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: 

Cafe_Cluny

 

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!

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

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.

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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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."

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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. 

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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