New Years Steps for Weight Loss Success

The end of the year is quickly approaching, and for many of us, that means a few things; parties, celebrating with friends and family, and new plans of health and happiness in the New year.

No doubt you may have some New Years Resolutions, but before we even get there (you’ll see a part 2 post to this one on how to KEEP those resolutions soon) I thought wed get a jump start on diet strategies for 2011.

Step 1: Start now. Before the ball drops- write down how you would like to revamp your diet. Write it down NOW.  By doing this, you’ll stick to your plan and can look at it, right on New Years Day and see what you have in store for 2011. Think big, and write down as much as possible- make it a sort-of laundry list of things you would like to change about your diet.

Step 2: When you look at that list on New Years Day- pick just one thing youd like to do with your diet. Whether it be eat breakfast everyday, get less take-out for dinner, or incorporate more healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet- circle that ONE small change and do it starting that day.

Step 3: Do that small step for 7 days. Then circle another one. Continue the one thing you picked in Step 2 and now add this one to it for 7 days. I think you can see where Im going with this. In one month, you could be eating more vegetables, having breakfast everyday, eating less take-out and making healthier desserts- without feeling overwhelmed.

And to help you celebrate the New Year, hears a healthy Champagne Cocktail:

Pomegranate-Cranberry Champagne:

For every 8 oz. of   Champagne

add 1/2 oz. 100 % Pomegranate- Cranberry Juice

Each glass is loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C (which is great when parties and late nights can wreak havoc on your immune system) and is around 75-80 calories per glass.

Happy New Year and well see you in 2011!!

-written by Sandi Partyka, C.H.C.

Trainer Tips – Key exercises for Skiing

No matter where you are in the country, Im sure you’ve been affected or know someone affected by the massive snowstorm here on the East Coast. Since Smart Workout is located in midtown Manhattan, we’ve seen a healthy dose of white flakes.

While the snow can hinder your travel plans, there are many wonderful (and effective) ways to exercise in the powder.  Finding a winter sport or exercise is a great way to lose weight, and keep off the pounds during the cold, and usually lazy winter months.

Here at Smart Workout, we’ve  developed a Sport-specific training program that helps to enhance performance in numerous popular sports. Senior Fitness Assistant, Gilly Rinaldo has picked her top three exercises to help performance in one of her very favorite winter sports- skiing.

In the video, Gilly introduces 3 great exercises; The Bosu Torso Twist, Band Hops and Lateral Raise with Rotation. These 3 exercises will help to strengthen the core, improve balance and  stability,  and increase cardio endurance.

-Gillian Rinaldo is a Certified Group Fitness and Pilates Instructor

Make Fitness a Family Affair

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

But more often than not, the holiday season is a time when your exercise schedule can be neglected. So while you are waiting for the turkey to cook and guests to arrive, grab a family member or friend and make your workout a bonding experience. Go for a walk; even better, find a hill in the neighborhood to walk up and down.

As experienced in our Tred n Shred class, walking at an incline can increase the heart rate in less time.

Heres a great 25 minute workout you can do anywhere you can find a hill:

Minutes 1-4: Walk at a moderate pace at a relatively level incline. This is just to warm up and get the heart pumping.

Minutes 4-10: Walk on an incline (find a hill) at a rate that would be difficult for you to maintain- on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the hardest) you should feel like you are working around 7 or 8.

If you cannot walk up the hill for 6 minutes straight, walk for as long as you can up the hill, then come down and repeat until you reach 6 minutes total walking uphill.

Minutes 10-13: Walk on a level surface at a moderate pace.

Minutes 13-19: Repeat hill sequence.

Minutes 19-21: Walk on a level sideways (laterally) at a moderate pace.

Minutes 21-23: Walk at a moderate to slow pace to cool down

Minutes 23-25: Stretch

Is it too cold to walk outside? Put on a fun exercise DVD or play a game of Wii! You don’t have to skimp on family time to find time to stay fit!

-written by Devin Almedia, Certified Group Fitness Instructor

Holiday Weight Gain Survival Guide

During the holidays, its only natural to want to celebrate. You’re attending parties, and most likely eating and drinking with friends and family. However, this laid-back approach to diet and exercise can also lead to the dreaded Holiday weight gain.

Well, there is a way to enjoy the holiday season without damaging an entire year of eating right and exercising.

Here are a few tips and swaps that can have you celebrating without packing on the pounds:

1.) Prepare to Party: Most of us know when we are going to a holiday party, and we can plan ahead for this. If you know you’re going to a holiday party on a Thursday night, start planning in the beginning of the week. Try to cut out about 100 calories per day, so you can indulge a little on the big night.

2.) Fill up first: Think your willpower will suddenly crumble when you see a buttery piece of pie or cookie? To be sure sure you stick to just one indulgence, try to attend an event on a relatively full stomach. Having a big bowl of soup, loaded with vegetables will fill you up, but allow just enough room to snack on some thing you may want (and take up room so you don’t overdo it!)

3.) Do Pot-luck right: You’d be surprised how many people would love to have a healthy choice available at a party. So, if you’re enlisted to bring a dessert for the office party, opt for a healthier fruit salad, or a lower-calorie mousse.

Runners World also published a great swaps menu:

INSTEAD OF Traditional mixers and juices loaded with sugary calories.
HAVE THIS Alcohol mixed with flavor-infused sparkling water.
CALORIES SAVED 50 to 100 calories per drink

INSTEAD OF Cream-cheese filled wraps and mini meatballs.
HAVE THIS Raw vegetables, hummus, and a small handful of nuts.
CALORIES SAVED 300 calories per appetizer plate

INSTEAD OF Loading up on high-fat sides, and getting seconds.
HAVE THIS Reserve 1/3 of your plate for a sampling of each side.
CALORIES SAVED 500-plus calories per dinner plate

INSTEAD OF Having one of each kind of dessert.
HAVE THIS Two or three samples of one-of-a-kind sweets.
CALORIES SAVED 100 to 200 calories per dessert

Some simple substitutions and a little planning can make all the difference.

Heres to your best (and lightest) holiday season yet!

-Written by Sandi Partyka, Certified Health Counselor (C.H.C.)

5 Tips to Keep Fit During the Holiday Season

  • SET REALISTIC GOALS.  Let’s be honest, the holidays are a busy and bustling time.  Current workout routines easily dissipate in the season’s currents.  So this year don’t try to lose weight, instead simply try to maintain your current weight.  Cut your exercise time to 20-30 minutes to better your chances of fitting it in to your schedule.  Remember: DON’T STOP.  A little is better than none.  Besides exercising during the holidays will help to reduce stress associated with the season.
  • FIT IN A WORKOUT ANYWHERE, ANYTIME. Staying fit doesn’t have to involve a gym membership, treadmill, exercise DVD, or expensive running shoes.  Simple everyday chores and errands can add up to great fitness benefits.  Park further from store entrances so you have to walk more.  Take a brisk lap through the mall before you begin shopping.  (Note: this can also help you clear your mind and log in figures for some good bargain shopping sales!).  Take steps instead of escalators.  Increase pace of shopping.  Take bags into the house one at a time.   
  • MAKE EXERCISE A FAMILY ACTIVITY. Schedule at least 1 family activity a week.  Take a ballroom dance class, go ice skating, sledding or skiing, or even take a walk.  Either way you will squeeze in some mind relaxing and heart filling activities that will keep the family and skinny jeans together.
  • EXERCISE EARLIER IN THE DAY before the To-Do list gets too long.  Use 20-30 minutes to calm the mind and wake up the heart and body.  You will be far more prepared to conquer that list once you dedicate some time to yourself.  Then you can save yourself the guilt of licking that spatula from the German chocolate cake mix.
  • APPROACH HOLIDAY MEALS WISELY. Eat a high protein breakfast or snack before the big feast.  This way you will feel less inclined to binge, overeat, and overindulge once the spread is laid.  Also, save the best for last.  Eat the salad, fruit, and veggies in first.  Keep portion sizes down.  Try not to fill up the first plate, knowing you have all intentions of going back for a second helping.





  • -written by Annique Roberts, Certified Group Fitness Instructor