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Reaching Your Goals – In Fitness & in Life

I was doing some thinking this morning while watching the Olympics – I realized that what you are trying to accomplish with your fitness goals is no different than what an athlete works towards. In order for each to be successful it takes the right mindset and lots of preparation.

As a former dancer, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows what it feels like to be “all in.” To eat, sleep, breathe for a goal. To go after something letting go of all preconceived notions, defeat, hurt and FEAR. Yes, that awful word “fear” is the only thing that keeps us from reaching our goals. Why does the figure skater fall? Because for that one split second before takeoff, she doubted herself and tensed up with fear. Why do we not reach our fitness/weight loss goals? Because for that one split second before we decide what to order at a restaurant or before we are supposed to do cardio, we doubt ourselves, our progress, and our abilities. We slip into patterns, bad habits. He/she who succeeds is the one who is able to break the pattern, break the bad habits.

I have watched both athletes and clients alike hold back because of fear of success rather than welcoming it with open arms. I have had clients quit just when they have started to make a break through. I have watched athletes change their own plans that they had worked on for years. What goes on inside your head is the only thing that can change this. No one trainer, coach, diet, book, or therapist can do this for you – it’s all YOU. Whether you are striving for a gold medal, to lose 100 lbs or 10 lbs.

How do we let go of fear? One word comes to mind – TRUST. #1 is trusting yourself and your amazing abilities as a human being. #2 is trusting and confiding in your advisors, family, trainers, coaches, etc. #3 is communicating to those whom you trust with your goals and how they can help you achieve them.

If it were easy everyone would have a gold medal – and everyone would be in shape. I have news for you: It’s NOT easy!

The moral here: If it is something that you truly want, it is a goal – anything else is just a wish. Life is short so if you have a goal what are you waiting for? Is fear keeping you from going “all in?” For once in your life put 100% into yourself – I promise you will not fail.


Nikol©Nikol Klein Beach Stretch

This is Why You’re Bloated

The foods that you put into your body directly effect your ability to lose, maintain or gain weight. While  fast foods, frozen foods/prepackaged foods may be convenient and quick for your schedule, these foods are making your fitness goals less convenient…in other words slowing down your potential progress.

This is why you’re bloated- Lack of fiber, cheese and over-processed foods are blocking up your system and inhibiting natural digestion. The liquids that you are drinking (soda, alcohol, etc) are the exact ones that are dehydrating and bloating you. Our bodies weren’t designed to handle some of the foods that are now popular to the majority.

Beat the bloat- Eating balanced meals is a challenge if you allow yourself many hours between meals. Keep healthy snacks like sliced celery, carrots or fruit on hand so that your body doesn’t go into starvation mode/fat storage mode. Have you ever noticed that if you wait many hours before eating dinner, when your meal is finally ready to be consumed, your stomach hurts and you end up bloated after the meal?

Drink lots of water – You should be drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. I don’t believe in the “don’t drink water if you’re not thirsty” saying. Stay hydrated to beat bloating.

Stay regular- This means eating lots of fiber, especially in the mornings to enable healthy digestion and elimination. Add flax seed to your morning oatmeal or some leafy greens to your morning smoothie.

Limit sodium intake- This means straying away from any pre-packaged foods, frozen foods and sauces. These foods are loaded with sodium to preserve their taste. They will do nothing good for your body.

Eating balanced meals, keeping track of your portions, and drinking your daily quota of water will help you manage bloating and stay on track with your fitness goals. Consult with your personal trainer or nutritionist to find the best plan for you!

Your Workout Nutrition

Are you showing up for your workout sessions on an empty stomach? Or leaving your training session feeling starving and weak? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions or both, you’ll love this quick lesson in workout nutrition.

Pre-Workout Nutrition– Your body needs fuel in the form of food to function. When you first start a new workout routine along with a healthy diet, the general tendency is to skimp on calories before and after a workout. Most people think that this is necessary to lose weight- this couldn’t be further from the truth. I notice it with some of my clients who show up feeling tired before their training sessions. Either they haven’t eaten in a few hours or they ate the wrong things before the session. I have also seen dizziness, nausea, headaches and overall fatigue which are all symptoms of hunger and/or improper nutritional preparation before their sessions. Nine out of ten times when I ask a client when the last time they ate was, the answer is 2 hours ago or more. This is catastrophic to your weight loss goals.

So how can you avoid this feeling and what pre-workout rules should you follow?

What you must realize is that the energy you get from the foods you eat is ultimately what is going to decide how your workout goes. If your metabolism is already slowing down from hours of not eating, it is going to be difficult to rev it back up and start burning calories, that your body is now clinging onto for dear life, in your workout. You are exercising to burn calories, right? Make it a habit to eat a high carbohydrate healthy snack prior to your training session. This could include an apple, Lara Bar, banana or carrots-NOT a protein bar, save his for post-workout.  You may be saying to yourself that these snacks are sugary, but you need carbohydrates to get through your workouts efficiently. (If you or your personal trainer are pushing hard enough, you will burn off the sugar, so don’t worry.)

Post-Workout Nutrition– Post workout nutrition is for muscle recovery and development. Immediately following a run, for example, you want to replace electrolytes lost through sweat during your run by drinking an electrolyte beverage. Think about it, have you ever seen an athlete NOT with a water bottle? And guess what, that’s not just plain old water in there. There are many electrolyte beverages out there like Gatorade to try. After a workout (think legs, upper body, abs day) you want to support the workout you just did by having a protein shake or protein bar immediately following the workout to aid in muscle growth and recovery. (when i say growth, I don’t mean bulk- I mean muscle breaking through and saying goodbye to cellulite!) You might also want to consider having a snack. The body is in fat burning mode immediately following a workout so it’s okay to consume a few extra HEALTHY calories at this time.

So no more starving yourself before and after sessions, okay? Do we have a deal? Your body will thank you for it in the long run and I know you will thank me when you start to see a major breakthrough in your training results. If you have any questions as far as healthy snacks, brands and recommendations go, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Ditch the Scale

After interviewing hundreds of personal training clients over the past few years, I have found one common concern amongst Women: the dreaded number on the scale. I have met Women who weigh themselves daily and even multiple times per day! The truth is that by doing this, they are sabotaging their fitness goals before they even hit the gym.

Your body is more than just a number, it is a look and a feeling. My mission as a Women’s fitness expert and San Diego Personal Trainer is to change my clients way of thinking that the scale ultimately controls their fitness level. The scale isn’t going to change the way you look. In fact, it may negatively haunt your body image for the rest of your life. We cut off friends and boyfriends when they make us feel this way, right? So why keep such an intimate relationship with the scale?

Let me show you a perfect example: Sorry to get graphic here, but you have to see this.

Would you rather weigh less and look like this? The Woman in the photo below may have a low number on the scale but is what I would consider “skinny fat.” Meaning that while her weight is low, her body fat percentage is high. This leads to just as many health risks as being obese! To top it all off, “skinny fat” victims are usually cardio freaks who do nothing but cardio, no weight training.

Or would you rather weigh a bit more and look like this photo below? Healthy glutes aren’t flabby. Firm glutes are a sign of a great strength training program. If we’re striving for attractiveness and optimal health, this is the ideal shape you should be shooting for. The best news is that you don’t have to bulk up to have a great backside. It’s just a matter of firming up what’s already there!



I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the appearance in picture #2 over the low weight and flab in picture #1 any day! So do yourself a favor and stop obsessing on the scale and stick to a consistent nutrition and workout plan.

San Diego Personal Trainer in Pacific Magazine

I am so excited to announce that I will be profiled in the January issue of Pacific Magazine. For those of you who don’t know what Pacific Magazine is, it’s a young, hip San Diego magazine that always features the latest and greatest things going on around town. The article will be about my ballet fitness fusion workouts exclusive to Women in the San Diego area. I even had the opportunity to do a photo shoot this Friday. Here are a few photos that my fiance and I took before the pro photographer arrived.

and of course a behind the scenes shot…

Looking forward to sharing the January issue with you all!

Post Session Stretching

As a former professional ballet dancer I know just how important it is to incorporate a stretching routine into your workout schedule. Since I recommend thirty minute training sessions to the majority of of my San Diego personal training clients, stretching is often something that is left as a “homework” assignment. The following are a few rules to keep in mind while stretching.

The great thing about stretching is that it can be done anywhere!

Rule #1: Never stretch BEFORE your workout – Scientific studies, my experience as a professional athlete, and my expertise as a personal trainer have proven that stretching before a workout can actually increase risk of injury and overuse. What you should do in place of stretching is a proper warm-up routine.

Rule #2: Don’t over do it – Your trainer knows just what stretches you might need to do before leaving your session. If you feel like you need more time to stretch, let your trainer know. Sometimes stretching is best left for later in the evening. Ask your trainer what stretching program might be best for your specific needs.

Rule #3: Work the kinks out before bed – If your muscles are feeling heavy, tight or fatigued before bed you might want to do some light stretching to ease the soreness you may feel in the morning.

Rule #4: Monitor your nutrition – Be sure to stay hydrated and steer clear of alcohol after long workouts. Consuming alcoholic beverages or foods high in fat can lead to muscle cramps or spasms if you are not careful. Have a protein shake in the evening to help aid in muscle repair and recovery during the night hours.

Remember, you are in charge of what happens after you leave your training session. Stretching and healthy eating are your responsibility to maximize your fitness goals!

Exercises on the Go

If you have a busy travel schedule you know just how hard it is to find time to workout. Sure, hotel gyms are nice but sometimes you just want to relax in the comfort of your own room. Here is a butt boosting exercise that you can do anywhere, no equipment required.

Chair Hip Bridges – This is an easy yet highly effective glute, hamstring and inner thigh exercise that can be done virtually anywhere.

Start lying down with your heels resting on the edge of a chair.

Start as pictured above with your heels resting on the edge of a chair. Keeping your hands planted firmly on the ground, begin to lift (or bridge) your hips upward until you reach a point where your hips are high enough to be in a straight line with the knees. Return to the start position and repeat. Perform this exercise at a moderate to fast pace in sets of 20 for maximum benefits.

Bridge the hips up as high as you can.

Try three to four sets of this exercise for an extra booty boost while you are traveling next time or even over the holiday! You’ll feel the burn most certainly.

Personal Training Session Length

When it comes to workouts, sometimes less is more. Most personal trainers sell only hour long personal training sessions. I have a bit of a different philosophy when it comes to session length.

Most of my San Diego personal training clients and those who come to my Del Mar personal training studio workout with me for 30 minute sessions. In fact, I don’t offer sessions that are longer than 45 minutes anymore. Why, might you ask? Through my hands on testing with clients over a three year period, the clients who train with me for shorter session times see faster and better results. They are also less likely to get injured and less likely to build-up unsightly bulky muscles while freeing up more time in their day.

My group workout clients stretching after a training session.

A great trainer should be able to incorporate a warm-up, workout and cool-down into a thirty minute time period. This trainer should also be able to “kick your butt” in this thirty minute time period. (when I say kick your butt, I mean leave you sweating and fatigued)

I have also found that sessions lasting longer than thirty minutes tend to be less aerobic which will do nothing in terms of supporting weight loss. A thirty minute session keeps the trainer on his or her toes and allows for a quick, dynamic and cardio boosting session. This is how you burn calories and ultimately lose weight. There should be nothing slow and methodical about a training session for weight loss, for example. (This isn’t Yoga or Pilates we’re talking about here…)

How many trainers have you been to who spend the first 15 minutes of your session watching you warm-up on the treadmill and waste the last 15 minutes chatting about what’s on TV? Does your trainer walk around with a clipboard? If you are purchasing sixty minute workout sessions you are wasting your time…and your money. There is absolutely no reason why you need to spend an hour with your trainer and unfortunately this has become the industry default session length. In other words, I would prefer to see someone for thirty minutes, 4-5 times per week as opposed to sixty minute sessions, only twice per week. Results come through frequency and with frequency is commitment.

Ask yourself this the next time you are working with your trainer: At what point in the workout does the workout actually start and when does it end? How much total time did I actually workout? Am I wasting my time and money?

Trainers ask yourself: Can I give my clients effective workouts in a short period of time? If not, what am I doing wrong? (*hint-walking around with a clipboard could be your problem)

Del Mar Personal Trainer Workout Routine

As a high demand personal trainer in the San Diego area I know just how important it is for me to stay in shape and practice what I preach. I see way too many out of shape personal trainers in this area and it pains me every time I see them training their clients at the beach or in a boot camp.

So how do I find the time to stay in such great shape despite working long hours? No, I don’t workout all day with my clients like you might think (this is what bad trainers do…a good trainer watches their clients and corrects). I do the exact same thing as my San Diego personal training clients – I make time for ME.

My workout schedule consists of five days of training per week with two days completely off. Here is an example of what my schedule looked like last week;

Pull-ups with the Cross Core 180

Monday: 4 mile beach run, ballet legs at home
Tuesday: 4 sets of Biceps, Triceps, Chest, & Shoulders, 3 sets of abs
Wednesday: DAY OFF
Thursday: 45 minute Glute Workout 3 sets of squats, dead lifts, plate ham curls, lunges, weighted hip bridges
Friday: 4 mile beach run
Saturday: DAY OFF
Sunday: 3 mile run, 4 set upper body circuit

Every week is different for me. Instead of doing upper body on Tuesday, for example, I did legs on Tuesday of this week and took Monday as one of my days off. I think that training should coincide with the way that your body is feeling that day. I’m not training for a body building show, I am training for a healthy lifestyle. As you can see I don’t do a whole lot of upper body and abdominal work. I am a true believer that your stomach reflects what you eat so I maintain a flat tummy by sticking to a clean nutrition program. As for upper body I am not a fan of the overly-muscular female upper body. I like the look of a waify, but slightly toned arm.

So there you have it, my personal workout routine. If you have an questions, please feel free to comment below or send me an email!

San Diego Personal Trainer Top 5 Fall Fitness Gear

As a San Diego personal trainer and Women’s fitness expert, I know how important it is to have the right clothing, shoes and gear for your workout. These are my top 5 must have picks and products that I currently use while I workout whether it be at the beach or at my Del Mar personal training studio.

Best Running Short – Lululemon Speed Short – There is nothing worse during a run than worrying about your shorts riding up. The Lululemon Speed shorts stay in place and give you the feeling that you are running naked. With two front waistband pockets you can conveniently store your phone, ipod or keys and there is also a zip pocket in the back of the shorts for miscellaneous use. They come in lots of cute colors too. These are pricy but you have to try them to understand the true meaning of a comfortable run. $54

Best Sports Bra for Running – Nike Dedication II – This sports bra keeps the girls right where they need to be during a run. The unique middle insert piece keeps them separated, not smooshed, so you can have support without the uni-boob look. After looking at their website it seems as though Nike may be discontinuing this sports bra and replacing it with the Victory Shape sports bra. I’m looking forward to trying this new one out but definitely not tossing the Dedication II just yet. $38

Best Socks – Adidas No-Show 3 strips socks – These versatile socks never lose their shape and have been a staple of mine for years. They hug the perfect spot on the achilles to prevent blisters and rubbing. There’s nothing fancy to them and they make no claim like some socks do. They’re also cheap. Costco 6-pack $12.99

Best Training Shoes – Nike Free XT Motion Fit – I always tell my clients that they should be wearing a different shoe for cardio than training. This shoe is fairly versatile and could almost get away with both. For a training shoe this one is super responsive, allowing for quick reaction while doing plyos and aerobic movement. $90

Best Cool Weather Jacket – Lululemon Mind Over Matter Jacket – This jacket is perfect for those cloudy evenings when simply running in a sports bra and shorts won’t do. Adequate ventilation and mesh back allows for cooling while you sweat. It’s lightweight so it easily ties around your waist without weighing you down during a long run. (sold out) $128

Those are my top 5 Fall Fitness picks of the moment. Feel free to share your opinions and comments below!