Wednesday, August 17, 2016

5 Tips to Get Teens Moving: New York City Certified Personal Trainer Motivates Teens To Get Moving

5 Tips to Get Teens Moving:  New York City Certified Personal Trainer Motivates Teens To Get Moving

If you’re like many parents, you sometimes look at your pre-teen/teen and think, “Who are you?”
When kids are young, they’re unstoppable. Remember the toddler days, falling into the couch after spending the 12 hours chasing a two-year old? Children are balls of energy, wanting to dance, roller blade, bike ride after a long day at school.  They can’t get enough of you!

Then middle school hits, and it’s almost as if children were unplugged or a sci-fi energy sucker came and zapped the life out of them. Take a few minutes this week and watch the way middle schoolers and high schoolers move. Slow.

Before, you were begging to slow down. Now you have to sift through piles of dirty clothes to even find your teen – usually sleeping, or near-coma-sleep-stage, lying in bed, listening to music. The funky smell is either from the laundry, body odor, or plates with crusted-on food tucked under the bed.

Once, not long ago, you were the light of your child’s life. Now you’re an embarrassment and, more often than not, the bane of her existence. You are not alone, and neither is your teen. Teenagers’ brains and bodies are going through surges of change that wreak havoc on them and, in turn, their families. In Zits , Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman nail adolescence in an uncanny reflection of every teen dying of boredom and inertia.

And in all this, you still worry about your teen’s nutrition and health, wanting to keep her active, moving, and in shape for more than just pizza lifting. Psychology Today discusses a 2014 study of World War II veterans that found “the single strongest predictor of well-being in later life was whether someone played a varsity sport in high school.”

Times have changed. With the rise of competitive sports, traveling teams, and the pressure to win, being part of a varsity team is a lot harder than before. Unfortunately, there seems to be a cut off for teens to get involved in sports “for fun”. This is both frustrating and limiting, as the draw of high school sports is both social (a big deal for teens) and physical. There are positive ways, though, to motivate your teen to get moving!

As a certified personal trainer in New York City, many parents come to me exasperated, wondering how to motivate their teens to move. Here are my 5 tips to keep teens active and exercising:

1. Don’t Dismiss Pokemon GO! Be creative! Physical activity doesn’t have to be “directed” or in a group. As much as people make fun of these new games and apps, they actually get teens moving and active! Also, the Wii or dance video games are ways to marry technology and movement. Geocaching is another creative, get out and go activity. Movement matters, and as long as your teen’s heart rate increases, she is doing physical activity.

2. Make Health a Family Matter: It’s easy to be an armchair coach. The strongest model for behavior in your teen’s life is you. Instead of telling your kid to get moving, make movement part of the family. Walk to the post office or library. Make a bicycle the only available means of transportation for a month (for the entire family). If it’s under a mile, it’s walkable (weather permitting). These little shifts make a big difference in the long run. But it won’t work if you’re not part of the change.

3. Understand the Intimidation Factor: Kids bodies are changing and growing, are disproportionate, and can even hurt and ache during growth spurts. Add crippling self-doubt and being self-conscious, and many teens won’t be willing to try new things. Talk to your teen about why he doesn’t like to exercise and brainstorm solutions together. He simply might be embarrassed about starting an activity with others. Make your teen part of the decision-making process. You might be surprised at what buying comfortable workout clothes or finding the right activity could do.

4. Accentuate the Positive: Right now your teen’s life is filled with negative. It’s just part of the hormone ride. Don’t focus on weight or appearance, instead health. Maybe the “activity” your teen needs is doing volunteer work at the YMCA or local Boy’s and Girl’s Club, or working with animals at the local shelter. Though it’s not an exercise regime, it’s getting your teen moving and helping her sift through all those negative feelings.

5. Don’t despair! If you’re active, have healthy food choices at home, and find small ways for your family to be active – whether it be by walking the dog, weeding the garden, walking to the store, going to a craft show, walking in a museum, or riding a bike – your kids will be okay! Teenagers are going through oodles of changes, and their bodies and hormones are raging. Sometimes they just need space to find themselves … under the piles of filthy clothes on the bed in the bedroom.

These 5 tips to get teens active and exercising won’t necessarily show results in a day; however, over time, small changes make big differences. I can’t promise you’ll enjoy the teen years, but with a little perspective and increased activity, you’ll both survive each other!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

8 Tips From New York City Nutritionist to Make Quick, Healthy, Economical School Lunches: A Little Imagination and Planning Goes a Long Way

Many things have changed over the years, from generation-to-generation. But the what-to-pack-for-lunch dilemma hasn’t. If you’re like most parents or caretakers, I bet the lunchbox is one thing you’re not looking forward to during the school year.

Busy parents are taxed with figuring out what to pack for lunch that will be quick, economical, healthy and kid-approved! And I’d like to add eco-friendly. With all the pre-packaged goodies, it’s tempting to pick them up and toss them in a lunchbox. (I’ve done it!) Considering it takes anywhere from 450 – 1000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose, adding ecological to the lunchbox requirement list is pretty important.

That’s a pretty hefty list: quick, economical, healthy, kid-approved, and eco-friendly. Trust me! It can be done. Here are my 8 quick-and-easy tips for variety and taste that kids love in school lunches without making parents go mad (or broke)!

1. Plan Ahead:  Don’t get caught on a Sunday night, tired, in the grocery store, grabbing school lunch items. If you plan, weekly, for school lunches, you not only save time but money. Take an inventory of school lunch items from your fridge and cupboards every week before grocery shopping, and write a list.  Use what you’ve got and complement that with new items. This way, less food goes to waste.

2. Get Kids Involved: When kids are part of the lunch-making process, they may just enjoy them a little more. Have kids be part of the selection and preparation of their lunch boxes.

3. In-Season Crunchy Veggies are less expensive and eco-friendly. Take a few minutes every Sunday to cut up carrots, celery, jicama and cucumbers to store in containers in the fridge. These are your go-to snacks for the school lunchbox. Add a little Tupperware of peanut butter, yogurt sauce or hummus and voila!

4. In-Season Fruits, like veggies, are less expensive and eco-friendly. Berries and peaches are great for the beginning of the school year. Not sure what’s in season? Check out fruits and veggies, More Matters to get a full list of what’s in season. Ask around at your farmer’s market, as they will only have in-season goods.

5. Roast a Chicken Sunday Evening:

To cut down on sandwich meats which can be costly, full of sodium among other ingredients, roast a chicken on Sunday. Cool and put in the fridge. This can be your go-to protein for everything from sandwiches to pasta salads. Tuna, roast beef, and roast turkey are other great options for healthy proteins.

6. Pitas and tortillas and bagels, Oh my!

Change it up! Roll a tortilla with peanut butter and apples. Bagels and cream cheese don’t have to be just for breakfast anymore. Pita bread with roast chicken, cheese, and greens is a yummy sandwich.  Make pumpkin or winter squash pancakes and pack them with a little bit of cheese or jelly. Swapping bread for other carb options is a fun, inexpensive way to keep lunches interesting and healthy.

7. Finger Foods are Easy and Fun: Kids love small bites and dips. So why not put together a Mexican lunchbox with avocado chunks, black beans, and whole grain tortilla chips. Or go French with little cheese bites, cherry tomatoes, grapes and cubes of roasted chicken to dip in a creamy sauce.  These are balanced, tasty, and inexpensive lunches.

8. Something refreshing: Water, water, water is the key to keeping kids hydrated and healthy. Get your kids used to drinking water. Juices, though tasty, are full of sugars  that kids don’t need.  Invest in a good, reusable water bottle. For hot days, freeze it at night so the water stays cool throughout the day.

Don’t despair. With the exception of that funky school lunchbox smell, things have changed! There are easy, economical, healthy, delicious and eco-friendly options for your kids’ school lunches this year. With just a little planning and imagination, you may just stay sane when your kid says, “What’s in my lunchbox, Mom?”

Here is a great site I found for creative school lunch ideas:
What Lisa Cooks Lisa posts photos of her kids’ school lunches, daily!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New York City certified personal trainer 7 tips to summer exercise

New York City Certified Personal Trainer Tip of the Month: Stay Hydrated, Stay Cool!

July has seen record temperatures across the States and it doesn’t look like it will let up in August. Though the latest trends in exercise are “hot,” being hot yoga, hot pilates (I even saw an inferno pilates class advertised), exercising in the heat can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Heat puts stress on the body as both exercise and the outside environment heat your body’s core. Your body reacts, trying to cool down, by sending more blood to circulate through your skin, which, in turn, leaves less blood for your muscles and puts a strain on your heart. Add humidity to the mix, and sweat doesn’t evaporate quickly from your skin and your body temperature raises even higher.

This is a perfect cocktail for anything from heat cramps to heat stroke, the latter being fatal if unattended.

When exercising in the heat, whether it be going for a run, a long bike ride, or playing a pickup game of basketball in the park, pay attention to your body. Here are 7 tips to keep hydrated, keep cool, and keep safe while exercising during these last weeks of summer heat!

1. Being aware of your body can save your life: Pay attention to your body. Light-headedness, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin, headache and fatigue are all signs your body might be overheated and entering a dangerous state.

2. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Try waterlogged to keep track of fluid intake. Prep Your Body with 24 Ounces. Two hours before exercising drink 24 ounces of liquid, preferably water. Your body needs to be hydrated before exercising as well as during and after. Many people forget about the before! Get another 8. Right before exercising add another 8 ounces to your liquid intake. Every 20 Minutes. The rule of thumb is drinking 8 ounces every twenty minutes during exercise.

3. Acclimate to the temperature: Don’t plunge into the heat without giving your body time acclimate to the weather or temperature. If it’s cold outside, and you’re going to a hot yoga class, take it easy while you get accustomed to the heat. If there’s a heat wave, bump your exercise regime back a notch until your body is used to the heat.

4. Knowing Your Fitness Level Can Keep You Healthy: If you’ve decided this is the month you’re going to get fit, take it easy. Your body will be adjusting to not only a new exercise regime but also the heat and might be more susceptible. Start slow. Built up slow. Take frequent breaks.

5. You Are What You Wear: Specialty, sweat-wicking fabrics make a difference! Loose-fitting athletic clothes can help your body keep cool. Invest in a couple of good shirts and shorts. Your health is worth it.

6. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Noontime Sun: Unless punishing, dangerous heat is your goal, exercising under the midday sun should probably be skipped during summer months. Understandably, that’s when some people take their lunchtime office walk. If so, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and make sure you hydrate. Or, consider taking your noontime walk in an air conditioned mall or museum!

7. Change it Up! There are many ways to get exercise, and many times. Change your routine when possible. Leave earlier, start later, find an indoor gym, jump rope in your cool apartment. Now is the time to get creative to stay safe!

Know your body, your limits, and understand the dangers of exercising in the summer to make sure you stay safe and healthy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New York City nutritionist 6 tips to buying and washing summer fruits and berries

New York City Nutritionist 6 Tips to Buying and Cleaning Summer Fruits and Berries:  Blueberries, Strawberries and Peaches … Oh my!

Summer is a time of bright fruits and berries and decadent flavors. Unfortunately, some of my favorite flavors (peaches, strawberries, blueberries and cherries) are on The Environmental Working Group’s (  “Dirty Dozen  … a list of twelve of the most synthetic pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables.

Here are my guidelines for buying, eating, and washing summer fruits for oodles of flavor and, hopefully, healthier eating.

1. Splurge on Organic; Save on Long-Term Side Effects: Up to 67 chemicals are found in some non-organic fruits and berries, strawberries topping the list. Even washing doesn’t rid these fruits of the pesticides and chemicals used to grow them. Buy organic , looking specifically for the USDA Organic label.

2. Focus on the Clean 15 : Summer brings us melons and the flavors of the tropics! Cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes and papaya. These tropical and refreshing flavors bring the kick and colors of summer without all the worrisome pesticides.

3. Plan Ahead with a Small Garden: Whether you live in an apartment with a small balcony or have a big back yard, you can grow some of your favorite flavors. Urban farming projects are becoming popular, as the eco-movement and people concerned about eating clean are becoming more the norm than the exception. Farm City, a best-selling memoir by Novella Carpenter,  discusses the challenges of urban farming in a lively, funny, accessible way.

4. Support Your Local Economy and Get Healthy: Farmer’s Markets always have in-season fruits, vegetables and fish.  It’s an opportunity to engage with local farmers, learn about their practices, and buy the healthiest fruits and veggies on the market while supporting your local growers.

5. Variety, variety, variety! You missed the Farmer’s Market and really are craving some strawberry shortcake. Eating non-organic strawberries won’t hurt you if it’s once in a while. Just don’t consistently eat the same fruits and vegetables that are on the Dirty Dozen. Change them up. This keeps the same toxins and pesticides to a minimum in your body. And it’s easier for your body to flush out small quantities than large.

6. Washing works!  For whatever reason, if you aren’t able to buy organic or go to the Farmer’s Market, wash your fruits and vegetables well. The most toxic chemical, methyl iodide, found in strawberries, is actually used to fumigate the soil. So it is systemic in the flesh of the strawberry added to the fact that most strawberries are sprayed with a fungicide to prevent them from breaking down quickly. The friction, while washing, removes bacteria and dirt. The consensus is that most of the toxic chemicals are in the fruit unless it has a thick skin. But even hand washing each strawberry, gently, can be somewhat effective. As for other fruits, it’s very effective.

It’s summer! It’s time to enjoy the flavors. But it’s also important to be aware of the toxins we might be eating when we take a big bite out of a fuzzy peach. Following these 6 easy guidelines to decadent, healthy summer fruit buying and eating!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Five tips to love your body boost self esteem

5 Tips to Constructing a Better Body Self Esteem:  Certified Nutritionist and Personal Trainer Celebrates Bodies

This is an all-too familiar scenario for 99% of us:
We stand in the mirror and sigh, feeling inadequate.
We look at the number on the scale and say, “If I lose just ten more pounds, I’ll be just right.”
We don’t buy that pair of pants we love because we want to lose five more pounds or go down a size.
We put off today because we think we’ll be better tomorrow.

It’s no wonder. We are bombarded by images of “perfection” every single day. Advertisements, movies, TV shows, billboards, phamaceuticals … all form part of a billion-dollar industry that promotes body anxiety and hate. We are taught to feel shame. And both men and women buy into it.

Health, nutrition, and fitness aren’t punishments for eating and having love handles. In fact, they are ways to celebrate the beautiful bodies we have … we all have! The only way we can truly work toward healthier bodies is to have a healthier way of thinking about and viewing our own bodies and health.

Celebrate your body!

This celebration is not an overnight change of chip, but a systematic re-programming of the way we view our beauty and bodies. I know it’s easy to fall into old habits of putting yourself down. But not today. Start today with a celebration. Start today being positive about who you are today, not who you will be a year form today. Here are five tips to help you start to recognize what a beautiful, amazing body you have and start to celebrate your own beautiful you.

1. Positive Breeds Positive: Look at yourself and write down five things you love about your body. Then add each week to the list. Keep this list VISIBLE (perhaps in your closet or on your bathroom mirror). Read it out loud. And see the beauty in you others already see.

2. Beauty is the Whole Package: Take a moment and think about what makes you smile, feel good. It’s usually when you’re doing something you love – when you’re connected to something that goes way deeper than how you look. Now, repeat. And remember that when you feel that joy, it shines through your exterior as well. Beauty is a state of being, not a state of body.

3. The Golden Rule Applies to You: Do unto others (say unto others) … this applies to you first and foremost. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the utmost respect, in word and action, and replace every negative with three positives. Just as you wouldn’t tear down your daughter, neighbor or friend, you need to be your best friend. (This also applies to “jokes” and “put downs” said in light.) Today is the day you begin to speak beautiful to yourself.

4. Put Down the Magazines; Turn off the TV: Time to step into the real world. The media do not mirror the reality of the American woman and her body. The average American woman is size 14 (not 4, 6, or 8). Look around you when you go to the cafĂ©, the mall. Don’t criticize the bodies, but take a look at the variety of shapes, sizes, height of all the people you see. All of these different bodies have unique beauty not usually reflected in the media. Be selective in what you want to see. A wonderful celebration of the uniqueness of everybody is The Butterfly Circus (

5. Use Your Body: To celebrate your body, you have to use it and appreciate its gifts. You don’t need much exercise to reap the benefits that have little to do with how you look, instead how you can feel.
Have you sat down to think about what a phenomenal machine your body is? How it moves? How you breathe? How your skin heals after a scratch? These are the things to celebrate.  We cannot necessarily change the way the media portrays bodies, but we can change the way we view, and treat, our own bodies. Exercise, nutrition and health aren’t punishments for how we look, instead celebrations of what our bodies are capable of.


Endangered Bodies ( is a global initiative that challenges the media, fashion industry, pharmaceutical industry and more to stop turning women against themselves.

Dove ( is one of the first international companies that celebrates the variety of women’s bodies, ages, colors, ethnicities, being a mirror to a spectrum of sizes and a catalyst for change in the industry.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Exercise wonder drug New York City certified personal trainer

Certified Personal Trainer Shares the Most Effective Prescription on the Market: Exercise is a Wonder Drug!

According to a 2015 article in The Chicago Tribune, a report from IMS health estimated that in 2015 Americans spent $309.5 billion dollars on prescription medication.  US drug spending is about 40% of all drug expenditures worldwide. This has to do not only with the fact there are more medicated people in the United States, but also because Americans have higher drug prices.
With pill bottles stacked high and bills even higher, I imagine that if any scientist could discover an inexpensive wonder drug to improve health – whether it be diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or depression – it would hit the headlines.

Well, it has hit the headlines, and did most recently (albeit tucked in the health pages of The New York Times ) last month. This wonder cure does exist. And it’s called exercise.

Okay. I can hear you groan. But wait a minute. Just hear me out. As a certified personal trainer in New York City, I’ve worked with clients of all backgrounds. When people hear “personal trainer” they imagine professional athletes, actors and top models. In fact, most of my clients have been referred to me by doctors to help them with chronic pain, back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. I work with clients trying to get in shape post-stroke or heart attack. I work with clients who have Type II Diabetes. I work with older clients determined to stay strong and independent, teenagers struggling with their relationships with their food and bodies, pre-natal and post-natal mothers who want to give their babies a healthy head start on life. The best part of my job is guiding people toward a healthier lifestyle, strength, and fitness and watching as they are able to cut back on their prescription pills.
Exercise is the wonder drug. Here is what it does, specifically, for some of our most common health problems in the United States.

Diabetes :  In the short term, exercise lowers blood glucose by increasing insulin sensitivity. Also contracting muscles allow your cells to take up glucose and use it in your cells.  In the long term, exercise can lower your A1C.

Heart Disease : Exercise lowers your resting blood pressure which, in turn, reduces the heart’s workload. Anginal symptoms can be alleviated. Regular exercise also increases the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen.

Chronic Pain (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Back Pain, Fibromyalgia etc.): Harvard School of Health says “there is mounting scientific evidence for the role of stretching and muscle strengthening in treating people with neck and shoulder pain.” Moreover, studies show that exercise improves aerobic capacity and strength in patients who suffer from debilitating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Depression and Anxiety : Exercise releases neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids, reduces system chemicals that compromises the immune system and increases the body temperature. All of these things have a physiological calming effect on the body. A Harvard Health study  found that “exercise’s effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants.”

I’m not saying that we can all start jogging and give up our medication. Prescription medication is necessary for many illnesses. That said, the effects of exercise go way beyond looking great in a bikini. The real reason I love to exercise and love to share that with my clients is because exercise is the key to getting healthier. It is a wonder drug of sorts. And the best part is you need relatively little to boost your immune system, strengthen your body and feel better. Just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can get you on the road to good health and, hopefully, less medication.

Instead of fretting about how you’re going to run the next mudder, walk to your grocery store, to work, or take an after lunch walk before heading back to the office. Dance, garden, play soccer in the park with your kids, even vacuuming the house while listening to up-beat music can get your heart rate between 110 and 140 beats a minute. Get moving and feel better!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

5 tips to boost employee engagement in summer months

5 Tips on How to Keep Production Up When Your Employees Are in the Summer Slump: When Dreamy Summer Days Become an Employee Engagement Nightmare

It’s hot. Every theater has released its mega blockbuster film. There’s a new feel to the air – the sounds of kids’ skateboards humming down sidewalks, buzz about the latest vacation plans, and the quiet of the office as people take their yearly leave.

At work, the adrenaline from setting yearly goals is starting to wear. And employees are hitting that mid-year summer slump.  It’s not just a feeling. It’s reality. The summer slump affects production, project turnaround time, absenteeism, and focus.

Many organizations chalk up the summer slump to being a necessary evil. They ride it out until fall hits and production surges.  But with these 5 tips, you might just keep your employees motivated and engaged during those lazy summer months.

1. Be Flexible: Camping trips, long weekends, morning swims with the kids … many employees are juggling kids and work. Find ways to work summer into work. Allow employees to come in late on a Monday or leave early on a Friday. Create a kid space in the meeting room for those whose babysitter has cancelled at the last minute. Summer can be a logistical nightmare. Work with your employees’ personal and professional needs.

2. Set Short-Term Goals: There’s a nagging summer feeling like nothing is getting done. By setting short-term goals, your employees can feel progress by working on immediate goals with measurable results. Have employees set their own summer goals (daily, weekly, monthly) to keep them motivated.

3. Make Play Part of Work to Give Your Employees Summer : With long summer daylight hours, make time for after-office hikes and excursions, or join a softball league.  Encourage employees to leave the office during the day for a picnic lunch. Set up picnic Thursdays at the park! Take an employee trip to the ice cream store. A local engineering firm in Gardnerville, Nevada connected with a local sporting goods store and offered employees free kayak rentals, hiking excursions, and backpacking gear rentals. Employees spend weekends and evenings in the outdoors, experiencing a great summer with their families, at virtually no extra cost to the employee.

4. Rewards, Incentives and Promotions: Traditionally, all the big events and promotions happen at the end of the year. Mid-year rewards and promotions and incentives can be just as effective. Consider conducting mid-year reviews, not as something to hold over employees’ heads but as an opportunity to adjust work and goals during the slower months. Have a strategic reward program for employees who meet goals. Express gratitude for work well done.

5. Gear Up to Learn and Motivate: Take advantage of the summer lull to start Tuesday afternoon trainings. Hire an intern – just graduated and eager to change the world and work hard. Make connections with the local college or business council to provide classes at a lower cost to employees. Have TED talks on in the board room for employees to go in and get motivated.
Summer is inevitable. The slump isn’t. Get employees engaged and motivated with these five simple tips to keep production and engagement up.

Have a great summer!

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