Five Tricks to Fit in Fall Fitness

Summer vacations are now computer screen savers and your wall calendar lists meetings, kids’ practices and weekend chores rather than vacation destinations. If the weather and weeks ahead feel harsh, one thing will get easier, your workouts!

Back in May, we thought the warm weather and free time meant getting in great shape during the summer. However, for some of us, the 80s turn to 90s, and free time means putting off our fitness routines until later in the day, then skipping them altogether. Family and friends stopping by, reunions, barbeques, weddings, day trips and beach vacations sometimes stop our sweat sessions in their tracks.

Fall breezes and busy routines CAN be your workout buddies.

When we have a demanding routine with the kids, jobs, and a packed schedule, we have to FIND the time to work out. If we know we only have from 6-7am four days a week, there is no putting it off because you “have all day” to work out, like in the summer.

Here are some trainer’s tricks and mantras to get fit in your fall fitness.

1) If you can only work out in the afternoon or evening, leave house keys and workout clothes at the gym locker in the morning on your way to work or dropping kids off at school. This way you HAVE to go there before you go home. Or, if you work out at home, keep an exercise-only calendar on our wall. This way you see what you have done already this week, and mix it up for cross-training, and it gives you one important thing to cross off each day.
2) If you can work out in the morning, Sleep in your workout clothes, put out your sneakers, and set your alarm music to fun fitness beats. I have suggestions on my website This way you just get dressed and get inspired, then get through your workout before you know it.
3) Multitask your workouts. Why stand still doing biceps curls, then do lunges, then squats, then shoulder presses, when you can combine all these moves together? Multitasking means more calorie burn, boosted metabolism, increased heart rate during workouts, more sweat, more fat melting and more muscle toning in half the time! Sprinkle in some cardio intervals between sets for even more health and slimming benefits. All of my books and fitness DVDs follow this method to take 60 minute workouts and cut them down to 30 minutes. I have a toddler at home, and I work part time, so, like you, I know shorter is better!
4) Find your mantras that motivate. A few of my favorite are: “If you went running when you first thought of it, you’d be done by now;” “Sitting is the new smoking;” as well as, “Sweat is Fat Crying,” “If you don’t work have an hour to work out today, how much time will you have from a hospital bed?” and finally, “Work out because you can” (because you have a healthy body and are not sick or injured in some way.)
5) Plan meals on Sunday. The more natural, and organic fruits, veggies, fiber and lean protein like fish and chicken, that you can prepare for your week in small portion sizes, you make, the less fried or processed food you will need to rush to later. Invest in zip lock bags, blenders, portable coolers, ice packs, Tupperware, plastic utensils, and slow cookers.

And yes, no matter how busy you are, you can find the time to work out. I train news producers who do the overnight shift, people who work, take care of sick family members and go to night school, executives who travel every week and work 15 hour days, as well as moms with huge families. There are no excuses.

If you find time to fit in your fitness this fall, the winter screen saver will be a chiseled photo of you!

Workout Social Support Group

Studies show that if you have friends to work out with or motivate you towards healthy behavior, your success rate increases. Try to find positive influencers in your life, from friends and family to people at work, church, etc.

Rather get your social workout support online? The popular Military Wife Workout, radio show interviews, Military Magazine articles and Miltiary​.com blogs and columns have spurned the interest in a Military Wife Workout group on Facebook.

This just launched this week and you can join by clicking here:

Become a member!

Get NikkiFitness workout tips, moves, fitness music playlists and share tips, motivation and more with your new workout buddies! You can also follow at twitter.

Fitness, Fit it in.

10 Motivational Marriage Fitness Tips

The honeymoon is over. You trained for your wedding and looked amazing, and as a reward, you indulged on your honeymoon so that it was more like a butter/cream/sugar-moon instead. Don’t worry if you’ve put on all the weight you lost for the wedding. I’ve got 10 tips to help you get back in shape and stay that way for many anniversaries to come.

1) Partner up with your spouse and motivate each other. As the adage says, “You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.” So plan your entertainment, meals, and workouts as a couple and motivate each other when you’re having a tough or lazy day.

2) Set specific, realistic goals and have a set time period. Then identify and eliminate your barriers to exercise and eating well. With an easy-to-accomplish plan, you’ll even be able to exceed your goals.

3) Get on the scale. Studies show that if you weigh yourself each day, you’ll keep your fitness and nutrition goals in mind. Skipping the scale for weeks at a time may lead to unconscious weight-gain. A weigh-in a day keeps those pounds away.

4) Try something new. Never took a spin or Pilates class? Never gone cross-country skiing or hiking? What are you waiting for? Surprise your body and learn something new together to keep things fun and your fitness on track.

5) Cut workout time in half. Don’t waste time standing still and doing biceps curls! Multitask instead by combing arm, leg, and abdominal exercises, like a curl, lunge, and twist. Then add a cardio interval. Multitasking workouts cut time while boosting metabolism, heart rate, and perspiration. Check out for sample cardio moves and four challenging multitasking workout DVDs that take only 30 minutes to complete.

6) Eat more. Think of food as a fuel, not as a gift, which means passing on food that’s high in fat and sugar, and taking just half of the portion you’d normally heap on your plate. Also, keep the tank half-full at all times with several small, healthy meals. If you never get famished, you’ll make wise choices with your head, not your belly.

7) Put one sneaker in front of the other. Many of us waste too much time saying we need to work out, dreading the process all the while. Trick yourselves by just getting dressed for it, putting on your favorite workout music, and not really thinking about what you’re about to do. If you take it one step at a time, before you know it, you’ll finish the cool-down and feel amazing.

8) Too cold to go outside? The chilly weather and lack of daylight make this time of year tough on fitness resolutions. Heat yourselves up with a healthy slow-cooked meal and break a sweat inside with a new fitness DVD or a fitness channel on TV.

9) Reward yourself. When you stick to these resolutions reward yourself with something free or inexpensive that makes you happy and inspires you to look and feel good. Maybe it’s a combined personal training session for you and your sweetie or a mini fitness vacation together.

10) Subscribe to motivational fitness sites or magazines. Whether it’s a new and healthy dish you can make, news about a recent medical study, interesting moves to try at home, or another person’s story about how they reached their goals, an inspiration will help you keep fitting in your fitness.

Motivate the S.M.A.R.T. Way

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. 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.

No time?

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. Bored with your workout? Try a new class or DVD. Invite your friends to a workout or go to thiers. Think you are too old or out of shape to work out? Try anything that is for beginners or a senior workout.

However the most powerful barrier many people express is that they have just
been out of the workout cycle for too many years. The answer to that is to be S.M.A.R.T.

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 by how many pounds, miles, minutes, etc.

Measurable: Make the goal measureable so you are clear when it is achieved “I want to be able to jog for 20 minutes without stopping.”

Action oriented: write out the details like the time of day, what day is a class and what day you’ll go on a bike ride each week, what time of day, for how long and what days will be easier and which you’ll push yourself.

Realistic: Chose an appropriate goal for you, don’t try to run a marathon, but maybe try to run for 20 minutes without stopping as your first goal to work towards.

Timed: Set a time to measure your success. A wedding date? First day of summer? Husband coming home from deployment?

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

Top 15 NikkiFit Tips

1. Set goals that are realistic and specific. Have a set time period as your goal to help you stick to a new fitness regime. Write down your plan of action for every day, week, and so on. Start with a plan that you think you can accomplish or exceed. For example, walk for 30 minutes, and then run for 20 minutes. See how many times you have to stop and walk each time. Eventually, work up to running for 30 minutes.
2. Identify and eliminate your barriers to exercise and eating well. Make a plan to conquer and avoid those specific barriers. Take each barrier or excuse and write down ways you can solve the problem.
3. Put one sneaker in front of the other. Many of us waste too much time saying we need to work out but dread the process. Get dressed to work out and don’t think about the next step. If you take it one step at a time, before you know it you will finish the cool-down and feel amazing.
4. Make yourself an upbeat iPod playlist or CD. You can dance around as you clean up at home. Or, you can find a hip-hop or African dance class at the gym, learn to belly dance at an adult education class or at the Y, or just plan a girls’ night out dancing. You can find a great list on my website.
5. Make dates to see friends and family and do something that doesn’t involve eating and drinking. Walk through the park, go biking in summer, ice skate or cross country ski in winter, walk the mall, take a yoga or cardio class, or run on a treadmill right next to your friend.
6. Think of food as a fuel, not as a gift. Passing on food that is high in fat and sugar, and take half the portion everyone else heaps onto their plate. If you go out to eat, you should pack up half food on your plate in a doggy bag.
7. Practice good habits when you eat out. If you have to be at a restaurant, identify the three healthiest things on the menu and pick between those.
8. Follow the food pyramid daily. Focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and calcium, not sweets and fats. Also, take a daily multi-vitamin
9. Don’t eat any junk food lying around the office. Bring healthy, sweet or salty snacks to your desk, such as whole wheat crackers, almonds, grapes, or chocolate soy milk. Buy a slow cooker so that you can prepare a healthy meal in the mornings, and it’s ready for you when you get home (it’s like having a personal chef at home all day, and gives you that extra hour for exercise.)
10. Drink no more than two alcoholic beverages at parties and events (if necessary, cut extra drinks with spritzers) and have a snack before these events so you don’t attack the buffet line.
11. Drive less and walk more. Take the stairs when possible and never go a day without some exercise.
12. Invest in a gym membership, if you don’t have one already, and use it. If you don’t have the money right now, buy an inexpensive workout DVD.
13. Weigh yourself everyday to remember your goals and feel good about the choices you made yesterday.
14. Keep reading health and fitness columns online. Subscribe to weekly e-mailed fitness tips for regular inspiration, and subscribe to fitness magazines. Whether it’s a new and healthy dish you can make, news about a recent medical study, interesting moves to try at home, or another person’s story about how they reached their goals, any inspiration will help.
15. Pass this advice along. I saw a quote once that said “You are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.” So get your friends to subscribe to a fitness newsletter, such as the NikkiFitness newsletter, and find a partner to work out with and help you make healthy choices at a restaurant.

Welcome Home, Now GET OUT!

This sign greeted me while visiting my parents this weekend.

Actually, it read, “Welcome to Pennsylvania, Now Get Out.” It was an ad at Salt Springs State Park meant to promote outdoor activity in the PA.

In these uncertain times when we are trying to relieve stress and save money, I had one of the best weekends of my life. Read on to see how you can do the same…

Each October I try to visit my parents during fall foliage peak season in the Northeast. This time if was different though. They recently retired.

I am not sure if it is because they have always loved the outdoors, or if they having a nagging personal trainer as a daughter, but their retirement presents to themselves were a pair of mountain bikes.

It is their new hobby, and a way of traveling, getting exercise and having a refreshing and beautiful experience for free on scenic bike trails that used to be railroad paths. This weekend, we biked and hiked within an hour of their house each day. I am writing today to share the research they have time to do, with you.

You have a busy and stressful life. On your next day off, save money, have fun, lose weight, connect with nature and relieve stress by looking up www​.railstotrails​.org or www​.dcnr​.state​.pa​.us (for the last one, just insert your state’s abbreviation instead of PA). I trudged through rainbow leaf carpeted trails, biked alongside waterfalls and picnicked under a tree canopy surrounded by my family and serenaded by birds.

The cost was almost nothing and the experience was priceless.

Welcome to (insert state here) and get out!

Fitness Networking — Find a Workout Buddy

One of the best ways to get and stay in shape is to have a workout buddy. But sometimes our friends are too busy eating pizza, drinking beer and “hanging out” on Facebook.

It happens to everyone. Don’t despair — I am here to help.

What if you could meet good influences on a Facebook-​​type atmosphere?

Twitter and FitFiend​.com are two cool ways to chat with fitness friends and share tips, articles, workout moves and more with hundreds of workout buddies. On Twitter you can also search topics and see what people are saying about them. Type in yoga, kickboxing, running, anything to find people to share ideas and experiences with.

Click away, then get to your workout.


The NikkiFitness Booty Camp DVD is out in March. Visit www​.nikkifitness​.com to sign up.

Fitness, Fit it in.

Remedy for Un-​​Happy Holidays

The holidays are challenging when you have more guests, to-​​do lists, and obligations than normal. Add to it that it is supposed to be the best time of year, and the fact that your loved ones might NOT be with you, and you have a recipe for it to feel like the worst time of year.

If you are feeling lonely, depressed, overweight, stressed and overwhelmed, perhaps Yoga could help. I turned to my Yoga Guru, Beth Shaw from YogaFit for some advice . YogaFit is the largest teacher training school in the world, and where I received my 200 hour RYT.

Beth says that Yoga practice and it’s breathing, holding poses, flowing vinyasas, mediation, imagery and focus have been proven to:

* make you feel more in control
* increase feelings of positive mood
* reduce perceived stress and anxiety
* change your response to situations that could cause stress
* reduce the heart rate
* lower blood pressure
* make you breathe easier, not shallow (avoiding hyperventilation and panic attacks)
* increases the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly
* provide better body image
* increase more thoughtful eating habits, caring what you put into your body
* allows you to let go of tension in the mind and body
* instead of “dealing with” stress, yoga allows you to release it from your life
* witness stress and negative feelings instead of experiencing them, practicing non-​​attachment
* allow you to appreciate the now and live in the moment
* facilitates deep relaxation and helps practitioners sleep better
* detachment from negative situations

She suggests doing poses like back bends, forward folds, knot and pigeon pose, and spinal twists. Not sure where to start? I tried her “Yoga on the Road CD” and put it on my iPhone during Thanksgiving travel. I hit play and was talked through a complete yoga session, and all I needed was my travel Yoga Paws (hand and foot gloves that are sticky like a mat). Perhaps you’d like to add this to your holiday shopping cart…

Yoga on the Road CD:

Get the workout from the school that trains yoga teachers! YogaFit On The Road allows you to get a great workout anywhere you have a CD player, or download it onto your iPhone. Perfect for Road warriors and anyone else on the go, and it will de-​​stress you from the hectic holidays! There are two different workouts, a 70– minute yoga workout and a 15-​​minute seated workout. Also included is a stick figure chart of all the yoga postures – a perfect reference for the beginner. $14.95 from www​.yogafit​.com

You can find out more about fighting stress on Beth Shaw YogaFit blog.

If you are interested in learning more about yoga poses and alignment, or starting the journey into teacher training, I will give a free YogaFit Level One gift certificate, which are offered around the country, to the 10th person who emails me and signs up for my newsletter at nikki@​nikkifitness.​com This is a 400 dollar value!

Attitude Adjustment

I was watching Oprah. I tuned in because she had a show about women’s health. Most of it featured women who have trouble sleeping, have a low sex drive, are depressed, and pop too many prescription pills. They all admit they don’t eat well and don’t exercise enough. “Hello?!,” I yelled from the couch. Why don’t they realize that eating right and exercising are the most important things you do all day?

Many of us need an Attitude Adjustment. Here are 5 ways to do it.

1) Change your priorities. There is a comic strip that I love … it is a doctor asking a patient why he doesn’t exercise. The patient says he doesn’t have a free hour in the day. The doctor asks, “Do you have 24 hours a day to be dead?” If we change our attitude about what we eat and do during the day, the doctor would not have to ask that question.
2) Eat to live, food is a fuel not a reward. We discussed some of these issues in a recent wellness seminar held at my alma matter, Syracuse University. Emme, a plus-​​size supermodel and women’s advocate joined in, and we discussed how to strive to be happy and healthy, instead of just thin. Many people make the mistake of thinking of food as a gift, our one pleasure for the day. In reality, it’s simply a fuel to keep us living, and moving. We are supposed to eat in order to move – and move a lot. Food fights diseases and keeps us strong, if we have a good relationship with it.

3) “Work out because you can!” This was a fitness mantra I came up with when I lost the use of my leg for several months due to a botched C-​​Section. Be thankful you can use your body, that you are not injured or disabled. Instead of moving a lot, we tend to work hard for everyone else and sit at a desk or in the car most of the day, then collapse on the couch. No wonder we are depressed, overweight and sick. We need an attitude adjustment in food and fitness. Working out gives me the sense of satisfaction I crave from that fatty dish or second glass of wine. Being active stops me from yelling at my husband. It works like caffeine to wake me up but makes me sleep like a log. It prevents injuries. Studies show that exercise and eating right can get you off of many medications. People who exercise crave bad food and alcohol less often. They are nicer to be around. Another favorite quote I saw on Facebook once:

4) Don’t procrastinate. You can’t control what happened yesterday or last year, but you can control what you do today. “If you went running when you first thought of it, you’d be done by now!” Get outside, or put on that fitness DVD. Why put your health off until tomorrow, when you might be too sick to do anything at all by then? In the military, you know that life is too precious to waste. The best thing you can do all day is turn off Oprah, put down the soda, and go for a jog on your way to the health food store.

5) Find positive influences. “You are a combination of the 5 people you hang out with the most.” I saw this quote in a NYC bathroom, but it is so true. Surround yourself with people who put an emphasis on happiness, health, love and fitness. You can also find them online through social media, or in fitness magazines. For more diet and exercise tips and information on my Military Wife Workout video, Hard Core Abs, and 6 other DVDs, visit www​.nikkifitness​.com E-​​mail your fitness questions to nikki@​nikkifitness.​com and I will answer some of them in upcoming blog posts and in my e-​​newsletter.

Read more:

Snow Got You S.A.D?

Seasonal Affective Disorder has many people wondering this time of year just how to shed the winter woes. With the snowstorms hitting much of the country back to back this week, SAD seems darker when electricity goes out and shoveling chores loom.

Winter Blues by Norman Rosenthal sheds light on the causes and effects of this disease. Among its cures, is exercise and diet.

If you are feeling the effects of SAD, here are some things you can do from Winter Blues:

  • exercise doing cardio 20 minutes or more several times a week -do muscle building exercises to raise metabolic rate, making muscles “calorie burning factories”
  • resist being a couch potato and move as much as you can each day while doing regular tasks, errands and chores -regulating your mood with sugar and refined carbs, fast food, etc is only a short term upper that will crash you even worse. “Satisfaction is short-lived.” Instead, focus on eggs, fish, fruits, vegetables, hydration from water and many small, healthy meals and snacks a day.
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • investigate psycoanalysis and light therapy
  • move somewhere warmer (I am not making that up, its in the book!)

For more tips and exercise routines to get a hot, healthy and happy body in time for the sun-filled days, visit my website

Fitness, Fit it in. Nikki