Tag Archives: fitness

Time-Saving Tricks for the Busy Lady: Exercise, Cooking & More

25 Oct

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I’m a big fan of doing things that save me time. After all, my time (and your time) is precious so why complicate life any further by doing things that are going to take away our time? When you find yourself saying, “Now if only I had more time in the day…” ,”I just have no time to_____” or “I’m soooooo busy with my new job. I never have any time!” first of all, stop. You are being annoying, and it’s not true. You do have time; really I promise you do. And second of all, maybe it’s time to reconsider how you are are spending your time and do something about it! If you’re anything like me, you want to relish every waking hour, minute and second of your day, so here are some time-saving tricks for the busy lady who “doesn’t have any time”. 

Save Time During Your Workout: This is something a whole lot of people struggle with. “I don’t have time to go to the gym, so I just won’t go,” is something I hear every day. Do you really not have any possible time to squeeze in a workout, or do you just not have time to take two hours out of your day? News flash: workouts don’t have to be marathon sessions! In fact, short and sweaty wins the race in most cases.

Take today for example. I had a lot to do, but still wanted to give my body a good workout, so I incorporated strength training with cardio intervals into one quick, 45-minute workout. The entire round trip (including transportation) took less than an hour. Now, that’s what I call efficient. I used to think I had to live at the gym for two hours at a time (including an hour just for cardio alone) to see results, but now I’ve transformed my routine drastically. Today I did a metabolism-boosting workout I tore out of Women’s Health magazine that you can find here. (I like the Tabata method best.) With quick movements and little resting time, I was dripping in sweat in no time, a feeling that I absolutely adore. I love, love, looove challenging my body in new ways, and that’s exactly what this workout did for me. I concluded with five fast ‘n’ furious minutes on the step mill, with 10 minutes of intervals (15 second sprint followed by 30 seconds moderate) on the elliptical. I was in and out of there in 45 minutes. How’s that for time-saving? 

Save Time in the Morning: You know when you wake up for work and you want to smash your alarm clock then go into monster-mode for the next hour? Well, what if I told you you could have up to 60 additional minutes of sleep? Sounds pretty tempting now, doesn’t it? There are a few things you can do in the evening to shed time off your morning get-ready scramble:

  • shower at night (-up to 30 minutes if you let your hair air-dry)
  • pack a lunch before bed, something my roommates are experts at (-5 to 10 minutes and hundreds of calories from buying lunch at work)
  • set your coffee pot on automatic the night before (-3 minutes OR 15 minutes if you’re one to stop on the way to work…the lines at Starbucks these days are insane!)
  • take it back to middle school days and lay out an outfit (-up to 30 minutes on “I look fat” / “Nothing looks good on me” days)
  • make a quickie breakfast, instead of stopping for bagels, like oatmeal ‘n’ organic nut butter or a healthy smoothie with banana, berries, soy milk and protein powder. (-15 minutes from bagel detour, -150 calories, + a whole lot-o’ energy) 

Save Time in the Kitchen: I know a lot of people who moan that they don’t have time to cook, and end up settling for take-out or frozen meals. But guess what, you do have time to cook if you cook it right! The biggest misconception people have is that cooking has to be complicated and time-consuming. But it most definitely does not. I am living proof of that because most of my (extremely healthy meals) take less than 15 minutes to prepare! Nothing painful about that. Some of my faves?

  • Chop up a bunch of veggies like zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and asparagus, put them in a baking dish, drizzle on salt and olive oil, pop ’em in the oven and roast for 30 minutes on 400 degrees. 
  • Bake a sweet potato and top with agave & cinnamon (for sweet) or olive oil, cajun and red pepper flakes (for spicy). Pair with brown rice or a big, fun salad.
  • Speaking of salads, jazz up a boring salad with avocado, walnuts, tomatoes, feta cheese, apple bits, pear, and even tofu! Buy whatever is in season in the supermarket, then have fun with your salads…get creative!
  • Sauté chicken or salmon with a little olive oil, lemon, dill/rosemary/other herbs you have on hand. I also LOVE topping salmon with plain greek yogurt mixed with dijon mustard and dill. The greek yogurt is a perfect substitute for mayo! 
  • Sauteed veggies in garlic! Garlic makes any dish extra delish. Add the veggies to a salad, some brown rice or whole grain pasta or enjoy on their own!
  • Breakfast for dinner: Make an egg white omelet with 2 egg whites whisked with a little water, mushrooms, onions, spinach and some low fat cheddar or feta cheese. Serve with a piece of ezekiel toast with Smart Balance butter , some grapefruit wedges and even some turkey bacon! (Mmm)
  • Take a trip to Trader Joe’s! They always have delicious, ready-to-go healthy meals. My favorites are their packaged rissotto (takes about 5 minutes to cook), frozen mahi burgers (you can grill or saute stove-top), and ready-to-go sushi & salads. 
  • Have fun with lean ground turkey-form into burgers or cook in with zucchini and onion and cajun seasoning for a zesty dinner

To save even more time in the kitchen, try cooking your meals ahead of time and storing them in the freezer. That way, you can have a meal ready to go for you and your family instead of worrying about cooking all night long. I understand, you’re tired and not in the mood. Also look into places near you that make pre-packaged healthy meals, like my recent post on Healthy Habits Kitchen. 

What do you do to save time throughout the day? Do you hear yourself saying, “I don’t have time” more often than not? 

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Can’t Get Motivated to Workout? Grab a Few Friends!

21 Oct

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends from college. It was so good to hear her voice, shoot the shit and catch up with everything  going on in our lives (let’s just say, that’s a lot). In the midst of our discussion on our latest love interests and Halloween costumes, my friend mentioned she’s  been doing P90X with a few of her roommates and friends. “Oh, and we’re also eating super healthy. Lean meats, lots of veggies and fruits. It’s great.” WHAT?! From someone who used to eat loads of bagels, processed foods and Manwiches (ha), I couldn’t have been more thrilled about her new, healthy lifestyle. 

She explained to me that with her hectic job (working 40 to 50 hour weeks) and social life, she finds it hard to eat healthy and exercise. The trick? Grab a few friends to motivate you! Now that her entire apartment is on the same “get healthy” page, it’s so much easier for her to incorporate healthiness into her lifestyle. Every night, the entire apartment does 90 minutes of exercise together, they cook delicious wholesome meals together, and motivate one another when others are slacking. It’s the perfect formula for those trying to get in shape but just need a little more oomph, a little extra push. 

Take my sister and her roommates for example. Now that they’re big, bad seniors they’re starting to realize they can’t eat crap for the rest of their lives. This year, they’ve all been experimenting in the kitchen with new creative recipes and have ditched their not-s0-healthy meal plans. They also push each other when it comes to exercise too! The four roomies explained to me that they used to hate running with a passion, but are now beginning to enjoy it because of the goals they create for one another. One plans to run her first 5K and my sister is working her way up to 6 miles. (Way to go girls!

The power of having a workout buddy (or three) can really go a long way, and I highly encourage you to snag a few! I myself sometimes enjoy the solo workout, but I’m not going to lie: when I have a running buddy I tend to go much farther because suddenly it doesn’t feel so much like a workout. I also tend to push through an entire routine if I have someone there rooting me on, or screaming in my face, “Just one more rep!” Really, it’s like having your own personal trainer, like you have to finish or you’ll be judged or diqualified. (Think: Jillian Michaels on The Biggest Loser

Some Ideas to get you & your friends motivated: 

  • Create your own Biggest Loser competition, where you weigh in once a week and keep one another on track
  • Take turns cooking healthy meals each week. Tonight I’m cooking chicken and mashed sweet potatoes for the roomies! It’s so much fun when you’re cooking for someone else : ) 
  • Drag each other’s asses to the gym, grab a machine next to your pal and try to out-run one another. If one stops, push each other to keep going
  • Bring workout routines from magazines like Self and Women’s Health. Tonight I’ll be working out solo, so these types of routines keep me accountable to finish all the way through!
  • Sign up for a race together (like a 5K or 10K in your neighborhood), then train with each other after work!
  • Do push ups, sit ups, lunges, etc. during commercial breaks of your fave TV shows
  • Bake a healthy dessert for the apartment, so you aren’t sneaking into the Halloween bowl every night
  • Bundle up for post-dinner strolls to vent about your day and chat with your favorite pals
  • Research healthy recipes & challenging workouts on the internet, then post them on your refrigerator for motivation

What are your workout motivations? Do you like working out with a buddy or ridin’ solo? 

Calling All Boston Fit Chicks: A Fabulous Giveaway!

13 Oct

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If you remember Legally Blonde, Elle said “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” While she may have been a tad ditzy, she was absolutely on point with this one! I think we can all attest to the feel-good high we get after a nice, long sweaty workout. If you like being happy (who doesn’t?) and love a good deal (um, hello) then this is the giveaway  for you!

The kind folks at CoupMe are giving away one of four fitness deals for…wait for it…free! 

Choose between these four fab Boston/Cambridge offers: 

* 4 belly dancing classes at Johara Snake Dance Productions in Brookline or Cambridge, MA ($60 value) 

*4 Zumba classes at Shape Up Personal Training in Cambridge, MA ($60 value)

*3 Pole dancing classes at Boston Pole Fitness in Boston, MA ($75 value) 

*3 weeks of boot camp PLUS nutrition plan at Durbrow Fitness Training in Cambridge, MA ($348 value) 

Just leave a comment on my blog (bonus points if you make me laugh) with which fitness deal you’d love to win and why! Also, tweet about the deal to friends on twitter & leave a comment here saying you did so for better chances in winning! Good luck : ) 



Healthy…Dudes?

4 Sep

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from men. There are those who read my blog religiously, others who enjoy what I have to say about women, and some who just simply like the concept of it and want to know more. While my blog is called “Healthy Chicks” and mostly geared for, well, chicks, I suppose much of the advice I give can be for both men or women, really. 

So for all of you men out there: don’t be ashamed to read my blog and give me suggestions. In fact, I’m flattered that both men and women can enjoy what I have to say. No, I’m not going to change the name of my blog to “Healthy Chicks ‘n’ Dicks,” nor will I suddenly become an expert on the male species, but I do welcome readers of all backgrounds and genders. 

When it all comes down to it, both men and women can follow a happy, healthy lifestyle…and who knows, maybe we can learn from one another? I’ve got to be honest: I’ve flipped through Men’s Health magazine, and actually find it interesting what they have to say about men, health and even relationships. Not to mention the majority of my friends from home are all dudes, so I’ve learned a lottttt about the way they think, act, and treat women (sometimes I wished I’d  had earmuffs for). Regardless, it’s neat to hear different perspectives from people young, old, man or woman. 

So I don’t care if you’re a 16-year-old teen girl, a mother of three, or a 54-year-old man (hi dad). I welcome you to read, comment, criticize, or love my blog all the same. 

What are some life lessons (on relationships, health,  fitness, love, whatever) that you’ve learned from a dude? 

How Pilates Can Turn Your Life Around (Feature Interview with Jennifer Blaine of Jennifer Pilates)

2 Sep

I have to admit: While I consider myself a health and fitness enthusiast, I know very little about Pilates. I tried a class a few years ago at my local gym and boy was it a challenge (in a good way of course). Let’s just say every participant in the class was 100% ripped (especially the instructor), and my abs hurt for the next three days.

However, that one little class is the extent of my Pilates knowledge. But there has got to be more to it than that! After all, magazines rave about how it’s the most amazing workout for your body, and celebrities swear by it. So what is it that makes this exercise so darn great?

Since clearly I don’t know the answer to that, I interviewed Pilates instructor Jennifer Blaine of Jennifer Pilates to find out more about this mysterious, miracle exercise. With studio locations in Boston and on Cape Cod Jennifer truly does live and breathe Pilates. Alas, I’ll give the floor to her…

RC: When were you first introduced to Pilates?

JB: I was introduced to Pilates in 1997 after being in a car accident in Boulder, Colorado. I had such severe internal tissue damage and Pilates was actually recommended from my doctor. So I rehabbed with it for about two years…

RC: Wow, you’ve come so far! How did you get to where you are today?

JB: Well one day one of my instructors couldn’t show up to class and asked if I could sub in, since I’d been there for two years. So I kind of helped out a little bit that day, and from then on Pilates changed my life…I left my corporate job and dove into Pilates. It really was a blessing in disguise.

RC: That sure is. What’s unique about your background?

JB: I’m trained as a classical third-generation master Pilates instructor, derived from the classical methods of Joseph Pilates himself from the “Harvard of Pilates Schools” The Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado.

RC: And you have locations in both Boston and Cape Cod? Or do you just stay here in Boston?

JB: I’m in Boston [at the Newbury Street location] three days a week and on the Cape (at the Osterville location) two days a week.

RC: Wow, that’s great. You’re a busy girl! What’s something you would tell someone who knows NOTHING about Pilates (like myself) or may be weary to try it out?

JB: Pilates is great because virtually anyone can do it. I have clients who are 8 years old and clients who are 90 years old. It’s especially great for people looking for something new.

Pilates works from the core outward so in one session you’re working your entire body from head to toe. There’s no messing around…you’re in, you’re working and then you’re out. It’s just so wonderful…I don’t even feel like I’m working out. With Pilates you really can get a great workout in just an hour.

RC: That’s wonderful! I know some people who spend hours at the gym only to see no results. How is Pilates beneficial to your body?

JB: Well, after 10 sessions, you’re really feeling a difference in your body. After 20 sessions, you’re beginning to SEE a difference—losing inches, toning, strengthening, and gaining stamina. Then after 30 sessions you completely change your body and really see such a big difference. After all, the sessions are 50% stretching, 50% strengthening.

RC: What is some of the feedback you’ve heard from clients? Any unique stories?

JB: I have a golf pro who has been following me from my studios forever because I changed his golf game. Everyone asks him, “What happened? What did you do?” Focusing on the core outward really changed his body and his game…his ball is now going further and straighter.

I’ve also worked with downhill skiers and tennis pros in helping them stay in tune with their bodies. Even clients returning after having twins who are trying to find their abdominals again. Pilates is great for everyone!

RC: That’s amazing that it’s extremely versatile, good for both men and women. What are your other hobbies and interests besides Pilates?

JB: I’m an avid golfer and an avid tennis player. I also enjoy skiing, hiking, boating and sailing. I’m a real outdoorsy girl. The ocean is a big part of my life in the summer and skiing is a big part in the wintertime. And so is Pilates of course. I practice what I preach!

RC: Definitely, it makes all the difference when you’re doing what you love. Thanks Jennifer!

Purchase your very own private session with Jennifer Blaine today! Click here for more info.

[Interview also featured at CoupMe.com]

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