Cultivating Muscles, Mentality & Cannabis w/ Giovannina Wise

As discussed in Episode 18 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

Do you struggle to lose weight and keep it off? Feel like you can’t make progress because of stress, peer pressure, or lack of motivation? Well, this article is for you, because my wife, Giovannina, lived that life for 10 years but finally broke free and made a permanent change to her physical and mental health.

Gio lost 39lbs in 2019 and has since fallen in love with weight lifting as an outlet for stress and building the body she’s wanted her whole life. In Episode 18, we discussed her weight loss journey and the factors that were most critical to her success.

Major change in 2019-2020

I inadvertently became Gio’s coach through leading by example. She has struggled with weight loss for 10 years, saw the success I had with my fitness, and wanted me to put her on a regimen. So, I finally did, and she took the ball and ran with it. Although I introduced her to some tactics that helped make her successful, the work she put in is what got her the results.

Gio finally made a choice to show up for herself every day, and when you do that, it will change your life and inspire others. I’m so proud of her for making the time to get her health in order and achieve her goals. And she didn’t use any diet fads, weight loss gimmicks, or tortuous cardio regimens to get there.

The Biggest Weight Loss Factor: Saying No

Wes: “What has been the biggest factor for your weight loss in 2019?”

Gio: “Several things I think. One of them would be saying no. That’s probably one of my biggest weight loss factors because that helped me stick to my routine. Stick to the things that I know I should be doing to keep myself healthy mentally and physically. Learning how to say no and not feeling bad about it is hard. I still don’t know how to do that, but saying no might be the biggest factor”.

Wes: “Saying no to?”…

Gio: “Saying no to food, saying no to people, different relationships. Saying no to routines that I used to think we’re healthy for me that are not. Saying no to some of my favorite stuff, you know, but saying no to some things that I thought I’d never have to say no to but it’s worth it in the end”.

The Importance of Weight Lifting

When I met Gio, she was not a weight lifter and had no desire to do it. She thought it was just a guy thing and wasn’t anything that would play a part in her life.

Well, times have changed.

After years of watching me lift weights, she finally decided it was something she wanted to try. “If you can beat em, join em”, she says in episode 18. Once she gave it a shot, it didn’t take long to start feeling and seeing results from it, and she ultimately fell in love. Today, she will tell you herself that she gets really mad if she doesn’t get her weightlifting session in.

Her favorite forms of exercise currently are walking and lifting weights. She ran into the same trap I did where she thought she had to run constantly in order to lose weight. Running is great if that’s what you love to do, but lifting weights and walking are far more effective. She would much rather do a fasted walk first thing in the morning and lift in the afternoon than ever go on a long run, and the results speak for themselves.

Struggles with Weight Loss Over the Years

Gio falling in love with deadlifts

This is not the first time Gio has lost a significant amount of weight. She had a major wake up call in 2011 when she stepped on the scale and saw 259lbs. She felt unhealthy and would often be in pain due to her lifestyle. Since then, it’s been a struggle to lose weight and keep it off. Over the past decade, she’s lost the same 20-40lbs several times by trying different regimens and diet fads, but this time, it’s much different. Finally, the weight loss feels permanent because the lifestyle she’s living is something she can sustain forever. She’s eating whole foods, staying hydrated, getting good rest, reducing stress, and resistance training.

Eliminating Stress

Walter, Marley, Cohen

Reducing stress has been one of, if not the single biggest, factor in making this lifestyle change. Here are several ways in which Gio reduced stress in her life:

  • Limiting toxic relationships
  • Using cannabis (Follow her @WiseGalsGrow on Instagram)
  • Exercise (Primarily fasted walks and weight lifting)
  • Spending time with our dogs every day
  • Creating more time for herself by learning to say no

I’m proud of the physical change, but more importantly, I’m thrilled with the mental shift. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and it’s coming from the inside out. Muscles are just a byproduct of the happiness that is growing inside me as a result of taking care of my physical and emotional health.

Biggest Motivating Factor

Gio: “I want to be the best version of myself for me and for others. I really love giving to others and trying to figure out how I can do that has always been one of my main goals in life. The best way I can do that right now is to be an example to them and be the best version of me. I can’t give to others with my cup empty”.

“I want to see actual permanent change and to break the cycle of “this is hereditary”. Also, pregnancy may be a thing for me in the future, so I want to be the best version of myself so I can have the best delivery and be the best mom that I possibly could be”.

Consistency is Key – Developing a Routine for Life

In the beginning, Gio lifted 1-3 days per week. Some weeks she didn’t work out as many days as she wanted to or would even skip altogether, but ultimately, she stayed consistent and always got back to it. She wanted to start with a comfortable workload because she needed a routine she could stick to for the rest of her life. Now that she’s used to it, it’s much easier to show up because she’s actually enjoying the workouts more. Currently, she lifts between 2-5 days per week, which is perfect! Beginners and intermediates can make progress on very little time spent at the gym, which is why weight lifting offers such a big bang for the buck. The hard part is scheduling workouts and sticking to them.

Inspiration from Rachel Hollis

Gio: “That’s the hard part is learning that you can be in control and it’s not a selfish thing. That you’re controlling you and doing the best you can. Rachel Hollis got in my head this year so hard when she said that she stayed committed to a workout after going out with her girlfriends. She wanted to work out but put it off and went out with their girlfriends instead. But afterward, she came home and still got on the treadmill. One of her girlfriends asked, “really? why couldn’t you wait until the next day?” and Rachel’s like “because I told myself I would do it today”.

“Wouldn’t you hate it if someone said they were gonna show up for you and didn’t? What if someone said they were gonna show up every day at a certain time and never did? What would your relationship be like with that person? Yeah, so I gotta quit saying no to me. Taking care of myself is most important but to not think of that as a selfish thing was a huge mental struggle”.

“But I’ve done way better with it because I think of it as breaking a promise to myself and I don’t want to do that. I was two and a half hours late to myself the other day at the gym. Two and a half hours late? There’s no way I would have stayed waiting around for a person who was late like that. And I did that to myself. I wouldn’t do that to anybody else. I’m gonna do that to me every day? No, it’s not nice. So, learning to be better. Not just to others but also to myself”.

Diet Lesson Learned from Cannabis

Gio: “One of the biggest things I’ve learned through this process is about measuring your food. I’ve done the kitchen scale thing before but the reason why that really stuck with me this year came from taking care of my cannabis plants. When I realized how important it was to measure their food and how significant that was for their life and vitality, why wouldn’t I be doing that for myself? Why wouldn’t I give myself the exact amount of food and water and nutrients that I need? How about doing it for myself and not just my plants?”

Quick Bites with Mrs. Wise Eats

Favorite Specific Lift?: Deadlifts
Second Favorite?: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
Favorite Workout Music?: Post Malone
Your Current Exercise Routine?: I try to do at least 3 days per week and the program is called Thinner, Leaner, Stronger by Mike Matthews
Cardio Routine?: Walking every day. Fasted walks and walking in between sets.
Favorite Wise Eats Recipe?: Chicken Wise Rice & Sharpshooter Breakfast Salad
Favorite Un-Wise Choice?: Wally’s Frozen Custard
Favorite Healthy Food?: Apples. I love them and share with our dogs.
Biggest Lifestyle Change Surprise?: That I love lifting weights now more than shopping.
One Food You Love That You Never Thought You Would?: Breakfast salads with eggs in them!
Favorite Source of Inspiration?: Worship music and Rachel Hollis
Current Goals?: Lose another 20lbs and deadlift 200lbs in 2020.

Watch the full interview on YouTube at

Weight Loss Advice for Beginners?

I truly understand the struggle. Everyone’s journey is unique. I’m still learning every day, but for me, sustained weight loss required a complete mindset change and environment shift. As far as activity, walk as much as you can and lift weights. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day, especially first thing in the morning. It sucks carrying water everywhere you go but do it anyway if you have to. Honestly, water, walking, and weed have been my favorite overall health-building tools.

Gio’s Quick Tips for Weight Loss

Here are some of Gio’s favorite weight-loss strategies:

  • Make healthy smoothies in the morning for breakfast
  • Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day
  • Go for fasted walks
  • Lift weights! (She’s usually in the 6-10 rep range for most exercises)
  • Keep track of your progress and continue to make “gains”, even if it’s just one more rep (she never thought she would EVER say gains). When you see on paper that you’re making progress, it’s a huge motivator to keep going.
  • Get extra steps wherever possible. Park further away, walk the dogs, talk short walks in between weight lifting sets. Walk, walk, walk!
  • If you have the patience for it, measure your food to know you’re getting exactly the right portion sizes. You can really have anything you want if you eat the serving size and move your butt!

Thanks for reading and, until next time, make wise choices!

I Meditated Every Single Day for Two Months – Here’s What Happened

As part of my new year’s resolution for 2020, I meditated at least 5 minutes every single day for 2 months. Since I’m very new to meditation, I followed along with a mobile app called Headspace. Before I discuss what happened, let’s go over a quick list of meditation benefits:

Benefits of Meditation

  1. Reduces Stress
  2. Controls Anxiety
  3. Promotes Emotional Health
  4. Enhances Self-Awareness
  5. Helps Maintain and Re-Direct Attention
  6. Improves Memory and Mental Clarity
  7. Increases Positivity, Empathy, and Compassion
  8. Develops Mental Discipline and Willpower
  9. Improves Sleep
  10. Diminishes Perception of Pain
  11. Lowers Blood Pressure (Credit: Dr. Axe)

Did I Experience Any of These Benefits? Absolutely!

Honestly, in the beginning, I was very skeptical. Some days, I thought to myself this isn’t going anywhere, it’s a waste of time. Other days, the commitment seemed to have a profound effect on my mood and performance. Overall, I experienced many benefits and can say that meditation is the real deal.

The Headspace App

I highly recommend the Headspace app to anyone looking for a reliable guided meditation. It is free to try, but you have to pay for it if you want access to more sessions. There are options ranging anywhere from 5-20 minutes. The 5 and 10-minute sessions were very doable, but the 15- and 20-minute sessions were extremely challenging to stick with. 5 minutes is more than doable for any human, in my opinion, and 10 minutes seems to be my sweet spot.

What Meditation Looks Like

For anyone who has never meditated before and isn’t sure what to expect, here’s a quick run down of what a 10-minute meditation looks like for me:

  • Time: First thing in the morning
  • Location: Usually my living room
  • Position: Sitting upright in a comfortable chair, feet on the floor, hands resting in the lap

10-Minute Meditation

  • Start by briefly reflecting on why you want to meditate and your intentions for the day.
  • Close your eyes and take 3-5 big, deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, loud enough so that someone close by would be able to hear you breathing. Focus your attention on the lungs filling with air and the body softening as you release.
  • Allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm.
  • Focus your attention on the weight of your body resting on the chair. Feet on the floor. Hands resting comfortably. Where do you feel contact the most? The least?
  • Briefly listen for any sounds. Notice them and be aware of them.
  • Focus your attention on how your body feels. Overall sense of comfort or discomfort?
  • Mentally scan your entire body from the top of the head down to the toes, paying attention to each area of the body and how it’s feeling. Not dwelling on any discomfort but simply acknowledging it.
  • Switch attention to the breath. Focus on the rising and falling sensations. Follow the natural rhythm of the breath for a few moments.
  • Begin to count the breaths 1 in, 2 out, 3 in, 4 out, and so on, up to the count of 10, then restart. Repeat this process for several minutes (Note: It’s very easy to become distracted. When you realize your mind has wandered off, simply return your attention back to where you left off in the meditation).
  • Let go of your focus completely. Allow your mind to be free and don’t try to control it. If it wants to think, let it think, if not just let it float out into space.
  • Finish the meditation by bringing your attention back to the physical senses. The points of contact between you, the chair, and the floor. Noticing any sounds, strong smells, or tastes. Open your eyes.
  • How did you feel during the meditation today? Results will vary day to day. Just keep showing up and stay consistent with it!

Why I Decided to Meditate

Aside from hearing about all the benefits for so long, I knew there were holes in my consciousness that meditation might help with. Many days, I start off the day feeling a bit wired. I wake up in a state of fight or flight and get my day off to an intense start. If a meditation practice could bring peace to my morning and potentially reduce stress overall, who wouldn’t be up for that?

Developing the Habit

Just a re-enactment. This is not how I actually sit 🙂

I thought it might be difficult to incorporate meditation consistently, but it really wasn’t, especially when starting at only 5 minutes. By lumping it in with my daily morning practice of journaling and hydration, it was easy to quickly find the time to do it.

I will admit, however, that once I got into the 10, 15, and 20-minute meditations, it became increasingly tough to hang with it. Some days, I’d be fully submerged in the meditation and get in deep. Other times, my mind would race so much I wasn’t sure if I even meditated at all. Each day is different so just hang in there and stay consistent with it.

Overcoming Anxiety and Reducing Stress

I battled anxiety for many years, so I fully understand the power it holds over our mind and emotions. I treated it initially with diet and exercise, but briefly turned to medications because I was so desperate to cure it. Over time, I was able to beat anxiety through living a healthy lifestyle. Looking back, I wish I had used meditation to help, because reduced feelings of tension, stress, and anxiety were the biggest benefits I saw.

Although I don’t deal with intense anxiety any more, I do experience feelings of tension, and meditation has helped alleviate those feelings. I specifically recall one day driving home from work recently when the realization hit me, “I actually DON’T feel tense right now”. During many drives home at the end of a work day, I would have this general sense of tension in my chest. Not because my day had been particularly stressful; it was simply an overall feeling of pressure that wouldn’t fade until I got home. Since I started getting more headspace, I have found that this sensation no longer exists. I also feel less stress and tension, in general.

What I actually look like when I meditate

Reducing stress through meditation goes far beyond the 5, 10, 15 or more minutes you spend at the beginning of each day. The practice teaches you to check-in with your body frequently and to be conscious of how you’re feeling, how you’re breathing, and your mental state. That moment of presence helps calm the mind and get back to that sense of relaxation you achieved at the beginning of the day. This is key to unlocking all of those amazing benefits like happiness, emotional health, anxiety, and self-awareness.

Improved Sleep

Ever have trouble getting and staying asleep? Does your mind wander until you overthink yourself into restlessness? I’ve been there and meditation has helped tremendously. It teaches you methods to use in those moments where you need to get your body into rest mode. Previously, my mind would wander and I would overthink myself into restlessness. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to shut my mind off due to something that was bothering me, a project I needed to finish, or even food cravings. Now, I take a few deep breaths, use some simple meditation techniques, and I’m out like a light! Gaining more control over sleep is a priceless side effect of meditation.

Intangible Benefits

I wish there was a way to make all the benefits of meditation tangible, but I simply believe it has helped my life in ways I can’t quantify. My days seem to just flow easier; I’m less distracted, more focused, and more gratified. Getting over that initial resistance toward sitting and doing “nothing” for a period of time is difficult at first, but I believe it’s the antidote many of us need in our lives. It could very well be the key that unlocks a new chapter of awareness in your life, which is a benefit that cannot be measured.


Taking the time to sit and calm the mind helps you reach a baseline of relaxation for a great starting point to the day. I’m by no means an expert on meditation but have learned enough at this point to know it’s something I absolutely will continue doing and learn more about. I do not yet have the patience to sit for a full 20-minute session every day, so 10 minutes is just fine for me, for now. But even just that small commitment has made a big impact on my life, and I believe it can help you, as well. So, give it a shot! Meditation may be the physical and mental health game changer that you need to transform your life today.

If you know someone who’s stressed out and needs a way to reduce stress, control anxiety, and improve sleep, please share this article with them!

Questions? Comments? Let me know at or @WesWiseFitness on Instagram. Thanks for reading and make wise choices!

10 Tips to Boost Your Physical & Mental Health During the COVID-19 Crisis

In March of this year, I got sick for about 12 total days. I’m not sure if it was COVID-19, but I shared all of my symptoms and experience over at Now that I’m 100% recovered, I’d like to share the methods I used to manage the sickness as effectively as possible. 12 days is a long time to be sick, but for the most part, my symptoms were very mild. I fully believe that had I not done these 10 things, the virus would’ve been far more severe.

1. Get Adequate Sleep – I got at least 8-10 hours whenever possible. Your body does all of its repairing during sleep. This is crucial for overall health and performance, not just when you’re sick. Here are some quick benefits of sleep:

  • Improves heart health
  • Prevents cancer
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases energy
  • Improves memory
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves cognitive function and mood
  • Helps prevent depression
  • Helps the body rebuild and repair itself (

I learned the importance of rest the hard way when I started lifting weights on day 4 of my sickness. After taking it easy for three days, I thought I was better and got right back to intense training, which broke my body down even further. A day later, I was full blown sick again. Finally, I learned to respect the virus and allowed my body to rest fully. Now, I’m 100% and crushing it again!

2. Exercise – Just because I needed to rest doesn’t mean I just sat on the couch watching Tiger King (we did some of that too though!). My wife and I went on frequent walks with our dogs and did a lot of stretching, foam rolling and working around the house. I didn’t do anything strenuous until I was fully healed, but movement is always key and can actually help you heal faster.

3. Drink Plenty of Water – I drank a ton of water, tea, and coffee. Hydration is your best friend 365 days a year, but especially when you’re sick. Here’s why:

  • Removes toxins
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Increases energy
  • Enhances metabolism
  • Cushions joints
  • Fuels muscles
  • Clears skin
  • Boosts productivity
  • Promotes weight loss (

4. Use Hot Baths & Essential Oils – This was a recommendation from my wife, since I normally don’t do hot baths at home, and boy was it a game changer! She also added Epsom salt and lavender (a loving spouse is another excellent cure for crisis, by the way!). Here are some of the amazing benefits of hot baths:

  • Great way to relax
  • Improves blood flow and heart health
  • Reduces pain, swelling
  • Relieves aching muscles, joints
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Helps you sleep
  • Helps relieve cold/flu symptoms
  • Reduces headaches (

In addition to hot baths, my wife is also big into essential oils. Twice a day, she made me drink a cocktail of OnGuard and water. Then, at random points in the day, she would rub an immune builder behind my ears consisting of oregano, lemon, melaleuca, and OnGuard. Hard to say how much these helped, but they didn’t seem to hurt any! In general, these oils often work wonders depending on the ailment.

5. Eat a Healthy Diet – Of course, one of the best things you can do to fight this virus is to put only healthy things in your body. Stick with real foods in wide variety. There may not be any toilet paper on the shelves, but there’s plenty of kale! 95% of the time, I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t on the Wise Eats Approved Foods List.

Being healthy simply makes everything you do in life easier. No matter how tough things get, at least you have physical health on your side. When you’re unhealthy, it turns every small problem into a much larger one. Just like having an emergency fund is a financial cushion during times like this, good health is like added insurance against stress, depression, negativity, and uncertainty.

6. Take Supplements – My doctor advised me to take Tylenol if needed, but I did not. I have heard mixed reports on how Tylenol and Aspirin interact with COVID-19, so be very careful! Here are the supplements I DID take:

  • Whole foods. Real food and lots of green smoothies, as always. Spirulina, kale, whey protein isolate, frozen fruit, avocado, spinach, moringa, psyllium Husk, cinnamon, and stevia for sweetener are some of my favorite ingredients.
  • Vitamin D. Sun is at a premium in Michigan, so I supplement with vitamin D. The only problem with adding vitamins is that if you haven’t been tested to know what your body needs, taking vitamins is a bit of a crap shoot. But I personally take Vitamin D to just to be on the safe side. Proceed with caution and consult your doctor!
  • Creatine. Powerful benefits for both athletic performance and health. Supports muscle energy and growth, reduces fatigue, improves brain function and exercise performance ( Because once we get better, it’s time to BRING IT in the gym!
  • Fish oil. So many benefits, including reduced inflammation, lowered disease risk, increased gut health, and lowered depression (Dr. Axe).
  • Magnesium. Good for bone health, cardiovascular health, headaches, anxiety. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body! Improves muscle and nerve function, regulates blood pressure, and supports the immune system (

7. Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol and me used to be best friends. I mean, we were REAL tight. Letting go of this relationship has been a lifelong struggle, but recently, I got the wakeup call I needed. In late 2019, I read Allen Carr’s How to Stop Drinking Without Willpower and it has completely changed my attitude towards drinking. I now view alcohol as nothing more than a poison that offers no physical benefit and only serves to limit my progress, both physically and mentally. I know, BORING WES!

The truth is, I had been looking for a good excuse to quit drinking for a long time. After reading this book, I decided to quit on January 11th, 2020, and haven’t had a sip since. I don’t know if I’ll ever have another drink of alcohol in my life at this point. Sure, I’ve missed my craft beer here and there, but I also love the empowering feeling of knowing that alcohol doesn’t have any sort of control over me anymore. And I’m sure it helped me get through my “illness” less painfully.

Books are a uniquely portable magic. — Stephen King

Alcohol can work against you in so many ways:

  • Increases depression
  • Increases fatigue
  • Creates feelings of worthlessness
  • Increases sluggishness
  • Depletes your body of vital nutrients
  • Increases dehydration
  • Compromises your immune system
  • Seriously reacts with medications (

It would be really easy under the COVID-19 circumstances to succumb to stress and uncertainty and just drink the pain away. And if that’s your medicine, I get it, because I’ve been there, MANY TIMES. Rest, relaxation, and cocktails, baby! But today, I just think different about it. Why would I compound the current situation by poisoning myself? Sure, it might be fun for a few hours, but I refuse to let my guard down, especially in a time of crisis. I need to be prepared for whatever this pandemic is going to throw at me, because it’s coming, and I will be READY for it.

8. Continue to Learn – Stimulate your mind wherever possible. Meditate. Learn a new skill. Listen to podcasts. Watch YouTube videos about subjects you’re interested in. Maybe read an interesting article you found online (hint hint!). Here are some of the things I’m doing:

  • Reading and listening to books! I just finished the Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz and the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Both amazing.
  • Taking an online class. Of course, my wife and I watch some Netflix to relax, but we also just completed a free trial of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which was a big step in our relationship and brought us closer together. Binge watch something productive for a change!
  • Studying. I’m reading Certified Personal Trainer material online because it’s my side passion. Our class is obviously suspended due to COVID-19, but certification is coming soon!

Invest in yourself during this downtime. Instead of feeding your brain all of the negativity and constant headlines in the media, increase your knowledge and skills!

9. Start Each Day with Gratitude – I have not stopped my daily habit of journaling and listing things I’m grateful for. Every single day, I’m writing and tracking goals I want to accomplish and reminding myself of all the great things I have in my life. There’s no room for negativity and fear when you start from a place of gratitude, so I highly recommend journaling if it’s not something you’re currently doing.

10. Stay Positive – Positivity is some of the best medicine you can take. Don’t get caught up in the COVID-19 hysteria. Be realistic about the situation and stay prepared, but don’t panic. I’m not emptying my 401K, doomsday prepping, or raiding the grocery stores. I’m staying calm, hopeful, and optimistic.

Part of the reason everyone is so panicked right now is because they’re too busy listening to their social media feed. Stop listening to your sister-in-law’s baby cousin Tracy (movie reference, anyone?) on Instagram and arm yourself with FACTS. Listen to positive people who are experts in their field. I’m following people like Dave Ramsey and Ken Coleman (Rachel Hollis for my wife) and other highly encouraging experts in their fields. Surround yourself with optimistic individuals because hope and positivity are what will get us through this thing.

All about the power of positivity!

So, those are my 10 tips to help you get through this crisis and any future crisis you may encounter. This is a unique threat we face, but we have overcome far worse in the past. World wars, terrorism, economic collapse. We’re fighting a war against invisible enemies – not just this disease itself but also misinformation, fear, and uncertainty. But we will overcome it because THAT’S WHAT WE DO. We’re all in this together. We must continue to have hope and do our part in this battle. So, treat your body well, stay positive, be good to others, and come out of this stronger than ever before. Thanks for reading and make wise choices!

To listen to the podcast I recorded regarding this article, check out