Why I’m going to Kenya

Nicole and I strongly believe in the Bible’s advocacy of global missions. That belief prompts us to act; therefore, we have spent time in foreign countries serving, teaching, and loving people in the name of Christ. In fact, we have dedicated part of each year together in a different cultural context, and we plan to continue this for the rest of our lives.

This past year, Nicole and I both traveled to Mexico to serve with missionaries there. Nicole went to Thailand at the beginning of this year to work with a house for orphaned victims of sex-trafficking. We have both traveled to Haiti to share a biblical understanding of who God is and why He is worthy of our praise.

Global missions are an integral part of how we work out our faith in Jesus Christ. In James 2, we are told that faith without works is dead. Our faith is what compels us to seek out opportunities to serve people around the world. My faith is what has compelled me to apply to be part of the Kenya team. This trip will be my first opportunity to use Physical Therapy in a missional context. God willing, this will be the first of many such trips in my life.

I recently finished reading “Bonhoeffer,” the autobiography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and it encouraged me to pursue Jesus more radically. Bonhoeffer was a pastor, theologian, and spy during World War II. He was involved in the Valkyrie plot, which nearly took the life of Adolf Hitler, and he was murdered weeks before the war ended. Bonhoeffer was able to leave the country and had the ability to stay away from Germany until the war ended. While away, he decided he could not leave his brethren behind to suffer for the cause of Christ while he merely spoke of the gospel in a different country. He needed to be on the frontlines. He felt called by God to live out what he was preaching. He knew God was calling him back to Germany. He is thus considered a martyr for returning to a country where Bible-believing Christians were being persecuted and put in concentration camps.

I want to go and live out what I believe. The Living Room provides an incredible opportunity for health professionals to share the love of Jesus and the Gospel with people at the end of their lives. No one needs to know about Jesus more than those who are about to meet him. My prayer for the Kenya team is to serve well people in difficult circumstances and to grow closer to God in the process.


The Quick Pain Fix

Sit up straight.

The phrase is repeated so often, we’ve become numb to it. Most people recognize the importance of posture. Yet, most have terrible posture.

Now, hold on-Don’t stop reading just because you’ve heard this so many times before-Hear me out.

I love muscles. But they are stupid. They adapt to whatever stress is imposed upon them.  If you spend 40 hours of your week with your head slightly forward looking at a computer screen, the muscles at the base of your skull will get tight.  If you do Bench Press three times a week, your pecs will get bigger and tighter. If you sit all day, your hip flexors shorten.

So what do most people do about it? They go after the symptoms instead of treating the source. This means things like massage, pain relievers, “adjustments”, or exercises.  These are great, but often don’t fix the problem.

The best way to fix many nagging pain issues is to change the position your body is in for most of the day.  By making a few simple tweaks to your posture you can give your tissues room to heal and get yourself out of pain.

So now you’re sold on the importance of posture. What does correct posture look like? That depends on what you’re doing.


Sitting is the new smoking. And our society sits often. The obvious solution is to stand more. As I type, I’m standing at a standing work-station I made out of a dresser. I use a wireless key board and mouse and computer stand. It took less than 50$ and an hour to make (plus some convincing of my wife $priceless).


Standing promotes better posture than sitting. But just because you’re standing doesn’t mean doesn’t mean you’ll never have pain. You need to stand correctly.

Some keys of good standing posture:

  • Point your feet forward
  • Soften your knees
  • Slightly contract your glutes
  • Rotate your arms back and down
  • Keep the spine neutral
  • Neck neutral

Some common issues with poor standing posture:

  • Feet pointed out
  • Knees locked out
  • Lower back extension
  • Upper back rounding
  • Shoulders forward and internally rotated
  • Head forward

I’m confident you could tell which photo is poor-posture and which is exemplary…but just in case, Left = bad, Right = good. :)

picstitch (1)

Standing for long periods of time can be tiring. Try putting your foot up on a small stool or bench at some point during the day. The position change will give your fatigued muscles a break.

“But I can’t stand up at work” you say. Well then, let’s talk about sitting well.


Maintaining good sitting posture is tough. The best things you can do is to stand up every 10 to 15 minutes and restructure yourself. You can also switch up your position often. I like to stretch my hips while I answer emails.

While sitting, your abs should have some tension in them. This is difficult to remember to do. That’s why I recommend standing up often.

Sitting posture is similar to standing. You want your pelvis, spine, and neck neutral. Your shoulders should be rotated externally.

You can try putting a pillow behind your back or rolled-up towel under your sit bones to keep your pelvis tilted forward.


Ideally, you should sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. Your hips, knees, and ankles should be slightly flexed and your head should be neutral.

Side-sleeping is uncomfortable for some people. I don’t sleep on my side.

If you’re a back sleeper, try not to use too much pillow. This could put your neck in excessive flexion.

Sleeping on the belly can create issues due to the amount of neck rotation needed.


It’s important to mention the best posture is one that is constantly changing. The best thing you can do for your body is to move often throughout the day. Stretch. Do some squats. Anything to get your body in a different position is generally good.


What the heck is Spaghetti Squash?

I didn’t believe it until I saw it for the first time. I put the spaghetti squash in the oven and it came out like…spaghetti…it was straight out of Harry Potter, magic!

I am the queen of carbs. I don’t discriminate: cupcakes, pies, pasta, fruit. I like it all. Lately, I have attempted to eat healthier, unprocessed carbs in place of processed carbs. Spaghetti Squash is an excellent example of a health carbohydrate.

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti




  • 1-2 Medium Spaghetti Squashes (1 squash=2-3 people; 2 squashes=4-6 people) *don’t get them too big like I did for this recipe because they don’t cook as quickly
  • 1 Package of Lean Ground Turkey
  • Tomato Sauce: 1/2-3/4 of a Jar
  • 1 Medium Onion (red or white) diced
  • Cashews: 1/2 cup chopped
  • Parmesan Cheese: 1/2 cup grated
  • Salt: 1/4-3/4 tsp.
  • Pepper: 1/4-1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon: 1/4-1/2 tsp.
  • Butter: 1-2 Tbsp. melted
  • Olive Oil or Canola Cooking Spray


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Microwave each squash for 2-3 minutes (this soften the squash for cutting).

3. Cut the squash in half. Clean out the center and the seeds.

IMG_7496 IMG_7500

4. Place the squash on the baking sheet cut side up.


5. Paint the butter on the squash with a pastry brush.  Then sprinkle the salt, pepper & cinnamon over the squash.


6. Bake the squash for 45-50 minutes or until the squash is tender enough to stick a fork into it with minimal resistance. For larger squash it could take 60-90 minutes, which is why I recommend the small/medium squash.

7. While the squash is baking, preheat a pan with cooking spray on medium heat.

8. Saute the ground turkey until lightly browned and then add in the onions and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Then add in the cashews and tomato sauce. Leave the meat on low heat while you are waiting for the squash to finish.


9. Once the squash is done cooking, remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool for a couple minutes before handling. Scoop the flesh of the squash out with a spoon or fork into a bowl.


10. Serve the squash on bottom, then top with the turkey sauce. Garnish with parmesan and nuts.


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Let me know if you have any questions and if you decide to make it, tell me how it turns out.

~Nicole (aka The Queen of Carbs)

First 2 weeks in SoCal 047

Heavy Weight = Little Muscles

I finished discussing my client’s goals and the benefits of weight lifting. Her response: “I just want small muscles like you” (as she grabs my stomach).

My female clients tell me they don’t want to lift anything heavy because they want little muscles. They fear touching anything over 10 pounds will make them look like a man.[more…]

CrossFit and powerlifting have made tremendous strides for women and strength training. The problem is my clients think if they lift weights 2-3x/week they will suddenly look like CrossFit women. I am not bashing the CrossFit women because they are beautiful and hardcore. But, that is not the look the average female is going for.

What is the average female going for? She is looking to lose stomach fat, tone-up, rid cellulite and lose weight. Why? Because our world tells women they have to be these things to be beautiful.

What comes to mind when you think having muscles?

Many women think of masculinity. Personally, I think girls with muscle are awesome! I guarantee having more muscle will be empowering, no matter the size. I may have little arm muscles (I blame it on my genes). However, my leg muscles are far from small, and I love it.



Each woman will respond differently to weight training. We don’t get to choose our genetics; we just make the best of what we’ve been given. I have lanky limbs (alien-arms by my friends) and a short torso. When I gain weight, the first place it goes and the last place it leaves is my torso. Some women naturally carry more weight around the hips and thighs (which is actually a healthier fat distribution). Some women naturally have bigger legs or arms. Whatever body you have been given, lifting weights will make it sexier. Why? Because strong is beautiful.

Gone are the days when women have to be rail-thin to be beautiful. Beautiful is being confident and secure in you body. It’s about accepting the body you have rather than trying to make your body look like someone else’s. Yes, lifting weights will get you physically stronger and make your muscles more sexy. But, it also cultivates confidence and inner-beauty.

What does this mean for you? Start a strength training program. If you stick to your program, weight loss and toning will happen. The cherry on top of your new found strength and sexiness. You will gain better posture, be able to lift something heavy without needing help, and prevent future injuries.

Increasing muscle mass brings a host of other benefits. Circumference measurements go down, definition increases and fat is demolished. The more lean body mass you carry around (muscles), the higher your metabolism throughout the day. Not only will you have definition, but you will be burning more fat all the time (not just when you are exercising). The scale won’t always reveal this, but clothes and measurements will.

Instead of a goal focused on your weight, set a strength goal. I am currently working towards pulling a 200# deadlift.


To gain strength and put on muscle, you need to be strength training at least twice a week. Preferably three times per week. The other 2-3 days, do cardio/interval training. Not for hours on end! Keep cardio training under 45 minutes.

If you want to lose weight and put on muscle, you will have to make nutritional changes (adjusting calories & food choices) as well as lift weights. Just changing nutrition will result in fat and muscle loss.

Lifting weights has made me stronger, more confident, and decreased my symptoms from scoliosis. It may be intimidating, but the benefits are endless. If you don’t know where to start, I can help. Reach out on Facebook or email me: ncklingler@gmail.com

I hope you are inspired to lift something heavy!


14 Things We Learned In 2014

  1. Find your “Why” – Matt. Thinking about why you do what you do is exhausting. But, it is well worth it. If you can figure out what motivates you in your business, work, or family it will inspire others and drive the decisions you make. Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk from 2009 is the third most viewed Ted Talk of all time. I watched It this past year and it really caused me to think. [more…]The talk got me thinking about my why for writing this blog. My why is to help people change the way they think about their bodies and to life lives that reflect their changed thinking.  If this is something you think would help, just watch the talk. You’ll thank me. :)
  2. Do Less – Matt. I am a chronic over-committer. I want to take every opportunity that is presented to me. In the past, I would say yes to just about everything. This led me to have more things on my plate than I could manage. I wasn’t able to be great in any area of life. I read some great books this year like “The Power of Less” by Leo Babuta, “Essentialism” by Greg Mckeown, and “Crazy Busy” by Kevin DeYoung. The common thread of all three books was to do less to achieve more. I started to filter the opportunities I was given through my sieve of doing less. Although, I still said yes too often, I have narrowed my focus to what’s most important.
  3. Know “Why” You’re Training – Matt. For my training the past year, my “why” has been general health.  I knew going into to 2014 that it would be a busy season and simply maintaining my fitness would be a good goal. However, my workouts didn’t match my goals. I was crushing myself 3-4 days a week in the gym. I was constantly trying to push my numbers on back squats, deadlifts and bench. My workouts would last an hour and a half. Frustratingly, my lifts didn’t go up and my workouts left me feeling tired and sluggish. They were simply too taxing for me with all the other stuff in my life. I finally realized that I didn’t need to train like an animal to stay healthy. I backed off pushing heavy weights and transitioned to 3-4 full body workouts each week. The workouts I do are still challenging. I’m lifting heavy weights and still doing Squats, Bench, Pull-ups, and Deadlifts.  I’m just doing less volume and not constantly pushing my numbers up in my lifts. I feel great and have maintained been able to maintain my strength. It’s crucial to find your “why”. If your goal is to get stronger, you should be pushing the limits on your lifts, getting lots of rest and eating good food in large amounts. If your goal is fat loss, you should be focused on making changes to the way you eat that help your body lose fat. If you’re an athlete, you should train like an athlete, not a body builder. These probably sounds simple. Yet, I constantly find people are training in a way that doesn’t match their goals. First, figure out your “why” and then match your training to it.
  4. Your workouts don’t have to be long to be effective – Matt. I thought dropping my workout volume down would cause my muscles to dwindle and my body fat to rise. It didn’t. I lift weights for 30-45 minutes 3-4 days a week and try to do something active outside, like hiking or cycling, 2 days a week for about an hour. It’s a grand total of about 4 hours a week devoted to exercise. Although I haven’t seen my strength go up (again it hasn’t been my goal), I have gotten leaner and stayed healthy this year. You don’t have to devote 2 hours to the lifting and cardio 5 to 6 days a week to be fit. Even a quick 5 to 10 minute workout can be effective. Do what you can and don’t sweat the rest.
  5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – Nicole. I tend to get worked up about things that have little or no significance. I lose focus on what’s truly important. My relationships and sleep are affected. I wish I could just “let it go” like Elsa from Frozen. This year I have found that focusing on what is important instead of the minutia is freeing. I’ve learned to focus more on my relationships than the clothes on the ground. I have thought about this bible verse often as I have worked through letting go of the insignificant: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25
  6. Start with your Most Important Tasks –Matt. “The Power of Less” inspired this. I write down what my three most important tasks are for a given day. Then, I make sure those are the first three things I get done. Many days, I end up getting distracted and doing other things or not finishing all three tasks. But, I’ve grown in my productivity. I get way more done than previously. Don’t have a huge to do list that you constantly add to each day on your desk. Figure out what the most important things are for that do and pick three or less of them to do. Pursue getting them done relentlessly first thing in the morning and then enjoy the rest of your day.
  7. Shut Off Your Phone An Hour Before Bed – Nicole. Matt and I talked about this when I was having trouble falling asleep. I would be responding to friends and clients right up until I went to sleep. I couldn’t shut my brain off. As soon as I started turning my phone off before 8pm (we usually go to bed by 9pm), I began to fall asleep right away. I stopped having work dreams and I did not fall asleep thinking about the next day. Matt and I also get some uninterupted quality time before bed when we shut our phones off. Here is an amazing article that talks about ways to get better sleep. 
  8. Don’t Check Your Phone/Facebook/Email First Thing In The Morning – Matt.  The first thing you do in the morning sets the tone for the day. Will you be productive and make progress towards your goals or will it be a day were you spend time doing things that don’t matter? I have always checked my email and Facebook right when I wake up. I would shut off my alarm on my phone and open up my email. I would respond to emails, and like things on Facebook. It made me reactive to the demands of whoever had emailed me or what was on Facebook instead of focusing on what was most important for the day. I started working on not checking my phone first thing in the morning. Instead I would read my bible and pray. Then I would complete my first task for the day. I try to start my day proactively instead of reactively. This was amazing for my productivity. I was able to get what was most important done before all the distractions of email and social media.
  9. Have an Awesome Lunch Box Matt. Nicole got me a $70 lunch box for my birthday. Yup, it’s epic.  It’s an expensive lunch box, but it has been well worth it. I am often on campus from 9 am until 7 pm. I need multiple meals throughout the day. Previously, I had to take food that would last a long time so I could eat later in the day. Most healthy meals don’t do well when they are not kept cold. Having a great lunch box allowed me to eat whole foods all day.
  10. Build Relationships around the Dinner Table – Nicole. I read the book “Bread & Wine” by Shauna Niequist this year. I got excited about having people over for dinner. In the book she talks about how there is something special about gathering people together around a table for home cooked meals. When you are in a restaurant there are numerous distractions and interruptions during dinner and it can be hard to carry on a meaningful conversation. When I have gathered people in my home and we have taken time to sit around and talk without interruptions or distractions, it is incredibly bonding. When you share a meal with someone, they  let their guard down and you can really get to know them. I used to think hospitality meant a perfect, gourmet dinner in a spotless house. After reading the book, it helped me to let it go (again with the help of Anna and Elsa) of the need for perfection. It is okay to have just have dinner with no appetizer, dessert or salad. It okay to do have a potluck style meal where everyone contributes. Just invite people into your home, cook them some food. 1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
  11. Make Healthy Meals With Great LeftoversNicole. Matt & I used to share the cooking duties before we moved to SoCal. But since he has started school, I do most of the cooking. At first I was excited about it and I would make a menu with something different every night of the week. As i got busier, my excitement to cook every night dwindled. Matt suggested I start doubling recipes and making more so that I don’t have to cook every night. This was absolutely brilliant. Now I cook 3-4 times per week. I actually enjoy cooking (not to mention it cuts down on dishes)! I try to always cook with a lean protein, some sort of veggie & a complex carb. My favorites have been chili, chicken 8-layer casserole & ground turkey spaghetti squash spaghetti. When I make these meals, the leftovers last for at least 2 dinners & 2 lunches.
  12. Diets Suck – Matt. In the past, I would write out full diet plans for my clients that were totally opposite of the way they were currently eating. I expected people to go from fast food and TV dinners to chicken breast, broccoli and spaghetti squash. A few people were able to keep up with the diet for a short time. But in the end, most people failed. I learned about habit based nutrition and it changed my thinking. Instead of going on a “diet”, you make changes to your existing way eating. You slowly progress you towards a healthier lifestyle. In the process, you lose fat and look and feel better. Convincing people of the efficacy of habit based nutrition has been difficult. People want a quick fix and then to go back to eating what they want. That’s why P90X and 14 day detoxes are so popular. The problem is they don’t work long-term. Start with small, slow and progressive changes. Want to eat more veggies? Start by including a vegetable with dinner every night. Then, add veggies in with breakfast and then with lunch. It will be process. Long-term, you’ll be equipped with tools to live a healthy life without having to think about it.
  13. Don’t be generous with the expectation of reciprocation – Nicole. I’ve always thought if you do something nice for someone, they should pay you back. Not in the same way, but they could at least be appreciative. I have really been challenged with my relationships this year. Especially in my job. I’ve gone above and beyond for my clients. Most of my clients are awesome and I love being a trainer. But, a few of my clients have treated my terribly in return. If we focus on how people reciprocate our generosity, we will constantly be disappointed.  I am learning to focus on giving without expectations. This means cleaning and doing the dishes and not even expecting Matt to notice all my hard work. It means going above and beyond at work even if no one notices. It means not getting angry when someone responds poorly to me even after I have done a ton for them. I have found that being generous without expecting something is incredibly freeing for me, it leads me to love people more just like God loves me even when I am un-loveable.
  14. Be Present Matt. I know I won’t look back at the end of my life and wish I’d spent more time checking my phone. I’ll wish the opposite. I’ll wish I would have been present with family and friends more often and worried about work and other things less. I still struggle with this, but I’m making strides towards using my phone less and engaging with people more. Last week, I shut my phone off for large parts of the day while we were with family. I enjoyed the time with them way more than usual. Being present enables us to enjoy life so much more.

Happy New Year,

Matt and Nicole