My journey to overall health and wellness... Thanks for coming along!


Friday, February 19, 2010


With Brussels Sprouts!
I seriously can't get enough... I have made them with dinner three times in the last week. Luckily my husband is on board!
I usually make this Rachel Ray version for Thanksgiving, but lately I have been choosing the less indulgent (no pancetta) method of simply boiling them until they are tender- NOT MUSHY. Throw a little salt and pepper on 'em, and you are good to go.
For more about the health benefits (included cancer prevention) of this high fiber and vitamin rich super food, check out
The World's Healthiest Foods.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Without it, I probably would end up much like this guy on the solid sheet of black ice that is the walk between my front door and the train. My core has been working overtime lately! If you are like me, and live in a place where you are basically ice skating around during the winter (or you are just prone to falling down- which, let's face it, is like me too), Pilates can help keep you on your feet.

I love to incorporate balance exercises into my classes. Here is my personal fav...

The Quadruped

I like this one, because it's a great way to focus in on the transverse abdominals that wrap all the way around your core like a band. In order to maintain balance and keep your spine and pelvis neutral, you must tighten that band- as if someone is tightening a corset around your waist. Let's break it down...

1. Come onto all fours with your knees directly underneath your hips and your wrists underneath your shoulders.
2. Keep your back nice and flat like a table top and pull your navel in away from the floor and tighten all the muscles around your waist hugging them in towards your spine.
3. Without changing anything in the torso, lift your RIGHT arm and LEFT leg off the floor, reaching them in opposite directions and balance.
4. Repeat with the other arm and leg.

** Important things to remember:
- Keep pressing your spine up in between your shoulder blades. Your blades should feel like they are moving away from each other on your back, rather than pulling together.
- Spread your fingers nice and wide and press into all your knuckles to avoid too much strain on the wrist.
- Always keep both hip bones pointing down towards to floor. Don't let the hip of the extended leg turn out and lift higher.
- Don't hang your head! Keep your gaze about a foot in front of you on the floor.
- If it's too much with both an arm and a leg up at first... just do one at a time and work up to it.

bottom image by Jay Sullivan Photographer

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



Doing Pilates is amazing for your body, but cardio must be included in your fitness routine! And please don't confuse me with someone who runs 10 miles every morning, or can ride a stationary bike for an hour every day. I most certainly am not. I have to trick myself into cardio (and if there's no music, forget about it); if you are like me, you can too. There are so many options out there- there's even something called Cardiolates! Remember, it's not what you do but how hard you work. The goal is 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity most days. This doesn't have to be done all at once... do 20 minutes here and 20 minutes there, and make little changes- like taking the stairs! Check out this
Calorie Burning calculator from Fitness to find out how many calories you are burning doing anything from aerobics to vacuuming.

image by Jay Sullivan Photographer

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010


This is one of the most important thing you can ask yourself during your Pilates workout! The answer to this question can be a little tricky... Let's break it down.

In Pilates there are two basic options for pelvic placement:
The first- and the one we should all aspire to- is NEUTRAL PELVIS. This means that your spine is in its natural curve with your lower back slightly off the mat.

To find this position, lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees pointing up towards the ceiling. Place your hands flat on your pelvis with your finger tips on your pubic bone and your wrists on your hip points. The goal is to make sure that your hands are level and your fingers are not higher than your wrists and vice versa. Once you feel you have found neutral bring your hands underneath your lower back and make sure there is just enough space for them. Voila!

The second is SUPPORTED (OR IMPRINTED) PELVIS. This means that your spine is flat against the mat. To find a supported pelvis, simply tilt your pubic bone up towards your nose, pull your belly button in and gently press your lower back to the mat. Make sure you are not pressing the back down.

So the question is... when am I where?? These positions come into play mainly during the abdominal exercises or series of five. Beginners and those with lower back issues, should work in SUPPORTED PELVIS. This provides greater stability when legs are off the mat. If you are more advanced or in great shape, go ahead and start working in a NEUTRAL PELVIS. This position requires a much deeper abdominal connection, and brings the muscles around the back into play. When you first begin working in neutral you may find that you feel a little like a teeter totter... that's ok, just remember to engage the amdominal muscles all the way around (imagine a corset tightening around your mid section and all the muscles hugging in towards the spine) in order to stay balanced in neutral. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and try neutral. If it's too much just return to a supported position.

***THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS NEVER EVER LET YOUR HIP POINTS BE HIGHER THAN YOUR PUBIC BONE! This is never correct and will injure your lower back. If you find that you are frequently rocking forward, and your lower back is feeling strained, stay in supported pelvis until your abs are strong enough. No injuries please!

images courtesy of think pilates.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It's cold out there!! Seems like a good day for chili... Ironically enough, it was a blizzard much like this one, a few years ago, which gave my husband and I the inspiration to create what we think of as the PERFECT chili recipe! It is an amalgamation of a few different recipes and of course trial runs. We are very proud of it, and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Ladies and gentlemen I give you, J&J Chili:

1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 large onion chopped into large chunks
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 28 0z can whole peeled tomatoes
1 green pepper chopped into large chunks
1 orange or yellow pepper chopped into large chunks
1 jalapeno chopped and seeded (or not depending on how hot you want it...
2C chicken or vegetable broth
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 tbs + chili powder (the + is for those of you like my husband who like it hot)
2tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 15 oz cans kidney beans

-brown meat.
-combine everything except kidney beans and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes (you may want to use a potato masher to crush up the whole tomatoes).
-add kidney beans and cook for 30 more minutes.
-serve in bowls with your favorite chili accompaniment... we are partial to corn muffins!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


H2O baby!

I know... I know... You hear it all the time, but it really is so super important! Here are my favorite reasons for drinking water:

* If you feel hungry, you may in fact just be thirsty... so drinking a sufficient amount of water can help keep you from overeating. Obviously you do need to eat food at some point, but I'm talking about combating the mindless and unnecessary snacking. Next time you are thinking about grabbing some pretzels, chips, cookies or whatever your snack of choice may be... drink a glass of water first, and then see how you feel.
* Chances are by choosing to drink water you are choosing not to drink something else like soda or juice. Most people don't realize how many calories a day they are DRINKING! By sticking with water (which also includes seltzer, for those of you not wanting to give up your bubbles), you may be saving yourself hundreds of calories... and unlike diet drinks that have no calories and no benefit, water has no calories and tons of benefits. The choice is yours, but for me it's a no brainer.
* Drinking enough water keeps your energy up. One of the main symptoms of dehydration is sluggishness and fatigue- not to mention a splitting headache- all of which make it very difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and get the exercise you need on a daily basis. So drink up, wake up and get moving!

(In case you are new to Lean Body, I am beginning my new Lean Body Life Essentials segment with #6, because my top 5 can already be found here).

Photo by Jay Sullivan Photographer

Friday, February 5, 2010


to my big brother, Todd. Isn't he handsome??
Happy Birthday, buddy! Love you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I was recently asked by the fabulous Jenny Redman to be a guest blogger on the [FIT FIVE] segment on her blog Have Your Cake! I am super excited about how it turned out, so check out my Top 5 Lean Body Life Essentials! Thanks Jenny!

I had a very hard time narrowing it down to only 5, so I am going to make Lean Body Life Essentials a weekly post... I'm thinking Mondays. Look out for it in the future!

photo by Jay Sullivan Photographer

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Check out Zobha! It's a great active wear company I was just turned on to. Lord knows, as instructors, we wear these clothes every day! It's impossible to ever really have enough, so I am always looking for new brands to try.
What makes this company, in particular, especially great, is their instructor discount program! It's very easy to apply, and I can say from experience that it works, so I encourage all of you fitness professionals to take advantage...
And... for those of you who may not be a professional in the industry, but still want quality and attractive workout clothing, I highly recommend you take a look too!