Lent Wellness Challenge

Genevieve’s Wellness Commandments for Lent 2016

February 10th-March 24th
Move Daily: It doesn’t have to be an hour in the gym, but make a point to participate in some form of exercise.
Drink half your bodyweight in water everyday
Cut out all refined carbohydrates: Pasta, bread, white rice, baked goods, waffles, pancakes, crackers, snack foods.
Say no to dairy: Try your best to cut out all dairy. If you do well on dairy, you can leave Greek yogurt and organic milks, but I challenge you to try going dairy free! No cheese.
Make vegetables the star: Focus your meals around vegetables. Adding healthy fats like avocados and lean proteins like fish and chicken.
No added sugar: Read the sugar content on all your snack bars, yogurts and other packaged foods. Keep it under 10 grams if it is natural sugar (ie:dates, dried fruit, coconut sugar). Load up on fresh fruit instead!
Have an apple a day: Eat fruit between meals to keep full.
No booze
Pick a kryptonite and say goodbye: If you have a snack food or bad habit that holds you back, say goodbye for 6 weeks. For example, if you cannot control yourself with a bag of corn chips, cut them out.
Have a treat every once in awhile: You are working hard and using a lot of willpower, so treat yourself to a small treat from time to time. Be conservative, for example, a piece of dark chocolate or a bowl of popcorn.

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5 Day Fitness Blender Challenge

It’s been a while since I have reviewed a workout and I am excited to share with you my experience with Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Challenge to burn fat and build lean muscle!

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I came across the challenge on Sunday August 17th via Instagram and decided to add it to my workout regimen for the upcoming work week.  I was in a bit of a workout rut and becoming bored by my strength training routine so It was a welcomed change.  You can find all the workouts on YouTube and they are 100% free.  Start with Day 1 and you will easily find Days 2-5 on their channel. 

The workouts are all about 50 minutes long, which includes a warm up and a cool down.  This challenge is definitely easy to fit into a busy schedule and requires minimal equipment, all you need is dumbbells.  I supplemented a bit by adding barbells, kettlebells, a weight bench and a step  to increase the intensity of strength routines.  When a HIIT Exercise was not taxing enough I added some weight as well. 

Day 1: HIIT Routine & Total Body Strength Training

Day 2: Fat Burning Cardio Intervals with Upper Body Strength Training

Day 3: HIIT Cardio & Abs

Day 4: Cardio Kickboxing & Upper body Strength Training & Yoga Segment

Day 5: HIIT Cardio & Butt and Thigh Strength Routine

Overall I think the program was beneficial to my fitness routine.  It was nice to check out mentally for a week and perform another fitness professional’s program without having to design my own workout schedule.  I definitely had some soreness but the program is designed to create a balance of work and rest, so while one muscle group is healing you are working another part of the body. 

The HIIT Routines were fun and presented in a tabata style on most days.  On day 2,3 & 4 I skipped a lot of the rest periods and continued with the HIIT/Cardio moves to increase intensity.  This challenge is made to cater to a range of fitness levels so in order to keep my heart rate up I modified exercises and skipped rest intermittently. 

I found the workouts to be a little on the short side, but I still sweat my butt off and finished with my heart thumping. Day 4 was definitely the easiest day.  In Kickboxing you get out what you put in, so you really have to push yourself to get your heart rate up and feel the workout the next day.  Kickboxing is a great way to rest a bit without taking a day off, and I love that Daniel and Kelly used it as a way to recover along with some yoga exercises. 

Day 1 was my favorite workout and Day 5 was too short for my liking.  When adhering to my own workout schedule my workouts never really fall short of an hour, so 40 minutes including the warm up and cool down just doesn’t feel like enough.   However, I had gone paddle boarding with my Storm Fitness team for 3 hours on Friday morning and a short workout was welcome after all the core work I did while on the Potomac.  Plus there is something about spending time on the water that just wears me out, in a good way. 

Kelly and Daniel show modifications for every exercise they perform, so whether you are a novice or a fitness fanatic, this challenge can easily be added to your weekly routine.  They also show you how much weight they are using for each exercise. I like this concept, but they lift pretty light. Be sure you are challenging yourself without comprising your form.  I found myself lifting the same as Daniel if not more and I am not a heavy lifter by any means. 

The day after the challenge I did  a 50 minute Yoga video to hit my reset before button getting into another week of intense fat burning workouts.  I had a lot of fun trying something new and I felt great by the end of the week.  I was not overly sore or tight but that is in part due to a daily foam rolling ritual.  I will say, I went for a 5 mile run on Sunday and my body felt great. I would recommend this challenge to friends, clients and even my crazy fit mom 🙂

 

Fat Burning Spin Routine

Being a personal trainer, I have to create cardiovascular routines for a wide variety of fitness levels, injuries, muscle imbalances and age brackets.  I often see my clients slacking off when I prescribe time on a stationary bike or elliptical, … Continue reading

A Video Review: Get Extremely Ripped & Chiseled with Jari Love

It has been a while since I did a workout video other than YogaDownload.  In the past month I have picked up a new weight lifting routine which includes heavier weight and lower repetitions compared to my past circuits.  Being … Continue reading

The Liebster Award

I don’t know much about blogging, but I do love to do it! So I was excited when Jen from the blog Burpees for Breakfast nominated me for a Liebster Award.  Thanks to Jen, I now know a Liebster Award is…

An award from bloggers to bloggers with smaller followings in order to get his or her name out there.

liebster-award

So here is how it works once you have been nominated:

  1. Answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
  2. Select 10 blogs with a small following to nominate for the award
  3. Create 10 questions for your nominees
  4. Link back to your nominator
  5. Inform each of your nominees of your nomination

So Here are the 10 questions Jen asked me, along with my responses:

1. What are you eating (and watching) right now?

I am eating one of my “yogurt jars” for breakfast. It’s my go to breakfast. I make a few jars in the beginning of the week that I can grab on the go. It consists of: 1 banana, 1 small peach, ¾ cup of plain FAGE yogurt, 1 tbsp of chia seeds and 1 tbsp of raisins. I wish I was watching the latest episode of Ladies of London on my DVR, but unfortunately I am at work.

2. Favorite pre and post workout meal?

I have a sensitive stomach/gut issues so I cannot eat within 2 hours of exercising. So if I work out in the morning I operate on empty. Which is terrible, but it’s my reality. I try and plan my workouts so a meal falls right after I sweat, but on days where I lift weights I have a protein shake. I use Warrior Whey chocolate protein powder. If I have the time I blend the powder with almond milk and a frozen banana.

3. You wake up for a workout and you are NOT motivated. what do you do?

I just roll out of bed and put on my workout clothes. With my busy schedule, it’s crucial for me to follow the workout schedule I planned for the week. If I am unusually sore I will opt for a long yoga session. I use Yoga Download so I can do my workouts last minute at home. If I am really behind on sleep I will pick sleeping over working out the night before so I can sleep soundly without hitting snooze. It’s really important for me to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Otherwise, my workout will suck and it will just be a setback in my fitness routine.

4. What’s your current girl power jam? (i’m DIGGING meghan trainor ‘all about the bass‘)

Dancing On My Own by Robyn.  It’s been my jam since the first episode of GIRLS….

5. What has been the best part of your summer, so far?

All the parts. I kicked off the summer with my best friends in Las Vegas. It was my first time visiting and it was such an amazing weekend. I am also fortunate enough to have a friend in Nantucket and I was able to visit for a long weekend at the end of June followed by an amazing 4th of July weekend at my family beach house.

6.  Because i’m thinking of waffles…favorite type of waffles, pancakes, and ‘dessert’ bread (like banana or zucchini)?

In the morning I like eggs, yogurt, fruit and nuts. I like to have healthy fats and protein to keep me full and satisfied until lunch. I don’t like waffles, pancakes and I have never been a big breakfast bread or muffin person. Again, I am a weirdo. Growing up my mom would always make waffles and pancakes from scratch in the mornings. They made me so nauseous, and I hated breakfast all together. I would spend my bus ride trying not to barf. I think this is because I was unaware of my gluten allergy, and breakfast is typically loaded with the worst kind of gluten.

7.  Favorite type of workout and place to workout?

It all depends on the weather for me. On a cold day (30 to 45 degrees is ideal) I love the long hilly run on my parent’s country roads. I also love to run in new places. I am notorious for getting lost in foreign countries. When I lived in France I ran on the coast of the Mediterranean everyday and it was divine. When it’s too hot to trot outside (or a blizzard) I get my high from an intense HIIT workout with kettlebells or plyometric training. Yoga has really taught me how to balance hard work with healing practice; it has saved me from so many injuries. I love to practice in a studio but my schedule keeps me working individually at home. I don’t love strength training yet. It’s hard for me to enjoy a workout where I don’t have a consistently high heart rate, but I am learning to love the benefits.

8. How many times have you gone into target and walked out without purchasing anything?

Zero

9.  If you could create your own Starbucks drink and name it, what would you create?

I love the classics.  Americanos, Iced Coffee and Green Tea are my go to drinks.  It would be nice to add some protein powder or chia to a light coffee frappe. We could call it the Fit Frappe.

10. Who is your inspiration and why?

Ma! She has taught me so much about being a balanced and healthy individual.   Before I was born up through my toddler years she was placing first in every 10 K and 10 miler she entered. I grew up trying her workouts, entering races alongside her and watching as she evolved into one of the strongest and most well rounded athletes I know. She is strong, fast, fit and hilarious. Plus, she is not afraid to skip dinner and have a hot fudge sundae, my girl.

11.  What would be your Disney ending?

I just want to live a long healthy life and spend as few years in diapers as possible. I also would like to be a mermaid.

Okay enough about me.  Here are the blogs I chose to nominate:

My Liebster Questions:

  1. You are going to be stranded on an deserted island for a year and you are allowed to bring 3 pieces of exercise equipment. What would you bring?
  2. What is your summer cocktail (or mocktial)?
  3. What time did you get up this morning?
  4. Where would you retire?
  5. Sweet or Salty?
  6. What was your dream career growing up?
  7. What is your dream job now?
  8. What is your favorite sport to watch vs play?
  9. If you could invite three people, living or dead over for a party, who would they be?
  10. If someones underwear is showing would you tell them?

🙂

The Muscle Confusion Debate

This week I had a great conversation with a client and it led me to writing this blog post.  We were talking about the principle of Muscle Confusion.  Which States that muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress and … Continue reading

“Prehab”-How to Avoid Running Injuries

Being an injured runner this spring has not been easy on my spirit but it is probably doing wonders for my body.  On the first nice (warm) day of 2014 I decided to go out on my 8 mile loop.  It was a great run followed by a not so great stretch, dinner and bed.  The next day was beautiful so I decided to repeat the same 8  mile run.  Right around mile 6 I felt a twinge in my right knee (that was new), at about mile 7 it was a shooting pain.  As someone who has never had a knee injury, I panicked.  I shunned running for the next two weeks.  I was doing mostly HIIT, plyometrics, kettlebells and some yoga here and there.  My knee pain was almost gone until my friend called me on a gorgeous Monday and asked me to join her on a run.  I had just walked my dog three miles with zero pain so I accepted her offer and headed home to meet her.  About 3 miles in the pain was back. UGH.   Frustrated and desperate I made an appointment with my physical therapist that Wednesday.

Long story short, I have damaged the surface of my meniscus.  Apparently it is not bad, but It was 100% preventable.  I was NOT practicing what I preach to all my clients: RECOVER RECOVER RECOVER.

I have made myself a human experiment and I am using every means I can to rehab my knee.  So I am icing after use and applying heat during the day.  I am not running.  I am doing plyometrics sparingly.  I am having orthotic inserts made.  I am stretching thoroughly and I am participating in PREHAB exercises.

Pre-habilitation is the proactive way to prevent running injuries.  I know how a runner’s brain works.  We want to log miles and improve; not stretch, roll and do leg lifts with the time we allocate to our workouts.  It took me a long time to learn that in order to be a better runner, I have to take care of my body. When I am injured, I feel almost depressed.  Every race posting I see on Facebook has me disgruntled.  I am beyond jealous.

So here is how you can PREHAB your body as a runner

  1. Stretch well after every run:  When your IT band, hamstrings, glutes, hips, calves and quads are tight they are more prone to injury.  Don’t limit yourself, stretch whenever you have a free chance.  You may look like a weirdo in the grocery store line but at least your hamstrings will feel good.
  2. Buy a foam roller and actually use it:  A foam roller is like a massage at home.  Myofascial release is so key in recovery.  I try and dedicate time after almost every workout.  If I don’t have time I bring a lacrosse ball to work and roll it over tight muscles. Roll while you watch TV or during your evening downtime.  If you have time to get on Facebook and Pinterest, you have time to roll.
  3. Strengthen your glutes: Your Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius are often weak in runners which can lead to injuries in other lower extremities (commonly the hamstring).  There are a number of exercises that can be performed to strengthen your Glutes.  This article from Runner’s World has some great exercises to try.
  4. Strengthen your hips: Your hips don’t lie.  They need to be strong and flexible when you are logging miles. See the video below for a 6 minute workout that activates your hips and glutes.  It requires no equipment.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW6uFHrHbDU
  5. See a specialist:   If you have unusually high arches or flat feet you may benefit from seeing a podiatrist.  They will mold or scan your feet for orthotic inserts to place in your running shoes.  Over time high arches get higher and flat feet get flatter, so this is a great way to prevent any future muscle imbalances that could occur as compensation for your less than ideal foot physique.
  6. Attend a Clinic:  Running clinics are held all over the country to help runners fix their form and prevent injury.  I am yet to attend one myself, but It is my goal to complete one by the end of the summer! Find one near you here!
  7. Recover: Allow time for your body to heal weekly.  Plan to rest on a day that is already busy with errands.  This will give you less free time to think about your lack of exercise on that particular day.  I do gentle yoga on my off day.  Below is a short yoga recovery to try

 

Managing a Sweet Tooth

My diet is gluten free.  I eat mostly fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts.  Oh, and chocolate.

I am going to be honest, I have been going a bit overboard  lately.  Anyone who knows me knows I love my chocolate, but I decided last week I needed to get a hold of myself.  So I decided to have a little self control and go chocolate/sugar free for the weekend.  For me, the more sugar I eat, the more I crave it.  It’s this cyclical bad habit that can be tough to crack.  In order to adhere I have to tell the people in my life that I am cutting it out for a time period, so they hold me accountable.

My enabler is my mom.  I always fall into a chocolate hole after I spend too much time with her.  She has “Parties” after dinner when I come over.  These “Parties” involve buying every gluten free pint of ice cream in Harris Teeter and putting them all on a Lazy Susan.  I have been going to too many “Parties” lately.

So after a meal, instead of reaching for my frozen brownies I made earlier in the week, I ate half a pear and some banana chips or a couple Medjool Dates with raw almond butter.  Guess what? It does satisfy the craving!

Last night my partner in crime and I decided to celebrate my 72 hours of chocolate celibacy by whipping up a healthful chocolaty concoction.  We made this recipe for Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Bars from Ambitious Kitchen.  It is gluten free and also vegan if you opt for vegan chocolate chips, which I did not.  If you love gooey chocolatey goodness you should definitely give the recipe a try.  Not only is it delicious, but it is pretty darn healthy for something that tastes so decadent.  I had all the ingredients already in my pantry, and I am sure you do too!

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We had one serving with a some red wine and after we finished I froze the left overs.  I freeze all my organic concoctions for two reasons.

  1. Without all the additives and processed ingredients, they often spoil or mold before I can devour a pan.
  2. I can defrost when cravings strike, rather than spend a week noshing on chocolate every night.

I had my fix.  Now I going chocolate (and sugar) free for the remainder of the week! You can hold me accountable! Anyone want to join me?

Here are some of my tips on detoxing from sugar:

  1. Reach for fruit when you want M&Ms.  Make them low-carb fruits like berries, pears, cherries, grapefruit, etc if you can.  But don’t beat yourself up if you eat a mango.  That would be ridiculous.  If fruit wont crush the craving, have a little handful of nuts too, maybe some walnuts, almonds, macadamias or nut butter (with no sugar added). I think the combination of fruit and nuts provide the same fatty sweet satisfaction.  Even if it is not a chocolate lava cake.
  2. If I finish a meal and I want that sugar rush I quickly make tea and focus on that rather than the brownies in my freezer.  I recently discovered GoodEarth tea at Target, which is my new favorite!
  3. Avoid processed and packaged foods when you are trying to detox sugar.  Most packaged foods are full of sugar.
  4. Drink a lot of lemon water. It keeps me full.  Currently I am a little too full.  Whoops.
  5. Don’t be afraid of good fats, they will keep you full and satisfied.  Eggs, avocado, salmon, nuts, olives and pumpkin seeds are some of my favorite fatty foods.

Let me know if you try the recipe or the sugar free challenge! They are both wonderful in their own ways.

Staying Motivated this Winter

Today I want to address the biggest hurdle people face when it comes to getting into shape and sticking with their resolutions: MOTIVATION. Learning how to motivate yourself to be active can change your pre workout attitude.  With my clients I focus on Process Goals. With process goals you are focusing on completing X number of workouts per week rather than the results of your workout.  If you are working hard, results will come, but sometimes the lack in immediate change to your body composition can be discouraging.

Winter days are short and cold. Your body’s natural response is to hibernate,  making it more difficult to get going in the mornings or after a day of work.  In addition, the lack of sun exposure can give you a case of the winter blues.

  • Eat more Avocados.  They contain Folic Acid and B6 that stimulate Serotonin!
  • Go to sleep earlier and stick to a schedule.  The sun sets around 5:00 pm, so think about getting to sleep early and starting your day with a workout.  When you are done with your day you can relax, unwind and repeat!
  • If you are really not a morning person.  Switch to gym clothes as soon as you are off work or out of class.  The rule is, once you put on gym clothes you are obligated to exercise.  Create the mindset that “It is a SIN to wear put on a sports bra without working out”!

Rise and Grind 1

Variety is so important. Not only does it improve your health and overall physical fitness, but having a dynamic workout regimen keeps exercising fun and exciting.

  • Try something new, often.  I used to be afraid to step outside of my fitness box. I was afraid I would waste a workout or money on a trend.  Take the risk, because there is a good chance you may love spinning, yoga, body pump, etc.
  • Chose your workout based on the weather, your mood, your physical state and your schedule.  You don’t have to be rigid in your routine. If I am exhausted and sore, I go for an easy run and/or complete a yoga flow.  If it is a beautiful day, tackle a long run.  If it is snowing and 5 degrees (it has been miserable in Virginia), pop insanity into the DVD player.
  • JUST MOVE. Some days you may only have time for a 30 minute Tabata or a 3 mile run.  That is okay, just do something.

Seek social support

  • Working out with a friend creates a sense of camaraderie and accountability.  Just make sure you are teaming up with someone who pushes you rather than holds you back.
  • Try group exercise classes: working out in a group creates a sense of cohesion that can be motivating.  Not to mention the music can pump you up! Before I moved I went to the same Yoga class twice a week.  When I did not feel like walking the two blocks on winter nights, I was motivated by the fact that the instructor would notice my absence.
  • Groupon Exercise packages: Buy an exercise package on Groupon.  The fact that you need to get your money’s worth can be very motivating.

Create an exercise log or calendar

I have a Monthly Calendar hanging on my bedroom wall.  Each day I write my what workout I completed and check off the date with a magic marker. On days I don’t work out I will mention why or simply write “OFF DAY” (we all need them sometimes).  This is how I hold myself accountable and make sure I am logging enough hours in each area of fitness (Running, weight lifting, plyometric training and yoga).  You can also write how you felt during your workout.  On days I have a crappy workout, I will put a check minus.  On days I have a phenomenal workout, I will put a check plus.  Here is an example of my January Calendar as of last week. Don’t mind my errand notes or chicken scratch!

Calendar

Do keep a log of your exercises? If not, what motivates you most during the winter months?