Saturday, April 27, 2013

Core Strong

During my Thursday class called "Final Cut", a few women started talking about their frustrations with abs, or really how to get them. I'd like to share with you my perspective on how to really build core strength, and how to work the core with every single move you do.

First of all, I'm constantly repeating a few phrases when I teach. They are:

Belly button to spine

Core strong

Fire up your core

Suck the belly button back

Now. There is a reason I keep repeating those particular phrases, and no, I'm not just trying to be annoying. And I hope that's not the effect!

With every single movement you do, you can engage your core, which will work the muscles- and as a result will tone them.

Take something simple like a bicep curl. You are working, duh, the bicep. BUT- if you take a second before you start curling and pull the belly button in, and fire up the core, you're now working your abs as well.

Why focus on working single muscle groups? It will take a LOT longer to get a total body workout in if you do. By engaging the abs while doing a bicep curl, you're now getting arms AND core in. Take it up another notch by adding a squat as you curl. Now you're working TOTAL BODY!

How do you "fire up the core"?

While you're pulling your belly button back to your spine, engage the abs like someone is going to punch you in the gut and you're going to block it. Make sure as you do that you aren't hunching over from your shoulders (a common mistake).

With every movement you do, you are training your body. Most people push the belly OUT when they're doing something hard. WRONG. If you keep pushing the belly out, guess where it's going to want to stay?

Yeah, no one wants to look like the body builders with ripped muscles and (although hard looking) guts that stick out.

Try the spiderman pushup- one of my favorites. It is HARD, but you can take it slowly. Maybe you can only do one at first. Do one with perfect form, it will pay off a lot more than 5 with bad form.

Build up to 10 reps, repeating 3 times.

No time for a workout? Bust out 10 in the morning, 10 after lunch, and 10 before bed. Easy.

Work it!

And remember- fire up that core ;)

Spider Man Pushup

Friday, April 26, 2013

Last Call!

It is the last call to register for the You Better Work, Mama Workshop! Join me, where we will strategize ways to get your workouts in, maximize your workouts while minimizing the time commitment, discuss nutrition, and of course, work out!

Register HERE

If you can't commit to the whole workshop, drop in on the sessions you CAN make.      

Tell us what you'd like to hear about.  Contact us.
View this email in your browser

For Mom’s ONLY! (6 week “You better WORK, Mama” Workshop)

by Pete Mattis

Attention Ladies-
Are you pregnant and want to stay in shape? Are you a mom and want to get your body back?
You better WORK, Mama!
Train with Liz, a new mom and trainer who applied her methods during and after pregnancy- and got her body back, quickly.
Workshop Details
-April 30- June 6 (six weeks) Tuesdays and Thursdays 11 am- 12 pm
-$195 for all 12 sessions or $20 drop in rate
-Total body workout using weights, body weight, and cardio intervals
-Special access to workouts to do at home
-Nutritional information
-Strategies to fit in your workouts
-Fitness philosophies- balancing fitness and motherhood
No babysitter? Bring the baby! Being a mom means multitasking, and your fitness is no exception. There are ALWAYS reasons not to work out: no time, no babysitter, etc. You simply have to make the time, no excuses!
CLICK HERE to meet Liz and baby Conner
Questions? Contact Pete at ZAKTi-

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teething babe

Well, this pretty much sums up how I feel after last night.

The biggest difference is that I certainly don't have any massage on the horizon!

I'd kind of like to erase yesterday's evening from memory. It started to really go downhill at 5 o'clock when I left to go teach. I always leave at 5 in order to deal with construction on the road before the's been backing up for 15-20 minutes consistently. Without traffic it would only take me 15-20 minutes door to door, but it's been bad lately. 

I knew I was in trouble when I hit MAJOR traffic on the highway. After sitting at a dead stop for about 20 minutes, and hearing the traffic report, I knew I wasn't going to make it on time for class. I called in, and they said it was covered. Since it was complete rush hour, it ended up taking forever for me to get home. Left at 5 and got home at 6:30. And I never got out of the car. Complete waste of time. 

Connor went to sleep as usual at 7. We gave him motrin (which I've heard can work even better than tylenol) because he was in some teething pain yesterday. At around 9 he woke up completely inconsolable, screaming, whimpering, bottom lip pushed out, and waving his hands frantically. Broke our hearts! After realizing he was not going back down without me, and not willing to let him cry it out, I brought him in bed with me. 

He spent about 20 minutes falling asleep- but only if my face was right next to his and he had free range of my face to poke and prod. God forbid I not allow him to shove his fingers up my nose. We slept like that until 3 am, when I was actually able to transfer him to the crib with only a little fussing- no actual crying, thank god. Connor woke up this morning around 7 and giggled/talked to himself until 7:30. 

Happy baby is back!
We're headed out for a run now, just about 3 miles. Now that we're almost at Broad St, I'm thinking of signing up for the Odyssey Half Marathon. It's in Philly and about a month out from Broad. I'll definitely update with that! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quick Tips

One week until You Better Work, Mama Workshop begins!

If cost is a factor, this about it this way- how many random shopping trips have you done that adds up to $100 quickly? Target anyone? How much have you spent on your baby on random toys and clothes? You deserve something for YOU! Make the time to commit yourself to becoming a better you, today. 

Register now at ZAKTi

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Push it

Sometimes when you're doing a strength workout, you just need to add a little something to push it from the "sure it's challenging" category, to the struggling to catch your breath, knees trembling category.

In Tuesday's class we did just that by starting out each circuit with an intense strength and cardio move before beginning the circuit.

Here's an example of what we did, although you can change the moves to fit what YOU like to do. Although, it's usually the moves we don't like that push us the hardest.

Circuit 1- 20 jump switch lunges (start in a lunge with knees at 90 degree angles, jump up and land in the opposite leg lunge)

Circuit 2- 10 squat jumps/10 tuck jumps (jump up and bring both knees as high up as you can)

Circuit 3- 1 minute mountain climbers.

I tried on a few things at Lululemon, and am debating both purchases. My workout wardrobe is extensive, to say the least. I justify it with the fact that I can't look like a hot mess when I teach, AND I get a 15% discount at Lulu for being a fitness professional. That 15% really adds up, and if you combine it with something already on sale, well then it's pretty much free ;)

The first top doesn't look like that much from the front, but the back has a really cool vent that I like. This would be great for running. Last weekend I unintentionally got a little sun on my chest and shoulders. Having tops with more coverage for running would make things a lot easier, and I wouldn't have to worry about putting sunscreen all over.

Matt said it looked like surgery scrubs, sooo now I'm a little torn. This is the Run Silver Lining Shirt


I also tried on (and loved) the Street to Studio Jacket, but I already have something similar. My jacket was purchased a few years ago (obviously pre-baby) and is a little tight on the chest though, so I might have to go back and get this one.

I'm wearing my favorite Run Inspire Crop and Cool Racerback Tank. I wore the Cool Racerback tanks all throughout my pregnancy. They even come in an extra long length (for the bitter end where everything is too short). I really stretched out a few, but took them back into Lululemon for free hemming and had them taken up. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Better Work, Mama- Workshop!

Readers- I'm so excited to share this workshop with you. Please email or comment with any questions. Challenge yourself to make time for YOU. This workshop takes place in Philadelphia- if you're in the area, maybe it's for you!

For Moms ONLY! (6 week “You better WORK, Mama” Workshop)

Attention Ladies-
Are you pregnant and want to stay in shape? Are you a mom and want to get your body back?
You better WORK, Mama!
Train with Liz, a new mom and trainer who applied her methods during and after pregnancy- and got her body back, quickly.
Workshop Details
-April 30- June 6 (six weeks) Tuesdays and Thursdays 11 am- 12 pm
-$195 for all 12 sessions or $20 drop in rate
-Total body workout using weights, body weight, and cardio intervals
-Special access to workouts to do at home
-Nutritional information
-Strategies to fit in your workouts
-Fitness philosophies- balancing fitness and motherhood
No babysitter? Bring the baby! Being a mom means multitasking, and your fitness is no exception. There are ALWAYS reasons not to work out: no time, no babysitter, etc. You simply have to make the time, no excuses!
Questions? Contact Pete at ZAKTi-

Monday, April 15, 2013

Garlic Shrimp with White Beans

This is my version of the delicious white bean and shrimp appetizer we had at Spasso on Saturday night. It's not exact, but was SO good.

2 cans cannellini beans
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (we like it really spicy, you can halve this or omit)
1tbsp olive oil
15 shrimp
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup dry white wine

Chop the shrimp into bite sized pieces and saute in olive oil until cooked through. Season shrimp with salt and pepper white cooking. Remove from pan. Add garlic, rosemary, and crushed red pepper- saute for about 2 minutes. Add 2 cans (drained) white beans. Saute on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add white wine and turn the heat up to medium high for 3-5 minutes. Add baby spinach. Put the shrimp back into the pan to heat through.

I served this with a piece of crusty bread and roasted asparagus.

The asparagus is so easy- simply layer it on a sheet pan in a single layer, season with salt and pepper, and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes.

Healthy cooking doesn't have to be hard!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Broad St Training

When I started training for the Broad St run, I knew that I couldn't stick to any seriously regimented training plan. Since I'm teaching two nights per week, I really can only squeeze in three runs per week without feeling like I'm over-doing it. My current workout schedule is teaching class (with weights) Tuesday and Thursday, and then my three runs are usually any days I can get them in.

I looked at Hal Higdon's half training program and have VERY loosely based my runs off of it. I do my long run on either Saturday or Sunday, usually a 3-4 mile run one day, and another 4-5 mile run.

This Saturday I went down to Kelly Drive to run the 8.5 mile loop with one of my favorite mamas, Alia. Our husbands grew up together, and we became close during our pregnancies (her second). She has a three year old little girl, and a 6 month old son. Motherhood is always one of the topics we discuss, especially when it comes to troubleshooting the babies. Sleep patterns, nap schedule, sleep training, and on and on.

Our run was really amazing. The weather was perfect, there was a ton to look at with different events happening, and we had a lot to chat about of course.

Right at the end, we picked up our pace a little bit for one last little burst of energy. 

Alia and I 

While I ran, Matt played golf, and my parents watched Connor. They had a great time seeing all his new tricks. 

Grandma and Connor

We took full advantage of the babysitting and headed out to dinner at Spasso in Media. Our rehearsal dinner was at the original Spasso in Old City, and it was nice to try the new location out. The food was great. We had a white bean and shrimp appetizer that was so good, I recreated it for dinner. I'll post that recipe soon. 


Friday, April 12, 2013


Last night, a great group of women showed up for class. We worked it, and were pretty spent by the end. I incorporated a few high intensity intervals to really get the heart rate up- and get maximum calorie burn.

One of the intervals we did was:

3 rounds of-
10 burpees
10 push ups

Even if you're just trying to get into the fitness game or shake things up, the circuit above is something you can bang out in a short period of time. That is what makes "working out" accessible to EVERYONE. Yes, it's hard. But YES, you have the time. Maybe do 10 burpees and 10 push ups during a commercial break. After you throw in a load of laundry. Waiting for your coffee to brew. Water to boil. Song to download. And it goes on! You have the time, even if it's just a few minutes here and there. It all adds up.

When I got home, I threw together an easy egg scramble. This one had: carrots, peppers, spinach, onions, 2 eggs, and 1 egg white. Sriracha over top. High in protein, low in fat and calories.

I've been working hard on a project with my friend Pete Mattis at ZAKTi fitness . If you're interested in training with me in a small group setting, stay tuned for details- it's going to be good!

My parents are visiting this weekend, and very eager to babysit Connor. Matt and I are very eager to get out and have a date night too, we haven't in over three months! As you've seen, we do get out a lot, but always have the baby with us. Not that I'm complaining! It will be really nice to get a little dressed up and actually wear heels. Matt might not recognize me.

Wishing you a happy weekend!ZAKTi

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


What holds you back from accomplishing your goals, or even attempting them? We can always blame schedules, time conflicts, too busy, too tired, but it almost always boils down to fear. Fear of failure. We've all failed at accomplishing a goal at some point. Whether it was getting down to a certain clothing size, running a faster mile, being able to run a mile, or starting to eat healthier. Don't let past failures make you feel defeated.

The best way to make a change to be a better YOU is to commit 100% and then be able to see the results- no matter how slowly they might seem. Changes take time!

Consistency is key in making a change. If you're tackling healthy eating, think long term. No one is perfect, and of course there will be less than healthy moments. Remember- one bad meal isn't going to make you fat, just like one good meal isn't going to make you healthy.  

One big fear of mine during pregnancy was never being able to bounce back. I was convinced at around 8-9 months that my body would NEVER look the same. I may have complained to my husband about this- while eating ice cream on the couch! The truth is, things will change, but it doesn't have to be permanent. Getting your body back after pregnancy is hard, and will take time. But- it can be done.

Do NOT let fear foil your fitness goals!

Funny Sports Ecard: If you could lose weight by just wearing work out clothes, we'd be the skinniest bitches around....

Monday, April 8, 2013


I've recently discovered Pinterest...I know, welcome to 2011. I've pinned a bunch of cool home projects, and recently completed two. The first is a photo wall. Pretty basic, but I was hesitant to go for it before, because I was unsure of spacing and picture sizes. 

The tutorial I read suggested taping up pieces of paper the same size as the photos you're using. That way you can adjust the height and spacing. It took a few times to get the arrangement I liked, and the picture below shows the wall half done. 

I've added a "pin it" button on the blog, so if you're feeling pinspired like me, pin it!


My (almost) finished project! The large frame in the middle will hold an 8x10 matted family portrait. I can't wait to get it. 

The other project was a little more involved. I bought matching black frames at Michael's. In each frame I did a little DIY artwork. The first is different shades of gold and silver sparkly paper cut into circles. 

The print below has the same color scheme as the first, so even though they're different, I think they go together nicely. 

I'm SO picky about committing to artwork for the house, so this is a fun and inexpensive way to decorate. When I'm sick of these prints, I can just change it up!

I put the prints in the dining room. 

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kicking the weekend off

With a run! The weather is SO beautiful today, I would be crazy not to take advantage and get out there for a run. The BOB tire was repaired last week, but after running with it again, the flat was back. The guy at the repair shop said there must've been another thorn in the tire that he missed. Grrr. We had it repaired AGAIN today, and as soon as we got home headed out for a run. 

We did 3.5 miles together. Well, I did 3.5 miles, Connor slept for 3.5 miles. 

I wore a new pair of Lululemon shorts I purchased a while back, but haven't worn yet. They are SHORT! I liked them while looking in the mirror, but I'm not going to lie, I felt a little exposed while running. Hopefully I didn't offend anyone, haha. If I didn't offend with leg, I certainly did with my glaringly white legs. Time to break out a little self tanner. 

You can see a bit of the shorts in this window shot. They're the Run: Speed Short.

Connor was still asleep when we got home, so I let him hang in the stroller for a little bit while I played on my phone.

Spring is here!

My running buddy post run.

This little guy makes me SO happy, and is the best running partner I've ever had.

Happy weekend! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Making Yourself a Priority

Something I really struggled with after C was born was making myself a priority. It's just so easy to let yourself go to the bottom of the "to do" list when all of the other items center around your baby. Believe me, I am so NOT into that "mommy martyr" attitude- you know, when women one up you with just how hard their day was because of the mommy things they had to accomplish.

The truth is, sometimes it is hard. But (it's a big but), I chose this. I chose to have a baby, which has been the most amazing and fulfilling choice ever. I also chose to stay home with him- again, it's been amazing and very fulfilling. That "but" sneaks in though, because it has been hard to find the balance. I can either be super mom and cater to his every squeak, while completely ignoring myself, or I can let him fuss for a few minutes while I shower and get dressed.

So often, moms think that fitness and working out is just completely unrealistic, or even impossible to do without going to the gym alone. Not working out just isn't ok for me. Fitness is something that keeps me feeling good physically, but more importantly, MENTALLY. Once I was physically ready to work out after giving birth, I was back at it. "It" was different than pre-baby though. I don't just get up and go to the gym anymore. My workouts do center around our schedule, but as long as I get them in, I don't really care what time they are.

Naps have been key for me to bust out a few quick circuits. Having a jogging stroller has also changed the game. Now I know I can get a run in as long as the weather cooperates.

I've started to think about it this way- what advice would I give my son? Would I advise him to put everyone ahead, and himself last? Of course not, so why should you put yourself last? Make a commitment to yourself to be the best you- mentally and physically.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Yesterday we celebrated C's first Easter, and to say I was excited would be an understatement. It's so much fun establishing new family traditions for each holiday. We planned on attending 11:30 mass, which works out perfectly with our nap schedule. C woke up at around 10:45 (he went down for nap at 9) and we did a quick Easter basket opening, and then got him dressed. 

Easter Basket (or beach bucket)
Not sure what to do...

He knew just what to do with that... 
Instead of doing a basket, I put his Easter goodies in a bucket that he can use at the beach. Inside, I put swim trunks, little sunglasses (can you tell we're excited for the beach?), a teething toy, sippy cup, and the Fisher Price Seahorse. I've heard the seahorse thing helps zone them out as they're falling asleep. Who knows, but for some reason I keep calling it a glow worm, and Matt can't stop making fun of me.

All dressed for Church
I was so excited for his outfit. The pants are cords, a little out of season, but I assumed he would be in 3-6 earlier than he was- peanut.

We tried getting a few pics of the two of us before church, but this was the best Matt could get. It's a lot easier when it's just me getting a picture of him!

C was SO good during mass. He really enjoys everything going on- music, looking at the stained glass, and of course people watching. He will spot a person and then zone in on them. Some call it "alert", other times we call it "creepy". No one seemed to mind though, haha. He did a lot of staring, and a lot of smiling too. 

My in laws came over for dinner, which turned out great. I made my favorite brussels with brown sugar and bacon among other items. I was so proud of my cupcake chicks! I do enjoy baking, but when I try and decorate baked goods, it usually looks like a little kid did it. Note the cupcakes in the background that were supposed to be Easter eggs. They looked more like baseballs and basketballs, according to Matt. 

I hope you had a wonderful Easter!