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2014: Make Your Own Path

photo(40)  Do you want to shape up for the New Year?  Don’t leave it to chance, make a plan to be more physically active and stick with it!  We all know that exercise can help us lose weight, look better, and feel better, but sometimes it is difficult to find your path to fitness.  Here are some tips to helping you make your own path towards fitness in 2014.

Find Motivation and Inspiration.  Seek out others that inspire you towards your own fitness journey.  Following their path can help inspire you to stay committed to your fitness goals.

Do The Job.  There’s a reason the famous Nike phrase “Just Do It” was so effective.  When you have a fitness plan, just go out and do the job.  Over-thinking it too much can lead to procrastination or even skipping a workout.  Schedule it into your day, and just DO THE JOB!

Map out the Month.  Take a look at your calendar and map out your exercise routine.  Which days you are at the gym, which days you are running outside, etc.  If you feel lost, seek out a trainer or coach to help you plan your month of workouts.

Activites that make you THRIVE.  Choose the activities that invigorate you.  Bootcamp classes are a great environment to foster confidence and friendship.  Trail running can help you connect with nature and recharge.  Yoga is perfect for quieting your mind and challenging your body.  Find what works for you!  It may be a combination of several!

Making your own path to fitness will help you reach your goals for the New Year.  Along with a healthy diet, 2014 can be YOUR YEAR!


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Recipe: Black Bean Chili

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is a hearty chili that comes together fast! Perfect for cozy weeknights!

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small eggplant, peeled and diced

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

2 teaspoons of Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (optional)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

3 Scallions, sliced

1 Avocado, peeled and diced

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and eggplant.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, chili powder, chipotle, and cumin.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are crisp tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans, tomatoes, and 1 cup water.  Simmer until slightly thickened and carrots and eggplant are soft, 10 minutes more.  Top with sliced scallions and diced avocado

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5 Reasons to Try High Intensity Interval Training

photo(39)     High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a great way to structure your exercise.  If you want to maximize your time and calorie burning, then you need to be incorporating HIIT training into your fitness routine.  Here are 5 reasons to try High Intensity Interval Training:

1. Efficiency.  HIIT training will burn more calories in less time.  The workouts are fast (30 minutes or less), but you are working at an intense pace.  You will still torch the same calories, or more, as steady state cardio for an hour.

2. Mega Fat Burner.  Aside from the calories burned during the HIIT session, because of the intense muscle repair, your body will burn calories at a higher rate for up to 24 hours.  You will also boost your levels of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which is responsible for your metabolism rate.

3.  Improve Cardio.  Are you a runner who enjoys long distance runs?  HIIT runs will help improve your aerobic function as well.  You may not always have time for a long run, but a short 20-30 minute Interval run will help improve your running.

4.  No Gym Required.  Traveling? Can’t make it to the gym?  HIIT can come in many forms, many you do not need a gym for.  Try a circuit of squats, push-ups, lunges, dips, and sit ups.  Or take it outdoors and perform and interval run (one will be described below).

5.  Rewarding.  HIIT training is very challenging in a very short period of time.  But it also is rewarding to make it through a HIIT session and know you gave it your all!  If you feel you don’t have time to train, sticking to your plan with short HIIT sessions is a great motivator.

You can perform HIIT training as a cardio routine, or even a strength routine, done circuit style.  For a sample cardio HIIT, try an outdoor run:  Warm up for 5 minutes with a walk or easy jog.  Run hard for 3 minutes, then recover for 1 minute with a walk or jog.  Repeat for a total of 5 times, then cool down.  HIIT sessions are a way to keep to your fitness plan despite a busy schedule!


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Sometimes, It Is Good To Get Lost

034     These days, we have a lot of chatter going on in our minds.  We have lots of things to do and not enough time. We have email, cell phones, text messages, and social media, keeping us connected at all times.  This is not always a bad thing, but it is also good to have a mental break from all of the buzz that goes on in our world.  That is why it is sometimes good to get lost.  We can use physical exercise to get lost and also reconnect to ourselves.

When we are really focusing on our bodies completing a physical task, our mind is forced to take a break from the mental chatter.  One of the reasons I love trail running, is it is a great place to “get lost” from our busy lives.   If we are running through the woods on a trail, we are immersed in nature, and our senses get to take in all that is around us.  Instead of worrying about how far the treadmill says we are while TV plays on the monitor in front of us, you are more immersed in noticing the sights and sounds, the terrain, and the path and where it will lead you.  Thirty minutes on the trails is more renewing than thirty minutes on a treadmill.

Aside from trail running, fitness can also be a way to get lost.  Trying something new, something you are afraid of, or conquering something you thought you could not do is a rewarding experience.  If you have never been a swimmer before, learning to swim will turn off your mental chatter, for sure!  I took several parkour classes with my teen boys, and I definitely was not thinking about my cell phone while I was climbing a ten foot wall.

It doesn’t always have to be a “big deal” physical exercise to get yourself lost in.  Maybe it is a group fitness class that is challenging enough that you need to focus on what you are doing instead of the mental chatter in the background.  Or maybe it’s a specific exercise that when you first see it you think: “I can’t do that.”  But instead of giving up, you challenge yourself to try, and get lost in the act of trying.  Even if you fail, your failure means you were trying, and that is rewarding.  And eventually you may conquer it after all.

I encourage you to Get Lost in your fitness.  Find something that engages you, something that you are immersed in completely.  Find a trail, find a challenge, find something that causes you to get lost for even just a little bit.

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Recipe: Pesto Pasta


This is a quick weekday meal, and only takes 3 ingredients!  Serves 3-4

  • 8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 8 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package.  During the last 4 minutes of cooking time, add the green beans.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and beans.  Return them to the pot, and stir in the pesto sauce.  If it is thick, add some of the reserved cooking water to thin the pesto enough to coat the pasta.

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“What’s For Dinner?” : Your New Secret Weapon


We all want to eat healthier and prepare more meals at home.  This is the key to a healthy diet.  But with work, family, and other commitments, food planning can take a back burner.  Coupled with a lack of inspiration and motivation, poor meal planning can  drive you (literally) to the nearest fast food line.  I’m here to share with you my newest secret weapon for meal planning: Pinterest.

I used to think Pinterest was for looking at pretty photos, browsing through fashion I’d never wear, or DIY projects I didn’t have time for.  It can be all of those too (read: entertainment), but lately I have been using it as a powerful tool for my weekly meal planning.  The first step is to create a board on your page.  I have two: Healthy Recipes and Weekday Healthy Meal Planning.  You can name your board whatever you like (Vegetarian Meals, Recipes My Kids Will Eat, Meals Fast Enough for Soccer Practice Nights, etc.).  This is where all your recipes that you want to refer to later will be posted.

The next step is to start your collection.  Think of it as the modern method of clipping recipes out of magazines and saving them in a binder to use later. When you come across a recipe on a website, chances are it has the cute little red “P” button on the post.  Clicking the “P” will open up your Pinterest (you may need to log in), where you can then save that recipe to your chosen board.  Later, when you need to access that recipe again, go directly to your Pinterest board and click on that recipe to open the original link.  No more bookmarking cooking websites! It is so much easier to have all of your recipes in one spot, displayed as a gallery on your Pinterest Board.  It is now your virtual recipe binder.

To take this even further, you can follow other Pinterest boards that you find a lot of great recipes on.  Chances are, you have something in common with the other Pinner, and you may find great recipe links!  These you can Re-Pin directly from Pinterest, and open the link when you want to view it.  (Sometimes I open the link first, to make sure it is active, or a recipe I will actually use).  Here are a few I have found that Pin great healthy recipes: IDEA FIT , TUF Recipes, Clean Eating Recipes, Nat’s Nibbles.

Once you have a nice collection of recipes on your board, you will be able to refer to it whenever you need some dinner inspiration.  Check your board, choose a few that fit your tastes and schedule that week, then hit the grocery store to stock up!  You will be better prepared throughout your week to stick to your healthy eating plan. Let me know what you think!  If you have found a Pinterest Board that has helped you eat better, leave a link in the comments section!

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Fit Gift Ideas for Healthy Holidays!

Find the perfect gift for your friends, family, or maybe even put these on your own wish list!  These 12 fitness products are ones that I personally use and LOVE on a regular basis.  Check them out!  Have any questions about them? Ask me in the comments!

1.  Jawbone UP activity tracker.  I wear my UP band everyday to track how many steps I get in, and how my sleep is!  I can also log in my food intake on the slick APP which runs right on my phone.  Best of all I can track my friends and clients progress as well!

gift up band

2. Nutribullet.  I’ve been making tons of green drinks and smoothies in my nutribullet, and my kids like their smoothies too!  This is a great gift for anyone looking to eat healthier! My basic green drink recipe can be found here.

gift nurtibullet2

3.  Blue Laamb Designs custom jewelry.  Blue Laamb offers custom designed jewelry to express your passions!  They have a whole line dedicated to running, fitness, and yoga!

gift bluelaamb

4.  Resistance Bands.  These are great for anyone who travels and needs to work out on the go!  My online training clients use them to stay in shape when they can’t make it into the gym!

gift bands

5.  Manduka Yoga Mat.  This is the cadillac of yoga mats!  Definitely worth it for the yogi on your list!

gift manduka

6.  Garmin GPS watch.  I have used Garmin Forerunner’s for years and love them!  Keep track of your time, distance, pace, and more!  I am currently using the Forerunner 110 model, there are many to choose from to fit the runner on your list.

gift garmin

7.  Ruffwear Dog Leash.  This hands free dog running leash is the best!  I’ve recently been taking my pup to hit the trails with me, he’s a great motivator! Keep your pet healthy, too!

gift leash

8.  Hammer Nutrition Products.  I love the Hammer bars and the Hammer protein powders.  This is the protein powder I use in my daily smoothies, and also for my kids. They also have endurance fuels that are the absolute best for the endurance athlete on your list.  High quality ingredients.  You can purchase online from Hammer or also purchase through my training facility Flex One Trinity.


9.  Go Pro camera.  So much fun!  Attach it to your bike helmet, wrist, chest, or anywhere!  This little camera just MAKES you want to get outside and have fun!

gift gopro

10.  Ink N Burn Athletic Wear.  This will be the coolest athletic gear under the tree!  They have awesome designs and high quality fabric.  My favorite for running and training!

gift inknburn

11.  Aladdin Tea Infuser Mug.  I love my tea infuser mug,  it is great to relax and unwind with some hot green or herbal tea.

gift tea mug2

12.  Sweaty Bands.  The headband that will not slip!  They come in tons of great colors and patterns and will stay put no matter how active you are!

gift sweaty band