ABC Ab Exercise

Want a fun way to eliminate a stubborn lower-belly pooch?  ABC abs will do the trick but be prepared, this might sound like child’s play but it will challenge you!  What makes this exercise fun is to go through the alphabet with a group of friends and think of a healthy food for each letter:-) It serves as a positive distraction from the fire in the abs.

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I’m always on the look out for creative ways to challenge my fitness class and they had a blast with it!  Class ended with lots of chatter and laughs which is music to a coach’s ears.

Here’s how you do ABC Abs:

  1. Lie on your back, extend your legs and pretend that your toes are like pencils and write the A, B, Cs with your feet.  You could even do it old school style and write in cursive;)  The bigger you make your letters the harder you will work.
  2. Place your hands under your lower back to provide support.  If you feel too much tension in your back, or if your hamstrings are tight, go ahead and bend your knees a little bit.
  3. Imagine you have a belt strapped to your waist that anchors you to the floor.  You don’t want your lower back to come off the floor unless you are doing a hip lift to dot the letter ‘I.”
  4. As you write out your letters name a healthy food, for example, ‘A’ avocado.  If you are doing it with a group, take turns.  The longer it takes the person to think of a food, the more time spent holding a contraction!  Yowza!

ABC abs with the kiddos!

I’m thinking I could have a blast doing this with these lil’ angels!  LOL!  This would be a fun way to share fitness and teach them about healthy foods.

img_1824You could have them make letters standing up with their arms in a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ pose;)  Let me know how you share the fun with your little ones!

 

Making Fitness Fun For Kids

Getting to share my love for the outdoors and fitness with my family is really special to me.  Not to mention it’s a great way to spend quality time with your kids and burn off some of their energy!  My future granddaughter really soaks it up!

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This activity was hit!  It’s a combination of hopscotch and an obstacle course.

All you need is some sidewalk chalk, a pinch of creativity and get ready for some FUN!

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Pattern #1

Twirl (pick a random #, i.e. 5x)

Touch your toes (3x)

Happy Dance (I traced her feet for her to do a little jiggy on)

Spidy crawl (I drew small triangles for her to put her feet and hands on)

Roar (I drew a lion)

BE HAPPY (a smiley face) — then jump in the pool!!

Pattern #2  (she came up with this one by herself!)

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Jump 3x (she drew a box)

Windmill 2x (rectangle)

10 seconds running fast (triangle)

BEAR You tiful (blow a kiss) — then jump in the pool!!

We each took turns being the “coach.” IMG_3179

 

 

 

 

 

 

After doing each other’s obstacle courses a handful of times we played some volleyball and worked on treading water.  Needless to say, when I was ready to get out of the pool, she was too;)IMG_3168 I hope you and your family have as much fun as we did!  Share in the comments below the obstacle course you and your kids put together. 🙂

Backyard Bootcamp Part 1

When you feel stir crazy from being inside all day take your workouts to the great outdoors!  Instead of going to the gym to be in another building why not create your own Backyard Bootcamp?

  • It saves you time
  • It’s fun
  • Get to spend time with your kids and dog
  • Get in a hardcore workout that’s exhilarating

When I’m not in the gym lifting, you can find me doing my own Backyard Bootcamp. ❥👊💪🏻

My recent favorite routine is functional training with tires.  Check it out, and maybe you could score some tires to try this in your backyard too!

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Warm up by jogging around the block.  Then do some buttkicks, high knees and dynamic stretches.

1st round repeat 3x

Clean and Press- 6-8 reps

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Squat and Overhead Press- 8-10 reps

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Tire Jumps (like box jumps) 15reps

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Shuffle Catch- 10-12 total

(didn’t know what to call this😕)

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Push the tire with your left hand and do a shuffle hop to catch the tire with right hand and repeat.

Round 2 repeat 3x

Side Jumps 8-10 reps

Modify by doing wide fast taps 20-30 times.

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Clear the tire by raising your knees and feet up.  Land softly, set yourself and repeat.

Mountain Climber- 20 total reps

modify by not taking your foot out to the side, but down the center.

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Single Arm Tire Pulls- 8-10 reps

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This is awesome!  Focus on pulling with your lats.  

Tire Planks with Knee-In- 12-16 reps

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It’s harder than it looks;)

I hope this inspires you to get out there and throw some tires around!  Be watching for my Backyard Bootcamp Part 2!

12 Healthy Roadtrip Snacks

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We had been talking for awhile about going to Disney World, so when we found out we had four days open this month, we loaded up the car for a long road trip of almost 12 hours!  That’s a long time with plenty of opportunities for eating fast food and grabbing junk food at gas stations.  I wanted to make sure we were ready to hit the ground running the next day and not dragging because we ate crap the whole ride down to Orlando.  Here are the snacks I packed for us that also served as meal replacements.  I hope you find inspiration for your next road trip!

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Breakfast/lunch snacks

  1. Pack whole wheat bread
  2. organic nitrate and preservative free turkey and ham lunch meat.
  3. Peanut butter (you can bring food into Disney so make up some sandwiches to eat so you can save your money to eat somewhere really nice.)

Mini Fritattas  *I share this recipes at the end of the blog*

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Turkey veggie roll ups

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These are surprisingly really good!  Roll up 1-2 steamed green beans, a carrot slice and a strip of mustard.

It can be so hard to get in vegetables on the road so I worked them into those recipes.

Fresh Fruit:

  1. Tomatoes
  2. bananas
  3. grapes
  4. whatever you like

Veggies:

  1. green beans (boiled them for about 4 min.)
  2. celery slices
  3. carrots
  4. kale chips (my 1st time making these, and they’re not really my fav.)

For savory & sweet cravings:

  1. String cheese
  2. Pistachios (or your favorite nuts)
  3. Homemade granola (so worth making!)
  4. Peanut butter protein balls  https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/peanut-butter-protein-balls/

Drinks:

  1.  bottled water
  2. LaCroix  (I like how it gives you that carbonation but not all the additives as a soft drink.)

Other necessary items: 

  1.  cups & plates
  2. napkins
  3. plastic forks and spoons
  4. baby wipes
  5. hand sanitizer

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When we 1st got to Epcot!  I was so excited to be there!  I had my 1st full serving of a margarita at this lovely outdoor Mexican restaurant. Well Donny finished it off after the sun starting making me feel dizzy..

Some of the fun characters we got to meet and hug!

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My pipe dream has always been to be some Disney character at Disney Word;)  I did get to play “Ariel” a couple of times.  One of my most fond memories is getting to dress up as the Little Mermaid for a friend’s precious granddaughter’s birthday party.

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Going through the Smith Family Tree House was a one of my fun big kid moments!

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Although it was very commercialized, the magic and energy of the place was invigorating.  We are looking forward to our next visit and this time with the grandkids;)

Mini Fritattas

8 whole eggs and 4 whites

Almost the whole bunch of asparagus cut 1 inch thick

1/2 cup of mushrooms

1 tsp garlic

salt and pepper to taste

handful of spinach sliced up to sprinkle on top

1/4 cup of cheese *optional

  1.  steam asparagus for a few minutes.  Let them cool and then chop them.
  2. saute’ asparagus with mushroom (or your favorite veggies) for about 4-5 min. The last 30 sec. add a tsp of garlic.
  3. Mix up eggs and egg whites in a separate bowl.
  4. Spray a muffin pan with Olive Oil and fill each muffin tin with a small amount of the egg mixture.
  5. Put veggies into the muffin tins.
  6. Put in the rest of the egg mixture and top with shredded spinach and cheese.
  7. Bake for about 15 min at 350 degrees
  8. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, before removing! Serve immediately or let finish cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for no longer than 4 days. You can freeze these. To thaw, remove from the freezer the night before and store in the refrigerator. Then just pop it in the microwave in the morning until warm.

*Add hot sauce to it to spruce it up some:)

7 Strategies For A Sexy Physique

Strong women they inspire me, they make me want to grab the world by the lapels and go kick ass.  When I see a woman in the gym who has defined muscles and is throwing some serious weight around, I have immediate respect for her.  Sure, I respect the outer displays of strength, but mostly I appreciate the inner resolve that goes into achieving that level of physical success.

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to talk to such a woman, Wendy Heaslip, a 48 years old woman who backs up all that strength in the gym with being independent and charming.  

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She shared with me her strategies for creating a lean physique (along with a workout at the end of the article) and for the record, Heaslip is a mother, engineer,  photographer, friend and cares for her dad who has Alzheimer’s.  If she can do this with her busy life, you can too.  

Here are those strategies she shared for developing a fit physique.  

Secret #1  She wakes up early.

In her words;)  “I’m up at 4:30 AM and out the door to walk the dogs (2 ancient Chihuahuas and 1 young ‘ratdog’).  Then breakfast with my man, which he cooks.”  

Takeaways:  

🚶get in a few minutes of activity, like walking, to boost your mood and energy levels throughout the day.

😉 allow your man to make breakfast. New research shows that women find men most sexy when they’re working in the kitchen…Sounds like a win-win!

Secret #2  She meal preps for the week.

Heaslip is an engineer during the day and doesn’t get home until around 6pm.  How many of us can relate to this?  Walking the dogs and going to the gym doesn’t leave much time to make a meal, so her and her boyfriend, Richard, meal prep on Sunday.  

During the week all they have to do is a “quick warm up or veggie prep and dinner is ready.”  

Heaslip’s tip:  Focus your meals on protein.  She suggests investing in shaker bottles.  Protein shakes are good for supplementing when you can’t get enough protein with food during the day.  

Secret #3  She eats clean during the week and plans a splurge meal on the weekend.

Restrictive diets generally backfire so it’s important to plan a splurge and enjoy it without guilt.  When planning your splurge be clear on your boundary and eat a moderate portion.  

While food is wonderful, it’s important to find other ways to bring fun and sweetness into your life. For Wendy, she gets to play with her weekend job/hobby of photography.  

Secret #4  Meet yourself where you are.

Wendy said she got into lifting a few years ago after she read an article about the importance of resistance training to fight osteoporosis.  She said, “I found a fitness app with some beginner routines and started doing them at the gym. I’ve always loved to see muscles move in response to lifting something heavy. It appealed to me right away.”

Takeaways:  There are free resources available all around you so take advantage of those.  

⚫️Ask your gym if they offer a complimentary session with a personal trainer.  

⚫️Find out from your human resources dept. if they offer any wellness programs. I’m a health coach for Omada Health and many of my clients receive access to our program through their HR dept.  https://omadahealth.com/

Secret #5  Enjoy fitness with your family.

Around 2012 when Wendy started getting into fitness, her daughter, Tess, started showing interest too.  It was all fun and games until Tess got her personal training certification in 2014, and Wendy became her 1st client/guinea pig.  This is when her training was taken into a whole ‘nother ball game.  

Just another day at the gym for this powerful mother and daughter duo:)

IMG_6160Tess developed programs tailored to her mom’s personality and goals, which involved training like a powerlifter.  Wendy lapped it up!  Deadlifts, squats and bench she loved it all:)

These big lifts that stereotypically you see big bearish men performing in the gym became part of my routine.  The heavier I lifted the more I dug it.  I’m a little woman lifting heavy weights and there is just something so kick ass about that.”

IMG_6162While Wendy is extremely serious about her workouts I have often seen her on her phone and wondered what the heck she was doing;) She said that Richard and her text each other in the gym, sending funny memes or support to each other.

Secret #6 Make a bucket list.

Heaslip is training for a figure competition for Fall of 2016, and she said, “The competition is a bucket list thing for me right now.”  

A bucket list reminds you of what’s really important to you and brings some color and motivation into the regimented lives that most of us have Monday-Friday.  

The preparation is stretching Heaslip past her comfort zones.  Currently she is in the stage of bulking and this has been really challenging for her, as all of us women can understand.  Heaslip says, “it’s hard for me to wrap my head around (Gain weight? On purpose?), but I’ve been doing it for about a month now and have noticed larger, fuller muscles and I can lift heavier so I’m slowly getting on board.”

Takeaways:   Create a bucket list of anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to do, be or have.  

Secret #7 Get a workout plan that excites you.

Wendy shared her special leg/glute routine:

Barbell Squat 6×5

Straight Leg Dead Lift 4×10

Smith Machine Hack Squat 3×10-12

Single Leg Curl 3×20 each leg

Goblet Squat 3×12

Leg Extension 3×15 (dropset last set)

 Wendy didn’t start out with all these habits, she developed them over time.  Pick 1-2 small goals that you can do everyday and start.  No one is too busy to take care of themselves.  Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day.  We make time for what we really want.  The thing is, when you honor your health it makes room to give even more to the people and work you love so much.  

Tess Redsky Heaslip is a personal trainer in Houston, TX and this is her boyfriend, Brandan Lacatino, with Richard.  Talk about a #fitfam?!  I think if Pixar ever needed a modern day family for The Incredibles, this is the one!  lol

 

 

Healthy Treats For A Halloween Bash

Dressing up for Halloween never gets old even for us grown ups!  It can be hard for me to come up with costume ideas, but while we were watching the Underworld series I thankfully found my inspiration:)  I have always teasingly referred to my guy as my ‘Wolf Man,’ so Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf sounded like the perfect couples costumes! LOL

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I believe play is just as pivotal for adults as it is for kids.  Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships.  If you are being told you are a fuddy duddy, you need to loosen up or that you’re too serious then it sounds like you are past due for some good old-fashioned PLAY!  I have to admit, I had so much fun getting us ready for a Halloween Bash at my friend’s house.  I’m by no means crafty or a make-up artist, but I didn’t let that stop me from throwing some make-up on my Wolf Man and making my cape with glue:)

I’ve been realizing the idea that we don’t have to be perfect to create something.  If we have a desire and want to create something then we need to do that. I love this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert,

The point is not for you to do something that’s never been done before. The point is for you to do something you’ve never done before.

I hope you find joy in creating just for the sheer play and fun that it bring you.

Here are some of my original and not so original “Little Red Riding Hood” treats I took to a Halloween Bash.  I wasn’t sure how these healthy treats would go over, but I took them anyway and everyone seemed to enjoy them:)

Pumpkin Spice Energy Ball

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*recipe by Dani Spies http://cleananddelicious.com/2014/09/30/pumpkin-spice-energy-balls/

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 tbsp. real maple syrup *I used a TBS stevia
  • 1 tbsp. chia seed
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1.5 ounces dark chocolate *depending on mood, I omit this and add cacao nibs

Directions:

In a large bowl combine almond butter, pumpkin puree, almond flour, maple syrup, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and kosher salt.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.

Scoop up about 1 tbsp. of ‘dough’ and roll in the palm of your hands to create a small, golf-sized ball.  You should get about 8 balls.

Place the balls on a plate lined with parchment paper in the freezer while you melt your chocolate.

Set up a double boiler (see example in this video).  Add two ounces of dark chocolate and stir periodically until the chocolate has melted down.

Remove the pumpkin balls from the freezer and dip each one in the chocolate to coat half of the pumpkin ball.  Place back on the parchment paper and continue until you have dipped all the pumpkin balls.

Place them back in the freezer and enjoy any time you need a quick and delicious nutrient packed snack.

Makes 8 balls.

Quinoa Chocolate Chips

Y’all these are surprisingly delicious and satisfying.  Please try them and share your feedback-:)

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Ingredients: 

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup chocolate chips *mix in at the end

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or use brown sugar)

2/3 cup Stevia

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together: eggs, vanilla, yogurt, sugar until combined.
  3. Stir in the flour, salt and baking soda & baking powder until just combined. Add the oats, quinoa, and coconut.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to scoop the dough into 2-3 tablespoon-sized portions. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the bottoms are browned but the insides are still nice and soft. If you want a thinner cookie (instead of puffy), flatten slightly before baking.

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*I make a double batch and freeze what is left so that I will always have a healthy treat on hand when I have a craving.  ENJOY!

Fit Mom and Daughter Share Healthy Lifestyle

The past few months when I walk into the gym I’ve noticed this darling little girl entertaining herself with her frozen books and tablet.  She is in her own world until her mommy walks by, then she lights up with pride like a Christmas tree.  Last week I had to talk to the little girl’s mom and find out their story.

Sarah is a young single mom who is devoted to her six-year-old daughter Molly and to her workouts.  I was curious about how she gets her daughter to be so well-behaved while she works out for more than an hour.  She said, “I explain to Molly that it is important for me to workout because I will stay healthy and be around for a long time.”  Molly understands this and tells her

okay mommy I want to have you around forever.”

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Many moms express that they struggle to get in their workouts because they feel guilty and selfish for doing something for themselves and not spending time with their child.  Sarah’s approach of leading by example offers a healthy and positive perspective.  Kids really can get more than we give them credit for, and even though Molly is only six, she is able to understand why exercise is important for her mommy.

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Sarah invited Molly to become part of the solution by treating her with respect and getting on her level.  The loving way fitness and health was presented caused Molly to be more open to and even embrace healthy habits.   I’m sure we’ve all experienced how challenging it can be to get the children in our lives to eat nutritious foods.  Sarah says, “I show her what I eat and she wants to eat it too, and she ends up loving it.  She loves the idea of being healthy like her mommy.”

This precious relationship between a mother and daughter shows that when you give love, respect and nurture your relationship with your child, she will respond with an open heart.

IMG_1581 IMG_1568When Sarah and Molly aren’t in the gym you can find them in their back yard jumping on the trampoline or playing soccer.  But Molly’s favorite thing is lying down, staring at the sky and having girl talk.