Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WRITE IT DOWN

Lately I've been all about planning. I've always been an organized person, but there's just something about having a list of things to complete that makes me feel so powerful. 

This summer, I wrote in one of my posts that I wanted to expand fitness-wise. I wanted to venture out and become a representative of other gyms, following my passion of teaching fitness classes. It was just a goal. A goal that I wrote down. A goal that I thought about. A goal that I accomplished.

Since that post, I've gotten a job teaching at Gold's Gym and Prana Yoga Studio. It doesn't sound like such a big deal, but let me tell you, it is. I am so blessed to have been welcomed with open arms by such loving individuals that make me ecstatic to come to work. I've met so many new people, learned so many new exercises and styles of teaching, and my confidence levels have soared through the roof. I am SO happy. 

I don't believe that I would have followed my goal in that short amount of time had I not announced it to the public. There was just something about having written it down that motivated me to complete this goal of expanding. 

So, I invite you to write down a goal of yours. It can be realistic. It can be grandiose. It can be small. It can be huge. It can be simple. It can be nearly impossible. Whatever your goal may be, write it down, because it brings you one step closer to completion. 

Remember that anything is possible if you just breathe strength. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

BUTT

The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body. Let's work it.

Ready to feel the burn? Put on Trey Songs' "Oh Nana" and do these moves to the beat. Complete sixteen repetitions of each exercise. Start with the right leg, and complete three rounds of this circuit before switching to the left leg:



Fire hydrants:
On your hands and knees, abduct your bent leg. Pause for a moment, and return it back to the starting position. Keep your back straight and core tight. Kind of like a dog marking his territory!


Kick up pulses:
On your hands and knees, raise your bent leg as high as you can while maintaining proper alignment. Flex your foot, and pulse it up and down. This is a very little movement. Challenge yourself to keep your leg as high as you can.


Kick ins:
On your hands and knees, point your right toes and bring your foot to the bottom right corner. Keep your leg straight as you bring your right leg up towards the top left corner. Return the leg and tap your pointed toes where you began.


Kick outs:
On your hands and knees, point your right toes and bring your foot to the bottom left corner, crossing your stationary left leg. Keep your leg straight as you bring your right leg up towards the top right corner. Return the leg and tap your pointed toes where you began.

If this circuit is too difficult, complete eight repetitions of each exercise. If it's too easy, add some ankle weights, baby!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

POWER

Russ got me a pull-up bar in February 2013. I couldn't do a single pull-up.
I'd hang on the bar and try to pull myself up. I'd fail. 
I'd jump up and slowly lower myself down. 
I'd repeat. 
I'd statically hold myself up for five seconds. 
I'd repeat. 
I'd do this every single time I entered and exited my room. 
Two weeks later I was doing a complete pull-up. 
Two months later I was doing six in a row.

For those of you who've never attempted pull-ups, they're hard. 
The average amount that a woman can do is zero.
I never expected that in such a short amount of time, my body could develop the muscular strength and endurance to pull myself completely up from a hanging position. Multiple times.
I experimented this with a few of my clients, using the assisted pull-up machine. Before I knew it, they were doing unassisted pull-ups as well.

Our bodies are amazing. Truly amazing. We have the power to become so strong and fit, and all it takes is a little determination, repetition, and hard work.
Let this be your Sunday motivation.
Don't give up on your body; it is capable of amazing things.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

SUNDAY WORKOUT

It's Sunday. It's a beautiful day. Start it off right.

For me, working out in the morning makes my whole day better. I feel so strong, energized and happy, and it sets the tone for a positive, eventful day. The endorphins that are released as you exercise instantly change your mood, taking your mind off stress and worries. You feel on top of the world after pushing yourself to your limits and challenging your body. Let's start this Sunday off right.

Whatever you do, get moving. Put on your sneakers and go.
Walk.
Jog.
Run.
Sprint.
Hop, skip, lunge around your yard.
Go to the gym.
Take a spin class.

Or, you can do my workout. Challenge yourself. Try this.

40 high knees
10 burpees
10 push ups
50 bicycle crunches
repeat.

20 squat jacks
10 squat jumps
20 curtsy lunges
40 kick backs
repeat.

20 plank jacks
20 mountain climbers
20 double crunches
20 reverse crunches
repeat.

Happy Sunday!


Friday, August 1, 2014

NATURAL BEAUTY





Natural beauty is everywhere. 
Natural beauty is often overlooked.

Living in the moment is tough, especially with the mental stresses of everyday life. School, jobs, relationships and responsibilities hinder our abilities to simply just be. Our minds wander instead of observe our surroundings, and it's difficult to appreciate the beauty around us unless we are completely invested in it. 

For seventeen years, I was surrounded with my mom's breathtaking creations. She spent countless hours in her garden, tending to each plant, to each flower, to each pedal. She made sure our yard brought happiness and peace, herbs, tomatoes and pea pods. We were constantly visited by beautiful butterflies, dragonflies, tree frogs, turtles and other little, adorable creatures. Looking back at the pictures of her gardens brings me so much joy. She truly enhanced the natural beauty of my first seventeen years of life.
Two years ago we moved three houses down the street from my mom's dream home. The same pond that was once in my backyard is now in my front yard. The pond brings memories of my previous house. I used to look out my bedroom window and see my parents in the rowboat, my mom's feet dangled in the fresh water as my dad navigated throughout the pond. I see the same pond when I look out the window of my current bedroom, but my mom is not in the rowboat this time, her ashes are in the water. It's beautiful.

This summer, I have began to create my own natural beauty. I'm finally grasping the art of gardening, and it's very rewarding. I love seeing my flowers bloom and displaying them in vases around my house. I love dragging the hose around my property, not only because I get to water my plants and fill my bird baths, but also because dragging that hose around gets my heart rate up faster than burpees do!  I've also created a miniature pond in my yard, complete with lilly pads, a water lilly, 5 goldfish and a koi fish! Sitting next to my pond, looking at my beautiful creations while drinking green juice is certainly one of my favorite ways to start a summer morning. Next stop: growing baby tomatoes!

Remember to see, don't just look at, the beauty that surrounds you everywhere. You can create your own happiness by allowing yourself to observe and appreciate the nature that is so easily overlooked.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

HAPPINESS

This summer is magical. I dedicate a lot of time to me. I surround myself with positive, happy people. I spend time in nature, exploring, relaxing, and working out. I nourish my body with healthy food, and still allow myself to indulge in my favorites. I don't dread working, because I love my jobs. 
It's all about happiness.

As I'm getting older, I'm learning a lot about myself. I watch people stress over issues that they create, and I naturally want to help them. I want to explain to them that life doesn't have to be hard. I see life differently than most. This quality is hereditary, but can be passed on to all.

My mom used to say, "You're as happy as you want to be." I understand it now.

You decide how to handle each situation.
You create the life you want to live.
You choose who you associate with.
If something doesn't feel right, you have the power to change it.

Because the future is unpredictable, it is important to live the life you deserve. Nobody deserves to be unhappy, unhealthy, or unsuccessful. Make time for yourself. Discover your aspiration. Chase it. Work towards your goals, and enjoy every step it takes to get there. There will be setbacks, but you must overcome them with a smile. If you do not invest in yourself, in your happiness, nobody will.

My aspiration? I plan to own my own gym.
But that's a while from now. I am working towards it, taking baby steps and enjoying every second it it. I have gotten myself into the fitness industry, and will use this coming year to achieve more certifications. I plan to expand my services to a few more gyms, teaching an array of fitness classes and meeting individuals who will help me grow in many ways. I plan to continue my beach boot camp into the fall. I plan to smile the entire time. 

Always remember to make time for yourself and discover what it is that you're working towards. You will get there. All it takes is positivity, support, perseverance, and time. You will get there.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

AERIAL



Last Monday was Russ' 22nd birthday. 
As his girlfriend, it's my job to make sure his day is absolutely spectacular. 

After four years, there's not much we haven't done together, and I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to come up with something that would top his previous birthdays (Splish Splash, private safari ride, ballroom dancing, surprise party in NYC). Then, his wonderful mama suggested zip lining at Adventure Park in Wheatley Heights. I knew he'd love it.

Adventure Park opened on June 21st, only nine days before we went, so we were thrilled that it wasn't crowded. We got harnessed up and began our journey into the trees. As personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts, we were excited to push ourselves to see if we could complete each course. There are eight courses that are set up like ski slopes, ranging from least difficult to most difficult. We had a 3.5 hour time slot to complete as many as we could. 

Each course took about one hour. The obstacles required a lot of core strength (thank you, bosu ball!) and upper body strength (thank you, pull-up bar!). We encouraged each other and strategized the best and fastest way to get to each platform. After two hours of hard work and depleting energy, the birthday boy was ready to tackle the double black diamond.

Just looking at the course made me nervous, but Russ encouraged me to try it. I knew I'd regret not attempting it, so I followed my 22-year-old on to double black diamond. The second obstacle required you to walk on spinning, wooden wheels. I took two steps and instantly fell onto the wire. My arms were scraped and slightly bleeding, but I followed Russ' voice and finally met him to continue onto the next one. After he completed it, he coached me through. That one was even worse. I don't even remember doing it. I couldn't feel my hands, and didn't know if my bruising arms could handle any more pressure. They said the course gets harder as you go, and that freaked me out. Russ calmed me down and looked ahead, we decided that there wasn't a shot I could complete the course with aching hands, so he called for one of the employees to come rescue me. What a guy.

I watched my superman complete the double black diamond. I have no idea how he did it; the obstacles were insanely difficult. They said this course was used for military and police training, and half of the guys couldn't even complete it. I was so impressed with and proud of Russ!

After using up all the energy that our 10 a.m. egg sandwiches gave us, we traveled to Hempstead to get Russ his favorite sandwich: The Coyote. I'm talking chicken cutlet, melted mozzarella, bacon, waffle fries, and ranch on a garlic hero. CHEAT DAY! We ended his birthday celebration with a present (a new bike which deserves its own blog post), seeing Transformers, and eating homemade fruit pie. It was a beautiful day.

Give Adventure Park a try! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BEACH BOOT CAMP







Last summer, I started my own business.

Beach Boot Camp is an exercise class designed to instantly melt fat off of your body. I combine tabata, or high intensity interval training (hiit), with circuit training to result in the ultimate full-body work out. You are guaranteed to walk out of my class dripping with sweat and confidence. The best part of all? We have fun doing it. We incorporate water balloons, partner workouts, burpee-penalties, medicine ball crunch tosses, and many more activities to bring each client together to form a sense of unity.

My class has come a long way since last summer. Boot Camp is taught in my personal workout studio, on my lawn, and some classes take place on the beach in my backyard. I now have durable floor mats to decrease shock when doing jumping exercises and two walls with mirrors to make sure everyone's form is on point. I have a mini fridge stocked with water and gatorade and I often offer a "juice of the day," where we all take shots of green juice after our workout.

All ages and fitness levels are welcome to take my class; the style allows each individual to work out to the best of their individual ability. This is because my workouts are not counted, they're timed. Each person is working to beat their personal best. I take note of any injuries or limitations and offer modifications to each exercise, so everyone can do it!

Beach Boot Camp Schedule: 5/27-7/31
Tuesdays 10-11a (abs)
Tuesdays 7-8p (abs & arms)
Wednesdays 10-11a (legs & butt)
Thursdays 7-8p (legs & butt)

Prices:
$15/class
$50/5 classes
$100/unlimited classes
*if you bring a friend you get $5 off whichever payment plan you choose.

I encourage everyone to try my class. Even if it's just once.
I want to show you what a real workout feels like.
Bring you friends, bring your mom!
You won't be able to walk for a few days, but hey.
It's worth it.

If you're interested in trying out my class or personal training with me, email charlottesmuller@gmail.com.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

MORE IS LESS

My clients: "Charlotte, I'm not losing weight!"
Me: "Well, what are you eating?"
My clients: "I'm eating under 1200 calories a day!"
Me: "No. What are you eating?"

It's a common misconception that less is more. Don't get me wrong, weight loss is a science, but eating under 1200 calories of saturated fat and sugar ain't gonna get you anywhere. As we age, our metabolisms are slowing down and it becomes more difficult to lose weight. Especially for women. 

You're not losing weight? Here's why.

Mistake #1: Skipping Breakfast
Why do you think it's known as the most important meal of the day?! 
Eating in the morning wakes up your metabolism, which converts the nutrients that you put into your body into energy to use throughout the day. Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism and leaves you energy-deprived.
My advice: Drink a glass of water and then EAT! Even if you're not hungry, have something small. Have an apple, a banana, a piece of toast with a tablespoon of almond butter, half an avocado, make juice, just put nutrients in your body that can be used to energize you!

Mistake #2: Eating Too Much
Three big meals a day, right? Wrong. Eat small meals & healthy snacks when you're hungry. Don't starve yourself in preparation for an anticipated night out. When you eat only three (or less) meals, you're more likely to make unhealthy decisions. 
My advice: Keep a bunch of healthy snacks with you at all times. Put some almonds in your pocket, keep an apple in your purse, and never leave the house if you're hungry!

Mistake #3: Counting Calories
I don't believe in counting calories. When I first switched to a healthy lifestyle, I loved watching the excess fat on my body fall off. I used apps to scan the labels of my food and keep track of how many calories I was taking in. That only made me want to fill my daily threshold, and if I had calories left over at the end of the day, I would eat candy bars to fill it! Gross! 
My advice: Just eat healthy. If you're eating an unlimited amount of vegetables, lean protein, fruit, and whole grains, you're good. Don't go overboard with looking at food labels, just make healthy decisions. Stress takes a toll on the body, and if you're stressing out about how many calories are in something, you're doing more harm than good. 

Mistake #4: Not Drinking Enough Water
Your body needs needs neeeeeeds water. A lot of it. Keeping yourself properly hydrated will keep headaches away, keep your immune system sharp and healthy, moisturize your skin, flush out toxins, and help you lose weight. When you think you're hungry, try drinking a big glass of water before eating. A lot of the times you're just thirsty (or bored)!
My advice: Carry around a water bottle all the time. Constantly keep hydrating yourself, especially if you're working out or it's a hot day!

Mistake #5: Not Sleeping Enough
Your body needs time to recharge. Sleep deprivation leaves you tired and can make you feel depressed, which makes you crave unhealthy snacks (emotional eating is too common. I do it, too). 
My advice: Make sleep a priority. Go to bed early and wake up feeling refreshed. Don't watch tv, text, or play on your iPad right before sleeping. Make your bed a wonderland with soft sheets, comfortable pillows, and blankets to throw on if you get cold throughout the night. A comfortable bed makes it easier to sleep straight through the night!

If you slip up once, so be it. You're only human. 

You're entitled to a cookie, just don't have the whole box. 
You can have a cup of ice cream, just don't get seconds.
You can eat an unhealthy meal, just do better next time.

It's important to realize that weight loss is a process. Quick fixes, like counting calories and complete restriction, will get the weight off, but you'll gain it right back. Changing your daily habits will make life much easier. Remember to love yourself throughout the journey. Invest in your body.

Friday, June 20, 2014

MORNING




Ever since I lightened my workload for the summer, I've had a lot of time to dedicate to myself. 
It's important to have time to yourself, especially mornings. This morning, I woke up (after Russ snoozed his 7:30am alarm five times) and craved the outdoors. My bed is across from two windows, so it's calming to wake up and hear the sounds of nature so early. 

I put on my robe, drank a big glass of water, and made myself my favorite green juice: apple, spinach, cucumber, and mint leaves. The combination of each makes a sweet, healthy taste that wakes you up better than a grande iced caramel macchiato. After my juice, I walked barefoot to the beach, which is conveniently right in my backyard. I let the sand exfoliate my feet and concentrated on my breathing, in through my nose and out through my mouth. After the beach, I traveled to the other side of my property where my workout studio is, put on Pandora (Ciara radio), and did a twenty-minute upper body circuit:

12 shoulder front & side raises on the bosu
12 shoulder presses
12 bicep curls
repeat 2x

12 each single arm overhead tricep extension
12 double arm overhead tricep extension
15 each arm tricep kickbacks
repeat 2x

15 chest flys on yoga ball
12 each single arm chest press
12 each arm rows
repeat 2x

Whatever the rest of this gorgeous Friday brings, I'm ready. 
Have a beautiful, healthy day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ATTIRE


I used to work out in an old t-shirt and guys basketball shorts.
Then, I switched to TJMaxx's exercise clothing.
THEN, I discovered Lululemon Athletica.

When I'm working out, I find that I go so much harder when I feel good about myself. I don't feel pretty in old t-shirts. I need workout attire that flatters me, makes me feel fit and motivates me to keep going. I like looking polished and girly as I sweat my butt off. That's why I wear lululemon.

The quality of their products is amazing. It's stretchy, yet bodycon. It's not too tight to the point where you're uncomfortable. The material allows you to breathe. They hem your pants for you before you purchase them so they fit custom to your body. Their shorts, yoga crops and full length pants have this elasticity about them that allow you to jump higher, sprint faster, and work harder. They have sports bras for all types of exercise; from yoga to high intensity interval training, and they all flatter your body to make you feel sexy and confident. 

I was ecstatic when I found out about the r and d program- trainers and group fitness instructors get a discount! Best of all, they offer complimentary yoga in the store on Sundays!

It's worth it to feel good about yourself when working out. Put on a little mascara, put your hair in a cute top knot, throw on a lululemon outfit and go hard! 

Do you have a favorite workout clothing brand? I'd love to hear!

FAVORITES

Summertime food is my favorite food. 
Fruits are fresh and herbs are home-grown, leaving you satisfied after every meal. 

For me, breakfast is the meal most looked forward to. I love the saying "Sleep is like a time machine to breakfast" because that is exactly how I feel. There are so many variations and I just love coming up with different ways to pair my favorite foods.

Avocado. It is my absolute favorite. You can eat it straight up, with a spoon. You can mash it and substitute it for butter on whole grain toast. You can dice it up and throw it on top of your salad. You can toss it in the blender and make your breakfast smoothie that much better. You can put it in the middle of a vegetable & egg white omelette. You can use it as dip for carrot and celery sticks. The possibilities are endless.

Be careful, though. These babies are high in fat, and even though it's good fat, they can still make you gain weight. Stick to 1/3 to 1/2 of an avocado per day!

I just love mixing fruits and vegetables together to make the ultimate salad. 
The combination of cucumbers, red peppers, spinach, tomato, avocado, strawberries, and grapes is one of my all time favorites. It's so fresh; so summery and delicious. For protein, I love adding black beans or grilled chicken into the mix!

Making smoothies and juice is key during the hot months of summer. They keep you refreshed and energized, and there are so many options to satisfy any craving. 

I LOVE CHOCOLATE. I love it. There is not an hour that goes by where I don't crave chocolate.

One of my go-to smoothies: 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup dark chocolate almond milk, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. IT'S SO GOOD. Since my days are often busy and filled with fitness, I make chocolate protein shakes as well. I use chocolate Vega One plant based protein with 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/2 frozen banana.

My favorite juice recipe: 1 apple, 5 cups spinach, 1 cucumber, and 1/4 lemon. It's so refreshing and keeps me energized. I love topping my juices with home-grown mint leaves!

What about you? I'd love to hear about your favorite summer food!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

WHERE IT ALL STARTED



They say every unfortunate experience leads to something beautiful. I say so, too. 

I never thought I'd be the girl to lose a parent so early. 
My mom was petite, gorgeous, fun-loving, active, and stress-free. 
She knew the answers to everything. She gave the best advice. She listened.
I was seventeen years old when she unexpectedly lost her life. It sucked. It was because of Heart Disease. The number one killer in America.

You would never know that inside that small, thin body, there was such danger. 
A year later, I learned that my body was taking after my mom's. Not only (fortunately) on the outside, but (unfortunately) on the inside as well.

My doctor terrified me into thinking that 25 mg of Crestor was the only option to lower my cholesterol, which was 340 (normal cholesterol is <200). My oldest sister, Gretchen, told me otherwise. She told me to change my diet; that's where it all started. 

My boyfriend, Russ, changed his diet with me. (He's a 200 lb muscle man who ate only vegetables and beans to support his girlfriend. He's a keeper.) At first, the diet change was horrible. I craved pizza, cookies and soda. But it got easier. My cholesterol levels dropped, a bit, I lost a little weight, and I began to crave healthy foods. When he knew I was able to handle it alone, Russ went back to the protein-packed meals that his body needed.

Russ, who is an expert on human anatomy and physiology, explained to me that I could lower my levels even more by working out. Dating a guy with biceps the size of your head is a plus when you know nothing about working out. I used to put sweatpants over my jeans while changing for gym class. I used to run a mile in 14 minutes. That was 2011.


Fast forward to now, June 15, 2014.


I am a personal trainer.
I am group fitness instructor.  
I am a fitness business owner.
I have trained over 100 clients in 9 months.
I can run 6.2 miles without stopping.
I can squat 125 lbs. 12 times for 3 sets.
I have lowered my cholesterol 161 points.

Health and fitness is my life. 
For the rest of my life, I plan to help others.
I plan to introduce healthy options and motivate people to better themselves.

If I had never lost my mom, I wouldn't have gotten my cholesterol checked for years. I would have continued to eat deep fried, cheese-filled, sugar-infested food. I would have laughed when asked to work out.  I would have been so internally unhealthy. It would have taken a toll on my life.

I am so fortunate to have had my mom for seventeen long, memorable, loving years. 
I miss her with every last bit of me. I think about her every day. I do things in her memory. I wear her ashes around my neck. I see myself developing similarities and constantly reminding myself of her. I love it.

She saved my life.