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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Perfect Classic Burger Recipe

Some of my favorite childhood memories happened in my backyard. In the summer my family would eat dinner outside because summer evenings in New Mexico are basically perfection (no humidity, need I say more?).

My dad was in charge of the grill, and my three siblings and I would run around like maniacs with our dogs (as kids do) while he cooked burgers. 

Our house was also located down the street from the park where my town hosted the annual 4th of July fireworks display. This meant my family became the unofficial host of the summer holiday.

We'd always have lots of friends over to eat watermelon and burgers, and when it was time, we'd all walk down to the park to watch the fireworks. It always was a magical evening. 

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Does It Count If You Don't Sweat?

As a personal trainer, I've seen the full spectrum of workout personalities.

On one side are the people who love to feel like they are dying, and if they aren't gasping for air or nauseous, they don't feel like they got in a good workout. These are stereotypically CrossFit and HIIT classes folks. 

On the other side is the lady on the stationary bike with zero resistance and a full face of make-up, who pedals long enough to make it through an episode of her favorite show, but short enough not to break a sweat or ruin her fresh blowout. Pilates and barre will often get lumped into this side. 

So does a workout count if you don't break a real sweat?

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The Green Smoothie that Shouldn't Taste Good

Most green smoothies are the worst. A lot of them deserve an 'A' for effort, but how many times have you ordered one as you rush to work, only to throw it away after 3 sips because it tasted like grass? Or you suck it up and get through it as fast as possible because you refuse to let $9 go to waste?

It might just be me, but I get extra annoyed when I waste money on "heathly" things that taste awful... I mean, I'm all about the cause and eating clean, lean, and green, but come on, I work hard for that $9!! 

The healthy struggle is real. 

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The Morning Habit that is Killing Your Results

When I was in High School my mom was obsessed with a blog called FlyLady. FlyLady (aka Marla Cilley) is an OG blogger from the late 90's who specializes in helping you organize your home and establish simple morning routines for keeping it clean. 

My family of course teased my mom about it, but with four kids making a constant mess, I now totally get it. I've also admittedly called her numerous times for tips, because while the dishes seemed to do themselves at home, I've learned this is not actually the case in grown-up life.

(I have to do them myself everyday... AND clean the bathroom?! Ughh)  

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Lunch Prep Made Simple

I am not a morning person, never have been. My mom used to wake me up for school when I was younger, and I'd sit up in bed, say something to her, and then promptly fall back asleep after she left. In college, I perfected the art of getting ready in 15 minutes or less, and used to snooze until the last possible second. 

Once I started my professional career, I had to leave slightly more time to get ready in the morning since hoodies and baseball hats were no longer an option. But I still had my routine down to the minute. If I misplaced my keys or had any expected delays, I was screwed. This also meant I had zero time for food prep at home.  


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How to Select the Right Weight at the Gym

Have you ever cut out a magazine workout, finally remembered to put it in your gym bag, and then once you got to the weight rack you decided to give up on it because the article only tells you what exercises to do, and not what weight you should select as well? 

(Or was this just me?)

I (obviously) wasn't always a trainer, and was definitely a typical girl who only ever used 10 pound dumbbells for sets of 10 on every exercise. It honestly never even occurred to me that I should (or could) use anything heavier. 

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Gluten-Free Lemon Cupcakes (Meghan Markle approved!)

Ok, ok, Meghan Markle didn't ACTUALLY approve this recipe, but it was inspired by her so that counts for something right? 

Just in case you've been living under a rock, Megan Markle is an American actress who is getting married to Prince Harry on Saturday. It's a big deal because the couple is breaking with traditions all over the place (such as the fact that she's American and divorced, very edgy).

Last week I was listening to a short podcast about royal wedding traditions (for some reason I'm fascinated by the whole process), and I learned that traditionally the cake served at the reception is a fruit cake. Yep, you read that right, of all the delicious baked confections that the royal family has at their disposal, they decided to go with the world's worst option. 

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How to Build a Better Meal Using Math

I'm one of those weirdos who loves math, numbers, and excel. If you don't believe me, ask to see my ridiculous personal finances spreadsheet, it's pretty next level nerd (I swear I'm fun at parties...). 

But you know why I love numbers? They don't lie. There is always a right and wrong answer, and it's not arbitrary or subject to any creative license. This is actually why I pursued finance in college, I liked the black and white nature of the numbers. 

When I first dove into the health and fitness world, I was excited about new numbers and technical jargon. I loved learning about the digestion system, how to get stronger using percentages of 1 rep max, and what an optimal macro breakdown might look like. 

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Latest Skincare Obsession

I've learned that if you want an honest opinion about something, you should ask a kid. They are basically incapable of sugar coating anything, and they definitely don't understand tact yet... 

In freshman year of college, I taught 1st grade Sunday school with my best friend Nikkie. The kids were adorable and each week there there was at least one or two LOL questions or comments.

But it's also a really honest age... I remember one Sunday, this kid turned to me and asked,  

"Miss Jessica, what are those red dots all over your face?" 

Sigh, there it was. The unfiltered truth. My acne was actually bad despite friends and family reassuring me that "it wasn't that noticeable". You cut me deep kid, you cut me real deep.

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6 Truths That Will Help You Feel Less Self Conscience at the Gym

Starting a new gym can take you right back to 5th grade on the first day of school. Your palms get a little sweaty walking in, you hope that your new yoga pants will make you look cool and legit, and when you get to the locker room you pray you aren't accidentally stealing that super fit girls favorite locker. 

(Favorite lockers are definitely a weird unspoken gym thing. I've seen some ridiculously petty arguments between grown women in towels fighting over "their" space. It's nuts.)  

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Easy 15 Minute Sprouted Grain Pizza

Over the last 6+ years, I've experimented with every diet from vegan to paleo. My Mom (being the saint that she is) even got in the habit of calling before I'd come to visit to find out what my latest dietary restrictions were because she could never keep up. 

(thanks Mom for always accommodating with a smile!)

My obsession with learning more about food and how it impacts health is actually what lead me to become a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. I remember sitting at (yet another) health and wellness talk, and when it was over I thought, "hmm, I didn't learn anything... I already knew all of this!" And that's what gave me the courage to quit my cushy Wall Street job and dive into the health and fitness world. 

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Avoid Injury with These 5 Warm-Up Exercises

Warm-up exercises are like dental check-ups. You know they are important, but it's also really easy to skip them. 

When I worked at my corporate job, I already felt like I deserved a gold star just for making it into the gym. I didn't need extra credit for also starting with a killer warm-up routine (I mean, who has that kind of time anyway?!).

Also, doesn't putting on a sports bra count for something???

(Side note, speaking of sports bras... I was usually getting to the gym later than I wanted, thanks boss, so I'd change out of work clothes as if I was on some timed competition, where the top prize went to the fastest outfit change... Am I the only weirdo who does this?)

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Two Questions For a New Month

I love that we bucket time into months, don't you? When one ends and another begins, we get to start over and try again.  

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty ready to say goodbye to March. 

The weather was meh (even for California), I got violently ill at the beginning on the month, and I locked myself out of my apartment on a Sunday morning... which meant I had to wait for a locksmith in sweat pants and no bra, awesome.  

But yesterday, to kick off April, I had a great catch-up with an old friend. We are both entrepreneurs, and we try to catch up at the beginning of each month to chat about highs and lows from the month before, and set a few intentions for the month to come. 

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It's OK to Take a Break

As a fitness professional, I'm always looking for ways new ways to encourage, inspire and help initiate action for my clients. Because let's be honest, motivation is fleeting, crazy schedules get in the way of workouts, and cooking a healthy dinner after a long day is sometimes almost unbearable to even think about.

But the fitness industry can sometimes take "fitspo" a little too far. And I'm not talking about the pictures of girls in thongs "working out" at the dumbbell rack (those are just obnoxious...), I'm talking about a much sneakier culprit lurking in your social media feed... the well-intended motivational meme.

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Baked Sweet Potato

I used to only eat sweet potato at Thanksgiving. And by "eat sweet potato", I mean I would eat the toasted marshmallows off the top of the casserole, and leave the potatoes on my plate... 

For some reason they weirded me out. They are similar to potatoes... but orange? Weird. It wasn't until I did my first Whole30 in January of 2014, that I really started EATING sweet potatoes. 

If you aren't familiar with Whole30, it's a 30 day strict paleo challenge where you cut out all processed foods, sugar, legumes, dairy, grains, soy, and alcohol (it's kinda no joke). I quickly realized that without rice or white potatoes (when I did it, white potatoes were still restricted, this has now been added to the accepted list), I needed a carb alternative. 

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