Inflammation: the body's process of protecting and ridding itself from harmful substances such as pathogens, infections, irritants, or damaged cells.

Is inflammation a good thing?

Yes! We need acute inflammation to get rid of toxins and other harmful substances! Inflammation becomes an issue when it becomes chronic, usually indicating issues within the body.

Symptoms of inflammation:
  • unexplained joint/ muscle pain
  • fluid retention
  • frequent bronchitis, sinus infections
  • skin irritations
  • loss of energy
  • issues with triglyceride levels

How do I get rid of acute inflammation?
  • fish oils (unless you are on blood thinners)
  • stretch out and foam roll before and after work outs
  • heat up (muscles), once they are loose they become more pliable and easier for blood to flow and bring in nutrients to damaged cells
  • participating in low intensity work outs to get blood flowing
  • tylenol or acetominophin 

How do I reduce chronic inflammation?
  • ​Eat a balanced diet
    • lean proteins (chicken, turkey, beef)
    • whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice
    • dark green veggies
    • healthy fats            
  • Exercise

What foods cause inflammation?
  • starchy/ sugary foods
  • caffiene
  • trans fats
  • alcohol
Ahh after a wonderful and relaxing weekend I am back up and ready to go!! To do list in hand and breakfast in my belly we go! 

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? On my end of things it was just nice to relax! It was just Friday I realized I am constantly working (YAY!) which I love but just sometimes I need a little break! So that was me this weekend :-) 

At any rate as you are probably guessing I am writing this article to get into the science behind our abdominals or better known our abs. The muscles everyone wants to have whether for the beach or just because you want people to see your fitness badge of dedication. Of course it really does take dedication to get there, no fad diet or million sets of crunches will get you there but I can certainly tell you what will...clean eating! Sure exercise plays a role but without lowering the excess layer of fat (yes if you can pinch it is probably fat) around your abs you will not be able to see them.

I'm sure some of you are thinking wait what this chick wants me to eat to lose weight and see my abs? YUP! If you need some clarity on clean eating here you go> Essentially we need to meet our bodies nutritional needs and caloric needs. 100 calories of oreos does not equal 100 calories of edammame!! 

Now that we know how to get there let me explain a little bit more of the why, our bodies were not made nor do they understand how to break down the overly complicated compounds in our over processed foods for one and too we just eat way too much junk food and sugar. The result? We store all of those calories as fat. Truth be told an over abundance of anything can really cause fat storage, however, eating foods in their natural form makes it a lot more challenging. 

So back to the why of eating, if you want to see your abs you must lose the extra layer of belly fat "visceral fat" on top of them and how? through clean eating, plenty of rest, and working out hard. 

What foods help lose belly fat? 
~Dark  green veggies
~Whole grains 
~Lean proteins
~Low sugar foods

Best exercises to work your abs?
I personally believe we need to work from our core, especially because all movement comes from there, so I prefer to focus on the whole area. I picture a girdle if you will! 


Reverse crunches 
Bicycle abs:
side bends with weights
Super mans: 
Alright so no matter who you talk to I'd be just about everyone has  done some form of cardiovascular conditioning of some sort from group fitness classes, home work outs, the treadmills, ellipticals, etc. And no matter where you go you can almost always see these people either really going for it or leisurely working on their fitness. The thing is so many people quit before they get started, quit because they don't know what to do, or the results just stop coming. And honestly, that sucks! The question then becomes why?

 Cardio training is essential for any fitness regimen and it doesn't have to be the traditional kinds mentioned above either, but we need something that will help us better train our heart, lungs, and blood vessels as well as efficiently burn fat and calories. So again if this is necessary why do the results not always happen?

A few reasons come off the top of my head (these will vary from person to person as far as what your fitness level and how/if/when this happens):
~over training (this is super common in group exercise classes)- the process of pushing your body past the breaking point so to speak and your body cannot recover quickly enough and you end up never shedding any poundage.

~under training- this is categorized by people not pushing hard enough and generally this is categorized by people pushing themselves but not hard enough.

~plateaus- categorized by people who do not make changes in their routines, people who have been doing the same thing for more then 6 weeks and have stopped seeing results. 

How can you avoid this and ensure your work out is effective?

~knowing your heart rate training zones
~using a heart rate monitor to determine where you are in the work out in regards to what zone you need to be in to burn fat. (for MOST people this is zones 1-3 past that often times you get into your anaerobic threshold and stop burning fat and start burning sugars).
~mix up your work outs! 

New ways to add in cardio:
~interval training
~micro bursts of cardio between strength sets
~muscle multi-tasking (using multi-joint exercises)
~try a new machine you haven't used before

Questions for you?
Do you wear a heart rate monitor during your work outs?
How often do you switch up your fitness routines? 
Happy Monday!! I want to be 100% honest with you...I have been a little off with my work outs lately. Nutrition has been just about 100% but I just haven't "felt like working out". For someone who loves the feeling of crushing a good work out and not mention the endorphins. To me that was my body telling me I was burnt out. 

Generally every 12 weeks (sometimes even shorter than that) because honestly I just need a break! I need to wake up feeling like ahhh I get to work out not I have to work out. 

So this week starts some new work outs and honestly I am excited!!! I am really happy with the progress I had with Body Beast and it was super fun lifting that heavy especially doing it with Mike! 

I am kind of making my own stuff up to be I dive deeper into training I find I want to really test myself so I am going to be increasing my work out time per day and really what I focus on.

Goals of the new programming?
~Target my weak areas and make them better: specifically I want to improve my shoulders and my legs/booty. So I will be working those muscle groups more. 
With the weights I will also be lifting heavy with less reps and sets (so 3 sets of 6-12 for upper/lower body and 3 sets of 20 for abs). 

~I will also be increasing my amount of cardio from...oh around 0 days to 3 days a week. (2 days of HIIT + one day of Steady state cardio) 

~ another keep thing is going to be nutrition. I have selected what supplements I'll be using but not so much what macro percentage. I am thinking 40 carbs 40 protein 20 fat but we'll see. I did find out I am a fat burner vs a carb burner which is crucial and main reason I have a hard time gaining real muscle mass. 

I will be taking:
shakeology + protein powder
fish oils 
P90x recovery shake (post work out)

Also, I  think to reach where I really want to get to, it will take me about a year to achieve. So I will really need to have the big picture in mind and FOCUS!
So I want to compete...I originally thought I was ready now and for Bikini division I think I could fare okay...but I then realized, I don't want to do "okay" I want to add a little more muscle, and do a fitness or a figure show and I want to place! No more wallowing and not being out right with my goals, there they are!  

So then in all of these since nutrition is soooo key how can I or anyone else for that matter avoid feeling deprived? 

Well really, in my opinion, it comes down to lifestyle. We are a culture of people who do all things over food. Example: meeting with friends= lunch, celebrating hitting a goal at work= happy hour, birthday celebrating= going out + cake.
Rarely will you find that your friends and family will ask you to go celebrate your sister getting straight A's with a session of rock climbing or hiking. Not to say there is anything wrong with that BUT it all comes down to decisions at that point. If you are in the realm of "I need/want to lose weight" then eating all that crap just because it is there is NOT what is going to help keep that weight off. There are so many other ways you can enjoy life and friends without over indulging and over eating. The first is obviously changing your mind set and what senses you choose to enjoy the most.

Second, if your boyfriend/girlfriend has the metabolism or maybe just doesn't have those same goals as you, that's okay just be sure to hide his/her treats from line of vision. If you don't see it chances are you may forget you have them! 

Third, have "substitutes" that leave you feeling satisfied. Instead of eating ice cream try low sugar froyo or banana protein icecream (you can flavor this however you like!) or for me instead of eating all of his crap I may just have a fiber one they aren't the best but I'd rather have something like that instead of a huge heaping plate of something I will really regret! 

Fourth, FOCUS. Is that chocolate bar really something you want or is it just a drop in blood sugar or increase in your stress level? I know this is a big one for me! At around 5 pm my levels usually drop which almost always means if I see it I will eat it. I have reworked my calories to prevent this from happening. It wasn't easy or always fun but it got my body where it needed to be.

Fifth, we all slip up sometimes. Move on and let it go! 

Have a fantastic Monday everyone! 

Happy Monday!!!

Man the past couple of weeks have been so crazy so I am SO SORRY I have been delayed with writing on here! Well it is official I am a full time fitness professional!

So what's next? Well I have some pretty big goals for the rest of the what can you expect from me?

~More posts
~Revamping of this site!! I will finally have the time to make this page more engaging and BETTER!
~Newsletters (2x a week) a nutrition tip and a weekly work out!
~more virtual training
~more videos with tips and moves of the day!

Anywho...just figured I'd let you know what was coming next!

So on the fitness/work out side of things I need to confess...I have been in a weird weird funk of eating lately. I was doing soo great then when I got further into the bulking phase of my plan I just sort of starting saying...meh I can eat what I want! And then I realized I needed to it is time to lean down just in time for summer!

So this week I am traveling to a class and have packed all of my foods...NO EXCUSES. It will be a great way to "detox" so to speak in that I will be taking away unhealthy fats, gluten, added sugars, dairy, and just junk in general! I did a massive meal prep yesterday and I refuse to let anything but me control my results!

Also, I will be mixing up my work outs some to burn off some of the water/minor fat and bloat associated with bulking but decreasing my carbs to a lower (NOTICE I DID NOT SAY LOW/ NO CARBS) to do so.

No complex carbs past 3 pm and upping the cardio are 2 of the biggest tweaks! Also being that I am traveling I have brought my Les Mills DVDs to try out! While I will have total gym access I think I will take my evenings to study and work and work out early in the AM with some extra cardio for the week!!

I can't wait to share the other new things I am learning and stay tuned!!

Tips for meal prep:
~Plan ahead...make a list/menu to make it easier
~prep veggies first...make things easier!
~lay out all containers and portion out foods as they are done! (I would HIGHLY recommend investing in some nice containers!)
~bulk grill or bake some lean proteins!
~opt for clean unprocessed carbs!
~grab and go and enjoy :-)

Stay tuned :-)
Wow hey everyone!! Things have been super crazy lately so sorry I have been a little MIA!

I hope you all (all who celebrate) had a great Easter or Passover holiday! I wish I had some delicious food pictures of our dinner for you but sadly our oven broke (on the bake function) and we had no way to actually cook dinner the whole way!  Luckily we figured it out Saturday and ended up going to get a Boston Market ham, which was delish but I was so bummed I didn't get to make my Pap's recipe! But thanks to my lovely boyfriend we really made the best of it and just enjoyed the day together. Easter isn't a big "gift" holiday for us so we agreed to no gifts and guess who was actually tricked this year! Yup, me! Mike ended up making me a big basket of chocolate with a gift certificate for my fish for our saltwater tank (not sure if you know but I am SUPER excited and obsessed with the tank. I would really love to get a lion fish...side not, not important but maybe one day!).

The weird thing about all of this is remember how I mentioned I was sick? Well weirdly enough it keeps coming back! We think it might not be the flu anymore but might be something else we keep passing back and forth because we keep getting it at exactly the same time and same symptoms!! So that came back Sunday evening but I pretty much just decided to not deal with it because I'm sooooo over being sick! That and a little ibuprofen did the trick!

So why have I been so MIA? WELLLLLLLL.... *DRUM ROLL PLEASE*

Well I can finally announce it as of next week I will be full time personal trainer/fitness coach/nutrition consultant! I'll fill you in on how I did it but I am so thrilled to say that I hit my big goal for 2013 "to be a full time fitness professional" in 3 months!! I'll explain how in a couple posts :-)

While I am so sad to leave my work friends I know that I will still see them and this is a really smart move...even if it is such a tough one. In the words of Adele "who would've known how bittersweet...this would be"? From the bottom of my heart I love my friends and all that I have gained from my job but I am just so excited to fully dedicating myself to my passion!!

Coming soon this week...end of Bulk Phase of Body Beast and then on to leaning...stay tuned for the results :-)

Happy Monday!! I hope your weekend was just wonderful :-) I am just a big ball of amazement to be honest...Mine was just what I needed and so wonderful! The only kicker is with this bulking plan (2 weeks left!!) I have gotten a lot more lenient on weekends and "treats" on what is okay because in my mind when I lean out I won't be able to have those etc etc. The whole purpose of bulking is just to put on as much muscle and as little fat as possible and I am sure I have put on a small touch of fat but that is okay I expect it but I need to reign in my eating some!

Any ways more on that in a little bit! We went to see my main man Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen....OMG! I was in love with that li'l Scottish man before but NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow! It was a really great movie and I highly recommend it!

oh and also check out these guys!!
We got to add some fish to our saltwater aquarium finally and planned out what we will get next!! I am so psyched for it! I really do think doing things together brings couples much closer so I'm thankful we get to do this.

Just in case you are wondering: we have a 60 gal saltwater tank and to start cycling it through we have 2 fire gobies, 2 clown fish (1 saddleback and 1 maroon), and 3 blue damsels. In 2 weeks we are adding more :-)

But enough about the weekend here is my update for Body Beast and what my plan is to reign in my eating!

Alrighty, so I am in week 8 with 1 week left to go until the leaning out starts so I really need to make sure I take my supplements, eat enough CLEAN foods, and get plenty of sleep. The sleep thing is really my biggest snag because I get 6-7 hours but I really feel my best when I get 7-8 but there are just not enough hours in the day for that! So I will be tackling something I have some more control eating.

I already know I am crushing my work outs, I do those 6 days a week without missing (unless I am sick, I have one back work out to throw onto the end of the bulk phase that I missed but otherwise no missed work outs).

The plan:
I will be running a group to help me stay on track, a free group that I will work with to keep all of us where we need to go. Clean eating, recipes, meal help, work outs, accountability, and fun stuff (Also I just bought some prizes!!).

If you are interested in joining me just send me an email and we will get started with operation swim suit!

Happy Monday!

TGIF! I cannot express just how excited I am right now to actually be on the verge of the weekend! I  just need a break...more so mentally and just some more sleep! Things are pretty crazy right now so I have been a little more careful to make sure I get plenty of sleep and rest so I don't make myself sick again (Or I am at least trying)!! It's really tough when you are burning the candle at both ends so to speak but I know for my health I absolutely must take those times. Being sick was really an awful way to spend a day off  so last night I went to bed an hour and a half earlier than the usual and honestly while a little tired, I feel rested and relieved today!! Just like you need to restart your computer, sleep does that for the human body so make sure you get some :-)

Anyways I wanted to go through some time management stuff today because the biggest kick I hear lately is I don't have time and a lot of variations of that!

Ways to "find" time in the day to be healthy:
~First let me tell won't find time for things. There are always a million things that need done and until you decide your health, workouts, and body are important there won't be time. You see, we are a really busy people these days, constantly connected and never just taking time. So step number one make it a priority "no matter what comes up today I will work out"

~Schedule the time just like a doctor's appointment or a meeting with your boss. This time is mandatory and actually fun!! It's just for you and you deserve it!

~Stay active all day. Take the stairs, park further away from the store, get up every half hour to stretch and move.

~If you do not have a lot of time squeeze in a mini-work out! Something is always better than nothing!!

Here is one in case you are ever in a pinch!

Equipment free work out:
Speed squats- 50 reps
tricep dips on floor- 40 reps
walking lunges- 50 reps
x jacks- 20 reps
x push ups- 20 reps
russian twists- 40 reps
1 min plank (3x)

repeat 2x!

Happy Friday!

So tell me what do you do to find the time to exercise?
Happy Tuesday! So how was the weekend for you? My favorite are the weekends you don't have much to do but just relax and watch movies...and guess what that is what I did all day Sunday. It was unplanned but it worked!

I do like my weekends to relax but I must say personal training is so rewarding it is so worth it to work with clients when they want to!! So I had a couple of sessions to kick of the weekend. I don't know I am Irish but St. Patty's has never really been a big "holiday" for me so I just enjoyed some sushi instead :-)
But hey what's a girl to do? I wouldn't say Mike and I are much of night owls really (I mean come on I pass out at 10 and could easily go earlier!!) but we stayed up Saturday to finish putting together the masterpiece that will soon turn into our saltwater reef tank and the cat's palace,as I like to call it!!
Did I mention this thing is 6 feet tall and Mike built it entirely? Pretty sweet and the boys love it!

We ended Saturday with some amazing sushi!!! I swear I could eat this every day!!
I think I have been over doing it thought with work stuff lately because weirdly in the middle of the night I woke up and my entire body hurt, not like skin pain from a sun burn but like my whole body! Every way I turned I was just so sudden. So unplanned Sunday rest day happened!

I think that between the time change and all the extras I have been taking on lately my body had just had it's fill! I took days off from a planned work out Friday and Saturday too because I have just been so exhausted!!

Now with addressing rest...
In every good training plan there is at least 1 rest day per cycle. A rest day doesn't have to mean doing nothing at all (for me it did on Sunday) but usually I will do more active rest days. So maybe doing some light yoga or doing something not in my work out calendar like a round of tennis or a light jog. Something to just keep moving, heck even a long day of shopping can do the trick ;-)

Not taking rest days can really cause problems and you begin to get into over training. Over training is just that, doing more than your body can handle and you are prone to injury and fatigue! The key is really to listen to your body. I did and I am really starting to feel better! My biggest obstacle is just making sure I get enough rest, that is my biggest hurdle at the moment!

How do you know if you are over training?
~extreme fatigue
~the last time you took a rest day? ha when was that?
~you are constantly tired
~you are constantly sore
~you do not ever look forward to working out but you used to
~you keep getting injuries
~you stopped getting results (can sometimes be a plateau but commonly it is also over doing it!)

Solution? About ever 12 weeks I like to take a full week off and just let my body take some time. This really helps me mentally reconnect and gives my body the time it needs too!

so how often do you take rest days?

Caffeine has its perks but it also has some potential side effects.  So when should you consider cutting back on your caffeine intake?

Well, for most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 milligrams (mg), or about two to four cups of brewed coffee, a day isn’t harmful.  However, daily caffeine use of more than 500 to 600 mg a day, may cause the following side effects:  Insomnia, Nervousness, Restlessness,  Irritability, Stomach upset, Fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors.  If you experience 2 or more of these symptoms for an extended period of time, it may be time to limit, or even eliminate caffeine from your daily routine.  For more information on the effects of caffeine, check out: