Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Morning Rut With the Kiddos

Sometimes we get into a rut and wonder why things are the way they are. And this could be about anything, not just fitness.

Case in point.

Every morning, my 4-year-old twins have their routine before school. And every morning, I find myself annoyed and irritated, hurrying them along to do every task so that we're not late. It takes them forever to do everything. I mean, everything -- from getting showered, to brushing teeth, to putting their clothes on. You name it, it's going to take an inordinate amount of time to accomplish any given task. They're so easily distracted and inevitably suddenly have million things they need to tell me before they can do anything.

My phrase of the morning: "what are you supposed to be doing?"

And don't get me started on the shoes. After we have finally gotten to the point that we can get into the car, here comes the dreaded shoe task.

You'd think they could just slip those bad boys on and we're off. Oh no, no, no. That would be far too easy. Give that at least 15 minutes. Because once again, distractions pop up. That dinosaur that they haven't thought about in weeks, suddenly becomes all they can focus on. Or, the one child always needs help (never mind the fact that he, for certain, can do it on his own -- I've seen him!). "I caaaaaaaaan't do it," he says. Oh, of course you can't.

There is never enough time and we're always on the verge of being late. Don't let there be an accident on the highway, that will guarantee us walking into a class already in progress. Once we finally get in the car, I'm so frazzled that  I need to take a moment to "woo sah" before we get moving.

Now, you'd think I'd figure this out, right? Apparently, I must enjoy this state utter internal chaos. Because anybody, and probably you reading this, would say "maybe you should just start getting them ready sooner?"

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

And can I tell you how many times, I've said I was going to do that?

Here's my problem: though I've recognized that the easiest solution would be to allow more time for the boys to get ready, I haven't made an actual plan to accomplish this. So right now, it's just a good idea that's floating around in my head.

In order to accomplish this simple-seeming adjustment, I'll need to completely restructure my morning. And let's be real here, this is not something that I really want to do. Why? Because it would require me getting up earlier. And my night owl self really doesn't want to hear about getting up early. I like staying up late and sleeping in a little.

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

The knowledge that I'll have to make some sacrifices that I'm not too eager to make (going to bed earlier and getting up earlier), is enough for me to not actually solve my problem.

What's a girl to do?

Well, I have to decide if this is important. Is allowing more time for my kids to get ready going to make our lives better? If so, then I need to make a real effort to make these changes. Thinking about it ain't gonna cut it.

Maybe you've found yourself in a similar rut? You want to do something differently, but just can't quite pull yourself out of the routine you've gotten comfortable in. What do you do? Well, I'd say you're going to have to have a good heart to heart with yourself. You need to figure out if this is something you really do want to change. If yes, then you'll have to identify what changes you need to make, devise a plan, then execute said plan.

You will likely have to make some sacrifices or do things that may make you uncomfortable, but in the end it'll pay off and you'll probably be happier.

As for me, my plan is to go to bed at least an hour earlier so I can get up an hour earlier and get those kiddos moving! They will have a whole two hours to get themselves together and out the door. I may have to sacrifice some end-of-the night YouTube video watching, but the fact that I won't be a frazzled mess in the morning and we will always be on time, will definitely be worth it.

And what's the lesson here? If you want a different outcome, you're going to have to make some changes. If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to Make an Açaí Bowl

Looking for a breakfast swap, or a snack? Then you must try making an açaí bowl.

Now, let me rewind for a minute.

Maybe you've never heard of these bowls -- and if you don't live in California or on the west coast, you may not have.
Açaí, pronounced ah-sigh-ee, is a berry that has its origins in the Amazon of Brazil. These berries are highly nutritious. They're loaded with omega-3s, amino acids and antioxidants.
You can buy frozen packets of açaí at most natural grocery stores or Whole Foods. Be sure to get the unsweetened variety because you don't need extra sugar. If need be, you can add your own honey once you make the bowl if you need a little sweetness. Adding your own sweetener will allow you to control the level of processed sugar in it.

So, how do you make these bowls?


Here's what the packet of açaí looks like:

1 packet frozen açaí
1/4 cup of coconut water (less or more depending on how thick you want your base)
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup granola (again depending on how much you want)
1 tsp chia seeds (optional -- I like to add them for extra nutrients sometimes)
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup frozen mixed berries
4-5 strawberries, sliced
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 cup blueberries

Place coconut water in blender with açaí packet, all frozen fruit and chia seeds. Blend until desired consistency. If you like it a tad more thick, like I do, start with just a little splash of coconut water and add more as you see fit. Pour mixture into a bowl, and top with fresh fruit and granola. At this point, taste and see if you want to a add a drizzle of honey on top. 
This is the consistency I like.

If you make one, be sure to use the hashtag #trainertiff on Instagram or Twitter so I can see. Enjoy!

If you'd like to see this post in video format, check it out here! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tone Your Back Workout

The back is an area that is easily neglected while working out. Why is this? Well, unlike your abs, it's not one of those visual areas that most people want to fix. But let's be honest, when we see a sexy back, we like what we see. Am I right?

Now, figuring out which back exercises to do can be a little overwhelming. Don't fret. I've got you covered.

In this video, I share four back exercises with you that you don't even need to step inside a gym to perform. All you'll need is a resistance band and a dumbbell.

Check it out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Avoid the Freshman 15

For most freshman, college is that time to experience freedom for the first time. Don't let it go to your head, and subsequently to your waistline.

Beware of thoughts such as these:

"Pizza for breakfast? Heck yeah."

"Hit up the ice cream machine in the dining hall for lunch, first? Why not."

"Pick up that third or fourth giant-sized caramel frap on the way to class? You know it."

If you're heading off to college, don't get caught up. Skipping real meals, because, well ... you can -- or loading up on all the fast food your poor arteries can handle, will catch up with you.

It will.

And when it does, you'll regret all of those horrible dietary decisions you made. Don't let it get to that point. You don't want to come home after year one, to be met with raised eyebrows from family, or worse, direct in-your-face comments about how pudgy you've gotten.

Watch this video and follow my tips on how to get through a year at school without letting your diet get out of control.

Keep it tight my friends. Keep it tight.

Know a college-bound student, or current college student? Do them a favor, share this with them!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summertime Frozen Fruit Bars

Summer is here and so are cravings for refreshing treats. Instead of opting for ice cream or making a trip to your local froyo spot, make some healthy treats with real fruit. Check out my video on how I make these fruit bars with only two ingredients.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No Added Sugar Challenge

Photo by Mykl Roventine on Flickr
It's that time again ... challenge time. I want to test your ability to go without added sugar for ten days. Are you up for this? Do you think you can handle it? Sounds fairly easy, right?

Not so fast.

The Katie Couric movie Fed Up, highlights how prevalent sugar is in our food system. It's added everywhere. When you hear "no added sugar," you may immediately think, "oh, that's fine, I just won't add sugar to my coffee or my cereal." Well yes, but it goes much deeper than that. It's obvious that sugar is in desserts like cookies and ice-cream, but it's also found in harmless seeming foods like bread, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, ketchup, crackers, and a whole lot of other foods.

Check out Katie Couric talking about the challenge below. #FedUpChallenge 

Read the ingredients list. Sugar goes by many different names, so be sure to avoid the following:

For ten days, challenge yourself to give up sugar completely. I'm starting today, Wednesday, May 28. Afterwards, I'll put up a post on how my ten days went. I'll be using the hashtag #tiffs10day on Instagram so you can see what I'm eating. You should also use this hashtag so I can see what you're eating. 

Let's do this together -- as a team. We can do this! 

Even if you find this post after I've started the challenge, start your challenge at any point. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Almond Butter and Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

Got a sweet tooth? No problem. These bars are perfect for satisfying your candy craving while filling your body with healthy ingredients like flaxseed and protein at the same time.

Win. Win.

Check it out! At the end of this post is my YouTube tutorial of this recipe for your viewing pleasure.


1 cup ground oatmeal (put in food processor or blender)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
5 tbsp almond butter
4 tbsp honey
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips


In a medium bowl, add all the dry ingredients: oatmeal, flaxseed and protein powder. Mix well with a whisk.

Then add the almond butter and honey. Mix well with a fork and then use your hands to fully incorporate all of the ingredients. Once all of the dry and wet ingredients are mixed well, add in the chocolate chips and mix those in with your hands until they're evenly distributed.

Next, take the mixture which should be formed into a ball. If you have a hard time creating a ball and getting all of your ingredients to stay formed without falling apart, add in a little more almond butter or honey starting with one tablespoon -- that way you don't add too much.

Then place the mixture in a parchment paper lined 8x8 pan. Press dough into the pan until flat. This recipe can also be used to make balls. Instead of putting mixture into the parchment lined pan, roll out nine balls in your hands instead. 

Put the pan in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that the mixture can harden. This makes it easier to cut into bars.

Remove from the refrigerator and take paper out of the pan. Place on counter or cutting board. Cut your bars however you like. I made nine bars. Store either form (bars or balls) in the refrigerator.


Here's my YouTube tutorial of this recipe. If you haven't subscribed to my channel yet, what are you waiting for?! There's a new video every Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Medicine Ball Ab Exercises

Even those areas of the country that had the coldest winter ever, are starting to see the sun and feel warmer weather. 

You know what that means -- summer is right around the corner. 

And if you happen to be a living, breathing, upright walking human being -- then images of making an appearance at a pool or beach are probably starting to pop into mind. 

Wait, wait ... don't get all depressed. I know, I know ... that six-pack that you were planning on hasn't quite come together yet. 

Have no fear. I've got some ab exercises to help make that dream a reality. Check out this video of my favorite ab exercises to do with a medicine ball. 

If you start today, and make sure you stick to a clean diet (did I mention, stick to a clean diet?), then you just might be in time to reveal those rock hard abs this summer after all.