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Archive for May, 2011

I have been a personal trainer for nearly 12 years now. Although I did take a bit of a hiatus while developing a real estate career, it has always been in my blood. Something that makes me happy. Something that I crave when I am away. And because of that I am working on rebuilding my place in the field. With hopes of finding a workable balance between the two.

For the past few months I have had the pleasure of working with some remarkable, dedicated, motivated people. They are inspiring. They give life to my dreams. Validity to my goals.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I get paid to help people get healthy and feel better about themselves, that I feel so strongly about the importance of giving yourself the gift of a stronger body. I lost my dad at the age of 4 due to illness. I have watched countless friends and family members struggle with weight issues, health problems, emotional troubles and physical incapacities. I have created a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family because of such things. And I have dedicated much of my life to educating myself and helping others live better.

Because I feel so strongly about developing a healthier body, mind, life,  I want to give everyone the chance to have such things. I am offering the first 5 people who respond one FREE session with me. Training, nutrition, Beach Bootcamp, Reiki, coaching, any of it. FREE OF CHARGE. Just message me, call me, email me and we will get started. I have been blessed with so many wonderful things and I look forward to giving back!

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What? She’s writing about pasta?

Yes, folks, yes I am! Like most of you, I LOVE pasta. Love it. I also firmly believe that your life style has to suit your likes and dislikes. I will never remove the things I love from my diet completely. Life is about LIVING. It’s about enjoyment. Just keep in mind, gluttony is not your friend. All things in moderation and with consideration and you will do just fine.

Plus, despite what we have been trained to believe, having some pasta in your diet is not always a horrible thing. Sometimes we really do require the carbs and it can be made in a health conscious fashion.

I don’t expect you all to want to make your own pasta from scratch like I do. Not everyone cares to knead and roll, nor do they have the time. There are ways around it. Start with a whole grain variety!

Here is a recipe for a one dish meal that I and my family love! It is perfect for summer days and nights. And the veggies can be grilled!

1 pound fresh or whole grain pasta
1 large sweet potato
1 large onion
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
1 head of fennel
10-15 stalks of asparagus
2-3 cloves of garlic – minced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon pepper

Cook the pasta. Chop all of the vegetables about the same size. Put them on a baking sheet,  toss with oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 400 degrees until tender. Approximately 15-20 minutes. Toss into the pasta. You can add more oil if it’s dry. Try adding lemon zest! You can make a dressing with lemon juice, zest and olive oil and any herbs you like or more garlic to give it a bit more zing. Try adding crushed red pepper to the roasting veggies. Add any other veggies you might like or have on hand. I have used them all and can honestly say I haven’t found any that I haven’t liked in this. Including roasted cherry tomatoes. You just may need to roast those separately because they don’t require as much time.

Again, you can top this with hard-boiled eggs, grilled chicken or fish, shrimp, scallops. I have even spiced this up by adding a variety of olives. Some feta…. The choices are endless.

Enjoy!

Live Well!
~S

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Goals

We all have them. We all need them. Some of us have more than others.
Sometimes they change. Sometimes we get almost there and decide it no longer applies.

Have you ever looked at that person who seems to accomplish everything they set out to do and wonder “How do they do it”?

I have too. I will never claim to have mastered everything I have set out to do. I have achieved some great things. I have down right failed at many as well. Often, I am far better at helping people with theirs than I am at striving for my own.

Guess what. That person who seems to have all those accomplishments…. they have many failures as well.

The key is not just setting goals. It is finding ways to achieve them. Breaking them down into smaller steps. Focusing on the big picture will only get you so far. Often not very far at all, because you can’t see how to get it all done. How it all can happen.

Trust me. I’m preaching to the choir here. I have one big goal that I had pushed to the back burner for years. Simply because I didn’t see how it was possible. I knew I could do the work. I knew what it would take once I got there. But HOW I would get there was something I just couldn’t understand. I still don’t really. What I do know is that I must put one foot in front of the other. Take one day, one moment at a time. Each day I have to take another step in the direction of that which I want to achieve. Eventually I WILL get there.

This can be applied to everything in your life… including your health and fitness goals. Do NOT focus on how you are going to lose all 30 pounds. Just focus on what you are going to do TODAY to get there. Do not think about NOT eating carbs ever again. Think about what you WILL eat that will taste just as great and be just as satisfying. Do not focus on how you will get six-pack abs. You may just find that you prefer having that inch of cover. It sure beats the 5 inches you had a few months ago.

Do one thing today friends. One thing to better yourself. One thing that will move you in the direction of your dreams, your goals. And don’t be afraid to change your mind!

Live Well!
~S

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My love of all things Italian is certainly no secret. I can often be found with a glass of Pinot in one hand, an Italian travel novel in the other and a plate of olives, grapes and various cheeses by my side. My favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Or any afternoon frankly. Dreaming of the hills of Tuscany.

Many of the recipes I write are take offs of Italian classics. But there  are some that just don’t need a thing done differently. This is one of them. There really isn’t much better than fresh cherries. Until you mix them with a bit of your favorite red wine! Simmered lightly until a thick sauce is created. Topped with a bit of mascarpone lightly sweetened with a touch of honey. A bit of lemon zest and you are in heaven. If you really want to indulge give it a base of angel food cake or even better- hazelnut pound cake.

Here it is….

1 pound cherries stemmed and pitted
1 cup red wine
zest of 1 lemon

Combine in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and let stand for 2-3 hours.
You can sweeten this lightly if you prefer, but I find it perfect just as it is.

For the mascarpone, simply whip into it a bit of honey. Certainly not traditional, but you can also use agave nectar. Or of course you can go the more traditional route with cane sugar, but I always suggest you attempt to remove as much of that from your diet as possible.

Sprinkle the top with some chopped hazelnuts and you are in heaven. Let me know what you think.

Live Well!
~S

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Need to add something new to your workout? Have you found yourself hitting a plateau?

Try Interval Training!

Interval training can boost your metabolism, shed pounds, increase speed and endurance and get you into the best shape of your life.

So what is Interval Training?

Interval training consists of high intensity exercise follow by low intensity exercise. Then repeated for “sets”.

Why does Interval Training work?

Varying your intensity during exercise forces your body to adapt. The more power your aerobic system uses, the higher it’s capacity to burn calories.

What does Interval Training look like?

First you need to warm up. 3-5 minutes minimum of a low intensity activity like a slow jog, dynamic stretching and/or jumping jacks.

Next choose an exercise like sprints, mountain climbers or burpees and push hard.

Now for a lower intensity exercise like squats, push ups or crunches.

Then repeat!

I like to perform sets in threes myself. And I have found that my clients respond to them better this way as well. Here are a few routines I have used successfully….

  • 20-50 Mountain Climbers, 20 Alternating Toe Touch, 25 Jump Squats
  • 10-15 Push Ups, 10-20 Burpees, 25 Crunches

You can even work them into your arm routine without searching for a machine like this…

  • Hammer Curls, Kickbacks, Jump Lunge
  • Straight Curls, Overhead Extensions, High Knees

You can choose a variety of exercises and create a killer workout! The number of reps and sets you perform really depends on your fitness level. Try working with a trainer, even for a short time, to help get you comfortable with form and to determine your true intensity.

Remember, sweat does not always equal proper intensity. It does not always mean you have done enough work.

Live Well!
~S

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Nothing makes me happier than a warm morning, birds chirping, kneeling in the dirt. Nurturing herbs, watching flowers bloom. Picking tomatoes fresh from the vine. Digging weeds is hardly a chore. I welcome their return week after week. Offering me the opportunity to linger.

The start of the season, the day I finally get to run my fingers through the soil, it’s this. This sustains me through the long, cold New England winters. Daydreaming of luscious blooms, abundant color spilling over sides of beds and pots. The first crocus breaking through the soil. Not even my crocus and I am filled with joy and excitement. Soon. Soon I will spend long days in the sun.

When I arrive home each day in mid-summer the first place I go is to the garden. Phone, bags, all forgotten in the car. It’s the fresh green beans I crave. Warm from the afternoon sun. They call me even before I reach the drive. I can stand forever picking and eating those delicious, crisp, beautifully green bits of wonder. Who needs a stove, a plate, a fork. Tomatoes eaten like apples as the sun droops below the trees.

Have you ever tasted a pea in the place it was grown? Right there amongst so many waiting, growing. It’s indescribable.

A sense of peace and calm, with an edge of excitement as I carry my large woven basket overflowing with squash and zucchini, carrots and beets to the kitchen. I did this. I planted these seeds, nourished and protected the tender plants.

Nothing tastes better than a meal made from your very own harvest. Now I truly understand the old rituals of ancient times. Harvest feasts and celebrations. There’s no guarantee of bounty. No sureness of piles of fresh, delicious color.

There is something primal, yet calming and focusing about dirt and trees and plants. A day with a shovel is a great day to me. Moving earth and stone, a welcome endeavor. I thrive on the hard work. At the end of the day, as I wash off the dirt, the cuts, the scrapes, the sore muscles are welcome signs of a day well spent. I appreciate the dirt under my nails, clinging no matter how hard I scrub.

Learning, year after year, from successes and failures. It’s an experience that can’t be taught. Can’t be told. Can’t be learned without time, without perseverance, without the experience itself.

I don’t know all there is to know. I’m sure I never will. But just the act of trying is enough for me. To grow old, living off the land, my land. That is all I will ever need.

Live Well!
~S

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Ok, so I preached about how there are so many ways to mix up your diet so that you are not eating the same thing day in and day out. So that you do not become so sick and tired of your “healthy diet” that you just give up or find yourself cheating all the time. (I use the term diet here loosely. I do not like traditional “diets” but that is for another post.)

Now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is =] …..

Today we will focus on Salads

  • Add a variety of nuts and seeds to your salads
  • Make your own dressings with different vinegars, oils, herbs and spices
  • Try a salad of romaine, black beans, red peppers, avocado, grape tomatoes, a wee bit of cheddar topped with a dressing of olive oil, chili powder, chives and white vinegar
  • Try a salad made from spinach and arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, yellow peppers, red onion, basil and feta, topped with a balsamic reduction (use 1 cup balsamic and a tablespoon or two or three of honey and simmer until it’s thick)
  • Marinate your chicken in different oils and herbs- lemon, basil and garlic- rosemary, balsamic and orange- clementine, cinnamon and clove- create blends with olive oil, flax oil, chili powder, tarragon, oregano, sage, thyme, citrus zest, grapefruit, lemon and lime juice, mustard, curry powder, smoked paprika, fennel fronds…. I could go on all day!
  • The general rule to making dressings or marinades is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or citrus juice. Google dressing or marinade and you will find hundreds of recipes!
  • Top your salads with blue cheese (just a little bit), walnuts, cranberries and a drizzle of rosemary honey- seared scallops, thinly sliced fennel, lemon zest and grilled asparagus- deviled eggs made with greek yogurt.
  • There are so many things you may not consider as salad material or just forget how great they are- strawberries, toasted pita, mango, pomegranate, grilled tuna, garbanzo beans, fried eggs, grilled shrimp, roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and leeks

Here are some things I think go really well together and go on just about any bed of greens-

  • Gorgonzola, toasted slivered almonds and raspberries
  • Roasted red peppers, red onion, flax seed and feta
  • Crimini mushrooms, endive, pecans and bleu cheese
  • Pears, pecans and gorgonzola
  • Cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and olives with a peppery dressing

Are you hungry yet?

Get creative! Stop eating all that iceberg lettuce and bottled dressing.

Just be sure to go easy on the cheese! It’s good for you in small doses, but too much and you might as well go back to where you began.

That should get you started. I will post some of my favorites as I make them myself.

Live Well!
~S

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