Pre-resolution Holiday Gift for Fitness Motivation

Are you worried that the heavy holidays will get you looking frumpy in January? I have a motivational gift that will have you looking good and feeling more confident while you work off that weight.

This January, while you’re exercising hard, and eating right to try to burn off that extra 10 pounds in your New Year’s Resolution (download my newest Anti-aging Walking Workout with Weights video to get that blood flowing), add some shapewear to your list for Santa!

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I recommend Leonisa (http://www.leonisa.com) waist-slimming, “double dose torso control” line.

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I believe that once you see yourself in that little black dress looking slimmer than last year, it will give you even more motivation to burn off those extra pounds with a workout. Don’t wear this  product while working out, but pack it in your gym back for after the shower to look good while waiting for the weight to drop this January!

 

Fitness, fit it in! Nikki

 

Fall Back Into a New Fitness Routine with these NikkiFitness Faves!

NikkiFitness tested and approved fitness gear for Fall 2015:

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1. Ashtanga Yoga Rug $44.95  http://www.ashtanga.net/store/organic-cotton-mysore-practice-rugs-c-21.html

These hand-loomed fully organic cotton practice rugs are currently the only onesin the US.

The Mysore Practice Rugs offer a great feel, remind practitioners of the ‘old school’ method when yogis practiced on cotton, they absorb sweat, and work great on top of any sticky mat helping prolong its life. For extra stick on your down dog, I recommend wetting your hands a bit before the sweat kicks in to glue you down. The cotton rugs are sanitary and also easy to clean.

 

2. Fabb activewear fabbactivewear.com

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Match point tennis tank 47.99

This high-performance, breathable, and supportive tank is ideal for tennis but also great for running. Form fitted to go with the natural curve of your body, this top will have you looking sexy while staying classy. It’s made from FABB breezy fabric- a breathable, moisture wicking material for staying dry, while also being shrink and fade -resistant. The built-in bra, odor-free material and fashionable design will leaving you feeling confident to grab lunch with girlfriends, hit the stores, or run errands before or after your workout.

Better basic pilates legging 87.00

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This women’s workout legging has the perfect amount of stretch to allow ease of movement while also providing the compression needed to help you feel supported. A staple piece to any wardrobe, this reliable legging is perfect while on-the go and extremely versatile in use. Feel comfortable, stylish, and confident with the extremely flattering fit and soft feel. Definitely a FABB fave!

 

 

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3. Men’s and Women’s Toe Socks that are ingenious, by Injinji $12-30.00 http://www.injinji.com 

I was out running the other day, and got a blister on one foot and had a bleeding tow from a sharp toenail on a nearby toe, on the other foot.  Now I know how to avoid limping home. The Injinji socks for men and women (in many bright colors like tangerine and daffodil) offers increased two-way stretch, enabling the material to better stretch across a foot arch and providing compression throughout the foot. The fit of the individual toe-sleeves are redesigned for a better, snugger fit throughout the toes without any excess material. Dreamy durable, light fibers make for cool, dry and bloody and blister-free feet. They have ankle-height for a nice summer run, as well as calf and knee- height for when the weather calls for a legging attached to your sock!

And whether you’re a snow junkie, hiking and outdoor enthusiast, or looking for compression, Injinji has you covered with socks for Hiking and outdoorCompressionTrail Running, and Snow socks (click on the link).

 

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4. Indoor Swim for Family FItness by FINIS http://www.finisinc.com 

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean your kids have to forget how to swim. Take your lessons or family fun time indoors at your local gym, community center, apartment building or hotel vacation with some fun gear that makes your kids want to jump in while you fit in your laps. I love the goggles and cute “animal head” swim caps! They even support education and giving back to the community through the So More Can Swim program.

H2 Jr. Goggle

The H2 Jr Goggles are designed specifically for kids faces and provide the ultimate leak-proof fit. Double silicone straps and easy-to-adjust back clips make these easy to provide a secure fit to any young swimmer’s head. Ideal for swimmers 4 to 12 years old.

Retail Price: $12.99   http://www.finisinc.com/product/801

Mermaid Swim Fin
The Mermaid Fin is a fun, monofin pool toy, ideal for young swimmers, that teaches a balanced dolphin kick while also allowing children to increase their confidence in the water. Ideal for children 12 and under, the Mermaid Fin is great for encouraging imagination and fun in the water while developing swimming skills.
Retail Price: $31.99    http://www.finisinc.com/Mermaid-Swim-Fin
Designed for Ages 6+
Shoe Size: male 1-6, or female 2-7 (Euro sizes 33-39)

Animal Heads Swim Caps
These playful and creative swim caps encourage kids to get in the water and make swimming more fun. Retail Price: $9.99   http://www.finisinc.com/myCarousel

Kids swim Diapers (Solid or with Designs): Required by most swim schools and public pools, reusable swim diapers are great alternatives to disposable diapers. Snug elastic around the waist and legs create a secure fit to contain solid waste.  FINIS provides an array of sizes that translate into comfort for the baby and confidence for the parents. A soft woven polyester lining gives the diaper an extra soft layer against the baby’s skin. UPF 50+ keeps harmful UV rays away from sensitive areas. Phthalates and PVC free.Retail Price: $9.99

 

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5. Pack good-for-you-food with Go Stak! 12.99  http://www.blenderbottle.com/all-products/shaker-bottles/blenderbottle-gostak

GoStaks are a smart and sleek advancement in portable nutrition. Durable jars secure tightly to carry powders, vitamins, supplements, snacks, and more. The 150cc jar hold 87% of protein powder servings so whether you pack pre-, intra-, and post-workout supplements to the gym, or simply need a versatile system for snacks and small items, the GoStak has you covered from milk and formula powder for baby, carrots and berries for older kids, nuts and protein powder for adults, and everything in between.

 

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6. Justin’s Snack Packs – dip, scoop, and devour. www.justins.com

Justin’s -the maker of naturally delicious nut butters and organic peanut butter cups debuted- its Snack Packs this summer and my gym bag now has a special pocket for them. One side of the portable container carries Justin’s nut butter, the other side is gluten-free pretzels. I’ve managed to snack on them morning, noon and night, as  breakfast on the go, and pre/post workout snacks, and saved the chocolate nut butter for desert. The Snack Pack does not need refrigeration and delivers the great taste and high-quality ingredients one would expect from the brand at just 200-210 calories per pack in 100 percent recycled plastic and provides a portable pick-me-up in three tasty varieties: Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and Pretzels; Classic Almond Butter and Pretzels; Maple Almond Butter and Pretzels. They are available online, at Targets and more.

 

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7. MacroBars ($1.99-2.89)  https://gomacro.com/shop/

My new favorite bar where it’s happy hour any time of the day! Available in 11 incredible flavors, these are GoMacro’s original and most popular bars that are guaranteed to satisfy your hunger and deliver plenty of clean-burning natural energy. All MacroBars are USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, kosher, gluten free and vegan certified. There is a different flavor for each day of the week, including granola coconut, sesame butter and dates, banana and almond butter, and apples and walnuts.

Each of the three new THRIVE bar flavors (blueberry lavender, curry apricot and ginger lemon) contain ingredients that have been selected to target specific systems in the body – neurological, digestive and cardiovascular. At only 180 calories, each GoMacro Thrive bar contains 3g of fiber and 4g of protein. Thrive bars are USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, kosher, gluten free and vegan certified.

40% Off Discount For All Readers
Lastly, GoMacro is glad to extend a special one-time discount to all my readers, just enter code “BLOGGER” at checkout and get 40% off your first order!

 

 

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8. Hot read:  Inches Aren’t Everything http://steamromance.com/books/ $11.95 paperback, downloads

This fall when you are recovering from sweat sessions and it’s a little cold outside, warm up with a good book… One that puts you IN THE MOOD to go to the gym or turn on that NikkiFItness video instead of skipping your next workout. It might put you in the mood for other “calorie burning activities” as well…with the newest book from Steam Romance. Inches Aren’t Everything by Sarah B. Daniels, is an erotic yet suspenseful tale of the elite trainers of Body Management Corporation (BMC) and the between-the-sheets rival battle against its head trainer, Dean Stoddard, and his colleague, Orlanda Kennedy.  I sat down to start reading this with another book as a backup when this failed to get my attention… and lets say that other book remains closed. This page turner takes Shades of Grey for a body sculpting class. Read it, then work out, and repeat.

 

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9. Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator  $8.99 http://www.newfebreze.com

Now that this product review article has you all hot and sweaty, time to get “clean” again.

One thing about working out, it often leaves you too tired to do laundry right away…You undress and throw the stinky athletic wear into your hamper. They sit, getting smellier and smellier for the next two days. To help banish these odors, Febreze has created the Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator. It’s an in-wash solution used with your detergent. The odor eliminator targets hard to get odors while your detergent focuses on washing away dirt and stains. Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator is sold at Walmart, Mejier, HEB, Kmart, A&P, Pathmark, Stop&Shop and many other grocery, drug and mass retailers. It’s available in a 50-fl ounce bottle in “Fresh Scent.” And now we’re getting fresh again…

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10.  Hit it where it hurts: Salonpas pain patches  www.salonpas.us (prices vary)

Getting fit sometimes results in aches and pains and reaching for over the counter (OTC) pills is not always the healthiest solution. Doctors agree that topical OTC analgesic products, in the form of creams, gels, sprays and patches, are a healthier solution for pain management because  “Acetaminophen has a narrow therapeutic window, meaning the difference between a safe and effective dose and an overdose, which could led to liver toxicity, is a relatively small increment in milligram consumption,” says Dr. Aristotle Economou, author and acclaimed Beverly Hills physician. “Topical pain relievers such as creams, gels and sprays work locally and large reduce, although they do not entirely eliminate the systemic risk, that OTC pain pills can present. The Salonpas patches are the first and only topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSADs) approved through the FDA’s rigorous New Drug Application process which is the same process used to approve prescription medicines.” By putting the medicine right at the site of pain, bypassing the stomach and liver, Salonpas can use less medicine to deliver an effective dose.

I recently used them for a pulled calf muscle and a sore back, as well as for normal muscle aches from working out after being off on maternity leave for 6 weeks. Try the Salonpas Pain Relief Patch and Arthritis Pain Patch which are the only FDA-approved OTC pain patches, Salonpas Pain Relieving GEL-Patch HOT, and Salonpas Pain Relieving Jet Spray and the Salonpas DEEP Relieving Gel for your sculpting soreness and love your liver!

 

Fit in your fitness with NikkiFitness Faves!

BIO
NikkiFItness is a 37-year-old fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, and the star of 11 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new 2015 Anti-aging Walking Workout, 2014 Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout, the Seasonal Affective Disorder Workout, Hard Core Abs, Fit Travel Workout, Booty Camp, The Slimnastics Workout (Yoga+Plyometrics Fusion), Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s “Slimnastics” exercises have been featured in over 100 national media outlets including the New York Times, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Fox & Friends, GMA Health, Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women’s Health. Her “Improve the Move” workouts focus on multitasking toning and plyomentric cardio intervals (HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training) to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Nikki is an AFAA certified NYC personal (and celebrity) trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, and a 200hr RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor.She is also the “spokestrainer” for Huggies Little Movers and SilverSports antimicrobial fitness gear. Nikki got her start in fitness as a Syracuse University Cheerleader, where she graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the prestigious Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” social media, and in iTunes and Android for the App! More at  www.nikkifitness.com

#Fitnessfail to #NikkiFitnessFave – Trends and Seasonal fit fixes!

Whether they are new trends or seasonal fitness problems, you can turn these  #Fitnessfails into #FitnessFaves

Trends: Fitness Fail #1

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 8.08.00 AMCorset or “Waist” Training – It’s wearing a corset while exercising or going about your normal life activities. There have been some celebrities posting photos of themselves wearing them to work out. What people need to realize is that they are doing it for shock value and attention, they are not trained fitness professionals. Many companies claim they make your waist smaller if you wear them while working out, but it’s not true. When you work out wearing them it can restrict your movement and breath, both uncomfortable and lessening your calorie burn when you can’t do the full workout.  I could also see novices passing out from not being able to breathe, corsets crushing your internal organs, and people not eating enough because you are trying to cinch your waist and belly. Some companies are selling workout corsets for 70 dollars! I say save your money.

The only time I see that makes sense to wear one is if you have Diastasis Recti – a condition where your abs separate during pregnancy – and you should see a doctor or physical therapiest first. They may recommend you wear one (like they did with me) after you deliver the baby to help the damage heal. (And it only works with some people, I was not one of them.) If corset training doesn’t even help recently injured abs come together, why would anyone think they would help a normal person’s abs shrink?

INSTEAD, make your actual abs act as your natural corset – what they were meant to do. That’s how you get a 6 pack! Do cardio, work your core (like in my videos www.nikkifitness.com) and eat a healthy diet… if you want something drastic, become vegan and see how the results change your body (in a usually healthy way) after about a month… it may be something that works for you as a lifestyle. People are always looking for a magic pill or an easy out. The best way to lose weight and tone up is to eat right and exercise every day or your life. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet, for long lasting effects…

Abs cover

 

 

Trends: FitnessFail #2- IV Nutrient Therapy and Vitamin Infusions. OUCH!

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 8.21.34 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-30 at 8.21.52 AMOuch on your wallet (starting around $250 a pop) and your arm! These companies claim to give you an immune boost, more energy, and some offer cleanses where a medical professional comes to your home, office, or hotel for the IV treatment. The product claims include “a shortcut to rejuvenation to help maintain balance in a fast paced lifestyle and workouts.” Also, if you’re working out to look sculpted and toned, who wants water weight gained around your ankles and other places, as what often happens with IVs?

INSTEAD, drink water, eat nutrient-dense foods, and take your vitamins! Duh.

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Seasonal: Fitness Fail #3 -Beach yoga with a regular beach towel or sticky yoga mat that gets sandy and wrinkled up, so you spend your session straightening and dusting off instead of de-stressing!

INSTEADfix it with Twisted Guru http://www.twistedguru.com/Twistedguru.com/Home.html beach yoga blanket mats. They are large like a beach blanket (5×7), and non-slip like a mat.  They are reversible, have bright Zen designs, a security locked waterproof pocket for valuables while you’re relaxing in Savasana, and corner pockets to weigh it down with sand during vigorous vinyasa even on windy days. They are a bit pricey at approx $189, but think of it as a gym membership for the whole summer! (I got one for my birthday).

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Seasonal: Fitness Fail #4- Deciding to build an expensive home gym. Maybe you’re thinking it’s too hot/rainy/cold to go to the gym or work out outside… don’t spend thousands on a #FitnessFail, INSTEAD, do it on a budget and use your body as a machine!

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A favorite site of mine, uniquefit1.com , is a great place to do your one-stop-shopping for  equipment around 50 dollars or less, like agility cones, weighted jump ropes, agility ladders and other great options that double as a home gym AND you can take outside for your own boot camp! They even have kids’ equipment. Then try Amazon.com or iTunes  for video downloads and DVDs. (My NikkiFitness line of 12 fitness videos happens to be on both!)

 

Common Fitness Fail #5 – Working out then sitting the rest of the day.

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You’ve heard the saying, “Sitting is the new smoking” and that “sitting disease” can make you sick in many ways. Recent fitness studies even show that skipping a scheduled sweat session, and instead, walking and standing for most of your day (yes, without a workout), is better than making time for a tough workout and then sitting at a desk, car or couch the rest of the day.

Those are some of the reasons that I created my two new Walking Workout DVDs/Apps/Video Downloads  – so that anyone who is starting their fitness journey as a beginner, people rehabbing from injury/sickness/pregnancy, or those looking for more gentle workouts as they age, can get into a walking routine.

Problem is, that after many people workout, they then wear uncomfortable shoes which cause sores, bad alignment, muscle imbalances, the legs to ache, fatigue and future calorie burning routines may be jeopardized.

INSTEAD…

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I’ve finally found the solution for flats and flip-flops that leave you blistered and bleeding: Vionic’s Tide Flip Flops ($64.95) http://www.vionicshoes.com/women/sandals/tide-ii-toe-post-sandal.html  These are the closest open summer shoes I have found to actual running shoes, and they let your feet breathe while being super-stylish. For anyone who has fallen arches (overpronation) like me, they are critical to making sure your legs stay healthy enough for future workouts and walkabouts.

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Traditional flip-flops are notoriously bad for people and are flat as a board, which causes feet to flatten against their natural form. On the other hand, Vionic flip flops hug the arch of the foot for full support. With Vionic’s podiatrist-designed, supportive Orthaheel Technology, the gravitational forces that cause the arch of the feet to collapse can be reversed, raising them back into their neutral position helping to re-align the entire leg and preventing plantar fasciitis, so wearers can move to move dynamically in complete comfort as intended. Vionic with Orthaheel Technology offers the ONLY sandals recommended by both the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and renowned integrative medicine doctor, Andrew Weil, MD. Vionic.

I also love their selection: from dark and muted colors, to jeweled, sequined and floral styles, and masculine brown leather for guys…. they have something for every outfit and style. And now they are endorsed by this Walking Workout expert and celebrity trainer (me)!

 

Common Fitness Fail #6: Outgrowing your fitness tracker app. 

Fitness tracker apps are great for beginners, to give you a reality check of just how little you move. Once you set goals of steps per day and calories burned, you tend to outgrow them. Hopefully by this time you’ve made fitness and healthy nutrition a part of your lifestyle and are addicted to feeling great.

Don’t stay at the same level. INSTEAD…That’s when you’re ready to Rock your Run!

 

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This app lets you you can run to the beat of your own drummer. Literally.

RockMyRun is a fantastic new app that not only blends music to a set workout-paced BPM (beats per minute), it also gives you the option of sensing your own beat – how fast your feet like to run, jump or do cardio in general – and pacing the music to your very own speed! (See below for a free offer!)

app, available for iOS and Android devices, provides professionally created, seamless mixes that are designed specifically for exercise. The app then takes in data like steps and heart rate from smartphones and fitness tracking devices to adjust music tempo in real time to improve exercise enthusiasm and performance.

RockMyRun features seamless, high energy mixes created by DJs (125-175+ BPM) that are sortable by genre, artist, latest, bpm, lyrics, and duration. Users are able to choose from a variety of genres including house, rock, pop, hip-hop, 80’s, dubstep, country, Latin house, oldies, drum and bass, 90’s, Christian rock, bmore, classical, reggae, R&B, and season.

I even used this in the NYC fitness classes I teach, and it was great to be able to pick 122-25 BPM for my chisel-type classes, and 135+ for my HIIT cardio plyometric days!

This music adjustment feature, called myBeat™ Body Driven Music utilizes algorithms to read steps per minute, heart rate and more. This information is then processed and adjusted to deliver content (music tempo – BPM) in real time to match, motivate or calm someone at just the right moment. Users are also able to manually change the BPM of the mixes on RockMyRun to help them achieve a personal goal.

myBeat™ is available in three forms: 

1) myBeat™ Manual: Users manually adjust the tempo of any of the mixes and run/walk/cycle/workout in time to the music.

2) myBeat™ Steps: Using data from the iphone accelerometer and pedometer, RockMyRun dynamically adjusts the tempo of the mix to match footstrike. This feature is specially designed for runners and walkers looking to be in sync with the music wave.

3) myBeat™ Heart: Adjusts the tempo of the music to respond to physical exertion as measured by a user’s heart rate using heart rate data transmitted via Bluetooth from any wearable heart rate device. While this feature is great for runners and walkers, it also brings the excitement of personalized, body driven music to users

Scientific studies have proven that music synched to your body can have a powerful and positive effect on people running or working out. This includes increased time to exhaustion, decreased oxygen needs, increased distance covered, and more positive emotions about the workout.

Rock My World recently completed a study with the one of the leading exercise research laboratories in the world, the EPARC lab at the University of California, whose results indicate that the Body Driven Music available exclusively on RockMyRun leads to statistically significant improvements in motivation and mood during exercise.

The basic version of the app is free, so you can chose a pre-selected playlist, genre, and beat and stream your music when you work out.

The Rockstar (premium) membership lets you work out to your own natural BPM, and gives the ability to use the full music catalog (hundreds of mixes ranging from 30 minutes to four hours long), as well as continuous play feature allowing users to play their mixes back to back without interruptions or commercials. RockMyRun Rockstar is free of display and audio ads for $35.99/year (works out to $2.99/month).

No time for a post-workout shower? No problem!

The line at the gym shower is too long.

Or you pushed your outside/at home workout 15 minutes longer than planned cause you felt so strong today.

Or the water got turned off in your home.

Or its really hot and humid out and you feel like you need 5 showers a day.

Whatever the reason, a shower that’s needed can’t always be achieved. Not to stress (sweat)…I found a way to turn this #fitnessfail into a #NikkiFitnessFave  with two new products that allow you to take your shower with you, quickly, without water. And for less than 5 dollars a pack!

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Get Shower Power in large wipes-

http://www.nathansports.com/gear/performance-gear/power-shower-wipes

 

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And these Aura Cacia Revive both cloths come in multiple scents, like “calm” and “balance” AND THEY ARE ALL-NATURAL!

https://www.auracacia.com/new-products/revive-body-cloths.php

 

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Another product that helps you feel and smell clean while working out and freshening up, is a pocket-sizedbiodegradablesingle-use deodorant wipe

Swipe is the newest, innovative product in personal hygiene and MUST-HAVE gym bag essential. The box comes with three wipes infused with a natural tea tree extract that not only provides protection, it also eliminates body odor.  The small and discrete packaging makes Swipe® travel-friendly and ideal beach bags as well. I even keep them in my purse to replace that travel-size deodorant that always crumbles and loses its lid!

Where to get it: www.itswipes.com as well as Amazon.com. Price: $3.99 for pack of three, $6.99 for pack of 10, $14.99 for pack of 25

 

Fitness – fit it in, even when you don’t have time for a shower!

Nikki

Walk Your Workout: June 19th is National Flip Flop Day

You’ve heard the saying, “Sitting is the new smoking” and that “sitting disease” can make you sick in many ways. Recent fitness studies even show that skipping a scheduled sweat session, and instead, walking and standing for most of your day (yes, without a workout), is better than making time for a tough workout and then sitting at a desk, car or couch the rest of the day.

Those are some of the reasons that I created my two new Walking Workout DVDs/Apps/Video Downloads  – so that anyone who is starting their fitness journey as a beginner, people rehabbing from injury/sickness/pregnancy, or those looking for more gentle workouts as they age, can get into a walking routine.

Problem is, that after many people workout, they then wear uncomfortable shoes which cause sores, bad alignment, muscle imbalances, the legs to ache, fatigue and future calorie burning routines may be jeopardized.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 7.27.40 PM

I’ve finally found the solution for flats and flip-flops that leave you blistered and bleeding: Vionic’s Tide Flip Flops ($64.95) http://www.vionicshoes.com/women/sandals/tide-ii-toe-post-sandal.html  These are the closest open summer shoes I have found to actual running shoes, and they let your feet breathe while being super-stylish. For anyone who has fallen arches (overpronation) like me, they are critical to making sure your legs stay healthy enough for future workouts and walkabouts.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 7.31.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 7.31.45 PM

Traditional flip-flops are notoriously bad for people and are flat as a board, which causes feet to flatten against their natural form. On the other hand, Vionic flip flops hug the arch of the foot for full support. With Vionic’s podiatrist-designed, supportive Orthaheel Technology, the gravitational forces that cause the arch of the feet to collapse can be reversed, raising them back into their neutral position helping to re-align the entire leg and preventing plantar fasciitis, so wearers can move to move dynamically in complete comfort as intended. Vionic with Orthaheel Technology offers the ONLY sandals recommended by both the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and renowned integrative medicine doctor, Andrew Weil, MD. Vionic.

I also love their selection: from dark and muted colors, to jeweled, sequined and floral styles, they have something for every outfit and style.

And now they are endorsed by this Walking Workout expert and celebrity trainer (me)!So join me in keeping your workout going all day long and post a photo of it June 19th for #nationalflipflopday

 

Fitness – fit it in, in your flip-flops! ~Nikki

BIO

NikkiFItness is a 37-year-old fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, and the star of 11 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new 2015 Anti-aging Walking Workout, 2014 Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout, the Seasonal Affective Disorder Workout, Hard Core Abs, Fit Travel Workout, Booty Camp, The Slimnastics Workout (Yoga+Plyometrics Fusion), Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s “Slimnastics” exercises have been featured in over 100 national media outlets including the New York Times, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Fox & Friends, GMA Health, Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women’s Health. Her “Improve the Move” workouts focus on multitasking toning and plyomentric cardio intervals (HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training) to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Nikki is an AFAA certified NYC personal (and celebrity) trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, and a 200hr RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor.She is also the “spokestrainer” for Huggies Little Movers and SilverSports antimicrobial fitness gear. Nikki got her start in fitness as a Syracuse University Cheerleader, where she graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the prestigious Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter, to get the free #movesoftheday and #mantrasoftheday. Her music playlists, video demos and DVDs can be found at  www.nikkifitness.com

 

Sunglasses: Critical and Over”looked” Workout Equipment

National Sunglass Day is Friday, June 26!

Rock and movie stars have the right idea after all! You should be wearing your sunglasses more often, and not just after a rough night out or to hide that you didn’t have time for makeup before school drop off… they should be a critical part of your outdoor workout ensemble!

Summer is in full swing, and enjoying a workout outdoors can be the highlight of your day. However, Dr. Justin Bazan, a medical adviser to The Vision Council, and optometrist based in New York City, says many fitness enthusiasts are neglecting to use the proper protection for their eyes, leaving their vision at risk to UV radiation, posing harmful threats to our long-term eye health.

I took part in a webinar that told of some shocking statistics. The most surprising to me is that popular outdoor workout times, like early morning (8-10am) and late afternoon (2-4pm) puts your eyes at nearly double the amount of UV exposure than at mid-day (10am-2pm) during most times of the year!  Other stats include:

  • -1 in 4 Americans rarely or never wear sunglasses, leaving eyes at risk
  • -2 in 3 Americans leave their eyes unguarded on cloudy or rainy days
  • -3 in 10 Americans don’t protect their eyes in the Winter, when UV Rays are still present
  • -Most people chose shades for comfort over protection level
  • -The most common times when people use sunglasses is when they are driving, walking or going to the beach
  • -Only 33% of adults use eye protection when they are out running or biking.
  • -Water reflects up to 100% of UV rays, snow 85%, and dry sand/pavement hits you back with 25%

 

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To make sure I can still see the running and biking road in front of me in years to come, and just in time for the upcoming National Sunglass Day, the vision council sent me these great Kaenon polarized SR-91 shades in a sun safety kit.

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Dr. Bazan explained that sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to have UV protection, and neither price not how dark the lenses are, usually have anything to do with the protection level.

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So join me to protect your eyes and help raise awareness of this over”looked” part of your workout gear and use the #NationalSunglassesDay hashtag in your posts and share your own Rockstar #SunglassSelfie  on Facebook – www.facebook.com/TheVisionCouncil or Twitter – @OpticalIndustry 

You can also participate in a Twitter chat, celebrating National Sunglasses Day  www.nationalsunglassesday.com   on Friday, June 26 @ 1pm ET ! More information www.thevisioncouncil.org 

 

Fitness – fit it in, in your shades! ~Nikki

 

 

BIO
NikkiFItness is a 37-year-old fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, and the star of 11 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new 2015 Anti-aging Walking Workout, 2014 Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout, the Seasonal Affective Disorder Workout, Hard Core Abs, Fit Travel Workout, Booty Camp, The Slimnastics Workout (Yoga+Plyometrics Fusion), Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s “Slimnastics” exercises have been featured in over 100 national media outlets including the New York Times, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Fox & Friends, GMA Health, Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women’s Health. Her “Improve the Move” workouts focus on multitasking toning and plyomentric cardio intervals (HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training) to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Nikki is an AFAA certified NYC personal (and celebrity) trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, and a 200hr RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor.She is also the “spokestrainer” for Huggies Little Movers and SilverSports antimicrobial fitness gear. Nikki got her start in fitness as a Syracuse University Cheerleader, where she graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the prestigious Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter, to get the free #movesoftheday and #mantrasoftheday. Her music playlists, video demos and DVDs can be found at  www.nikkifitness.com

 

Back up your health: Yoga for back pain

Imagine a virus going around that causes pain, and stops you from driving, lifting your toddler, shopping for groceries, and exercising.

Now imagine a medicine that prevents this virus. You would take it, right?

This pretend “virus” is back injury. It is real and happens to people every day when they trip and try to catch their balance, roll out of bed, bend over to pick up a bag, take a kickboxing class, or perform a dead lift. The medicine I prescribe to avoid “catching” the virus is a few yoga poses for the upper and lower back. As always, you should check with a doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist to diagnose the cause of the back pain, which could be anything from sitting too much, to stress, to lifting, or even a herniated disc (which I have had twice in the last 20 years.) I have found these poses to strengthen area, realign the problem and fix the pain. However your healthcare practitioner may prescribe an MRI, surgery or rest instead, depending on the source of the pain.

Lower for Living:

Strengthening your lower back muscles is important for people who don’t exercise on a regular basis, but equally as important for those who do exercise but overlook the lower back. If you have a bad lower back, you can’t do those crunches, bicep curls, lunges or daily living activities.

Upper for Posture:

The upper back exercises are important as well, especially if you sit at a computer or hunched over a desk much of the time. It is equally important if your exercise routine includes pushups and bench presses but not working the opposite muscle group – the trapezius and rhomboids. Hunched posture can cause painful knots and strains, chiropractor bills and give the wrong first impression.

Moves: It’s best to use a flow or vinyasa that creates counter-stretches, so that in one pose you are extending (straightening or arching) the spine, and in the other you are flexing (bending forward or rounding). If experiencing back pain,  twists should be limited, as they could help turn a bulging disc into a herniated one. It’s also important to stretch the hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes, because tightness in these muscles can lead to pulling and pain in the back.

cow cat

Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/ Bitilasana)This is a great way to start your yoga practice even if you don’t experience back pain. It warms up the body, helps you focus on the breath and strengthens the arms, back and core. Start on your hands and knees in a “tabletop” position. Make sure your knees are set directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders are in line. Center your head in a neutral position, eyes looking at the floor. As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, gently release your head toward the floor. Inhale, coming back to neutral position on your hands and knees and allow your belly to sink towards the earth, slightly arching your back while lifting your head to look forward and bringing the chest towards the sky. Exhale, coming back to neutral “tabletop” position on your hands and knees. Repeat 10 times.

Opposite Reach Back

Spinal Extension/Bird Dog/Hunting Dog           

This pose is a great way to tone and strengthen your upper body, core muscles, work on balance issues and strengthen the lower back.  Come into a hands-and-knees position on your mat, keeping a neutral curve in your lower back, strong arms and look at the floor between your hands. Next, slowly extend your right leg back behind you with your toes turned under and the ball of your foot on floor.  If you are feeling stable, lift your right leg up until it is about parallel with the floor, but no higher. If you still feel stable,  reach your left arm (opposite side) forward and parallel to the floor, as if you were to shake hands with someone in front of you. Hold for 3 deep breaths, and repeat on the second side. After holding 3 times, you may want to flow the pose, inhaling as you lift the arm and leg, and exhaling to lower. Modify: If you are having lower back pain, keep the toes of your straight leg on the ground rather than lifting your leg. If you have wrist pain, bend your elbows and rest your forearms on blocks, rather than putting weight on your hands.

cobra

Sphinx Post/ Baby Cobra (Bhujangasana) Lie on your belly, legs side by side with toes pointed on the floor behind you. Place your hands flat on the floor so that they are directly underneath your shoulders, elbows off the floor, and lower your forehead to the ground. Inhale, slowly rolling up and back, using your lower back muscles rather than just your hands (think: snakes don’t have hands). Move slowly, so that you feel each vertebra arching back. Hold the pose for 3 deep ujai breaths, before you get as high as your elbows make sure you are not overextending the lower back. No pain should be felt in the lower back. Slowly roll down, keeping your head back until last. Repeat two more times. As you get stronger you can lift up until you can rest on your elbows, making the backbend more pronounced, while relaxing the glutes.

down dog

Down Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – This is one of my favorite poses for building upper back strength, flexing the low back, and stretching the spine, calves and hamstrings. From sphinx or baby cobra, lay back down onto your stomach and then lift up onto hands and knees. Press your hands strongly down into the mat and lift your forearms up. Your fingers should be spread like starfish, with the middle finger pointing directly forward. Curl your toes under and lift your hips up and back, keeping your knees bent and heels lifted. Gently roll the outside of your upper arms down and feel a widening across your upper back, establishing external rotation in your shoulder joints, spreading your shoulder blades apart. Straighten your elbows and press your hands into the mat as if you were trying to push it away from you, elongating your spine lifting your hips to the sky into an inverted letter “V.” Keep the feet hip-distance apart and begin to “walk the dog” by inching one heel closer to the mat at the time. Eventually you may be able to straighten both knees and reach the heels almost to the floor. (Note: If you can glance at a side mirror, make sure you’re in a V – with the head between the arms, shoulder blades reaching down the back towards the hips, and sits bones lifted as high to the sky as you can. It’s common for beginners to take the arms and legs too far away from each other into a wide V and to look at hands instead of relaxing the neck and looking at the knees.) Breathe deeply for 5 breaths while gazing at or past your knees.

 

Staff pose (Dandasana)– From down dog, come back down to all fours, then cross the ankels and sit back and down. Next, extend your legs in front of you with the feet flexed and the backs of the legs touching the mat, knees not bent. You may already feel your hamstrings stretching. Sit tall and reach the crown of your head to the sky. Inhale, then exhale and fold forward with a straight spine, reaching the hands towards the knees (beginners), shins or feet (advanced). It’s important not to bounce, but rather grow longer on the next inhale and lower if possible on the next exhale. Hold the pose without bending the knees for 5 breaths, being sure not to round the spine. If the spine is rounded, back off from reaching towards the feet and sit taller. It’s not about touching the nose to the knees, but feeling an incredible hamstring stretch and stretching the lower back as well. Surrender to the pose.

 

Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – From staff, lower down to lie on your back (supine), bend your knees and place your feet on the floor underneath the knees, both hip distance apart. You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips. Your hands should be by your hips, palms down. Exhale and push your tailbone upward toward the pubis, firming (but not clenching) the glutes, and lift the hips toward the sky. Keep your thighs and feet parallel and knees over ankles. Next, interlace the fingers beneath your glutes with pinky sides on the floor and extend through the arms to externally rotate onto the outsides of your shoulders. Stay in the pose for three breaths, and lower hips to the floor. Repeat 3-5 times and release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor, then hug the knees into the chest for a counter-stretch. Your glutes and lower back with feel strength building and your chest will feel more open and stretched.

 

Supine Figure Four (Supine Pigeon) This pose stretches the glutes, specifically the periformis, and tight glutes can cause back pain. It offers less room for error than pigeon and often feels good to lay on your back to relax it and feel grounded. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet lying flat onto the floor.  Then, cross the right ankle on top of the left knee. Start here and then gently press your raised knee away from you with your right hand Then, interlace your hands underneath the thigh of left leg and pick your legs up to hug them into your chest.  If you are unable to reach your arms that far, you can use a yoga strap. Hold for five deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

 

Savasana (Corpse pose/final relaxation) If lying down with your legs extended is uncomfortable in corpse pose for your final relaxation, bend your knees and place them together while the soles of your feet are under the knees but hip-distance apart. If this position still hurts, place your legs up a wall or find a rolled-up mats, blankets, or towel to place under your knees when you lie flat to encourage your lower back to press into the floor. These modifications will help create length in your lower back to alleviate any tension. Hold the pose for at least 10 calming breaths, then if comfortable, roll onto your right side and stay for 3 breaths in fetal postion. Next, use the strength of your left arm to push you up to a comfortable seated position for meditation or to get on with your Namas(day).

Back it Up

Before I became a personal trainer and yoga instructor, I didn’t realize the importance of working my back as much as working my abs. I ask you to add these moves to each workout you do and take this advice from someone who went through a back injury and could not do normal daily tasks… and take your (yoga) medicine.

Summer Product Review: All Natural New You- NikkiFitness Faves 2015

When I shoot fitness segments on national TV, they do my makeup done professionally. It’s enough to turn a former country-mouse into a NYC beauty diva. However, my love for the all-natural, wellness, fitness and not absorbing chemicals in general, caused me to go back to my country roots and search for all-natural products. A skin cancer diagnosis in the family and being pregnant with my second child also played a role in my search for less chemicals on my skincare daily routine. This #NIkkiFItnessFaves summer product review strays from my normal fitness product picks to summertime body-conscious organic, vegan and natural products that you put on your body after you sweat the toxins out.

So please indulge me while you pick up some products to indulge your pampering side. It took trying a few samples to get me to totally ditch my previous makeup bag, medicine cabinet and shower caddy to totally restock and restore for health.  I’ve included some colors that work for me, medium complexion, but all it takes is a visit to each website to find the shades for you.

How to get glam from with products from the garden…

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Body Wash – Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensie Hydration Body Wash with African Rock Rig and Baobab Oil. The scent is enough to hook you, but the 10% of each sale they give back through Community Commerce Initiative and the ingredients list makes you want to stock up and shower three times a day!  A 13 oz bottle costs $9.99 and they have many other scents, a remedy scroll bar for your type of skin/hair/needs, products ranging from men to baby, and even offer natural face masks. http://www.sheamoisture.com/Community-Commerce-Manuka-Honey-Mafura-Oil-Intensive-Hydration-Body-Wash_p_849.html

 

 

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Face Cleanser– Kimberly Parry SeaOrganics Creamy Cleanser with coconut and argan is rich in sea minerals, vitamins and lactic acid to help your skin look and feel soft and silky. The ingredients glossary helps you navigate your way to a clean facial cleanse. $58 http://www.kimberlyparry.com/skin-care/creamy-cleanser-coconut-argan

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 10.59.20 AMExfoliants – WIth accolades from Yoga Journal and Organic Spa Magazine, and this cool packaging, I couldn’t wait to try Balance Guru’s Organic Farm-a-ceuticals Scrub Me Body Scrub. Then I opened the package and the invigorating smell of Raw Sugar, Organic Coffee, Coconut Oil, Babassu Oil and Cocoa Butter (plus a little of Spearmint and Ginger to spice up your scrubbing experience) gave me a jolt of happy. Safe for expecting mothers, nursing mothers and children, this is a must-try. $22.99. http://balancedguru.com/products/scrub-me-nice-and-gritty-body-scrub

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For the face, exfoliate with Crumbles Strawberry Lemon foaming food facial scrub from Buff Her House of Exfoliation, smells so good you want to eat it. Lemons are a great skin brightener, with high vitamin c its a great antioxidant. Lemon also neutralizes free radicals and gives a boost to collagen. Strawberries are high in salicylic acid, one of the main ingredients in over the counter acne medications. Strawberries are rich in Vitamins A & C. $25 http://buffher.com/products/strawberry-lemon-crumbles

 

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Deodorant and Lotion– Another place on the body, like the lips, that absorbs a lot of chemicals is the armpits. I have looked for years for something that is strong enough to last through a hot day or a heavy workout, trying crystals, all-natural homemade concoctions, and products. Nubian Heritage Honey & Black Seed with Wild Honey and Apricot Oil 24 hour all-natural deodorant is the closest I have found yet. It’s slightly stickier than the average drugstore brand, but smells great when you put it on – better than any deodorant I have ever used. It definitely lasts all day, but needs to be re-applied before bed. For an average workout, you can wear it. For the hardest workouts, I still recommend using the normal brands so those in class next to you don’t give you a funny look. Still, that covers you for most of the day without the chemicals. There are several other inventive scents for  $7.99 each which I can’t wait to try. If you love a good smelling lotion or body butter, shop their Patchouli and Buriti Shea Butter moisturizers.  https://www.nubianheritage.com/product-types/deodorants
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Face Mask -Earth Kiss offers 100% natural mud and clay masks infused in a bamboo sheet and energized with 85 plant micronutrients found in Himalayan Shilajit.
It’s a quick and relaxing way to deep cleanse and help balance the skin to its optimal health and vitality. Choose between revitalize, hydrate, rejuvinate, exfoliate, pore refining and pore cleanse recipes $2.99 http://www.myearthkiss.com

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Protect from the sun with SPF MyChelle has an array of über-safe, natural sun protectants that will guard against both UVA and UVB rays. Titanium Dioxide and clear Zinc Oxide offer clean, broad-spectrum defense that helps prevent the signs of aging, and research has even shown that Zinc Oxide can shield against ultraviolet rays as well. What’s more, their sunscreens for the face have soothing Aloe to ease signs of redness and irritation before they have a chance to occur, and restorative algaes reduce sun-induced inflammation while replenishing oils hydrate and relieve your skin. $17 http://www.mychelle.com/SunShield-Coconut-SPF-28br?sc=7&category=4417#.VVkurMZbz1o

 

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Lips – Not convinced that the skin absorbs chemicals? You should at least be sure that if you wear lipstick you also eat it. Every day. If you only change one thing, change your lipstick to a natural brand. My favorite still, after many samples, is Burts Bees, caramel shade. It looks as good as my Chanel favorite with a summertime sexy shimmer, but 1/5th the price. You can be sure you’re not ingesting chemicals when you put it on then eat a meal, take a drink! The Vitamin E, beeswax, peppermint and sunflower oils only cost $5.  Check out the ingredients: http://www.burtsbees.com/Lip-Shimmer/02313-00,default,pd.html#ekAdP0R90ZFZbvlH.99

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Under-Eye Concealer– Josie Maran’s ultra-hydrating concealer crayon seamlessly smoothes over blemishes, dark circles, and uneven pigment, with no caking, creasing, pastiness, or fading away.  There are six shades for all skin tones, and the chubby, retractable tip just glides like butter. The 100% pure, organic Argan Oil is the main ingredient for natural, earth-friendly beauty, free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, and irritating chemicals. There is also an  Argan Tinted Moisturizer, for maximum luminosity and an all-over, evened-out glow. Luxury with a conscience under your eyes costs $20.  http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/argan-creamy-concealer-crayon.html#.VVk3bsZbz1o

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 5.41.30 PMEyes (and Face): Eyeshadow/Eyeliner/Browliner from Honeybee Gardens. These items offer shimmer, shadow, smokey eye and glam without leaving the garden. National TV-approved by me, and natural without a tear over chemicals on your oh-so-thin-skin of the eyelids. The pencils glide on like liquid eyeliner and give your brows a model-look. Bat an eyelash at the vegan and cruelty-free ingredients for $8.99 each.

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Get their pressed powder for $10.99 while you’re there. http://honeybeegardens.com/cosmetics/

 

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Mascara– Rejuva Minerals’ Mega Lash is a  water resistant, lengthening and thickening mascara an Organic Spa Magazine pick, and was presented to the attendees of the 2015 LA Red Carpet Event for the Grammy’s. It’s designed for women who want to reduce their overall chemical load by living cleaner and greener, and to experience wellness every day  More and more Hollywood personalities are demanding high quality natural and organic makeup for use on set. Rejuva provides for the needs of celebrity personalities such as Shailene Woodley and Lorielle New, is used on the set of CBS’s “The Talk” and HBO’s “Girls.” But I’m the last person who cares what a celebrity uses. I tried it for $14.95. My eyelashes look awesome now and I feel better knowing about their ingredients vs the average mascara on the market. I’m also a fan of their bronzer/blush/pressed powder which you can score a sample size with a lid that limits the  spill factor for $5.95- pictured here. Investigate yourself at http://www.rejuvaminerals.com/store/product1025.html

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Cheeks – I like Virgin Mineral Makeup because other samples I tried had loose powder that fell out or got too much on my brush. This blush – in a shade called “radiance”- was not too pink and not too bronze, and contains a middle piece of plastic that allows only so much to penetrate to the top, where your brush can grab it. The website contains lots of other products that keep your skin young, by sticking with high-quality products that avoid certain ingredients such as talc, corn starch and parabens. $22 at http://virginnmineralmakeup.com/product/radiance/

 

After looking great all day…

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Makeup Remover -Juicy bamboo natural facial cleansing cloths are made in small batches and saturated in vitamins B12, C and E, then soaked in citrus essential oils.  Their “secret weapon,” a nourishing blend of honey, is heated, liquefied, and then blended with sunflower oil and jojoba oil and put into facial cloths that harvested from unbleached bamboo natural fibres, which mean they have a lower environmental impact than a standard wipe, making them cashmere-soft with no paragons, synthetic fragrance, sulfates or  alcohol. Sounds like hard work, but taking your makeup off won’t be!  $15.50 http://kaianaturals.com/shop-2/juicy-bamboo-natural-facial-cleansing-cloths/

Natracare’s new COSMOS-certified Organic Cleansing Make-up Removal Wipes  Perfect for any gym bag, these make-up removal wipes are now available across the country at Whole Foods and online. Taking it off (make-up that is), has never been this easy or safe. These wipes are organically formulated and free from harmful chemicals.  They wipe gently and effectively remove all make-up while moisturizing your skin too.  And with the COSMOS-organic seal, Natracare wipes are the purest make-up removal wipes on the market – the world’s first of its kind! Prices vary by location, and you’ll also find intimate and baby wipes. http://www.natracare.com/p2219/en-GB/Natracare-Products/Wipes/Organic-Make-Up-Removal-Wipes.aspx 

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Face moisturizer – Immunocologie Face Serum is a highly concentrated, ultra-hydrating nutrient rich essential oil formula dry to the touch, that I like to use at night. Combined with the Vital Oligo Complex, this strong emollient supported by the Balanites Roxburghii Seed Oil increases epidermal lipid recovery, providing a robust plumping while also bringing essential vitamins and nutrients to the skin. These nutrients, including omega fatty acids, vitamins A and C preserve moisture in the skin, fight free-radicals and stimulate collagen production leading to increased elasticity. And you just glow. $185 dollars. http://www.immunocologie.com/immunocologiefaceserum/ 

If that’s a little pricy, try Chia Seed Passion Fruit Oil for $32 https://www.lather.com/chia-seed-passion-fruit-facial-oil.html

 

Get your 8 hrs sleep, wake up fresh, splash with facial cleanser, add more natural deodorant and start the day with one of my workout videos the next morning!

Fitness – fit it in, Nikki.

Walking Workout with Weights to Fight Common Aging Issues

Optimize Your Outdoor Walking Workout

If the thought of workouts make you want to cry, cheer up, because walking might be all the exercise you need to combat obesity, diabetes, perimenopause, menopause, hypothyroidism, and even osteoporosis.

Physical activity is an important part of a weight management program with decreased calorie intake. Finding a workout you like and will make part of your lifestyle will keep the pounds off once you lose them. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Exercise has a benefit of reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, beyond that produced by weight reduction alone.”

Reports show that tougher workouts might actually cause setbacks when you are suffering from hypothyroidism, and by adding small weights or resistance tubing, osteoporosis effects on bone health can be minimized, and blood sugar can be regulated for diabetics. A regular fitness routine can also help offset dipping estrogen levels which can lead to breast cancer, weight gain, and depression in those with perimenopause and menopause, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The NIH recommends starting with “Walking 30 minutes for 3 days a week and build to 45 minutes of more intense walking, at least 5 days a week. With this plan, you can burn 100 to 200 calories more per day. All adults should set a long-term goal to accumulate at least 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. This regimen can be adapted to other forms of physical activity, but walking is particularly attractive because of its safety and accessibility.”

Location: On nice days, go outdoors and do the bonus moves I outlined. Studies show that the green vegetation, sunshine and blue skies of nature boost your mood and de-stress your mind. If you can find a walking location with some hills, it will increase the muscle toning and calorie burn. If it’s too hot, cold, raining or snowing outside, take the walking workout to your treadmill or one at the gym. If a treadmill is not available, get my 30-minute no-equipment  Anti-aging Walking Workout with Weights DVD or download the app for itunes or android.  It was shot on a beach, so it’s another way to cheer you up on a rainy day! There are 15 bonus moves that march your muscles past a basic walk.

 

Tools:

  • Stopwatch/stopwatch app –  These come standard on smartphones and will allow you to use the minutes (if you are not sure of miles walked each workout) for improvement in training and time your bonus move intervals (below).
  • Weights – Add 3-5lb weights for extra toning, calorie burn, and to help fight osteoporosis. I like sand weights that just look like little pillows rather than dumbbells. You can also use resistance tubing for some moves.
  • Music – I have upbeat music playlists in different genres on my website at Nikkifitness.com but you can also just create your own by combining your favorite songs. Maybe you chose music from a trip you took, a time in your life that was especially happy, or something beachy.
  • Audiobooks – These can be your secret walking weapon! Download audiobooks from iTunes or the library to your phone or listening device, throw on some headphones and ONLY allow yourself to “read” while walking. This way, you look forward to your walk even more because you are dying to know what happens next in the story!
  • Friends – Workouts are always better with friends. Instead of going out to eat, drink alcohol, or go to a movie, make active playdates with a friend. You can both motivate, laugh, make the time fly with conversation, and avoid the extra calories that other outings might add.

 

Plan:

Week 1 Walk ½ mile or 10 minutes M-F. Rest Saturday, do yoga Sunday.

Week 2 Walk 1 mile or 20 minutesM-F. Rest Saturday, do yoga Sunday.

Week 3- Walk 2 miles or 30 minutes M-F. Rest Saturday, do yoga Sunday.

Week 4 – Walk 3 miles or 40-45 minutes M-F, Rest Saturday, do yoga Sunday.

 

Weighted walking moves to work cardio, legs muscles, biceps, triceps and shoudlers:

bi curls kick up

 

Biceps curl and kick: step forward with the right leg, raise the left knee and extend the leg into a powerful kick forward with the left foot flexed while raising the weights up to shoulder level to work the biceps. Lower the left leg, and kick with the right while lowering the weights. Repeat the kicks and biceps curls for 30 second intervals.

tri kick lunge back good Stepping triceps kickbacks: Place the left foot on the ground pivoted to the side with a moderate bend in the knee.  Do a slight lunge with the right leg behind. Pull the weights into your ribcage with elbows lifted (starting position). Bring the right knee in towards the other knee and “kick back” the weights  by extending the arms to engage the triceps. Pull the weights and right leg back to starting position and do a 30 second interval. Change facing direction and repeat on the other side.

 

side shot shoudler weight knee lift

Shoulder knee lift: Step forward with the left foot and hold weights by your hips.  Lift the right knee up to hip level as you raise the weights just above your chest. Lower the weights as you step the right foot down and lift the left knee. Repeat for 30 second intervals.

 

 

front lunge shoulder sie raise Shoulder lateral raise with lunge: March for a count of 4 with a right leg lead and weights in your hands. Lunge your right leg forward and lift the weights to the sides with a slight bend in the elbows. (Make sure you lunge far enough so that your right knee is directly over your right ankle, not out near or past the toe, and keep your torso directly over the hips.) Push off your right foot back to standing and lower the arms. Lunge forward on the left leg and lift the weights laterally, engaging the shoulders again. Lower weights and push off the left leg back to start. March for 4 counts and repeat for a 60 second interval.

 

inside bi curls 2 Inside biceps cross: take your march and change it into a toe tap with the weights and your palms facing away from you, and arms extended towards the ground. When the right toe taps, curl the left hand in towards your right shoulder, across the center line of your body, while keeping the left elbow close to your waist. Lower the left hand. Tap the left toe and cross the right hand and weight towards the left shoulder. Repeat for 30 second intervals. side shot overhead tri press goodTriceps overhead press with march: March your feet to the original walking pace, and lift both weights overhead. The elbows should point to the sky and be bent so that the weights are directly behind the neck and hands are touching at the knuckles (starting position). Continue to march right and left and lift the weights to the sky by straightening the arms. March right, left and lower arms (two counts for feet = one count for arms). Repeat for a 30 second interval.

Repeat these moves in order of the intervals laid out above three times for a full set of arm weighted intervals. Check out my next blog for walking workout muscle moves you can do with resistance bands to work your chest, upper back and more!

Fitness – fit it in! Nikki

5 Ways to Exercise While Pregnant (and get body back after baby!)

Mother’s Day is around the corner and the Royal pregnancy is about to pop , so it seems everyone has babies on the brain!

If you’re pregnant and worked out before you conceived, you can continue at a less intense pace as long as cleared by your doctor. (If you didn’t work out at all before, now is probably not the time to start, but perhaps some walking around the neighborhood might be in order.)

The benefits of staying active include more than being fit for labor. Pre-natal workouts help reduce stress, release feel-good endorphins, burn extra calories (think keeping the bump contained to just he belly and not spreading to your butt, hips, arms and legs when you overdue the desert), keep up your endurance (for walking up steps and doing errands in your last month), cut leg cramps, help you sleep, maintain good posture and tone your arm muscles for holding the little tot when he/she arrives!

As long as you’re feeling good, some of the best exercises to do while pregnant are:

1-Swimming – this type of workout is great for pregnancy because you will avoid the bouncing and joint pain that often comes with HIIT, aerobics and running. The cardio high will keep you coming back for laps that tone your muscles while keeping your lungs in good shape.

2- Walking – This is my favorite workout at the moment (I am seven months pregnant and usually run 12 miles a week when not this large) because running has begun to hurt my legs, hips and back. I created the Slimnastics Walking Workout (www.nikkifitness.com)  DVD and App download video for prenatal exercise, anyone recovering from an injury or after giving birth and being cleared by a doctor (normally 6 weeks after delivery), and simply to keep moving as you age. Aside from strolling through the park, you can burn calories and keep up your endurance by add some moves like V steps, lunges, hamstring curls, knee-ups, walking kicks, twisting knee curls, and, running lunges. Bring along an exercise band (resistance tubing) and you can add lots of upper body moves as pictured here!

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3-Indoor Biking – spinning also keeps knee, back and ankle pain at bay for the most part, and provides a great cardio workout. Some classes now add light arm weights to tone the upper body. Indoor spin classes are preferable to biking outdoors, because the chance of falling off a stationary bike that you are clipped into is much less than having to swerve to avoid an obstacle or hitting a pot-hole and losing your balance on an outdoor bike. Stay safe and avoid falls, and ride indoors, make new friends at class, enjoy the music, and sweat without overdoing it. Work at about 80% of the effort you used to exert, and if you get lightheaded or feel any discomfort, take a break. Drink lots of water and have snacks like bananas and nuts on hand. Once the belly gets huge, you may feel like the upper legs hit the bottom of your stomach or your upper body curves into the “bump” too much when reaching for the handlebars. The positions I find most comfortable are in the saddle with the handlebars up as high as they will go or seated with my hands on my hips, and second position where you’re basically standing up and holding the sides of the handlebars.

4-Yoga – taking time to breathe with ujjayi breath, focus inward and gently stretch and strengthen muscles through yoga is a great way to exercise and de-stress during pregnancy. Because of the hormone relaxin in your body during these 9 months, you’ll want to limit some poses and modify others. For example, omit warrior 1 and substitute high lunge instead. Avoid inversions, twists, and backbends, like up dog and camel, that can put baby and belly in an uncomfortable position. During sun salutations, lunge forward with the front foot on the outside of  the same side hand instead of inside between both hands to make room for the baby. You should also preform forward fold and child’s pose with wide legs. Keep standing balances  safe by holding onto a wall and modify (for example you can do tree pose with the lifted foot on your ankle instead of above your knee if needed). Avoid dancer and twisting standing balances. Finally, during the second and third trimesters when laying on the back is not advised, instead of savasana laying on back, lay with bolster pillow between your legs and turn onto right side, ip and arm to relax and reflect at end of your practice. Poses like down dog are great for upper body/back strength and posture while stretching those calves that are prone to cramps in the last months. And remember to rest and take child’s pose any time you need a break.

5- Muscle toning certain target areas will not only keep your arms and legs looking strong, but they can also fix some common pregnancy ailments. In my classes and DVDs I generally recommend multitasking your workouts (doing upper, lower and core at the same time and adding in plyometrics), but while pregnant, you should single-task. Focus on arms only, or legs only for example. You can help fix/avoid back pain and posture by picking up some light weights (5-8lbs) and performing back flies, cat/cow stretches on all fours, spinal extensions (also called pointer dog) where you set up on your hands and knees and outstretch your right leg with left hand, hold for 10 seconds and then reverse the move for 10 repetitions.

To ease leg cramps, roll out the legs on a foam roller (see my free how-to video here) and stretch the calves after your workouts or walks by lunging with your hands on your front knee and your back heel pressed into the ground. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.

To help you sleep and tone the arms and leg muscles, perform seated arm moves like biceps curls, overhead triceps presses, shoulder overhead presses and pushups on an elevated surface, like a coffee table or a wall (to make it easier as you get heavier). For the legs, try assisted wall elevator lunges where you hold onto a wall with your legs scissored so that the right is in front and the left is behind you. Bend the knees to 90 degrees and lower towards the floor (your front knee should be directly over your ankle, not the toe or past the toe. If it is, step the legs further apart.) Rise up and down for 10-20 reps while holding onto the wall. Repeat on the other side by switching the legs.

Postpartum Workout: For ways to work out with the baby once he/she is big enough, around 3 months, check out my Baby Bootie Camp Workout video!)

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Fit in your fitness while pregnant, so that bouncing back after baby is a breeze!

BIO

NikkiFItness is a 37-year-old fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, and the star of 11 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new 2015 Anti-aging Walking Workout, 2014 Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout, the Seasonal Affective Disorder Workout, Hard Core Abs, Fit Travel Workout, Booty Camp, The Slimnastics Workout (Yoga+Plyometrics Fusion), Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s “Slimnastics” exercises have been featured in over 100 national media outlets including the New York Times, Live! With Kelly and Michael, Fox & Friends, GMA Health, Shape, Self, Fitness, and Women’s Health. Her “Improve the Move” workouts focus on multitasking toning and plyomentric cardio intervals (HIIT- High Intensity Interval Training) to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Nikki is an AFAA certified NYC personal (and celebrity) trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, and a 200hr RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor.She is also the “spokestrainer” for Huggies Little Movers and SilverSports antimicrobial fitness gear. Nikki got her start in fitness as a Syracuse University Cheerleader, where she graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from the prestigious Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter, to get the free #movesoftheday and #mantrasoftheday. Her music playlists, video demos and DVDs can be found at  www.nikkifitness.com