4 Ways You Can Supplement Fitness with Self- Care to Amplify Your Wellness Efforts

Are you ready to take your fitness routine to the next level? Balancing an effective fitness practice with basic self-care can give you better results and a better outlook on life. If you are ready to max out your health and fitness gains, you need to follow these simple self-care tips.

Take the Effort Out of Eating Healthy

Diet should be the foundation of any effective fitness plan, but it should be part of self-care as well. That’s because what you put into your body impacts your emotional health just as much as it does your physical abilities. Recent studies point to a close connection between decreased depression risks and a balanced diet, and exercising also reduces depressive symptoms.

For many people, however, eating healthfully on a busy schedule can be a real dilemma. With more companies offering meal delivery and grocery delivery options, you can have healthy ingredients dropped off on your doorstep at your convenience. Many meal delivery solutions include lighter choices for meals, which can make eating much easier. If you prefer to prepare your own meals, you can use your freshly delivered ingredients in weekly meal prep to keep yourself on track with your emotional and physical fitness goals.

Balance Your Workouts With Wellness

When you are working on your weight-loss or fitness goals, finding the right balance of strength training and cardio is important. However, you should also think about the ways your fitness routine can contribute to your overall health. One of the simplest ways is to set up an exercise plan is to work with a personal trainer. Plus, by working out with a trainer, you will get the positive support and feedback you need to really push yourself to achieve those goals. Hiring a personal trainer can definitely take the stress out of your fitness journey, but for an added boost, you may also want to think about signing up for some yoga classes. In addition to enhancing your training, yoga is also a perfect practice for balancing your mind and reducing stress. So, round out your weekly workout routine with a few yoga sessions.

Practice Self-Care to Aid Recovery

If you are taking your fitness goals seriously, you know that recovery is just as important as exercise when it comes to losing weight and building muscles. Your body needs time to put all that hard work to proper use, so make sure you are taking time to recover between your workout sessions. This includes getting enough sleep. Even sacrificing sleep for exercise can make weight loss and muscle gains more difficult. To keep your hormones and muscles working towards your fitness goals, make sure you are fitting in seven to eight hours of sleep at night. If your workout leaves your muscles too sore to sleep, then try these helpful tips, such as getting a relaxing massage, to speed recovery and get the rest your body needs.

Save Some Time Just for Yourself

Along with getting proper rest at night, you also need to take a day or two off to help your mind and body recover from your regular routine. Just like sleep and a healthy diet, having some down time to yourself helps regulate the processes in your body responsible for healthy weight and emotional well-being. Schedule this time on the weekends, and make sure you spend it doing something that really helps you decompress. Write in a journal, spend some time outside, or start a hobby you’ve always been interested in trying. Trying new hobbies can especially benefit your relaxation routine but new interests also improve your physical health as well. Studies have shown that when people engage in relaxing activities, they tend to have lower blood pressure and a healthier weight as well. So, leave some time to do the things you love!

Combining self-care with fitness could be the key to winning your wellness battle. Make self-care a regular habit, just like diet and exercise, and unleash your true fitness potential.


Photo Credit: Unsplash

This New Year, Get Ahead By Scaling Back

Scale back on sitting.  Add an hour each day of an activity that you enjoy. Give yourself the gift of self-motivation by making an effort to be a little more active today than you were yesterday.  The more active you become, the better you will feel.  You’ll soon find yourself with boosted energy and more positive mindset to go out and win your day!

Scale back on vanity.  When you are too focused on body image, you may get discouraged if you don’t get the results you expect. Reaching your fitness goals take time and lots of persistence. Looking good is great. Feeling good is better.  Feeling good, leads to looking good — not the other way around. Once you accept this, you’ll be more likely to make healthy habits a life-style choice rather than an impulsive and unsustainable quick-fix.

Scale back on selling yourself short. Don’t underestimate the needs and demands of your body. Excessive drinking, Intense stress and lack of sleep can be the culprit in making you binge eat and avoid active things.  You deserve a better you. Take control on things that you can and treat your body better.

Scale back on the cardio and use weights.  Total body strength training is the best way to change your physical makeup. If you are already getting 10,000 steps/day as part of your daily routine, trade out the elliptical for a kettlebell.  Muscles require more energy than fat. So, not only will a challenging, weight-based workout help to tighten and tone your entire body, you will burn more calories as a result.  

Scale back on processed foods.  Instead of worrying about how much sugar a banana has or how much fat in is a handful of almonds, worry about cutting out processed foods that contain empty calories.  That’s really why your body gains weight. Fruits, nuts, vegetables and whole foods alike are nutrient dense, so you can eat as much as you would like of these! Not sure how “processed” something is? Think about how many “steps” your food had to go through before it wound up on your plate. The best “whole” foods have very few steps between from how  it was growing, roaming, or swimming in the wild to when it winds up on your plate.

Scale back on staying stagnant.  Hire a trainer or join a group class. It is scientifically proven that working out in groups or with a trainer works better than doing it on your own.  If you are going to invest in something, it might as well be your health! There’s your comfort zone; then there’s where the magic happens. One day or day one? The choice is yours. 

Jessica Sykora is a Personal Trainer that specializes in Prenatal Personal Training and In-Home Personal Training throughout the South Bay. Personal Trainer South Bay, Prenatal Trainer South Bay, In-Home Personal Trainer.

4 Ways to have willpower during the Holiday!

Oh, the holidays... That special time of year where everywhere you turn there are festive feasts, spiked drinks, and indulgent treats tempting your waistline. Before tempting you with anymore disloyal decadence, here are a few fantastic ways to take on the goody goody gumdrops without rolling into the new year looking like one.

  1. Stay out of sight of the treat table. Instead of hovering over the array of unhealthy snacks, contemplating whether or not you should sneak in “just one”, try to just completely stay away. Let’s be honest, “just one” turns into pretty much everything but the kitchen sink! The best way to overcome temptation is to not be tempted in the first place. Play offense, not defense and just STAY AWAY. Divert your attention to socializing.

  2. Keep healthy options close and don’t show up to the party famished!  When your body is hungry, it is craving nutrients, not processed junk. Try to always keep healthy, nutrient-dense snacks like carrots, hummus or almonds close by.  The secret here is to never hit the point of “hangry” so you won’t feel tempted to eat the first thing in sight.

  3. In Trident We Trust. This is one of my all time favorites! When in doubt, pop a piece of minty fresh gum into your mouth. That’s right, Chew some gum to avoid temptations! Think about it, the last thing you will want to do is mix that minty fresh breath with food or drinks. It sounds crazy, but it will completely cut out your desire to want to consume anything else. 

  4. Hips don’t lie. Be honest with yourself about the price of indulgence. Sometimes painting a realistic picture of the repercussions can be enough to cringe you away from the cookie tray. My secret? I use the if-then strategy. In other words, if I eat this entire bag of caramel M&M’s, then my stomach is going to hurt, my face is going to break out and I’ll have to make up for it by doing 1,000 squats tomorrow. Is it really worth it now? A little vanity can go a long way when it comes to the temptations to indulging.

My whole point in this blog, is not to defer you from experiencing the joys of celebrating the holidays with the ones you love, but rather to be able to take control of your temptations and do what you need to do in order to not over-indulge or feel terrible about yourself once you reach the New Year.

How to cure knee pain yourself!

Knee pain is one of the most common pains I see as a personal trainer and it is a huge stumbling block because it really limits the range of motion people can go through pain free.  When you have limited range of motion it is harder to build functional strength, or do the exercises that will make the biggest difference for your body.  Getting back your range of motion becomes the number 1 priority!

What is chronic knee pain from?

There are many reasons you could have chronic knee pain.  I'm going to discuss the most common reasons I see.
1. An injury to your lower body that has causes you to compensate your movement pattern, this causes unusually tight muscles and other weak muscles pulling around your knee joint, pulling it out of position and causing it to rub the wrong way
2. Over use of the muscles surrounding the knee, exercising a lot with no thought to the recovery of your muscles
3. Sitting or being sedentary  for a long time.
4. Doing things that cause a lot of pounding on your lower body, jumping, running down hill etc.
5. Hyper extension of the knee because of loose ligaments and tendons.
6. Excess weight on the body that causes a lot of pressure on the knees.

So there are a ton of different injuries and lifestyle patterns that can cause your knees to be pulled out of position and the one I find universal is people who haven't been living in full range of motion have issues with their knees.   Take a look at the picture below of the muscles around the knee.

As you can see there are a lot of muscles surrounding the knee joint.  One example of how knee pain happens is, a person is sitting a lot which tightens up the Rectus Femoris (one of the major quad muscles that crosses both the hip and knee joint) . Because this muscle is tight it excessively pulls on the kneecap cause the whole femur to shift forward and have the knee start moving from a positions that is not ideal for it.  After a long period of time, this starts to cause knee pain.  This is one of many different senarios that can cause kneepain
What to do about your knee pain?You can see your doctor about your knee pain, sometimes they give you a good answer to help it out.

What I have seen to work the best not only on myself but on my clients as well is a total lower body TLC program.:)

A TLC program is a Tender Loving Care program for your lower body.  It consists of consistently every day to 3x a week, massaging/rolling out/stretching your lower body.  The more you exercise the more this needs to be a part of your routine.
The Places that will have the biggest impact on your knee pain.
Front of knee pain: Really getting the quad muscles right above your kneeloosened up.  I like using the foam roller, for the major all over stuff and then a yoga ball or lacrosse ball to really get into the muscles right about the knee.  Once the foam roller and the lacrosse ball stop hurting as your do it, your muscles are loosened up enough.

Back of the knee pain: Massaging/foam rolling/lacrosse ball/strengthing the hamstrings and calf muscles.  I want you to focus on the areas right by the knee, and you will be using the lacrosse ball slightly to the side on the back side, not directly on the back of the knee, that will hurt.  If you look at the picture above there is a diamond of muscles around the back of the knee, those are the areas that you are going to focus on loosening up.

Lateral Knee pain:  This one typically comes from a tight IT band, which is a band of tendons that goes down the whole out side of the leg.  I like foam rolling the best for this one.  And foam rolling should be down before and after every workout and every day, to keep it loose.  The IT band will also affect your front knee pain as well, so foam rolling the IT band is a good one to do regardless.

Medial Knee pain:  Getting the inside adductors (Inner thigh muscles), and the medial head of your Gastrocnemius (Big Calf muscle) are going to help you feel the best on the inside.

Typically you have to do a combination of all these techniques in order for you to feel the best.
Here is a routine I would recommend for someone with knee pain to do to get rid of it.
 1. Lower body massage two times a week for a month, go down to once a week after that.  Focus on the muscles upper calves, Quads, Lower hamstrings, glute muscles and inner thigh muscles.
2. Foam roll your IT Band, calves, quads and inner thighs once a day 3-5x up and down.
3. Lacrosse ball or yoga ball on the Quad muscles right above your knee, top of the calf muscles, and in your glute area one minute each side each area every day.
4. Move your knee through a full range of motion pain free as often as possible.
5. Stretch your quads, hip flexors, calves, inner thighs and glute muscles every day for 1 min each side and each area.

If you do this consistently for 6 weeks, you will find that your knee pain is gone!!!:) . Then you just have to maintain.  I would recommend the same routine 3x a week instead of every day, and find the muscles that have the biggest impact for you, and simplify your routine from there. The initial work is the hardest, that is why I recommend getting a massage therapist to help start you out.  They will keep you consistent and your job during a massage is to relax, which makes the work of loosening up your muscle go twice as fast as a opposed to doing it yourself.

There you go!!!  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me about any of the techniques I use, or any other question!
Lots of Love,

Article by Liz Glorioso

The truths and myths of working out while pregnant.

The truth about fitness and pregnancy from the eyes of a prenatal trainer

As a Prenatal and Postnatal Certified Personal Trainer, I have worked with a variety of clients in all different phases of motherhood.  I get a lot of questions about working out through your pregnancy, so I wanted to write this article to point out some common myths and also share some experiences from my clients that I have trained in the past.


 Sit Ups and Crunches during and after pregnancy should be avoided.

It’s true, sit ups and crunches may cause splitting of the abdominal wall, also known as Diastus Recti. This can be permanent if not treated.  Not only are sit ups and crunches one of the least effective core exercises in general, but they also put too much emphasis on the upper part of your core (rectus abdominis).  Your growing fetus is already stretching the linea alba, which is the connective tissue that attaches the muscles at the midline of your stomach. Repetitive spinal flexion can cause irritation to that tissue, which is what causes the separation know as diastius recti.  You are better off doing isometric exercises that work the abdominal muscles while stabilizing the spine.  Strengthening these muscles can help reduce lower back pain during pregnancy.  Some examples of isometric core exercises are bridge, bird dog, plank, side plank, and Paloff Press.

You shouldn’t lay on your back for long periods of time while exercising during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

Once you are in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, you baby is filling out the space in your uterus. Lying flat on your back can actually put pressure on the vena cava artery restricting blood flow to your heart. This ultimately can restrict blood flow to your baby.  The warning signs are clear because you will start feeling dizzy and nauseous in that position.  While short periods of time on your back may have no effect, if you plan on lying down for longer periods, it’s best to workout elevated, using a wedge or bolster. 

Working out during pregnancy in hot conditions is bad.

Heat is hard on the body whether or not you are pregnant.  While it’s healthy to sweat and get your heart rate elevated during your workouts, if your body temperature becomes higher than 102.2 degrees fahrenheit, you may be over heating.  This can cause headaches, heat stroke, dehydration, dizziness or heat exhaustion.  This is not healthy for you or your baby’s circulation.  Pregnant women are actually more likely to become overheated and dehydrated during exercise, so stay out of the heat, drink plenty of water and take plenty of cooling breaks.


You should keep your heart rate below 140 beats when you exercise.

Getting your heart rate up during exercise is completely healthy for you and your baby.  According to the the Department of Health and Human Services, a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise spread throughout the week is recommended.  There are no specific guidelines for heart rate, but if you get symptoms such as dizziness, headache or heat exhaustion, this may be decreasing blood flow to your fetus.  Know the warning signs and listen to your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, certain conditions like history of preterm labor, incompetent cervix, placenta previa, heart disease, high blood pressure or type 1 diabetes may cause higher risk of health problems during exercise. Always consult with your doctor before exercise.

Lifting weight is dangerous.

As long as you have proper technique and correct breathing, there is no harm in lifting weights while pregnant.  In fact, functional strength training exercises, like squats and lunges, are a great way to build strength in your core, hips and glutes.  This can prevent lower back pain and ease labor.  However, if you are not familiar with weightlifting and functional strength training, you may want to look into hiring a prenatal trainer to help you with the proper techniques. 

 You shouldn’t exercise your abs while pregnant.

Spinal flexion exercises, like sit ups and crunches, during pregnancy may cause separation of the abdominal wall. This condition is know as diastus recti.  During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, you also want to avoid ab exercises that require you to lie on your back for long periods of time. Lying on your back can compress the vena cava artery, restricting blood flow to you fetus. The best exercises to strengthen your core during pregnancy are isometric spine stabilizing exercises. These exercises include, planks, side planks, Paloff Presses, bridges, bird dogs and single leg lowerings. 


Listen to your body, be familiar with the exercises or activities you choose to do and avoid activities that put you in an uncomfortable position. If you are unfamiliar with how you should exercise or what activities are safe, invest in taking prenatal fitness classes or hiring a prenatal trainer.

Are you training for your body type?

The best way to find a training style that will work for you is to first, identify your body type. The three main body types are Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph.  Knowing what you are will influence the way you respond to diet and exercise. 

Ectomorph- Long and lean, may have difficulty building muscle or gaining fat. Usually has a fast metabolism and low body fat percentage.

Endomorph- Bigger build, shorter, curvy high body fat, usually round or pear-shaped, stores body fat easily, slow metabolism, high body fat percentage.

Mesomorph- Athletic build, muscular, strong, tends to build and retain muscle easily, gains fat easier than ectomorphs but harder than endomorphs.

Ectomorphs have a very fast metabolism and trouble storing fat. This makes building muscle very difficult.  Cardio is usually limited to the minimal healthy limit, because burning calories through high-intensity cardiovascular training is not needed.  Ectomorphs need a lot of calories in order to gain muscle or body fat. Basically, you can eat like a horse!  This type of person can usually consume more carbohydrates than other body types because of their fast metabolism. Complex carbs are the best way to get sustained energy, i.e. whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, lentils, and beans.  Ectomorphs should also eat a good amount of protein and healthy fat in order to build and retain lean muscle mass.  If an ectomorph is trying to gain weight or build muscle, I recommend eating protein and complex carbs frequently throughout the day and right before you go to bed.

The recommended training regimen for Ectomorphs is a strength training program that focuses on big muscle groups, perhaps a 3-day split of moderate to high volume of total body functional movements. The rep scheme for endomorphs is  4-6 sets of 8-12 reps and you will need to use heavy weights.  This keeps your muscles under tension longer, so you will build more.  Rest between sets is usually 1-3 minutes since the lifting is more intense.  You can even implement supersets or a pyramid rep scheme to build more strength. 

Overall, a solid strength training program is prioritized over cardio for this body type.  Men, make sure to strength training your bigger muscle groups, like your legs and core, it will actually pump more testosterone to your body so that you will build more muscle overall! So don’t skip leg day! 

Endomorphs have a slower metabolism and tend to store fat more easily. A strict diet is more important for this body type, limiting carbs, alcohol and sugary foods. A diet rich with vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbs and lean protein is recommended.  Leafy greens, protein and healthy fats, like avocados, will help the body burn fat to keep you lean.  Overall this person needs a very nutrient dense diet in order to help store less body fat.  Sorry endomorphs, but your diet is the most strict. The good news is, if you get your diet on point, you will respond relatively quickly to a training program.

Beginner endomorphs should start on a low impact exercise plan to avoid injury and overtraining. They should eventually work up to daily moderate to high-intensity cardio and total body circuit style training.  The typical strength training rep scheme to lose weight and lean out is 15-30 repetitions, 2-3 sets.  Intermediate to advanced endomorphs can implement moderate to intense circuit style training into their regimen to lose more weight.  30/30 interval training (30 seconds intense work, 30 seconds rest)  is a great way to keep you moving during your workouts. 

Overall Endomorphs should prioritize fat burning through circuit and interval training. For best results, really hone in on perfecting your diet.

Mesomorphs naturally have a stronger, more athletic and muscular build.  Mesomorphs gain fat easier than ectomorphs but harder than endomorphs. A high protein diet is preferred, with a sufficient amount of complex carbs for sustained energy.  However, with this body type, if you have a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, you will become overweight.  Cardiovascular strength is usually not as strong in this body type, so endurance training is recommended.  If you are trying to lose weight and lean out, moderate to high-intensity cardiovascular training is very effective.  If you want to build muscle, you're in luck because you already have the genetic makeup to respond relatively quickly to a strength training program.





Smoothie Recipes

Here are two of my favorite smoothie recipes!

Power Smoothie

1-2 Ripe Bananas

2 Dates

A scoop of Peanut Butter

Almond Milk or Whole Milk



It's very filling and gives you lots of energy! 

Green Smoothie

1 Ripe Banana

Handfull of Spinach

Frozen or fresh mangos

Almond Milk or Coconut Water

1/2 TSP Vanilla

1/2 TSP Lime


A green smoothie you might enjoy! A great way to get your greens in!





How to kick your sugar cravings.

First, we need to understand why we crave sugar.  

1. You aren't eating enough nutrient dense food and crave a quick fix.  If you haven't eaten enough nutrient-dense calories, your body's blood sugar levels are probably low. This makes your energy low, so you crave sugar for that quick energy fix.  The problem is, sugar spikes your blood sugar levels temporarily and then you come crashing down shortly thereafter.  If you do not feed your body the proper nutrients for sustainable energy, you will crave more and more sugar.

2. You've made eating sugar a habit.  Sugar is addictive.  Every time we eat sweets, especially artificial and processed sugars, we get a dopamine rush. Like any drug, it's a temporary high that has consequences. It turns into a bad habit that can create weight gain, diabetes, quicker aging and a lot more health problems.  The more insulin produced in the body the more fat production.  Processed sugars can even suppress the hormones in your body that give you feeling of being full. So you are more likely to overeat. If you find yourself craving sugar, opt out for a healthy snack like a piece of fruit or nuts.

3. You need for fiber in your diet.  When your hormones are imbalanced, your body may crave sugar as a result of low insulin and leptin levels.  The best way to get the sustainable energy you need and balance out your hormones, is to eat fiber rich foods with complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down into usable sugar, so your energy is sustained.  On the other hand, if you are eating carbohydrates that are not fiber rich, like pasta and white rice, you're body is absorbing that food just like it would absorb sugar.  


How to prevent Diastasis Recti through a pregnancy.

Diastasis Recti is "caused by a stretching of the linea alba, the ... tissue that connects the two panels together in the middle,” explains Karen S. Weeks, physical therapist with the Northwestern Medicine Integrated Pelvic Health Program in Chicago.

Usually, this gap occurs during the last trimester and affects those with a multiple baby pregnancy, larger baby delivery or women who are over 35. 

There are some exercise no-no's to help avoid diastasis recti.  Sit-ups should be avoided. You don't want to do any repetitive flexion of the spine during this period, it will just agitate and potentially create more of a separation.  On the other hand, it is very important to do core isolated stabilizing exercises like plank, side plank, paloff press, and anti-rotational exercises before and after the pregnancy. These exercises will help hold together and tighten the muscles of core so that further separation is avoided.


Pregnancy Personal Training