Archive for November, 2012

Santa Baby!

3 year old Ivan with Santa at Eglin AFB

Have you ever experienced Christmas through the eyes of a child?  My first Christmas with my nephew, Lorenzo, was when he was four years old.  Watching his eyes twinkle as brightly as the Christmas tree lights at the near mention of Santa Claus rekindled in me that youthful magic of Christmas.  I’m all in.  The decorations, the carols, and even all the holiday movies send my mood soaring as swiftly as Santa’s sleigh!  My two favorite movies are It’s a Wonderful Life and The Santa Clause.  The lead characters, George Bailey and Scott Calvin, found themselves dealing with stress, alienation and regret.  By the end of each film, both men were renewed through the love of their families and the joy of the season.

Avoid the Heavy Holidays with Fit Travel

Avoid the Heavy Holidays with Fit Travel

Trying to figure away to avoid the Heavy Holidays and stay in shape while traveling to see family and attend parties? My husband’s family lives in Buffalo, and when we visit during the holidays, it snows 6 inches every hour, so the gym is not an option, nor is an outside run.

If you have a problem finding time or equipment to work out over the holidays, I created a Fit Travel Workout DVD just for you. It is a no-​​equipment-​​needed workout that hits your entire body for toning, plus includes plyometric cardio intervals to give you a challenging workout in just 30 minutes.

Want a preview? Here is a fitness segment I did on WCBS and WLNY called The Couch. Two moves you can do for your abs in a Fit Minute!

Woman v. Workout: Lauren’s Navy SEAL Experience — Part 3

Woman v. Workout: Lauren's Navy SEAL Experience - Part 3

In part 3 of model Lauren Berlingeri’s Extreme SEAL Experience, the recruits face their most grueling mission yet. Does Lauren have the strength to survive Hell Night and become the first woman to complete this elite training program? Find out now in the conclusion of Woman v. Workout: Lauren’s Navy SEAL Experience.

Join fitness model Lauren Berlingeri as she takes on a crazy new challenge each week. Whether training with the FDNY, tossing axes with STIHL Timbersports legends, or bounding through parkour routines, our fearless host manages to land on her feet with a smile (well, most of the time!).

Low Calorie Cocktails to Avoid the Heavy Holidays

Low Calorie Cocktails to Avoid the Heavy Holidays

So you want to have a jolly time this holiday season, but you don’t want to pack on the pounds. Nikki Glor, aka NikkiFitness, is the author of “Slimnastics” and gives tips on working out hard and playing hard without gaining weight.

Tip 1 – if you can’t remember all this, try to drink clear or almost clear drinks.

White wine and champagne – sparking wines have 78 calories! Most types of white wine have about 120 calories. The less sweet, the better. Red wine usually has a few more calories per glass but is still a good choice.

Interval Pyramid Tempo Training

Interval Pyramid Tempo Training

This is an article recently written by a friend of mine — retired Royal Commando “Sol”  Sollerer.

A number of people have approached me saying they have reached a plateau in terms of how fast they can run 10km, 5km race, or even the military 1.5 mile PFT – and they want advice. Here it is!

Interval training sessions, expect you to run for a set distance, or for a set time — 3 to 6 times, maybe more, during a run and generally full into the brackets of Aerobic, Cruise, Sprint, Negative Splits – or for the highly conditioned athlete Tabata Intervals.

Stress Season

Shopping Santa

‘Tis the season to be grumpy, fa la la la la!  In an attempt to avoid the mad crush of holiday shoppers, I got most of mine done before Thanksgiving.  Short on time, I did my best to remain calm and patient as I navigated around the pokers, prodders and pickers to complete my list.  I also deliberately avoided Black Friday.  Envisioning hordes of shopping ninja warriors slashing their way towards the best bargains just sounds too scary.  In our household, we prefer to talk a calmer, gentler approach to the season.  Perhaps the following tips will help you keep your jolly on!

Thankful Time

Autumn scene

There is something special about Thanksgiving, isn’t there?  It’s a time when families come together to fellowship and feast and, hopefully, not to fight!  With all you have to do to get ready for tomorrow, I thought it might be fun to share a few facts and thoughts to truly enjoy Thanksgiving Day.   

Some Assembly Required

FDA photo

Have you ever tried to make a decision with too much information especially when it comes to building something?   Inevitably, the instructions are the most confusing part of the entire project and trying to read them becomes a maddening process.  That’s why I make it a point never to read the directions when “some assembly is required.”  Instead, I look at the picture on the box and hope that I don’t have any parts left over when I’m done.  It works, right?  Okay, it works…some of the time.  Other times I have to humble myself, pull the instruction manual out of the recycle bin and start over.  The same may be true when it comes to the dizzying array of nutritional supplements out there.  It becomes especially hard when we realize that we didn’t come with an instruction manual to guide us in the right direct.  Let’s see if we can take some of the confusion out of obtaining picture perfect health.

Woman v. Workout: Lauren’s Navy SEAL Experience — Part 2

Woman v. Workout: Lauren's Navy SEAL Experience - Part 2

In Part 2 of Lauren’s Navy SEAL Experience, watch Lauren endure log PT drills and learn hand-​​to-​​hand combat moves. Does she have what it takes to be the first woman to complete this elite training program? Find out in our three-​​part series on Woman v. Workout: Lauren’s Navy SEAL Experience.

Whether training with the FDNY, tossing axes with STIHL Timbersports legends, or bounding through parkour routines, our fearless host manages to land on her feet with a smile (well, most of the time!).

Hockey Dad Killer — Lessons Learned for Self Defense

You may remember this heartbreaking news story…

In 2000, 42 y.o. Thomas Junta took his 11 y.o. son to hockey practice.

The coach wasn’t controlling the rough play on the ice and when Junta saw his young son get elbowed in the face, he yelled at the coach to calm the kids down.

The coach didn’t like that.

“That’s hockey!” was his reply.

The fuming Junta left the rink to regain composure but came back in to round up his son and his friends to take them home.

When he did, the coach reportedly physically attacked him, even though Junta far outweighed him.

Junta defended himself and punched the coach 3 times in “self-​​defense”.


Warm Bread

M&M’s for breakfast?  Yup, I had it bad…a wicked sweet tooth.  I craved chocolate from breakfast to bedtime.  Now, I didn’t always act on those cravings, but there they remained, like a whiny little brother who won’t stop tugging at your sleeve, always taunting and tempting me to grab one more handful of milk chocolate morsels.  Eventually, I began to figure a few things out, like why I had those cravings in the first place.

Woman v. Workout: Lauren’s Navy SEAL Experience — Part 1

Lauren's Navy SEAL Experience

Watch Lauren Berlingeri, model and host of Woman v. Workout, train with former Navy SEALs at Extreme SEAL Experience in Chesapeake, VA. Does she have what it takes to be the first woman to complete this elite training program? Find out in this three-​​part series on Woman v. Workout.

Join fitness model Lauren Berlingeri as she takes on a crazy new challenge each week. Whether training with the FDNY, tossing axes with STIHL Timbersports legends, or bounding through parkour routines, our fearless host manages to land on her feet with a smile (well, most of the time!).

The Incredible Athletes who Train at CrossFit Walter Reed

CrossFit Walter Reed

Meet the incredible athletes who train at CrossFit Walter Reed, a non-​​profit, military CrossFit affiliate. The coaches and trainers at CrossFit Walter Reed keep their workouts challenging but accessible to all members, many of whom are wounded warriors and veterans.

AMRAP takes you inside the world of CrossFit, a competitive strength and
conditioning program hailed as the fastest growing fitness movement in the
world. From top athletes to everyday people both young and old, AMRAP
delivers the most inspiring stories of CrossFit’s incredible ability to
change bodies and strengthen bonds.

Tactical Firearms Training: Airsoft Carjacking Drill

Many firearms training courses use airsoft guns to help with their firearm training exercises because they are a realistic option. These guns offer some realism and they help people in the scenarios stay in the mindset that they are carrying a weapon. With this force on force education, you have the chance to be putted against a real live person and have the chance to use a weapon in the same manner as a firearm for defense. However, there training is limited indoors and until you are faced with the public. Because of this, it is important to learn how to conduct the carjacking defense in a realistic manner, while in public.

Captivating Cranberry


I must confess that I’m not a big into traditional meals especially around the holidays.  I prefer a classic lobster bake to a traditional thanksgiving meal and a seafood spread to a Christmas feast.  Maybe it goes back to one year when my mom bucked all of our traditions; we had homemade pizza for Thanksgiving and pasta for Christmas.  That was the infamous “Smurf” Christmas — now that’s a story for another day!  However, in homage to the start of turkey eating season, I made my signature turkey burgers last week with the added zip of a cranberry side dish.  That got me thinking about these round, ruby-​​colored rascals and what they may be the start of a healthy holiday tradition.

What Did You Do This Week?

Stew Smith

As a fitness writer, I find I need to train people as well as personally train in order to develop new ideas, learn from group dynamics, and just stay motivated in order to produce new and innovative training programs. My personal workouts have evolved into the Heroes of Tomorrow program where I train future military, special ops, police, and fire fighters for FREE in the Severna Park /​ Annapolis area. I received a good question this week from an Army veteran who wants to stay fit after his Army career. He asks,

“Stew, you seem like you are still working out pretty hard what I gather in your late 30s /​ early 40s. What do you do? I have a decent amount of time before work and like to get up early still and get it done. What did you do this week? — 38 yr old Army Vet.”

Tactical Firearms Training: Airsoft Home Defense Drill

When you are using airsoft guns as part of your firearms training, you need to be sure that you create real scenarios. Realistic drills like a home invasion would be a good way for you to ensure that trainees understand how to use their guns properly in a matter of moments. Here is a way you can practice home defense in the home should danger arise, without using a real firearm.

Home Invasion: Setting Up the Training

Begin with a stopwatch and situate yourself in your living room setting and turn on the television. Keep your airsoft gun in a location where you would potentially keep your own firearm, such as a drawer or a nightstand. Now with your partner, you will begin a home invasion scenario. Begin by having them knock on the door and then enter your home in a manner that would be unpredictable. Students should be encouraged to enter through different doors to keep others on their toes and to simulate an intruder that you will help to improve the actual home defense experience.

The Palm Plan

Full Plate from

Did your mother ever make you sit at the table until you cleaned your plate?  I remember those days, particularly my inability to finish my soup, sandwich and milk for lunch.  To this day, I blame the table trauma of mealtime for my inability to eat a bowl of soup!  Looking back, I can certainly understand my mother’s strictness.  Raising four children all under the age of 6 made it a necessity for her to prepare simple and balanced meals.   Even now, determining what we eat, how much we eat and how often can be overwhelming.  Plus, the schedule stresses of daily life often lead us to unhealthy choices.  Did you know that the secret to planning a healthy meal is in the palm of your hand…literally?

Tactical Airsoft Training: Making Your Firearms Training Realistic

Most professionals who use airsoft guns will generally acknowledge there are some concerns when it comes to tactical firearms training. The reason is that these gun alternatives don’t have the same feeling that most firearms have. In fact, there are some models that only have controls that are simulated. With this, the cheaper airsoft guns are going to have fewer of the same features and will be far more fragile than traditional firearms. This can even carry over to some of the high end metallic options on the market. As you may know, they don’t have the recoil or same level of noise that you get from firearms training. So how does a person best prepare themselves for a realistic experience, with the use of alternative weapons?

Trend Alert: Jumping Warrior? Three New Workouts Combine Yoga and Plyometrics


Ever stretched into down dog, then practiced your jump tucks? A new trend for fall and 2013 is yoga workouts with plyometric intervals.

Plyometrics, if you are new to the term, are explosive jumping and level-​​changing moves that use your body weight as resistance, and require your muscles to fire away in short, intense bursts of power.

As a former college cheerleader, and current personal trainer and yoga instructor, I didn’t want to have to chose between my “ohm” days or my jumping workouts from the squad, so I created a new book and DVD workout called Slimnastics®!  It combines gymnastics-​​inspired plyometric cardio intervals —  like jump tucks, split jumps, and squat thrusts — with advanced balancing yoga moves — like firefly (titibasana), wheel push ups, warrior III booty boost, rockstar, handstands, side crow and 8 angle pose (astavakrasana) —  that build upper body strength, boost your booty and require a lot of breath control and mental focus. The 30 minute, no-​​equipment workout is advanced, but the book has modified moves, tips on how to “get in shape for Slimnastics®” and mantras to get you moving. These core and toning moves coupled with the major calorie burn from plyometrics helped me get my body back after having a baby.