Monday, May 4, 2015

The Six Week Sugar Freedom Challenge Begins

Welcome to the challenge everyone.  This is our third on-line sugar elimination mission, and I am so happy to be able to share the new strategies we have learned during challenges one and two.

Today, we begin with this question,

Do you have a good understanding of Why you are undertaking the effort to take sugar, grains, and vegetable oils out of your eating plan?  Take a moment to think again what having your authentic ideal body would allow you to do.  This is why you are moving forward with Sugar Freedom, and nobody else gets to decide what your ideal is, or what you will create in your life as you achieve it.

Our goal for the next six weeks is to put food in its proper place.  It is fuel for our dreams, not some idol we worship three, six, or more times a day. If food has somehow become the number one pleasure and priority in your life, as it did in mine, this is the primary issue we will address during the challenge.

Each day we will satisfy our hunger and energize the body while releasing fat.

We will switch from primarily using sugar to using fat to fuel our activities.  The Sugar Strike pulls out the foods that make you a sugar burner, while providing enough fat burning food to make you say,

"Wow, I feel so full!"

Do not forget to drink bullion if you begin to feel out of sorts. You can lose sodium on the Sugar Strike, and the bullion will help replenish it.

I will check in at 2:30PM Pacific time Monday through Friday to answer your questions.  Stay strong and remember, if you want to eat off plan you are experiencing a craving.  A craving is a feeling, and feelings do pass.  Drink a glass of water, eat a hard boiled egg or another Freedom Food.  Do not go hungry.

Finally, reach out to the group with your struggles.  We succeed faster when we help each other.

I can't wait to see what you all achieve.

Your Coach, Catherine Gordon ACE/CTT
Author of Sugar Freedom

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Are We Unicorns?

We Are Unicorns

A few weeks ago, I tore through Harriet Brown's book,
     "Body of Truth," How Science, History, and Culture Drive Our Obsession With Weight, and What We Can Do About It.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have suspected that unrealistic, even unhealthy, weight ideals fostered by Western culture and driven by markets and media are promoting behaviors that make us fatter.  The overwhelming desire to reduce body weight and size seems to trigger physiological and emotional changes that drive fat storage and limit happy productive movement.

As a Certified Personal Trainer and sugar reduction advocate, my personal curiosity has changed to a professional obligation as I try to understand why traditional diet and exercise seem to be backfiring on so many women and men who are simply seeking a body they feel at home and at peace in.

Here is my theory.  If the media proclaims that a normal, healthy body is too fat, many individuals  will go on diets that actually promote more fat storage, and they will be worse off that they would have been if they had never dieted at all.

 I thought I was unique in the fact that my pediatrician put me on a calorie counting regimen when I was just eight years old.  It turns out that according to Harriet Brown's research the average age of a first diet for girls is eight.  Average.

The earliness of my first diet may not have been unique, but "Body of Truth" does argue that my experience of permanent fat loss may be.  This is the current reality for me and many of my readers and clients: many of us have lost more than 30, 50, 70 pounds and beyond, and kept it off for years.  In her book, Brown quotes psychologist Deb Burgard,

     "People who have maintained a weight loss, who eat flexibly, who are truly at peace with food- they're like unicorns."

Deb Burgard's quote is an accurate description of the way I have felt since 2008 when I turned everything I was doing in terms of eating and exercise upside down.  Now, at just shy of age 51 I feel more empowered, more joyful, energetic, and yes, beautiful than I have ever felt in my life.  Am I more beautiful than I was at 18, or 27, or on my wedding day?  Probably not not, but who cares.

I am living in a body that allows me to fulfill my dreams of love, work, and creativity.  Am I skinny?


Is any part of my body flat?

Certainly not.

So what.  I feel healthy, energetic, authentic, and powerful.  I have the enormous honor of doing work that I believe in.  When I walk in the door of Gordon Studio, put on the music, turn to my class, and say,

"You know what I want."  (That means the best form and technique my students can give me.)

I feel excitement, purpose, and a kind of wild joy.

I feel magic.

We are unicorns.

The method for becoming a unicorn is this:  Eat the food that nourishes and satisfies your, without triggering overeating.  Practice move meant that challenges, excites, and even exhilarates you without pain.  Rest, recover, and connect how you eat and move to what you want to give and achieve in your life.  Want health and self acceptance for everyone else as much as you want it for yourself.

What is more wonderful than being a unicorn?  Having other unicorns to play with.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rules of the TT Transformation Contest: Transform to Win.

Results of My first 12 Week Transformation in 2008

First, I want to thank every Gordon Studio member who has had the courage and perseverance to enter and finish a Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.

Standing in front of a camera and holding a newspaper for a "Before" picture is an odd way to start a fitness journey.  It takes more than courage.  It requires hope.

Over the past  two and a half years since Gordon Studio opened its doors, my hope and confidence have grown by leaps and bounds.  With Gordon Studio members making the finals of the international TT Transformation contests 21 times, and placing over a dozen times, I have begun to believe that we are cracking the code for overcoming overweight and obesity.

We eat well, train smart, think clearly, rest, and recover.  I am posting the rules of the 23rd. contest here in the hope that you will be inspired and join me in 12 weeks that can change your body, and your life.  TT is Transformation Training.

Default Rules of the 23rd TT Contest

Rules of the 23rd
Turbulence Training
Transformation Contest

The 23rd Turbulence Training 12-Week Transformation Contest officially starts on April 27th 2015, but you can join at any time during these 12 weeks. The final day to submit entries is Monday, July 27th 2015 at midnight EST.

2. If you start on April 27th you finish on July 20th. You then take your final photos and can submit your entry between July 20th and July 27th.

3. If you start on May 4th you finish on July 27th. You then take your final photos and must submit your entry before July 27th at 11:59pm (midnight) EST. You can start later, but you won't have a full 12 weeks to transform your life.

4. Your after photo must be taken 12 weeks after your before photo or on July 27th if you start late.

5. Any submissions after midnight EST on July 27th will NOT be eligible for this contest round. NO exceptions.

Contestant Entry Requirements:

"Before" and "After" Photos
Click here to see "Before" and "After" photo instructions

"Before" and "After" Measurements
Click here to see how to take your measurements

Short Essay on How You Transformed Your Life
Click here to see Essay instructions

In order to be eligible to enter the 23rd TT Transformation Contest, you must train with one of the TT programs or CTT related programs. See suggested workout programs.

Click Here To Submit Your Entry

Submissions will ONLY be accepted from the link above.

If you are Previous TT Transformation Contest winner you will need to enter in the Pro Category.

You must submit your complete entry by midnight EST on July 27th.

"Before" and "After" Photo Instructions

Before Photos

Grab a newspaper with the current date (your Day 1).
Wear your bathing suit.
Find a room where there's good lighting and it's not too dark.
Take 1 photo facing directly at the camera (full-length body shot).
Take a 2nd photo of you from the side.
Take a 3rd photo of you from the back.
Take a look at the photos and make sure they're not blurry or hard to see. If they are, re-take them. You'll want a good picture of how far you've come on week 12, trust me.

After Photos

Grab a newspaper with the current date (this will be your Day 84).
Try to wear the same bathing suit you wore in your before photo. If it doesn't fit or you can't, don't sweat it.
Take your after shot in the same room and same spot as your before (if possible).
Take 1 photo facing directly at the camera (same pose as in your before).
Take a 2nd photo of you from the side (preferably the same side as your before).
Take a 3rd photo of you from the back.
General Notes: The idea is to get a mirror image of your before photo and after photo, where the only thing changing is your sexy new body. Keep that in mind and don't forget to smile

"Before" and "After" Measurement Instructions

Take each of these measurements before you start the contest, and then measure again in the same way after you finish your transformation.

1. Weight

Measure your weight in pounds.

2. Waist

Measure (inches) around your true waist, the widest part of your stomach. This will typically be at the level of your belly button.

3. Hips

Measure (inches) around the broadest point on your hips/seat (usually right on the hip bone)

4. Chest

Measure (inches) fully around the broadest part of your chest (tape should rest over the nipples).

5. Shoulders

Measure (inches) the width of the back across the broadest part of shoulders, from shoulder point (where the shoulder meets the arm) to about 1-2 inches below the neckline.

6. Thighs

Measure (inches) fully around one thigh just below the crotch

Short Essay - 2000 Character Maximum

2000-character maximum essay about your 12-week transformation journey. Here's a list of questions that would be good to answer in your essay. These aren't mandatory but they are a nice guide:

What was your life like before joining the TT contest?
What type of workouts were you doing before? And if applicable, what results were you getting?
What was the biggest change for you after using the TT workouts?
What did you like best about the TT workouts?
How is your life better after the TT contest?
What TT workouts did you use?
Voting Process:

Once we've received all the contest entries, our Turbulence Team will then choose the TOP 5 finalists for each category. At this time, the Contest will then be open to public voting.

Voting will continue for 4 days, at which point first, second, and third place winners for each category will be notified via EMAIL and announced on FACEBOOK.

Prizes are as follows:

For the 12-Week Transformation Contest there will be five categories:
Men Under 40
Men Over 40
Women Under 40
Women Over 40
TT PRO Category*

The prizes awarded for each category are:
1st Place Grand Prize - $1000 plus a 3-Year Platinum TT Membership
2nd Place - $500 plus a 2-Year Platinum TT Membership
3rd Place - $250 plus a 1-Year Platinum TT Membership

*The TT PRO category is for all past prize winners. If you've won a prize in one of the previous Turbulence Training Transformation Contests you are eligible to enter into this exclusive PRO category. There are no age or gender restrictions. Voting rules are the same as for all the other categories listed.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Jamie's Transformation Story

My name is Jamie I’m 52 years old and have four children. Since my early twenties,  I have had gym memberships,  participated in several different workout  programs and started running, as a way to lose weight. Although successful at losing weight occasionally, I always seemed to “find” the weight again.

Last year my job became more stressful and more sedentary. Sitting in a chair 8-12 hours a day, I would actually be sore from sitting so much. So, I decided I needed to try and do at least some exercise after work a few times week, and start eating healthier.
 A good friend kept posting on FB about a “kick butt” exercise she had just done at Gordon Studios.
A few years ago, I had taken a few Zumba classes from Catherine Gordon and really enjoyed that, so I decided to try her Turbulence Training classes. I thought it would be exactly what I needed, 30 minutes of exercise after work.

 Well I could never have predicted how much it would change my body. NONE of the programs I had done in the past gave me the results that TT has given me in 12 weeks with 30 minute sessions. I have spent 2-3 hours a day at a gym and literally run hundreds of miles did not the get results I have gotten with TT.

Catherine’s expertise in nutrition and exercise is so inspiring and she makes everyone in the classes feel good about themselves and their accomplishments. Her maniac energy and enthusiasm is contagious. 

Not only have I changed my exercise and eating habits with Catherine’s help, my 16 year old daughter enjoys going to TT with me.  The TT2003, TT2004 workouts and the Homeworkout Revolutions sets are “kick butt,” whether your 16 or 52. It has not been easy but, it has been fun and rewarding.

I’m so looking forward to the next phase of working out with Catherine at Gordon Studios and all the other women I see weekly at TT and witness their transformations.

Thanks Jamie.  The best way to maintain a transformation is to pass it on.  I can't wait to hear who Jamie inspires with her story.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

At Peace With Food

Yesterday, my son Colin and I drove up to Roseville, just above Sacramento, to do some shopping.

By 1PM, we were ready to sit, relax, and enjoy a meal.  Colin chose Il Fornaio, an Italian trattoria, and we were shown to a lovely table by the patio.  It was quiet, soothing, and quite pretty there, and I proceeded to open the menu and look for a satisfying, trigger free meal.

I had already said, "No thank you," to the bread and olive oil (more for Colin) and I ordered the roasted chicken with no potatoes and extra vegetables.  

Colin had a beautiful dish of mixed seafood on crostini with spinach, fava beans, and grilled tomato.  He enjoyed every bite, and still had room for dessert.

So now we come to the central point of this e-mail.  As I enjoyed my coffee with cream and chocolate stevia, Colin chose a chocolate torte with caramel ice cream from the rolling cart of artfully prepared desserts.  

Why do I have to bring this up in a Sugar Freedom e-mail?  It's simple.  I had absolutely no desire for a taste of Colin's dessert, even though he offered me a bite, twice.  

The truth is that when I abstain from sugar, grains, and vegetable oils my desire for my personal trigger foods goes away.  Even better, I got full and satisfied on my delicious chicken and vegetables, and I stayed full for hours afterward.  Even with a lot more shopping, walking, and driving, I was still full when we got back to Sonora at 6PM.

Why would I trade that wonderful feeling of satisfaction for the cravings, joint pain, and puffy face I always get after a cheat meal?

I know that permanent abstinence from sugar, grains, and vegetable oils, one day at a time, can sound like a tall order.  The reality is that once the body adjusts to an eating plan of moderate protein, healthy fats, and plenty of above ground vegetables, the desire for trigger foods simply goes away.

I traded the excitement of wine and a fancy dessert for the deep enjoyment of lunch, relaxation, and conversation with my soon to be 14 year old son.

This is what I wish for all of my Sugar Freedom readers.  No matter what foods have gotten in the way of your happiness up to now, I want you to know that you can loosen their grip on you, and leave them behind.  The rewards of doing this are greater than fat loss and the chance to look younger and wear a smaller size.

The reward is the feeling of being at peace with food.
The fountain near our table.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Starting today: A Year Without Sugar.

On December 26th, 2014 Sugar Freedom was released to the public.  The program was, and continues to be, an evolving record of the eating strategy that allowed me, and now my readers and clients, to recover from food addiction.

Sugar, grains, and processed fats continue to be the main dietary culprits when it comes to out of control appetite and fat storage.  In addition certain behaviors, like eating in front of the television, standing up, or in the car, tend to lead to the kind of eating that doesn't satisfy our appetites.

I have spent countless hours searching for the keys to permanent fat loss and peace with food, and I am convinced that when we eat food that nourishes and satisfies us, without triggering our appetites, we can naturally arrive at an ideal authentic weight.

Sugar Freedom readers like Sharon S.,Paulann W., Maria C., and Pam J. have had wonderful success not just at losing weight, but at arriving at goal and staying there.

This is the gold standard of a nutritional approach: not only to lose fat, but to get all the way to goal and stay there for good.

How do we do this if we are addicted to sugar and foods that rapidly break down into sugar when we digest them?

Starting here and now, I am ready to get behind the concept of abstinence from sugar, grains, and processed oils one day at a time for the rest of my life.  I must confess, that over the course of the past year I have experimented with the idea that I might be able to add back certain foods and some wine without getting triggered, overeating, and re-gaining fat.

Many individuals with normal appetites and insulin sensitivity do beautifully on a program that includes cheat meals.  I personally know many men and women who get lean and stay that way in spite of, or maybe because of, their strategic indulgences.  Dark chocolate, almond butter, coconut flour, and maple syrup can work beautifully to enhance eating enjoyment within the boundaries of good health.

And yet... whenever I try to incorporate these foods I binge.  

Luckily, Dr. Vera Tarman has recently released her book, "Food Junkies" which explores sugar and food addiction from the point of view of a medical doctor who treats food addicts.  Indeed, Dr. Tarman is an addict herself, which gives her profound insights into what it takes to leave the addictive foods behind.  I highly recommend reading her book which is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

What a relief it is to know that I am not alone in my inability to incorporate sugar and starch with out causing an episode of compulsive overeating.  There is more good news. My readers, clients, and I are experiencing more energy, better sleep and mental clarity, improved mood, fat loss, and perhaps best of all, a growing indifference to sugar the longer we abstain from it.

This is the promise of Sugar Freedom: That by leaving sugar out completely, we can leave it behind easily.  Did I really say easily?  Yes I did.  This is the reality of the Sugar Freedom lifestyle.

Is it hard to get to this place of indifference to sugar and starch?  Yes, it can be, but my clients and I continue to discover new strategies for making the process as simple as possible.

One key is to add chicken, beef, or vegetable bullion to the 3 Day Sugar Strike.  This can help ease the lack of energy that comes with getting off of sugar.  

I am so eager to see where 2015 takes us as authors, doctors, scientists, and researchers continue to gain understanding into how any why we get fat, and how we release fat for good.

I stand ready to share every new technique I can for overcoming food obsession.  The incredible benefit that comes from getting free of trigger foods is the opportunity to replace harmful eating with joyful living.

I encourage you contact me at: with your questions, struggles, and personal solutions.  We can overcome sugar addiction together.  Then we can use the energy we used to waste fighting our appetites to fuel the lives we have always wanted.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Transform to Win!

How to Stick the Landing.

Thank you to everyone who voted in the latest Turbulence Training Transformation Contest.

Jim Junette placed second in the Men Over 40 category, and with 4 finalists qualifying, Gordon Studio remains the top Turbulence Training Gym in America.

How does our little studio in rural Tuolumne County keep producing champions?

Were understand that eating, moving, mindset, and support create a powerful structure for success.

Now, those of you who are participating in the 6 Week Challenge are moving into the final week, and I’m going to share some important instructions for getting the results you want in your after photos.

First: Have an eating plan for the next 9 days.  We are following Sugar Freedom, and one of the tools for success in our eating strategy is the Bonus Meal.  The bonus meal is one meal where you get to eat any of your desired favorite foods, so long as they are not “Trigger Foods.”  Note: Trigger Foods are those foods that you cannot eat in a standard serving, and/or those foods that stimulate your appetite so much that you overeat after consuming them.

So when will your next Bonus Meal be?  Will you have it on the 23rd, the day after the challenge ends?  Do you celebrate Christmas, and do you want your special meal on the 25th?  Hanukkah begins on the 17th: will that be your bonus day?  Remember: The bonus meal comes once every 7 days.

The Gordons celebrate on Christmas Eve, and I’ve scheduled my next bonus meal will be for the 16th.  

Now, this is important: leading up to “after” pictures on the 22nd, I want to follow my photo ready eating plan on the 19th, 20, and 21st.

Here is a sample day from that plan:

Day 1
2 eggs, poached, served over a bed of spinach cooked in olive oil, and topped with salsa.

Celery Sticks with organic salsa.  (No fruit salsas for now.)

3-4 oz. organic turkey breast, served with 2 cups romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, and olive oil and vinegar dressing.
1 cup steamed broccoli.

1-2 more ounces of turkey, more celery and salsa if you are hungry for a snack.

3-4 oz broiled salmon, 1 cup steamed asparagus with lemon, 1 cup sliced mushrooms cooked in olive or coconut oil.

I designed this plan for it’s simplicity, and it’s bloat releasing effect.  If you own the Sugar Freedom program this is day one of Sugar Freedom XP.

Continue to drink your tonic each morning, do your 3 Minute Wake Up Call, and perform 3 TT Home Workout Revolution training sessions per week.

Here is the recipe for the tonic:

16oz water, juice of ½ lemon, 1T Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, enough liquid stevia to cut some of the sourness.  If it’s too strong, reduce the vinegar and lemon, and work up to the full amount.
Drink a minimum of 64 oz of pure water per day.

The result?  Expect glowing skin, and a noticably smaller waistline on Picture Day!

Finally, whether or not you are in the challenge, please send your questions to:, because Sugar Freedom is only as successful as you are.