Category Archives: Fitness Tips

Tips to Step Up Your Tailgating Game

Tailgating before the big game is almost more fun than attending the actual game. Friends, food, fun — what more could you ask for!? On my recent visit to Channel 5 WNEM, I shared some great tips on how to make healthy, and delicious tailgate fare!

Tip #1: Bring Fruit

Not feeling the burgers and pizza? Go for the fruit! Put together a pretty platter with all of the fresh fruits that you love. Cut it up into slices or chunks and stick a toothpick in each piece to make it a more fun and easy to eat! You can even check out Pinterest for some sport-inspired fruit displays!

Tip #2: Mix Wine and Sparkling Water

If you like to have a few cocktails while tailgating, go for the wine and sparkling water combo. Half cup of white wine mixed with half cup of sparkling water. If you are going to be drinking beer or other liquors, I recommend drinking at least one glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage to make sure that you’re staying hydrated.

Tip #3: Use Healthy Marinades

If you’re marinating meats, make sure you’re choosing healthy marinades and spices. When you purchase a spice jar, be sure to read the ingredients and recognize what exactly it is you’re reading (and ultimately eating). We want to make sure we’re staying away from artificial ingredients and sweeteners.

Tip #4: Add Protein to a Veggie Platter

If you plan on taking a veggie platter, you can easily add some healthy protein by including a protein packed dip! Hummus, made with chickpeas, is a fan favorite and goes great with veggies. If your platter includes celery, a great dip to bring is almond butter or any other type of nut butter. Adding healthy protein dips will definitely make your veggie platter standout among the crowd, and is a great change from just the normal ranch dressing dips.

Now that you have some winning ideas for your tailgate, let’s hope your team wins the game!

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 stepitupchallenge.com.

Get Ready to Run This Fall

On your mark. Get set. GO!

Running is an awesome way to feel great in both body and mind. The good news is, you don’t need to be a marathon runner to get that elusive runner’s high. During my recent stop at ABC Channel 7, I shared a few tips to get you ready to hit the open road — on your two feet, that is.

It actually can be more difficult for trained athletes to get that runner’s high than it is the average person because and athlete’s body is so used to intense exercise. Just like weight loss, if your body is used to something, it won’t give you the results you crave. So change it up!

A good place to start is with your running shoes. You want to make sure that you have a good pair of supportive running shoes that fit well, like these gems from Brooks. Generally speaking, you should invest in a new pair of running shoes every 300-500 miles. You don’t want to cause injury to yourself from bad shoes- so make sure you’re picking a winner!

If you haven’t been able to run due to physical limitations, there are several amazing products out there to help. You can add inserts, like these from Currex Sole, to your shoes to help improve the shoe effectiveness and comfortability. And, if you suffer from joint issues or plantar fasciitis, these Zamst compression socks can be your best friend!

Plagued by knee issues? Know that you not alone and that you don’t need to give up on your dreams of being a runner. For certain knee issues, wearing a knee band, like this one from JK-1Knee Bands can help reduce symptoms and make you feel more stable. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about your options- because you have them!

Staying properly fueled is a must for runners. After an intense run (especially if you are marathon training) a great way to refuel is with a protein bar or protein smoothie. One of my favorites is the Vega Protein and Snack Bar. Chocolate and caramel with health benefits!? Yes, please!

And finally, when your run is over, be sure to roll out your muscles using a Trigger Point foam roller or even go treat yourself to a massage. Be sure to do something that both celebrates you and your accomplishment and gets your body ready for the next run!

Now, lace up those shoes and hit the pavement! Happy running!

Ready to step it up? Join my 21 Day Challenge today!

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-10-33-35-am

 

4 Ways to Fall Back Into a Healthy Sleep Cycle This Fall

Restful sleep each night is vital to maintaining your overall health. With the changing of seasons comes the changing of your routine and, for many, this brings with it a lot of sleep disturbances. I recently stopped by WNEM TV 5 to share ways to get your sleep back on track this autumn!

Tip #1: Limit Eating Before Bedtime

Avoid eating a really big meal at least two-hours before you plan on going to bed. If you need to eat something closer to when you’re planning to call it a night, limit your food intake to a piece of fruit, a protein bar or a little single serving snack.

Tip #2: Keep Your Bedroom Dark and Cool

Research shows, the cooler the temperature is in your bedroom, the easier it is to fall asleep. Keeping a cool temperature will allow your body to relax and sleep comfortably.

Tip #3: Limit Exercise Before Bedtime

For most people, it is impossible to do a big workout then hop in bed and fall fast asleep. Try to avoid getting your body rev’d up, but making sure your workout happens at least two hours before you plan on hitting the sack. If you tend to get a big burst of energy after working out, you might want to consider pushing your workout even further to 3-4 hours before bedtime. Listen to your body to see what works best for you.

Tip #4: Set up a Routine

Routines are great. They allow the body to predict the next move. Get your body and mind into a mode of slowing down and getting ready to fall asleep each night. If you have a favorite scent that relaxes you, use that scent in a nighttime shower gel or bedside candle. If reading relaxes you, have a good book on your nightstand that you can read for a short while every night to unwind before falling to sleep.

I hope these four, simple tips gets you feeling relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. Tonight- and every night!

How to Lose Weight Using Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Let’s be honest here, if our mind isn’t in gear, how do we expect our body to get in gear!? I stopped by Fox 5 NY recently to talk about this topic that many people struggle with.


We want to start by boosting self confidence and self esteem. Like many of my clients, people have a hard time believing that they can to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more. So we need to establish a positive, healthy relationship with ourself, just like we establish a healthy relationship with other people. If I like my body, I’m going to want to move it and keep it healthy, whereas if I hate my body, I’m not going to feel motivated to move it and keep it healthy.

One way to keep positive thoughts flowing through your mind is to give yourself affirmations. Leaving sticky notes on your mirror is a great way to do this! Choose an attribute about yourself that you like and write it down on the sticky note For example, you could write, “I love my arm muscles!”. Every time you’re getting ready you can read and repeat this affirmation to help strengthen your relationship with yourself. Be your own cheerleader!

As we age and our bodies change, a workout that once worked really well might not work anymore. It’s not your fault, you did nothing wrong, it’s just time to change it up! If you had been doing intense strength training before, you can switch up your routines to be more yoga intensive. The body will respond to changes in workouts.

The tone of your day begins with breakfast, so make good choices! We want to eat something that’s full of protein in order to get a boost of energy. One delicious (and easy!) favorite of mine is an egg bake with peppers and kale.

Simply saute a large bag of kale and 2-3 peppers in a little olive oil. When soft, transfer to a greased cake pan. In a separate bowl, whisk together 12 eggs then pour on top of veggies. Bake on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. You now have a wonderful, healthy breakfast for six days!

If eggs aren’t your thing, no worries, you can always do a protein packed shake! A ½ banana, a handful of strawberries, a cup of almond milk and protein powder is all it takes. All of this is included in the Step it Up With Steph recipe book!

Always remember, if you are struggling with losing weight and are feeling badly, you are not alone. This is a very common issue. You need to address your relationship with yourself first, then the rest can happen!

5 Ways to Keep Fitness on the Front Burner

Has your fitness regimen taken a backseat to your new hectic fall schedule? It can happen easily when kids go back to school, the weather turns and the holiday hustle creeps up. If you’re struggling to fit in quality workouts now that summer is over, no worries! I recently stopped by Channel 5 WNEM to share tips on how you can reboot your fitness workouts this fall.

Tip #1: Find a Workout Buddy

It’s all about that accountability factor! Find a friend or family member that you can go to the gym or a workout class together with. Coming up with a schedule to workout together a few days a week. This will really help you stick to your commitment!

Tip #2: Track Your Commitment

Track how good you have been sticking to your commitment by logging it on a calendar. Go ahead and print out a calendar. Put a star on the days that you workout, and leave the days that you don’t get a workout in blank. This is an awesome visual reminder of how successful you’ve been every week and can be a great motivator to step it up!

Tip #3: Always Bring a Snack

If you’ve ever fallen into the “I’m too hungry to workout” excuse trap, this tip will eliminate it! Toss a healthy snack in your purse or gym bag so something is always there to save you making the choice not to workout.

Tip #4: Get Active on Social Media

For those times that you’re relaxing on the couch and our phone is nearby,  pick it up and follow 10 fitness professionals or workout gurus on Facebook or Instagram. Seeing inspiring posts from these professionals will help keep you motivated and committed to your goals! Interested in following Step It Up With Steph? You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Tip #5: Confidence-Boosting Exercises

Staying confident and committed is a vital part of your success when it comes to working out and leading a healthy lifestyle. The 30 day workbook I created is here to help you stay committed and feel confident in yourself so that you can reach your fitness goals!

Steph-30-Days-Workbook-1

There you have it. No need to throw in the towel now that summer is over. Take these five tips and implement them into your new fall schedule. They’ll help you feel great all year long!

How To Maintain Your Beach Body Through Fall

Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s a good time to talk about maintaining your beach body through the fall. I recently stopped by the WNEM station to share four tips that will do just that!

Tip #1: Eat Seasonal Vegetables

Load up on veggies by heading to your local market to purchase some zucchini, squash, pumpkin and any other seasonal produce you like. There are so many wonderful ways to prepare veggies, including sautéing, baking, roasting and steaming. Veggies never get boring! So now that summer is over, it’s time to change up your menu and seasonal produce is a great way to do that.

Tip #2: Create an Indoor Workout Plan

Just like seasons change, so can workout routines! As the evening walks come to an end, it’s time to find a new workout plan that works for you. The cool weather may have you forgoing your outdoor workouts, but that doesn’t mean the workouts need to stop all together. This is why I have the 30 minute workout DVD, for people that don’t want to leave their house but still want to have a workout routine. They key here is, get something that works for you. Whether it’s a workout DVD or a membership to a gym, there is a plan that can replace your outdoor summer workout routine.

steph-workoutdvd-121415-2

Tip #3: Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is a key to good fitness and health. Make sure you are drinking at least ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. Add some lemon slices to kick up the taste! This is also great for detoxifying your body.

Tip #4: Dress in Layers

Take an extra few minutes every morning to layer up. This will help you stay warm and help your immune system protect itself. If the office gets too hot, you can always take off the extra sweater or jacket. Nobody enjoys being sick, so take extra precautions to help your body maintain good health.

As seasons change, you still want to feel confident about your body. Don’t let the cool weather fill you with excuses to stop your healthy lifestyle. You’ll look and feel so much better if you stick to these simple tips!

Wishing you good health and happiness!

-Steph

4 Tips for Keeping Kids Fit All Year Long

Are your kids spending too much time sitting around playing video games? It’s a common struggle in American households. I recently stopped by to chat with the anchors at WNEM TV to share my four tips on how to combat inactivity in children. I hope parents will find these four tips helpful and easy to implement. Because, when implemented they can help your kids stay fit all year long! 

Tip #1: Set TV Hours

Kids need (and want!) structure. Setting up house rules will set them up for success. Whether it is one show per day, or one hour per day, make sure your kids know what you expect from them when it comes to screen time.

Tip #2: Spend at least 30 Minutes Outdoors

Encourage at least five days per week of outdoor activity, for at least 30 minutes each time. You can make it a fun game by giving your children a calendar and every day they go outside and play for at least 30 minutes they are given a sticker to put on their calendar. Make them feel that you are on their team by explaining why it is so important that they are out and being active. Getting outside to play and explore in the fresh air is good for the body and mind…for adults and kids!

Tip #3: Reward Them

Once the children have reached their five days of outdoor activity for at least 30 minutes each time, give them a reward! Give them something that will make them feel good. By feel good, I don’t mean give them candy or more video game/tv time. Make the reward something that they can have fun with and enjoy outside. How about a trip to the store for a new soccer ball or hula hoop? Organize a family game or contest with their new reward and enjoy some time being active together!

Parents, are you interested in learning more about how rewards can lead to healthier lifestyles? My 30-day workbook helps people reconnect with how they view rewards for themselves.

Steph-30-Days-Workbook-1

Tip #4: Lead By Example

Stay prepared! Parents- keep your tennis shoes by the door so you’re always ready to tie up the laces and head out for a game of tag or baseball with your kids. It’s true what they say. Teamwork makes the dream work. Having fun by being active together can lead to a foundation of health for your children for years to come.

Cheers to a great week of outdoor fun for the family!

How to Avoid Gaining the Freshman 15 + Healthy Back to School Tips

Have you heard of the Freshman 15? It’s a real phenomenon. I know from personal experience. Moving away to college is usually a teenagers first experience with total freedom. When you mix in freedom, late night study sessions (or parties) and a cafeteria full of processed food…an extra few pounds (or 15) can happen quickly.

I gained more than fifteen pounds my freshman year at the University of Michigan- so I am very familiar with this type of weight gain. Now that I’m ten years post college graduation, I also know what healthy measures one must take to drop those unwanted pounds (and keep them off!).

I recently joined the anchors on Fox Chicago to discuss some of my top three tips on avoiding the Freshman 15!

Tip #1: Exercise in your dorm room!

College kids are busy and often times bogged down with homework. If they live on campus, they might not have a car or a way to get to a gym to workout. A little creativity can go a long way in this scenario!

What about using your laundry detergent bottles as weights? Turn on your favorite music and do some bicep and tricep reps with the detergent bottles.

Sure, you’re roommate might roll their eyes, but you can even get a friendly competition going. These were some of my favorite memories in college. I even started an aerobics TV show from my dorm room!

Tip #2: Pay attention to what you eat.

College cafeterias are full of chips, cookies and soda machines. However, there are also plentiful options like fresh fruit, protein options and greens from the salad bar. The key here? Choose wisely. Load up on spinach and chicken breasts from the salad bar, not croutons drenched in cheese and ranch dressing.

One trick I wish I had practiced in the cafeteria is to avoid white colored foods (i.e. bland starches or calorie empty breads) and make sure there is a variety of color on your plate. It’s ok to indulge, but watch your portion size when treating yourself to the soft serve ice cream.

My 30 Days to Love Your Body & Your Life workbook teaches you how to practice mental exercises that will help you value your body.

Steph-30-Days-Workbook-1

Tip #3: Parents- stay involved even though you might be geographically far away.

It doesn’t matter if your child is going to college in your hometown or has moved all the way across the country for school. You can still help them in various ways avoid that dreaded Freshman 15 and carry on healthy habits you instilled in them at home.

Sending healthy care packages is one way parents can help their college students. If they are in town, drop off a bag of healthy groceries. If they are out-of-state, mail them a big box of non-perishable snacks. Some ideas to get you inspired are Vega Bars, almond butter with honey, Wild Garden snack packs, and Safe Catch Tuna. Do you have a tea lover or aspiring chef at college? Frontier Coop has a great assortment of herbs, teas and spices you could include in your care package.

A healthy care package in lieu of one chock full of candy and junk food will definitely help your son or daughter avoid the freshman 15. Healthy food can also help to boost their energy so they can focus on their studies!

College is such an exciting time and it’s not realistic (or healthy) for students to restrict their food intake because they are worried about putting on weight. This isn’t a good tactic for anyone! Instead, students should use their brain to make smart, educated decisions. And never forget to listen to your body! It’ll tell you exactly what it likes and needs!

Looking for more healthy living tips? Tune into Step It Up With Steph and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Ready. Set. Stress-Free Travel.

Whether you’re reading this post already poolside on your last summer get-a-way, or you’re leaving today for an overnight adventure, I have the traveling tips you need to make sure your Labor Day weekend is stress-free and healthy! I recently joined the team at abc7 Chicago to talk travel tactics! 

If your trip includes plans to unwind by indulging in a few cocktails, make sure you also stay hydrated with healthy fluids. In addition to water, there are drinks that will replenish your electrolytes to keep you feeling great. One that I recommend is  WTRMLN WTR. This drink has no sugar additives and is made up of only three ingredients. As an added bonus- WTRMLN WTR contains six times the electrolytes of competitor sports drinks! My favorite way to enjoy it? In a white wine spritzer for a little watermelon infused twist!

Traveling can be exhausting (especially if you’re traveling with kids!), so in order to keep your natural energy flow, I recommend avoiding extra coffee and energy drinks during travel days. Instead, do some stretching during your road trip pit stops or while standing in line at the airport. Stretching helps you regain your energy in a natural way.

If you’re anything like me and suffer from motion sickness, you need to include some extra planning before you jet off. Ginger is a natural form of nausea relief, so packing things like ginger candy, Gingerade Kombucha, and ginger ale can really help! If you don’t suffer from motion sickness, but suffer from travel stress or anxiety, how about packing a stress ball in your carryon? Take a few squeezes to get some relief!

Now, what about healthy food options while traveling? You can’t avoid eating (nor should you), but in order to feel good, you have to make good choices. Look for chips or crackers that have some health benefits. I really like popchips because they have ½ the fat of regular potato chips. If you’re looking for a healthy snack bar that won’t melt in the heat of the car or bottom of a purse, try Evo hemp bars. They come in many flavors and are packed with hunger satisfying protein.

Lastly, if you’re looking to maximize upgrades on your trip, there are a few things you can do to enhance your probability of getting upgraded. Think outside the box and offer to write a review for a hotel, front desk manager or gate agent at the airport. Aside from increasing your probability of an upgrade, you will also make their day! Holiday weekends are very stressful for people in the travel and hospitality industry. So, you really can’t go wrong with this tactic.

Wherever your holiday weekend takes you, I hope it’s stress-free, healthy, safe and FUN! Interested in more health and fitness tips? Tune in to Step It Up With Steph here.

Interested in learning more about my private weight loss programs for women? Click here to learn more and apply for a complimentary Signature Slimdown Session.

Weight Loss Coach: Strength Training Circuit Workout

Get your step on with Chicago weight loss coach Stephanie Mansour and Jenny Milk on the lake!

strength training circuit workout

One of the mistakes I see my weight loss coaching clients make is sticking to cardio and skipping the strength training. Cardio helps you burn calories, but strength training helps you build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and strong muscles help you look more lean and toned.

When you’re out for a run, be sure to add some strength training to your routine. You don’t have to go to the gym; you can do it wherever you are with a strength training step up circuit workout.

This step circuit workout will have you marching up and down steps, doing push ups, and tricep dips!

To step it up even more with weight loss coach Steph, check out her weight loss programs for women and shop our store for a weight loss workout DVD, recipe book, and more.