Diving into 2017 with the “New Year, New Me” mentality is a great way to hit the refresh button this month. While I think it is important to set new goals, there were a few successful practices from 2016 that worked for me. I hope that they too can help you achieve all of your wellness intentions for 2017.
At the start of each week, I diligently schedule in time for meal prep and workouts. I prefer to dedicate about 1-2 hours on a Sunday or Monday in the kitchen for meal prep. As for my training schedule, I find that a split routine is effective because I can train all parts of the body and mix in cardio. Here is an example of a 5-day training schedule.
Monday – back, biceps, glutes
Tuesday – legs, cardio
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – core, HIIT
Friday - cardio (boxing)
Saturday – rest
Sunday – chest, shoulders, triceps
Monday – core, HIIT
As a person who loves to plan, I also have to constantly remind myself that life doesn’t always work out perfectly. Being flexible with your training schedule doesn’t mean you won’t do it, it just means you will do it another day. Can’t train after work? Wake up earlier the next day to get it done.
All of last year I made sure to get one massage a month. That was my opportunity to soothe my sore muscles and ground myself. Shout out to Massage Envy in Rego Park! Ask for Jagpreet; she does wonders for your mind and body. Additionally, learning self-care techniques such as foam rolling and Epsom salt baths are perfect for scheduled rest days. Don't neglect the mind as well! Download the meditations app Buddhify; you can select a mediation based on how you are feeling or what you are doing.
I am writing this post to simplify the art of meal prep. The point of meal prep is to have a few staple foods on hand, already made, so that healthy eating becomes a lifestyle. Here are a few no-brainer guidelines for a successful week in healthy meals.
Create a shopping list that contains 1-3 items of preferred carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats.
Go shopping… and avoid the bakery section.
Cook all vegetables and proteins with coconut or olive oil with light spices (easy on the salt). Use whatever method of cooking works best as long as it’s not going into a deep fryer.
Pack away cooked food in Tupperware.
You have two options. Option 1 is to pack a whole week of meals ahead of time for easy grab and go throughout the week. Option 2 is to pack your meals the night before or morning of based on what you are craving.
Now let’s put it all together…
I know you are already feeling enthusiastic about this, but before you go you must know that portion control is another critical part of the meal prep process. As a disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist or a dietician so I can only share with you my trial and errors. I usually look on nutrition labels for the correct serving size. However, if you are unsure here are some recommendations.
The Three Important Takeaways
Ta...what?! It's pronounced Ta-Bah-Ta -- a.k.a. my current high intensity training obsession. Tabata technique is simple and time efficient. All you need is a timer, 4 cardio strength moves of choice, and a shot of espresso! Pick an exercise, go hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and repeat...for 8 rounds; that's one circuit of 4 minutes. Rest 1 minute before going into the next circuit. You'll be done in 20 minutes. I've got you covered with 4 dynamic moves to get you started!
Lateral Bear Crawl to Deep Squat
Place hands on the ground, with wrists below the shoulders while toes are on the ground (bear stance). Knees should hover off the floor. Walk to the left in a lateral fashion three paces and quickly come up into a deep squat, then return to bear stance. Repeat going to the right.
Starting in a plank position, alternate bringing knees to chest as fast as possible!
Shuffle laterally 3 paces to the right and touch the ground, come up, and shuffle to the left, again touching the ground. Up for a challenge? Swap out the ground touch down for an explosive jump.
Starting in a squat position, jump as far as you can forward and land softly in a squat. Spin 180 degrees and repeat. Crank it up by adding in a jump or sprawl at the end of your jump!
In a class of about 12 people, we all faced the mirror to imitate the instructor. Halfway through the warm-up I really was starting to feel like a ballerina! Coordination was definitely a requirement for this class.
The majority of the class was spent incorporating total body exercises that focused on slow and controlled movements. We all strapped on ankle weights and grabbed a pair of light dumbbells along with a step. At one point, the instructor had us do a narrow squat on the step, then step one foot down for a wide squat. As we stepped down for the wide squat, we pushed the weights out and back at chest level.
I mostly appreciated the last portion, which was an intense booty burn sequence on the mat. Even though this class was not my usual heavybag hitting, weight lifting training, it inspired me to take mental note to incorporate some of these smaller movement for my next sweat session.
FitBit Stats: 60 minutes, 282 calories burned, 136 av. BPM, 22 min cardio & 26 min fat burn
Fhitting Room is a studio that specializes in high intensity interval training. Straight from the warm up to the cool down your heart rate is pumping! You go through circuits of 4 minutes 45 seconds which are broken up into 45 seconds of intense work and 15 seconds of rest. Believe me when I say you will be counting down until that rest. At times I felt comfortable with my performance and at others I had to give myself a little pep talk which mostly consisted of, "You got this!" The energy of my instructor reminded me what I was doing this for: me! By the end you will have utilized every part of your body and you'll feel empowered by what you've just done.
Here's a sneak peek into what you might encounter: rowing machines, suspension training, medicine balls, and kettebells (Fhitting Room's fave, have you seen their logo?).
At $38 a pop not a dollar is wasted... after your first class you'll be offered a 2 for 1 special, can I get a holla?!
I recently took a business trip to Lodi, California to schmooze with the wonderful community of wine bloggers. Knowing that it would be a whirlwind wino weekend, I wanted to be prepared and maintain a level of wellness. Here are a few of my tips to keep you on track for your next trip!
The Week Before
During a mental break at work or right before bed, start planning out the things you’ll need for your trip. Make a simple list to organize what clothes, accessories, toiletries and entertainment to bring. Pull out your suitcase and start laying out possible outfits and necessities. Yes, foam roller and massage balls counts as a necessity!
The Night Of
Pour yourself a glass of water and drop in an emergen-c or airborne for an immune system boost. While you are sipping on your antioxidant fix, throw on a clarifying facial mask. My favorite is Kiehl’s Deep Pore Cleansing Masque with Amazonian White Clay. The evening before your trip should be a final headcount of all the things you need. Don’t forget to pack the fitness essentials such as a handheld refillable water bottle, headphones, workout clothes, sneakers and fitness tracker. Immunity boost, check! Fresh face, check! Fitness items, check!
It's music to my ears when the people I am training say they feel the burn in their butts! Your glutes are a big powerhouse muscle. They are the primary drivers for squats, lunges and deadlifts. I highly recommend 'waking up' the glutes before a hefty leg day workout. Here are a few of my favorite activation exercises.
Side Knee Plank
Lying on your side, push up through your knee and forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder, creating a 90 degree angle. Your hips should be facing forward. Envision squeezing a dollar bill between your butt cheeks ;) Dolla Dolla Bill Ya’ll!
Single Leg Bridge Oblique Crunch
Starting in a single leg bridge, hover the other leg off the ground a few inches, dumbbell in opposite hand (also a couple of inches off the ground). Maintaining the single leg bridge, bring the dumbbell and straight leg to touch in the middle. This move works the obliques, glutes, and challenges your stability and coordination.
Lateral Band Walks
Place a resistance band around both your ankles. Sit back into a squat and get low! Take one step to the right and then to the left; that’s one rep. Make sure you keep your chest up and continue to sit low in that squat.
Now you’re ready to drop it like it’s hot!
Let’s be honest. Push-ups can be hard, but they are not impossible! In order to perform a standard push-up, you will need to incorporate shoulder stability exercises and work your way down to the floor. Whether you’ve fallen on your face in attempts or can only do a few, here are my favorite training methods to help you achieve the perfect push-up.
Resistance Band Pull Apart
Using a medium-heavy resistance band, hold either end out in front of your chest. Keeping your elbows with a slight bend, pull the bands apart as far as you can go. Make sure to hug your elbows close to the body and don’t let them flair out. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.
This move is great as a warm-up exercise to engage the chest muscles or super-set it with a secondary strength exercise such as dumbbell chest presses.
Starting in a plank position, alternate shoulder taps at a pace that is slow but controlled. Be conscious of your core, keeping it engaged the whole time so that your body sways very little. Aim for 3 sets of 12 reps (two shoulder taps equal 1 rep).
Plank taps are a great addition to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.
If you are unable to do a full push-up on the ground, start with wall push-ups and work your way down to the floor. 3 sets of 12.
Once you master the wall push-up, progress to a table, bench, box and then eventually to the floor.
During the 50 minute workout we worked our legs, booty, core, and arms to the max! This experience is all about mind and body working together in order to maintain balance and perform the moves without tumbling off your platform. By the first 5 minutes I was dripping with sweat and had to keep reminding myself to pay attention. There's certainly no time for wondering what's for dinner.
Overall, my experience was great. It reminded me how strong I am becoming, but at the same time made me realize progression is a continuous journey. It's the morning after and every step I take is a reminder of how hard I worked during those 50 minutes. Ahh sweet muscle soreness.
If you'd like to try SLT for yourself the first class is $20.
Boutique Fitness Corespondent
When she's not breaking a sweat at one of NYC's trendiest fit spots, Nicole manages her own chic fashion blog, Chucks to Pumps. She enjoys leisurely afternoons with her pup Lola, outdoor reading at the piers, and Almond Joy iced coffees.