Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fit in DC on NBC 4

I was on the news on Monday! Check it out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How to Burn Calories Over the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Holiday parties will follow soon after. There is no need to wait until January 2 to start working on your health and fitness goals. Let's get a head start on those goals with a calorie burning circuit that you can do at home or at the gym. You just need 20 to thirty minutes to complete the circuit.

This workout can be modified so that anyone can do it, regardless of your fitness level. I would suggest doing this circuit 2-4 times per week.

Give it a try!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Last week I tried something new. I took a budokon class at Tranquil Space Yoga in DC. I had heard about this for at least a year now, and I have been meaning to try it out. When my friend Ewunike of Lotus Fitness had to leave town for a week, she let me go to class in her place. I figured, "Hey, it's free. Why not?" I am always looking to try something new anyway.

So you are probably wondering, what is budokon? It is a blend between martial arts and yoga. For a more elaborate definition, check out their website. It is quite honestly something that I find hard to put into words.

Budokon takes a lot of upper body strength, which was not a real problem for me. What was a real problem for me was the "choreography" of it. I seemed to be going in the wrong direction most of the time. It does not help that I no longer can differentiate right from left. :0 So I guess it was also a serious workout for my brain. Also, I was attending the final class in a series of four and it seemed like they were building upon what was taught in the other three classes. And I have absolutely zero martial arts background.

I must admit that I don't really know what the purpose of budokon is. Other than that it looks really cool. But you should try it out to see what you think. There are always workshops in town. Mimi, our instructor holds workshops in other locations in DC. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Loser Moms are back at it!

The Loser Moms are back from the Blogher Conference in California and are ready to get back to their fitness routine.

Since it is a relatively nice day for August in DC, we worked out on the deck at City Fitness. The workout conisisted of a circuit of the following exercises:
-Wall Ball using a 6 pound ball (This was Sarah's first time doing wall ball)
-Rows using the TRX
-Hyperextensions on the ball
-Shuttle Run
-Crunches with the ab mat

Each exercise was done for one minute per round for three rounds with a one minute break between rounds.

They warmed up on the treadmill then did two sets up plank (Sarah did her first full minute of plank today! Yea!) and bridge. They cooled down with obliques and stretching.

Now it is time to set new fitness goals!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Detoxify Yourself

Here is an interesting article with tips on how to detoxify every aspect of your life:

Detoxify Yourself: 101 Tips to Remove the Poison from Your Body and Your Life

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mint Ice Cream Smoothie

-1 whole avacado
-1/2 cup almond milk
-1/2 cup coconunt milk
-1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
-2 pinch stevia or 2 TBSP agave or raw honey
-1 handful spearmint leaves
-3 cups filtered water

Mix in blender.

Sources: Adapted from The Ultimate Smoothie Book by Cherie Calbom and Superfood Smoothies by Mike Adams and Kimberly Rush-Lynch of Cultivating Health.

Devra is Continuing to Lose

Devra is working out solo this week. But she is working hard and continuing to lose and work towards her goals.

She learned a great new exercise called "Wall Ball" on Tuesday. She is also getting better at her lunges. She also did jump rope this week and realized that it is a lot harder now than it used to be as a kid. :) But it is a great way to add cardio intervals to your workout.

Next week, the girls prepare for their trip and will learn exercises that they can do anywhere!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Loser Mom's Workout

Sarah is getting very strong! On Tuesday, she learned how to do hyperextensions which are great for strengthening the lower back. When most people think of the core, they think of the abdominal muscles only. But the muscles of the lower back help to comprise the core as well, and it is very important to make sure that these muscles are strong.

She is doing kettlebell squats instead of squats using the ball. That shows how strong she is getting!

Sarah also learned how to do dips on Tuesday, which strengthen the triceps. It is a great body-weight exercise.

I am looking forward to our workout today!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Spring Cleaning for Health

Our Spring Cleaning for Health Workshop on Monday was a great success and we learned a lot! Did you know that this is the best time to start a detox program? There are many different kinds (Seasonal Detox Diet, Raw Food Diet, Smoothie Cleanse, Juice Cleanse and many more). You can choose the one that is right for you so beginning a detox program does not have to be as intimidating as it might sound. You can also choose a time length that is suitable for your lifestyle.

Contact Kimberly at Cultivating Health to learn more!

Loser Mom's Workout

Childcare issues kept the ladies away from the gym on Tuesday, but they were both back in full effect today!

We did a circuit that consisted of three rounds of:
TRX Rows
Slam! (to work the lats)
Shuttle run (to get the heart rate up!)
Ab Mat
Crescents (works the obliques)
Kettlebell Squats (no more ball squats. These are big girl squats!)

They spent one minute at each station.

Of course they started with one minute of plank!

You can tell they are getting stronger. A few weeks ago, free standing squats would bother their backs. Now they are doing kettlebell squats with no problems!

Sarah wore her new heart rate monitor today and burn approx. 250 calories. We will aim for 300 calories next week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Workout #3 for Loser Mom

Sarah worked out solo again on Thursday (June 5). She is doing a really good job and is really starting to get the hang of the exercises. Her muscle memory is really developing!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Workout #2 for Loser Mom

Well, it seems like one Loser Mom (Sarah) is working hard and forging ahead, while Devra networks and sips martinis with famous people in NY. :)

In today's workout, Sarah learned how to do lunges. She also learned that jumping jacks are a lot harder in your 30s than in your 10s. But they are a great way to get your heart rate up.

She has been walking a lot and is wearing a pedometer.

Workout #3 is on Thursday!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spring Cleaning: An Adventure in Detoxing-Day 4

Monday, June 2 - Day Four

More of the same! Although I didn't sleep well the night before, it wasn't because of the diet. I have 2 cups of green tea in the morning since I am tired, and this seems to help. I still feel pretty good despite having a restless night. I have my usual breakfast, and then chug down a protein drink since I'm going to the gym today. Those herbal supplements are really starting to kick in today! I won't say anymore about that - any more info than that on this topic would be TMI. I feel great when I get back from the gym, and thoroughly enjoy my lunch. Now that I've finished writing this, I'm going to go work in the garden!

Spring Cleaning: An Adventure in Detoxing-Day 3

Sunday, Day 3 - June 1

I slept great, and my morning routine is now starting to become just that. I do the same things I did on Saturday, feeling full & satisfied. Jay heads to his job at the National Harbor, so I tag along to check out the place and shop a little. I didn't pack any food, so I compromise with a veggie salad from Potbelly with only the tiniest bit of nonfat vinaigrette. Tasty, and the view of the Harbor is beautiful. Run to Crofton to pick up the kid from Grandma's, then run to Homestead Gardens for plants and then back home again, and although I'm hungry I am not famished. I make a glass of tomato/carrot/celery juice which tides me over till dinner beautifully. Roddy and I play on the porch and go for a long walk around the neighborhood before dinner. Dinner is delicious and satisfying, and I enjoy some hot herbal tea after the baby goes to bed. I feel no cravings for sweets at all, which is so weird to me!

Spring Cleaning: An Adventure in Detoxing-Day 2

Day Two - Saturday, May 31

I slept great, and wake up to try my new detox. I have 2 glasses of water, one with lemon, and a cup of herbal tea. I take my herbal supplements. I eat a piece of room temperature fruit, and get some quinoa cooking. 30 minutes later, I have a bowl of quinoa with a teaspoon of butter/olive oil mixed together, and a little sea salt. Yummy and nourishing! This is so much better!

Take Roddy to Grandma's, come home and get my veggies ready for lunch and dinner. Take more herbal supplements, and make myself a glass of cucumber/carrot/celery juice to have while I wait. Delicious! Eat lunch, and pack up my veggies and a thermos of iced herbal tea to take over to Bill & Mike's.

Dinnertime - been over at Bill & Mike's all day working on the carousel, hard manual labor and I'm soaked from the rain, covered in mud & axle grease. Everyone's starving, they order Power Pizza, chicken wings, and beer. I have my veggies and herbal tea - surprisingly, I am OK with this. Everyone feels bad for me, but I am fine! I think aliens have zapped my brain. I call it a night around 10:30, have some hot herbal tea and off to bed. Again, who is this person? A baby-free night with no beer?? I feel strangely calm & satisfied, but a little worried for my sanity.

(So far so good!)

Spring Cleaning: An Adventure in Detoxing-Day 1

Day One, Friday May 30 (As written by Jenny)

OK. Here we go. I started the day with no coffee, but had some herbal tea and a cup of green tea with stevia, plus lots of water with lemon. Took the first of my herbal cleansing supplements. Had a major upset stomach, and a headache. But I soldiered on. Had my antioxidant green powder mixed with water for breakfast - ecch. Still hungry, watch my son chow down on scrambled eggs & strawberries! Put some chamomile "sun tea" out on the porch to start brewing.

Roddy's naptime - time to make my "free soup", which is a pureed concoction of green vegetables plus herbs & spices to taste but no salt. You can drink the "free soup" throughout the day. It smells good cooking but isn't as tasty going down. Lunchtime, time to juice. Make a glass of beet/carrot/cucumber/beet greens juice in my new juicer. This is pretty good! Take my enzyme tablets and another dose of herbal cleanser.

Now it's Roddy's lunchtime - he gets mac n' cheese, french fries & avocado. I drink another antioxidant green drink. Oh this stuff is gross. My head is pounding, and I'm feeling overwhelmed and a little emotional. Call husband, who tells me I sound terrible and that he wants to talk about my detox plans when he gets home from work. I drink some more "free soup" and have another glass of iced chamomile tea. Does nothing to make me feel better.

Roddy & I walk to the park to play, but by the time we get home I have a blistering headache. Time to get dinner ready. I make the boys ravioli with turkey meatballs & marinara, and get my veggies ready for dinner. I have my supplements and my pureed veggies, tastes pretty good but I still feel miserable. Jay tells me he thinks I need to do a different detox, and I agree. I decide to do Dr. Haas' Detox Diet (which Kim gave me, thank you Kim!), and after Roddy goes to bed I eat three turkey meatballs & feel instantly better! Aahhh, nourishment!

(The "Kim" she refers to is Kimberly Rush-Lynch of Cultivating Health, who will be the main presenter of our "Spring Cleaning" workshop)

Spring Cleaning: An Adventure in Detoxing

It is time for Spring Cleaning! The "Spring Cleaning: An Adventure in Detoxing" will follow my client, Jenny, as she goes through her detoxing experience. Jenny, a mother of an energetic 18 month-old son, has been working out with me since February and has been making remarkable progress towards her fitness goals. Please come back each day this week to see how Jenny is doing with her detox experience.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Jenny!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spring Cleaning for Health

The Hot Mama Fitness Studio and Cultivating Health are sponsoring a workshop entitled "Spring Cleaning for Health". If you have ever been interested in cleanses or detoxes, this is a perfect workshop for you. For more information and to register, please see the Hot Mama Fitness Studio website.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Loser Mom's First Workout

Today was Devra and Sarah's first real workout. They made it through with flying colors! We did our workout on the deck at City Fitness Gym because it was so beatiful today!!

We started off with plank and superman to strengthen the core. Then we moved on to ball squats, pushups, rows with the TRX and stepups (for cardio). I like to put one to two minutes intervals of cardio into workouts to make sure that clients are burning calories through the duration of the workout by keeping their heart rates elevated. We ended with some core work on the BOSU and stretching.

Check out more about the first workout on their blog: Loser Moms.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hiking-A Wonderful Workout Alternative

If you are looking for ways to add fun and exciting activities to your workout regime, try going hiking. The DC area has wonderful opportunities near by for hiking. This past Saturday, I went to my favorite local hiking place: The Catoctin Mountains, which are located only an hour outside of DC.

Hiking is a great test of your cardiovascular (and muscular) endurance. You need good core strength to balance as you walk on logs and rocks to cross streams. (Or to keep you up right on rocky paths) You can also build muscular strength by climbing rocks.

You can even go hiking right in DC in Rock Creek Park. Or just take a nice walk on your neighborhood trails. You don't have to choose between doing cardiovascular workouts or strength workouts during you walk either. You can do strength building exercises along the way. For example, you can do dips and push-ups on park benches. You can do squats every time you pass a fire hydrant. Bring your resistance band along and you can do rows using light poles. The possibilies are endless!

Don't forget to bring lots of water and to stretch before and after.

So grab a friend, get outside and get fit!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Two New Hot Mamas!

I am working with two new Hot Mamas this week, Devra and Sarah. Both are mothers that are looking to get back into shape.

I met with them for the first time on Thursday, May 22 at City Fitness Gym in Cleveland Park to conduct a fitness assessment. This is the first step in any personal training relationship. The fitness assessment starts off with us discussing each of their individual health histories (both are very healthy) and their long- and short-term fitness goals.

Then we moved on the the actual physical assessments which include:
A posture assessment on the treadmill
An over head squat (another posture assessment)
The pushup test
The situp test
Flexibility tests
The step test (for cardiovascular endurance)
and anatomical site measurements.

Everything went very well and they were still smiling when they left.

We are going to meet twice a week from now on. Check back to see how these Hot Mamas are doing and what they are doing to acheive their fitness goals!

You can also follow their progress and cheer them on at their blog: Loser Moms.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mind-Body Connection Exercises

One effective exercise is simply to bring your attention to the present sensations in your body. For example, right now, as you sit reading this article, take a moment to close your eyes and see what you are aware of on a “body level.” Sense the weight of your body—how is it resting against the chair? How is the floor supporting your feet? Notice your breathing—how does your breath move your body? What else do you notice? Are there areas of discomfort? Are some parts of you harder to sense? Do some areas feel pleasurable and peaceful? Try to notice what is there without judgment or needing to change anything. Just be open and curious.

Simply witnessing and acknowledging what arises is a mind-body connection. Practicing this activity can help you become aware of—and maybe even let go of—reactive thoughts or sensations. It’s easier to let go of unhelpful feelings and reactions if we can first recognize them.

Try this exercise in different situations—for example, when you are stuck in a traffic jam. Instead of succumbing to growing anger and frustration, see if you can get into the felt-sense of that situation. Is your grip on the steering wheel tighter? What about the feeling in your gut? Perhaps your brow is furrowed and your jaw or teeth clenched. Once you experience these bodily sensations and realize they cannot improve the situa¬tion, you are in a position to release them.

Or perhaps you find yourself lying awake at night with racing thoughts. The more you try to shut down your brain, the more anxious you become, and the cycle intensifies. To calm your mind, try sensing what is happening below your head. You may notice physical sensations like your heart pounding in your chest or tightness in your solar plexus. See if you can notice how your body is making contact with the mattress and pillow, and try to feel your breath. Or see if you can recall the sense of total relaxation you have experienced at the end of a yoga class, during a massage, or while watching ocean waves lap at the shoreline. Bringing background information/sensations to the foreground results in a different perspective. This new viewpoint can slow down your reactions and cre¬ate more space, allowing for options beyond your usual conditioned responses. In this case, it may be the key to falling back to sleep.

This awareness can be beneficial in many life situations. By simply witnessing events, experiencing our environment, and observing our physical and emotional sensations in response to whatever arises, we can become more open and curious, and awaken to life and to our selves.

Donna Waks: Registered Craniosacral Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Movement Analyst has a private practice in Washington, DC where she offers individual and group sessions in bodywork and movement fundamentals. Her clientele includes, athletes, pre- and post-natal, elderly, acute or chronic health issues and people dealing with day to day stress.

Friday, March 7, 2008


We all know that the incidence of obesity is increasing dramatically in children and adults, but how do we stop it? The answer is simple- Focus on Five and Exercise. Focus on eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetable a day and exercising daily. Make up you mind and focus on health.

We, as a nation, are accustomed to eating fast and frequent, and our waistlines, knees and hips are screaming in agony because of it. Fresh fruits and vegetables are either nonexistent in our meals or poured from a can. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are usually heavy on simple carbohydrates and fats. The end result: Metabolic Syndrome.

This syndrome affects 58 million people in this country. The hallmarks of this syndrome are: increased cholesterol(LDL) and triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, high C-reactive protein levels (proinflammatory state), and elevated fibrinogen levels (excess clotting). Abnormal glucose levels round out this disorder. The end result of metablic syndrome is diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke. Recent research also demonstrates that Alzheimers is probably related to this syndrome as well. All of us want to live long and prosper, but how many of us will be healthy in our old age. How are you living?

As a mom, I realize that it is my responsibility to see that my family legacy is one of health and wellness-not metabolic syndrome. I truly believe that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. As such, I have taken a pledge:
1. I choose to expose myself and my children to a variety of food choices which incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. I choose to cook and to teach my children to cook for themselves as well.
3. I choose to incorporate physical activity into my daily life.
4. I choose to “Focus on Five and Exercise”

Join me and take the pledge. Rock and Rule!

Vicki Reese, M.D.

5 A Day CSA was started to provide locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to individuals and families. Studies have shown that those who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower rates of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and hypertension.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Mind-Body Connection

We’ve all heard the term “mind-body connection.” But what does this mean at an experiential level? If you are fortunate enough to have experienced this “felt-sense connection,” are you able to draw upon it in your daily life? Most of us are too busy to stay “connected.” One downside of today’s fast-paced culture is the discon¬nect it fosters between mind (thoughts) and body (sensations). In our desire to get ahead and think ahead, we lose touch with what’s happening in the present. Con¬necting to sensation in our bodies is a way to be more fully in the present. And it can help balance the stresses in our day-to-day lives.

So what actually is sensation? And how do we connect to it?

Sensation can be described as the perception of physical internal bodily change—for example, the awareness of tension, temperature, tingling, and vibrations. Our bodies have receptors for all of this incoming information. Special senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) connect us to internal and external stimuli, sending information to the brain. The brain then sorts, processes, and stores this information and sends out a response. It is all linked up by an intricate network of neural circuits.

Physiologically, the mind and body are bound together structurally and functionally; whatever affects one affects the other. All of us are born with the capacity to take in, process and express sensations. In fact, babies and young children are masters at focusing on present sensations. But somewhere along the way, we lose this ability to con¬nect to our present. Instead, we find ways to ignore or avoid these sensations. In some cases, unresolved experiences and trauma may leave imprints on our sense memory, resulting in “stuck” areas in our body. This can make it difficult to connect fully to bodily sensation. Becoming aware of and releasing stuck areas in our bodies is different from reliving the associated trauma. This awareness can make us more engaged, authentic and effective in our lives.

With practice, we can expand our perceptual field to include more of our internal landscape. However, it takes conscious attention to regain what was once second nature. How do we do this in our daily lives?

Meditation, yoga, martial arts, movement and bodywork, and communing with nature are just a few examples of ways to calm our mind with our body, or our body with our mind. These different approaches cultivate awareness, both internally and externally. The key is transitioning this conscious awareness of felt-sense from the massage table, the yoga studio, or the walk in the woods into our daily lives. This takes devotion and practice.

Check back again to read about ways to make the mind-body connection.

Donna Waks: Registered Craniosacral Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Movement Analyst has a private practice in Washington, DC where she offers individual and group sessions in bodywork and movement fundamentals. Her clientele includes, athletes, pre- and post-natal, elderly, acute or chronic health issues and people dealing with day to day stress.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Obesity and Health are Contagious

Researchers from Harvard and the University of California, San Diego have conducted a study that shows that obesity is not only a growing epidemic in the United States, it is as contagious as the common cold. The study says that if you associate with a group that is overweight, it is very likely that you will be overweight as well.

Spouses spend a lot of time together, but an overweight spouse has a smaller influence on you than your friends do. You share the same genetic makeup with your siblings, but they, also, have a smaller influence than your friends do. This is because we look to our close friends when determining appropriate social behavior. It feels more comfortable to be overweight if the majority of our friends are overweight. This makes sense, right? Are you always motivated to go out and run when you see your spouse lace up his/her running shoes? And just think back to all the times you were perplexed at your sibling's choice of hair style or clothing, but at the same time you wanted to dress exactly the way your friends did. We may not be in junior high any more, but things have not changed completely.

Try conducting your own survey. The next time you are at a social event, take a look at the groups of friends around you. See how many groups seem to be made up of mostly overweight individuals or mostly non- overweight individuals. Or even study your own different social circles.

However, the inverse can be true also. If you want to become healthier this year, you might need to spend time with a healthier group of friends. I don't mean that you need to completely divorce your current group of friends, but associating with healthier people can influence you to become healthier also. Plus, when your other friends see how healthy and fit you have become, they will likely want to join you! People that want to stop smoking or drinking will often join new social circles. Individuals that want to become healthier should think along the same lines.

Or perhaps you can convince your closest friends to work out with you?

To read more on this subject, check out the article in Time Magazine.

For more information on small group personal training in the Washington DC area, check out

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lifestyle Changes....Not 2008

It's January. This is the time when people start to think about their goals for the year. What are your health and fitness goals for this year? Do you want to lose weight and lower your body fat? Do you want to get stronger or improve balance? Would you like to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol?

We all start with the best of intentions in January. However, according to a study conducted by CNN in 2004, only 30% of the people that set health and fitness goals continue them into February. Only 1 in 5 will still be working towards these goals in June. That's not good!

Those of us who belong to a gym know that in the next few weeks, our favorite classes are going to be jam packed. We will have to wait for machines and "work in" with people. It's frustrating, but in the back of your mind, you know that in just a few weeks, life will be back to normal.

Why does this phenomenon happen every year? Why don't more people stick to their health related resolutions?

I will tell you why: It's because resolutions don't work! New Years resolutions do not work because most of us state a resolution without making a plan as to how to achieve this resolution. Therefore, when February rolls around and no significant progress has been made, the resolutions get ditched.

How can you make things different this year? How can you make sure that you actually achieve your goals this year? Unfortuneately, there is no fairy godmother (so I've been told)who will come by with her magic wand to help you out. Instead, you just have to change your thinking a little bit in order to be successful:

*Divide your long-term goals into short-term goals. Just say you would like to lose 30 pounds this year. A better way to look at that goal is to say, "I am going to lose 10 pounds by April 1. I will lose another 10 pounds by the end of the summer. Then I will lose the remainder of the weight by the end of the year." Losing 10 pounds seems much more manageable than losing 30 pounds.

*Create a support system. Recruit coworkers, friends, neighbors or family members to help you with your goal. Now, you are not only accountable to yourself, but to your support system as well. Join a boot camp, hire a personal trainer, buy a dog that likes to run. There is no need to do this alone.

*Create realistic goals. You may want to look like Halle Berry or a professional athlete by the end of the year, but chances are, that is not going to happen. Peyton Manning even tells us that in one of his pep talks in his commercial. Another unrealistic goal is to say that you are giving up cookies and ice cream completely. However, you can decrease your body fat by the end of the year. You can lose inches from your waist or lower your cholestoral. You can walk more or eat better and limit yourself to ice cream only on Fridays. Let's focus on goals that are attainable.

*Reward yourself. If you achieve a short term goal, go ahead and treat yourself. For example, promise yourself a new bathing suit if you lose 5 pounds by your birthday. That will give you something to look forward to and will give you a little extra motivation.

What is your lifestyle change for 2008? What have you done in years past to achieve your goals? Do you need help planning your 2008 lifestyle change?

I encourage you to post to this blog and share your questions and stories with us!