All posts by Jennifer Lormand

Child Care Now Available at Ascension Fitness

Ascension Fitness Child Care is available starting Monday, January 26, 2015.  Child Care hours will initially be offered Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 10:00AM.  We do ask that you call ahead to make an appointment.  Child Care rates are $7.00 per hour.

Leading our child care center is Kristin Lanza.  One of her favorite sayings is, “A child has a special way of adding JOY to everyday.”  Kristin’s love for children started at an early age with her involvement with her mother’s in-home daycare for 18 years working with up to eight (8) children at a time, of all different ages.

After moving in 2012 from San Diego, California back to New Orleans with her fiance’ she has worked part time at an infancy daycare.  Kristin was born in New Orleans, raised in North Canton, Ohio and up until 2 years ago lived in San Diego, California.  Kristin has a degree from Kent State University and is CPR certified.  Her full-time position is in Production support at the House of Blues for which she has been employed since 2008.  Kristin enjoys yoga, live music and her book club.

If you have any questions for Kristin you can reach her at

Will you help me change the World?

By: Jenn Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

Several months ago we were in mass listening to a woman talk about going down to Central America and helping families build huts.  These missionaries showed the people how to form bricks out of clay, bake them in the sun, and then use them to build their own hut.  She talked about a conversation that she had with her daughter that accompanied her on the trip.  Her daughter said, “Mom these people have nothing, and yet they complaintfreeare the happiest most grateful people I have ever met.”  The mom said, “That’s right.  When you HAVE nothing and EXPECT nothing, you APPRECIATE everything.”  That resonated so deeply with me.  I walked out of church feeling guilty.

We have so much, but always strive to attain more.  Now if you really know me, you know I’m not a stuff person.  I drive around in a 2007 dented up (but paid for) mini van, and I shop at discount stores for my clothes (because my mother taught me to never buy anything full price).  I felt guilty because I’m always looking ahead to the next thing that I need to do to hit a goal that I have set for myself, my business, and sometimes my family.  I felt guilty because at that moment I knew that I didn’t fully appreciate all that I had and all that I have done, because well…that is how my life was supposed to go.  Does this ever happen to you too?

This time of year the word gratitude gets thrown around a lot.  So much so, that I think we have become a bit de-sensitized to the true meaning of it.  The definition of Gratitude is the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Sometimes we read that and think yep okay I’m grateful for what I have, I donate some non-perishable food to the food bank, and I give some money to local charities.  I don’t want to minimize these awesome acts of kindness because they are GREAT! But what I’m talking about goes much deeper than that.   Being thankful means ceasing to complain.  This is a challenge for many others and me.  We can sometimes get caught up in our own problems and forget that most of the problems we face are relatively small compared to what other people may be going through. So, I’m asking you to join me in a Complaint Free campaign this holiday season. I have laid out the steps to this campaign below:

Step #1 Recognize how often you do complain.  Here are a couple of mine from the past day. I’m so cold…I’m so tired….this feels so hard…I can’t do that…..this light is too long… this person is taking too long to make this U-turn….. hurry up boys we have to go!..And my list could go on and on, but I won’t bore you with all of my nagging.

Step #2 When you hear yourself complain, turn it into a statement of Gratitude.  Here is an example: “I’m so tired, but… I’m grateful that I know I have a warm bed to go home and fall asleep in.”  This is called reframing and it is very powerful.  We are all human, and yes that means that we are going to complain, but catching ourselves and turning that negative into a positive is a Game Changer!   We can create a new neural pathway in the brain and actually begin to change how we think about things. The only thing I will warn you of here, is that whatever gratitude statement you choose YOU MUST BELIEVE IT 100%.  We cannot lie to ourselves- so if your bed isn’t warm and cozy at home you will have to make a statement that is true and that you believe.  It could just be ‘I’m grateful that I’m not sleeping outside like the homeless people.’

Step #3 Share this idea with your Family and Friends.  I titled this article help me change the world, because I think small things like this create a ripple effect.  I love random acts of kindness. I love paying it forward.  But I have to say if we want to change the world, we have to create different mindsets.  When you turn on the TV, you hear about all of the scary and horrible things that are happening in the world.  I know for me, it makes me feel very small and helpless at times.  But I also know that my whole perspective can change in an instant (more to come on this thought next week).

I believe that this small but not so simple task can begin to change our lives and those around us.  I want to know if you will join me in this challenge.  Please go over to our FB page and tell us you will join our #Complainfreecampaign.  Please update us on any changes you notice within yourself and your family.  I’m hoping that this will CREATE the best Holiday season for you and yours!  I know it will be for me and my family.


About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.

Week of Gratitude – November 17-21, 2014

To show our thanks to all of our wonderful clients we will be having a special Week of Gratitude starting November 17th through the 21st. Each day we will show our thanks by providing a small token of our appreciation. Check out the calendar below to see what to expect:

  • Monday, Nov 17th – Free bottle of water for all clients
  • Tuesday, Nov 18th – Free journal and pen
  • Wednesday, Nov 19th -  Bring a friend free
  • Thursday, Nov 20th – Fresh fruit
  • Friday, Nov 21st -  Free shots of orange juice with greens

Thank you so much to all of our clients for being a special part of Ascension Fitness. You are what makes Ascension Fitness possible!

We are always looking for ways to get better and improve so please reach out to us with any suggestions.  Even the little things that we can improve we want to know about!  Please feel free to reach out to us at 504-304-6205 or email us at WE appreciate YOU! =)



By: Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer

What does “Finding Your Center” mean to you?  For most people, the thoughts of six pack abs comes to mind.  What most people don’t realize is their “Center” is really the entire region between their armpits to just below their buttocks.  In more common lingo, this area is considered your “Core”.

For most people, finding their center is incomprehensible.  Your center is one of the most important parts of your being.  Without your center (core), you wouldn’t be able to stand because the core muscles are the muscles that hold your body upright; and your inner core (what we call your deep core) plays a key role in the stability of your trunk (or torso) and pelvis.

Now that you understand the importance of a strong center, the reasons for training your core muscles may seem obvious:

Gaining core/muscle stabilization helps with everyday normal activities and promotes good posture.  Posture does more than simply make you look good by improving your silhouette and project confidence; Good posture lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply.  Improving breathing in turn helps you gain the full benefits from your exercise regimen.

A strong core ensures a good solid foundation to build the rest of the body around and keeps the body’s muscles functioning in the way they were designed.  The proper functioning of the body reduces imbalances, improves posture, and increases comfort while training; which in turn reduces the risk of injury because your body is properly aligned and balanced.

Core strength, as previously mentioned, improves your body alignment and balance which increases your athletic performance and improves the results of your training.  Core strength is essential to becoming a better, more focused, stronger and faster athlete.

For all of the reasons provided above, a strong core is the foundation necessary to restore normal muscle function lost due to injury.  Balance, alignment, breathing…the foundation of our body and being are critical in this aspect of muscle function.

Through my experience, when someone new decides to take a Pilates class, it’s to strengthen their core because they’ve experienced some type of lower back pain or were referred by an orthopedist or physical therapist.  My hope is that by understanding better what the core, or your center, means to your daily life that you don’t wait for the back pain; and that you add deep core training to your workout regimen before problems arise.

Our Gravity Pilates class is designed to help you do just that – either as a stand-alone program or as part of a larger exercise program – it is designed to enable you to find your center, as well as challenge and strengthen your deep inner core muscles.  So as we say in the Pilates world, “abs to the spine” or “keep your mouse house closed.”  When you’re able to do that, you will have found your center and found your healthy body.

About the Author – Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer

Born and raised in Metairie, Kristi has always been an active person incorporating fitness and exercise into her life. After being a Pilates client for several years, she decided that she would love to share her passion for Pilates with others. Through Balanced Body, she earned certifications in both Mat and Reformer Pilates. Kristi also holds a certification in the Xtend Barre Method.


By: Ann Corwin Marix, ACE-CPT, LMT

When shopping for athletic shoes, most people are more concerned with the color, the brand, or whatever the latest trendy shoe is at time.  Albeit, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good at the gym, or on the track or field, as long as it’s the right shoe for what you are doing!

Ill fitting or improper shoes can cause numerous issues with your feet, knees, hips, and even posture.  The physical fitness world offers a multitude of activities so there is a need for a multitude of proper shoes to go with those activities.  As the saying goes “You wouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, would you?”

Here are a few tips to get you into the right pair of shoes:

  • Do Your Research. With today’s technology, information on shoes is just a hop, skip, and Google search away! Research your activity and the apparatus needed.  With a little web surfing, you can find articles, blogs, and reviews on any and all shoes.  Be selective and objective when surfing the net, as you want to get the most helpful and credible information you can.  Once you have an idea of what to look for….
  • What’s your specialty? Seek out stores that specialize in your activity of interest.  Their staff is usually comprised of people who partake in the same activity and are very knowledgeable.  They can fit you properly and suggest the correct type and brand of shoe that would fit your needs.
  • What’s your history? If you have or had prior foot, ankle, or knee issues, take your search one step (no pun intended) further.  Make an appointment with a podiatrist or an orthopedic specialist.  Depending on the level of your injury/issue, they may run diagnostic test, x-rays, etc.  And from the information they gather, can determine the correct type of shoe and, if needed, any orthotics or other apparatus needed.

For more in depth information, The AOFAS (American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society) printed an article “How to Select the Right Athletic Shoes”

Following these helpful hints will increase your enjoyment of whatever activity you choose, and offer injury prevention and safety!

About the Author – Ann Corwin Marix

annAnn’s start in health and wellness was (and still is) as a masseuse after, believe or not, hiring a personal trainer.  See athletics, exercise and activity have always been a major part of my life; but over time life seemed to take over – work; raising a child; keeping a household took its toll and my “Me-time” seemed to disappear.  Long story short, what was going to be a time to make myself feel better (by getting a massage after some a personal training session) became an eye opening experience and drove me to obtain my massage license and help others in relieving pain from injuries, trauma, or simply everyday life. Wanting to get back into exercise, I became a Jazzercise instructor and then wanting a closer relationship with clients, followed that experience by becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified TRX Instructor.  I love providing my clients with a unique and fun approach to help motivate and drive to obtain the results they want.

One Small Change Can Change Your Life!

By: Jenn Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

I know what you are thinking, “Jenn don’t be so dramatic!”  Well I’m really not.  One small change compounded over time can absolutely change your life!  We all know this concept but aren’t always aware of all of the small and seemingly insignificant choices we make throughout the day.   These choices can help us or hurt us.

Let me explain.  Take our 90/10 Nutritional principle that we use for example.  We know through scientific research that if you blow out 10% of your weekly meals (that’s 2 meals) that you can still not only maintain your weight but lose weight.  This is because the other 19 meals you are eating clean and healthfully staying in the calorie range that’s right for you. This consistent effort allows you to continue to lose weight.  On the flipside of that, if you consumed 150 calories more than normal every day, over the next 6 months you would gain about 8 lbs assuming that you didn’t increase your activity level any.  This is just one example of how we can use this principle to work for us or against us; hence the title of this article- One small change can change your life!

So what small change are you going to make that can change your life for the better? Is it committing to save $1.00/day? Is it tracking each penny you spend to help bring awareness to where you can save money? Is it committing to change your mind set by focusing on what you are grateful for each day and writing it down?  Is it keeping a food journal to help you lose weight or gain weight?  Is it keeping an exercise log to help you see how many minutes you are really working out?

Whatever it is I want you to commit, with me, to track one thing that can help you change your life.  When you do this every day NO MATTER WHAT- you will get the results you want …AND THEN SOME.  This is “The Secret” to success.  No…this isn’t going to be immediate gratification, it will be even BETTER.  It will be moving towards feeling AMAZING over the long-term.  It will help you realize that the true secret to success is doing the simple things consistently!

So if you are still reading this article, I am asking you to not just read this, but take action on it.  Write down these questions.

What area of your life do you want to improve? 

What is one small change that you can make that will help you get there?

Write it down and do a gut check.  If you look at your answer and think, “I’m not sure I can do that.” then go smaller.

What is one baby step that you can take towards that goal? 

You will know that you have chosen something that you can repeat consistently when you think to yourself “Is this really the little thing that I’m going to do? This feels too simple!”  If that’s what you are thinking, then you are on the right track.  Start doing that one thing every day and then as you begin to not have to think about doing it every day, and you do it automatically guess what happens?? You have created a new GOOD HABIT!

At that point repeat this process with a different action step until you have created a LIFESTYLE that supports the person you want to be!!  That’s how simple creating the life that you want can be….one small change at a time, and that is what we at Ascension Fitness are about ONE BODY. ONE LIFE. COMMIT to one small change today and MAKE IT GREAT!

About the Author – Jennifer Lormand ACE- CPT, BS. Exercise Physiology, Author of mommymovement: new baby. new body. new life.

jenn blogMy love for fitness started at an early age. Growing up with asthma, I was driven to fight through those challenges. Exercise and fitness was my avenue to diminishing my reliance on asthma medications and treatments. Fueled by my passion to help people succeed and as a graduate in Exercise Physiology with a focus on Kinesiology, I am applying my love for fitness with these sciences to develop leading-edge one-on-one and group training programs to meet the specific needs of our clients, designed to push each other physically and support emotionally the needs of clients.


What is your ‘Why’?

By: Jamie McIntyre, BS Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

As I stood there hunched over with my hands on my knees after another grueling 5-mile run I thought to myself why I am doing this? Now, I am a competitive person by nature so I understand why I push myself harder every workout, because I always want to be better than the last time. What I hadn’t put much thought into was why I worked out like I do in the first place. Yes I am a personal trainer and yes it is part of my job but I could probably get away with fewer and shorter workouts and still be a good role model for my clients. So, the question remained why do I continue to push myself and why is it so important for me to know and understand that why?

Working out is hard. There is nothing easy about weight loss/muscle gain/toning. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to reach our goals. Knowing and understanding your why is the key to success. Your why is not “because I want to lose 10 pounds,” it goes deeper than that. Your why goes into why you want to lose 10 pounds at all. What is truly motivating you to reach your goals? You must know the answer to this question in order to achieve success because if you don’t then chances are you will not have the drive and determination it takes to get to where you want to be. Here are a three questions you should ask yourself to determine your why:

  • Why do you want (insert goal here)? – Like I said before you need to go into why you want to achieve that goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds your reason for that may be because when you were at your goal weight you had never felt better about yourself. You were more confident, more outgoing, and more comfortable in your own body. Our feelings motivate us and knowing the feelings involved with achieving your goal is crucial to your success. So, dive deep and find out why you want to reach your goals and identify the feelings involved.
  • What in your life is going to change if you achieve that goal? – Now I want you to dig a little deeper and think about how your life will be different once you achieve your goals. Will you be more confident? Get off medication? Be able to play with your kids more? Having a clear picture of how your life will change is another way to motivate yourself to reach your goals.
  • Are you doing it for yourself or for someone else? – This question is important. You need to know if you are being motivated by yourself or by someone else. If you are doing it for someone else, is it what’s best for you? Because if it isn’t something that you want or that you believe you will benefit from chances are you are not going to achieve your goals. You must be able to say that you are pushing yourself towards your goal because it is important for you.

So, dig deep and use these questions to find your why.  I promise you that if you can find it and have a clear picture of why you want what you want then nothing can stand in your way.

As for me, I workout and eat healthy for my future self because I know that the harder I work now and the more disciplined I am now, the easier it will be when I’m older. I have learned a lot from my clients and one thing that I am continually told is how much harder it is to achieve your goals when you are older. I believe them, even though I am still young, I know that my body is not the same as it was when I was 20. The great thing about my why is that I will always be working for my future self. My why is never going to change, other factors may come into it but I will always be working for my future self.

Jamie McIntyre, B.S. Exercise Science, ACE-CPT

meJamie McIntyre is the Marketing Coordinator and a personal trainer at Ascension Fitness. She came from San Diego, California where she recently completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Dickinson State University. Jamie received a softball scholarship to play at Dickinson State University. During her time at Dickinson State she completed an internship as a student athletic trainer which led to her passion of fitness.  Jamie loves training, softball, ringette, and watching movies.

August Client of the Month – Ashley Brewer

Congratulations to Ashley Brewer on becoming our August client of the month. Ashley is a part of the Executive Bootcamp crew and has seen a lot of success transforming her life!  Below is an interview with Ashley where she shares how training with Ascension Fitness has helped her succeed:

1. What brought you to Ascension Fitness?
I first met Jenn when I did Mommy Movement at Elmwood Fitness Center.  Following the completion of Mommy Movement, I continued to train with Jenn.  So when she left Elmwood to start her own gym, I followed her.  I’ve been with Jenn since before Ascension Fitness existed!
2. What results have you seen?
After the first Mommy Movement I did, I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but because I continued with bootcamp, I was much stronger than I had ever been.  After my second child, I did Mommy Movement again, and so far I’ve lost all the weight I gained during pregnancy plus more!
3. What is the biggest change have you made to get these results?
The biggest change I’ve made to get these results is eating correctly.  Recently, I have tried to not eat processed food, but to instead eat whole, all natural food and I feel so much better.  I still indulge, just in moderation.
4. Who inspires you?
My children inspire me to be the best person I can be for them.  I want to set a good example of how to be a healthy, active and fun mom which, in turn, will hopefully allow them to lead the same lifestyle as they grow!
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
OOHH, my guilty pleasure has always been chocolate chip cookies!  Especially when they are hot!!
Congratulations again Ashley and thank you for being a special part of Ascension Fitness!

Barefoot Running – Running Like Our Ancestors

By: Larry Gruber, CSCS, MES

As we all know from the heat and humidity, summer is upon New Orleans.  And, summertime means OUTDOOR RUNNING.  Since 2009, a new training dimension for runners has soared—the phenomenon of barefoot running.  Now let’s be clear—barefoot running in the city is dangerous due to potential debris on the ground.  So for the sake of this article, we are going to discuss minimalist running wear, which are those shoes that simulate barefoot running.   Does this type of running help improve foot strength and running mechanics, thereby making one a more competitive runner?    How does one go about implementing minimalist shoes into their training?  And, what are the drawbacks to running in these shoes?

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 32.2 million people participated in running and jogging in 2013, with a great number of these people competing in races of all distances.  So, as participation increases, so does competitiveness.  A study by Divert and colleagues (2008) has shown that there are benefits to barefoot and minimalist running, such as an increase in running economy.  Wearing a minimalist shoe causes certain modifications of the body that allow the exerciser to do more work with less demand on the body, such as more efficient stride lengths and frequency.    And, it’s less fatiguing than running in traditional shoes because it leads to lower energy consumption, thereby delaying the onset of fatigue.  Another benefit is that is helps to improve proprioception (the body’s ability to sense stimuli).  When a runner isn’t encased in all that running shoe technology, the little sensors in his/her feet can actually feel the surface beneath and then allow the foot to react appropriately—thereby reducing injury and improving balance.  And, it helps strengthen all those muscles in the feet and ankles because they are recruited more for support.  Finally, most traditional running shoes have a heel lift.  By removing this, it helps the Achilles tendon and calves stretch and lengthen, thereby reducing injuries such as calf pulls caused by short, tight tissues.

Now that you have decided to make the switch, transition slowly to running in this footwear because so much more ankle and footwork is required, and those muscles and tendons are not accustomed to the stress.  Begin by doing various activities of daily life in these shoes, such as gardening or cleaning the house.  Then, begin to adopt a progressive overload approach.  For example, wear them for 10 minutes at the beginning of exercise and another 10 minutes at the end.  Slowly, add in another 10-minute bout.    For the first 2 weeks, keep the total training time to no more than 30 minutes per session.  Be mindful of how your feet and ankles feel after wearing the shoes, and slowly progress the amount of time exercising in them as long as you are pain-free.

Beware, however, that there are cons associated with this type of running.  As I stated earlier, minimalist shoes don’t offer a lot of sole-support, so one has to be very mindful of the surface upon which they run and be on the lookout for glass, rocks and other sharp objects.   And, because one’s calves and Achilles tendons are accustomed to a more supportive shoe, minimalist running may over-stress them in the beginning.  So, follow the progressive overload protocol I outlined above.  Finally, this type of running may be contraindicated for those with diabetes because peripheral neuropathy (a common complication of diabetes) can lead to a loss of protective sensations in the feet.

Armed with the pros and cons of minimalist shoes and how to incorporate them into your training, you can make an educated decision about joining this running trend.  I recommend you go to a running store, like Southern Runner, where a professional can assist you in making the right decision for your foot.  Now get out there on that levee and enjoy your run!


larrygruber-headshot2Physical fitness used to be just a pastime for me, until more and more friends began asking for my opinion concerning their fitness regimen.  In 1999, after a successful restaurant management career in some of Chicago’s finest restaurants, I became a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I’m also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

As a personal trainer, I strongly feel that exercise should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I structure the workouts so they are fun, combining traditional weight training with functional training, cardio-respiratory training and flexibility training, all aimed at helping you look, feel and move better.  In order for the sessions to be successful, the personal trainer/client relationship must be a very interactive one, requiring constant feedback from both parties.  I want and need your opinions and suggestions.

After training for 13 years in Chicago, I made the move south in search of warmer weather.  I’m so excited to be part of such a vibrant city, and I can’t wait to try its world famous restaurants.  Thanks so much for welcoming me to New Orleans!!