Become a Diet Detective

It can be difficult to maintain a healthy and nutritional diet when there are so many hidden ingredients and things to look out for in our daily food purchases.

Here are a few tips that will train you to become a food detective.

1. Read the Ingredients Label (You Can’t Always believe the Branding!) – Avoid chemicals, hormones, dyes, GMOs, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup. Be sure to observe the amount of saturated fat and sugar content. When purchasing meats, Grass fed and pasture raised is better than cage free! When buying at fish try to get fresh and sustainably caught and avoid farmed fish.

2. Shopping Organic – Shopping for organic products is healthy but can also be costly. Following these guides to can help you to know which produce items to focus on buying organically.

The Dirty Dozen – These fruits and vegetables were found to have the most pesticide residues so consider purchasing the organic versions of these items.

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Institute for Integrative Nutrition

The Clean 15 – This is a list of produces that were found to contain the least amount of pesticide residue. This means you don’t have to be as concerned about purchasing these items organic and could save yourself some money.

CleanFifteen

Institute for Integrative Nutrition

3. Taste the Rainbow – The colors of the food that you are buying can reveal a lot about their health benefits. Focus on only buying foods that are the colors of the rainbow as opposed to any colors that were generated in a factory. This means that they probably include dyes and chemicals to make them this color. Things you want to avoid!

4. Less is More – 5 ingredients in a meal is a good rule to follow. It allows you to avoid any sneaky products in your foods to ensure a more healthy and natural diet.

5. Stick to Natural Foods – Focus on eating natural foods as opposed to packaged ones. They have more nutritional benefits, less hidden ingredients, and are fresher.

 

Meet Your Instructor:

NikkiFItness is a health coach, trainer, class instructor, media fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, product reviewer, and the star of 12 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new Anti-aging Walking Workout, 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, a graduate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition® School (IIN health coach), 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 Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” on social media, and in iTunes and Android for the NikkiFitness App! More at www.nikkifitness.com

Long Lead Post: NikkiFitness Pumpkin Workout for Halloween!

Here’s a pre-pumpkin carving activity: Before you decorate the jack-o-lanterns, grab that heavy gourd and use it to tone your trouble spots with this full-body workout! My new video, the Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout was the inspiration for these moves, because you typically use a medicine or stability ball to perform them, but if you have a pumpkin laying around anyway (I have my four-year-old to thank for mine!) why not put it to good use?

How it works: Do 20 reps of each execise. Repeat the entire series 3 times.

Targets: Triceps, biceps, shoulders, inner and outer thighs, glutes, quads, pectorals, upper back, obliques and lower abs

You will need: Pumpkin (8-20 lbs)

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Stand tall with the pumpkin in your hands with elbows bent. Lunge right leg back and twist left over front leg (make it harder by extending the arms straight out in front of you, then twisting).

Turn forward and step your right leg forward to meet left and come to standing. Repeat on the other side for one rep.

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A Squat while holding the pumpkin behind your neck, with elbows close to your head. Be sure to sit back as if to sit into a chair, and keep your knees from going too far forward.

B Stand up and lift the pumpkin directly overhead by straightening the arms. That’s one rep.

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Hold the pumpkin in left hand for 5 seconds.

Lift the pumpkin overhead to work the shoulders.

C Bring the pumpkin down into the palm of right hand and hold for an isometric contraction of another 5 seconds. Push the pumpkin back overhead in both hands to complete one rep.

Hold the pumpkin in hands with arms bent and legs wider than shoulder’s width apart. Bend knees to plie squat and straighten arms to lower the pumpkin.

Come back to standing and biceps curl the pumpkin up to your shoulders. Extend arms to reach the weight over head and engage shoulder muscles. Come back to start for a complete rep.

Upper Back Row

Hold pumpkin and hinge at hips with back flat and knees soft. Extend arms to reach pumpkin toward ground at knee level.

B Pull the pumpkin in toward your navel and bend elbows up toward sky. Lower weight back toward ground for one rep.

(Trainer tip: Make sure back is flat, not rounding. If shadow looks rounded, stick booty back and pull shoulders up.)

V Sit and Twist

Sit on ground and lean back, so that abs engage. Back should be flat and diagonal from the ground, starting at the tailbone and continuing straight through the spine, long through neck and up the crown of head. Make it harder by lifting feet up to tabletop.

Lower pumpkin to right hip, then lift overhead.

C Lower pumpkin to left hip to complete one rep.

Reach and Crunch

Lay on ground and extend arms (holding the pumpkin) and legs long so they are a few inches from the ground.

B Pull knees in and crunch the shoulders off the gound while reaching the weight toward feet. Lengthen again for one rep.

These moves do the TRICK to make your Body a TREAT!

Fitness, fit it in! Nikki

Meet Your Instructor:

NikkiFItness is a health coach, trainer, class instructor, media fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, product reviewer, and the star of 12 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new Anti-aging Walking Workout, 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, a graduate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition® School (IIN health coach), 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 Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” on social media, and in iTunes and Android for the NikkiFitness App! More at www.nikkifitness.com

July 4th Fit Travel Tips!

While fourth of July weekend is one of the biggest travel weekends of the year, it doesn’t mean you have to take a weekend off from exercising and staying in shape. The no-equipment-needed fitness routines found on the NikkiFitness app can help you kickoff summer looking and feeling your best even when you are on the road.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure fitness is a part of your holiday weekend, (some of which come from my New York Times hotel workout article)!
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  • Remember to always pack exercise gear in your luggage when traveling will ensure that you can’t use lack of fit clothes as an excuse to not work out. You can save room by wearing your sneakers on the plane/train/bus/car and packing your flip flips, pack “yoga paws” instead of a mat to get your Ohm away from home, find a bathing suit that can double as a sports bra and workout underwear, and download a workout app before you leave wifi at home – try the NikkiFitness app and the Fit Travel Workout video that was shot around the world with no equipment to prove you can get a great 30 min HIIT anywhere!

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  • Plan activities on your trip that will keep you exercising while having fun. Hiking, swimming, or just walking while sight-seeing all keep your body moving. Jogging around the destination area is like a free tour.
  • Planning your workout first thing in the morning will ensure that you don’t forget to do it and that it doesn’t conflict with any one’s itineraries. You will have completed your work out before anyone else starts their day! A no-equipment workout means you can even just do it in your room.

 

 

Here are 3 examples of moves you can do right in your hotel room

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1. L-stand: This move is a half-handstand. You place your hands on the floor, your legs are straight and your toes are resting just on the edge of the bed as the arms hold the body up in an L shape. This strengthens the upper back and is good for people who have been sitting in the car or on an airplane for long periods of time.

jumping lnges L

2. Swinging lunges: With both legs bent, move one leg forward and lower yourself so the knee of the back leg is almost touching the floor. Repeat this move with the same leg moving backwards. This works the glutes, abdominals, and quads. Lifting your knee between lunges can also add cardio to the routine.

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3. Bath Tub Circuit: Begin with bathtub push ups. Place your hands on the edge of the tub, keep your spine straight and toes on the floor. You can then do running lunges, placing one foot on the edge of the tub and lifting the opposite knee. Next switch to tricep dips; sitting on the edge of the tub with your legs straight out, heels on the floor, and bent elbows. Lower your torso towards the floor and then push back up.

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Fit your fitness in and have a great, fit trip!

International Yoga Day

#InternationalYogaDay is June 21… so how will you be celebrating?

Get together with your friends all around the world and participate in a yoga challenge following the NikkiFitness Slimnastics Workout at the same time! You could also use the online site Burn Along to participate in yoga classes virtually.  (It is like FaceTime meets an online class video!)

Yoga has several health and mental benefits. It strengthens bones and muscles, relaxes your mind, and can even help you sleep better.

A recent study done by Cleveland Clinic has found that just 12 minutes of yoga a day can help fight osteoporosis. Practicing yoga increases bone density in the spine and hips. It also helps with balance and coordination, which protects against falling or tripping leading to osteoporosis-linked fractures.

Incorporating yoga into an exercise routine that includes strength training is beneficial to building and maintaining bone density. Every pose benefits bone health if it is activating muscles.

There are also several yoga moves you can do before bed to help you sleep better and longer. They will help you reduce stress and tension in your body to help you fall asleep more quickly and peacefully.Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 3.50.23 PM

1. The Camel: For this move you begin on all fours and arch and lower your back, (cat, cow, cat cow for any yoga experts out there) and then bring your elbows and shoulders behind your back and look up at the ceiling. This is a heart opener but also relieves tension or stress in your back that could come from sitting at a desk all day.

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2. Puppy/Dolphin: Start on your knees or in dolphin with your forearms flat on the group and push them into the floor. This helps with muscles in the shoulder, the abdomen, and the upper back. It helps release knots in upper back

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.14.59 PM3. Seated Bound Angle: I call this one the rocking back massage because it gives you a little message without having to hire a masseuse. You sit on the floor or in your bed and make a diamond with your legs. You then lean forward, keeping your back straight, and then roll backwards and forwards. This relieves tension from your hips and reduces anxiety and depression.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.15.24 PM4. Recline Spinal Twist: Lie down on your back and bring one knee in towards your chest and then twist it across your body. Then stick your opposite arm straight out on the floor and turn your head to look at your hand. This helps with muscle aching and releases tension while stretching your glutes and thighs. It is also detoxifying and if you had anything to drink that night it can detoxify your liver.

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 2.15.45 PM5. Legs Up the Wall – Lay down on the floor or on your bed with your legs up the wall above your hips and flex your feet. This reverses your blood flow, brings blood back up to heart, lungs, head, and neck, Focus on your breathing, inhalfe for 10 counts and slowly exhale for 10 counts. This stretch is good for thyroid problems while calming you down and slowing your heart rate to help you more easily fall asleep.

Now that you’ve done your end of the day yoga routine… you can Namaste in bed!

How to use a Foam Roller for Myofascial Muscle Release

If “better sore than sorry” is your mantra, massage those muscles on #NationalFoamRollingDay  and check out my FREE How-To video!

Hit your quads, calves, IT bands, glutes, hamstrings outer thighs, back and more!

To get sore in the first place (and totally sculpted) try one of my 12 fitness videos or get the NikkiFItness App! See the home screen navigation bars.

Fitness – fit it in! Nikki

OM9: One Move, One Mantra, One Must Try: Less sugar, better breakfast

12 Ways to Eat Less Sugar

March is National Nutrition Month, so what better time to talk about one of the most common barriers to nutrition that I see in my health coaching practice—sugar!

One MOVE

If there is one move you should try this month, it’s quitting your sugar addiction. Research shows sugar causes an increased risk of numerous health problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and tooth decay. Studies have even linked too much sugar to anxiety and depression. I can tell you this: my clients who ditch sugar report sleeping better, thinking more clearly, having more energy and losing weight, too.

Reasons Why It’s Hard to Control a Sweet Tooth

Many of us reach for sugar when we are feeling stressed. Why? Because foods loaded with sugar can temporarily improve our mood and energize us. Sugar has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Unfortunately, when that sugar “high” passes, we crave it again.

As a society, we have too much sugar in our daily lives. Much of it is hidden in foods that are seemingly healthy. Yogurt is one example. A 2014 finding from researchers at the University of North Carolina showed a startling increase in sugar consumed by American adults. It went from 228 calories per day in 1977 to 300 calories per day in 2009-2010.

As a result, we have a bigger tolerance and crave more sugar.

For many of us, sugar is also tied to our happy times from childhood. For example, did your mom have cookies for you after school and on holidays? Did fun family movie nights always include ice cream? Did you enjoy pie on the holidays? If the taste of sugar takes you back to those days, it may be a reason you can’t stay away from it.

Sugar can also feel like it soothes emotional pain because the pleasure it delivers is the opposite of pain.

How to Kick the Too-Much Sugar Habit

  1. Find out how many grams of sugar are in the foods you like, and limit those with surprisingly high amounts. (Consider that one teaspoon of granulated sugar is the equivalent of 4 grams of sugar. So a food with 16 grams of sugar per serving equals 4 teaspoons of the granulated kind!)
  2. Beware of  dried fruit and fruit juices (9-10 teaspoons in one glass of apple juice, might as well be drinking Coca Cola!). Instead enjoy a piece of whole fruit that has nutrients and fiber to fill you up and help with elimination.
  3. The American Heart Association and World Health Organization both recommend consumption of no more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day. A good place to start to reduce sugar consumption is by cutting out processed foods and juices, soda, candy, cake and cookies.
  4. I have found that eating more sweet veggies during the day can help curb a sweets craving. Go for butternut squash soup or a helping of roasted carrots.
  5. Cut out sauces, especially at restaurants where you can’t read a label. Jarred pasta sauces can be surprisingly high in sugar, too.
  6. Try to fix things that are not working in your emotional life. Relationship problems, career stress and other sources of unhappiness can lead to you trying to find happiness with cookies and ice cream.
  7. Experiment with alternative sweetners. Some that I like: stevia, rice malt syrup, coconut milk flesh and oil, cinnamon, vanilla extract, whole fruit, sweet potato, summer squash and honey.
  8. Try to cut out one sugar habit at a time, like your morning tea or coffee. If you can start with adding no sweetener of any kind to those items, others may follow. At the very least, if you have three sweet coffees a day, you will be limiting many spoonfuls of sugar just by making that one change.
  9. Drink a full glass of water, then wait 15 minutes and see if you still crave sweets.Sometimes dehydration causes cravings.
  10. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash next time you feel a sugar craving coming on.Usually that gets the job done because clean teeth and a minty taste often curtain the urge to eat.
  11. Avoid pungent foods for meals. I have found that spicy foods and garlic/onion flavors contribute to a sugar craving, sort of as an antidote to the aftertaste. So if you know you are trying to cut down, skip those flavors.
  12. One way to improve your mood in a healthy way is through exercise! Get your heart pumping with some sweet sweat! You can try my workouts on the NikkiFitness app atwww.nikkifitness.com I recommend cardio for a mood boost, substitute the endorphins for sugar!

One MANTRA

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to TRY!

One MUST TRY

Start lessening your sugar addiction with your first meal of the day: breakfast!

maypo oatmeal has less sugar

I recently discovered that Maypo (also known as Homestat Farm) has updated its classic oatmeals with some great whole grains, like organic chia and quinoa, that leave you surprisingly full. The instant varieties, that do have sweeteners—like the maple flavor— have 2/3 less sugar than regular brands. You can find it at your local store, or lots of sites online with a Google search.

With just 4 grams of sugar, 170 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 75 mg sodium, and 5 grams of protein, you can ease your way into less sugar at breakfast, then switch to the unsweetened varieties once your taste buds adjust. You can always add berries to the wholesome wakeup meal for antioxidants.

Now that’s a “sweet” way to start your sugar detox!

Om 8: One Move, One Mantra, and One Must-Try! Get Down and Dirty but Eat Clean!

One Move, One Mantra, and One Must-Try!

Move: Down and Dirty

Spring and summer travel seasons are upon us, and one question I get the most from people who have read my book, do my videos or are my health coach clients, is “What fitness routine can I do while traveling?”

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I created a 30 minute Slimnastics Fit Travel Workout (www.nikkifitness.com) that requires no equipment, but if you want just “one move” to pack with you, it’s Down and Dirty! Check out the one-minute demo here that I shot on my vacation in Mexico:

 

This move is four jumping lunges, a burpee where you lower all the way to the ground, perform two airplanes, then push up back to plank and finish the burpee by jumping back to stand and doing two push-ups.

 

It is a miracle combo I came up with that works the chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, abs, upper back, lower back, glutes, quads, calves and cardio! It’s the best 2 sets of 8 counts for you to memorize, goes perfect with music, and you can repeat it for one-minute at a time throughout your day, or do intervals of 1 minute D&D, one minute walk/jog.

 

If you are modifying, do two alternating lunges instead of 4 jumping lunges at the beginning and instead of jumping back into your plank, step back slowly and step up slowly instead of jumping up and into the air at the end of the burpee.

 

 

Mantra: Work out because your life depends on it – because it does!

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Must Try: Eat clean with Safe Catch Tuna

Tuna is a versatile, lean protein that can be added to salads, sandwiches, pasta, you name it! If you want to stay trip, tuna is a catch. The problem with regular canned tuna is that some is not sustainably fished (claims of catching dolphins and other fish, as well as overfishing with nets). The other problem with tuna is that most of it has a high mercury count, which is why pregnant women are supposed to avoid it and the average person is warned to only have about 2 servings a week.

 

Safe Catch Tuna is different, because they pole and line catch the fish and test every single one for mercury:

 

Safe Catch Elite is the only brand that:

  • Tests as pure as wild salmon
  • Meets Consumer Reports’ ‘Low Mercury’ criteria set for pregnant women and kids
  • Has 10 times stricter mercury limit than the FDA.

 

Conventional tuna is precooked, re-hydrated, machine processed, and recooked.  As a result, it loses many vital oils and flavor. Safe catch hand cuts and hand packs premium tuna steaks that are slow cooked to perfection so that all Omega 3 oils and nutrients are retained. You can buy it online at www.safecatch.com or use their store locator to find a grocery store near you that carries it. You can get a box of 6 cans for less than 25 dollars or a subscription that gives you 20% off. I believe your health is priceless and you’re better off spending money eating good quality protein than spending it on medical bills later!

 

And if that wasn’t enough, they even sent me the best tuna salad recipe (http://rootandrevel.com/tuna-salad-recipe-avocado/) I have ever tried. No mayonnaise! It uses pesto, tuna, cannellini beans and avocados. It tastes great on bread and crackers, but if you really want to eat clean, eat it in a lettuce wrap or my favorite: on apple slices!

 

If you pack moves like Down and Dirty and some tuna cans, you are sure to have a fit trip!

 

 

 

 

Balancing Work, Life and Fitness!

A great way to find balance is to first identify the barriers to your balance.

Are your kids just too much work? Are you putting in too much time at the office? Commute killing you? Can’t sleep? Have too many social commitments?

You can fix these issues….the secret is in goal setting. Most barriers to exercise, goals and a fulfilling life that’s not too full, are not real, they are just perceived. The first step to beating your barriers is to write them down and brainstorm ways around them.

Do shorter workouts and multitask your moves. (That is why I designed my fitness DVD to fit an hour long workout in just 30 minutes.) Don’t feel like exerting yourself today? Do yoga, pilates or just take a walk to do your errands. Get more childcare, say no to one thing on your calendar this week, combine your socializing with friends with your healthy cooking or a fitness class, plan a family vacation with childcare and healthy eating and fitness excursions! Do mediation audioguides during your commute. Order groceries online instead of spending an hour shopping. It’s usually about freeing up time to fit in everything you crave in life.

Two items that will help you find balance come from my studies as a personal trainer and health coach.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition uses a Circle of Life graph. This is how you will find what areas of your life are lacking in balance. These include creativity, career, spirituality, relationships, home life, fitness, home cooking, etc.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 5.45.05 PMIn personal training, we change lives by motivating clients to  start the S.M.A.R.T. way, follow the guidelines us fitness trainers
learn when we are certified from Personal Fitness Training Theory & Practice pg 380):

Specific: Define your goal – for example if fitness is lacking, make a goal of by how many pounds you want to lose, miles to run, minutes working out, etc.

Measurable: Make the goal measureable so you are clear when it is achieved “I want to be able to go out with friends twice a week.”

Action oriented: write out the details  – for more family time as a goal, write out what times each week you will set aside, what the actives or memberships will be that you can commit to,  and what you will do, like you’ll go on a family bike ride each week, museum visit, playground excisions, etc.

Realistic: Chose an appropriate goal for you, don’t try to run a marathon, don’t quit your job, but maybe take summer Fridays off, sign up for a 5k, join a club with friends.

Timed: Set a time to measure your success, check in and re-asses. First day of summer?  The first of every month?

Wipe out excuses, start the S.M.A.R.T way, and fit in your fitness, work, life and find balance!

How to Avoid or Survive Sore Muscles!

As a health coach (in addition to being a trainer, group fitness instructor and video creator) I tend to steer people away from pills, gels, patches and other artificial chemicals and more towards easing into a workout to limit the soreness. That’s one of the reasons I created the NikkiFitness Anti-Aging Walking Workout and the Walking Workout with Weights videos.

All of my workouts videos were intense until I had my first baby. Then getting back into shape after time away felt like my lungs were on fire! I also had some celebrity clients who were older or coming back from car accidents for example. That’s why I created the walking workout. To ease people back into a workout if they are a beginner, coming back form an injury or childbirth, or taking care of their bodies as they age.

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TIPS

-Start slow and work your way up to hard workouts.

-Walking is a great place to start, then add some lunges and squats, then add in weights for the arms, then work your walk up to a one minute of jogging and one minute of walking intervals.

-SINGLE-task: If your legs are sore, warm up and get the blood flowing and focus your workout on your arms the next day, then maybe back the next, and maybe light cardio, maybe abs the next day. Work your way around your body at first. Wait to do multi-tasking workouts for when you are in better shape.

-Stretch after your workout and again the next day and the next.  Always warm up for about 3 minutes before stretching if not working out that day.

-I’m always the most sore two days after a workout. It’s called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). If you really pushed it, expect to be sore for 4-5 days

-Get a gentle massage

-Bathe in epsom salts (natural)

-Ice sore muscles

-Avoid classes with intense names like diesel, extreme, insanity, etc and instead take a restorative yoga class or pilates

-If you try a new piece of equipment, just do a few minutes or a few reps. Jumping on a stair master for 30 minutes will leave you in bed all day later in the week.

-And if that doesn’t work, repeat this mantra when you are walking down the stairs and feeling a little pain: “Better sore than sorry!”

 NIkkiFitness Anti-Aging Walking Workout Video www.nikkifitness.com 

 

BIO
NikkiFItness is a health coach, trainer, class instructor, media fitness expert, author of The Slimnastics Workout, a freelance fitness writer, product reviewer, and the star of 12 fitness DVDs/Videos/Apps including the new Anti-aging Walking Workout, 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, a student of IIN Integrative Nutrition®  School, 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 Newhouse School. Search for “NikkiFitness” social media, and in iTunes and Android for the App! More at  www.nikkifitness.com

 

 

(OM 7) One Move, One Mantra, One Must-Have: The S.M.A.R.T Way to Keep Your Fitness Goals

I planned to go for a run, but it snowed.”

“My week has just been too busy to get to a fitness class.”

“Everyone from work went out to happy hour so I skipped my personal trainer.”

“After taking care of the kids and running errands, I was just too tired to do that fitness DVD.”

“I just got laid off, so I don’t have the money for a trainer or a gym.”

What’s your reason for being bad to your body?

Whatever your barrier to exercise is, there is always a way to fit in your fitness. The secret is in goal setting—and what better time to start than today? Most barriers to exercise are not real, they are just perceived. The first step to beating your barriers is to write them down and brainstorm ways around them.

The most powerful barrier, expressed by many, is that they have been out of the workout cycle for too long. The answer is to get S.M.A.R.T. To make your fitness goal S.M.A.R.T, it needs be Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Timely.

The S.M.A.R.T system was developed by the Athletics and Fitness Association of America(AFAA) as a tool fitness trainers can use to motivate clients. It comes from organization’s text book, Personal Fitness Training Theory & Practice. Here’s how:

Be (S)pecific: Define your goal by how many pounds, miles, minutes, etc.

Make sure the goals are (M)easurable: For example: “I want to jog for 20 minutes without stopping.” Twenty minutes can be measured—and celebrated— when achieved.

Be (A)ction oriented: Write down exercise details such as the time of day you will exercise; the day and time a particular class is held; the day and time that will be set aside for a weekly bike ride and the distance you will go, etc. Also, give some thought to the days you will push yourself (Monday, Tuesday and Friday, for instance) and the days that will have easier workouts or rest.

Be (R)ealistic: Chose an appropriate goal. It’s not necessary to run a marathon; aim for 20 minutes of sustained movement to get you going and work diligently towards that goal. (When it starts to feel easier, you can add more time to your workout but that may take a few weeks.) Attaining a small goal builds confidence and helps keep you motivated.

(T)ime goals to a future date: Getting married? Want to make everyone jealous on the first day of summer? Husband coming home from deployment? Going to a class reunion?

Wipe out excuses, start the S.M.A.R.T way, and fit in your fitness!

One MOVE

If lack of time is a barrier to exercise for you, do shorter workouts and multitask your moves. (That is how and why I designed my fitness DVDs to fit an hour-long workout in just 30 minutes.)

I recently heard a woman refer to the underside of her arms as “bat wings.” I thought that was a funny way to describe that trouble-area that so many of us want to slim and chisel—the triceps. This move, which I call the French Press Lunge combination, can be broken down into two parts when you are just starting out. First, single task it and focus on toning your arms. Then, lunge for the legs and get your heart rate up and burn calories. Once you get accustomed to the moves, put them together and multitask the combo for even more timesaving toning and calorie busting!

Single-task: Start with a 5-10 lb weight and hold it with both hands overhead. Keep the elbows and underside of your arms close to your head and your chin lifted to look straight ahead, not at the floor. Lower the weight behind your neck and then lift it back overhead for one rep. Do 15-20 triceps French presses (named after the coffee maker), then put the weight down.

Now perform “elevator” lunges by separating the legs, right leg in front. Keep the feet separated and slightly apart like “railroad tracks,” not directly in line as if walking a “tightrope.” Keep your feet about 12 inches apart from each other, then maintain that distance as you step the leg back about 3 feet. You’ll know you are in correct lunge position if, when you bend your knees and lower the “elevator,” your front knee is directly over your front ankle, not over or past the toe.

Raise up and down 10 times, then switch legs. With the left leg in front repeat the move 10 times. (Trainer’s tip: Keep the back heel off the floor the whole time, see photo above, to make sure you are going up and down like an elevator, not forward and back like an escalator.)

Multitask the two moves: Separate the legs with the right leg in front and perform the elevator lunge at the same time as you do the French presses. Do 10 reps, then switch legs for the second 10, and continue pressing the arms down as you lower into the lunge, then raise the arms as you rise up and straighten the legs. After one set, put the weight down and do jumping jacks or jog in place, for 1 minute. Do a second set. Repeat one minute of cardio, then do set 3.

Still need help getting to that daily fitness resolution? Repeat this mantra… and fit that workout in before it’s too late today!

One MANTRA

If you worked out when you first thought of it, you’d be done by now!

One MUST HAVE

You might have read about probiotics in yogurt or heard eating them promotes a “flat belly” and helps with constipation. Probiotics do much more than that and there are better ways to get them in your gut than from yogurt which often has too much added sugar, fake chemicals, or leaves you with lactose issues.

Probiotics have many claims including: aiding in the digestion of nutrients, vitamins and minerals; increasing your immune system’s power; balancing PH; reducing the side effects of antibiotics; helping with IBS, obesity, diarrhea and constipation; reducing urinary tract infections (UTIs), reducing adverse reactions to cow’s milk, colds and kidney stones; improving the skin, kidney and liver functioning; reducing allergies, asthma and sinus infections; reducing ear infections and even helping with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The gut is the powerhouse of your immune system, and the probiotics are essential to letting the gut to do it’s job.

The key in adding this powerful tool to your diet, is to get it from a good source. There are ways to cook (and buy) foods with lots of different strands of probiotics that may be better for you than the yogurt you find in grocery stores. Kefir is a product I like. You can purchase Kefir starter kits online that involve cooking milk, adding a powder, letting it cool on the counter overnight. Other good sources of probiotics are: sauerkraut, miso, kim chee, raw pickles, fermented vegetables, Kombucha, buttermilk, raw vinegars, olives, root and ginger beers, sourdough, beer and wine.

As you might have noticed, the modern western diet of refined carbs and fast food doesn’t include many natural probiotics.

If you don’t want to add them to your diet, probiotic supplement suppliers may be for you. I recently added a daily probiotic pill from Intelligent Labs to my routine in addition to eating more fermented foods. (I had started with an over-the-counter brand but then read that many of those bacteria die before they get into your system; getting them live keeps the microbiome in your belly strong.) I even lost weight once I started taking the new brand.

I also researched reviews of the various brands of probiotice. You can too by clicking here. You’ll see words like flora, acidophilus, CFUs, colonies, million/billion/trillion counts, and more, but don’t be confused or turned off.  Most brands I’ve seen cost between $30 and $50 a bottle.

Learning more about the benefits of probiotics may be the healthiest thing you do this month! So get “smart” in your resolution, workouts and your nutrition in this year!