Taking the New Year to the Next Level!

Another wonderful year on Earth has passed us, bringing with it a variety of people, places, experiences, emotions and opportunities.  Thinking back to NYE 1999 when everyone was afraid all the computers would crash at midnight, makes the year 2014 sound very futuristic.  The thought of my children one day being amazed at the fact that mommy and daddy were born in the 1900s is also quite hysterical.  Needless to say, time flies whether you’re having fun or not. So why not just have fun? Be your best this year by setting goals and working diligently to achieve them, treasure the time you spend with family and friends, count your blessings and make everything you can – make out, make dinner, make fun of yourself, make amends, make money just don’t make EXCUSES.  The new year comes with a fresh opportunity to start anew – new job, new attitude, new body, new home, new you. The choice is yours but the time to start is absolutely  NOW.

So, as the days pass on and the excitement of the new year fades, life sets in and we all return to the grind, never lose sight of your resolutions and goals for the year.  Make sure you have a constant reminder of your dreams whether it be in the form of a picture, a mantra or an item that acts as a symbol (bracelet/stone etc).  We all try our very best to keep the promises we’ve made to ourselves but inevitably, as humans, we will falter at times.  The important thing is to resist the urge to beat yourself up and just get right back into the swing of things.  Slip up for a moment but don’t hesitate and whatever you do – don’t give up.  Enjoy the ride whether it’s a Bentley or the Griswold’s family station wagon; Attitude is Everything!


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The Power of Personal Training

Pass by your local gym just about any time of day and you are bound to see many members visiting the facility.  The fitness craze in America has hit an all-time high and gym memberships are on the rise.  Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is getting fit.  There are many types of gym members including:

  • Members that attend regularly, work out hard, understand their body and know how to train to achieve their desired results (these people make up an extremely small percentage of members)
  • Members that are generally fit but only know a few exercises, performing them over and over again, week after week with zero transformation
  • Members that sign up, pay and don’t show (you won’t see these people – they are too busy to be healthy) LOL
  • Members that are anxious to get fit and attempt techniques that are challenging, they execute moves with terrible form and are very close to inflicting injury upon themselves due to ignorance.  *Please stop performing lat pulldowns behind your neck with your cervical spine flexed – unless of course you are trying to break your neck.  OUCH
  • Members that go for the social scene – that creepy guy that won’t take his eyes off your assets (and every other woman’s); the girl that stretches in yoga & pilates and only eats salads in hopes of one day finding the perfect sugar daddy at the gym. YIKES
  • Members that are retired, laid-off or housewives that are just there to pass the time – please stop passing the time on my bench. I am really training over here. Thank you 😉
  • And last but not least, the dreaded copycat gym-goer that follows those around the gym who actually know what they are doing, mimicking their every move.  Please do not be this person it’s extremely obnoxious and borderline stalker.  OMG STOP!

Forgive me if I’ve forgotten a particular type of member (feel free to insert your own in the comments).

So, it’s time to face the music. What type of gym member are you?  It’s ok, you don’t have to admit it to me or anyone else.  Admitting to yourself that you have a problem is the first step to recovery… Just kidding.  The fact of the matter is all of these members listed above, with the exception of the first, need guidance and could benefit tremendously from a knowledgeable personal trainer.  Whether or not your motivation to join the gym was fueled by a desire to get fit, please remember you are paying for this membership every month possibly for the next 1-2 years.  Why not realize your full potential and make the most of what the facility has to offer?  Oftentimes a lack of understanding comes into play or perhaps a lack of motivation or intimidation.  This is where the power of personal training is invaluable.  Yes, it costs extra and yes it requires a commitment.  Unlike a regular gym membership, you must show up to your scheduled personal training sessions.  You are accountable to your trainer and he or she may inquire about your diet and cardio routine.  Don’t just join the gym, own the gym.  While you are there spending your precious, short-lived free time make the most of it. Enlist the expertise of a personal trainer and watch your physique transform and your health and happiness flourish!  Get started now! Call (201) 370-1710


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Healthy, Happy Comfort Food ~ Italian Style

The morning air feels crisp and fresh while the evenings are dark and brisk.  We are slowly but surely moving into the season of warm, comfort foods.  When we think of comfort food we often visualize heavy sauces, meats, breads and cheeses. Yet, delicious, warm meals can also be clean and healthy.  It all depends on what you add to the dish.  My favorite comfort foods generally fall into the category of Italian cuisine. I suppose these dishes remind me of my youth when the whole family would join for dinner on Sunday afternoon at my Nan’s house in Jersey City….what I would give to taste one of her signature Sicilian meatballs again!

Another staple found in many Italian cookbooks, as well as up and down Mulberry Street during the Feast of San Gennaro, is Sausage and Peppers.  This classic, hearty dish is loaded with flavor but also full of calories and fat.  So I created this healthy version for you by swapping out the traditional pork sausage with lean chicken sausage and cooking the meat on the grill rather than pan frying it.  You can enjoy this dish during the Fall & Winter season of comfort food without having to compromise your fitness efforts.
Buon Appetito!


1 Package Premio Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage
2 Red Bell Peppers – Stems and Seeds Removed, Sliced Thin
2 Green Bell Peppers – Stems and Seeds Removed, Sliced Thin
1 Yellow Onion, Sliced Thin
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Fennel (optional)

Heat a grill pan to medium-high temperature. Add 3 tablespoons water and place chicken sausage links in the pan. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking for 10 minutes, turning the links often until each side is golden brown.

Meanwhile, spray a separate skillet with light cooking oil and heat to medium-high temperature. Add minced garlic, sliced onions and peppers. Saute and stir often until peppers and onion are tender (approximately 15-20 minutes), adding water as needed.

Once sausage is fully cooked, remove from heat, slice into bite-sized rounds and add to skillet. Sprinkle dish with dried herbs, red pepper flakes and ground fennel. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring to combine flavors. Spoon onto dinner plates and mangia!


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Fit Life or Bust

I’d like to start this post with a sincere apology; I realize I’ve been M.I.A. all summer. Fortunately I’ve spent 90% of my days killin’ it in the gym rather than sitting sedentary on the computer. If only I could find a way to blog via iPad while doing walking lunges. Needless to say, this season has been amazing for me – I moved into an incredible new pad and my independent personal training business is absolutely booming. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work with a multitude of clients each with unique goals and varying degrees of experience. Whether you are a new mom looking to shed the baby weight, an athlete looking to add strength and perform better or you are simply ready to devote some much-deserved time to yourself, your health and your body, then you’ve come to the right place because my greatest passion in life is helping people realize their potential and achieve their dream physique.

So are you currently living the “fit life”? If your answer is no then I must ask – WHY NOT? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? (yes that was in all caps because I am totally yelling) You were given one body and you are destined to wear that body all day, every day until your last day. Why wouldn’t you make the time and find the money to invest in your health? Remember when you cleared your schedule to spend 3 hours sitting in the salon and shelled out $300 for those fabulous, fast-fade highlights? You could have begun a series of personal training sessions and been well on your way to looking much better than any warm, honey-caramel hombre hairstyle your colorist coaxed you into. Each person has a different set of priorities and people train for various reasons and for many its vanity. They want to look good in that short dress or skinny jeans. No matter what you determine as your reason for living the fit life, it all boils down to health. The fact is that strength training combined with a clean diet will boost your metabolism, increase your bone density and improve your immune system ultimately enhancing your vitality and quality of life.

So what exactly does it mean to live the fit life?  Well it doesn’t necessarily mean working out with a fitness trainer forever.  Although I have a few dear clients who have worked with me for a long time and every day they look in the mirror and can truly see and feel the results of their undying efforts.  The bottom line here is that we all have busy lives which may include school, work, kids, cooking, laundry, errands and hopefully some sleep as well.  Finding the time to exercise or simply stay active can be very challenging especially in today’s anti-DIY society.  People rarely clean their own homes anymore and now we no longer have to do our own laundry or purchase our own groceries.  Everything can be done from the computer or couch.  Yikes!  This is definitely not the fit life.  The fit life (if you are physically capable) means lifting a case of water out of your trunk and carrying it up your front steps.  Honestly, who needs the gym…just bleach your entire shower and you will have completed endless shoulder front and lateral raises. Hello deltoids! So if you absolutely cannot make it to the gym or can’t afford the expert guidance of a personal trainer, you can still keep active. No excuses. DIY = FIT.  Anything and everything is possible, you just have to want it bad enough and then go get it.  Consistency is key.  You can’t expect to see a true transformation when training a few hours a week yet remaining relatively sedentary the rest of the time.  Also, proper nutrition is crucial.  Sad but true, an hour of intense training will just barely negate that pint of Ben & Jerry’s you devoured because it was buy one get one free.  Damn you ShopRite can can sale! Seriously, we all have our moments, myself included.  Sometimes you just need to indulge in incredible cuisine or skip the gym and hit the spa. Yet, if you live the fit life on a regular basis those slip ups will not be detrimental to your fitness success.  Wish it, dream it, do it.  Fit life or bust!


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Cinco de Guacomole

What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with a clean eating guacamole recipe packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Skip the chips and enjoy it with a vegetable crudite that includes carrots, cucumber, peppers and broccoli.

3 ripe avocados
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic (minced or pressed)
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 lime
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the avocados then, using a potato masher or fork, lightly mix them together with the tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper to suit your taste.


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Stay Fit on Vacation

For many people, booking a vacation provides the necessary inspiration for individuals to embrace the fit life in an effort to achieve a lean and toned beach body. Having that date on your calendar provides a constant reminder and countdown to obtaining your fitness goals. So you spent the last 3 months trekking to the gym at the crack of dawn before the workday began or in the evening when you would have much rather gone straight home from the office to eat dinner and watch the season finale of your favorite reality tv show. In addition, your daily lunch breaks were filled with salads galore while you enviously watched your coworkers nosh on burgers and paninis….and after all that dedication and hard work – you did it! You’re on your way to the airport and feeling better than ever, ready to rock the heck out of that Victoria’s Secret bikini you scored for 20% off. You’re ready to get the party started but why sabotage your newfound fit physique by being lazy and gorging on junk food and booze all week?! It is your vacation and the goal here is to enjoy yourself and indulge a bit but you can easily splurge and have fun for the week without gaining all the weight back that you spent months trying to lose. Here’s how:

EXERCISE – Most hotels have a fitness center on site that includes treadmills, free weights and perhaps other great isolation machines. Take advantage of this and seize the day. Before stepping out to hit the beach or go site-seeing, hit the treadmill for 25-45 minutes of cardio. Make sure the intensity is challenging enough to get your heart rate up and include intervals to torch more fat in less time. For strength training, complete a full body circuit for 3 sets at a rep range of 12-15. If you are using your vacation to escape reality, which many people do, that means you will not step foot in the gym all week. Yet, this doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Participate in a good old game of beach volleyball, rent jet skis, go rock climbing or take a walking tour. These fun-filled vacation activities are a great way to get some cardio in without really thinking about it. Also, walk everywhere you go (shoes permitting) and use a pedometer app on your phone to track your mileage, pace and calories. Walking or running on the beach provides additional resistance and makes your muscles work harder. Don’t forget to engage your core to define those sexy abs!

EAT, DRINK & STAY FIT – For me personally, visiting a warm destination decreases my appetite substantially. Whether it be the fact that I am in a bikini 75% of the time and I don’t have access to my well-stocked kitchen or perhaps it’s the high price of dining out all week (another way frugalness comes in handy), I definitely tend to eat less on vacation. I also find that I eat lighter foods when the weather is hot. Salads, fresh fruit and grilled shrimp are much more appealing and satisfying to me as opposed to heavy, comfort foods like breads, soups and pasta. You are on vacation, so splurge and enjoy. Indulge in a piece of bread before dinner but order the tilapia oreganata and marinated vegetables. When its time to order dessert – do it! That’s what vacations are for and I’m certain the mild climate is making you crave a cool and refreshing treat. Order the sorbet with fresh berries and share it with your travel companion. Sharing is caring and slashes calories in half instantly! Now, what to drink? You may be tempted by that pitcher of sangria or margarita at the table next to you and if you absolutely must, go ahead and order one glass. Ultimately your best bet is to stick to clear alcoholic beverages like premium vodka with club soda and a squeeze of lime. This is a much lower calorie option and is also less likely to induce a nasty hangover in the morning. Red wine contains more calories than vodka but boasts a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol, therefore it’s another healthy option.

REST – Relaxation is most likely one of the top reasons you booked your getaway. Your heart sings at the idea of turning off your annoying alarm clock that regularly wakes you up before sunrise. The absence of your micro-managing boss who hovers over your back while you quickly minimize your Facebook page gives you a sense of true inner peace. Believe it or not, stress and lack of sleep negatively effects your health in many different ways and will absolutely hinder your fitness aspirations. Cortisol, is a hormone that is released throughout your body when you’re sleep deprived and/or stressed out. This nasty hormone makes you store fat, particularly around your midsection. Getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per night and engaging in relaxing activities, whether at home or on vacation will inhibit your body’s production of cortisol therefore enabling you to successfully reach your fitness goals. While traveling, take pleasure in leisurely basking in the sun while the waves gently splash up on shore…all-natural SPF required. Use this time to set your mind free and meditate. At night, watch the sunset from your hotel balcony and give thanks for all of your many blessings…and yes we all have many. Some hotels offer morning yoga on the beach which is an excellent way to reduce stress while increasing flexibility and strength. Being on the water can also be very peaceful so enjoy a sailboat or dinner cruise if possible.

Most importantly, do what truly makes you happy and have a fabulous trip. Once you start to live the fit life you will realize that making healthy choices at mealtime and taking the time to exercise your body is a lifestyle that can and should be maintained in a balanced way all year round. If you do happen to overindulge on vacation, do not beat yourself up over it. Upon your return devise a clear fitness and nutrition plan to keep you on track and email me to schedule an amazing, heart-pumping, body toning workout. Bon Voyage and Be Fit!


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Green Coffee Bean Extract- Myth or Magic Pill?

Last year the Almighty Dr. Oz aired a segment on the latest miracle supplement to hit the shelves: Green Coffee Bean Extract. A study published in the journal on Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity stated that subjects who consumed the supplement lost an average of 17 pounds in 22 weeks by taking it 30 minutes before meals 3x per day without altering their diet or exercise regimen.  Sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Let’s get down to the facts…

Unlike regular coffee which is roasted, raw green coffee beans contain chlorogenic acid which is a naturally occurring chemical that burns glucose – a sugar produced by the consumption of carbohydrates.  In addition, it halts the release of sugar into the bloodstream allowing for a reduction in fat storage.  The extract also contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent numerous chronic ailments including cancer and heart disease.  With that being said there are plenty of good reasons to add green coffee bean extract to your daily supplement plan.  Whether it will actually (miraculously) help you shed substantial amounts of fat without training and clean eating is highly unlikely.  The study I mentioned previously has been ridiculed for using such a small trial group and it’s important to note that it was funded by a supplement manufacturer….Big business at it again – not necessarily for your health but definitely for your money.  I highly recommend that you implement a solid supplementation program to assist you in achieving your fitness goals but if you are looking for that magic pill you will not find it.  The magic begins in your mind.  Believe in yourself and push yourself to take the necessary steps to reach your goal.  Follow these rules and you are destined for success…coffee or no coffee!image

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Fight Fat with Fat

Believe it or not, fat is our best source of fuel and is absolutely crucial to the healthy functioning of our bodies. Dietary fat plays a major role in helping us achieve our weight loss goals. Specifically, fat maximizes our absorption of nutrients, aids in the formation of cells, is vital for proper brain function, regulates body temperature, produces hormones and is necessary for maintaining a strong immune system. So why do so many health conscious people avoid fat like the plague? The truth is that they are grouping all dietary fat into the “bad fat” category. While many fat sources, like French fries and ice cream, deserve this position there are fat sources that have amazing health benefits. The key is to choose the right fats and intake appropriate portions. Below is my list of some of the healthiest fats, just remember to enjoy them in moderation.

Coconut Oil – ability to satiate one’s hunger; rich in lauric acid which aids in weight loss
Avocado – full of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and boost metabolism
Salmon – contains omega-3 fatty acids which allow you to burn more calories and build lean muscle mass
Raw Almonds – helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and is a great source of vitamin E & protein
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – full of polyphenols which can prevent heart disease and cancer
Flaxseed – excellent source of protein and fiber promoting intestinal health and stabilizing blood sugar levels



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Nutritious & Delicious Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations just wouldn’t be the same without enjoying a traditional Irish Soda Bread. Each year, my mother and I bake our secret family recipe passed down by my Great Aunt Marie. Yet, in an effort to stay fit and fab I’ve revamped this recipe adding some whole grains and spice while removing the fat and sugar. Voila! A delicious and wholesome bread to fuel your luckiest day. Enjoy it for breakfast…Top O’ the Mornin to Ya!

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Caraway Seeds
1 Cup Raisins (soaked in water & drained)
2 1/4 Cups Low Fat Buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 450*. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with flour.
2. Mix whole wheat and all-purpose flour, baking soda, nutmeg and sea salt in a bowl then stir in the caraway seeds and raisins. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Stir in a circular motion until all of the flour is incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
3. With floured hands on a floured surface, knead the dough for one minute then pat the dough to create a round, flat shape. Place the loaf on the baking sheet and then with a sharp knife, mark the top with a deep cross. Sprinkle the loaf with a very light dusting of all-purpose flour.
4. Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 400* and bake for 35 minutes more. Place the loaf on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes prior to serving.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Sláinte!


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Banish Cellulite Now

For thin and overweight women alike, cellulite can be a real issue causing dimpled skin on the stomach, legs, booty and arms. Cellulite is basically an uneven distribution of fat within the connective tissues. Many factors affect a person’s predisposition to cellulite including age, sex, skin texture, dehydration, body fat percentage, level of physical activity and genes – so blame your mom now…just kidding. Sad but true, there is no magic cream, pill or laser that will instantly demolish cellulite forever. Yet, if you follow the important tips below you will see a dramatic reduction of cellulite and it’s very likely that you can return to the flawless skin you experienced as a teenager.

  • Weight Training – Builds muscle making skin smooth and firm
  • Cardio Exercise – Burns fat lessening cellulite accumulation
  • Jump Rope/Trampoline – Jumping action assists in lymph drainage
  • Eat Your Fruits & Vegetables + Drink Plenty of Water – Clean eating keeps your body fat low and staying hydrated leads to smooth skin
  • Massage/Dry Brushing Skin – Increases circulation and promotes lymph drainage
  • Coffee Grind Scrub – May reduce fatty skin cells and increases circulation
  • Limit Alcohol, Caffeine & Processed Food Intake – Lowers body fat and lessens toxic build-up within skin
  • Quit Smoking – Reduce your risk of cellulite and cancer by putting out that cigarette now!

For a quick fix, get an organic spray tan which can mask the appearance of dimpled skin.

Remember: Train Mean, Eat Clean and you will Get Lean banishing cellulite for good.

You can do it!

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