Hari Hachi Bu: The 80% Rule.

Hello friends.

I hope you all are having a fabulous week so far! I had another workshop in Nashville for my PMA certification. It was fun and exhausting as always! It was all about the Wunda Chair, which was interesting since I hardly ever use it. We have one at THE STUDIO, so it will be nice to play on it this week.

I am reading a really interesting book right now called The Blue Zone Solution, which describes the lifestyles and eating habits in certain parts of the world where people are living up to a decade longer than we are in the United States (with the exceptions of Loma Linda, Calif.) I will get more in depth about it in a later post, but I did want to touch on one topic from the book today, and that is a little something called Hara Hachi Bu.

hara hachi bu

Say what?

I had never heard of such a thing until reading this book, and then I realized I had been living by this principle for a while now and didn’t even know it.

It’s a Confucian teaching that instructs people to eat until they are 80 percent full. The Okinawans in Japan (one of the Blue Zones) practice this, thus their typical BMI is around 18 to 22, compared to an average 26 or 27 for Americans over 60. That’s a huge difference!

Most Americans are so used to overeating, and as a result, if they don’t FEEL full they assume they need to eat more. That’s just not the case.

I truly believe that if more Americans adopted just this one practice, our obesity rate would drop dramatically.

This is not the sort of thing that just happens overnight. You have to slow down and be mindful when you eat. Do you feel satisfied, but not totally stuffed? If you stopped eating right then, how would you feel in two hours? Something that will help with this is to just not eat everything on your plate, or use a smaller plate.

What about you? Do you eat until you are totally stuffed, or do you try to reign it in before you get to that point?

The ‘Reset’ Workout

Good Morning, lovelies.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend, and to my fellow mamma’s, I hope you were spoiled rotten! Super- spoiled, like with Mimosa’s and cupcakes and dinner out! Maybe you feel a little guilty about all the indulging, but not to worry, I have the perfect workout for you!

We all have those weekends where we go a little crazy , and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that on occasion, but I do like to work extra hard the next day so I don’t feel as guilty about it!

Well, guess what? I created a workout to help you ‘reset’ from the overindulgent moments! I tried it out with my Power class at THE STUDIO before getting into some really awesome glute work on the reformer, and boy did it make them sweat.

This workout is crazy intense and you will feel the burn for hours after you finish. It’s HIIT so we are combining cardio with strength and keeping the breaks to a minimum! You will be burning calories days after you do it!

You will do one strength move for a minute, followed by a cardio move for 30 seconds. take a quick break if needed (less than 10 seconds) and move on to the next couplet. Take a 30- 60 second break after finishing all of the couplets and repeat one more time!

reset workout

Couplet 1:

Plank row to shoulder press
Mountain climbers

Couplet 2:

Lateral Lunge
Speed skaters

Couplet 3:

Braced squat
Power jumps

couplet 4:

Split squat with hammer curl

Couplet 5:

Dumbbell lunge with rotation
Race jumps

Do you like to get super sweaty after an overindulgent weekend?

Avoid the postnatal pooch with these prenatal abdominal exercises.

Hey party people!

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and is enjoying this beautiful May weather!

Today I am going to be showing you some of my favorite prenatal exercises to work the core. I will also fill you in on why it’s super important to keep doing abdominal exercises while pregs!

ab ex while pregnant 3

I promise all of my posts will not be about pregnancy, but I do want to take this opportunity to delve deeper into prenatal exercise while I’m actually pregnant. I have never understood people who say they are trained in prenatal fitness, but have never been pregnant. There is no way you can be an expert on this unless you have experienced it. Also, exercise can be a challenge when you’re pregnant even if you are a fitness professional, so I want to help you guys out when I can!


A few quick reasons you should still work the core while pregnant:

  1. Keeping a strong core, specifically your transverse abdominis, will help with posture and protecting your back. The lumbar spine is going to be in an exaggerated curve from all the extra weight. this can put pressure on the back and cause lower back pain, so the stronger the abdominal muscles are, the more they can help bring your spine back to neutral, thus relieving some of that pressure.
  2. Your pelvic floor is considered a part of the core, and it’s super important during labor and recovery for obvious reasons! In class, I tell my clients to start every abdominal contraction with a kegal, even if your aren’t pregnant.

  3. Keeping the oblique muscles strong will help in supporting the extra weight and keep pain out of the lower back.

A serious no- no while pregnant (after 14- 18 weeks or so) is doing crunches! Actually, doing any kind of exercise that targets the rectus abdominis is not a good idea because it can cause your ab muscles to separate more than needed (diastasis recti), which can cause a poochy belly long after giving birth.  Robin from The Balanced Life has a great post explaining Diastasis Recti.

Here are a few exercises that have been my go- to’s while pregnant. When doing these exercises, I want you to think about engaging your lower abdominal muscles, pulling your belly button to your spine and starting each core contraction with a kegel!

You can do so many leg variations with this one, just make sure you are in a comfortable position. You can be in neutral with the hips or slightly tucked. Keep the chest open and control the legs from your abs and glutes.

Again, there are many leg variations you can do here. Press the sacrum into the roller and control the legs with the abs and glutes.

I love this exercise for pregnancy because it not only helps you strengthen the entire core, but you get balance work in as well.

You are able to engage the obliques a little more with this one. Remember to roll down and pull the abdominals in. Keep the chest open and shoulder blades down.

I hope you guys enjoy these exercises, and as always, please consult a physician before doing any type of exercise- especially while pregnant.

Resurrection of Mrs. Murph, and my top four tips for getting bikini ready.

Hey friends!

It has been so long since I’ve been on the blog scene, I feel like a newbie. I almost thought about just creating a whole new blog, but decided I wanted to connect with people from the past- I wanted  everyone to know that Mrs. Murphy is alive and kickin’.

I have a good explanation for leaving you guys hanging, I promise. Last year I started training with a local Pilates Studio to teach classes. It was a very intense three months and it consumed all of my free time. Then, I decided I wanted to keep going and get certified through PMA. I’m doing this through Balanced Body and it is a long process. Six months of weekend workshops and almost 500 hours of teaching and observing. If anyone wants to know more about this process, let me know and I will try to write a brief post about it.


Basically, Pilates has been all- consuming. Oh yea, and I am expecting a baby girl in September!



Okay, now that we are up- to- date, let’s get into some goodies. Being 22 weeks pregnant, I am not so concerned with being beach ready. I’m more concerned with baby ready and sleepless nights ready, but I know not everyone is pregs, so let’s talk about bikini’s, not baby bellies.

I wanted to let you in on what I truly believe are the top four ways to get you feeling confident on the beach and looking slim in your bikini, or whatever you decide to strut your stuff in.

Number one is the most important in my opinion, so pay attention!

1. Find a workout that you love. Seriously, this is key. Don’t just jump into a 6 week bikini boot camp (even though you hate boot camp classes) because someone told you its the only way you could possibly get in shape before summer. Try out everything. Most gyms have a wide variety of classes to choose from, but also check out the fitness boutiques in town. If you find something you love doing, its worth spending the money on and its easier to ‘find time’ to do it. Honestly, I love home workouts and reformer Pilates. These two are extremely fun and convenient for me, so this is what I do, Find your passion and don’t be afraid to spend money or time on it. When mamma is happy, everyone is happy!

2. Add strength training to your routine. Okay, this one is extremely important as well, but you have to find what kind of strength training you love to actually stick to it! Most women are afraid to lift heavy weights, but it’s what gets you LEAN and TONED, not bulky. I am going to repeat this: LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY! Breaking down those muscle fibers will have your body burning calories ALL DAY long. With cardio, you stop burning the calories the minute you get off the treadmill. I like to combine my cardio and strength for an intense and efficient workout!

3. Don’t worry about calories, just try to eat clean. I know this one is controversial because so many diets call for calorie counting, but I am not a dieter. I’ve been a dieter in the past and it has just left me feeling miserable and guilty. It consumes my life, and I don’t have time to think about food all day! Do a little research and find out what foods are most suitable for a clean diet. Try to avoid packaged foods, eat all the greens you want and try to make fruits your sweet treat. lean meats and beans are a great source of protein. Also, try to cook whenever possible. Drink Lots of water, as well!

4. Get enough shut eye. I know you hear this one quite a bit, but it really is so important. If you aren’t getting enough shut eye, you are probably eating too much sugar because your body is telling you it needs energy! People who do not get enough sleep are also predisposed to all kinds of health issues such as obesity, diabetes and depression.

What are some of your favorite tricks for getting beach ready?!

I’m so glad to be back and I want to know what y’all want to talk about, so leave me a comment below!

Ten ways to get the most out of your workouts.

We all know how important it is to live an active lifestyle. When we get a sweat sesh in everyday, we feel better physically and mentally, so let’s make sure we’re getting the most out of ’em!

Today I am going to share with you my top ten tips on how to make every workout count.

get the most out of your workout 1

1. Time your breaks. This is crucial for a great workout. Don’t check emails or return text messages between exercises or sets. If you are trying to lose weight, keep the rest period under 45 seconds. If you  go strong the entire workout there will be no need to spend more than 45- 60 minutes in the gym.

2. Cut down on the chit chat. I think it’s a great idea to workout with friends. It helps with motivation and encouragement, but be sure it doesn’t turn into happy hour without the booze. Schedule some time after the gym to catch up so you can focus on your goals and form during the workout.

3. Have a plan. Write out your workout and bring it with you to the gym. I save all of my workouts on my phone so I can access them quickly and easily. So many people waste too much time wondering around the weight room aimlessly, or spending too much time on the treadmill. Have a plan and a purpose for each workout and each exercise.

4. Use YouTube to your advantage. You can’t have good workout without proper form. I recommend looking up EVERY new exercise you add. Even if it seems like an easy move, small steps can be crucial.

5. Track your progress. Doing the same thing every time you exercise is  one of the easiest ways to hit a serious plateau. Record every move, rep and set and make small tweaks next time for quicker results.

6. Go beyond the number on the scale and your reflection in the mirror. There is nothing wrong with feeling like you need to lose 10 pounds, or wanting to look better in your jeans, but we need to go beyond the physical goals and dig deep for the emotional reasoning behind wanting to lose the weight. These are the goals that will keep you going during the low points.

7. Perfect free weights. Machines can be a great starting point for beginners, but we do not need to rely too heavily on them. They do half the work for us by leading us through the correct ROM. Free weights is a much better option for burning calories and adding variety.

8. Use compound movements. No one has time to spend hours in the gym every day working out. Most people barely have a full hour. Good news- you only need 30- 45 minutes to get in a great workout. The secret? Compound moves and circuit training. You are working more muscles when doing compound movements, thus burning more calories.

medicine balls

9. Make circuit training your new best friend.  Doing each exercise back to back with little recovery time is a circuit. This type of training builds long, lean muscles while allowing your body to burn more calories at rest. Try combing strength and cardio to up the ante.

10. Pop the bubbly. It’s important to celebrate accomplished goals. Even the small ones.

photo (75)

Get a pedicure or have an extra glass of wine. You deserve it, sexy lady.

How do you celebrate your accomplishments? 


Exciting new adventures.

Long time no see, lovelies!

This is definitely the longest I’ve been MIA on the blog, but I do have a good reason. First off, summer is crazy with kids.. It’s been fun, but Joseph and I are both ready for school to begin!

Secondly, I’ve been training LONG and HARD preparing to teach at a Pilates reformer studio nearby.pilates 1

Sunday I taught my first mock class and it went great. Of course, I was crazy nervous, but after finishing, Almost instantaneously, the stress evaporated. I’m so excited to begin this new journey.

The Studio is a reformer based Pilates Studio that utilizes a variety of equipment such as TRX, springboards and jumpboards. Along with dynamic Pilates classes, we offer interval- style classes that combine strength and cardio for an intense workout that burns fat and tones muscle.

the studio pic 1

I will be teaching in the evening, so if you are in the area we would love to see some new faces at The Studio!

How has everyone enjoyed their summer? 

Any exciting news?

Seek First to Understand.

seek first to understandThis is a quote from the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and since reading it I have changed the way I interact with friends, family and clients.

It has allowed me to empathize with others and understand the reasoning behind their actions. I try to put myself in their shoes before jumping to conclusions.

Today, I wanted to touch on how it has effected my professional life.

I love my job, but it can be challenging. I am dealing with people on a very emotional level- witnessing vulnerabilities and insecurities. They are unhappy with their bodies and feel heartache because they have forgotten what it’s like to feel beautiful for their husband. Some are frustrated because they can’t run around with their grand kids, or because they get winded from walking to a neighbors house.

A trainer can easily be blamed for a client not reaching their weight loss goals. We are an easy target. You pay us money and the weight will fall off, right? This isn’t the case if you aren’t putting forth some effort as well, but I’ve learned that there is always something I could do better. If a client isn’t working out on the days that we don’t meet, I should hold them accountable with emails and text messages.  If their diet is out of control, I need to implement a food diary, or show them how to use MyFitnessPal. Sometimes all it takes is turning on drill sergeant mode to kick their butt in gear.

I’ve learned to take a step back and understand where they are coming from before expecting them to understand me. In turn, it has helped build some of the most amazing relationships. It’s created breakthrough’s and allowed clients to overcome plateau’s.

I challenge you to take this quote with you today and implement it into your day at least once. Seek to understand a co- worker or employee before placing the blame on them.

Let me know how it goes!