Archive for March, 2011


fitness trends: my biased opinion

so after returning from the IHRSA (international health, racquet & sportsclub association) 2011 in san francisco, i must say that my creative juices are still on overdrive. this is not the case however when we set up and man a booth at these industry tradeshows – usually i need 3 days just to recover!  my whole purpose in attending was to 1) check it out to see if we want to exhibit next year (we do), 2) make connections with great companies that we want to partner with to sell fitbooks, and 3) play!  so rather than bore you with the business side of things, i thought i’d share my very biased list of stellar products that caught my eye.  seriously this show was like (sugar-free) candyland.  this is where all the product manufacturers launch the latest & greatest, the innovative & inspiring – so i took it upon myself to take pics and share my findings with fitbookers (and perhaps give santa plenty of lead-time for christmas). 

journey gym
disclaimer: my girlfriend, kim lyons, was up at ihrsa demo’ing this product (as seen in this lovely pic of her – fab job kim!) but honestly after seeing this little contraption at work, i was sold. this little go-anywhere portable gym is a step above all other resistance band products in that the bands are contained in this nice little handy travel box – oh, but wait…it’s not a box at all.  this little guy folds open and here-in lies the beauty: not only are there these great grips that make using resistance bands 10 times easier, but they are all pre-loaded so you can lift weight from 5 to 100lbs.  then – the little box transforms into this little step (think aerobics, leg warmers not required) so you can use the step for adding spurts of cardio in between resistance exercises.  but wait (no, this is not an informercial and i in no way get compensated – i’m seriously that excited about it) …my fave feature was that you can lie on your back on the bench and because it’s elevated you can do bench press or flyes to get in a chest workout which is tough to do with resistance bands.  i had the pleasure of meeting the creator of this nifty product and after expressing my love (for it, not him) i was more ecstatic to learn that they’re working to get these in hotel rooms.  how perfect is that?  so would’ve come in handy this weekend.  my favorite part was the infectious entrepreneurial energy that flowed out of john, the founder – meeting with like-minded people that have the same passion and ability to take action stokes my fire and ignites all kinds of ideas that i can apply to fitlosophy.  be on the look-out: i’m hittin’ him up to pack a little journey gym fitbook inside!

espinner bike
while it clocks in at almost four g’s, this high-tech spin bike is the mother of all spin bikes.  since this is my wish list, i’m adding it (a girl can dream!).  it features over 1 million different rides that you can follow on the 15″ high-resolution screen – plus it has a fan, built-in heart-rate monitor, and (my fave feature): a bulletproof aluminum frame.  i’m sure their thinking was to convince the consumer that it’s durable, but this only made me chuckle  as visions of a drive-by on spin bike filled my head.  not sure if my bike needs to be bulletproof in orange county, but i must say i will spin more comfortably knowing that my ride is prepared if anyone comes packin’.

this isn’t the newest product at ihrsa – kim actually picked one up last year to use in her home-gym, but this was the first time i got to play on it.  it’s sorta like an aerobic step meets the bosu all so you get the stabilization benefits of the air discs underneath, but a larger platform on top like a step!  i’m a big fan of doing almost any exercise on an unstable surface so you get a double-whammy of working your core while focusing on other muscles.  so you might do bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, shoulder overhead press, squats – whatever your little heart desires – and doing this on the unstable surfaces burns more calories and triggers those little teeny-tiny muscle fibers in your core to ignite.  i heart this and it doesn’t hurt that it’s red & black.  what great taste!

woodway treadmill
ok so this actually tops my want list, but of course i have fabulous taste because it’s also the most expensive. at right about $8k, the “curve” woodway treadmill is the top-of-the-line equipment which is why 97% of all nfl teams sport these non-motorized running machines.  here’s the deal: you burn up to 30% more calories because the belt is powered by your legs versus a motor, and due to the incredibly ergonomic surface, the woodway reduces the impact on your joints by about 90%.  so of course i had to try one.  at first wobbly step it was an odd feeling, but you get the hang of it quickly.  move forward and lean into it and you easily can break into a run…or move back a little to slow down.  unfortuately i wasn’t able to show off my cougar-like speed due to my injury, but i so wanted to.  kim came back from ihrsa last year raving about these – and now i see why.  so i’m letting santa know now that he’s got his work cut out for him to get this sucker all the way from germany and down through the chimney – but i’m a good girl and deserve it.

g-series fit
 i steer clear of all the samples at these shows because i’m not big on all the processed foods and it’s not my cup of tea to indulge in little pieces of protein bar that other people have rummaged through. ew.  i did however stop at the g-series fit because of the packaging (i’m a sucker for design).  however, sports drinks aren’t my thing because a lot of times they’re just calories we don’t need – and full of added sugars.  in fact, only performance athletes or someone working out for a period of one hour or more at an intense rate even “need” to replace electrolytes with a sports drink.  but this is a line i can get behind. each element in the series is for before (prime 01), during (perform 02), and after (recover 03) workouts.  but what i liked was that the macros were exactly what your body needs as far as carb/protein breakdown, and the calories were impressively low.  prime, the pre-workout snack, are these little bite-size, individually wrapped bars that are 180 calories & 6g protein with the main ingredient being almonds. then the perform sports drink is only 20 calories for the whole bottle of lightly flavored (yummy) watter injected with electrolytes for energy.  finally, the recovery drink is 110 calories & 12g protein and has a smoothie-like consistency and a tad bit of juice to restore glycogen stores.  the whole series would set you back only 310 calories to get in pre- during & post- workout energy to fuel killer sweat sessions.  i have to say…i’m on board (after my no-processed foods stint is over, that is).  i tried the drinks but didn’t taste the pre-workout bar but here’s an image of the ingredients to get a sneak peak. watch for them coming out soon….they are in my mind one of the most innovative lines i’ve seen that makes it literally as easy as 1-2-3 to equip your body for performance (without breaking the calorie budget).

efx wristbands
note: i’m not a big believer that if i wear a magnet or sport some energy-induced armband that i’m going to have superpowers…i think it’s partially full of you-know-what.  so, of course after taunting the poor guys working the booth that i didn’t believe it, they said they’d prove it. by golly – it worked!  here’s the thing – you can check out their website at to check out the “why” but all i know is they had me balance on one leg and hold my arms out – and while i must say i have a strong core, the guy was able to pull my arms down and i fell over…eventually.  with the wristband, nope.  i was rock solid.  ok so this isn’t gonna change your world, but first things first: they look cool.  then they have this embedded frequency that promotes energy flow.  so it MAY increase balance, strength, flexibility & endurance and MAY reduce stress, jet lag, swelling & motion sickness.  and you look cool doing it.  look at me happily sporting my red/black one!  you can get the wristbands or even hats, shoe insoles, sweatbands, necklaces…as long as the frequency is on your body.   my favorite: the efx doggy tag – mylo mommy was thinking of you!

so those are the best of the best that i saw at ihrsa 2011.  i have to share the worst.  it was quite possibly the funniest thing i’ve ever seen in my life. there is this mechancal horse-like object that is big & bulky covered in this cheap fuzzy furry fabric, complete with a mane & tail.  i seriously thought it was a joke, but no!  you get on the horse and the idea is that the movement mimics riding a horse and while you’re riding, you use a fake rifle to shoot ducks on a screen!  what is the fitness industry coming too?  this was like duck hunter meets bull-riding and they called it an exercise machine. the cost: $15,000.  let me clarify something from a little lady who used-to-be-a-cowgirl: for $15,000 you can go buy you a real horse (a darn good one – actually 2 for that matter) and get a lot better exercise than you ever will with this machine. however, if you want the sheer enjoyment of watching people look like fools, be my guest: this machine’s for you!

ihrsa turned out to be a great success – fabulous business contacts with companies like dotfit, anytime fitness, spending time with my girls kim lyons & devin alexander (yes, i’m the non celeb of the bunch) and i randomly saw our canadian partners from fitness town too.  the best thing that i walked away with is how important it is for me to get from out behind my desk and frequently ignite that little fire in my belly that i have for what we do at fitlosophy.  our mission and why we created fitbook and the company was to help people live better lives.  while part of running the company is managing operations, overseeing marketing, and ensuring our customers are happy – the most pivotal thing i need to do i stay passionate.  that passion will only result in better business decisions and ultimately products and experiences for our customers.  so thank you ihrsa – we’ll see you in los angeles in 2012 – but in our red ‘live life fit’ tanks with fitbooks in tow!


falling flat on your a**: it happens.

literally.  so somehow, yours truly managed to injure herself doing p90x the other morning – you know, the workout that requires no equipment?  yeah, leave it to me. let me paint the picture:  well i was doing the plyo workout & when mr. horton said to grab a stool or chair to do the leg swing-overs back & forth, i looked around and all i saw in sight was a my high-back kitchen chairs (note: i’m 5’2″).  i could have done these with an imaginary chair, but no…i thought it would be more fun to see if i could swing my leg over an object 3/4 my height.  not so brilliant. 3 kicks went well – the 4th, not so much. my short little leg got high-centered on the middle of the chair and down i went landing flat on my arse on a wood floor with nothing to break my fall. fabulously entertaining & incredibly painful.  what was the first thing i did? (after, of course, i finished the workout because i’m no pansy)  called mom.  her response: “well, was there at least anyone around to enjoy it!”  yes, my family has sick sense of humor – but i knew she could relate because as i referenced (oddly enough…hmm, an omen?) in my last post – her and i both landed on our tushes while learning to rollerblade and ever since i lovingly blame my mom for our curvaceous back-sides which i am now convinced render me forever prone to grativational-force induced bum injuries.

so: after setting my agressive and oh-so-exciting new plan on monday, i SO got derailed.  or de-footed, however you want to look at it.  regardless. no bueno. i literally couldn’t sit and getting in and out of the car took my breath away.  however, my absolutely incredibly amazing chiropracter sean clark at newport coast medical (total plug because he’s crazy good) adjusted me and while my booty is still bruised, everything’s back in place and now i just walk like i have some massive junk in my trunk – more like a waddle, but i’m healing.  but now that i’ve entertained you with my pain, herein is the point: you will inevitably fall on your a** (g-rated here people), but we can’t control life right, so what’s important is to adjust, assess, and then re-plan your attack.   here’s a recent snippit from an article i wrote for one of our corporate wellness programs:

prepare for setbacks
Life is unpredictable, but if you plan for the best and prepare for setbacks, you’re more likely to reach your goals. Here’s the thing: if you don’t plan to workout at all, chances are – you won’t workout at all. If you plan to workout 4 days and “life happens” and you only workout 2 days – you’re still better off by a score of 2! The plan is a blueprint and the idea is to do your best – not make you feel bad if you don’t meet your goals all the time. The problem is not that we get bucked off the horse – it’s that we don’t get back on. So be prepared that you will inevitably have days where you will miss a workout even if you have the best of intentions – or you’ll succumb to emotional mindless eating and wonder who raided the bag of chips only to realize it was you. You’re human – give yourself a break, pick yourself up and get back on the horse. Giddy up!

so whether you get bucked off a kitchen chair like me, or your bucking bronco is a maybe traveling or social events where you have less control.  whatever it is, you have to be prepared that we can’t be in control 100% of the time.  let me give you an example of how my rut busting new 12-week plan got a little derailed, and how i’ve managed to adapt.  how can you apply some of these principles to your life?

rut-busting plan: do p90x 5 days a week + pilates + spin
busted-a** reality:  there was no way in you-know-what i was going to knock out a lower-body or a back workout this week being as tweaked as i was, but i so rocked the chest/back/abs monday, the injury-inducing ploy workout on tuesday, and then the arms/shoulder workout which i could do with no pain…so i managed to get 3 in.  but instead of just skipping my lower body workout i added in another day of the chest/back and another arms/shoulder day. not my plan at all, but it literally hurt to bend over slightly to do a tricep kickback so lower body was not happening.  i’m also traveling this week so i happily packed my p90x and resistance band thinking i could knock out those workouts in my hotel room – good intention, but not a reality.  i’m still hurting too much to do any kenpo and i’m certainly too scared to do plyo again – but luckily i have my workouts written in my fitbook and could hit the hotel gym.  pilates – spin? um, no.  see my cardio plan below.

rut-busting plan: run 3 days a week training for my 1/2 marathon
busted-a** reality: i woke up at 5:30am and had an awesome run monday morning – what a great start to my new plan!  but running now is not even an option.  any type of cardio is actually extremely painful.  so…i walk.  i’ve been walking excessively just to make sure i get some sort of cardio in and today was the first day i even ventured onto a treadmill because i was concerned if i tripped it would be excruciatingly painful to catch myself.  so walk walk walk.  since i came to san francisco for IHRSA, it was great-timing too…you do a ton of walking at these shows and of course i walk the city so while i can’t run, i’m active as much as possible.

rut-busting plan: juice every day! (like fresh veggie + fruit juice, not sugary smoothie yogurt stuff). 
busted-a** reality: monday through thursday – solid.  can’t even tell you how much energy they give me and i find myself craving them – no joke. (quick fave recipe: 1 apple, 2 carrots, 1 cucumber, bunch of kale, and a 1″ chunk of ginger…mmm)  i even woke up at 4:45am with 20m built-in to my pre-flight plan so i could juice at home. so worth it. then i thought: it’s san francisco – surely there’s some hip juice bar.  hmm…not so much.  jamba juice just launched a new “5 fruits + veggies juice” and the first ingredient in one is apple juice. no.  so i google from my hotel room “juice bar union square” and ta-da! a juice zone that offers fresh juices only 9 city blocks away.  sold – a brisk morning walk, see the city by foot, and get my greens.  so i trek all the way there and i kid you not there are wood slats across the doors and it’s closed down. major juice-buzz-kill.  so i saunter back to my hotel, swing in starbucks which always perks me up and opt instead for my short sumatra and perfect oatmeal with nuts & cinnamon (no splenda…remember, no processed foods for 12 weeks!).  note to self: next business might be a chic juice bar in san fran union square.  (ah, the brain of an entrepreneur)

rut-busting plan: no processed foods for 12-weeks
busted-a** reality: ok so i didn’t really struggle on this one. it’s pretty easy actually because being (or feeling) immobile or unable to get in a major sweat-drenched cardio workout leaves me extra careful about what i put into my body.  but just because i didn’t fall off the bandwagon doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bumpy ride.  traveling is tough and i practice what i preach about traveling healthy (read my no-excuses post): i packed almonds, i took apples & bananas, and packed my workout gear. good girl!  but when i got here thursday night i was starving and didn’t want to sit down to a sodium-packed meal since i got back to the hotel so late.  so instead i find out there’s a bristol farms in the mall about 3 blocks away and, while i was so hungry i could’ve eaten my arm, i meandered over there, and got an uber-healthy salad packed with veggies from their salad bar and headed back to my hotel room to nosh and then nod-off.  case-in-point: sometimes it’s more convenient to eat out – but sometimes it’s not necessary and you just need to be creative.  will i eat out while i’m here? of course, but not every meal.  3 days, eating out every day…regardless of how much money that saves (hello, it’s san francisco) – what’s more important is all the crud that you put in your body.  i’ll enjoy one nice meal out – grilled fish perhaps with veggies (hold the oil), and a glass of vino (mmm) and maybe a piece of dark chocolate for my night cap.  the key is being creative in situations where it’s not convenient, but being successful at anything isn’t always convenient, now is it?

what’s that saying? “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” i disagree – because, first of all, i’m not really on the whole “hell-journey” – not really the destination i’m going for. but good intentions are just that, “good”.  but intentions are only half the battle.  how about this instead:

“good intentions coupled with a solid plan of action lead to success.”
~angela manzanares

(yes, i just quoted myself….and made that up in the last 20 seconds)

case in point: my plan this week rocked. then i literally got knocked on my a** – but i looked at my goals, reassessed what was possible given my limitations of pain, movement, and also traveling this week, and created a plan to still reach those goals.  the point is – i may not reach the goal of 5 p90x workouts this week (or if i do my arms will be killing me!), and i may not juice every day, and doctor’s orders i can’t run – but i can walk, gosh darn it.  but it’s not the end of the world.  you gotta keep focused – keep your eye on the prize, because if you don’t you’ll get bucked off.  and this cowgirl can’t get bucked off that easy.

[mental image: me sauntering off into the sunset, full cowgirl get-up, with a painful booty waddle.]

go get em’!


rut buster: shock the system

i hate ruts….all kinds of ruts. 

when i was about 8 i was tooling along on my honda 50 motorcycle through a corn field and my tire slipped into a tractor tire rut and flipped my motorcyle.

then when i was about 13 my mom and i were learning how to rollerblade in the parking lot of my grandpa’s used car lot and as soon as we got the hang of it and the wind was blowing in our hair, we hit a rut in the pavement and it sent us skidding onto our bums that left us bruised for days.

and aside from physical ruts, there are life ruts and i hate those too.  whether it be in a dead-end job, a dead-beat relationship, or a dead-as-a-doornail workout routine, ruts can suck the life out of you.  and herein lies the truth: you can let the rut get the best of you – or you can (wo)man up and do something about it.  sometimes all you need is change – trust me, it does wonders for your soul.  structure can be good until it becomes paralyzing.  so – where am i going with this?

i, yes me, have found myself in a bit of  a rut lately – and i’m not crying woe-is-me here…i have a pretty darn blessed life.  but i’m taking it upon myself to shake things up a bit and breathe some life into my routines in order get more out of this life that we’re given.  for example: lately i’ve found myself just going through the motions at the gym – i’m more excited to train my personal training clients and see their progress than i am to work toward and see my own.  i was recently challenged by a few girlfriends to a pull-up challenge and any challenge lights a fire under me – but lately my mental state has me defeated even before we’ve done the challenge.  

so rather than seriously depress you with my rut – i’m setting out to seriously bust it. today. like, right now.  this isn’t going to be a little oh-let’s-set-a-12-week-goal-and-break-it-down-into-more-achievable-goals session.  i mean business, here people. this calls for some serious shock-factor.  i’m sick of getting mediocre results – and if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.  the thing is – after doing the competition and knowing what it feels like to be at my best and completely dialed in, i crave having that strength physically (and mentally) again.  let me clarify: i do not want to compete again – being 10% body fat is a whole other lifestyle, but i can put my heart back into it so i get results rather than just going through the motions.

so here’s my spring-body-shocking-master-plan:
(please feel free to play along)

  • p90x: while i’ve done a few of the workouts, i must admit i’ve never followed p90x for the full 12 weeks. (sorry, tony!)  so here’s the thing: i like the gym – and i don’t want to give up going to gym and do my workouts at home so i’m going to follow in the footsteps of one of my friends (and best personal trainers i know) mr. jeff norcross and do the videos when i’m home and on the days i’m hitting gym, jot them down in my fitbook and knock ’em out at the gym!  i’m committing to do p90x 5 days a week, not the recommended 6, because i’ll sub in my pilates at coreathletica instead of the yoga dvd (not a big yogi).
  • train for a 1/2 marathon: ok this may seem aggressive along with p90x but i’ve already committed to a half-marathon on may 1st, so i may as well get in shape for it!  so i’ll be hitting the pavement (or the beach, treadmill, etc.) for 3 short runs (3-4mi) a week and 1 long run (5-10mi), then add in a day of my maybe stepmill or elliptical just one day and i can’t give up my spin class (gotta do what you love.)  i’m tired just typing this.
  • juicing: i recently did the 3-day ritual cleanse which was amazing and i realized that i can still get the benefits of juicing every day without doing an all-out cleanse.  i’m blessed to have an amazing juicer that is tucked away in the far-back corner in my kitchen, and once you’ve juiced you can  understand why these cleanses are so expensive.  it’s time consuming and messy.  but i want to put the time in and i enjoy it when i do it.  so for 1 week i’m committing to juicing every morning for my breakfast instead of my usual oatmeal just to shock my system a little bit.  then my goal is for the next 12 weeks to get in at least 1 juice a day, whether it be a ritual cleanse juice (they deliver), a homemade concoction, or one from a juice bar. 
  • bye-bye processed foods: i had coffee with one of my favorite people, miss cassie piasecki, last week and she gave up processed foods for lent.  now, this girl eats clean – like super clean, but she wanted to take it to the next level and give up her wheat thins, frozen yogurt – everything processed for lent. my thought “i can’t do that”.  what a self-defeating thought right?  so i turned that on myself and challenged myself to do just that.  12-weeks.  i can do anything.  here’s the rule: no processed foods for 12-weeks (crap, i’m not sure if i know what i’m getting myself into right now as thoughts of my new obsession chip-ins are flittering through my head) – 1 exception to keep my sanity.  anybody wanna guess?  yep: my golden spoon.  but here’s the catch: it has to be post-workout when my body can use the sugar anyway to restore glycogen stores (not post-work-i-just-wanna-flop-on-my-hiney-and-indulge-with-a-chick-flick) and it has to be a mini size no toppings, and still just once a week.  this is moderation – but trust me, this is sacrafice!  some day i shall challenge myself to give up golden spoon for 12 weeks but i’m not in an emotional state to attempt that right now. 🙂  what’s your ONE weakness – identify it, whittle it down, and enjoy once a week.

so there is my 12-week rut-busting, system-shocking plan. my hypothesis is this: if i make these radical changes to shake up my workouts and nutrition, i’m guessing that the positive affects will flow over into other areas of my life. 
the bonus will be : a rockin’ bikini bod come summer!

now – i must go shop for 20lbs of veggies & fruit to juice, crack open a new fitbook and plan our my week ahead, and get tony horton cued up and ready to go for my monday morning workout bright & early.

tell me what rut you’re in – guarantee i’ll so bust it for you.


March 2011
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