green smoothie

Inspiration for Fitness

by Michelle Pino

May 12th-18th is National Women’s Health Week, so now is a great time to get up, and get motivated! Whether you are going to improve your lifestyle choices for your health, weight loss, or basic fitness, there will be times when you need a little extra inspiration to keep on going. An inspiration board is a great way to be more motivated. Visual cues often have more of an impact on inspiration than other types of motivation. What's great about an inspiration board is that it is personalized specifically for you, by you, and in just a few steps.

Gather Your Supplies: To make an inspiration board you will need a large piece of cardboard, such as a poster board, or even paper such as banner paper. You will also need glue or tape to attach your motivational items to your board. You will want to find pictures or images that inspire you to be healthy, lose weight, work out, or whatever the goal is that you need inspiration for. You can print images from the computer or find colorful pictures in magazines. Choose images and quotes that personally grab your attention and motivate you to reach your goal.

Organize Your Thoughts: Now that you have a stack of images, pictures, and quotes, it is time to be selective. Choose one or more items that inspire you to action. These will be your focal point. Now choose several more items that are related in some way to the ones you chose. The relationship can be by type, idea, color, texture, etc. Anything that ties together with your main focus of the few you chose at first. Don't worry if you don't use all you collected. Save these to make future inspiration boards as your goals change over time.

Prepare Your Board: Place your one or more main focal points on the board or paper where you want them. Then, place the other items around these main points. Do not glue or tape them yet, you are going to keep moving things around until the inspiration board is just how you'd like it for maximum motivation. You can decide if you need to add or change anything.

Finish Your Board: Once your board is how you like it, take one piece at a time and glue or tape it to your board. Place your board in a prominent place where you are sure to see it every day to inspire a healthy you.

Get as specific and detailed as you must: This is your board to seek daily inspiration, so you want images that light a fire within you and not someone else. Use pictures that enable you to visualize your goal and see the healthy balance required for success in reaching for your particular stars.

Here is an example board:

Photo Credit: Upstate New York golf club | Green Smoothie Recipe | Nike Sneakers | Athleta Tank | Beach Yoga

Personally I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and being outside. Now that it’s spring and the weather is finally starting to turn, the outdoors is great place to find motivation. I’ve used it as the center of my fitspiration board. Exercising indoors can become mundane and leads to those “excuses” of having better things to do than working out. When setting your health goal start small. Choose a goal that is attainable and reasonable. That means you don’t have to go and spend an arm and a leg on a yoga studio membership, when you can do yoga anywhere: the beach, the park, or your apartment. Yoga is great for all fitness levels. There are several resources online to get you started if you’re new. The beach is very inspiring place because of the view, sights, and sounds. In keeping with the theme of the outdoors, I would like to enjoy more of it by finding another activity to keep me outside. I’ve started taking some golf lessons at NY golf club, Atunyote, and I’m starting to improve. It doesn’t bother me that I’m not a pro; to me, it’s just nice to be outside doing something that isn’t too strenuous! Treat yourself to some new workout gear to help get you motivated. New sneakers are a great start. These pink sneakers from Nike, are a great example of all new styles and colors available for the spring and summer months, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “happy feet”. Improvement in your daily diet is where you notice the most change. The best way to start is by adding more fruits and veggies to your regular routine. Try a tasty green smoothie as your mid-morning snack. They may look funky, but they taste great and can be adjusted to your liking.

Michelle Pino, our guest blogger, provided these tips in hopes to educate others on how to lead a more motivated and less stressful life.  She believes a more focused approach put on our health will result in more balanced life.  Her hobbies include cooking, DIY projects and learning about healthy lifestyles. She works at a luxury spa in central New York where she enjoys helping others indulge in spa treatments. 

Interview with a Massage Therapist

Jennifer Mayer is our featured runner of the week. She is the  owner of Mama Moon NYC which is her private practice as a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Birth Doula. She has been our go-to massage therapist for the past few years. She's healed many an aligment! She loves helping her clients feel better, manage stress and birth babies! Just from talking to her, you know she loves her job!

Why do you like working with runners?
It’s rewarding to help my clients reach their training and racing goals. My clients tend to be very motivated and fun to work with. Massage therapy is effective in injury prevention and healing, and I can see results pretty quickly in athletes. I’ve helped runners with super tight calves and hamstrings, injured runners prepare for an upcoming marathon, and then of course, helped runners recover after the big event. Working with each client on his or her goals is exciting, to be part of their team and help them achieve what they are working towards.  

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Stretch! Many times I have runners come into my office who tell me all about their training, and the miles they are getting in, despite being busy at work or taking care of kids. And, really, it’s impressive how my clients can get everything done. One thing that many runners confess to me is that they don’t stretch. Period. I hear from them that there’s no time, or they forget, or they don’t like it. But please, make time to stretch, your muscles will thank you! 

What is your go-to fitness activity and why?  
For the past three years I’ve enjoyed private Pilates sessions as my go-to activity. The Pilates work helps keep my posture in alignment, which keeps my body healthy. It also focuses on weaknesses in my core and structure, so my body becomes stronger and works more efficiently. The Pilates work has greatly improved my running. Due to injuries in my shoulder and rib cage from a ski accident in 2003, it took me a few years to become comfortable running again as I would develop back pain after a certain amount of running. The Pilates work has really helped stabilize my core and even out some imbalances in my body. I really feel like it keeps me going, so I can enjoy running pain free now. 

What is your favorite post workout meal?  

Something quick, easy and nutrient dense. Lately, I've really been enjoying a sliced banana with cinnamon sprinkled on top with a tablespoon of raw nut butter on the side. I mix it up between almond and cashew butter. Yum! I also love green smoothies, filled with fresh pineapple, frozen mango, fresh kale and almond milk- maybe some additions of bee pollen or hemp seeds.

Jennifer Mayer's Green Smoothie Recipe:

  • 3/4c fresh (or frozen) pinapple
  • 3/4c frozen mango
  • 3-4 stalks of kale, stems removed
  • Handful baby spinach if it's on hand
  • 1 tablespoon raw almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Sprinkle of bee pollen
  • Enough almond milk to make it blend

When did you start running and why?  
I started running when I was twelve years old. I grew-up on a farm in upstate, New York and running was the quickest way I could get from one side to the other. As a child I never enjoyed “round ball” or team sports. One day I asked my father “Why can’t there be a sport where all you need to do is run? That would be really fun, and I think I’d be good at that.” My dad said, “You could be a harrier! And run cross-country!” I had no idea that running was a thing. Well I looked into this whole running thing and joined a community Track & Field program for children 5-12 years old. Eventually, I joined the modified Cross Country team at school, and, in 8th grade I made the varsity Track & Field team.

Running became a huge part of my high school experience. I loved going to practice every day, our team was a lot of fun to be around. I enjoyed racing and being part of the team, but I also liked setting individual goals for myself. Throughout high school I ran Cross Country in the fall, our coach hosted a winter training daily workout in the winter, and I ran the 400 Hurdles, 3000 meter steeplechase and 4x800 relay in Track in the spring. My Cross Country team even competed twice in the New York State Championship meet. Being part of the Track and Cross Country teams was a wonderful experience, and I feel like it’s given me a strong foundation for health and fitness that I’ve carried into my adult life.

Wellness Wednesday: Top 5 Power Snacks

We asked Loni Markman, an Integrative Nutitrion Coach, what snacks she recommends to her busy, athletic clients. Check out her Top 5 Power Foods.

As runners, I am sure you are thrilled about the early Spring weather we are having here in NYC.  I bet this means you are spending more time out running more and looking for the right foods to help fuel your run. As an athlete, your approach to nutritional can mean the difference between peak performance and sub-optimal energy and recovery.  I am often asked which energy bars or protein shake is best for my workout. Well, my answer is usually none.  Turning to “power” snacks is essential but we have to make sure they are not packed with sugar and limited in nutrients. Below is a list of my top 5 power foods to help you run faster and further and ease the recovery process.

1.      Acai –  Acai (ah-sigh-ee) is a tiny berry that is found in the Brazilian rainforests and has been used for centuries as medicine with the local tribes. It became popular through martial arts and was brought to the states in 2000 by surfers who used it in Brazil to support their intense workouts. Recent studies have found that the Acai is one of the most powerful foods in the world. The acai berry packed with antioxidants, has a nearly perfect amino acid complex to support muscle contraction and ease joint pain, has healthy fats to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health plus it increases energy levels and speed up metabolism. Thus making it a nearly perfect food to support your running.

HOW TO EAT IT: You can have it for breakfast in an Acai Bowl or add it to your smoothies and drink it on the go.

2.      Quinoa -  We all know your need to increase your carbs for your runs but you certainly do not need to turn to pasta or processed carbs for your fuel. Enter in my favorite superfood for super energy, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wa). Quinoa is an ancient grain (it actually falls more into the greens family but that is for another blog post)  that originated in South America and brings to the table a gluten free complex carbohydrate that is packed with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium all essential nutrients for runners.

HOW TO EAT: Quinoa is quick and easy to make. You can enjoy it sweet for breakfast or as a savory side dish. Click here for some recipes.

3.      Green Smoothies – It’s just like a fruit smoothies but packed with the nutritional powerhouse that greens offer us. These easy to make or buy smoothies are a healthy alternative to all those energy drinks out there and can really make a difference to your recovery and performance.  Greens have more vitamin and minerals than any other food out there plus they contain chlorophyll, which helps promote and carry oxygen in the body.

HOW TO EAT: Green smoothies serve as a great mid-afternoon pick me up or breakfast. The basic recipe is 2 cups of greens, 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of filtered water blended in the blender and enjoyed!

4.      Bananas – Now I know you probably already know this one but being that it is one of the easiest on the go grabs I had to include the potassium packed banana. They didn’t only make my top five because all that potassium helps prevent muscle cramps but they are super easy to digest and will give you the energy you need to sustain a good run.

5.      Coconut water -  As you know hydration is key when running and getting a good sweat and coconut water, not Gatorade,  should be your answer to replenish your electrolyte levels.  Coconut water is natural and not filled with sugars and artificial coloring and sweeteners like so many other electrolyte drinks on the market. Why should you love it? Because it is rich in 5 essential electrolytes, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.  These electrolytes are critical to proper recovery after you run or workout, making coconut water one of the best runners’ recovery drinks available today

About Loni: 
Loni Markman is not your typical Nutrition Consultant! Loni has been working in the field of wellness for almost a decade, helping clients find nourishment and balance in their everyday lives. She focuses on self love, weight management, pre and post natal and general women’s health. She has a true passion for educating and inspiring others on their journey to better heath.

Loni holds a Masters Degree in Health, a Bachelors in Business, a Certification as a Holistic Health Counselor from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a Certification in the Psychology of Eating with Marc David, she holds a Certification from Power Pilates and has extensive studies in Emotional Freedom Technique. All of which she infuses into her integrative coaching with clients. You can learn more about Loni on her websites – and