Tag Archives: fitness

Early Bird Gets The Workout!

Of course it’s hard to get up early when you go to bed late. Early morning workouts are sooooo much better when you set yourself up for success. 

3 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

  1. Eat a balanced meal the night before.
  2. Oh, and better yet, try setting out your gym clothes the night before.
  3. Begin your calm and peaceful evening routine earlier in the evening so you’re ready to go to bed at a decent hour.
  4. Bonus! Figure out what you’re going to eat for your early morning pre-workout snack the night before. (Try some of these overnight oats recipes.)

Click for more pre and post workout snack ideas!

Life can be full of excuses…

Something came up. I’m tired. I’m hungry. Traffic is bad. 

Good news! It doesn’t have to be! Many of us are busy with schedules that get more and more unpredictable as the day unfolds.

The number one excuse for lack of exercise and physical activity is time.


The trick is blocking time off for yourself every single day. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 50 minutes, make sure to protect this time with all your might. Purposefully identify it and protect it. 

Not it’s time to ask you a very important question. Why NOT try early morning workouts? Please don’t say, “I’m not a morning person.” Wait. Have you tried working out in the morning at least 3 times?

Yes? How did it go?

No? When will you do it?

Did you know?  

“According to a study recently published in the journal Obesity and highlighted by the New York Times, they may also be better at choosing healthy food over junk.” (source: www.nymag.com, 2017)

And on top of that…

A research team of a California-based biotechnology company 23andMe, attempted to uncover the genetic predisposition of morning and night people.  (N=89,283)

“The researchers found that after taking into account the effect of age and sex, morning people were likely to have lower – and thus generally more healthy – BMI, or body-mass index, a measure of the ratio between height and weight.” (source: www.theguardian.com, 2017)

Personally, I despise BMI (Body Mass Index) as a number to focus on when it comes to your health and wellness. It’s merely a ratio between your height and body weight and can easily be off-set for muscular individuals who may not be very tall.

After probing a bit deeper, I came across a study that found exercising 30 minutes on 3 mornings per week caused people between the ages of 40 and 60 years old to experience a 10% drop in blood pressure throughout the day.

Now that’s what I’m talking about! Read more about the benefits of early morning (and evening) workouts here.

So go ahead. Set your alarm.Go to bed early and hit the gym in the morning!


It’s Time! Spring Accountability Group Starts Monday!

DURATION: 7 weeks

START DATE: Monday, March 13, 2017
END DATE: Sunday, April 30, 2017


This Accountability Group is open to former Best Body Countdown participants and ANYONE who wants to learn, grow, and increase their daily fitness, nutrition, and wellness accountability. Our group is perfect for anyone who needs an extra nudge of accountability and support from a trustworthy, reliable, and knowledgeable certified fitness professional. You can participate from anywhere!


Our Accountability Group will help you stay committed to your health, fitness, nutrition, and healthy living goals. This is about building a health conscious community of like-minded people who are open to learning and filled with a desire to improve their fitness.


  1. Weekly E-Check-ins

  2. Interactive Group Texts & Check-ins (via GroupMe app)

  3. Interactive Closed Facebook Group

  4. Group Fitness Challenges

  5. Motivational Quotes

  6. Recommended Reading

  7. Reflective Questions

  8. Goal Setting & Accountability Activities

  9. Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness Tips & Tools

  10. Access to Certified Personal Trainer

We will heavily rely upon online and mobile technologies for communication, accountability, support, and motivation! (e.g., Facebook, GroupMe, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, SuperTracker, Fitness Blender, SworkIt, and more!)

$12 per week
($84 total for 7 weeks)

Partial payments accepted. Ask me how to set this up.


The Ultimate Workout Couples!

ultimate-couplesIn the spirit of Valentine’s and celebrating the power of individuals and complementary couples, we wanted to highlight two of the best exercise couples. These aren’t any type of couples–they are SUPER SET couples!

What’s a super set?

“The superset system uses two exercises performed in rapid succession of one another.”

Couple 1: Bench Press + Push Ups

This is an example of “performing two exercises for the same muscle group back to back.” Completing exercises in this format improves muscle endurance and size. If you want to kick it up a notch, try adding one or two more exercises targeting the same muscle. Using the example above, you could add a Dumbbell Chest Press and Resistance Band Chest Press.

Couple 2: Squats + Dead Lift

This is an example of “performing two exercises back to back that involve antagonist[, or opposing,] muscle groups.” Performing super sets in this manner allows you to place a higher load on target muscle(s) in each exercise. While one muscle group is working, the other is resting.

Want to learn how to integrate super sets into your workout routine? Contact us today!

Source: (National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2014)

Why Does Exercising Make My Nose Run? 


The running nose!

This infamously happens when I train one of my clients. Recently, my client sent me a few articles about what she believes is happening to her sinuses when she performs various exercises. And of course, I looked a bit more into it. Here is what I found.

What Is It?

It’s called exercise-induced rhinitis (EIR). The root word is rhino, meaning nose, and the suffix, itis, meaning inflammation. In other words, exercising can inflame your nose.

What are the Symptoms? 

When you stop to think about it, it makes sense to experience rhinitis when performing physical activity. Increased blood flow and oxygen to your nasal passages may negatively impact your sinuses and cause airborne irritants such as mold and pollen to get into your system and result in congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchiness, and watery eyes. Basically, EIR is annoying and you should add tissues to your list of essential items to bring to your workouts!

What Does the Research Say?

A 2006 research study examined EIR in adults “with and without nasal allergy who exercise regularly to determine the prevalence and nature of nasal symptoms induced by indoor exercise.”

Forty percent of participants indicated that indoor EIR negatively impacted physical activity. This more frequently occurred in individuals with nasal allergies. Likewise, outdoor EIR occurred in 56.1% of the total population–with participants with nasal allergies reporting more rhinitis (71.6% vs. 41%).

The study concluded that EIR “commonly occurs in athletes regardless of underlying nasal allergy.”

What does this mean? Well, if you already have nasal allergies, you are more likely to experience EIR compared to folks who do not already have nasal allergies. However, EIR is fair game to all of us.


photo credit: livestrong.com

Causes of EIR

There is limited research about the causes of EIR. Your guess is as good as mine and the next researcher. Check out with Livestrong.com writer, Matthew Lee, found out about the causes of EIR.

How to Manage EIR

In a nutshell, the most natural and drug free way to manage EIR is to carry a small pack of tissues during your workouts. However, some folks may want or need to take antihistamines. (Silvers, 1992)

Whatever you do, do NOT let a runny nose hold you back from your BEST workout! Pack some tissues in a sweat proof container and get to it! Happy training!

Cyber Monday Fitness & Giving Fitness Tuesday!

Oreadykay. So there was Black Friday. Then we had Small Business Saturday. Today is Cyber Monday and tomorrow is Giving Tuesday.

Why not invest in a consultation, fitness assessments, and personal training sessions for YOU and give the gift of fitness and wellness to a loved one?

Review our services. Decide what is best for you. Propose a fitness and wellness package unique to you. We love customizing our services!

Good news! We work with local (Woodbridge, VA ) and long-distance clients!

Make sure you check out the 52-Day Best Body Countdown. Pre-registration is open through Jan. 4. The countdown starts Jan. 19!

Contact us today to get started!






photo credit: writetribe.com

Eating Healthy & Exercising Despite Crazy Busy Business Travel


photo credit: Alex Wong

One of our newsletter subscribers travels a lot for work and asked us for advice about eating healthy and maintaining some sort of fitness regimen when on the road.

Here are a few tips I shared with her.

  • Stay away from fast and fried foods as much as possible!
  • ALWAYS order a salad with dressing on the side.
  • ALWAYS request a microwave and fridge in your hotel room and USE THEM for quick, healthy meals and snacks (e.g., oatmeal, Greek yogurt, bottled water, fruit, egg whites, hardboiled eggs – boil them in coffee machine)
  • Find a local grocery store and purchase a few things to keep in room and purse
  • Identify healthy “go-to” meals at healthier restaurants such as Panera,
  • ALWAYS schedule time to use the hotel gym AND use it!
  • Pack workout gear
  • Walk to destinations when you can
  • BEWARE of high sodium foods when eating out. Most meals when dining out are BIG sodium traps!
  • Eat frequently and in smaller amounts.
  • Pack healthy snacks.
  • ALWAYS bring a reusable water bottle and keep it filled! (TIP: refill it for free at the hotel’s fitness center)

Check out some of our other posts about maintaining a healthy lifestyle when traveling.

On-Your-Own 43-Minute Interval Energy Zone Spinning® Ride


Enjoy this 45ish minute interval ride on-your-own at the gym. This ride requires an indoor bike with a cycle machine that shows your RPM speed. Otherwise, you need a metronome to help you gauge your cadence OR you can go old school and count the number of times your pedal completes a full rotation over a duration of 10 seconds.

70 RPM    11-12 rotations
80 RPM    13-14 rotations
90 RPM    15 rotations
100 RPM   16-17 rotations
110 RPM    18-19 rotations

0:00-3:00 | Seated Flat | 80-95RPM | Warm-Up. Gradually increase cadence. RPE 3.

3:00-5:00 | Seated Flat | 80 RPM | Stay disciplined at this cadence with light resistance. Continuation of your warm-up. RPE 3.

5:00-7:00 | Standing Flat | 70 RPM  | Add enough resistance to support your weight out of the saddle. Come up to Hand Position #2. RPE 4.

7:00-9:30 | Jumps | 70 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb (small incline) in Hand Position #2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position #2. RPE will elevate to 6 because HR will increase!

9:30-13:00 | Seated Flat | 80-100 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Start at lower end of cadence range. As you feel HR recover, gradually increase speed and hold at steady rate. Slow, deep, intentional breathing!

13:00-15:00 | Seated Flat | 90 RPM |

15:00-17:00 | Standing Flat | 80-90 RPM | RPE 4.

17:00-18:30 | Jumps | 90 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb in Hand Position 2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position 2.

18:30-21:30 | Seated Flat | 80-100 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Start at lower end of cadence range. As you feel HR recover, gradually increase speed and hold at steady rate. Slow, deep, intentional breathing!

21:30-23:30 | Seated Flat | 100 RPM

23:30-25:30 | Standing Flat | 90-100 RPM

25:30-27:00 | Jumps | 100 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb in Hand Position #2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position #2. RPE will rise to 7/8 due to jumps!

27:00-30:00 | Seated Flat | 80-100 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Start at lower end of cadence range. As you feel HR recover, gradually increase speed and hold at steady rate. Slow, deep, intentional breathing!

30:00-31:30| Seated Flat | 95-110 RPM | Option to ride at lower end of range to maintain steady cadence.

31:30-33:30 | Standing Flat | 100-110 RPM

33:30-35:00 | Jumps | 100-110 RPM | 10 seconds in and out of saddle from Seated Climb in Hand Position #2 and up into Standing Flat in Hand Position #2. RPE will rise to 7-8 due to jumps!

35:00-36:00 | Seated Flat | 80-90 RPM | Recover.

36:00-37:00 | Jumps | 80-100 RPM | Slightly add resistance. RPE 4. Complete 4 jumps up into Standing Flat in HP#2 and back down to Seated Flat in HP#2. RPE will rise to 7/8 due to jumps!

37:00-38:00 | Seated Flat | 80-90 RPM | Recover.

38:00-39:00 | Jumps | 80-100 RPM | Slightly add resistance. RPE 4. Complete 4 jumps up into Standing Flat in HP#2 and back down to Seated Flat in HP#2. RPE will rise to 7/8 due to jumps!

39:00-40:00 | Seated Flat | 80-90 RPM | Recover. Allow heart rate and breathing to come back down. Slow, deep, intentional breathing! RPE 3.

40:00-43:00 | Seated Flat | 80 RPM | Cool-down. RPE 3.


Calf, Quad, Hamstring, Hip Flexor, Shoulders, Back, Neck…

Roll, Release, and Recover: A Foam Rolling Workshop


Good news! We have partnered with Nava’s Dance and Wellness Studio to offer a foam rolling workshop next month in Dumfries, Virginia. 

Since I routinely integrate foam rolling into my clients’ fitness programs, I decided to offer a workshop specifically targeting foam rolling. You may have seen a foam roller somewhere at the gym and didn’t know what it was or the purpose of using it. This workshop is a great way to learn more about the what it is, why do it, and how to foam roll. 

Make sure you register by September 14 if you need me to order you one. 

Get driving directions!


Los Angeles Sparks center Jantel Lavender goes up against Washington Mystics center Stefanie Dolson on June 23, 2015 at the Verizon Center. | Photo courtesy of Lamar Carter of Survivor By Design Media

With a last name the same as a medicinal herb known for its calming and healing qualities, Los Angeles Sparks starting center Jantel Lavender has calmed any anxiety about the void of several Sparks’ players Candace Parker, Kristi Tolliver, Nneka Ogwumike) out of commission early this season. Jantel’s stats are the best of her career in average points (15.1), rebounds (9.6), assists (1.8), and minutes (36) played per game. She has already touted five double-doubles this season. Although her additional playing time may be a result of teammate Parker’s absence from the roster, Jantel has shown the WNBA and its fans what she is fully capable of day in and day out.

As a college athlete at The Ohio State University (OSU), Jantel was the only player, male or female, to be selected Big Ten Conference Player of the Year four straight seasons (2007-08 through 2010-11). She is the all-time career scoring leader (2,818 points) at OSU and she holds the rebounding record (1,422) in the NCAA Big Ten Conference.

Originally selected by the Los Angeles Sparks as the number five pick in the first round of the 2011 WNBA Draft, Jantel Lavender currently holds the third best rebounding average per game in the WNBA at 9.6 rebounds per game—closely trailing Chicago Sky’s Elena Delle Donne (9.9 rpg) and Tulsa Shock’s Courtney Paris (10.3 rpg). She also holds the number nine slot for average points per game (15.1 ppg) this season.

On June 23, 2015, I sat down with the six foot four inch starting Sparks center after her team suffered their sixth regular season loss (Washington Mystics 84, Sparks 80). Lavender finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 18 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots.

We chatted a little bit about her fitness, wellness, and nutrition.

What are some of the things you do (on and off season) to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually?

That’s crazy because I actually meditate before games and…yoga helps me a lot just to be calm [and] to stay focused for the game. My regimen is usually just to meditate for 30 minutes before a game—have a quiet, calm area and just kind of reflect on what I want the outcome to be.

What is your prospective on the Los Angeles Sparks’ pre-game warm-up and collective team preparation before games?

We get a really good workout. We sweat a lot—it’s just a lot of movement trying to get your body into game motions. We stretch, but we also do movements that [mimic] some of the stuff that we’re going to see in the game and how we’re going to be defended. It’s great. It’s a good warm-up. We all get a nice sweat going so that we can be ready for the game.

For your position, what type of exercises have proven to be the most beneficial to you on-the-court? And why?

Definitely [the] weight room for sure. I’m always in the weight room. Squats—keeping my legs strong because it’s a lot of bodying and getting low to box out for rebounds. The weight room is my best friend. I love to do upper body because there’s a lot of banging in the post and to get those rebounds you’ve got to be strong. So definitely, hitting the weights hard.

What are your “go-to” healthy snacks and meals?

I love seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s. I eat those. I shop a lot at Trader Joe’s. I eat a lot of cashews, nuts, and salads and stuff. I try to stay away from red meat. I eat chicken and fish and vegetables. I love salads and spinach. They have a place in L.A. (Los Angeles) called Lemonade. They have a series of like 20 different salads and I go there usually almost all the time for lunch. [I’m] just trying to eat healthy—sometimes I have a donut or something, but most of the time I eat healthy [and] try to stay fueled for the game.

What advice would you give high school girls basketball players who have dreams of playing professionally one day?

Definitely start lifting weights now. It’s separates you tremendously when you get to the collegiate level and professional [level]. I started lifting when I was in the eighth grade. It [provided] a tremendous difference in my speed [and] my strength when I got to those levels. People were shocked [at] how strong I was. And definitely [start] eating healthy. Just making sure you eat healthy and watch your diet. A lot of times girls think it’s not that important when they are that young, but it is. You don’t have to have a strict diet like we (WNBA athletes) do, but I think that making sure you get a salad, making sure you get a well-balanced breakfast—that type of stuff is very essential to their health. I would say the weight room is the number one thing that separated me when I was in high school.


Below are six key takeaways from Jantel’s personal fitness, nutrition, and self-care regimen.

Los Angeles Sparks center Jantel Lavender secures her position for a rebound against Washington Mystics center Stefanie Dolson on June 23, 2015 at the Verizon Center. | Photo courtesy of Lamar Carter

Los Angeles Sparks center Jantel Lavender secures her position for a rebound against Washington Mystics center Stefanie Dolson on June 23, 2015 at the Verizon Center. | Photo courtesy of Lamar Carter of Survivor By Design Media

  1. Meditate.
  2. Set positive intentions and visualize.
  3. Eat healthy.
  4. Life weights.
  5. Stretch.
  6. Incorporate functional and game specific movements into a dynamic warm-up.

It was very clear just how important health, fitness, and nutrition are to Jantel as she passionately spoke about her daily practices and advice for others. She smiled the entire time we spoke.

A special thank you again to Jantel for dedicating her time to speak with me after the game.

Follow Jantel Lavender on Twitter @jlav42

Washington Mystics and WNBA media credential access via Unique Starz Sports & Entertainment
Twitter @UniqeStarz


4 Ways to Maintain Fitness Regimen & Healthy Nutrition at a Professional Conference

Plan your workout and WORK OUT YOUR PLAN.

 What do I mean by this?

Today’s blog was inspired by one of my personal training clients. Over the weekend I asked her to brainstorm some ways she can maintain both her fitness and nutrition regimen while out of town at a professional conference. When our Monday evening training session commenced, I asked her if she had given any thought to her anticipated travel schedule later this month.

Her responses blew me away!

Needless to say, her ideas fill almost all of the content of today’s blog post. Let’s call her ideas CFWTs…that’s short for Conference Fitness & Wellness Tips.


CFWT #1: Think about what you NEED to support your fitness and wellness goals.

Extra soft pillows?

No microwave in the room because you know you may buy processed foods that warm up rather nicely inside of it?womannike

An extra large refrigerator to store all of the fresh foods you purchase at a nearby market?

No coffee maker with cream and sugar packets in the room? (eliminate the temptation) No wet bar with alcoholic beverages? (once again, eliminate temptation)

Maybe a tea kettle and caffeine free tea packets instead of coffee?

A room far from or close to the elevator and/or ice machine?

A pool? Free weights? Resistance bands?

Maybe you need to buy a small, travel sized foam roller or resistance band to bring with you…

*Student Affairs administrator, Tara Rabinowitz, recently suggested bringing your favorite protein or superfood shake and shaker cup.

Think about your environment at home and what makes it affirming of your fitness and wellness goals and daily practices. How can you recreate some of those elements while traveling. Make a list and have it handy for CFWT #2…

CFWT #2: Call the conference hotel at least one week BEFORE your conference. Find out if they have a fitness center, a microwave and/or refrigerator in your guest room, what restaurants are onsite or nearby, and see if there are any local hiking, biking, walking, running trails and parks. 

Ask for what you need. If you don’t ask for it, the hotel will not provide it. You may be surprised about the accommodations they can make for you IN ADVANCE.

CFWT #3: Proactively identify ways you can eat unprocessed, whole-grain, fresh, organic and non-GMO (if possible) and nutrient rich foods during your trip.

My client told me her partner will mail her a care package full of healthy foods. This way she does not have to shop for it when she arrives at her conference hotel. She’ll be all set from Day 1!

Can you pack a travel size cooler that you can bring filled up with your favorite healthy goodies to your conference sessions?

Is there a grocery store nearby? (or farmers’ market, co-op)market

Do you know some of the places you may “have” to eat at for networking and social events? Can you access the menu PRIOR to your trip? Figure out what the healthy meals and possibilities can be before you arrive at the restaurant.

Have a back up plan!

Bring a refillable water bottle or buy a few big 2L bottles and store them in your room so you can drink at least 1 per day.

CFWT #4: Get your hands on the conference agenda IN ADVANCE.

First, identify everything you MUST attend.

Second, identify everything you WANT to attend (maybe mark this in a different color).

Third, identify time in the days you will dedicate to implementing your fitness workout, showering, AND eating. Be willing to compromise your WANTS for your fitness and wellness goals for the week.

If you do all of this in advance, you should be able to find someone who can grab extra handouts and any other resources shared at some of the “WANT” sessions you will not attend.

Lastly, tell somebody at the conference about your fitness and wellness plan for the weekend/week. Maybe invite that person to one of your workouts or alternative healthy meals. Ask someone from back home to check-in with you daily and ask about your daily fitness and nutrition.

Learn more tips about maintaining fitness while traveling! <— that’s a link to my August 2013 blogpost about this topic. Go ahead, click on it.

Safe travels everyone!



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