45 Minute TRX Workout

One of the biggest challenges that comes along with training clients in their homes is how much, or how little, equipment they have. I do bring some items with me (medicine balls, an aerobic step, some resistance bands) but that too has its own set of challenges.

Just this past Christmas one of my clients very generously gifted me with an item I have been coveting for longer than I can remember – my very own TRX! When I opened the box I was overjoyed! Having been using a TRX consistently in my own training for a few months prior I was more than thrilled to finally have my own!

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An added bonus is that due to the portability of the TRX allows me to take it with me to every one of my clients. By adding it into their routines I’ve added immense value and intensity to their training programs. It has been fun creating new exercises and watching them learn to trust that their own bodyweight can (and does) offer an often needed change to their routine!

When working with a client using the TRX, I typically add in one or two moves to their strength training program. However, as I’ve inched toward the end of my pregnancy I have found that the TRX has been increasingly beneficial to my own program in regards to stability and comfort.

This circuit workout is one I’ve done numerous times myself. Complete each move in a 12X3 scheme (12 reps for 3 sets) with a 30 second break between each move. The entire workout should take roughly 45 minutes!

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

TRX Circuit Workout

Circuit One:
TRX Chest Press: 
Hold the handles in a normal grip and face away from the anchor point. Slowly bend your arms and drop your torso lower between your arms. Keep your hands and elbows high. At your lowest point your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. Push back into your hands by by using your chest muscles to return to the starting position. Keep your back straight and stabilize with your core throughout the full exercise. To increase/lessen the difficulty of this move switch up the placement of your feet – either closer to or further away from the anchor point.

TRX Pistol Squat: Hold the handles and face the anchor point. Raise 1 foot off the ground and extend the leg – either forward or backward depending on stability preference. Keeping your body weight in the heel on your stationary foot as you squat, assist by pulling on the handles to keep your balance and make your way back upwards.

TRX Low Row: Hold both handles and face the anchor point. With your palms facing in, squeeze your shoulder blades together to pull your hands to your ribs keeping the elbows behind you. To increase/lessen the difficulty of this move switch up the placement of your feet – either closer to or further away from the anchor point.

Circuit 2:
TRX Bicep Curl: Hold both handles and face your anchor point. Raise your arms in front of you, palms facing up and pull yourself towards the anchor point by hinging at the elbows and contracting your biceps. Keep the elbows at shoulder height, do not pull them backwards. To increase/lessen the difficulty of this move switch up the placement of your feet – either closer to or further away from the anchor point.

TRX Bulgarian Split Squats: Place one foot in the single loop and face away from the anchor point.  Hop forward with your front leg. Keeping your body weight in the heel of your stationary foot as you bend the knee forward. Make sure your knee does not pass your toes!  Instead, imagine taking a step backwards and put weight in the rear leg while bending the front knee.

TRX Roll-Out: Hold both handles and face away from the anchor point with your palms facing down. Extend your body by leaning forward and extend the arms in an upward angle. Keep your torso and hips in a straight line. When you reach your furthest point possible, push back into the hands by contracting the abs and push yourself back up. To increase/lessen the difficulty of this move switch up the placement of your feet – either closer to or further away from the anchor point.

Circuit 3:
TRX Hamstring Curl:
Lie on your back, feet under the anchor point. Put your heels in the bottom straps of the TRX but don’t push your foot through. Your toes stay in front of the handle but the bottom strap loops around your achilles tendon/ankle. Extend your body and raise your hips. Bend both knees and pull both heels towards your glutes.  Make sure to squeeze your hamstring to complete the movement. 

TRX Y-Raise: Hold both handles and face the anchor point. Start with your arms extended above your head while keeping tension on the suspension trainer. Lower yourself by lowering your arms (straight) in front of you. Raise yourself by raising the arms in a Y shape above your shoulders. Keep your arms straight and keep tension on the bands throughout the exercise. To increase/lessen the difficulty of this move switch up the placement of your feet – either closer to or further away from the anchor point.

TRX Overhead Tricep Extension: Hold both handles and face away from the anchor point. Keeping your palms facing the floor, extend your arms in front of you and straighten your body (as with an ab rollout). When you reach a straight line, bend your elbows bringing your hands backward towards your ears. The elbows continue to point forward, not up. Push back into your hands by using your tricep muscles, hinging at the elbow to return to your starting position. Keep your body straight by stabilizing your core.

 

In Health & Happiness,

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Partner Mash-Up Workout

Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

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When it comes to fitness routines one of the biggest reasons people give up is boredom. As a personal trainer it’s my responsibility to make sure that my clients don’t experience that boredom. I spend hours researching, reading and experimenting with different workouts for exactly that reason.

Today I had the pleasure of training two of my clients together for the first time. These women have been friends for over two decades. I have been working with one of them for almost five months multiple times per week and the other just started with me a month ago. They are at very different levels in terms of their abilities which made designing a program they could do together challenging but also fun!

My private studio affords me the opportunity to train clients using a variety of machines, equipment and space which enables me to write programs that cover a wide range of exercises.

I decided to combine a few partner exercises with some individual ones so I could ensure they both benefited from the workout.

This one left them tired and sweaty – just how I like it!

So grab your partner and hit the gym for this 45 minute Partner Mash-Up!

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Circuit One:

  • Bosu Crunch Ball Toss: (partner move) Position two Bosu balls on the floor one in front of the other. Have the clients lay with the small of their back on the round side of the ball. Knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor. Have one of the clients hold a medicine ball at chest height. Have the clients crunch backward extending their spine over the ball. At the top of the crunch have the client holding the medicine ball gently toss it to their partner. Repeat for a total of 12 passes.
  • Band Jumps: (partner move) Have the clients stand one in front of the other facing in opposite directions. Loop a resistance band around your waist, with one partner holding both handles with their knees slightly bent and hips slightly back for stability. Have the other client take a few steps forward to creating light tension in the band. Instruct them to jump forward as far as possible by bending their knees, keeping their hips back and core tight exploding up and forward. Have them step back to the starting position and repeat for 12 jumps.
  • Tricep Cable Press Down: (individual move) Stand facing the cable machine bringing the upper arms close to the body and forearms parallel to the floor. Using the triceps bring the bar down until it touches the front of the thighs and arms are fully extended. Elbows should stay locked at the sides through the entire movement. Slowly return the arms to the starting position and repeat 12 times.

Circuit Two:

  • Squat with Rotational Pass: (partner move) Have clients stand back-to-back. While holding a medicine ball and keeping their abdominals contracted have them squat down with their weight in their heels and press their backs together. While maintaining good posture, have the client slowly twist their torso to one side and pass the ball to their partner. Have them rotate around to the other side and retrieve the ball from their partner. Repeat 12 full rotations.
  • Floor Fly: (individual move) Have the clients lie on the floor holding two dumbbells above their shoulders slight bend in the elbow. With palms facing each other lower the weights in an arching motion toward the floor. Have them lightly touch the floor with the triceps and then return to the starting position by squeezing their chest together. Repeat for 12 flyes.
  • Push-Up Shoulder Taps: (partner move) Have the clients face each other in push-up position. While keeping their abdominals pulled in and back straight lower to the floor by bending at the elbows. Have them push back up to starting position, lift the right hand and tap their partner’s left shoulder. Repeat this movement for a total of 8 taps on each side.

Circuit Three:

  • Shuffle Slams: (individual move) Have clients hold a medicine ball at chest height. Shuffle sideways for a specified number of steps then raise the ball above their head and slam it down onto the floor as hard as possible. Have them squat down and retrieve the ball before shuffling back in the opposite direction. Repeat as instructed.
  • Inchworms: (individual move) Stand with feet close together. Keeping legs straight stretch down and put hands on the floor directly in front of legs. Walk hands forward slowly bending only at the hips. Keep walking until body is in full plank position. Then keeping hands flat on the floor, start taking steps toward the hands and continue walking until back in the start position.
  • Single Arm Cable Row: (individual move) Stand facing the cable machine. Take hold of the handle keeping the palm facing into the mid-line of the body. Keeping core tight, weight in the heels and a slight bend in the knees pull your arm back by squeezing your shoulder blade toward your spine. Slowly return to the start position and repeat 12 times before switching arms. 
  • Curl to OH Press: (individual move) Stand with feet hip width apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in, bend the elbows slowly raising hands toward the shoulders. When arms are fully contracted slowly raise up over the head into an overhead press. Slowly lower the arms back down to the shoulders and then back to the start position. Repeat for 12 repetitions.

In Health & Happiness,

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Switch It Up – Allergy Alternatives

Growing up I barely knew anyone with a food allergy. I think I might have had a cousin with a shellfish allergy. But now, it seems like almost everyone I know has some kind of allergy or intolerance to different foods.

I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with Lucas in 2012 one of the presiding allergies was peanuts and peanut products. If you know me at all you know that I am obsessed with all things peanut. I make sure to fit peanut butter into my diet almost daily so was, quite frankly, terrified that I would have a child born with a peanut allergy. I asked “Doctor Google” for help and found more information than I knew what to do with. One study said that mothers should eat peanut butter during their pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, because that will build the proper antibodies in their growing fetus thus preventing any peanut allergy. A second study said the complete opposite. In fact it said that mothers should avoid peanut products during their entire pregnancy if they wanted to guarantee a peanut-able child. It was all so confusing. When I asked my OB/GYN her response was “there isn’t enough information out there yet for us to be able to properly diagnose why some kids are allergic and some aren’t.”

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So, I ate peanut butter almost every day. And, knock on wood, Lucas, who is now 2.5 years old is free and clear of peanut allergies! I have approached this pregnancy the same way, I have continued to eat peanut butter fairly regularly but for now I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if baby #2 is as lucky as his/her brother!

All that being said, it does seem as though food based allergies are becoming more common doesn’t it? I’m sure you know at least one person in your life that has some kind of issue with a different food or food group. Amazingly enough, of those people only 5% of children and 4% of teenagers and adults have actually clinically proven food allergies. It’s the intolerances that are much more common.

There are some pretty significant differences between allergies and intolerances.

Allergy: an abnormal response to a food that is triggered by the immune system. Usually develop soon after the food is eaten.
Intolerance: the immune system is not responsible for the symptoms. Usually develop 6-72 hours after the food is eaten.

There are eight food groups that are recognized as the ones responsible for the majority of food allergies we know of. Those groups are shellfish, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts and soy.

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If you’ve been to the grocery store lately I am sure you’ve seen various warnings on the foods you’ve purchased about how the item has been manufactured. Recently I went out of my way to buy my son organic chocolate chip granola bars to send to school as a snack. It was sent home uneaten wrapped in a note that read “Please do not send peanut products to school” … At first I was shocked but as I looked closer at the wrapper it did in fact say “May have been produced on machines that also processes peanuts”

For people with actual allergies, label reading is a very common, if not life saving part of their daily existence. They, and those around them quickly learn what is in the foods they eat in order to avoid a potentially deadly situation. For the rest of us, knowing how and what to substitute in recipes will make food preparation easier.

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With my nutrition clients I make it a point to educate them on the importance of reading (and understanding) labels, not only for food allergy and intolerance issues, but also because, quite frankly it’s just really valuable information to have.

As with any information or advice I give out, be it exercise or nutrition based, please make sure to speak with your doctor should you have any questions before you start or follow a new plan.

When it comes to living with allergies or intolerances yourself or in someone you love, one of the best things you can do is educate yourself on alternatives. Similarly to when you have a muscle or joint impingement in exercise, modifications are necessary and can go a long way to make sure you stay on track!

When it comes to making substitutions the following will give you flavors and textures similar to the original allergen as well as similar nutrients.

SHELLFISH
Allergen: Shrimp, crab, lobster, crayfish; Mollusks: clams, oysters, mussels
Switch Up: Ocean or lake fish, chicken, turkey, lean beef, pork, tofu

EGGS
Allergen:
Eggs, egg whites, egg substitute
Switch Up: Mashed sweet potato or avocado, scrambled tofu, applesauce, chia or flax seed

FISH
Allergen: Sushi, salmon, halibut, rockfish, red snapper, trout, tuna, swordfish, and other fish with gills
Switch Up: Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, tofu, walnuts, ground flax seeds, chia seeds

MILK
Allergen: Cow’s milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, cream, half and half, buttermilk, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, pudding and whey
Switch Up: unsweetened rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, coconut milk or soymilk, dairy-free chocolate chips, dairy-free cheese, tofutti

PEANUTS
Allergen: Peanuts, peanut butter, satay sauce, peanut butter cookies, powdered peanut butter, peanut butter-filled pretzels
Switch Up: Almond or cashew butter (if not allergic to tree nuts), sunflower seed butter

WHEAT

Allergen: Bread, cereal, crackers, baked goods
Switch Up: Almond flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, soy flour, potato starch, gluten-free flour blends, quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, millet, potatoes, oats

TREE NUTS 
Allergen: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts
Switch Up: Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), sunflower seed butter

SOY
Allergen: Tofu, edamame, soy milk, tempeh
Switch Up: Other beans and legumes

This is not an all inclusive list and you should continue to do your due diligence when it comes to formulating your own nutrition or working with a specialist.

 

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The 1-2-3’s of Me!

Hi! And welcome to my small little corner of the interweb! For those of you that are here for the first time – thank you so much for stopping by! I’m taking part in Kristy Wilson’s BlogHop for the second time and today is my spotlight day! If you visited the last time around you may have read this post or even this one so you already know a little bit about me. But if you’re an RNFitness virgin feel free to spend some time poking around – there’s lots of fun stuff to check out!

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This time around I wanted to do something different so I thought I’d share 10 facts about me that you may or may not already know! I give you the 1-2-3’s of ME!

– miniature Australian Shepherd. We adopted Miss Berklee Marie (yes she has a middle name) on the day of her birth May 10, 2010. We took her home on my husband’s 28th birthday and she immediately became an integral part of our family. Growing up both my husband and I had dogs. He had a Yorkie named Skipper and currently his parents still have their Maltese, Missy. I had a Yellow Lab, Whitney,  when I was very small and it wasn’t until I was much older that we adopted Bingo, a standard Australian Shepherd. Bingo was with us for almost 16 years (!) and was just the best dog. He was smart, loyal and well behaved (for the most part). He had been abused terribly by his previous owners and only ever wanted to be loved… and love him we did. When Brian and I began discussing getting a dog of our own, we went back and forth on many things. Eventually we settled on the fact that we both wanted a dog very much like Bingo, but not quite that size (he was 75lbs in his heyday). I started doing some research and came across a breeder (oh the horror) in Western MA that bred mini Australians. After speaking with Mary on the phone multiple times we felt like it was the perfect fit. She asked me about a million and five questions about our life, our experience with dogs, our living situation and in turn I got to ask her just as many on their breeding philosophy (no in-breeding), the care of their dogs (check out the site, it’s amazing) and future contact (if for any reason at any point in her life, we can’t keep Berklee, Mary has asked for the opportunity to have her back on the farm rather than put in a shelter … this goes for all her pups). But I digress. Berklee has been by our side through thick and thin, she was there for my parents as a sort of surrogate dog when Bingo passed away and has been a constant companion for Brian and me every day. She even knew that I was pregnant with Lucas before I did. While there are days when she drives me crazier than Lucas ever could, she is just as much a member of our family as he is. She watches over him, literally sleeps at the foot of his bed during naps and through the night, she runs in circles around him in the yard making sure he stays where he’s supposed to and she is incredibly gentle with him even when he wrestles her to the ground. Prior to Lucas’ arrival she was my little runny buddy and while that’s more than a little difficult now with the stroller and a leash she will always be my first “running coach”.

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Bingo & Berklee on the day Bingo went to the Big Farm in the Sky

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Miss Berklee announcing she was going to be a big sister for the first time! 

1.5 – the number of children I have. My son turned turned 2 this past September and I am due with baby #2 on April 21st. We are thrilled to be expanding our family, but we are also nervous, anxious and a little scared about what it’s going to mean for us. We have no doubt Lucas will be the best big brother, but at the same time he is the most easy-going, laid-back kid and I worry if having a sibling will change that. I’m not a total idiot so I know plenty of women have two (and even more) children every day so I’m not the first one to go through this or have these feelings! Right now my focus has been on spending as much one-on-one time with Lucas as I can. There’s a part of me that feels sad that our time together, just the three of us, is coming to an end. We’ve been this little unit for almost 2.5 years, we have our routines, we know what works and what doesn’t. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t feeling even slightly conflicted about what bringing a new life into our orbit is going to mean. But we are more than ready for the ride!

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Lucas Joseph, age 2.5 (ish)

2 – sisters. There are 23 months between my older sister and me and 7.5 years between my younger sister and me. Growing up we had our fair share of arguments and if you think sisters fight fair, boy would you be wrong! We could be brutal! My mother used to say “You’ll be thankful for your sisters when you’re older” … and as usual – she was right. I can honestly say, that my sisters are two of my closest friends. We fight hard, but we love even harder. I can lean on them, count on them and rely on them no matter what and I consider myself very lucky that we live as close as we do.

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My 30th Birthday

3 – number of times I have been pregnant. In October 2012 my husband and I found out I was pregnant for the first time! We were over the moon and couldn’t wait to meet our little one. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be and just three weeks after finding out I was rushed into emergency surgery where I lost my left fallopian tube due to an undiagnosed heterotopic pregnancy. After that my doctor informed me that it might be significantly more difficult for me to get pregnant again without assistance due to the damage the ruptured tube and internal bleeding had caused. Amazingly, just four months later we found out I was pregnant again. We were shocked! After a very cautious and happily completely uneventful pregnancy Lucas made his appearance and our world was rocked (in the best way possible!). Now, here we are again excitedly preparing for baby #2 to arrive. We have chosen not to find out the gender of this child which makes the whole process even more exciting for us!

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27 weeks with Baby #2

– ways that I train clients. The personal training industry has changed dramatically since I started working with a trainer just six years ago. In that time we’ve seen the introduction of Cross-Fit, Kettlebell and Functional Training as well as a huge boom in the Beachbody coaching market. There have been many fad diets and exercise programs that have come and gone and one of the hardest parts of being a trainer is navigating the ever changing landscape. As such, I spend a great deal of my time looking at the successes and quite frankly failures of other trainers, especially those in my market. As I struggled to build my clientele early on I started looking into other avenues to reach clients. One of the very first things I decided to do was take my business online. Having worked with an online trainer in the past myself I knew how effective, and cost efficient it could be. I also knew the difficulties that come with such a path. Not being able to physically see the client, monitor their form, progress and dedication is tricky and yet people all over the world are going this route when it comes to personal training. After a few months of success with my online business I began putting more focus on my face-to-face training. I have worked in a box-gym environment and also at a personal training franchise. While both these situations offered me opportunity to learn more about the business and hone my craft a bit, I was quite comfortable in either situation. Neither afforded me the opportunity to truly train clients the way I wanted. In November 2015 I launched my second form of training with in-home sessions. I marketed this option to people in my hometown as well as closely surrounding areas. As a mother I know how difficult it can be to get to the gym if you don’t have child care and also how much those additional costs add up. Many gyms offer child care as an add-on to your membership and with that cost, plus your monthly membership, plus your personal training you are looking at almost $500 a month* I know many people that just truly can’t to spend that much! By taking my training TO THEM the client doesn’t have to worry about the childcare aspect and many of them are able to literally roll out of bed and train! It’s been a hugely successful endeavor thus far! A few months back one of my online clients came to me expressing her difficulty staying motivated and on track. She was struggling with not seeing me each week and wasn’t sure she wanted to continue with the program. After talking through her struggles it occurred to me that there WAS a way in which we could “meet” a few times a month, or even daily if she felt she needed it. I spoke with a dear friend of mine who is also an online trainer and helped me set-up my Virtual Training program. With her guidance I was able to decide on which video program worked best (my clients prefer FaceTime) and virtual training began. Being able to offer this to my current and prospective online clients has been a blessing. It gives online training that slightly more personal touch and people seem to love it! By taking what I have learned through my years in the fitness industry and combining them with the influx of social media I have been able to reach more clients than if I kept my business purely face-to-face. It’s challenging to juggle it all but I absolutely love what I do and hope to share that with as many people as possible!

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5 – 500 to be exact. That’s the number of miles I plan (and hope) to run in 2016. To some it may seem like nothing (especially for those that run half and full marathons) but for me it’s a TON. As I mentioned I’m due with my second child on April 21st, making me roughly 32 weeks pregnant as of this blog post. Due to that my running has significantly slowed down these last few months (however I am running a 5k on my 32nd birthday this Sunday!) and I’ll be out of commission for at least six weeks after the baby arrives. Given that, I think 500 miles is a stretch since I’ll have just about 6 months to do it! But I already have plans in place to run my first half in November (this time I am determined to do it!) so am sure my mileage will get up there fairly quickly. I’ll be sharing that journey with you so I hope you’ll come back and check on me often!

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New Year’s Day 2016 5k Race

6 – years I’ve been a competitive bodybuilder within the figure division. What started as a curiosity turned into a hobby and then into something that defines my fitness journey. It is because of bodybuilding that I fell in love with fitness and ultimately turned that love into a career as an ACE certified personal trainer and fitness nutritionist. I have competed in two different natural organizations and have met some of my best friends on stage. After having my son in 2013 I was back on stage just 55 weeks postpartum. I haven’t yet decided if/when I’ll return to the stage after giving birth this time around but I am continuously inspired by my own journey and those of people I know! So keep your eyes peeled because you never know when this momma will strap back on her glass slippers for a jaunt across the stage!

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2014 OCB Maine Event

6.2 – the furthest race I’ve run so far. I used to absolutely hate running – as in I’d rather get a root canal than ever go for a run. But over the last few years I’ve really found that I enjoy it quite a bit. One of my favorite things about running is the solitude it affords me. Even when I bring Lucas in the Bob I am able to really turn off my brain and focus on nothing but the music in my ears and the pavement under my feet.  Since I started running I’ve completed countless 5K’s and a few other distances but this past August 22nd I ran my first 10k. Unbeknownst to me I was about 3 weeks pregnant at the time and still managed to run one of my fastest races to date (9:26 min/mile)! It was such an exhilarating feeling crossing that finish line and to see both my best guys waiting for me with smiles and hugs was the best! 

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– the number of times my husband and I have moved in our *almost* 12 years together. Like most couples we were living separately when we started dating but quickly found that I was spending 90% (or more) of the time at his place. It was counterproductive to be paying two different rents if we were basically living together. After living in his apartment for almost a year we decided to move to a larger apartment that was “ours”; from there we moved almost yearly and each time was for a specific reason – whether the place was too small, not the location we wanted or too expensive (when we started saving for a house) – there was always a reason. Although, if you ask my mother she’ll say it’s because I get bored too easily! Eventually we bought our first home in 2010. We sold that house in 2013 and moved into our current home in the summer of 2014 and that’s where we are now!

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Closing Day 2014

7.5 – years I have been married. My husband and I married in July 2008 on a cloudless, sunny, 90 degree day. Everything about our wedding was perfect from start to finish and if I could relive that day every year I absolutely would. I remember sitting in the limo (or in our case, the antique trolley) absolutely terrified. I was barely 24 years old and was about to commit the rest of my life to someone – was I truly ready? Would I be a good wife? But the moment the doors opened and I saw his face I had my answer. It was magic. We’ve had our share of ups and downs since then, but every morning when I open my eyes I am reminded why I chose him, and why he chose me.

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8 – pairs of sneakers I own. The breakdown is as follows: 2 pairs of Mizuno Wave Runners that I wear only for running; 2 pairs of New Balance that I wear when I’m weightlifting or training clients; 1 pair of Hoka One One’s that I wear when I’m walking; 1 pair of Reeboks, 1 pair of Nikes & 1 pair of  Converse  I wear for casual purposes. For years I was wearing the same pair of sneakers for everything. I’d run mile after mile and then wear them out running errands then back to the gym again for weight training. I never realized how bad that was, not only for my sneakers but also for my feet and knees – in addition to negatively impacting each of my activities. I got fitted for my first pair of running sneakers just this past fall and holy moly the change in not only my runs but in how I physically felt before, during and after was remarkable! Never again will I stupidly wear my running sneakers for any other activity!

– years it took me to graduate from college. When I was a junior in high school I set my sights on attending the University of Vermont. If you don’t know, UVM is a university made up of six colleges and in order to be accepted you had to choose a college when you applied. I somehow convinced myself that I wanted to be a teacher, and not just any teacher, a Secondary Education History teacher with a minor in Special Education. My family found this laughable despite my protests. You see, I hated history in high school, I hated school in general and quite frankly I found teenagers (myself included) to be more than a little annoying. So why on God’s green earth would I choose to be a teacher? Because in my stupidity I thought it would be the “easy” route. (I should note here, I have the utmost respect for teachers; both my sister and mother are highly respected educators) But in my naive teen mind anyone could be a teacher. Boy, was I wrong. After just three semesters (between 2002 and 2003) I knew teaching wasn’t for me. But the truth was, I didn’t know what was for me. After a failed attempt at community college (I was working part-time and in a really messy, volatile relationship) I settled on a business degree. Given the cost of continuing my education at UVM (they were going to require me to start from scratch) I chose to move home and complete my degree at Salem State University (formerly college). Over the next 8 years I worked full-time, went to school almost full time, and planned a wedding. When I walked across that stage in 2011 and accepted my diploma I almost broke down. All the sleepless nights, the lost weekends and the stress had paid off. I was a college graduate and I had done with honors! I don’t think I’d ever felt so proud of an accomplishment before or since! It was proof to me that no matter what I put my mind to that I was capable of anything! I’ve carried that lesson with me ever since, and any time I feel like I can’t do something I look back and remember I can!

it always seems impossible until it is done.

10 – 10k per day. I was given a FitBit device in April 2014. I wore it religiously for about a year before I realized that I had become overly obsessed with getting my steps in. I took an extended break from it which was actually quite freeing! Just about a year later in May 2015 I decided to give it another go. I had been given a FitBit Flex through a partnership with Kohl’s and their Say Yes to You program. Since then I’ve worn it almost every day. While I strive to hit my 10k per day I don’t let myself obsess over it the way I used to. Now I use it more as a reminder to get up and move rather than the be-all end-all of my day!

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Stock Photo: FitBit

So there you have it my friends (old and new)! A fun glimpse into the woman behind RNFitness! I hope to continuing connecting with all of you and sharing my love of health and fitness!

 

*this is an actual number from a local gym in my area ($39 per month membership + $45 month childcare + $90 a week per PT session)

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Introducing my Newest Baby!

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When I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 I was over the moon. Sure, there are plenty of fears, anxieties etc that go along with adding another member to our family but that’s for a different post!

One of the first things that went through my mind after our excitement settled down a bit was my maternity wardrobe! None of the items I’d worn during my first pregnancy were going to be seasonably appropriate. I was pregnant with my son through the spring and summer, whereas this time around the majority of my pregnancy has been through the bitter winter cold of New England.

I was able to reuse some of the tank tops, t-shirts and pants from my first pregnancy but many of the sundresses, shorts and skirts remained in the box. I was feeling a bit frustrated knowing that I was going to have to spend a bunch of money to restock my closet with new items and after buying just a few things, started feeling guilty about the amount of money I was spending on clothes I was only going to wear for a short period of time.

On the other side of the coin, I was just as frustrated with the number of items left in that box collecting dust. There are very few places around me that accept maternity clothing for consignment and the majority of my friends are either done expanding their families or have full wardrobes already!

And that’s where Maternity Re-Chic was born!

I wanted to give other soon-to-be mommas a place where they can find clothes to help maintain their style during their pregnancy without breaking the bank. And when they are done with their maternity clothes? I wanted them to have a place to consign those items in the easiest way possible!

We are a one stop online (currently only Facebook) maternity boutique. We buy and sell gently worn clothing and accessories (think Boppy pillows, Bellabands etc). Our consigners receive 60% of the sale price of their items!

Our official launch is March 1, 2016 but we are currently scheduling appointments and accepting items for our initial launch!

Head on over to our new Facebook page to get started today!

Feel free to contact me directly at MaternityReChic@gmail.com or by using the contact sheet below with any questions and to set up your appointment today!

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Fifteen Minute Fitness Fix

I haven’t talked much about my pregnancy this time around but the first trimester was a bit tough for me. Tougher than I remember it being with Lucas. While I didn’t have morning sickness per-say there were times where I dealt with all day  nausea, that feeling that I couldn’t shake no matter what I did. During that time my workouts were few and far between. It was hard enough to get out of bed let alone lift weights.

But as I entered my second trimester my energy started slowly returning. I found that not only was I able to fit in a workout but that I wanted to, a much needed and appreciated change from the previous twelve weeks. That being said, with my busy schedule and a rambunctious two year old who needs my constant attention, finding 45 minutes or more to get in an effective workout just wasn’t (isn’t) always possible.

Once I faced my own limitations, both time and physically I decided that I needed something that would be the best use of my time while still targeting all the major muscle groups. And that’s where HIIT comes in.

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a type of training that includes quick, intense cursts of exercise followed closely by short recovery periods. It is one of my favorite ways to incorporate effective workouts into my schedule as well as those of my clients. These types of programs keep your heart rate up and burn more fat in less time than some other programs.

Keep in mind, HIIT isn’t meant to completely replace your usual workout routine, but it’s something I like to keep in my arsenal for those days when I’m pressed for time.

The following program is one I designed for myself (because of my pregnancy limitations) but it’s also one you can do  on your own as well. *Feel free to switch up some of the moves (especially the abdominal ones) if you aren’t currently expecting.

The best part of this program is that you only need a yoga mat, a set of light dumbbells and fifteen minutes to complete it!

I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant and have done this program at least once a week since I created it!

IMG_016715 Weeks – 135lbs

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18 Weeks – 138lbs

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20 Weeks – 142lbs

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26 Weeks – 145lbs

RNFitness’s Fifteen Minute Fitness Fix

  • Criss Cross Jumping Jacks
  • Curtsy Lunge with Front Raise
  • Side Plank with Leg Lift
  • Renegade Rows (Bodyweight)
  • Standing Oblique Crunch
  • Fake Jump Rope
  • Alternating Reverse Lunge
  • Forearm Prone Plank with Toe Taps
  • Jump Squats with Flip

Complete each move back-to-back for 45 seconds. Do as many reps as possible in that time. Rest for 60 seconds after completing all 9 exercises, then repeat the cycle again for a total of 15 minutes!*

*Feeling inspired – do the circuit four times for a killer 30 minute sweat session!

In Health & Happiness,

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Bridal Bootcamp with Rachael

Where are all my Brides at?

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Say “I Do” to Bridal Bootcamp with Rachael!

What To Do After You Say I Do

Get ready to walk down the aisle in the best shape of your life!

Choose either one or two days with my 6-week program designed to leave your tightened and toned for your big day!

This program is perfect for:

  • The super busy bride who has tons to do every day including work (or school), wedding planning, spending quality time with her fiancé and more!
  • The frantic bride who feels like there are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done!
  • The frustrated “workout queen” who wants to increase lean body mass without spending hours in the gym.
  • The beginner who wants to look fabulous but isn’t sure where to start!
  • Any bride, any age, any level

Pricing:
1x per week: $110
2x per week: $220

Bring your wedding party and the Bride is *FREE* with 5 or more girls!

Classes begin February 28th!

Click here to Register today!

FAQ’s:

  1. What is Bridal Bootcamp?: This is a womens-only, program that makes working out fun in a small-group setting!  You will also get nutritional coaching and motivation, and it’s all designed to get you in the best shape of your life in the shortest, safest possible time regardless of your current fitness level.
  2. Can I join if I’ve never worked out before?: ABSOLUTELY! This program is entirely customizable to each participant and all exercises will have varying levels of intensity. Women of all ages, abilities and fitness levels are welcome to attend.
  3. What if I can’t make a session?: We understand that life gets in the way especially when it comes to planning your wedding. Please don’t let a missed workout discourage you. If you can’t make it to all your scheduled sessions, do your best to attend as often as you can. Unfortunately, missed sessions can not be made up.
  4. How do I sign up?: Click Here to get started today!
  5. What does a typical session look like?: Each session is 45 minutes in length and is designed to give you maximum results in minimum time. Through a combination of resistance training, agility drills, core, body weight, and sports training type drills your body will be challenged with each workout different than the one before.
  6. What if I have more questions?: You can always email us at RachaelNovelloFitness@gmail.com and we would be more than happy to answer any additional questions that you may have.
  7. What do I need to bring?: Yourself, water, a “can do attitude”
  8. Is this available online as well?: Yes it is, please contact me for details and pricing.

B-Up Your Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner … that wonderful holiday where Cupid’s arrow has hit its mark and everyone is in love … (cue the romantic music and Nicholas Sparks montage)

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It’s also the first true holiday since New Year’s – and the one holiday that has always been synonymous with boxes of chocolate weighing just about as much as you do.

If you are one of the millions of Americans that resolved to make your health and fitness a priority this year Valentine’s Day can be a difficult one to get through without giving into the temptation of cookies, candy & champagne.

I will admit (and if you follow me at all you know this) I am a chocoholic. I absolutely love it! And there are very few days that go by without me consuming it in one manner or another. That’s the truth people. A day without chocolate for me is like a day without Daniel Tiger for my son … doesn’t exist!

That being said, you all know that I really try to instill on my clients the idea of eating whole foods, getting the proper balance of nutrients from naturally occurring things like lean proteins, veggies and complex carbs. But, I am also human. I’m a mom, wife, personal trainer and business owner so there are definitely days when I too am on the go and need something I can just throw in my gym bag and eat on the run.

I used to choose shakes as my go-to, easy to pack and consume. But I struggled to find the right one. I’ve tried just about every brand there is and the ones that taste the best have more additives than I like and the ones that are the most balanced tend to taste like chalk. The same went for many of the protein bars that I tried. That is until Yup Brands and B-Up Bars entered my orbit.

Thanks to my good friend and B-Up’s social media manager Joyce I was gifted with some of these incredible bars not only for myself but as a prize in my New Year New You Challenge.

I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical. With all the other brands I’ve consumed I couldn’t imagine this one tasting or being any different. But I am more than happy to say I was wrong – dead wrong. There is nothing about these bars I don’t like – love in fact. From the multitude of flavors to their soft, nougat like texture these bars really are the best I’ve ever tasted.

After trying a bunch of the different flavors I can’t really decide which one is my favorite. There are certainly some with a strong taste (Chocolate Mint) and some with a more subdued flavor (Sugar Cookie) but overall the flavors are great! Even my picky husband likes them so we’ll be sure to always have a box (or two) on hand!

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If you’ve had the chance to check out B-Up on Instagram you’ve probably seen a few recipes floating around over there. So I had to put my own cooking chops to the test and see what I could come up with! And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I figured, why not a heart shaped sugar cookie?

With just ONE ingredient and five minutes you too can have a fun, romance inspired treat to share with your Swole-Mate … or in my case, all for yourself!

 

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B-Up Bar Protein Valentine’s Day Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 B-Up Sugar Cookie protein bar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Microwave bar for 5-10 seconds on high to soften just a little bit.
  • Lay the bar on parchment paper and using a rolling pin, roll out until roughly 1/4 inch thick.
  • Using a pairing knife slice the bar into twelve squares, divided into groups of three.
  • Form each group of three squares into a heart shape.
  • Place newly formed hearts onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes (NO LONGER) and remove
  • Let cool completely before frosting
  • Frosting: 1/4 cup confectioners sugar mixed with enough water to make a glaze

*Bars given complimentary of B-Up but all opinions are 100% my own

In health & happiness,

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Boys will Be Boys

Yes, I’m a personal trainer; yes, I’m a fitness nutrition specialist – but I’m also a mom. And because of that it’s not always health and fitness over here!

As a mom to a rambunctious toddler my life is often a game of chance. In theory I am a planner, I like to know what is going to happen and when, but in practice, you just never know when your child is going to get sick or your sitter is going to cancel at the last minute. I’m lucky in that I have a fairly flexible schedule and incredibly understanding clients for those moments when life throws a curve ball.

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And yesterday afternoon was one such curve. As I was preparing to head to my studio for my evening clients Lucas had an accident. The kind you do everything you can to prevent and yet it happens anyway. He decided that the couch was a much more fun location to jump than his mini-trampoline, and despite my pleas to stop he just smiled and kept jumping. Unbeknownst to me, while executing said jumps, he was holding one of his plastic screwdrivers in his hand. On his last, and final jump as he landed the screwdriver somehow made it’s way into his mouth (no, it was not there when he jumped) and he basically impaled himself on it. The impact hit him in the back of his mouth just to the right of his windpipe where the soft tissue is behind your rear molars. At first glance he seemed fine, until he opened his mouth and that’s when the blood started.

As a mom my heart dropped, internally I was panicking but I knew I had to remain calm for him. I took a deep breath, swooped him into my arms and immediately told him it was going to be okay. When he finally opened his mouth and I could physically see the injury I knew deep down it was going to need medical attention.

Fast forward and we found ourselves in the emergency room at our local hospital. The triage nurse informed us that it would need stitches and because of that Lucas would need a local anesthetic in order to perform the procedure. Unfortunately, because it was in his mouth we had to wait for the resident plastic surgeon to arrive. It was about 3.5 hours before he arrived and during that time Lucas was nothing short of a trooper.

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Mommy got a lot of snuggles, and he got in more TV watching than he’d had all week!

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When the plastic surgeon arrived, after looking at the puncture area he made the decision not to stitch it in the emergency room but to fully anesthetize Lucas and do it in the operating room. He felt that because of his age and the location being so close to his trachea it would be safer for Lucas if he was completely under. It also required the insertion of a breathing tube for the duration of the surgery. We were able to stay with him while they medicated him and got him ready to go. As they wheeled him away he looked up at me and said quietly “Mommy, I’m scared” … talk about heartbreaking.

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He was taken into the operating room at 8:45pm, six hours after we arrived, and the entire procedure took just over an hour. During this time two of our dear friends showed up with sustenance in the form of burritos and beverages! After it was all over he woke up slowly, groggily out of the anesthesia but when the nurse gave him a grape popsicle he smiled for the first time since it all happened.

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He was home and in bed (ours of course) by 10:30pm and fell right to sleep. He woke up a few times throughout the night as the doctor had forewarned but overall he slept like a champ!

Today we’ve been taking it easy, as instructed, and we are not allowing straws, toothbrushes, silverware or “hard” foods. Like most toddlers he’s incredibly resilient, and in fact has asked on more than one occasion “did I break my screwdriver?” He’s had visits from his Gigi (my mother), his Auntie & cousins and now we are waiting for daddy to come home. I have no doubt that by the time we wake up tomorrow he’ll be his usual self again but for now I’ll take the cuddles!

To all my fellow parents out there, sometimes no matter how hard we try to prevent these sorts of things, they happen. They are out of our control and we just have to pick ourselves up, dust it off and truck forward. We teach our little ones to be strong, resilient and brave. I am so proud to be this boy’s mother and hopefully now, when I tell him “please don’t jump on the furniture” maybe, just maybe he’ll listen!

In health & happiness,

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Happy Saturday! I hope you are all having a wonderful start to your weekend. It’s a big one here in New England as the Patriots are taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff game this afternoon. If you are from the Boston area, you know how much we LOVE our sports teams and after all the scandals these last few seasons it’s nice to see our boys “going the distance!”

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This morning I was up and out the door before the sun, granted that was in part to the fact that it was FINALLY snowing, but also because I had my very first client at 6am! I’ll be honest, when the alarm goes off at 5am on a Saturday the last thing I want to do is roll out of my oh-so-cozy bundle of blankets and get in my freezing cold car. But my clients’ dreams don’t stop just because I’m tired!

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I stopped and picked up a cup of coffee and by the time my 7:30am client arrived I was bouncing off the walls. I don’t know if it was the caffeine or the fact that I truly love what I do, but I was a ball of energy! Which got me to thinking…

As my third trimester approaches those early morning wake-ups are becoming more and more difficult. There are many days (and this is terrible) that I don’t eat a thing until about 10:30am or sometimes 11:00am. It’s not good for me, it’s not good for the baby and it’s definitely not good for my clients. So today I decided to whip up a few of my favorite grab-and-go snacks so that I will always have something to take with me.

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One recipe that is a hit, not only in my household but with friends and clients alike is my No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls. These little balls of goodness pack a flavorful punch and are loaded with some of the most popular energy inducing foods. I whipped up a batch (which I shared on my Periscope) and already have them portioned out for the week ahead!

If you are someone that is constantly running between jobs, family obligations and life in general these make a great addition to your refrigerator. With just five ingredients and ten minutes of your time they really are one of my favorite things!

proteinbitesNo-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry old fashioned oats*
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/6 cup honey or agave syrup

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a small glass or metal bowl. Using a spatula mix together until fully combined.
  • Put the entire mixture into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or until it firms up.
  • Roll into tablespoon size balls and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes:

  • If you don’t like the taste/texture of raw oats, grind 1/4 of the required amount into a fine powder before adding.
  • A little cooking tip (from a non-chef) when measuring out sticky ingredients (peanut butter/honey) spray the measuring cup with non-stick spray first. This will allow the ingredients to slide out and enable you to get an accurate measurement. (I do the same thing with the spatula because it makes mixing easier)