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Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

August 20, 2014

How To Overcome Annoyances with Healthy, Active Living

I was recently asked to provide some of my best tips on how to overcome the not-so-awesome part of staying fit and healthy.

You know, the frustrations that come along with having to wake up at the crack of dawn to fit in a workout, or skip the late night dinner with friends because you don’t want to indulge in all the calorie dense foods and beverages.

In the past ten years of dancing in college and then professionally, I have acquired tips and tidbits from friends and fitness professionals on exactly how to combat this.

seven tips on how to overcome the annoyances that come with healthy active living

I have always been an advocate in fueling and treating your body the right way, but also understand that situations like travel and celebrations come up and can put a serious damper in your healthy living lifestyle.

It’s completely normal, and in fact, I encourage taking advantage of those opportunities to keep you sane and on track the other eighty percent of the time.

I fell in love with healthy living years ago. I started eating cleaner and spending more time at the gym because of the tiny costumes I had to wear in front of crowds, but eventually I didn’t even have to put an effort into “trying” to eat healthy or staying active. I loved how I felt, I thrived off of the post-workout highs, and I wouldn’t still be living this way if it didn’t make me feel like the best me I can be!

Below are my tips on how to overcome the annoyances that come with staying healthy and active on a regular basis. And don’t worry… we all have them!

1. Workout when it makes sense for you and your schedule.

I have never been one to wake up when the rooster crows and go for a run. Unless I literally have no other choice.

I used to feel guilty sleeping longer and not having my workout for the day done by 9 a.m., but I eventually got over it.

Barre studio

I also used to teach 6 a.m. barre classes three times a week, and I really did enjoy being done for the day by 9 a.m. But, it wore me out over time and wasn’t always for me. Overall, I prefer to do my workouts in the late morning, afternoon, or even evenings.

I know what you’re thinking. And I do have the luxury of a schedule that allows me to workout when I please, but it hasn’t always been that way.

Back in the days of working full-time and dancing part-time (but more like a full-time commitment), the only time that I was able to squeeze in a workout was after work, before practice or after practice. So that’s what I did.

I already had to be at the gym, so I went a couple of hours early to get in a good sweat, take advantage of the steam room, shower, and head off to practice feeling great. It never felt like a chore that way.

elliptical workout

Some people prefer to knock their workouts out first thing after they wake up, while others like to go to a group fitness class over their lunch break.

I change when I like to workout depending on what’s going on in my life, and the most important thing to remember is to get into a habit of working out when it makes the most sense for you and your schedule.

Nobody else’s.

2. Lay your gym clothes out ahead of time, or pack them with you.

Before I taught classes or worked at a restaurant and danced professionally at night, I worked a full-time desk job that had me nailed inside until six o’clock on the dot every weeknight.

I still enjoyed going to the gym back in those days, but after a nine hour day at work, the last thing I wanted to do after getting home was go right back out to the gym.

After a couple of months of playing “do I really need to go today?”, I got the idea of taking my gym clothes with me. If I had them accessible and ready to go, I was more likely to go straight there and get it done.

fairmont fit program reebok

The same goes for early workouts! If you need motivation to get to the gym in the mornings, try laying out your workout gear the night before or, better yet, sleeping in it. Getting dressed is half the battle!

3. Two words: vodka soda.

I have never hidden the fact that I like to enjoy a glass of wine or celebratory drink from time to time. I have also been known to order a specialty drink if a restaurant is known for it, and choose a sugary drink like hard cider on occasion.

Hush specialty drinks

The problem, of course, comes when you enjoy too many too often, or out of moderation.

Back when I danced for the Orlando Magic (and in my younger twenties), I loved joining a group for late-night dinners and outings. If you end up doing it often enough, it can definitely impact your healthy living lifestyle and the best two words I learned from teammates were: vodka sodas.

Instead of wasting calories in margaritas and flavorful cocktails, stick to ordering a stripped down, simple vodka and soda water with a lime or lemon, or even whipping up a pitcher of infused fruit vodka soda “punch” at your next get together.

cucumber and lemon water

With all of the flavored liquor out now, it’s usually what I prefer to indulge in, and now indulging means less then 100 calories. It’s a beautiful thing.

4. Find the types of workouts you actually enjoy doing and grab a workout buddy!

You don’t have to have a gym membership to take group fitness classes. Get out in the community and try out new classes in your area that appeal to you!

Yoga, Pilatesbarre, and Dance Trance are all great examples of specialty studios that offer specific workouts. I usually prefer taking a challenging cardio or toning class over doing a workout by myself, and always have more motivation to go if I have a friend joining as well.

fitness pilates equipment

Most recently, I tried PiYo, BodyPump and have in interest to get into Piloxing. I would love to find a gym that offers a consistent change-up in fitness classes to include some of my favorites on a regular basis.

When you find what types of workouts or classes work for you, getting to them becomes less like work and more fun. Stick to it!

5. Moderation schedule.

I frequently mention how I allow myself to eat dessert and pizza if that is what my body is craving. I never cut out a specific food from my diet (unless it’s on a short term basis like preparing for a photo shoot), and have always believed in eating everything your body asks for in moderation.

To balance it out, I try to watch what I eat and do over the days surrounding my cheat meals or even cheat days.

If I dive face first into two pounds of pasta for dinner, I am probably going to lace up my running shoes and get in a long run the next morning, followed by egg whites and protein for breakfast.

scrambled egg white with turkey and cheese

Always listen to your body and remember that most of your “off-limits” foods aren’t… in moderation.

6. Eat the rainbow.

Don’t be afraid of color! I am always adding fruit and vegetables to my meals any way possible. Whether I am topping my salads with fruit or sneaking spinach into my smoothies or pasta sauces, I try to make my plates as colorful as I can.

chopped veggie salad

Hooray veggies!

7. If cost is an issue, there are plenty of activities you can do at home for free.

Running is the best free workout I can think of, and that is just one of the many reasons I think you should try it.

Running in Fall leaves

If paying for a gym or studio membership isn’t for you, try pinning workouts you can do at home or streaming them online.

I have an Amazon Prime membership that allows me access to tons of different styles of professional workouts!

Go for a swim, take your dog for a daily long walk, and get creative with what is around you. Try new things that keep you moving!


Questions of the Afternoon

• What is one thing you hate about working out or eating healthy?

• How do you combat that?

August 19, 2014

IDEA World Fitness Convention

Good afternoon! I intentionally didn’t check in early with the sunrise this morning. While catching up on some extra z’s (why my body is still adjusting to E.S.T. is beyond me), I wanted to give you a chance to catch up on last weekend’s happenings at the IDEA World Fitness BlogFest!

I said it before and I’ll say it again: IDEA is where it’s at, ya’ll.

I was interested in attending the conference last year, but now that I am in the process of getting my CPT and continuing on with a career in group exercise and small group training, I convinced myself that I had to be there this year. And I’m so, so glad I made it happen.

The first two days of the conference were focused on two of my favorite things: fitness and blogging. Thanks to Sweat Pink, close to one hundred and fifty fitness bloggers gathered to discuss the business with tips and tricks we have gathered along the way. I felt in my element the whole time!

Need a refresher?

IDEA BlogFest 2014 – Day One

IDEA BlogFest 2014 – Day Two

As great and beneficial as BlogFest was for me to attend, I was really excited to join the rest of the community at the IDEA World Fitness Convention in Anaheim on Saturday and Sunday!

2014 IDEA World Fitness Convention

The IDEA World Fitness Convention provides around 400 well-respected fitness experts to lead sessions holding a total of over 12,000 fitness professionals (or fitness professionals in training, like me) throughout four full days of sessions and certification training opportunities.

IDEA World Fitness Convention Welcome

Before I arrived, I signed up for a handful of sessions – one for each time slot provided – but knew I would probably change my schedule around once I got there. As someone who has never been in the environment before, it was pretty overwhelming for me to decide on my own.

Luckily, I had a pack of friends that have been through it before and helped lead the way. We didn’t all stick to the same classes, but because a lot of us have similar interests in the types of workouts we like to enjoy and possibly teach, I had some familiar faces with me throughout the majority of my sessions.

Saturday started with a 7:30 a.m. Total Barre class that lasted two hours.

Total Barre class at IDEA Fit World Convention

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the time, but it was clear once we started that this session was meant to incorporate new exercises and Merrithew equipment into the classes of those who already teach or have an interest in teaching barre.

I thought these ankle cuffs were interesting. They were great for that exercise, but served the same purpose as a multi-use resistance band (you can double for intensity) I often used in my classes in Orlando.

barre ankle cuffs

I liked the class, but could tell that the style of exercises and music would most likely appeal to an older audience. I kept thinking that my mother would love this class! We did, however, have a young male in our class who had the highest kicks (<- ballerino, possibly?), so you really just never know.

All in all, it felt great to get back to the barre and start the morning off learning some new exercises.

Total Barre class at IDEA World Fitness Convention

Directly after class, we walked over to our next session, Schwinn Cycling: Pimp My Playlist with Jeffrey Scott.

Schwinn spinning class IDEA World Fitness Convention

He started the session off with his tips on how to find and get the best music playlists his students love in his classes. As someone who is obsessed with music, I knew a lot of his tips but picked up a ton of new and helpful information!

Resources for music and playlists you need to check out:

• iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud (uploads directly into iTunes!), ClickMix, Shazam (how I remember half of the music I like and end up downloading), SoundHounddirrtyremixes.com

• Schwinn Indoor Cycling Class Tamer app for your iPhone – amazing!

Schwinn Cycling Tamer App

Even if I don’t ever teach spinning, I think it would be great to use during other types of workouts with the sound effects, timers, and ability to control your music and volume through it all!

Schwinn Cycling Tamer App 2

• Radio streaming and talent shows on television like So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, American Idol, The X-Factor, etc.

how to find good playlists for classes

(I so do this! I can barely get through one episode of SYTYCD without Shazam-ing and downloading something. It’s a great resource!)

After he wrapped up his tips for putting memorable playlists together, he turned on one of his favorites and put us to work with a Schwinn Cycling class. It was fabulous and now I’m dying to find one near me.

The Schwinn bikes were so great and easy to use!

Schwinn Cycling Class IDEA World Fitness Convention results

Jeffrey is one of the best instructors I have ever had the pleasure of taking from, which makes sense, considering he is a Master Trainer for both Schwinn Fitness and Reebok. But really, he has to be one of the best out there and had me smiling and loving the workout the entire class!

Julie also did a fantastic job recapping this session with Jeffrey’s tips!

I already said this about Tara Stiles and yoga, and it happened again during this session with indoor cycling.

Usually at some point during a spin class, my mind wanders off for a bit and wonders how much time is left. This time around I was ready for more and legitimately enjoyed myself, which isn’t an easy thing to do when you are on those uncomfortable bike seats bouncing about.

After schwinn spinning at IDEA World Fitness Convention

(Me fancy with my mustache and tie – duh, Gina, Katy, Julie)

We all couldn’t stop raving about it. Thanks for a great session, Jeffrey!

After a quick change of shirts (we were all embarrassingly sweaty), we walked over to the EXPO to make our final rounds. Obviously, this included another trip to the massage chairs.

We made appointments for five minute massages, but before it was our turn to go, found this DS MAREF circulation and massage machine. I had never tried something like this!

compression and massage therapy pants IDEA World Fitness Convention

They looked like space pants and felt like someone was pressing the hardest, most intense foam roller all up and down my legs and feet. I didn’t realize how much it did until I stood up feeling loose like I just got a massage on my lower half. It was great!

We spent the next hour or so walking around, grabbing snacks, chatting with vendors, and may have even played a few rounds of Dance Dance Revolution. Somebody had to.

dance dance revolution at Dirty Energy booth IDEA World Fitness Convention

We wrapped up our time at the EXPO passing the Reebok booth and I fell even harder for certain pieces in the Reebok Yoga line.

Reebok Booth IDEA World Fitness Convention

Thank you, Tara Stiles, for making me want all of the sports bras per your recommendation and stylish, comfortable designs.


There’s just a bit more of the IDEA World Fitness Convention to cover along with what I learned from going to share. Instead of rambling on further, I am going to address it in a separate post. Do have any questions? Feel free to leave them below in the comments section.

I would love to answer them in my tips with what I plan on doing the same and differently at the conference next year.

Stay tuned for the final recap coming up!

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I am not a registered dietician, nutritionist, or certified fitness professional. The workouts I post are what work best for me, but might not be the right type of exercises for you.

I do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.

Also, please understand that affiliate links may pop up on the blog from time to time. I acknowledge when they appear and always genuinely appreciate your support! ♥

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