Tag Archives: health

Workplace Wellness

17 Jan

Most of us have full-time jobs that take up a significant part of each day, making it hard to find as much time to work out as we’d like.  Many of my friends, family members and clients have voiced their wishes to try to incorporate things into their work day that would help keep them on the path toward health and wellness.  These things may be small, but every little bit counts.

So here, courtesy of the Colorado Department of Public Health (special shout out & thanks to my friend Colleen for sending this along) are some suggestions about how to boost your workplace wellness and incorporate healthier habits into your life. Whether you’re new to fitness or are a seasoned vet, this chart has something for you.

The key is taking small, achievable steps toward change.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Make one small change this week, stick with it all week & next week do a little something more! I do this every Monday and call it my Monday Makeover


workplace wellness


Small Steps to a Healthier, Happier You




Commit to Sit Less

Take the stairs

Begin with 1 flight per day.  Add a flight each week to advance.

Take the stairs at least twice a day.

Always take the stairs (no exceptions).

Stand in meetings

Begin by standing for 5 minutes.  Increase minutes when this is no longer a challenge.

Stand for half of the meeting time.

Balance on one leg, do calf raises, etc to make standing more challenging.

Conduct walking meetings

Start a meeting with 5 minutes of walking or walk around the hallway once.

Participate in at least 2 walking meetings per week.

Participate in walking meetings every day (when feasible).

Make conference calls/webinars active

Alternate between standing and sitting or do some chair stretches.

Use hand weights or resistance bands and do some strength training exercises.

Do whole body exercises such as squats, calf raises, and lunges.

Perform desk stretches

Make a mid-afternoon appointment on your calendar to stretch for 5 minutes.

Take 2 5-minute stretch breaks every day.

Do a stretch every hour.

Commit to Make Healthy Food Choices

Eat away from your desk

At least 1 day a week, eat away from your desk

At least 3 days a week, eat away from your desk.

Eat away from your desk daily.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Add a fruit or vegetable to a snack or meal daily.

Eat at least 5 fruits or vegetables daily.

Eat 10 or more fruits or vegetables daily.

Eat out less

Bring your lunch at least 1 time per week.

Bring lunch at least 3 times per week

Only eat out on special occasions.


One of “those days”

16 Dec

Yesterday I had one of “those days”.  The kind of day where you just feel “off”; you’re not yourself and you can’t shake the negative energy.  Despite sticking to my Monday Makeover of getting 7.5-8hrs of sleep per night for the past week and a half, I felt tired.  Not so much physically tired, but mentally and emotionally tired.  Nothing tragic or horrible  happened, I simply did not feel like myself.

I just couldn’t ignore the feelings of crankiness and exhaustion; I couldn’t shake the funk.  It was effortful to smile, to put on a happy face & all I wanted to do is sleep.  I made plans with a friend to attend my first Bikram Yoga class, and I had been looking forward to it for a long time.  I am not one to break plans and hate going back on my word, but I had to bow out [sorry H$, thanks for being understanding…i love you].

Sounds horrible, right??  I realized that it’s not so bad.  After discussing my mood with a few close friends I realized a possible cause of this funk.   I needed some “me” time.  I spend so much time doing other things and rarely take down time for myself.  I don’t particularly like watching TV and get antsy when I have to sit still for long periods of time.  I like moving, playing, exercising & being active.  I consider all of these things to be cathartic for me, and they work 95% of the time.  But in that other 5%, I now realize that I need to do something else. I need to do nothing!  I need to learn how to relax and not feel guilty for being “lazy”. I am only human and can’t be expected to be “on” all the time.  Last night I enjoyed an evening of being “off”.  I stayed off the computer, off my phone, off of work; I simply disconnected.  I watched 2 DVD’s worth of Will & Grace episodes, enjoyed a glass of half Pinot Noir & half Seltzer water, laughed & relaxed.  I got to bed early and woke up this morning feeling much better.

It’s amazing that a little R&R can take the funk away!  No more cranky mood, no more exhaustion.  I am now ready for a lovely weekend ahead!!

How about you?  Do you ever get into a funk?  Ever have one of “those days”??  How do you shake it?

MONSTER Monday, Music, & Makeover

13 Dec

Howdy Everyone!  I have 3 topics I’d like to cover today!

exercise music

***1)*** First things first… I had a fabulous MONSTER Monday workout yesterday!  It was a solo workout but what I lacked in motivation from my workout pal, I made up for in some kick-ass tunes!!! (more about this below)  My workout consisted of the following:

Dynamic warmup & 20 mins on ARC trainer to start

– 20 box jumps

– 55lb overhead barbell carry

– Reverse lunges on Airex pad carrying 25lbs  x12/leg

– Bent over rows using 25lb plates  x10

– Single arm chest press using 25lb DB  x10/side

– Rotational chops w/tubing  x10/side

I originally was going for 5 rounds, but decided to give it a little extra push and did 6 rounds.  All in all, it took me a little over an hour.  My heart rate monitor clocked me burning around 1,000 calories.  I use that as a ballpark estimate [it’s never 100% accurate], but regardless of what it said I KNOW I got a kick-ass workout!  It felt great to start the week off on a positive note!!



exercise motivation

***2)*** As I mentioned above, I had a FABULOUS music selection for my workout yesterday.  And it absolutely made all the difference.  I got the new Mary J Blige “My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1)” CD and there are some songs with GREAT beats.  My favorite 2 tracks are Feel Inside feat. NAS & a remake of an oldie but goodie, Ain’t Nobody.  I put the CD on in the car on my way to the gym, and with each beat of the bass I got more and more pumped up.  It reminded me just how important good music is when I work out. 

When your energy is lacking & you just don’t feel like truckin’ it to the gym to work out, put on your favorite jam and let the music move you!  It is always just a bit easier to work out when you’ve got a good soundtrack.  You will push yourself to work faster, harder & stronger.  So if you’ve been working with the same ol’ stale playlist, go download some new tunes and SWEAT!!!!


***3)***  I have developed a new initiative for Lucky13’ers called “Monday Makeover”.  This is not a makeover in the traditional sense, but a “Makeover” of one small & achievable goal toward being the BEST version of you!  The Monday Makeover goal can be on any topic: fitness, nutrition, health, finances, friendships, etc. 

 I have always considered Monday to be the beginning of a fresh start and clean slate.  It is a new opportunity for improvement and reaching goals.  Last week I decided to start my week with a small yet important goal.  Beginning on Monday, I aimed to get to bed earlier and sleep for 7.5-8hrs per night.  It took a lot of planning, but I did it!  This week, I incorporated a new goal: drink 1 gallon of water each day.  So far, so good.  Next week, it’ll be something else small yet achievable.  Each week building upon the previous week.  At the end of a month, I’ll have made 4 positive, healthy changes.  Over time, this can add up to some serious transformation!  The key is to keep the goals achievable & sustainable [refer to SMART goals picture above].

I encourage each of you to bring positive and healthy change to your lives by starting Monday Makeover!  Start thinking of goals of your own, and prepare yourself.  And when next Monday comes, BRING IT!!!   Share your goal with a friend, workout pal, or on the Lucky13Fitness Facebook page.  Having the support of others will encourage you even more & hold you accountable!


Don’t let the Holidays turn into a Holidaze!

9 Dec

Its HERE- holiday season!!! Thanksgiving, to me, is pretty much the kick off to the Holiday season every year.  No sooner have we stuffed our faces full of turkey, trimmings, wine, pie and egg nog than we’re up and out the door at 4am for Black Friday shopping!!  Everywhere you look: Christmas decorations and lights, overflowing parking lots, long lines at stores and charitable donation solicitations galore.  Between the holiday parties, shopping for gifts, decorating, preparing for family and friends to gather & all the other NORMAL responsibilities of life, time for fitness might seem pretty sparse.  In fact, its prime time for folks to fall out of their exercise and healthy eating routines.  I have blogged about this “Holiday Workout Hiatus” before, and provided some tips on how to keep up your workout routine during the holiday season.

Today I want to focus on how to stick to healthy eating habits during the holidays.  This can be a VERY daunting task- the holidays are all about imbibing & enjoying yummy food with loved ones.  Much of the holiday food/drink is chock full o’ calories, fat and sodium.  This “comfort food” gives us the cozy feeling of wanting to curl up on the couch after eating, NOT hit the gym.  That means double trouble.  Tons of food + zero exercise = HoliDAZE.  It’s not long before you feel sluggish and cloudy; your normal alert, fit feeling goes out the door with the end of the year.  

How, then, to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your healthy habits??

Top 5 Tips for Hanging onto Healthy Eating Habits Over the  Holidays

1.  Don’t show up to a holiday party famished.  Eat something with protein and fiber, such as an apple & peanut butter, before you arrive and you won’t be tempted to attack the finger foods with a vengeance.

2.  Keep the booze consumption under control.  Tis the season for Egg nog, Kahlua drinks and hot toddy; they will likely be offered to you over and over.  Keep in mind that they contain just as many calories as some meals!!  Instead opt for a light beer, glass of wine or vodka & soda water.  My personal favorite is to make my own wine spritzers by filling 1/2 or 3/4 of my wine glass with soda water & then filling the remaining part with red wine.  This allows me to drink 3 or 4 “glasses full” without consuming 3 or 4 glasses of wine.  AND I stay more hydrated!

3.  Eat as MANY veggies & fruits as you want.  If you fill your plate with veggies (that aren’t covered in cheese or heavy cream sauce) there will be less room on your plate & in your belly for unhealthy things!  When dessert comes around, allow yourself ONE small treat and then stick to flavored seltzer, tea, and fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.

4.  Remember that there is always tomorrow.  Don’t treat each holiday party, gathering and meal like it’ll be your last.  Keep in mind that this is holiday SEASON and you will likely find yourself at several more similar settings in the upcoming weeks.  Don’t feel the need to try it all, splurge on dessert & have an extra drink at every party you attend.  Pick one event at which you enjoy dessert.  At another one, have a cocktail or two.  At a third, allow yourself to try a small portion of a “treat” appetizer. 

5.  Eat extra clean during the week.  It is often one weekend holiday party after another that do us in.  Inevitably there will be some level of splurging, or at least deviation from your normal eating routine.  So during the week when you have control of your meals, make them as HEALTHY and CLEAN as possible!!  Omit any treats, alcohol & dessert during your everyday meals.  Save your splurges for the times when you don’t have total control of your food/beverage selection.

The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed with family and friends.  It often revolves around eating and drinking in a group setting, which can lead to major healthy habit sabotage.  But, sticking to these tips can help you do some serious damage control and keep you on track toward your goals!

Do you have any other tips on staying healthy over the holidays?? I’d love to hear them!

You Are What You Eat

7 Dec

You are what you eat.

What was the last thing you ate?  Did it come in a package of some sort? If so, read the ingredient list.  What’s on there?  Are they words that you can pronounce?  Words that you recognize and understand?  Or do you see long, complicated words that you can neither pronounce nor define?  Does the ingredient list on your shampoo bottle or cleaning agent look similar to that of your latest snack?  If so, what does that mean for your body and health?  If the food and drink you ingest has an ingredient list composed primarily of chemicals, additives and preservatives, what does that mean for your body???

unprocessed natural food

 When you eat and swallow food/drink, your body immediately goes to work breaking it down, digesting, extracting nutrients and sending them to the proper places.  Then it gets rid of what’s left over.  All of the nutrients your body needs to function are derived from the food (fuel) you put into it.  The quality of the food you put in directly affects the quality of your body’s makeup.  Put in clean, whole, natural, REAL foods and you will find that your skin and hair look healthier, you have more energy, you feel less weighed down and bloated.  Your body is running efficiently because you’re fueling it with foods as close to their natural state as possible.  Your body is easily able to digest, and extract vitamins, minerals, nutrients and energy naturally existing in the foods.  But put in processed, preservative-laden food and you are forcing your body to try to function using chemicals and manufactured flavors.  Not gonna happen. Not very well, anyway.  Chances are, you will feel constantly tired, sluggish, bloated and even hungry.  In addition, your hair and skin won’t have a healthy glow.  I’d also bet your cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat percentage would register at unhealthy levels.
 Organic fruits and veggies, nuts & seeds, organic meats, eggs, and dairy; unaltered, unprocessed and unmodified, these are the best sources of fuel you can put in your body.  Alternately, Kit Kat’s, Pringles, Low Fat Veggie Chips, Chex Mix, Diet Coke and Chicken Flavored Ramen Noodles are NOT.  Eating a McDonald’s hamburger and fries for dinner is not the same as having a baked potato with grass-fed, organic beef.  Rice-A-Roni is NOT equivalent to brown rice.  And sliced peaches in syrup are not comparable to a fresh peach.  Why? Just look at the ingredient list; the box equivalent of the REAL food hardly compares.  The processed versions will have preservatives, artificial flavors and coloring (made of chemicals), and loads of other things that can be damaging to your body.  Some of them may not even contain ANY of the items in the title on the package!  The REAL foods, on the other hand, hardly come in packages and don’t even need an ingredient list!
The examples are endless but it all boils down to the same thing.  What you choose to eat and drink matters.  The food and drink you put in your mouth is the only thing your body is able to use to function.  It can not miraculously change chemicals into vitamins and additives into minerals.  If you put in junk, you will get junk in return.  If you put in top-notch food and drink, expect to be feeling better than ever before.  The slogan is simple, and so is the message.  So, next time you’re about to eat or drink something, think twice about what you are actually about to feed your body.  After all, you are what you eat. 


Motivation you can SEE

30 Nov

I blog/talk/write a lot about motivation.  Regardless of a person’s goal, motivation is what keeps you moving toward it. It is a significant part of my job as a personal trainer; it’s what keeps my clients coming back week after week [even when I make them do lots of Burpees!].  However, words written in lengthy blog form don’t always have the same “kick-in-the-ass” factor that a short-but-sweet visual does.  They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and I believe this to be true when it comes to motivation.  I think that a few words in bright font [perhaps with a picture] that can be posted up as a reminder are a very valuable source of motivation.  So, I have decided to share with you some pictures/posters that I have downloaded and posted in my home, & used as my computer background and screen saver.  The simplicity in the message is key for me; I take one quick look and get that instant boost in mood.  Enjoy!

exercise motivation


motivational quote



motivation to work out


fitness motivation



reason to work out


motivation to exercise



fitness inspiration and motivation

I hope these photos/posters serve as a source of positive energy for you!  If you like them, let me know and I will post more!!

** Special thanks to MotivateHopeStrength for serving as the source for these inspiring photos!

Mediocre MONSTER Monday

29 Nov

I’m back!! It sure has been a while, huh?  I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus due to my recent vacation to Las Vegas [AWESOME trip…I had a fantastic time] & the long Thanksgiving weekend.  Truth be told, blogging wasn’t the only thing from which I took a week-long break; I didn’t do any formal “in the gym” exercise AND I deviated from my normal clean, natural, organic food intake.  Basically, aside from one yoga class at the Bellagio & lots of walking in Vegas, I took a complete “vacation” from my normal way of living.  It was…..interesting.

The first day I found it very difficult to break away from my normal eating habits and workout routine.  My body craved salad, grilled chicken, water, and a challenging workout.  But after a day or two, I was alright with having a less-than-ideal meal, a few cocktails, and a 2 mile walk workout.  Throughout my vacation and long Thanksgiving weekend, I was well aware that I was taking an extended leave of absence from my normal daily routine; in fact, I can not recall the last time I went more than a few days without exercise.  I was glad that I took a few days to relax and let myself indulge and enjoy while on vacation, but having that directly segue into Thanksgiving was a little excessive.  By Sunday evening, my body was begging for exercise.  I was SOOOO excited to get back into my routine & kick it off with a MONSTER Monday workout. 

I knew my workout pal wasn’t going to be able to make it, but I thought I’d power through and do one of our Crossfit Inspired crazy workouts.  I don’t know what planet I thought I was from, because I half expected myself to be performing with the same level of intensity as before my vacation.  Boy was I WRONG!!!!  Here’s what I mapped out for myself

5 Deadlift/Pushup combo (95lbs)

5 Pullups

20 Box Jumps

25 BOSU Ball crunchs

10 Burpees

5 rounds for time.

The first round was okay but I started to feel fatigued pretty quickly after that.  I definitely didn’t have the endurance I had before my vacation.  I powered through as best I could, recording an unimpressive 38min 17sec time.   I attribute this mostly to my lack of exercise and less-than-ideal eating habits, but also to the fact that I did this MONSTER Monday workout alone.  Having a workout pal there next to me, cheering me on & toughing it out right alongside me TOTALLY helps.  I sure as hell missed her on Monday!  When I was done with my circuit I finished up the workout with 30 minutes of hill intervals on the ARC trainer.  I managed to get in a good sweat & a mediocre workout; I was just happy to be back in the swing of things!

If nothing else, this Mediocre MONSTER Monday workout reminded me that while a few days off & a little indulgence every once in a while is much-needed, too much is just that- TOO MUCH.  Next time, I’ll definitely be incorporating more activity into my vacation and will plan it so that it does not come immediately before or after a major holiday.

How about you? Did you deviate from the norm this Thanksgiving? Did you get back on track??