How One Busy Mom Gets Motivated

As always – hearing from our FITness Instructors is enlightening. Every instructor (and mom) has their own tips and tricks to how FITness works for them. And we have the honor to hear how our Maryland FITness Pro Hannah stays on top of her FITness goals!

As a mom of little littles, I know how tough it can be to fit a workout in. I have two girls — a 3 year old and a 4 month old — and between the two of them there a million obstacles to exercising.

I can’t get in a whole workout at once; I’ll be interrupted 20 times during my 20-minute routine; I’m exhausted because my baby was up half the night; when they happen to both be sleeping at once, the pressures of housework/emailing/cooking weigh on me; when they happen to both be sleeping at once and I don’t have much housework, I just want to sit down and rest; I don’t want to give up time with my husband. Continue Reading →

Leeann Likes – Frozen Hot Chocolate! What what!!!

Frozen Hot Chocolate.

My friends.  STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING.  Make this smoothie.  It is truly amazing.

Here is the link.  It is creamy, chocolatey, filling and delicious.  IF you hate avocado you will still like this.

My three year old thought she was having a chocolate shake.  It is so good.  

Here are my #reallife recipes notes:

  1. I used regular dates not medjool Dates so  I added 4 dates
  2. I did not have any Rice Milk Powder so I left it out.  I hear it will be creamier with it
  3. The second time I made this, I added a handful of spinach.  Absolutely no idea it was there.  Next time I will add a little more.  
  4. I did add a small squeeze of agave nectar to make it a little sweeter.
  5. I used plain unsweetened almond milk because that is what I had on hand!
  6. I am picky about cocoa powder.  Trader Joe’s is cheap and in my humble opinion has the best flavor!

And to keep it real #reallife…..

I was trying to cut back on dishes and I needed this RIGHT NOW so I poured it right back into my measuring cup.  No time for frills. It is that good.  (The recipe easily makes 2 cups, this was my portion, my daughter had a good bit also).  It lasted in the fridge no problem.

Real Life Tips from Fitness Instructors!

All this month, we are focusing on ROUTINE and how to build routine in a #reallife way. Our instructor Tristan has some awesome tips and I just had to get her to write them up for you. Here is how Tristan manages life with three littles!

I am a recovering type-A personality.  I think this is leftover from my days in an elementary classroom. When I added our second kid to the mix, I became a stay at home mom/ group exercise instructor with the wonderful PowerFull Fitness ladies.  Our oldest began participating in preschool, then sports and other activities. After many situations where we were double booking, or I expected my husband to read my mind and remember our schedule, I knew that I had to have something in my house with all of our schedules on it that is visible to all.  Fast forward to three years and another kid later, this is key.  Between Little League, soccer, doctors’ appointments, work trips, and my class schedule, this was a life saver.  It isn’t crazy, it isn’t rocket science, but it’s my method and I hope that sharing this helps you!

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Quick and KID FRIENDLY Weeknight Dinner

This is the EASIEST meal ever. Like ever.  And my kids ACTUALLY eat it. Yep. Both of them.  All of the ingredients I use I get from Costco which cuts down on cost.  Seriously I make this at least once a week on our busy nights and I am sure that everyone will get a good meal with minimal clean up.

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Leeann Likes – Sweet Potato Toast. Is this #reallife?

What is up with Sweet Potato Toast??

Let’s talk about sweet potato toast.  I feel like it hit the internet by storm.  I LOVE sweet potatoes.  Sweet potato fries are on the top of my favorite food list.  But for some reason I was weirded out by the idea of toast.  Maybe because I was scared to cut those suckers that way.  But see something enough times and you just need to try it.  I found two methods of cooking.  Some people use the toaster, other people use the oven.  I went with the oven because I think sweet potatoes taste better when cooked low and slow.  I can’t imagine how many rounds it would have taken them in the toaster.  I make a a lot, stored them in the fridge and then toasted them each morning for breakfast or in the afternoon for a snack.  I was really surprised.  It was great and I can’t wait to make it again!

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Welcome Leeann – Our Resident #reallifemom

I am so excited about welcoming Leeann to our blog. Leeann is a dear friend of mine – someone I can be real with, someone I can really share life with and be honest about how I’m feeling no matter what. I never fear judgement but I know she will always give it to me straight.   Since she moved away, our weekly “therapy” walks have turned into daily texts and from them I glean so much encouragement. I decided it was selfish to keep all that #reallife encouragement to myself so I asked her to guest blog for you too.

I wanted Leeann to share with YOU the struggles she has been facing as a mom of two little ones, trying to accommodate allergies and live a FIT healthy life.  I won’t go into details – I’ll let her introduce herself!  But stay tuned because we will have updates from her as she discovers what Leeann likes in the real world of being a mom – and also – what Leeann really doesn’t like.

I hope this helps you as you go through each day in a realistic, practical way!  We aren’t trying to be movie stars people, we are keeping it real!

Meet:  Leeann and enjoy her first blog post for us!

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Pool Side Dinners – Summer 2017 PowerFull Moms Menu

As I was sharing some of my pool side menu last week, I had some awesome moms share their pool side cuisine as well. The more ideas the better! Check out these two options…

Amy’s Idea:  Steak Salad.

Grilled steak
Roasted veggies
And a orange sesame dressing!


And Aspen shared taco options!: I made taco filling, rolled up the kiddos some soft tacos, and made Dave and I some 6 layer “dip!” Taco meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa, black olives, and sour cream, plus chips to scoop! It was fun to have dinner by the pool.

Perfection! Bring on summer!!!


Local NOVA Hikes for You

In May, our PowerFull Fitness Crew is focused on Restoration and I got a bit selfish. I hoped that my selfishness benefited them as well as you.

You see for me, restoration comes in the form of being outside, having a cup of coffee, and relaxing in nature. Now I’m not a beach girl – I’m a woods kind of person. Nothing makes me happier than exploring at a leisurely pace in the woods.  Now that my kids are older, this is something I can do a bit more of, even with them.

So for this blog as I focus on Restoration, I thought maybe we would focus on restorative hikes you can do alone or with your family here in NOVA. Some of these I have done and some are going on my to-do list (that is where the selfish comes in!)

I want us to restore our time of leisure together with friends and family.  I want to be sure we are “restoring” those moments too – that we build them into our weekly routine.  So this week and weekend, pick one of these local hikes and see if it doesn’t do your soul some good to get out and move.

Right here locally we have Accotink Park and Burke Lake Park. These are two great loops you can walk with kids.  Accotink Park has a great place to do paddle boats, carousels, mini golf and a play ground too so you can make this an entire afternoon. Burke Lake has a playground as well as Frisbee golf, a train you can ride during the peak seasons and a carousel.  Again, you can just park and walk around the lakes or you can enjoy some of the extras.  Pack a picnic and make it a day! You can make these as long or as short of a hike/walk as you want.  Around Accotink (lake only) is about 4 miles and around Burke Lake (lake only) is about 4.5 miles.

Side note:  we live in Springfield and if you park on Carrleigh Parkway in Springfield and walk into Accotink from there – in a very short distance you’ll run into a train bridge. We often sit there around 5:00 pm and wait for the VRE and Amtrak trains to pass under us – super fun! And then from there you can explore the paved path (steep and winding) down to the lake and walk anywhere you’d like!

Huntley Meadows is a great one too  You have some options here. You can park and walk through the woods, over board walks and really see some wildlife. There are dirt, paved, and boardwalk trails to explore.  Walk about one mile in and climb the tower to see over all the marsh/wetland. Trails wind and bend so there is plenty to explore.

Huntsman Park in Springfield has a great little playground in the entrance. If you walk past the playground there are some fun loops around Huntsman lake to explore. You can take a quick one right around the playground or go out a bit further and circle around the lake.  You can use the address 9150 Dorothy Lane Springfield to check it out.

Hidden Pond Park in Springfield is fun for a more family/smaller kid outing. There is a playground and a Nature Center to explore. There are some smaller trails around the pond there as well – fun to explore and see for shorter hikes and bits of outside fun.  8511 Greeley Blvd Springfield will get you to the Nature Center.

Now if you want to trek out a bit check out:

Roosevelt Island – This is such a fun place to explore and learn a bit of US History along with it. Cross over the footbridge and take the big loops around the island or cut it in half by going through the memorial and seeing all the inspiring quotes and history there.  And in the summer you can splash a bit in the fountains (no standing but little hands and feet can certainly splash and kick!)

Rock Creek Park – This is such a gem in the mmiddleof the city. We usually just park anywhere and have the kids walk around and explore.  Of course we always end up at a Cupcake Shop in DC when we are done – because #balance.  PS for cupcakes we loved Baked and Wired in Georgetown. A MUST HAVE!  Trails here follow along the creek and on the weekends the roads are blocked off so it is actually a great place to bike and not worry about traffic!

And I can’t mention hikes without talking about Great Falls.  Here there are miles of trails and of course – water falls.  You can pick a map up when you enter to help you pick the best hike for your family. Remember there is a parking fee $5/vehicle!

But then I decided to take this a bit further and asked all my PowerFull Fitness families for their favorite parks and I learned of even more!!

Gina and Amy mentioned:  Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean, VA!  Gina says:  It’s a light hike that only takes an hour, great for dogs and kids who can’t handle longer or more steep climbs.

Tara mentioned Green Springs Garden:  We love Green spring Gardens. Not much of a “hike” really I guess but a fun walk by the ponds, through the woods and the gardens!  Check it out here!  I haven’t done this one so I’m adding it to my list to try!

Karen added to Green Springs with River Farm.  This one looks like a super fun summer visit too! My list is growing!

For a fun little trail – try Lake Royal. I have done this one and it does have some fun playgrounds along the way!  Maggie says:  The trail around Lake Royal is nice and has 2 playgrounds around it and soccer fields and a baseball field. Not really a hike,but 2 miles around.  Use 5344 Gainsborough Drive Fairfax on the GPS.

Eileen says:  I have taken my kids..wagons, bikes, walk from the National Harbor over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and into Old Town Alexandria. This is a path I run at 5am with friends when we can, but its a great walking, stroller, bike friendly trial. I’d say from the National Harbor all the way to Old Town is about 4 keep that in mind..a nice walk is just from the harbor to the bridge..the top of the bridge overpass has historical pictures, benches and looks outs on it. If you go the other way and start in Alexandria under the bridge, there is a nice rubber grounded park there, basketball courts and places to ride bikes and scooters and really really nice BATHROOMS under the bridge!

I will add – we take our kids on their bikes under the bridge all the time for practice!

Leeann mentioned the Aquatic Gardens. I have never tried this one either – adding to the list! Leeann says they are in bloom in July and mostly flat. I definitely wanna do this!  You can see more about the Gardens here – they even have festivals!  From the website, “Hiking, birding, photography, painting, and more are possible. While trails are short (less than a mile each way) and do not loop, there are benches to enjoy the views and invite you to linger. Birding is excellent all year. Many come by canoe to explore the marsh.  Small picnics (no cooking) are allowed in the park so one can relax while a friend is photographing lotus.  Friendly dogs are allowed in the park, but must be on a leash at all times.”

Leeann and Sarah also mentioned Mason Neck. You can see more about the trails there by clicking this link. I haven’t tried this one yet but have heard great things!

Sarah also added Fountainhead Park as her fave!  Look at the fun trails here!  I am not going to STOP hiking all summer!

Heather and Tara both mentioned the nature center, Jerome Buddie Ford Nature Center. You can see it here.  Outside the nature center is Dora Kelley Nature Park (scroll down the link to see it). The website says, “Just outside the Nature Center lies Dora Kelley Nature Park, a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary with a one-mile long nature trail that meanders along streams, wooded hills, and freshwater marshland.”

Wow – friends. We have lots of places to restore. Isn’t that just the coolest thing about NOVA? With all the traffic and chaos and busy – we can slip into nature and restore our souls? Ahh I love it!

Happy trails to you!


#powerfullrestore – balance

This week, I asked our moms as part of our #powerfullrestore challenge to share how they balance it all. How do they get started and stick to a FITness journey while also keeping things running well at home too? How do they balance FITness and nutrition with carpool, nursing babies all night, baseball games, and work?

Here are some of their answers!

Janis said: Fitness Challenge- how do I balance fitness with family and my job? I wake up 4:30 or 4:45am to fit in a morning workout Tuesday-Friday & Sat mornings! Every other Monday, I drop off the kids to religious school and walk or run on a trail behind the church & listen to music!

Monica said: Today’s Powerfull Fitness challenge is about balancing family duties and fitness. On days that I work, I have a gym in the building currently. My schedule allows for about 30-40 minutes workout after work before picking up the kids. I try to fit in a strength training workout, running on treadmill or bike at the gym. I also add in running in the morning before I go to work on some days. Saturday’s are always my long run days. On days that I don’t work or the kids are home with me, I try to do a workout from Laura Waller at home and even get the kids involved. (Gabriel loves burpees, planks and push-ups). It doesn’t always happen, and I don’t always workout. My goal is 4-6 days a week. Life happens, Crohn’s happens and some days I just am too busy. I am still learning to not get discouraged and give up. I am a work in progress. I have to remember I trained and ran a half marathon not too long ago. I will have ups and downs and currently my Crohn’s Disease is challenging my runs and my sanity. I take one day at a time and keep going forward!! (LOVE THAT ATTITUDE!)

Christie says: Answer: I balance taking care of my family with meeting my fitness needs by waking up early to work out before work most days and on the weekends.

Leah says: Not something I’m always so great at (balance)…but for sure couldn’t do it at all without two people. #1 James – hubby extraordinary. I can’t think of a single time when I said “I think I’d like to work out/go for a run/do some yoga” that he didn’t answer with a simple “ok, have fun.” And #2 – the amazing Laura Waller. Bringing the kids to class….how does it work? I don’t understand – but it does! And it makes working out possible.
(ahhhh thanks Leah! I often wonder how it works myself!)

Paige says: I get up before the sun to squeeze in workouts with some of my favorite ladies. This is truly the only time that consistently works for my family’s busy schedule AND it guarantees I’m in a much better mood when they wake up. So everyone wins! After a year of the #special5amcrazycrew I can honestly say you start looking forward to those 5am classes. (yep it does happen!)


I love these tips and tricks. Everyone is different, everyone has a different life stage they are in – so make this work for you!!!  Be proud of each and every step you take in that direction!!

#powerfullrestore – SLEEP

So as part of our Restoration month – I had our ladies tell us how they get that restorative sleep. Do they have tips, tricks, night time routines that help them settle down and restore?

Here are some of their responses.

Sarah has a great system to calm her down.  “To settle down before bed I read from one of my open books. It’s usually on my kindle, which I know isn’t great, but it still works.”

Monica has a tried and true method.  “Today’s Powerfull Fitness challenge is to share one bedtime routine that helps me get ready for bed. Anyone that really knows me, knows I take a bath EVERY night. That is my calming recovery to help me to prepare to go to sleep. This is something my mother did growing up (and still does). The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Aspen – love it!  “One thing I (could) do (more often) to get ready for bed so that I can settle down and restore for the night is to wash my face/take out my contacts while getting the kids ready for bed. Does that always happen? Nope. Would I like it to happen more often than it does? Yep. #goals

Leah has a great routine too!  “For me one of the biggest things I do to help myself fall asleep (something I’m not always so good at) is to get as much done and set up for the next day as I can. So the girl’s lunches are packed and kitchen is cleaned up, the next day’s laundry is organized, I’m packed up for whatever I have on my agenda. It helps me slow my brain down (at least a click or two slower) and I’m not worrying about those things.”

Amy’s routine sets her up to ease her mind.  “I am NOT good at getting enough sleep. But to help get ready I like to get as much done on all 4 lunches as I can before bed and I look st the calendar for the next day and write myself a list of what I have to do.”

Paige = genius!  “My best tip? Get the kids exhausted!!! Then bedtime is much easier and I can get to bed earlier!”

Heather has one I am DEFINITELY trying.  “Admittedly, I am not great about a bedtime routine (for myself) and 98% of the time I fall asleep in bed with one of the girls. However, I love this nighttime meditation app. Lots of options to customize.”

Christie – goals girl! You are getting there!  “Uh, I’m not very good at this… we’re supposed to post what we do to get ready for bed/sleep. I read (like 2 pages and then I realize I’m asleep…).”

Allison.  Keeping it simple – just get in bed! “Today’s Powerfull Fitness challenge focuses on sleep. One thing I do to get ready for bed for restorative sleep is to go to bed early. Sometimes we sleep through the night, but we always get up early here.”

If you are having trouble calling it a night – try out one of these tips.  Don’t skip out on this part of our your wellness routine – sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise!