Success Story

Meet one of my very favorite students Kristine!  I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Kristine for the past 4 years and really love seeing the ways in which she has transformed her body and her mind.  She’s the type of person that once she gets motivated there is NO stopping her.  She always has a smile on her face, has the best energy and is always up for a challenge. She is an inspiration to me and I hope that she will motivate you all as well.

Below are a few questions that I asked her to help shed light on her journey and what she has found to work for her..

IMG_1642What made you decide to start working out?

I have always gone through spurts of working out and then taking long breaks causing me to lose myself. This time around it was a combination of realizing how much confidence I had lost and just feeling completely uncomfortable in my own skin. On top of that, I knew that my friends bachelorette party was coming up and knew that I wouldn’t have a good time unless I felt more confident.
 How were the first few months of your workouts?
The first few months were definitely a challenge because I am the type of person that wants instant gratification. I just kept telling myself that the changes and effort that I was putting into myself were eventually going to pay off but I’d have to be persistent to see any differences. 

When did you start to adjust you nutrition?

I started to slowly adjust my diet right after the holidays. The new year is always a kicker for me because I always view it as a fresh start, so January was when I started to seriously adjust my nutrition. 

In what ways did you adjust your nutrition and what types of adjustments do you think serve you the best in terms of energy levels, weight loss, maintaining, etc?

At one point I was Vegan for a while, but for me personally I find that it’s best if I can maintain a clean diet.  One where I’m eating 6 small meals a day and limiting my sugar intake. Incorporating lean protein like tuna, chicken, salmon, and turkey is key for me.  The lean protein helps to keep me full longer and to boost my energy levels.

What is the most valuable advice to someone just starting out?

“Having faith that any changes, whether big or small,  made towards a healthier lifestyle will eventually pay off.”

What’s you favorite workout and why?

I have to mention more than one but my favorite workouts are definitely Pilates and Kickboxing. Pilates really challenges me to focus on how my body should work for each exercise and I always feel the effects the next day. Kickboxing has been a challenge because it’s something new but it feels amazing to get some aggression out while working out at the same time and is so much fun.

What’s your favorite easy, go-to meal and snack?

 My favorite go-to meal is Salmon, broccoli and sweet potatoes either from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
My favorite snack has to be cucumbers and hummus. 

What’s the most surprising thing that you’ve noticed or experienced by living a healthier lifestyle?

Being able to easily do once difficult forms of workouts sooner than I thought has been a great surprise and feeling. Core exercises have always been a struggle for me, so getting to a point where it feels easier to really focus in on my core and lift myself up out of my shoulders is something that I thought would take longer than it did. One other thing is the joy I get out of sprints, which is a big surprise because I absolutely hated running. I recently tried an interval treadmill workout (actually posted by Ashley) and ended up really enjoying it!

What is the driving force that keeps you sticking to your workouts and to living a fit lifestyle?

The biggest factor that keeps me going is not only noticing my own body change but also being told by my friends of family that they are noticing a difference.

“You really can mold your body to into what you want and seeing the change becomes an addiction!”

 If you could give someone else advice that was just starting out what would you tell them to help motivate them?
This is something that I always have to tell myself when I’m starting out is that any little change you can make on the daily can make a difference. Then soon enough those little changes turn into bigger ones and so forth. Also, having more faith in yourself, in what you are capable of.
We all can do amazing things that we put our mind to!
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I hope that you all can relate to Kristine’s story.  For me, I really could understand her point about feeling as if she had lost herself.  It’s through exercise:  the heat, the sweat, the endorphins that I am able to find my true self.  The days when I don’t have time for myself (for exercise) are the days where I feel like I’m not really connected to my true essence.
If you have a “Success Story” please send it my way. I’d love to feature your story on the blog to help inspire others. It’s so empowering to hear about how other people overcome their struggles.  This is real life and we all are fighting our own battles.  You never know if your story is the one story that someone needs to read in order to create positive changes in their life.
Thank you again Kristine!
~Namaste xo
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Interval Training

This week I wanted to focus on what type of cardio you should be doing, and the answer is interval training! Studies show interval training is one of the best ways to have a healthy heart and burn fat even after you are done with your workout. Whether it is cycling, running, swimming, Pilates Reformer Jump Board, jumping rope; you need to get moving. Add in 1-2 days of interval training to lean you out, to save you time (only 2: 35 minute sessions a week), to change the way your body stores fat, and to keep your mind busy while you sweat…nothing is worse than being bored watching the clock for an hour when you’re working out.  Below is one of my favorite treadmill workouts.

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Treadmill Interval Workout (35 minutes)

  • 0:00-5:00     Warm Up      3.8 mph    Incline will remain at 1 until minute 26
  • 5:00-6:00      Run               8 mph
  • 6:00-7:00      Recovery     4 mph
  • 7:00-8:00      Run               8.2 mph
  • 8:00-9:00      Recovery     4 mph
  • 9:00-10:00    Run               8.4 mph
  • 10:00-11:00   Recovery     4 mph
  • 11:00-12:00   Run               8.6 mph
  • 12:00-13:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 13:00-14:00  Run               8.8 mph
  • 14:00-15:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 15:00-16:00  Sprint           9 mph
  • 16:00-17:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 17:00-18:00  Sprint           9.2 mph
  • 18:00-19:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 19:00-20:00  Sprint           9.4 mph
  • 20:00-21:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 21:00-22:00  Sprint           9.6 mph
  • 22:00-23:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 23:00-24:00  Sprint           9.8 mph
  • 24:00-25:00  Recovery     4 mph
  • 25:00-26:00  Sprint           10 mph
  • 26:00-31:00  Hill                 3.7 mph    Incline 12
  • 31:00-35:00  Cool Down   3.8 mph

*Stretch, foam roll and you’re done!

Beginner’s Tip: Keep in mind that if you are newer to running it will be more realistic to start your run at 6  mph and to work your way up to 8 mph.  Once you master that then you can go from 7 mph to 9 mph.  As always start slow, listen to your body and check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.

Manipura Chakra: Show Yourself Some Love

What better time to talk about self-love and the Manipura Chakra then February.  With all the hype around Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to take some time for yourself and to practice a small, but beneficial self-care/self-love practice.

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The Manipura Chakra is also know as the Solar Plexus Chakra.  It lies under the rib cage, and a few inches above the belly button.  It is associated with the color yellow and it’s our fire and energy center.  This chakra deals with our self-esteem, our self-love, our self-worth.  As well as our will power, our inner warrior, and a mental understanding of our emotional psyche.

When this chakra is out of balance it is either over-active or under-active.  For most of us we tend to swing between being overly active or under what is considered balanced.  If we are over-active we have a sense of entitlement, very judgmental, lack patience, work too much, and are usually emotionally stuck.  These types of people tend to be too busy to deal with their emotions.

When Manipura is under-active there’s low self esteem and selfworth.  These people usually overly value what others think/say and they are constantly seeking approval. They have a hard time trusting people, and they tend to have a lot of emotions and feelings that are constantly changing.  Anxiety, and depression also deal with this chakra being out of balance.

When the Manipura is in balance you have control of your thoughts and your emotions.  You know your place in the universe, and you have accepted your unique self from a place of love, and gratitude.  These people tend to show love, radiate joy and have a peaceful type of energy.

Below is a mini meditation to help balance out your Manipura Chakra.  Just the act of taking the time to show yourself some love will help to balance you out.

  • Lie on your back in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes, observe your breath.  Notice what moves as you inhale and as you exhale.
  • Start to lengthen out your breath, by inhaling for 4, pause, exhaling for 4, pause.  Do 10 rounds of this type of breathing.
  • Feel your body sink down into the floor.  Feel a sense of grounding/rooting as you exhale. As you view the breath moving into your body, imagine that breath rooting you down to the earth.
  • Place your hands over the Solar Plexus and envision the color yellow.  Feel your hands move up and down as you inhale and exhale.
  • Feel the warmth of the hands on the Manipura Chakra and feel the warmth from the chakra to your hands.  Repeat this affirmation:  I am enough, I am powerful, I am love.  Continue to say this mantra in your mind as you breath until all you are left saying is “love” on your exhales.
  • Remain in this position for as long as you can and observe how you feel.  Notice how the energy has shifted in your body. Let yourself feel what it is to just be present in your body.
  • When ready roll onto your right side, press yourself up and sit in a comfortable position.  Take a moment to be grateful and just view any changes you may have experienced.

This type of self-love meditation can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes.  Practice it daily for the month of February and journal the changes that you experience.  Namaste.

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Healthy Chocolate Pudding

I can’t get enough of this chocolate pudding recipe!  I’ve even been making it for my clients and they are loving it too.  The healthy fats in the recipe help to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you full/satisfied for hours.  Good news is that it’s gluten free, dairy free and your kids will enjoy making it with you.  Yep, it’s that easy to make.  Enjoy!

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Healthy Chocolate Pudding (6: 1/2 cup servings)

  • 10 dates
  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla paste

optional: pinch of sea salt, pinch of cinnamon, 1 drop peppermint essential oil, or 1 drop of tangerine essential oil.

  1. Pit dates and soak in 1 cup of hot water until soft.  About 3 mins and then drain.
  2. Add to blender: dates, avocados, coconut milk, cocoa powder, syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla paste. Blend until smooth and creamy. 2-3 minutes usually.
  3. Portion out servings into small mason jars and refrigerate until cold.  Around 3-4 hours in the fridge.

Serve with berries, sliced bananas or cherries…yum!

Fat Burning Cardio Workout

There are times where I love to do cardio and the idea of putting on my headphones, de-stressing and zoning out is all I can think about when I’m planning my workouts.  Then there are times where it’s the exact opposite and I have to drag myself to the gym and fake my enthusiasm.  Love it, or hate it cardio needs to be a part of your weekly routine.  Fortunately, today I had some great music and I turned my early morning cardio circuit into a dance party…party of 1, but hey, it was still fun!

Cardiovascular exercises are exercises that get your heart rate up and increase your circulation.  This type of training strengthens your heart and lungs, boosts your metabolism, releases feel good hormones called endorphins, can aid in muscle recovery, help you lose weight, tone up and strengthen your body,  and bring a sense of peace to one’s mind. That’s why I try to get cardio in twice a week.

Here’s a fun fat burning cardio workout that you can do outside, on a treadmill, elliptical, or bike. I did this workout on my spinning bike.

Fat Burning Cardio 30 minutes

Warm Up: 1 song, easy to moderate pace (walk, or if on a bike, first position/seated position) Light-Medium incline/tension.  RPE 4-5

Intervals: 2 songs, 30 second sprint followed by 30 second recovery, and repeat.

If you’re on a treadmill let the treadmill stay on a higher speed and just jump your feet off to the sides for your quick 20 second recovery.  When it’s time to get back to sprinting, hold on and jump back on.

If you’re using a spin bike do your first song sprints in a seated position, then on the second song do your sprints in second where you’re standing upright jogging.  Light-Medium incline for the people running, and a Medium-Heavy tension for the spinners.  RPE 6-8

Hill: 1 song, with each minute increase your incline/tension.  People on the bike should do the first minute seated, the second in second position and the remainder of the song in third position with the hips back over the saddle. High incline/tension.  RPE 7-9

Intervals: 2 songs, 20 seconds on, and 20 seconds off.  If spinning do these intervals between second and third position.  20 seconds sprinting in third, and 20 seconds of recovery jogging in second.  High incline/tension.  RPE 8-9

Cool Down: 1 song, 1 minute jogging on the treadmill or jogging in second position, 1 minute with a fast walk or a fast seated pace on the bike, then the remainder of the song walking or an easy riding pace. Light-Medium incline/tension.  RPE 3-4

Stretch: 1 song, quad stretch, hamstring stretch, yoga SNA sequence 4x

IMG_9649*RPE=Rate of perceived exertion 1-10.  1 being a very low exertion and 10 being extremely hard.

Make sure you wear your heart rate monitor to track your calories burned. Post your post cardio pics on insta and hashtag #plf to stay accountable.

Now go get your sweat on!

 

Banana Raspberry Muffins

This is my favorite banana bread recipe. I have been making it for years and I just revised the recipe to make it healthier. It’s delicious, so enjoy it!

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Banana Raspberry Bread (yields 10-12 muffins)

-Canola Oil cooking spray

-1 cup Almond Meal

-1 cup Oat Flour (I have also used Coconut Flour, or Buckwheat Flour and they all work)

-2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 Coconut Palm Sugar

-6 large overripe bananas mashed

-1/4 cup almond or coconut milk

-1 large egg or 1 Tablespoon ground chia seeds with 2 Tablespoons water

-1 tsp vanilla paste/extract

-1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat your muffin tin with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and salt; whisk it all together. Make a well in the center. In another bowl combine bananas, Coconut Palm Sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to help incorporate all the wet ingredients and to break down the bananas. Fold in the raspberries. Pour batter into the center of the dry ingredients. Fold it until it’s combined. Fill muffin tins to the top; bake for 25-30 minutes.  For mini muffins bake for 10-12 mins.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

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These muffins freeze well, so I usually double up my recipe to make about 20 muffins.  We eat a few the day of and I freeze the remainder for when we need a quick breakfast or a healthy snack.

Top Health Excuses To Not Tell Yourself in 2015

Happy New Year!  I just love the start of a new year!  I love to see my clients motivated, talking about their goals, making themselves a priority and more importantly for really taking inventory of their health; both mentally and physically.

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Oftentimes, we create too many excuses and get lost in life’s day-to-day activities to really register how our bodies are functioning.  Many of us like to complain about our bodies and our health, all the while not really looking at what is causing the problem(s) to begin with.   Are your choices helping you or hurting you?  Is your food nourishing you or poisoning you?  Are you doing enough activities weekly that balance you or deplete you?  Simple questions, but not always simple answers based on the excuses and lies we tell ourselves.

Let me be very, brutally honest here…You are the only one responsible for your health and for you happiness.  You are either creating a life of health and wellness, or a life of disease.  Your choices directly effect you, but they also effect your family.  Your health should be your main concern and any thoughts that pop into your head to argue that are excuses.  You must take care of yourself and you must make it a priority every day for the rest of your life.

Here are a few excuses I’ve heard over the years:

 

I hate to exercise.

*Get involved in group fitness classes. The atmosphere in a great group class will be fun, encouraging, and social.  I secretly love when I get all my female clients together in one class, because it’s a great workout, but it’s also girl time.  We talk kids, fashion, food, sex, etc.  The hour flies by and we all get a chance to connect.

*Workout with a friend. Cardio is always a lot more enjoyable when you have a friend to talk with.

*Join an Instagram challenge!  There are squat, pushup, ab, yoga, Pilates, and walking challenges.

*Try a new sport!  Yep, you heard me.  I know it can be a little scary or humiliating to try something new that you might not be great at, but it will be an adventure.  We are hardwired to love challenges.  It’s not about the destination, but the journey.  Try tennis, golf, rock climbing, mountain biking, gymnastics.

*Do what you love!  If there was something that you loved doing when you were younger then do that!  Join a league to hold you accountable.  Sign up for a race; a 5K is a great race to start with.  Buy some fitness DVD’s and try ALL different types of workouts until you find one that is fun.  I’m still such a lover of Billy Banks Tae Bo…one truth no one know about me; haha, until now.  When you exercise endorphins are released, so at some point you are bound to feel more energized and inspired.

 

I can’t afford a gym membership

*Find group classes in your community. Usually they are affordable and offer all the benefits of a gym with out the price and contract.

*Do online challenges which are free!  Shape magazine usually does a bikini boot camp and has tons of exercises online, as well as Women’s Health Magazine.   BodyRock Tv offers in home, free, crazy intensity HIIT workouts.  Find some fun blogs that offer up workouts and trainer insight.

*Workout outside: Walk, hike, Rollerblade, run, bike, etc.

*Fitness DVD’s

*Build your own gym at your house. A lot can be done with dumbbells, a stability ball and a resistance band.

*The number one fitness trend for this year is body-weight exercises.  These are exercises where all you need is your body and they can be done anywhere.  I’ll be adding as many body weight video’s as possible this year to help keep you guys moving! 🙂


I don’t know what I’m doing.

*Hire a professional.  Invest in yourself!

“Yes, getting yourself healthy does cost money…But doctor and hospital visits cost more.”

A great trainer should teach you how to train yourself. If money is a concern then try Semi-Private Training, that way you can train with a friend and split the cost.  My biggest passion is teaching people how to strengthen and balance their bodies, efficiently and safely.  I sometimes overly explain in my classes why we perform certain moves, and how to do them correctly.  I want my clients to hear my ques in their heads and to feel confident when they are training without me.

*Check out You-Tube there are a lot of really good tutorials on how to perform basic body weight moves safely and with the proper form.  That being said there are a lot of bad ones too, so if you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment.

*There are also some great books, and blogs.

*Ask for help.  At every gym trainers are their to help you, all you need to do is ask.  I’ve been approached several times about form/exercises and I’m always happy to help someone.  If you find that someone is trying to sell you on training packages rather than answering your questions, then find another trainer.  I don’t ever worry about sales.  I do what I do and I’m happy to teach others and that is why I have such amazing, loyal clients.

 

I never really see results

*Start out slow and give time for your body to change.  A common mistake is for people to go way too hard in the beginning and to end up losing steam with tired/injured bodies.  Your workouts should not inhibit you from living your busy life; your workouts should exhilarate you and leave you feeling ready to take on your day.

*Set goals! There is something magical about putting pen to paper and writing down exactly what you want.  I believe that most of your goals should be short term and obtainable.  I also think you should write down goals for a 6 month period and for a year.  Then my very favorite goals to write down are the wildly, impossible ones.  You know, the ones you can barely think about, would never want to say, that you are going to force yourself to write down.  Those are my favorite, because once you strip away the reality of society, and the fear anything is possible.

*List all of the positive effects of exercising aside from weight loss…Get inspired!  After every workout I try to tell myself three positive things that are different in my body, or my mood just from one workout. I say these three strengths in my head to help affirm why I work my butt off 5 days a week.

 

I don’t have time to take care of myself, because of my hectic schedule, work, kids, husband, etc.

*Make time for yourself and schedule it.  We make time for our favorite tv shows, we make time to brush our teeth, shower, get dressed…add exercising to that schedule.

*Make a priority list. What are the things that you absolutely must get done for the day.  You only get one body that allows you to take care of your family, so you better take care of that body first.  You need to be the priority!

*Turn fitness into a family activity. Try biking, hiking, family walks, or playing one of the many Dance Games on Xbox or Wii.  We love family yoga nights!  I do the instagram yoga challenges, so on the nights where I’m doing yoga I teach my kids and my husband.  We then turn it into a competition to see who can do the best pose.  So not yoga appropriate, but we are a competitive family and it works for us.  My husband is very proud to say that he can now do headstands and handstands.  🙂

 

I’m too old to exercise.

*Read The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.  Such a great book.  It’s inspiring and educational.

*If you don’t use it you lose it and this applies to your body. So start out slow and walk.

*Do yoga!!!  I can’t stress this point enough.  Yoga is for everyone, for every age and for every body.  There are amazing level 1 yoga classes at YogaWorks where most of the poses are done in a safe manner, on your back.  There are also Pilates Mat classes which are classically done on your back.  Also, restorative classes, where you are in poses that are fully supported.  You get all of the benefits of the poses, without all the work.

*Find Senior Citizen group classes in your neighborhood. (Silver Sneakers)

 

 I’m too fat, or too out of shaped.

*Everyone should check with their doctor before starting a new exercise plan. If you are obese, or have other health issues it really is imperative for you to get the “ok” to workout and then start out slow. A 5 min walk might be enough for the first day.

*Seek professional help by hiring a nutritionist, and a trainer. Having someone you can turn to to help motivate you and teach you is key.

*Exercise in the pool. Not only is it a great workout, but it will be friendly on your joints.

*Practice in bed movements and therapeutic yoga poses on your back.  I’ll post some of my favorite for you soon.

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PLF Tip: Remember that there are no valid excuses when it comes to your health. You are given one body; take care of it and live the life you choose.

 

“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.”

-Kevin Trudeau