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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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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