6 Tips to Avoid Derailing your Fitness Progress through the Holidays

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.

tips to avoid derailing progress

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.

Tips to avoid derailing your progress

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?

This post was originally shared on TAPInto Morristown in 2017 and has since been updated.

Advertisements

Marathons: I don’t always love them but I keep going back for more

Running for 26.2 miles is not for the faint of heart. It takes consistency, dedication and determination, and a small amount of crazy, to put in the work week after week, anywhere from 12 to sometimes 20 weeks. I’m counting down the days to my 5th marathon which had me thinking about a few things…

Why I keep coming back for more marathons...

First of all, I have a runfession to make. I don’t love training for marathons. Whaaat?!!

I don’t. I really like running but I don’t love it all the time. Some runs are awesome, while other runs I need to really force myself to finish. It’s the sense of accomplishment I get from finishing a tough (physically or mentally) training run and the pride from getting my finisher’s medal after crossing the finish line that keep me going back for more.

Us marathoners know we can’t just show up and fake it. We have to put in the work to have the best performance possible. Setting a new personal record and feeling good throughout the entire run is an amazing feeling that makes all the hard work worth it.

Many people turn to long distance running because it makes them a better person, a better wife, a better mom, a better friend, by allowing them to clear their mind of stress and “head noise.”

It gives us mamas some “Me Time” to daydream. Some people may choose to binge watch Netflix; others, we choose to lace up our sneakers and run.

I don’t do it to be “skinny.” I have actually gained a few pounds training for this marathon. Sure, running helps keep me in shape, but if my goal was to just be fit I could simply do 20-minute workouts every day and be fine. Long distance running digs into other areas of my wellness I just can’t get from a lifting session.

My 4th marathon, the NJ Marathon. April 2018.

Let’s discuss my training a bit.

Avoid injury and crosstrain.

My first goal is always to show up healthy to the start line of the marathon. I want to avoid injury as much as possible and it’s my main goal with any clients I train as well. I build up mileage progressively and cross-train by doing strength training about 2 days a week. It’s really important to not give up strength training, but to modify it so you are doing movements that are the most beneficial to running. Examples are single-leg squats and side planks. I’m such a strong believer in the philosophy that in order to be a better runner, you need to be a stronger and more mobile runner, that I have made it my duty to help runners, and any type of endurance athlete, get fitter to run better.

Run a short race to test your speed and to “practice” racing.

It doesn’t have to be a half marathon; even a 5K can help you gauge how fit you are and give you a better idea of what your goal time should be. It gives you a chance to practice controlling the nerves and also you can practice some of your nutrition.

Run twice a day.

I don’t mean multiple crazy longs run that you’re breaking up into two. Doing 2 runs a day is an option if you only have time for 4 miles in the morning and then maybe you can do 4 more on your lunch break. I wouldn’t break up a speed session, but if it’s a day that calls for 8 easy miles, I believe it’s fine to do this. If the long runs are also fatiguing you or you’re injury prone, I would recommend breaking those up too. Perhaps you do 10 miles in the morning and the rest of the long run in the afternoon. The most important factor of the long run is time spent on your feet, so the accumulated fatigue will still present itself if you do it this way.

Work on your mental fitness.

I have completed long runs in 90+ degree weather. I have completed long runs by myself. I have done many boring runs on the treadmill. I occasionally get comments such as, “I can’t believe you do that!” Well, my response is always, “I have to do what I have to do!”. The reality is that by doing things that are not so exciting, you build your mental toughness and it will pay off tremendously come race day.

Follow along on Instagram to see how I make out at the Steamtown Marathon this Sunday. I missed the Boston cut-off by a couple of minutes even though I broke my qualifying time of 3:35. I’m ready for a no-long distance winter and hope to work on half marathons (funny I don’t consider 13 miles long distance anymore!) until I decide to go for another 26.2 next year.

In the meantime, I’ll be participating in a virtual stroller race- so check that out on Instagram too.

What is the one thing that you struggle with most when training for a race?

If you enjoyed this blog post and feel that it might help someone, I would appreciate if you shared it.

xo,

Julia

How Kate Spade Inspired My Style

This blog contains the word “fastinista” for a reason. I love love love fashion and brands and designers and even though this blog focuses a lot on running and working out, I want to make sure I still talk about my other passion. With recent events in the news, I feel called upon again to write more.

“Fastinista” is supposed to be a play on the words “fast” and “fashionista.” I may not always feel so fashionable in my “mom uniform” leggings and tank tops, but I still try to keep up with fashion as much as I can.

Let’s rewind back to my high school years when I would flip through magazines and learn about the latest fads. I collected magazine after magazine that I refused to throw away. Allure, Elle and Glamour were always at arm’s reach.

I first learned about Kate Spade bags from a good high school friend. It was a right of passage; it seemed like all the fashionable girls carried a Kate Spade bag to school. I borrowed my friend’s plain, black bag for a party to “test it out” and eventually saved up enough to purchase my own ivory and brown plaid “Sam” purse.

Photo from Tradesy

Shortly after, my mom gifted me the same black one that my friend had and I was beyond thrilled. Although they were certainly not cheap, at around $200 or just under, they were much more affordable than European brands that at the time I simply couldn’t afford.

Years later, while living in Atlanta, I began working as assistant manager at one of her stores. I remember telling the hiring manager the story of my first Kate Spade bag. It was a job I really, really enjoyed. Working in retail management in the South where customers were usually sweet and gracious was a far cry from my retail experience in north Jersey.

I unknowingly became a Kate loyalist. Always classic, with fun color combinations, her accessories have always been just girly enough to complete an outfit.

As my budget increased, my shoe and purse collection grew larger with other designers and brands. But a few things were still simply Kate: my agenda and my diaper bag, a summer clutch, shoes, and more handbags.

Kate built a brand that inspired so many. She was an amazing businesswoman. Such a tragedy that her life had to end the way it did. I truly hope her husband, daughter and the rest of her family and close friend find peace in their hearts to carry on.

Before I had the chance to publish this post, I found out about the tragic death of another icon: Anthony Bourdain.

With the outpouring of grief I saw on social media, I can tell I’m not alone in feeling like I knew him. When Frank and I traveled to San Francisco together for the first time in 2012, we followed some of his recommendations and visited some of the bars he had featured on one of his shows. He was an excellent writer and true adventurer. He even visited Paraguay where his great, great, great grandfather was rumored to have lived and been buried.

Anthony was mostly known for his food and travel, but his cool, laid-back style and silver fox appeal made him a very stylish guy in my opinion.

I leave you with a quote by him:

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch. Move.”

Kate and Anthony may have been different in a lot of ways, but I would say they both inspired their fans to have adventures and live life colorfully…May they Rest In Peace.

Julia

Cape May Summer Memories

We just got back from a few days down in Cape May, NJ. This was our second trip this summer with the previous one being back in June. I had a lot going on with my online training and FitCamp and didn’t get a chance to blog about the first trip so I will talk a little bit about both now.

Our getaway in June came in at a great time, giving us the opportunity to treat my Mom to a little road trip with us (although all her help with Frankie really was a treat to US), celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary and a mini birthday celebration for me as well. We stayed at my sister-in-law’s house that is just a short walk to the Cape May Cove making it easy to get to and from the beach with little Frankie. As a fact, everything is pretty walkable in this charming little resort town.

Our first night, the 4 of us had dinner at The Rusty Nail where I ordered a delicious lobster roll with a side salad, naturally. Frank and I indulged in a couple of dark and stormy drinks and we enjoyed the live music playing in the background. Eventually my mom took Frankie back to the house for bedtime while Frank and I took a drive out to Sunset Beach to take in the views.

All of us at The Rusty Nail


Beautiful sunset!

Aperitifs at The Ebbett Room

Fun at Congress Hall

Heartbreaker smile


Cape May Zoo

 

The following day, we headed down to the beach for some fun in the sun and then Frank and I had a fancy date night at the Washington Inn while my mom and Frankie enjoyed some yummy local takeout. Great spot for a more upscale night out – we had great service too.

The 3rd day we had another beach day and then ventured to Congress Hall in the afternoon.  They were hosting their Carnival On The Lawn event- face painting, balloon animals, games for kids and parents of all ages, including a mini train ride. Frankie had the time of his life running around the lawn while the 3 of us took turns chasing him around. Unfortunately what was supposed to be a relaxing, lazy night later on, did not end without a little scare. Frankie woke up about an hour after falling asleep, crying hysterically. Thinking he was potentially sick, we decided to not take any chances and took him to the ER 20 minutes away. All ended up being well but I was so glad my mom was with us. The Dr believed it was some discomfort caused by gas but it was one of those things we’ll never know for sure. Our boy was back to his usual happy self the next morning and we were able to quickly pack up our things and head back home.

I was able to keep up with my marathon training schedule and do some running while down there. I did a 6 mile run to the Cape May Lighthouse with Frank on Saturday and a long run consisting of 2.5 miles with my mom, 6 miles with Frank and a couple more on my own on Sunday.

Our latest trip last week was unique in that we had 2 family members from Seattle also there. They are here for my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary party next weekend. This time we stayed in a motel just 2 blocks from my sister in law’s house and one block from the beach. The staff was very friendly and our room was kept very clean. I was nervous about sharing a room with Frankie but he did great about sleeping in his portable crib- he slept for 12 hours every night!

DSC_0284DSC_0295DSC_0322DSC_0327DSC_0333

DSC_0364

The quiet street where The South Winds was located.


DSC_0365

The South Winds Motel


DSC_0366

Walking on the beach with Daddy

DSC_0370

DSC_0371

My absolutely handsome boys

DSC_0374

DSC_0377

Leading me on more adventures


DSC_0392

And the kid ran away with the spoon…

Our first night there, we decided on take-out from The Rusty Nail –once again I got the lobster roll and salad combo. Frank also got the fish tacos he so much enjoyed the previous time. The 2nd night there, we did our traditional date night at 410 Bank Street while our nephews babysat Frankie after his bedtime. I can’t even tell you what else is on the menu because my eyes instantly search for their Voodoo Shrimp, which I have gotten now every single time I’ve been there. I think it’s been 4 or 5 times now. It might be time to try to recreate it at home soon! The new thing we noticed this year is that they now carry Cape May wine. We opted for their chardonnay which was delicious! After sharing a scrumptious bread pudding dessert, we settled up and walked back to our Motel, taking the time to walk by Congress Hall and the night scene.

The 3rd night was the big family dinner at the Merion Inn, home to the oldest bar in NJ. everything on their menu will make you drool. I got the sea scallops with jasmine rice and vegetables. A bottle of 2016 Argentinian Malbec Rose by Altavista was shared with my mother in law and sister in law.  This historic restaurant was fantastic for our large party and our waitress was lovely with Frankie. Speaking of whom, he had a small taste of chocolate (perhaps only his 2nd time ever) and we now understand what parents refer to a “sugar rush”- we took him out of his stroller during our post-dinner passeggiata and he took off like a little bird freed from a cage! It was so cute and funny and people walking on the promenade couldn’t help but smile as he ran by them.

One of the most memorable parts about the trip was how much he enjoyed his big cousin Emmy’s company. He’s at the stage where he calls every kid (and sometimes adults) “the baby” so he kept referring to her as that. Endless hours were spent coloring with chalk on the sidewalk- and maybe even the front steps too. Oops. He has nearly perfected making circles, which are “bubbles” and he even learned to color them in.

My marathon training once again continued- 6.7 miles on Saturday and 11+ on Sunday. Since my sister in law does a lot of running when they’re down there, she took me on a couple of routes I probably wouldn’t have done on my own, which was great.

We enjoyed all the great things that Cape May brings: fun times together, delicious cuisine (umm hello Jersey Shore seafood!) and the carefree, simple life that the beach brings.

We look forward to more adventures down at Exit 0 again soon! I can’t believe how much more we did with Frankie this year compared to last year’s trip. He’s growing so fast!

Does your family do a beach vacation every year? If so, where?

Xo,

Julia

Self Care Tips for SAH Moms of Tots

Having a little human to run around after, all day long, is exhausting. Being a mom is amazing and ultra-rewarding but many of us fail to carve out a little time to do things that benefit…us. In honor of Mothers Day coming up, here are some of my favorite tips to help you find yourself again 🙂 

Be Thankful. There is always something we can be happy for. Be happy if you have a healthy child. Be happy that your husband has a good job. Be happy that your best friend got a promotion. Be happy that your in laws are taking a nice vacation. Sometimes we have to look outside ourselves and be thankful for what our loved ones are experiencing. 
Have a cozy corner. For me, it’s our oversized couch in the family room, where I’ll plop myself down to read after I’ve put Frankie down for a nap. It can be your front porch, a bench in your backyard, a stoop on your back door. Find a little spot where you can go and have a few minutes to yourself from time to time.

Move more! You knew this was coming 😉 Exercise gives us endorphins. I’ve been loving running with Frankie lately, but if you don’t have a jogging stroller, there’s other things you can do. Find a local exercise studio that has babysitting and being your kid along. Go to the park and do air squats and jumping jacks as you push your child on the swings. Hold plank while you build Lego masterpieces on the floor. 


Pamper yourself. Use products that make you happy. I became a Rodan+Fields consultant a year ago after looking for new anti-aging products. The products are really top notch and do what they’re meant to do. It may be hard to have both a morning and nighttime routine when you’re a tired mom, but there’s always something you can do. Have a mini regimen and stick to it every night. Invest in that great eyecream and moisturizer. Give yourself a mini facial once a month. Buy a pretty lipstick. And always wear sunscreen!


Find a (Mom) Tribe. A mom tribe is obviously ideal because you may all be going through the similar things, but don’t underestimate the benefit of having friends who are in different stages in life. It may be hard to have a social life when the kids are young but there’s other ways to find support. Have your single neighbors over for cocktails. Talk to the elderly lady who you see walking her dog every afternoon. There are people around us who are probably also looking to make new friends.

Unplug. Yes I love social media and think it’s great for keeping us connected to friends and family far away or for making new friends and acquaintances. But don’t forget to connect with the people that are right in front of you. I make it a point to not read emails or messages when I’m playing with Frankie. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook sometimes is hard so I put my phone in another room or leave it charged. Also remember that people usually post their highlights and hardly ever show the backstage to their lives, so be easy on yourself when you see a mom who seems to have it all together. Who knows how long it took her to stage that photo that she shared. 

There are many other things that you can do to have your Me Time. These are just some of my favorite ones! 

Stay healthy mamas,

Julia

Stroller runs are fun!

I’ve been taking Frankie out on the stroller the past few weeks and it’s going great so far. I was nervous that he would start complaining after just a mile or 2 but we’ve done up to 4 miles so far. Success! 


It has been really fun going out and spending time outside with Frankie. Sometimes we run to the park which we are so fortunate to have so many in our vicinity in Morris County.

I remember how hard it felt to push the stroller last year when I would run with him occasionally. Umm and it’s only gotten harder now that he’s 25+ pounds! I’ve been looking on Instagram and online for bloggers who may be training for runs with a stroller but haven’t been very successful. If you are one and I missed you, please comment and let’s connect! I feel like I’m going sooo slow in the BOB, so it’s hard to gauge how I would do in a race.


Speaking of which, I’m doing my first 2017 5K this Sunday (after skipping out on one due to super cold weather last month). And I’m contemplating doing a Half next month. I know I can do a half but the competitor in me wants to test my speed first before I commit. 


Have you trained for a race while racking up miles in a stroller? I’ll take any tips! 🙂 

Xoxo,

Julia 

Easy Treadmill Speedwork

Hello friends! Happy Tuesday. I have to admit, my running has been slacking the past 2 months or so, and except for the run we did while traveling in California last month, my mileage has been pretty nonextistent. 

Trail run in Sausalito, CA in February.

So what’s the best way to get out of a running slump? Signing up for a race! The hubby and I will be doing our local St Paddy’s 5K on Saturday. Obviously not aiming for any PRs, but just looking to get our groove back a little bit. I think that with Spring being right around the corner, I’ll be more motivated to get Frankie out in the BOB too!


Here’s a nice and easy speedwork workout I created. You can increase the easy and fast running if you’re training for a longer race.

Run 1/2 mile at a comfortable/easy pace. For me that was 8:30 pace.

Then alternate with a very easy jog for .2 mile (for me that was 9:31 pace), and then a sprint for .2 mile (for me that was 6:58 pace). Repeat for 2.5 miles (for a total of 3 miles).

Today I will be doing some barbell squats and core work and get back to running tomorrow.

Follow me on Instagram to see how I do on the 5K! @thepetitefastinista 


Xo,

Julia

Raising a Bilingual Baby

I was enjoying a quiet snowy morning two days ago when I started writing this…although my day did not actually start very relaxed. Frankie was up at 4:30am the night before due to teething :/ And then took forever to go down for his morning nap. Last night was also tough. But Mama had some extra coffee today and got to finish this post today!


You may know that I was born in Paraguay and speak Spanish fluently. It was important for my husband and I to make sure Frankie grew up learning some Spanish too. However, the fact that I speak mostly English makes it very difficult for me to stick to just speaking to him in Español. I find myself reverting back to English when I can’t think of something fast enough.

The other day, I joined a virtual Facebook event on raising bilingual kids. Have you ever joined any of those before? They’re so great  for busy people because you can click “Going” and then just read the posts when you have a chance, from your couch, in your sweats. The event was hosted by the site Tinyhood and the advise came from Chontelle Bonfiglio, English teacher, mom to 2 bilingual boys, and Creator of Bilingual Kidspot, a website offering practical advice for parents raising bilingual children. She addressed some questions that most parents have and I summarize a few below:


Q- Will my child have a speech delay?

A- No, it’s been proven that bilingual kids develop their language skills the same as monolingual kids. In fact, regular experience with 2 different languages has been actually linked to social and cognitive advantages.

Q- Should each parent speak one language to the child?

A-Sure. This is called the OPOL method  (it’s what we try to follow) – One Person One Language. It’s important to be consistent with this to make sure the new language gets exposure.

Q- What if my child can’t communicate with friends and kids at the playground?

A- You can use the MLAH method – Minority Language at Home. In this case, you make the “second” language your home language, and English the Community Language. Chontelle also points out that kids, depending on their age, will usually still play with each other irregardless of what language they speak.

Q- What if I’m trying to teach my child another language and they refuse to speak it?

A- You can try to encourage them to do so, especially if you know they understand what you’re saying, by using a puppet, doll or teddy bear that “only speaks Spanish”, for example. If you make a game out of it, they may be more likely to respond.

I thought these tips were great and wanted to share them with you 🙂

If you have kids, are you teaching them another language or what language would you like for them to learn one day?

Now, here is a workout I did the other day. Very simple but it’ll get your heart pumping fast! You’ll just need a kettlebell but you can also use a dumbbell or even a plate if that’s all you have.


1 Kettlebell Swing

20 Mt Climbers

1 Tuck Jumps

2 Kettlebell Swings

20 Mt Climbers

1 Tuck Jump

3 Kettle Swings

20 Mt Climbers

1 Tuck Jump…

all the way up to 15 Kettlebell Swings (same number of Mt Climbers and Tuck Jump)

What do you think?!

Xoxo