Three Ways To Improve Balance

Three Ways To Improve Balance

I’ve been learning A LOT of different things at my internship since starting it three weeks ago! It’s very hands-on and I’m definitely being challenging to think outside the box. That’s the whole point of an internship, right? One of the key components that is used a lot with the clients I work with at my internship is balance.

Not the balance like life balance…lol, although that IS a work in progress too, I talking coordination, agility, posture, body awareness, etc. It’s all important. For a while, I was working on it diligently with myself and my clients. Then I kinda forgot about it…oops. It can be one of those things that can easily be forgotten if you’re not actively working on it.

Balance was the one thing that I think got stale for me which is a reason it fell off my fitness routines. I’ve now been reintroducted to it and the various ways you can challenge it with equipment, eyes open vs. closed, kneeling vs. standing, and no equipment vs. foam padding or a bosu. The possibilities are endless. I’ve taken time to add it to my workouts and in my HEAT class through plyometric moves such as lateral bounds, lunges + single leg skips, or simply balancing one leg for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the level of our balance skills until its gone, like when we fall, for example. Just like working out heart for cardio and increasing strength with resistance training, we can lose balance too. Particularly as we age, it is another aspect of fitness that is lost after the age of twenty five.

So besides the fact that balance is forgotten, I figured I’d share a post on how to ADD it back into your routine to gain the benefits of improving balance. What’s so great about balance is that it doesn’t have to involve being sweaty. Weird saying I know. It doesn’t necessarily involve a high heart either. I like adding it into the end of a workout to calm the mind and ease into a cool-down. Before bed or part of a weekend fitness routine works too. I like to think that balance works body-awareness, also known as proprioception. You train your mind and body at the same time. If you participate in yoga regularly, balance poses are more then likely incorporated into the practice. Adding tree pose or pigeon pose counts when not on the mat counts too!

Do these three exercises without shoes. It gives you a sense of awareness and less support as soon as you step out of your shoes…what you want! I do two sets each side with five to eight reps each. Work up to three sets of ten or more reps or until you can easily add a challenge. Of course, try not to hold to anything! Having something or someone nearby if you do need the extra support is okay. Soon you’ll learn to not need it. 😉

Try these three balance exercises you can do anywhere and without equipment to work your balance:

  1. Tightrope walkStepping heal to toe forward and repeating backward. 
    1. Easy: Walk two steps forward and two steps backward
    2. Medium: Walk three-five steps forward and backward
    3. Hard: Walk three-fives steps forward and backward with eyes closed
  2. Three Point Star
    1. Easy: Tap your toe to the ground in the front, side, and back of you.
    2. Medium: Release toe from ground and repeat the three points
    3. Hard: Keep toe off the ground and repeat the three points with eyes closed
  3. Finger GlanceSupporting yourself on one leg, extend opposite leg out in front. Bend elbows at the ninety degrees and hold out in front of you. Raise one finger on each hand. The higher you lift your leg out in front, the harder it is. 
    1. Easy: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is on ground in front. Glance back and forth at fingers.
    2. Medium: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is off ground a half inch to inch off ground. Glance back and forth at fingers.
    3. Hard: One leg is supporting. Toe of opposite foot is off ground one to two inches. Glance back and forth at fingers.

Adding these exercises to your fitness routine regularly will over time help enhance your balance. Realizing this can also help my running, is one reason I’ve been incorporating it into my program. Although this can help train your mind, this is great neurologically and muscularly too. Just because we’re not “old” doesn’t mean we have to fall and hurt ourselves to realize balance training NOW is important. With these simple exercises you can improve sooner then later.

YOUR TURN:

-What is one part of fitness you know you can improve on?

-Anything you’ve been working on diligently that you’ve seen improvement in? What’s worked and what hasn’t?

-What does your weekend fitness routine look like?

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Why I’m Tracking My Food via MyFitnessPal (Again)

Why I’m Tracking My Food via MyFitnessPal (Again)

*This post isn’t sponsored by either Weight Watchers or MyFitnessPal, I just want to share my experience with both programs! All opinions are my own.*

It’s time I make my way back to my Friday posts! 😉 Took last week off to enjoy Labor Day weekend at home and it was much needed. First weekend at home since May the night before heading to Costa Rica. A full THREE DAYS of being home never felt so good! And at a good opportunity too since we had crazy rain from Hermine, it was time to get outta dodge. I did get home safe despite the four hour drive!

As of the past couple weeks, I’ve hopped back on the bandwagon of logging my food. I used to think this was the most tedious task EVER. In fact, it was a pain in the ass to do this because it did take time and was “another thing to think about.” So yes, I get it.

Going backwards: I learned to initially log my food through Weight Watchers in high school. Yep, I was on Weight Watchers.

I wasn’t a chunk, but I was about ten pounds heavier then I needed to be. Being 5’2 and relatively small-framed, I gave it a shot. The most ironic thing was that I ran cross country so I exercised everyday, but that mentality of “I ran x amount of miles, I can eat that” happened way too often. Hence, my mom gently bringing up the fact that, “I would be happier being ten pounds lighter”–yep, mom’s words I still remember. It wasn’t like I was rolling on the floor, but I figured why not? My mom was also doing Weight Watchers so she said she could fill me in on how everything worked and we could do it together. I never saw myself as heavy or that “this is a problem and I need to lose weight” it was more of an opportunity to learn how to eat healthy and be aware of what I’m eating with a small weight-loss goal in mind. A little bit of tweaking of my diet and measuring my portions (a weakness I still work on daily) I saw the pounds come off. It took two months, but it was a VERY worthwhile two months of learning.

Today, I still use some of what I learned from WW from time to time! I love how it educates the person on eating healthy and being aware of how to enjoy little indulgences without saying NO. It is one few things out there that I agree with among all this weight loss program BS and what I recommend to my clients for those looking to lose weight. You can eat real food! Measuring and tracking keep you aware without sacrificing what you love. I’m not gonna rant about WW, but to get a better idea, check this out.

Anyways, back to the current topic.

It’s been since 2011 since I tracked my food via WW writing it all down. I jumped back on board after high school using MyFitnessPal. After a bit I got the hang of it, so I stopped until three weeks ago. After letting the fat kid in me have what she wants for the past month, I decided I needed to clean up my eating habits and got back into using MyFitnessPal.

I started logging in MFP and it has OPENED MY EYES to how I was eating. Not bad, but I needed improvement. As much as it was tedious to get back into logging my food, it is worth it. Now I enjoy seeing my numbers change throughout the day haha! and I feel more in control of my eating habits.

Below are my reasons WHY I chose to jump back into food logging:

1.) Keeps me aware of how I prioritize my macros (carbs, fats, proteins)

-Knowing I had x amount of calories throughout the day gives me have a better understanding of how to prioritize my meals while keeping me on track.

2.) Re-learning portion control

-I’ve always been good about measuring, but it can be a pain in the ass. I eye-ball certain things, but I seem to always over-estimate…go figure haha. Portioning out certain things helps me know what I can still enjoy without overdoing.

3.) Exercise ALWAYS counts–no matter how small

-We all know this, but no matter how small, it all adds up. Sometimes I kill it with a great speed workout and weights. Other times I wiped and just run a mile as fast as I can. I count those. One thing I have to be mindful of, is that although you get calories added back, it isn’t a free for all.

4.) Breakdown of micronutrients

-Not something I constantly monitor, but I do check occasionally. I love seeing the amount of fiber, sugar (the closest one I monitor), sodium, and various other vitamins and minerals change throughout the day. Best part is that MFP will remind you if you have met or exceeded your daily allowance.

5.) MyFitnessPal Blog is GREAT!

-MFP has come a long way since 2011. Now it acts as social media hub in a way with a “newsfeed” to see blog articles and “friend’s” accomplishments and exercise they’ve completed. Of course you can set your preferences to not have your diary, exercise, etc. be posted, but it is fun! I especially love some of the fitness articles they post regularly. Their recipes always look good (haven’t tried any yet) and their workouts are creative and are pretty basic to follow along. A great start for anyone looking to try a new recipe or exercise routine.

Even as personal trainer and as someone who loves fitness, we all are human and mess up. I enjoy indulgences as much as the next person but now I’m aware of WHAT and HOW MUCH I’m putting into my body. Learning as I go helps me share experiences and lessons  with clients, family, and friends in hopes someone can learn something!

YOUR TURN:

-Have you had a recent setback or comeback into fitness or healthy eating?

-Do you log food? Is it on MyFitnessPal or another app? OR do you write it down?

-What is your favorite indulgence or dessert?

Get Your Greek On: Three Greek Inspired Snack Ideas

Get Your Greek On: Three Greek Inspired Snack Ideas

*Disclaimer: Thanks to affiliations with the Tampa Bay Bloggers and Louis Pappas, I was able to attend an intimate, complementary tasting of Greek food for this post and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Hey All! Happy Forth of July weekend! To say I’m excited for this three day weekend is an understatement. I’m see a few friends from UT over for a BBQ in St. Pete and I’m pumped! I’m bring a patriotic fruit salad, think raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Someone has be bring a healthy side dish right? Leave that one to me hahah. I’m always the one to bring one of those. No shame! 😉

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Baklava & Rice Pudding

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend an intimate tasting with the Tampa Bay Bloggers at this cute Greek cafe in South Tampa called Louis Pappas Greek Cafe. It’s so cute inside and very authentic! They had a great spread for us to try too. I mean REALLY good. A few options from each off their menu. I planned on basically having dinner there since there was so much and it was all so good! They didn’t fail to disappoint.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pitas with Plain Greek Yogurt & Bread Pudding

I’m not so much of a huge Greek fan. I don’t crave it as much as I do pizza or Chipotle. Those two are my favorite cheat eats ;P but this place is definitely a good place to grab a quick, healthy bite for a mid-week break from the usual. Although everything about it was delicious, my favorite was the greek salad. I’m a sucker for a good salad, and THIS was amazing. It was all so evenly chopped with such good flavor. The cool part about this salad was that it had a scoop of potato salad at the bottom. Yeah. Potato salad. Who would have thought right?? I asked what that was all about and the owner said that was a staple for when they first started to make it filling. The potatoes add that extra filling component that was surprisingly good. YEAH. They offer it without as well, but the potato salad was what they called “traditional.”A family recipe they called it. I said I would eat that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves & Spinach Pies

So, onward to the snackage. Namely the hummus with homemade pita, stuffed grape leaves, and delicious Baklava. I’ve come up with some inspired greek inspired snacks you can make in your own kitchen! No special ingredients needed. I went to Trader Joe’s or Publix and found them there. Enjoy these snacks at home and if you’re in the South Tampa area, be sure to check out Louis Pappas!

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Front Salad: Traditional Greek Salad with Potato Salad and Non-Traditional without Potato Salad
  1. Hummus with veggies and pita bread.
  2. Plain Greek yogurt with peanut butter or honey
  3. Chopped Greek Pasta Salad by dishingouthealth !
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Definitely making it back here in the near future!

 

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

How You Can Add Strength Training To Your Already Hectic Schedule

Happy Friday!! Fridays have seemed like a good day to post new material so I’m getting excited about making this a more regular thing. With school, I’m able to post about once a week, if you haven’t already noticed. I’m excited to keep cranking out new posts despite the fact that school is in now happening.

Anyways, to the blog topic: Strength training! To be honest, not my favorite thing. Just like I mentioned last week recovery isn’t my favorite thing. I’ve been very real the past few posts, but its a good thing at times because no one is perfect! 😉 I really enjoy leg day, practicing my pull-ups, and bootcamp classes but nothing makes me happy as running. However, running doesn’t enhance my entire fitness. It’s cardio, comes with different benefits, and is only one part of my program.

Strength on the other hand, complements the cardio. You build specific muscles, prevent injury, and improve bone health to name a few benefits. Yes, cardio does some of that too, but strength is specific to weight bearing. Weight bearing or resistance training meaning anywhere from bodyweight, to resistance bands, dumbbells, etc. If you haven’t check it out, be sure to look at my Why Women Should Pump Iron post to get a good idea on key reasons to starting lifting!

“I know how great strength training is, but I don’t have time for a full hour of it!” –>I’ve heard a million times. No one says you have to do a full hour to get benefits! Recently I’ve changed some goals to where I switched over to doing 30-40 min workouts using smaller muscle groups that take less time. Think shoulders, arms, calves, etc. I’ve done the opposite too using big muscle groups like legs and back to hit a lot in a short amount of time to get more bang for my buck. I still enjoy a good leg day so I’ll keep one of my strength workouts closer to an hour because leg days are favorite–no other reason.

Still feeling unsure of how to tackle a short workout and getting similar benefits? View my tips below to see how to build a effective 30-40 workout!

  • Pick a muscle group: Upper body, Lower body, Core. Keep it simple!
  • Set an end time: How long do you plan on working out for? Need to be done by a certain time? Estimate a half hour to forty minutes from the current time and make an effort to get the workout done! Knowing you have a deadline makes you prioritize what needs to get done, from your rest between sets to how you order your exercises.
  • What’s available equipment-wise: In a hotel room, park, or stadium? Use the benches, stairs, or field to get a kick-ass cardio/hiit style workout in! If small weights are available add squats, overhead press, or bicep curls to the mix. The more options you have, the more complicated the workout becomes. Don’t overcomplicate anything though, use it to be creative and challenge yourself! Bonus points if you have it all set up ready to use instead of taking what you need as you go! Those extra steps back and forth add up to wasted time.
  • Make sure you build in a warm-up and cool-down before and after: This would ideally be included as part of your thirty to forty minutes of work. If you’ve been sitting for a bit, a longer warm-up might be necessary. If you’re like me and are always on the go teaching, training, running, etc. a few minutes might be enough. The key is to feel warm and ready to go. Not still stiff from sitting. Think five minutes of dynamic movement.
  • Best way to keep it at the thirty-forty minute mark–put it on your calendar!!! Book it like anything else in your life. I say time and time again that if you schedule your workout in a planner among your other commitments, you’re likely to stick with it. ‘Nuff said. 😉

Let’s Chat!

-What’s your favorite muscle group to work?

-Tips that you find helpful to fitting in your workouts each week?

-Any fun weekend plans?

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

My Fifteen Minute Foam Rolling Routine

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday!! Hope you all have had a productive and good week. I’m on my fourth week of grad school and so far so good, but is quite the challenge. I’m definitely being pushed out of my comfort zone with studying since it really is a whole new level of knowledge. I’m more then half way through my course, then I’ll have about a week and half or so off then return to my next six week course after the forth of July.

First off, what is foam rolling? Foam rolling is a recovery mechanism that releases adhesions, or knots in the muscle from repeated stress. It promotes blood flow to the affected area through rolling the muscle. Scientifically, this is called myofasical release, meaning ‘myo-‘ for muscle, ‘fasical-‘ referring to fascia meaning connective tissue, and ‘release’ from releasing tension on muscle.

With that being said, I figured I share my foam rolling routine and talk recovery since that is equally important too. I’m always go-g0-go. Constantly having a plan of action is my jam. For me, each week (even if its not set to a tee) has some kind of workout in it. It’s either just one workout of cardio, usually running or weights, either body weight or some kind of resistance. Twice a week I work out twice a day, usually in the morning then in the afternoon either a run then weights or weights then speed work.  Then I have a rest day or two. One thing that is weak in my own program is recovery. YEP, I said it. In fact, it’s probably my biggest weakness. Yep, I said it again. It really takes a lot out of me to focus on this. But I’ve learned over time that it is equally important in order to bounce back well from workouts. That doesn’t mean I get massages every week. I’m on a student on a budget, so that’s not happening! BUT I can do my own job of recovery instead and it starts with a foam roller.

Way back when I started running I was hurting a lot because of a lot of things like not strength training, stretching, and eating well (I ate Bud’s Chicken– a “nice” local fast food drive through post cross country and track meets). One big culprit (although all of them are significant), was foam rolling. I got to college and I had terrible IT Band Syndrome. It was so bad I could hardly walk AND on top of it I was training for my second half marathon. How I did that feeling like sh*t I don’t know but I ran it. Dealing with severe tightness, I learned from a professor I took a class with what foam rolling was. Thank you Exercise Science degree!! 😉 I was so tight and uncomfortable I hated it, but is showed me how much I really needed it and how it important it is to do regularly.

To this day, I’m not great at it, but I do it often enough now that I have my tightness under control and my IT Band Syndrome at bay. I’m still tight there from time to time, but it was WAY more manageable then when I wasn’t doing it at all! I was seriously like a grandma looking back now. How I went that far without rolling was my bad BIG TIME. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson to be reminded how important it is.

Okay, so fast forward to TODAY and I probably roll out two to three times per week. I could more, but I don’t always. I know. I can be better. It is something I struggle with and realize it is something to work on so I try to make it part of my routine somehow. So, I do it before bed as part of my bedtime routine. It takes about fifteen minutes, but it is well worth it. I especially love rolling while watching The Bachelorette or American Ninja Warrior. Roll and watch, it’s a good combination.

If you don’t have a roller and you workout, run, or train multiple days a week rolling is especially beneficial and definitely worth the investment. They come in all different kinds of firmness, treds vs. no treds, brand, etc. However, they are on the pricy side depending on what you’re looking for. I suggest starting with a softer roller (like a pool noodle type softness) and go from there. My favorite is Trigger Point brand recovery tools. They have a great variety for all types of recovery needs! Although I focus on legs, foam rolling can be for all over. If I roll out my whole body, it usually takes a half hour to forty five minutes. I find I have the most amount of time for this on the weekends. During the week I stick with  rolling for about fifteen minutes.

For my routine, this what I do two to three times each week. Starting easy from the bottom and working up or vice versa. Roll a little bit at time, about an inch more in one direction before go back to your starting point. If you feel a particularly tight or tender spot, hold there and breath. I broke it down here, but feel free to check out my video for a visual on Instagram to help get a better idea!

-Starting at the bottom of foot roll five to ten times up and down

-Foam roller under ankle, foot is resting on top, achilles tendon side down:

  • dorsiflex and plantar flex five times
  • circle the ankle in one direction and reverse
  • turn inside then outside ankle to roller and circle one direction and reverse

-Roll up shin to calf until back on knee (it’s safe with light pressure)

-Roll from bottom to top of hamstring up to the glutes

~Switch legs and repeat!~

Meal Prep: How You Can Fit It In & Not Be Overwhelmed

Meal Prep: How You Can Fit It In & Not Be Overwhelmed

Happy Friday! Meal prep seems to be a common thread everyone seems to be battling with at one point or another. It also can be intimidating AF because where do you start?? I’ve had a few thoughts, which have turned into excuses:

  1. I don’t meal prep AT ALL and I end up paying for my laziness by eating out and choosing less then healthy options
  2. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to cook
  3. I’m not in the mood to prepare it
  4. There’s other things I’d rather be doing and meal-prepping isn’t one of them

Have you had these thoughts? I have, but have limited them and have changed them for the better. Once I meal-prep, I can officially consider myself set up for success. I spend less money, feel the need to not waste food, and having it prepared for me gives me ZERO excuses for eating healthy. Three killer reasons why I make these reasons alone the reason I *try* and do this every week.

On the other hand, life happens and this doesn’t always get done. And guess what? Does the world end that I didn’t meal prep? NO! Does that mean I’m not gonna be set up for success and therefore fail with my meal choices? NO! It just means I have free reign…both good and bad 😛

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Roasted sweet potato with salt, pepper, olive oil, and cinnamon; hard-boiled eggs

So the question is, how do you fit it in?

I start by figuring out what I’m in the mood for that week. Sometimes I know instantly what I want. Other times I look through my Meals on The Run cookbook from Runner’s World, use Instagram for inspiration (check out #bgbcommunity on Instagram–you’ll be drooling over your phone in no time HA!), or tbh–the grocery store itself, although I try not to do that too often. I find flavors or ingredients that interest me or I look at factors of a recipe like time and servings to decide.

For me, I prep on Sundays. It’s a slower day for me usually so I grocery shop then come back and whip up whatever I’m making so its fresh and ready to use. I like one-pot meals a lot or one-bowl type dishes like salad since they’re both something you heat up or assemble in as little as a half hour and it’s ready to eat! I don’t have time to stand in front of a stove and cook fresh every. single. night. and I’m sure you don’t (or want to) either. So why make it tougher then it should be? Meal prep for the week ahead and you’ll have a fresh, healthy meal at your finger tips!

There are weeks I don’t have time to make a full blown meal with all the fixings on a Sunday, or I simply just don’t want to. But instead of not doing nothing at all, I pick one or two items that are quick cooking so I have at least some kind of snack, vegetable, or carb ready to be thrown in to something during the week. Recently, I love cooking hard-boiled eggs, which take about fifteen minutes, and sweet potatoes which take about twenty. Both go at the same time and you don’t really need to watch either too closely! Between the two, both are done in about an hour or less. Seriously, NO EXCUSES! And even though it isn’t “meal prep” it’s more like “meal prep-prep” it’s still setting you up for success in one form or another right? Isn’t that the whole point??

Another thing that doesn’t always come with the actual prep, but something to keep in mind, is how much food you’re really getting out of the food you’re making. I cook for me, so I pick dishes that have about four servings in them. That number works for me because I get bored of eating it as the week goes on–for real though and once I get bored of it, I tend to waste it which doesn’t do my wallet any good. Any dishes six to eight servings, I tend to not look too closely at just because it feeds too many for just me! Looking at how many you’re cooking for and who you’re cooking for (hungry husbands, a family, someone who always traveling/on-the-go) is one factor I feel is most important when it comes to meal prep.

Now the type of person you’re feeding is another whole topic in itself since you want to please whoever you’re feeding too. Getting the kids, husband, whoever involved will make meal-prep an easier thing to tackle. If it just you, like it is just me, make whatever you want!! #perksoflivingalone

The funnest part of the whole meal-prep idea is the CLEAN UP! lol…just kidding. It’s my least favorite part of the whole thing to be real, but it’s gotta happen. You can make it easier by using foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easy too. Here’s a tip: DON’T use Parchment paper to broil hahaha. I made that mistake and I created a small fire in my kitchen one night making mini english muffin pizzas. All is good!! I put it out but instead of Parchment paper, use foil instead *face palm*–no flames to worry about with that. Anyways, clean-up is cut in half and makes the whole meal-prep process that much smoother.

Hoping this post leaves you feeling more inspired to try meal-prepping! Taking it step by step and not feeling intimidated is key. See it as a learning experience! Either you’ll enjoy learning to cook new things or you won’t…and in the latter case you know you at least made an attempt!

Good Luck and Happy Meal-Prepping!

YOUR TURN:

-What are you favorite go to snacks or dishes to meal-prep?

-What is one thing you want to work on or try with meal-prepping?

-Any fails with meal-prep or kitchen disasters? LOL

Four Favorite Pre-Workout Snacks

Four Favorite Pre-Workout Snacks

Hey All!! It’s almost half way through the week. YAY! I’ve been trying a few new ideas for my pre-workout snacks as well as adding my usual ones. Try these out to fuel your workouts for the week!

When picking healthy snacks, I typically pick something that has a good balance of carbs and healthy fat mixed with a little protein. Nothing heavy or anything that requires much prep because remember its a SNACK–something small to get you through without weighing you down. Let the weights take of that instead. 🙂 They’re filling, easy, and full of only the good stuff. If you can, prep these in advance so you have them all week long.

These snacks can all be swapped for something vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian. I do like dairy and don’t have a nut allergy, which is what I typically used for these snacks. Feel free to use what you have in your pantry. No special grocery trips here. 🙂

Trail Mix

-I love this mix because you throw everything into a bowl and that’s IT. A salty-sweet crunch with healthy fats from the nuts, easy digestible carbs from dried fruit, and whole grains from the Cheerios. I like Trader Joe’s selection of nuts and dried fruit for this mix the best. When measuring each into a bowl or bag, I’d say less is more. If you over fill the bag, your portions get large fast! (if you’re doing single servings). I try and keep this is mind because of the nuts since the healthy fats are usually dense in good calories. This makes enough for one serving so it’s perfect for pre-portioning and having them ready through the week! Just remember to store them in a cool, dry place.

  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s mixed nuts lightly salted and roasted
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s dried pitted cherries
  • 1/3 c Multigrain Cheerios
  • Handful of Semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional but completely worth it)

Celery & Peanut Butter with Pretzels

-For peanut butter, I buy whichever one is on sale so I don’t have a brand preference. I love to hate peanut because of the price (BOGO is my friend at Publix) and the calorie content *insert crying emoji face* such a tease because it is SO good! The pretzels are really good with it too. Its a great salty-sweet crunch that’s hard to beat!

Hard-boiled Egg on Toast with Gouda Cheese and Salt and Pepper

-I cook my eggs in advance so they’re the perfectly convenient way to get in protein. Sometimes I even have this for breakfast its so good and filling yet light. Gouda cheese is my favorite, no other reason. Bread-wise, I buy Rudi’s Multigrain Gluten Free bread. This would be good on an english muffin too.

Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt with Multigrain Cheerios, Honey, & Fresh Fruit

-I never used to like plain yogurt, in fact I rolled my eyes because it reminded me of sour cream. I didn’t actually starting liking it until I saw how much SUGAR was in my flavored yogurt. It was basically dessert for breakfast. So there went that idea. Now, I sweeten my plain yogurt myself with real flavors. 😉 Multigrain cheerios give it a crunch, honey adds a naturally sweet flavor (of which you don’t need much) and fresh fruit for added antioxidants, fiber, and color.

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Hey Guys! I’ve been going through my pantry and taking some mental notes of recent ingredients I been into lately. Of course I have my staples I buy every week like yogurt, eggs, fresh veggies, meat, etc. but some of the meal prep I’ve been doing involved a couple new additions. For a while I wasn’t great about meal-prepping every week because I simply didn’t feel like it. Lately I was going through some blogs, namely The Blissful Balance, my girl Christina’s blog and Cooking Light for some inspiration for meal prep ideas, because we all need a little motivation to spark our interest right?! 😉

I’m a carnivore and really enjoy meat, but I wanted go on the lighter easier side and go meatless for a change. I also felt super lazy when it came to cooking meat and keeping an eye out as it cooks. Not feeling it. I saw how lentils are a meatless alternative and found a great one-pot dish for it. The dish lasted me the WHOLE DAMN week! All dinners Sunday  through Thursday and I didn’t get tired of it because it was THAT good! With wilted spinach and parmesean cheese (which can be opted out for dairy-free if vegan) on top, it was easy to reheat and enjoy (almost) every night of the week.

Aside from being an easy/convienent dish, lentils are great for you. They’re full of fiber, high in protein and iron, and have a meaty satisfying feeling to them. They’re also great with most things and can easily be used as a side among other ingredients. I can see how vegans and vegetarians really enjoy them. As delicious as they are too, they’re CHEAP! I mean really. Not a bad price for a 16 oz bag. I think $2-3. I don’t remember an exact number but I don’t recall cringing at the price. Filling up on a budget, that’s what I like to call it.

Another favorite has been sundried tomatos. They come jarred and if they’re an option, picking the ones in olive oil is your best bet. They’re full of flavor and go well in anything! I love them in salads or snacking on them among mozzarella cheese and crackers or bruschetta *drooling*. Going Italian and I’m not complaining, note: not one bit of me is Italian…lol! I was disappointed when I ran out when making my mini english muffin pizzas and realized I couldn’t use them. SO SAD. Thinking of having the tomatoes as a staple for last minute ideas since they have a decent shelf life as well. I love the flavor they have, that roasted and savory flavor! Packed with goodness, its an item that’s gotta be on your shelf. Aside from how great they are to have in your kitchen, tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants, are full of water keeping you satisfied, and is a fat free food, just to name a few!

If you’re thinking you wanna try these two ingredients, here is the lentil recipe I used from The Blissful Balance. Again, very filling and it went along way! I also included another recipe using lentils but in a greek style type salad that is ready to eat straight outta the fridge thanks to Cooking Light. Hope these two ingredients and recipes sparked your interest as they did mine. Enjoy!

 

What’s the Buzz on Online Personal Training? The Client Perspective

What’s the Buzz on Online Personal Training? The Client Perspective

As part of my small business, I offer online or FaceTime personal training to my list of services. In this day in age, everything we do is online or on our phones. Why not add personal training?? The client still gets a workout in–#noexcuses, results and progress is still made despite the distance, and motivation is taken to the next level. This is a two part post on online training with the first focusing on the client. Below are a few of the benefits for client: 

It is especially helpful for clients that constantly travel or are always on the go. I plan online training like I would a real-life personal training session. I have 1.5 clients that use this option…lol. I train my dad just online because he’s still in Delray Beach, my hometown. My dad always requests to do a workout when I’m in town, but until then I see him once a week via FaceTime. It makes for a good reason to stay in touch anyways and to squeeze in a workout. My other client only uses it when she travels, which is fairly often.

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Was working so hard, he didn’t notice I snapped a pic 😉

In case you’ve ever wondered, YES–online training is still safe and effective. It is a little different from in-person, and there is plenty of room for getting your money’s worth too. For those clients that just need instruction or are at a more advanced level, this is a great way to challenge and motivate them. Effectiveness here is based on motivation, so instructing via a formatted workout (explaining to the client what is expected of them) can be very beneficial. If a client is more of a first-timer to exercise/personal training, real-life would be a great first start. Learning movement patterns with cues and spotting before moving online, creates a solid foundation for later instruction.

Not only is online training good for staying ahead with their goals, but allows them to reinforce what they already know about different movements. It “trains” them to use what they learned during an in-person session, if they had that experience before. Although being the trainer I cue them throughout the movement, they also rely on themselves to become more aware of form, breathing, etc.

Only positive feelings last post workout via online! No more “guilt” because they were away and didn’t get in a workout in with me. As the trainer, I hold them accountable via email and text throughout the week even if seeing them in person. According to the couple clients I have that use it, they love staying ahead on their workouts knowing time isn’t lost just because they’re away. Although this method benefits me as the trainer in a few ways too, I would easily say that this is a HUGE benefit for them. Online changed the game on that one 😉  Technology, whether it be FaceTime/skype, email, text, even social media, is so powerful and impactful for this industry. I’m SO happy this is a turning point for clients of personal trainers, especially my clients! 😉

YOUR TURN:

-Have you heard or even used online personal training? Thoughts? Be honest, I wanna hear!

-Do you see this becoming a standard later on in gyms or just personal trainers?

 

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

Fitbit: Who Does it FIT?

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers and AT&T spokeswoman Karen McAllister, I had the privilege of getting to use the Fitbit Charge HR for nine days in exchange for this post, social media love, and tickets to Lowry Park Zoo. All opinions are my own.*

After being in touch with Karen from AT&T and Tampa Bay Bloggers, the Fitbit Charge HR was a great product to try for over a week. It gives being active a new sense of awareness. It was nice being able to see my numbers throughout the day and it gave me something to push for during my workouts! I had secretly wanted to see for myself what the hype was all about and I’m really glad I did. It was a pretty cool product and a worthwhile nine days seeing how it worked with me throughout the day while teaching my classes, training clients, and incorporating into my own workouts.

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Fitbit HR has a sleek design and felt light weight when I wasn’t checking my stats.

I specifically had the Charge HR band that tracked my heart rate on top of all the other features it came with: sleep tracker, calories burned, stairs climbed, distance traveled, active minutes etc. It read the heart rate via the radial pulse on my wrist and tracked it at rest and throughout the day. That part alone was especially cool! It was a great way to keep yourself motivated during an intense cardio session alone. During my spin class at Soho Cycling Studio it was handy to look down and check periodically throughout the class how I was doing and to see my total calorie burn post workout. As a group exercise instructor, I especially loved seeing the calories burned and steps tracked throughout my classes I teach. All the little movements and walking around really do add up to more calories burned and distance walked. Once you reach your step goal, mine was 10,000, it vibrates to notify you. From there you receive badges and can see your collection as it grows!

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A day I incorporated a strength day into my routine (note the 26 active minutes) among classes I taught and clients I saw

I would say that the Fitbit is a great tool for many people. Its a great fit for people returning to exercise after an injury, newbie to the fitness world, athlete or regular exerciser, individual with a nine to five desk job, and a cross trainer. Having this tool is great for anyone who needs that extra reminder, motivation, and awareness of their numbers at their fingertips to keep goals in check.

For the individual who are returning post injury and getting back into a routine or is just getting into fitness, this is a great first step. A few of my clients have them and I love asking how their steps are, what they burned during our workouts, their sleep, etc. It’s funny since even a few people in my group classes I teach always report to me how they did post class or even funnier–ask during class, “can we do more cardio? I need to get my steps in.”  In cases like these, I LOVE utilizing it THROUGH my clients and class participants to keep challenging them even more! 😉 From what I have learned about it through myself and others is to WEAR it, otherwise it doesn’t work. Sounds silly making this comment, but if it isn’t charged and ready to wear, don’t count on it doing it’s job. Less time wearing it = less motivation.

For the athlete/regular exerciser, this is great for the constant added challenge through the heart rate feature. I learned I could push harder throughout my spin class, so I continued to increase the intensity and after looking at my stats post class, I TORCHED about 800 calories! WOWZA!! I thought to myself, “I wonder how many I would have burned if I didn’t add the extra resistance?” Yeah no regrets there. 😉 In terms of strength training, my heart rate during the workout was not as high as it was during spin or a run, but it did take note of my elevated heart rate during my half hour strength workout. So, YES males/females that like to strength train and crank it out in the weight room–this is for you too!!

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Badges earned each time you make your goal!

Even when not active, the Fitbit HR keeps the numbers going even at work during the day. Checking resting heart rate during the day and after a few cups of coffee (like I did) I saw a small increase in heart rate! However, it does not vibrate as a way of notifying you to move…which I thought was odd. It does track active minutes, so even though there is no obvious way of notifying you, being motivated to get up and walk around during your lunch break or throughout the day does count. The calories burned and distance traveled stat will soon be your friend.

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I’m pretty sure this was rest day for me, but I did go for a walk with a friend. Tracked my heart rate even during our walk!

What if you’re not a high intensity fitness freak but still enjoy being active–in a less intense way? Maybe yoga/pilates or cross training is your thing? That counts too! Again active minutes and a jump in heart rate counts as a workout and automatically tracked in active minutes. As mentioned above, looking at calories burned is another great way to track as well!

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Each week I got a daily “progress report” on my activity. Great overview to keep me motivated!

As a runner, I LOVE/LIVE by my Garmin Forerunner 15. It tracks my pace, speed, and includes a GPS. It also has a built in heart rate monitor with a strap. I feel the Fitbit would be a good fit for someone who wants to track their overall healthy habits and activity and isn’t necessary focused solely on running. I had this product during my half recently, and chose not to wear it simply because it did not track my running stats–specifically my pace. However, it was GREAT for other activities I participated in.

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Fitbit made it to the Gasparilla Expo!
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Had to take a selfie with it after getting it from Karen!

Throughout the week I used the Fitbit, I did learn a lot about myself and confirmed some things I wasn’t sure of. I learned I can really challenge myself MORE which is exciting to know (via the heart rate feature), I really do need eight hours of sleep..lol, and I have a low resting heart rate. Aside from it being an overall positive experience, in a technological way (the app and way it worked was super easy) and motivating sense, I would recommend this product to everyone looking to enhance or maintain their fitness.