Saturday, December 26, 2015

Happy 2016! Making Resolutions That Stick


2016 is less than a week away and that means it's time for people to make resolutions that aren't practical. Your local gym will be crowded, the health food store will be busier than normal but I guarantee you that things will get back to normal in February. Why? Well, the truth is most people make New Year's resolutions half-heartedly and not with great purpose and sadly, few of us actually achieve our goals by the end of the year. Probably because most resolutions are completely unrealistic or entirely too vague. Ouch! The truth hurts, doesn't it?
I know you are thinking: "Ok, miss Sassy, thanks for being such a Debbie downer." Let me finish....The good news is that even some of the worst resolutions can work if you make them specific.

Here's a vague resolution:



Stop Being Stressed

What does that even mean? I'm stressed even thinking about it.
Stress is part of life, so we cannot hope to eliminate all stress. 
This is what you can do...Identify your key stresses. Make a list. Do it. If your stress can be avoided by simply NOT doing something, perhaps it’s time to cut those things out of your life. If that’s not an option, like raising your wild children, you must learn how to manage those stresses and keep them in perspective. Here are some things you can do:
  • physical exercise (I highly suggest you do this one. You deserve to exercise. Movement is so wonderful.)
  • massage
  • meditation
  • breathing exercises
  • yoga
  • martial arts like tai chi

I love taking group exercise classes. Duh! That's not a surprise! It's the group setting that I love. I'm held accountable. I sign up for classes. I schedule them into my day to make sure it gets done. My 2 cents: Sign up for courses in relaxation techniques that appeal to you. It may help to engage in these activities on a regular basis.


Here's another one of my "favorite" vague resolutions:

Join a Gym
If joining a gym was all it took to be healthy, everybody would be. Guess what, you actually have to go and not just during the month of January. Yes, that means in April I expect you to still be going. Making a monthly donation to a gym is expensive. Don't be dumb with your money. If you join a gym, go. 
If you really want to exercise, make a long-term plan. Write it out. Yes, I know I said to write it out earlier in this post. It's a theme. Begin with walking or other easy or moderate exercises that you can do in your home or around your neighborhood. Gradually increase your exercise level and stick to your long-term plan. If by May or June, you’re still at it, you may be ready for that gym membership after all. 

New year's resolutions are essentially goals and these can also increase your well-being because they force us to consider what we value most and they help to structure our time.  Good Luck! Happy 2016!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Big Slice - A Healthy Snack


Our diet is a very important part of our life, but not many people pay attention to this. We eat fast, we eat bad food and we eat at the wrong time. To keep our health and energy we need something that contains all the good nutrients that we need, but without chemicals and additives.
Big Slice is the kind of snack that you adore from the first try. When you hear about natural snacks (Big Slice is completely organic) you expect a strange, not delicious combination of herbs and seeds. However, Big Slice is delicious and it comes in 16 different flavors depending on what combination of fruits you choose. This means that no matter what kind of snacks you like, Big Slice will be your favorite.
Unlike other snacks, Big Slice actually contains pieces of apples that were prepared naturally, so they did not lose any nutrients. In this way you can see exactly what you eat and forget about those strange looking snacks. After cooking slices of apples (not any apples, GMO-free ones!), they are mixed with other whole fruits and superfoods. The result is amazing: a natural, tasty snack that will take away the hunger and bring you the Vitamins and Minerals that you need to go on with your day.
Big Slice is not only tasty and healthy, but it’s also practical. It can be tricky to have a healthy snack at work, because you have to make sure that your fruits remain fresh for the entire day. On the other hand, Big Slices comes in small, on-the-go bags that you can carry with you everywhere. You’re hungry on your way to work? Open your pouch and have a snack! You’re hungry at work? No problem, it’s easy! Besides all this, one bag only contains 100 calories, so you don’t have to worry if you are on a diet.
If you need yet another reason to eat Big Slice, you have to know that a part of the profits go to Sparkle charity, an organization that helps women in need. Isn’t this snack amazing?
Alright, let’s make a resume: Big Slice is healthy, organic, tasty, easy to carry around, it has barely no calories and every time you buy a pouch you donate to charity. What more can you want from a snack? Now go and give it a try; you will love it from the first minute!
Check out their social media pages:
Facebook 
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Healthy travel tips for the holidays



Winter holidays are close, and you are already packing for your trip. You want to make sure that you will have the time of your life, but what about your health? How can you feel active and strong during all those long walks, and how can you keep your diet while trying traditional, exotic food? Check out these tips:
·   Find a hotel with a gym. For sure you will not be in the mood to work out, but 30 minutes of exercise per day are necessary to keep yourself fit. Since there’s no point to make a gym subscription in another country, you have to find a hotel that offers this facility. In the morning, before going out, stop in the gym for 30 minutes; it will be worth it.
·   Choose the healthy meals. Of course, there are many traditional dishes that you want to try, but how good this will be for your body? If you eat huge portions and heavy meals, you will not have enough energy to walk around the city all day, not to mention swimming or climbing. Try to find healthy, low calorie meals that are still tasty.
·   Take nutritional supplements. You will not sleep enough, you will eat fast and you will forget about your daily vitamins intake. In this situation, you need something to keep you going even when you feel exhausted. Nutritional supplements will provide the nutrients that you need so you can enjoy your vacation!
·   Make prior arrangements. You don’t want to think that you will need a doctor, but it’s better to be prepared. If you don’t know the city and you need a consult, you can use a service like Amino. This will allow you to find the right doctor for you within seconds, no matter what insurance you have or what kind of specialist you need.
·   Don’t indulge on sweets. We all know how it goes: you are in vacation, so there’s nothing wrong if you have chocolate for breakfast and Ice Cream for lunch. Well, it might seem simple, but the problem is that a few days in this rhythm can destroy the balance that you struggled to create for months. After your vacation, you will have cravings and it will be difficult to give up sweets again.
·   Keep a first aid kit in your bag. This can be very helpful in those days when you can’t enjoy your time because you have a headache!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Partner Up! 5 Exercises you can do with a workout buddy.


Sometimes you need to have someone to workout with you. Research has shown that people are more likely to stick to their plan if they are held accountable. So grab an accountability buddy and start your sweat sesh.
Here are some exercises you can do together:


Partner Push-Up with Shoulder Tap: Tap into this! Find a mat and get down on all 4s, facing your partner in a push up (full or modified...it's your choice). Next, lower your bodies by bending at the arms with the abdominals engaged. Push back up to the starting position, then lift your right hand, and tap your partner on the left shoulder (while your partner does the same thing). Complete 10-12 reps, alternating hands each time.


Wheelbarrow Push-Ups: Remember this one from your days as a youth? This is a tough one so if you are just starting out I would advise to skip this one for now. Work up to it! Start in a traditional push up position with your accountability buddy holding your feet in their hands. Bracing the core, head down and complete as many push-ups as possible while maintaining good form. With each down motion, add in a synchronized squat on your partner’s end to really double up. You do NOT move forward during this exercise.


Body weight Squat: Stand facing your partner at arm’s length, like how far you'd be from your dance partner in Jr High, with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, grasping each other’s forearms. Maintaining a secure grip, at the same time squat down until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Hold, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat for 10-12 reps.


Dynamic Lunge: Shorty get low, low, low, low.  For this move, stand facing your partner at arm’s length, clasping each other’s hands between you. Next, lunge forward your right leg as your partner lunges backward with their left leg (Turn on your thinking caps this move requires coordination). Reverse the motion, lunging backward with the right leg as your partner lunges forward with the left. Complete 10-12 reps, switch legs, and repeat.


Reach-and-Touch Plank: You and your partner are team mates, right? Go join awesome forces and show 'em how it's done. Lying on your stomach facing your partner, position the elbows under the shoulders with the palms flat on the floor and the toes tucked under. Next, using the muscles in your core, elevate the torso into a plank position, (you must move at the same time) and reach forward with the right hand to touch your partner’s right hand. Follow swiftly with the left, then lower your bodies back down to the floor. Complete 11-14. Follow this by saying "good game" in a monotone voice.

Try these fun 5 exercises with your workout BFF for a lively sweat sesh! Your waistline will thank you for not indulging in high calorie foods.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Avoid HOLIDAY weight gain this year


It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I love the holiday season! I love being with my friends and family and celebrating this time of year. I love the lights, the music, and decorations. Sadly, most of the time spent with family and friends means crazy amounts of rich, heavy, and sweet foods. It’s everywhere! Its begins in October and doesn’t stop until after Jan 1st.  Most of us indulge “just this once” over and over again for weeks on end, without realizing it. Then before you know it, you don’t look as good in your leggings. So, I decided to put a list of 3 simple things you can do to avoid the “holiday weight gain.” They are super simple and effective and I hope they are a gentle reminder for you during this festive time.





1. Ditch the processed foods.

If it comes in a box, a bag, or in plastic wrap, just say no! Items high in salt, sugar, additives and artificial sweeteners are more difficult for our bodies to recognize and digest, plus they offer no real nutritional benefits.  Instead of packaged and processed products, opt for real whole foods that your digestive tract knows and loves


2. Go to bed and sleep like you always do.
Maintain Your Sleep Schedule. Just because you have more opportunities to stay up late and party doesn’t mean you should. Go out and have fun, but call it quits early enough so that you can get plenty of sleep. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night.
3. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Yes, you should watch your liquid calorie intake, but what you drink can also affect the quality of your sleep. Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can interrupt your sleep and leave you feeling worn out the next day. Remember, moderation is key!
I want to leave you with this: List your top 2-3 favorite treats during the holidays and commit to having only those.
It helps me so much and I hope it works for you too!

Happy Holidays!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Does The Music Tempo Matter?


I was listening to a playlist I created on Spotify and I noticed that certain songs made me run faster and even focus more on my workout. As a fitness pro I understand the important role music plays in your fitness. I thought I'd take this post to talk briefly about music.

Have you ever noticed that some songs put you in the zone and you are able to increase the speed on the treadmill or whatever you are doing? Does your favorite fitness class play songs that make you want to work your body harder? This is on purpose. As a instructor I want my music to drive my classes. I want the participants to not only enjoy the class more but when the music tempo is increased the students are choosing to work harder and faster. I'm just there guiding them along but ultimately it's them who choose how hard they want to work. Maybe that's what makes them keep coming back for more?

So maybe the next time you want to get your cardio on skip the NPR and play some sped up Chris Brown.


Here is a playlist I encourage you to play for your next workout:

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Oh Sh**!





This week my friend lost her job. When stuff like that happens it’s devastating but it can also become an eye-opening experience.
Life is unpredictable and it's not surprising to come face to face with situations we never thought would happen to us. “This is the sort of thing I hear about on TV or see in magazines… I never thought it would happen to me,” is a common thought.
These "Oh Shit!" moments have not only made me miserable but also gave me a reality check. Things that I once thought were important are now trivial. Other areas my life I didn’t pay much attention to, or perhaps took for granted, are now the only things I care about.
I hope that you have no idea what I'm talking about because your life is perfect and that you are having a hard time relating to this post. If not, this post is for you.

Don’t Wait for an Oh Shit! Moment

This is an exercise I’ve been doing the past several months. I know bad things in this life are inevitable, and I don’t want to wait for (another) one to make me prioritize. I routinely  ask myself what matters most to me. What do I truly value? At the end of every day, what and who am I most grateful for?
Here are some questions to ask to help you figure out what matters most:
  • What do you value? Family, friends, faith, free-time, adding value or contributing to the world in some way?
  • What has (intentionally or unintentionally) taken a back-seat in your life that you once valued?
  • Who do you love or value spending time with?
  • At the end of the day, what matters most?
  • Are the things you’re spending time and energy on adding value to your life, or distracting you from the things that truly matter?

Start living life the way you want, be fearless like you once were as a child, and always stand up for the truth. 

 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Block Island Organics Are A WIN!


When it comes to taking care of ourselves, it is equally important to take care of both our inside as well as our outside. Our skin is our body’s largest organ so it should be an important part of our healthcare regime. Our skin serves as a protective barrier between our insides and the outside world. It helps regulate our body temperature and acts as a filter.
Our skin is in a constant state of growth as old cells die and new cells are formed. It is a fact that healthy skin is better able to fight off signs of aging, has the ability to heal faster and staves off potential disease.
As skin plays such an important role in our health and well-being, I do a lot of research when it comes to the products I use it. In my research, I found a company that makes a great line of skincare products. They are called Block Island Organics (www.blockislandorganics.com) Block Island Organics is a family-owned company that is run, in majority, by women (girl power!!) and is located on Block Island, Rhode Island.
What I love about this company is that all of their products are free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, phthalates, dyes and artificial fragrances. Plus, they use only vegan-based formulas and they don’t do animal testing of any kind.
My favorite product of theirs is the Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser. The cleanser is produced with an organic and natural formula; made with botanical ingredients and rich in antioxidants. It cleanses the skin gently while maintaining a moisture balance so delicate facial skin won’t dry out (even more important in the upcoming winter months!)
I love using this cleanser just after completing a sweaty workout! It removes build-up, impurities and makeup residue and leaves my skin feeling very refreshed. The ingredients include rosehip, chamomile, sunflower, avocado and olive. Because it’s packed with vitamins (like C&E) I know I am enriching and revitalizing my skin.
Block Island Organics makes other great products (moisturizer, sunscreen, and revitalizing night cream). All the products are packed with antioxidants and are made from all-natural ingredients. Because they produce a line of non-toxic products, you can feel confident that you are doing right by your skin.  
Rather than buying products from a big name, mass production company, I feel good purchasing items that have been made with care and attention. I trust that a family-owned company like Block Island Organics, is going to put more care and thought in to their products because they focus on only a handful of items -and they do them extremely well!
I encourage you to try out one (or all!) of their products. Check out their website (www.blockislandorganics.com) this Sunday 11/8 through Saturday 11/14 and get 20% off using this coupon code: jessicab . . .  You’ll won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Motivation


Motivational quotes are my jam! I love them! They "speak to me," they are usually my mantra when I'm getting thru a tough workout. They are a good reminder of what I need to focus on and not spend endless amount of time watching cute animal videos.

I have even made a private Pinterest board that I look through before each time I exercise. I even like to show my board to whoever will humor me. Most of the time my BFF (who doesn't workout the way I do. Shoot, she doesn't even read this blog) is the one who sees it the most! Sorry, Jess!

Since you are my friends and love fitness, I thought I'd share my favorite quotes here. These are ones that worked for me. I'll be crossing my fingers that they might, in some small way, work for you, too.

Here's one of my favorites ...





Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crave Crap?

Do you dream of cheesy pizza, candy or fried anything? Did you skip your workout? If so, that explains the urge to eat the not so healthy foods. When you crave “comfort foods," aka fatty and carbohydrate filled, its a result of a lack of positive influence on mood, energy and stamina you get from exercise.
I know that this summer when I was injured I had to scale back my workouts but I kept my same nutritional routine so I could maintain the muscle I had built. I spent years working and sweating my a$$ off and I wasn't about to give it all up easily. I steered clear of anything fatty and greasy and stuck to my usual meals.
When you regularly exercise your metabolism increases. Yay! Since you’re burning more calories, you end up consuming more in order to maintain enough energy. Don't eat the same calorie-filled meals when you’re out of the gym for two weeks, your body won’t be burning the extra calories and you could potentially put on weight! No Bueno!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Is Your Gym Worth The Price?


I often wonder about all the fitness clubs popping up around me. Of course I go and check them out. The worst fitness facility of all time is....drum roll please...Planet Fitness. It's seriously the worst! I'm not talking about the equipment, the cleanliness, or the staff. I'm referring to the amount of junk food Planet Fitness feeds its members.
I have worked out at Planet Fitness gym a handful of times so I'm speaking the truth when I write about the suck factor.


Let's start at the beginning of the week. Monday. Who doesn't think of pizza when you think about the gym? PF has Pizza Monday on the first Monday night of each month.
There are literally stacks of greasy pizza boxes as soon as you walk in the door and as a member one gets an endless buffet of free pizza. That seems like a bad marketing ploy to lure new people to the gym to me. 


It  gets better, on the first Tuesday morning, it’s bagels. Ummmm what? Not exactly fitness friendly food at the GYM! You might actually gain the wrong kind of weight at PF. 

To make matters worse, when you walk in there is jar full of tootsie rolls.


I can't just bash on PF without telling you some of the things I do like about the joint:


1. It's $10 a month
2. This "gym" is a “judgement-free zone,” so they appeal to the “novice” gym-goer.
3. It offers a friendly environment for newbies to learn the ropes of exercise without being judged by others who are in better shape.

Ok, that's it. I honestly tried to think of 4 reasons why I support the gym but I could only come up with 3. That's how weird the place is. I do think PF has a good idea but I do think it’s just being horribly executed. Leaving a jar full of tootsie rolls on the front counter and giving members an endless buffet of free pizza once a month is nothing more than a sleazy marketing ploy used to lure new people to the gym so that PF makes more money. What gym encourages their members to eat junk food? Basically, Planet Fitness is letting their unhealthy clients know that eating junk food is fine IF you are working out. Sounds dangerous to me to be sending that message. It’s obvious that they’re more concerned with profit than actually helping over-weight people get in shape.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bingeing, It's Not Just For Netflix


Even though it is October and it seems like the year is winding down but that doesn't mean your goal setting has to wait until January. There is no rule that says you can't set a goal right now. In fact, setting a goal might help you stay on track during the upcoming holiday season. I'm a fan of setting a small but achievable goals every season. For example, my goal this fall is to get certified in a new fitness modality. I took the first step by registering for the certification. It may not seem like a big goal but it is attainable. A lot of people go about goal setting the wrong way. Instead of making short term intentions, most people Goal Binge. A lot of people make their goals as long as a Child's list to Santa. Goal setting is not a bucket list. Everything that you want to change about you should not be on your list. It should be statements of short term intentions. Like 1 or 2 things.  For example:  I will run 2 miles in the next 4 months or I will take a fitness class 3 times a week.  My question to is this, Has anyone experienced goal binging and what was the result?

This brings me to another point about goal setting. Be sure you aren't setting VAGUE GOALS. Our goals need to be measurable in some way. Saying "I want to lose 10 pounds" sounds good but there is nothing about that statement that lets you measure your progress. Instead make your goals more specific, like: "I will eat out 2 less times this week, I will workout 1 more time this week, I will make healthier choices the next week, I will keep a food and workout journal."
How does this relate to you? Any experience with this? You don't have to answer out loud. These are just questions to ask yourself.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sneak In Some Cardio!


When you need to simply hit the weights you need to make sense of approaches to keep yourself warm so that your muscles can perform better. The immense thing is, you needn't bother with enormous cumbersome gear, and here are approaches to sneak cardio in the middle of sets:

Be a stair expert: But consider taking them each one in turn, not two. Specialists found that while the rate of caloric consumption is higher when taking two at once, the blaze over a whole flight is more when taking each one in turn
Walk and talk: Make like the West Wing and hold strolling gatherings. While moderate strolling uses right around more than two times the vitality of sitting in a meeting, portable gatherings can likewise reinforce work connections, enhance wellbeing, and support imagination.
It would be ideal if you stand up: Think of your ring tone as a caution to get up out of the seat. Toss in a couple bodyweight practices before sitting down (and look at this rundown for some extraordinary thoughts).
Also it is critical to keep your heart rate up despite the fact that you aren't centered around cardio in the occasion. Sneaking cardio in smolders a larger number of calories than simply lifting however it can be elusive approaches to get some in particularly with no cardio hardware in the weight territory.
Kettle bell swing: Kettle ringers are anything but difficult to bear with you as you move around. Do 25 swings in the middle of sets to keep your heart rate up and condition your body. Also this is an incredible molding activity for your entire body.
Jump rope: This is a simple approach to sneak in some cardio, hop for around 30 seconds which speaks the truth the measure of time you would rest between sets at any rate. Bouncing rope is the best cardio activity known not, so snatch your rope and stick it in your duffel bag.
Step ups: All rec centers have venture up stools now that you can use in the middle of sets, yet in the event that yours doesn't simply utilize a seat. Do around 15 reps for every leg, the higher the stool the higher the blaze. In the event that you utilize weights with the progression up, keep them light since this is only a filler exercise.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Goooooooals!



I've heard so much from my circle about goal setting. What is it exactly and do I need to do it? Basically, your goals should stem from your passion. For me that is fitness. I learn so much each day. Whatever your passion is setting a goal will keep you on the right path. My goal right now is to be nice to me. As many of you know, I was hurt this summer. I broke my wrist and badly bruised my knee so my normal workouts where a no go for me. I had to revamp my fitness plan so I had to allow some self-care for ME.
I make my goals very specific. This means detailing what it is EXACTLY that I want. Until recently my goals were very general and I never felt like I was accomplishing anything and you know what, I didn't. By narrowing what it is I want, I can make a plan to meet my goal.
This brings up a good point of goal setting. Your goal should be attainable. Are you 5'2 and want to be a Radio City Rockette? Working hard and having a stage presence isn't going to help if the Rockettes have a height requirement. Make sure your goals are in your control.
During the height of my injury my goal was not to compete in a triathlon but to get better. Make sure you are honoring where you are in your life right now. Be aware that life changes and your goals might have to change too. Be open to that and be realistic.
Do you set goals? Try it, you'll like it! Grab piece of paper or start a new memo on your iPhone, and write out your goals. Good Luck!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

My Fuel aka Diet!





I don't really eat like everyone else. Most of the time I’m eating in between fitness classes, clients or while running to my next task. Usually when I'm hungry I know that I've let too much time between meals pass and I need food immediately. I don't want to have to think about it. In this situation, faster is better!

Over the years I've figured out how to make eating easy on work days. Here's what has to happen:
1. Meal has fiber.
2. Protein is involved
3. Veggies included
4. Water and lots of it

My meals tend to be the same each day. Frankly, I don't give a damn. I can eat the same food and not be bothered. I vary the flavor more than the protein itself. I like using spices, Sriacha (just a little though, I don't like my food too spicy) or salsa or hummus. If I know I have protein and a good serving of fiber I don't worry how I'd be judged in US Weekly "a typical food day."

I eat the same thing for breakfast almost daily. Oatmeal and a piece of fruit. I like that I don’t have to think about it, I just get up, make it and eat it. I don’t generally get tired of eating the same things. Don't get me wrong there are times where one or more of the foods dominate the menu until I’ve eaten so much of them that it’s time for a break and I don't want to see that food for awhile.


My diet may not work for you but it works for me. I'm content because it works for me. I'd love to hear what works for you. Let me know what you do to cover your nutritional bases.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#7dayStretch Wrap Up!



Last week,  I completed the #7daystretch with prAna and Sweat Pink and could not be more proud. We stretched, bended our bodies, minds, and souls and came together to show how we truly #liveinprana!

So in honor of our beautiful #7daystretch, here are 7 things you might not know about me:

  • I am wildly obsessed with anything sparkly
  • I have a collection of sneakers in many different colors. This just started about 4 months ago and I’m proud to say that I am doing very well collecting different workout sneakers. :)
  • I secretly (not so secretly) own so many sparkly headbands
  • When I was 7, I wanted to be a elementary school teacher
  • If I could do one thing today, it would be travel to South America and stay there all winter so I can successfully avoid winter. :) I love NYC so moving is not an option.
  • I’ve always dreamt of opening a large lot where I could rescue animals from all over who need a safe place.
  • My favorite way to travel is on a cruise ship where I can sleep, workout and relax while I’m getting to my destination.

Join in on the fun! I tag @mzmotivational and @chichilife to tell me 7 things I didn’t know about you! Just fill in the blanks, tag @prana @fitapproach & use the hashtags #liveinprana #7daystretch #sweatpink and spread the love. Tag your friends, readers, followers…whoever’s listening!

Want to try PrAna? Use the code LiveInPrAnaF15SGF for 15% off!