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

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.

PreOpACL
PostOpACL
PostOpACLSurgery

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

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.     

 

 

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!

Summertime Salad

Happy Monday! But more importantly, happy Summer! Bikini season has already started but today is the official start of Summer and I couldn't be happier. I’m here to remind you that your bikini body depends on your workouts AND what you are putting on your plate. I am constantly reminding my clients of this and diet is a common topic in most of my sessions. In general, I would have to say that most people get stuck at lunchtime over any other part of the day. Whether you work in an office where everyone orders fast-food take out or you're like some of my clients who just don't have the time in the day to cook, I've got a tip for you. The key to a successful and easy lunch is being prepared the day before. Having foods prepared such as chicken breasts, quinoa, cauliflower and boiled eggs make a healthy lunch possible in just a few minutes. Check out one of my staple summer salads below.

  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Chicken breast
  • Egg White
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Green apple chunks
  • Quinoa
  • Cauliflower
  • Black pepper
  • Splash of EVOO & Vinegar for dressing

Have an awesome and active week,

♥Liv

#MotivationMonday Count Down to Memorial Day Weekend

We've reached the middle of May and the count down to Memorial Day Weekend has officially begun. Personally, it's my favorite time of the year -  it's the unofficial start of summer and, more importantly, it's my birthday weekend! For many, this weekend is all about weekend getaways, board shorts and bikinis, cookouts, outdoor activities, and an all around good time. For me, I love to kick my workouts and clean eating in high gear...well, because, birthday cake and bubbly. It's a physically motivating time of the year - the weather is perfect for a bike ride, beach run, paddle boarding or rollerblading. Aside from my normal workout routine in the gym and studio, I take every chance I get to feel an extra burn. With so many outdoor fitness opportunities, I want you to know that summer bodies can also be built in the summer! I'll be posting some of my favorite exercises and meals on instagram for some added Memorial motivation. We've got two weeks until the long weekend, let's make every day count!

To prepare for the week ahead I hit the grocery store hard to make sure I was stocked up. Here's a list of what I took home:

  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Almond Milk
  • Ground Beef
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Protein Bars
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Romaine
  • Asparagus

Cheers to a healthy new week!

♡♡♡♡

Feliz Cinco De Mayo

To some people, Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French forces. But for most people here in the US it's the day where people of all ethnicities put on their sombreros and hit the nearest bar for tacos, burritos and mucho tequila. For me, Mexican food is not something I take lightly - it is hands-down my favorite type of food. But it wasn't until my trip to Mexico in 2015 where I really learned about authentic Mexican dishes and how they were much different from what I was used to. In Mexico, a simple taco exploded with flavor and all the salsas were made daily with fresh ingredients. Here in South Florida, Mexican food often means an overdose of cheese, salt, sour cream and not enough flavor. I am constantly inspired to make my own delicious (and CLEANER) dishes and always trying to find ways to replicate what I ate during that beautiful time spent in Mexico. Check out this simple recipe for shredded chicken tacos and guacamole below. 

Shredded Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used organic Que Pasa)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilis
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, salsa, chilies, chili powder, garlic, pinch of salt and teaspoon of pepper. Cover, cook on low for six hours. 
  2. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and shred with two forks, moisten with cooking juices.

Guacamole Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 or 2 limes
  • 1/2 red or white chopped onion 
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
  • 1/2 jalapeño, finely chopped and seeded

Directions:

  1. Cut avocados in half around the pit, then scoop flesh out into a mixing bowl. Add lime juice and mash avocado leaving a few chunks.
  2. Add all other ingredients. Serve immediately.

 

This time, I used organic taco shells and skipped the chips for the guacamole. Carb conscious? Throw all ingredients over lettuce and turn it into a yummy taco salad.

Salud, amigos!

Chickpea Coconut Curry With Sweet Potatoes

Happy Monday! I wanted to spice things up and start a new week with a new recipe. I knew I wanted to make something really different from my usual go-to meals and I've been really craving chickpeas (packed with protein and fiber!). So I googled some recipes in between clients this morning and came across this gem on Popsugar.com. It's filled with chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes, spinach and SO much flavor. I rarely eat rice, but having this curry dish over brown basmati rice was delicious. I'm a crockpot fanatic so of course I am always up for new healthy dishes to try for dinner and next-day lunch. This was the perfect meal to come home to after a long Monday - and my house smelled amazing. 

LivFitness_Curry_CleanEating

Ingredients

Curry:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons minced ginger
15-ounce can chickpeas (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups canned or boxed chopped tomatoes
2 cups small cauliflower florets
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, chopped

Coconut rice:
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown basmati rice
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan and sauté onion, garlic and fresh ginger for about seven minutes.
  • Transfer the onion mix into slow cooker and add remaining ingredients except for the spinach.
  • Cook on low for six hours.
  • Before serving, stir in spinach and cook for about five minutes.

Rice

  • Add rice, coconut milk, salt and water to a sauce pan.
  • On high heat, bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about forty minutes.
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AMAZING! Enjoy.

Remember: You can't out-exercise a bad diet to achieve your goals. Make it a great week!

♥ Liv


Welcome, February!

Hard to believe we’re beginning the second month of 2016! January brought new goals, new beginnings and new challenges. Classes were full, private clients were re-focused and new clients were ready for a change. Overall, it was a great month and I felt tons of positive energy! For some, it was more of a "trial month". Maybe you fell off the wagon or maybe your diet wasn’t exactly as great as you hoped it would be. Good news: It’s the first of the month and it’s Monday! New week, new month, new goals… another chance to be great. Here are a few tips to help you stay on (or get back on) track:

1. Write it out

For me, making a list helps me to stay focused. Whether it’s a list of goals, groceries, to-do’s or a food log, it helps to keep me from getting overwhelmed during a busy week. Seeing things on paper helps to prioritize and it also keeps me accountable.

2. Get plenty of Z's

 I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but sleep is so important for your body and mind and often gets over-looked. If you know you’ve got a lot going on, be conscious of how many hours you're giving yourself to sleep at night. When it comes to working out, sleep is crucial for the body and repairing muscles. After a good night’s rest, you’re more prepared to take on the day (and your workout) with mental clarity. 

3. Cook extra!

Whether you’re into actual food prepping or not, cooking extra helps to keep your diet on track. Being prepared and having food that’s easily accessible is the key to eating healthy. One of my favorite kitchen staples is the Crock Pot. I like to put four to six chicken breasts in the Crock Pot so I have plenty of food for several meals. This morning before I left the house for my first appointment, I set my Crock Pot on low for five hours. Can’t go home for lunch? Set it up right before you go to bed and cook while you sleep. What I love most about cooking chicken this way is that it has the best left-over taste. Check out my go-to recipe below!

Crock Pot Mojo Chicken

 

What you need:

  • 4-6 chicken breasts  
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup mojo marinade
  • Peppers (optional)

What to do:

Combine chicken, broth, mojo, onions, garlic and peppers (I had left over bell peppers from the weekend so I threw them in, too!) and cook on low for five to six hours.