Sunday, August 20, 2017

What to eat post workout


What you eat and when is a super important part of training. The first meal after your workout is very important as our body is in the rebuilding phase. Your meal should help your body repair, recover and adjust to the workout you have just completed.
Your meal needs to have both proteins and a bit of carbohydrate and a little fat

It is best to have this meal sooner than later as the body is ready for good nutrition! Having it within 30 minutes of your workout is ideal.


The fear of gaining weight with pre and post workout meals is a myth. As long as you do not exceed the calories you need to have, it’s fine. Both these meals should be a part of your total calorie intake. What one must remember is that the most important part of any diet is the calorie count.



Here is one of my favorite post workout meals:


2 salmon fillets or 1 salmon steak
½ tsp ground garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh basil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lemon wedge


1. Rub the salmon with lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and basil and keep aside for 15 minutes.
2. Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick frying pan. Add the salmon, skin-side down, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side till browned and flaky. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

My Summer Vacation







This past summer my husband and I took a family summer vacation with his parents and his sister’s family of four (they have a 7 year old girl and a 4 year old boy). That’s right. I said we chose to spend time together on a family vacation. That phrase, family vacation, reminds me of a John Candy movie that is full of weird family drama. And for some people, a family vacation sounds like absolute torture, but for me, I loved every minute of our time together.
None of us had ever vacationed together so we were unsure of how it was going to go. Needless to say we had an awesome and very comfortable, and of course, fun time. Fun is what we all aimed for. We had so much fun laughing and playing nerdy games. I got some much needed R&R and a perfect amount of Aunt and Uncle bonding time.  As much as I love spending time with my cute niece and nephew I made it a priority to find 1 hour each day to workout. I did barre, HIIT, and stretching sessions. I think it’s important for me to set a good example for the little ones that working out equals a happy life.
I love my in laws, but I really like them. There is a profound difference to me. I like hanging out with them and spending time together. We share life and laugh. A lot.
I always learn something new about my extended family when we spend time together, like how my sister and brother in-law parent. They are very patient and awesome parents. They are so loving with their little families.
Taking a family vacation with your in-laws takes some serious effort on my part to seek out relationships with them, but honestly, it is worth every bit of it. It’s really worth it.



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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Breakfast Ideas



Why is the most important meal of the day, oftentimes overlooked or eaten on the fly? It's one of the most delicious meals.
I always eat breakfast. That is a guarantee. A bowl of Oatmeal is my breakfast of choice.


Here are my 3 go to AM meal choices:


1. Steel cut or rolled oats oatmeal (made on the stovetop or in the microwave depending on how late I am running), with ½ cup fresh blueberries, and 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds and if I am feeling fancy,  a splash of unsweetened almond milk. PERFECTION! I love waking up to this!


2. Another Breakfast option in my rotation is a shake!  Make a chocolate shake with bananas, frozen berries, cocoa powder and honey. Mix all in a single serve blender and drink!


3. I have this option sometimes not only for Breakfast but I eat it as a mid day snack too. I just love this! 1 slice of whole wheat or sprouted grain bread with 1 Tbsp almond or sunflower butter + ½ sliced banana and 1 Tbsp honey drizzled on top

So it turns out that your mother was right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

What To Do In The Gym.





What do I do in the gym if I can't take a group fitness class? If you need people telling you what to do or you are lost this post is for you. Here is what you need to do.
BEFORE
  • When was the last time you lifted weights? If it was just the previous day, then maybe you are due for a HIIT cardio session with some stretching instead of weightlifting.
  • Have you been doing a lot of hard workouts lately? If so, then maybe you should do some gentle stretching. Give your body and break and it will return the favor by being more awesome for you.
  • Just took a rest day? You are feeling good so maybe today is a good day to do a full-body resistance session.
  • After many years as a fitness professional,  I am well aware that having a plan is a necessity.

WARM-UP.

  • Foam rolling for a 5-10 minutes. Get the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes and upper back with some rolling along the muscle to get it ready.
  • Dynamic movement for a few minutes. Do some walking knee hugs, hamstring kicks, arm circles, grab a circle band and put it above your ankles and do 10x squat walks one way and 10x the other way, get on the floor for some cat cow.

THE WORK.

  • Full-body work is the way to go to burn big calories. While doing split days and isolating your muscle groups is excellent for building physique, it’s really only a good option for those who plan to lift weights each day. If you’ve only got a few days a week to do resistance, then go with full body.
  • My workouts almost always includes some form of squats, deadlifts, chest presses, rows and core work. I always take time to use dumbbells and a bench, and sometimes utilize the pulling machines, Roman chair or back extension contraption.
  • Count your reps. Aim for three sets of 10,12 or 15 reps, depending on the weight. The heavier the weight, the less reps, of course. It’s great to vary this as well throughout the week.
  • I also love to mix up my workouts each day. Weight training, cardio, pilates, barre. Each day I do something different to "shock" my body.

THE STRETCH.

  • I finish every workout with about 10 to 15 minutes of stretching and foam rolling again. I don't EVER "forget" the most important part. I like to show my body gratitude for what it just did for me. I know not everyone can do or wants to do what I just did. I'm grateful!

HYDRATE AND RECOVER.

  • After the workout, it’s so important to refuel within 30 minutes of finishing and always a lot of water. I suggest having Cottage cheese and fruits.

The thing you should take away from this post is to have a plan when you hit the gym, so you don’t waste any time. When in doubt — Warm up. Work. Cool down. Use the foam roller and drink plenty of water.
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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Barre Tips



My love of barre isn’t a secret. My life revolves around fitness. I just love barre. I can’t help it.
I have noticed that students (I am a student too. I always take classes) always need tips from a teacher’s perspective, so I’m taking this time to do just that.
These tips are assuming you’ve been doing barre for a while and know the basics. Wear crops or leggings instead of shorts, make sure to bring grippy socks, and pick a spot where you can easily see your teacher.

The tinier the movement, the better.

So many methods of exercise incorporate large ranges of motion. The workout is designed to be teeny, tiny muscle movements. Remember, an inch is the size of a paper clip. Try to keep your movements incredibly small. If you take class with any instructors from the studio, watch them. Think of each movement as a tight squeeze and quick release rather than a flex and relax of the muscle you’re working.

Willpower is everything.

In class, it’s completely normal to “shake.” Actually it’s a wonderful thing! Shaking muscles are changing muscles, and you’re working each muscle to fatigue before immediately stretching it out to create a long, lean look. I know from experience how sore you may be upon arrival to class from other exercises. Keep in mind, it makes a huge difference if you really zero in and give it your all to not come out of any position. You’ll surprise yourself that you can hold a long plank, and you can get through an entire thigh section without relaxing. And if you’re not shaking, sink down lower into position. Your muscles should be completely fatigued after class.
 Stick to one barre class per day.
I personally recommend varying your exercise routine and always taking at least one rest day per week. Your muscles need a day to recoup!
Stick to coming to the barre just once a day, and get the absolute most out of that one class you’re present for. There’s no way you can give it your 100% best if you take more than one class in a day!
 Learning technique is a process
Remember, no one is ever a barre technique professional right out of the gate. Form is meant to be improved upon over time, and learning the technique is a true process. You’ll notice a huge difference in your form over time as things start to click and you get more and more comfortable with the flow of class and the way you’re working your body.

If there’s anything I missed, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. If you want to practice you can watch my full length barre video
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

My fitness story

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I was never overweight. I never had a "come to Jesus" moment about not fitting into normal sizes that spurred me to workout and eat healthy. Sure, I've had my struggles with weight and body image issues. When I was 20 I was in a group acting class and the teacher told me, in front of everyone, that I wouldn't get a job with a weight as "high" as mine and that my legs were too big to get work. I've had my share of anxiety about fitting into skinny jeans but most of it is silly vanity and not life threatening. I've always been able to participate in sports and activities and shop in the Junior section. You may be thinking, how then can I be motivational at all? What could I possibly have to say? But let me tell you this – fitness and exercise saved me anyway. Perhaps you can relate?
There are so many things in life that are out of our control, it's scary really. My problems often stem from a feeling of helplessness. I can't always control other people. One day it hit me as I was trying to find the motivation to work out that working out is in my control. I can work out. I can push myself to workout more or less. I can control whether I have a consistent training practice or whether I don't. When I feel something needs to change - I'm tight or I feel over taxed - I can choose to do yoga instead of weights. If I feel weak I can choose to do strength training.
Fitness, working out, training - has given me control, has shown me that I'm in the driver’s seat and the decisions I make, they have results!
Working out consistently is the backbone of my strength as a woman. I make time to train, no matter what it's for, because it's important to me and it's just for me and my well-being. And I've found it has a trickle effect. When I am assertive, when I prove to myself that I am capable in my fitness (and in my nutrition), I am then assertive and capable and proactive in my professional life as well as in my personal life. It became a way to test my character and then to build my character and my internal strength. Because I make the time to train, I have gained respect, learned discipline, and have regard for myself. People usually treat you as you treat yourself. In making time to exercise, I show people that I am valuable, that I'm strong and capable. That value I have found in myself trumps a fear of being "fat" or "ugly." I cherish that capability more then I ever cherished the control I felt from starving myself.
The journey of fitness, the ups and downs, builds my fortitude, patience, and self-acceptance. And because of that I'm committed to it, for the rest of my life, through all of its incarnations.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Juice Cleanse?


Be honest now, do you know what a toxin is?  The word toxin is thrown around so much that a lot of people think that having a juice-only diet will flush bad things from your body.  You can’t remove “bad stuff” from your body with green juice.  Toxins, are, by definition, poisons made biologically. Drinking only juice isn’t going to clean your digestive tract either.  Have you ever looked up the possible side effects from a “juice cleanse?” It’s not pretty. Here are some: feeling lightheaded, your skin aging more quickly, or “losing your spark.”
So really the next time you hear about amazing results from a juice cleanse in X number of days (the smaller the number, the more skeptical you should be) don’t believe it. If someone is going to promise you you'll lose two dress sizes in a week they might as well say something equally as unrealistic like ‘all my friends are mermaids and I travel by hoping on the back of my dog.’
Yes, you can loose a few dress sizes in a week. But it isn’t healthy and the weight loss WILL NOT LAST! Doing such an extreme thing is a simple fix that will give you complications later in life. Real results will only happen once someone changes their habits.

If you want to feel great and boost your immune system just keep it simple,  you should eat healthy, sleep well and maintain a reduced stress level. And if you want to avoid infection, wash your hands.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Work hard to get a fab body



Who doesn’t like to show off their best body. It’s funny because most people yearn for having their hard work at the gym acknowledged and make everyone else jealous. Male or female, it doesn’t matter.
Everyone is a beginner. I thought I would break some things down and help you figure out what you’re supposed to be paying attention to and what you’re supposed to ignore.

1. Diet is key!

If eating clean and working out didn’t go hand in hand more people would be in amazing shape. One of the biggest myths is that diet really doesn’t play a role into creating the physique that you want.
Guess what? Candy, soda, chips, etc are not good for you. But you know that already. If you really want toned abs give that stuff up….for good! The days of refined carbohydrates like cakes, cookies, pies, donuts and the like are behind you. Focus on tracking your food intake to make sure you are getting GOOD carbs.
Here is a list  30 HEALTHY carbs
  1. Oatmeal (old fashioned or Steel Cut)
  2. Yams (almost same as sweet potatoes)
  3. Brown rice (love basmati, a long grain rice)
  4. Sweet potatoes
  5. Multi grain hot cereal (mix or barley, oats, rye, triticale, and a few others)
  6. White potatoes with skin (glycemic index be damned!)
  7. 100% whole wheat bread
  8. 100% whole wheat pasta
  9. Beans and lentils (great for healthy chili recipes)
  10. Cream of rice hot cereal
  11. Quinoa
  12. Couscous
  13. Pumpkin
  14. Butternut squash
  15. Fresh beets
  16. Broccoli
  17. Kale
  18. Asparagus
  19. Spinach
  20. Salad greens
  21. Tomatoes
  22. Peppers (green and red)
  23. Onions
  24. Mushrooms
  25. Cucumbers
  26. Zucchini
  27. Carrots
  28. Green beans
  29. Peas
  30. Cauliflower

2. Workout Smart!

Spot training doesn’t work, I repeat “spot training doesn’t work.” There’s just no such thing. You need to train the ENTIRE body to get to your desirable body shape.  Your body moves together as a system. You need to ensure that the system in question moves in a certain way.
It’s going to take time and making sure you mix up your workout program. Strength training should be high on your list of “must do’s.” Make sure to add in dead lifts, cleans, snatch lifts, squats (with weight) and plenty of curls and flies.

3. Get some sleep!

It’s super important to get the right amount of rest. We’re talking about the basics: 8-10 good hours of sleep in a very dark room along with lots of down time. Stress ruins your progress, just like poor eating does.
Just follow these basic steps and you are on the road to finally getting the body you’ve always wanted!

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Staying Sassy Between Meals


Who doesn't love a snack! Me? I love popcorn! Snacking is something that sabotages many people’s healthy eating efforts. They eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner but they forget to prepare healthy snacks. When hunger strikes the unhealthy food at the vending machine calls! As you can guess, a lot of these foods are super high in calories. It's easy to watch your calories and unnatural ingredients. Pack your snacks or a least plan out snacks. There are lots of options when it comes to healthy snacking. Here are some options: Greek yogurt, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These are all packed with health boosting nutrients and require 0 preparation.

So don't forget to meal prep your snacks for the days ahead to keep your food intake in check!
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Friday, June 2, 2017

Is cardio the answer to weight loss?



Most people exercise to lose weight. You see people spending hours on the cardio machines hoping to shed a few lbs. Sadly, doing hours of only cardio isn't the answer to weight loss. So what exactly is the best exercise for fat loss? Wouldn't one answer be amazing? Just one single exercise, a holy grail of weight loss. We can all dream, right? Truth be told, there is no single best exercise for burning body fat. Instead the intensity and the consistency of your chosen exercise is what matters most. Like I've said for years on this blog, "consistency is key!" With that being said, let’s take a look at how and what kind of cardio and how much you really need to succeed.
Yes, cardio should be a staple in your fitness routine. Regular cardio exercise is important but it isn't the magic formula. It really doesn’t matter whether you choose running, cycling, cross-training or anything else. They will all burn body fat just as effectively. What really matters is the intensity that you perform the exercises.
For many years every cardio-machine in gyms had a option to 'fat burn.' It was assumed that working at a lower intensity for a sustained duration would be the best way to burn body fat. Truthfully, High Intensity Interval Training (short burts of all out cardio followed by a short rest) not only burn fat during the workout but seriously increase your body’s post-exercise response to "fight the fat." To be simple about it, your body continues to burn fat at a much higher rate even once you have finished your workout. Score!

So next time you’re in the gym, try not to stress about getting on the "perfect" machine. Use the rowing, cycling or running equipment or simply choose the exercise that you enjoy the most and try adding some high intensity interval training to really improve your body’s fat burning capabilities.
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Memorial Day Workout!



My Memorial Day workout this year will be done outside to celebrate the sun and warm weather. This routine is done using just your body weight. You need enough open space so you can jump, squat and lie down without hitting into anything.
Start with exercise 1 for 1 rep, then do exercise 2 for 2 reps and go back to exercise 1 for 1 rep, then exercise 3 for 3 reps, then 3 for 3, 2 for 2, 1 for 1 and so on! These are the exercises I chose:


  1. Squat
An oldie but goodie. I’ve talked about this one quite a bit. Just remember that The knee should always follow the toe. Have your toes slightly pointed out in order to track the knee properly.


2. Pistols aka one legged squat
Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body and raise your right leg off the floor. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position. Stand near a chair just in case you loose your balance.


3. Triceps press up
Start with legs extended, toes on the floor or on your knees, hands on the floor with arms extended underneath shoulders. Place your hands together with your index fingers touching and your thumbs touching.
Slowly bend elbows and lower body to floor with the chest almost touching the hands. Remain in proper alignment with abdominals held in tight. Exhale on exertion. Repeat for 8 times. Progress to 3 sets of 8 times.


4. Jumping lunges
Center your right foot, with your knee aligned over your toes. Bend slightly forward with your back straight and your bottom sticking out a little. Take a breath, push against the floor and jump up and switch legs, landing with your left foot centered and your right foot in the behind the left. Rest for a beat and then jump again and switch legs.


5. V-sit ups
Sit with your feet lifted off the floor, knees bent into your chest, hands clasped behind your head. Lean back and extend both legs straight out, touching your back to the floor but keeping your head and shoulders off the ground. Sit back up and return to your start position. That's one rep. Repeat as many times as you can in a row for one minute.
Be sure to brace your abs during this entire move and try not to use momentum to come up and down. If it’s too tough to do with the legs extended, keep your knees bent as you lower and sit up.


6. Push ups
Push Ups are effective. You are lifting and lowering your body weight and by using proper form—stomach pulled in toward your back, hands in line with your shoulders—this move becomes a full body exercise that goes beyond your chest to work your abs, shoulders, and upper back.


7. Jumping squats
Stand with your feet slightly apart with your knees aligned over your toes. Bend from the hips to lower your rear until you are in a full squat, keeping your back straight. Keep your knees aligned; don't let them fall open. Push down with your heels and explode up into the air. Don't let your knees hyper extend; keep them slightly bent. Go right back into a full squat when you land and repeat. Do no more than one set of five repetitions because you do not want to work to fatigue with this exercise.


8. Supermans
If you want a flat, sexy stomach, shift your focus away from your core every once in a while and train your lower back. Lay flat on your stomach with your arms extended in front of you in the shape of the letter X. Lift both your arms and legs at the same time, as if you were flying, and contract the lower back. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how "super" you're feeling


9. Burpee
By combining squat thrusts with a return to standing in between each rep, the burpee is the ultimate full-body exercise. Just one seemingly simple movement challenges the muscles in your chest, arms, thighs, hamstrings, and abs. And because you're using your full body when doing burpees, it's one of the best exercises to burn fat.
Make your burpees more challenging by adding in a push up before the squat thrust and/or a tuck jump when you come back up to your feet.


10. Mountain climbers
Not sure why this one is called a Mountain Climber. No one climbs a mountain in this position. It’s more like a sprinter getting ready to take off from her block. Still, there's no denying the power of this exercise that challenges your shoulders and quads and elevates your heart rate. Assume the sprinter starting position—hands on the ground, rear up in the air and one leg bent toward your chest. Alternate which leg is forward, only touching your front toe to the ground before quickly switching sides.
Tip: Put your timer/watch on the ground between your hands, because you won't be able to look at your wrist or up at a clock without breaking your rhythm.

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