Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition Tips’

super bowl 2013 rotator

This year I am SUPER excited for the Superbowl, my home team, the San Francisco 49ers, are playing (and going to WIN!). Not only that, but I love a good football party. Sharing time with people you enjoy, delicious food, and unforgettable commercials – its always a good time.

Unfortunately, along with the fun of the party comes lots of calories and sitting (not really a winning combination).  According to an article in the USA Today, Super Bowl parties are second to Thanksgiving when it comes to the number of calories consumed.  If we are not careful, we could eat our daily intake of calories, doubled, during one super bowl game.


I have created a healthy, happy superbowl guide to help you. Below are my choice football party recipes and a workout to get you game day ready. You might be surprised how delicious choosing a healthier celebration feels and you’ll feel so good you’ll have ample energy for the after parties.  These resources you can prepare a game day plan that wins all around. Have fun, be safe, and GO NINERS!

Caroline’s Healthy, Happy Superbowl Guide.

SuperBowl Recipes. Plan ahead and cook up a few nutritious recipes so that you have something healthy to serve at your party. Here are a few of my favorites:


Caroline’s Crispy Kale Chips

Ditch the Doritos and put out a bowl of these (healthy) bad boys instead. To make them, simply wash kale, dress with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, and roast in the oven until crunchy and crispy.

Prep time:  10 mins

Cook time:  20 mins

Total time:  30 mins


1 large bunch of kale (I used the curly kind)

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Wash kale, remove the inner rib or stem, and tear into chip-size pieces. Make the pieces a little larger than you want the chips because they will shrink.
  • The kale must be thoroughly dried. I ran it through a salad spinner, laid it out on paper towels for 5 minutes, and then ran it through the spinner once more.
  • Put the kale pieces in a gallon plastic baggie and add the olive oil. “Massage” the kale to ensure that each piece has a coating of oil.
  • Arrange the kale in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can place them right on the sheet). You may need a to use more than one sheet or bake in batches.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt. Use a bit less than you think you need because the kale shrinks and the salt intensifies.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until the kale is crisp and slightly browned.
  • Enjoy!


If the chips last more than 5 minutes (mine never do) you can store them for 2 days in an airtight container or bag. Make sure they are cooled thoroughly before storing.


Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary  ( adapted from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 2-4 servings

1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

Serve the fries alongside ketchup, lemon aioli, and perhaps a turkey burger, if you’re feeling frisky.


Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili (Gluten/Dairy Free from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 10 servings

This chili is the perfect earthy blend of sweet and spicy. If you want to get even more rich flavor out of the vegetables, roast them until they are nice and caramelized and then add them to the stew. You’ll cut down on your stove-top cook time, and the extra step is worth it. If you can’t find chile negro any mild dried chili will work here.

2 ounces dried chile negro
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
Olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
Sea salt
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
3 28-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 small parsnips, peeled and diced
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place the chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving the liquids. Rinse off the seeds and skin and discard along with the stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small food processor along with 1/2 cup of roughly chopped cilantro stems, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of soaking liquids. Puree until you get a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You want the spices to get nice and toasted. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. You want a soupy consistency, as the chili will thicken as it simmers.

Simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes, until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes more. Ladel the chili in bowls and serve!


Winning Brownies (Click HERE to get the recipe from the Gracious Pantry. )


Superbowl Fitness: Caroline’s “Get in the Game WORKOUT CHALLENGE” 

Fuel your SuperBowl Sunday with POWER by getting your workout in before the first commercial. The below drills are designed to work on your strength, speed, stamina, and agility while burning calories and boosting energy. It’s a challenging series – as always, please check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. And note: *You DO NOT need a football or access to a football field for these workouts. Just a positive attitude, a bottle of water, and some space! ; )

Running/Jogging Warm Up Drills. 10 minutes.

  • Easy jog 5 minutes
  • Walking Lunge. 20-30.
  • Butt kicks (kick your heel towards your butt)
  • Squat with side shuffle 1 minute
  • High Knees 1 minute
  • Plank with mountain climber knees 1 minute

“Make a Tight End”

Do 20-30 reps of each move. Work on keeping good form and strengthening your legs, core, and balance.

  • Basic Hip bridge. Laying on back bridge hips up into the air.
  • Squat with straight arms out in front of you. Focus on keeping shoulders down and core engaged.
  • Forward single leg lunge with knee raise (add hop if feeling feisty!). Do reps on one leg and switch.
  • Single leg side lateral lunge. Lunging one leg to the side keeping the other straight. Option to add a knee raise towards chest.
  • Plie squat with inner thigh slide. Squat with legs wide and toes pointed outward, bring heels together when you stand and separate legs wide to squat again.

Penalty ABS.

Perform each move for 1 minute with 15 seconds rest in-between.

  • V Ups.
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Plank
  • Superman
  • Pushup


Do each move for 1 minute with 30 seconds rest in-between.

  • Burpees. Feel free to add a pushup or squat jump!
  • “Football” run. Also known as “fast feet” : shake your booty and move feet out and in.
  • Squat hops with “touch down” arms. Squat and jump off ground reaching your arms up in the air in a “touchdown” signal.
  • Suicides. Sprint out 10-20 yards, squat and touch ground, sprint back ( you can also use distance measure like light poles, street meters)

Once through the circuit is GREAT – you can also repeat the above 2-3 times and go home with a longer workout.

This challenging all-levels circuit works the entire body, doesn’t require any equipment, and includes the perfect mix of strength and cardio exercises. It’s a winning combination – you’ll feel like such a rockstar when you’re done you might need your OWN halftime show. Leave a comment below if you  complete the above challenge and let me know how it went. Cant wait to congratulate you on your efforts!

Wishing you a safe and fun SuperBowl celebration. Now get focused, put on your game face, and get ready to “BRING IT”. Im positive you’ll have a healthy, happy Superbowl. TOUCHDOWN!

GO 49ers!


P.S. There is still time to DONATE to CYCLE for Survival fundraiser and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center. This is my third year riding in Cycle for Survival and I truly feel the event has a tangible, powerful impact on those who are affected by rare cancers. My goal is to get as many people as possible to donate $2 dollars to 1.) Raise awareness of the cause and 2.) Raise money for rare cancer! If you would be open to lending your support, you can donate to my ride HERE. Thank you for all of your help in doing good things in the world!  

Read Full Post »


In a world of triple-stacked hamburgers, double-stuffed cookies, and super-sized cups of soda, many of us tend to overestimate appropriate portion sizes while underestimating the amount of food we eat. It’s no surprise: over the last twenty years, we’ve seen continued growth in portion sizes to a point where we’ve entered an era of “portion distortion”. At restaurants and fast- food establishments, super-sized portions are served in order to provide “super” value to the customer. At the grocery store, companies have super-sized packaging of their products, and even at home, we’ve managed to steadily increase the size of our dinnerware. Unfortunately, all this growth has had an impact on our waistlines: we think big, we eat big, and it shows.

At the start of a New Year and the common resolution to eat healthier, I thought it a good time to address portion control. Here are my portion control guidelines to help you practice portion control and reach all of your wellness goals.


Caroline’s Smart Size Portion Guide.

The simple skill of knowing how much to eat is an important key to weight loss and weight maintenance. Eating appropriate portions enables us to eat to a point where we are comfortably full, yet not so stuffed that we regret it later.

Research has shown Americans often underestimate how many calories they are consuming each day by as much as 25 percent. The hard truth is: you can’t escape a bad diet. The effects of poor nutrition and over generous portions will catch up with you at some point!

In order to understand appropriate portion sizes of foods, there are three things you’ll need to learn: 1) You’ll need to understand how much of a typical food constitutes a portion size, 2) you’ll need to know what that portion size looks like visually, and 3) you’ll need to learn how to apply this knowledge in your life.

The following lists include a select number of various types of food, their typical portion sizes, and everyday objects that equate to portion size. Although there are a few exceptions, most of the foods listed are whole, as there are an infinite number of processed or packaged foods. Further, since eating whole foods is always recommended over processed foods, it seems more appropriate to focus on them.


Portion Size Guide Of Whole Foods

Fresh Fruit* = 1 cup = woman’s fist

    • apple
    • apricots
    • blackberries
    • blueberries
    • kiwi (2 pieces)
    • orange
    • pear
    • plums (2 pieces)
    • raspberries
    • strawberries
    • tangerines (2 pieces)

*exceptions: banana, grapefruit, portion size = 1/2 fruit

Leafy Vegetables = 1 cup = Baseball

    • arugula
    • baby romaine
    • boston lettuce
    • mixed greens
    • red lettuce
    • romaine
    • spinach

Fibrous Vegetables = 1/2 cup = 1/2 Baseball

    • artichoke hearts
    • asparagus
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    • cauliflower
    • celery
    • cucumber
    • eggplant
    • green beans
    • onions
    • red cabbage
    • red peppers
    • snap peas
    • squash
    • zucchini

Breads = CD case

    • Bagel (1/4)
    • English Muffin (1/2)
    • Whole-grain bread (1 slice)

Meat = 3 ounces = deck of cards

    • beef
    • chicken breast
    • pork tenderloin
    • tofu
    • turkey breast

Fish = 3 ounces = computer mouse

    • cod
    • halibut
    • mahimahi
    • red snapper
    • salmon
    • swordfish
    • tuna

Grains, Legumes, and Starches = 1/2 cup = 1/2 baseball

    • barley (cooked)
    • beans
    • brown rice (cooked)
    • cereal
    • corn (cooked)
    • edamame
    • oats (cooked)
    • potatoes (all varieties)
    • quinoa (cooked)
    • whole grain pasta (cooked)


    • Hard Cheese = 1.5 ounces = 4 dice or lipstick case
    • yogurt = 1/2 cup = 1/2 baseball


    • Avocado = 1/2 medium = deck of cards
    • oils = 1 teaspoon = 1 die
    • nuts – 1/4 a cup = golf ball

If you don’t already have measuring cups or spoons, it might be helpful to purchase them. You may even want to consider investing in a nutrition scale, which will allow you to weigh various foods. Spend a week measuring what you eat and comparing it to the visual cues so you can accurately understand typical portion sizes and what they look like. Display some of the everyday items in your kitchen so they are conveniently located. You may even want to take a couple of them with you when you go out to eat. Eventually, you’ll be comfortable assessing portion sizes without measuring cups, spoons, or props and will be able to do so no matter where you are.


Knowing proper portion sizes is only half the battle in learning the art of eating the right amount. It’s what you DO with that knowledge that really counts. Eating out and busy schedules can make portion control more challenging. Here are my suggestions on how to use your portion control smarts in the moment:

 Caroline’s Portion Control In ACTION guidelines:

  • Before Eating, Divide The Plate. Here’s a simple rule to portion a plate properly: Divide it in half. Automatically fill one side with fruits or vegetables, leaving the rest for equal parts protein and starch. This way, you begin to see what a properly balanced meal looks like. Spaghetti and meatballs? Steak and potatoes? They’re only half a meal, incomplete without fruits and vegetables.
  • Pre-Portion Tempting Treats. People tend to consume more when they have easy access to food and the bigger the package, the more food you’ll pour out of it. Measure out your food choices into a ziplock bag, bowl, or plate before you eat. Put the package or dish away and then sit down to enjoy your pre-portioned snack or meal.
  • Avoid Mindless Munching. It’s all to easy to keep eating food when it’s readily available. I call it the “see food diet”. If you can’t resist food when it’s around you, have it put away or leave the room. Turn off the television, computer, or any other distractions so that you can pay attention to what you are eating. When you are dining out, ask the server to have the bread removed from the table. In the office steer clear of your co-workers candy jar or the community food table. When you are mindful while eating its easy to avoid damaging your nutrition goals with munching.
  • Downsize The Dishes. If you’re part of the “clean plate club” and one of the 54 percent of Americans who eat until their plates polished, you’ll want to make sure your dishware is modestly sized. On a standard 8- to 10-inch dinner plate, a portion of spaghetti looks like a meal. On a 12- to 14-inch dinner plate, it looks meager, so you’re likely to dish out a bigger portion to fill the plate. Look for dishware that helps you in sticking with your healthy portion control goal. That way even if you eat until your plate is clean it wont do too much damage!
  • Limit Your Choices. The more options you have, the more options you’ll want to eat.  Look to limit your food choices to avoid the temptation to sample everything in sight.  When at a buffet or party with a large assortment of food, view all the dining options first and then fill your plate with portions of the foods that you want most. Avoid the temptation to go back for seconds once you are comfortably full.
  • If you have good food in your fridge, you’ll eat good food. You control 100 % of the food that is brought into your home. Use this power to your advantage. Stock up on foods that nourish you and if you know you can’t stop at just one potato chip, then don’t buy them at ALL.
  • Enjoy Dining Out with moderation and mindfulness. Eating appropriate portion sizes when dining out is especially challenging. Restaurant servings sizes are often enough for 4 people! To keep portions in perspective, consider ordering two appetizers instead of an entrée. If you are dining with others, you may want to split an appetizer and entrée with another person. If you order an entrée for yourself, evaluate how much of the food on the plate equates to a portion size and ask for the rest to be set aside. You can ask for a doggie bag or save the portion for another meal during the week. And always share dessert!

What is one way you practice portion control when dining out or cooking at home? It’s important to be mindful of the quantity of food you’re eating and hopefully the guidelines above will help you enjoy eating healthy, balanced portions. Eat slowly, savor your food, and enjoy your company. Heres to a year of eating well, feeling well, and being unstoppable!

Yours in Health,


Other Things To Check Out This week:

Read Full Post »


The National Institute of Health estimates that during the 6 weeks of Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Americans gain an average of 0.8 – 1.4 pounds. With the lingering effects of Halloween candy factored in, that range could easily be higher. According to the NIH, this eating free for all over 40 or more days accounts for the 51% of the typical American’s yearly weight gain.


One and a half pounds doesn’t seem a significant amount of weight to shed post holidays, but realistically the extra baggage doesn’t come off that easily. In fact, over a decade or two, at that rate of gain, an insidious 15-30 extra pounds could creep onto a person’s unsuspecting frame. Most are aware of the health challenges the holidays present, but what many people don’t know is how EASY it is to prevent weight gain with a few realistic and mindful strategies in place. With a few simple healthy alterations you can stop the holiday food hangover BEFORE damage is done.


Below are some of my favorite articles and resources to help you put these strategies to work and feel your best on January 1st. That way come the New Year, instead of focusing on damage control, you’ll be in a place to set new, exciting wellness goals.  I challenge you to practice prevention and mindfulness while you enjoy the season and find balance. These practical articles aim to inspire you to put a “holiday pre-hab” program in place for yourself. With topics ranging from “Seasonal Stress Reduction” to “9 Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies”, I hope you will find something useful below. If you draw just one good idea or find a healthy recipe to share, I’ll have met my objective. Please let me know if you find this post helpful or if you have any healthy holiday resources you’d like to add to the list by leaving a comment below this post.  In the meantime, if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube Fitness channel, please do so at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheCarolineinthecity?feature=mhee   . It’s the perfect solution to traveling or seasonal workouts when you are short on time. And now without further to do, here are my favorite seasonal health resources:


Caroline’s Healthy Holiday Handbook 2012

 Seasonal Stress Reduction:

Cooking Light and Eating Right:

Feel Good Fitness:


From my little studio in San Francisco to your home, I wish you a very warm and festive holiday season (sans the extra pounds!) Looking forward to sharing this most wonderful time of year with you. Heres to a healthy, happy holiday that feels good from the inside out.

With Gratitude,



Read Full Post »

“Actually, I think all addiction starts with soda. Every junkie did soda first. But no one counts that. Maybe they should…” – Chris Rock

True story, I used to be a junkie. Diet 7Up was my soda of choice and I was addicted. A.D.D.I.C.T.E.D. I drank the stuff like it was water. Because once you start with one… the sugar in the bottle naturally makes you want MORE. My friends would caution me, “you really need to get rid of that stuff Caroline.” but I blew it off. I didn’t want to part with Diet 7Up. I wasn’t ready yet. Until the day came when I was. I was tired of spending so much money, dehydrated in need of water, and ready to give up the fake stuff. And then I did it. I beat my addiction to diet soda. I can’t tell you it was easy. But I can tell you it was worth it.

Since 1950, soft drink consumption per capita has quadrupled from about 11 gallons per year to about 50 gallons in 2003.

Sugar is a common term used to describe a variety of sweet substances. There are naturally occurring sugars, such as those found in whole fruit and dairy products (lactose). And there are “added sugars”, which aren’t naturally found in food but rather are added to foods when we cook or bake, or during the processing of packaged and industrially prepared foods.

Over the last several decades, American consumption of added sugars has climbed to an all time high, and unfortunately, research has shown that this increased consumption is significantly contributing to disease and health issues in America. High consumption of added sugars are associated with the rise of obesity and with the increased risks for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, inflammation, and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Further, regularly consuming refined sugars can cause insulin resistance and raised blood sugar levels (both of which can set the stage for type 2 diabetes), weight gain and fat storage, decreased immune system and endocrine function, constipation, moodiness, premature aging, and the list goes on.

The American Heart Association suggests that women should consume no more than 100 calories (about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons) of added sugars per day, while men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) each day. This is a drastic contrast to the 22 teaspoons consumed on average today.

When we explore where we get most of our sugar, sweetened beverages are overwhelmingly the most to blame. Sweetened beverages account for over 40% of “added sugar” in the American diet. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, soft drinks alone account for 33 percent of consumed added sugars, with the sweetened fruit drinks trailing a distant second at 10 percent. It’s no surprise: one twelve-ounce can of soda contains over nine teaspoons of sugar, while the more common twenty-ounce bottle contains seventeen teaspoons!!

Other foods definitely contribute to our sugar intake as well, but not at nearly as high of a rate. Candy and cake come in a 5 percent each, ready to eat cereal compromises 4 percent of the total, and then comes table sugar and honey, cookies and brownies, and syrups and toppings.

With so many added sugars attributed to sweetened beverages, it’s safe to say that eliminating sweetened beverages from your diet can drastically reduce your daily sugar consumption and improve your health.

If giving up sweetened beverages seems painful, I’m here to tell you it will get easier after a few days. The more we feed our addiction to sugar, the more we crave it. When you break the cycle, however, your body begins to crave less sugar; and in a few weeks, you won’t miss it so much. After being clean from diet soda for years, when I taste the stuff it blows me away by how sweet it is! It brings awareness for how much I had lost sensation to sweet when I was a diet soda addict.

** A note on beverages and ARTIFICIAL sweeteners.

 Its best to avoid beverages that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, and Sucralose. These are highly processed, chemically derived, zero-calorie sweeteners that are used to intentionally reduce calories in otherwise high-calorie foods and beverages. Although artificial sweeteners may seem healthier in the short-term, many studies have shown that they can increase cravings for sugar and carbohydrates, and can potentially negatively impact your metabolism. Further, they may cause dizziness, hallucinations, and headaches, among other health issues. As a result, it is best to cut out artificial sweeteners from your diet and avoid drinks or foods that contain them (yes you Diet 7Up).

Sip smarter and reduce your intake of sugar with my “Better Beverage Check List”

Survey Your Consumption. Keep track of the sweetened beverages you consume. Note how many grams of sugar are in each beverage, and add up your total at the end of the day. Make sure to include all types of sweetened beverages, including soda, juice drinks, flavored waters such as vitamin water, Gatorade, sugar added to your coffee or tea, or anything else that has added sugar in it. If you consume beverages that have artificial sweeteners, write them down as well. Each day of the week, continue to write down how many grams of sugar you are consuming as you make attempts to cut back your intake. I find using an online food journal is an easy method of keeping track of your diet for better body / health benefits. Click here for my tips on keeping a helpful food diary.

Reduce your intake. Consuming sugar in liquid form makes it easy to ingest a ton of empty calories very quickly. Further, these beverages have little to NO nutritional value and cause large spikes in blood sugar. Reduce your sweetened beverage consumption with these tips:

  • Soft Drinks. One of the best ways to eliminate soft drinks from your diet is to substitute them with club soda and a slice of lime or lemon. For a less drastic change, you can make a mixture of three parts club soda with one part 100 percent fruit juice. Dilute the mixture with a little more club soda each day until you can drink it with just a splash of juice, or even better just a splash of lemon or lime. Also, be sure to choose club soda or seltzer that is sodium free. A second way to reduce your soda consumption is to wean yourself off of it. For example, if you normally drink a twenty-ounce bottle of soda a day, drink only sixteen ounces on day two and substitute the other four ounces with water or club soda. On day three, cut back to twelve ounces of soda and eight ounces of water or club soda. Continue to reduce your intake each day so that by the end of the week you’re consuming little to no soft drinks with added sugar or sugar substitutes.
  • Flavored Water and Other Sweetened Beverages. One of the easiest ways to reduce your sugar intake with drinks like Vitamin water, Gatorade, lemonade, sweetened iced tea, etc, is to dilute them with water. Start with a mixture of three parts of the flavored drink and one part water. Each day increase the amount of water until you are consuming little to none of the flavored drink. Ultimately, work down to plain water or sodium free club soda with lemon or lime. Read more on the myths of sports beverages (propel, vitamin water, gatorade) in this interesting Fox News article.
  • Cocktails. It is easy to overdo it on alcohol calories and often cocktails can have more sugar than an entire bag of candy. While the occasional cocktail won’t hurt you, it’s smart to read up on how to make the best choice when you are out  on the town. Click here to read my “Think Before You Drink! Conscious Cocktail Choices.” article and use these tips to enjoy your night out without too much damage.
  • Juice. Although juice contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, its high in sugar and low in fiber. This includes juice made with 100 percent fruit. Even though the sugar found in fruit juice is natural, it can still have similar impacts to your blood sugar as added sugars. Instead of a glass of juice, eat a piece of fruit. You’ll get all the healthful benefits from the fruit along with some fiber, which will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, make you feel more satisfied, and help you reduce your overall sugar intake.
  • Coffee and Tea. Many coffee and tea drinkers add sugar to their caffeinated beverages. Unfortunately, caffeine can cause ups and downs in hydration and blood sugar, potentially fueling sugar cravings. If you sweeten your coffee or tea, try replacing sweeteners with low-fat or non-fat milk. They contain natural sugars (as opposed to added sugars) and protein, creating a more nutritionally balanced beverage. If you like iced tea, choose unsweetened green or herbal tea. You may also want to add a drop of stevia – a natural sweet herb – for sweetness. Finally, since caffeine can contribute to sugar cravings, you may want to limit consumption of caffeinated beverages and move toward decaffeinated options instead.

Drink Plenty of WATER.As we have talked about several times on the blog, drinking plenty of water is important to your health. Lack of hydration can cause us to feel hungry or even feed our sugar cravings. If you feel like you are craving a sweetened beverage, have a big glass of water and see what happens. If your craving subsides, there is a good chance you are dehydrated.

If you have already eliminated sweetened beverages from your diet, you can look to start reducing added sugars in other areas like these:

  • Minimize processed foods. Whole foods never have hidden sugars. Whole foods are those foods you can eat right from nature and don’t require any processing. Foods that are packaged or processed, however, tend to have a lot of hidden sugars. For this reason, when you are craving a sweet food, try to limit yourself to those that are naturally sweet, or more specifically whole fruit and sweet vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes.
  • Eliminate “Fat-free” and “Low-Fat” Packaged Foods. Many low-fat and fat-free versions of goods are loaded with extra sugars. If you want to indulge, its almost better to have the full-fat version which will satiate your cravings more because of the fat content, then to reduce yourself to the high-sugar, low fat option. Remember when we talked about the 80/20 rule of healthy eating? This is a good strategy here.
  • Experiment with Spices. There are many spices that provide sweetness to a dish without the extra calories of sugar. Sweeter spices to try: cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, coriander, ginger, cloves, and cardamom.
  • Stop adding Sugar to meals. Just as you can add spices to recipes, you can stop adding sugar to your meals. Adding sugar on top of fruit, cereals, and other foods that are already sweet is excessive. When you stop adding the sugar for a few days, you should see a decline in your cravings for it.
  • Read Nutrition Labels. The ingredient list on product packages help you spot hidden sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup and other added sweeteners. Also, pay attention to the carbohydrate section of the Nutrition Facts panel to understand how much sugar a product has. Ideally, you want to keep the number of grams of sugar as low as possible and the number of the grams of fiber as high as possible.

Have you ever been a sugar or soda addict? What was your secret to breaking the habit? Leave your thoughts and comments below! 

I am a believer that knowledge is power. The more informed you are, the more you can make the right choices for you. I hope this post inspired you, lets TOAST to your health and a long life together 🙂

With gratitude,


Other Things To Check Out This Week:


Information for this post provided by 52 Small Changes: One Year to A Happier, Healthier, You by Brett Blumenthal. Great read, check it out!

Read Full Post »

While healthy eating is important, there are times when we all want to indulge and need a little wiggle room to do so. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and if having a piece of cake at your friends birthday party is going to bring you pleasure, then by all means you should have a piece of cake. Thats why I subscribe to the 80/20 rule. This rule reminds you that if you want to maintain a healthy body and weight, you’ll need to make wise food choices more often than not, but can make occasional allowances for certain foods or larger portion sizes without falling off track.

Depriving yourself to an extreme isn’t sustainable long term and neither is indulging 24-7. When you don’t let yourself enjoy the things you love, you end up craving them more. This is where practicing moderation comes in. Moderation allows you to enjoy some of the sweeter (or more savory) things in life without overdoing it so you don’t sabotage your efforts to maintain healthy habits. By indulging wisely and treating yourself once in a while, it makes it easier to stay on track and maintain a healthy life.

You don’t have to be perfect or make healthy choices 100% of the time to be fit, strong, happy and well. Here are my guidelines to making the 80/20 rule work in your life:

Caroline’s 80 / 20 Guide

Be Choosy. Part of indulging wisely is figuring out what is really worth the indulgence and what splurging means to you. For instance, if you have a sweet tooth but you could take or leave french frys or potato chips, save your indulgences for dessert. When you’re confronted with unhealthy foods you don’t really crave or love, either skip those or substitute healthier foods so you have room for the indulgence you really want later. Lets say you dine at a restaurant, and chips or fries come with you sandwich; ask to substitute a salad, fruit, or vegetable for the chips or fries if dessert is a more appealing treat. Even fast-casual restaurants like Panera Bread allow you to do this. Swapping out unhealthy foods for healthier choices not only gives you more room to enjoy the things that are really worth the indulgence, but it helps you to eat more nutritious foods along the way.

Plan your 20% Indulgences Ahead. Every week, go over your schedule and pick the one day  or specific moments when you want to allow yourself to enjoy the things you normally avoid. If you know you have a big event on Saturday night, that might be the perfect occasion to indulge. Or if you know you have a birthday dinner with a friend on Wednesday, you might want to enjoy treats then. Regardless of the occasion or the timing, planning indulgences ahead of time gives you something to look forward to throughout the week so it’s easier to remain healthy the rest of the time.

Plan the other 80%. Plan your week’s meals and snacks so its easier to remain healthy 80% of the time. Make sure you shop for all the required ingredients and prepare to be successful in your planned meals. Think ahead, plan to succeed, and you’ll build a healthy habit of 80% nutritious meals.

Savor Your Splurges. When it’s time to indulge, ENJOY IT. Don’t let guilt get in the way or beat yourself up for having a treat. Practice awareness when eating so you maintain a healthy level of satisfaction and don’t feel physically ill of overstuffed. Take the time to enjoy your treat away from tv, work, or other distractions. Be mindful, slow down, and savor every second.

Frequent Indulgences RX: There will always be times when opportunities to indulge are more frequent than normal: holiday seasons, vacations, and birthdays are good examples. When this occurs, the best thing you can do as always, is plan for it. Otherwise, one celebration can easily blend into another and before you know it, you’ve spent a full week or two indulging over and over. Here are some ways you can offset these occasions so they don’t overtake you attempts to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • Exercise. During those weeks you know you’ll be indulging more than 20% of the time, spend some extra time moving. Even an additional twenty to thirty minutes during your workout can make a huge difference. Also choose to incorporate more movement into your day to day, taking the stairs and walking as much as possible.
  • Nutrition. For those time frames when indulging is more frequent, eat especially light and healthy when you aren’t celebrating. Choose to eat nourishing whole foods and many raw fibrous fruits and vegetables. Also make sure you stay hydrated. Before you indulge, drink two glasses of water to fill you up so you indulge a little bit less than you would otherwise.
  • Support Team. Communicate your health goals to others and recruit support to help keep you on track. The more open and honest you are with those that can help you the more successful you’ll be. Accountability is a highly motivating success strategy!

Falling Off The Wagon. There will be times when your healthy habits start to wane. Accept that this is natural and just a part of life. Remember that every day is a new day and a new beginning. If you find yourself spiraling into unhealthier habits on a regular basis, hit the restart button. Recruit support from friends, family, and your fitness coach. Communicate your goals and desire to get back on track. Choose to regain control and you let the small set back teach you lessons on how to move forward to be your best.

The 80/20 rule is all about knowing that we need to give ourselves some wiggle room to maintain healthy eating over our lifetime. It is easy to become unmotivated if you feel like you’ve screwed up by not eating perfectly. And so often this is used as an excuse to continue to eat poorly. That’s what is so great about the 80/20 rule: re-defining what is perfect to allow you to comfortably fit the mold!

It’s all about progress, not perfection. Work on your health, your choices, and your attitude towards yourself. Look at where you want to go, recruit support and set small realistic goals. Any small steps forward WILL add up to progress and fulfilling your vision of a healthy, balanced life.

Do you already practice the 80/20 rule in your life? What are your favorite indulgences? Here’s to enjoying the sweeter things in life and finding a happy, healthy diet balance!

Hope you have a great week. See you soon… till then keep shining 🙂


Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

It’s almost 4th of July Weekend! Do you have anything fun planned?

For many people, long holiday weekends are the perfect time for mini vacations and a bit of road trip fun.  But often hours behind the wheel can mean two things: lots of sitting and poor nutrition. Prevent your health goals from getting kicked to the curb by taking my fit road trip tips with you. These suggestions will help you detour around overeating and under-exercising and get you to your final destination feeling AMAZING!

Healthy Road Trippin 101. Caroline’s top tips for Driving FIT.

Plan your road map to success. 

Regular physical activity is the key to enjoying your trip without feeling stiff or achy when you come back. Before leaving do a little research on fun fitness sightseeing options. Look for active adventures like hikes, trails, activities, or fitness classes available throughout your driving route. Opt to stop in locations that will allow you to engage in the physical activities you enjoy. You can even make a daily itinerary and schedule different exercise adventures into your travel.  Vacations and trips allow you to get creative with new ways to work out, helping you break out of your comfort zone and avoid plateaus from a regimented routine. The more you plan for success the more successful you’ll be. Map out regular movement and you’ll maximize your road trip enjoyment.

Prepare to PLAY.

You don’t need to overload your car with workout gear to stay fit when you travel, but it always helps to take a few light things with you. Here are some great items to pack with you in order to stay active on the road:

“In SHAPE” back seat items:

  • Ipod/ Iphone
  • Ipod charger
  • Running/Active Shoes
  • Weather appropriate workout clothes – don’t forget socks and a good pair of active shoes
  • Jump Rope (perfect for those of you who are a fan of quick, high-impact workouts)
  • Tennis ball (to work out driving kinks with an easy tennis ball massage)
  • Yoga mat. Outdoors or indoors, a mat can ALWAYS come with you. Its perfect to pull out in a park for no equipment needed circuit workouts or in your hotel for a quick yoga flow on the go. I use the lululemon no sweat travel mat. It weighs less than a pound and folds up into even the tiniest purse.
  • Podcasts/ YouTube. I pinterest a few fun ones and load up my Iphone to test them while Im on the road. Some favorites include:

Make time for away-from-home workouts by fitting them in first thing in the morning, before you leave your hotel or home.  Even 10 to 20 minutes of movement in the morning in your hotel room is enough to keep your metabolism revved for a couple of hours behind the wheel.

Fill UP with premium Fuel

Fast food is not fast fuel and will slow you when you travel. Research healthy dining options for your destination by looking up your desired zip-code on healthydiningfinder.com . This service locates healthy restaurants and menu choices for you. You can also avoid the greasy fast food rut by taking a few minutes before you leave to prepare healthy, on-the-go snacks. Pack a cooler full of premium fuel and take a pit stop at a grocery store when you need to fill it up with more. Here are some easy eat on the road ideas:

  • Homemade trail mix. It’s easy to make your own trail mix — not to mention healthier than the store-bought stuff — and it’ll help keep you full and energized on the road. Make sure to buy unsalted peanuts and dried fruit without added sugar. Mix your own or test one of these healthy homemade trail mix combos.
  • String cheese. If your diet likes dairy, you can get some of your daily dose of calcium with travel-friendly string cheese.
  • Fruit. Apples, pears, bananas, and other fruits are easy to throw into your car cooler and are also an excellent source of fiber, something that becomes important as travels begin to wreak havoc on your digestive system.
  • Pre cut veggies.  Baby carrots and sugar snap peas are perfect when you need something crunchy.
  • Cold drinks to help you stay hydrated. It’s can be easy to confuse thirst for hunger, so make sure to stay hydrated on the road. If bottled water is too boring for you, try flavored sparkling water, coconut water, or take some propel powder to shake up in your H20.
  • If you are hungry for more, Check out all of my favorite healthy snack finds. 

Take Regular Pit Stops to Stretch out

Pit stops are a great a time to move, breathe, and STRETCH OUT. Make every bathroom break a reminder to give your hip flexors, calves, quads, lower back, shoulders, and neck some love.

Don’t Give Up (or beat yourself up)!

Most importantly, if you fall off the station wagon, get right back on. No need to beat yourself up about a super rich and indulgent meal or a couple of sedentary days. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to make a difference— whether or not you had an awesome time and a memorable trip is what counts.

Getting away from reality is good for the mind, spirit, and body. On your next road trip, challenge yourself to explore new activities, adventures, and healthy habits. You’ll have a great time and enjoy an invigorating, stress free getaway!

What is your top tip for road trip wellness? I hope you have a happy, healthy, 4th of July filled with friends and fireworks. Life is short, time to celebrate it!

With Gratitude,


Other things to check out this week:

Read Full Post »

Summer time and the livin is easy…

Ah summer. The season of pool parties, backyard barbeques, vacation adventures, and in my town parkas. (Yes, San Francisco is foggy and FREEZING in the summer…. need me to come visit you? 😉 ).

It’s the hottest time of the year and a great time to enjoy being active and living well. Heres a collection of some of my favorite workouts, articles, playlists, and tips designed to help  you stay fit this summer.  Whether you’re at the lake, in the mountains, on the beach, or at the pool, if you practice body care, you’ll thrive ALL summer.


Caroline’s Summer Body Care Kit.

A checklist of tips to help you eat right, stay fit, and have a BLAST! 

Seasonal Fit Tips

Summer Six Pack Secrets. My no nonsense guide to feeling STRONG in your swimsuit.

All About the SUNSHINE Vitamin. What vitamin D can do for you and your body. 

INSTANT Energy. Live Fully Powered all season.

Fresh Air Fitness. Benefits of outdoor workouts and ideas for fresh air fitness fun!

Summer Fun/ Vacation Workouts

Summer Fitness Adventures. Over 50 ideas to inspire you to have FUN this summer. 

Travel Fitness Tips. Tips on how to work out while you vacation it

Take with you ANYWHERE Workout. Moves you can take with you on your next road trip

Too HOT to Trot Tabata Workout. A quick routine to squeeze in before summer vacation sightseeing.

Best of the Best. Caroline Jordan Fitness Workout Roundup. GO GET IT.

Eat Right

Summer Salad Survival Guide

Top 50 Superfoods to Fuel Your Summer

Think before you Drink! Conscious cocktail calories. 

Nuts over COCONUT. Is coconut water really good for you?

How to eat seasonally – great links to help you enjoy the most from the farmers market

Summer Hits. Playlists

Spicy Summer Spin Mix

Sunny Workout Playlist


POWER Jams. Great ideas for workout songs or backyard BBQ tunes!

Rockout Workout Playlist. Outdoor concert anyone?

There you go…. tons of links to help you make summer a sweaty and fit season of bliss.  Remember, fitness comes ALL forms and what works for one person might not be exactly right for someone else. It’s up to us to try what’s out there and live in a way that is authentically happy.  So tell me,  what does summer fitness mean to you? How will you enjoy staying active this summer? Leave a comment below with one way you will practice Summer Body Care. Together we can inspire each other to thrive and live our BEST life.

Here’s to a healthy, happy season of sun.

With Gratitude,


Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

“People always say:

‘I’m too busy to exercise,’

‘I have to be there for the kids,’

‘I’ve got too much work.’

You know what? These are little lies you’re telling yourself, and the go against the laws of self-preservation, because the more WHOLE and HEALTHY you are, the more fully you can give to other people.”

– Oprah

Leave it to Oprah to remind us the importance of prioritizing personal health in our lives. But sometimes life gets in the way of your fitness goals. In our crazy world, it is a huge challenge to make time for yourself, let alone a workout. That’s why it can be helpful to have an exercise routine that you can do anywhere, anytime, no matter how busy your life seems.

Lucky for YOU making it count doesn’t require a whole lot of time or equipment. Short sessions and smart, high quality training WILL add up. Here are easy-to-follow exercises that will get you up and moving, anytime, anywhere, no matter your fitness level. Whether you’re stuck at the office or traveling for work, at home with baby or simply can’t get out of the house, these no equipment needed workout moves will help you sweat when life gets hectic. You can mix and match all of the exercises and choose to fit in a few anytime during your day. Or you can combine all the below for a complete total body workout you can take anywhere. I hope these no equipment needed moves help you the next time your life has left you scrambling to find time to schedule in a workout or two.  Enjoy and remember that whether you sweat in your hotel or while cooking dinner, it ALL adds up towards a healthier, happier you 🙂

Caroline’s Anywhere Anytime Exercises:

Fantastic no-equipment needed fitness moves!


Plank: Lie face-down on the floor with your legs together, forearms close to the torso, and toes perpendicular to the floor as if you’re going to do a push up. Lift your body using your abdominal muscles and your arms, until it’s in a straight line from head to toe, and the only things touching the floor are your toes and your forearms. Hold this position for as long as you can, working up to three minutes at a time. Click HERE for more of my perfect plank tips. 

Seated Leg raise:  Seated on the floor upright with the legs extended straight out in front of you and feet flexed, place the hands on the floor and slightly round the torso. Then, lift the hips off the ground, hold for five seconds and release. Repeat!

Push Up to Side Plank: Combine pushup and plank for the BEST bang for your buck! Perform one pushup. After coming back up into a starting push-up position, rotate your body to the right and extend the right hand overhead, forming a side plank with arms in a T position. Return to the starting position, do a normal push-up, then rotate to the left.

Bicycle: Lie down with knees bent and hands behind the head. With the knees in toward the chest, bring the right elbow towards the left knee as the right leg straightens. Continue alternating sides. Its as easy as riding a bike right?! Go slow, focus on form, and aim to get the shoulders off the ground 🙂

Crunch: Form is key when it comes to this standby! Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With hands behind the head, place the chin down slightly and peel the head and shoulders off the mat while engaging the core. Continue curling up until the upper back is off the mat. Hold briefly, then lower the torso back toward the mat slowly.

Windshield Wipers: Target the oblique muscles. Lying on your back with your knees bent and core tight, let the knees fall gradually to the left (feeling a good stretch). Hold for five seconds, return to center, and repeat on the right side.

Butt Bridge: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and lift up the spine and hips. Only the head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the ground. Then lift one leg upwards, keeping the core tight. Slowly bring the leg back down, then lift back up. Try to do 10 reps per leg, then bring the knee in place and spine back on the floor.

Single Leg Ab Press: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet on the floor. Tighten the abs and raise the right leg, with the knee and hip bent at a 90-degree angle. Push the right hand on top of the lifted knee, using the core to create pressure between the hand and knee. Hold for five counts, and then lower back down to repeat with the left hand and knee. 

Double Leg Ab Press: Two legs is twice the fun. Follow the same run-down for  the single leg press (above), but bring up both legs at the same time, pushing the hands against the knees.

Side Plank: Roll to the side and come up on one foot and elbow. Make sure the hips are lifted and the core is engaged, and hang tight for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can stomach!).

Sprinter Sit-Up: Lie on your back with the legs straight and arms by your side — elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Now sit up, bringing the left knee toward the right elbow. Lower the body and repeat on the other side.

Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet together, lifted a few inches off the floor. With the back at a 45-degree angle from the ground, move the arms from one side to another in a twisting motion. Here, slow and steady wins the race: The slower the twist, the deeper the burn.

Have internet with you? Here is one of my quick, no equipment needed core workouts:

Lower Body

Wall Sit: Slide down a wall until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles and keep the back straight. Go for 60 seconds per set (or however long it takes to turn those legs to jelly). Need more fire? Add some bicep curls or hold the arms out straight.

Lunge: Stand with the hands on the hips and feet hip-width apart. Step the right leg forward and lower your body until the right knee is close to or touching the floor and bent at least 90 degrees. Return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg. Try stepping back into the lunge for a different variation.

Clock Lunge:  Complete a traditional forward lunge, then take a big step to the right and lunge again. Finish off the semicircle with a backwards lunge, then return to standing. And all that’s one rep! Aim for 10 reps and then switch legs.

Lunge-to-Row: Start by doing a normal lunge. Instead of bringing that forward leg back to the starting position, raise it up off the floor while lifting the arms overhead. The leg should remain bent at about 90 degrees. Add weights to really bring the heat.

Jump POWER Lunges: We do these moves a lot in my group fitness classes in San Francisco. Stand with the feet together and lunge forward with the right foot. Jump straight up, propelling the arms forward while keeping the elbows bent. While in the air, switch legs and land in a lunge with the opposite leg forward. Repeat and continue switching legs. Try to do 10! This move is great for explosive power and cardio.

Curtsy/ Crossover Lunge: Another one of my fitness class favorites.  When lunging, step the left leg back behind the right, bending the knees and lowering the hips until the right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Its most important to remember to keep the hips square and watch your posture!

Squat: Stand with the feet parallel or turned out 15 degrees — whatever is most comfortable. Sit the butt back and down, bringing the thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure the heels stay on the floor and chest stays lifted. Press through the heels to return to a standing position.

Single leg Squat: Stand holding the arms straight out in front of the body, and raise the right leg, flexing the right ankle and pushing the hips back. Lower the body while keeping the right leg raised (a squat with one leg). Hold and then return to standing. You can use a bench to squat/sit on to work your way towards doing the single leg squat if needed.

Squat Jump: Cardio squat! Perform a normal squat and then JUMP, reaching the arms straight overhead. Aim for 15 reps, taking a quick breather before the next set.

Chair Squat Pose: Stand with the feet hip-distance apart and squat until the thighs are parallel to the floor while lifting the arms up. Straighten the legs, then lift up the right knee while swinging the left arm outside the right knee. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Step-Up: Find a step or bench and place the right foot on the elevated surface. Step up until the right leg is straight then return to start. Repeat, aiming for 10-12 reps on each side.

Single Leg Deadlift: Start in a standing position with the feet together. Lift the right leg off the floor and lower the arms and torso while raising the right leg behind the body. Keep the left knee slightly bent and reach the arms as close to the floor as possible. Raise the torso while lowering the right leg. Perform 12-15 reps and then switch legs.

Calf Raise: From a standing position, slowly rise up on the toes, keeping the knees straight and heels off the floor. Hold briefly, then come back down. You can also try standing on something elevated (like a step) to achieve a wider range of motion.

Here are a few of the above lower body moves in action:

Upper Body

Push-Up: The classic. Start in plank position with hands shoulder width apart keep the feet flexed at hip distance, and tighten the core. Bend the elbows until the chest reaches the ground, and then push back up (make sure to keep the elbows tucked close to the body). Can’t do a full push-up just yet? Thats ok! Use my helpful push-up guide and find the variation that currently suits you.

Donkey Kick: Start in a push-up position, with the legs together. Tighten the core and kick both legs into the air with knees bent, reaching the feet back toward the glutes. Just try to land gently when reversing back to the starting position.

Reverse Fly: For DIY dumbbells, grab two cans or bottles of water. Stand up straight, with one foot in front of the other and the front knee slightly bent. With palms facing each other and the abs engaged, bend forward slightly from the waist and extend arms out to the side, squeezing the shoulder blades. Repeat.

Superman: Lie facedown with arms and legs extended. Keeping the torso as still as possible, simultaneously raise the arms and legs to form a small curve in the body.

Contralateral Limb Raises: Lie on your stomach with the arms reaching forward and palms facing one another. Slowly lift one arm a few inches off the floor, keeping it straight without rotating the shoulders and keeping the head and torso still. Hold the position, then lower the arm back down, moving to the other arm.

Triceps Dip: Get seated near a step or bench. Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent, and grab the edge of the elevated surface and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. For some extra fire, reach the right arm out while lifting the left leg.

Diamond Push-Up: These push-ups start with a diamond shaped hand position (situate them so that the thumbs and index fingers touch). This hand readjustment will give those triceps some extra (burning) love.

Boxer:Starting with feet hip-width apart and knees bent, keep the elbows in and punch one arm forward and the other arm back. Hug the arms back in and switch arms — like you’re boxing! This one counts as cardio.

Shoulder Stabilization Series (I, Y, T, W O): Lie down on your stomach with arms extended overhead and palms facing each other. Move the arms into an “I”, a “Y”, a “T”, a “W” and an “O”. (Gimme a Y, you know you want to!).

This video combines a few of core, upper body, and total body workout moves in 7 minutes:

Total Body

Inchworm: Stand up tall with the legs straight. Bend at the hips and bring your fingers to touch the floor. Keep the legs straight (but not locked!),and then walk the hands forward bringing yourself to plank position. Once in a plank, start taking tiny steps so the feet meet the hands. Continue bugging forward and in for 4-6 reps.

Bear Crawl:  Starting on the hands and knees,  rise up onto the toes, tighten the core, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side. Continue the crawl for 8-10 reps.

Plyometric Push-Up: Start on a well-padded surface and complete a traditional push-up. Then, in an explosive motion, push up hard enough to come off the floor. Once back on solid ground, immediately head into the next repetition.

Stair Climb with Grocery Carry: Turn stairs into a cardio machine — no magic wand necessary. Grab dumbbells (or household objects – bags of groceries work great!) and briskly walk up and down the stairway while simultaneously holding weight with GOOD POSTURE to work the whole body.

Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward.

Prone Walkout: Beginning on all fours with the core engaged, slowly walk the hands forward staying on the toes but not moving them forward. Next, gradually walk the hands backwards to the starting position, maintain stability and balance.

Burpees: One of the most effective full-body exercises around, this one starts out in a low squat position with hands on the floor. Next, kick the feet back to a push-up position, complete one push-up, then immediately return the feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible before squatting and moving back into the push-up portion.

Here is an example of how you can put all the above moves together for a quick 10 minute circuit you can do anywhere:


You can roll out your yoga mat just about ANYWHERE you want. Do your sun salutes in a neighborhood park, on the beach by the water, or in your hotel room while you travel. If you have a computer or phone with access to internet, online yoga streaming websites like YOGAGLO are helpful in providing quality yoga classes. And of course you can stretch, breathe, or meditate anywhere as well. Take time to enjoy BEING and appreciating the moment. Real relaxation isn’t found on the couch – take it all in and practice gratitude for every second. Ive done yoga in union square, at lululemon Grant Ave, and even while waiting for the bus! Check out some fun photos of my yoga adventures and a 10 minute stretching sequence you can do anywhere:

Yoga with Stephanie Snyder in Union Square San francisco

Leading a yoga class at lululemon Grant Avenue San Francisco

10 minute relaxing stretching sequence – take off your shoes and relax!

Looking for more motivation or need to see the exercises in action? Check out all of my workout videos on my YOUTUBE channel. While they may not be filmed professionally, these short videos offer quick workouts you can enjoy anywhere and Im sweating along with you! You can piece together 5 or 10 minute segments for a complete workout – or squeeze in one when your tight on time. They can be downloaded to your Iphone, ipod, or computer for at home or on the road workouts to go. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy these videos and  find them useful in times your busy schedule challenges you. I love feedback and  requests – so if you’d like to see another workout video or two,  leave a note as a comment below and let me know what you’d like to move to.

Do you have a favorite “take with you anywhere” fitness move? Whats your strategy for fitting in exercise with a busy schedule? Leave your #1 on-the-go workout tip as a comment below. Together we can inspire each other to be healthier.

Onward and upward…. hope to see YOU soon for a workout. Till then, keep shining.


Other Things to Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

HAPPY April and SPRING to you!! How are your 2012 fitness goals coming?

It’s four months since New Years and the gym is half as crowded as it once was. Why the ghost town? Sadly, the average health club exerciser quits after just a few months for one of the following reasons:

  • Not Enough Time
  • Not Seeing Results

Most people become frustrated and stop before they see get to see any real results from their efforts. But it’s not surprising given the common mistakes many make with their training programs. What are the obstacles that come between exercisers and their health goals? Here are some of the common roadblocks that prevent many from lasting fitness results and my top tips for overcoming each one so you can successfully reach ALL your goals.

Fitness Result ROADBLOCKS. Reasons Workouts Don’t Work

All Quantity, No Quality

Take the time to look around the gym and you might notice how many people are really getting a quality workout. You might be surprised to see many people coasting, walking leisurely on a treadmill while reading, lifting light weights without a drop of sweat, or bored to tears. A lot of exercisers head to the gym out of habit, operate on automatic pilot, put in some time and head back to work or home. If you want serious results, you need to do the WORK. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when you train. It just means you need to focus on what you are doing and increase the quality of every movement. When it comes to your workout, ask yourself, “What do I want to get out of this?”. Once you start exercising with a purpose, challenging your  aerobic capacity and strength, you will find your workouts take half the time and provide better results.


Overestimating Exercise 

Sad but true. Many people believe that if they exercise at a moderate pace for 30 minutes they have burned loads of calories and fat. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Overly generous estimates of exercise intensity, time,  and frequency of workouts will prevent results. To avoid this roadblock, you have to get REAL and get the details on what you are actually doing when you sweat. To get the specifics, it can be helpful to keep an exercise log to track your workouts. Better yet, investing in a heart rate monitor, NIKE fuel band, or Fit Bit can provide a detailed summary of your daily output (workout and lifestyle activities all included). It’s important to note, that while exercise does burn calories and consistent exercise is one of the best ways to maintain weight loss, it’s hard to lose body fat on exercise alone. Which brings us to the next roadblock. . .
Underestimating what you Eat

Nutrition is the key component to getting the lean and fit body you want. Even if you do everything right with your exercise program (adding variety, monitoring intensity, being consistent, etc) you’ll never benefit without a healthy, well-balanced diet. Poor eating habits prevent your body from reaching its full potential. Unfortunately, exercising wont make you invincible from the negative effects of eating JUNK. Unhealthy eating will stunt your progress and make it incredibly difficult to achieve your goals.
In order get the results you want for your body you must get a grip on how you FUEL it. To understand what exactly is going IN, it can be helpful to keep track of everything you consume, even water. A nutrition journal can be a crucial improvement to your life and help you achieve lasting results when it comes to your fitness. You’ll be more aware of what you eat and how you think about eating. Remember, If you put GOOD in – GREAT will come out. Here are my tips on keeping a food journal and learning how best to FUEL yourself.  Eat well, watch your portion sizes, and give your nutrition (and body) a boost!
Doing the Wrong Type of Workout

Where did you learn your current exercise routine? Watching others at the gym? From friends, coworkers, the web, tv, newspaper, the latest research findings, or perhaps your 7th grade gym teacher? What you are doing for exercise directly affects the results you will get from it. To figure out what workouts are RIGHT for you, there is no better place to start than by writing down your goals and working with a professional trainer to design fitness plan appropriate for YOU. Haphazard exercise will provide haphazard results. Get quality support and EDUCATE yourself on the workouts you should do to meet your fitness goals and achieve the results YOU want.
Never Changing Your Workout 

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve ALWAYS got”. When you do the same workout routine week after week, you get very good at it. This is known as the principle of adaptation:  we become efficient by doing the same exercise over and over. This can be helpful for some sports training,  but terrible for weight loss, strength increases or physical fitness progression. If you tend to stick to the same weekly workout routine, you will eventually hit a plateau and fail to see any additional change. And when you’re no longer seeing results, it’s too easy to become bored with your workouts and it can eventually be the reason you to give up on the gym. Here are a few simple tips to help you BREAK THROUGH the dreaded plateau, so you’ll always be able to benefit reap the benefits and rewards of regular physical activity. Change creates change. Anything you can do to spice things up will help you benefit from your workouts and get the results you want.
Incorrect Form or Technique

Learning the right way to exercise is essential to getting results. Form does matter, especially when doing any strength training exercise. Incorrect form or technique can set you up for potential injuries, pain, soreness, and frustration. To learn proper technique, there is no better place to start than with a personal trainer or coach. Even one session for basic tips and education can be helpful when it comes to learning proper movement patterns. Take the time to learn what good form looks and feels like, you’ll achieve incredible results ALL your life.
Setting Unrealistic Goals

So, what are your goals? Are they realistic for you? If you want to lose 25 pounds in a month or be the next Lance Armstrong with only 30 minutes of exercise a day, you might need to give your goals a REALITY check. It all comes down to being honest with yourself about your abilities, your commitment level, and your lifestyle. Set appropriate goals that start from where YOU are and progress at a reasonable rate to avoid frustration or burnout. Not sure how to create a goal that fits? Work with a coach or personal trainer to develop a custom-made goals for YOU.
Measuring the Wrong Results
Many people think their workout isn’t working because they don’t measure the right things. The scale is not a good place to measure your fitness accomplishments or track your progress as your body changes. Heres a great article on why the scale lies if you’re not quite ready to break up with it yet. Better ways to measure your fitness progress include tracking your heart rate at a given pace, measuring the distance you can cover in a certain amount of time, tracking the amount of weight you can lift, or even writing down how you feel — physically and mentally– at the end of each day. The many of the benefits of exercise are often subtle and not visible by looking into the mirror. Things such as cholesterol level, blood pressure, and the ease of daily life can be motivating to work towards if you monitor them. Choose to focus on a few specific measurable accomplishments when working towards improving your fitness. Be patient, work hard, and you’ll see improvements.
Have any of the above roadblocks prevented you from seeing fitness results? What strategies did you use to move past them and move onward towards your goals?
Looking for more on fitness myths and guidance when it comes to getting RESULTS? Check out these articles:
Armed with the tips above I am positive you will be able to do what you need to accomplish all your goals. It takes WORK to make your time in the gym COUNT, but remember: what doesnt kill you makes you…. STRONGER. I believe in YOU. Blast past roadblocks, GO FOR IT, and get the results YOU want!
Heres to you living stronger and being unstoppable. Till next time, keep smiling!
Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

Did she say, “Fiberlicious”?!?!

You have heard its good for you, but do you know why or how? If you are confused, you’re not alone. Dietary fiber can  often be a misunderstood nutrient. It’s not a new talk topic for fitness fanatics; many  have acknowledged and promoted fiber’s benefits. But with so much information floating around it’s hard to know whats right for YOU. Developing a better understanding on the powerful role that fiber plays in keeping your body healthy and incorporating strong fiber habits into your routine will increase your performance and vitality.  Educate yourself with this “Fiber 101” post. Fill your days with delicious fiber and glow from the INSIDE out. Fill up and feel “Fiberlicious”!

Fiber Facts

Fiber in its dietary form is a plant food that the body isn’t meant to digest. This is why it enhances regularity. It’s got nowhere to go but out. It doesn’t stop there though, with many other health benefits – particularly with regard to weight management, digestive health, heart health, and diabetes – the biggest assault on the human population (and the U.S. healthcare system) since the Bubonic plague, but I digress.

Dietary fiber comes in two forms – both play a role in good health:

  1. Soluble fiber is “soluble” in water.  It has many benefits, such as moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol – reducing the risk of heart disease.  Good sources of soluble fiber include oats, legumes (peas, beans, lentils), barley, and certain fruits and vegetables. For a general list: Sources of Soluble Fiber
  2. Insoluble fiber does not absorb or dissolve in water.  It passes through our digestive system in close to its original form, supporting superior regularity.  It offers many benefits to intestinal health, including a reduction in the risk and occurrence of colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, and constipation.  Good sources of insoluble fiber include whole grain products, seeds and nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables. For a general list: Sources of Insoluble Fiber

Benefits of Fiber

The health benefits of fiber are plentiful, check out all the amazing things fiber can do for you:

Digestive Health
Without getting too graphic, in a nutshell, fiber adds bulk to help food move efficiently through the digestive tract, keeping the digestive system running smoothly and promoting regularity. In addition to getting your recommended fiber intake, regular exercise and lots of water also promote healthy digestion.

Heart Health 
The soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol levels. It does this by interfering with its absorption in the digestive tract. Studies have shown that increased fiber in the diet can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which also promotes heart health.

Diabetes and Blood Sugar Control
Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels. A diet that includes insoluble fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Weight Management 
High-fiber foods give the feeling of satiation or feeling “full” or satisfied, for longer periods, curbing appetite and reducing cravings. Also, foods high in fiber generally require more chewing time, giving your brain time to register when you’re no longer hungry, and reducing the likelihood of overeating. High-fiber foods also tend to be less “energy dense,” meaning they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Cancer Prevention
Evidence that dietary fiber reduces cancer is mixed, so take this with a grain of salt.  The passage of food through the body is increased when fiber is eaten. Some experts believe this may prevent the harmful substances found in some foods from affecting the colon and may protect against colon cancer. Other types of cancer that are linked with poor nutrition and may be prevented by a fiber-rich diet include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.

Are You Getting Your Fiber Fill?

The National Fiber Council recommends an average of 32 grams of fiber per day for a healthy adult. Some requiring more, and some less. Unfortunately, this is a major struggle for many, with most of the American population only getting about 50% of their recommended daily fiber intake (approximately 12 – 17 grams), if that. My personal preference is that if your body can tolerate it, the higher your intake, the better.

To calculate how much fiber you need based on your age and gender, and receive a customized meal plan, click out the National Fiber Council’s fiber calculator. For a relatively comprehensive list of fiber-rich foods, check out the Continuum Health Partners’ fiber content chart.

Getting the recommended intake of fiber in your diet isn’t as hard as it may seem,  all it takes is a little know-how and some motivation. Here are some great ways to bring more fiber into your days:

  • Eat your fruits and veggies .  Kick it up a notch by eating the peels and skins, and enhance the fiber content and benefit from a host of other nutrients that are in there.
  • Choose whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices.
  • READ nutrition labels.  Look for things like “whole grain”, “whole wheat”, and “bran”. Don’t be fooled by “wheat” flour. This is a guise for refined “white” flour – public enemy #1.
  • Choose whole grain bread, cereals, and pasta in place of their overly processed, refined “white” counterparts. Replace white flour (or at least a portion of it) with whole wheat flour in baked goods.
  • Replace white rice with brown rice.
  • Substitute meat with beans or other legumes (dried peas, lentils, or black-eyed peas) in meals.
  • Nuts and SEEDS. Add nuts and seeds to salads, vegetables, and snacks. In addition to fiber, these add dimension, nutrition, and satiety to foods. When possible, choose raw or toasted (in your oven) over dry roasted and salted or “candied” nuts.
  • Berry UP. Add raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and boysenberries to cereal, yogurt, or eat them alone as a delicious snack. Coupled with their potent antioxidant content, these berries are higher in fiber than some other fruit selections.
  • Snack with a Crunch. If you crave crunchy (or salty) snacks, choose air popped popcorn sprinkled with a little sea salt, whole grain pretzels, or grab some veggies and bust out the hummus!
  • Drink UP. Hydrate with water, and lots of it. The more fiber you take in, the more water your body needs to process (and remove) it. There are many schools of thought on this, including the traditional eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day, but this doesn’t take individual needs into consideration. A more recent approach is to drink half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs., drink 100 ounces (about 3 liters) of water daily. More is better here, and the more active you are and drier your climate, the more you’ll need for optimal functioning. A good rule of thumb is to aim for colorless or slightly yellow urine.

Fill UP.

Get your grocery list out. Fill your shopping cart (and tummy!) with incredible sources of fiber:

High in Fiber

Fruits and vegetables that contain 5 grams or more fiber per reference amount (20% or more of the Daily Value per reference amount) qualify to carry the label “high in fiber.”

Good Source of Fiber
Fruits and vegetables that contain 2.5 grams but less than 5 grams fiber per reference amount (10-19% of the Daily Value per reference amount) qualify to carry the label “good source of fiber.”

What would you add to the list for an extra dose of fiber? Here are some more good fiber resources to check out:


This week I challenge you to evaluate how your fiber intake is now and where you want it to be in the future. Take a moment to reflect on how you can effectively incorporate the above healthy habits and foods into your current lifestyle. Leave a comment below with one way you are going to FILL UP on fiber. I cant wait to see you glow and watch you live FULLY POWERED.

Thanks again for being such a supportive and amazing fitness family. Hope to see you soon…. till then – keep shining 🙂


Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: