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Motivation Monday: De-stress with a Nature Hike!

A great way to de-stress from wedding planning is to get away for a bit and emerge yourself in nature. So pack a lunch, water and some
snacks, and head out  for an invigorating hike! Check the weather and start your day early. Here are three great New England hiking areas that burn calories while relaxing your mind:

1. Mount Greylock. The highest peak is 3,491 feet high. So many great hiking trails and easy parking. It is about 150 miles from Boston or about a 3 hour drive, so plan accordingly. If you forget your breakfast, lunch or dinner or you need a drink after your hike, there is a lodge on top, You can even stay on top at the Lodge if you reserve ahead of time. For more information about Mount Greylock visit: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/mt-greylock-state-reservation-generic.html

2. Mount Monadnock. The highest peak is 3165 feet high, which means there are varying level hikes. The mountain is about 85 miles from Boston, or a 2 hour drive.  Mount Monandnock is open year round, but some amenities become limited after October 1. For more information, visit: http://www.nhstateparks.com/monadnock.html

3. Blue Hills.  Don’t feel like driving a long distance to go hiking? Blue Hills is a great choice! About 16 miles from Boston or about a 22 minute drive, its a short trip from home. The highest peak is 635 feet high, so this is great for beginners who want an easier nature walk. Climb to the tower and keep on going for miles if you want! There is free parking and even a trailside museum to visit. For more info: http://friendsofthebluehills.org/maps/.

 

 

Let me know your favorite spot!

 

Motivation Monday: Walk Boston with Your Better Half!
Are you sick of running on the treadmill or using the elliptical to get your heart pumping and to burn calories?  If so, get outside and take a walk around Boston with your better half. You’ll get a history lesson and some together time with your sweetie all in one. Here are some of my favorite walk suggestions!

 

1.       FREEDOM TRAIL- Enjoy a 2.5 mile trail through Boston’s history… Just be careful, you may be tempted as it does pass by some really good restaurant s and bakeries!  Get the map by clicking on this website: http://thefreedomtrail.org/

 

2.       Black Heritage Trail- Enjoy a 1.5 -2 mile trail through Beacon Hill that explores the history of Boston’s 19th century African American community. Check out:  http://www.afroammuseum.org/trail.htm for more information.

 

3.       HarborWalk at the JFKLibrary- Enjoy a several mile walk along the Boston Harbor.  Catch a glimpse of planes taking off in the Boston sky… For more info: http://www.bostonharborwalk.com/placestogo/location.php?nid=2&sid=10
4.       Walk the Charles River- The perfect spot for people watching and so much distance if you want it.  For mileages visit:   http://www.soundkeepers.com/running/boston.html

 

ENJOY!  Do you have a favorite walk that you want to share? Email me at motivationalmeera@gmail.com
4 Healthy Cooking Substitutes that Won’t Bust Your Wedding Weight Loss Goals!
It’s hard to stay on track when it comes to desserts, so why not use some healthier substitutes while cooking and keep your waistline in check?  Try these out!
  •  Use Applesauce instead of butter, oil, or sugar…  This brings sweetness, less fat, and fiber to your recipe!  Substitute one for one.  If you are worried about the change in taste, experiment a little and find the perfect ratio for your taste.
  • Use Non-fat plain Greek Yogurt instead of mayo, sour cream and even ice cream…  This reduces the fat content, and adds protein to your dishes.  Make a healthy dessert by scooping some yogurt in a bowl, adding washed raspberries and blueberries, sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the fruit, and then add a light helping of crushed almonds.  YUM!
  • Mash up some avocados instead of using butter or oil in baking…  This adds good fats and may reduce the fat content.  Substitute one for one.
  • Cuisinart some frozen Bananas instead of ice cream…  This is a healthy, low fat, vitamin filled, lactose free alternative to full fat ice cream.  Add some healthy nuts or granola for some crunch.

What’s your favorite healthy substitute?

 

Motivation Monday: How to Eat Dinner Out & Still Reach Your Weight Loss Goals!

Eating meals in restaurants while watching your weight can be scary.  Brides, read these tips and eat out with ease!

  • Plan ahead:  Pull the menu up on your smart phone or computer prior to going to the restaurant.  Find the best healthy options, all on your own time.  If you have any questions about how things are prepared, call the restaurant ahead and get the facts.  When you get to the restaurant you already know what you are going to order!
  • Ask for options:  If your side option is French fries or onion rings ask if they have other options like a side salad or steamed veggies.  If they won’t do it, ask for no French fries before you get the meal and order a separate side that is healthy.
  •  Stay simple with the drinks:  Have a glass of wine, a light beer or a simple martini.  Do not have drinks with sugary mixes, like pina coladas, margaritas, schnapps, or triple sec, which add empty calories.
  • STAY AWAY from certain foods with these descriptives: Run away from menu items that are creamy, rich, pan fried, fried, scalloped, buttery, breaded, stuffed, and cheesy.  If you are unsure,  ask the waiter/waitress for clarification.  Sometimes you can even ask the chef to grill or bake the same items without the fixings.
  • Skip the dessert:  Restaurant desserts taste amazing for a reason- they are filled with lots of FAT!  Instead, have a piece of dark chocolate at home and you certainly won’t feel guilty about it!   (Photo credit: active.com)
Need more tips?  Have any questions?  Ask Meera at motivationalmeera@gmail.com!
Summer Wedding Workouts: How to Beat the Heat!

With so many fall weddings coming up,  many brides are working out now in the summer months. But how can you beat the heat?  If you listen to your  body and you follow the following tips, you can continue to exercise outside with worry during these hot days.  Here are a few tips to keep you safe in the heat!

(But, if you ever feel faint, dizzy or nauseous, stop immediately.)

1.  Avoid the Hours of 9:00am-3:00pm.  This time period is the hottest time of day.  It is best to wake up early and workout.

 

2Stay Hydrated.  Make sure you have hydrated the night before.  A few hours or minutes prior to exercising outside, make sure to drink a glass or two of water.  Also, carry a water bottle with you.  Even if you are not thirsty, make sure to take sips of water every 15-20 minutes.  After finishing your exercise, drink more.

 

 3. Wear Appropriate Clothing. Wear light colored clothing and wear cotton material, which will help the evaporation of sweat. Try fast drying clothing that is designed to keep you cool.

 

4. Check the Forecast before you leave the House!  If there is a heat advisory, workout indoors because this means there are high ozone levels and air pollution levels, which can damage your lungs.

 

5. Sunscreen is a must. It’s important to protect your skin. You don’t want to get burned before your big day, or ever!  If you can, chose shaded trails and keep out of the sun.

 

What fitness questions do you have  for your big wedding day?  Have a question- submit it to motivationalmeera@gmail.com
Motivation Monday: How to Stay Motivated for Your Wedding Workout!

Don’t feel like working out?  We all have those days!  Here are some of my stick-with-it secrets to keep moving!

  •  Pamper yourself:  Make a pact with yourself that if you spend 30 minutes doing some cardiovascular exercises or weights, then you get a reward such as a pedicure.  This keeps the habit going.
  •  Try something new: Go outside for a beach run if your workout is usually inside; try a new fitness class at your gym; or sign up for a personal training session!  Being bored will make you want to skip a session.

  • Make plans with a friend: Having a buddy system is very helpful.  Grab a bridesmaid, a coworker, or a friend and ask them to go for a walk, go to a bootcamp class, go to a yoga class, or go for a bike ride.  Doing things together is fun and social.
  •  Skip it today if you must, but have a plan for tomorrow! It is okay to have a day off, but have a super motivating day the next day.  Add on some extra cardio minutes or add a few more muscle exercises than you normally would.
  • Just do it!  Put your workout outfit on, put your sneakers on and just start.  Once the feel good hormones start pumping, and you see everyone around you working out, you will forget you did not want to work out! 

How do you stay motivated?

Motivation Monday: Wedding Workout: Bringing Sexy Back!

Do you want a sculpted back for your wedding day? Most people focus on their front side, but when you walk down that aisle everyone is looking at your backside…So It is time to start sculpting your back ladies! I have put together 3 of my favorite back exercises to get you started!

Tips:
1. Always remember to consult a physician prior to starting an exercise program.
2. Pick a weight that you can do 15 reps and that you feel the exercise by the 10th repetition.
3. For each exercise perform 2 sets of 15 repetitions with a 10 second break between the two sets.
4. Never do the same muscle group two days in a row… so if you give these exercises a try on Monday, give your back a rest on Tuesday but get right back on for Wednesday.

First exercise: Band Lat Pull down
Stand: Legs shoulder width apart, abs tight with a figure 8 band or a long band wrapped around your hands. Start with your arms above your head.
Action: Pull the band down to right above the chest, lift the chest slightly, and squeeze your shoulder blades. Slowly return to start position.

 

 

 

Second exercise: Back Row with dumbbells
Stand: Take one dumbbell in your right hand. Place your left knee on a chair and lean down with the back flat- no arching ladies!. Start with the arm straight.
Action: Lift your right elbow up to the sky keeping your arm by your body. Squeeze your back and then return to start position with the arm straight.
SWITCH ARMS

 

Third exercise: Back Fly with dumbbells
Stand: Knees slightly bent, legs shoulder width apart, abs tight with weights in your hand. Lean down with the back flat and chest down. Arms are straight hanging towards the floor.
Action: Lift your arms to the sides and squeeze your back as tight as you can. Return arms hanging towards the floor.

 


What is your trouble area??? Do you have any questions or a blog idea? Contact me at MotivationalMeera@gmail.com

Motivation Monday: BBQ Recipes that Won’t Wreck Your Wedding Weight Loss Goals!

As the weather gets warmer, the barbecue invites get larger!  Instead of depriving yourself of fun in the name of your wedding dress. why not bring your own healthy food to share with others?  I put together a tasty, healthy menu that you can easily whip up and bring to your next barbecue!

Appetizer: Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
Ingredients

  1. 1 pound asparagus (about 19 stalks), trimmed
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. 6 to 8 paper-thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus and place on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.  Wrap each asparagus with 1 piece (about 1/2 a slice) of prosciutto, exposing tips. Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.
eatdrinkpaleo.com

 

Main meal: Tandoori Chicken by Rachael Ray
Pre Heat oven to 500 degrees or use the grill.
Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound of chicken breasts
  2. 2 palm fulls of curry
  3. 1 palm full of smoked paprika
  4. 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  5. Salt and pepper

Directions:
Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Salt and pepper.  Mix the curry, paprika, and yogurt together.  With hands slather chicken in the marinade.  Marinate chicken in 1 cup of Greek yogurt with curry and paprika.  Bake on a cooking rack on a pan or grill until edges are charred and juices run clear, about 25 minutes
Foodnetwork.com_

Dessert : Watermelon Blueberry Banana Split
Ingredients:

  1. 2 large bananas
  2. 8 “scoops” watermelon and/or cantaloupe
  3. 1 cup blueberries (or raspberries or strawberries)
  4. 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  5. 1/4 cup granola

Directions:
Peel bananas and cut in half crosswise, then cut each piece in half lengthwise. For each serving, lay 2 banana pieces against the sides of a shallow dish.  To make watermelon “scoops” use an ice cream scoop to create balls of watermelon. Remove seeds, if needed. Place a watermelon “scoop” at each end of the dish.  Fill the center space with berries. Stir yogurt until smooth, spoon over the watermelon “scoops”. Sprinkle with granola.
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Do you have any fitness questions or a blog idea?  Contact me at MotivationalMeera@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

 

Motivation Monday: Wedding Workout: 3 Exercises For Honeymoon-Ready Abs!

Whether you want to smooth out your silhouette for your wedding dress or you want to look great in a bathing suit on your honeymoon, it is time to start doing my top three exercises for tight and toned abdominals! The tricky thing about toned abs is not only do you need to work them out, but you also need to eat a clean diet, do cardiovascular exercises regularly and control your stress to prevent cortisol from storing fat in your abdominals So eat clean, de-stress and get moving!

Tips:
1.       Always remember to consult a physician prior to starting an exercise program.
2.       For each exercise except the plank perform at least 3 sets of 20 repetitions with a 10 second break between the three sets.  See below for the plank timimg.
3.       If something does not feel right, STOP the exercise.

 

First exercise:  Plank
On a mat:  Lay down on a mat with your forearms resting on the floor.  Push your body up to parallel to the floor by pushing up on your toes.  Keep your body flat and abdominals tight.
Action:  Hold this position in place for 20-60 seconds.   Lower down,  rest and then do this two more times.
 
 
Second exercise:  Regular crunch with legs up
 On a mat:  Lay down on your back.  Bring your legs up to the ceiling.  Bring your arms behind your head and keep your chin away from the chest.

Action:  Keep your legs fixed and lift your shoulder blades off the floor by tightening your abs and keeping your chin off the chest.  As you lift up exhale and as you relax down inhale. Repeat until completed.

                                             

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Third Exercise:  Bicycle
 
On a mat:  Lay down on your back.  Bring your arms behind your head and keep your chin away from the chest.  Bring your knees in to the chest and lift your shoulder blades off the floor.Action:  As you kick your right leg out, while the left knee stays in and you rotate to the left, bring the right shoulder toward the left knee.  Then immediately switch by kicking your left leg straight while the right knee stays in and you rotate to the right, brining the left shoulder toward the right knee.

 

                                                                      –
MotivationalMeera@gmail.com
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Motivation Monday: Wedding Dress Workout | 3 Ways to get Sexy Shoulders for your Sleeveless Dress!

It is time to start sculpting your shoulders ladies!  I’ve put together 3 of the best shoulder sculpting exercises to help you get those sexy shoulders for your wedding day!

Tips:

  1.  Always remember to consult a physician prior to starting an exercise program.
  2.  Pick a weight that you can do 15 reps and that you feel the exercise by the 10th repetition.
  3. For each exercise perform 2 sets of 15 repetitions with a 10 second break between the two sets.
  4. Never do the same muscle group two days in a row… so if you give these exercises a try on Monday, give your shoulders a rest on Tuesday but get right back on for Wednesday.

First exercise:  Shoulder Press

Stand:  legs shoulder width apart, abs tight with weights in your hand.  Bring the weights to a 90 degree angle with your palms facing out.

Action:  Push the dumbbells over the head without touching the dumbbells together at the top.  Make sure to never lock the joints and always keep a slight bend in the elbow.  Then bring the weights back to the 90 degree angle starting point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second exercise:  Side Raise

Stand:  legs shoulder width apart, abs tight with weights in your hand.

Action:  Lift your arms to the side with your palms facing down and stop when your arms reach parallel to the floor.  Slowly lower your arms back next to your quadriceps but not touching and keep performing the exercise until the appropriate receptions are complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third exercise:  Front Raise

Stand:  legs shoulder width apart, abs tight with weights in your hand.  Weights are hovering over the front of the quadriceps.

Action:   Lift your arms in front of you with the palms facing the floor and stop when your arms reach parallel to the floor.  Slowly lower your arms back to hovering above and keep performing the exercise until the 15 repetitions are completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice work!!

Do you have any fitness questions or a blog idea?  Contact me at MotivationalMeera@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

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