MEET THE NEXT FITNESS STAR: KATIE YIP (PART 1)

Women’s Health is in search of the Next Fitness Star and this week is the final week to vote. While there are many excellent candidates, I’ve already cast my vote for Katie Yip. Katie is a NYC-based pilates instructor who teaches at Pilates Challenge on the Upper East Side. This weekend I had a private pilates session scheduled with Katie, but before that I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her personal fitness and health journey. Even before meeting, her answers won me over. Katie is smart (she’s earning her Master’s in kinesiology and exercise physiology), passionate, and charming. I can’t wait to share how our workout went, but for now get to know your Next Fitness Star, Katie Yip.

Katie Yip Next Fitness Star

1. Why are health and fitness important to you?

Health and fitness are important to me because a) the research continues to affirm the prophylactic effect of exercise on health and longevity, and b) because it gives me a sense of ownership over my own life. There are many aspects of life that we have little to no control over, but nutrition and exercise are among the few where our own decisions can greatly influence the quality of our individual lives. Our bodies are our own, and we can choose to nourish our bodies with food and movement that make us feel good.

My ultimate goal is to become the best version of myself — physically, mentally, and emotionally — and to be better and stronger than I was the day before. Although I cannot always measure internal growth, Pilates (and other types of exercise!) is the most tangible way for me to evaluate my own physical progress.

2.Many Lean Girls have a hard time fitting a workout into their busy schedules. What is your go-to workout for someone who has less than an hour?

Exercise is cumulative. Exercise doesn’t have to be performed in an hour segment, it’s entirely possible to break up exercise throughout the day and still reap the benefits from it. For example, take the stairs
or do some body-weight squats before lunch. It doesn’t matter when or where physical activity is performed, it’s a matter of taking responsibility for yourself and your health and making the time to incorporate little pieces of movement throughout the day.

Interval training, which can be completed in 15 minutes, is another excellent option for a fast and highly effective workout. Interval training is an exercise method that uses alternating periods of work and rest. This type of training can be done with simple body weight exercises, and induces a similar and perhaps elevated cardiovascular response sans equipment. If I’m doing this kind of workout, I like to perform 4 exercises that consist of the 4 athletic movements: run, jump, push, and pull. I’ll perform each exercise for one minute with 15 seconds of rest in between, and then repeat this for a total of three rounds.

*Katie’s signature move is the upstretch.
Katie Yip Next Fitness Star

3. What is your favorite go-to healthy meal or snack? What fuels you when you’re on the go?

My favorite go-to healthy meal is grilled salmon (cooked with lemon/salt/pepper) with brown rice, and a side salad of romaine lettuce, avocado, shredded carrots, and tomatoes with olive oil and salt. When I’m on the go, I’ll usually pack a few hard-boiled eggs or a Quest bar. If I didn’t pack anything I’ll go to the supermarket and purchase foods such as a can of sardines, a whole avocado, or kombucha.

4. What is one tip you would give all Lean Girls to looking and feeling their best selves? Call it a healthy mantra or words to live by if you will…

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

I think this quote is so important because it encapsulates what I feel women should do before embarking on any health/fitness journey. There’s always going to be latest trends in diet and exercise, but those trends may not necessarily be the right solution for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. People respond differently to different types of training and dietary programs – importantly, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for transformation. Instead of blindly adhering to specific protocols, I believe in understanding what those protocols call for by doing your own research and self-experimenting. Authentic transformation happens, externally and internally, by learning what works and doesn’t work for your individual body. Importantly, embrace the research but also consider real world results to find the right formula unique to you.

5. If we were to look in your purse, what is one thing that we’d be surprised to find?

Golf ball. In between clients or classes, I’ll use a golf ball as a foam roller to massage the muscles of my hip and the bottom of my foot. I always try to be as productive as possible with my time. Time is valuable!


Check back Wednesday to see how my private workout with Katie went. She had me huffing and puffing, and I have the photos to prove it! To learn more about Katie and the other Next Fitness Star candidates (I mean, why would you? lol) visit The Next Fitness Star.

Credit: Women’s Health

RECIPE | BANANA CHIA ICE CREAM

I heard Sunday was National Ice Cream Day and I missed it. Is it just me or does every day feel like a national day of something and I just seem to watch it pass by. Not this time! Every day should be National Ice Cream Day with my banana chia ice cream, or “nice” cream. I used fruit and peanut butter for breakfast the other day, but if you want a dessert try adding cacao nibs. Yummmmm!

banana chia ice cream recipe

BANANA CHIA ICE CREAM

Ingredients:
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I like Blue Diamond Almond Breeze)
2 frozen bananas
1 tbsp peanut butter (I used this from Peanut Butter & Co)
4 fresh strawberries (or other fruit)

Instructions:
1. The day/night prior, store two bananas in the freezer. I usually peel the bananas and freeze them in a ziploc bag. Also, soak 1 tbsp chia seeds in 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. Leave in fridge over night. They’ll be gelatinous in the morning and resemble chia pudding (another one of my favorites).

2. Blend frozen bananas with almond milk + chia seed mixture until you get a soft serve consistency.

3. Serve in bowl (or cone) and top with sliced strawberries or other toppings like shredded coconut, cacao nibs, or berries.

4. Enjoy! Start your hot summer weekend with this frozen treat.

banana chia ice cream

Speaking of weekend, what are your plans? I #willrunforjuice with Juice Press and taking a Pilates class with Katie from Women’s Health Magazine’s Next Fitness Star. More to come on all of that!

CRUNCH LIVE | REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Growing up in Virginia, I’ve always known that I wanted to move to NYC. There were two things I was going to do once I got here: work in the music business (check) and work out at Crunch (check). I remember reading my favorite fitness magazines and always finding the latest “it” class being available at Crunch. At that time, the pole dancing workout trend had hit the waves and my idol (at the time) Britney Spears was a fan. I loved how Crunch combined the two things I loved: fitness + entertainment. So when Crunch reached out asking me to check out Crunch Live, I jumped at the opportunity. Read my review and find out how you can win a free trial of Crunch Live below.

Crunch Live review

Crunch Live is the online portal of Crunch gyms bringing you today’s most popular group fitness classes. You stream and sweat in the comfort of your own home. It’s like Netflix or On-Demand for workout videos. I could’ve used this 14 years ago, when little big ol’ me was starting my fitness journey. Crunch is about making fitness fun and accessible and you get that immediately when you hit the Crunch Live homepage.

Crunch Live online workouts review

I loved that I didn’t need a PhD to navigate the website. It’s super user friendly! As soon as you log in you’re presented with a multitude of classes to choose from whether it’s pilates, dance cardio, abs, or body sculpting. Or if you’re a Crunch gym regular and don’t need recommendations, you can search classes by instructor or category.

Crunch Live online workout review

All the classes are well produced. The lights, the set, and the people are all professional and TV quality, yet they’re REAL people. Nobody looks like a Barbie doll. And unlike other workout DVDs I own, the instructors don’t have creepy voices and their personalities shine. Their energys and bodies are enviable. My personal favorite was the Absolution class with Deborah Sweets. Anyone who can help me work my core without making me do traditional crunches is an angel in my book.

Crunch Live Review
Crunch Live review

WHAT I LOVED…
* The Navigation – it’s super user friendly.
* The Cost – it’s $9.99 per month and cheaper than a traditional gym.
* The Convenience – you can work out anywhere. There’s no excuse!
* The Personalization – you can save your favorite workouts and set them on a playlist.
* The Energy – I loved the instructors.
* The Portability – you can follow along on your computer or connect it to your TV for a bigger experience.
* The Experience – I loved how hi-tech, fun, and luxurious it felt.
* NO CONTRACT!

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE…
* Tech Problems – If you have a poor network connection, like I do sometimes, it’s frustrating to be in the middle of a workout and have it freeze. Luckily, I didn’t have a problem.
* No Accountability – Even though the classes give you a LIVE experience, there is no one there to correct your form or answer any questions.
* Not Social – If you’re someone who loves group classes because you vibe off other people’s energy, this is not for you…unless you invite friends over, which is totally doable!

Overall, I love Crunch Live. I love that I have so many options to get a sweat session in at home, at work, or on the road. There’s also no chance of getting bored because there are so many different classes to choose from, and Crunch updates the site with new classes on a regular basis. (I’m actually curious as to how they maintain this site in the long term.)

Crunch Live is all about YOU. YOU decide what class you want to take. YOU decide when and where (even if you live in Virginia). YOU can give instant feedback by rating the classes on a 1 to 5 thumbs-up system. You have the power!

Crunch Live review
(More Please)

CONFESSIONS OF A FITNESS BLOGGER: I HATE FOOD PREP

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Forgive me, readers, for I have been committing the ultimate healthy lifestyle sin. I have not been dedicating my Sundays to food prep. For those who don’t know what food prep is, this is not the time where you wash and prepare your ingredients in order to make a lavish dish. In the fitness world, food prep is the day spent planning, cooking, and measuring meals for the week so you know exactly what your intake is and you aren’t tempted to make poor food choices. It looks something like this.

Actually, I should admit that food prep doesn’t take an entire day. Most people say that it only takes them one to two hours. One to two hours doesn’t seem very long, except I can think of 100 other things I’d rather be doing with that time. I’d much rather be running, cleaning, blogging, watching a movie, exploring NYC, getting a massage, reading…anything except cooking and planning my meals for the week. I think food prep is tedious and boring.

What I’ve come to (finally) learn recently, though, is planning your meals is just as important as scheduling your workouts ahead of time. Without a plan, you’re bound to neglect your commitments and even have amnesia when under pressure. Sometimes when I’m so ravenous and looking for a late lunch at 4 pm, I completely forget my earlier commitment to eat healthy. Does that happen to you? Not having a plan leaves room for failure. (Notice I said “room for failure,” and not “YOU are a failure” because you’re not!)

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While I have been steadily losing and maintaining my weight for years, I’ve never gone the extra mile to lose the last 15 pounds until now. For the past twenty days I’ve had my fridge stocked with fruits and vegetables, cooked at home and saved leftovers for future meals, stashed snacks in my purse, and logged all my food in my My Fitness Pal app. I’ve been eating less, but never found myself unbearably hungry because I’m prepared with healthy choices.

Lean Girl Tip: Weight-loss is 80% nutrition, and 20% workouts.

Food prep is not about limiting your choices. Food prep is making every meal an opportunity to get one step closer to your goal.

If you look at food prep that way, eating almost becomes a game like “how many meals will it take ’til Grace buys smaller pants?” It’s way more fun to think this way than to think that you’re being restricted. For 20 days I’ve been armed and ready, and as a result I am down seven pounds! Woop Woop! This week I plan on kicking it up a notch by packing my lunches rather than buying $10 salads. Wish me luck because this has always been a challenge for me!

While I’ve experienced the benefits of simple food prep, I still find it dull. I’m looking for ways to make food prep more fun. Maybe it’s a cute bento box, or a dance party in the kitchen? How do you do it?

Time To Sound Off: Do you plan your meals? How do you keep food prep fresh?

5 WAYS TO DETOX YOUR BODY WITHOUT FOOD OR JUICE

When I hear the word detox, three things usually come to mind: juicing, fasting, and starving. Detox is less about depriving your body of something good and about adding more good to your body by ridding it of toxins. Food is not only nourishment, but it also instructs your cells what to do in every moment. Toxins and poor food choices inhibit our bodies from responding to nutrients properly. I recently attended a Juice Press Wellness Wednesday event where I met health counselor Arielle Haspel. Here are her five ways to detox without food or juice.

1. DRINK WATER
Why? Fat cells leave your body through sweat, water, and fiber (poop).

How? Drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you are 150 pounds you should be drinking approximately 75 ounces of water. That’s about 8-10 glasses of water.

Like everything else, you have to do what’s right for you and it all depends upon your body type, environment, and lifestyle. If you can’t drink 75 ounces of water, don’t force yourself to drink that much. Start slow. But just make sure to hydrate. Check out how I get my eight glasses daily.

2. SCRAPE YOUR TONGUE
Why? Your tongue is an organ, and an important one. Your tongue hosts some of the most disgusting bacteria. Not only does this practice freshen breath, but it also awakens your taste buds. The better you taste your food, the less food you’ll need to feel satiated.

Also, there are many who believe that the tongue is a great diagnostic tool. Some are able to read what’s wrong with your body just by looking at your tongue.

How? Grab a tongue scraper from your local drug store like this one from Dr. Tung’s or a spoon. Start from the back and scrape the fungus, bacteria, and food residue off your tongue. You’ll see this white gunk collect on your scraper. Rinse. Repeat until the white gunk is clear. Don’t forget to wash your scraper with hot water at the end.

3. DRY BRUSHING
You read it HERE on Lean Girls Club first.

4. COCONUT OIL
Why? Coconut oil is an antibacterial.

How? Add it to your tea, cooking, or even use it on your skin. It’s counter intuitive to think that oil can heal, but it can. Use coconut oil as a moisturizer, night cream, or your acne solution. Want an extra kick? Add turmeric, which is another great antibacterial, to target some of your worst acne. Or maybe you’d like to try oil pulling?

5. CHEW
Why? Digestion begins in the mouth. Your mouth not only has gross bacteria as mentioned in point 2, but it also has digestive enzymes that break down your food. The more work you do in your mouth, the less your stomach’s digestive system has to do. Chewing changes the textures of food and brings out richer flavors. It also helps with weight-loss because your body has a moment to catch up and realize that it doesn’t need as much food.

How? Aim to chew your food 15-30 times until the food liquifies. That may sound gross at first, but I promise it enhances the taste of your food. Again, the point is so that your stomach will have to do less work. If you liquify your food and it doesn’t taste great, it probably means that the food wasn’t that good in the first place. Try this exercise with two raw almonds. Find a quiet place. Sit and chew two raw almonds 30 times. Be aware of the texture of the almonds and how it changes with each chew. Notice how the oils in the almonds come out? After 30 chews, then swallow. How did you feel?


Thanks to Arielle for these great detox tips. I found my short time with Arielle to be inspiring, uplifting, and empowering. She’s a breath of fresh air! I hope you’ll check out her website Be Well With Arielle for more wellness tips, recipes, and inspiration. Thanks again to Juice Press for hosting. You can even find a picture with me and Arielle on Instagram!