South FL Meal Delivery - Catered Fit

These days there are SO many options when it comes to meal delivery services. Vegan, Paleo, allergy-friendly, organic…you name it. Over the years I’ve had many clients who have tried most of the meal services in South Florida. A huge part of training with me is understanding how to keep a clean diet, so food is a major topic in most of my sessions. I guide my clients to be the best version of themselves by proper nutrition and exercise. Luckily, I love to cook and will always make the time for it in my schedule. But for someone with long work hours, a busy parent, or just someone needing help in the kitchen, a meal delivery service could be a savior. Recently I tried a few days of meals from Catered Fit, a Florida-based food delivery service. Setting up the account and choosing meals online ahead of time was super easy. I was given a few choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was also able to choose a meal plan which was dairy free (HUGE plus!). The meals were delivered in a cooler tote to my doorstep which was very convenient (I live in a building). All of the meals were really fresh and flavorful. I’m typically a creature of habit when it comes to food, but having these meals made me eat a few unfamiliar vegetables like Swiss chard and broccolini which I wouldn’t normally cook.

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If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’m a lunchtime salad LOVER. Two of the days I chose a salad for lunch and they were both awesome - arugula with salmon and shredded brussels sprouts with chicken. I was also able to make note of any food that I did NOT want to see in my meals, which for me happened to be mushrooms (yuck!). Overall, I was impressed by Catered Fit and would recommend them to anyone needing fresh, healthy, and convenient meals daily.

Click here to read more about what Catered Fit has to offer.

Banana Coconut Power Bowl

With a few of my regular morning clients away for the Holidays last week I actually got to eat breakfast at home for once (and not in the car!). But whether it’s on the go or at home with a cup of hot tea, I’m a BIG fan of breakfast. I’m one of those people who wakes up thinking about food. My day usually starts very early with a few clients back to back - so my morning meal has to be filling, energizing, and tasty. I put together this dreamy bowl that’s all of those things and more.

  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats

  • 1/2 banana

  • 1 egg white

  • almond mylk (click HERE for my homemade recipe)

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 tbs hemp shells

  • cinnamon

  • bee pollen

First cook the oats on the stove with water. Cook for a few minutes until soft, then add raw egg white. Cook for another 4-5 minutes then move the oats into a bowl. Pour in almond mylk to taste and stir. (I love my oats creamy so I do a heavy pour…especially if it’s homemade!) Top with hemp shells, banana, coconut, cinnamon, and bee pollen. Enjoy!

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Homemade Almond Mylk

As I recently stated on my Instagram story, one of my goals this year is to make a habit of making my own almond mylk. It’s always been my favorite dairy substitute and I tend to use it often. But making your own is great simply because it’s PURE. No fillers, preservatives, added sugars, plastic, etc. The difference in taste and texture is crazy, and although it sounds kooky, you can feel a difference. The first couple times you DIY it’s a little messy, but once you get the hang of it it’s a smooth operation.

  • 1 cup raw almonds (soaked in water overnight in refrigerator)

  • 5 cups filtered water (more or less depending on desired thickness)

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 tbs vanilla extract (optional)

  • Nut milk bag (I purchased from Whole Foods)

  1. Add soaked almonds plus water to a blender then add fresh water, salt and vanilla extract. Blend for 2-3 minutes, or until creamy and smooth. (Milkshake consistency)

  2. Using a bowl or container, place the nut milk bag on top and slowly begin pouring the almond mixture. Allow the liquid to drain out then begin squeezing until there is just pulp left in the bag. Discard pulp, or save for future recipes.

  3. Transfer almond mylk into a jar or closed container and refrigerate. Will keep for a few days, but best when fresh! Remember to shake very well - separation is natural.

    **Recipe can easily be doubled. I double it and it lasts me 3 days if I use it daily in breakfast and in hot tea.

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What I'm Loving Lately

If you follow me on the Gram, you know that I’m always posting about my current favorites. Sneakers, food, leggings, workouts, my golf highlights…the usual. But I feel like every so often there’s some items I’m loving that need to be shared with you all on my blog because they are just that amazing. There are quite a few things I’ll GLADLY leave behind in 2018, but here’s a list of some items I’m loving lately that will be coming with me into the New Year!

 

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Now, I know you may think that dropping a few hundred on a hair dryer seems silly. But let me tell you, this thing is amazing. What excited me the most was how much less damaging it is on your hair. Being in the gym daily and constantly having to tie my hair up has really taken a toll on my locks. Compared to my old dryer, the Dyson leaves my hair much smoother and isn’t harsh on my ends. Aside from that, it makes styling so much easier and my blowouts have never looked better.

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WorkParty by Jaclyn Johnson

Just the other day I discovered this book on Instagram and read wonderful reviews. I’m half way through the book but I can tell you it’s a great read. Jaclyn, now CEO and founder of a successful online platform, shares about her struggles as a young entrepreneur who was hungry for success. Even after many setbacks she was determined to build something amazing. I find that it’s super relatable and very inspiring for me as a woman and business owner in today’s world.

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Nike Women’s Free RN Flyknit

Technically I’ve been loving this shoe for all of 2018, but I just got my 3rd color and I have no plans of stopping in 2019. It’s my favorite shoe for indoor weight training, hands down! They’re light weight, flexible, and super flattering on the foot. I can comfortably wear them to train clients all day long. They are an important part of my Nike collection!

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Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

My boyfriend got me these headphones before we left for South Africa during Thanksgiving week and they’ve been SO great. I had really been wanting an over the ear pair of headphones because I’ve always found the smaller in-ear sets annoying and uncomfortable. These Beats aren’t bulky and the battery life is amazing. They are great for workouts, travel and FaceTime. They fold up to a compact size and can easily be stored in a purse or carry on.

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The New Primal Marinade

If you’ve known me or have been following me for a while, you know that Crockpot Chicken Breast is a MAJOR staple in my diet. But recently I’ve been using The New Primal Marinade (classic and citrus herb) and I cannot get enough. It caught my eye at Whole Foods one day because of its low sugar content (only 3g) and the ingredients are all simple and clean. Not to mention the taste, OMG! The chicken turns out so tender and delicious and goes perfectly in my kale salads. Obsessed!

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Overcoming Injuries

If there is one thing in life I have learned the hard way, it’s overcoming unexpected injuries. Growing up a dancer and VERY active, injuries were no more than pulled muscles, minor irritations, and some foot blisters. In the past, I’ve always been healthy and able to bounce back from things with ease. But after a bad ski fall in March of 2017, I thought tearing my ACL would ruin my body forever. The thought of having an ugly knee scar and being limited to activity was absolutely terrifying. With many months of discomfort, therapy, and lots of work in the gym, my right leg was about 90% in May of 2018 (one year after surgery). Just as I was starting to gain back my confidence and strength, I had another unlucky day which lead me to the ER one morning in July. It was really hard to believe (and kind of embarrassing) that I crashed my bike into a tree and shattered my wrist. I spent that entire day beating myself up. But the truth is that you can never be prepared for an injury. There will always be pain, missed days of work, and medical expenses. It’s an overall inconvenience. I was beyond grateful for my boyfriend for taking such amazing care of me and going to every single appointment with me. My mom, once again, took me to surgery and cared for me after (she’s getting really good at this). Luckily I only had to miss a couple days of work and recovery was a piece of cake compared to knee surgery.

 

But the hardest part of overcoming an injury is keeping confidence, hope, and a positive attitude during the following months. I struggled the most with staying positive during the recovery process because my workouts were limited. Even though I was eating super clean, I watched my body change a lot. Not only did I experience muscle atrophy in my arm but in other body parts as well. I got really discouraged a few times but eventually realized I couldn’t keep feeling bad for myself. I tried to motivate myself the way I motivate my clients during their struggles. I had to stay focused and mindful without comparing myself to anyone. I changed the way I trained my upper body and made sure I kept my legs and core strong. Getting in great workouts while injured IS possible and can be safe and effective. Life will always throw things at you, but it’s all about how you deal with adversity. Many injuries (like my own) are temporary and it’s important to keep working through them without giving up.




Fitness + Travel

Last weekend my boyfriend and I traveled to the east coast of Mexico for a golf tournament. Naturally I was excited for a trip to Mexico (tacos, por favor!) but since it wasn’t exactly a vacation I had to keep myself in check. Between the long hours of golf practice and my online appointments/workout planning, the daily routine wasn’t completely lost. We packed plenty of snacks for the flight and the room. Our hotel had an amazing gym within walking distance where we worked out and stretched daily. But everyone knows how travel can wreak havoc on a workout routine and clean diet, especially when you’re out of the country. After several recent trips I’ve figured out how to travel without coming home with extra baggage.

 

HYDRATE

Drinking LOTS of water is crucial when it comes to travel. Flying can cause dehydration and can lead to all sorts of discomfort. To avoid digestive and respiratory issues, bloating, and skin breakouts, drink tons of water before and after the day of travel. Also, staying hydrated curves cravings and could keep you from eating the wrong things.

PACK FOOD

Pack snacks for the flight like apples, berries, small packs of nut butter and rice cakes. For the stay, things like oatmeal, nuts, bananas, and nut milk always come in handy. For most people, traveling means eating out daily. My rule is to at least have breakfast oatmeal and healthy snacks throughout day since eating out for lunch and dinner is hard to avoid.

 SWEAT

Luckily, golf requires lots of walking so my step count was higher than usual. But walking does not count as a proper workout. Give yourself at least 45 minutes in the gym or outside to really get your body in motion. Planning workouts ahead of time helps you stay on track. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a gym, plan out what you want to work each day. If not, HIIT workouts require little to no equipment and can be done inside or outside. TRX straps, stretch bands, and a jump rope are amazing for the frequent traveler as they can be easily packed in a suitcase.   

 

Follow my Instagram page for workout ideas and tons of fitness tips as we head into the holiday season. Look out for my Thanksgiving week workout challenge – to be announced next week on all my pages!

♡Liv

Ciao, Positano!

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It’s no surprise why Positano has been a popular travel destination for many years with it’s unique architecture, incredible views, and romantic cliffside hotels. It had been high on my list of places to visit and spending time in Europe is just what I wanted before the start of a busy season. The authentic Italian food, delicious coffee and wine, and charming shops are just a handful of reasons to love Positano. But there’s a few things you should know before you book a trip to this little gem on the Amalfi Coast. 

 

BOOK IN ADVANCE

Hotel accommodations should be booked at least 2 or 3 months in advance. I made the mistake of booking a hotel only a few weeks in advance, thinking it was enough time. Hotel prices are high and Positano is flocked with tourists so waiting till the last minute is not smart. Also, booking dinner reservations early is encouraged. Some restaurants are nearly impossible to get into without a reservation ahead of time. Luckily we were able to score a table at Next2 and La Sponda in Hotel Le Sirenuse, but the swanky gram-worthy spots book up fast. 

  

TRANSPORTATION

One of our mistakes was renting a car and driving from the airport in Naples to Positano. Having our own car sounded more romantic than taking a cab or bus, but taking a cab from airport is the way to go. Parking in Positano gets expensive and driving a car in town or between towns is a major headache. Also, beware of the drive on the coast to Positano. Sharp turns and winding roads can lead to car sickness. Once we got settled, we did things the Italian way and rented a scooter for a couple days. It was a fun (and also terrifying) way to zip around Positano and visit the neighboring towns.

 

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STAYING HEALTHY

Keeping a clean diet in Europe can be challenging, especially when you don’t have access to a kitchen to cook for yourself. What I found the most difficult this trip was breakfast, since Italians aren’t really breakfast people. Among the few places that open early, my favorite was Casa E Bottega - a MUST when visiting Positano. Here we were able to order fruit and vegetable smoothies, dairy free and gluten free pancakes, oat bowls, egg dishes, and even almond milk for coffee! Everything was super fresh. They opened at 8am and by 8:30 the tables were almost full. Hotel Gabrisa was another favorite, but for lunch or dinner. Not only were the not-so-clean items amazing, you could easily get a salad, vegetables, and gluten free breads and pastas.

 

WORKOUTS

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Positano Fitness (the muscle beach of Positano) is a small gym on the beach that costs 15€ for a day pass. Bring your own towel and headphones, and be ready to get creative. They don’t have tons of equipment and it’s basically in the middle of the sidewalk but it’s a unique way to get in a workout before a day on the beach. The tiny beach in Positano has pebbles instead of sand, so a beach run is not possible. Since finding a gym in Italy isn’t very common I really appreciated this little beachside gym. Need a workout to follow? Check out this leg routine that can be done on vacation, with or without weights! 

 

Hike

Sentiero Degli Dei or “Path of the Gods” was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever experienced. Not the easiest, because of many steep rocks and steps, but definitely a good workout. We took the scooter from Positano to Nocelle and the hike took us up and over past Praiano. It is about 8.7 kilometers in total and took us a couple hours to complete. This hike was a highlight of the trip and a must-do on any trip to the Amalfi Coast. Drinking fresh limoncello at the little cafe towards the end of the hike was the perfect way to relax and enjoy the view.

Overall it was an amazing trip and I will never forget beautiful Positano. Taking time away to enjoy life and see new places is super important to me. Now it’s time to get back to work, return to a super clean diet, and crush daily workouts! Looking forward to seeing all my clients this week!

Ciao!

♡Liv

Dragon Salad

After numerous posts on my Instagram stories, I’ve gotten so many messages asking about the delicious salad I'm always eating. "Is that bacon AND avocado?" The answer is YES. You see, I’m a salad lover. I crave a big crunchy salad almost every single day. One night for dinner, my boyfriend (slash amazing personal chef) decided to throw together a salad with a few of my favorite things. I tweaked it a bit to make it LivFitness approved and voila! My famous Dragon Salad was born.

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Ingredients:

  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Chicken Breast (thin sliced)
  • 1/4 Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • 3-4 Orange slices
  • 1/2 cup Butternut Squash
  • Bacon

Dressing:

  • EVOO
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard

To make the salad:

Cook thin sliced chicken breast on a cast iron pan (grilled chicken would also be great!). Cube butternut squash, toss in a tad of olive oil, then arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for about 30 min, or until soft. Chop up 1-2 slices of bacon and fry on the stove until desired crispness (I only like a little bit of bacon and mine must be well-done), then drain on paper towel. Slice tomatoes, cucumber, and orange slices and toss them into a bowl with the chopped greens. Next add sliced chicken, butternut squash, bacon, and avocado to the bowl. Spice with black pepper and drizzle on the dressing. 

Notes:

*Not into bacon or don't need the fat? Leave it out! Depending on what else I've eaten that day, sometimes I will hold the bacon.

**This is our go-to salad dressing. 3 parts oil, 1 part vinegar, and a dollop of mustard. Store extra dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week.  I don't usually measure when I put it over my salad, a little goes a long way.

***Always make extra chicken and butternut squash to save for later!

If you make the Dragon Salad and love it as much as I do, tag me in your photo @livfigueroa !

 ♡ Liv

Amy's Transformation

The main reason why I love what I do is because I get to connect with people on a personal level. I coach them through workouts, provide nutrition guidance, and teach them to love the journey to fitness. It's called Personal Training because every client is unique; what works for one may not work for another. Regardless of who I'm training my goal is to teach them that fitness is a lifestyle that requires healthy habits and lots of effort. There is no easy way to reach fitness goals, but a lifestyle change is possible for everyone and totally worth it. I’m on a mission to help my clients look and feel their absolute best while loving the body they are in.

Last month marked a year and a half working with my client, Amy. In this amount of time she has made a huge body and mind transformation. After moving to Palm Beach from out of state she felt it was time to take control of her health. Like so many women all over the world she once struggled with negative body image issues. Her previous workouts were sporadic, consisting of mostly cardio and rarely any weights. She came to me for help and was open minded from the very first day. We started with a 3 day per week in-home training program introducing weights, core work, and focusing on proper form. After quickly getting the hang of things she started to notice a gain in energy and a huge increase in motivation. She was determined to get the fit body she deserved. Now, a year and a half later, she trains with me 5 days per week where I incorporate weight training, TRX, HIIT, battle ropes, cardio, and lots of core work. I give her challenging and effective workouts that burn fat and build a strong toned body. We discuss healthy recipes and diet tips daily that nourish and fuel the body. She’s become extremely fit (I mean, look at that bod!) and the increase in confidence I’ve seen has been incredible. While juggling wife duties and being a business owner, she demonstrates that self-improvement is possible (and necessary). Day in and day out she stays committed to her wellness and I could not be more proud. 

 Overcoming negative body image issues, eliminating an unhealthy relationship with food, and finding a strong workout routine is what I like to call positive behavior change. Understanding that NOTHING happens over night is the first step to getting fit. Hard work and consistency over time is what leads to success and lasting results. My goal is to empower and inspire others to take control of their bodies by sharing Amy's success story. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my passion with others every day while building relationships with wonderful people along the way.

Before i after

Before i after

July 2017

July 2017

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Always remember: the most important investment you can make is in yourself.

ACL Surgery Recovery

It's been one month since I had ACL surgery, a surgical graft replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament. (If you’re new to my blog, read about how I tore my ACL here.) Although I have several months of hard work ahead, having the first month behind me is a huge relief. I was fortunate enough to have an extremely experienced surgeon and the procedure went very well. However, the first five days after surgery were far from pleasant. Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of pain and lack of sleep. The trauma from surgery left my whole leg swollen and bruised from thigh to heel. Despite the pain level and discomfort, I was instructed to walk with crutches (50% weight-bearing) and begin physical therapy the very next day. My doctor used a patellar tendon graft which made bending especially painful near the incision on the front of the knee. The first week required tons of rest, elevation, ice and positive thoughts. Not being able to do simple every day tasks like showering and cooking was difficult and really frustrating. I am so incredibly grateful for my mom for taking amazing care of me (even during grumpy moments). Changing my ice cooler, doing laundry and preparing my clean meals so I’d stay on track - she made everything possible.

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By weeks two and three I was able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I was able to return to work, go out to dinner with friends and even drive (no more Uber!). Therapy sessions started to become less painful and more hopeful. Between the sessions at therapy and practicing exercises on my own, it’s clear that post operative rehabilitation is key. I’m focusing on full extension, flexion and gaining back my quadriceps after severe atrophy. Having to relearn how to properly move my leg has been mentally and physically challenging, but having patience is a must. I notice small amounts of progress with each day and should soon be able to ditch my crutches. Looking forward to being fully recovered and getting back to my normal workouts. Until then I’ll be working hard on my knee exercises, upper body workouts and keeping a clean diet.

"A minor setback paves the way for a major comeback."

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Follow my daily Instagram stories to see some of my rehab exercises. 

♡ Happy Friday!

Fab Abs

With summer around the corner lots of people are busy getting “bikini ready”. This includes firm legs, a bubble butt, chiseled arms and most importantly – a flat tummy. Although it takes dedication over time, showing off well earned abs of steel is a sweet feeling. Not to mention, your abdominal muscles are essential for overall well-being. Upper body support, better posture and less back pain are huge perks of having a strong core. But the truth is, there's no lazy way to a toned midriff. So whether you’re looking to get sexy defined abs or simply just trim down, there’s a few things you must keep in mind when it comes to your abs.

  1. Diet – Without a doubt, the most important part of your journey to a better midsection. The saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is absolutely true. You cannot expect to see results or abdominal definition if you are chowing down on breads, sugars or processed foods. You can lay on the floor and do a million crunches, but until you clean up your eating habits, your abs will never be able to truly shine. Kick the sugar, processed carbs and empty calories out of your diet and fill your plate with lean proteins, tons of vegetables and complex carbs. Using a tool such as myfitnesspal is a great way to help track your daily food intake and helps to avoid over-eating.
  2. Workouts – Anyone who’s ever trained with me knows how much I love giving core work. But the key to a great ab workout routine is variety. The core is a complex series of muscles that run in different directions. In order to really fire all of the muscles in your abdomen, you must be willing to switch up your exercises. Sure, good old crunches will give you an ab burn, but there are so many other ways to effectively hit all ab muscles. For example, there are so many great exercises that don’t even require you to lay down! Also, using unstable surfaces (like a ball or Bosu) while working out other body parts can trigger the core muscles at the same time.   
  3. Consistency – Being consistent is super important when it comes to abs. Just like many other body parts, it does NOT happen over night. Stay away from two-week or one-month crash diets and workout plans. Start looking at the big picture and make more realistic goals. My biggest tip for a lot of my clients is the weekday rule: stick to a clean routine during the week and save any cheat meals and cocktails for the weekend only. I also encourage my clients to take a few photos each month to track progress. With consistency over time, you’ll be going from flabs to FAB abs!

Try this workout:

Forearm Plank Hold – 60 seconds

Forearm Plank Alternating Knee Taps – 30 seconds

Reverse Crunch (legs in table top) – 15 reps

Flutter Kick – 30 seconds

Ball Pass Abs – 10 reps

Long Arm Plank w/ Twisted Knee Tuck - 10 sets

Knee Friendly Fitness

It’s been a little over five weeks since I tore my ACL and I can definitely say that it's been a humbling experience. My injury has not kept me from training clients and teaching my weekly barre classes. However, the real challenging part of this whole experience is having to drastically change my own workouts and knowing when to rest. Since running, barre workouts and group fitness classes are out of the question, I've had to find other ways to safely raise my heart rate. I’ve managed to work around my injury and still perform some killer upper body and core moves. Lately, I’ve been lifting heavier weights and using battle ropes for (seated) cardio. It’s so important to continue to move even when you’re faced with difficulties. Not only to stay healthy and in shape, but also for the mental health benefits of fitness! Each week I gain motivation and feel more prepared to tackle my surgery. Check out one of my workouts below.

Battle Ropes (3 sets total):

  • Alternating Waves – 45 seconds
  • Double Waves – 45 seconds
  • Russian Twist Slams – 45 seconds

Dumbbells (3 sets total):

  • Chest Press – 15
  • Seated Shoulder Press – 15
  • Overhead Triceps Extension – 15
  • Chest Fly (legs raised) – 15

Floor (3 sets total):

  • Triceps Dips - 15
  • Pushups - Close Triceps Position (pad for the knees) – 15
  • Weighted Sit-Ups - 15
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Follow my Instagram stories for daily clips of my diet, clients’ workouts and my pre-surgery workouts! 

When life gives you lemons...

This month I took an adult spring break and traveled to the mountains for a getaway. My friend/former client moved to beautiful Crested Butte last year so I was extremely excited to visit her, breathe the mountain air and throw on some ski gear! Things get a little hectic here in South Florida so I had really been anticipating this trip. Crested Butte is a charming town way up in the Rockies that’s filled with avid skiers, snowboarders and lots of active people. During my second day skiing on the mountain, I decided to try a run that was a little bit more challenging. The conditions were perfect and the vibes were just right, so I went for it. As I started picking up lots of speed I realized it was time to start turning my skis to slow down. I somehow made a wrong move and ended up taking an epic fall, keeping both poles in hand and both skis on. It was such a chaotic crash due to high speed that it took me a few moments to gather my thoughts. Immediately I knew that it was going to be bad. I was able to move my legs and arms, but very slowly. I had extreme pain in my left elbow and throbbing in my right knee. My adrenaline was pumping but all I could do was lay on the snow, look up at the blue sky and wonder how the F I was going to be able to shake this one off. Truth is, I’ve never had any real physical limitations. I’ve been athletic since I could walk and my entire life revolves around fitness and having to be on my A-game to help and inspire others. After returning home, the swelling was horrible but I managed to still train my clients and teach one barre class during my first week back. (This slow-paced life is for the birds!) When the MRI came back showing I had ruptured my ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee) in my right knee, I immediately got that sinking gut feeling and I knew things just got real. I’m not one to cry often, but I completely broke down. I felt terrible, totally hopeless and instantly began thinking all negative thoughts. What if I’m not able to regain the strength I had in my leg? What if this seriously impacts my business? What if the scar is big? Surely I can’t book any photoshoots with an ugly scar! That all went on for about twenty-four hours. (OK, maybe forty-eight.) But then I had a lightbulb moment. Yes, tearing my ACL is a setback and will take time, but things could be worse. So I had to give myself a pep talk, just like I would give to any one of my clients. I’m alive, strong, and with motivation and hard work, overcoming this obstacle is possible. With the expertise of a great surgeon and diligent rehabilitation, I’ll be on the road to recovery. In the meantime, I’m still able to work on my upper body and abs, and keeping a super clean diet will be key. I’m considering this to be a major learning experience and I’m not accepting failure. I will run, jump, squat and even ski again. Getting there may not be a walk in the park, but I’m capable of taking on the challenge.

Follow me on instagram for all things fitness, clean eating and updates on my recovery process! Catch me at the barre this week at Fitness Hub - Tuesday 5:30pm and Friday 10:30am.

Have a great week!

♥Liv

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Lately I've been feeling the fall vibes and have been really craving soup. Butternut squash soup, to be specific. I don't eat soup often but something about last weekends' "cold front" here in South Florida put me in a mood. After seeing so many recipes over the past few weeks while scrolling though my favorite food-inspired accounts, I had one saved that I was dying to try by Minimalist Baker. Not only was it butternut squash, it was coconut curry infused. Talk about soul-warming! Aside from the fact that it was everything my taste buds wanted, it's quick and easy to whip up. (I made it last night after getting home from a looooong day) I love so many of her recipes because they're simple yet wholesome with so many of my favorite ingredients. For this recipe, I used a Vitamix blender and I used honey instead of maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly diced (~40 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp or 6 g)
  • 6 cups (840 g) butternut squash (~ 1 small butternut squash)
  • Pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (12 g) curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 14-ounce (414 ml) can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey 

Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add oil, shallots, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add butternut squash and season with a pinch each salt and pepper, curry powder, and ground cinnamon. Stir then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth and honey. 
  5. Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until butternut squash is fork tender.
  6. Using a blender purée on high until creamy and smooth. Return soup back to pot.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more curry powder as needed. Continue cooking for a few more minutes over low heat if needed.
  8. Serve as is. Can be stored in refrigerator but best when fresh! 

Fall fitness in Colorado

Earlier this month I took my first trip to Colorado and boy was it beautiful! My client was getting married in Aspen so I decided to head up a few days early to do some exploring (and also escape hurricane Matthew) in the Rocky Mountains. One word: breathtaking. Not only was I literally out of breath due to the altitude, I was blown away by the beautiful scenery. Driving from Denver to Aspen was one of the most beautiful car rides I’ve ever experienced, along with the many hikes between Denver and Aspen. It was super exciting for me to finally see snow (crazy, I know) and enjoy some cool fall weather in the cozy towns of Colorado. During my stay in the mountains I was able to be just as active as I am at home - major plus! I loved how the Colorado community as a whole, especially Aspen, was very fitness friendly. But getting ready for a workout in the cold is no joke and takes a little extra motivation. I nearly froze one morning walking twenty minutes across town to take a yoga class. Aside from all the fun exploring and other perks of being in Colorado, I was beyond thrilled to be in Aspen for the first time for such a special occasion. The bride and I even got to sneak in a training session at the St. Regis gym the day before the wedding. It's amazing to see another one of my fit brides walk down the aisle looking confident, happy and absolutely stunning. Months of hard work and clean eating (even before the engagement) are continuously paying off. I’m so proud of her and how far she has come! As I said before, a fit and healthy lifestyle is a never ending journey, but a wedding can definitely act as a great motivator.     

 

 

What I'm Sweating In

When it comes to workout gear, I'm all about wearing pieces that make you feel your best before, during AND after your workout. Check out a few of my current favorites!

 

Adidas PureBoost X - Seriously obsessed with these! I'm really loving the adidas styles i've been seeing lately. This is my second pair of PureBoost sneakers and certainly not my last. Whether I'm training clients all day, teaching barre or working out, the level of comfort is beyond amazing. I love the pattern with the neutral colors...funky but fresh.

lululemon Fast As Light Muscle Tank - I just can't get enough of this material. I have several tops in this exact material and they're all amazing. It's anti-stink (no, really!) and really soft. But what I really LOVE about this style is the higher neckline, it's shorter in length but not a full on crop top, and the open crossed back. Such a sexy fit!

lululemon Hot Spell Bra - This is my absolute favorite bra right now. It's flattering, comfortable...A MUST have. I love to pair it with a top that's open on the sides or in the back to show the back straps. 

Beyond Yoga White Crops - Sorry, not sorry! Summer is NOT over yet. Still rocking my white crops in the gym and in the studio! Click HERE to shop on Carbon38.com using my code LIVFIGUE50 for a sweet discount on your first purchase!

 

Catch me at the studio tonight!

5:15 barre // 6:15 total body fit

Remembering CAF

September is a time of the year that forces me to pause and reflect more than usual. Today would be my brothers' 29th birthday. The ninth birthday I’ve spent without him. Truth is, no matter how much time passes I still miss him today just as much as I did in 2007. He was kindhearted, bright, compassionate and absolutely gorgeous. To know him was to love him. He had this special way about him that would light up a room and had an energy that was simply contagious. He made a positive impact on anyone lucky enough to have known him. Although our time together was cut way too short, we shared a special bond and I miss it every single day. Losing a loved one at a young age is hard, but I believe it has truly molded me into the person I am today. It’s something that you never imagine could or would happen to you. It’s hard think that in an instant your life could change forever. But because I had to learn this earlier on in life, I just feel things differently. It’s easier for me to clearly see what’s truly important and I’ve learned to never take things, my health or people for granted. After the accident, I became much more passionate about certain things in my life that mattered most. I’ll never forget stepping back into the dance studio just a few days after he died and the amount of joy that movement brought me even after my life had just fallen apart. It’s the moments like that that keep me going. Life is simply too short to not do what you love. The way I love fitness and wellness is how he loved sports, music and surfing. The relationships I have built in my personal and professional life have all been influenced by him in some way, even years after his death. Improving myself physically and mentally, letting go of grudges, going back to finish my education and crushing other personal goals have all been decisions in my life that were inspired by him. I can still hear his words of encouragement and I keep all of our memories close to my heart. His amazing spirit will live on forever.  

 

In loving memory of my sweet brother, Cesar A. Figueroa. 

Fig & Strawberry Protein Shake

Aside from eating clean and wholesome foods, I’m all about eating seasonally and summertime fruits and veggies are my favorite. Lately, I have been unable to resist buying fresh figs from Whole Foods since they can be hard to find. They're delicious in breakfast bowls and smoothies. I threw a couple in the Vitamix along with strawberries and a few of my other favorite ingredients. It’s the perfect summertime morning protein shake.

  • 2 figs
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 scoop of Raw Protein
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 large ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ tablespoon local bee pollen

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Dumbbells before wedding bells

With wedding season in full swing, it’s no surprise that there’s been lots of wedding buzz going on during my work days. Whether it’s your own wedding, walking in a bridal party or even just attending as a guest – weddings can be a big deal. It’s one of the biggest and most memorable days of a bride’s life and everyone wants to feel their absolute BEST on their big day. One of my best friends recently tied the knot in June and three of my current clients are preparing for their weddings in the fall. As I always tell my clients, being fit is a lifestyle that requires consistency over time. However, I’m all for setting goals and CRUSHING them so a wedding can be the perfect motivator!

On New Years Eve 2015, my client/friend Kathleen married the man of her dreams. Not only was I there to witness their union, I had the honor of walking as a bridesmaid. She came to me with a goal four months prior to her big day and was ready to rock. Coming from an athletic background, she had great strength and working out was something she enjoyed. But it was time to kick things into high gear – challenging workouts, meal preparation and tons of motivation. She trained with me five days per week in the gym and would sometimes throw in a barre class on the weekend. Aside from the physical benefits of training, working out helps to minimize any wedding planning jitters (it’s a real thing!). We also spent lots of time in the kitchen together cooking delicious and healthy meals to ensure consistent clean eating. With all the hard work and dedication, Kathleen’s results were showing…and fast. So fast, that with each visit to the dress designer the dress had to be taken in. (Although she was looking fab, I don’t think he was too happy with me.) Her wedding turned out to be beyond perfect. She was glowing, healthy and stronger than ever. Looking stunning in her wedding dress was also a plus!

As for my current brides-to-be, they are on the same path and I couldn’t be more proud of them. They’re staying focused with awesome workouts, daily motivation, lots of clean eating and having so much fun along the way. Truth is, even with a wedding planner the preparation seems endless. Not to mention juggling work schedules and other things that life throws at you. (Major props to Kandace for working crazy hours per week at the hospital but still managing to make time to stay wedding-ready!) Just remember that it’s all worth it and hard work always pays off.

Cheers to FIT brides!

Say YES to Weights

When most people hear the words “strength training” they immediately think of body building, power lifting or strenuous workouts. To the average person or someone newly into fitness, strength training and using weights can be intimidating. A lot of people think that strength training is only associated with athletes and experienced individuals. Although I believe any form of exercise or movement is beneficial, incorporating weight in some or all of workouts is crucial.

As we age, we face an inevitable decline in bone density and muscle strength. It has been scientifically proven that aerobic exercise alone is not enough to sustain bone health, muscle tone, posture and an all-around functional body. Stronger muscles lead to stronger bones which can prevent injuries and osteoporosis. Strength training can involve dumbbells, stationary machines, weighted bars, suspension training and resistance bands. The intensity of strength training routines can vary and can be suitable for any level of fitness. For individuals who are trying to lose weight, weight bearing exercise is needed for fat loss.

Being a female in the fitness industry, I am constantly being asked by other women about my views on lifting weights. Not only am I in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, but I also teach barre which is known for little to low weight and high repetition exercises. The idea that weight will make someone look “bulky” versus “long and lean” is a common misconception and could not be further from the truth. I have often heard well-known trainers discourage women from using challenging amounts of weight and I am constantly encouraging my female clients to eliminate this mentality. With proper form, a great workout routine and a balanced diet, weight training can take your body to the next level of awesome.

With clearance from a doctor and expert advice from a fitness professional, anyone can start a safe and effective workout program which incorporates strength training. If you are still not convinced, the fact that you don’t technically need a gym membership to maintain a routine should seal the deal. All you need is a set of dumbbells to get started in your home, garage or outdoors. Eventually, a beginner starting with minimal time and equipment can progress into more advanced movements and longer workouts. Aside from the physical benefits of strength training, it increases cognitive performance, mood and confidence for both men and women of all fitness levels.

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