I Don’t Want to Look “Bulky”

April 17th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Don’t be afraid to strength train. Strength exercises and the muscles that come with them are a good thing! By “strength training,” I mean exercises like squats, lunges, dead-lifts, push-ups etc.

Some women are afraid to lift weights because they are afraid of looking bulky. The argument here is always that “women don’t have the same hormone profile as men, and therefore cannot gain enough lean mass to look bulky” – it is almost impossible for women to “get big” unless they really try – it is just not in our genetics.

Another important factor that is often ignored in the “bulky” discussion, is body fat.

Some of my clients reported that the number on the scale was going up instead of down. When I asked about their nutrition, they would admit that it hadn’t been great and that they’d actually been eating more, because the training had increased their appetite. When this is the case, of course, clients are going to gain size. They were eating more calories, and gaining something without losing anything else. This is why the DBM Clean Eating plan is so important.

Unless an individual is predisposed to gain muscle, bulking up takes dedication, and a concentrated effort to consume enough calories. You need to eat enough food to build muscle.

“Bulky” is completely subjective. When it comes to our bodies, it’s up to us to decide what level of muscularity we desire for ourselves.

What is wrong with being strong and having muscles? Strength is good! Strength will help you have better posture, protect your back, walk with confidence, perform everyday activities with ease, improve bone strength and improve your athletic achievements. 

Weight lifting will result in an overall, sculpted muscle definition. Challenging yourself with the weight and lowering the reps is what will create the muscle definition you’re looking for when combined with a proper diet for fat loss.

The main takeaway is that working out is not just about how you look, it is about how you feel and your quality of life. Regardless of how you aesthetically react to exercise, moving will make you feel better. “Don’t put it off any longer. Get to the gym!”


April 17th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

You cut calories, fit in time at the gym, and never eat after 8 p.m. So why is it that you still can’t deflate that spare tire hanging around your tummy? Consider this: your body might be fighting against your weight loss efforts.

The culprit? Chronic, low-grade inflammation.

As we gain weight, some fat cells expand beyond their capacity while trying to do their job storing our extra calories as fat. When this happens, they turn on and add to the inflammation already present in our bodies. At this point, these cells aren’t just fat storage warehouses—they’re like little inflammation factories, sending out signals to activate the immune system. Losing weight allows the fat cells to shrink back to a more normal size and turns off the signals that trigger chronic inflammation.

The sugar you eat, high doses of the wrong oils and fats in your diet, hidden food allergens, lack of exercise, chronic stress, and hidden infections all trigger a raging, unseen inflammation deep in your cells and tissues. And this inflammation leads to every one of the major chronic diseases of aging — heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and more. It’s also by far the major contributor to obesity. Being fat is being inflamed — period!

While everyone is different, there are some foods that irritate the immune system more than others. They are gluten (wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, Kamut), dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt), corn, eggs, soy, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers1, potatoes, eggplant), citrus, and yeast (baker’s yeast, brewer’s yeast, and fermented products). This article from “Eat this, Not that identifies 14 Inflammatory Foods Making You Fat.

How do you know a food isn’t working for you?
Well, aside from weight gain there are simple signs that your body is saying “Please don’t feed this food to me!”

• bloating after a meal
• constipation
• 3:00 p.m. energy dip
• body aches and pains
• irritability
• depression
• hormonal issues

Changing your diet and losing weight are two of the best ways to lower inflammation. 
Here are some tips:

1. Eating antioxidant- and polyphenol-rich foods can cut down on inflammation by reducing “free-radical damage.” To get them, try drinking green tea and eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies; here are some examples of what to reach for, broccoli, kale, collards, rutabaga, turnips, berries.

2. Getting a good ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is important for reducing inflammation. Most of us consume too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3, so the key to balancing things is to increase omega-3 rich foods like salmon, flax and chia seeds, avocado and walnuts.

3. Turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and ginger have all been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory properties. Sprinkle them liberally onto your food.

4. Moving around releases a burst of anti-inflammatory proteins from the cells to the rest of the body. Blending strength training with moderate exercise is key. An example of moderate exercise is 45–60 minutes of cardio, such as walking or jogging, about three times a week.

5. Reducing stress helps to keep hormones like cortisol under control and that, in turn, helps lower inflammation.

6. Lack of sleep makes the body ripe for infection, while more sleep has the opposite effect. A review of several studies published in 2008 found that sleeping less than eight hours a night was linked to weight gain. 

Why Protein is so Important to Your Strength Training Regime

April 3rd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Debbie standing in our gymDid you know that your organs, tissues, muscles, and hormones are all made from proteins? The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly. It can be argued that nothing is more important than consuming protein foods, and because proteins are involved in just about every body function, it’s important that you consume foods high in protein every day, during every meal to prevent protein deficiency, which can wreak havoc on the body.

Eating enough protein is necessary to build and maintain healthy muscle mass, while also supporting tendon, ligaments, and other body tissue. So, protein is important for bodybuilding, but it’s also necessary for developing leaner muscles as well. When your diet is lacking in amino acids, “muscle wasting” (or muscle atrophy) can take place when your muscle fibers are broken down to support your body’s energy needs.

Protein is especially important after exercise since physical activity like strength training purposefully damages muscle tissues so they can repair and grow back stronger. For the process to happen effectively, you need some extra protein to help repair the damage. While protein alone won’t enhance athletic performance, research shows that eating protein before and after exercise helps increase muscle recovery, promotes muscle synthesis and serves as effective muscle ache treatment.

We need to eat plenty of protein foods every day to keep our metabolisms running, our energy up and our blood sugar levels stable. You might eat enough protein overall, but do you eat the right kinds?

Here are some of the best protein foods for your health.

1. Grass-Fed Beef: 3 ounces: 22 grams

2. Organic Chicken: 3 ounces: 21 grams

3. Bone Broth: 1 serving (¼ cup): 20 grams

4. Lentils: 1 cup: 18 grams

5. Wild-Caught Salmon (and other wild fish): 3 ounces: 17 grams

6. Eggs: 1 large free-range egg: 7 grams

7. Almonds (and other nuts): ¼ cup/23 almonds: 5 grams

Studies show that eating a high-protein diet has a number of health benefits. Not only does it help you maintain and lose weight, but it also works to stabilize your blood sugar levels, improve your ability to learn and concentrate, reduce brain fog, boost your energy levels, support your muscles and bones and support the absorption of important nutrients.

Many people make the mistake of trying diets that involve calorie counting and deprivation. On a high-protein diet, you will feel completely satiated after eating, and you won’t have to deal with the blood sugar highs and lows that lead to cravings and moodiness. You’ll be surprised to see how many foods you can eat on a high-protein diet. Even people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, who sometimes turn to processed foods for energy, have enough high-protein foods to choose from.

My Final Thoughts on High-Protein Foods

  • The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly.
  • Proteins are long chains of amino acids, which are essential molecules for all metabolic processes.
  • When you don’t eat a range of foods high in protein, you become at risk of deficiencies in certain amino acids, which can result in many health issues, including low energy, mood swings, difficulty losing weight, poor sleep, low immunity and unstable blood sugar levels.
  • Some of the top foods high in protein include grass-fed beef, organic chicken, lentils, wild-caught salmon, black beans, natto, eggs, yogurt, goat cheese, almonds and protein powder made from bone broth.
  • For people who don’t eat animal products, there are plenty of plant-based protein options, including nuts, seeds, beans, leafy greens and grains like quinoa.

partly sourced from draxe.com


April 3rd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups organic baby spinach
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced into half moons
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • Balsamic vinegar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400’. Place chicken on a cutting board and make 5 – 8 slits in each breast, being careful not to cut through completely. Transfer to baking sheet.
  1. Drizzle with olive oil then season chicken all over with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stuff each slit with mozzarella, spinach, and tomato.
  1. Bake until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 25 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil then drizzle with balsamic.

Skinny BLT Avocado Wraps

April 3rd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Makes 3 servings


  • 3 large slices of crisp iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 head of butter lettuce
  • 6 slices nitrate free bacon, cooked
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Sliced turkey breast, approx 12 oz


  1. Lay out one large iceberg leave, then layer on 2 slices of butter lettuce leaves on top.
  2. Top nicely with a few slices of both tomato and avocado, then add in 2 slices of nitrate-free bacon.
  3. Add sliced turkey (3-4 ounces to make a meal)
  4. Fold the bottom up, the sides in, and roll like a burrito.
  5. Slice in half then serve cold.

These are great for make-ahead lunches!

Beef and Cabbage Casserole Recipe

April 3rd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 organic Roma tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced
  • 8-ounce can organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup organic beef stock
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Himalayan salt, to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup grass-fed cheese of your choice (we use Kerrygold)


  1. Season ground beef with salt and pepper and brown in a large oven-safe pan. Drain beef, remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan over medium heat, add the coconut oil.
  3. Sauté the cabbage and onion until softened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another five minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, cinnamon, ground cloves and beef stock. Whisk to incorporate ingredients.
  6. Add ground beef to the pan and pour the tomato sauce mixture and mix thoroughly.
  7. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Coconut and Macadamia Nut Chicken

April 3rd, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Ready In 55 minutes, Serves 4


  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts, finely ground in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons avocado mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, mix the macadamia nuts and coconut. Place chicken in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread each chicken thigh with 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise.

Step 2

Spread macadamia coconut mixture on each chicken thigh, dividing evenly. Bake chicken for 40-45 minutes on center rack so not to burn the macadamia nuts. Serve with fresh lime zest and juice. Top with optional cilantro.

Nutritional analysis per serving (1 chicken thigh)

calories 509 • fat 46 g • fiber 4 g • protein 19 g • carbohydrate 8 g


Stuffed Peppers

March 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta


6 red, green, or a mixture of colored peppers
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 pkg. (5 links, hot or mild) turkey Italian sausage
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red pepper (tops of peppers)
4-6 tsp. olive oil for browning meat and veggies
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup spicy, low sugar, tomato sauce with basil
2 cups grated low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Cut tops off peppers, making a deep enough cut that you have some pepper to chop for the filling.
  • Square off the bottom of each pepper to make them stand up.
  •  Clean out inside of peppers and wash if needed.
  • Choose a pan that will keep the peppers standing upright and spray with olive oil or nonstick spray.
  • Brown both beef and uncased turkey meat in small amount of oil, breaking up into small bits.
  • Drain cooked meat in a colander to remove fat.
  • Cook chopped peppers and onions for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add about 1 cup tomato sauce, just enough to barely moisten the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let mixture cool slightly, then mix in cheeses, saving about 1/4 cup Mozzarella for the top of the peppers.
  • Put the peppers in the pan standing upright.
  • Stuff each pepper with meat/veggie/cheese mixture, using a large spoon and pressing in tightly until you use all the filling.
  • Put a pinch of Mozzarella cheese on the top of each pepper.
  • Cover the dish loosely with foil, tenting so it doesn’t touch the tops of the peppers.
  • Bake, covered with foil about 30 minutes.
  • Take off foil and bake 20 minutes more, until cheese is melted and the tops are slightly browned. Serve hot.

DBM Meatloaf

March 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta


2 lb Ground beef
1/2 cup Golden flaxseed meal (or almond flour)
1/2 large Onion (diced)
8 cloves Garlic (minced)
3 oz Tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large Egg
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp Sea salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/3 cup Ketchup (low sugar)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except ketchup. Mix together until well incorporated, but don’t overmix.
  • Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Spread the ketchup on top of the meatloaf (if using).
  • Return to the oven and bake for 25-45 more minutes, until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. (Time will vary depending on the thickness of the loaf.)
  • Rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Cut carefully using a serrated bread knife.

The 40- and 50-something wide and wide-eyed 

March 27th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Kids are grown and almost out of the house, God bless ’em. Both spouses work and love Monday Night Football. He likes a few beers now and then and the love of his life prefers wine at dinner. Where does time go and where do the pounds come from? They used to run and could go for miles; tried to jog last Friday, and were on the couch for the rest of the weekend. The muscle they thought was lost attacked without mercy from every direction…simultaneously. Scary. Life’s a grand struggle and they love it…worth the fight and they want to start living again… renew, rebuild, strengthen and fortify. Exercise, eat right; it’s time.

It is time, indeed. And there’s nothing like a healthy and challenging diversion to revive our vitality and renew interest as the valley of life spreads out before us. And what is more complete, inexpensive and available than the challenge of musclebuilding fitness? Pole vaulting is unlikely, you’re probably too old for the Marines and ski jumping has its limiting factors.

The secret’s out; it’s on TV, it’s become an industry. Every day, everywhere we look, we witness the grave physical condition of our neighbors — overweight and undermuscled, un-energized and dispirited. Few, upon identifying the disadvantages in themselves, do anything about them: too late, too much trouble, too lazy, too ignorant, too careless, too cowardly, too apathetic, too busy, too preoccupied.

Oh, well, what the heck. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes in some distant future and some actually give the growing dilemma their best shot: walk, skip meals, join a gym on a two-for-one special for a 30-day-trial. Tomorrow goes and, just as they expected, nothing happens. “I told ya.”

Ah, but there are the exceptions to the rule, and, well, they rule. The original Mr. and Mrs. Wide-eyed see the light and grasp the iron with all their might. They hire Debbie Martilotta, a personal trainer who’s been through the mill — all good personal trainers go through the mill — and she introduces them to the inner workings of the metal shop. How’s it go again? Lift, push, pull, hoist, order, intensity, feel, live and lift, learn and grow… smile, be happy.

Oh, yeah. Though reminded to be positive and never look back, they say, “What have we been waiting for? If only we knew the musclebuilding lifestyle was so fulfilling, rewarding, beneficial, interesting, challenging and fun, we’d have become muscleheads ages ago.”


Got wings, will fly… Draper, courtesy of DaveDraper.com