I was recently featured on the Fitness Blitz Radio podcast, and the host, Eric Malzone, asked me what I thought it takes to be successful in the fitness industry. I talked about celebrating the small wins. Looking for the good in each week or month and focusing on the positives to keep going forward. Otherwise it could all just consume you.
It’s easy to fall prey to feeling like whatever you’re doing is not enough, but if you can take a second to feel proud for any progress you make, in business or personal life, it can really go a long way.
But this relates to so much more than just what I do in my business. I think most people can agree that there is so much negativity in the world we live in. Every time you check the news, there is something upsetting happening. It’s so important to our mental health, to find little silver linings in our daily lives and routines.
I make the best to try to squeeze the juice out of the lemons life may throw my way.
So many things in our lives deserve celebrating. Perhaps…
Your whole family sat and had a meal together and got to enjoy a treat together. Or…
Your mom came over so you could go get that much needed pedicure. Or…
You and your hubby had a date night at a cool new local restaurant. Or…
You worked out first thing in the morning before going to work which put you in a great mood for the rest of the day. Or…
Your kid slept through the night after several rough nights.
If only relish in the bigger things, whatever you may consider those to be, you miss out on so much.
You miss out on the gratitude-filled joy you can feel and enjoy to carry you through those darker days.
So next time you tell yourself you will wait until “xyz” to celebrate, go ahead and celebrate and make the experience of treating yourself a celebration in itself.
The next few weeks until the end of the year are sure to be filled with a lot festivities. Health-conscious people everywhere are also bracing themselves to not derail all their hard work. There is no reason to not enjoy this Most Wonderful Time of the Year…It’s a time meant for celebrating and being thankful after all; with some simple habits you can keep yourself accountable and stay fit through the Holiday Season.
6 Tips to Avoid Derailing your Fitness Progress through the Holidays
1) Schedule your workouts. I prefer to use an agenda (not an app) and pencil in the workouts and runs I plan on doing for that week. This also goes for anything else I need/want to get done like creating a healthy eating plan, going to the grocery store or the post office. If I accomplish 90% of what’s on my list, I consider that to be a very successful week. I write it in my agenda and check it off when I’m done.
2) Avoid sitting for too long. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been proven to be hazardous to our health. Remember this not just for when you’re at the office but also when watching Disney shows or Christmas movies with your family. Make it a habit to get up and move frequently.
3) Drink up! Many people track their food intake but I also find that it’s very important to track your water intake because most people simply don’t drink enough water. I have an oversized water bottle that I refill several times a day and end up drinking about 1 gallon of per day. When it comes to Holiday libations, avoid anything with fruit juices as they are full of sugar. Stick to clear liquor mixed with club soda or wine.
4) A little bit is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. This is so true now that I’m a mom, especially one who is mostly at home. My “me” time is pretty much non-existent, so I rely on naps to get stuff done around the house or for my businesses. Sometimes after all my to-dos are done, I only have a few minutes to get my sweat on.
If you feel like 10 minutes is not enough, remember that it is better than a 0 minute workout.
5) Indulge a few times, but not the whole Season. I truly love the Christmas season and the family bonding and get-togethers with friends. It helps us all be thankful for all that we have and the important people that make up our circles. If you are at a party and you really want to try the desserts, go for it. Just snack on the lower calorie appetizers and limit your alcoholic drinking to avoid consuming too many calories.
6 Tips to Avoid Derailing your Fitness Progress through the Holidays
6) Don’t make a New Year’s resolution to stay in shape. Make it a year-long resolution, not just a temporary one. Remember that it’s not about perfection, but about making continuous progress week after week.
If you simply can’t get yourself to do all of the above, then it’s time to consider investing in yourself. Find a trainer or coach who can help you stay motivated and accountable through the busy Holiday Season. I work with a lot of busy moms who simply do not have the time for a one hour workout, but with the right workouts and a fun group of other like-minded ladies, they are able to make improvements in their physiques, energy levels, and most importantly, their mindsets.
Right now I’m running my first ever 6-Week Holiday Hustle program online and the ladies are loving it so far! I know that with the combination of workouts, meal plans and the accountability that they will share, it will be a successful season for all of them.
How are you staying accountable through the last 2 months of the year?
Whether you are a busy mom or a college athlete who needs to train at home, having your own equipment can make getting your exercise in very convenient. With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can design an exercise area in your home that doesn’t get in the way of your life and that doesn’t cost a fortune.
The first thing is to decide where to set up your workout area, especially if you don’t have a specific room assigned for it or a large space in your basement or garage. Perhaps you’ll be dedicating a corner in your family room to your Sweat Space. If you are in the market for new couches for a room, think in favor of something that slides easily across the floor when you need to clear the area for exercise.
You can store your equipment in a trunk so that everything is out of sight and out of everyone’s way when not in use. You can also put up shelves on a wall to store light stuff on, like mats, light dumbbells or jump ropes.
If you have a garage or basement, you may have more options for what to get for your space. You may even want to invest in a couple of machines depending on what you prefer. Runners may want to get a treadmill and cyclists a stationary bike.
A yoga or Pilates mat is a must in your home workout area.
My top 4 simple, affordable, must -have exercise equipment/tools are:
Mat – yoga ones tend to be very thin so I’d recommend a Pilates one which will be more comfortable.
Weights – 2 pairs are ideal- one that you are able to do many reps with, one that is more of a struggle.
Resistance bands – they barely take up room and help give you a great workout.
Music – whether you have a TV nearby that you could turn on, or a portable speaker to play music, the atmosphere will help motivate you.
A few other great tools to have are a jump rope (which is great for travel), a kettlebell, core sliders and a balance board.
A motivational sign or two hanging on a wall that you can glance at when you’re feeling less than motivated doesn’t hurt either.
Don’t forget a motivational sign to keep you focused.
If you would like to take your training above and beyond, you can contact me for my 6-week Fastinista Fit Program to get leaner and stronger from the comfort of your home. Use the form below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to be a well-rounded runner, strength training should be part of your arsenal just like speed work and hills. Some of the benefits include maintaining lean muscle mass, minimizing muscle imbalances and increasing core strength.
Besides your typical dumbbells, you can also incorporate kettlebells into your workouts. They help increase cardiovascular health without putting too much strain on your muscles. The explosive, quick movement that’s required during kettlebell training boosts your heart rate, strengthening cardiovascular health while increasing muscle strength, posture and core.
Another plus of strength training, especially if you’re looking to lose weight or change your aesthetics, is that it helps burn fat hours after your workout. It’s very important to be aware of your form at all times during exercise. This will increase the exercise’s effectiveness and safety. One of the best tips I give my clients is to visualize the muscles that are doing the work as you perform each exercise to really understand the purpose of the movement and get more out of it.
Single-leg movements are a crucial addition to your routine as they clear up mobility and imbalances between each side of your body. Training your body to move in different planes of motion can help reduce injuries and increase running performance.
Strength training sessions don’t need to last long. Fifteen minutes of doing the right exercises can be enough. If you feel that lack of time is your issue, think of which runs you can reduce to incorporate more strength. For example, combine a run with a strength training workout by doing a 30 minute run and a 20 minute strength training session instead of your usual 50 minute run. Instead of a 30 minute run, do sprints for 15-20 minutes and then do a strength workout.
Do your best to mix in strength 2 times a week. Give it a few weeks and notice how you feel. Trust me, it will make a big difference! In order to be a stronger and less injured runner, you need to put in more than just miles. Besides picking up some weights on a consistent basis, it’s also imperative that you prioritize rest and sleep, as well as proper nutrition and stretching.
Below is a great workout to do on your cross-training day or to do after a short run.
What is your favorite strength training movement? I currently like squats and bicep curls 💪🏼
Let me know if you try the workout above! Have a great day 🙂
While I love distance running and have done a few marathons, I strongly believe that short, high intensity workouts can majorly boost fitness while saving you tons of time for others things on your to-do list. In an ideal world, I’d say try doing a combination of both— slow, steady workouts and short, high intensity ones. If you only have time for one, then the latter is what you’ll want to focus on for faster results.
Recent research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that short bouts of exercise shaved inches off the hips and waistline as well as helped lower blood pressure. When the heart rate is elevated, it causes levels of testosterone to rise, promoting weight loss, muscle mass and high energy levels.
Interval training, especially if weights or resistance are added, is a terrific way to burn fat and calories, hours after your workout is finished. I like to create Circuit Interval Workouts for my Fastinista FitSquad on Fridays, where they will do at least 3 rounds of 40 seconds of intense movement followed by 20 seconds of rest and then a 1 minute rest in between rounds.
Here is a recent workout I created using the 40 on/20 off format:
The beauty of this type of workout is that it takes 23 minutes and you don’t need a lot of equipment. Some of it requires only your own bodyweight, but you are working your entire body, maximizing your caloric and fat burn.
You can use dumbbells for the Row and Swings (if you don’t have a kettlebell), and the dips can be done on a couch, chair or steps. If you are in the market for a versatile and fun piece of equipment, you’ll want to check out the Lebert Equalizer® . What I love about it is that the design is simple (they’re like taller parallettes), they can be easily moved, they’re light and don’t take up too much room. Each bar weighs 8 pounds and can hold up to 400 pounds. I love that I can do more of the gymnastics movements that I loved about CrossFit.
I would recommend using them for the mountain climbers, rows, and dips! You can even use them for burpees: grip one while in plank position, clean it and press as you jump up and enjoy a little extra strength movement. I already have my eye on a couple other of their fun toys to make my FitCampers’ -as well as my own- workouts more fun! 😉 I’m all about making fitness FUN!
I’m an affiliate for Lebert Fitness which means I have an awesome coupon code for $20 OFF to share with my readers: LFI20. The wonderful thing is that you can use it on any of their workouts tools listed below, not just the my particular Equalizer®.
Lebert Fitness Equalizer® YELLOW, PINK or Lime
Lebert Fitness Equalizer® XL – Black/Chrome
Lebert SRT Barbell
Lebert Buddy Systems.
The coupon code can now also be used on the Lebert Parallettes Chrome and the new Natalie Jill Series Rose Gold Equalizers (the one I have!)
By using my link for your purchase, you are helping support this blog which I appreciate very much!
Training for this marathon was an incredible experience as a Mother Runner. I really feel like it helped me bond with Frankie in a special way. I love the fact that now he asks to go for a run in the stroller. It helped us connect while he learned more about a sport that Mommy loves. And bonus for him, he got to spend time outside experiencing all that Mother Nature brings- maybe even a brief bear encounter.
About 2 weeks after I finished the Superhero Half in May, I started contemplating signing up for a full marathon. I figured that since training for 13.1 had gone so well, I could push myself to attempt training for 26.2 while raising a toddler. Some days it was really hard. I was tired. I was cranky. And some days Frankie was. But I’m really proud of the fact that I didn’t miss any runs. I had to modify the mileage sometimes, but otherwise I was able to complete the training plan I had created for myself (based on Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 plan). I will blog more about my training in a future post.
When I shared my goals with one of my mommy running friends, she mentioned she was doing the Lehigh Valley Marathon in PA and that I should consider doing it too. This small marathon with a descending course that starts in Allentown and ends in Easton is actually the second fastest marathon in the country, helping many runners qualify for Boston each year. Since it’s less than 2 hours away from me, I thought it would be a convenient one to do. I didn’t really know what sort of goal to give myself. The last time I ran a full, it was NYC in 2014 where I was recovering from ITB and had to deal with crazy wind on race day. I gave myself a range of 3:50-3:45 after feeling really great with the outcome of some of my long runs. Fast forward to late August and two weeks before the marathon, and the weather looked very promising. I told myself that that was my green light to try to run my best marathon and break 3:45. If I could do that then maybe I could start thinking about “chasing Boston” in the near future.
I booked a room at the Holiday Inn in Allentown and they were kind enough to give me a discount in exchange for my honest review on my blog. The location was great as it was less than 15 minutes away from the start, which took place at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. My mom and Frankie were with us so we got a room with two Queen beds and requested a portable crib for Frankie. The room was clean and spacious enough for a quick one night stay for all of us.
Packet pick-up took place in Bethlehem at the Arts Quest Center, across from the SteelStacks. What an awesome place! It used to be the old Bethlehem Steel plant and now is an event venue. It was so beautiful and just something completely unique. We arrived around 3pm and got my bib and swagbag and then walked around the old plant and took some photos. Then we headed to the hotel to check in. Once we arrived there, Frankie, my mom and I stayed in and rested. Frank decided to go out and explore a bit. He texted me saying he found a beer festival just a few blocks away. Definitely a fun thing to run into for my supportive spectator! I was a little sad that I couldn’t enjoy the festival but I was happy he had something fun to do!
We ventured out in the cool evening to find a place to eat and decided to check out an Italian place a few blocks away. It’s been a tradition for my past two marathons that I order gnocchi the night before, so that’s what I did. We finished dinner and headed back to the hotel to let Frankie run around in the lobby a bit before bedtime. Unfortunately I did not sleep very well due to nerves (and Frankie being up late).
I woke up the next morning around 5am and got ready. The fridge didn’t seem to keep my food very cold, which I think led to some issues later. I brought a peanut butter sandwich and a smoothie and had those along with a cup of coffee. I pinned my bib on, put my shoes on and left around 6:15 and was dropped off by Frank who said he’d see me at the half-way point with my mom and Frankie.
I waited around until the official start took place at 7:10am. I ran into another one of my running friends and we wished each other good luck. My Garmin decided to do a restart just as I needed to hit Start so it was off by 2 minutes. The first few miles had some big downhills and I tried to keep myself at a comfortable pace. It was very picturesque, with a cute covered bridge within the first 2 miles. I actually caught up to my friend and we ended up running most of the race together, until around mile 20 when I had to hold back.
I was feeling really great the first few miles, but I think it was around mile 8 that I started getting side stitches- which I never get! I ignored them and tried to keep focusing on running and the beautiful scenery. We got to mile 12 and saw my family but my side stitches were pretty strong at this point. My stomach was hurting pretty badly and I thought maybe I should stop and try to use the bathroom. I told myself that I would try to keep going a couple more miles to see if the pain went away. I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. I had been hydrating the days before and was drinking water at every water station during the race. I was taking my salt tabs and my Honey Stingers like I had practiced. I immediately remembered the fridge was not very cold. Maybe that was it? Oh great, I thought. I have perfect running conditions, I trained so diligently and now I may not beat my goal. Maybe I’ll just try to break 4 hours, I thought.
I kept struggling through the next few miles but it was really nice to see my family again a few miles later. A few times I was tempted to run off into the woods, but I told myself, “You are tough. You are strong. You can push through this.” So then we got to Mile 20. And it was rough. Really rough. We ran past a tiny abandoned cottage that looked like it should be in a fairytale.Then all of a sudden, I see Frank beaming at me and holding a sign that Frankie had made, “Go Julia! Frankie is napping but he sends artwork!” It was the perfect thing to hear and see to give me a little jolt of energy. At this point my friend was feeling great so he took off and I hung back. I knew I couldn’t speed up but I told myself that I would force myself to maintain my current pace. I got to mile 21, then mile 22, then mile 23, then mile 24. I was soo close. I really could do it. I looked at the time. “Wow, I really could get under 3:45 maybe,” I thought. Then it was mile 25 and it seemed to last forever. There was a windy right turn that we had to make just before the Finish Line. I was afraid to look at the time on the clock but I did anyway. It said 3:42-something which meant it was really 3:44-something since my watch was off by 2 minutes. My stomach was hurting so badly and I could feel so much tension in my face but I charged through the last yard, caught sight of my family cheering me on on the sidelines, and sprinted across the finish line with a pained look on my face. I looked at my watch and wasn’t sure if I did or didn’t break 3:45.
My legs were so cramped up at this point that I couldn’t even bend down to sit and rest. Frank found me and helped me down but it wasn’t long til I had to visit the porta-potty. I wasn’t hungry or thirsty but I knew I needed some electrolytes. My father-in-law got me a beer and magically that brought me back to life a little bit. Frank looked up my time on the athlete tracking site and told me that it was 3:44:49- I had pulled it off! We then headed to 3rd and Ferry Fish Market for a celebratory lunch where I enjoyed a much needed burger and beers. Bonus that they offered 10% off to the marathoners.
Overall it was a really nice Marathon- it’s small, scenic, with plenty of shade and well-organized. The fact that it benefits people with disabilities is also a big plus.
My quads were very beat up from all the downhill running and the miles done on a tow path. I rested for 4 days and then slowly started working out and running again. I have a 10K this Sunday and a Half Marathon on the 21st. I’m really hoping for new PRs in these distances too. I’ll keep you posted!
I’ve heard plently of talk about the “dreaded marathon taper” during the past few years of training for marathons. In my case, it is not dread at all. On the contrary, it’s a much needed point in my training. Since last week, I’ve been so ready for the decrease in miles and intensity. My body and mind have put in the work, and I’m feeling ready to rest for the big day.
After all, I’ve worked super hard to get to this point. I never missed a single run, maybe a few miles, but the actual runs were always done. I’ve woken up super early on weekends, I’ve put in hundreds of miles pushing a toddler in a stroller, I’ve endured runs in the heat and humidity, I’ve done my speed work, I’ve put in the time to cross train, I’ve given up some Sunday mornings with my family and some late night outs with friends. All this for one day? Or is it really just for one day? If you learn to look at more than just the time at the finish line, but the actual journey, all that you must learn to overcome to get to the START line and all the work you must put in to help you move along, step by step or stride by stride, to get to the finish, it’s all worth being proud of.
Having a time goal (and a Plan B and Plan C) is awesome, and I’m all about setting goals, but one shouldn’t be too hard on oneself if you fall slightly short. I know the hard training I’ve put in cannot simply be measured in how fast I cross my finish line next Sunday.
This week I’m focusing on rest and active recovery. This weekend was a bit tough in getting in my last “long run” due to Frankie being very sick with croup. I got about 7 miles in but that was good enough. On Labor Day, I coached my Fastinista FitCamp and then went for a short run (just under 3 miles as one last pace test). On Tuesday, I did an easy 3 miler with Frankie; on Wednesday I did 3.5 miles marking my last “real” run for the week, with a short 2 mile shakeout on Saturday. I’m planning on doing a lot of stretching, foam rolling and some core moves and walking on Thursday and Friday and that’s it.
As far as nutrition, I’m planning on upping my carb intake starting today. I usually have a smoothie for breakfast but going forward I will also add a small piece of toast to have with my coffee. Lunch will be sandwiches or salads, and dinners will include healthy protein with gluten-free pasta, quinoa, couscous or sweet potatoes. Or maybe more corn since we have plenty of it right now!
Carrots, zucchini, mango, turmeric, ginger and About Time protein powder.
I will have to take it easy with my alcohol intake as well. As much as I love a glass of wine or beer a few times a week, I need to watch the sugar which tends to hurt my stomach on long runs. That being said, I will certainly need to treat myself to my new favorite Owl’s Brew Classic Tequila, perhaps tomorrow night. You may have seen I recently discovered Owl’s Brew and their brew/tea blends. I tried their 3 beer types and my favorites are the Wicked Watermelon and Summer Blonde- they have slight hints of fruit and botanicals but still taste a bit like a beer. Among the mixers, I have tried “The Classic” craft cocktail mixer which I paired with tequila. It is soo good! Brewed with English breakfast tea and lemon peel with lemon and lime, it is like a mild margarita. I highly recommend it for my tequila drinkers, although you really can mix it with vodka, whiskey, gin or beer as well. Thanks Owl’s Brew for sending me these goodies to try out! I still have the “White and Vine” and “Pink & Black” mixers left to try at my next get-together.
So my little cocktail tomorrow night will be a celebration of my START line. Lehigh Valley Marathon, I’m ready to don that bib and conquer your course!
Make sure to follow my instagram to see how the rest of the week goes and I’m sure I’ll be sharing about my marathon experience sometime next week!
July tends to bring super hot temperatures here in North Jersey and if you’re training for a marathon that means having to be outside often in scorching, humid conditions. I have had some tough runs in the heat but made it through them by training smart and drinking plenty of water. Whether you have a long distance event in the books or are doing an outdoor workout class, here are some tips to help you survive the heat.
1.) Hydrate… a lot. Drinking before or after is not always sufficient. When temperatures are high, it’s best to also hydrate during your sweat session. I recommend carrying water with you so you can reach for it easily. I wear a hydration belt on my long runs but if you’re a class-taker or gym-goer here’s a stainless steel bottle (only $15!) to bring along with you. It’s also important to replenish electrolytes, so a post-workout sports drink is essential for that. I like Nuun Active tablets. They have pretty clean ingredients and the flavors are not too overpowering.
2) Wear light-colored, sweat-wicking clothing. Save the dark colors for fall and winter and pull out your white tank tops and grey shorts. Avoid cotton as it will just stick to you, weigh you down and possibly even irritate your skin. I love MPG Sport for their affordable and cute tank tops for women. There are also times when you just have to workout in your sports bra, and you know what? That’s totally fine! There are some really cute ones at MPG too.
3) Keep It Brief. There will be times when you will need to cut it short or split up your runs or workouts. I usually have to do 2 runs- one in the mornings with Frankie while it’s still not too hot out and another one on the treadmill while he’s napping. It can get done- you just have to be flexible.
Stroller running around town
4) Wear sunscreen! Make sure you protect your skin, even on cloudy days. I always keep a bottle of sunscreen in the garage by the running stroller. Wear a hat or visor and try to stay in shady areas.
Running in shady part of Patriot’s Path
5) Take a cold shower. Although I usually do this after a workout, some people will also do it right before. It may also help wake you up if you have a super early morning wake up call.
Train smart and enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Working out in hot conditions definitely helps toughen up my mental game, so take away what you can from the tough workouts. They’ll make you a better athlete!
Today I did my long run, I have a few chores around the house, then we’ll be visiting my best friend and her family for a BBQ and kiddie play time, and then I’ll be back home finalizing some workouts for my first week of Small Group Training Classes which I’m SO SO excited about!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
There are affiliate links included in this post that I may earn a small percentage from should you choose to make a purchase- at no additional cost to you.
It’s been a year since I started this blog, mainly to keep myself motivated and accountable for staying active during my pregnancy. I don’t get a chance to post as often as I wish to but I really enjoy having this space to share with you about my life and workouts.
This past weekend I ran my first post-pregnancy 5K. And boy did I surpass my expectations. I didn’t give myself a goal although I was secretly hoping to do it under 24 minutes…and I didn’t even wear my watch…I ended up running my second fastest 5K to date! According to my phone it was 23:15 but Strava said 22:45.
If you’ve been reading my posts you know I don’t get to run often- usually 2 mile runs on the treadmill or with Frankie in the stroller. I also have been coaching more CrossFit so I don’t get yo work out as often. I guess my takeaway is that LESS is more!
Another fun thing about the 5K is that I got to meet a new group of runners- the Asuncion Runners NJ. It’s a satellite branch of the Asuncion, Paraguay group that we’re a part of. We actually all walked away with awards! I got my first trophy ever 🙂
It might be too hot today to run with Frankie but I’m hoping to do my usual 2 miles on the treadmill while he naps and then a circuit workout once he’s awake.
Here’s an easy and simple equipment-free WOD:
50 mountain climbers
60 jumping jacks
Today also happens to be Frankie’s Half Birthday 🙂 And tomorrow is my birthday! Hop over to Instagram to see how we celebrate!
It’s a chilly, rainy day here in NJ and I was finding it hard to find some motivation to not only workout but also to write a new post. But…since I already had a rest day on Monday and I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I found just enough energy to get them done.
Frankie has been a little bit sick with a cough and stuffy nose so comforting him has been my main priority. Good thing this WOD was nice and quick!
Do 3 rounds of 1 minute of each:
Dips (on a chair, couch, etc)
Slow Mt Climbers
Push Slide (start in plank, press back bending knees then press forward again into plank)
Standing Side Bends (8# DBs)
This is great for days you can’t make it to the gym or even when you’re traveling as you really don’t need any equipment (just skip the DBs in the side bends).
I had hoped to take Frankie out for a longer run in our jogging stroller but I think we’ll just cuddle indoors until it’s time for me to go coach at the gym 🙂
Frankie’s first run in the BOB on Global Running Day last week.