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

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

abs-livfitness

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."

ACLrehab
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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

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

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.     

 

 

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.