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

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

 

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.




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.

Fall fitness in Colorado

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

 

 

What I'm Sweating In

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Catch me at the studio tonight!

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

Monday Motivation - TRX legs

One of my favorite pieces of equipment to use in and out of the gym is the TRX Suspension Trainer. Using the TRX, you take body weight exercises to another level. During every exercise, the core must be engaged in order to stay balanced and stable. When it comes to my leg workouts, adding suspension training to my routine is crucial. Since I absolutely LOVE any exercise that challenges balance, I am able to perform tons of great single-leg exercises with the TRX that really burn. Below are a couple of my favorite leg exercises.

Front Squat

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Set up handles under the arms, close to the chest. Walk feet back until body is in a strong plank-like hanging position, heels up. Keeping weight forward into the arms and heels up, bend the knees to a squat then return to straight legs. Perform three sets of fifteen reps.

Abducted Lunge

Stand beside the suspension trainer with one foot in the cradles and the other leg on the ground. Bend the supporting knee while extending the straight leg side, keeping tight abs and an open chest. Return to standing by firmly pressing into the ground with standing leg. Perform three sets of fifteen reps.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @livfigueroa for more fitspiration!

Make it a great week

Love Your Legs

When it comes to women and fitness - toned, sexy legs are the most desired over any other body part. Living in South Florida where we’re in shorts, dresses and bikinis during any month of the year, most women are determined to get their stems in shape. After many years of dancing and training, I have learned the best ways to achieve major leg goals. My best advice for anyone focused on improving their legs would be to add variety. Performing multi-planar movements, weighted exercises, body weight exercises, single leg exercises, and plyometrics will switch things up and allow you to work your legs to their full potential.

Remember: proper form, hard work, healthy eating and CONSISTENCY will lead you to results. Check out a few of my favorite leg exercises below.

Dumbbell Split Squat:

Stand with the rear foot elevated on a bench and the active front foot extended out in front, not allowing the front knee to go over the toes during the movement. Shoulders and hips stay stacked and squared, maintaining a long torso and tight core. Option to add weight as shown below. Perform three sets of 10-15 reps per leg.

 

Step Ups: 

First start by standing tall with feet together facing an elevated platform. Step up with the right leg using mainly the heel to lift up the entire body, then place the left foot on the platform as well. Come down using the left foot first followed by the right foot, returning to the starting position. Can be done with or without weights. If using dumbbells, hold them strong by the sides of the body. Perform three sets of 10-15 reps per leg.


Bosu Ball Squat with Side Leg Raise:

With one foot on the floor and the other on the center of the Bosu Ball, squat with even weight between the legs. On the way up, shift all weight to the standing leg and lift the leg off of the Bosu Ball into a side raise (keeping knee and toes pointing forward). Perform three sets of 10-15 reps.


LivFitness Meets Hilton WPB

Over the last ten years, West Palm Beach has definitely seen some serious growth! Being an influencer in the community, it's been both exciting and rewarding to watch local businesses thrive around town - I'd even say they're booming! One new development I am currently pumped about is the new Hilton Hotel on Okeechobee boulevard. This twelve-story gem opened this past week and it sits in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach. Artwork, flowers, food and coffee are a few of my favorite staples you'll find there, and i'm totally thrilled it's all local talent giving the hotel a true WPB feel. The atmosphere is bright and welcoming, with a sophisticated lobby space and a sleek outdoor pool area. Even better, the staff goes above and beyond to meet the needs of each hotel guest. 

Why am I so excited? On Tuesday and Thursday of this week I had the opportunity to lead two 5:30am workouts on the event lawn for a corporate group of hotel guests. The hotel provided mats, towels and water for the multi-level bootcamp style class. The space was perfect for an early morning workout by the pool - lunges, planks, ladder drills to name a few. The guests were so great to work with and super enthusiastic, despite the early morning wakeup call. 

The BEST way to start a long day filled with meetings and work events is to get up and get your body moving. Looking forward to working with more groups and hotel guests in the future.

Transformation Tuesday - Cathy

Out of all the benefits of my position, I’d say the number one perk is getting to meet some incredible people. Not only meet them, but truly get to know them, help them, and gain their trust. For me, training is so much more than giving someone a series of exercises because they want to look good on their vacation in two weeks. While looking good is a big part of it, it’s more of a mind-body connection. My goal is to help people get to know and love their own bodies long-term by way of movement and exercise. 

A perfect example of this would be the story of my client Cathy. She has been working out with me for over two years. Previously, she walked a couple times per week and occasionally threw on a workout video at home. Rarely breaking a sweat and hardly any cardio or weights. She was not eating a balanced diet and had no real routine. After a year and a half of minimal exercise, she agreed to accompany a friend and try a few classes. While the workouts seemed much different than what she did years ago with her personal trainers, she was willing to give it a shot. One class turned into taking my barre class three times per week and later incorporating one-on-one training (gym and in-home). Not long after reaching a consistent point in her workout routine, she started to feel better from the inside out. Increased energy levels, strength, stamina, confidence and overall happiness; naturally she became more committed to herself and making this huge lifestyle change. It was like a domino effect. Her mentality shifted, and working out was no longer a burden, instead the most essential appointment of the day. Cooking at home became normal and clean eating became enjoyable. Coworkers, friends and family were noticing the physical changes, and boy, was that exciting! Weight training resulted in arm and leg definition, fat loss, weight loss, and overall firmness. Suspension training, functional training and barre work helped to tone, improve balance, core strength, body alignment and posture. Her pant size went from a ten to a six, making her no stranger to the seamstress. Consistency in her diet and exercise routine over a two year period lead to serious results.

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The biggest gain? (Pun intended!) Cathy does it for no one other than herself, and that makes me the proudest. She shows up ready to work and constantly maintains a positive attitude, and watching her bloom and transform the past two years is what makes my role so amazing. Grateful that I’ve earned the trust to push her to her limits (despite my tough love and our seated-rest rule) and guide her through her journey to wellness. 

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My aim is to help people be the best possible version of themselves. After all, the best investment you’ll ever make is in you.

Follow me on Instagram for more fitspiration @livfigueroa

Make it a great week!

Liv

Saturday morning barre & Jüce

This morning we had Chris from Raw Jüce Palm Beach Gardens come by the studio after meeting him at a Lululemon community event a few weeks ago. He brought some amazing juices to share with all our clients and was able to stick around to take my class. Being a former pro baseball player and now coach, a barre class wasn’t a familiar workout to him. Needless to say, it was a fun (and sweaty!) new challenge that I’m sure he’ll be feeling tomorrow. It’s always great to meet new people in the community and have the opportunity to mix fitness with nutrition! So excited to have a Raw Jüce closer to the WPB area. Be sure to check them out in the PGA Plaza.