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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Ditch The Excuses

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

“One bad day leads to a whole bad month”

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

“I have no time to cook.”

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

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

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

“I’m so stressed out from work.”

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

“Workout classes and a personal trainers are expensive.”

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

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

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

What I'm Loving Lately

If you follow me on the Gram, you know that I’m always posting about my current favorites. Sneakers, food, leggings, workouts, my golf highlights…the usual. But I feel like every so often there’s some items I’m loving that need to be shared with you all on my blog because they are just that amazing. There are quite a few things I’ll GLADLY leave behind in 2018, but here’s a list of some items I’m loving lately that will be coming with me into the New Year!

 

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Now, I know you may think that dropping a few hundred on a hair dryer seems silly. But let me tell you, this thing is amazing. What excited me the most was how much less damaging it is on your hair. Being in the gym daily and constantly having to tie my hair up has really taken a toll on my locks. Compared to my old dryer, the Dyson leaves my hair much smoother and isn’t harsh on my ends. Aside from that, it makes styling so much easier and my blowouts have never looked better.

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WorkParty by Jaclyn Johnson

Just the other day I discovered this book on Instagram and read wonderful reviews. I’m half way through the book but I can tell you it’s a great read. Jaclyn, now CEO and founder of a successful online platform, shares about her struggles as a young entrepreneur who was hungry for success. Even after many setbacks she was determined to build something amazing. I find that it’s super relatable and very inspiring for me as a woman and business owner in today’s world.

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Nike Women’s Free RN Flyknit

Technically I’ve been loving this shoe for all of 2018, but I just got my 3rd color and I have no plans of stopping in 2019. It’s my favorite shoe for indoor weight training, hands down! They’re light weight, flexible, and super flattering on the foot. I can comfortably wear them to train clients all day long. They are an important part of my Nike collection!

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Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

My boyfriend got me these headphones before we left for South Africa during Thanksgiving week and they’ve been SO great. I had really been wanting an over the ear pair of headphones because I’ve always found the smaller in-ear sets annoying and uncomfortable. These Beats aren’t bulky and the battery life is amazing. They are great for workouts, travel and FaceTime. They fold up to a compact size and can easily be stored in a purse or carry on.

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The New Primal Marinade

If you’ve known me or have been following me for a while, you know that Crockpot Chicken Breast is a MAJOR staple in my diet. But recently I’ve been using The New Primal Marinade (classic and citrus herb) and I cannot get enough. It caught my eye at Whole Foods one day because of its low sugar content (only 3g) and the ingredients are all simple and clean. Not to mention the taste, OMG! The chicken turns out so tender and delicious and goes perfectly in my kale salads. Obsessed!

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Overcoming Injuries

If there is one thing in life I have learned the hard way, it’s overcoming unexpected injuries. Growing up a dancer and VERY active, injuries were no more than pulled muscles, minor irritations, and some foot blisters. In the past, I’ve always been healthy and able to bounce back from things with ease. But after a bad ski fall in March of 2017, I thought tearing my ACL would ruin my body forever. The thought of having an ugly knee scar and being limited to activity was absolutely terrifying. With many months of discomfort, therapy, and lots of work in the gym, my right leg was about 90% in May of 2018 (one year after surgery). Just as I was starting to gain back my confidence and strength, I had another unlucky day which lead me to the ER one morning in July. It was really hard to believe (and kind of embarrassing) that I crashed my bike into a tree and shattered my wrist. I spent that entire day beating myself up. But the truth is that you can never be prepared for an injury. There will always be pain, missed days of work, and medical expenses. It’s an overall inconvenience. I was beyond grateful for my boyfriend for taking such amazing care of me and going to every single appointment with me. My mom, once again, took me to surgery and cared for me after (she’s getting really good at this). Luckily I only had to miss a couple days of work and recovery was a piece of cake compared to knee surgery.

 

But the hardest part of overcoming an injury is keeping confidence, hope, and a positive attitude during the following months. I struggled the most with staying positive during the recovery process because my workouts were limited. Even though I was eating super clean, I watched my body change a lot. Not only did I experience muscle atrophy in my arm but in other body parts as well. I got really discouraged a few times but eventually realized I couldn’t keep feeling bad for myself. I tried to motivate myself the way I motivate my clients during their struggles. I had to stay focused and mindful without comparing myself to anyone. I changed the way I trained my upper body and made sure I kept my legs and core strong. Getting in great workouts while injured IS possible and can be safe and effective. Life will always throw things at you, but it’s all about how you deal with adversity. Many injuries (like my own) are temporary and it’s important to keep working through them without giving up.




Fitness + Travel

Last weekend my boyfriend and I traveled to the east coast of Mexico for a golf tournament. Naturally I was excited for a trip to Mexico (tacos, por favor!) but since it wasn’t exactly a vacation I had to keep myself in check. Between the long hours of golf practice and my online appointments/workout planning, the daily routine wasn’t completely lost. We packed plenty of snacks for the flight and the room. Our hotel had an amazing gym within walking distance where we worked out and stretched daily. But everyone knows how travel can wreak havoc on a workout routine and clean diet, especially when you’re out of the country. After several recent trips I’ve figured out how to travel without coming home with extra baggage.

 

HYDRATE

Drinking LOTS of water is crucial when it comes to travel. Flying can cause dehydration and can lead to all sorts of discomfort. To avoid digestive and respiratory issues, bloating, and skin breakouts, drink tons of water before and after the day of travel. Also, staying hydrated curves cravings and could keep you from eating the wrong things.

PACK FOOD

Pack snacks for the flight like apples, berries, small packs of nut butter and rice cakes. For the stay, things like oatmeal, nuts, bananas, and nut milk always come in handy. For most people, traveling means eating out daily. My rule is to at least have breakfast oatmeal and healthy snacks throughout day since eating out for lunch and dinner is hard to avoid.

 SWEAT

Luckily, golf requires lots of walking so my step count was higher than usual. But walking does not count as a proper workout. Give yourself at least 45 minutes in the gym or outside to really get your body in motion. Planning workouts ahead of time helps you stay on track. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a gym, plan out what you want to work each day. If not, HIIT workouts require little to no equipment and can be done inside or outside. TRX straps, stretch bands, and a jump rope are amazing for the frequent traveler as they can be easily packed in a suitcase.   

 

Follow my Instagram page for workout ideas and tons of fitness tips as we head into the holiday season. Look out for my Thanksgiving week workout challenge – to be announced next week on all my pages!

♡Liv

Amy's Transformation

The main reason why I love what I do is because I get to connect with people on a personal level. I coach them through workouts, provide nutrition guidance, and teach them to love the journey to fitness. It's called Personal Training because every client is unique; what works for one may not work for another. Regardless of who I'm training my goal is to teach them that fitness is a lifestyle that requires healthy habits and lots of effort. There is no easy way to reach fitness goals, but a lifestyle change is possible for everyone and totally worth it. I’m on a mission to help my clients look and feel their absolute best while loving the body they are in.

Last month marked a year and a half working with my client, Amy. In this amount of time she has made a huge body and mind transformation. After moving to Palm Beach from out of state she felt it was time to take control of her health. Like so many women all over the world she once struggled with negative body image issues. Her previous workouts were sporadic, consisting of mostly cardio and rarely any weights. She came to me for help and was open minded from the very first day. We started with a 3 day per week in-home training program introducing weights, core work, and focusing on proper form. After quickly getting the hang of things she started to notice a gain in energy and a huge increase in motivation. She was determined to get the fit body she deserved. Now, a year and a half later, she trains with me 5 days per week where I incorporate weight training, TRX, HIIT, battle ropes, cardio, and lots of core work. I give her challenging and effective workouts that burn fat and build a strong toned body. We discuss healthy recipes and diet tips daily that nourish and fuel the body. She’s become extremely fit (I mean, look at that bod!) and the increase in confidence I’ve seen has been incredible. While juggling wife duties and being a business owner, she demonstrates that self-improvement is possible (and necessary). Day in and day out she stays committed to her wellness and I could not be more proud. 

 Overcoming negative body image issues, eliminating an unhealthy relationship with food, and finding a strong workout routine is what I like to call positive behavior change. Understanding that NOTHING happens over night is the first step to getting fit. Hard work and consistency over time is what leads to success and lasting results. My goal is to empower and inspire others to take control of their bodies by sharing Amy's success story. I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my passion with others every day while building relationships with wonderful people along the way.

Before i after

Before i after

July 2017

July 2017

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Always remember: the most important investment you can make is in yourself.

ACL Surgery Recovery

It's been one month since I had ACL surgery, a surgical graft replacement of the anterior cruciate ligament. (If you’re new to my blog, read about how I tore my ACL here.) Although I have several months of hard work ahead, having the first month behind me is a huge relief. I was fortunate enough to have an extremely experienced surgeon and the procedure went very well. However, the first five days after surgery were far from pleasant. Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of pain and lack of sleep. The trauma from surgery left my whole leg swollen and bruised from thigh to heel. Despite the pain level and discomfort, I was instructed to walk with crutches (50% weight-bearing) and begin physical therapy the very next day. My doctor used a patellar tendon graft which made bending especially painful near the incision on the front of the knee. The first week required tons of rest, elevation, ice and positive thoughts. Not being able to do simple every day tasks like showering and cooking was difficult and really frustrating. I am so incredibly grateful for my mom for taking amazing care of me (even during grumpy moments). Changing my ice cooler, doing laundry and preparing my clean meals so I’d stay on track - she made everything possible.

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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

Knee Friendly Fitness

It’s been a little over five weeks since I tore my ACL and I can definitely say that it's been a humbling experience. My injury has not kept me from training clients and teaching my weekly barre classes. However, the real challenging part of this whole experience is having to drastically change my own workouts and knowing when to rest. Since running, barre workouts and group fitness classes are out of the question, I've had to find other ways to safely raise my heart rate. I’ve managed to work around my injury and still perform some killer upper body and core moves. Lately, I’ve been lifting heavier weights and using battle ropes for (seated) cardio. It’s so important to continue to move even when you’re faced with difficulties. Not only to stay healthy and in shape, but also for the mental health benefits of fitness! Each week I gain motivation and feel more prepared to tackle my surgery. Check out one of my workouts below.

Battle Ropes (3 sets total):

  • Alternating Waves – 45 seconds
  • Double Waves – 45 seconds
  • Russian Twist Slams – 45 seconds

Dumbbells (3 sets total):

  • Chest Press – 15
  • Seated Shoulder Press – 15
  • Overhead Triceps Extension – 15
  • Chest Fly (legs raised) – 15

Floor (3 sets total):

  • Triceps Dips - 15
  • Pushups - Close Triceps Position (pad for the knees) – 15
  • Weighted Sit-Ups - 15
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Follow my Instagram stories for daily clips of my diet, clients’ workouts and my pre-surgery workouts! 

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

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

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. 

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!

♡♡♡♡