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Here’s to a Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day! Plus: A Pancake Recipe Sure to Make them Swoon

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | February 9th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Healthy Eating, Relationships | tags: dark chocolate, Fitness, healthy pancake recipe, healthy valentine treats, healthy-eating, heart health, the firm, treats, valentine treats, Valentines Day, working out together, Yoga

Heart-Healthy Valentine's Day Recipes

By The FIRM Master Instructor Leslie Perry Duffy

Nothing says “I love you” quite like a gigantic box of chocolates, right? Hardly! This special holiday symbolized by hearts and celebrated with high-calories treats can be anything but heart-healthy. However, there’s no hard and fast rule that requires us to celebrate with sugary candy and foods saturated with fat. Celebrating Valentine’s Day in a healthy way does not mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite treat in moderation. Or, forget the treats and celebrate in a unique way that’s special for you and your loved one(s).

What’s on Your Fitness Bucket List?

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | December 31st, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Fitness | tags: 2014, bucket list, bucketlist, exercise, Fitness, fitness bucket list, goals, motivation, new year resolutions, new year's resolutions, run, running, stephanie huckabee, the firm, working out, workout

By The FIRM Master Instructor Stephanie Huckabee

Many of us keep a list of things we’d like to do before we reach a certain milestone. With my 40th birthday looming, I spent some time evaluating what I would like to include on my own so-called “bucket list” as I move forward in life. My list consisted of things like traveling to specific places, learning to cook my grandmother’s dressing and actually reading many of the classic literature titles currently gathering dust on my book shelf.

But what about a bucket list for exercise? Have you ever thought about keeping a running list of your dreams for fitness? Making a list of your long-term goals along with some smaller ones along the way could be just what you need to keep you motivated for years to come!

4 Ways to Give the Gift of Fitness

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | December 10th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Fitness | tags: exercise, Fitness, fitness gifts, gifts, holiday season, holiday weight, holiday weight gain, holidays, lose-weight, the firm, weight gain, weight-loss, workout

FIRMfeatureBy The FIRM Master Instructor Kelsie Daniels

The holiday season is once again upon us. And because I am one of those people who fully enjoys holiday dining, I have to prepare myself for the usual question that comes as I am stuffing my face: “How do you stay in shape?” One of the people who always asks me this question is my dear Aunt Jo. She asks it every year and then follows with how she wants to start working out and eating right.

Put a Little Jingle in Your Workout

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | December 10th, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Giving Back | tags: cardio, Christmas music, Fitness, food bank, gym, Hanukkah, holiday decorations, jog, running, snow angels, snowman, socks, strength training, the firm, volunteer, walk, workout, Yoga

Woman in Santa hat lifting weightsHoliday fun can wear you down — eating, drinking and festivities can take their toll on you mentally and physically. While a workout may seem like the last thing you have the time or energy for, it can enliven your spirit and alleviate stress. Think you have to choose between fitness and fun? Not so! Incorporate elements of the holiday season into your workout routine and you’ll add variety and interest and increase your motivation and enjoyment. Here are some ideas to help you put the holiday spirit into your workout:

Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | October 31st, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Family Health, Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating | tags: antioxidants, cooking, diet, Halloween dishes, Halloween Pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, Low Calorie, Low-Cal, Mashed Pumpkin, nutrition, pumpkin, Pumpkin Chips, pumpkin hummus, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin puree, Pumpkin Recipes, Pumpkin Seeds, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin yogurt, pumpking yogurt, recipe, roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sara Ryba, the firm

by The FIRM nutrition expert Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

In past years, I felt bad throwing out our Halloween pumpkins, especially if they were still in good form. So last year I decided to use them for delicious post-Halloween dishes. Pumpkin has an impressive amount of vitamin A and other valuable antioxidants. Plus, it’s low in calories and sugar. Check out the nutrition info below, then enjoy these three pumpkin-themed recipes!

3 Steps to Spring Clean Your Kitchen (and Your Nutrition!)

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | April 29th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating | tags: apples, broccoli, carrots, cereal, cleansing the kitchen, dairy, food, freezer cleaning, grains, halloween candy, healthy living, healthy-eating, kitchen cleaning, nutrition, nutrition upgrade, pantry cleaning, pasta, peas, produce, refrigerator cleaning, salad dressings, Sara Ryba, snacks, Spring, spring cleaning, the firm

by The FIRM nutrition expert Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

Spring has sprung! So let’s use this change in seasons to motivate us to clean out our kitchens — and our nutrition plans while we’re at it.

One Month to a Faster Mile

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | April 11th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Fitness | tags: cardiovascular fitness, exercise, fast, Fitness, get faster, health, improve speed, job, jogging, mile, mile run, run, running, stopwatch, the firm, timer, walk, walking

Faster MileBy The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee

Do you remember having to do the mile-run fitness test in school? Holy cow! I don’t know about you, but those were some of the worst times in my life. Not only did I hate the little-bitty PE shorts they gave you, but I also hated having to complete the test in front of everyone. I don’t know if it was because it was timed — or because I had those little shorts that would ride up with every step I took — or because I had to do it in front of everyone that made it all so traumatic for me, but it has taken me a long time to get over running that timed mile.

But at this point in my life I am finally over it and actually look forward to challenging myself. So, at the risk of sounding like my old PE teacher, let’s talk about how you can go about improving your mile time, whether you’re walking, jogging or running.

Why?

We all know the answer to this one: Because it will improve your cardiovascular fitness. When we set guidelines or goals for exercise, it helps us know where we are starting, what we need to do to improve, and how far we have come in the process. By challenging yourself, you feel good about what you have accomplished and you WILL get fitter!

What Matters Most When It Comes to Exercise: Quality or Quantity?

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | April 1st, 2013 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness | tags: active, adequate rest, amanda gantt, bad pain, body changes, calorie burn, cardio workouts, challenging workouts, exercise, exercise harder, exercise rest, exercise results, exercise smarter, exercise time, fitness goals, fitness injury, fitness level, fitness maintenance, fitness regimen, full-body exercises, good exercise form, good pain, hectic schedules, high-intensity cardio, increase intensity, injury, muscle recovery, personal time, quality or quantity, resistance-training, short burst, strength training, struggle, take the stairs, the firm, total body workout, train muscle groups, training sessions, walk, weight training, workouts

By The FIRM Master Instructor Amanda Gantt

This is a popular question, especially for those of us who have hit the inevitable plateau with our personal fitness goals. Is it possible to achieve your goals with intense workouts three days a week, instead of less-intense workouts five days a week? I believe the answer is YES! However, you’re going to have to exercise smarter (and harder) in order to see results.

Our schedules are hectic and our personal time is limited. If you are currently struggling to maintain a five-day-a-week fitness regimen, you may want to consider dropping back to working out only three days a week, as this can provide you with the time and results you need, provided that you commit to intense, total-body workouts — and that you give 100-percent effort.

5 Ways to Beat the Nighttime Nosh

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | March 15th, 2013 | 3 Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | tags: active relaxation, after dark, avoid TV, break the cycle, calorie allocation, calories, computer, consuming, diet plan, dinner, eat less, eat more, eating patterns, evening activities, fatigue vs. hunger, food after dinner, food before bed, food habits, food journal, food strategies, go to bed, gorge, hunger, inhibitions, junk food, keep busy after dinner, kitchen, knitting, late in the day, late night, late-night noshing, less likely to snack, midnight snacks, nail painting, nighttime eating, nutrition, nutrition expert, obesity, reduced calories, Sara Ryba, self-monitoring, sleepover, snack choices, snack plan, snacking, snacks, successful weight loss, the firm, use your hands, weight problems, weight-loss, weight-loss obstacles, young

by The FIRM nutrition expert Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

I remember my first sleepover as a young child, when my friend’s mom said we could have a midnight snack. It was so exciting to be able to eat junk food so late at night!

Of course, my opportunities to gorge like that were few and far between. But regular late-night noshing plagues many of us and can cause weight problems if you don’t control it.

Do you find that you consume too many calories after dinner? Are you continually returning to the kitchen for “one more thing”? Do you wake up in the morning annoyed that you snacked too much the night before? If so, you are not alone. Studies have suggested that people feel less inhibited to overdo the snacks after dark.

So, let’s do something about it! Nighttime eating is my weight-loss clients’ single most common obstacle. But it is a challenge worth taking on, as conquering this habit will open the door to long-lasting, successful weight loss.

Warm Up with 100 Calories or Less!

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | February 26th, 2013 | 2 Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating | tags: apples, baked apples, baked cinnamon apple, bananas, beans, butter, canellini beans, carbohydrate, carrott, casserole, chicken broth, chickpeas, cinnamon, fat, feeling cold, fiber, fight the cold, gain weight, healthy meal plan, heat you up, loose weight, Low Calorie, maple syrup, nutrition per serving, nuts, olive-oil, oranges, plum tomatoes, protein, red kidney beans, salad, Sara Ryba, saturated fat, sodium, soup, spices, tasted almonds, the firm, toasted walnuts, vegetable broth, veggie soup, warm snack, warming recipes, winter cold, winter fruit, zucchini

By The FIRM Nutrition Expert Sara Ryba, R.D., C.D.N.

I love winter, but I don’t love that cold feeling I get on my insides. In order to fight back against the cold while staying on a healthy meal plan, I’ve come up with these simple 100-calorie-or-less warming recipes that will heat you up from the inside out.

Take a look below and you’ll find that warming comfort food does NOT have to be fattening!