Cherry Blossom Fitness

Welcome to Cherry Blossom Fitness -

Thanks for checking out my blog! I am a Health & Fitness Coach who loves helping women realize their strength and power and helping them down the path of a healthier life full of energy and happiness. This blog is a conglomeration of discussions, reviews & explanations on a plethora of topics within the health, fitness & wellness realm as well as the mommy and family world. If you would like to see a post on something specific please give your feedback. I also offer one-on-one and group fitness coaching sessions at Salt Lake Prenatal Massage clinic in SLC, UT. You can find more details on my coaching if you flip through my different tabs. Here's to happiness & health!

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My Personal Top Ten

I have a friend on facebook who I think is the bomb. She decided to really make a change in her life and document it on a public blog. THAT is dedication and a serious way to stay motivated AND accountable. When you’re talking about something as intimate as your weight, your daily food and beverage intake and all the other personal things that get wrapped into lifestyle changes, it can be scary to share. And to do this publicly and all over Facebook I think is amazing and takes some serious courage. SO to show my support I commented on her blog and broke down MY personal top ten picks as far as what to focus on when making serious lifestyle changes. Here they are:

1-Forgive. When you mess up/cheat/make a mistake, let it go, forgive yourself, move on, and try harder the next day. Keep in mind that you are trying to learn from your mistakes without punishing yourself. This will keep you from backsliding A LOT when you mess up.

2-Baby steps. Changing habits you’ve taken a lifetime to make, will take a long time to change.

3-Celebrate all the small things! Ask yourself at the end of every day & every week “What did I do differently that I wasn’t doing before?” And it can be as small as taking the stairs, passing on that 3rd drink, increasing your water intake etc.

4-Don’t fixate on your SCALE! Your weight is complicated and you may be losing fat mass & gaining lean mass & not seeing anything change (or even an increase) on the scale. So, I’d keep your weight goal, but also have a clothes size goal. I’m going to use myself as a quick example. I’ve been working out more & more and my muscle mass is pretty substantial. Once upon a time I weighed about 120, now I weigh 150 and am the EXACT SAME SIZE. Something to think about.

5-When it comes to fitness weight training, cardio & stretching are all equally as important for health, weight loss, energy, stamina etc.

6-Start with frequency. Say your goal is to get to 4 days a week of exercising. Start with 4 days @ 5 min each. We all can find 5 min. Getting the frequency down is the hard part, then you can slowly increase the time. You’ll be better off working out for 20 min 4x/week than once for 60 min.

7-Love yourself & celebrate who you are and your body now. Appreciate it and then respectfully acknowledge you’d like to make some healthy changes because of x, y, & z.

8-Discover your true motivation. Your incentives are great. I’m not poo-pooing them at all! But dig down deep & find your motivation & make it a daily cell phone reminder or make posters to hang up. Like “I’m a beautiful, talented, loving person & I want to be healthy & energized for my entire life so I can continue to love & do what makes me happy for as long as possible.” Or just simply “I am an incredible person who deserves to live a long, happy & healthy life.” Or get specific. “Traveling makes me happy & I deserve to be happy. I want to be able to go to any destination I want and be physically capable to do EVERYTHING I want while I am there.” Etc.

9-Try new things. Keep your fitness routine fun & exciting. Find something you LOVE that is fun & not so much of a chore. I teach Zumba and believe me when I say I thought cardio was a chore. Me + a treadmill = hell on earth. When I found Zumba I couldn’t believe how intense of cardio I could do for an entire HOUR. And I keep coming back for more!

10-Love yourself again. You are amazing already and taking on this challenge makes you THAT much more of an incredible human being who is taking the time to self-reflect and make changes. Change is scary & you my dear, are looking it square in the eyes!

Holiday Health Survival Guide

Life is busy enough as it is and with the holidays at our doorstep it feels like there are never enough hours in the day! We have family and work obligations, chores, community and church activities, plus the stress of family getting together and then all the other million tiny things that are seeping into our lives and snatching up all our extra time.

With all that said, many of you may be thinking, eating right and staying healthy is the LAST thing on my mind. Do not let the holiday madness kick you overboard so easily! Finding and making time to stay healthy through the next 3-4 weeks is easier than it may seem.

The first thing you need to do is make a conscious commitment with yourself. When you own your decisions you gain control. Let me explain. Write down why you want to be healthy. It can be a long or short list. Some of the reasons I want to stay healthy are increasing my energy and stamina so I can enjoy the activities I like in life, I want to be free from disease and increase my life span, I want to be happy, I want to feel good about myself, I want to KNOW I am doing the best thing for myself because…and here’s the most important reason…I am an incredible person and I DESERVE to be healthy. My commitment always is to make the best decisions possible to stay healthy and energetic. My more specific decisions for the holidays are this: to only eat one goodie per week and two between Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I also will not overeat and continue to feed myself in a healthy way. I also commit to exercising 5 days a week and the week of Christmas at least 3 days. I am sharing all this as an example to a plan. I am allowing myself some “goodies” and because I have planned for specific events, it will be easier to follow through. One of my favorite sayings is: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!”

So now that we have a strong commitment, the second thing is practicing what I like to call “Multi-tasking Fitness”. For a more detailed explanation you can read the full post at: http://bit.ly/gwEgeL. But the general idea is squeezing in 5 minutes of exercise in every tiny little crack you can find. Doing squats while you’re blow drying your hair, doing leg lifts as you go up the stairs, taking 5 minutes to dance around the house with your kids, stretching, cleaning vigorously, etc. A few minutes here and there will quickly add up to 30-45 minutes and you will be energized, proud of staying on track, and more likely to continue your commitments to health.

Third, I want to talk about something that can sometimes be touchy but we have to be aware of it. It is what I like to call “discipline envy”. When you are mastering healthy eating and a consistent fit lifestyle, people will try to strike you down. It is usually subconscious and they may not realize what they are doing, but when you are exercising discipline, people watching who are not as in control, begin to try to break your plan down. They are jealous you can stick to your plan when they may be slipping. They may make snide remarks, gang up on you, tease you, constantly offer you unhealthy food trying to wear you down to the point of giving in, and many other tactics. Stay strong and if needed, explain to them what you are trying to accomplish and ask for support.

Fourth is focusing on enjoying family and the celebration rather than the food. Our culture centers so much attention on the food at a celebration and if we can focus on the other reasons and meanings of the celebration it takes a load of pressure of the eating part. We can even help others by encouraging healthier snacks like hummus and pita slices and fresh veggies, a yummy fruit tray with a low fat whipped dip for them, healthy delicious breads (banana or zucchini), and suggest structured meals instead of all day grazing with a rotating cooking schedule to relieve the burden. You could have healthy homemade soups, veggie lasagna and cultural dishes that are healthier than traditional American celebratory foods. Be creative and enjoy having fun with your friends and family in the kitchen! Make the joy of celebration and enjoying relationships the real focus.

Last, but definitely not least, is compassion. When you diverge from your plan, don’t just throw in the towel. A few mistakes along the way will not make a noticeable dent in your path to health. Giving up entirely, beating yourself up, and swirling into a downward spiral will keep you from living an ultimately healthy life. When you “mess up” or “cheat” forgive yourself, re-commit, and continue on your path of success. Remember a healthy lifestyle is a life long commitment. You’re running a marathon, not a sprint. Try to have perspective when making these big changes for a healthier lifestyle.

To re-sum up what I’ve talked about here is a nice tidy list for you all:

1.     Have a plan and make a solid commitment to health because YOU are worth it.

2.     Incorporate “Multi-tasking Fitness” to squeeze in your exercises for the day.

3.     Be aware of “Discipline Envy” and stay strong to your commitments.

4.     Focus on the real meaning of the celebration and let healthy foods just be a nice garnish to the real reason for celebrating.

5.     Practice compassion. Being too hard on yourself can ultimately lead you off your healthy path. Persevere, forgive, re-commit, and continue on!

I hope this post helps you all have an enjoyable, tad bit less stressful, and healthy holiday season!

 

-Jennifer Larsen

Rokit Fuel

I discovered this incredible raw food snack/meal a few days ago at my new favorite drive through coffee shop. So first let me give a shout out to Pin-Up Girl Espresso in Holladay, UT. They make a mean soy latte and they introduced me to Rokit Fuel!

Here’s the story. I just finished teaching some fitness classes and it was snowing in late April (thanks Utah!) and so a hot drink sounded perfect. I thought I’d drive by my favorite coffee shop and see what they offered in the food genre. They had the usual muffins and biscotti and then they mentioned Rokit Fuel. This granola/oatmeal snack was INCREDIBLE. I have only tried the Stud Muffin flavor, but I’m sure they are all delicious. You can buy it in a cardboard container for on the go, or by the bag from their online SHOP. When I go to Pin-Up Girl, they steam soy milk and pour it into the cardboard to go container. Then a few minutes later viola! A wonderfully healthy, filling and tastey meal on the go.

Below are some pictures of the product and the nutrition label and ingredients of the Stud Muffin flavor which they describe as tasting like Christmas (which I agree with).

Ingredients: Rolled Oats, Rye Flakes, Pure Cane Dark Brown Sugar, Dates, Raisins, Whole and Milled Flax Seed, Sunflower Seeds, Figs, Pecans, Sesame Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Blueberries, Tart Cherries, Bee Pollen, Cinnamon, Real Salt, Gotu Kola, Maca Root, Nutmeg, Cloves.

Nutrition Facts Serv. Size: 3.35 oz. (95g), Servings Per Container: 1, Amount Per Serving: Calories 380, Calories from Fat 110, Total Fat 12g (18% DV), Saturated Fat 1g (5% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 135mg (6% DV), Total Carbohydrates 63g (21% DV), Dietary Fiber 6g (24% DV), Sugars 23g, Protein 9g, Vitamin A (0% DV), Vitamin C (2% DV), Calcium (8% DV), Iron (20% DV), Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

My love-hate relationship with Cadbury Mini Eggs

I am not usually a candy or chocolate person nor do I give into usual holiday foods but there is SOMETHING about these little devils I cannot get enough of.

However with my compulsion to ALWAYS know what I am taking into my body I HAD TO LOOK at the gosh darn LABEL! I am warning you – if you cannot handle the truth do NOT look! HERE is the nutritional label for these babies.

Before I talk about the label, I wanted to begin with why on earth I’m writing this. Confession time. About one hour ago I was with a client and spotted she had some of these delicious monsters out in a dish on her coffee table. The problem I have with these guys is that almost EVERY time Spring rolls around I forget they exist until ALL the local grocery stores have sold out of them. So it makes them so much more appealing since I never seem to be able to get my little hands on them. It’s like those GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! Bah! The genius who came up with these “you only get me once a year” snack foods needs to be assassinated. Not literally of course – but the fact that we can’t get some goodies 330 days out of the year makes them seem like they are a billion times better than they really are. ANYWAYS…I ate 4 of them while working out and me and my client couldn’t help but giggle a little as I did so.

The point of this post is balance and forgiveness. Balance is key when we near any holiday season as we shouldn’t make ourselves feel like we can’t enjoy any foods that we connect with that holiday. Foods help evoke memories and emotions and can be a great way to celebrate holidays with family – however the other side of balance is not over indulging. The point being these little baby heart stopping Cadbury eggs. TWELVE. 12. twelve. Twelve little eggs is just one serving and by consuming 12 you have taken in a lot of saturated fat and sugar and almost 200 calories. I could eat 12 at once. I do have an abnormally large mouth though. That’s almost equivalent to a whole avocado which is jam packed with way more fiber, healthy fats and would keep you more full longer- plus I think – is equally as delicious. The second part of this post is about forgiveness. If you find yourself chatting to your mother-in-law and incoherently consuming an entire bag of these Cadbury Eggs without noticing – don’t beat yourself up about it. You can’t change the past and the more negativity you feed your mind with from guilt or feeling bad about what you ate, the more negative patterns will stick in your lifestyle. The more positive thoughts you have in your mind about bettering your health and having more energy, the more those thoughts will be able to turn into a reality.

I’m picking on Cadbury Eggs because I know I have issues with them. It’s a very love-hate relationship I have with them, but this applies to any foods we give into that we know aren’t the best for us. Stay strong this spring and as usual, feel free to comment or shoot me an email for support!

 

Paint Fights Photo Shoot Fundraiser

Calling all Utahans! Thought I’d pass along this awesome fund raiser for a great friend who is trying to start a family and needs help with the fertility costs. This looks like a complete blast. The photographer’s name is Chad Braithwaite and his studio is at: 656 East 11400 South Suite M., Draper, Utah 84020. His number is 801.748.2283 (call him to make an appointment) and it  is happening from 10 am – 5 pm all the Saturdays in March! Just mention it’s for the Peterson Baby Fund and $10 of the $15 cost will go to the Peterson family. Let me know if you have any questions! (You can see more pics HERE).

Zumba!

I had to post a little something about Zumba now that I have been teaching classes for 3 weeks. For those of you who have been wondering what Zumba is, here is the “official” description. Zumba is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a “fitness-party” that is downright addictive.

If you haven’t tried a class you absolutely need to. Zumba corporate did a fantastic job training me as they do all their instructors and you will have a great time. The music is loud and energizing and gets you movin’, shakin’ and having so much fun that you don’t even realize you’re exercising. Except for the fact that about 15 minutes into it you’re sweating like crazy…but that’s the only give away.

My class formats are 70% latin music and then I throw in about 30% hip hop since that is my favorite dance form PLUS hip hop music makes me just want to shake my booty and dance. Zumba classes are everywhere too! If you visit www.zumba.com you can enter in your zip code and a list of classes and instructors will pop up.

If you’re in Utah I teach at Lotus Studio – www.dancelotus.com and Pearl Adult Dance and Fitness – www.dancesaltlake.com and I know Curves now incorporates Zumba as well in their circuit.

Zumba is fun for a party or event too! Hire an instructor for a bridal shower or family reunion, birthdays and any celebration.

Anyone can do Zumba. All ages, non-dancers, people who haven’t exercised in months or years. It’s easy to follow and a total party. Check a class out today.

Preparing = Success

I have been REALLY busy lately. And if you know me, when I admit to this, it really means I’m an insane whirlwind of madness. Unfortunately I have let it get to me and I haven’t been feeding myself the way that I should. I don’t get up early enough to pack myself enough food for the entire day and only eating a protein shake, a pb&j sandwich and some orange slices then having dinner usually after 10 pm is NOT enough for anyone, especially for someone who is dancing/exercising for 3-7 hours a day. Yikes!

So my post today is a wake up call for myself and everyone else out there that consistently doesn’t eat enough, or because of lack of preparation finds themselves eating out too much and choosing things that aren’t healthy.

When it comes to food preparation I recommend two main options. Pack food the night before so you don’t have to rush in the morning or take one day during your week or weekend to prepare your entire weeks worth of food and snacks. I am going to start cooking for the entire week on Saturdays and Sundays for my dinners and lunches and prepare healthy snacks as well. If you have time to cook dinner in the evenings you may only need to worry about pre-making lunches and snacks.

Some of my favorite snacks are nuts, veggies and hummus and fruit. You can make anything for lunch – just try to keep it balanced. If you can make all your daily meals consist of some really great complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats, then add in a serving or two of vegetable and some fruit, you will be getting everything your body needs plus it will keep you alert, energetic and full long enough!

If you feel uneasy about storing food for a week at a time have no fear! Purchase glass Tupperware like Glassware. Glass Tupperware doesn’t stain, it is airtight so keeps your food fresh, plus safer than plastic to freeze, heat and eat food out of. Plastics can leak into your foods and you don’t want that. I purchases my set at Costco but I just went online and found them being sold all over online plus places like Bed Bath & Beyond.

I will NEVER go back to plastic storage ware EVER! I love my glasslock. :)

Moral of the story…if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Good luck and happy healthy days to come.

 

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