Sunday, August 2, 2015

Moving Fun & Fitness

I find that moving causes me to gain weight and it is not all stress related, as much as I'd like to say it is. I have the most amazing friends just about everywhere. They lift me up, challenge me, and support me.  Believe me, I do the same for them. It's a balance of caring and being respectful. Always hard to leave them but I know they will always be in my life.

As I prepared to move from Northern Virginia to the Virginia Peninsula, they thought it would be fun to celebrate and create memories and as you might have guessed, these all included eating and drinking. Yes the party was on at every turn. So much fun.

Being their instructor in fitness made it even more challenging as I should be a role model, however, I love a party and food and drinks just as much so the challenges had to come from the fitness side.

No matter what we did that week to celebrate our friendship, our workouts never suffered. We ran, pushed through hundreds of push ups and burpees, went hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking and enjoyed every single one of them. We hiked a few trails, ran many miles and celebrated our time together without missing a beat. It's what we do.

Now that the move is over and the unpacking mostly done it is time to get back on the road, trails, water and keep up with my crazy friends in the north.

Let's do this!!!

Easy August challenge coming soon.

Stay healthy,


Monday, May 4, 2015

Warmer Weather = More Physical Activity

Cherry Blossoms, Washington DC

At least for me, this is the reality.  In the cold winter months I feel cold inside and out and all I want to do is wrap myself up in a blanket and not move a muscle. I just want to be warm or comfortable. As soon as the weather changes, the grass grows green, the flowers bloom... um we all start sneezing, I know my kind of weather has arrived.

In the winter months anyone who is like me will work really hard at staying active but it will most likely be in the gym or at home or in some other enclosed environment.  Many of my friends thrive in this cold weather, love running in the frigid temps (which for me can be in the 30's) and I think THAT is super, for them...GO YOU!!!

Don't get me wrong, I do go outside and, yes, I stay outside being physically active, playing in the snow, cleaning the driveway after the storm, walking the dog, and even going for a run which is OK once I'm out and running.  I just do not enjoy gearing up for said activities and the time it takes for me to warm up after.  I am a flip-flops, shorts and comfy tank tops kind of girl.  The winter weather makes it a little harder to get up and go without spending  20 minutes prepping, but I do it.

Now that we have this awesome 65 to 85 degree weather it is time to go outside, even if it means taking some type of antihistamine to keep from sneezing or itching all over, there must be some other natural way, must investigate.  Anyway here's my message to anyone looking for a challenge in the coming weeks: go outside. That is where your next challenge lies.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
Bike riding, Kayaking or Paddle boarding, playing a sport or walking around the field while watching the kids play their sport, go for a hike, find a new trail, gardening and my personal favorite, go for a run or better yet, commit to an organized walk or run and then do it, not for time but for fun.  All these are forms of outdoor physical activity that are good for your body AND mind. 

Just as important as being physically active, we have to take time out to just rest and recover.  That means you go to a park or the beach and just sit back and relax. Enjoy the beauty around you, enjoy your hard work in the garden. Have breakfast outside, in fact, enjoy all your meals outside. Join an outdoor Yoga or Tai Chi class and teach your body to move a slower pace, to stretch and hold a pose and focus on the mind and body connection. 

Now go outside and enjoy this weather.

Stay Well,

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year Fitness and Nutrition Challenge-Day 1

Image source: Bullet's Bite
Get rid of the scale and let's get this party started... Every day for the next 30 days we will do this challenge to chisel out those muscles.  Remember, this is in addition to what you are already doing, however, if on a given day you feel you've done enough, don't double dip, do something different, i.e. Cardio, Yoga, Pilates... this is just to give you a jump start or something to do on a day you might not do anything at all. Have fun.

Today's easy workout:
Monday 5-Jan

10 sec Wall Sit
30 sec Plank
15 Right Lunges
15 Left Lunges

Nutrition tips:  This week we are working on fixing breakfast. Yes I know, there have been studies suggesting it's OK to skip it but really, why would you. I'm not saying this is your most important meal because I believe every bite you eat is important so lets not focus only on this one meal. You starved your body for at least 12 hours.  Start with 8 oz of room temp water. Have your coffee or tea but keep it clean (learn to live without the sugar and heavy cream). But if you must, cut whatever you put in your morning hot beverage in 1/2.

What to eat? We all have different idea of what to eat for breakfast and it's mostly what we've been taught.  Cereal (the good stuff), eggs, yogurt, toast, is this really all there is? Can you have a salad with an egg or two on top? Can you have plain greek yogurt and a bowl of berries or other fruit? Which cereal is best? How about a breakfast bar for those of you in a hurry?  I'd like to see some shared ideas about what breakfast looks like and how you will be changing to look better if it needs changing.  Be honest because your share will help someone else and you are getting this service for free so cooperate ;-)

Have a great FIT day everyone!

Pictured above is one of my favorites morning meals when I'm not in a rush:

Bullet's Bite Healthy Egg and Avocado Breakfast Sandwich
(2 Servings)
4 Large Eggs
4 Slices of bread, toasted (preferably multi-grain, whole wheat, rye, anything but white!)
1 avocado, cut into 4 equal parts 
1/2 cup of arugula
Squeeze of lemon, or drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper (Or crushed red pepper if you like it spicy!)

While the eggs are finishing cooking, spread 1/4 of the avocado on each slice of toast, then add arugula.  Top with egg, salt, pepper, and lemon or olive oil. 

Here are some other ideas from the Greatist!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fitness through the holidays

Many people give up their normal wellness routine or put off starting until after the holidays; the good old New Year's resolutions that start the first week in January and end about 8 weeks later.You know how crazy things get in January when everyone suddenly realizes they ate too much over the holidays and "starting now, I'm going to get my health under control" and its all high energy, high motivation for a while.
Unfortunately, it doesn't last and then you're back to square one- finding excuses for not exercising. Yes, you're busy with work, the kids, life, everyone is busy doing something pretty much all the time. Is that ever going to change? Will you ever have "extra" time? You have to make time, it belongs to you. I've said it before, take care of your body and it will take care of you. How else will you fight disease, seasonal and life threatening? How will you stay strong enough to do your job, take care of family, and simply to enjoy life.
I do realize we eat more, not just during the holidays but during the cold season. Personally speaking, I sometimes struggle to find warm and cozy meals and snacks that are within the boundaries of healthy nutrition and it can be a bit of a challenge. There are times I give in to a thick, creamy soup or a rich dinner meal just because steaming-hot foods are inviting when I'm cold. Another common threat this time of year is the "cookie exchange parties" I love so much, not just because there are hundreds of delectable, home-made cookies but also because I love the social time with friends. I wouldn't want to hurt someone's feeling by not trying their cookie. Thank goodness I manage to keep those parties far apart. I already know I have to create a deficit of calories and fat intake in my meals and I work extra hard at the gym to keep up with my added caloric intake. It happens.
Instead of thinking of this time of year as an opportunity to give up or not start a new routine, let's put a positive spin on the season. If you are already following a wellness plan (eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, managing your time) these tips are for you:
  1. Continue to manage your time with your to-do list, your family or personal planner. You have to keep the balance and not let yourself fall behind in the name of the holidays.
  2. Increase your exercise routine: Add more high intensity exercises, more aerobic and anaerobic activities and increase your weight lifting by a day, a few pounds or a few extra sets. This next six weeks you should be working harder and burning more fat and calories.
  3. Find healthy substitutes for your meals and snacks, particularly during the cold days and nights: some ideas for warm snacks are Hot Cocoa with Whipped Cream instead of Marshmallows; hot herbal tea at night; oatmeal; broth soup; cooked vegetables; baked apple with raisins and a little brown sugar and spices make a very tasty dessert, a bowl of whole grain cereal with warm milk….
If you are not following a wellness program and are thinking to start in the New Year—why wait. You deserve to do this for yourself, especially during these busy weeks – getting started means:
  1. Prepare a Gym bag and fill it with a water bottle, iPod and headphones, hand fruit (apple, orange), protein bars, a towel and your workout clothes –KEEP IT BY THE FRONT DOOR or in the car!
  2. Set aside 1 hour as many times a week as possible, at least 4 times a week, to go to the gym, go for a long, fast walk, to exercise with a video home, to be active in your own back yard. It doesn't matter when, where or with whom, but make it happen.
  3. Make a list of all the healthy foods you know you need and stock up your pantry with fresh fruit, oatmeal, hot cocoa, pudding, whole grain cereal, granola, brown rice, unsalted nuts.Stock your fridge with 1% or fat free milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, frozen vegetables, 100% fruit juice. You decide, but read that nutrition label and make sure you are not eating foods that are high in salt, sugar, fat, instead opt for high in protein and fiber and of course whole grain.
Results – the benefits are obvious but I'll give you a hint—you will, no doubt, feel bettermore energizedmore alert and in the end you will be one less person talking about a New Year's resolution. Why wait until January or until Monday, START TODAY! Start NOW!
Stay Well,

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Keeping it real

Photo source: Soulseeds

More than once I've heard people tell me, "I like you classes because you keep it real, you are challenging yet understanding, you give great modifications so I never feel like a loser, and you drink wine." WOW, that's quite the compliment! But what does keeping it real really mean in the fitness world?

Well, I'm not a model, I don't have buns of steel, nor do I sport washboard abs. I will be the first to say, "I'm sore," or, "that was a hard workout" to members of my class. I love to eat good food and can't seem to give up my glass of wine or chocolate in the name of the chiseled look. I'm your average woman who happens to really enjoy teaching fitness to others in a really fun way. I have been on the other end of the six week beach body workout and this diet or that detox only to realize that I was miserable trying to achieve "fitness" and was not having any fun—emotionally, I was done. So what's the point of always trying to achieve fitness if I'm unhappy in the process, always worried about what to eat or drink or how many calories are in this, how much sugar is in that.... It was so frustrating to try to keep track of everything that I just stopped doing anything with friends and no one in my house was eating ice cream—at least not in front of me!

I grew up and decided that every day was going to be a good day regardless of what I did. I will choose when and if I will have ice cream or cake or wine, knowing full well that I also need to exercise on a regular basis. I realize this may seem like I'm pushing junk food, but I'm not. My goal is to help people realize that they still have to love themselves TODAY, and they have to enjoy who they are in the moment. Fitness and happiness are not destinations.

There are some basic rules, in my opinion...

1. Know what you're eating—Read the labels, read up on foods without labels, become aware of how much you should be eating and what you can do to improve your daily food consumption so that when you do eat that cookie or ice cream or drink that wine you actually enjoy it. Listen to your body and know how you feel when you eat certain foods. Realize that food is fuel, and while we want to enjoy our meals, we also need to fuel the body. (e.g. eating whole foods: almonds instead of almond butter, apples instead of apple juice, whole grains instead of processed)

2. Stop dieting—Just eat as fresh and as whole as possible and take your time. Once in a while, we all want food fast (pizza) or we want to go out to eat and that's perfectly OK. This becomes a problem when it's all you're doing. On a regular basis, you eat at home. Just take your time cooking or preparing and know what is going in your meals: We love our Mac and Cheese nights, so we make it from scratch and choose our cheese and pasta wisely. You don't have to give up any one food group (unless medically recommended) to live a healthy life every day, but you can change some things so that you enjoy that food group and get the nutritional benefit as well.

3. Drink your fluids—By fluids, I mean water. Infuse your water with fruits or vegetables, give it a twist of lemon or lime, have your tea, have your coffee. Occasionally you will have a soda because it's hard to have a rum and coke without coke; otherwise, it's just a shot! Ha! But seriously, make your liquids work with your body, not against it. It is always best to eat your fruit and drink water instead of juice or sugary drinks, of course it is, but in reality, once in a while you will crave something other than water. Do not beat yourself up over it. Give yourself a treat and move on.

4. Exercise—Do whatever makes you happy: do it with friends, your family, while cleaning the house, or while cutting the grass. Exercise doesn't have to only take place in the gym and it doesn't ever have to require equipment. You don't have to kill yourself for an hour only to give up because you're too sore. Count all of your activities as exercise—kayaking, swimming, walking the dog, playing ball with the kids, etc. Being active is what really matters. Once you find that one thing you really love to do, you'd be surprised how you become almost addicted and want to do more and do it better because it works for you.

5. Rest—I can't say this enough. Stretch, foam roll, massage, put your feet up and just chill out. You don't have to be engaged in some physical activity several times a day, every day. It's unhealthy and leads to injuries. Take that time to reflect, to read up on new healthy and delicious recipes, check out that yoga class, connect with family and friends.

So yes, I keep it real. Everything in moderation. My goal is to live a healthy life every day without the expectation of reaching the elusive Fitness destination someday. I'm already here, living it, every day!

Stay well,