Certified Fitness Trainer and Registered Yoga Instructor. Spreading my love for fitness by teaching my students how to live a healthy, strong, and fit life.


I (heart) Thanksgiving! A day of the year where we gather with family and friends and do absolutely nothing but eat, drink and lounge around the house. As a personal trainer, this is my busiest time of the year. My classes are packed and my clients squeeze in an extra session because they know what is to come on this joyous day of feasting!

Personally, I make sure I get in a workout the day of and after Thanksgiving. And guess what… you should too!
Here’s a pre and post Thanksgiving workout that will burn lots of calories so you can justify the 3 extra servings of turkey and pie. ūüôā

Go Up & Go Fast (12 minute treadmill work) – YES this is all you need!
1 min     4.0 speed / 5.0 incline
1 min     5.5 speed / 8.0 incline
2 min     6.0 Р8.0 speed / 3.0 incline
2 min     Sprint! 7.0 Р11.0 speed / 1.0 incline
1 min     6.0 speed / 8.0 incline
2 min     Sprint! 8.0 -11.0 speed / 3.0 incline
1 min     6.0 Р9.0 speed / 5.0 incline
1 min     Sprint! 8.0 Р11.0 speed / 1.0 incline
1 min     4.0 speed / 5.0 incline

Modify the incline or speed but try to keep to the minute. I included a sprint range so to accommodate all fitness levels. Not a fan of the treadmill?? You can take this run outside and find landmarks to sprint to. For ex: from one lamp post or bench to another for sprint range. Use hills for sprints instead of distance.

Heart Rate Up / Keep it Up! (In this order for 3 sets)
1. Elbow to hand plank with push ups: 5 each arm / 10 push ups total
Start in hand plank, lower right arm into elbow plank, press up with right hand to hand plank then add push up. Repeat with left arm.

2. Kettlebell Swings: 20 swings (with at least 20lb+ kettlebell)
Set your feet hip width apart and arms straight holding kettlebell. Thrust hips forward to raise kettlebell up and no higher than shoulder height. Make sure to keep your back straight and chest up. Be safe and check out these tips first. 

3. Split Squats (option to add weights): 15 reps each leg
One leg rests on a bench with the other leg in front. Bend both knees into a right angle keeping your upper body weight forward into the front leg. Check out a demo here.

4. Jump squats (option to hold weight at your chest): 15 jumps
Bend knees to squat deep and then jump as high as you can landing back into a deep squat. Make sure to land softly and with bent knees.

5. Mountain climbers: 1 minute
Start in plank position with a towel or glide under each foot. Keep your shoulders aligned with your wrists and slide one knee in towards your chest and slide back. Repeat on other leg and switch. Check out a demo here. 

This workout targets your entire body and will kick your butt in less than 45 minutes. Your goal is to get your heart rate up and keep it up so try to do each exercise back to back with minimal rest in between each set. Check out last year’s workout to add¬†more core work and extra time on the treadmill.

Now go have an amazing time with your family and friends and enjoy an extra slice of pecan pie (you know I will!).
Happy Thanksgiving!! 

Yoga on Steroids?

“Bootcamp Yoga”,¬†“Yoga on Steroids”,”Kick Ass Yogi”, and “Military Yogi” are some names used to describe me and my yoga classes. I take them all as a compliment because I admit…I do have a very unique and somewhat intense style of teaching.

I started my fitness career as a personal trainer then later received my certification as a yoga teacher. I have crazy love for high intensity sport and training which explains a lot about my style of yoga teaching. Many yogis would disagree with the way I teach but I can give 3 poops about it. There are so many schools and styles of yoga. Some offering a grounding and more spiritual practice and others a more physical and anatomical approach. I am not about chanting or preaching about life lessons (I’m still learning my own so I’m not about to teach someone else) nor do I touch the topic of chakras or energy work. I love and believe in all of the above but it’s just not in me to teach them.

What I strive to teach my students is what most teachers didn’t teach me when I started yoga. And that’s how to prevent injuries from happening when practicing. Students come into class throwing themselves into a flow and jamming their bodies into poses, causing more pain in the long run. I want my students to understand each pose, what muscles to engage, which are lengthened, how to breath and stay focused, and the importance of full body integration during a practice. Most students will rely solely on their flexibility and fail to use their muscles. It’s so important to build strength when practicing. Have a solid and strong foundation in the basic poses and the more challenging (+ pretty) ones such as inversions and arm balancing will come easier.

So YUP…with this in mind, my sequences are intense and chock full of ab/core work, full body strength focused exercises, and long held poses. So what are the benefits to my “power yoga” teaching?

Here they are!
1. Gain a strong understanding of what muscles to engage when holding poses
2. Learn the alignment structure of each pose
3. Build full body strength when holding poses and flowing through them
4. Break a sweat and get the heart pumping
5. Increase flexibility through strength to avoid over-stretching attachments (tendons and ligaments)
6. Prevent injuries and keeping the body safe and efficient for years to come
7. Learn full body/mind connection and awareness

Here’s a quick power sequence that I love to teach and one you can do at home. Use this sequence as your own yoga practice or before a workout to get the heart going, the muscles working, and your body flowing. ūüėČ

I totally get it…a power yoga sequence is not for everyone. Well that’s the beauty of yoga…it’s never a one size fits all. ¬†Because of all the injuries in my early years of practice, it’s become the main reason I teach with focus on alignment and strength. I beg of students (especially those who are just beginning yoga) to take the time to understand the poses as you flow through them. Work with a teacher that will demonstrate and explain the alignment and foundation of each pose. It’s an invaluable lesson that will save you from future injuries and to enjoy a life long yoga practice.

Never Underestimate the Booty!

Everywhere I look – fitness sites to social media to marketing campaigns – having a booty is ubiquitous and desirable. This was not always the case. A big butt was not something one would aspire for. It was actually quite the opposite. Especially women, they wanted narrow hips and a small butt. Well the trend has taken a turn. The era of skinny is over and a more curvaceous and healthy physique is in.

Several reasons to want and work for a great butt. #1 Serves as an accessory to a pair of jeans #2 Makes women biologically attractive #3 Streamline the body’s silhouette and increase curvature. The list goes on. Obviously these are all aesthetic reasons and legitimate (I should add!) but do we really know what having strong and round glutes does for our bodies biomechanically? Probably not...so let me explain!

The butt (gluteal muscles) is the biggest and most powerful muscle in the body yet it’s often the weakest. This muscle group is made up of 3 muscles: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. All work together to keep your torso erect and to hold your upper body up when in motion. If not for the glutes, we’d be slumped over and crooked.


If you’re like 86% of American workers, you are sitting all day long at your job. Add to that the number of hours one sits reading, watching tv, playing games, surfing the net, this can total up to 13 hours a day of flattening your butt in a seat. It’s¬†been labeled the “sitting disease” and can be more harmful to our health than you think. Because of prolonged sitting, the hip flexors become very short and tight making it difficult for one to stand up straight. However if the glutes are strong, they help to lengthen your hip flexors and keep your body in alignment. That in turn helps to relieve the chronic low back pain 80% of the population experiences and prevents you from looking like a hunchback.

The gluteal muscles are prime mover muscles responsible for extension, abduction, and internal/external rotation. These motions are critical in performing basic exercises such as walking, running, stepping to more dynamic movements like sprinting, jumping, and power lifting. So when the glutes are weak to initiate these movements, other muscles will chip in and take on some of the workload. This is called syngergistic dominance. As this pattern continues, these helper muscles become overactive, overloaded, and susceptible to problems. Muscles do not engage properly, joint motions alter, alignment will change, and injuries occur. The most common muscle groups that suffer from weak glutes are the hamstrings and hip complex – basically all muscles attached to the pelvis and knees. Some common injuries are runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, Achilles tendinitis, and hamstring tears. The stronger the glutes the less the helper muscles will have to work. The right muscles will do their job so the body can move efficiently and safely.

For those that are into sport specific training, strength training and body building know how important the glutes are in primary exercises like squats, dead lifts, lunges, jumps, and sprints. Performing these exercises with weak glutes will force your body to compensate (again using those helper muscles) and will cease to gain strength, move faster, and more powerful in these movements. This makes progressive training stagnant and really frustrating especially when a competition or sport is involved.

Now that you know how important it is to strengthen your glutes, let’s get to work. There are dozens of glute focused exercises but here are the most effective (and my fave)!



Single Leg Bridges & Kicks

Maintain proper form:
– Keep hip points at the same height through the set
– Drive the heel firmly into the floor to engage glutes and hamstrings and to execute lift of the hips
– Flex the foot when lowering leg down and point the toe when leg lifts up
– For single leg glute lifts, keep knees together by squeezing inner thighs together to stabilize the hip


weighted bridges

Weighted Bridges

Maintain proper form:
– Align feet directly under the knees
– Drive the heels down to elevate hips and squeeze glutes at the top
– Draw abdominals in to protect lower back
– Lift hips up in a controlled motion engaging glutes, quads, and hamstrings
– Use a balance bad or cushion under bar to protect boney hip points



Deep Squats

Maintain proper form:
– Engage the abdominals to straighten spine and keep chest up
– Set feet hip width apart (slightly turn toes out)
– Lower your seat down past the knees
– Avoid knees moving too far forward beyond toes



Split Squats

Maintain proper form:
– Relax the foot on the bench and completely disengage the back leg
– Shift upper body weight to the front leg
– Bend knee into right angle making sure knee does not go beyond toes
– Keep abdominals engaged to protect lower back and keep spine straight



Single Leg Deadlifts

Maintain proper form:
– Slightly bend the standing leg
– Engage abdominals and back muscles to keep upper body in full extension
– Activate and extend back leg so it becomes an extension of your upper body
– Avoid gripping toes for balance
– Squeeze glutes when standing straight up


glute medius

Hip Hitch

Maintain proper form:
– Slightly bend standing leg
– Keep abdominals engaged to keep chest up and spine straight
– Shift the active hip as far to its own side to get a deep stretch followed by strong contraction when hitching hip up


Sure the aesthetic of a great butt may be enough for some to work on these exercises. But don’t sell your booty short. It can be more powerful than you think. Shoot for strong glutes and your body will thank you for it!


I know how demanding life can be with family, work, and social responsibilities. Sometimes the thought of working out is an unappealing and impossible feat. I hear the reasoning and the excuses all day every day!

Making fitness a priority, setting time aside, and being as efficient as possible to maximize the little time you have is the key to getting your workouts in. There is no longer a need for 90 minute or 2 hour workouts. If you have the time, then more power to you! But if you’re limited on time, like I am, then you have to make good with what you have.

There are so many options these days that don’t require you to even leave your home for a kick ass workout. YouTube videos, on-demand workouts, TRX exercises and so on.

Check out my workout that requires 3 things: (1) YOU (2) 20 minutes (3)¬†2 small towels. Perform these 5 exercises back to back with minimal break in between and feel the burn. ūüôā



Stand with your feet hip width apart. Place the towel under the right foot and begin to slide the towel back, bending both knees into a right angle. Track your front knee in line with your toes, making sure it does not move in front of the shoelaces.
DO: 20 repetitions on each leg. GO!




Start in plank position with one towel under each foot. Make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands, body is straight and abdominals are engaged. Slide right leg in to your chest, then slide it back. Slide the left leg in and back. Begin to move faster while maintaining a straight body in plank.
DO: Climb for one minute. Option to widen your legs on the last 15 seconds. GO!



side lunge

Stand the feet together with one towel under the right foot. Slide right foot out to the side keeping the leg as straight as you can, while left leg bends and hips lower into a squat. Keep the chest up when lowering your hips. Engage the adductors (inner thighs) and slide the right leg back to the left leg. Repeat and then switch.
DO: 20 repetitions on each leg. GO!




Start in plank position with both feet on a towel. Shift your weight forward into the arms and start to draw your abdominals in to slide your feet to the hands, keeping the legs as straight as you can. Slide back into plank pose to start again. Engage your abdominals to avoid the hips from dropping when sliding back to plank.

DO: 15 repetitions. GO!



knees in (1)

Start in plank position with both feet together on a towel and shoulders directly over the hands. Use your abdominals to pull both knees in towards your chest then extend legs back out into plank. Slide both knees to the outer right arm then slide back to plank. Repeat on the left and then back to the middle. Keep your weight in the hands and your arms strong throughout the set. Slightly round the back to engage your Serratus anterior muscles and refrain using the lower back for support when sliding back to plank.
DO: 15 repetitions (middle, left, and right is considered 1 rep). GO!


There are so many exercises you can do with a towel but these are my fave.¬†This workout gets your heart rate up and targets several different muscles groups. Challenge yourself and perform these exercises back to back for 4-5 sets with minimal break in between. There’s no way you won’t get a sweat going!

Great workout – Minimal Time – No Equipment – In Your Home! What’s better than that? LET’S GO!

The “Tipping Point”

After years of teaching and doing yoga, I still struggle with inversions. So much so that I included it on my first post of 2014 as one of my New Year’s “explorations”. I have been practicing “Going Upside Down” several times a week and have finally understood the “tipping point” of inversions which has served as an epiphany in my practice.

Stand up straight and visualize an arrow. Imagine the very top of your head as the arrowhead, your body as the shaft, and your feet as the fletching (feathers). The shaft of the arrow will run directly down the center of your body, very much like your spine into your pelvic floor. Like Mountain Pose (Tadasana), where you are standing at the top of the mat, you want to maintain that very same line and structure when attempting inversions. Before you go completely upside down, you have to bring your body to stack, which is the hardest part of inversions. Stacking is when your joints are aligned so they can rely on each other for support. Once you’re stacked, you will immediately feel the “tipping point” where your centerline will find its natural place. Falling out of inversions won’t happen as often because you will be able to catch your body before it does.

Check out my video! I demonstrate in headstand how the “tipping point” can help you find your center in these very challenging inversions. Try it and let me know how you do!

The Power of Barefoot Workouts

Since Christopher McDougall‚Äôs ‚ÄúBorn To Run‚ÄĚ launched and Vibram‚Äôs ‚ÄúFive Fingers‚ÄĚ hit the stores, fitness workouts have evolved into what is now a trend. It may seem as if we‚Äôre going back in time, before the technology of footwear with all the bells and whistles of sneakers, where all you need is simply your two feet.

The fitness science of being barefoot is that the foundation of your entire body’s alignment starts with your feet. How your foot lands and connects to the ground shifts placement of the muscles up. For example, pronation of your feet (your arches rolling in) will slightly turn your knees in. Your hip flexors will begin to follow creating a pelvic tilt. That will lead to a slight tug in your lower back. Should this misalignment continue, back pain will begin and more than likely become a chronic issue. Who would have thought your two little feet could be so problematic?

The concept of barefoot training is forcing your feet to work out. Sport stores carry an array of sneakers all geared for specific reasons (pronation, stability, high arch, flat feet and so on) but what they all have in common is that they prevent your feet from moving so the rest of your body does all the work. The job of your feet is to provide balance and absorb some of the shock so that your knees and hips don’t have to. So the stronger your feet, the more they can help keep your body safe and pain free.

Here are some reasons you should consider going barefoot in your workouts:

  1. Stronger feet = better yoga practice

Once your feet start to work, you will find how crucial they are in your yoga practice. Notice how often yoga instructors will instruct you to ground your feet, spread your toes, and connect to the 4 corners. Consciously think about your feet and press firmly into them and you’ll see that Tree Pose can be a breeze!

  1. Lift your arches = tighter booty

I am certified to teach EBFS BARE, which is an entire workout barefoot. This workout is not a piece of cake! Simply pressing into your big toe will lift your arches, forcing you to use the deep rotator muscles in your hip and firing up your Glute muscles. Keep that up during your workouts and you’ll have a tighter booty and stable hips. Woohoo!

  1. Stable ankles to prevent sprains.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned my ankles because of cute wedge sandals or a night out in stilettos. Training your feet will help to build strength and stability in your ankles helping you bounce back from those sprains or prevent them all together.

  1. A runner’s must!

If you’re a runner and wear those heavily supported sneakers, you are just pounding into your knees and hips. Consider a lighter shoe so your feet can start to absorb some shock. Your feet will also help keep the rest of your body in alignment and force the muscles in your legs to work more. You will see a difference not only in your strides but your overall strength and definition in your legs.


There are so many opportunities for you to try barefoot training through classes (Pilates, Barre classes, BARE) or just purchasing the right shoe (I love New Balance’s Minimus). Remember when you introduce something new to your body, take it slow, and observe how your body responds to this change. Definitely seek the help of professionals or research the information before you fully jump into it. But this is a change well worth it! Have fun!


Lunges are awesome! Learn to love them.

The title of this post may be a bit misleading. You probably think I’m going to list the benefits of the lunge and all the reasons you should do them. Instead I am simply going to answer the question that I posted on Facebook. ¬†That question was: Which lunge is better? Lunge with a straight back or with a lean forward?

Which is a better form of lunge?

Most chose the lunge with a straight back but the answer is both! ¬†Each form serves a specific purpose and targets key muscles.¬†Lunges are one of the most effective lower body exercises to help develop butt and leg strength. They’re also great for stretching the hip flexors, challenging your balance, and getting your heart rate up. Check out the video for more information on what you accomplish with each lunge and the muscles targeted. Then TRY IT!

Don’t Resolve…EXPLORE!

To kick off this post, I want to send everyone wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year! I am sure that we are all back in the swings of things gearing up for a productive start to 2014.

I was big on New Year’s resolutions…always gearing my mindset to focus and accomplish certain goals throughout year. ¬†But then started to realize a negative connotation to it and began to hear it from others. There was always disappointment when a resolution wasn’t achieved or even started. ¬†Some may experience an overwhelming feeling of impossibility and lacking initiative which sets off a chain reaction of frustration and a sense of giving up. So I’m sure you’ve already set your list of “resolutions” but I ask you not resolve but instead explore each of them.

Here is my simple list that I am super excited to explore!
1. Going upside down! Yes, I have faced that fear¬†and am admitting to you all that I do not enjoy being upside down. It’s simply that I don’t like to fall. ¬†Maybe there is a subconscious message about it but in all seriousness, I don’t like to lose control of my body and potentially crack my neck or break my back. I know…so dramatic. ¬†But I am grabbing this bull by the horns and will go upside down in a handstand or forearm stand at least 5x a week. Totally doable and with the help of my yoga teacher, Phillip Askew, I know my feet will rise above the rest! I’m super excited for this ride as I explore tackling my fear of falling.

2. Chef Julia! I should either buy stock in Juice Generation or purchase a Vitamix.  Thanks to my brother and my sister-in-law, the latter is the answer. I shall now grind to make almond butter, mix to make soup, and blend to make green drinks. And explore what else I can do with this amazing machine. Going raw and cooking from scratch will help feed my body with cleaner and healthier foods. Looking forward to putting my skills to the test.


Vitamix 7500

3. Exploration Drogo! Every morning, I choose between 3 paths to walk Drogo. We see the same scenery, same dogs, same doggy owners, sniff the same scents and it’s just the same same same. Just last Sunday, I took a different path in Central Park and not only did I discover a rustic bridge that lead into a running waterfall but Drogo was ecstatically sniffing his way through. Twice a month, I will take Drogo on a different path and explore Riverside and Central Park while exposing his nose to different pee and poo scents. Can’t wait for the journey.

Drogo. Isn't he cute?

This is Drogo. Isn’t he cute?

4. Breath and Meditation Project. I consider this a serious project. It is something that takes a plan, coordination, focus, and set up. All of those efforts to step away from my crazy schedule to close my eyes and take deep slow breaths and/or to sit in a comfortable seat and meditate for at least 15 minutes. It is so tough to do but when I find the time for it, it feels so darn good! I’ll try this 3x a week and see where it takes me.

I have already begun my explorations and hope you all have, too. Accept the attempts you take (or lack of), acknowledge any difficulty or resistance you encounter, and simply experience the process. View your list as opportunities of growth instead of moments of achievements or failure. And most importantly…have fun!

The Big 3! Healthy alternatives to your favorite foods.

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to my weekly food intake so celebrating Thanksgiving definitely threw me off my eating routine filling it with what I call the Big 3 (Gluten – Dairy – Sugar). Unless you’re hosting the dinner yourself and cooking every dish with your dietary restrictions in mind, it’s hard to resist the gluten filled stuffing, the creamy green bean casserole, and the sugary pecan pie – all on the menu at my mom’s this weekend. Although I contributed to the meal with my Big 3-free brussel sprouts dish, I couldn’t avoid it altogether in the other dishes. Not a big deal as the holidays come once a year and eating the Big 3 in moderation is not the end of the world (depending on your health condition). ¬†But as my sister-in-law called out the ingredients for her dish, all I heard was Gluten! Dairy! Sugar!

Gluten, dairy and sugar create inflammation in your digestive system. The more inflamed your system, the more susceptible you are to allergy, illness, chronic condition, and disease – not to mention a constant bloat in the belly and puffiness throughout your body. The conventional supermarket offer limited choices but little by little market shelves are stocking Big 3-Free items. However be aware of those that claim to be free of these ingredients as they will more than likely have filler ingredients that will replace one for the other.

Here are some great (and my favorite) healthy alternatives to the Big 3 that you will enjoy and won’t make you feel like you’re missing out.

1.Quinoa, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, and Brown Rice are all great alternatives to gluten (oats, wheat, barley, rye). All are gluten free so your body can easily digest without bloat or belly pain. Replace your gluten breads, pastas, granolas, and snacks with these options:
– Brown Rice Bread by Food for Life
– Millet and Flax pita chips by Sami’s Bakery
– Brown Rice Pasta by Lundberg or Tinkyada
– Granola by Purely Elizabeth
–¬†Granola bars by Two Moms in the Raw
–¬†Brown Rice Flour by Bob’s¬†Red Mill















2.Almond, Rice, Coconut, Goat, or Sheep milks are other dairy options to enjoy if you want some creamy goodness. Goat and sheep milk manufacturing is not as processed and have slightly different variations in the amount of lactose and casein than cow milk, which help the gut to digest easier. Almond, coconut, and rice milks are derived from its original source containing no traces of casein or lactose sugar making it easily digestible as well. These are some of my favorite dairy go-to foods:

– Almond Milk by Pacific Foods
– Cashew Milk by OMilk
– Coconut ice cream by Coconut Bliss
– Goat cheese brie by Montchevre
– Goat yogurt by Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery














3.Raw honey, real maple syrup, and coconut sugar are great substitutes when you’ve got a sweet tooth. Sugar is by far the most complex of the 3. It’s hidden in everything you eat and often come in artificial forms. Even if the words don’t stand out on the label (sucrose, dextrin, rice syrup), there are so many derivatives of sugar that even complex carbs such as bagels, breads, pastas fall in the category of these refined sugars. Our bodies break them down just the same and can create serious health issues. I love these sweet indulgences that help me curb my cravings while steering clear of processed sugars:
– Dark chocolate from Not Your Sugar Mama
– Probiotic Chia Berry Yogurt from Organic Avenue
– Chocolate Mousse from Organic Avenue
–¬†Protein Bar from 22 Days Nutrition















Living in NYC has made having these diet restrictions an easier experience as both larger chains and smaller health food stores offer a variety of options. The key to finding the right foods (and not the fake foods) is to read the labels. If there are more than 5 ingredients and you’re unsure of what ¬†most of them are, then it’s safe to assume that food is not the ideal choice. We all have our food vices but try exploring next time you’re at the store (Health Nuts is a great one!) and see if you can be Big 3-Free!¬†

*Most foods above can be found at Trader Joe’s, Fairway, Whole Foods, Organic Avenue, and Health Nuts. Sami’s Bakery and Not Your Sugar Mama can easily be ordered online and shipped to your home. Enjoy!

Get your heart rate up with this Yoga Sequence

Known more for balance, stretch, and mind body connection, many would not look to Yoga to lose weight or to help increase cardio endurance. ¬†Unless it’s a¬†Bikram Yoga class (due to the high temperature in the room, your heart rate increases as a means to cool your system down) or performing an intense and fast paced yoga sequence (which is never recommended for beginners due to the likelihood of injury), the average maximum heart rate reached in a yoga class is anywhere from 95bpm-100bpm. MSN writes a good article¬†about calories burned in yoga in comparison to other activities.

As I mentioned in¬†my last blog post, I encouraged everyone to try Chandra Namaskar (Moon Salutation) to find a calming yoga practice. But if you’re looking to get your body warm and increase heat, Surya Nasmaskar (Sun Salutation) is the way to go. I love to add strength and power into my workouts especially when I teach yoga. Not necessary for all sequences but great if you want to cultivate some heat into your yoga practice.¬†Check out this version of a Sun Salutation with two exercises that will increase your heart rate and get your sweat on! Try it!