Month: January 2016

Total Body Workout in 30 Minutes for Fitness Friday!

In honor of the impending blizzard, I wanted to share a total body workout I created for my group fitness classes!

Back in December, when it was mild, sunny and snow was no where in sight, we played the Snowman Challenge in my Strictly Strength class at Life Time Fitness.


After each set of exercises, we earned a body part to our snowman.  In 30 minutes, we were able to go through four sets and complete four snowmen!!  It was a killer workout, hitting every major muscle group and it was FUN!


I wrote out a plan that you can do at home with minimal equipment – in 30 minutes!  Even better, you can break it down into sets, so if time is crunched, you can work through what you can and still get a burn.


Here are some tips to maximize this total body workout!

  • Add as much or little weight to make the moves challenging.  For example, you can hold one weight “goblet” style for your sumo or you can load up two dumbbells at your shoulders.
  • You can do a forearm plank, high plank, add thigh taps to your plank, etc., to make it more interesting! Just keep your awesome plank form – squeeze your glutes, inner thighs, pull your belly up and keep a nice straight line (drop the butts! drop the butts!)
  • Add weight to your glute bridges by holding a dumbbell on your hips.  Raise those hips to ceiling and squeeze your glutes at the top!
  • Try varying your bicep curls by only coming halfway up, halfway down (to 90 degrees), doing wide curls or hammer curls.  Keep it consistent for set of 10 but have fun with each round.

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Questions on the moves? Need help with form or modifications?  Let’s talk!  Leave a comment or email me at

Supermom: The Secret on How to Do It All

“How do you do it?”

A sentence that makes most moms – moms of many, working moms, pretty much all moms – cringe.

Cringe…because I’d have to reveal my “great” secret.

*chuckle* “Caffeine and alcohol, haha……but really though….I don’t know….I just do it.”

Yesterday I posted on my personal Facebook page about a particularly kickass morning I had – me.

Personally.  Selfishly.


I’m not a Supermom…or a super anything really.  I had a really great morning for ME yesterday. One snapshot in the collage of our typical week.

But, yesterday, the dishes were piled in the sink.  And the laundry was mountains high, clean but unfolded and on a chair in the family room. Another snapshot in the collage.

Today, I’m not going to have the same kick ass “YAY, ME” morning.  I’m going to yoga to get my brief zen on and then I’m going to come home, tackle those dishes, fold that laundry and take care of the two pee-soaked piles of bedding from not one, but two kids who uncharacteristically wet their beds last night.  More snapshots in the collage.

Much less badass.  Much more “boring mom stuff”.

But if it were ALL boring mom stuff or ALL badassery, there would be no balance.  No moments of self-congratulation for an awesome workout in spite of being tired all the time (but NO ONE knows that, its our secret, k?) to juxtapose with the less glamorous moments cleaning up a poop accident from a stubborn mostly-potty-trained 2.5 year old and the proud moments of cheer competitions and hockey games.

All moments captured in the collage.


That’s the real life, the behind-the-scenes of every perceived “Supermom” out there.  For the things we are succeeding in, kicking ass and taking names in one day, there are at least 3 or 4 things at any given moment that are messy and imperfect. I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary but simply trying to maintain a balance that creates *our* own ordinary, our collage, our picture-imperfectly-perfect life.

So, how DO I do it all?

I don’t.  Just one thing, one breath, one moment at a time, that results in one beautiful collage with highs, lows, messy and immaculate, happy and not-so-happy moments of my very ordinary and special life.

No super powers necessary.

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Goal Setting & Goal Getting

I posted this on my personal Facebook page yesterday and decided to share it here.  At the end of the day, you need to be a goal getter.  Now is YOUR time!  Enjoy!

Confession (and long post alert)…I can be a little impulsive. An impulsive spender, quick to make decisions about things that most people would take weeks or months to decide. Conversely, going to a restaurant with a big menu is my personal nightmare. But the big stuff, I’m good.

Unsolicited advice coming…if there is SOME DREAM, any GOAL you have, and the opportunity presents itself, TAKE IT. Don’t think, blink or pause. Take it. Say yes. Act first when your gut is like, SCREAMING, “OMFG, I HAVE TO DO THAT” and hash out the details later. You’ll figure it out.

10 years ago (when I was….15. Right. Ha.), I had the opportunity to do a Yoga Teacher Training. And I wanted to SO BADLY but had reasons (excuses?) why I couldn’t. And I wanted to go back to school for exercise science, SO BADLY. But things happened. But, but, but.


Last month, Alexander Schimmel posted that he would be leading a local LifePower Yoga Teacher Training. I’m pretty sure I messaged him within minutes, mind already made up.

Without knowing price. Or times. Just that I HAD to do it. Mind. Made. Up.

Is this the right time? Nope. Is it “perfect timing”? Sure is. I have way way more on my plate right now than I did when I was 15 (not letting that joke go. lol.) and this may literally require hiring a part time nanny for a brief period.


But I’m not letting anymore opportunities go by, things that I want to do, things that will make be a better person, wife, mom and friend.

So, whether its a New Year’s resolution, if that’s what makes you tick, or just a goal you have, go after it, without thinking, because the time will never necessarily be right or perfect.

*mic drop*

(Pic is not a perfect pose, or perfectly executed. But it felt good, so that’s what I did. See? If it feels good, or its going to feel good, JUST DOOOOOOO IT.)

If you have a fitness or health goal you want to talk about or want to know more about flexible dieting, use this form to contact me.  I’ll respond within 24 hours and I will get to know you, your goals, your intentions and we can create a plan that works for you.

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Activity Tracker Reviews!


Over the past 2 years, I’ve tried a lot of different technology, a lot of different fitness and activity trackers.  In this post, I’ll go over what I’ve tried in order to help you find the best tracker for your needs!

While this is not an exhaustive review of all the activity trackers on the market, it is a jumping off point if you are overwhelmed by the options!


So, this isn’t so much HOW to choose a tracker, but rather look over the features and my pros and cons of each device.  Depending on your fitness level, how much data you need want, whether or not the app is a “one stop” shop, will determine which option is best for you!

And we’re off….

Polar FT4 (or any base model Polar HRM)

(Note: The Polar webstore does not appear to carry or promote the base model HRMs anymore, however they are still available on Amazon.)

Ah, the old Polar heart rate monitor (or HRM, for short).  A tried and true staple for any cardio junkie, casual runner and group fit participant.

Who is it for?

Anyone needing bare bones data points.  No frills.

How does it work?

Calculates heart rate via chest strap sensor (included) paired with a sporty watch (included).

The Polar base models typically give you “just the facts, ma’am” in terms on data but if you are looking for heart rate and calories burned, this cost effective option is well worth it.

What apps do I need?

None to use it strictly as an HRM.


  • Simplicity.  Put the chest strap on, pair it to the watch and workout.  That’s it.
  • Accurate numbers regarding calorie burn since the technology is based on the chest strap sensor, the old school but most typically reliable method.


  • Doesn’t count steps or track daily activity (leaving the strap on all day doesn’t accurately track activity).
  • Not a lot of numbers for the data junkies.

Price: From $45 & up from Amazon

Polar Loop

(I owned the original Polar Loop.  Since then, they have released the Loop 2, which includes more non-fitness features, like smartphone notifications. Further, they’ve released the A300 which is a full activity tracker, at a higher price point.)

The Polar Loop was my very first activity tracker.  I have a history of being a notorious early adopter and pre-ordered it when it first came out.

Who is it for?

Polar HRM users, fitness “newbies” and enthusiasts alike.

How does it work?

By monitoring the intensity of your movements, the Loop “knows” what you’ve been doing…and not doing, for that matter.  You can track workouts right on the Loop but for more accurate heart rate info, you can  pair it to a Polar Bluetooth chest strap (sold separately).

What apps do I need?

It syncs your daily data with the Polar Flow app/site.


  • For the die hard HRM users, the ability to pair with a chest strap is a giant bonus.
  • Standard activity monitor features (sleep tracking, step counting, etc.) plus message and call alerts.
  • Several colors available in Loop 2 release plus a more streamlined design compared to original Loop.
  • More data than a standard HRM.


  • Hardware has a not-so-contemporary LED display.
  • Activity tracking technology did not accurately track pushing a shopping cart or stroller.
  • Pairing to the HRM occasionally required several tries.

Price: $100 on Amazon

Jawbone Up3

Another pre-order early adoption, the Jawbone Up3 delivered with one of the best sleep trackers of all the wearables I’ve tried!

Who is it for?

People of all fitness levels who like having the simplicity of ONE app to log workouts, food, daily activity and sleep.

How does it work?

By combining motion analysis with an accelerometer (similar technology behind the Polar Loop) and a skin sensor that detects temperature, to calculate your Resting Heart Rate – which in turn is used in its proprietary algorithms to come up with all your data points – calories burned, steps, daily activity and sleep analysis.

What apps do I need?

The Jawbone Up app is a one stop place for tracking everything, however, it will sync with other apps, like My Fitness Pal.


  • Sleek and the least “watch” looking of the wearables I tried. More like a bracelet in feel and style.
  • One app for all the data.
  • Awesome sleep analysis.


  • At time of testing, the step count was under reporting my stroller pushing/grocery cart pushing steps. My step counts were significantly lower than my husband’s, in spite of being on my feet nearly all day long.
  • If you like wearing a watch, you’ll need to wear an actual watch since the Up has no LED display or otherwise.

Price: $118-145 on Amazon

Fitbit Surge

The big name in activity trackers, the Surge didn’t disappoint! Bells and whistles galore (like message and call notifications), heart rate monitoring and GPS plus the reliability of the Fitbit app.

Who is it for?

Any level of fitness enthusiast! Casual runners will also like this for its built in GPS.

How does it work?

Using accelerometer (motion sensing) technology plus a heart rate sensor in the watch (detected on your wrist), the Surge gives you steps, activity, calories burned, stairs climbed – all the data you need to assess your activity.

What apps do I need?

The Fitbit app is a one stop shop that includes food tracking as well but the device will sync to My Fitness Pal too.


  • Reliability of the Fitbit name.
  • Frequent updates (e.g. step sensitivity was updated just after I purchased mine and stroller/grocery cart pushing was much more accurate) to the firmware.
  • Tracking workouts and runs right on the device was a push of a button.
  • Bells and whistles like message notifications and GPS, plus the fun friend challenges in the Fitbit app.


  • Not the prettiest wearable.  Somewhat industrial looking, with a thick black band and large face.
  • Heart rate tracking was not consistent.  Steady state cardio was tracked accurately but high intensity intervals were often missed, due to the wrist placement of the heart rate sensor.  Calories burned numbers were usually off for HIIT and other interval group fit classes, compared to the Polar HRM comparison when I wore both.

Price: $199-$249 on Amazon

Apple Watch

My current wearable, and probably the most widely debated – is it a smart watch? Is it an activity tracker?  I’ve been wearing it for 2 months and yes, it is both!  That said, in order to maximize your activity tracking and workouts, you will need to use some apps to get the best data.  This device needs it own blog post due to the nuances of different apps and features but I’ll break down the basics as best I can!

Who is it for?

“Apple people.”

How does it work?

Well, its Apple, so…magic! Kidding.  It uses a several technologies, from motion sensing to heart rate monitoring.  The data is synced from the watch to your iPhone and that’s it.

What apps do I need?

Apple Watch includes the Activity app – which also syncs with that mysterious “Health” app (which in my opinion, is cumbersome and it is not a go-to app for me). That said, there’s an entire Apple Watch store within iTunes, to pair with your watch, fitness and non-fitness related.  Depending on what you are using it for, there’s probably an app for it.


  • Modern looking and more like a watch, than a sports watch or activity tracker.
  • Ability to pair with a heart rate strap (but you’ll need to find the app best for you – I use MotiFit and a Scosche RHYTHM forearm HRM).
  • Apple lovers will geek over the features.


  • Not for the non-Apple user.
  • You may find yourself looking for other apps, besides the built in Workout function.
  • If you want to go for a run and track pace and distance, you’ll *likely* need to bring your phone with you.  There are a few running apps that will sync but you’ll need to read the FAQs to make sure that the app and watch will do what you want it to do.

Price: From $297 on Amazon; limited to size and color option avaialbility


I was a very early adopter of this technology, from when I saw the announcement on IndieGogo.  I waited a long time while production kinks were sorted out and software updates were released.

Who its for: People who have patience with new technology and products and see potential!

How it works:

Between its wristband and optional footpod, the Amiigo uses technology that recognizes motion as well as tracking steps to assess activity level.

What apps do I need:

At time of review, there was an Amiigo app that tracked activity, workouts and sleep.


  • Small company with big ideas and desire to improve the landscape of activity trackers.
  • Footpod option was great for tracking steps when my “hands were full” or pushing strollers and carts.
  • Ability to “program” your own workouts, even weight lifting, by manually adding your moves and calibrating them with the tracker so they are automatically detected.


  • New tech and small company = more kinks and bugs. I personally lacked patience to wait for the updates and moved on from this device.
  • Calibrating my own workouts was time consuming.

Price: Currently not available for purchase.

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So there you have it – a quick and dirty overview of a few of the activity trackers out there. Check back for a comparison chart for a snapshot of features!