Frequently Asked Questions

Got some Questions? Dive in here First!

Coaching

What does personalized coaching look like?

  • Personalized coaching within The Inner Initiative is a completely customized fitness and nutrition coaching program designed to take you from where you are today – to where you want to be (i.e. your specific goals). This process requires a deep level of science, in order to truly customize the plan and ensure every method used is safe and effective, as well as an understanding of what is practically applicable to YOUR specific lifestyle. Our goal is to match the plan to your lifestyle, rather than trying to fit your lifestyle into a specific diet and workout plan. Our 1:1 coaching includes;
  • Biofeedback assessments in weekly video response check ins
  • TII App – the hub of our nutrition, training + habit program *different word
  • Monthly goal setting and reflection planning through a team call!
  • 24/7 communication and support from your coaches
  • TII Education portal (nearly 100+ topics)
  • Custom workout plans molded to your goals, enjoyment and lifestyle
  • Custom macros + caloric goals along with overall nutrition assessment

Do you offer just nutrition? Just training?

  • We offer nutrition + training packages and nutrition only packages. We do not offer training only packages at this time.

How are your workout programs delivered?

  • Training programs are created by the coaches and then published into our app. Within the app the clients are able to access and follow their program along with log in the weights used, reps performed, add notes and more!

How often do I get to talk to my coach?

  • Your coach is accessible 24/7 via text, WhatsApp and the messenger through our app! You can talk to your coach on more than just your weekly check in days!

Is there a time commitment required?

  • In order to achieve optimum results, our coaching packages start at 6 months, but we like to think of it more as month to month coaching where we work with you and adjust your plan as needed.

What's the community like in TII?

  • We see our community as a space for women of all backgrounds, careers, and lifestyles to come together to receive and give support, along with hype and inspire one another alongside their journey. It’s 100x easier to implement change and grow in uncomfortable and challenging ways when the people in your lives are doing the same. That’s why we have community as an important part of our coaching experience. So that when a woman comes on board with us they not only are entering their next season of growth but a team who is ready to help push them to their true potential. We have monthly team calls and a VERY active group chat to help you feel connected 24/7.

What certifications/credibility do the coaches have?

  • Ashlyn–BA in Psychology, minor in Health and Wellness, NASM CPT, IMPAKT Coaching Academy, IMPAKT Coaching Internship, PN1 (in progress)

How does the nutrition side of coaching work?

  • What does it mean to get nutrition coaching or help with your nutrition from a coach? There are many options here as not every person is the same and not every course of action works for everyone! We are education based, so even if you have no idea what a macro is, how to construct a balanced meal, what your caloric intake should be to reach your goal, the importance of micros in your diet or what a pre/post workout meal will look, we will teach you all that you need to know.
  • From a macro based approach, your coach will evaluate your height, weight, age, activity level, dieting history, current goal and current intake to decide on your beginning macro targets. From there we will adjust these macros as your journey progresses. We will also analyze your weekly meals (macros, micros, fiber etc.) and determine how that is affecting you and what adjustments need to be made.

  • Personalized coaching within The Inner Initiative is a completely customized fitness and nutrition coaching program designed to take you from where you are today – to where you want to be (i.e. your specific goals). This process requires a deep level of science, in order to truly customize the plan and ensure every method used is safe and effective, as well as an understanding of what is practically applicable to YOUR specific lifestyle. Our goal is to match the plan to your lifestyle, rather than trying to fit your lifestyle into a specific diet and workout plan. Our 1:1 coaching includes;
  • Biofeedback assessments in weekly video response check ins
  • TII App – the hub of our nutrition, training + habit program *different word
  • Monthly goal setting and reflection planning through a team call!
  • 24/7 communication and support from your coaches
  • TII Education portal (nearly 100+ topics)
  • Custom workout plans molded to your goals, enjoyment and lifestyle
  • Custom macros + caloric goals along with overall nutrition assessment
  • We offer nutrition + training packages and nutrition only packages. We do not offer training only packages at this time.
  • Training programs are created by the coaches and then published into our app. Within the app the clients are able to access and follow their program along with log in the weights used, reps performed, add notes and more!
  • Your coach is accessible 24/7 via text, WhatsApp and the messenger through our app! You can talk to your coach on more than just your weekly check in days!
  • In order to achieve optimum results, our coaching packages start at 6 months, but we like to think of it more as month to month coaching where we work with you and adjust your plan as needed.
  • We see our community as a space for women of all backgrounds, careers, and lifestyles to come together to receive and give support, along with hype and inspire one another alongside their journey. It’s 100x easier to implement change and grow in uncomfortable and challenging ways when the people in your lives are doing the same. That’s why we have community as an important part of our coaching experience. So that when a woman comes on board with us they not only are entering their next season of growth but a team who is ready to help push them to their true potential. We have monthly team calls and a VERY active group chat to help you feel connected 24/7.
  • Ashlyn–BA in Psychology, minor in Health and Wellness, NASM CPT, IMPAKT Coaching Academy, IMPAKT Coaching Internship, PN1 (in progress)
  • What does it mean to get nutrition coaching or help with your nutrition from a coach? There are many options here as not every person is the same and not every course of action works for everyone! We are education based, so even if you have no idea what a macro is, how to construct a balanced meal, what your caloric intake should be to reach your goal, the importance of micros in your diet or what a pre/post workout meal will look, we will teach you all that you need to know.
  • From a macro based approach, your coach will evaluate your height, weight, age, activity level, dieting history, current goal and current intake to decide on your beginning macro targets. From there we will adjust these macros as your journey progresses. We will also analyze your weekly meals (macros, micros, fiber etc.) and determine how that is affecting you and what adjustments need to be made.

Training

How should I train for weight loss vs. muscle growth?

  • Our goal for training for weight loss AND muscle growth is to; get stronger in compound lifts, train in the 4-8 and 12-20 rep range, manage volume intensity, hit each muscle 2-3x per week and to be CONSISTENT and PATIENT with the process. You training alone doesn’t need to change much depending on your goals. It should always prioritize maintaining muscle growth and strength. But… implementing differences in output; steps, cardio frequency/intensity is beneficial. (and obviously along with DIET adjustments!)

Are home workouts as effective as the gym?

  • As long as intent and effort is there, home workouts can be just as effective as gym workouts (with a few strength limitations depending on equipment available)

Should I workout fasted?

  • Not recommended! Training fasted may cause your performance to be hindered. There is actually no benefit for training fasted when it comes to weight loss, and it may affect your hormonal health (over a longer period of time). Although some people may prefer to train fasted, it is wise to eat something before a workout, no matter what time of day, to protect overall health and wellness. If you do not have time to eat a balanced meal before a workout, then you may still benefit from a quick snack.

How do I tone my muscles without gaining weight?

  • The concept of “toning” a muscle comes from the idea that someone would want to get the lean “athletic” look. However, in order to be and look “toned” one must build the muscle FIRST or have that be a point in your training programming.
  • For beginners, it typically is easier to accomplish both leaning out/losing fat while building muscle simultaneously. However if you have been lifting and on your fitness journey for a few years it can be a bit more challenging where you’ll want to go through a deficit in order to lose fat and see that muscle you’ve been working to grow for a long time!
  • At the end of the day the best way to TONE your muscles is to make sure you’re growing and supporting them; implementing progressive overload in your resistance training sessions and having a complimentary diet that helps fuel and grow them. Once you’ve spent enough time pushing strength gains, bringing food down a bit to cut some excess fat will help reveal the toned and muscular look! P.s. don’t think prioritizing lifting will make you bulky. BULKY is a look that is made on purpose by eating in a surplus and prioritizing mass strength gains. If you have a balanced diet and supplementary training program you will be golden.

How long should a training program be?

  • A typical mesa(?)cycle program is at least 6 weeks. But as long as lifts are getting stronger, progression and recovery is still there, there is no inherent need to change up a training program.

What are the best ways to progressive overload?

  • Progressive overload can look like:
    1. Increasing reps
    2. Increasing weight
    3. Increasing the number of sets
    4. Improving form
    5. Adding an eccentric (expand)
    6. Adding a pause (expand why)

Should cardio be before or after lifting?

  • My current recommendation is to complete a cardio session post weight training to guarantee you are getting the most out of your session

Should I stop doing cardio if I want to get strong?

  • Cardio itself does not eliminate/decrease muscle, but excessive cardio does. If you are trying to bulk, then decreasing your cardio might be advised, but a complete elimination is not necessary.

HIIT vs. weight lifting

  • If you have specific physique goals, the best course of action is going to be a consistent training program that is designed for your goals. However, if you enjoy HIIT, by all means have at it! HIIT is a form of cardio, and as highlighted above, if you are looking to increase muscle mass, then excessive cardio might hinder that, hence weightlifting is a better solution.

Are bands as effective as weights for muscle growth?

  • Anything can be used to build muscle…as long as you are challenging your muscle with strenuous exercise and forcing adaptation.
  • Resistance bands can be used to build muscle, and if that’s all you have access to, then they are a great tool to take advantage of. They can absolutely work. However, it’s quicker and easier to build muscle with free weights, and we get the extra benefits of denser bones, stronger spines, greater mobility, and tougher connective tissues.

  • Our goal for training for weight loss AND muscle growth is to; get stronger in compound lifts, train in the 4-8 and 12-20 rep range, manage volume intensity, hit each muscle 2-3x per week and to be CONSISTENT and PATIENT with the process. You training alone doesn’t need to change much depending on your goals. It should always prioritize maintaining muscle growth and strength. But… implementing differences in output; steps, cardio frequency/intensity is beneficial. (and obviously along with DIET adjustments!)
  • As long as intent and effort is there, home workouts can be just as effective as gym workouts (with a few strength limitations depending on equipment available)
  • Not recommended! Training fasted may cause your performance to be hindered. There is actually no benefit for training fasted when it comes to weight loss, and it may affect your hormonal health (over a longer period of time). Although some people may prefer to train fasted, it is wise to eat something before a workout, no matter what time of day, to protect overall health and wellness. If you do not have time to eat a balanced meal before a workout, then you may still benefit from a quick snack.
  • The concept of “toning” a muscle comes from the idea that someone would want to get the lean “athletic” look. However, in order to be and look “toned” one must build the muscle FIRST or have that be a point in your training programming.
  • For beginners, it typically is easier to accomplish both leaning out/losing fat while building muscle simultaneously. However if you have been lifting and on your fitness journey for a few years it can be a bit more challenging where you’ll want to go through a deficit in order to lose fat and see that muscle you’ve been working to grow for a long time!
  • At the end of the day the best way to TONE your muscles is to make sure you’re growing and supporting them; implementing progressive overload in your resistance training sessions and having a complimentary diet that helps fuel and grow them. Once you’ve spent enough time pushing strength gains, bringing food down a bit to cut some excess fat will help reveal the toned and muscular look! P.s. don’t think prioritizing lifting will make you bulky. BULKY is a look that is made on purpose by eating in a surplus and prioritizing mass strength gains. If you have a balanced diet and supplementary training program you will be golden.
  • A typical mesa(?)cycle program is at least 6 weeks. But as long as lifts are getting stronger, progression and recovery is still there, there is no inherent need to change up a training program.
  • Progressive overload can look like:
    1. Increasing reps
    2. Increasing weight
    3. Increasing the number of sets
    4. Improving form
    5. Adding an eccentric (expand)
    6. Adding a pause (expand why)
  • My current recommendation is to complete a cardio session post weight training to guarantee you are getting the most out of your session
  • Cardio itself does not eliminate/decrease muscle, but excessive cardio does. If you are trying to bulk, then decreasing your cardio might be advised, but a complete elimination is not necessary.
  • If you have specific physique goals, the best course of action is going to be a consistent training program that is designed for your goals. However, if you enjoy HIIT, by all means have at it! HIIT is a form of cardio, and as highlighted above, if you are looking to increase muscle mass, then excessive cardio might hinder that, hence weightlifting is a better solution.
  • Anything can be used to build muscle…as long as you are challenging your muscle with strenuous exercise and forcing adaptation.
  • Resistance bands can be used to build muscle, and if that’s all you have access to, then they are a great tool to take advantage of. They can absolutely work. However, it’s quicker and easier to build muscle with free weights, and we get the extra benefits of denser bones, stronger spines, greater mobility, and tougher connective tissues.
  • Our goal for training for weightloss AND muscle growth is to; get stronger in compound lifts, train in the 4-8 and 12-20 rep range, manage volume intensity, hit each muscle 2-3x per week and to be CONSISTENT and PATIENT with the process. You training alone doesn’t need to change much depending on your goals. It should always prioritize maintaining muscle growth and strength. But… implementing differences in output; steps, cardio frequency/intensity is beneficial. (and obviously along with DIET adjustments!).
  • As long as intent and effort is there, home workouts can be just as effective as gym workouts (with a few strength limitations depending on equipment available).
  • Not recommended! Training fasted may cause your performance to be hindered. There is actually no benefit for training fasted when it comes to weight loss, and it may affect your hormonal health (over a longer period of time). Although some people may prefer to train fasted, it is wise to eat something before a workout, no matter what time of day, to protect overall health and wellness. If you do not have time to eat a balanced meal before a workout, then you may still benefit from a quick snack.
  • A typical mesa(?)cycle program is at least 6 weeks. But as long as lifts are getting stronger, progression and recovery is still there, there is no inherent need to change up a training program.
  • The concept of “toning” a muscle comes from the idea that someone would want to get the lean “athletic” look. However, in order to be and look “toned” one must build the muscle FIRST or have that be a point in your training programming.
  • For beginners, it typically is easier to accomplish both leaning out/losing fat while building muscle simultaneously. However if you have been lifting and on your fitness journey for a few years+ it can be a bit more challenging where youll want to go through a deficit in order to lose fat and see that muscle youve been working to grow for a long time!
  • At the end of the day the best way to TONE your muscles is to make sure youre growing and supporting them; implementing progressive overload in your resistance training sessions and having a complimentary diet that helps fuel and grow them. Once you’ve spent enough time pushing strength gains, bringing food down a bit to cut some excess fat will help reveal the toned and muscular look! P.s. dont think by prioritizing lifting will make you bulky. BULKY is a look that is made on purpose by eating in a surplus and prioritizing mass strength gains. If you have a balanced diet and supplementary training program you will be golden.
  • Progressive overload can look like:
    1. Increasing reps
    2. Increasing weight
    3. Increasing the number of sets
    4. Improving form
    5. Adding an eccentric
    6. Adding a pause
  • My current recommendation is to complete a cardio session post weight training to guarantee you are getting the most out of your session
  • If you have specific physique goals, the best course of action is going to be a consistent training program that is designed for your goals. However, if you enjoy HIIT, by all means have at it!.
  • Anything can be used to build muscle…as long as you are challenging your muscle with strenuous exercise and forcing adaptation.
  • Resistance bands can be used to build muscle, and if that’s all you have access to, then you may as well take advantage of them. They can absolutely work. However, it’s quicker and easier to build muscle with free weights, and we get the extra benefits of denser bones, stronger spines, greater mobility, and tougher connective tissues.

Nutrition

Why are calories in calories out so important?

  • The reality is, the idea of calories in calories out is what creates body composition changes. So whether we are trying to lose weight or gain weight, I.e. burn body fat or build muscle is my assumption of what those two goals lead to depending on who you are I guess. No matter what, we have to create either a deficit or a surplus, which means that we need to burn more calories than we’re taking in, if we are trying to lose fat or lose weight, and we need to take in more calories than we are burning, if we’re trying to build muscle or gain weight. It’s a simple equation. It’s an energy balance equation. Calories in, needs to be different than calories out, and either way depending on what our goal is.
  • We need to make sure that our total daily energy expenditure amount is greater than the amount we’re taking in, so the amount of calories we burn has to be more than the calories we are taking in. That creates a caloric deficit. This deficit leads to fat loss. It allows our body to actually burn stored fat, aka weight, and us to lose weight. If we want to build muscle, we have to flip that equation into the positive, which means I have to take in more calories than I’m actually expanding through all these different things that I just explained! Certain factors like hormonal imbalances, health conditions, gut issues and metabolic factors can play a role in making this concept fool proof.

What's the deal with macros? Do I need to track macros to be successful?

  • Each macro (protein, fat, carbohydrates) has a different role in the body. You don’t need to track them to be successful. However, tracking them consistently will get you the most optimized results.

Should I eat less on rest days?

  • No! Rest days=recovery days. You need to recover to grow.

How long is a successful dieting phase? Reverse?

  • The concept of “toning” a muscle comes from the idea that someone would want to get the lean “athletic” look. However, in order to be and look “toned” one must build the muscle FIRST or have that be a point in your training programming.
  • For beginners, it typically is easier to accomplish both leaning out/losing fat while building muscle simultaneously. However if you have been lifting and on your fitness journey for a few years it can be a bit more challenging where you’ll want to go through a deficit in order to lose fat and see that muscle you’ve been working to grow for a long time!
  • At the end of the day the best way to TONE your muscles is to make sure you’re growing and supporting them; implementing progressive overload in your resistance training sessions and having a complimentary diet that helps fuel and grow them. Once you’ve spent enough time pushing strength gains, bringing food down a bit to cut some excess fat will help reveal the toned and muscular look! P.s. don’t think prioritizing lifting will make you bulky. BULKY is a look that is made on purpose by eating in a surplus and prioritizing mass strength gains. If you have a balanced diet and supplementary training program you will be golden.

Whats the purpose of a refeed day? Diet break? Free meal?

  • To start, the purpose of a refeed is simple. A refeed day is going to be one day where it’s kind of like a cheat meal. So more than anything, it’s just a psychological break from dieting. 24 hours of increased calories, meaning you can have one, I like to use the word free meal or reward meal better than cheat meal because I don’t think you’re cheating on anything at this point! If you take one free meal, you’re probably gonna pump your calories up quite a bit, and it ends up being a refeed day because you hit your daily caloric intake at a higher amount. That’s the purpose of a refeed day. So a single day, refeed day serves two main purposes. Number one, it’s a psychological break from the diet. And number two, it’s a glycogen replenishment day. This is basically a day where we have more carbohydrates. We can feel our muscle glycogen a little bit more. We’re probably gonna recover little bit better, probably gonna get a better pump for the next few days in the gym, and we’re probably gonna have some better performance, possibly hit some PRs.
  • Diet break is a day where we bring up calories via carbohydrates in order to basically have a hormonal insurance and policy is the way I like to look it. It’s kind of like our safety net. We bring our calories up to maintenance, that’s gonna facilitate Ghrelin, Leptin, metabolism, testosterone, thyroid, all these different hormones that do get depleted, and actually start to decline and diminish as we go further and further into a deficit as far as the timeline goes. So the longer we’re in a deficit, the more our hormones start to take a hit. When we take a diet break, which is a minimum of 48 hours, and this has been documented in studies, basically showing at least 48 hours of at maintenance calories, is needed to elicit change within these hormones and help our body regulate normally when being in a deficit for a significant amount of time.
  • So the difference between a refeed and a diet break is simple. A refeed day is one day, and the main benefits are muscle glycogen and psychological benefit. And a diet break is at least 48 hours, two days, but all the way up to 14 days, depending on how long you’ve been in deficit. And the main purpose there is to replenish hormones to fuel performance, to make sure that we’re resetting or readapting our metabolism in a positive way. The way you know what to choose for you personally, is basically on the length of your diet!

Why is protein such a focus for fat loss?

  • Protein preserves muscle, boosts metabolism, keeps you full while dieting

What should my pre/post workout meals look like?

  • Preworkout–high in protein, carbs, moderate fat

How much water should I actually be drinking?

  • Our current recommendation for all of our clients is 1 gallon per day minimum!

Small meals vs. big meals?

  • That is different for every person! Their schedule, what is best for their digestion, preparation, etc.

Should I be worried about micronutrients?

  • Micronutrients are a super important part of maintaining and achieving optimal overall health; energy levels, digestion, and more!

Can I still progress while being vegetarian/vegan?

  • The simple answer is yes, absolutely! A macro-based approach can be used in conjunction with any dietary preference. The purpose of flexible dieting, or a macro-based approach, is about eating foods you prefer and still being able to reach your fat loss and/or fitness goals! Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, gluten-free, plant-based, it makes no difference!

  • The reality is, the idea of calories in calories out is what creates body composition changes. So whether we are trying to lose weight or gain weight, I.e. burn body fat or build muscle is my assumption of what those two goals lead to depending on who you are I guess. No matter what, we have to create either a deficit or a surplus, which means that we need to burn more calories than we’re taking in, if we are trying to lose fat or lose weight, and we need to take in more calories than we are burning, if we’re trying to build muscle or gain weight. It’s a simple equation. It’s an energy balance equation. Calories in, needs to be different than calories out, and either way depending on what our goal is.
  • We need to make sure that our total daily energy expenditure amount is greater than the amount we’re taking in, so the amount of calories we burn has to be more than the calories we are taking in. That creates a caloric deficit. This deficit leads to fat loss. It allows our body to actually burn stored fat, aka weight, and us to lose weight. If we want to build muscle, we have to flip that equation into the positive, which means I have to take in more calories than I’m actually expanding through all these different things that I just explained! Certain factors like hormonal imbalances, health conditions, gut issues and metabolic factors can play a role in making this concept fool proof.
  • Each macro (protein, fat, carbohydrates) has a different role in the body. You don’t need to track them to be successful. However, tracking them consistently will get you the most optimized results.
  • No! Rest days=recovery days. You need to recover to grow.
  • To start, the purpose of a refeed is simple. A refeed day is going to be one day where it’s kind of like a cheat meal. So more than anything, it’s just a psychological break from dieting. 24 hours of increased calories, meaning you can have one, I like to use the word free meal or reward meal better than cheat meal because I don’t think you’re cheating on anything at this point! If you take one free meal, you’re probably gonna pump your calories up quite a bit, and it ends up being a refeed day because you hit your daily caloric intake at a higher amount. That’s the purpose of a refeed day. So a single day, refeed day serves two main purposes. Number one, it’s a psychological break from the diet. And number two, it’s a glycogen replenishment day. This is basically a day where we have more carbohydrates. We can feel our muscle glycogen a little bit more. We’re probably gonna recover little bit better, probably gonna get a better pump for the next few days in the gym, and we’re probably gonna have some better performance, possibly hit some PRs.
  • Diet break is a day where we bring up calories via carbohydrates in order to basically have a hormonal insurance and policy is the way I like to look it. It’s kind of like our safety net. We bring our calories up to maintenance, that’s gonna facilitate Ghrelin, Leptin, metabolism, testosterone, thyroid, all these different hormones that do get depleted, and actually start to decline and diminish as we go further and further into a deficit as far as the timeline goes. So the longer we’re in a deficit, the more our hormones start to take a hit. When we take a diet break, which is a minimum of 48 hours, and this has been documented in studies, basically showing at least 48 hours of at maintenance calories, is needed to elicit change within these hormones and help our body regulate normally when being in a deficit for a significant amount of time.
  • Protein preserves muscle, boosts metabolism, keeps you full while dieting
  • Preworkout–high in protein, carbs, moderate fat
  • Postworkout-high in protein, high in fast digesting carbs, lower in fat.
  • Our current recommendation for all of our clients is 1 gallon per day minimum!
  • That is different for every person! Their schedule, what is best for their digestion, preparation, etc.
  • Micronutrients are a super important part of maintaining and achieving optimal overall health; energy levels, digestion, and more!
  • The simple answer is yes, absolutely! A macro-based approach can be used in conjunction with any dietary preference. The purpose of flexible dieting, or a macro-based approach, is about eating foods you prefer and still being able to reach your fat loss and/or fitness goals! Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, gluten-free, plant-based, it makes no difference!