Sunday, November 23, 2014

Strong...


Thanks and thanks and more thanks!


Thankful for Thanksgiving!  This is one of my favorite weeks of the year.  People are getting into the spirit of the holidays.  I see so many posts about gratitude and thankfulness.  It definitely brings hope and perspective to the season.  One of the wonderful things about social media is that it's given people an easy outlet to journal and share with others.  I know, sometimes over-share, but hey…we can keep scrolling if we don't like it, right?  For the most part, I'm inspired daily by what others have overcome and experienced.  It's also heartwarming to see so many helping others, paying forward and embracing friends and family.  I'm so into what Thanksgiving is all about, but I also know it's like the kick-off party for 6 weeks of indulging.

I'm certainly not going to tell you that you can't enjoy a little decadence every now and then.  I absolutely do.  I'm simply suggesting, while keeping in the spirit of the season, let's be more mindful all around.  When you're having your pumpkin pie, or cream of casserole, just slow down and taste it.  It's not a sprint to see how much you can scarf down before your stretchy pants pop a stitch.  Put a little bit of what you love on your plate, really taste it and fill up on the good stuff.  Before you start flinging gravy at me, check out my top 5 list:

5 Ways to Stay Svelte Through the Holidays

1) Stay Hydrated



I talk about the importance of drinking water all the time, but know this, not only does it help curb your appetite of keep you from confusing "thirsty" with "hungry", but it also helps protect your lean muscle tissue, which in turn keeps your metabolism higher.  Drinking water keeps you digestive system working properly, so less belly bloat.  Ultimately, it replaces empty calories with 0 calories, so you will have a bigger "calorie budget" for nutrient dense food (or the occasional Christmas  cookie)!  Try drinking 12oz 30 minutes before your meal.

2)  Dress the Part


Coming from a girl who practically lives in spandex, I may not be the most credible source, but on those days that you'll be celebrating by indulging in a big meal or exchanging (sampling) cookies, the last thing you want to do is be overly comfortable or wear loose fitting clothing.  Looking and feeling "put together" will keep you more mindful of what you're eating.  I'm not suggesting extremes here!  Wearing clothing that is too tight can be dangerous and unhealthy.  Hwever, there are plenty of studies that show when we wear loose clothing we eat more mindless calories.  Besides, who needs an excise for dressing up in the perfect holiday outfit?

3) Have a plan!



It's not Thanksgiving dinner 3 times a day the entire holiday season.  Stay on track by planning your non-holiday meals ahead of time.  If you already know what you should be eating, then stick to it.  If you don't know, meet with a nutrition coach or do a little research to determine what meal plan you're most likely to stick to.  If you have a plan and stick to it, then one meal won't be a huge setback.  On the other side of it, one healthy meal won't get you to your goal.  Stick to your plan at least 80% of the time and be mindful when you indulge.  Lastly, don't keep things in the house that aren't part of the plan.

4) Do the dishes!



After a big meal, do you find yourself lounging on the couch watching TV?  Once you're done eating, may as well get that kitchen clean.  Especially if you weren't the chef.  What says "Thanks for dinner" better than taking care of all those dirty dishes.  Staying on your feet and lifting those pots and pans back to their place can keep the blood flowing and the calories burning.  Once the kitchen is clean, turn out the kitchen light.  It gives you a sense of "kitchen closed" where you'll be less likely to go in and snack later.

5)  Make your holiday get togethers active gatherings!

There are plenty of ways to get active this time of year.  Let me spill out some ideas for you:



  • Holiday 5K, 10K, etc. like a Turkey Trot or Jingle Run.  There are plenty of local races that you can commit to to keep your training all winter long.
  • Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and sledding!  All classic winter activities.
  • Organize the traditional Thanksgiving flag football game.  I've ALWAYS wanted to do this.  Thanks to my sister and bro-in-law, we are rapidly approaching enough family members to form a team.  Still looking for recruits though.
  • Caroling!  This is a lost art, in my opinion.  I loved walking do to door caroling when I was a kid.  It's also a great way to walk your neighborhood and check out the holiday lights.
  • Or…get plenty of extra workouts in by challenging yourself and your friends to sign up for my new online fitness program StrongCalmSexy.com!  I've been working on the development of this for some time now.  It's a complete fitness program that you can take with you wherever you go.  All of the workouts are web based workouts led my me.  There is even a meal plan that you can use to keep you on track (especially this time of year).  With a membership to this program, you can 3 workouts (one barre, one yoga and one SwanFit), that you'll complete each week, working out 5 days per week (choosing 2 of the 3 to complete twice-make sense?).  Every month you'll get 3 new workouts and a new meal plan.


I am SO excited to have this program ready to share with your.  Here is a little clip to give you a feel for what it's all about.

Let me know if you have any questions!  Also, feel free to share this with friends and family that you think may benefit from an online program like this.  It's perfect for your busiest time of year when you feel like you don't have time to get it all in.  Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing and thanks for being you!







Saturday, November 15, 2014

Big Apple, Tiny Car

What just happened?


The past week has been a tornado of craziness!  The good kind :)  I had the opportunity to participate in a conference called #FunFearlessLife.  For the most part, I'm a 'yes girl"so I packed up the Fiat and scootched to NYC for a weekend I won't soon forget.

Because I committed at the last minute (kinda my thing it seems), I decided to drive so I could stay nimble with my travel timing.  I got up extra early (even early for me) around 3:30am so I could get a good part of the day in the city on Friday.  Another plus for driving: It's a great excuse to pack a cooler for the road.

Time to hit the road…but first, lemme take a #selfie.


My cooler bag included the following:
A good balance of fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy fat, plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants.  All delicious as well.  Plus, nothing that gives you that greasy, disgusting feeling that fills you with regret almost immediately.  I didn't eat it all on the way, so I filled my cooler bag with ice once I got to the hotel to preserve perishables for the ride home.

I arrived in the city and my room wasn't quite ready, so I checked my bags and valeted the car and took right off to check out the sites.  I stayed right in the heart of Times Square, so it took no time at all to get sucked into the city.

Hello Broadway!

Architecture meets nature <3

Let me see if The Donald needs a trainer...

Zara, please come to C-bus.  Thx!

The excitement continued as I prepared for the main event the next morning…

The conference was held at the David H. Koch Theater.  I was thrilled to be in the house of the NYC Ballet.  There were lots of amazing pics on the walls.  It took me back to my dancer days.  Is it too late for me to become a prima??


When I walked in to #FunFearlessLife it was like stepping inside a Cosmo magazine.  All sorts of goodies were being tossed at us.  Lipstick, Spanx, clutches w/ phone chargers, etc.  Then, in true Cosmo fashion, a line of perfectly sculpted 20-something year old guys marched up the aisles in hoodies which they proceeded to rip off and toss into the crowd.  One landed right on my lap!  Jackpot :D


 They were also offering free ink…since I'm too chicken to get a real one, I picked something I may get should I ever feel compelled enough to commit.


So enough of the small stuff…let's get to the real reason 2,000 women came together from around the world.  We had a lineup of some amazing trailblazers who left us with inspiration, motivation and confidence to boldly step into what we were born to do.  Here is a taste of who some of the speakers were:

One of my favorite speakers, Sara Blakely (creator of Spanx), I didn't grab a picture of, but her story is fantastic and I encourage everyone to check it out by clicking here.

Amy Cuddy is pictured below.  I was already a huge fan of hers.  I'd watched and shared her TED Talk about power posing multiple times and I urge everyone to check it out.  I love her mention of yoga and how most of the poses can be used to completely change our mood, level of confidence and decrease stress hormones.  Click here for a link to here TED Talk.  You won't regret it!


 Up next, some great insight on managing your social media, from the CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo and YouTube sensation, Grace Helbig:

 We went through some yoga poses and a mini bootcamp blast from Cosmo Body trainers, Adam Rosante and Tara Stiles:


This next panel was a surprisingly complementary threesome.  Jillian Michaels, Kelly Osborne and Dr. Jennifer Ashton.  I was so impressed with Kelly Osborne.  I took away some great quotes and inspiration from her.

There were many other fantastic speakers.  I was so engrossed with what they had to say, I put the camera down and was just present in the moment.  Including people like Sophia Amoruso (creator of Nasty Gal) and Christina Tosi of Milk Bar.  Actress, Gabriella Union and model, Chrissy Teigan were also speakers.  Many, many more with so much experience to share.  The overall theme of the weekend:  Just go after it.  Whatever "it" may be for you.  Once you define what you want, keep driving forward until you get there.  They applied that to all areas of life.  Not just work :)

Just when I thought the weekend couldn't get any better, I was able to grab a ticket for a Broadway show.  It was always a dream of mine to be on Broadway.  Who knows…I just may make it there someday :) In the meantime, I'll be a big ball of happy to be sitting on the other side of the stage being completely entertained by the most amazing talent in the world!


 I saw the show On the Town which is a Leonard Bernstein musical from the 40's that takes place in New York.  It was absolutely fabulous!  If I had to pick a favorite song from this one, it would be incredibly tough, but I would have to say "I Can Cook Too" was highly entertaining.

(photo from nycwaterway.com)

I also managed to eat some incredible food, hit up a tea shop (maybe 6 times or more), that I couldn't get enough of, and bump into this guy...
I thought it was really kind of Dr. Oz to take the time to allow me to get a picture with him.  I have to say a big thanks to his wife!  She actually took the picture and made sure the lighting was good.  I felt so guilty for imposing that I said nothing I wanted to say and given a do-over, I'd act more human like.  Sorry, Dr. Oz!  I should've mentioned that I think his show has done an amazing job of encouraging people to know more about their bodies and be their own health advocate.  When it comes to reality TV and talk shows, I consider Dr. Oz's show powerful and informative and will choose it over celebrity gossip any day! 

So, that's my brief/not so brief rundown of my first (but certainly not last) trip to the Big Apple.  


Your turn!  Do you have any travel plans this fall?  Do tell!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Be VERY afraid! Then get over it!!

Time for a check up!

Remember way back when, when I said the theme for 2014 is FEARLESS?  Well I haven't forgotten.  I've been living this year facing fears, identifying new ones and being (temporarily) defeated by old ones.  We've entered the last quarter of 2014 so it's time to check ourselves (before we wreck ourselves…sorry-can't-help-it).

I don't normally curse, but...

I was recently eye to eye with one of my biggest known fears.  As I was excitedly primping myself for a much needed GNO (girls night out).  I bounced my way down my basement stairs to slip into a pair of non-athletic shoes (a rare and special occasion on it's own) only to discover the most horrific thing imaginable slithering it's way out of my shoe.  It was a %$^#^ SNAKE…IN. MY. SHOE.  Seriously.  This is the first time I've been able to discuss the situation without tearing up.  It was AWFUL!  I do NOT have a picture to share with you.  If you think I'm hanging out with the S word long enough to capture an image on camera, well, then you don't know me at all.  Nevertheless, I did not burn my house to the ground or move into a hotel.  I continue to live there (with caution) and each day I find myself entering rooms with a little more confidence.  I'm no longer scanning the perimeter of the house with a flashlight on an hourly basis and I imagine someday I'll enter my basement without boots on or a hammer in tow.  And that, my friend, is progress.  Let's move on.

GNO was still a success!
And that beauty next to me came to my rescue, stopping by my house to hunt down my slimy intruder! 

Summary thus far...

Thus far I'm happy with the way the year is progressing.  Personally: I've made some big leaps into buying and renovating a fixer-upper (perhaps before and afters to share soon?).   I've watched my incredible kids take on some challenges and grow into even more fabulous beings.  Professionally: I've been developing some new programs for 2015 and have been nurturing some that I've had in place.  My hope is that I'm able to expand my reach and help more people discover how fun fitness can be and how it has a positive impact on all other areas of life.  I've spent the past few years diving into experiments and submerging myself into program development so that I can present the ultimate program that encompasses all that is wonderful about living, experiencing and embracing fitness.

Thank you, Thank you!

 For allowing me to ramble, I present you with this token of appreciation: A sample workout:

I call this my "NO FEAR FRIDAY" workout...

I started by supersetting pull-overs (12 reps) and plate pikes (20 reps) for 3 sets.



Once I finished my 3 sets of those 2 exercises, I did a 2 minute boxing circuit.
I love boxing!  It's total body and it get's my heart rate up.

Then I moved on to a new superset.  Bench press (12 reps) and Close grip pull-ups (8 reps) for 3 sets.


Pull-ups are tough!  If you aren't quite ready for them, I suggest standing on a sturdy box so that you have some assistance (a gentle hop) getting your chin up, then focus on lowering yourself down slowly.  You will be amazed at how quickly you progress after practicing this way (focusing on the negative part of the exercise).  Option 3: You could also a cable to do lat pulldowns.

After the superset, I did another 2 min round of boxing.

Lastly, I realized it was incredibly beautiful outside, so I grabbed some dumbbells and walked around the building (outside) doing bicep curls, shoulder presses, and tricep extensions.  I stopped and did 20 burpees between each set.  Let me know if you need tips on modify or substituting any of these exercises.

THE END

I love weight training, but I am SO glad tomorrow is yoga day!!  I'm going to need it!

ONE MORE THING KBD (kinda big deal)!!


As I put the finishing touches on my projects for 2014 I am wrapping up with an amazing event.  I get to go to a conference in NYC!! I have NEVER been and I am so stoked!!  What's even more exciting??  This conference is so befittingly titled #FunFEARLESSLife!  How perfect is that?  There are going to be speakers there like Eva Longoria, Jillian Michaels, Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx), Dick Costolo (the CEO of Twitter) and lots of other amazing people who deserve a mention but this post is getting so darn long.
I cannot wait to share this experience with you!! I know I am going to learn so much and be challenged in ways I can't even imagine.

Have you been to New York?  Please share your experience or tips in the comments section!