Weight Loss Tips During Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday. Not only is it a fun gathering of friends and family (generally that is, occasional drama flair-ups aside), sweatpants are considered acceptable dinner attire, and there is an abundance of food to be had.

In fact, the whole holiday is essentially centered around food. It’s basically a free-for-all.

What’s not to love about that!?

From your stomach’s perspective, nothing, it’s amazing. But if you want to stay on track with your weight loss goals, going into Thanksgiving with a “free day” or “hall pass” mentality can set you back in your journey.

But staying on track doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy yourself. In fact, we strongly encourage you to indulge and splurge a little on some of your favorite dishes.

Why?

Because total deprivation doesn’t generally work for most people. And on a day like Thanksgiving, it can also take away from the experience and enjoyment of the day, which isn’t really the point of a healthy lifestyle.

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Chocolate Sea Salt Protein Brownie

One of the only downsides to officially ushering in the holiday season (a.k.a. the day after halloween), is the end of daylight savings. It’s the worst. Not only is it starting to get dark earlier anyway, we are now losing an additional hour of precious evening light.

5:30pm now feels like midnight. Awesome.

Despite the early onset darkness that now plagues our country, the cure to lifting your spirits might be easier (and tastier) than you think. Make some brownies! But not just any brownies (because let’s save those calories for grandmas pie at thanksgiving), we’re talking about chocolate sea salt protein brownies!

The best part?

They don’t actually require any baking… (we know, this just made your day. Us too!)

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12 Hacks to Help You Stick to Your Workouts

Sticking to a consistent gym routine can seem about as mystical as unicorns and comfortable bras. There are periods when finding the time and motivation to work out feels easy, but then there are others where it feels impossible.

What gives?

Well let’s first acknowledge why it’s hard to stick to in the first place.

Your job.

Taking care of kids and family.

No energy because of a long day at work.

You don't know what to do at the gym and can never make a class.

It's uncomfortable, especially at first (being sore sucks, let's be real).

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Halloween Candy Survival Guide

There are very few downsides to the fall season. The weather is great, the leaves are beautiful, and festive decoration options (and latte flavors) abound. But October in particular can pose a unique challenge to the waistline.

There is candy EVERYWHERE.

As soon as October 1st rolls around, bowls of fun sized everything starts to pop up on desk corners, at grocery store checkouts, and even at the dentist office. While occasional indulging is mostly harmless, it can be easy to form a new snack habit.

Even if you aren’t into the halloween scene, escaping the bite-sized temptations is nearly impossible. Since October 31st is rapidly approaching, be sure to print out our halloween survival guide for tips and tricks on how to treat yourself without going overboard.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Colorful fall leaves call for colorful fall soups. And fall soups are the best.

(Although, isn’t basically everything about this season the best?)

Not only are they warming and delicious, fall soups get the best spices. There is something so comforting about the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg. But it only really “works” when the fall chill is in the air.

When you use them in the summer, it kinda feels (and smells) like you’re trying to pretend it’s fall. And by the time December rolls around, we’ve all moved on to gingerbread and peppermint.

So while we have these few glorious fall months where sweaters abound (sans bulky coat), and trees still have a little life, give this delicious roasted butternut squash soup a try. It’s not complicated, and your neighbors will come knocking once you start making it.

This recipe makes ~4-6 servings. If you want to add a bit of heartiness to it, add ground turkey or lean ground beef. Also, the leftovers might just be better than the original as the veggies have time to marinade in the spices overnight.

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How to Wash Your Sneakers

The benefits of a regular workout routine are basically endless. Not only will you lose weight, tone up, and look better, you will also improve your sleep quality, increase your energy levels, and help prevent bone degeneration as you age.

It’s essentially a magic pill that heals all the things, both inside and out.

But one noticeable (and admittedly very superficial but also very annoying) draw back is that your sneakers get real dirty. Fast. Gym floors tend to be grimy even if they are cleaned often, and outside workouts cause you to accumulate a ton of dirt and pollen.

Your new shoes will start looking old and worn well before they need to be replaced.

But before you spend your hard earned dollars on new shoes that you don’t need (although, if they are a different color…), try washing them! They will look like new with pretty minimal effort.

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Why Women Should Lift Weights

The dumbbell rack can be a scary place. Not only are there a seemingly infinite number of different exercise options, gyms can sometimes attract some odd ball characters.

The intimidation factor is real.

Most women also have no desire to sculpt huge biceps and hulk out, they just want to look and feel better. So they skip the dumbbell rack, and head to the treadmills.

I used to be one of these women.

Before becoming a trainer the extent of my “weight-lifting” routine consisted of a circuit of the same five stationary machines, always with the same weights, and always for 10 reps. I’d then finish with 20 minutes of elliptical, and call it a day.

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How Much Protein Should You Eat? (+ 1 day meal plan)

Most of us know by now that protein is important. It plays a vital role not only in weight loss and maintaining your desired body composition, but also in achieving optimal (or even basic) levels of health and wellness.

The official daily recommended intake is between 10-35% of total calories, or 0.8 grams per kilogram of body-weight. If that feels unhelpful, we agree. An easier formula is to take 0.36 x your body-weight in pounds. Or you can use this calculator.

But keep in mind this recommendation is only what is needed to prevent deficiency, not to thrive. This baseline also assumes a sedentary lifestyle, not exactly something to strive for either.

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Protein Peanut Butter Balls

Healthy snacks are a big challenge, and they are usually the thing that derails an otherwise healthy eating day. Unfortunately, over-doing it on snacks in-between meals is all it takes to halt (or even reverse) weight and fat loss progress.

The struggle is especially real when you work long hours, or are constantly on-the-go balancing errands, soccer practice and after school pickups.

So basically, if you are a human in today’s day and age, snacks are likely a struggle.

For most of us, the challenge is not having enough time to cook or chop something healthy. Not to mention the fact that even if you in theory had time, who is actually near a kitchen around 3pm?!

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Why September is The Best for Healthy Routines

You know it’s the official end of summer when you start to see pumpkin spice lattes being advertised. Every year it feels a little too early (but it seems like Starbucks starts earlier and earlier every year…), but it’s also nice to be ushered into a new season.

And PSL’s are delicious.

Summer will always be my favorite, but I what I love about fall is the return of routine (and sweatshirts). Maybe it’s the school kid in me, but I believe that September is the best month for getting back to your goals.

Even if you aren’t as nostalgic about back to school as me, here are three major reasons September is kind of the best for healthy habits (and how you can take advantage!).

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How (and when) to Foam Roll

Chances are you've heard of foam rollers. Or you've at least seen them stacked near the stretch mats at your gym. If you've tried one, you may have also wondered if you were using it correctly. Like, is this seemingly arbitrary rolling around motion right?!  

(Maybe that was just me)

I was formally introduced to foam rollers when I became a trainer. I had seen them before, but thought they were only for rehab, hard-core runners, or for after a workout if you were super sore.

Turns out that wasn't totally off base, they can be used for all those reasons, but foam rollers can also be used before a workout, alongside any type of exercise (not just running), and can help with injury prevention, not just the recovery after. 

Want a little backstory?

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The Secret Weapon to Eating Healthy

When I first became a personal trainer, I was excited to learn how to stick to a healthy lifestyle. I was doing decent-ish on the "healthy" scorecard while at my corporate job, but struggled with consistency.

Once I started at Equinox, I dove into as many trainings and certification programs as I could. I learned new exercises and fell in love with kettlebells. I studied how the digestion system works and learned what macros are and how to measure them. 

But I still wasn't great at consistently eating at home. I'd food prep, and have healthy options ready to go, but when it came time for lunch or dinner, chicken, broccoli and sweet potato just seemed way too boring. So I'd compensate with pizza and take-out. 

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Brown Rice Pasta FTW

Healthy eating is simple in theory. Just eat real food. That's pretty much it. No matter the diet, paleo, vegan, pegan, vegetarian, etc (we could go on forever), the reason they all get results is because they all emphasize and prioritize eating real food. 

So why is it so hard?? 

Because real food requires real food prep... and food prep requires time and energy, something that can feel very scarce at the end of a long day. (Or in the morning while getting ready for work) 

Even though I'm no longer rushing out to an office job, I still find myself short on time and energy when it comes to lunch and dinner and what to eat. Which is how I began my love affair with brown rice pasta. 

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How To: Proper Deadlift Technique

Deadlifts are by far my favorite lift. There's just something about being able to pick up a bar that's heavier than you that makes you feel like a badass. They are also my favorite lift to teach people. It's fun to watch their face light up like, whoa, I just did that! 

But they can be a bit intimidating at first. 

It's one of those lifts that looks easy when you watch someone do it, but getting your body to understand what muscles to activate and what proper form feels like can be another story. The risk of injury is real if you aren't doing it correctly. 

So is it worth it?

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Healthy is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

I learned this lesson the hard way. Every time I'd discover a new philosophy, I'd buy all the books and read all the blogs, and drastically change my life accordingly.  

(Just ask my mom, she always had to text me before visits home to find out what my latest and greatest dietary restrictions were.) 

It was a great way to experiment, but it was also an exhausting cycle of strict adherence for a period of time, followed by a major crash, followed by hating myself and feeling guilty for being "strong enough" to stay on course. Then I'd search for the next diet to try. 

Surely it was the diets fault, right? 

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Are You Hungry or Bored?

Losing weight can be infuriating. It can feel like no matter how many salads you eat for lunch, or how many times you opt for fruit instead of fries (which, should that even be legal!?), the number on the scale just does not move. What gives??

I had a client in New York a few years back who wanted to lose 20 pounds. She was ready to make changes and put in the work, so we reviewed her food and exercise habits and made a few swaps. I was actually impressed by her willingness to abandon her beloved blueberry muffin breakfast for something more nutrient dense. 

(Our connection to food is deep and complicated, and sometimes weird resistance pops up when we feel like we have to give up something we like in order to achieve something we want.)  

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Very Berry Margarita (no sugar added!)

I really enjoy a good cocktail or great glass of wine. I just do. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who naturally "didn't like" alcohol (I mean, it's kinda hard to argue that it's healthy), but that's just not me. I'm a fan. 

Which is why you will never hear me tell you that you have to give it up completely in order to be healthy. 

(Quick caveat, there are times where I recommend taking a break from alcohol. As I said, it's hard to argue that it's "healthy", so if your fat loss progress is stalled, or you can't remember the last time you went 24 hours without alcohol in your system, I recommend taking a few weeks off to see how your body reacts.)

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Stay on Track on the Road - 25 Minute Bodyweight Circuit

Ever heard the line, "calories don't count on vacation"?

While I'm certainly all about enjoying life, especially during a special occasion (such as a fun trip), this mindset can quickly derail your fitness progress. Calories do unfortunately still count on vacation.  

<Sad face>

But it doesn't mean you have to skip the gelato, wine, and feta!  

It just means eating a little bit more strategically and rephrasing this line to, "since calories still count on vacation, how do I want to allocate them today?"

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How to Curb Late-Night Snacking

Most of us have no trouble passing on a sleeve of Oreos for breakfast. I mean, they are delicious, but in the morning it's easy to also recognize that they aren't nutritious.

But as the day goes on, this logic can start to break down. 

We start to rationalize why a sleeve of Oreos is a good idea. You didn't punch your annoying boss Larry in the face, that deserves something right? Or maybe it's time for a reward after a long day?

For most people, after dinner eating rituals aren't even directly tied to whether or not Larry was in the office that day. It's simpler (but potentially more challenging) than that. 

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10 Unconventional Ways to Stay on Track this Summer

Summer is a magical time. The sun is out, the days are long, and people in general are in a better mood. When July 1st rolls around, there is a wonderful relaxed vibe that spreads throughout the office and carries over into everyday places like Starbucks and the grocery store. Strangers actually smile at each other!  

But staying on track with your health and fitness goals can be a challenge during these glorious summer months. Vacations derail workout momentum, after-work drinks abound, and BBQ's with friends and family start showing up on your waistline. 

I had this hilarious client in New York (like we used to double over laughing during sessions and every one would stare, but we didn't care. We were having a blast!), and one time we were talking about staying healthy while traveling and she joked, 

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