Sunday, December 26, 2010

Brenda Novak's Auction for Diabetes Research

On December 2nd I had a photo shoot for Mollye Jewelry that will be used as part of Brenda Novak's Annual On line Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research. Be sure to check out the website: The auction will be featured on Good Morning America and in several national magazines. Last year’s auction had over 500,000 page views, bringing Brenda’s total to over 1 million dollars raised for diabetes research!

Photos courtesy of Deborah Singer-Kolodkin Photography

Monday, December 6, 2010

LaLona's Beauty Tip #2 - Mascara and More

Dan, the boys, and I spent Thanksgiving visiting my parents in Kentucky.  It was a relaxing break from the balancing act I maintain when home in Georgia.  My normal schedule involves fitness training clients from 5-8 AM, home with the boys (Hadley 18 months and Brendan 3 years old) from 8:30-10:00, a 10:00 appointment of some sort (anything from modeling, to a radio interview, to an event for a sponsor, to a lucky day off spent at a play date with my kids), 12:00/1 home for naps and two hours of working on personal training follow ups and upcoming education seminars, the afternoon and evening with the kids (3-7), kids’ bedtime at 7, and then non-stop work on education consulting and Mrs. Georgia duties from about 7:30 until 10:30 or later.  Whew. Kentucky was different.

I maintained my workout schedule in Kentucky, but I ran and trained around 8 AM instead of 5 AM.  I’d often shower and then put back on my PJ’s and spent countless hours just chit-chatting with my mom (and best friend).  I had plastic breakfast foods served to me on a miniature plate while sitting at a kids’ table (In other words, Brendan pretended to cook for me using a play kitchen. He served cheese and butter for breakfast, not exactly my normal routine!), raced remote-control cars, and read numerous picture books.

After a couple of days of following this grand schedule, I decided to actually put on clothes, style my hair, and put on make-up.  My mom, always one to closely examine my make-up, asked me if I was wearing fake eyelashes.  Surprised, I told her I was not. She commented on how long and full my lashes looked. Ah –ha!  I realized I had not yet shared with her one of my best beauty secrets – the “magical mascara”.

The next day I joined her in the bathroom while wearing no mascara. I naturally have small lashes and Mom knows that well.  I then applied the “magic mascara” to one eye only. She was shocked at the extreme difference!  The day after I left town she called me and said she was on her way to buy some.  This mascara will take anyone’s lashes to an entirely new level.
So, what is this magical mascara -- an expensive mall brand? An order on-line special feature?  No. It is Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara by Loreal Paris. You can buy it at your local drugstore for 8-10 dollars.  It is a two-step process of first applying a white lash coat that lengthens and thickens your lashes, and then applying the black mascara as a top coat. Wa-la! People will envy your naturally long, thick lashes!

Now that I am back to the balancing act, the “magical mascara” is part of the daily routine!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bootcamp for Books: A Great Way to Bring in the New Year and Help Get Books to Students in Need!

LaLona Richards is not your average personal trainer. She is the reigning Mrs. Georgia 2010, the winner of Georgia Fitness Award, and a woman on a mission to fight illiteracy.

According to a new survey, illiteracy is viewed as the greatest threat to our children's future. The United Nations defines illiteracy as "the inability to read and write a simple sentence." In 2000, one in five adults aged 15+ was illiterate.

Frankie’s First is a foundation started by LaLona to raise money for books that will be distributed to the homes of students in need ages pre-K through 12th grade. About 15 million children, one out of every four, live below the official poverty line. Frankie’s First believes that all children, despite their socio-economic background, deserve to have books to read at home.
LaLona met Frankie while serving as a 7th grade teacher in rural Arizona. Frankie was a eager student who desperately wanted to read, but her family could not afford books. This experience planted the idea for Frankie’s First in 2002, and has directed LaLona’s career path of teacher and literacy consultant for the past eight years.  Frankie's First and fighting childhood obesity are LaLona's platforms as Mrs Georgia.

LaLona’s primary way of raising money for Frankie’s First is through “Bootcamp for Books”. LaLona and several other degreed fitness professionals are now offering Buckhead’s only indoor bootcamp.  “Bootcamp for Books” will meet several times a day at IQ Fitness in Buckhead, and 100 % of all profits go to Frankie's First. The bootcamps will start the first week of December and run until the first week in February.  Each class is limited to four clients, ensuring proper assessment, individualized programs, and constant personal attention.
To take advantage of this unique opportunity to get in fabulous shape while helping students in need, please visit or email today! You can also follow her nutrition and fitness tips on this blog. 

LaLona's Radio Interview - Newstalk AM 1160's Women on the Move

On October 21st, I was honored to be a guest  of Newstalk AM 1160’s show Women on the Move.  The host, Jennifer Green, was a pleasure to meet!  She asked me “behind the scenes” questions about the beauty pageant world and wanted to know all about my personal charity, Frankie’s First, my work as a personal trainer and Boot Camp for Books campaign, and how I balanced that with my education consulting and role of wife and mother.  She also inquired about my top sponsors – the whole reason I am able to serve as Mrs. Georgia.  It was a delight to be on the show and a joy to talk about my passions in life with all of the Newstalk AM 1160 loyal listeners.   Thank you, Jennifer Green!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LaLona's Fitness Tip #2: The Right Kind of Weight Training (FIT)

Weight training develops muscles, prevents injury, and sustains our bodies through grueling cardio workouts – right?  Well, maybe, maybe not.  Weight training does not help unless it is the right kind. In fact, if we are not careful it can easily hurt us.  I started my first weight training program around age 11 and have had one ever since, yet starting around college I began to have knee problems and aching joints.  Over the past two years I have had two knee surgeries. Why? I was not doing the right kind of weight training.

Traditional weight training, often done on machines, targets and isolates specific muscles in order to make them grow.   Though machines appear to be safer to use, they restrict movements to a single plane of motion, which is an unnatural form of movement for the body and may potentially lead to faulty movement patterns or injury.  These movements are not movements we do in our daily lives.  Long ago we realized through cause and effect that these exercises generated a growth in muscle, but it was not a research-based formulation of best practices for the body.

Functional Integrated Training (FIT), on the other hand, involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life (bending, lifting, carrying, etc.).  Instead of isolating one primary muscle like traditional weight lifting does, it calls for us to use multiple muscles with each exercise with an emphasis on always including the abdominals and lower back.  FIT emphasizes the body's natural ability to move in six degrees of freedom.  As a result, it may lead to better muscular balance and joint stability, possibly decreasing the number of injuries sustained in an individual's performance in a sport.

FIT is not just better for you, it also gets better results.  In 2009 Spennewyn conducted research, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which compared functional training to fixed variable training techniques; this was considered the first research of its type comparing the two methods of strength training.  Results of the study showed very substantial gains and benefits in the functional training group over fixed training equipment. Functional users had a 58% greater increase in strength over the fixed-form group. Their improvements in balance were 196% higher over fixed and reported an overall decrease in joint pain by 30%. 

What does it look like?  An example of FIT would be this. Stand where you can see yourself in a mirror with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed outward, hands at your sides.  Squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower, being careful to keep your back arched and your buttocks extended backward as far as possible (stick your butt out!). Simultaneously, raise your hands above your head and extend your thumbs in a “thumbs  up” fashion.  Repeat this exercise moving as quickly as you possibly can, striving to eventually do 60 in one minute. 

How did that feel? Hard, huh?  That is FIT. You just worked your leg, stomach, back, shoulders, and arm muscles. Well-done.  Ready to make it harder?  Add arm weights. 
Stay tuned for more FIT tips. I will soon be doing YouTube videos to demonstrate quick, effective moves you can do at home.

Monday, November 15, 2010

LaLona speaks at the Young Women in Excellence Night

On Tuesday, November 10th, I was honored to serve as the keynote speaker for the Young Women in Excellence Night at the Peachtree Corners Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is a night to celebrate the church’s young women ages 12-18 and their accomplishments in their journeys toward completing the Personal Progress Program.  This is a program in the church designed to help young women strengthen their faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ as they learn His teachings and regularly apply them in their lives.
I was asked to speak on inner beauty and what it means to be beautiful in the eyes of Jesus Christ.  It was a remarkable evening, one of my favorite moments since being crowned Mrs. Georgia. I was touched by the young women’s faith, fortitude, and dedication, and blessed by meeting the incredibly strong women who serve as the leaders of this group. 
At the conclusion of the evening, each young woman was given a banner (like my Mrs. Georgia banner) that read, “Daughter of God” – what a wonderful title we all share!

Thank you, Jen, for asking me to participate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LaLona Attends Event in Powder Springs

by Marcus E. Howard The Marietta Daily Journal
10.10.10 - 12:00 am
POWDER SPRINGS - Powder Springs residents proudly celebrated their city on Saturday during a revived Powder Springs Day.

Before it was discontinued in 2007, the community event had been a fall tradition for years. However, this weekend was the first time the city of Powder Springs has hosted the occasion. Cobb-based JRM Management helped the city plan and organize the one-day celebration.

Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn and the city council thought it would be a good idea to revive Powder Springs Day in order to continue to build relationships with residents and businesses.

"Our citizens had been asking to bring it back," Vaughn said. "They loved the parade and so that's why we did it."

A morning parade began on Atlanta Street near the Powder Springs Library. The one-mile parade traveled north on Old Austell Road and then cut west onto Marietta Street, past the Country Store of Seven Springs, before ending at the intersection of Old Dallas Road and Jackson Way.

Residents lined both sides of the route, with arms stretched out, to catch candy and other goodies tossed by smiling parade participants.

Pastor Mike Wood of First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, a South Cobb Citizen of the Year, served as the parade's grand marshal. Participants included Vaughn and other politicians, the McEachern High School JROTC Color Guard, Hillgrove High School Marching Band, American Legion, Push Rods Antique Cars, students from Ace Premier Cheer Gym, Miss Cobb Outstanding Teen Copelyn Jue and Mrs. Georgia-America LaLona Richards.

"I've been coming here since I was a little girl," said Powder Springs native Casey Ledford, 23, who now lives with her husband Marc Ledford and daughter Elizabeth in nearby Dallas. Elizabeth, 2, was dressed in orange Halloween inspired clothing.

Following the downtown parade, there were arts and crafts, food, entertainment and children's activit ies in Powder Springs Town Square. City organizers expected several thousand people to attend throughout the day.

Among the entertainers were the Powder Springs Elementary School Chorus, the Downtown Dance Team and a solo performance by Aisha Bryant. LaLona Richards, Mrs. Georgia-America, was scheduled to kickoff her Frankie's First foundation in the area by requesting donations of new and gently used books that will be distributed to low-income schools.

The city of Powder Springs was incorporated as Springville in 1838. The land had previously belonged to two Cherokee Indian groups before the first settlers came to the area to find gold, according to historians. In 1859, after the "Trail of Tears" forced the Cherokee off the land, the name of the city was changed to Powder Springs in commemoration of seven local springs.

For decades, people like Charles and Jean Gibson have found their way to Powder Springs, tucked into the southwestern par t of the county and dotted with modest homes and country shops. The couple has called the city of roughly 15,600 people home for the past two years.

"It's very pleasant," said Charles Gibson, 66, as he watched the parade inch pass him. "Nice day, great morning and a nice thing to do."

City officials plan to continue Powder Springs Day as an annual event on the second Saturday of October.

"It was very successful and everyone enjoyed the day," said Vaughn.
Thanks for reading!
The Marietta Daily Journal 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Get Ready for the Holidays!!

Get ready for the Holidays!!

Come meet and listen to
LaLona Richards, Mrs. Georgia 2010
As she gives Holiday tips for Fashion, Health and Beauty!

See and Shop
Exclusive designer, Jana Kos
Winter Collection 2010

November 17, 2010
Noon - 2pm

The Lenox Grill at Lenox Square Mall

RSVP- Allison Carter 404-579-8623

ALLISON CARTER……..your partner in STYLE

 (404) 579-8623

LaLona's Beauty Tip #1 - Say No to Tanning Beds

It’s winter. You are not getting that natural Vitamin D from the sun that gives you the sun-kissed tan you desire, you know not to go the tanning bed, and you can’t justify the regular trips to the salon for a spray tan. What do you? 
I suggest Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Sun Especially for Body.  It is a spray, dries in 60 seconds, takes effect in 6 hours, and starts out quite light. Therefore, it can provide just enough color for winter – not a dark tan.  However, during the spring or summer months when you want a darker tan, you can apply a coat a day for three days and look beautifully golden. The tan lasts 5-7 days.  You can find the product at any drug store or most department stores and it runs about $13 a bottle.
Whatever you put on your skin gets inside your body, so please be cautious about using any product like this too much. Also, if you are in the market for a professional spray tan and live in Atlanta, there is no better place than Spa Sydell.  Go see Lona or Ramona at the Midtown location and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Introducing Frankie's First

MISSION STATEMENT: Frankie’s First seeks to provide students living in high-poverty areas new or gently used books that are aligned with their reading levels. All students, despite their socio-economic background, deserve to have books available to read at home.
During my first week as a teacher (2002), I met Frankie Ann.  I soon discovered that Frankie Ann had an insatiable desire to learn to read proficiently, however she had not one single book available in her home.  The amount of text available in a child’s home is a significant indicator of that child’s success in school; therefore I immediately insured that all of my students had a book to keep at home.
After eight years of working exclusively for schools in low-income areas where I has come into contact with far too many students who share Frankie Ann’s story, I have created a foundation in Frankie’s honor, Frankie’s First, with the goal of providing books for students in high-poverty communities that they can keep in their homes.  These books are often their first books, much like Frankie’s first book back in 2002. 
The foundation is seeking donations of new or gently used books of all reading levels, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and will distribute the books throughout the greater-Atlanta low-income schools for students to have at home to read.
 If you are interested in making a book donation, involving your business in a book drive for Frankie’s First, or having LaLona as a guest speaker at an event, please contact management -  Peggy Johnson at 

Monday, October 18, 2010

LaLona's Fitness Tip #3: Cardio is NOT the Answer

What is the most frequent form of exercise?  It’s CARDIO, short for cardiovascular endurance training.  Most people I know who “workout” describes their routine as running a certain number of miles (usually 3 or more), walking on the treadmill for a particular period of time (usually 30-60 minutes), or spending a long segment on another cardio machine such as the elliptical (again, usually for periods of 30-60 minutes).  We do this because we have been told for many years that cardio saves our heart and burns fat.  But what if it can actually weaken your heart? What if it is an inefficient method of burning fat? Intrigued? Keep reading... 
If our only form of cardio is long endurance training where we are going at relatively the same pace for the entire time, we are teaching our hearts to endure that exercise.  In order to endure the task, the heart essentially sets up on reserve; it works at just a high enough capacity to get the job done, reserving itself so that it can work effectively for the duration of our regular workout. 
The result is that our hearts get weaker in some critical capacities, simulating the destructive effects caused by stress and aging. Unfortunately, this means that our hearts are not prepared if the time comes when they need to work extremely hard for a short, sudden period.  This research got underway when the fitness world was bewildered when well-known endurance athletes, such as marathon runners, were dying of heart attacks.
Allow me to share an analogy written by Dr. Al Sears:
Think of your body as an engine with the nifty additional feature of being able to gradually redesign itself. If you require this engine to repeatedly go non-stop for long distances against low resistance, at a relatively slow speed, its primary adaptation will be to become more efficient at light, long, continuous, low output.  Continuous duration taxing your endurance produces some unique challenges your body must overcome. It must not run out of fuel, overheat, or be overwhelmed with metabolic wastes. One of the ways that your body adapts is by gradually rebuilding your heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles as small as possible and still have the minimum “horsepower” required.
In addition, this form of medium intensity exercise is not the most effective way to burn fat.  On the contrary, it can actually promote fat storage.  The chart below (Adapted from: McArdle W.D. 1999. Sports & Exercise Nutrition. NY: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) outlines from what source our bodies retrieve energy during low, medium, and high intensity workouts. 

Low Intensity
Medium Intensity
High Intensity

At first glance, it would appear we should all be doing moderate intensity so that our bodies can burn 55% of our energy from fat.  However, the opposite is actually true.  If our bodies constantly burn fat, our bodies are conditioned to constantly produce and reserve fat (simply supply and demand).  Whereas, if we are burning a high level of calories but deriving our energy from stored carbohydrates (high intensity), the body burns whatever fat it consumes because it has no programmed reason for storing it.  This, then, is our most effective form of fat-burning exercise. 
Also, keep in mind that the most important changes from exercise occur after, not during, the exercise period. The way we exercise affects our metabolism for several days.  Short bursts of exercise tell our bodies that storing energy as fat is inefficient, since we never exercise long enough to utilize the fat during each session. Carbohydrates, which are stored in muscle rather than fat, burn energy at high rates. Exercising for short periods will use these carbs and burn much more fat after exercising while you replenish the carbs. Short interval exercise maximizes fat “after burn.” (PACE®: Rediscover Your Native Fitness).
So what is the solution?  There is no need to give up that long run. I went on one this morning!  Endurance activities certainly help us strengthen muscle, make the heart work harder than it normally does, and provide a great deal of stress relief.  However, we cannot let that alone be our workout.  Several times a week, we should engage in workouts where we are running as hard as we possibly can for 1-2 minutes, walking for 30 seconds, and then repeating the process for about 10 minutes (this is following a 2-3 minute walk for warm-up). This hard run followed by a short recovery will condition the heart to respond to a multitude of scenarios, burn calories, and help set up our bodies to continue to burn fat even long after the workout had ended.  If ultimate fitness is our goal, endurance cardio is not the answer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Emergency Preparedness Event

I was honored to spend September 11th participating in the Dekalb County Emergency Preparedness Fair. The morning began with a memorial program honoring our public servants who have fallen in the line of duty, as well as those who currently go out every morning not knowing whether or not they will come home that night. I am very blessed to live in a country where so many people are willing to risk their lives in order to protect mine. I am in awe of their selflessness, courage, and dedication.  The service made me more keenly aware of this blessing, and I left resolved to be more diligent about thanking the next police officer or fire fighter that I see.

The day proceeded with booths offering a wide variety of tips on how to be prepared when emergencies strike, ranging from fire and flood safety, to economic planning in the case of losing one's job.  I left the fair feeling a great deal more knowledgable about how to keep my family safe and prepared, as well as inspired by the work of so many diligent public servants! Thank you for asking me to participate!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kaiser Permanente: Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program

On September 16, 2010, I went to the Kaiser Corporate Walk/Run. The run attracts participants with all different levels of fitness (joggers, walkers, and competitive runners). The event was designed to promote health, wellness, and fitness among metro Atlanta companies and their employees. The race attracts more than 15,000 participants who represent over 400 metro Atlanta companies. The event is a 5k or (3.1 miles) and starts and ends at Turner Field and features a Company Picnic also known as "The World's Largest Office Party".

Kroger Grand Re-Opening

Thank you Kroger (on State Bridge Road, Alpharetta) for being one of my sponsors. I loved being able to help with your Grand Re-Opening on August 29th.

LaLona's Send Off Party

Over the years, I have been to several friends' send-off parties.  I always sit back in awe thinking what it must be like to be leaving for a national competition in just a few short days, and how great that woman must feel to have so many special friends, family members, and sponsors supporting her.  It was an honor and a pleasure to be that woman last night.  I want to thank all of you who came out to show your support. I felt embraced and energized by your presence and your words of encouragement.  I hope to represent you well at Mrs. America!

3-year old Brendan
My parents Linda and Richard, husband Dan, and sons Brendan and Hadley

1-year old Hadley

My husband Dan

Pam Gillespie, the official photographer of the Mrs. Georgia Pagent
Spnsor, Vein Innovations, Louis Prevosti MD.,FACS
Deborah Knight,
Co-director of the Rollins Center for Language & Learning,
with her husband David Knight
David and Angie Humphries and Family, local distributors of Advocare

Jennifer and Geoffrey Frost of Robert Frost Salon
Caitlyn, Griffin, and Fletcher Edwards, friends who kept my
boys while I was at Mrs. America

Friends Brian and Carol Campa
Friends Angie and Jay Douglas

Family Friends Jennifer Hecker and Danielle Bahr

Sponsor, Vein Innovations, Louis Prevosti MD., FACS

 Sponsor, Karen, from Big Peach Running Company

Friend Garth Andrus and my husband Dan

 Garth Andrus and me

Manager, Peggy Johnson

Kim and Mark Campbell, another great couple that helped with
my boys while I was at Mrs. America

Angie's Daughter

Sponsor, Paul Rodgers, from IQ Fitness

Jorge Esteban of
Pageant Ready and Rick.