Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Your Autumn Outdoor Workout!

As temperatures drop and fall is settling in, my workouts change just like my wardrobe. Fall is without a doubt my most favorite season. I love the crisp air, the smell of the leaves as they drop from the trees, and when it comes to my exercise routine, I feel like a superstar when I don't have to contend with the heat and humidity the summer brings. Besides the standby outdoor workouts--walking, running, biking--there's a lot you can do to spice up your routine and enjoy the Autumn colors and crisp air, i.e. the following workout I've created just for you!

Here are 4 exercises you can do in a park, in your back yard, or on a jogging trail. It will take you about 30 minutes to complete, and with this high intensity training, that’s all you need to get results! You’ll perform these exercises using the ladder technique. That is, you’ll start with high reps and slowly work your way down to lower reps. In this particular workout, you’ll perform each exercise in a circuit (do each exercise one after the other without rest), starting with 16 reps, and then going down the “ladder” to 14 reps, 12 reps, 10 reps, 8 reps, and ending with 6 reps. Between each circuit, take a 60 second rest to jog in place or march in place. And since you'll be outside, you can take those 60 seconds to run or speed walk to another spot in the park or down the running trail. Switch up your scenery!

1)   Squat-thrusts: Start standing with your arms over-head; then put your hands down on the ground to kick your feet back into a push-up position; perform one push-up; jump your feet back into your hands; stand up; repeat.
2)   Walking Lunges: Sink your weight centrally and make sure that both knees are bent at 90 degrees while walking forward. Watch that your knees don't jut forward in front of your toes.

3)   Mountain Climbers: While in a push-up position, bring one knee into your chest at a time and alternate legs. This is a fast action exercise so try to keep up the pace! Time yourself in seconds for this one. Start with 30 seconds, and move down the ladder to 25, 20, 15, 10 and then again for another 10 seconds.
4)   Walking squats: Just like the lunges but in a squat. You’ll step one foot out to the side in a squat and then bring the feet together. Stay down in the squat the whole time, and make sure that you’re weight is pushing into your heels, not your toes.
You can also move this workout into your apartment/house if you come across a rainy day or just want to stick indoors. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment! Enjoy this high intensity workout and BE WELL!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dvd-It on Vacation

Can you picture doing your workout in a hut?
This summer, you might be headed on some vacations with family or friends, and you don't have a lot of time to fit a workout in, or have access to a gym to facilitate said workout. A great option to keep up with your fitness goals is to take advantage of the fitness dvd. The dvd provides a wide array of options for workouts that you can do with simple access to a dvd player or your laptop. If you do bring your laptop with you on your trip, you can download a slew of workouts to itunes as well, which cuts down on the space that the dvd takes up in your carry-on.

When choosing your fitness dvd there are some guidelines you should stick to, to make the dvd workable for your vacation.

1) You must make sure that little or no equipment is necessary to perform the workout. If there are a lot of free-weights, pull-up bars, stability balls, etc. required to perform the workout, you won't get anything done in the confines of your hotel room. If you can throw some exercise tubing in your bag or you don't mind 3 lb weights in your suitcase, that's an option, otherwise, this needs to be body weight friendly.

2) Time is of the essence. When you're on vacation, you're probably not going to have the time nor the desire to do a long workout. You want a workout that will be quick, intense, and effective. Nowadays, a lot of workouts are tailored towards this kind of time effective training, so you can decide to do a portion of the workout in as little as 20 minutes, or complete the whole thing in an hour. Vacations can be few and far between, so you don't want your workout to feel like it's cutting into precious holiday time.

3) Make sure you can perform the workout in a small space. Most fitness dvd's are created so you can perform the workout in your living room, but you still need to make sure that you aren't going to have to cover distance to perform the exercises provided. We're talking small hotel room. It needs to be travel friendly.

Here are my top 3 recommendations for fitness dvd's that cover all of the criteria listed above:

  • Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism-- This workout covers all three of the guidelines for a perfect fitness dvd. There is absolutely no equipment required, you can choose to do the full 45 minute workout, or break it up into time sensitive circuits, and you don't need a ton of space to do this workout. Done! Get it at
  • Billy Blanks: Tae Bo--If you know me, you know I love Billy Blanks and I love Tae Bo. Billy has been kickin' it for 35+ years with this workout, and he's still cranking out new dvd's. You can actually find some of his videos on youtube, but be a sport and support by purchasing from his website. Most of his dvd's do not require any equipment, but some have been known to use "Billy Bands" so double check before purchasing. Even if the exercises do require bands, they can easily be packed in a suitcase, but a workout without equipment is preferable. Billy also offers short 30 minute workouts and in some of his newer workouts, you can break them down so they can be shorter or longer, depending on your time constraints.
  • Jillian Michaels: Kickbox Fastfix--(yes, another Jillian gem) I recently blogged about this dvd and I'm pretty crazy about it. I used it a couple times as my workout of choice on a trip home to Chicago last week, and I was sweating my butt off in my hotel room.  Since I downloaded it on itunes and I had my laptop with me, it was a piece of cake to get my workout in. Jillian breaks this 60 minute workout into three 20 minute workouts that are intense enough to be the one and only workout you need for the day. The only downside is the small amount of equipment that you need for the first workout that focuses on arms, but really, only a few exercises require hand weights, and you can fudge it without them. Or you can do what I did and focus on the last two workouts of the series where no equipment is required at all. It was still 40 minutes of high intensity fun, and I was wiped by the end of it.
Don't let your fitness goals get blindsided by your vacation or use your holiday away as an excuse to fall off the wagon. It's easy to get your workouts in where ever you go, even in the hut pictured above. I promise that you'll feel great physically and mentally when you're done. Get on it and Be Well!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Weight Loss Tips

In my last blog post I shared with you the tools and calculations you need to properly lose weight for summer (if that's your goal right now). Here are 4 more tips to help you with your weight loss and hopefully, get you feeling better baring skin in no time!

  • Always eat breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day! It breaks the fast that you've experienced while sleeping, and kick starts your metabolism. You'll consume less calories throughout the day and get your body going. Some great options for breakfast: Old fashioned oats mixed with fruit or a tablespoon of natural peanut butter; egg whites mixed with veggies, paired with fruit and/or greek yogurt; a smoothie made with frozen berries, half a banana, a scoop of whey protein, and half cup of skim milk; Ezekiel toast topped with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and half a banana.

  •  Watch your alcohol consumption. It's easy to forget how much you're drinking when you're having fun, out and about at summer parties or on vacation. Consider having a glass of water or seltzer between each drink. It will slow you down and hydrate you too. 

  • Be active! Summer is the perfect time to amp up your fitness routine because your options expand immensely. Examples of some outdoor summer activities: Go on a hike. Go for a morning walk. Go for a bike ride--If you don't own a bike rent one and explore your city while cycling (a New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Washington D.C. resource: Go for a jog. Play frisbee with buddies. Swim at the beach or pool. Check out outdoor classes or bootcamps in your city. Whatever it is, do something you find fun to get your body moving and it won't feel like a workout. 

  • Watch your portions. Summer is a time of year when parties are a plenty and party snacks are even more plentiful. It's easy to loose sight of how much you're munching on when you're having a good time with friends and family. Just be cognizant and don't go overboard. Eating veggies and fruit instead of chips or cookies can be good options when you're trying to watch your calories. Also, make sure to have a real meal before a party so that you aren't as hungry going into it. You'll be less likely to munch on junk if you have a full belly.
Be Well!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer Skin

Doesn't it, though?
With summer fast approaching and swimsuits on the brain, a lot of my clients are changing their fitness goals from maintenance to weight loss. The first step I tell them to take is to make sure they are keeping track of their calorie intake. Working out plays a huge part in losing weight, but often times, it's not your workouts that are holding you back from shedding pounds, it's how much you're eating.

I'm a pretty active person. On a daily basis, I run around the city from client to client, I workout with some of my clients, and I usually try to squeeze a workout in on my own; but even though I'm doing that much work, once I let watching calorie my intake slide, I start to see the pounds on the scale go up. So, what I do and what I tell my clients to do, is keep a food journal. I keep track of my calories with myfitnesspal. It's free, easy and you can access it through an app on your android or iphone. That way, you know you have you have no reason not to keep track, because let's be honest, these days our phones are like additional appendages--that thing is always with you. With the app at your fingertips, you can ensure you're keeping accountable. Also, myfitnesspal has almost every food known to man in it's searchable database. Had a samosa at your favorite Indian restaurant with dinner? That samosa's calorie count and nutritional information are in the database. Even if you're eating out, you won't skip a beat.

How many calories should you eat to lose weight? Losing weight is a simple math equation-calories in vs calories out. If you eat more calories than you burn, you'll gain weight, if you eat less calories than you burn, you'll lose weight. It's that easy.*

This is how to find out how many calories you should be eating a day to lose weight (1-2 lbs per week--a healthy amount of weight to lose that you will have an easier time keeping off rather than quick fix/fad diets that will have you shed a lot of pounds quickly, but that you will instantly gain back once you start eating normally again).

1) Go to this link to find out your BMR (basal metabolic rate):

2) Then multiply that number by: 1.1 if you're super sedentary during the day (i.e you sit at a desk all day and you drive to and from work); 1.2 if you move around a little bit during the day (i.e. you're doing more than sitting at your desk all day or you walk to and from work); 1.3 if you move around a moderate amount (i.e. you're like me--you're a fitness trainer and you're standing a lot of the day); and 1.4 if all you do for your job is move (you're a construction worker).

3) Then subtract that total by 500. Cutting 500 calories per day will help you lose 1-2 pounds per week.

4)  If you are exercising on certain days, add the number of calories you burned from your workout to the final total so that you aren't under eating. Under eating will stall your metabolism and will cause you to hang on to fat.

5) Cut out processed foods. Eating natural foods like fruits, veggies, organic meats, nuts, and dairy is a great way to aid in your weight loss. You can eat more of these nutritionally dense foods for less calories, too. Who doesn't like to eat more for less?

Those are the basics to get you started. Stay tuned for some additional summer weight loss tips in my blogs to follow.

Be Well!

*Be sure to see your physician before starting any weight loss or exercise program.