May 25, 2022

HELLO Spring! By Angelena Riggs

Spring is here, time to take your fitness outside!

Are you feeling bored with your current indoor workouts?  Now that Spring is finally here, it’s time to take your workouts outside for a change.  You can get some sun, have some fun and get a great workout in too.  Ready to head out and burn some calories?


Here are a few ways to get outside:

Take a trail hike:  Find a local State Park that has trails marked for with walking paths.  Trails are a great alternative to treadmill inclines and work your entire lower body!

Do some track sprint intervals: The local high school is a great location to work on your sprints.  Try walking, running, then sprinting in intervals to burn major calories.

Play sports: Grab a friend, your spouse or even your kids for a fun game of tennis or basketball.  Playing sports is a fun way to take your fitness outside while spending time with your loved ones.

Fitness Trail Loop:  There are many parks and trails that offer fitness activities. Some activities include pull up bars, sit-up benches, and monkey bars.  Not sure where to find one, do a quick internet search for one in your area.  This is a fun way to challenge your fitness and try something new.

Get on your Bike: Spring is the perfect time to get your bike out from the rack in your garage and hit the trails. Biking is a great workout and you can ride the sidewalks in your neighborhood or find a local bike trail.  Grab a friend or two and get pedaling.

Whatever activity you choose to do, just get moving.  Spring is the perfect time to take your workouts outside and get your friends and family involved and off the couch.

Angelena is a mom, healthy living blogger at On Fire Fitness Healthy Living (, a NASM Certified Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Her goal is to inspire others to take the steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Visit Angelena on Facebook and on Twitter.

Health and Fitness Blogs to Follow…NEXT!

Are you looking for fitness and healthy living motivation? Here’s the fifth in our series, Health and Fitness Blogs to Follow…

“I wanted to share my passion for fitness nutrition and healthy living” explains Jana, creator of the blog, Bananas for Balance. She launched her blog in July of 2013 and posts 4-5 times each week. In her blog, you’ll find everything health, fitness and wellness-related.

Bananas for Balance is for everyone, but especially for those “who have a love of fitness and nutrition or people looking to start healthy habits.” Jana says her favorite post thus far is When Happiness Becomes a Choice.  In this post, Jana shares part of her personal story. So, if you need a little inspiration, this is a must-read.

If you’re a runner, you’ll especially enjoy a section on Jana’s blog, called November Project. Started in Boston and now expanded to fifteen cities, they are a free fitness group. “No official membership, just show up” encourages Jana. She shares her experiences with the group and various workouts. Your fitness will be motivated!

So if you want to get excited about your fitness and healthy living, be sure to sign up for her automatic updates here! Connect with Jana on Twitter @NanasforBalance and Facebook at Bananas for Balance.

Health and Fitness Blogs to Follow…continued

Behold, the third in our series…Health and Fitness Blogs to Follow!

The blog New York Views & Nike Shoes found its voice in the Fall of 2013 with Meaghan Ellis. Meaghan explains how her blog came to be, “when I moved to New York, I found myself taking so many pictures of my new city and telling friends and family about all the cool new workout places I was trying, so I decided to put it all down on paper (or, a computer in this case.)”

Meaghan posts about 5 days each week and describes her blogging approach as a “normal persons approach to running.” Check out one of her favorite posts to date, her half marathon race recap from December. She writes about living active and trying new workouts around the big city, New York City.

So who should check out New York Views & Nike Shoes? Meaghan sums it up, “anybody who is even mildly interested in running will be able to relate to my blog. I am not a fast runner, so you’ll read about the trials and tribulations of a slow, but dedicated distance runner.” So whether you’re a fan of fitness or simply a fan of New York City, you’ll find workout-focused posts, inspiring pictures and healthy living motivation to love on New York Views & Nike Shoes!

Want to receive automatic updates of Meaghan’s blog? Sign up here!

Natural Metabolism Boosters by Angelena Riggs

Whether you are looking to burn fat or gain lean muscle follow these tips to naturally boost your metabolism.  Stay consistent and you will start to see the results in as little as 2 weeks.

Eat enough of the right foods- Focus on eating whole, nutrient dense food.  Make sure you are eating lean protein, plenty of veggies and fruits.  Steer clear of processed foods that offer no nutrients, they are bad for your waistline and metabolism.

Eat your breakfast- Start off your day right and eat a well rounded breakfast: eggs scrambled with your favorite veggies on a piece of sprouted grain toast and some fresh berries.  This sets you up for a successful day.  Also, down one glass of ice cold water before your first bite.

Eat throughout the day- Make sure you have 3 meals and at least two snacks planned for the day.  Eating at regular intervals, every 3-4 hours, keeps your metabolism burning and will ensure that your body doesn’t break down that hard earned muscle for energy.

Lift weights- Lifting weights helps to build lean muscle.  Lean muscle takes more energy to maintain than fat, and for every pound of lean muscle you build your body will rev up your metabolism to maintain that muscle.  Challenge yourself beyond those 3 and 5 pounds and watch your body change!

Add HIIT to your workouts- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is adding short bursts of high intensity moves, like sprints or jump squats to your low intensity steady state workouts, like weight lifting.  This gets your heart rate up and then forces your body to recover many times during your workout.  The benefits continue even after your workout is over, you burn more fat and calories for up to 24 hours.

Stay hydrated- At a minimum you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces.  For example a 150 pound woman should at least drink 75 ounces daily.  Add don’t forget to drink extra during your workouts!

Angelena is a mom, healthy living blogger at On Fire Fitness Healthy Living (, an NASM Certified Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Her goal is to inspire others to take the steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Visit Angelena on Facebook and Twitter.

Be Stress-Free by Amanda Miarecki

5 Ways to Live a Stress-Free Life by Amanda Miarecki

If your goal is to de-stress, play more, and feel great then these 5 tips will do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit.



1.     Hang with Happy People
Haven’t you heard? Happiness is contagious! Glass-half-full types of people tend to be nice to everyone around them. Just being around positive people can increase your chances of being happier and more carefree.  So ditch the stressed out, cynical types and surround yourself with friends who have a sunnier disposition.

2.     Speak Your Mind
You absolutely MUST open up. Don’t let your problems, worries, or concerns fester inside of you. Make sure you are communicating your needs to your partner, boss, friends, and family. Understanding your own emotions and reactions to stressful situations and dealing with them head on will make your life so much easier.
3.     Eat For Energy
When your diet is poor, it’s much more likely that you’ll feel lack of energy and interest – which can amplify daily stressors. Eat a good breakfast that contains protein to get you through a tough morning. Scrambled eggs, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, and fruit is the perfect combination. Keep yourself healthy and happy with small snacks throughout the day. Try tea, dark chocolate, veggies, trail mix, yogurt, or string cheese.

4.     Move Daily
Fitness isn’t just about your body, it’s about your mind and spirit as well! Exercise releases endorphins, which gives you a natural high. This natural high helps to relieve any stress you’re feeling and allows your body to relax. Next time you’re feeling stressed, go for a walk instead of grabbing the wine.

5.     Get Some Rest
Have you ever noticed that you are crabby on the days you are overtired? Quality sleep is one of the more underrated ways to deal with stress. Create a nightly routine and a set bedtime and stick with it. Your body will appreciate the schedule and be better prepared for the day.

Amanda is a Boulder-based Health Coach, fitness enthusiast, avid trail-runner, and aspiring physician with a passion for integrative health. Her goal is to motivate women to live inspiring and healthy lives and create a revolution in how people think about their health. Her passion is encouraging others to take care of their bodies with exercise, healthy behaviors, and nutritious foods. Get inspired to live fit and connect with Amanda on her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

Get Your Fitness Back on Track by Angelena Riggs

Finding the Motivation to Start Again

The hardest part of starting up your fitness and healthy eating again after a setback is finding the motivation to get back on track. We have all struggled with this at some point or another. We are working out consistently and eating right, and then something happens that takes us out of that routine and we have a hard time getting started again.

Here are a few tips to get your fitness motivation back on track:

Determine your “why”- If you know exactly why you are working toward a goal it is much easier to get back into your healthy routine. It must be personal to you in order for it to increase motivation.

Create a motivation board- One thing I find motivating is to have my goals posted where I can see them daily. I also like motivational quotes or mantras that help to keep me on track. You can even use a virtual motivation board on Pinterest where you can pin different workouts, recipes, and motivation quotes to keep you inspired.

Find a fitness buddy- Working out and eating healthy can be fun and easy if you have someone to share it with. Find a like-minded friend or even co-worker who is also working on getting back in the swing of things and help to motivate one another. Even if you don’t do all of your workouts together you will have someone to share your successes and struggles.

Set small goals- Whether you are trying to run faster, lose weight, or gain muscle, set small goals. Breaking down your goals into smaller goals allows you to see progress, and the task won’t seem so overwhelming. For example, if you have 40 pounds you want to lose, start in 10 pound increments. Every time you reach a 10 pound goal reward yourself with something to keep you motivated, like new workout clothing or gear.

Angelena is a mom, healthy living blogger at On Fire Fitness Healthy Living (, an NASM Certified Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Her goal is to inspire others to take the steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Visit Angelena on Facebook and Twitter.

Too stressed to exercise? By Jana Ross

I’m a morning runner – I wake up before my alarm goes off at 5:30am, crave the sunrises, and savor this quality time I have with my city. In my six years as I runner, I have never set foot to pavement after work. Until one night this week. I tell you this context so you understand what kind of day I must have had to run when it’s already pitch black and not getting any lighter. (Or warmer – it was hovering around 8˚ and only dropped.) One person on a street corner said, “You’re dedicated.” I smiled back and thought, “You have no idea how this run is helping me right now.”

As  to-do lists lengthen, we have no choice but to find some kind of stress reliever. Mine is running, but maybe it’s yoga, a good book or cup of coffee for you. Savor it and don’t let anything keep you from finding the time to pursue whatever it is that calms you down. Sometimes you can’t get to your exercise or stress-reliever the very the minute you need it though, and it helps to have a few tips in your back pocket so you don’t lose your cool. Here are 5 stress-relieving tips:

1. Breathe
Simple but underrated. Use your fingers to press one nostril close and breathe deeply through the other for five seconds. Switch sides and repeat until your pulse slows.

2. Keep Perspective
Play an “it could be worse” game and think about how your stress fits in to the bigger picture. Will someone really remember a few weeks from now if you brought store-bought cookies to the cookie swap? Or pushed a deadline back a few hours to turn in high-quality work?

3. Practice Gratitude
I keep a handy “Things I’m Grateful For” list that I refer to whenever I’m having a really low day. Maybe it’s browsing through your iPhone pictures or calling an old college roommate, sometimes we just need to get out of our own heads.

4. Stretch
There’s something about taking a few minutes to lengthen our cramped muscles that instantly calms us down. It’s restorative and relaxing by nature.

5. Write
Seeing our stresses on paper sometimes helps to understand them as fleeting, manageable, and actionable.

Stress is paralyzing because it overwhelms our rationale, but there is almost always some positive step to take. It’s a choice to be positive. Not an easy choice, but a choice. Now excuse me while I go for a run.

Jana is a healthy living blogger from Boston writing about her love for running, community fitness, and nutrition. She’s run five marathons and is looking ahead to her first triathlon this summer. Check out her blog via

Medical Clearance to Exercise: Necessary? By Sarah Johnson

If you’ve recently joined a gym or enlisted the guidance of a Fitness Professional, you may be asked to provide a Medical Clearance to Exercise.

Medical Clearance to Exercise: Necessary or Waste of Time?

Is medical clearance to exercise really important?
Yes. Safety is top priority. We want you to get in a great workout, and we want to be sure you’re doing it in a safe manner.

How to obtain medical clearance to exercise? Getting medical approval prior to starting an exercise program shouldn’t be difficult.  Your Fitness Professional should hand you a form for your physician to review and sign. Call your doctors office and simply request that your physician review and email/fax/mail in your facility’s clearance form. Once it’s received and discussed with your Fitness Professional, you can usually begin your workout immediately.

What if you don’t have a regular doctor to review the form? Ask your friends for the name of their doctor. Having a doctor who is familiar with your health history is of benefit to everyone. Make an appointment and proceed from there.

WHY is medical clearance important? Exercise should be enjoyable and effective. There are many medical issues that may affect the type, duration or intensity of exercise you should be performing: high blood pressure, heart rate limitations, bone or joint injuries and others. You may not even be aware of your medical conditions until consulting with your doctor. It is very important that your fitness instructor or gym facility knows that you may have some restrictions before beginning an exercise program because:
A) we don’t want you to get hurt or further injured.
B) you may not be able to reach your goals as quickly or effectively without some modifications due to your considerations.

Once medical clearance has been accepted, you’ll be on your journey to better health!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

Healthy Holiday Appetizer by Lisa McClellan

Hosting a dinner? Attending a party? Don’t panic! Here’s a simple, healthy and delicious go-to recipe, sure to please all the party guests. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Dip Holiday Appetizer


What You Will Need

3 small to medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 15oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. of fresh lime juice (About a lime and a half)
1 t. Cumin
1 t. fresh ground pepper
1 t. salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 olive oil
1/4 feta cheese (optional, for garnish)

How to Make

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, place peeled and diced sweet potatoes in the water, reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes and then drain. While the potatoes are cooking drain and rinse the pinto beans. Put the beans in a food processor, add olive oil, water, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin. Slowly, add drained sweet potatoes… pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy. It should be thick enough to scoop with a chip but if too thick add more water until it’s the right consistency.

Makes enough to feed a crowd, but can also be covered and stored for up to a week in the fridge.

You could make this ahead of time, up to 7 days before an event. To reheat, just place it in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.

Garnish with Feta Cheese (Optional)

Recipe by Lisa McClellan. For more recipes and healthy living tips follow her via

7 Steps to Race Ready by Nicole Bryan

This article is sponsored by RunnerBox.

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7 Steps to Race Day Ready by Nicole Bryan


Whether you’re racing a 5K or an ultra-marathon, or any distance in between, the preparation required is similar. You’ve logged many miles, spent many hours insuring you have the appropriate gear and you’re now ready to toe the line. Every race veteran will tell you there are a few essentials to being race ready. Here’s the inside-track:

Skip the last minute miles. While last minute cramming may have helped you pass a college exam, it won’t help your racing. Your job is to arrive at the starting line 100% refreshed and ready to race. In fact, those last minute miles may do more harm than good. Running fitness is cumulative. One run missed or added will not make or break your running performance. Leave your miles to training, not to the week before the race.

Confirm your race start time. It sounds silly, but race schedules change! Don’t risk a morning panic attack by foregoing this easy step. Upon your race check in, simply confirm the start time. In fact, take a picture of the posted schedule and wave starts with your phone so you may easily refer to it when planning your arrival time.

Stick with food you know. Go online beforehand and do a menu search of the available eateries in the area. Once you’ve chosen your familiar meal, go one step further and make reservations for your dinner time two weeks before. Doing so, takes the guess work out of where to eat and when to eat. Plan to eat early to allow for proper digestion. The night before a race is not the time to try a new recipe or food choice. What you usually consume the night prior to your long runs is what you should consume the night before your race. The same applies to your breakfast the morning of the race.

Plan for an early evening. Three of the most challenging words for athletes to hear: Take it easy! You may be too nervous to go to sleep early, but you can still rest and relax. Watch a movie, chat with friends. Lounge, guilt-free!

Safety first. Before pinning your bib to your shirt the night before, take two extra minutes and write your emergency contact number on the back, as well as any vital medication/treatment information. Even with a timing chip secured to you, providing this easy accessible information on the back of your bib, may save valuable time during an emergency.

Be aware of the weather forecast. Know the temperature and wind conditions as both of these specifically can alter your run efforts. Do you need to pack warm-up or cool-down clothes? There’s nothing worse than shivering your way through a race or overheating due to lack of planning. Be sure to heed the warning of nothing new on race day as well. This applies to clothing, as well as shoes and technique. If you haven’t worn it, consumed it, or tried it in training, don’t try it on race day!

Allow time for a warm up. Regardless of the distance you’re racing, a proper warm up is an essential part of every athlete’s race day regime. This could mean simply walking from your car to the race start, or walking around the starting line. The goal is to increase heart rate and increase circulation, therefore preparing your body for the work of exercise.