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,


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rest and Recovery - Why you need it.

Most athletes know the importance of rest and recovery. Most include this in their fitness training schedule. It becomes routine and therefore they avoid the risks of overtraining. But there are a few out there who still don't understand the importance of R&R nor what to do in that time period and when they do rest they find themselves feeling unhappy, edgy, and often say...

"Rest and Recovery day is not for me." YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Rest and Recover or R&R IS for you. It is for everyone and here's why...

During this period your body begins to adapt to the stresses of exercise by repairing damaged tissue and replenishing energy stores (glycogen).  Without recovery muscles continue to break down eventually leading to overtraining.

Active recovery means you allow your body to heal while still engaging in light activities.  It does not mean "do nothing" at all.  Light activities can range from Yoga to short light jog, swimming or biking, dancing or playing ball with the kids.  This is also a time when you replenish fluids and optimize metabolism of protein which allows muscles to become stronger as they heal.

Long term recovery refers mainly to sleep.  Disconnect at the end of the day and change your routine if you must but put sleep at the top of your long term recovery schedule.  Sleep deprivation has been linked with decreased aerobic endurance and increased levels of cortisol. Then there are those mood changes and fatigue.  Your body can only tolerate so much stress before it starts to break down.  There is a balance to getting and/or staying in good physical health -- too much, too quick without recovery leads to injury, too little and you will see no results.

According to a number of fitness sources, here are the top 10 signs you are overtraining:

1. Decreased Performance: slower reaction time, reduced speeds and lower endurance levels

2. Agitation, moodiness, irritability or lack of concentration

3. Excessive fatigue (legs feel heavy)

4. Increased perceived effort during normal workouts (workout that was easy feels harder)

5. Chronic muscle aches and joint pain

6. Reduced immunity (getting sick more often)

7. Insomnia or restless sleep (inability to slow down and relax)

8. Loss of appetite

9. Chronically elevated heart rate at rest

10. Changes in menstrual cycle in women

Exercise is supposed to improve mood, give you a sense of accomplishment and leave you happy and glowing.  If you don't ever feel good immediately after and in the hours that follow a good workout then you might already be experiencing the symptoms of overtraining.

Rate yourself... are you experiencing some of these symptoms? Let's talk about this and what you can do to avoid overtraining.

Stay well,


Sunday, April 27, 2014

PopSugar says... have the best night ever

I really enjoy reading just about anything fitness posted on PopSugar.  Tonight I was looking for something specific. I was writing some things down and then came across this article from PopSugar:

20 Ways to have the healthiest night ever
by Leta Shy

  1. Make a healthy dinner. Those who make their own food at home are more successful at losing and maintaining weight. Get inspired with our favorite healthy recipes and then whip up a delicious dinner at home.
  2. Relax with herbal tea. A calming, warm mug of herbal tea can help you wind down and prep for bed.
  3. Pack your gym bag. Every little bit helps when it's about making sure that you stay consistent with your gym habit. Running around in the morning looking for a pair of socks, on the other hand, can discourage more than motivate.
  4. Go ahead, have a glass. There's nothing wrong with unwinding with a glass of red wine every night — it's even good for you! Just make sure you keep the pour steady, not heavy, with these serving-size tips.
  5. Stay organized. Make tomorrow less harried by doing what you can to organize tonight. Pack your work laptop, put away the dishes, and finally get to that growing pile of laundry so the rest of your week doesn't look daunting.
  6. Stretch. A good stretch can help you become more flexible while helping muscles repair. Try this relaxing yoga sequence to prep for bedtime while mending muscles.
  7. Make sleep a priority. Skipping out on sleep can cause high blood pressure, a frazzled immune system, and even weight gain. Ensure you set a bedtime that gives you at least seven hours of shut-eye.
  8. Let it go. Whether you've downed a whole box of cookies or missed out on yet another workout, don't dwell on it. Tomorrow's another day!
  9. Take the electronics out. Answering emails and scrolling through your iPad can make it hard to wind down. Set a limit for your electronic use, and make sure you don't spend the night staring into your screen from your bed.
  10. Relax with a bedtime routine. Having a bedtime ritual helps prep your body for sleep. Whatever yours is, make it consistent so you can get the best sleep possible.
OK yes there are 10 more but you should really go to her website to read the rest and then some.... good stuff!!