Welcome tABLE Health!

I’m so very please to announce Very Personal Training’s new partnership with tABLE Health, a small, energetic business that was founded on the premise that fresh, local ingredients are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. They offer environmentally sustainable, nutritionally focused cooking classes and individual and group consulting.

Run by registered dietician, Rachael Saks, and a super business savvy, Ora Warmflash, they are trying to change the way people eat from the inside out. They are to food what I am for fitness – helping you not just have a quick fix, but to really change your behavior and habits.

Check out their menu of services for an idea of what they can offer you. All sessions take place in your very own home, so there’s no need to go anywhere!

In addition, they also have a cooking event coming up on January 12th where you can learn to cook healthier (but still yummy) versions of comfort foods, such as Mac n’ Cheese, Baked-Fried Chicken, and Raspberry and Peanut Butter Bread Pudding. YUMMMMM!

This is a great addition to Very Personal Training and is something I am very excited about. One of the things I highly recommend to anyone trying to get over emotional eating or under-eating issues is the Menu Planning session. It may just be the bridge you need to help you relearn how to eat without having to make so many daunting choices.

Their services are available for purchase on my website, by clicking here and signing in. And as always, if you are having trouble, please feel free to contact me to let me know and I will help you.

Do It Because You Can

Natures gym

If you’ve ever said “I hate running” you most likely hate it because you’ve gone about it the wrong way. Because, if you ask anyone who’s actually completed a race they’ll tell you that there’s nothing like that rush you get when you cross the finish line. Most people when they start running start too hard and fast too soon. Honestly, you’ll feel like dying and that’s just going to make you hate it. I’ve talked about training for my first half marathon, and my second, and now my third, and the impact it’s had on my life. Years of therapy didn’t do for me what running has. I’ve learned to see the bigger picture and stop obsessing about weight loss. I’ve learned how to eat and enjoy food, and not starve myself, because with running your body actually needs food just like a car needs gas. I’ve learned that I can push myself harder than I ever thought possible. And I’ve also learned to actually love my body and the powerhouse that it is. My legs have never been stronger and I’ve never been happier. And when you’re happy, things have a way of falling into place.

Like most people at the start of a new year, you’ve probably made some resolutions to lose weight this year and finally use that gym membership that you pay for year after year. And like most people who make resolutions, you’ll probably start out strong in the gym, going 4-5 times a week, killing it on the elliptical, but come March you’ll be down to 1 day a week if you’re still even going at all (and that’s the best case scenario!). Most likely though, you’ll be back to resolving to do better next year. And so, nothing changes.

There’s nothing like a new routine to keep you motivated. The trick though is not just to do something new, but do it with a goal in mind. Most people don’t like doing anything without a reason, so to help you not hate running take a look at this schedule that will take you from a couch to 5k in just 9 weeks. That’s less than a season of The Office. All I ask is that you stick with it for 9 weeks and then decide whether you truly hate running or not. I promise, there is nothing scary about it and you’ll see how amazing you feel.

** Before I go, I want to give a shout out to my amazing clients this week for really stepping it up and pushing past your comfort zones. I don’t know what it is, but I see something within you guys that’s changed in your determination and I just wanted you to know that I notice it. Especially, Melissa, Jen, and Ariel – you’ve taken major steps.

Congratulations Melissa for running, literally, towards your fears. It takes a really strong person to know what you’re afraid of, and still greet it with open arms.
Jen, you’ve been talking about this 5k for a long time now, and I’m ecstatic that you finally put all the excuses aside.
And Ariel, woo-hoo on finally stretching!! Keep it up and we’ll have those pesky little glutes working in no time!

I Resolve To Not Resolve This Year

I hate the idea of New Years Resolutions. Every year we vow to do a million things that we think will change us. And, every year we look back on the last and see what we didn’t really make happen, and decide that this year will be different. This year things are going to change once and for all and we’re going to become fluent in Italian, take an art class, raise the perfect children, and of course, lose 15 pounds and become a walking billboard for swimsuits. It’s all just too much pressure to do in one year really. And for some reason we make these grandiose claims like we’re some sort of superheroes that can go from not speaking a word of Italian to becoming fluent. And on top of that we think that we can do the other 3 things on the list too. I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked there’s only 24 hours in a day. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for things. You most definitely should. I just don’t think that you should put such an “I must or else…” attitude on it.

You need to set yourself up for success, not disappointment, and that’s why I think we should start a “Fitness Bucket List” instead. This is a list of things that you want to accomplish in your lifetime. Maybe you like the idea of running a marathon, but aren’t ready to do it. Instead of putting that down as a resolution for this year (who are you kidding, really…), put it on your bucket list, and then set a goal this year to run a 5k. That’s so much more manageable and will get the momentum going for running longer distances. And then maybe 2 years down the road you’ll have actually become a runner and the idea of going the full 26.2 miles won’t seem like such an impossibility.

Most of the time we quit things because it gets too hard to handle. And the reason it gets too hard to handle is because we put too much pressure on ourselves from the get go when we really should have been more realistic about our abilities.

The other great thing about a Fitness Bucket List is that it sets us up for a long-term mindset of living a healthier lifestyle. Resolutions always seem to be something that you accomplish once to check it off your list, but it has no staying power. For many who see a resolution through to completion end up slacking off after they’ve accomplished it. And then you know what happens? It goes right back on their list next year. And that only makes you feel worse. A Fitness Bucket List will keep you moving forward.

Here are some tips on creating your list:
1. Nothing is out of reach, so write down everything and anything that comes to mind (you can always erase things later).
2. Keep it positive. Instead of writing “get down to 130 pounds”, write down things that will help you get there, such as working out 3 times per week or getting 7 hours of sleep a night.
3. The word “fitness” relates to every aspect of your health, which means anything that you think will help create balance in your life. If that means taking more “me time” or doing something that you’ve been afraid of, then so be it!
4. It’s not set in stone. Remember that you can always change the list, so don’t be worried about writing what you really want.
5. Nothing is out of your reach. Many people say “I’m not a runner”, and to me that’s crazy. You might not run right now, but you can if you want. And you don’t have to log 20 miles a week to be considered a runner either. You just have to run.
6. Write down what YOU want, not what you think you should want, or what everyone else is doing.
7. Choose things that will empower you, not make you crazy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and hear some of the things that you put on your list, so please share!

Products I'm Obsessed With: Sephora Color Wand

Ok, I know it’s not health related. Wait, is that true? Part of being healthy is feeling good, and dressing up makes you feel good, so maybe it’s not such a giant leap to say that a lip gloss wand with 6 different shades of gloss is a pretty awesome way to be healthier.

I was in Sephora on Sunday, standing at the checkout with all my sparkly goodies and eyed the “do-not-even-look- zone”. You know, the little cubbies with the awesome little lotions, soaps, and mascaras by the checkout that they know you’ll be sucker enough to grab? Well, I eyed this lip gloss wand and just had to have it. I’ve been putting a different color on every morning (even though I work out of my home and have nowhere to go…) and I already feel, um… “healthier”. They’re not sticky and actually tastes quite good. I know, weird, but good to know when you consider the fact that the average woman eats about 6 pounds of lipstick in a lifetime. They’re super easy to take with you and make great stocking stuffers. Grab one (or 3) before they sell out!

Products I’m Obsessed With: Sephora Color Wand

Ok, I know it’s not health related. Wait, is that true? Part of being healthy is feeling good, and dressing up makes you feel good, so maybe it’s not such a giant leap to say that a lip gloss wand with 6 different shades of gloss is a pretty awesome way to be healthier.

I was in Sephora on Sunday, standing at the checkout with all my sparkly goodies and eyed the “do-not-even-look- zone”. You know, the little cubbies with the awesome little lotions, soaps, and mascaras by the checkout that they know you’ll be sucker enough to grab? Well, I eyed this lip gloss wand and just had to have it. I’ve been putting a different color on every morning (even though I work out of my home and have nowhere to go…) and I already feel, um… “healthier”. They’re not sticky and actually tastes quite good. I know, weird, but good to know when you consider the fact that the average woman eats about 6 pounds of lipstick in a lifetime. They’re super easy to take with you and make great stocking stuffers. Grab one (or 3) before they sell out!

I Have A Confession

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I too am afraid of eating bananas. The other day I was faced with a dilemma: Do I eat the yummy looking banana sitting on the kitchen counter or do I go for a peach in the fridge, because it’s lower in calories? What I really wanted was the creamy banana-ey goodness, but the peach seemed like a wiser option. Then I thought to myself, “Dani, what would you tell a client who came to you with this question?” I would say go for the freaking banana if that’s what you want! They are both fruits! And so I did. And it hit the spot.

Maybe you’ve never heard of this hole bananaphobia thing and maybe you think I’m crazy, but lots of women believe that bananas are “bad” for you. Since the Atkins and South Beach Diets became popular there’s been an onslaught of diet gurus telling people that bananas are the devil, because they are high in sugar and high in calories. Some people even believe that you can eat a banana in the afternoon, but not in the morning and definitely not before bed. This is ridiculous though! A regular sized banana (not one of those gargantuan embarrassing looking ones) has about 150 calories, and is loaded with potassium, vitamins B and C, and fiber. It’s not like you’re making the choice between a peach and a piece of red velvet cake. It’s a freaking banana! Have one!

I want to know, what foods are arbitrarily off-limits to you?

Week 8 – 12 Weeks to a Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

I meant to post this up yesterday, but was feeling pretty sick, so I decided to take the day off. Once you get into a routine it can be just as hard to take a break as it was forcing yourself into the routine in the first place. Believe it or not, yesterday was an act of sheer will-power for me, because I wanted to work, but I knew that had I not taken the time to take care of myself it would have only made things worse. So, my tip within a tip for you today is work hard and challenge yourself, but be honest about how you’re feeling. Listen to your body and the cues it’s sending you and take a day off once in a while if you feel you must. It’s not the end of the world and there’s always tomorrow to get back on track.

We’re 2/3rds of the way through this 12 week program and by now you should be feeling the effects of all your hard work. You probably feel stronger, lighter, and more sturdy in your shoes. I’m sure that one set of each exercise isn’t as difficult as it used to be, which is pretty awesome, which means that we’re going to be changing things up by completing this routine as a circuit 3 times. All of the work that you’ve been putting in has really paid off. I’m also sure that it’s becoming more of a routine then a tedious job, so you can see that with just a bit of effort even the toughest things become more bearable. Keep it up, because you’re only going to get stronger and more motivated.

The Workout:
Week 8

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
Love Lockdown – Kanye West (If this beat doesn’t want to make you move and sing then I’m pretty sure you don’t even have a pulse :)
Sexy Back – Justin Timberlake
Honey – Moby

- Workout
Sabotage – Beastie Boys
Song 2 – Blur
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
Need You Tonight – INXS
Plowed – Sponge
Running Down A Dream – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Been Caught Stealing – Janes Addiction (I put this one in here for you, Valerie :)
Epic – Faith No More
Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon – Urge Overkill

- Cardio
Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode (Depeche Mode totally makes my heart hurt, but in a good way.)
Don’t Stop The Music – Rihanna
Sober – Pink
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Lost at Birth – Public Enemy
Dance Sucka – T. Ray
Run – Gnarles Barkley

- Cool-Down
Radio Retaliation – Thievery Corporation
Smalltown Boy – Bronski Boy

Ask Dani – Help, I Like My Boobs!

Dear Dani,

My friend, who recently got engaged, and I were discussing wedding gowns and how they usually only show off your upper body and arms. She said she wants to “tone up” for her wedding, but is only concerned with losing weight in her arms — not anywhere else. She likes her current bust size and thinks that if she loses any weight, she’s likely to also lose some boob-a-licious-ness. I told her I didn’t think it was possible to lose weight only in one part of your body. Can you clear this up? Is it possible to lose weight in one area, like your arms, without affecting any of your more, um, valued assets?

Loves Her Assets

Dear Loves Her Assets,

Unfortunately for your friend you are right. You can’t lose weight hoping to lose in just one area of your body. In industry terms that’s called “spot reduction”. The way you lose weight usually depends on your body type. Pear shaped girls for instance lose from the top down. The first thing you’ll notice thinning out is her face, then her collar-bone, then her chest, waist, and then finally the hips and legs. But take a more ruler shaped girl and notice that she will lose weight pretty much evenly all the way from her head down. And that’s because of her body’s proportions. You can change the measurements of your body by losing or gaining weight, but you can’t change the overall shape of it. As I always say, “once a pear always a pear.” Actually, I don’t always say that, but it fits.

Your friend can work out and lose weight in hopes of toning her arms, but she can’t spot reduce in hopes of not losing her bust. Here’s my advice though, strength training and cardio are important whether you want to lose weight or not. If your friend is at a good weight now and begins working out, but doesn’t change her diet then most likely she’ll lose only about 3-5 pounds, but she will tone up. Now, I’m not guaranteeing that her bust size won’t change, but as long as she’s not going to any major extremes she shouldn’t see any drastic changes. If she keeps up with a 2-3 day per week weight routine and a 5 day per week 30 minute cardio routine she will start to see her arms take shape. Begin with light weights and high reps (about 12-20) for the first four weeks and then heavier weights and lower reps (8-10) for the next 4 weeks. Keep toggling back and forth between the two rep ranges to keep the body challenged.

I have to say one more thing before I go, otherwise I wouldn’t feel good about this answer. I have pretty strong opinions about bridal bootcamps, which is that I think they are CRAZY! I know they’re popular, but being engaged and planning a wedding is hard enough, so don’t make yourself even more stressed out by becoming obsessed with the way you look in your wedding dress. Your fiance’ wants to marry you just the way you are now and all your friends already know what you look like, so walking down the aisle looking like a skeleton in a dress is just pure insanity. Plus, you’ll end up gaining it all back and then some after your honeymoon. I know that your wedding day is something that you’ve imagined forever and you want it to be just perfect, and I promise that it will be whether you’re a size 0 or a size 14. It doesn’t matter! Really! And I know this, because I gained 15 pounds right before mine!


Week #6 – 12 Weeks to a Stronger, Sexier, More Confident You

Woo hoo! This marks the half-way point! If you’ve been following these workouts and doing them consistently you most likely have started to see some results. You should feel stronger, more stable, and have an overall better sense of your body. I know it’s not easy, but isn’t it worth it? Consistency is the only way you’re going to see results, so if you haven’t been keeping up with your workouts then it’s never going to happen. You have to make sure you’re getting strength training in 3 times a week and your cardio in 5 days a week. It’s about a lifestyle change, and the past 5 weeks have been your introduction to easing into the big kid pool. There is no magic wand that is going to make it happen for you, so it’s all on you if you want to see results.

This week we’re sticking with the same exercises, but we’re just going to tweak it a bit by adding a second set to each one to increase the intensity.

The Workout:
Week #6

The Playlist:
- Warm-up
Bodyrock – Moby
Rockafeller Skank – Fatboy Slim

- Workout
Shut Your Eyes – Snow Patrol
Lapdance – N.E.R.D</strong>
Flathead – The Fratellis
Starlight – Muse
Panic Switch – Silversun Pickups
Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

- Cardio
I Might Be Wrong – Radiohead
Hysteria – Muse
Going On – Gnarls Barkley
Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups

- Cool Down
Empire State of Mind – Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys

** Combine this with my 12 week weight management program to maximize your results. Leave a comment if you d like some more info.

Ask Dani – Diet Dilemma (South Beach Diet)

This is an old-time diet. They thought that would work too.

Dear Dani,

I’ve been thinking about doing the South Beach Diet, but I’m not sure. There’s so much information on diets and I don’t know how to figure out what would be the best one for me. What diet do you recommend and how would you choose which one to go on?

Thanks, Dieting Dilemma

Dear Dieting Dilemma,

Dieting is such a dirty word. When I think of a diet I think of agonizing weeks of being hungry and wishing I could eat everything else, but what I’m allowed to eat. I can’t stop thinking about food and my whole day revolves around thinking about what I’m going to eat at the next meal. Most of the time I’m also counting how many days until it’s over, which means that all the hard work I’ve done over the past few weeks will be completely undone by a mega binge on some Coldstone Creamery, as soon as I can get my hungry little paws on it. So, as you can see I don’t like diets. They are only short-term solutions to long-term issues. It’s like putting a band-aid over a gun shot wound.

What you need is to learn how to maintain healthy eating for a lifetime, which doesn’t include cutting out whole food groups or restricting your calories so much that you’re constantly hungry. You can’t keep up that kind of thing for long and it will only backfire and make your problem worse. All of that being said, I don’t condemn the South Beach Diet. I think that it does a good job at teaching you balance, but that’s only true if you really follow their guidelines and treat it as a learning process and not a quick fix. The fact that they focus on whole-grains and fiber is a good sign, because so many bad diets will cut carbs out completely or tell you to restrict way more than you need to. Normally I would say that the fact that they cut out fruit for the first 2 weeks is bad, but I can understand them doing it in order to regulate your blood sugar levels and to kind give you a reset button. My advice though is that if you want some fruit in those first 2 weeks then have the fruit. But, if you want to really maintain your weight loss you need to do some homework, which may include keeping a food diary to track your patterns, keeping a journal to track your emotions, relearning your hunger cues and patterns, and trying to get past emotional triggers. A good diet will never dip below 1200 calories per day and will have a balanced mix of all the major food groups. Every meal should consist of a carb and a protein (so that means grapefruit diets and cabbage soup diets are a major no-no), and will never cut out fats entirely (you actually need good fats in order to lose weight, as well as for healthy akin and hair). You should never feel deprived and the emphasis should be on teaching you how to make better food choices and portion control.

If you have any questions on some of the things I mentioned, such as relearning your hunger cues or getting past emotional triggers, please don’t hesitate to ask me for help!

**Have a question that needs answering? Send em in! Every Thursday I ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!