All posts by Step It Up with Steph

About Step It Up with Steph

Hi! I’m Stephanie Mansour. In 2008 I started Step It Up With Steph to help women everywhere “step it up” in their lives. I offer in home workouts for women through one on one personal training sessions, in home yoga, and private pilates in Chicago. Aside from being a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and Pilates instructor, my real mission here is to coach women to feel more confident and secure in their bodies and to define beauty in their own terms. At the University of Michigan I studied Communications with an emphasis on Women’s Studies and Psychology. Do you ever read magazines or watch TV and think, “What a horrible example this is for women!” or “These messages are confusing women, causing them to criticize and self-doubt themselves, and training them to be self-conscious competitive lunatics!” No? Sometimes? Maybe it’s just me. As I’ve intimately worked one on one with women through my personal fitness programs, I’ve discovered that the root of most of our problems today is a lack of confidence. This can manifest in weight gain, unhappy or unsuccessful relationships, feeling like there’s not enough hours in the day, working with a demeaning boss, and so many other ways. As a certified professional life coach, I’ve combined my education and experiences to create a holistic, comprehensive approach to women’s health, fitness, weightloss, and confidence. Last year I trained and coached my client to lose 80+ lbs in 12 weeks on a reality TV show in Chicago. I’ve been featured on CNN, AOL, WGN, NBC Chicago, Crain’s Business, and have online programs like the 30 Day Jumpstart and 30 Day Workbook to help women across the world. I’m known for my in-home personal training in Chicago as well as my one on one yoga and one on one pilates sessions. I create custom fitness plans for women who make up the majority of my clientele. I also work with companies (large and small!) to help employees “step it up” in their everyday lives through my Cubicle Crunch workshop – a fabulous way to energize and exercise at the office. And finally, in 2012 I was named an “Inspiring Chicagoan” by Inspire.Connect.Grow, a top 20 trainer by Nike in Chicago, one of Chicago‘s top 30 female entrepreneurs under 30, and one of 50 inspiring trainers on Twitter. I also worked with Shea Vaughn (Vince Vaughn’s mom) on her new foundation, Healthy Initiative, in which I helped train and coach 40 participants to lose weight and gain confidence through a 90 day breakthrough program. It was a busy year. For more information on how we can work together, email me direct at or call 323-636-2262.

Ballerina-Inspired Ab Exercises and Pilates Exercises with Jenny Milkowski

Join Chicago’s best health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour and Fox Chicago’s Jenny Milkowski as they demonstrate some of Steph’s favorite ab exercises to strengthen and tighten your midsection!

These ballerina-inspired abdominal exercises can be modified for any level. These are Pilates exercises and can be done lying on the ground or on a yoga mat, and just leaning back.

Chicago’s wellness coach Stephanie Mansour and Fox Chicago’s Jenny Milkowski were demonstrating these exercises at Hi Fi Fitness in Chicago!
Chicago’s best wellness coach for women and best personal trainer for women, Stephanie Mansour, show’s Chicago’s Jenny Milkowski the best ways to tone your abs!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

Healthy Ways to Kick Off BBQ and Summer Party Season As Seen on WINK TV

After a holiday weekend, maybe you’re feeling a little bloated or off track. But soon, many weekends will be filled with summer parties and BBQs, so how can you keep your health and fitness in check?
Our Health & Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour from Step It Up with Steph is here with some great tips!

First, get in the right state of mind. Think of food as fuel! You want to eat healthy things so that you physically feel good. It’s not about being on a diet. Diets don’t work! Restricting yourself doesn’t work! And even if it works for a few days or week, diets definitely are not sustainable. Therefore, set yourself up for success by following these tips:
– Drink a lot of water. Hydration is key to keep you from feeling hungry. Sometimes being hungry is a sign that you’re actually thirsty! Drink regular water, coconut water, or WTRMLN WTR to stay hydrated throughout the day!
– When you go to parties, bring a vegetable as a side! Vegetables are the best sides to bring because you’ll ensure that you’re able to eat something healthy. As a women’s weightloss coach, I coach my clients to make veggies either by baking them, steaming them, or making a nice salad. Make sure you’re cooking vegetables in healthy oils, such as this Avocado Oil. Similarly, when using salad dressings, use dressings that contain ingredients you can pronounce. This salad dressing by Primal Kitchen actually also includes avocado oil! So not only are you getting a healthier dressing, but you’re also increasing your healthy fats due to the avocado oil.
– Finally, always make sure you don’t arrive to a party hungry. As a women’s health and fitness expert, I always encourage my clients to eat a healthy snack before going out. This could be a hard boiled egg or some nut butter with an apple!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

The Best Quad Stretch and How to Stretch Your Quads with Jenny Milkowski

Chicago’s best weightloss coach for women and best personal trainer for women, Stephanie Mansour, show’s Chicago’s Jenny Milkowski the best ways to stretch your quads!

If you have tight hips, get muscle cramps, or just feel tight, try this beginner quad stretch first. If you’d like to feel more of a stretch, you can move on to the King Arthur quad stretch against a wall.
You can stretch your quads in yoga, too, and you can kneel on a yoga mat to stretch your quads by reaching back and holding onto your foot instead of using the wall.

Chicago’s wellness coach Stephanie Mansour and Fox Chicago’s Jenny Milkowski were demonstrating these quad stretches at Hi Fi Fitness in Chicago!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

60 Second Meditations As Seen on The Today Show Online

Looking for a quick pick-me up? New to meditation and don’t know where to start? Certified Yoga Instructor Stephanie Mansour stopped by The Today Show to demonstrate six one-minute meditations that you can do anywhere, anytime! Check them out HERE!

Basic Breathing Meditation

Use this basic breathing meditation to start your day off on the right foot or to end your day peacefully. You can do this in bed or while sitting up on a yoga mat. Place one hand on your chest over your heart, and the other hand on your stomach. If you’re seated, make sure you’re sitting up tall with your shoulders relaxed.

Begin breathing slowly, in through the nose, and out through the nose. Really try to cultivate a deep breath and think of this as your energy. Breathe in slowly, counting up to four, and then breathe out slowly, counting down from four.

So inhale for 1, 2, 3, 4.

Then exhale for 4, 3, 2, 1.

As you inhale, feel the air rising up from your stomach all the way up into your chest.

As you exhale, feel the air deflating in your chest and then slowly emptying from your stomach.

Repeat this for 60 seconds, and feel refreshed and relaxed!

Nostril Breathing for Balance

This balancing meditation is perfect if you’re feeling a little off kilter or your head is in the clouds. It will bring some stability into your mind and body. You can even do this at the water cooler while filling up your water bottle because you only need one hand!

You can do this meditation seated, standing, or lying down. (Note: if your nose is stuffed up, this may be a bit more challenging!)

Use your right thumb to plug your right nostril, and breathe in through the left nostril.

Then, plug your left nostril with your index finger, and breathe out through the right.

Next, breathe in through the right, and close the right to breathe out through the left. Keep alternating this breath pattern for 60 seconds.

Neck Stretch Meditation

If you’re feeling stressed and getting a headache, this neck stretch meditation will help you to physically and mentally feel more relaxed.

Sitting or standing nice and tall, drop your right ear to your right shoulder and slowly breathe in, and then blow out slowly through your mouth. Think about pushing out any and all tension.

As you breathe in, think about sitting taller. And as you breathe out, think about releasing that ear closer to your shoulder. Remember to stay grounded through your left side and only move from the neck (not the waist).

Repeat this 4 times total, and then switch sides.

Abdominal Meditation

For this meditation, you’ll be working the core while getting connected to your center. You can even do this while waiting in line!

Bring your awareness to your mid-section by pulling the naval in towards the spine. Breathe out through the nose, and hold the breathe at the bottom for a few counts. Then, slowly release the breath and breathe back in.

Hold the breath at the top for a few counts, and then slowly breathe out pulling the naval back in and contracting the abs. Repeat this for 60 seconds, remembering to pause.

Contracting the ab muscles will help bring awareness back to your body and help you to feel more present.

Seated Side Stretch Meditation

You can do this meditation on a yoga mat, on your chair at work, or even while sitting on the couch.

To start, sit up straight. Bring the palms together through the center of your chest. Take a deep breathe in, and then place the left hand onto the ground next to you, and reach the right arm up overhead, towards the left. Feel a nice stretch through the right side of your body. Be sure to keep your right butt cheek pressed into the ground.

Take a deep breathe in, and then exhale and bring both palms back to the center of your chest. Inhale, and reach the right hand to the ground and the left arm overhead towards the right. Feel a stretch in the left side of your body, and then exhale and bring both palms back to the center of your chest.

Repeat this routine for 60 seconds, and afterwards you’ll feel longer, leaner, and more relaxed.

Tree Pose with Meditation

This meditation is a great confidence booster. To start, pick one word that you want to feel. It can be confidence, peace, happiness, or whatever you want to bring more of into your life.

Next, stand up tall, and turn one knee out to the side. Place that foot on the opposite leg’s ankle, calf, or somewhere above the knee. (Avoid putting the foot on the actual knee joint to prevent injuries.)

Press down firmly through the standing leg, and bring the palms together at the center of your chest. Breathe in slowly through the nose, and exhale slowly through the nose. Focus on that one word, and really visualize bringing that into your life. Take a few more breaths, and then slowly release and repeat on the opposite side.

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

Spring Clean Your Gym Bag & Your Workout As Seen on ABC Chicago

Our Health & Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour is here to show us gym bag essentials that are more natural and how to pack a healthier gym bag. She’s also telling us how to know when it’s time to get new running shoes, toss sports bras, and get new workout gear:

No more sugary sports drinks filled with chemicals!
Instead, try WTRMLN WTR’s new BLNDS (blends) line. You can get this at Whole Foods, and it’s loaded with naturally occurring electrolytes making it a cleaner option than your regular sports drink. The cherry BLNDS is great because of the tart cherry benefit: “The Muscle Marathoner””: Tart cherry is proven to support muscle recovery and anti-inflammation.

It’s time to step it up when it comes to your deodorant, too! No more chemicals. PiperWai Natural deodorant is 100% natural made from natural ingredients and activated charcoal.

Who wants to pack a ton of make up in your gym bag? However, washing your face after a workout is essential, so here’s an easy way to re-do your make up. Try to BIY (blend it yourself) when it comes to your foundation and coverage! Clinique’s newest foundation is BIY – blend it yourself!
All their products are allergy tested and these BIY drops can be blended with ANY moisturizer – you can decide how much coverage you want by adding more or less drops. Also, on April 7th at the Macy’s in Oak Brook come see me for a complimentary “perfect match” with BIY pigment drops and confidence boosting tips with me from 1-7!

Next, how do we know when we need to get new running shoes? Every 3-6 months is a good timeline, depending on how much exercise you’re doing. If you feel like you’re starting to get sore or even injured in the lower half of your body, you may need new shoes. It’s important to have good supportive shoes because all of the pressure in high impact cardio gets pounded down through your feet.

Finally, it’s great to get new sports bras every 6-12 months. You can tell when it’s time because the cups may start to sag, or the band around the bottom may get looser!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

How to Relieve Carpal Tunnel and Tendonitis with Jenny Milk

Jenny Milk and I are demonstrating great exercises to help reduce carpal tunnel symptoms and also tendonitis:

Try these out next time your wrists or hands feel tight. This can also help with numbing or tingling you may be feeling in your fingers. If you sit at a desk a lot or work on the computer a lot, check out my favorite hand and wrist exercises! As a health and fitness expert for women, and a wellness coach for women, I love helping women look and feel their best. Jenny Milk is the traffic reporter at Fox Chicago and loves working out!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

Foods for Strong Nails and Shiny Hair As Seen on Fox Chicago

Chicago’s best wellness coach for women stopped by Fox Chicago to talk about the best foods for strong nails and the best foods for shiny hair!

– What are some foods we need to eat for strong nails?
Foods that contain protein, iron, calcium, and B12

– What are some foods we need to eat for shiny hair?
Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E.

– Hydration is also very important. Always drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. And to step it up even more, try this hydrating watermelon water with ginger by WTRMLN WTR.
Drink up!

– Lentils & beans – try adding more beans into your diet, and if you must eat chips, eat some lentil chips! These contain protein, iron, and more nutrients. These lentil chips by the Daily Crave are my fav.

Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that supports collagen production and provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
So, eat more ALMONDS & WALNUTS!

– Green foods such as spinach, broccoli, kale and collards also contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Minerals are crucial to the health of your nails, hair and skin. They also contain a lot of iron and B12!
So, eat more GREENS!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

Complex Exercises to Make Your Workout More Effective with Jenny Milk in Chicago

Steph and Jenny Milk demonstrate how to do complex exercises so that you’re doing two exercises in one and get a bigger bang for your exercise minute!

Check out how to do a lunch with an overhead press, and then how to do a side lunge with a back exercise.

Steph is the best health & wellness expert in Chicago and is a private wellness coach for women. She is an on-air health & wellness expert in TV. Jenny milk is an on-air traffic reporter in Chicago for Fox Chicago. Join Steph & Jenny for their weekly workout!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

How to Eat Healthy On the Go without Breaking the Bank As Seen on Circa News

Traveling and worries about breaking your diet or going over budget? We’ll show you what to grab, what to splurge on and what to pass on whether you’re at the airport, at a rest stop or at the train station:

We’ve got the do’s and don’ts on when to splurge and when to save in the grocery store and in restaurants. Health & Fitness Expert and wellness coach for women, Stephanie Mansour, gives us step by step instructions plus the best apps for health and fitness!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at

Cardio Circuit Workout with Jenny & How to Get the Best Cardio Workout

Steph and Jenny Milk work out at Hi Fi Fitness in Chicago and give you the best cardio circuit workout to burn the most calories!

As a women’s health & fitness coach in Chicago, Steph works privately with her clients as a wellness coach and also demonstrates exercises and health tips on TV in Chicago and in the US. Jenny Milk is a Fox Chicago traffic reporter and loves to work out with Steph and in general!
Join these Chicago ladies as they take you through a 3 move cardio workout to help you burn calories, boost your confidence, and feel committed to your workout goals!

If you want more tips on how you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you join my FREE 21 day challenge at