Feeling overwhelmed? Make it simple

February is National Heart Month and 2014 marks it’s 50th anniversary. We wear red to display our support to help improve the strength and focus of improving our heart health. But these concepts shouldn’t be limited to one month a year, right?! Every day of every month should have us engaged in the importance of heart health.
Whether you’re a “health nut” or a “health what?!” there is always room to learn and do more. What amazes me the most about teaching others about health and fitness is how much misinformation or conflicting information is floating around:

Should I eat gluten?
Give up sugar?
Are carbs the enemy?
Is dairy bad for me?

As a subscriber to a number of emails from a variety of sources – popular magazines, trusted news sources as well as research organizations; on any given day I will receive almost half a dozen emails that leave me in a whirlwind of facts, most of which oppose the other. If these so-called “authorities” or disseminators of their words can’t make up their minds, what is the public supposed to do?!

Well, I have a solution! Get a pen and paper & prepare to have your mind blown…

1. Write the date on the top of the paper.
2. Make columns.
3. Now list at the top of those columns life categories – work, housework, kids, workouts, food & any other individual responsibilities.
4. Now the fun part – first, list the areas you feel are your biggest strengths in each of those categories (for example: work – flexible hours. Kids – good napper or in school part of the day. Food – like vegetables.)
5. And now it’s time to list the areas where improvement is needed in all those categories (workouts – few, none, inconsistent. Housework – time consuming. Food – don’t eat enough vegetables).
6. Now congratulate yourself on all your strengths!
7. From the category where you need to improve – Pick 1, just 1, of those behaviors to revamp.
8. Now get another piece of paper and write down that one behavior on top and the date.
9. What are you going to do to make it stronger?! Make it small and easily achievable. (For example: if you don’t eat enough vegetables, decide to eat 1 more serving of vegetables every day. Just 1. And when you go to the store to buy food, buy enough for the week. Or when you order lunch, include a side of vegetables.)
10. Commit to that 1 behavior for a month and if you see improvement, choose another behavior to improve the next month. And if not, examine the reasons why it didn’t work and try again.

Ok, so maybe this didn’t “blow your mind” in that I’ve shared something new and exciting, but when has anyone, in any diet or workout plan said, “just do 1 thing.” It’s all about making a plan and sticking to it. Think about all your friends and family who have been successful In making lifestyle changes… Whether you or I agree with the method, just recognize that it worked because they created a plan and stuck to it. And if they failed it was probably because they stopped following the plan.

Remember moms: you are a role model for everything. These kids watch everything we do and if they see us continuously trying to improve ourselves in a positive way, just think what that can do for their characters.

1 change. 1 month. You can do it.


10 year anniversary!

Last week I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of being a certified personal trainer!!

What an awesome journey it has been! Starting off in an L.A. Fitness, I had no idea where my career would take me… I am so thankful for all the wonderful client I have, who make this not only the best job in the world, but also inspire me to continue to improve my skills to provide them with best workouts!

Since I was 12 years old I’ve had some sort of weight goal, whether it was weight loss or maintenance, I was focused on my food intake and workout schedule because I always felt as though if I didn’t stay focused all the weight would come back.
10 years ago I said I had 2 major goals:
1. To perform 1 full pull up, unassisted.
2. Not to have my upper thighs touch.

So, I got #1 down and I can actually do about 10 pull ups unassisted, so yay!  As for the thighs, well, they have certainly slimmed down considerably in the last 10 years, but I accepted my body many years ago the way that it is… and I have thighs that may always touch no matter what.  But they are strong thighs that have now run hundreds of mile, performed thousands of squats, and walked up countless stairs.  I have a body built for weight lifting and sprinting and I’m good at those activities and I like them, so let’s go thighs (and I guess the rest of my body can come as well 🙂 and we will move on to our next goals!

In the fall of 2012 I realized that I no longer had to work so hard at maintaining my weight and fitness goals.  I had my eating and working out routine and was able to maintain without thinking about it.  Of course, not too long after I had made this realization, I got bored.  I needed a new challenge!

A few months prior my husband got into cycling and very quickly delved right into the racing circuit.  Racing was something I had wanted to do for years, but it always seemed out of my league and too complicated.  But, as silly as this may sound, all you have to do is sign up and you’re done!  Just pick a race, pay, and that’s it you’re doing it.  So, what race to do… I wasn’t a runner back in the fall of 2012, but I had always wanted to do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  That race  is only in June so I started researching mud runs and came across the Spartan Mud Run series.  A 5K course with about 20 obstacles testing strength and endurance sounded great to me.  I recruited a couple friends and we were off.  I didn’t think anything of preparing for the race as I felt my workouts would suffice.  However, a friend who had completed  the run recommended commencing hill running as that would be a significant portion of the race.  Um, running?  For more than a minute without stopping?  Fine, I had committed to the race, I would commit to the training.  And off I went…  running outside, which was also a new experience for me.  I was used to controlled treadmill running for short amounts of time.  But to the streets I went and on the first run I went for 20 minutes.  I was just shocked I lasted that long.  I had the attention span of a goldfish when it came to running.  I kept waiting for that “runner’s high” or that existential drift runner ‘s always talk about.  That didn’t come, but I continued with my hilly runs for the next 2 months, running slightly longer on each outing.

About 2 weeks before the mud run, I started getting worried that I was being over confident and that this would be more challenging than I anticipated.  I had never done any sort of race and here I was starting with an obstacle course?!  Based on my running times I realized it would take me about 30 minutes to run a 3 mile course, which was very comforting and inspiriting all at the same time.  If I could run 3 miles in 30 minutes, why not just run a 5K…??  So, I did the mud run in December of 2012 and then ran my first 5k in February 2013, but not alone 🙂  As my personal goals changed, so did my personal training.  I now had multiple clients who were running and who had either run marathons or were interested in heading in that direction and thus I started recruiting my training buddies from my clientele.  I and 2 clients ran our first 5k in February and one has ran another 3 5k’s, increasing her time on each race.  The other runner has completed 3 10k’s and is now training for his first half marathon in the fall.  I have since completed a 10k and the Camp Pendleton Mud Run and am looking forward to my next race, the Foam Fest, in just a few weeks, with my 5K running buddy.

Continuously striving to improve my personal fitness goals has made me a better trainer/coach.  I challenge my clients to work harder to reach goals they didn’t think were possible, whether it’s weight loss, running for 10 uninterrupted minutes, or doing a pull up.  I am only here today because 18 years ago I made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and change my eating and fitness habits and having the ability to share the joy I gain from this lifestyle is what makes this anniversary so exciting.  Thank you to all my clients, past and present, who have made me better, who have challenged me to work harder and be smarter.  This job is only awesome  because I have the world’s greatest clients who show up to each workout and bring 110% every time, laughing all the way through!

Here is to another amazing 10 years!  I can’t wait to see what will come!


Mommy camp

Fun Summer Activities for “Mommy Camp”

In my past motherly life, I was a stay at home mom. One of my favorite memories was enjoying an entire summer with my then 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son in the exciting world of “mommy camp.”

With an average of 10 weeks off from school, summer is also a great opportunity to teach kids healthy habits. Here are some ideas for you and your kids to have a fun, active, and healthy summer

• Schedule a regular time throughout the week for physical activity.
o Take turns selecting an activity for the family to do as a group each week.
• Adapt all activities to suit kids of different ages and abilities.
o Help everyone to find something active that makes him or her feel successful.
• Create outdoor play areas where rolling, climbing, jumping, and tumbling are safe.
• Organize and obstacle course with hopping, skipping, and crawling.
o Use spots or paper plates, cones or tie the tops of 3 paper towel rolls together and paint fun colors, tunnels or tie old sheets to trees
o Use chalk to draw circles, hopscotch, and lines for kids to follow along.
• Traditional Kids Games –Ring Around the Rosie, Duck Duck Goose, and the Hokey Pokey
• Water fun
o Go swimming!
o Play sports in the pool, get a basketball hoop or volleyball net
o Run through sprinklers
o Fill water balloons and toss without popping
o Get 2 buckets, 1 filled with water and a big sponge or colander. Kids have to transfer water to the 2nd bucket across the lawn, holding the sponge/colander over their head.
• Traditional Kids board games – Twister, charades, or outburst
• Balloon Decathlon – There’s nothing like a lot of colorful balloons to entertain kids. Fill up a room with an assortment of balloons, and then stage a balloon decathlon. Try these “events” for starters:
o Keep as many balloons in the air as possible by batting or blowing at them.
o “Throw” balloons for distance.
o Have a “slow-motion” basket-shooting competition (a shopping bag can be the “hoop”).
o A “javelin-throwing contest” with long balloons.
o Have the athletes lie down and try to keep the balloons in the air with their feet.
o Use a wooden spoon or paper towel tube to keep the balloons in the air.
o Have the kids walk across the room while balancing balloons on their heads or hands.
• Buy toys or equipment that promote physical activity, such as different shaped balls, hula-hoops, and jump ropes.
• Chase bubbles
• Use physical activity rather than food as a reward (e.g. family goes skating, bike riding or on a hike).
• Include grandparents, other relatives, and friends whenever possible.
• Dance! It’s a great way to teach kids about different types of music too.
o Watch and imitate dance videos
o Play freeze dance
o Have a dance contest
o Share dances from each generation in your family.
o Throw an ethnic/multi-cultural dance party.
• Most importantly… Have fun!! Being physically active helps us find more creative ways to be a happy and healthy family.

Quick fitness

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports month.

We all have our personal challenges and the best we can do is to wake up every morning and make the most of every day.

This month is designated to raise awareness about the important role physical activity plays in maintaining health. Honestly folks, who doesn’t know why it’s important to be active? Beyond the aesthetics of weight loss and muscle growth, physical activity is necessary for heart and mental health as well as a plethora of other benefits.

Plain and simple you should be getting atleast 150 minutes of activity a week. Here are some tips to overcome some of your obstacles:

“Staying Fit on a Tight Budget and Schedule”

• Make a schedule
o Eating schedule – plan for the week. Where are you going to be throughout the week, will you have time to eat at home or do you need to take food with you? Will you have time to make dinner every night or do you need to cook on Sunday or make a large meal on Monday so there are leftovers or do you need a meal you can make in 20 minutes or less?
o Fitness schedule – plan for the week. Where are you going to be throughout the week, will you have time to go for a 30 minute walk or do you need a 10 minute workout you can do in morning before the kids wake up? Will you have any time for a dedicated workout or will you have to build it into your day by walking to an errand or taking the stairs to an appointment.
• Life happens – learn how to roll with the changes in your day and have backup plans in place.
o If you don’t know if you will have time to come home for lunch, pack some food and hope for the best, but atleast you aren’t left digging for snacks in your diaper bag.
o If a sick kid home from school throws a wrench in attending your daily class, have a workout you can do in your house or if it’s a little one, pop them in the stroller and head out for a jog/walk.
• There is no “good time” – don’t wait for Monday or after a holiday. Today is the day to make a change and right now is the best time to do so!
• Stop making excuses! Find solutions.
• Make time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it!
• Include your kids – it’s great for kids to participate in your healthy lifestyle so they learn its importance and natural inclusion into daily life.
• Use it to add quality time with your spouse – take a walk after dinner, join a tennis team, perform partner exercises, or take a new class together (dancing, yoga, boxing).
• Bodyweight, bodyweight, bodyweight – remember all you need is your own body to increase cardiovascular (heart health) and muscular strength. And don’t forget to stretch!
• Inexpensive exercise equipment
o Use the environment you have around you:
• At the park – steps, benches, hills, trees
• In your home – steps, railings, tiled floors, couches/chairs
• At work – stairs, long hallways, surrounding neighborhood environment, parking distance
o Jump rope
o Resistance tubing
o Dumbbells/small weighted balls
o Physioball (birthing ball)

How to perform a push up

Want to add push ups to your training routine? Make sure you are doing them correctly so you get a great workout!
Join me today at My Fit Foods in West Hollywood for a push up clinic at 12:30 and again tonight at 7p for a push up contest! Enjoy 15% off all day! See you there!

Hotel Transylvania Live

As much as I love being active, I also love watching TV and movies. I like to escape reality and enjoy another world, a different time and place. And I’m pretty sure I have passed this love onto my kids as well.
But, my kids don’t just sit and watch to be entertained, they are in search of new ways to play and new characters to portray.
I took my son and nephew (little background here – I took two 4 year old boys to the movies… Sounds like an awesome idea, right??) well, it could have gone either way as any mom of a 4 year old knows… But on this day, at this movie, it went way better than expected!
With the opportunity to see Hotel Transylvania once again, I took the boys for their fourth viewing. They intently watched the creatures move across the screen, memorizing their actions and mastering their voices so they could go home and become Dracula, Frankenstein, zombies, the werewolf, and the “human monster” (as the boys so named him). After enjoying the screen version we were privy to the live action play.

The boys (excuse me, Monsters) flew, stomped, moaned and crawled around the house in their reenactment. And, in true form, my son the music lover insisted we play the soundtrack so we could all enjoy the party scene in our living room. Literally hours of sweaty entertainment!

Not bad for a Sunday afternoon. Next week is Super Bowl though, I may have to pad the walls?!

My afternoon workout

After picking up my 3 year old son at camp we headed to the park… He asked to play tennis so we grabbed his little racket and 1 tennis ball to hit against the wall… Little did I know this would turn into a sprint fest!

Standing about 2 feet from the wall, he would hit the ball and then it would roll… But he didn’t chase it! Apparently, I was the designated ball girl and after each contact sprinted to catch the quickly rolling yellow sphere. Lasted about 10/15 minutes, love when I get in unintended workouts!

And the fun wasn’t over…

We headed to the playground where I ran across play structures, climbed across monkey bars, helped him climb across monkey bars, ran across the playground, climbed rope walls, ran through sand, and lastly played a pirate frog… Another 20/30 minutes of play time. Now he’s sleeping so I guess I did a good job running him around 🙂

What was your workout today?

It’s just about moving – get up and have fun!

40 physically active things to do with you kids

I can’t believe it’s already August! Have you run out of ideas of what to do with your toddler? Or in that difficult time between camp ending and school beginning? Your solution is here! Using little to no equipment, try one of these 40 activities to do with your kids. If you have a favorite or come up with your own, please share!


Explore macaroni kid too, they cover activities for the family all over L.A.

Video chat personal training from clients perspective

A few weeks ago I wrote about the benefits of Skype or video chat personal training from my perspective… But what about the person on the other end of the call, the client… Did they feel as though they got the personal attention and workout they would get if the trainer was physically in the room with them?

Here is the client’s perspective from this same session.

I’m so glad she enjoyed the session and felt as though she got the benefits of a trainer that was in the same room, but am so saddened at the fact that she, like many others are burdened with the financial aspect that having a personal trainer carries. I believe in “fitness for all” and try to create opportunities where those in all different financial arenas can receive the help they need to reach their health, fitness and nutrition goals. Whether its a personally designed program, group classes, shorter sessions, or something in between everyone should have the benefits of personalized attention to improve their quality of life. So the question I always ask: what do you need and how can we get it for you?

Interval training is amazing!

Interval Training Burns More Fat, Increases Fitness, Study finds

“It did not matter how fit the subjects were before. After interval training, they experienced not only an increase in fat used and in aerobic capacity, but also an increase of enzyme activity in the muscle.”

Burn more fat, increase fitness, and improve muscle strength – This is why I love interval training! Don’t get scared and think the worst, you create intervals at your own level. It can be as simple as walking a lot faster than usual mixed in with walking at normal pace and building up strength and endurance to slowly increase your faster walking pace.
Interval training is also great for those of us who have little attention when it comes to exercise. (see how I wrote “us,” I too have a short attention span when it comes to physical activity – you will rarely see me say I ran for 30 minutes, boring!)

Try out this sample interval run/jog/walk workout and let me know how it goes 🙂

Think of your level of difficulty on a scale of 1-10, 1 being super easy stroll to 10 being an all out hard as you can sprint.

Warm up 3-5 minutes (3-4, easy walk)
1 minute – 5-6 fast walk/easy jog
1 minute – 6-7
1 minute – 5-6
1 minute – 6-7
1 minute – 5-6
1 minute – 7-8
1 minute – 5-6
1 minute – 7-8
1 minute – 5-6
1 minute – 8-9 (if you can, otherwise 7-8)
(want a longer or more challenging workout? Repeat the section of intervals)
1 minute – 5-6
Cool down 3-5 minutes- 4, down to 1

Happy intervals!

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