True Beauty: the reality check

This post is for you ladies, mainly.  There’s an enormous pressure to remain stick thin and look impossibly youthful these days, especially if you’re in the entertainment/fashion industry, but that pressure is also felt by any young girl across the world.  I’ve come across so many young women who are taking extreme measures to stay thing: harsh diets, diet pills, skipping meals, barfing, miracle drugs, starvation, and now there’s a new term out there – “drunkorexia”. Growing numbers of young women skip meals to allow them to binge drink without putting on weight.  This “image” problem has been heightened by images of celebrities “lauded” for staying stick-thin while maintaining a hectic social schedule and by all these gorgeous magazine covers which shows them as being absolutely PERFECT.   Just take a look at these before and after photoshop covers, and please bear in mind, this is simply for a reality check.  I don’t want to come across cruel or judgmental to the celebrities show in these pictures:

before and after photoshop

before and after photoshop

Madonna before and after photoshop

Madonna before and after photoshop











Kim Kardashian before and after photoshop

Kim Kardashian before and after photoshop

Faith Hill before and after photoshop

Faith Hill before and after photoshop












Eating disorders have reached epidemic levels in America– all segments of society are affected: men and women, young and old, rich and poor, all minorities, all socio-economic levels 

�Seven million women �One million men

So don’t get caught up in the fiction and the pressures of staying thin.  You just have to commit and do the work, like the rest of us.  I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy to stay in great shape.  You have to change your lifestyle, commit to eating healthy, and get into a work out routine that works for you.  Also, pick a realistic role model, and not just someone you see on one of those covers.  
YOU have to put in the work — don’t rely on some magic pill or potion, or some fake diet fad, or start drinking senselessly so you can replace your calories, all those things don’t work.
It’s time for a REALITY CHECK, and that’s what we’re here for, to help you or someone you know, go through the rough times, and help you set and attain REAL goals.


10 tips to rev up your workout

1. Eat one hour before your workout- To maximize your workouts you need to eat for fuel, the key is finding foods that will sustain your workouts and not make you crash and burn. Foods high  in sugar will give you instant gratification but then will make you fall short of the finish line.  Here  is a list of my favorite pre workout foods:

Morning workouts: If I have time I will whip up some steel cut oatmeal (The complex carbs give me sustained energy) and a banana( The potassium in bananas will help muscles contract) or blueberries. If I am running out the door, I will have whole wheat toast and almond butter with a banana.

Afternoon workouts: Brown rice or whole wheat pasta (Complex carbs), salmon (high in omega-3 fats and vitamin B)

Beans(Packed with protein, fiber and minerals – they give you sustained energy)

In a pinch: Almonds and yogurt.

2. Drink H2O: This sounds simple but so many of my workouts lack energy because I am dehydrated, if you work out in the morning have water before you go to sleep and again when you wake up. If you work out in the afternoon, drink water through out the day. Men on average should get 3 liters a day and women should get 2.2 liters a day.

3. Set mini goals: We all set those long term goals like, I want to lose 30 pounds or I want a to fit in my old jeans, but don’t forget the little victories t0o. Whether it is lifting 5 pounds more, shaving 30 seconds off your run or making it through an intense workout, set yourself mini goals for each workout.

4. Grab a workout partner: I have a few different people I workout with, that way I am always doing different exercises and I get motivated in different ways. Some of my friends are great runners, some are innovative in the gym and some are great at sports. Pick someone who challenges you for that workout.

5. Use some new gear: Try using a kettlebell, medicine ball, bosu ball or a physio ball in your next workout. By stimulating your mind and body in different ways you will push yourself in a little more each workout.

6. Get going out of the gate: Pick up a jump rope or hop on the treadmill for a light 5 minute run before you hit the weights. Get the music going and pump yourself up, the first few minutes of a workout can dictate how the rest will go.

7. Sleep: It is hard enough to get a good workout when you are awake, but close to impossible when you are tired. Your body heals itself during sleep and if you don’t get enough, you risk injury and definitely compromising your workouts.

8. Get some new workout clothes: I know I mentioned this before but here it is again. Working out is such a mental game and when you look pro you tend to workout a little more pro.

9. Mentally get there before you get there: It is easy to psyche yourself out before you even get to the gym, if you go there with a plan on what you are going to do and set yourself up by getting your weights and space ready, you won’t waste time in the gym and you will get a better workout.

10. Change your scenery: I have said it before and I will say it again, when you change your surroundings your workouts will improve and your body will get a better work out.

I know changing your lifstyle is not easy, I want to give you as many options as possible to make the transition easier and educate you on getting it right. One of the many things I learned in the marines is that the biggest hurdle in all physical activities is your mind, however your mind is a lot stronger than you think. If you only use one of those tips — it is a mini victory for me.   Happy workouts all!

Fitness: Starting Young – Fitness for kids

Fitness for kids: Getting your children away from a computer  

Kids exercising

Kids exercising

Children often have a natural tendency to play hard. It’s never too early to start directing your child’s energy into a lifelong love of physical activity.  For many children, biking around or playing kickball in the backyard have given way to watching television, playing video games and spending hours online. But it’s never too late to get your kids away from that computer or off the couch.  As a kid, I was fortunate enough to grow up in the era of no cell phones, no computers or videos games, or even great TV programs.  I grew up in Russia.  What did I have at my disposal?  Sports & arts.  And for that I’m so grateful!  My parents signed me up for every possible sport and I fell in love with being physically active.  I did it all: gymnastics, ice skating, track & field, skiing, hockey, soccer…what are the advantages of being physically active as a kid?  It kept me busy, in great mental form, I never had any issues with weight, I was always in great spirit…it kept me balanced.  And all that translated into a healthy adulthood.  I truly believe that.  I definitely have my parents to thank.  They knew what was best.  However, in this day and age, things are a lot different and parents might need more help than ever.

Be a great example

If you want active kids, be active yourself. Go for a brisk walk, ride your bike or spend some time gardening. Kids ages 6 to 17 years old need at least an hour a day of such moderate activities. Three or more days a week should be more vigorous activities such as those that include running or jumping rope. Adults need at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activities.

Invite your family to play catch or to join you on a walk. Talk about physical activity as an opportunity to take care of your body, rather than a punishment or a chore. Praise, reward and encourage activity. Set goals and have everyone track their activities and progress.

A parent’s active lifestyle is a powerful stimulus for a child. You are a role model for your children; set a good example by making physical activity a priority in your life.

Limit screen time

A surefire way to increase your children’s activity levels is to limit the number of hours they’re allowed to watch television, play video games or text on the cell phone each day. You might limit screen time — including television, video games and computer time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours a day. To make it easier, don’t put a television in your children’s bedrooms, and keep the computer in a family area. Also consider limiting other sedentary activities, such as text messaging or chatting on the phone.

If your children play video games, opt for those that require movement. Activity-oriented video games — such as dance video games and video games that use a player’s physical movements to control what happens on the screen — boost a child’s calorie-burning power.  

Establish a routine

Set aside time each day for physical activity. Get up early with your children to walk the dog or take a walk together after dinner. Start small, gradually adding new activities to the routine as you — and your children — become more fit.

Let your kids set the pace

For many kids, organized sports are a great way to stay fit. But team sports or dance classes aren’t the only options. If your child is artistically inclined, take a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks that your child can use to make a collage. If your child likes to climb, head for the nearest neighborhood jungle gym. If your child likes to read, walk or bike to the neighborhood library for a book. Or simply turn on your child’s favorite music and dance in the living room.  Every child is wired differently. We all have certain strengths and characteristics that influence our interests. The key is finding things that your children like to do.  Just like my parents did.

Promote physical activity, not exercise

To keep your kids interested in fitness, make it fun.

  • Get in the game. Play catch, get the whole family involved in a game of tag or have a jump-rope contest. 
  • Try an activity party. For your child’s next birthday, schedule a bowling party, take the kids to a climbing wall or set up relay races in the backyard.
  • Put your kids in charge. Let each child take a turn choosing the activity of the day or week. Batting cages, bowling and neighborhood play areas all count. What matters is that you’re doing something active.
  • Give the gift of activity. Make gifts and rewards things like activity-related equipment, games or outings.

Incorporating physical activity into your children’s lives does much more than promote a healthy weight.  It sets the foundation for a lifetime of fitness and good health, and remember it’s never too young to start.