Workout Wednesday: Functional Training

 The above images are from a bosu site...not necessarily recommendations from Lacey Lee. 

You may or may not have heard the term “functional training”.  This is a big buzz word in the fitness community – and I am going to tell you why.

By definition - Function training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life.

Whether we are talking nutrition or fitness – I always like to look at the big picture.  In my opinion many people have it all wrong when it comes to working out.  The focus should not be about how much you can bench press or how long you can run - rather the focus should be on building a body that is capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions.  Don’t get me wrong - running and/or using strength machines are still good for you but it's also good to condition your body so you can excel in life. 

Here’s a scenario.
Yesterday, you had a great workout at the gym. On each of the strength machines, you lifted more weight than ever before and ran at a faster pace on the treadmill.   

Today, you lift a 20+ pound suitcase to carry it downstairs -- and throw your back out.  

What likely happened is this:  You go to the gym 3 times a week, go through a circuit of strength machines and either head to the elliptical or treadmill.  While all that is great, you are not focusing on your functional fitness.  You have strengthened certain muscles by using machines but you have not taught your muscles to work together.  By laying or sitting against a pad/bench – you do not activate your core or any stabilizing muscles.  You might be toned and ready for the beach, but are you ready to lift your toddler out of his/her car seat, carry a suitcase or any other “real” life motions we make daily?   

Working out has evolved beyond just cardiovascular and strength.  While these are certainly important components to fitness, workouts are now being done with Bosus, kettlebells, stability balls, etc.  These apparatus’s not only help with our strength and cardiovascular fitness but our balance, flexibility, agility, speed – all while shaping our bodies to its optimal state. 

At the end of the day – people want results – and when incorporating functional tools – you get results.

Let me share the beauty of my favorite workout tools.
#1.  BOSU
The BOSU (both sides up) consists of two sides – an inflated, blue dome and a flat, platform.  You can perform strength and cardiovascular exercises with the Bosu.  By standing or kneeling on the BOSU, your body learns how to compensate for times when optimal body positioning is lost. Traditional strength exercises can be performed when standing or kneeling on the BOSU such squats, push-ups, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, bent over row, shoulder presses, etc.  These then become total body exercises because of the instability of the BOSU.

Jogging on the BOSU, for example, activates the entire leg from the ankle through the calf, thighs and pelvic floor. The muscles of the core are activated in order for you to maintain balance. The soft domed side of the BOSU provides just enough instability to make squats up and over the dome, toe taps and football-style tire runs more challenging.  Flipping the BOSU and using it for numerous exercises will activate more muscle groups than when done on a flat, stable surface. 

#2.  Kettlebell
The Kettlebell is a cannonball with a suitcase handle welded to the top.  It focuses on muscle integration rather than isolation.  Nearly every drill recruits multiple muscle groups to work in unison.  The body is trained as a whole and particular emphasis is focused on the core and back muscles. 

#3.  Stability Ball
 The Stability Ball is a heavy-duty, inflatable ball.  Most people think only ab exercises can be performed on them but in fact you can perform upper and lower body exercises also.  Maintaining proper alignment on the ball stimulates the body's natural motor reflexes and encourages the body to react as a whole, integrated unit.

#4.  Your own body weight
 Our body provides us with one of the best “machines” – and the best part is – it’s free.  By doing body weight exercises you are allowing your body to move in its preferred path of motion.  You will learn how to move your body in a controlled and efficient manner and provide you with the skills you will need once you graduate to more advanced forms of working out.    

Etiquette: How To Be A Great Wedding Guest

Wedding Guest Etiquette
“The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him- or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts.”
— Emily Post
Real Guests at an ACE Wedding (image Trivium Studio)
There are several etiquette guidelines to follow at a wedding. There are the obvious rules such as don’t wear white and RSVP in a timely manner, but there are a lot of important rules that are often overlooked. Below are 10 basic rules to live by...we'd like to ensure that you are an exceptional wedding guest at all the weddings you attend.
1. Arrive at the wedding 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. There is nothing worse than sneaking in after a bride has walked down the aisle to get to your seat. This is a pet peeve of many brides. If you are running behind and you don’t want to make a scene wait outside of the ceremony rather than going in.

 2. RSVP in a timely manner…even if you aren’t able to attend.

 3. If you are invited to a wedding, you should send a wedding gift even if you can’t make it to the wedding. Or, if you do attend the wedding, why don’t you just ship the gift to the couple’s new home. Less for you to carry to the wedding and easier for the bride and groom.

 4. There is a common misconception that you have a year from the wedding date to send a gift. It should be sent no later than three months after the date.

 5. Put your phone on silent during the ceremony. This is an obvious rule that is easily forgotten. Also, refrain from texting and talking to long lost friends sharing a pew with you.

 6. Flash photography is a “no go.” Professional photographers aren’t allowed to flash and neither should you.  Your flash could ruin the professional pictures. Also, don’t make a habit of taking pictures that the photographer has posed…this can confuse the bride and groom (and which camera to look at)…and can also add additional time to photos. Try your best to stay out of the way of the wedding photographer while taking pictures of the bride and groom.

7. Do not bring a guest who was not invited to the wedding. If “and date or children” is not included on the invitation, do not bring them.  Do not substitute a guest if your “invited date” is not able to attend.  Don’t just bring a seat filler, weddings are intimate affairs…and most couples want to be surrounded by loved ones, not by meals so that you don’t feel “lonely”.

8. Do not switch seats or move chairs at the reception. The couple spent a lot of time figuring out the seating arrangements and you should be respectful of where they decided to place you. Besides! Who cares where you sit…you should be on the dance floor all night anyways!

 9. Have fun at the reception but be sure you have a designated driver if you plan on drinking, or don't be too cool to call a taxi. 
             10.Just live by this rule: Do not do anything at someone else’s wedding that you           would not want done at your own.

Workout Wednesday: Exercise in an Everyday World

In the past few weeks our blogging has been greatly diminished due to a busy events schedule and studio move...but we promise to get back into the swing of things in the coming days. Before you read Lacey's post below I wanted to take a second and Thank Lacey for giving to an annual event that I am proud to chair called "Pink Martini Night". Lacey donated two packages to our silent auction and I know that one of the highest bidders on her package was a breast cancer survivor...I think it's great that Lacey will be able to give back to a community that she loves so Lacey! Thank you! It's an honor to know you...and an honor to have you as our fitness guru. 

Now on to another great Lacey Lee Fitness post:

When we first met, I mentioned that no matter where you are a healthy lifestyle is around all of us – You just have to want it and more importantly know how/where to find it and what to do once you’re there.  
So today I want to share easy opportunities for exercise.  Working out doesn’t have to be torturous nor does it need to take 2 hours out of your day.  Exercise opportunities are all around us – in places you may not have thought of.  It does not always have to take place inside a fitness club.  Exercise needs to become a priority in your week – so if it has not – I hope my tips will start changing the way you think about exercise.   

“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness” - Edward Stanley

People have all sorts of reasons for not exercising.  Don’t know what to do?  Have limitations due to an old injury (or current)?   How about the intimidation factor?  Or maybe you have lost your motivation. 
Whatever your reason – it’s okay – I am here to help.

Before you begin to exercise, you need to have a chat with yourself.  Whatever your goals are (remember there is no bad goal) you have to be willing to put forth the effort to achieve them.   A healthy mind and body takes effort.  You must fully understand that in order to see/feel a change, a change must occur.  Remember:  a healthy lifestyle is around all of us.  But before you can see it, you have to want to see it.  Everyone deserves to look and feel their very best.  When you feel good on the inside, everything else will follow. 
This time of year is great for exercising outside.  When people think of working out outside they instantly think of running.  While this is a great way to burn calories it certainly is not the only way.  You have many more options to burn calories – which I am happy to share with you.  

We all know how to walk, right?  But here’s the thing – if you choose to walk for exercise you have to remember you are exercising.  You should be walking faster than you would if you were at the mall. This is the first mistake people make. The goal in doing cardio is to get your heart rate up. The ultimate goal is to get it up and keep it up for a long duration of time. 

Our bodies respond to change – you want to find yourself constantly “shocking” your system (body).  Simply change your exercise routine each week or each time you workout. Our bodies have amazing memory when working out.  If you find yourself doing the same exercises each time, not only will you become bored but your body will stop producing results.  Think about it:  The more you do “something” - the better you become, right?  This rule applies to everything in life. 

Next time you head outside try to incorporate one (or all three) of my tips below:
1. Use your body.  Next time you head out for walk mix in leg exercises.  Every few minutes stop walking and perform one of these exercises. 
     * Walking lunge
     * Squats
     * Lateral leg lifts
     * Squat jumps

2.  Be creative.  Do you live near a park?  Playground?   Take advantage of “equipment” around you.  Most parks and/or playgrounds have benches or steps.
     *Step ups on a bench/step – if the bench/step is low to the ground you can turn this into a “cardio” exercise by stepping up and down as quick as you can.  If the bench/step is high- turn it into a lower body exercise.  Place one leg on the bench/step while keeping the other leg on the ground. Step up on the bench/step –trying not to let your other leg touch the step. *Switch legs
     * Planks – place hands on a bench with toes on the ground and hold your body 30 seconds – 1 minute
     * Lunges – placing your back foot onto a bench/step with your front leg on the ground -  lower your body down to the ground bending both knees (do not let your front knee go over your toes) *Switch legs
     * Dips – place hands behind your back onto a bench or step – keeping your elbows back, lower your body down to the ground.  The further away your feet are from your body the harder it will be.

3.   Take your walk to the next level.   Don’t be afraid to swing your arms side to side as you walk –which will elevate your heart rate and get your core involved. Every 2-3 minutes stop and do one of these exercises for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
     *  Jumping jacks
     *  High knees – bring your knees up to your chest as high and as fast as you can
     *  Hill Climbers – get into push-up position – alternate each knee coming into your chest – going as fast as you comfortably can

Workout Wednesday: Eating Right

I eagerly wait for Lacey Lee to email me her weekly posts...she is great at breaking down her tips into very smart, small ideas that can easily help create a healthy lifestyle. You definitely can't change everything at once...but you can keep things in proportion in your meals and in your life. 

I also wanted to let you all know that Lacey has donated 2 Personal Training Packages to the 5th Annual Pink Martini Night this upcoming Tuesday at the Chrysler Museum of Art. This annual event raised $69,000 last year for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and we hope to raise even more this year. Come out and enjoy a great eventing with great friends...and of course, bid on Lacey's Personal Training Packages! For more information and to purchase tickets go to 

The nutrition aspect of adapting a healthy lifestyle is the most challenging for many people.  After all, we are human with many emotions.  We eat because we are happy.  We eat because we are sad.  We certainly eat for various occasions – from celebration with friends to a stressful day in front of the television.   For all the bad eating habits we certainly have good ones also.  Trust me; you cannot eat 100% pure.  It is nearly impossible to keep a perfect eating habit for long nor should you strive for perfection.  You will definitely become discouraged very quickly. 

A mistake we all tend to make is when you “fall off the healthy eating wagon”, we give up.  We turn a bad meal into a bad day into a bad week, etc. 

Here’s the deal - You will make a bad food decision.  You will eat more than you intended.  It will happen…but the key is to become aware of your bad choice and learn from it. 

For example:  You find yourself running late for work and skip breakfast.  Your co-workers ask you to go out with them for lunch.  By this time you are famished.  You make an unhealthy decision and slap desert on top of your high fat, high calorie lunch.  Looking back you would need to recognize that by skipping breakfast you became so hungry that you did not care what you ate.  The solution would be to always have something quick in the house that you can grab on your way out the door.  Studies have proven that any type of breakfast is better than no breakfast at all.  Believe it or not, having a donut is better than not having anything. 
Most people don’t think they consume as many calories as they do.  My rule of thumb is to ALWAYS underestimate how many calories you burn through exercise and overestimate how many calories you consume.  The goal would be to create a deficit in your day.  That is the ONLY way to lose weight.

If you took my advice from last week’s article – you figured out how many calories your body needs each day (BMR).  Now the next step is to know how many calories you actually consume each day.  If you have not already, become familiar with nutrition labels on the back of foods/drinks.  I cannot stress enough the importance of being “aware” of your habits.  When you fall into the habit of eating “unaware”, you risk losing site of how many calories you are consuming.  We have all done it at some point in our life - Eating a bag of chips in front of the television, eating because you are bored, going many hours without eating because you were so busy at work, etc.  The good news is you can simply become aware by tracking your food/drink intake. 

Luckily the internet has made this very easy to do.  First you will need to write down everything (yes, I mean everything – after al l you will only be cheating yourself) you eat and drink.  Be as detailed as possible.  Then either before you go to bed or as soon as you wake up, go to one of my favorite websites  This is where you can track your nutrition, fitness, goals, etc.  You will also find a plethora of wonderful articles.  Remember knowledge is power!

Another way to become aware is to pay attention to how you feel before and after each meal. Take note of your physical and emotional reactions.  If you feel like eating more, make a deal with yourself to wait 30 minutes.  True hunger will stay around until it is satisfied whereas other “reasons” for eating will come and go.   If you feel sluggish, have a stomach ache, etc after a meal – take note.  Food is supposed to make you feel good.  Changing your eating habits will be a trial and error process.   As long as you continue putting one foot in front of the other and keep trying – you will succeed!

I will leave you with my TOP 3 tips to changing your eating habits today!!

1.      You should never feel hunger.  If you wait until you are hungry, it is too late – a bad food decision will be made.  When hunger hits, your stomach overrides any “good” food intention you had.  When you eat every 3-4 hours, you will stay in control of your true “meal” intentions.  

2.       Eat breakfast.  Yes, mom was correct.  Breakfast IS the most important meal.  It sets the tone for the day.  If you think you are saving yourself calories by skipping breakfast, I’m sorry to say that you are incorrect.  You will make up for it.  In fact, studies have proven those who skip breakfast are more overweight than those who don’t.  As I mentioned earlier, it does not matter what you eat for breakfast – just eat something.  Then once you get into the habit of eating breakfast – work on having a healthy one. 

3.       Drink Water.  Seems easy enough but I know so many of you do not drink enough water.  Besides being a vital component of your body, water also helps to reduce weight. The more hydrated you are, the quicker your metabolism works.  If you are thirsty – you are already dehydrated.  Dehydration can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, skin blemishes (wrinkles), etc.  Even hunger pangs can be mistaken for thirst.  So drink a glass of water (or two or three) for me today!


I wanted to write a quick note to apologize for being MIA on the blog. During the middle of a crazy wedding season we decided to move to an brand new centrally located studio. We are super excited...but a bit crazy as well! As soon as we have some details on the new studio we'll reveal them to you all!

As always, Thanks for your continued support and Happy Planning!!

A little sneak peek of our new front you recognize this place?

Workout Wednesday: What is "WeddingFit"

Each week we get a bit of health and wellness education from Lacey Lee of Lacey Lee Fitness...Today she explains her great bridal bootcamp fitness workshops called 'WeddingFit". A great way to start your married life off on the right foot before you walk down the aisle. Check back next week when Lacey gives a bit of insight into adapting to a healthy lifestyle. 

Life is crazy for most of us. We are all busy with something. Work….school…children….the list goes on.
Then you tack on planning a wedding and most of the time, healthy eating and/or working out goes right out the door.  When it reality every person wants to look and feel their very best for their wedding day.

Not to worry.

I am here to help get YOU WeddingFit.

Wedding Fit is a customized fitness and nutritional program that is designed to get you the desired results you are seeking for your wedding day.  The stresses of preparing for your wedding day can certainly throw some curve balls your way.  Whether it’s good stress or bad stress – at the end of the day – stress is stress.  Research shows working out helps people deal with stress much more effectively.  Let’s not forget the other important benefits you will need in preparing for your big day: better concentration, improved sleep, self confidence, longer life to share with your spouse – another list that could go on and on.

I realize preparing for a wedding is hectic that’s why all training, nutritional guidance and/or bridal boot camp classes will be catered to your schedule and will even come to you.  WeddingFit is not just a quick fix for your wedding day….it is designed to guide and educate you well beyond your big day. 

Each week, I will remind you - it is not just a workout or a fad diet….it’s a lifestyle.

Bridal Boot Camp is by far WeddingFit’s most popular program.    A variety of options are available.   
* One-on-one personal training
* Couple’s training for the bride and groom
* Group training for your bridal party
* Nutritional counseling

A complimentary no-obligation session is provided so you can get a better idea as to what these services entail.  It is important to me that your questions are answered and your comfort level is where you want it.  Your initial thought may be, “I cannot fit any of this into my budget”.   All of my programs are very budget friendly.   Adapting a healthy lifestyle is just as costly as having an unhealthy lifestyle.  You just have to want to make the change….and more importantly….stop spending money on your unhealthier habits so you can have healthy ones. 

Most people get a bit nervous when they hear the word “boot camp.”    Boot camp is simply a style of training.  Whether your wedding is a year away, months or even weeks, let me help get you the results you desire for your wedding day. 

Boot camp workouts are so popular simply because….they work.   

I even put a guarantee on all of personal training and boot camp classes I teach.  Now, Let me tell you why:

When it comes to working out, my philosophy is to create unique and fun workouts every time.  No two workouts are alike.  This way it keeps things interesting for you and your body.  Our bodies respond to change.  If you do the same workout day in and day out over time - you will stop seeing changes.  When people stop seeing/feeling changes, they get frustrated and discouraged – and the chances of dropping off the “workout wagon” are extremely high.  We have a natural defense mechanism built into our bodies….when something gets tough or uncomfortable, we are quick to stop or slow down.  It is easy to fall in to a “comfort” level – after all – it’s comfortable.  I will be there to challenge you without pushing you to the point of no return.  This is when results happen - when we shock our system and bodies.

Whether you chose personal training, couples training or Bridal boot camp – there are many elements to ensure your goals are achieved.  All workouts are 100% customized to you, your current fitness levels and your personal fitness goals.  A nutritional component is also included.  Nutrition is a huge factor in your goals being achieved.  You can bust your butt working out but if you are not eating right, you will surely get frustrated and discouraged.  I am here to not let this happen.  Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand.  You cannot have one without the other.  I will ensure you gain the confidence and education you need to not only adapt but to continue a healthy lifestyle.  

I will leave you with 3 tips that can get you started on your fitness and nutrition path today:

#1.  Figure out how many calories you specifically need each day.  If you do not know this number then you cannot know how many calories to consume to either lose or maintain your weight.   The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume.  To gain weight, you would need to do the opposite.  To figure out your calories you need to consume daily, you first need to know your BMR -which is how many calories your body burns at rest.  If you lay in bed all day and did not move a finger, you would have to consume calories to maintain your weight – this is called your BMR.

Grab yourself a calculator and figure out your BMR with the below formula’s.
Step 1: The first step is to change your weight in pounds to weight in kilograms.
In order to do this, divide your current bodyweight in pounds by 2.2.
Bodyweight In Pounds / 2.2 = Bodyweight in Kilograms (kg)
Step 2: The next step is to change your height in inches to height in centimeters. In order to do this, multiply your current height in inches by 2.54.
Height in Inches x 2.54 = Height in Centimeters (cm)
Step 3: From here, the calculation depends on whether you are male or female.
For Females
655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
For Males
BMR = 66 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in yrs)
Now we obviously do more than lay in bed all day.  So once you know your BMR you have to factor in your daily activity demands.  To factor in your daily activity look at the options below.  Remember, my rule of thumb is to underestimate how much you “move”. 

Little or No Exercise, Desk Job = 1.2 x BMR

Light Exercise, 1 to 3 Times Per Week  = 1.375 x BMR
Moderate Exercise, 3 to 5 Times Per Week = 1.55 x BMR
Heavy Exercise,  6 to 7 Times Per Week  = 1.725 x BMR
Very heavy exercise, Physical Job, Training 2 Times Per Day = 1.9 x BMR
Add your daily activity demand to your BMR number.  This number is how many calories YOU need to consume each day to maintain your weight. 
Now if your goal is to lose weight then you need to consume less than this amount.  Some days you may be more active than others while some days you may be less active.  Take this into consideration when you eat each day.  Remember you MUST create a deficit in your day to lose weight

#2.  Have a detailed plan.  Whether you set up a daily or weekly plan…write it down and stick with it.  Your goals for your wedding day are just as important as the other wedding details.   

#3.  Do fitness clubs intimidate you?  Are you completely lost when it comes to exercising?  Or have you been doing the same workout routine for awhile?  You are not alone.  Working out is certainly intimidating and so many people have no clue as to when to do when it comes to working out.  When/if you do finally find a workout regimen to do…you stick with it forever, simply b/c you don’t know how to do anything else.  As I mentioned in my last blog, media has completely saturated our minds.  Everyone needs to exercise but you need to learn what you specifically need.  This is where I can come into play.  I will meet with you to not only ease your mind when it comes to working out but help guide you to what you should be doing based on your current fitness levels and your personal fitness goals.   Knowledge is power.  

Workout Wednesday: 5 Attainable Tips for the New YOU

Last week we introduced you to our friend and fitness guru Lacey Lee.. and today she is back with her first weekly post. Lacey is widely known in the Hampton Roads Area as a expert in her field...a great tie to our wedding world and a true gem. She offers in home training, group training sessions and teaches many classes throughout the week. Cheers to a great first post! Next week she'll talk to us about her bridal bootcamp.

No matter where you are… a healthy lifestyle is around you.  I Promise.  You just have to want it and more importantly know how/where to find it and what to do once your there.  Remember, it’s not just a workout or doing the latest diet… is a lifestyle.

You cannot turn on the T.V or look through a magazine rack without hearing about the latest diet and fitness craze.  It can all be so very overwhelming.  Not to worry, I am here to provide you with my top 5 ways to successfully adapt a healthy lifestyle.

First, in order to see/feel a change, you must make a change.   You cannot expect change if change does not occur.  You must be willing to make an effort.  If you want to lose weight, gain muscle or just eat healthier.  Ask yourself one thing.  “Am I willing to do what it takes to make it happen?” Your thoughts must turn into actions.  You need to stop saying you are going to do it…..and do it! 

Second, don’t change everything all at once.  Adapting a healthier lifestyle is all about changing habits.  If you want to become more active AND eat healthier…pick one.  Changing your lifestyle all at once is a recipe for disaster.  Set realistic and attainable short-term goals.  If you continue to set the same goal over and over again without success, set a different goal. 

Third, educate yourself.  Unfortunately, media has saturated our minds.  What to eat, what not to eat.  Gain muscle this way….Do this workout, that workout.  Your healthy lifestyle is all about you. Everyone’s lifestyle is different.   Everybody’s body is different.  One way of eating may work for your friend but not necessarily for you.  Your co-workers workout regimen may be for his/her goals but not yours.  In order to successfully adapt a healthy lifestyle, you must do what is enjoyable to you.  You must eat foods that you enjoy.  Find exercises that you enjoy.  There is something out there for everyone.  You just have to look for it.  If you do anything that is not enjoyable, inconvenient, dreadful….you will not continue to do it.  Ask questions that specifically pertain to your goals.   To ensure you have the correct answers to your questions, turn to a fitness professional or the Internet. 

Fourth, have a support system.  Your support can come from work, home and/or at a fitness club.  Without the proper support, these changes will become more challenging as time goes on.  Find a friend/co-worker that wants the same “changes” or has the same goals as you.  Surround yourself with like-mind people.  You will not only motivate each other but hold each other accountable.  Set a pack each week that you cannot break.  Set rewards each week when your weekly goals have been achieved. 

Fifth, don’t be so hard on yourself.  Everyone falls off the wagon at some point and in some way.  Remind yourself, you are human.  You will have a bad “eating” day and/or meal.  If you become derailed in your workout regimens, get back on track.  Focus on each day as it comes without dwelling on the past.


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