I get really disappointed when I see personal training clients struggle. There are so many positives to be gained from exercise, even if your results don’t make you feel like snapping selfies in your bikini left and right. (Many of those who do are feeling proud for fitting into a mold – a toned physique, chiseled abs, plump booty, etc.) In my opinion, exercise isn’t supposed to make us all look alike. It’s about helping us live our individual, unique lives to the fullest. The definition of authenticity is “made to be or look like an original.”
No one’s perfect and health professionals are no different – I’m certainly not perfect! Far from it. But through the years I’ve awakened to my bad health habits and have refined them through trial and error. In the spirit of keeping things real, here are the habits I’ve had to shake. Maybe they’ll make you feel less guilty for having a few of your own.
As a culture, we fall into a pattern of focusing on the dangers of being overweight. Supplement companies and exercise brands play on heartstrings as they dangle images of lean, fit individuals in trendy fitness apparel racing down the street or pleasantly sipping a shake. Many people (women AND men) quest after that “fit” look and think the skinnier, the better. But this is a delusion. There are some major pitfalls of being really skinny, both for people who have achieved this through diet and exercise and for people who are naturally slender.
It’s a very simple scene. Me: Shopping for some curtain rods in Bed, Bath and Beyond over the weekend. Two Women: One pushing a shopping cart alongside the other talking and then laughing about the word namaste. Here’s why this scene knotted my insides. And here’s what namaste means and why it’s not really a laughing matter…
I considered titling this post “What Everyone Who Wants to Lose Weight Needs to Hear” but that sounded harsh. And the point of this article isn’t to lecture, it’s to reassure. Consider it my love letter. The words from my heart for all those who’ve been disappointed by the fitness industry or guilt-tripped into buying a diet plan or product. I know you’re frustrated. I know you’re self-conscious at times (especially in the gym, if you ever set foot in that awful place, right?). But here are all the ways you can rise above the bull**** and take ownership of your health once and for all. The best part? Not a single claim about “the right” kind of exercise or eating program.
Perhaps it’s TMI…but this past summer after weaning my son, my hormones went bonkers. Not just for a month or two. For a while. And it drove me INSANE. Upon opening up about my own experiences, I discovered a trove of women dealing with equally pesky ups and downs with female hormones. And not all of them were moms who had recently stopped breastfeeding. Some of these women were trying to conceive and others were simply adjusting to new norms as they inched closer to 40 or 50 years old. Still others were feeling the uncomfortable symptoms of severe menstrual cramps, bloating and acne every month, or extremely long and heavy menstrual cycles. All of these women, in different walks of life, made me realize that very few of us actually know how to help our bodies find hormonal balance and wellness. While it’s true that we can’t control every aspect of our hormones, there’s still a lot we can do to take over the reigns.
I opened my email inbox the other month and had a newsletter from a health professional in my network. I clicked through to read what she had to say about the germ-infused winter season and immediately felt my insides prickle. She said that we need to start pointing the finger of blame back at ourselves when we’re sick, citing that our immune systems aren’t doing their jobs because of physical and mental stresses that we aren’t keeping in check. I like this health professional and trust her a lot. I get her point. But I can’t agree with her.
Just to be clear, I’m not a raving fan of eating at fast-food establishments on a regular basis, buuuutttttt I’ve found that I have more lately. Why? I moved to a new area that has fewer grab-and-go, order-at-the-register, local eats and a whole lot more chain restaurants. Sweet Green, where art thou?!? I was pretty bitter at first, feeling like I only had two options: 1) eat at home or 2) go to a sit-down restaurant. But then I opened my mind a little, looked at the menus of restaurants I used to curse under my breath, and discovered a few really awesome, quick options for meals on-the-go or when I just can’t bring myself to cook salmon, broccoli and quinoa again. So, here’s the roundup of fast-foody chains: Starbuck’s, Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie and…drum roll, please…McDonald’s.
This week I was honored to be one of several featured trainers on Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal blog! This is basically a life dream, so I can’t help but gush a little. The article, “The Best Way to Spend 30 Minutes in the Gym,” reviews what each of us trainers prefers to do for exercise when we only have 30 minutes to work out. My last shout out is for an article written by the incredible, bold and fearless Sandra LaMorgese on Arianna Huffington’s health and wellness platform, Thrive Global. The article: “How Social Media Complicates the Positive Body Image Revolution” includes my personal reflections.
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Nicole Dell’Aquila. Nicole has been a Registered Dietitian for 14 years and is here today to share her insights and resources on intermittent fasting (IF). Intermittent fasting has become a hot topic in the health and wellness space recently, but it’s surprising how few people know what’s really involved with it (including yours truly).
HIIT workouts produce excellent results because they target lots of muscles and burn calories both during and after the actual exercise bout. Not too shabby, I must say. While HIIT workouts seem like a sure-fire answer for quick weight loss and time efficiency, they’re not for everyone. Let’s review who should do HIIT workouts and who should approach them with caution (or avoid them entirely).
We’re going to break down five of the latest buzzwords in health today; Femtech, Microbiome, Mitochondria, Pretox and Recomposition, and we’re going to cover practical, non-intimidating ways they can fit into your lifestyle. Begone stress in 2018! Begone!
I’m excited to announce that after a six-month hiatus following my family’s move from Washington, DC to Richmond, VA that I’m back at it. Training, that is. Yup. I’m officially taking both old and new clients for virtual and in-person training services. So, if you’re in the central Virginia region and want to work with me in person, let’s do it! If you’re ANYWHERE ELSE, be that Los Angeles, New York, England, China or Mars, you can still connect with me via virtual training. I promise, it’s quite effective. You won’t regret it. I’m currently offering four types of training (all are offered both virtually and in person, whichever works best for you!).
Common Questions: Is strength or cardio training better? Where should I spend my time and energy for optimal health results? The Answer: Both are important. But for different reasons. And now we finally know which types of diseases and mortality are reduced by strength vs. cardio training. Now, the research and findings…
Whether you love ’em or love to hate ’em, there’s little doubt that a big splash has been made in the blogosphere and on social media by self-professed “fit moms.” The cliche image of a fit mom is that of a woman stripped down to her sports bra, wearing tight-fitting spandex, working out while her little ones run around her, sit on top of her, and tag-along as she does her errands and chores. Why the fuss over these healthy mamas? What is it about them that’s so alluring, intimidating and inspiring all at once?
A lot of people who come to me for personal training frequently fall into discouraging self-talk. At first, they don’t admit it. But as our relationship and trust grow, they share their insecurities and reveal the ways they get trapped in their minds while pursuing things like exercise and professional goals. The fact that these people are accomplished CEOs, lawyers, celebrities and government officials shows me that this propensity to feel insecure is a common human experience. But just because something is common doesn’t mean it should be normal. I like to think that we DESERVE to feel empowered to overcome obstacles and negative thinking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 20% of adults report that they experience some degree of neck pain. Many of us will encounter at least one bout of neck stiffness or discomfort in our lifetime, whether from a bad night of sleep or poor posture from computer work. Let’s try to change that, shall we? Here’s my experience with neck pain and why I empathize, followed by at-home remedies and an upper cervical chiropractor’s expert advice.
Let’s dive into an awkward subject, shall we? In fitness, we’re accustomed to discussing our hamstrings, glutes, biceps, the like. We explore the ins and outs of the large muscles in our body because they’re familiar and frankly, easy to feel (and sometimes see) during exercises. We’re less apt to talk about the small muscles deep in the pelvis because it typically involves discussing the big “V-word”…that’s right, VAGINA. I said it. Now let’s embrace the elephant in the room.
Over the last few months, my life has been a whirlwind; one weekend-long hospital stay for my toddler while he was *conveniently* getting all his molars in (blessed that he is OKAY!), closing on the sale of a town home, closing on the purchase of a single-family home, several weeks of packing and moving, one month of contractors doing work in the new place, adjusting to relocating in a brand new city (grocery shopping at new stores is crazy overwhelming with a toddler in tow…just saying), lots of baked goods hitting my front door as housewarming gestures, and a child who decided to hit the “terrible twos” at 18-months old. Who has time to work out in the midst of all this beautiful chaos?
I’ve completed three marathons and the third was the hardest, not easiest. The first was the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. I was an idiot and ran it when I was completely under the weather, just because I was [am] stubborn and don’t like to give up on my goals, even when it’s wise to. The second was the Walt Disney World Marathon. That was a fun one. Lots of high fives with costumed Disney characters and pauses in front of iconic Disney backdrops (think Magic Castle) for mid-race photos. The third marathon…the hardest marathon…was not your typical road race.
The more my spirit suffers, the more my physical and emotional health precipitously decline. The inner parts of me [and you] are interconnected. That said, the best part of discovering my weaknesses is that I’ve witnessed an eternal strength of God, who serves as my backbone during the movement of life, even as I am spinning in its tornado. These are just a few examples to ponder, when my body and mind were swept away by the hurried pace of life, but my spirit was called back to place of staying grounded.
There are plenty of fitness folks, pros and enthusiasts alike, who will disagree with this statement because it completely counters their marketing efforts and maybe even their lifestyles. But I’m doing it anyway because…well…I suppose because I’m finally sick of the phony, inflated, trying-to-get-your-money and, most importantly, FALSE claims out there. In my professional opinion, what is the biggest, fattest lie being passed around in the fitness industry?
Belly fat is both bad and good (yes, good!). Hoarding fat around the stomach is nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the human race during times of stress and unpredictable food intake. Why is the stomach the place it’s stored? Here comes the “good” part… Because fat in the abdomen is the most metabolically active fat. This means that just as easily as a little extra pudge can accumulate, it can be rapidly recruited for energy and burned off. But belly fat accumulation isn’t just about what we eat and how active we are. Let’s take a look at some of the ways it gets put on our waistlines…
Many of us have heard mention of the “five biggest stressors” in life, to include: Death of a loved one, Divorce, Serious illness/injury, Moving and Job loss. Lots of people live out the truth that these experiences and even happy life events can bring unusual amounts of stress and uneasiness. Brides balk in the face of too many wedding-planning details and recently-promoted employees experience a sense of urgency and unrest as they work to prove themselves in their new role. Personally, in the face of major stressors – both the bad and good – I tend to self-sabotage. It’s something I’ve done for a long time and I don’t think I’m alone in doing this. But, as the years have passed, I’ve learned not to.
What does the lead Pastor of one of Washington DC’s largest churches have in common with one of the richest men in the world? They both recently left their jobs…for several quite unexpected reasons that leave us with this reality: These two people aren’t all that different from us.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people get stuck in a rut at the end of a season. The exciting anticipation of the holidays and snowflakes dwindles. The refreshing warmth of the summer becomes overbearing. The enthusiasm for a workout program fades. It can be hard to refocus or start fresh with goals and plans. So, how do you get out a rut? Here are just a few simple ways you can get back on your feet.
When it comes to exercise, I’m wary of using overarching phrases like “the best” and “the ideal solution” because each person’s body has its own unique demands and needs. Forgive me for making an exception to my rule. Today, I’m going to tell you that I think this specific exercise can be enjoyed by the vast majority of people and can offer a plethora of benefits, especially during the more sedentary winter months. It’s quite simple to learn and has a variety of ways it can be done to offer you whatever you need in the way of stretching, toning and/or cardio. Bonus: No equipment needed!
I can’t believe that my perspective on obesity in America has shifted so dramatically in the last six or so months. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over a decade and have taken countless courses on metabolic diseases, health and wellness. I thought I knew most of what I needed to know…until I realized that I didn’t. One lesser-known fact that I recently learned has changed everything for me. I couldn’t believe it when I found out. It made my jaw hit the ground and simultaneously made me want to cry. This one simple statistic changes the ballgame for all of us. Big time.
If you’ve ever been on Pinterest then you know that it’s pretty much impossible not to have stumbled across people’s personal pins displaying a dozen or so lovely, similar meals packed away into individual Tupperware containers for the week. If you’re not into social media, then maybe you’ve heard of someone who does this; cooks all their week’s meals on Sunday afternoon or evening so they don’t have to worry about what to eat during the work week. Sounds ideal, easy and cost-effective – and it is! But there are some things to consider about planning your meals for the week, whether you’re portioning them out into grab-and-go containers or not.
2016. Oh man. What a whirlwind. The world is still feeling a little dizzy from a heated American presidency race, a slew of terrorist attacks, Brexit, ZIKA and chasing after Pokemon. Who wouldn’t be? But, 2016 had its highlights too. If nothing else, we can always learn from the ups and downs alike. Here is what I learned in my year, for better or worse.
I know how miserable back pain can be. But, I also know from years of personal experience managing injury, inflammation, misalignment and aching for myself and others that spinal health is largely about the little things that add up. Simple exercises, ways we approach our day, and healthy habits can make a big difference. Whether you have back issues on a regular basis or just some discomfort during less active winter months full of movie watching and holiday travels, these quick fixes for pain can work for you!
it’s important to remember that a lot of our health and immune function lies in the gut. When we mess with our gut health, we impact our hormones, immune system, nervous system and mood. Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
I get this question a lot: “What do you think about CrossFit?” Here’s the thing…I could give you my opinions but they are just that; opinions. The real, objective truth about this controversial fitness company can be summarized when you understand the one thing that most people don’t realize about CrossFit and which applies to all of its locations. So, here it is…the truth about CrossFit.
When you have endless tasks and days, it can be hard to find time to focus on your health and fitness. It needs to be a priority for everyone, but finding the time to go to the gym or make healthy meals can be difficult with thin margins. Sacrificing time with our family isn’t the right choice every day. Staying up late to exercise isn’t a good idea either; sleep is crucial for fitness. So, how can ladies stay fit when we are so busy?
If you can change your grocery store routine for the better, you can change your life. I’m totally serious. What we eat impacts our energy, body shape, body image, confidence and overall vitality. The best place to start healthy eating habits is your grocery store routine. From the moment you arrive to when you leave, there are simple strategies you can use to make the experience healthier. Here are 5 easy ones to try.
In today’s world where everything is a swipe, tap or click away, it can be excruciatingly difficult when results are slow to come. I’m not just talking about fitness results either. Delays and setbacks in successful romance, job promotions, having children, saving for retirement, and many other areas of our lives challenge us to the core. The waiting game is not easy. But, I’ve noticed through my time as fitness professional that there is much to gain from slow results. In fact, you should delight in the delay! Let’s talk about what you gain through overdue gratification and feeling like you’re in a place far from your goals.
Every season an assortment of new fitness studios seems to appear on the market. There are popular new trends like intergalactic spinning (an immersive experience with CGI graphics) and pound (literally pounding to the beat of a drum while doing a mix of yoga and Pilates exercises), and old trends like aerial silk and mini trampoline workouts. These kinds of hip workout environments can cost $12-$35 per class. Are they really worth it?
Our bodies respond to various types of stress in the same way. Relationship tension, work overload, physical injury and illness, spiritual disillusion, chemical exposure, improper nutrition, and more, all take a toll and deplete our hormones. Chronic stress can result in adrenal fatigue, a place no one wants to be and where being tired is the status quo. It’s not surprising that millions of people suffer from this every year, to include exercise professionals like me seven years ago. Here’s what you need to know to help yourself get unstuck from the spiral of exhaustion and how to get back on track with your wellness.
People are often concerned that they will get “bulky” when starting a workout program. I hear something like this a lot: “I want to get lean and toned, not big and bulky.” Packing on bulky muscle isn’t likely something you have to worry about though. Here’s why you don’t have to stress about bulking (unless you want to!) and how you can adjust your workouts to feel “long and lean.”
Our bodies are no longer viewed as stagnant and incapable of change. A branch of science called epigenetics studies how we can effectively alter our DNA. Instead of being a victim to our genes, we can actually manipulate them. According to epigenetics, you don’t have to accept the spare tire around your middle (“that my momma gave me”) and you don’t have to resign yourself to a slow metabolism because of age. You have the power to alter the course of your entire life. To change your destiny, if you will.
My home for over eight years, Washington, DC, does more than a few things right in the fitness department. DC was ranked “America’s Fittest City” in 2016 for good reason. The city spends $287 per resident on its public parks! No matter where you are in the nation’s capital, you are within 2 miles of a public park where you can work out. There are also a plethora of hip (albeit pricey) fitness classes to attend at studios like Soul Cycle, PureBarre and SolidCore. But, what’s the city’s best kept secret?
Even as a personal trainer I spent my early career hesitant to approach the topic of supplementation. I was confused about some of the existing information out there and wasn’t sure about my stance on it. Today, I believe supplementation is a personal choice and one I encourage each person to consider and weigh for themselves. This infographic, so kindly provided just for us by Supplement Mart, makes all the confusing terminology easy to understand so you can make the decisions best for you and your body! Now raise a protein drink and cheers!!! *Infographic included in post.*
Stacy S. Kim, PhD and author of The Lighthouse Method, helps people navigate what she calls “life junctions” or times in your life when you feel stuck, frustrated and unfulfilled. While her book and speaking engagements usually revolve around helping women revamp or launch their careers, her coaching and suggestions are excellent and can be easily applied to the fitness and wellness space. So, what is this methodology? How do you apply it in your own life to get out of a rut? How do you use it to enjoy your body and health? Let’s explore together…
This infographic from My Fitness Boutique shows that pregnant women can still obtain regular exercise without doing any harm. In fact, it is rather important for pregnant women to try and get at least 30 minutes exercise a day for a minimum of five days a week. Exercises such as Pilates, squats, wall push-ups, cycling and lunges all serve to improve the stamina of women during pregnancy, making pains less difficult to bear. It also helps pregnant women to sleep better at night and provides a boost to their self-esteem. *Infographic included in post.*
It might surprise you that what we consume is just as important as the products we use when it comes to keeping our skin healthy. It’s important to get the nutrients we need to keep our skin looking great. *Infographic included in post.*
I’m bold enough (or crazy enough) to compare my experiences as a new mom to the personal training experience. It turns out that my little one can be just as tough and demanding as a boot camp sergeant! He is my new little boss man and he kicks my butt. I’m like “No more! Have mercy, pleeeaaasseee!!” and he’s all “You WILL NOT rest until you climb the stairs 50 more times to check on me, change 20 more diapers, and feel like your back is going to break from rocking me!”
I wrote this post the morning of the day I went into labor with my first child. The article explains how I managed to exercise throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy. The main reason I kept active has nothing to do with pregnancy alone. It’s a lesson we can all learn from.
Fitness trends are always fun to talk about…like is the bosu ball dead and is HIIT still hot? But, these are easy, high-level topics to explore. Today, I’d like to take you deeper. I’m using my inside knowledge of the industry to explain how the overall landscape impacts you, the fitness enthusiast. These are not trends, they are industry truths, and they have stronger implications for your health and body than the latest craze or funky piece of exercise equipment.
Juice cleanses, exercise programs and new fitness trackers are all hot topics after the holidays. Fast results are tempting and can influence us to heavily invest in the latest solution for weight loss success. Juice cleanses seem like a great option since they don’t require much effort (unlike exercising to lose weight), but with prices ranging from $75-300 for a package of juices, it’s worth pausing to ask, “Are juice cleanses worth it?”
Time and time again, we see that “getting fit” or “losing weight” makes it to the top of New Year’s resolution lists. Sure, getting out of debt, spending more time with family and staying more organized also make the list, but exercise seems to appear and reappear as a resolution. This redundant theme suggests that we’re not on the mark. We’re not successfully integrating exercise into our lives. Why?
What’s the best thing about holiday gatherings? The food. What’s the worst thing about holiday gatherings? The food. It can certainly put a huge smile on our faces to see festive tables adorned with some of our favorite holiday meals, decadent homemade desserts, and pretty much every high fat snack imaginable. However, the reality is that this same vision also scares a lot of us. This is especially true if you’re prone to holiday binges.
A good book can make things a whole lot cozier while you’re relaxing by the fire with a warm cup of cocoa. Enjoyable reading can also help pass the time as you travel back and forth between family and friends over the holidays. The 12 books on this list cover a range of health and wellness topics (Healing, Lifestyle Choices, Spiritual Reflection, Relationships, Attitude, and Workplace Satisfaction), and they have all been vetted by yours truly. I believe that whichever one speaks to you is worth investing a little time in.
It’s the holiday season and sharing is caring, right? Today, I’m hosting three awesome trainers on WellnessWinz. They are doing us the courtesy of sharing their go-to tips for the season (which we all know can be a challenge to juggle…both in terms of shopping and decorating agendas and figuring out how to approach the holiday buffet spread). Enjoy these three pros; they’re keepers.
This past year has been a crazy, exciting whirlwind for yours truly. Between completing my Master’s degree and being pregnant with my first little one, my plate has been full. I know there are questions looming and people who want more detailed advice, so please consider my offer (below) to help out! I have given preferred rates for these consultations due to the holiday season and my timeline; any and all purchases must be redeemed by January 31, 2015.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m asking readers to reflect on the following two questions: “What is your favorite part of your body?” and “What is your least favorite part of your body?” Now, let’s assess our answers and what they mean to us, starting with a little bit of my personal story. Today, I will share what has been my greatest insecurity through the years…
You think it’s peculiar, right? A fitness professional with a phobia of saying the word “fat.” I seem to have put it in the same off-limits vocabulary pool as using the word “retarded” for mockery and taking the Lord’s name in vain. Somehow, the meanness of the word fat in our society has never escaped me. But, here’s the thing…fat is not an ugly or inappropriate word at all. It’s a scientific one. Let’s look at “fat” as a noun instead of an adjective…
Also, for your reading pleasure: Elements of this post were featured in the Washington Examiner’s article: Fitness guru: Eat fat, it’s good for you and key to healthiness.
Exercise variety can maximize your health returns and reduce your risk of injury. On the flip side, focusing on one modality at a time can enhance your sport or exercise-specific performance. So, the decision is yours. Without further ado, let’s look at the pros and cons of focusing your physical efforts on endurance training, high-intensity interval training, Pilates, yoga, light weightlifting, and heavy strength training.
It warms my heart to say that WellnessWinz is officially one year old! Thanks to your support and continued readership, WellnessWinz has successfully published over 60 articles that…get this…have reached women in 112 countries to date!!!!!!!!! (Sorry, that deserved a lot of exclamation points.) Reaching this milestone has caused me to take pause and evaluate whether or not we, as women, are any further than we were a year ago. Are we? It’s an individual answer and one that I encourage you to explore for yourself. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the heart of a woman. What does she need most? What motivates her? What holds her back?
In the spirit of nurturing our emotional wellness, today’s post is a list of 10 easy, affordable and creative ways to cheer yourself up. Let’s be honest, sometimes the one thing that doesn’t make our to do lists is giving ourselves the TLC we want and need. Pick one that sounds appealing to you and get ready to feel some warm fuzzies! You deserve to care for yourself, in whatever form works best.
Precision Nutrition is a coaching, mentoring and support system that trains individuals to become Certified Nutritionists. To date, the Precision Nutrition coaches have helped 35,000 individuals lose over 450,000 lbs.! Precision Nutrition has advised companies like Nike, Equinox and Life Time Fitness, and has done consulting for sports organizations like the Seattle Seahawks and the USA Olympics. They have found excellent success in helping people achieve better health…and, yet, they don’t believe that food is fuel…hm…how can this be?
If you think I’m pulling your leg, you’re mistaken. The evidence has stacked up over the past five years and I’m officially pulling it all together for readers so that they can see, very clearly, how exercise impacts earnings. So go on, read some, sweat some, make more money…
WellnessWinz is thrilled to introduce you to Lucy Taylor! Lucy is one of our readers who is a devoted wife and mother of two rambunctious little girls (oh yea – and with another bun in the oven!). I encourage you to read on and learn about how Lucy has managed her journey through challenges with weight loss, body image, depression and eating. Insights galore!
Something is in the water! As I’ve attempted to embrace my first pregnancy, with a balance of privacy and sharing my experiences with other women, pregnant ladies have come out of the woodworks – and they’re all curious about how they should exercise during pregnancy. Whether you’re currently pregnant, planning to be pregnant one day, or have a relative going through this season of her life, I encourage you to read and share! *Insert my favorite corny hashtag: #knowledgeispower.*
These exercises are some tried and true winners! Only five exercises and you can get a full-body, time-efficient workout. It’s not like these exercises are the only ones you should know for the rest of your life, but they’re a pretty darn good start.
There are many days when we women run on an empty tank, rushing around to take care of errands, a family, work, meals, and, on seldom occasion, a pedicure! If we’re lucky. No “Manual on Life” told us to keep the pressure on 24/7; it just kind of happened one day. It became the norm out of nowhere.
These three topics and corresponding industry article summaries have been the highlights of my health-and-fitness oriented reading this summer. They touch on hot topics that women care a lot about. I hope you enjoy the highlights that I’ve included in this post.
Designing a fun and challenging workout doesn’t have to be complicated. You can pack power into your workout by playing around with three simple variables; reps, weight and time. To shake things up and to challenge your body, try an “exercise pyramid;” increasing or decreasing one of these variables throughout the workout. It may sound confusing at first, but I’ve designed four easy-to-scan infographics for today’s post to show you just how simple it is.
This is not a post to tell you how many sets and reps is ideal for you. In fact, I’m not even going to mention the amount of weight you should attempt to lift. This article is centered on the stuff you probably don’t know about upper body lifting and how to achieve optimal tone. Your triceps can thank me later…wink wink.
When I studied yoga in India just over seven years ago, I learned yoga poses, breathing techniques, meditations, mantras, yoga nidra, sanskrit and much more. While these various aspects of yoga can definitely bring us closer to ourselves and to the divine, the life lessons that I learned while in the ashram far exceeded the sun salutations and omkar chants. In fact, one lesson in particular has resonated with me ever since then. I’d like to share this simple wisdom with you today because I believe it has the power to transform how we conduct our lives, and ultimately, how we find satisfaction [and wellness].
The fitness industry often campaigns ads that meet “fitspo” criteria. Although there are many studies which suggest that women feel deflated by images like these, they must manage to entice them, right? Otherwise, companies wouldn’t be using sexy advertising images to their advantage. To test this assumption firsthand, I conducted a “social experiment” in digital advertising by placing one empowering image and one sexy image on a popular women’s fitness site. I couldn’t believe the shocking results!
It always depresses me when someone has a bad experience with a personal trainer and it intimidates them from branching out and getting help from a better professional. I get it though, not everyone is going to mesh in the trainer-client relationship, and that’s okay! People have different needs when it comes to coaching styles, scheduling and expertise. But, across the board, there are a few behaviors to look out for when assessing whether a trainer is a top-notch professional…or isn’t…
There is no single “perfect” core exercise that trumps all the rest. For example, one person may perform a core routine with minimal effort or poor form, reaping fewer results from it compared to a hard-working friend who knows how to properly engage her muscles with each rep. So, instead of giving you a list of the “Top 5 Best Core Exercises,” I’m giving you a list of ways you can ramp up any of your favorite core routines for optimal tone.
I will be the first to admit that I don’t approve of quick fixes for fitness and diet. They never work. So, you can imagine my skepticism when I was introduced to the Founder of KeepMeTight, Shameeka Hunt. But, after getting to know Shameeka, I see that there are scenarios under which giving people temporary aids for health and fitness may be appropriate. Shameeka’s story and another woman’s story (who lost 70 lbs!) encouraged me to take on a new perspective.
Poolside lounging, long bike rides and sunny picnics are the joys of summer. Unfortunately, spending so many hours outside basking in the summer sun may put an individual at risk for heat exhaustion, a serious condition with short and long-term side effects that no one wants to deal with during sunshine-filled vacation months. It’s easy to be susceptible to it, too. So how do you identify heat exhaustion and stay safe while exercising outdoors (or even when spending extra time by the pool)? Let’s find out…
MasterChef, a reality TV show on Fox, features three famous culinary icons as judges; Gordon Ramsey, Graham Elliot and Christina Tosi. In its latest season, DC area resident, Ailsa von Dobeneck, joined the esteemed group of home cooks, ready to compete before the judges for the title “MasterChef.” This past week, I was honored to join forces with Ailsa to offer a fun and healthy event for women. The workout was sweaty and the food was to die for! Here are some details on how to replicate both.
H.A.L.T. is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These physical and emotional states can leave us feeling very vulnerable. For this reason, H.A.L.T. is often used in recovery groups such as Alcoholic Anonymous and Dual Recovery Anonymous. H.A.L.T. is relevant for all of us though. Women cope with stresses by turning to other forms of addiction: eating, shopping, watching TV, being on the computer, negative dialogues with friends, inappropriate sexual activity or attention-seeking behaviors, and more. Today, in the spirit of wellness and self-awareness, we’re going to take a look at quick lists of healthy activities that will help you.
Melanie Webb, Founder of Sol Fitness Adventures, has had a fascinating career. She has been on Good Morning America, has received numerous industry awards, and formerly trained the Secretary of the Department of Defense. Contrarily, Melanie isn’t about the glitz and the glam. She cares most about getting people reconnected with their bodies through outdoor adventures. I encourage you to read this interview with her and to learn what Melanie’s brushes with death taught her. She will also walk you through the science behind how our bodies are connected to the earth and so much more!
It’s incredible because through pain can come joy. I rediscovered my faith, found love and learned how to heal. I’m sharing the lessons that I learned the hard way because in spite of the challenges, I’m so grateful that this all happened. I hope these insights can help someone else in their healing journey too.
Six years ago, from the day of this article’s publication (05/18/2015), my world literally turned upside down. While riding my bike to work, I was hit by a car at a busy intersection located in the heart of Washington, DC.
Guess what this month is?! National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! (oh yea, and my birthday month, hehe) It’s time to step into the joy of fitness like you’ve never done before! It’s time to drop excuses, enjoy the fresh spring air and get moving! Today, I’m not going to share a long form blog post. I don’t want you to spend your time reading. I want you to spend your time MOVING!!! I hope that these 5 special treats will help you do just that.
This blog post may just be my personal vendetta to correct the many things I’ve seen go wrong at gyms over the years, or it may be an opportunity for you to kindly reference this article to the next person who gets on your last nerve at the gym. Maybe print it out and smack it in the center of their bench press? If nothing else, know that you’re in the right and can chuckle lightly to yourself about those who will soon see the error of their ways. There are some real life anecdotes in here that may make you giggle (or cringe) too…you’re welcome.
So, I have a confession to make. Back in March, I decided to embark on a mission to discover how Victoria’s Secret models feel when they’re in a photo shoot wearing…not much. It started as a little oh-la-la present for my husband, who travels four days out of the week, but it turned into a full-fledged, top-priority operation [on behalf of my readers]. I sought to discover how on earth someone could feel comfortable in little more than a bikini’s worth of material, and learned way more than I bargained for. No, I’m not sharing pictures, those are for my hubby’s eyes only, but I will share the lessons learned along the way, and the ladies I encountered who are changing the world, one bikini-fearing, underwear-shopping-adverse woman at a time…
At some point in life, lots of women experience pain in their stomach, back, hips and/or knees. The sources of these pain points may feel elusive, but in many scenarios, there are two culprits to blame. I’m here today to help you identify whether you, or a woman you care about, has one of these conditions.
Guest Post! Here is what Sarah Pike has to say: “Before you roll your eyes at another “out-there” quack extoling the virtues of meditation, know that I too was once one of those eye-rollers. It’s hard to understand the benefits of something as intangible and difficult to measure as mindfulness. But after hearing Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Arianna Huffington preach about the difference it made in their lives, I started to pay attention…”
How can some girls get away with eating junk while also retaining a slim waistline? I’ve had dozens of women complain to me that their friends can seemingly nosh on cheeseburgers and fries, down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or indulge in the bread basket on girls night out, without putting on a single pound. It’s time to solve the mystery! Here are a few ways that these girls-we-love-to-envy keep their weight in check.
We long for straightforward answers, and so rarely get them. What will my future look like? What job will make me the happiest? What exercise and eating plan will make me feel the healthiest version of myself? So many questions that demand a black and white answer. But, most answers fall into the grey, even the impacts of stress.
Feel free to call it a 30 day workout plan, a 30 day bust it to bikini season, a revamp of your fitness, whatever. Call it what you like! I only ask that you take this 30 day plan, and ANY exercise plan, with a grain of salt. There is no one-size-fits-all routine. But, this particular exercise plan will help satisfy a ton of your body’s needs. It is suitable for beginners and advanced exercisers alike, and can be completed in or out of a gym!
Starting in early 2015, the same week as the Charlie Hebdo shooting, several French citizens working for Air France made it their mission to embark on a two-month long, Sherlock Holmes style investigation to reunite a lost diary and its owner (me). This is the story of how the kindness of these strangers has impacted my life and how the power of positive thinking may have impacted theirs. This is a story about emotional wellness.
Wellness has six dimensions, and although this blog has so far provided more information about the physical dimension, the other five are just as important. Before jumping into what other dimensions make up what I call the “wellness wheel,” it’s important for us to understand how the wheel works…
There are some older fitness and dieting trends that women now understand are baloney. Others that have more recently emerged, however, threaten our health and fitness in new, unanticipated ways that throw us off our game. Today, we will take a magnifying glass to the unfortunate, latest trends in fitness that threaten our efforts to become fit. We will also discuss how to live your own life by rules that work for your body’s personal needs.
We are very lucky to have Ginger Mallory sharing her nutrition expertise with us today! Ginger is the mother of two adorable, tiny twins and is an amazing force for good. She takes a balanced, holistic approach to nutrition and helps people learn to have healthy relationships with food after years of struggle, anxiety and confusion.
If you’ve fallen out of the super-determined-and-hitting-the-gym-hard routine, it’s okay! If you’re feeling lackluster about exercise, I get that too. If you’ve decided to become submissive to the powers of winter and are posting pictures online from last summer’s vacation, well…you’re not alone. High-Intensity Interval Training will boost your energy and allow you to minimize gym time during seasons when you’re just not “feeling it.”
I was sitting down last Friday morning to prepare for Monday’s blog post when a friend asked for some quick, simple steps for kicking a cold she felt coming on. I’ve been handed this question in between more sniffles than I can account for, so it makes sense to defer my original article for later and offer up a few simple suggestions for kicking the one thing that makes the depths of winter worse than they already are: a head cold.
What do I have in common with Oprah? We’re both champions of Laurent Amzallag, DC’s favorite fitness motivator. Oprah chose Laurent as a fitness expert for her “Live Your Best Life” tour. ELLE Magazine, FOX, NBC and CBS have also featured Laurent and his unique, invigorating cardio workout class YaLa, which means “Let’s Go.” Through his leadership and encouragement, many women, including myself, have discovered that they are worthy of feeling sexy.
Pete McCall, Fitness Expert with the American Council on Exercise, explains that “progressing to resistance training before addressing muscular imbalances may actually worsen any existing dysfunctions and could lead to long-term injuries.” Your body craves stability and balance.
Your body moves in three planes of motion. Why should I care? It’s worth knowing and internalizing this simple piece of information because our bodies feel their best when we strengthen, move and stretch in all three planes of motion.
Although a study conducted by John Jakicic encouraged a lot of discussion in 2008 about the exact amount of exercise one needs to maintain weight (150 minutes/week) and lose weight (275 minutes/week), there is much to be said for reaping benefits from less exercise. Shorter, more efficient workouts (i.e., high intensity) are now being acknowledged by many experts as an effective means of weight control when combined with monitoring diet. Exercising for excessive hours may not actually pay off (or be worth it)!
There are countless maneuvers at the gym that I will call “cringe-worthy” because an individual moves through an exercise with terrible form, all for the sake of doing it quickly. Although these individuals think they look pretty sophisticated, they actually appear sloppy and out of control. Sorry to break the bad news. Not to mention, they risk getting hurt.
What lady doesn’t want to hear that her booty is her best asset?! Just imagine…there are cat calls left and right as you sashay throughout your day. Or maybe that’s kind of creepy? Man-oh-man, lady, your derriere is AMAZING! Here’s why…
Today we have a special treat as Kevin Mullins, former contestant and finalist from the Men’s Health reality show “Next Top Trainer,” weighs in on women’s wellness!
I really hope that you enjoy this post’s AMAZING 90 second video that is quickly inspiring women across the globe! I am so glad it was shared with me. The included article highlights some amazing things that women who want to participate in exercise and sports should know. Lastly, you’ll hear how the WellnessWinz community connects with nearly 2 million fit mommies!
There is a vast array of knowledge that fitness and health professionals keep tucked away in their brilliant brains. It’s disappointing that this information is either not shared or is not communicated in easy-to-digest pieces. For this reason, I’ve decided to put together a very small sampling of some of the most important, unexpected things to know about exercise. You will see a dramatic change in your body and confidence if you put these tips to action. Ready? Set? Let’s GO!
I’m honored to announce that Spinning® and Mad Dogg Athletics asked me to do an article for them this month. I hope you are able to put more fitness/wellness tools in your tool belt after reading!
From years of training people in the gym, I’ve found that a woman’s devotion to myths about healthy living often becomes her greatest obstacle. Some women may even cling to exercise myths, fearing to test their falsity. I will call this behavior “cray cray” because in truth, these perceptions behave like frenemies. They appear well-intentioned but in reality, they are bent on deceiving you. I said “cray cray” and frenemies in the same sentence…now you know this will be an “interesting” read, haha. So here it goes…
This year, you won’t be one of those individuals who burns out or who asks for an abrupt time out from exercise come February or March. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie feigning familiarity with mysterious looking exercise equipment or a “seasoned pro” who freely offers fitness tips to friends because this year, you can each establish a successful gym routine. In this article, you will learn a few fundamentals that will help you plan your exercise schedule and see results! Not a bad deal, I must say!
We are on the verge of a new year and there is much to celebrate! Women from 36 countries have read the WellnessWinz blog since its launch just under 3 months ago – that’s incredible. Before the new year begins I want to send a special, brief note from Paris.
The holiday season is full of cheer, gift wrapping, hot cocoa, and a familiar playlist of Christmas carols. One such popular song, “Winter Wonderland,” was written in 1934 and has since been recorded by over 200 artists. The song mostly references winter’s charms like sleigh bells, snowmen, and the thrilling chill in the air. If you listen closely to the words of the holiday tune you will notice that one verse in particular feels a bit out of place. It stands out from the bubbly imagery of winter. It speaks to one of the biggest challenges of the holiday season and life at large…
Many women are aware that exercise and eating well are essential for good health. Many women also know that good work/life balance, as challenging as it is to achieve, can help them feel more satisfied. In spite of all the things we remember to work towards on a daily basis, there is one crucial thing women frequently forget to make time for. It’s often referred to as “the forgotten training variable” and it’s an important component of wellness.
Unselfie?! Does this mean being selfless during the holiday season or are we talking about literally quitting with the mobile driven selfie shots (aka turning your camera view inwards for a self-portrait)? Answer: both. The holiday season is a time to enjoy being present so that others can receive one of the most precious gifts we are capable of giving: undivided attention. Taking a break from being “selfie-centered” is rewarding on many levels and there’s scientific data to back that up…
I’m very pleased to share with you, for the first time, WellnessWinz’s logo! See the wonderful image and read the story behind it.
Whenever a woman asks me this question, I take a deep breath and prepare to answer. I cross my fingers and hope that all the “2 weeks to a tighter core,” “top tricks for toning,” and “5 best exercises for a sexy butt,” etc. articles haven’t completely clouded her judgment and made her think that there is a single magic bullet out there in the mystical beyond of the exercise heavens that will get her the toned body of her dreams. Thank goodness, we don’t have to search the world and 100,000 fitness articles for the holy grail of toning…
WellnessWinz’s “Pass the Gravy” message was featured in Paul Bedard’s Washington Examiner column last week. Over 3 dozen media outlets picked up the excitement and mentioned or reposted the article (including the DrudgeReport, one of the nation’s largest news aggregation websites)! Additionally, this week marks two significant moments for the blog’s community: 1) WellnessWinz will soon announce its logo, and 2) WellnessWinz is launching an exciting new audio series – check it out!
I’m here to tell you the exact opposite of what every other article about healthy eating is now saying. I’m not going to tell you to avoid certain foods, to add low-fat alternatives to your traditional dishes, or even to avoid going back for seconds.
There is a better solution than weighing yourself on the scale! It’s called circumference measurements. I will explain exactly how to use circumference measurements on 7 different places of your body. It’s quick, simple and measures REAL results. The weight on the scale is meaningless!
WellnessWinz is officially one month old! In its first month, the four blog posts received over 1,000 views! This means that women care about their wellness. WellnessWinz welcomes you to enjoy the latest post about controversial crash diets and detox diets. Have you ever tried one?
For this week’s post, I hope that you all enjoy WellnessWinz’s first video! This is an introductory video that is under 40 seconds long and explains what this blog is all about. It was filmed on the beautiful National Mall in Washington, DC!
When it comes to wellness, what do you stand for? What do your food choices, exercise patterns, self-confidence, and health say about you? Are they consistent with the “you” you want to be?
80% of American women, obese and non-obese, are dissatisfied with their bodies. That’s a significant percentage. Do you fall into this category? It’s time to discover the path to wellness.
I surveyed dozens of women for WellnessWinz, inquiring about their top health and fitness needs. In general, the answers that I anticipated would be popular rose to the top (toning, weight loss, yoga, Pilates, endurance) but one answer that I didn’t expect grew legs and raced ahead of the rest: stress reduction.