Caroline’s Healthy Memorial Day: A Playlist, Workout, and Cookout Recipes!

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Don’t you love a long weekend?! Kicking off summer makes a long weekend even sweeter. It’s a great time to relax by being active and spending time with those you love. Whether you are hiking or barbecuing on the beach, here are a few healthy living resources that will make your three-day weekend even more delicious. Included below is my  “4 minute sports workout warm-up”, Memorial Day “Move It” Playlist, and a few of my  healthy cookout favorites. I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, balanced Memorial Day Weekend and a STRONG start to the Summer Season!

Caroline’s Healthy Memorial Day: Playlist, Workout, and Cookout!

Caroline’s Memorial Day “Move It” Playlist

Caroline’s 4 Minute Sports Warm Up Workout Video

Headed out to play some sports or be active on your long weekend off? Warm up before you go with my quick 4 minute sports warm up workout video. Done before any workout or event, a proper warmup will help you achieve peak performance. A proper warmup increases heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to the muscles. It prepares the body for increasingly vigorous activity, allows it to work more efficiently, and reduces injury risk by loosening you up. Warming up before you play a sport is like revving up your own personal engine. A good warm-up routine can lead to better performance and helps reduce the risk of injury. Follow me through this quick, 4 minute routine: a series of air squats, pushups, bridges and ab work to prepare you for a great workout. Repeat the series 2-3 times through if you feel like you need a longer warm-up session. Leave a comment below and let me know if this video got your blood pumping and helped you prepare for a great long weekend of activities!

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Caroline’s Healthy Cookout Favorites.

Cool Drinks

ZICO Melon Mojito

2 cups cubed Honeydew Melon (I like to freeze mine)

1 cup cubed English Cucumber

1 cup ZICO coconut water

12 fresh mint leaves

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Agave or honey squirt
Blend until smooth.

Makes 2 servings.
95 calories per serving.

ZICO Watermelon Breeze

3 cups cubed chilled watermelon

1 cup ZICO coconut water

squeeze of fresh lime

Ice if needed

Sprig of mint

Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.

Makes two servings.

90 calories per serving.

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How to Pack a Healthy Cooler thanks to Cooking Light

Appetizers and Snacks

  • Look for dips and spreads in the prepared food section of the store or make a few of party favorites: Baba Ghanouj, Black Bean Hummus, Cream Cheese and Cashew Nut Dip, or Guacamole. Pack them with corn chips, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots or sticks of jicama for dipping
  • You can’t go wrong with getting your fruits and veggies. Think grapes, carrots, cherry tomatoes, apples and celery sticks.
  • Marinated olives, mushrooms and roasted peppers from your grocery store’s olive bar are perfect for chilled picnic appetizers.
  • Do something different and try this  Green Pea Hummus from Tasty Eats at Home

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

One healthy living idea I find helpful in maintaining balance during summer parties is “booze or treat” – not both. If you’re choosing drinks as your treat this weekend stick to clear alcohols with healthy, no-sugar added mixes or wine. If you are indulging in a dessert, take the time to SAVOR it! Remember treats are fine in balance. Don’t go crazy and don’t starve. Find your happy medium.

For more tips on how to stay healthy during summer vacations, please join me for a special webinar Monday May 27th at 10am “How to Stay healthy During Summer Vacation” with talented co-host Buddy Machua. Cant join us but want to listen in? The link from our talk show will be available for download on iTRAIN’s webiste here. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend spending time with friends and family!

Of course all of the above is fun, but don’t forget: Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have given their lives to this country. A time to appreciate the people in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard who bravely serve us all. Lets take a moment to be grateful for all of those who fight for our freedom!

What are you up to this Memorial Day? Any fun activities or recipes to share? Wishing you all a happy, healthy long weekend filled with sun!

In health,

Caroline

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Posture Perfect

Like many little girls, I spent a majority of my youth in ballet slippers perfecting my arabesque and chassé. I dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. Within weeks of my first lesson I became obsessed and proclaimed to my parents that I would only walk around our home on my tiptoes. While my ballet days are far behind me, there is one thing that has stuck with me: Posture! Even though my dancing days are over, posture is something I still work constantly to counter balance the negative effects of my forward moving activities (running, cycling, computer work, driving, etc). I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of good posture. For many posture is a habit that haunts them throughout their days, and they might not even know that it could be undermining their fitness efforts.

Do you slouch in your office chair at work? Are you starting to notice rounded shoulders with your neck protruding forward? Do you stand up at 5 P.M. and feel like your back resembles a question mark? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are part of a growing trend of people who experience postural problems from our culture’s constant state of sitting.

Slouching throughout the day forces chest muscles to tighten, which in turn pulls the spine forward and rotates the shoulders inward, all while weakening the muscles of the upper back that aid in posture. In other words, you start looking like a hunchback and may experience pain in your neck, lower back, and even arms and legs.

Not only can poor posture have negative effects on your physique (increased belly fat, double chin and varicose veins), it can also have serious implications on your health (heart strain, pinched nerves). Plus, if you’re a go-getter, posture is a must! In today’s culture, good posture communicates confidence, alertness and strength. All of these are key traits of success. Considering these facts, I thought I’d share a few of my best tips for keeping your posture in check:

Tips for Perfect Posture

    • Work it OUT. Follow a balanced exercise program that incorporates corrective exercises for good posture. Try exercises that relieve chest tightness, strengthen upper back muscles, and strengthen your core. Choose to work these exercises into your routine regularly. Not sure which exercises to do? Lucky for you I designed a posture workout just for you. These exercises are a sample of what you can do to improve your posture and look as tall as you feel. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program and you are good to go!

 

  • Time it. Human beings are not designed to sit in an office all day,  we are built to move!  Every hour,  get out of your office chair and move. Even 1-2 minutes of simple chest opening exercises and stretches can work wonders.
  • Think up! If you feel your head or shoulders jut forward, pull them back and act as if a string were pulling you up from the top of your head.
  • Sit Tall.  Establish good posture at your desk: Sit with your back against your chair and feet flat on the floor. When you look at a computer screen, your eyes should be level with the center of it. If they aren’t, raise or lower the monitor.
  • Remind yourself. As with all new habits, remind yourself often to straighten up!

 
A few more pointers on posture:

When you’re sitting: Remember to keep your neck and back in line. Also, your legs should be at a 90-degree angle to your body for optimal posture and comfort. Here is a helpful infographic showcasing proper seated posture:

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When you’re standing: Keep most of the weight on the balls of your feet with your neck and back in alignment, with your stomach tucked in and shoulder blades pulled back.

When you’re lifting something: Did you know there is a proper way to lift things? Instead of bending at the waist to pick something up, it’s best to bend your knees to lower first, and then lift.

And there you have it! Do you work on your posture? What things to you do to make sure you stand tall?

 

Caroline

 

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Lessons on Living A Positive Life from the most positive woman in Mine: My Mother

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My mom will always be the #1 role model for me. At fifty-five she is healthy, happy, and full of vitality. Health, fitness, and living well have always been priorities for her and she has lived a balanced lifestyle. Her wellness goal has never been for  perfection but rather to celebrate being human. She finds joy in the simple things and lives for the moment. She rides her bike to work, strength trains, and loves regular arboretum walks. She shops at the farmers market, gardens, and cooks real, delicious food. She sings often, laughs a lot, and dances every second. Never has she obsessed over her health or fitness. Instead,  her life is full of love, laughter, and gratitude, and THAT is what has brought her to an ultimate state of wellness. Her bright skin, fit body, and big smile are all results of a life well lived – she is happy from the inside out.

My mother’s uplifting attitude is contagious,  she brings joy everywhere she goes. People love to be around her and she has been an excellent role model in how to live a positive life. Here are a few of the valuable lessons she has taught me on living well and being a happy person inside and out.

Lessons On Living A Positive Life From The Most Positive Woman In Mine: My Mom.

  1. Move your body. My mom taught me that taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Sure exercise keeps your weight in check and you feeling confident in your favorite pair of jeans. But exercise actually has the power to make you a happier person. Moving your body creates chemical responses in the brain, which lead to both temporary and long term mental health benefits. It releases dopamine (“happy chemicals”) in your brian, eases stress, increases energy, combats insomnia, and does wonders for your confidence. Taking good care of your body can and will keep your heart happy, help you maintain a healthy weight, and bring you a positive outlook on life.
  2. Eat An Inspiring Diet. To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art. My mom brought us up to eat a colorful diet filled with whole foods and variety. There was always room for indulgences (she is famous for her chocolate chip cookies) and she was an excellent role model for an “eat to live not live to eat” mentality.  Growing up dinner time was a family event and we often cooked something with the fresh ingredients from our backyard fruit and vegetable garden.  Because we are what we eat, we can literally transform our minds into happier ones by eating an inspiring diet. When you eat good foods you feel good too, therefore happiness comes from being well- fueled.
  3. Help Others. My mother works full time as a pediatric nurse but even when she is off the clock she is always lending a hand to others. She taught me that happiness is attained by giving it away without expectation and those who help others are eventually helped.  As far as physical health benefits, performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.  Selflessly helping someone is a powerful way to feel good inside. The happiest people you will ever meet will be those who lose themselves in the joy and challenge of helping others.
  4. Learn to forgive. My mom’s typical response to a negative or upsetting event is forgiveness. She’ll say something like, “It’s ok. I’m going to let it go and move forward.”   This is an excellent way to handle conflict because harboring feelings of hatred or resentment is horrible for your well-being. Thats because your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of hate and it stays with you throughout your day. In contrast, showing forgiveness is a form of compassion and love, which is a much happier state of living your life.
  5. Live in gratitude. When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  My mothers constantly affirming the things she is grateful and being around her influences me to live in a state of gratitude as well. Studies have shown practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals. Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want. Click here to learn more on how to practice gratitude in your life.
  6. Savor life’s joys. My mom taught me that the best things in life are free. There is absolute joy and wonder to be had in the simplest of moments.  Watching the sunset over the horizon or spending time with a family member making jam in the summer (triple berry anyone?). Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them. Make it a point to regularly celebrate all of the little things in life and you will be a happier person inside and out.

All of the lessons above are habits and thoughts we can choose to bring more happiness into our lives. That’s the thing about living a positive, happy life: it is a conscious choice. It’s not always an easy choice and creating happy habits may challenge you at times. But doing so will allow you to break free from the mold and truly live more of  life – to experience it and enjoy it to the fullest, instead of settling for a mere existence.

To my mother who taught me how and showed me the way: Thank you. I love you. I will celebrate the momentous mother that you are today and always.

What do you know to be true on living a positive, powerful life? Happy Mothers Day to you and yours!

With love,

Caroline

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Celebrating Cinco De Mayo. Healthy workout, recipes, and menu choices.

Healthy-Cinco-de-Mayo-TipsHappy Cinco de Mayo! Holidays dont have to derail your health and fitness goals. It’s all about balance, remember the 80/20 Rule? You can indulge in your favorite festive foods as long as they fit into the bigger picture of your healthy lifestyle. For those of you wanting to celebrate today’s Mexican holiday, may I suggest getting your sweat on with this festive “5 by 5” do anywhere 7 minute Crossfit inspired routine and then whipping up a batch of the below healthy-fied margaritas for you and your friends? Talk about balance! Read on for my Cinco De Mayo workout, recipes, and tips on healthy eating at your favorite Mexican Restaurant.

Have A Fitness Fiesta! Get your sweat on with this quick, effective 7 minute workout routine. This travel-friendly, CrossFit inspired workout will blast fat and sculpt muscle in minutes. It’s an uberpopular fitness program that runs you through a series of functional exercises at an intense pace. Translation: You build muscle and torch megacalories in under 7 minutes. This versatile workout  requires no equipment and only a few feet of space, so your makeshift gym can be a hotel room, a park, or even the beach. The moves target every inch of your body—glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, inner thighs, arms, abs, and back —to build lean muscle and boost your metabolism, while also improving your core strength and cardiovascular fitness. The exercise routine is composed of FIVE rounds of FIVE exercises: 5 Air squats, 5 Burpees, 5 Jump Squats, 5 Pushups, and 5 Situps done 5 times. Feel free to repeat the video 2-3 times for a longer sweat session and more of a challenge. And as always please check with your health care provider before starting any new exercise program. I hope you enjoy the workout – l know it will help you on your way to getting a strong, lean, powerful body!

Eating Out at a Mexican Restaurant. Here are a few favorite healthy options on Cinco De Mayo:

  1. Ceviche!
  2. Fajitas with no sour cream. Load up on chicken with peppers, onions, guacamole, black beans & salsa. All of these are so good for you! (you can add brown rice tortillas too)
  3. Salmon Salad with Salsa
  4. Shrimp Salad with Salsa
  5. Chicken with rice & black beans
  6. Margaritas— Ask for ‘on the rocks, light on the sour mix, & extra limes to squeeze’ Or make your own (read below for my recipe!)

Try to avoid or have in MODERATION 🙂

  1. Chips- lots of saturated fat that goes straight to your tummy!
  2. Sour cream… same as chips.  Sour cream doesn’t look so good in your summer swimsuit.
  3. Heavy cheese dishes! Greasy and guaranteed to weigh you down… so eat your cheese in moderation.
  4. Really sugary Margaritas.  Ask them to stay light on the sour mix and ask for extra limes 🙂

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So for all you margarita lovers out there (myself included!) I’m sharing my healthy version of the margarita for your Cinco De Mayo festivities. The typical margarita can run you as many as 500 calories (eep!) but not with my coconut margarita recipe…a delightful tasting and healthy version of the original.  This updated cocktail has the added benefits of ZICO coconut water – which is loaded with electrolytes, vitamin C and potassium.

So pour a little  tequilla on the rocks, add in some coconut water, squeeze lots of fresh lime, a little sea salt around the glass rim and you have a healthy cocktail to help you celebrate the holiday with friends and family.  Relax, eat healthy, enjoy!

Caroline’s Healthy Coconut Margarita Recipe

Ingredients:

2-3 oz.  Tequila

6 oz. Coconut water ( I like ZICO or fresh from the coconut)

1 organic lime

Dash of Himalayan sea salt

handful of ice

Put ice in glass, add tequilla and coconut water. Splash of lime and salt and wa-la! You have yourself a healthy cocktail. Most margaritas have over 600 calories.  This ZICO coconut cocktail is under 100 calories…you’re welcome!

 

How are you having a healthy Cinco de Mayo? Tell me your fiesta plans!

Caroline

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