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"Where Have You Been & What Are You Doing Now?"

Hi, friends! Long time no chat.

The last time I wrote I was about a month into my 200 hour yoga teacher training and I had every intention of keeping you updated on that journey, but as I dove deeper into that adventure two things became clear: 1) I was not willing to sacrifice anymore time with my family (and daughter who was too quickly for my liking about to turn one) and 2) it wasn't an experience that could easily be put into words or shared.

Many people say teacher training is life changing, but I would actually say it was life enhancing.  I went to training hoping to be able to teach a different kind of class and came out with so much more, including a better sense of who I am as a trainer and where I want to focus my time.

YTT Grad

Coming into the final stretch of yoga teacher training AND my daughter's first year at the same time made it perfectly clear what my next move would be... prenatal yoga teacher training.  So I signed up for an intensive two and a half week training in NYC where I commuted from NJ into the city.  Monday through Friday.  7am to 7pm.  I said it before and I'll say it again... the right trainings are life changing.  To be surrounded and supported by such strong and wonderful women while LEARNING about how strong and wonderful women are was magical.  Made all the more magical by actually being pregnant during the training.

That's right!  Seven to nine weeks pregnant, height of nausea, exhaustion, and all the other first trimester goodness right in the middle of 12 hour days.  (Shout out to all the working mamas who do that for nine months.  Hats off to you ladies!)

So for the last few months I've been home, working on my site behind the scenes, and getting ready to take on new clients all while growing a tiny human on the side.  (No biggie.)

Big Sister thinks Little Sister is in my belly button.

I'm now 21 weeks pregnant with Baby Girl Number 2 and I'd love to have you follow along on this pregnancy journey (and share your own stories with me as well!) and stay tuned for more healthy tips, tricks, meditations, and maybe even some recipes (though full disclosure the only thing I've wanted to eat for five months now are potatoes).

Go ahead and click around the updated website to see what else is new and consider signing up for the Happy Healthy Holidays challenge!  We started on Sunday, but it's never too late to join!

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"I Love Me" BINGO!

Just because Valentine's Day has come and gone doesn't mean we have to put the lovin' aside... especially the self-love. So what do you think?  Want to play some "I Love Me!" BINGO?

I Love Me BINGO!

Create/Recite an Empowering Mantra Daily “I am capable.” “I know who I am and I am enough.” “I choose to think thoughts that serve me well." “My body is my vehicle in life; I choose to fill it with goodness”

Whatever it is. Find something that fills you with peace, hope, and happiness and repeat it daily. Embrace it whenever it comes to mind or whenever you need it.

Eat Something That Makes You Feel Great. Sure that salad may not taste as good as that decadent chocolate soufflé that gave you a stomach ache for a day, but it will make you feel great from the inside out. Choose something that will fill your body with goodness.

Eat Something That Tastes Amazing. Go eat that amazing chocolate soufflé that gave you a stomach ache just because it tastes amazing. Or better yet… try these vegan dark chocolate truffles! (See! You don’t need anyone to buy you an overpriced box of chocolates shaped like a heart.)

Smile In The Mirror. And mean it.

Write Yourself a Love Letter. You are beautiful, and powerful, and capable, and you do amazing things every day. Don’t forget to tell yourself how great you are.

Do Something New and/or Challenging. If it doesn’t challenge us it doesn’t change us. Step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. A new recipe, a new workout routine, a new class. Because when you do conquer it, you’re going to feel unstoppable.

Do Something that Makes You Feel Invincible. We all have something that we know we’re good at. Go give yourself a little ego boost and rock it out.

Treat Yo’Self. Even if you just treat yourself to a new pair of cute sweatpants or a box of heart shaped chocolates or the newest Saturday night Hallmark channel movie. Give yourself permission to do something a little indulgent.

So let's finish the month of love with worthy love, the kind that builds us and those around us up... and what better place to start than within!

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A More Traditional #TransformationTuesday

December 8 (left) vs. January 26 (right) It's been 7 weeks since I posted Progress Not Perfection (and it still doesn't look like I've cleaned my mirror ?).

That means this is progress even through the holidays. Christmas, New Years, snow days... And other than committing to a non-negotiable daily yoga practice (some days this is just meditation) I have not done a single thing differently than I was 7 weeks ago.  No crazy diets. Hell, no diet at all! No deprivation. No detoxes. (Though to be honest I probably need a sugar detox... Not for my waistline, but for my insides. I'm feeling sluggish the way I do when my sweet tooth needs to take a back seat for a while.)

But this tells me that this lifestyle works for me!

I don't count the days until I'm allowed to eat whatever I want again. Could I "tighten up" my diet to "tighten up" faster? Sure. But it won't work as well in the long run.  Quick fixes usually mean a quick return to whatever weight/shape you were when you go back to "normal."  If you make this your normal you can't lose.  Nothing works as well as consistency.

This IS a lifestyle. THIS is my normal.  And THIS is the result.

P.S.  This is also why I strongly encourage my clients to take pictures!  I wear leggings for a living and my ring is a size 3 3/4 so I don't really notice the change in my clothes or rings very often.  I assumed there wouldn't be any difference in these pictures (I actually thought I would've looked bigger), but sometimes you really can't tell where you were and where you are without the side by side comparison.  

 

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Part III: Resolutions

Happy healthy holidays

If you missed Part I or Part II, check them out and then jump in here.

As some of you know, I start a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in a week and a half.  (You can read about that HERE if you're interested.)  Before we meet for the first time, we are required to read The Bhagavad Gita.  In it, there is a verse that reads:

You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work.

In short, we have control over our work and actions, but we have no command over our results.

A bodybuilder can be completely dedicated to her diet and exercise, but still not place in a competition.  You can put in long hours in the office and produce excellent work, but still not get the promotion you were working for.

That's why we don't want to put the destination above the journey!  When you fall in love with the process, you'll find results.

Did you decide what it is you want in 2016?  What do you want your future-self to be like next year?  We may not be able to control the outcome, but we can help influence that outcome by answering these five questions:

  1. What is my desired outcome?
  2. What can I DO to make progress?
  3. What will help me be consistent?
  4. What obstacles will I face?
  5. Who will support me?

A-ha!  Kinda sounds like we're setting a goal and making a plan, huh?  So get to it!

And when you stumble -- because you will... we all do -- just picture that fabulous, future-self looking back on her year with the accomplished smile of someone who went after what she wanted with her whole heart and setting even bigger goals for 2017 because she knows she can.

Happy New Year, friends!

xoxo

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Part II: Resolutions

Happy healthy holidays Yesterday I told you that as long as you promised not to make this year’s resolution all or nothing, I would teach you how to set SMART goals and we would talk about the steps to take in order to reach them.

SMART goals are: Specific Measureable Attainable Relevant Time-bound

(Get it… they spell smart!)

The point is to take vague, hard-to-reach ideas (like “I want to be in better shape”) and turn them into realistic objectives (like “I want to be able to squat x-amount and run a mile in under x-minutes).

You may already have a goal in mind.

I want to run a marathon!  

This is going to be the year I get six pack abs! 

But before you set your SMART goal in stone, I want you to ask yourself a simple question:  Why?

WHY do you want to run a marathon? (Is it because you love running or because the runners you see look fit?WHY do you want to lose weight? (Is it because you think leaner = happier? It usually doesn't.)

Determining your "why" can help you nail down what it is you actually want.

{To be clear, both of those goals are perfectly fine, but I want you to set them for the right reasons.  And remember... looking healthy and being healthy aren't always the same thing.}

Ready for a little holiday homework?

Imagine your fabulous, future-self a whole year later getting ready for 2017. How does she feel?  What does the space around her look like?  What are her hobbies?  What kind of relationships does she have?  You get the idea!  Write these things down and determine what it is you want this year. {Hint: these don't have to be fitness related!}

Need some accountability?  Put it out there!  Tell me what you're going after this year in the comments!

Then check back tomorrow for the final part of the Resolution series where we talk about ways to influence outcomes in the most positive way!

 

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Part I: Resolutions

Happy healthy holidays With only days left in 2015, I'm sure many of you have started thinking about New Year's resolutions and all the things you hope to accomplish in 2016.

Can I tell you a secret? I kinda wish you wouldn't...

Look, setting goals is important.  Goals give you long-term vision and short-term motivation and those are great things!  The problem with goal setting is that it often puts the destination above the journey and – especially in the health and fitness world – there is no destination. Consistency is the key!

You can eat steamed chicken and broccoli and hit the gym everyday until you have a six-pack, but as soon as you give that up (because let’s face it, that’s not sustainable) then it’s back to square one.

In order to be truly successful in the long run, you have to adopt this as a lifestyle.

But you know the old saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  So make a plan!

That doesn’t mean your plan needs to be "follow a strict diet and schedule."  In fact, when we make plans and forget to build in flexibility, we fail because we weren’t really prepared.  So plan for what you will do when you travel.  Plan for the days when you get stuck working late.  Plan for an injury that would keep you from doing certain exercises.  Plan for any issues you think may get in your way.  Plan on giving yourself some wiggle room when friends or family come to town or you go on vacation.  Know your plan and know how to put it into action when you need it.  That is structure with flexibility.  That is how you make this a lifestyle.

So as long as you promise not to make this year’s resolution all or nothing, tomorrow I’ll teach you how to set SMART goals and the steps to take to reach them.

 

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Magic Taco Seasoning

OK so it's not really magic, but it feels like it for how quickly it allows me to whip up a flavorful dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunch. This is how the recipe started, but to be honest now I just eyeball it.

✔1 TBSP Chili Powder ✔1/2 TBSP Paprika ✔1/4 tsp Onion Powder ✔1/4 tsp Garlic Powder ✔1/4 tsp Oregano ✔1/2 tsp Cumin ✔1 tsp Salt ✔1 tsp Black Pepper ✔Ground Cayenne Pepper to taste

This mixture is good for one pound of your meat of choice {we use ground turkey most often} or meat substitute.  The best part is that you can do practically ANYTHING with this and there are almost always leftovers in our house especially when I add black beans for more volume.

ground turkey

Here's a sneak peak at one of my favorite meals made with this seasoning.

Stuffed Sweet Potato 

  1. Bake medium sweet potato at 400 degrees until soft (approx. 1 hour)
  2. Brown ground turkey, drain, add seasoning and water, let sit and thicken on low
  3. Stuff your sweet potato with turkey and desired toppings (my favorites are lettuce, salsa, plan greek yogurt, shredded cheese, and avocado)

 

Stuffed Sweet Potato

 

That's it!  Three steps to a delicious, healthy dinner

If the rest of your family isn't interested in a stuffed sweet potato, then grab a whole grain wrap and make them soft tacos!  The hard work is already done.

Have you ever had something like this?  Tell me about your favorite toppings and don't forget to check out my Facebook page this week to see how I use the leftovers.

 

 

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2015 Fit Friends Gift Guide

Fit Friends Gift Guide We’re already a week into December! Are you still looking for a gift for your favorite fit friend? I’ve compiled a list of some of my can’t-live-without-just-gotta-have gadgets, places, and apps to make your search a little easier!

1) Timex Women’s T5K723 Ironman Road Trainer + Digital HRM

timex

I use this watch every single day. It’s small enough that it doesn’t interfere while training and it even has the option to change settings to give you a more accurate calorie count for when you’re lifting, riding, running, etc. I’ve had to change the battery in the heart rate monitor four times in the two years I’ve had it, but it’s a simple fix and – to be fair – I often use it two to four hours a day.

2)  Resistance Bands

Resistance BandsDon’t have a lot of room to store equipment? Worried about kids/pets getting hurt around heavy weights? All five of these bands plus the door anchor fit into a small bag and are stackable to create up to 75lbs of resistance. I love that I can easily adjust my workouts to make them more challenging once I become comfortable with one level of resistance and they’re so portable I can take them outside while we’re enjoying 60+ degree days in December.

3) Stability Ball

Stability BallThere are endless uses for a stability ball like this. Just sitting on one of these instead of the couch while watching TV can help improve core strength and help back pain. There are also countless exercises that use the stability ball and this one in particular has a base you can hook your resistance bands up to.

4) TRX Suspension Trainer

TRXLike the resistance bands, this baby fits into a bag smaller than my purse. The TRX uses bodyweight exercises to improve strength, balance, and core stability all at the same time. It can be a little tricky to get the hang of if you’ve never used it before, but they have great tutorials on their site and on YouTube OR you can schedule a session or two with me and we’ll go over how to use your new toy!

5) Headspace Subscription

HeadspaceHeadspace is a personal trainer – for your mind. The free Take 10 Program gently guides users into the world of meditation, but the yearly subscription is where the really great stuff is. There are categories for stress, anxiety, sleep, self-esteem, happiness, balance, and so much more. Happy mind = happy body.

6) Les Mills Weight Set

LM Smart BarIf you’re looking for some serious weights, but don’t exactly have the room or budget for an Olympic weight set this may be a great start. I have the Don Oliver set, but I hear the SmartBars are amazing. Can I lift as heavy as I’d like to with this? Not always. But this has kept my strength up well since I’ve had trouble getting to the gym as often with a baby at home.

7) #fitmom Tank

Fit MomIs your favorite fit-friend a new mommy or mommy-to-be? I love my #fitmom tank from Fresh Apparel! It’s comfortable to workout in, washes well (hello, baby puke), and gets lots of laughs when I wear it out. PLUS you’re supporting another mom’s business when you buy from her!

8) Superfun Yoga Pants

Superfun Yoga PantsIf you live in the Richmond area and you’ve seen a woman walking around in the fly-est leggings you’ve ever seen, there’s a good chance that’s thanks to Superfun Yoga pants. They sell lots of brands and sizing can run differently on all of them so if you can, they recommend you try them on in person. Bring your fit friend to a pop-up or shop online! (They even sell gift certificates if you’re just not sure what size or pattern to choose.)

9) Fancy Gym Bag

Lululemon Duffle I treated myself to a lululemon gym bag before I started teaching and it’s still in amazing shape despite the fact that it comes with me EVERYWHERE. This isn’t the same bag, but it has a lot of the same features. I love that these bags have a place for my yoga mat and for a change of clothes, my cycle shoes, etc.

10) Class Packages

BohoOmOnYogaTurn RVA

Does your friend go to a studio for yoga every Saturday morning? Does she set her alarm two hours early so she can start her day with her favorite instructor (maybe 5:45a Fridays at Boho Cycle Studio *hint hint*)? You can purchase class packages as gifts at most studios. Better yet… get her one and then get yourself one too! I love when friends join me for a workout.

If you’re in the RVA area here are a few of my favorite places to sweat:

Have anything to add to the list?  Comment below!

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Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Twain MaybeThe Internet likes to attribute that quote to Mark Twain even though he never wrote it down so no one can actually be sure he said it. I like it either way.

If you’ve read my About page then you already know this story. If you haven’t, I’m going to share part of it here.

As an International Business major in my second year of college, I had a moment of clarity while sitting in a Macro Economics class – this is not the life I want to be living.  I had a regular yoga practice at the time and suddenly I was sure that was what I was supposed to do.  I found a program in Baja, Mexico and told my parents I wanted to drop out of school to become a yoga instructor.  To their credit they didn’t say no even though I think you could actually hear their hearts break a little {since I was supposed to be the first person with my last name to graduate college}.

But fate had other plans.

The next weekend I met my now husband and Mexico didn’t sound or feel so right anymore.

If you continue to read the story you’ll see there is nothing to be disappointed in here. I have no regrets.  I have a wonderful family, I still found my way to my passion, and I love everything life has given me.

But eight and a half years later I’m still not a yoga teacher. Until May…

That’s right! I’ve finally signed up to complete my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.

I feel exhilarated and a little terrified – the way one does when beginning something one has been waiting almost a decade to start.

I almost didn’t do it. It’s too much of a time commitment especially with a baby at home. It’s too much of a financial commitment. I don’t know if I’m ready. What if I’m the worst one in class? What if I suck? What if… What if… What if…

What if another eight and a half years go by and I’m still not a yoga teacher?

That just wasn’t going to work for me. Not this time.

So bring on 2016! Bring on the big life-goals! I’m ready!

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Easy Egg Muffins

Ever had leftover ground turkey that you just didnt know what to do with? Well this week I threw it on the bottom of a muffin tin along with some fresh spinach, onion, one whole egg and one egg white. Add a sprinkle of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min and TADA! Six days worth of healthy breakfasts...

eggs in pan

Add a small side of fruit and you're good to go! ????????

egg muffin

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