Good morning ladies! And ’tis a goooood morning indeed. The sun is shining bright in Boston right now, and The Boy & I just got back from a quickie, sweaty run together to take advantage. I even whipped out the shorts for the first time this year! Oh yes, it’s simply THAT nice out.
I’m super excited because I leave for my NYC trip this afternoon! I’m going to be attending Holistic MBA Live, a rockin’ business conference for wellness professionals put on by the lovely Stacey and Carey of Holistic MBA. As I’ve been striving to grow & spice up my business lately, this conference could not have come at a better time. I have so many exciting things in the works!
Even better, while in NYC, I get to spend four whole days (well, nights) with my best friends from college. As you can tell, I’m high on life right now! Best friends + networking + business coaching = my cup of tea.
Anyway, today’s Thursday so let’s get to this week’s feature for Healthy Chicks in the Community. I am happy to introduce you to a lovely lady who I had the pleasure of meeting for one of her spin classes followed by some vino. Let’s just say, she’s full of energy, love & a zest for life so we naturally had a lot to talk about. I’ll let Ali take it from here!
[photo provided by Ali courtesy of lululemon]
NAME/AGE: Ali Baldassare, 28
CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA
PHOTO TAKEN: This is my Lululemon Ambassador photo taken at the end of last year. It is currently hanging up on the wall in the Lululemon store on Newbury St. so next time you’re out shopping, check it out! Speaking of photos, stay tuned because I’m currently planning a fitness photo shoot over the next 2-3 months and it’s going to be epic!
WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: Most people would never know it, but fitness is NOT my full time job. It is my full time passion though Right now, I do have a 9-5 job working for a pharmaceutical company, although with the amount of classes that I teach and clients that I train, I could easily argue that I pretty much have two full time jobs. One day, I’ll be able to answer this question by just saying “full time pilates and fitness instructor” and maybe that day will be soon! No one said making your dreams come true was easy, right??
NUMBER ONE PASSION: Teaching, inspiring and motivating people to live a life they love in a body they love!
I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: 1) When I eat well. Eating a good clean diet makes me feel energized, awake and ready for anything! 2) Remembering to make time for me. Things can get super hectic, but taking time for me can really help me not feel overwhelmed and run down. It can be anything from going for a run, taking a yoga class, getting a massage or a manicure/pedicure, etc. 3) When I surround myself with other really inspiring and motivating people.
BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I have bad days when I feel unmotivated, discouraged and just want to throw in the towel and give up, but deep down I know things will always turn around. Those bad days are what makes my good days that much better!
TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: 1) Bars (Lara bars, KIND bars, or Luna bars are some of my favorites) 2) bananas, apples, spinach, almond butter, raw almonds 3) my blender. I am always on the go and rarely home for any significant length of time so anything healthy that I can throw in my bag or anything that I can mix up in a blender is perfect. I’ve been really into making all kinds of smoothies lately and they actually keep me full….says the girl who is ALWAYS hungry!
NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: CHOCOLATE. Anything chocolate. I have a really big sweet tooth!
EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Dance. I grew up dancing and love everything about it. Dancing has a way of allowing me to escape the world and just let go. It makes me feel free, alive, and happy. It also has so many great benefits like keeping your body limber and enhancing your agility, flexibility and balance. Even when I’m completely exhausted, I always look forward to teaching my weekly Zumba classes!
FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Every now and then I like to enjoy a cheeseburger
MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: You are capable, powerful, and in control of your life! Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be complex or hard. Everything is based on your perception, your goals, and your choices. There are endless ways to exercise; there are so many different ways to incorporate healthy eating into even your busiest of days. All you have to do is find the right balance of the two that works for you. Healthy living really can teach you so much about yourself and it’s not a one size fits all concept. What works for you may not work for me, but that’s the beauty of it all. We are all unique. Remember, you are the only one who can live your life, so don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Keep things simple. Have fun! Be you! Strive for growth, balance and opportunity, not perfection. You are all amazing. Believe it and own it!
Good afternoon ladies! Hope you are all having a sun-shiny day, despite the rain and dreary weather in Boston. I guess we can’t complain much after having 2 beautiful days in a row. I honestly can’t get enough of this sunshine!
For those of you participating in my “Get Happy & Healthy” Wellness Challenge, I am so impressed by all your hard work, dedication and creativity. From squeezing in that extra “me time” to enjoy your breakfast mindfully (and listen to the birds chirping) to trying a brand new green (like broccoli rabe or mustard greens!), each and every step you take—both big and small—is one step closer to a happier, healthier you. Keep up the super work!
OK, on to another week of Healthy Chicks in the Community! This week I am so thrilled to introduce you to Jenn, a real women who shines confidence, health, strength and inspiration. After all, she wasn’t named one of BostInno’s 50 on Fire for nothing. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with Jenn in person and took her Pilates Bootcamp Class (which you can read about in my newsletter here) and can tell you this woman is the real deal. Her energy, passion and love for what she does is absolutely contagious! But seriously, I gotta ask, how does she ever sleep? I’ll let Jenn take it from here…
[Photo provided by Jennifer Phelan courtesy of Lucie Wicker Photography]
NAME/AGE: Jennifer Phelan Age 29
CURRENT CITY: Boston, MA
PHOTO TAKEN: This was one of my favorite photos captured during a recent photo shoot with Lucie Wicker Photography. I had this idea to do a split on two boxes (genius). When I got into the spilt I was holding onto the box, afraid to let go when the photographer and stylist yelled for me to lift my arms and look at the camera. I did and we snapped one of the best shots of the day. Conquer your fears and live in the moment!
WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: I’m a full time Pilates Instructor and owner of JenniferPhelan Pilates. I teach large, contemporary group Pilates and Barre classes at Equinox and North End Yoga and I train private clients all over Boston. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many different types of people such as athletes, mom’s-to-be, brides and A-List celebs. I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to spread the amazing benefits of Pilates to everyone I meet.
NUMBER ONE PASSION: Motivating others to be the best possible healthy version of themselves.
I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: Remembering to make a little time for me. Even though I love my job and what I do everyday, it’s sometimes hard to find balance. As an independent instructor I literally do everything from teaching classes, scheduling, social media, website work and marketing all by myself. So it’s hard to actually fit in my own workouts and “JP” time. When I do actually schedule this in I feel more energized, happier and more alive. Even if that means I’m going on a 12- hour day by the time I fit in my own workouts that’s okay, because I always end up feeling ready to conquer the city when I’m done.
BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: Spend the day in my sweats and watch 5 hours of Dance Moms straight without moving once.
TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: 1.) Breville Juicer. 2.) Apples, spinach and cucumbers 3.) Reusable Straws Ok, can you tell I’m obsessed with juicing? I seriously can’t go a day without making at least one fresh pressed juice. Juice for life!
NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: Ice cream. Specifically soft serve vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. I used to spend my summers working in an ice cream shop that only fueled my addiction and taught me one of my best-kept hidden talents… I can make a perfect ice cream cone. I’m serious and happy to show you anytime.
EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: Pilates of course! I make sure that I give myself some type of a mat workout every day. It keeps my body flexible, balanced and centers my mind.
FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Anything that my husband cooks. I’m lucky to have a wannabe chef husband who is one of the healthiest cooks I know. He has a way of mixing love into all of his meals and never settles for putting just anything down on a plate. I’d have to say my favorite dish is his signature miso marinated grilled salmon served over baby kale greens with a lemon vinaigrette and side of herbed quinoa. Hungry yet?
MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: Keep it simple! Don’t over think and over complicate your life. The number one trick to being healthy is to use common sense. Exercise. Eat REAL foods. Drink lots of water. Get outside. Do things that make you happy. Try living by these standards for just one week and you’ll see that life is a lot sunnier without all the added substitutes. Only YOU are in charge of your life, so start living it today!
If you’d like to be featured as one of my Healthy Chicks in the Community, or know someone who you want to make blush, email me for more deets. And remember, if you aren’t feeling your healthiest self or are struggling to make positive changes, shoot me an email anytime to schedule your FREE 15-minute info session / sign up for one of my health coaching programs.
SIDE NOTE: Boston Fitness Peeps! Check out my blog friend Little Miss Runshine’s upcoming Spinathon on 5/18 to raise money for the Pan Mass Challenge fundraising for Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Learn more here or register/donate over here. There’s some pretty sweet spin instructors on the list!
Last night, I was invited to attend “New Year, NEW YOU!” a fitness-inspired fashion event at Athleta on Newbury Street. Since I love fitness and fashion (well, when it comes to my workout gear) I was IN.
The event was hosted by Eventbrite and Athleta, two fabulous community-oriented companies in my book, so unsurprisingly was a huge hit. The evening entailed a sneak peek at Athleta’s new spring line, with local fitness teachers walking around to mingle and show off their beautiful clothes.
When I walked in there was a great crowd of ladies, all looking to have a good time and get their Fitness & Fashion on! After I signed in and chatted with some of the management team, I head over to the apps & drinks table to grab some quick, healthy bites. I filled my plate with a variety of cheese, some toasted pita, hummus and stuffed grape leaves and also snagged a Peach HINT Fizz for a light and tasty treat.
I was so excited to see Melina’s juice (from e.t.c Juicery) being served too! “How cool, I know her!” It’s safe to say her new juice is going to be a hit, as I went up for two cups myself while I was there.
Speaking of familiar names and faces, one of the first fitness models I saw was Kristy, someone I used to work with a while back at one of my first jobs in Boston, and who I ran into again at Ombe (where she now works) a few months ago.
[Kristy (left) posing with two other Athleta Fitness Fashionistas]
I also chatted with some other fabulous ladies along the way, all looking chic in their Athleta-wear.
[The whole group of stylish ladies smiling big!]
[Me & the ever-so-graceful Pilates teacher Swan Lyon]
It was so nice seeing all of these strong, fit, happy ladies. They’re ALL Healthy Chicks in my book.
We had so much fun chatting about life, positive affirmations, fitness and nutrition. In fact, I was so touched by her words that I even bought her “Create the Best Life Ever” Positive Affirmation cards, which I think will be a wonderful addition for my own practice with yoga and meditation, and to use with my clients during health coaching.
I then went picture-crazy, trying to capture all of my favorite Athleta items & colors:
Overall, it was a wonderful evening filled with inspiring ladies, delicious food (and drinks), and incredible fashion. I also can’t get over how lovely Athleta’s store is, from the lighting to the impeccable layout. If you haven’t stopped in yet, you MUST. Just head on over to 92 Newbury Street, and I promise you’ll be in for a treat.
What’s your go-to fashion style during an exercise? Comfy & casual? Cute & fitted? Colorful or neutrals?Share below! P.S. If you haven’t already done so, please go check out my Healthy Chicks in the Community initiative. I’d love to get as many fabulous ladies involved as possible!
[family hiking trip in Waterville Valley, NH this past weekend]
As you know, I am an avid fan of running mostly due to it’s hidden benefits none of which include losing weight or getting “skinny.” Sure, these are extra perks that may come along with exercising, but they’re not the main reason I run. Rather, I run for clarity, creative sparks (i.e. coming up with a fabulous idea for a new project), getting outside and de-stressing.
I find that when you exercise for weight loss or to obtain that perfect celebrity bikini body it takes all the fun out. And well, when you take the fun out of something, what’s the point?
Exercise should be exciting, invigorating, motivational and even a little surprising. It should challenge you, make you sweat, make you laugh and even make you cry (in a good way like the tears that came when I ran my first half marathon with thousands of other women).
On the other hand, it should not make you feel bad about yourself, evoke jealousy, create anger and bring out insecurities. If a certain exercise is causing this negative impact, you may want to rethink it; most likely there is something out there for you that’ll better suit your needs and your body.
After all, everyone has their own exercise that does this, just as everyone has a certain diet or skin care regime that works best for you. This is an example of bio-individuality, something I learned through my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and incorporate in my health counseling practice every day. Basically, it means that everyone has their own personalized roadmap to health, and what may be one woman’s medicine could be another’s poison.
My “medicine” cabinet in the exercise realm includes running, hiking, skiing, long walks, core fusion, group fitness classes (particularly spinning, step and kickboxing) and Vinyasa yoga. I do not, however, enjoy Pilates, competitive sports, or extreme bootcamp style classes.
A few years ago, I read in a magazine that all the hot celebrities were doing Pilates to develop long and lean bodies, so I thought “I can do that too. I can become long and lean like them.” Well guess what, I hated it, and haven’t set food in a Pilates studio again. It doesn’t make Pilates “good” or “bad.” It doesn’t make me lame or a quitter. It simply wasn’t right for me, and so I moved on.
If you loathe running and never want to be a runner, fine. If you’d rather kayak or spin the day away than set foot in a yoga studio, have no shame. If something simply isn’t for you, it does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you unique. It makes you who you are.
So go ahead and explore different exercise routines to find what works best for you. What makes you feel good inside, fills you up and gives you the motivation to do it over and over again?
What types of exercise get your heart racing, and most importantly makes you feel your best self?
I have to admit: While I consider myself a health and fitness enthusiast, I know very little about Pilates. I tried a class a few years ago at my local gym and boy was it a challenge (in a good way of course). Let’s just say every participant in the class was 100% ripped (especially the instructor), and my abs hurt for the next three days.
However, that one little class is the extent of my Pilates knowledge. But there has got to be more to it than that! After all, magazines rave about how it’s the most amazing workout for your body, and celebrities swear by it. So what is it that makes this exercise so darn great?
Since clearly I don’t know the answer to that, I interviewed Pilates instructor Jennifer Blaine of Jennifer Pilates to find out more about this mysterious, miracle exercise. With studio locations in Boston and on Cape Cod Jennifer truly does live and breathe Pilates. Alas, I’ll give the floor to her…
RC: When were you first introduced to Pilates?
JB: I was introduced to Pilates in 1997 after being in a car accident in Boulder, Colorado. I had such severe internal tissue damage and Pilates was actually recommended from my doctor. So I rehabbed with it for about two years…
RC: Wow, you’ve come so far! How did you get to where you are today?
JB: Well one day one of my instructors couldn’t show up to class and asked if I could sub in, since I’d been there for two years. So I kind of helped out a little bit that day, and from then on Pilates changed my life…I left my corporate job and dove into Pilates. It really was a blessing in disguise.
RC: That sure is. What’s unique about your background?
JB: I’m trained as a classical third-generation master Pilates instructor, derived from the classical methods of Joseph Pilates himself from the “Harvard of Pilates Schools” The Pilates Center of Boulder, Colorado.
RC: And you have locations in both Boston and Cape Cod? Or do you just stay here in Boston?
JB: I’m in Boston [at the Newbury Street location] three days a week and on the Cape (at the Osterville location) two days a week.
RC: Wow, that’s great. You’re a busy girl! What’s something you would tell someone who knows NOTHING about Pilates (like myself) or may be weary to try it out?
JB: Pilates is great because virtually anyone can do it. I have clients who are 8 years old and clients who are 90 years old. It’s especially great for people looking for something new.
Pilates works from the core outward so in one session you’re working your entire body from head to toe. There’s no messing around…you’re in, you’re working and then you’re out. It’s just so wonderful…I don’t even feel like I’m working out. With Pilates you really can get a great workout in just an hour.
RC: That’s wonderful! I know some people who spend hours at the gym only to see no results. How is Pilates beneficial to your body?
JB: Well, after 10 sessions, you’re really feeling a difference in your body. After 20 sessions, you’re beginning to SEE a difference—losing inches, toning, strengthening, and gaining stamina. Then after 30 sessions you completely change your body and really see such a big difference. After all, the sessions are 50% stretching, 50% strengthening.
RC: What is some of the feedback you’ve heard from clients? Any unique stories?
JB: I have a golf pro who has been following me from my studios forever because I changed his golf game. Everyone asks him, “What happened? What did you do?” Focusing on the core outward really changed his body and his game…his ball is now going further and straighter.
I’ve also worked with downhill skiers and tennis pros in helping them stay in tune with their bodies. Even clients returning after having twins who are trying to find their abdominals again. Pilates is great for everyone!
RC: That’s amazing that it’s extremely versatile, good for both men and women. What are your other hobbies and interests besides Pilates?
JB: I’m an avid golfer and an avid tennis player. I also enjoy skiing, hiking, boating and sailing. I’m a real outdoorsy girl. The ocean is a big part of my life in the summer and skiing is a big part in the wintertime. And so is Pilates of course. I practice what I preach!
RC: Definitely, it makes all the difference when you’re doing what you love. Thanks Jennifer!
Purchase your very own private session with Jennifer Blaine today! Click here for more info.
[Interview also featured at CoupMe.com]