Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mrs. “O” – 5; Childhood Obesity – 0 - The First Lady Gains another Win with New Legislation

This week, the House passed “The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act”, legislation that would increase the reimbursement rates for school lunches by about 6 cents per meal allowing more children to become eligible for school meals and would also set nutritional standards for all foods that are served in public schools. Under this legislation, the Agricultural Department would set the standards that would require that foods served during school hours meet at least the minimum nutritional guidelines which would include leaner cuts of meat, fresh fruit, veggies and whole grains. Foods that are currently popular amongst students like hamburgers and pizza would not be removed altogether, but would also now have to meet these healthier standards. This would also mean that the candies and cakes often found in vending machines will now be replaced by healthier snack options and less high calorie/high sugar soft drinks. In addition to the above, this bill would help to provide the much needed funds to serve over 20 million more after-school meals each year to children in every state who for many, now only receive snacks instead of a full balanced and nutritious meal.

This piece of legislation has become a major part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity in the US.  Way to go FLOTUS! Thank you for helping to keep America’s children healthy.

For the full press release click here:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY - Week of December 1st, 2010 - The BOY BANDS

It’s Playlist Wednesday again and we’re back with a new list of songs.  This week is the week of the Boy Bands or as some would be preferred to be called “Male Vocal Groups”.  Spanning a variety of genres and generations, these groups have given us great tunes over the years.  In recent years, groups like New Edition, Menudo and New Kids on the Block have revived their fan base by performing reunion tours.  From the ultimate Boy Band, the Jackson 5 to today’s modern heartthrobs the Jonas Brothers, this week’s list will bring back memories and keep you bopping at the same time.  Enjoy! 

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of December 1st, 2010 - The Boy Bands –
  1.  ABC – The Jackson 5
  2. SOS – The Jonas Brothers
  3. Pop – NSYNC
  4. Ven a Volar – Menudo (The Reunion Tour)
  5. If It Isn’t Love – New Edition
  6. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – The Backstreet Boys
  7. Cuando Seas Mia (Salsa Version) – Son by 4
  8. Right Stuff – New Kids on the Block
  9. MotownPhilly – Boyz II Men
  10. One More Chance – Jackson 5

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere But How Much of It Do I Drink?

Nowadays water is plentiful. If you can't get it from a faucet, fountain or a natural body of water, you can definitely buy it. But why is water necessary in the first place? It has a critical value as far as our body is concerned. Just as a 70% of the earth is comprised of water, about 60% of our bodies are also made up of water. Water is a natural detoxifier removing toxins from our bodies that could harm us or deteriorate our health if allowed to remain and build up. Water carries vitamins and nutrients through our body via the bloodstream to ensure that our muscles, tissues and organs are properly hydrated in order to maintain maximum functionality. As a result of hydration, water also allows our skin and eyes to glow and our hair to shine. Water is important in every aspect of our being, without it dehydration sets in which could lead to energy loss, organ shut down and in extreme cases, as in diseases like Cholera, death. Over the years research has provided us with so many rules about daily water consumption that it's hard to keep up. There are many factors involved that can determine your personal water intake: where you live, climate, overall health, physical activity, height, weight, age etc. So what are some general guidelines to follow for daily consumption?

The recommended daily fluid intake is 8 - 8oz glasses of fluid. This could be water, coffee, tea, juices, soda etc. For more specific recommendations that are tailored to you specifically, consult your physician or a Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist. Although beverages such as wine, beer and soda contain water, it's best to go to the actual source and drink the water itself, making it your beverage of choice. Water contains no calories, no fat or sugars, it's readily available and it's relatively inexpensive.  Below are good indicators to help you know if you are consuming enough beverages, more specifically water:

• You should rarely feel thirsty - a general rule is that if you're thirsty you're already feeling the effects of dehydration
• In addition, your urine should be as clear as possible. If it is a bright yellow with a strong odor, chances are that you need to consume more water. As a side note, some vitamins and medication can produce bright yellow urine, but once those items have passed through your body, the urine should also return to clear with a tint of yellow.

Here are some easy ways to keep water as a major part of your lifestyle:
• Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
• Hydrate before, during and after exercise.
• Substitute sparkling water for alcoholic drinks at social gatherings, pour it in a fun glass and garnish it to make it more festive

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tomorrow Is Another Day to Begin Anew -

“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom...” ~ Hannah Arendt

We all know about what it means to forgive others with respect to moving forward with our lives in a positive manner. But what about forgiving ourselves? Sometime forgiveness of self is the most difficult lesson to learn and one of the hardest things to do. We've heard the phrase many times that we are often our own worst critic. We're harder on ourselves because of the expectations that we have set. If for whatever reason we don't amount to those expectations we beat ourselves up, and in many cases, this can get in the way of us meeting our ultimate goals.

When offering recommendations and tips for achieving fitness goals, an item that is consistently on my top 10 list is to "Be gentle with yourself".  If you miss a time in your workouts or if you fall off the "clean eating" wagon, that's okay, re-start your program and get back into it. The most important thing is to not bash yourself with self-deprecating thoughts like "I'm so stupid, I'm such a failure, I can never seem to do this etc…" Remember, we become our reality as our thoughts dictate our actions. So forgive yourself for falling off and say that tomorrow is a new day. Start anew. But this time around, evaluate how, where, when and why you fell off your program to begin with; learn from those experiences and move on to a better and newly improved YOU!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

You’ve heard the saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Well, throw in physical activity and sleep with that apple and you’ve got a winning combination. Although the findings are not exactly new to those in the Health and Wellness fields, it’s great to know that we remain on the right track in advising the public on the overall health benefits of fitness besides just the desired goal of “weight loss”. Time and again, research continues to show that regular exercise, rest and a proper diet strengthen the immune system and stave off illnesses such as the common cold and flu. In many cases, if illness does occur, the duration time is shortened and the symptoms are much less severe than those who don’t live a healthy lifestyle. So give your doctor a break this season by staying well. ;-)

Highlights to the most recent study:
 • The average adult can expect to catch a cold 2-4 times a year while the average child can expect to catch a cold 6 – 10 times each year.

• On November 1st, the British Journal of Sports Medicine posted results of a recent study that followed 1000 women and men from ages 18 to 85 over a 12 week period during the fall and winter of 2008. The researchers tracked the number of upper respiratory tract infections suffered by the participants as well as their physical activity, dietary habits, levels of stress and overall lifestyle.
  •  The researchers noted that those who exercised at least 5 times a week experienced colds up to 46% less than those who either didn’t exercise or worked out only once a week.
  • The researchers also tracked that for those who exercised frequently and did catch colds, the duration of their colds was actually 41% lower than those who did not exercise
  • In addition to a shorter duration, the symptoms experienced were 32% - 41% less severe than for those who were sedentary.

Check out the full article for more information on this research.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY - Defeat Doesn't Exist In The Minds of Winners

"We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exist." ~ Queen Victoria.

When faced with challenges and new adventures, many times we focus on the "What ifs?" The problem with the “what if factor” is that it creates worries and images of defeat before we've even begun. I remember the first time I took YOGA some of the postures were a little difficult for me to get into or hold. Thoughts ran through my head like “Is someone looking at me struggle?” or “This is so difficult I’ll never be able to do this correctly.” Fortunately the instructor noticed my “discomfort” and coached me to focus on my breath only and to not focus on the external influences like what other people thought of me in the class. All of these concerns - external concerns - created a sort of worry movie in my head which kept me from performing well. When I began to shift my thinking to what success looked like in my head, my thoughts then moved to how I could take the appropriate steps to get to that level. Eventually, not only did I master the postures, but I can now teach them to others.

So think about this today, what could you achieve if the possibilities of defeat did not exist? What does success look like to you? Focus on the image of success as an end-point and move toward that. You'll soon see that the images of failure and defeat are mere illusions that will soon fade away.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of November 3rd, 2010

It’s PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY!  Wow, the week goes by so fast.  It’s time to lift your hands & get your praise on while getting your workout on. Having taught Gospel Aerobics I know how motivating it can be to have music that speaks to your heart & spirit. So this week we’re going Christian/Gospel. From rock to hip-hop & traditional gospel we’ve got a blend of sounds to help you praise GOD while you work it out.  Enjoy!    ;-)

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of November 3rd, 2010

Christian / Gospel

  1. Looking For You – Kirk Franklin
  2. I Am Not Forgotten – Israel & The New Breed
  3. Back II Eden – Donald Lawrence
  4. Keys To The Kingdom – Group 1 Crew (song not on  listen here:
  5. So Amazing - Tye Tribbett & G.A.
  6. You Don’t Know – Kiki Sheard
  7. How Great Is Our GOD – Chris Tomlin
  8. Friend of GOD – Israel & The New Breed
  9. Glorious – Martha Munizzi
  10. The Presence of The Lord is Here – Byron Cage
  11. Revelation Song – Phillips, Craig & Dean
  12. And Again I Say Rejoice – Israel Houghton

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of October 27th, 2010 - "Studio 54 – Disco Nights"

Hey friends!  It’s the middle of the week so you know what that means.  It’s Playlist Wednesday!  We’re bringing back the night lights & the boogie & taking it back to the 70’s with Disco Nights.  Remember Farrah Fawcett winged bangs, afros, platform shoes, Halston dresses and leisure suits? Studio 54 is in full force with this playlist. So get ready to download & shake your groove thang while working it out!  ;-)

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of October 27th, 2010

Studio 54 – Disco Nights

  1. Boogie Wonderland – Earth, Wind & Fire
  2. Stayin’ Alive – The BeeGees
  3. Upside Down – Diana Ross
  4. You Make Me Feel Mighty Real – Sylvester
  5. There But for the Grace of God – Machine
  6. Hot Shot – Karen Young
  7. Disco Inferno – Trammps
  8. Le Freak – Chic
  9. Born 2 Be Alive – Patrick Hernandez
  10. Funkytown – Lipps Inc.
  11. BONUS TRACK: Car Wash – Rose Royce

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of October 20th, 2010

It’s PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY and we had a great time putting this one together.  This week "we’re gettin’ down & goin’ to town" with a little Boot Scootin’ Boogie.  This playlist was inspired by Body Beautiful friend Jen Vasek who gets her workout on to the tunes of Tim McGraw & Brooks & Dunn.  This is also for one of my students who, according to her pedometer, travels roughly 5 miles during her country line dancing class. What a workout!  We’ve got a mix of tempos for you listed here to help keep you motivated during your workout or, just download the songs and add to your playlist for general listening fun.  Check it out and enjoy!   ;-)

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of October 20th, 2010
  1. Jason Aldean – She’s Country
  2. Jessica Harp – Boy Like Me
  3. The Shake – Neal McCoy
  4. Sugarland – Stuck Like Glue
  5. I Like It I Love It – Tim McGraw
  6. Martina McBride – Wrong Baby Wrong Baby
  7. Boot Scootin’ Boogie – Brooks & Dunn
  8. She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy – Kenny Chesney
  9. Undo It – Carrie Underwood
  10. Best Days of Your Life – Kellie Pickler
  11. All Summer Long – Kid Rock
  12. * BONUS: Reba McEntire – Pink Guitar

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of October 13th, 2010

Hey, hey, hey Body Beautiful friends!  Another week has passed and another playlist is in full effect.  It’s PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY and this week we’re giving the ladies their proper due! Today’s theme: “Hip-Hop Divas”. Within this list are ladies who paved the way for many in the genre by standing strong, going bold & being fearless in their craft without over sexualizing themselves while delivering songs of empowerment to cool beats that we can groove to. Because of their music styles, and their personal strength, these ladies have become more than just pop trends and fads; they have become sustainable figures whose music will last.  Check it out & enjoy. Heads up! Next week we’re going Country. ;-)

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of October 13th, 2010
Hip Hop Divas

  1. Queen Latifah & Moni Love – Ladies First
  2. Eve – Tambourine
  3. Salt n Pepa –Push It
  4. Mc Lyte – Paper Thin
  5. Lauryn Hill – That Thing
  6. Moni Love - Moni In the Middle
  7. Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.
  8. Roxanne Shante – Def Fresh Crew f/ Biz Markie
  9. *Queen YoNasDa – Your Hood f/ Cappadonna (track available on itunes)
  10. Missy Elliott – Get UR Freak On f/ Nelly Furtado
  11. Bonus Track: Lauryn Hill – Everything is Everything


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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist - Week of October 5th, 2010

This week’s playlist was inspired by Body Beautiful friend Karla Smith who recommended “Cool Weirdoes” as a theme.  What are cool weirdoes you ask?  They are artists whose creativity is expressed in their personal styles and music which equally break the mold.  Some are nerdy, some are kooky, some are avant-garde and others.... well, they’re just in a whole different stratosphere.  But whatever the case, we appreciate their creativity as it allows them to provide us with great tunes to either dance or chill to.  That said we’ve got a mix of styles, tempos and genres this week.  We've even reached back a couple of decades to bring back some fun tunes.  So let the downloading begin.  And if you can think of any other “cool weirdoes” to add to the list, please share; the more the merrier!  Enjoy!  ;-)

Body Beautiful Playlist - Week of October 5th, 2010

  1. RuPaul - Covergirl
  2. Macy Gray - Beauty In The World (Remix)
  3. Erykah Badu - Window Seat
  4. Cyndi Lauper - She Bop
  5. Lady Gaga - Telephone
  6. Weird Al - White & Nerdy (Parody of "Ridin" by Chamillionaire)
  7. Andre 3000 of Outkast - Hey Ya
  8. Devo - Whip It
  9. Shock G performing as "Humpty Hump" w/ Digital Underground - Humpty Dance
  10. Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Benny Banassi Remix)
  11. *Bonus Track:  PRINCE - Chelsea Rodgers

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

September Is National YOGA Month, Celebrate With The TITANS OF YOGA

The TITANS OF YOGA is the Official DVD of National Yoga Month 2010.  The DVD, which features 25 Masters of Yoga, take you on a journey of self-discovery and mastery.  Featured masters include:   Dr. Dean Ornish, Lilias Folan, Kim Eng, Bryan Kest, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Dharma Mittra, John Friend, Rajashree Choudhury, Gurmukh Khalsa, Swami Kriyananda, Beth Shaw, Shiva Rea, Gary Kraftsow, Ana Forrest, David Swenson, Seane Corn, Larry Payne, Deva Premal & Miten, Vinnie Marino, Lisa Walford, Krishna Kaur, Saul David Raye, Sara Ivanhoe.

Proceeds from the purchases of this DVD go towards Yoga-Recess in Schools, a national campaign and platform to bring yoga-based health education into classroom.

For more information on Yoga-Recess in Schools and to purchase the DVD, please visit:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of September 22, 2010

Get the big hair, neon brights & hammer pants ready! It’s PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY 80’s style!  This was another tough task to narrow the songs down to only 10, we actually added a bonus track to make it 11.  Do you have favorites from the 80’s?  Help us out and give us some of your favorite picks.  What are 5 -10 songs that keep you energized and movin' and groovin'?
“Heads up” since September is national YOGA month, next week we’re choosing our top 10 yoga tunes.  Great for meditation, relaxation & restoration!
Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of September 22, 2010

  1. Beat It – Micheal Jackson
  2. Thriller – Micheal Jackson
  3. I love Rock & Roll – Joan Jett & The Black Hearts
  4. Flashdance (What A Feeling) – Irene Cara
  5. Walk This Way – Run DMC & Aerosmith
  6. 8675309 – Tommy Tutone
  7. Turn This Mutha Out – MC Hammer
  8. The Reflex – Duran Duran
  9. Express Yourself - Madonna
  10. It’s Tricky – Run DMC
  11. *Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of September 15, 2010

Party time friends LATIN-style! It’s PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY & today we’re listing our Top 10 LATIN songs THIS week to keep us motivated during our workouts.   It was really tough to narrow it down to just 10; we could’ve done top 20. It’s YOUR turn, share songs from your own playlist.  What are 5 -10 songs that keep you energized and focused this week?  ;-)  “Heads up” Next week we’re going 80’s, so get your tunes and big hair ready!
Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of September 15, 2010 

  1. Aguanile – Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe (Salsa) *also available, Marc Antony's contemporary version

  2. El Baile del Beeper – Oro Solido (Merengue)
  3. Atrevetete te te – Calle 13 (Reggaeton)

  4. La Negra Tiene Tumbao – Celia Cruz

  5. *Baila Esta Cumbia – Kumbia Kings featuring Selena (Cumbia)

  6. Abusadora – Wisin y Yandel (Reggaeton)

  7. *Se Le Ve – Andy Montanez featuring Daddy Yankee ( Salsa/Reggaeton)

  8. *Nadie Se Muere – La Makina (Merengue)

  9. Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo – Calle 13 (Rggaeton)

  10. Te Regalo Amores - RKM & Ken-Y (Bachata)

 *songs not found on

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the New - Knowing When It's Time to Buy New Workout Shoes

Today’s cardio-kickbox class was unlike any other day. My DJ had just given me a brand new cd that he’d created especially for my class; I was already fired up and ready to get folks moving. So I pop in the music, start the class and kick it into high-gear. We’re kicking, jabbing, jacking, and striking to the beats; oh the energy was high tonight. But for some reason I kept getting distracted. My shoes, even though I was wearing thicker socks, felt loose. I looked down several times to check if my laces had come undone, but whenever I looked down expecting to see the laces untied, they weren’t. So at one point, I finally bent down and re-tied my laces tighter than what they already were. It was at that point that I really paid attention and realized that it’s time for a new pair of shoes. Yes, even though I know the rules, like many others I also get “comfortable” with my favourite pair of sneakers. Even though I have other pairs that I rotate out to help minimize the wear and tear, my white,-now beige- shoes with the pink and black trim are still my favourites. But because I do know the rules and the tell tale signs of a worn out shoe, I know that it’s time to give them up. Why you ask? They’re already broken in, aren’t shoes supposed to be comfortable? Yes, shoes are supposed to be comfortable, but not worn out.

For the same reason that we need to change the tires on our cars and have them rotated periodically, we should also change our workout shoes. The purpose: to protect the body from injury and to increase performance in activity. Think of your workout shoes as the tires for your body. The difference between good tread and worn tread on tires can be best judged on the road during slippery weather conditions. I once had a friend tell me that he’d just bought new tires for his car, the old tires weren’t really old enough to be changed, but for him, the tread made the difference between driving 90mph and 110mph on the road. With the better tread, he was able to get more traction and ultimately better performance. Many car manufacturers will tell you that if you want to save on gas, make certain that the air pressure in the tires is adequate. Yet again, it’s about safety and performance. When thinking of fitness equipment, most people will consider, apparatus for strength training, a fitness DVD, music to inspire during workouts, and workout attire. But most will not even consider their footwear. For any activity that requires you to use your feet, which is just about everything, special consideration should be taken to make certain that they are protected.

Worn out shoes can lead to increased injuries to the body since the shoes begin to lose their stability, support and shock absorbency abilities. Over time, this lack of support begins to stress the lower body setting it up for injuries along the way. In my years of training and teaching, I’ve had many people tell me that after a workout, their back hurts, or their legs hurt or that the front of their legs are experiencing pain (shin splints). The first thing that I do is to look down at their feet to see what they’re wearing. If the shoes look “seasoned” I’ll ask when the shoes were purchased and in almost every case, the time to buy a new pair of shoes had been long overdue. In those cases, I’ll give a couple of stretches for them to do and then recommend that they buy another pair. In EVERY case where that recommendation was given, the person has come back to me to say, “WOW, these shoes feel great and I don’t have the pains anymore. I never would have thought to buy a new pair”

So what are signs that your shoes need replacing?

• Runners: it’s recommended that you replace your shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6 months whichever comes sooner
   o If you log 25 miles/week – replace every 3 – 4 months
• Expiration Date: On your next shoe purchase, take a marker and write down the purchase date on the inside of the shoe, I usually put it on the tag. This will help you keep track of your shoe purchase dates without having to rely on memory.
• Leaning Shoe Test: Place your shoes on a table and look at them from behind, if they’re leaning to the sides… it’s time
• Examine the tread of the shoe, if it’s worn, you need new shoes.
• Twist the shoe, the midsole is what helps to provide stability and cushion, if it’s worn; chances are that the shoes have reached their limit. If the shoe twists easily, this is a huge sign that you need a new pair
• The body NEVER lies! Pay attention to what you’re feeling, are you noticing tightness, increased muscle fatigue, shin splints, pains in the lower back? It may be time.
• Save your shoes, rotate them! If your finances allow, buy 2 pairs of shoes to rotate out.

This was also the topic of our Body Beautiful Question of the week last week and here’s what some of our Facebook friends had to say:
Kristal Turner-Childs: Every 4-6 months and I buy two pair because I don't like wearing the same workout shoes every day.
Kimberly Zahour:  I buy two pairs also! It's better to alternate and let the shoes completely dry out to extend the life of your shoes. 6 to 9 months would probably be good if you only wear them for workouts but I have to admit I'm over that mark.
Sydney Molare':  never thought about it...just when they wear out
Joy Kagendo:  Every 3 to 6 months. I feel like the soles get worn out pretty fast and I'm not willing to compromise my feet. If you put in an equivalent or 500 miles in your shoes you should replace them regardless of how new they look

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Body Beautiful Playlist – Week of September 8th, 2010

Hey Body Beautiful friends, it’s PLAYLIST WEDNESDAY again! Below we’re listing our Top 10 songs for THIS week that keep us motivated during our workouts. We’re back to mixing it up again with a little help from some of our friends. Heads up!!! Next week we’re going LATIN, so get your tunes ready!

Boom Boom Pow – Black Eyed Peas
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Get into the Groove – Madonna
Last Night a DJ Saved My Life – Indeep
Chuck Baby – Chuck Brown
Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
Low – Flo Rida w/ T-Pain
Just Fine – Mary J. Blige
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
Lean on Me – Kirk Franklin (good for cooldown/stretch)

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