Disney’s Saratoga Springs Fitness Center


Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort is a deluxe resort at Walt Disney World located across the street from Downtown Disney. They have a world-class spa, Senses, and a fitness center. The fitness center is 24-hours and has state-of-the-art equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines, stair climbers, free weights and strength-training equipment.

When I worked out at Saratoga Springs, I was blown away by the luxury of the fitness center. They have a towel service, fruit-infused water and plenty of equipment. You will not have to wait for a treadmill in this huge gym. This is one of the best fitness centers in all of Disney World.

Have you worked out at Saratoga Springs? What did you think?

Star Wars Half Marathon


The Star Wars Half Marathon registration is opened and it’s not too late to register! This fun-filled event consists of a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Rebel Challenge and is held on the weekend of January 14-17 in Disneyland.

I hope that I can do the Star Wars Half Marathon and the Disney Princess Half Marathon to earn my coast to coast in 2016! Who’s with me? Has anyone else ever done the Star Wars Half? What did you think?

Trend Five: Virtual Races

Virtual RacesI not ashamed to admit that I’m all about that bling. I run for the medals. I love looking at them, collecting them and hanging them in my office. In 2014, I made a goal to run a half marathon a month, which I did, and I love looking at my bling to remind me of achieving that goal.


Signing up for a race usually goes like this.


Months prior: That race sounds awesome! I can’t wait to sign up.

Weeks prior: Oh gosh, that race is coming up, I better train.

Days prior: I hope I’m ready for that race.

The night before: I’m nervous for the race.

The morning of: Why did I sign up for this race??


The only thing that keeps me going is the thought of holding the cold medal in my hand and hanging it around my neck afterwards.

Virtual Race

But not every race has bling. I’ve only seen a few 5Ks that gave out participant medals. Also, races can pose a scheduling challenge and it can be difficult to find races in certain areas.


Enter, the virtual race. A virtual race is a race that can be run in any location; on your treadmill, in your neighborhood or a different race. The website, WillRunForBling offers a variety of medals on virtual run dates.


It works like this:

  1. Choose a virtual race date/distance.
  2. On that date; run.
  3. Order your bling.



Virtual Run

My kids and I ran the McAdenville Christmas 5K and I was so proud of them for completing a race! But, they were used to seeing mommy get race medals, so they were pretty disappointed when they didn’t get a participant medal at the finish line. So, I simply went on WillRunForBling and ordered the AWESOME Christmas Story Leg Lamp medal for both my kiddos for finishing the race.


So, who is this for?

If you don’t live close a city that conducts races, this is perfect for you. Also, if you would like to dip your feet in the water of racing, but don’t want the pressure of getting up early, picking up your packet, using the porta-potty or waiting around in the cold for your race to start, this is perfect for you. This is also a great motivator for kids. If you want to get your kids started in running, they will be inspired by looking at what they can earn for their hard work.


Virtual RunWho shouldn’t try it?

I definitely encourage runners, new and established, to get out there and run races in person. There is nothing like experiencing the anxiety, thrill and rush of racing to keep you motivated. I wouldn’t encourage runners to solely rely upon virtual races, but it’s a great addition to your repertoire.

Virtual Race

Have you tried a virtual race?





Trend 4: Green Tea Matcha

Green tea matcha is all the rage right now in the fitness industry because of its tremendous health and weight loss benefits. Green tea matcha, is a finely ground powder. Matcha is the only tea in which the entire leaf is consumed, which contributes to the outstanding health benefits.Green Tea Matcha

Green tea matcha is full of antioxidants, cancer-fighting polyphenols and vitamins A, K, C, B-complex and K. The biggest benefit of green tea matcha is EGCg (epigallo-catechin gallate). EGCg is a powerful cancer-fighting agent and helps fights against free radicals, including pollution, UV rays and chemicals.

Green matcha has also been shown to contribute to weight loss, as it boosts metabolism and burns fat. This article by Dr. Oz talks about starting your day with a green tea matcha smoothie to boost weight loss. An article on Livestrong by Alexandra Vairo mentions a study that demonstrated that green tea matcha reduced individuals BMI and weight circumfrance…simply by ingesting the green tea matcha powder! Men who had green tea matcha powder were shown to lose 5.3 pounds compared to those who didn’t take the supplement that only lost 2.9 pounds! Sign me up!

So this morning I whipped up a quick green tea matcha smoothie with spinach, green tea matcha powder, protein powder, half a banana and almond milk. It was delish!

Green Tea MatchaIt is so simple and I was able to concoct it quickly before going into the office. I sipped it on my way in and I devoured it before I arrived uptown.

There are many ways you can combine your favs in a smoothie, but here is my recipe:


1 tsp green tea matcha powder (culinary grade – can buy on Amazon)

1 scoop Unjury Protein Powder (vanilla)

1/2 cup raw baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (unsweet)

1/2 frozen banana

Blend with ice and that’s it!

I also bought The Republic of Tea Green Tea Matcha tea packets for hot tea in the morning. I’m trying to replace my morning coffee with

Have you tried green tea matcha? Do you drink it hot or cold?it.

Trend 3: Trendy Gym

Trendy GymSo today was a big day for me. I moved from my home office to a permanent work space uptown. One of the perks of working uptown is access to trend-setting gyms with little luxuries that my local gym doesn’t provide, like towel service, trendy classes and a plethora of new exercise equipment. I fell in love with their indoor pool and already saw several new classes that I must add to my routine. More on that later…

Today I made the trek over to the gym during lunch and eked out a quick 30-minute run. I was in and out within 45 minutes, including my quick shower. I returned to work invigorated and it was a great way to step away from my desk and get reenergized.

Should you join a gym?

I thought about this a lot during my run and I honestly can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from joining a gym. If you work outside the home, find a gym near your work and you can workout before work, during lunch or before you head home. You can even use hitting gym as way to avoid rush hour traffic, using your gym time to hit the road during a less-traveled time. If you are a stay-at-home parent, find a gym that offers free childcare. It’s a great perk for parents and kids. My daughter comes with me to our hometown gym with child watch and she loves it because they offer kids fitness classes in the gymnastics studio. She can practice her flips and jump in a foam pit while I’m getting my sweat on. It’s a win-win!

A gym is great for beginners, intermediate and advanced exercisers. There are classes on yoga, step, weights, athletic conditioning and more. There are treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and rowers. If you lift weights, you can choose between weight machines, free weights or weight classes. You can play a game of basketball on the court and or get in a few laps swimming in the indoor pool. No matter what your fitness preference, there is something for you at the gym. I love this uptown gym because of the little extra perks that make life a little more comfortable. It’s definitely designed for the working professional who needs to get in and get out quick.

Who shouldn’t try it?

Honestly, the only reason I can see for not joining a gym is financial. However, the YMCA will work with individuals to develop a monthly rate that works for their budget. There are also Groupons and Living Social deals for gyms frequently,

Are you a member of a gym? Do you prefer to work out at a gym or at home?

Trend 2 – Turbo Kickbox

KickboxThere’s kickbox, then there’s turbo kickbox. One small word, one big difference. Turbo is derived from the Greek word τύρβη, meaning “wake”. This makes sense since turbo kickbox completely woke up muscles that I didn’t know existed.

I walked into class and stood nervously near the front row since it was my first time and I needed to see the instructor. A tiny blonde powerhouse popped up onto the stage and provided a disclaimer that we could march in place if we got lost in the movement, which would be likely if it was our first time. She warned us that the class was “turbo” kicked and movements were fast and furious, but it was important to keep moving.

She pumped up the music and I immediately got into the groove when I heard Iggy’s Black Widow. The music was on super speed, and so was the instructor! I seriously think she took speed before the class because I don’t know how she moved so fast.

We did a series of kicks, jumping jacks, jabs, upper cuts and punches. While the moves were challenging, they were easy to learn and it was also easy to scale.

Should you try it?

This is a great workout for all fitness levels. If you are advanced, you can kick the class up a notch with more explosive movements, but if you are just beginning you can march in place or take the lower intensity option. It is also great for beginners because the movements are simple and easy to learn. I was sweating all over the place and it was a great cardio workout. There was no equipment, so it’s super easy to pop in and pop out.

Who won’t like it

If you don’t like loud music or group classes, this may not be your cup of tea. Personally, I love the music and group atmosphere, but I’ve been in classes where people complain about the volume of music to the instructor and wear cotton balls in their ears during the class. Please don’t be that person.

Also, this class is super fast paced and has choreographed moves. Again, not for everyone.

Kickbox offers many benefits, including working out both upper and lower body. It i also great for your abs. Check out the article on the benefits of kickbox. Turbo kickbox is different than regular kickbox because it kicks the cardio up a notch and doesn’t offer a lot of instruction or guidance on proper form. The focus is more on staying moving than learning specific kicks or punches.


Have you taken kickbox or turbo kickbox? What did you think?

Week 1 – Air Fit

AirFitThe hottest new fitness trend will have you floating on air…literally. Air Fit is an intense fitness class, in which participants hang from hammocks suspended from the ceiling and perform a series of moves that fuse ballet, pilates and yoga. I completely underestimated the intensity of this class the first time I took it. I’ve run marathons…I should be able to take an aerial yoga class with no sweat, right? Wrong! I was sweating all over my mat and had an intense workout. The best part about Air Fit is that it doesn’t feel like a work out. I feel like a kid again as I hang upside down, or step up into the hammock. For 50 minutes we do push ups, air pigeon, planks, kicks and star jumps and at the end of class I can’t believe it’s over.

My daughter has even caught the Air Fit bug and she’s taking an upcoming Mom and Me class, where we can fuse fun and fitness together.


emilyairfitI visit Air Aerial Fitness and they have studios in Chicago, Charlotte, Los Angeles, River North, Dallas and Lincoln Park. Steve Harvey recently tried Air Fitness on his show and it’s all the rage in the latest fitness magazines.

Each instructor has a slightly different method, which is great because you will get a different workout each time you visit. My favorite class is Air Shred because it resembles Tabata training, in that we do intense 30 second spurts of exercise, followed by a short rest for the entire class. It moves quickly and creates results fast.

There are many benefits to inversions as well, including improved circulation, activation of the parasympathetic system, creating feelings of balance and calm and mental and physical invigoration.

How do you know if Aerial Yoga / Air Fit is for you?


If you like Pilates, you’ll love Air Fit! If you are looking for a workout that fuses cardio, strength training, yoga and Pilates, you should also give it a try. It’s also great for anyone who is looking to try something new or is bored with their current routine.

Who shouldn’t take Aerial Yoga / Air Fit?


The weight limit on the hammock is 300 lbs. and it’s recommended that individuals weigh less than 250 lbs. It’s not recommended for those with vertigo, high blood pressure or heart disease.

Have you ever done Air

52 weeks of fitness

Disney Dopey ChallengeIt’s 2015 and I’m making a commitment to try 52 new fitness trends, one each week, and share my experiences with you.

It’s three days into the new year and I’ve already taken an Air Fit class, tried out Turbo Kickbox and hit up Trader Joes for a plethora of clean-eating ingredients. Want to join me on my journey to a healthier and fit lifestyle? Check me out here each week to get the scoop on what works and what doesn’t as I try 52 new fitness classes, recipes healthy tips.

So far on tap, I plan to run a 1/2 marathon each month, obtain my RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) running certification and try a new fitness trend each week. Join me on my journey and share your tips!

Homemade Cookie Dough Lara Bar

I LOVE cookie dough.

Homemade cookie dough Lara Bars

Homemade cookie dough Lara Bars

I love cookie dough more than actual cookies.


I make cookies just so I can eat the cookie dough.


But, the new Paleo diet I’m only doesn’t allow cookie dough…or cookies. Sniff…

So the next best thing is the Cookie Dough Lara Bar, which is one of the only nutrition bars that is Paleo friendly because it’s made purely of nuts and fruit, without wheat, grains or oats.

Lara bars are good, but I prefer FRESH food made from home than a box. I also love experimenting in the kitchen, so I made my own healthy cookie dough Lara bars. These are easy, require very little ingredients and can be made in seconds. Not only are these cheaper than Lara Bars, but I think they taste better.


  • 1/4 cup cashews (I used raw, unsalted cashews)
  • 2/3 cup dates
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. dark chocolate chips


Blend the cashews, dates, vanilla and salt together in a blender or food processor. I used my Ninja Blender and it worked great. Add the chocolate chips. Roll into balls or cut into bars and refriderate. That’s it!

If you are not on the Paleo diet and just want a yummy nutrition bar, give these Homemade Nut and Honey bars or Protein Bars a try.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Do you have any nutrition bar recipes? I would love to hear from you!



Paleo Green Goddess Dip

Paleo Green Goddess Dip

One of the tenets of the Paleo diet is bidding farewell to commercially prepared salad dressings. This is particularly sad for me because I eat a salad everyday and I love the Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing. I love to dip carrots and fresh veggies in the dressing for a snack, and veggies just aren’t the same without a creamy accompaniment. My birthday is tomorrow and every year on my birthday I go to Melting Pot, which has the most delicious Green Goddess sauce. So imagine how happy I was when I came across a recipe for a paleo-friendly Green Goddess dressing in the February edition of More magazine. Of course I made a few tweaks to the recipe to make it Paleo friendly and to my liking. It was fun to make because I was able to experiment with using fresh herbs.

Green Goddess

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine everything in a food processor and blend until pureed.

It is delicious with veggies, but it’s too thick to put on a salad. Do you have ideas on other foods you can put green goddess dressing on? Chicken? Veggies? I need ideas to use the rest of my dip!