieving a savage body!

Before diving into the interview check out the video’s below, where I catch up with Sydney and she walks me through some of her favorite workouts!

Keep scrolling to find out how Sydney found her (inner) strength…

How did you get into personal training?
I’ve been an athlete my entire life. I started playing soccer when I was five years old. I quit soccer eventually to play water polo, which I played in college. I moved away from my home town to play at Long Beach State, which brought me to Southern California. I started working with a bootcamp in Long Beach which inspired me to get my certification. Recently, I achieved my goal of becoming an Equinox trainer! I had been gunning for that. It’s definitely the top level.

How would you say that your background in sports has impacted the way that you train your clients?
I know how to push my limits. Being a college athlete was a full time job. We would have 8 and 9 hour practices a day. Not straight, but in total. Its a lot. You think you want to quit, but your coach will push you past that to a point you never thought you could go.

What do you want your clients to know when they’re walking into the gym for the first time? What is a piece of advice you would give to them?
I would tell them to feel comfortable in their own body. There’s not a single perfect body in the world. Its difficult at times living in Southern California. You know? There’s lots of people that look like celebrities. But, there are also lots of normal people that have beautiful bodies, who are very strong and are great athletes.

A lot of people that look fabulous still have their own problems with their bodies. You never know what someone is feeling inside their own skin.

Do you personally follow any sort of diet while your training?
I do. I follow the 80/20 rule right now. Ive done all kinds of diets and they almost all work, but a lot of them can be strenuous on your brain. I think feeling my best is when I can eat what I want and don’t have to stress about it. So I make sure that about 80% of the time I’m watching what Im putting into my body. The other 20%, I eat what I want!

What are your personal fitness goals at the moment?
About two years ago I was training for a bikini competition, but I fell off and haven’t been able to get back to it. I would love to get back to that place where I would feel confident and comfortable enough to do a show.

Lastly, I have to ask, what does a savage body mean to you?
I would say that its the body that you can walk down the street and have 100% confidence in. The reason I fell off track from competing was because

I was battling an eating disorder.

I feel like it gives me a different view of things now. Like, what is a perfect body? Its not how I look. Its how I feel. Things like that. Everyday is a battle. The statistic is that 1 in 7 girls has an eating disorder. It’s ridiculous, but it’s not easy when you have goals of looking a certain way. I took a break to get healthy and I overcame my eating disorder.

*I had to stop and thank Sydney for sharing that personal detail. Her openness to share her own struggle truly impacts the care and emotional consideration with which she approaches her clients.*

Listening to Sydney talk about her struggle hit home for me, as I’m sure it will for so many readers. Its not an easy world out there. Theres so much pressure about what you think you should look like vs. what you actually do. I know there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t personally struggle with thoughts of comparison. Finding inner strength takes courage and hard work. I couldn’t appreciate Sydney more for sharing her story.

If you or someone you care about has an unhealthy relationship with food there are people that can provide you with a support system. Click here to get information about recovery. You’re never alone, its not a cliche phrase. It’s the truth.

Want to train with Sydney? Here’s where you can find her:

Sydneys Website

Huntington Beach, CA

Long Beach, CA

Mama said, knock you out.

Meet Mary Spiegl

Costa Mesa, CA

Boxing Instructor and Studying Dietition

@maryspiegl & @hooked_boxing


Ever wanted to feel like Rocky running up those infamous Philly stairs?

Have you pictured yourself wrapping up your hands before a champ knockout? Ever imagined what it would feel like standing in that roped ring like a total badass? Yeah, me too.

Up until I was introduced to Mary that was all just a really fun fantasy. Good news! This girl proves that the fantasy is attainable! That is, if you’re willing to work your ass off and put your whole heart into it! In just the short time I spent with Mary at American Gym in Costa Mesa I felt her dedication to the sport pour into me.

Mary taught me that you don’t have to want to become the next Mohammad Ali or be an incredible athlete to take up this sport. It’s about the desire to better yourself and grow, mentally and physically. Spend a little time with Mary and you may find yourself moving like a butterfly and stinging like a bee!

Curious about what goes on in a beginner boxing session? Watch as Mary goes over some of the fundamental moves with me:

How did this chick become a complete rockstar athlete in the ring? Check out our interview to find out how Mary got her start and more…

How did you get into boxing?
I played soccer from the age of five up until I was eighteen, when I faced an injury that ended my soccer career. After that I trained and I ran my first marathon… and I HATED it. I just needed something to do after that. A best friend of mine invited me to a boxing class for fun and it all took off from there!

How long have you been boxing now?
I’ve been coaching for about two years now, boxing for six.

Thats quite a while! What inspired you to take on coaching?
My best friend and mentor was making a big move to New York and it was time for me to step up to the plate and use my skills and knowledge.

So you kind of took over for him?
Yeah, at this same gym.

Thats pretty awesome. It’s cool that you want to share what you’ve learned with others. What would you say is the most beneficial lesson that you’ve learned from boxing?
What I learned from boxing, as a female especially, is a sense of security.

I know I have the ability to stand up for myself and take care of myself in certain situations.

I’ve gained self confidence. Especially living in a place like Newport Beach, where everyone is so focused on aesthetics. It’s cool to have a great body, but it’s REALLY awesome to have something behind it. Something deeper. It means more.

What would you say to someone thinking about trying boxing out for the first time?
Don’t be intimidated. Boxing gyms tend to give off that vibe. You’d be surprised by the support system we provide. Especially here at American gym. Come learn with us we’re nice!

Is there any misconception about boxing you’d like to debunk now?
It’s not just for men… and it is a controlled environment! A lot of mothers out there are concerned about their kids boxing and getting hurt, but there is a lot of supervision. Everyone around you wants to see you succeed.

They call it the sweet science for a reason.

Last, I’ve got to ask, what does having a savage body mean to you?
A savage body, I would say is the body you are most confident in. Something you’ve worked hard to get. A savage body would be your optimal body to achieve the things you want to do!

I have to say, Mary inspired me to find deeper purpose in my workouts. Working with her and seeing her dedication was contagious. Boxing is an art form and I left the gym with an new level of respect for the sport! I learned you don’t have to be angry to fight like a champion, but it is very therapeutic! Boxing is what you make it. Time and energy spent in the gym will result in tangible skill!

If you’re looking for an activity to sculpt your body, while also gaining self confidence and relieving stress, this workout might be perfect for you!

Want to train with Mary at American Gym?

Log on to Hooked Boxing and book a class or check out the American Gym class schedule!


True Grit, on the bike

Meet Molly

Costa Mesa, CA

Cycling Instructor & Freelance Apparel Designer

@joy_abundant • Reserve your ride here
Use code “gritstrong” to ride for free on your first visit!


I had the opportunity to saddle up on a bike with Miss Molly at Grit this afternoon.

I met Molly while we we’re both working for a California based clothing brand. She was in the midst of designing a Capsule Collection called “Good F*CKING Vibes.” One day in passing she invited me to train with her at her home cycling studio! I couldn’t believe this super rad, ultra talented designer was also just beginning her journey as a spin instructor! I was inspired. She knew I was an avid fitness junkie, but to be honest it took me over a month to take her up on her offer. I was unsure how I felt about cycling. From the pedals to the resistance dials, it was all very foreign to me! I had tried cycling twice in the past, it just didn’t seem like it was for me. Once I started up my blog I figured that it was the perfect time to give it another try. I couldn’t imagine a better motivator than Molly. When I finally arrived to the studio she instantly made me feel so at home! As I hopped onto the bike to start our interview she assisted me with my stirrups and made sure I was locked in and ready to go.

Before class got rolling, Molly showed me THREE of the KEY moves you’ll encounter in a cycling class. Watch the video below to check it out!

This was the nitty gritty from my chat with Molly after class…

“What inspired you to become a cycling instructor?”
“I guess it all started when I took my first cycling class. I got really into the workout and Grit Cycle was super close to my house. I started coming here. I saw how the instructors were motivating people and how awesome it was. I fell in love with the community and the music.”

“How long has cycling been a passion of yours?”
“Only about two years now. I’m pretty new to it. I was into boxing pretty heavily for 7 years. Then I hurt my hand and had to stop. After that I found cycling!”

“How is being on the bike different from other workouts you’ve tried?”
“It’s different because it’s cardio, but it’s also a full body workout because of the choreography. The energy is totally unique.

When the lights go down and the music goes off you get to reconnect to yourself. Spin is a giant dance party. “

“I definitely agree. I had taken a few cycling classes in regular (not cycling specific) gyms and I wasn’t that into it… but after taking your class my whole perspective of the workout has changed!” 

“What is your favorite part about training your clients? What results would you like to see them achieve?”
“My favorite part is when they come up to me after class and tell me it was challenging. If I challenge them I have a good feeling they’ll want to come back and if they come back they can grow.”

“What kind of a diet do you maintain outside of the cycling studio?”
“Balance! I aim for 80-20! I’ve been on a crazy smoothie kick lately and I’m trying a bunch of new stuff. I try to tell myself, pizza only once a week! Doesn’t always work out that way, but I do my best!”

“How important are the riding shoes, really?”
“It helps your ride so much! It changes everything! The choreography is so much safer with them, you don’t have to worry about slipping off the pedal, so you can go faster!”

“Last, I have to ask what does having a savage body mean to you?”
“Everyone is born different with different genes. If you are using your body to the best of your ability to complete your workouts and get it done, if you’re giving all you’ve got to achieve your goals, that is A Savage Body™.”

I have to say I had met a lot of people that we’re absolutely in love with cycling, but I just hadn’t caught the bug. This time was different. The lights in the studio fell dim, technicolor hues beamed from the creases of the room. Molly was not only the instructor, but the DJ. The music began and I realized the room had transformed from a cycling class into a dance party. Molly guided the class through the different movements on the bike and I could feel all parts of my body being activated. Before I knew it, I was drenched in sweat and the workout was over!

In spin you get to control your own pace and your own progress! If you enjoy letting loose, good music and good energy, you will fall in LOVE with Molly, Grit and Cycling!

When to find Molly teaching at Grit Cycle 
  • Wednesday 4:15p
  • Thursday 6:45p

Class times can fluctuate! Go to to find the most up to date times! Use code “gritstrong” to ride for free on your first visit!