Top Ten “Fittest” Cities of America…who knew?

Although lately America is being known as one of the most obese populations of the world (McDonalds anyone?) there are still a few cities that on average commit to fitness.  Every year Forbes publishes different statistics and the top ten fittest cities in America are one of them. Is your city on the list? Upon looking for a place to live I wonder how many people actually think about the fitness of the city or rather value economic incentives instead.  Does it matter to surround yourself with a fit population? Or is fitness a solitary element of ones life and not a lifestyle. I would argue that you can be fit anywhere as long as you make the effort. But surrounding yourself with a population that seeks the same goals is surely going to motivate you to commit to the lifestyle.  Fitness is habitual and a way of life–stick with it and it will pay off in the long run.

Forbes’ Top 10 Fit Cities:

10.)  Austin, Texas: Howdy! Texans are known for going big or going home. They made it to this years top ten list by having 78.4% exercise rate and more pools and outdoor activities than many other places. Stay fit Texas!

9.) Hartford, Connecticut: With such great health statistics they should rename this to Heartford (wow that was lame). Also home to a lot of Yankees fans…go Jeter!…this area has an exercise rate of 77.2% and a number of farmers markets. Eat local, buy organic 🙂

8.) San Francisco, California: SanFran. I will always imagine Full House when I think of this place thanks to a 90s childhood. A great place to be outdoors and experience a diverse culture. With an exercise rate of 81.5% combined with low diabetes and smoking rates makes this Cali city a go-to spot.

7.) Sacramento, California: Cali is on here twice? Where is all the Florida love…non existent apparently. Sacramento has an exercise rate of 82.3% due to the very little amount of driving but rather biking or walking to get places.

6.) Denver, Colorado: I “tebow-ed” when I saw that Denver made it to this years fittest cities list! 83% exercise rate and extremely low heart disease stats make Denver a prime place (even though it’s cold).

5.) Portland, Oregon: Beyond the Oregon trail we all played as kids lies a land where gold is not the goal but health is! 82.3% exercise rate and a lot of recreational areas for dog walking and outdoors exercise makes Oregon a pretty awesome place to live.

4.) Seattle, Washington: When it rains it pours and where do Seattle people go? The gymmmm! They are all hopped up on caffeine might as well work it out somehow. The pacific northwest often is attractive to healthy people and this just reinstates it with an exercise rate of 81.9%.

3.) Minneapolis, Minnesota: Besides being frozen 82% of the year, Minneapolis is also a very fit city. After years of excitement fading over the greatest mall on earth, Mall of America…which I might add is HUGE…and has a roller coaster inside, these people must have gotten the fitness bug and decided exercise was the way to heat up. Nice thinking, it got you in 3rd place in America.

2.) Boston, Massachusetts: Well you have to keep the beer gut off somehow? Boston, home of the ahem Boston Red Sux…is 2nd on the list for fittest cities in the United States. I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on them anymore. They must not take their Caaaaars to work but instead bike, jog or walk with an exercise rate of 78.6%. You go glen coco.

1.) Washington, D.C.: with an 80.1% exercise rate the politicians sure do more than lobby. D.C. is also a great place for commuting. Young and diverse area surrounded with colleges helps in keeping the population young and fit. Also, I have a feeling a bunch of ex-marines end up here–I can imagine lunch breaks including suicides and stair drills.



—–You may be wondering just like I am…HOW DID FLORIDA NOT MAKE IT?

My theory involves the average age population for Florida…but I’ll refrain from commenting more on that.

Regardless, if your city isn’t here maybe you will be the catalyst that moves them up on the list. Don’t be afraid to motivate others: start running clubs, nutritious cooking parties, plan a race to raise money for a charity or just try to bring people to group fitness classes at your neighborhood gym. You can be the change 🙂


This information was found at this link: In Depth: America’s 10 Fittest Cities

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a Bee”–Boxing Fitness

Muhammad Ali once said those famous words about boxing, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a Bee.”  Boxing Fitness is a highly effective group fitness class working both cardio and strength–and did I mention it is the best way to get your anger out? Total bonus.  Lately it may seem that cardio focused dance classes have taken over the fitness world.  And to disagree would be wrong. The fitness world is constantly evolving from Step aerobics in the 80s & 90s (think Jane Fonda), to boot camp in the late 90s early 00’s, to pilates/yoga, and now Zumba and other dance “parties”.  But to allow some formats to be forgotten would be a shame to the industry. Ergo, I give you boxing fitness. This workout can be done at home or at a gym and group fitness setting. The first step would be inquiring whether the gym provides wraps and gloves or if you need to buy your own (it might be a good idea to buy your own). When you have wraps and gloves you need to begin by wrapping your hands and wrists properly to protect them.

How to wrap:

1.) Find the thumb loop at the end of the wrap (put thumb in it).

2.) wrap once around the wrist (start at outside of hand)

3.) from the outside of the hand wrap on top of knuckles

4.) wrap only once underneath the thumb

5.) take it around the wrist several times making sure it is tight but not cutting off any circulation.

6.) Then address your knuckles several times around because they will be getting the most impact.

7.) Cover up any of the hand you see with remaining wrap

8.) End around wrist with velcro part. Does it seem that the wrap is on the wrong side to be velcroed? STOP,

this is fine just twist the wrap and flip it so Velcro’s meet.

9.) Repeat on other side.

10.) Put wrapped hands in gloves, secure tightly.

You are now ready to warm up.

This website might help if you are confused on wrapping:

Great warm up ideas: Jump Rope (sans gloves), jogging, burpees, jumping jacks–just get the heart rate pumping. Aim for 10-15 min warm up before bags.

On the Bag:

Right Boxers stance is where you are at an angle to the bag and your right arm and right leg are closest to the bag. Left is just the opposite. Center you are facing the bag, bouncing up and down ball of foot to heels.


1.) Jab: Leading with that front hand in this case your right hit the bag with the knuckles and snap back quickly recoil. Practice this several times jabbing the bag at will just focusing on that one arm. Speeding it up, slowing it down. This is your teaser punch. Imagine yourself in the ring this is the punch you would throw before a knockout punch.

2.) Cross: Same position except here the power comes from your legs. Twisting that back leg “squishing the bug” twisting the body and allowing that left arm to cross and hit the bag. This should be one of your most powerful punches. Keep in mind here your core muscles are fully engaged (what does that mean? Think you are wearing a tight pair of jeans you have to keep that belly button pressed back into the spine).

3.) Make this into a mini combo at will try: Jab- Jab – Cross (two right punches and a killer left). *KEY* Breathing is essential to boxing. Remember that when you are punching you are exhaling your breath and inhaling prior to punching.

–> Repeat on other side

Options: Try Jabbing and adding a jumping jack. Try crossing and adding a squat. Take your punches high and your punches low. Don’t be afraid to power through it, experiment!

4.) Hook: This punch is one of my favorites. In right boxers stance move a little bit closer to the bag. Imagine the bag is your opponent. Begin by twisting that leading right foot like you are squishing a bug. One you feel the legs working add that punch. A hook is going to aim for the side of the bag, think the ribs/gut of your opponent. Making sure you are exhaling with the punch and snapping the punch back (not allowing your hand to hang out on the bag). This is one of your knockout punches so make it powerful and strong. Try moving the bag as far as you can.

5.) Uppercut: Here you are going to start at the legs once more twisting the bag foot. Uppercut starts at the legs and the fists comes up into the bag from a lower angle so feel free to get low into a lunge. Here imagine hitting the opponent in the chin or gut. This is a very powerful punch that can seem awkward on the bag, so just experiment and do what feels right.

Once you nail the punches on both sides you are good to go and can design your own combos. Always remember to breathe and have fun with it. I like to add athletic drills to the workout by incorporating ladder drills, suicides, burpees, pushups, jumping jacks, power squats and plyometric moves. Remember that boxing is an all over workout. If you have held your abdominals tight you will feel the core workout, if you got deep into your lunges and used the power in your legs you will feel them burning too. Lastly what you might feel the most is the powerful arm workout you just had and the way the back muscles helped in those punches.

GOOD LUCK! and Have a great workout 🙂 …remember to float like a butterfly…but sting like a bee!

Saturday’s: lazy days? Nope.



When I was a kid Saturday’s usually referred to the best cartoons day of the week.  I would sit with my bowl of Total Cereal and watch my favorite turtles fight crime and eat a large pizza afterwards (funny how this never added to them gaining any pounds).  As I grew up that changed to days at the beach, hanging with friends, work, and now workouts! This day is an entire day open to fitness opportunities. At JMU I’ve been able to take advantage of some of the hiking trails located nearby.  One of my favorite things has become hiking. A great workout surrounded by the beautiful scenery is sure to distract you for the miles you will be trekking up mountains.  Plus, the experience of being in a natural habitat is revitalizing to our senses and good for the soul–not to mention great for snapping photos.  A few places I have hiked near Harrisonburg have been at Crab Tree Falls in Nelson County and several alongside the national state park of Skyline Drive.  Absolutely GORGEOUS! The point is, if you are not a fan of the gym, or just want to add a little flavor to your workouts try something new. Not only will this aid in muscle confusion as you are sure to use different muscles than in the gym, you will get your cardio and strength in.

Often we stick to a routine of certain exercises as it become comfortable for us. But this only leads to a plateau or boredom and often times neglect of our exercise regimen which is so key to our health and longevity. Try spicing it up by taking your workout outside. Whether it be hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or just running outside keep moving and you will continue that goal of leading a balanced life 🙂


@Crab Tree Falls, Nelson County, Virginia

Hiking with College Friends

Yoga on top of a cliff @ Skyline Drive

Super Bowl Plans? Other than the GMEN winning

I am a HUGE Giants fan. Not the kind of girl who owns a pink Manning jersey just because her BF likes them. Not only was the Little Giants a staple of my childhood (I can still recite most of the lines) I grew up watching football with my Dad and Pop-Pop and fell in love with Big Blue many years ago. I am so happy slash cannot believe that they are in the Superbowl. It was definitely a mini-miracle because the niners brought their A game to the championship final. Tonight in my indoor spinning class I decided to play this song dedicated to the Giants with the notion that we are ALL IN. Do you have any Superbowl plans? I will be posting healthy game day food to bring to parties etc within the next few days. Enjoy Jim Jones. Go GMEN!

We Fly High (Giants Remix)

Blondes do have more fun…? Healthy Brownies found on Pinterest

This girls blog is fantastic! Check her out at

Chocolate-Chip Blondies


So a blonde walks into a bar.
Or in this case, the blonde is the bar!

I’d tell you these are healthy.

But then, if you try them, you will think I am a liar and you will never believe another word I say. ‘Cause if you taste them, you will NOT believe these blondies are healthy!


Smart blondes do exist

Low in calories, rich in omega-3s, and gluten-free?!

These might just be the smartest blondies in the world.
(Not to be confused with the healthiest cookies.)


For the past year, I’ve been seeing “black bean brownie” recipes popping up all over the blogworld. At first, I thought about joining in on the fun.

But if you remember my post about new dessert trends, you know I really enjoy putting a different, creative spin on old trends. Hmmm… now how to put a new spin on black bean brownies? The answer was so simple, even a blonde could have thought of it: White Bean Blondies!

After doing a quick google search, I discovered that my seemingly-new idea has, in fact, been done before by a few others. But my bean blondies are still completely different in that they contain no eggs and no flour! The resulting blondie is so moist and… fudge-y.

Genius Blondies

(makes 15-20 squares)

  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed) (250g)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar*
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup ground flax (20g) (see nutrition-info link below, for substitution ideas)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other fat source) (see nutrition-info link below, for lower-cal options)
  • optional: 1/3 cup chocolate chips (Not “optional” if you’re CCK!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients (except chips) until very smooth. Mix in chips, and scoop into a greased (or tinfoil-lined) 8×8 pan. Bake for 38-40 minutes. You want the blondies to look a little undercooked when you take them out, because they’ll firm up as they cool, and you don’t want them to get hard. (Note: you can probably sub any white bean for the chickpeas)

Click to see the Blondie Nutritional Info

*I also made a batch using stevia, which I thought were delicious! But my friends informed me they tasted like bars of soap. Therefore, I’ll keep making the stevia version, but just for myself… a tray of blondies all to oneself is never a bad thing!


Since the they have garbanzo beans, I could’ve called them “hummus blondies.”

But um, ewwwWinking smile

Like, totally!
Time for a serious discussion…

I have a sneaky suspicion that many so-called “dumb blondes” are not really as dumb as they seem. They just act dumb for attention and because they think guys think it’s cute. Sadly, it seems, they’re often right. Many guys are intimidated by smart girls and therefore find ditziness attractive.

Look at Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton. I’d argue that these girls are much smarter than their actions convey. Both have played up the dumb-blonde image in order to make names for themselves, and Jessica Simpson even scored contracts with Pizza Hut and Chicken of the Sea as direct results of dumb-blonde moments. (It’s not just blondes, either. Think of Snooki!)

Did you know any of these types of girls in high school? I remember the notorious dumb blonde in my high school once remarking, Wait, wood comes from trees? I thought they made wood in factories!” Yet, this girl was in accelerated math and English classes, as well as in the top 10% of the class. Something didn’t equate… or did it? After such statements as these, the boys always laughed. This girl was not dumb; she knew airhead remarks such as the above would win her popularity and romance. On the other hand, girls who are studious, eloquent, and assertive are often labeled as nerds (or worse).

On a much lighter note:

By popular request: Special Diet Recipes.

You might also like:
Snickerdoodle Blondies
Gooey PB&J Blondies
Want to eat a BIG bowl of cookie dough?
Deep-Dish Cookie Pie

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NetiPot: The killer of sinus congestion and now brains…


Brain-Eating Amoeba Fatalities Linked to Neti Pots


Published December 19, 2011

Life’s Little Mysteries


  • 640_020211_healthQA_netipot.jpg

Louisiana’s state health department has issued a warning about the dangers of improperly using nasal-irrigation devices called neti pots, responding to two recent deaths in the state that are thought to have resulted from “brain-eating amoebas” entering people’s brains through their sinuses while they were using the devices.

Both victims are believed to have filled their neti pots with tap water instead of manufacturer-recommended distilled or sterilized water. When they used these pots to force the water up their noses and flush out their sinus cavities — a treatment for colds and hay fever — a deadly amoeba living in the tap water, called Naegleria fowleri, worked its way from their sinuses into their brains. The parasitic organism infected the victims’ brains with a neurological disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAME), which rapidly destroys neural tissue and typically kills sufferers in a matter of days.

Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the Louisiana cases are still being investigated to ascertain that the deaths did indeed result from exposure to treated tap water in neti pots, rather than exposure to untreated water in a pond or lake. If so, they are the first known incidences of the disease in the U.S. resulting from N. fowleri organisms surviving the water treatment process.

“Nearly all the cases have resulted from exposure to warm recreational water, such as ponds, rivers and lakes, and the kind of exposure where the water would be forced up the nose — for example, diving and water sports,” Yoder told Life’s Little Mysteries. The amoeba thrives in natural waterholes, especially those in the South, and several Americans die every year from swimming in these waterholes, or using untreated water from them. However, “in the last 15 years, I’m not aware of other cases [in the U.S.] associated with treated drinking water,” he said.

Municipal water undergoes a rigorous purification process to make it potable, including being treated with chlorine to kill microorganisms, he explained. “We consider chlorination to be effective in killing [N. fowleri]. I can’t comment on any water system in Louisiana, but in general … you may start out with 1 million amoebas and your goal is to reduce it with chlorine, and you might get 99.9 percent out. But you’re probably never going to eliminate 100 percent. That goes for amoebas, parasites, bacteria, viruses. So while we say our drinking water is safe, it’s not sterile.” [Can Your Tap Water Kill You?]

N. fowleri only seems capable of reaching the brain if it’s given a big boost by being squirted deep into a person’s nasal passages. That’s why water that is considered safe to drink or bathe in isn’t necessarily safe to use in a neti pot, Yoder said.

But if you only use distilled or previously boiled water in your neti pot, and you avoid snorting water when diving into waterholes, can you be sure you won’t get PAME simply by splashing your face with the water out of your faucet — especially if you live in Louisiana?

Yoder said the CDC maintains that the risk of getting PAME from normal exposure to tap water is very low, but they are helping Louisiana’s health department investigate the water treatment process in the state. “In general, what we’re committed to is even though there are very few cases, CDC is very committed to learning more about the organism so we can prevent further infection by developing science-based prevention methods. But it is a very tragic infection and we’re very sad for the families.”

Copyright 2011 Lifes Little Mysteries, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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I just shook it in front of a Frat: Life of a Zumba Instructor

Yesterday I taught Zumba to a Fraternity on campus for a special program at work. Woo…I just recently got licensed as a Zumba instructor so I am trying to delve into it although coming from an athletic background I was a tad bit nervous. And by tad I mean tremendously. Not only was I going to have to learn how to shake it to Latin music, I was going to have to shake it to Latin music…in front of a huge group of people. Ouch. My dad said good luck, the Polish in me would not be of any assistance ( a joke he likes to use about his lack of…ahem…dance skills ). But to tell you the truth since being certified in November of 2011 I have gained great confidence in this form of teaching. I think what helps most is how much participants LOVE to dance and move and shake in order to get a workout in. As Zumba says leave the workout and join the party. My passion for teaching group fitness has only grown since my new certification. I feel like a brand new format was key in igniting a spark in teaching again. Here is the song list I used to teach the class. If you are interested in choreography, let me know and I will think about adding YouTube videos or posts including those.

Zumba Fraternity Style:

Sexy and I Know It 3:19 LMFAO Sorry for Party Rocking (Deluxe Version) Pop

Culebra – Salsa 3:59 Zumba Fitness ZIN Volume 36 Latin

Fuego 3:40 Kumbia Kings Fuego Latino


Que Te Pica 3:12 Notch Raised By the People Reggaeton y Hip-Hop

Hotel Room Service 3:58 Pitbull Rebelution (Bonus Track Version) Hip Hop/Rap

La Fiesta Ya Se Encendio – Merengue 4:21 Zumba Fitness ZIN Volume 36 Latin

Bon, Bon 3:36 Pitbull Armando (Deluxe Version) Pop Latino

It’s Tricky 3:03 Run-DMC Raising Hell Hip Hop/Rap

Shawty Got Moves 3:14 Get Cool Step Up 3D (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Version] Soundtrack

Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) [feat. Nicole Scherzinger] 3:42 A.R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) [feat. Nicole Scherzinger] – Single Pop

Rain Over Me (feat. Marc Anthony) 3:52 Pitbull Planet Pit (Deluxe Version) Hip Hop/Rap

Pause 3:01 Pitbull Pause (Zumba Mix) – Single Hip Hop/Rap

Cupid Shuffle 4:39 Cupid Cool Down

Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) [Remix] {feat. Drake} 4:42 Alicia Keys Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) [Remix] {feat. Drake} – Single R&B/Soul

Two Becomes One 4:01 Spice Girls

Just keep running…just keep running

There is nothing like the feeling of a good run or workout. It is January in Virginia where the weather usually is in a Floridians perspective FREEEEEZING…but today I sported my under armor shorts and a tank to workout in. I am feeling very fortunate of all this Vitamin D we are getting. If it is snowing where you are here is a great workout you can do on the treadmill that is based on intervals, heart rate and speed.


0:00-0:02 Slow warm up, 4.0 mph

:02-0:05 Jog between 5.0 and 5.5

:05-0:10 Run between 6.0-6.5

:10-:11 Sprint at 8.0 mph

:11-:13 Jog Between 5.0-5.5

:13-:17 Run between 6.0-6.5 (try to go faster than you did the first time)

:17-:19 Sprint at 8.0 mph

:19-:22 Run between 6.0-6.5

:22-:25 Jog at 5.5

:25-:28 Run at 6.5

:28-:29 FINAL SPRINT make it your best at 8.5 mph

:29-:31 Run at 6.5mph

:31-:32 Jog at 5.5

:33-:36 Cool down, walk at 4.2 and slowly decrease until heart rate comes down to a safe level.


This ends up being a little over 30 minute cardio workout, always feel free to repeat sets to make it longer.

Stretch after workouts not before in order to be less prone to injury.



Green Power Smoothie

There is a reason Popeye told you to eat your spinach to get strong, it is good for you! This is my favorite post-workout smoothie. So easy to make and surprisingly tastes so good! The following are ingredients, but feel free to substitute with your own ideas.

2 handfuls of baby spinach (on the bottom of the blender)

1/2cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 scoop of protein powder (try for a low carb one that isn’t infused with a lot of sugar, I like designer whey french vanilla)–As a Vegan you can do a soy protein!!!

Ice Cubes (not too many, I like to add around 6)

frozen banana (1/2 to a full)

Blend and drink so yummy!


Use Kale with spinach (it’s a little more bitter than spinach), add Flax seeds, oatmeal, mix with peaches and strawberries, use soy milk, add greek yogurt etc! Enjoy 🙂