Paséa Hotel - Huntington Beach, CA

Last week my boyfriend and I took a trip to beautiful Southern California for a golf tournament. We spent six days total in SoCal, but the first four days were all about Huntington Beach. I wanted a cool hotel with a nice gym so I could be productive while A was at golf. Neither of us had ever visited this part of town so I searched Instagram to find a great looking spot and found the Paséa Hotel & Spa.

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The location was excellent; amazing ocean views from the room, pool, and fun rooftop bar. A glass of wine during golden hour on the rooftop bar is highly recommended. While I didn’t spend much time at the pool, it seemed like a fun time. SoCal just isn’t warm enough for this Florida girl! The pool area was also very family friendly (LOTS of kids).  

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The room was simple but spacious and we had a view of the ocean and sunset. The room came with a complementary bottle of wine plus two bottles of water per day. A mini fridge is a MUST for us, considering we always travel with almond milk, fruit, and a few other items for breakfast. We were able to fit our items in the small refrigerator with no problem.

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 The hotel restaurant, Tanner’s, is a lively eatery serving American cuisine. Our favorite dish on the menu was the grouper ceviche. Unfortunately, they didn’t have many healthy items on the menu. And honestly, Huntington Beach in general really lacks healthy food spots. It seems like they are a bit behind some of their neighboring towns. But overall, we enjoyed Tanner’s and were so grateful they were able to accommodate our gluten and dairy allergy needs.

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 The bustling gym and spa area was one of the best parts of the stay. The gym was large and well-kept with great equipment. Did not book a spa treatment, but their boutique had lots of cute items for sale including brands like lululemon, Alo, and Beyond Yoga. I noticed many hotel guests heading into the spa and working out all throughout the day. We had some great workouts together plus lots of stretching. If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember seeing lots of posts from me at the gym including a live workout on my story and an IGTV video. I was also able to FaceTime with a few clients from the gym so a great WiFi connection is always appreciated!

 We loved that the Paséa Hotel is located right next to an outdoor shopping mall and food hall. Being able to walk everywhere and explore was a huge plus for us. During our stay we went to dinner, did some shopping, and I even got my nails done. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Huntington Beach and we hope to go back to the Paséa Hotel & Spa!

My favorite sunset partner ♡♡♡

My favorite sunset partner ♡♡♡

 

Spicy Quinoa And Lentil Bowl (Vegan)

Lately I’ve been incorporating more lentils into my diet since they’re a great source of protein and fiber. I never liked them growing up so I often forget about this delicious member of the legume family. I wasn’t really sure what to call this recipe, so I’m calling it a BOWL. Very similar to chili because it’s spicy and filled with beans, but the quinoa makes it thicker and more filling. It’s packed with flavor and so nutritious! A bowl like this one is perfect for the days I want to go meatless but still feel satisfied. Another reason to love this recipe is for the easy clean up (only one pot!). I’m all about easy clean up and low difficulty level when cooking during the week. Today I happen to have a few fresh Fresno Chilis on hand so I added one to the mix. A jalapeño pepper would work just as well (I love everything spicy). As much as I love my lunchtime salads, I’ll be eating leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I’m obsessed.



What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves - minced

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion - finely chopped

  • 1/2 red bell pepper - chopped

  • 1 chili pepper (or jalapeño, depending on how much heat you want!)

  • 2 fresh tomatoes (can would work fine) - finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup water (plus more if needed)

  • 1 cup green lentils - rinsed

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

  • 1 container black beans

  • 1 container kidney beans

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro

  • Avocado for topping



To make:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook for about a minute (until fragrant).

  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and chili pepper. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.

  3. Add tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, cinnamon, S & P. Lower the heat and let simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add broth, quinoa, lentils, and water. Bring to a boil for about 30 minutes. Lentils and quinoa should be tender.

  5. Stir in black beans, kidney beans, and cilantro. Feel free to add more water here if needed. Simmer on low for another 10 minutes.

  6. Add any extra spices if needed. Serve with avocado and garnish with cilantro. ENJOY!

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Eating GF/DF in NYC

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New York City has always been one of my favorite places to visit. Whether I’m there for work or just a fun weekend, it never gets old. There are so many great things to do and see, and the fast-paced vibe is second to none. If you follow my Instagram stories while I’m there you’ll see LOTS of workouts and a whole lot of eating. But let’s be real, the best part of NYC has got to be the food. Within the hustle and bustle of each neighborhood you’ll find some really great bars and restaurants that just don’t compare to anywhere else. My inner foodie gets so excited to eat my way around town knowing that there’s always going to be new amazing concepts to try. But what’s even better is that I’m always able to find places that are healthy AND food allergy friendly, since I don’t eat diary and my boyfriend has Celiac (no gluten or dairy). If I’m indulging or eating clean, here’s a few of my all-time favorite GF/DF places to nosh: 

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Sushi Yasuda

Midtown East - 204 E 43rd St

If you’re looking for some amazing sushi, look no further. Compared to Nobu, it doesn’t have the sceney vibe or the fun cocktails. It’s a much more traditional, low-key space with extremely fresh dishes. A great spot for an intimate date night but also perfect for friends and family. We like to order a bunch of different sushi rolls to get a taste of everything. Each piece of sushi is incredibly fresh and flavorful. Once you dine at Sushi Yasuda, you won’t want to settle for the place-to-be-seen spots around town with mediocre sushi.

 

By The Way Bakery

Upper East Side – 1236 Lexington Ave

I found this gem on Instagram before heading up for a weekend in NYC last year. I happened to be staying uptown that trip so this heavenly bakery was just a few blocks away. It’s COMPLETELY dairy and gluten free, which is unheard of here in South Florida. The cake slices are moist and delicious, and the cookies are gooey in the middle. I don’t think there’s one baked good on the menu that isn’t amazing. Do I recommend eating sweets all the time? Of course not. But an occasional weekend GF/DF brownie straight out of the oven is definitely LivFitness approved.

 

Jack’s Wife Freda

Multiple locations downtown

A brunch staple (insert hands up emoji). Although at certain times it can be tough to get a seat, it’s definitely worth a 20 minute wait. This relaxed Mediterranean restaurant with locations in SoHo, WV, and Chelsea is popular for a reason. My favorite dish on the menu is Maya’s Breakfast Bowl. A hearty and healthy bowl with warm eggs, kale, squash, quinoa, and roasted tomato. SO yummy.

 

The Butcher’s Daughter

Nolita + WV

I first discovered this place while in LA, but it’s even better in NYC. I love that the menu is very specific in terms of what has gluten, dairy, and soy. Most items can easily be made gluten free. The juices and acai owls are all amazing and fresh. For a more filling breakfast or lunch, I like to go with the Mexican Breakfast Bowl or the Juevos Locos.

 

Sweetgreen

All over NYC

Out of all of the salad joints in NYC, Sweetgreen is my favorite. I can always count on a great SG salad for a simple lunch or dinner. I create my own salad with is normally kale or romaine with chicken, avocado, tomato, onion, and any other vegetable I’m in the mood for that day. Most of their dressings are dairy free and a few are gluten free (my favorite is cilantro lime!). If all else fails, simple olive oil and vinegar for the win. You just can’t go wrong with a crunchy bowl of greens!

Ditch The Excuses

Ok guys, it’s time for some REAL talk. About you, your goals, and what’s getting between the two. I keep hearing these conversations lately and TBH I’m over it. It’s time to stop blaming other people and things for those extra pounds on the scale and skipped workouts. Truth is, keeping a fit and healthy routine takes some effort. On top of that, EVERYONE has obstacles and life gets hectic. Demanding jobs, small children, pregnancy, family issues, divorce, caring for someone sick…I’ve seen it all. But let’s face it people, what’s getting in the way of you living your healthiest life are the excuses you give yourself. You are responsible for what you do (and don’t do) each day. Quit blaming your long hours at the office for your lack of workouts. Quit blaming your partner and your menstrual cycle for your lack of motivation. Your injury and your children are NOT reasons to eat unhealthy food. The bottom line is that there are so many ways to work around the “stuff” in our lives. Below are a few examples of what people have said to me recently along with my tips for making better choices:

“One bad day leads to a whole bad month”

Everyone has those not-so-motivated days, we are HUMAN! But the goal is to avoid letting it become a habit. Forgive yourself, move on, and get a kick-ass workout in the next day. Just because you indulged yesterday, today is a new day to do things differently and get back on track. Even if an entire week passes with zero exercise and lots of bad food, you can take small steps to start over. Whether it’s packing daily lunches, a 30 minute workout, or eliminating alcohol during the week, you have to start again somewhere. You can make it happen.

“I have no time to cook.”

There are so many ways to prepare nutritious foods that can last you a few days. My best advice is using a Crock Pot. I make simple chicken breast which covers my lunches for three days. That way I can just throw together a quick salad when I’m home for lunch or I can pack it to go in the morning. Another HUGE tip I give my clients is to cook a LOT for dinner that way you have left over food. Also, cooking doesn’t have to be fancy or take tons of time. Simple dishes like eggs, vegetables baked with olive oil, grilled chicken, baked sweet potato, and oatmeal can be quick and easy. If you still feel like cooking is impossible for your lifestyle, there’s so many meal delivery services these days that can fit your needs. Resorting to daily take-out (or even worse, FAST FOOD!) can be extremely high in calories and can also take a toll on your wallet.

“My husband eats bad food around me late at night.”

This one gets me every time. Look, I’m not exactly saying to dump your significant other, but just because they don’t want to be healthy or look good naked doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! But if you struggle with self control, my biggest tip for this is to find some healthier options for the house. If your spouse has a sweet tooth, there’s so many non-dairy dessert bars with much better ingredients and lower sugar. My favorite chocolate bar is by Hu (can also be purchased at Whole Foods) and has no dairy or refined sugar. SO good. Eventually, you’ll be surprised how much your food choices can influence your partner and maybe they’ll be open to trying new things in the kitchen 😉.

“I’m so stressed out from work.”

Another V common one I hear, especially from my fellow twenty-somethings. Listen up! Nothing should come before your health. Period. I’m ALL about the hustle and have been working hard for many years. But working out is a major stress reliever so making time for it only makes perfect sense. FYI: stress is directly linked to a long list of health issues including heart disease and accelerated aging. So instead of skipping your workout and turning to wine and food after work to deal with stress, get moving! Turn on your favorite playlist and head to the gym or sign up for your favorite workout class that you’ll enjoy. Not only will it make you feel better, but your performance at work will most definitely improve.

“Workout classes and a personal trainers are expensive.”

True story, a good personal trainer IS expensive. Some classes can be pricey. But so are shoes and handbags (and obesity). I have trained many people who have minimized their spending in other areas (like shopping and eating out) so they can make their workouts a priority. At the end of the day, fitness is an investment you make for your health. And if you have Instagram, Facebook, or just access to the internet, there are so many free workouts you can find with a variety of levels that you can even do in your own home.

You owe yourself an hour out of your day to move and sweat. Make the time to grocery shop or meal prep because it’s good for you. Give yourself the love and attention you deserve. You’ll feel so damn good when you do.

Weekend Wellness - Legs & Abs By Liv

What an amazing season it has been here in sunny Palm Beach! Great weather, tons of fun events, and LOTS of fitness. In addition to my year-round clients, I had the pleasure of working with people who were here for a few months and some for just a weekend. But the highlight of this season was definitely my monthly workouts at The Royal Poinciana Plaza. One Saturday each month I held a workout that was focused on legs and core – Legs & Abs By Liv. It’s an hour long workout (all levels welcomed) designed to safely tone the legs, glutes, and core using stretch bands and body weight movements. From beginners and new moms to advanced individuals - this workout with leave you feeling energized and motivated. Legs & Abs is my signature group leg workout where I teach all of my favorite moves that will have you sore the next day. Participants were encouraged to bring a mat, towel, and water. Not only is the Royal Poinciana Plaza a gorgeous place to sweat and spend the morning, the workout was complementary!  

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Fitness can be such a great community activity for men and women of all ages and a fun way to meet new people. The Royal Poinciana Plaza did such a great job promoting these weekly workouts and each month I had more new people attend. I loved seeing so many people show up, work hard, and have a blast. And to top it off, all participants of the workout were given discounts at Celis Produce and Sant Ambreous for a post workout bite. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning!


Looking forward to being back out on the courtyard for a fun and sweaty workout. Stay tuned for the summer schedule and be sure to follow me and The Royal Poinciana Plaza on Instagram for future updates.

<3

Ground Turkey Kale Soup

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I’ve never been big on soup and I’ve always thought of it being a huge production to make. But once I started cooking up this delicious soup and realized how easy it is it became a regular dinner in the rotation. The white beans and turkey make it filling, flavorful, and great the next day. And if you follow my food posts you’ve probably noticed that I love kale in all forms. This recipe originally came from one of my clients and I’ve modified it to make it my own. It’s perfect for a weeknight when you want something hearty and clean that doesn’t require tons of time. Also, preparing the soup doesn’t make a major mess in the kitchen and all you need is one big pot!

 

What you need:

  •  2 tbs olive oil

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast

  • 1 cup onion — chopped

  • 1 cup shredded carrots — chopped

  • 1 cup turnip — diced

  • 2 garlic cloves— minced

  • 1 can white cannellini beans — rinsed

  • 2 cups kale — chopped and stems removed

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • salt and pepper to taste

To make:

  1. Heat olive oil in large pot.

  2. Once pot is hot add turkey, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Use spoon to break apart turkey.

  3. When turkey is almost fully cooked (not too pink), add bay leaves, carrots, onions, turnips, and cook for a few minutes.

  4. Add white beans, vegetable broth, water, and kale. Bring to a boil.

  5. Cook for 25 minutes.

  6. Add any extra seasoning if necessary.

I hope you enjoy this amazing soup as much as I do! Cheers to a new month and new week!

XO

Liv

What I Eat In A Day

The most common questions I get from clients and followers are about my diet so I figured I’d share what a typical day looks like for me. I’m obsessed with clean eating and I’m always trying to figure out ways to incorporate more nutrients into my daily diet. I love food and I’m constantly experimenting and learning what works best for my body. I focus on eating mostly vegetables (as much as possible), complex carbs, and lean meats like chicken and fish. I buy mostly organic, fresh, and local when possible. I stay far away from dairy, and because my guy has celiac disease, I rarely eat gluten. I’m not into diet trends or fads, just intuitive clean eating. I also believe in having sweet treats and a tequila on occasion without letting it ruin your life (it’s called balance but I’ll save that for another post). I stress the importance of nutrition with every one of my clients and I’m very honest about one thing: you cannot out exercise a bad diet. PERIOD. Even though most of my Instagram stories are of what’s on my plate, I’m going to give you a breakdown of a what I eat on an average day.

 

Early AM routine:

I always start my day with either warm lemon water or a shot of apple cider vinegar, and I make sure to drink plenty of room temp water over the first two to three hours of my morning. Because I’m up very early, I feel my best when I spend the first few hours of my day hydrating before I eat anything or have any caffeine. Six months ago I decided to stop drinking coffee all together as an experiment to alleviate stomach issues. I noticed such a big difference that I completely quit coffee and haven’t had it since. I enjoy black tea, green tea, and matcha once or twice per day.

Breakfast

True story: I wake up hungry every day. I’m a breakfast lover! If you’ve been following me for a while on the gram you know how much I love my morning oat bowls. Usually enjoyed on the go, this bowl of perfection is filled with 1/2 cup of gluten free oats, a scrambled egg, peanut butter powder, almond milk, berries, and some coconut or bee pollen sprinkled on top. My breakfast must be filling and tasty, and this bowl is my go-to!

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Lunch

I’m a salad fanatic. I eat a big salad for lunch almost every day. My green of choice is either romaine, baby kale, curly kale, shredded brussels sprouts, or a mixture of two. For protein I use chicken (usually pre-made in the Crock Pot) and sometimes a hard boiled egg white. Cucumber and avocado (either 1/4 or 1/2) are a must. Other items that get thrown in if available are chopped green apple, butternut squash, bell pepper, orange, walnuts, onion, and chickpeas. For dressing I mix together EVOO, white wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard.

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Snack Time:

A snack between lunch and dinner is a must for me. It usually happens between clients, after my workout, or anytime between 2 and 4. I am a huge fan of bars like FROPRO Bars (specifically the almond butter). Other snacks include nuts, hard boiled eggs, protein shakes, low sugar green juice, and a red apple with almond butter. Depending on my workout and how many hours I’m working, certain days I’ll feel the need for a snack between breakfast and lunch. I try my best to listen to my body when it comes to eating between meals. If I feel extra hungry one day I won’t ever deprive myself of a healthy snack.

Dinner

My boyfriend and I usually take turns with dinner. Luckily, he’s an amazing cook and we eat all the same foods. I try to have somewhat of an idea of meals I’d like to make ahead of time so I can buy ingredients in advance. We love to grill chicken, shrimp, and the occasional burger. Steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, and baked salmon are weekly staples. I try to keep my dinner portions under control, eating mostly vegetables and protein. A perfect weeknight dinner would be a turkey burger, steamed broccoli, and cilantro cauliflower rice. Simple, tasty, and far from boring. I try my best to eat before 7:30pm allowing time to digest before bed. This way I wake up feeling energized and rested. A HUGE tip I would give to anyone would be to find things you like to eat for dinner that are also great for lunch the next day.

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Questions about healthy eating or need some diet guidance? Contact me for more information about personal training and diet coaching! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for daily meal ideas, motivation, and tips!

XO

Liv

Picante Turkey "Nachos" With Peppers

Whether your team is playing on Sunday or not, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most celebrated days of the year. House parties, games, Halftime Show, drinks, and LOTS of food. But instead of packing on the calories with pizza, fatty dips, and other foods that aren’t easy on the waistline, I’ve created this recipe that’s tasty AND guilt-free. Kicking the chips for bell pepper strips adds a nutritious, low-carb spin on your typical nachos. Bell peppers are high in vitamins and antioxidants and I happen to love them. More importantly, this Super Bowl snack is very filling, so you won’t find yourself reaching for the junk food.

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INGREDIENTS:

·       1 tbs olive oil

·       1 lb ground turkey breast

·       1 clove garlic (minced)

·       1/3 onion (minced)

·       1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

·       1 tsp garlic powder

·       1 tsp cumin powder

·       1 tsp chili powder

·       1 tsp sea salt

·       1 cup salsa (I use Sunset Salsa – FL local and amazing!)

·       1/4 cup chicken broth

·       3 bell peppers

·       1 cup black beans

. 1 avocado

. 2 limes

·       1 jalapeno

·       chopped cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking try with parchment paper.

  2. Pour olive oil skillet over medium heat.

  3. Add onion, garlic and cilantro and cook for about 2 minutes, add ground turkey, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer.

  4. Cut and arrange mini peppers in a single layer, cut-side up close together.

  5. Fill each with cooked ground turkey mixture, then top with beans, salsa, and thinly sliced jalapeños.

  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and top with lime juice, avocado, and cilantro. Serve immediately and ENJOY!



My Fantasy Football team really sucked this year, but my Super Bowl snacks will not! Be sure to follow me and check out my stories on the Gram to see what else I’m cooking up!

<3 Liv

Kale Quinoa Salad

The other day I had a 5 mile run planned and the thought of this salad was what got me to the finish line. Kale Quinoa Salad is one of my all time favorites. It’s hearty, tangy, and SO satisfying. I don’t typically eat quinoa for dinner since it’s higher in carbs, but since I had a late afternoon run this nutrient-packed salad was just what I needed for recovery.

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Ingredients:

  • Organic chopped kale

  • 3-4 oz salmon

  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1/4 sumo orange (regular orange would work)

  • 1/2 cup steamed butternut squash cubes

  • 1 tbs honey

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 1/2 tbsp slices almonds

  • Pepper to taste

  • Parsley to garnish (optional)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (more or less to taste)

  • Dollop of dijon mustard

Salmon:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Place salmon on a large piece of foil on a baking pan.

  3. Pour 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs honey, and pepper over salmon.

  4. Fold sides of foil and wrap salmon so it’s fully covered.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 5.

Salad:

  1. Place kale in a large bowl (removing stems) with chopped orange slices, avocado, quinoa, steamed butternut squash, and sliced almonds.

  2. Pour in dressing and mix up the salad.

  3. Remove salmon from the oven, leaving the honey mixture in the foil. Garnish with parsley and place salmon on top of salad.

Enjoy!!

*I do not measure out kale or most greens. I like to eat as much green as I can!

**Foods like quinoa and butternut squash usually make way more than one serving, so I like to eat the rest over the next two days with other meals.

Amy's Three Years

January marks THREE years that I’ve been training Amy. (If you are new to my blog, click here to read her transformation story I wrote a year and a half ago.) Amy is the girl in my Instagram stories who works out with me five days per week in her awesome garage gym. She does a mixture of strength training exercises using weights, a leg press, TRX, and bands, plus some toning/barre exercises. You can often find her in my weekly barre classes, my monthly Legs & Abs class at the Royal Poinciana Plaza, and at the beach for a Sunday morning workout. YES, she is that dedicated. Training her always reminds me that I have a dream job. Her attitude is always positive and her commitment to health and wellness makes me so proud. I’m mostly proud because like many people she’s had to overcome struggles in the past. But no matter what’s going on, she makes time for her workouts and makes clean eating a priority. While feeling good naked is a plus, fitness is so much more than aesthetics. It’s about building a better mind-body connection, improving self-esteem, finding balance, and learning discipline. Fitness means making daily positive changes (big and small) which impact so many other areas of life (in a GREAT way). I help people like Amy create healthy habits that can be life-changing. But being fit requires lots of effort, and Amy is definitely seeing the fruits of her labor. Instead of going on and on about how much I adore Amy and how much fun we have in the gym, I figured I’d do a little Q and A with her to share her perspective!

Q: What do you love most about working out with a trainer?

A:  I love having someone to hold me accountable and encourage me. Life can get so hectic, if I didn’t have someone I was scheduled to meet, I’d be more likely to miss workouts. It’s also nice to have someone push you to work harder and when your trainer looks amazing, it really inspires you to stick with it! 

Q: What are your thoughts on weight training for women?

 A: It’s so important! Before I worked out with Liv, I didn’t understand that. I just ran 5 miles every day and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. Now that I’m weight training, I feel so strong and healthy! Even my clothes fit so much better. I weigh more, but I’m actually so much leaner. Now I definitely understand why it’s so important to add weight training to your routine. 

Q: How much does diet effect your workouts and overall mood?

A: A LOT! Working out and seeing results inspired me to really improve my diet. When I’m eating healthy, I just feel better mentally and physically. My body feels nourished and strong. I don’t count calories or follow any particular diet. I just try to avoid any added sugar, highly processed foods and limit alcohol. 

Q: What motivates you everyday to be healthy and fit?

A: The results I’ve seen really motivate me a lot. I just want to keep improving, but I’m careful to still appreciate where I currently am. There’s no better confidence booster than feeling healthy. When I look back at how exhausted I used to feel mentally and physically, it’s crazy. Now I just feel so strong and healthy. 

 Q: Describe that feeling when you start seeing your hard work pay off:

 A: Omg it’s AMAZING! I remember going through a period where I didn’t feel like anything was happening. One day it was just like oh wow, I’m started to see some definition... and it just got better and better from there! Now 3 years later I couldn’t be happier with where I am. I feel so proud of what I’ve accomplished and feel so much better about myself. I’m truly so thankful for my workout sessions and the positive impact they have on my life. 

 Q: What is your biggest tip for someone who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle?

A: I would say set reasonable goals for yourself so you don’t get discouraged. If you’re super busy, commit to working out certain days/times. If you don’t have it scheduled in, it’s easier for it to get away from you. I’d also say focus on easy dietary changes. If you’re going to choose one thing to try to stay away from, try to avoid added sugar. Do easy recipes and plan ahead. Foods like frozen broccoli, crockpot chicken and a microwaved sweet potato are so healthy and easy!! 

 

 Be sure to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my blog for updates!

♡ Liv

 

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.

salad

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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PostOpACL
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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!