Pulling it back in!

We get tugged in a million directions and sometimes we forget about what’s so important: ourselves, our health!

Take control, pull it all back in and make today the day you get right back on track!  Write down your personal goals, whatever they may be. Pick a fitness routine, a nutritious menu you can stick with and get cracking! Yes you can!

Here’s a simple, amazing recipe I posted a year ago and one of my favorites:

Protein Pancakes

2 eggs and one mashed banana (yes, that’s it!)…Blend and cook like you would a pancake!  I often add a cinnamon spice, a scoop of protein powder and/or blueberries. Be creative and add what you prefer!

Coffee and Clean Eating! Yes, there are options.

By Annie Harney

Is your morning coffee sabotaging your clean eating?  So many people are meticulous about what they eat, workout each and every day, but ruin their good efforts with sugary beverages.  Coffee is one of the worst offenders!  However, you don’t need to give up your coffee to keep your daily diet “clean”.  Believe me, coffee is my oxygen!  Between working full time, teaching 10 fitness classes per week, and being a full time graduate student- coffee is a necessity in my life!  An 8oz cup of coffee has one single calorie.  So why are these fancy lattes, mochaccinos, and other decadently titled coffees filled with hundreds of calories?  Sugar!  However, I have good news. You can still indulge in coffee treats while keeping your eating clean.  Believe it or not, coffee has numerous health benefits and contains various essential nutrients (http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/).  

 

If you are a fan of flavored coffee, the first thing you have to look at is whether your flavored coffee is a gourmet brewed flavor or added in with sugary syrup.  When a flavor is brewed into the coffee the nutrition remains the same as a plain  8oz cup of coffee: one calorie, zero fat,  zero carbs/zero sugar.  Let’s compare this to the beloved Caramel Macchiato.  This famous Starbucks favorite contains 240 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 34 grams of carbs (32 of which is sugar) in a grande (16oz) serving.  What a difference!  If you swap this sugar filled beverage for a gourmet-brewed flavor, you will cut over 1,600 calories from your diet per week.  Now you can use your calories to consume nutrient dense foods that will help your body thrive.

 

Personally, I enjoy my coffee with a little bit of skim milk and that is it.  However, I know the bitter taste of coffee can be overpowering for some.  There are other options besides sugar to add to your coffee to sweeten it up.  Stevia in the raw is an amazing alternative- a zero calorie all-natural sweetener extracted from the stevia plant.  Agave nectar is also a great option, again all-natural, weighing in at a mere 20 calories per teaspoon.  These two options are great alternatives to the highly processed and refined sugar.  The alternatives you want to steer clear of are the chemically filled “unclean” and “unnatural” ones filled with ingredients such as aspartame and other unnatural concoctions (Splenda, Sweet’N Low, Equal, etc).  Aspartame is so dangerous it was never even supposed to be approved by the FDA, but that is another blog post in itself!

 

Always opt for milk over cream to cut back on unnecessary grams of fat.  You may wonder about non-dairy coffee creamers.  Coffee Mate and International Delight offer endless flavors to spruce up your coffee, but what are you consuming when you drink these products?  Turn your bottle around and browse through the ingredients.  The list is endless and filled with mysterious long words that we can’t even pronounce.  Upon making the decision to eat clean, I stated that my coffee creamer was the one thing I would not give up.  One tablespoon in my coffee would not kill me.  However, one day I miraculously came across an alternative homemade option!  The recipe is simple, quick, and you know exactly what goes into the mixture!  I watered down the base a bit more than the recipe called for, but that is entirely up to you!  Check out the endless amounts of flavor varieties here: http://www.mrshappyhomemaker.com/2013/03/homemade-coffee-creamer-over-20-flavor-varieties/

 

My base recipe: about 22 calories per tablespoon

1.5 cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk + 7oz of condensed milk

 

Keeping these ideas in mind, you can now enjoy your coffee without sabotaging your hard work and efforts you put into staying fit, fierce, and fabulous!

Heartwarming Healthy Chili (Vegan or not)

Vegan ChiliThis recipe was delicious and very healthy. You can use this recipe with Vegan Meat or Lean Ground Turkey. Your call. The following is the recipe but I added my own twist on a few things….

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb 99% lean ground turkey (or vegan meat)
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) jar deli-sliced tamed jalapeno peppers, drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Cook about 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Delicious.

Greek Berry Yogurt Smoothie

Greek Yogurt Berry Smoothie

Morning,

I have battled with plain Greek Yogurt since it has been the big craze!  I have tried it many ways but it just wasn’t for me.  Until now.  I love this recipe and it is simple:

1 cup Almond Milk (or Skim Milk if you prefer)

1/2 Cup Plain Greek

5-6 ice cubes

1/2 Cup Frozen Berry Mix

1/2 teaspoon Stevia sweetener (or none…your call)

BLEND.

Let me know if you enjoy it.  I absolutely loved this one and trust me, there have been at least 3 billion that I have thrown in the trash.  I am a girl from Everett who grew up with a father who cooked nonstop…it has to be good.

Spicy Vegan ‘Beef’

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Spicy Vegan 'Beef'

Whether you love meat or not, these are amazing. I even had Billy try it and he liked it, probably more than he admitted. I like to cut up bags and bags of fresh onions and peppers as well as vinegar peppers, and sometimes mushrooms. I saute them in a large stir fry pan. Once they are done, I just put them in Tupperware bins and use them for tons of recipes all week long.

For this recipe, I heat up some of the saute mix in a frying pan and add the vegan ‘beef’. Once this has cooked, I add red hot sauce (Frank’s or type of sauce you like). Once the mixture is hot enough and cooked to your liking, you can add some shredded cheese (your choice).

Upon completion, I love to pour these into lettuce wraps and enjoy.

Trust me, you have to try these. Amazing, high protein, low carb!

Mangia!

What’s New at BI? New Date for Body Infusion™ Instructor Workshop, Parent/Child Cardio Bag Classes, Family Challenge, Parent/Child Drums Alive and More

Body Infusion™ Instructor Workshop

*Prerequisites to teach class following the workshop: Group Exercise Certification, Yoga Certification, and/or Personal Training Certification; CPR Certification; and 10 classes to be taken at Body Infusion™ by Heather or Rose.  These can be completed post workshop but need to be completed prior to teaching the class.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

6-8pm

Price: $199

To register, email us to reserve your spot.

 

Parent/Child Heavy Bag

Saturday, February 8th: 11-11:45am

Friday, February 21st (School Vacation): 12-12:45pm 

 Ages 5 and Up

Want to enjoy fitness with your child?  

Grab your gloves and water and join Rose!

Annual Member cost per pair – $20

Non Annual Member cost per pair – $25

Sorry, no credit cards.

****Get a group together and plan your own session***

 

Parent/Child Drums Alive

Friday, February 21st (School Vacation): 11-11:45am

Family Challenge

Come join us for a Family Challenge.  Why not make it a family workout and challenge yourself each week to a healthy, physical and lifestyle change?!  What better way to do it but as a family?!

We will meet Sundays for a 45 minute workout and then review the physical challenge for the upcoming week.  You will also have a journal to keep track as a family for the week.

 Sundays, January 19th- February 23rd

11:30am-12:15pm

Members: $129 for 6 weeks

Non-Members/Package: $179 for 6 weeks

Drop in rates- Members: $20; Non-Members: $30

Email us to register or call 781-706-7063

Payment is required to reserve your spot.  A 10 day cancellation is REQUIRED to receive full payment.  50% of payment is guaranteed up to 5 days prior.

 

 

To register, email us to reserve your spot.  Payment is required to reserve your spot.

Happy New Year. I’m Back!!

Ok it’s a new year and the resolutions are flying all over the place. This year I decided I will not pick a New Year’s resolution; not because there aren’t 100 things I would like to improve but because there are also many things I am so happy about already that I just feel need to be appreciated!

Yes, I will obviously try to push myself physically and nutritionally but that’s not new, that’s something I strive for every day. Some days I do well and some days I don’t. However, today and every day I want to appreciate the amazing things already in my life. Here are my top 3:

-Family is #1 and I thank the stars for each and every one of them! There is nothing like the love received from a supportive and loving family!
-Friends, new and old. Some I share deep secrets with, some make me laugh just when I need it, and some give me the confidence and faith to do things I never ever thought I would be able to do. A simple text can make a person’s day!
-Health. Mental and Physical! This will never be underestimated by me. I thank every student who stays healthy and fit with me and challenges me every day when I see their potential. It only makes me work harder. “I Wanna Dance” now and always! Meet me in the fitness room! And thank you!

I wish a Happy, Healthy New Year to all!

Siblings: Code of Silence

I remember when I was a kid, there was a “code of silence” amongst siblings.  You didn’t speak about this code and you never needed to be reminded by a parent about this code.  You simply didn’t get your sibling in trouble by telling your parent something that your brother or sister did wrong…whether they did it to you or to someone else.  You might threaten them with it but you knew you would never go through with it…you just didn’t.  Instead, you teamed up together no matter what.  

Today is different.  Or, maybe it is just MY kids.  Maybe I am doing something wrong….probably a lot of things.  I am really struggling with this.  My kids, one girl (8) and one boy (7), are eleven months apart and I would say they have been fighting since they were 1 and 2 years of age.  I kept thinking, “This will get better, it must be because this is the way they communicate since speech is limited at this age.”  Well, I waited…and waited….and am still waiting.  Only today it is worse.  I would say they fight 75% of the time.  They tell on each other constantly and I remind them (yes, the parent has to remind them): “Your sibling is your best friend whether you believe me or not…never tell on them unless it is a safety issue….never lose their confidence.”  I am hoping down the road this helps but I am not convinced.

I have tried everything.  I make them rephrase mean sentences constantly so they sound like polite suggestions.  If they say, “Stop touching me, I hate when you do that, I am trying to read something!!!!” then I will make them rephrase it and say, “I am sure you didn’t mean it but you keep touching me while I am trying to read and I am losing my place.  Thank you”.   It isn’t working yet but I will keep trying.  They know to rephrase now just by me giving them the “eyes”!

I could go on and on about a lot of things that have changed since we were kids.  I would say it was “easier” back then but I don’t know, I was a kid.  I will continue to try.  I know I have amazing children, I just wish they knew how lucky they were to have each other and how much more fun it would be if they got along and followed the code.  I know there will always be lessons to be learned by kids and adults, but I would be thrilled if they would team up and learn them together.

Strength in Family and Friends….Strength in Boston

We were all hit one way or another with complete fear, shock, sadness and/or terror since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.  We ve also witnessed amazing acts of kindness, heroism and true human strength, both physically and emotionally.  One of my very best friends in the entire world ran the race that day as well as many other loved ones and associates.  I faced all of the emotions mentioned above but can not imagine how the people who were there that day felt: the injured, the loved ones of those killed, the brave men and women who ran the 26.2 miles race or the thousands of spectators who witness the tragic events. I was driving home with my children, Samantha and Jake (both 7 at the time).  We just saw Alicia cross the 13.1 mile mark in Wellesley dropped off Dawn and Lydia at the train station (they were heading into the finish line to see Alicia) when I got a call from my hubby, Billy, to tell me what had happened.  FEAR, PANIC, CHAOS!  Did Dawn and Lydia make it in town?  Where was Alicia.  I got news that another friend, Joy, was also in Boston and she found Dawn and Lydia and quickly they all left in Joy’s car.  However, it was hours before I finally spoke with Alicia and knew she was safe.  Hours before I heard her voice. This is how I felt….I couldn’t imagine how everyone else felt.

Weeks later, I asked Alicia if she could share HER story with us! And here it is:

When I reflect on the past few months, I am reminded that life is full of twists, turns, curves, ups, downs…you name it. 
It all started for me on Feb. 14(Valentine’s Day). I woke up on this day feeling happy and looking forward to dinner and maybe even a little surprise from my boyfriend Brad that night; at least I was hoping ….lol.

It was around 11:00 am and I was getting ready for a meeting with my boss. As the meeting was getting closer and she told me a few times she wasn’t quite ready, I was getting an uneasy feeling. I am known for my constant overthinking, so I immediately tried to stop it. Unfortunately, when I heard HR was joining this meeting, I knew what was coming. Yes, I could have been mad. Yes, I could have logged off that moment. Yes, I could have said what was on my mind to my boss. However, I decided to do none of these things. What can I do? I could use this time to thank my boss for helping me move from a job I did not love and continue training for the Boston Marathon. Yes, that is what I did! I left my job with class and my head held high.

The next chapter for me was to train wisely, yes wisely, for the Boston Marathon. I was given this wonderful opportunity by my fantastic club, the Mystic Runners. While most were supportive, some were concerned and thought I was out of my mind due to my multiple injuries and pain last year. Truth be told, I was a little out of my mind. Now, I don’t think I am a complainer (some would disagree – haha) but the pain last year was beyond pain and brought me to tears often. So, why was I doing this? I questioned myself as well. I am a fighter. I have fought more than this before and ended up on top. I can do this and that I did. I trained wisely, I used my down time to strengthen my core (something I did not do last year), and I did not over run (something I did do last year). I cut down on my races, and ran with the Melrose Club. Without them, I could not have done this. They have a great Sunday Long Run program and I tried to make this every Sunday. Yes, that meant a 6 am wake up, a low key Sat. night, and often times, running through snow storms(15, 18, 20 miles). Although this was not an easy task, I could do this. I knew I could.

The big day was finally here. Even friends that were not able to make it that day were so supportive and in my heart. A wonderful dinner was held with Carmela and Tanis the night before. I also had a wonderful dinner on Saturday night with my very dear friend Walter who flew here from Florida to see me. Lydia, Dawn, Keith and Joslyn were also there. Thank goodness I saw Walter that day and night because Monday did not happen. I had a great breakfast with Mikey H. Sunday morning. I got a million emails, calls and text messages. I felt fantastic. Nobody was more excited than me. Jose and Christina had offered to run with me. They did most of the race with me. I had a wonderful family that took time off from work and rented a hotel room for me that night. I had wonderful friends that also took time off and were going to be either at the finish line or somewhere during the race where I needed them so I could get my mind off the lactic acid build up. Rose, Lydia, Dawn, Samantha, Jake, Molly, and Jane were all there at mile 13. So happy I was. I pushed on. I can do this. Mile 22 came and the pain was getting greater. There Jen was jumping in to help me. She had medical challenges of her own and for her to do this for me was beyond words. She also was a god sent during my training. Even when she wasn’t feeling well, she was there. Unreal! As I was running with Jen by my side, my body wanted to stop. She wouldn’t let me and I knew Marcie, Paul (and the kids – Sofia and Gabrielle) as well as Walter were going to be there. Kristin, my brother, and Kelly, Lydia and Dawn would also be there. Brad was working the finish. Meg was giving out medals. I saw the Mystics, I saw the Melrose group. I got this. Work through it. I got this. Then my gut kicked in. Why was there police cars going down the road? Why did someone yell “be careful at the finish”? “Bomb?” What? I could not wrap my head around this. “Don’t pay attention Alicia. You are doing great”, said Jen. Ok, I need to listen to Jen. At mile 25.5, the police officer told me and many others, “The marathon is over. You need to stop”. I need to what? Stop? Not acceptable. I start to feel my eyes fill. No, I couldn’t process. I was sick to my stomach. Jen got me food. We sat down at the medical tent. I got a drink. We needed to get somewhere. I could hardly walk, but manage to do so. We got to our hotel but they thought there was a bomb there too. What was happening? I needed to sit down. Jen came up with the idea of going into a nail salon where they couldn’t have been nicer. We sat, had some water, and used their facilities. They were amazing. We finally had to leave there. They were closing and we had already stayed longer then we should. I had no idea what happened to my family and friends because I did not have a phone. Cell service was down, and when we did get service (Jen had her phone), I didn’t know anyone’s number off the top of my head. I did start the marathon with a phone but the weight was pulling down my pants (lol). Truth be told, I did not know who was alive. Somehow, I managed to stay calm (I think). Jen recommended going back to the hotel. We got in finally. She was so calm and don’t think we would have gotten in if not for her. They were looking for room keys and we did not have one. The rest is a blur. I saw Brad. We started to cry. He said my brother and Kelly were fine. I ended up talking to Walter and Marcie. They were fine too although very close to what had happen. Way too close. Angels (or several) were watching over them and Paul and the kids. I don’t even think I allowed my mind to entirely go there. Lydia and Dawn were stopped on the Green Line thank goodness. I am also thankful that Joy was ok and she was able to help Lydia and Dawn. She is an angel herself. Rose was home. I ended up talking to Rose at night as we both cried pretty hard. Kristin was safe. A huge deep breath. I tried to make the best of it that night with my brother, Kelly and Brad. I was so off. Numb.

I cried for weeks. These poor victims and their families. It all just so senseless. Why did this happen? Such a beautiful day and such a sad ending. I continued to cry. At least I was processing all of this.

The following week I got a few lumps removed on my head that ended up being skin cancer (basil cell – very common). The doctor ended up being a runner. The two hours flew by as we talked running, and he ended up releasing me to exercise way before I was supposed to be released. That is the benefit I get from getting a doctor who is a runner. I am well. Just a few headaches but will always be careful now and will always wear a hat when I run.

I am grateful to be running for the two Norton brothers’ on May 19th with my new found friends from Stoneham. We will run the marathon route (I will be doing about 4 and hoping Jen will run by my side). I would be lying to say that I am not a little disappointed that I couldn’t finish this year. I told myself I will never do another marathon for so many reasons, but trust me when I tell you I WILL make it happen next year.

Yes, it has been a crazy few months. I could handle all of this with anger and frustration but I choose to be a fighter and will fight even harder for I that I believe in and deserve. I will get a job. I will run again, and I will live a healthy life. I am thankful for having great friends (and all are safe) and a wonderful family. I am thankful for having good health and just waking up in the morning. I am thankful for being alive. Things can only get better!!! Life is full of twist, turns, curves, ups, downs but in the end, it is all about how you see things and your attitude towards life. Someone always has it a lot worse then you. My heart and prayers are with all of the Boston Marathon victims and families.