Category Archives: Wellness

Great Deals on the the UP24!


New activity tracking devices are always coming out and I’m addicted to trying them! I own the Nike FuelBand, 2 different Fitbits (the Zip and the Flex wristband), and the the Jawbone UP band.

The UP is my favorite to date and I’ve been wearing it for 2 years now. I currently have the UP24 which is the wireless version, and is super easy to use. Because Jawbone is on the verge of launching their newest band, the UP 3, you can get an incredible deal on the UP24 right now! If you want to try it, now is the time! (The UP 3 is said to retail for $180 when it comes out. It has more bells and whistles, but why not try the UP24 at a reduced price to see if you like it?)

The best deal I’ve found is the Living Social Offer for $52.99. The catch is that you have to get the blue one, but the retail on this band is $129.99, so this is an incredible deal! There is limited time remaining so check it out now! Here is the link.

Target also has a temporary price cut on the band. At $79.99 you can choose your color! I’m not sure how long this price will last.  If you come upon this page after these offers have expired, try googling UP24 best price and see what comes up!–gBEiQArnojD5ifa_jNNbcPO2UMDHppXVU9SiY2lUMIScSa68qpjgAaAnbM8P8HAQ also has an array of UP24 bands at reduced prices. But be careful here because this site also sells used bands. I wouldn’t recommend buying a used one.

So why should you get one?

It’s January and the majority of the population has made resolutions and set new goals. We want to improve our lives, eat better, move more and get healthier. The best way to do this is to track your activity to get the big picture of your patterns.

The UP app tracks and stores all of your information and you can access it at anytime. It will suggest better bedtimes and new step goals for you once it collects enough data. You can log workouts, your food and recapture your sleep data if you forget to set your band to night mode. You can also link it to some of your favorite apps like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness and many more.

One of the highlights for me is having a ‘Team’ on my UP app. You can connect with your friends and family on the app if they also have the band. It’s a great way to encourage one another.

I have an iPhone and this is how the app appears.

The UP24 tracks your steps each day, your active and idle time and estimates calories burned:


You can log your workouts each day. Below is a cardio class I took. You can also enter cross training, weight training, yoga, pilates, cycle, Zumba… there are a lot of choices. The app will estimate calories burned during your workout based on the intensity level that you set. 


You can keep track of your sleeping patterns…good or not so good. This was a couple of nights ago for me. I get up at 4:15 am to teach boot camp. Based on this, I should probably go to bed a little earlier. The dark blue is deep sleep and the light blue is light sleep. The orange shows waking up/getting up. Sometimes if you are awake and lying very still it will show as light sleep. This happens a lot and is really my biggest complaint about the band. 


After my crummy night’s sleep I needed a cat nap. You can log naps and the app will add it to your total sleep for the day. 


And at any point throughout the day you can check your sleep/activity stats.


I’m a trainer and I love this band. It motivates me to be more active and helps me to be more conscious of my activity.

I love the weekly summary I receive. It shows how I did on my goals compared to the previous week.


And breaks down my step and sleep activity by day.

IMG_3530 IMG_3529

The UP24 is not without its problems. I’ve had battery issues and have actually had several bands over the last 2 years. The Jawbone customer service is excellent though and has always replaced my band with little to no hassle. The worst case scenario is that you go without your band for a week until a new one arrives.

The UP24 is a great way to make your year a little healthier.

Check out the great deals available right now!

Happy New Year!


Hand Washing 101

washing-hands-mdWashing your hands is one of the first things you learn to do as child. It’s so basic, right? And there are so many styles. There’s the “2-second rinse and wipe on your pants” or the “5-second squirt soap in your palms and rinse the soap blob down the drain” just to name a couple. Both of these styles have to be better than the not “washing” at all, right? Maybe not.

I saw a little blurb on the news about hand washing which prompted me to do some research and examine my own habits.  I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t putting in proper time.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) set forth the following guidelines to help remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others:

How to Wash your Hands:

1) Wet your hands, turn off the tap and apply soap.

2) Lather your hands with the soap. This includes the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, under your nails, and your finger tips.

3) Now that you’re all nice and soapy, scrub your hands for 20 seconds. If you sing or hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice you’ll be good to go. The CDC even suggests this!

4) Rinse

5) Dry

It’s that simple!

Soap and water is the best way to kill those germs but if you don’t have access to clean running water, an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is a good option. Be advised that hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. When applying, make sure you rub in until dry.

We’re in the height of cold and flu season and I think we owe it to each other to take a few extra seconds to lather up and scrub.

I will if you will!



Germs and the Gym

It’s the end of January. You’ve finally got yourself into a little workout routine and maybe you’re starting to make some progress and see some results. This makes you happy. You should be! This is hard work! And just when you’re starting to believe you will see your goal, BAM, you get the plague.

This scenario is all too familiar to me! And it raises the question, “Should you work out if you’re not 100%”?

I have a definite opinion on this, but only because I repeatedly made the same mistake for years until I learned to listen to my body.

But before you hear from me:

What do the Doctors say?

If you google this subject you will find that doctors generally agree it’s ok to workout if you’re symptoms are “above the neck”. Imagine symptoms associated with the common cold including a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and watery eyes. If you have “below the neck” symptoms, hacking cough, chest congestion and/or tightness, then it’s advisable to take some time off. Also, they advise against working out at all if you have a fever, feel fatigued or have widespread muscle aches.

While this medical ‘guidance’ is helpful it’s really not that cut and dry. People are different. Circumstances are different. You have to know yourself.

What I’ve learned:

The best way to get my point across is to give you an example.

A few years ago I was deep in my training when I got cold symptoms. I know a lot of people who don’t slow down for a cold. I decided to follow their example. The result for me? I believe I was responsible for giving myself pneumonia!

I have asthma, so I’m not like ‘a lot of people’ when it comes to the common cold. I didn’t always have asthma though. I developed it as an adult, so I had a lot to learn!

The first thing I learned is that dangerous illnesses can stem from a simple germ and feed on stubbornness. I didn’t ‘want’ to take a break. Heaven forbid I miss a workout! There were two things I didn’t realize. First, my body was laboring much harder doing a familiar workout because I wasn’t well. Second, my body was already working hard to get better. A lose, lose situation!

A simple cold turned into pneumonia because I refused to rest. I was out for weeks.

If you won’t do it for yourself, think about the other guy.

I truly believe that whenever I get the plague it’s from the gym (or shopping cart handles, but that’s another blog). No one who goes to the gym wants a germ infested person contaminating all the equipment. In my opinion, if your nose is all runny and you’re sneezing everywhere, you should definitely stay home no matter what the internet says.

The final question.

I’ve learned that if you have to keep asking yourself, “Should I work out, I’m not really feeling great,” the answer is “NO, you should not work out.” Give yourself a break. You will probably recover faster with a little rest and may just prevent your fellow gym friends from catching your plague.

Everyone wins!

Going Green

269538-green-teaI’ve always been a tea drinker. I look forward to a hot cup or two every morning. It gets me going.

For years I was loyal to Lipton black tea. Why? Because that’s what my parents bought. It was what I grew up on. I didn’t know anything else.

A few years ago I bought my first package of green tea because it was part of a cleanse I was trying. It tasted slightly different but it was good! Adding a little douse of fresh lemon made it taste just like what I was used to, BUT with added health benefits. I was sold and never turned back to the dark side.

Why is Green Tea a Great Choice?


Minimal Processing

In general, the best foods and beverages for you are the ones with the least amount of processing. All teas (except herbal) come from the same type of bush (Camellia Sinensis). The level of processing determines the type of tea. Green tea is the least processed type of tea and therefore contains the most antioxidants of all the varieties.

More on Antioxidants

Antioxidants delay or prevent cell damage.

The antioxidants in tea are called polyphenols.

Catechins are a type of polyphenol found in large amounts in tea and are a very powerful antioxidant. (Catechins are also found in much smaller amounts in red wine and chocolate). Catechins are like little warriors that are believed to help fight various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and also help reduce inflammation in the body.

By weight, green tea is 20-45% polyphenols. Of this, 60-80% are in the form of catechins. That’s a lot of natural power fighting for your health!

Considered One of the World’s Healthiest Drinks

There have been numerous studies on green tea over the years which show a multitude of health benefits. Unsweetened, natural brewed tea has zero calories and is packed full of antioxidants. Adding vitamin C in the form of lemon makes the healthy compounds of green tea easier to absorb. (Dairy, on the other hand, makes the good properties harder to absorb).

Low Caffeine

Green tea contains less caffeine than black tea and far less caffeine than coffee.

Weight Loss

There have been many studies on green tea and weight loss, but they don’t all agree. While some studies have shown that green tea helps increase metabolism and fat burning, others don’t show an increase at all. It’s possible the effects may depend on the individual.

In any case, replacing a sugary or processed beverage with green tea is a good thing!

Final Thoughts

This little list of mine just touches the surface of the health benefits of green tea. I know that not everyone is a tea fan. (Hey, I can’t stomach the taste of coffee. I get it!). But if you’re a tea drinker anyway, why not give it a try?


The Silver Lining

I developed extreme pain in my left foot a few weeks ago and diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis (pronounced PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus). A little google search showed that it’s the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen and inflamed, and the heel or bottom of your foot hurts when you walk or stand. This explained what I was feeling to a ‘T’!

I’m not a baby, (well, not a huge one) and I can take my share of pain now and then. But with everything I read about how long it would take me to recover, I was freaking out a little bit. I thought of going to the doctor, but decided he’d just tell me to ice and rest, which is what I was doing anyway. Time would tell if I should seek medical attention.

For the first 5-7 days or so there was a constant dull ache throughout my foot (like a sprain) and it felt like I was walking on nails with every step. I’ve never actually walked on nails before, but in my opinion it couldn’t feel any worse than this did! During this time I stocked up on products that claimed to reduce plantar fasciitis pain.

I ended up with 3 things.

First was an arch support by Pro-Tec. I tried it on in the store and I thought it was amazing. Once I got it home though, I realized it put way too much pressure on the inflamed area. There was no way I could wear it at this point.

Next I tried KT tape. The first time I ever saw this colorful tape was on Kerri Walsh in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Surely if it worked for her it would work for me! Well, it might have if I had a different injury, but the foot and ankle move way too much and I had trouble getting it to stick.


My favorite find was ‘Feetures’ which is a sleeve or toeless sock. It helps lift and stabilize the plantar fascia in order to ease heel pain and reduce swelling. I’m not sure if it really did anything or just eased my mind because I thought it was doing something. Either way, I thought is was worth the money.

What I learned from this whole thing:

My real best friends were ice, rest and stretching:

I learned pretty quickly that a cold compress isn’t cold enough. If you have major swelling you need major cold and only real ice will do. Ice 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off and repeat. Do this often.

As far as rest goes, anything more than walking was off limits to me as long as I had any pain. This was a self imposed rule and it was a good one. I have to be strict with myself. I did do nonimpact workouts to keep myself sane though. It was OK as long as there was no pain involved.

Finally, stretching is a must! A common cause of plantar fasciitis is a tight Achilles tendon (the the big tendon at the bottom of your calf muscles above your heel). This can affect your ability to flex your ankle and make you more likely to damage your plantar fascia. I have a habit of overtraining and not stretching enough. Who out there DOES stretch enough? Pat yourself on the back if you do!!

The Silver Lining

I’m not really sure if my self diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is an accurate one. Everything I’ve read says that it takes about 9 months to a year or more to fully recover if you’re careful. It only took me a couple of weeks. I do still feel a tiny bit of inflammation but no pain whatsoever.

The good news is that I learned to take better care of myself. I never meant to be a ‘do what I say, not what I do (or don’t do)’ type of trainer. This was an accident. Like everyone, I get busy and am often pressed for time. The truth is I would do a high impact workout and NOT stretch afterwards, and I did this repeatedly. I know you’re gasping right now. So am I!

You can’t constantly pound your body without it retaliating in some way. It wants proper rest. Your tight muscles need to be stretched.

I think I’m in a better place now having gone through this. Sometimes you need to get a little scared to change the way you do things. I’m actually thankful for this experience!

Last Thoughts

I really don’t recommend self diagnosis and think everyone should consult a physician if they have an injury. I’ve had many injuries and lots of visits to various doctors. I was just implementing what I already knew before going again.

Also, plantar fasciitis has many causes, but I just addressed it as it affected me.

Finally, stay healthy and active everyone! And don’t forget to stretch!

Team Em

I often say in my day to day life there is strength in numbers and one person is never too small to make a difference in our world. In fact, if it weren’t for the cumulative efforts of many people, where would we be?

For this reason I am thrilled to introduce you to Emily.

Em photo

Emily is currently a senior in high school and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 12.  Growing up is hard enough, but dealing with Type 1 diabetes as a child is a challenging road for both the child and the parents. Suddenly their lives were changed. They had to learn a lot, and fast. The whole family’s schedule was disrupted throughout the day and night with insulin shots and checking blood sugar levels. Emily missed out on many activities over the years because of this demanding disease. It wasn’t a life she chose but one that was thrust upon her. Many people fall victim to such adverse circumstances, but not Emily. She wants to be a victor over the disease and be proactive in finding a cure.

This weekend I had the privilege of being a part of Team Em in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Em and her classmates

Pictured above is just 1/4 of the team Emily put together to raise money for diabetes research. She gathered family and friends, had t-shrits made and led her team of 40 with enthusiasm. Team Em raised $3,000 to date.

Learning to live with Type 1 Diabetes has been difficult for Emily, but according to her mother, “Understanding and living with the disease has taught her compassion, responsibility and how to rise above her circumstances”. These are lessons some people never learn.

Team Em inspired me. What a great example of taking the life you’re given and using it for the greater good. Embracing your circumstances, no matter what they are, to make a better tomorrow for many others.

Everyone can make a positive difference in this world. It doesn’t depend on your age, social status or bank account. It depends on your heart!


photoThis is my view after my early morning workout in the Comtempo Rockin’ Disco Gym, aka my garage. I stretch out in front of the fan, stare up at the colored lights and get lost in whatever tune is playing. I slowly start to come down from the euphoria I feel after working so hard and I exhale. This is the moment where I reset my mind for the day. The morning light starts to fill the room, I hear my dogs running down the hall just on the other side of the door, the smell of coffee wafts in, and sometimes I hear my neighbor start her diesel truck, ruh-ruh-ruh-ruh. All of the familiar morning sounds and smells fill me with peace. This is the moment I feel so thankful for my healthy body and all the blessings in my life. I try to stay in this place for a few moments before the stresses of the day creep in. Life seems so simple here!

I’m wishing that you all have a moment in your day where you can reset and feel the presence of the simple joys in life. I keep this photo on my phone so I can go back whenever I want!

Have a wonderful week! Happy Monday!