Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Not Lose Yourself In Your Own Life

Something I realized a few months ago was that all of my former hobbies, such as attending sporting events, randomly visiting friends, playing volleyball, hip hop dancing (I used to take classes), ballet (I used to perform in recitals!), piano (I was a competitive classical pianist), have taken a backseat to my career in the past 5 years.

Here I am happily playing volleyball earlier this week:

When I realized how hobby-less I had become, I was shocked. Had I lost part of myself while living my life? Apparently so. How did I manage to forego so many of my hobbies, and not realize it until 5 years later?

Has this happened to you? You decided to focus so intensely on one area of your life, and suddenly you step back and say, “Wow, what have I done?! Where are my hobbies?”

For many years I’ve bowed out of extracuriculars for multiple reasons – the biggest one being “Why should I make time for something that is not advancing my career or enhancing my familial relationships or friendships?” But now, I see the light. I understand why these hobbies of mine were so important, and ARE so important.

They are important because they are something fun to look forward to; they are something that can be taken seriously but really don’t have to be. They are an outlet and serve as a bump along an otherwise smooth, and even predictable, road that makes up our daily life.

Although it is a slow process for me, I am excitedly beginning to re-connect with some of my old hobbies, and who knows, maybe even adjusting my schedule to accommodate them! 🙂

Do you have any stories to share? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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Back-to-Basics: Boot Camp Gets Results

Remember when team Step It Up with Steph competed in the Nike Challenge?!

We did a lot of “Bootcamp” style exercises, and it was SO effective! Check out this guest post from my friend Adrian – really good info for experienced bootcampers AND newbies!

Back-to-Basics:  Boot Camp Gets Results

One of the more popular trends in fitness today is boot camp style workouts.  These workouts, which originated from army boot camp drills, include a combination of endurance and resistance exercises.  Boot camp classes are a back-to-basics exercise program, requiring little space and little equipment, yet they get results.  Many of the basic exercises–push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats–use only your body weight as resistance.  Yet these provide a total body workout in an atmosphere of competitive camaraderie. The purpose of a boot camp workout is to push yourself to your limits and achieve significant fitness gains in a short amount of time.

What to Expect

While a training camp workout typically includes an outdoor obstacle course, many boot camp classes held in fitness facilities include indoor obstacles like jumping or hopping rings or ladder rungs on the floor, climbing ropes or dragging or swinging heavy ropes.  You can expect to do lots of push-ups and pull-ups, but also some moves with light dumbbells like shoulder raises, bicep curls and tricep extensions.  Besides sit-ups, you can expect to do other core strengthening exercises like planks.  Lower body exercises may include jumping squats or plyometrics.  Aerobic intervals are interspersed throughout the class and may include jumping jacks, jumping rope, squat thrusts, or kick-boxing moves.  Each fitness instructor may present variations for their boot camp class, but you can expect to sweat, to be challenged and to get stronger, leaner, and more confident!

Who Can Do Boot Camp

While you should be in good health, you don’t have to already be fit in order to benefit from a boot camp class.  A good fitness instructor will provide modifications for beginners, so that you can exercise safely and progress at your pace.   If you are a teen or an older adult, look for boot camp classes targeted for your particular group.  As with any exercise regimen, check with your doctor if you have any limiting health conditions before you begin.

Guest Blogger Adrian Dunn is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, and Fitness Coach for Everyday Health ( and its calorie counter.


The Double-Edge Sword of Compliments

Last weekend I was out celebrating my friend’s birthday, and all of a sudden two guys came over to our table. They said, “Step It Up with Steph! Is that you??” All of my friends turned to look at them. I wasn’t sure who they were, but they said that they had “known me before I became famous.” I started laughing and we started talking. Apparently they have been following my Facebook updates for a few years now, and they were amazed by “how far I had come.”

As you can imagine, I was a little bit shocked, pretty happy, and also very humbled. I was honored to have impacted them so much that they felt the need to say “hello”!

Without further ado, here we are all together:
Of course, I couldn’t help but give them a Step It Up with Steph tip while we were at the bar – make sure you drink a glass of water after that drink! 🙂

Back to compliments. Compliments can be double-edge swords. If you base your self-worth on compliments, i.e. if all I wanted were for people to come up to me and tell me, “Good job!” or praise me, we’d have a problem. Similarly, if I was unable to graciously accept a compliment and say, “Oh please, it was nothing, ” I am stealing the excitement from the compliment-giver.

I need to be a gracious compliment receiver in order to accept the gift of the compliment, and therefore make the compliment giver feel good about saying something nice.

On the other hand, if I based my self-worth on receiving compliments, I would never feel a sense of inner peace and inner-validation. Internal validation and motivation are much more long-lasting than external forces. While you may be motivated by words of praise after losing weight or becoming more in shape, eventually your motivation needs to come from inside in order for you to have a good sense of self worth and also have consistent motivation.

What do you think? You can leave a comment below and we can discuss!

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Pic of Security Guard + On-The-Go Healthy Snacks

Eating healthy on the go can be challenging…but, one person at a time, I am showing how easy it can be to be healthy anytime, anywhere!

Check out my fabulous security guard from my building – we talk about being healthy and fit all the time. And, he whipped out this bag of hard boiled eggs from his jacket pocket! How cool is that! All it takes is a little planning.

When I was visiting my sister at Harvard, I ate dorm food with her. There was a delicious veggie soup, so I decided to add in an extra serving of broccoli. A great source of fiber and a nutritious veggie. While I do not recommend “scarfing” food, I was able to eat this bowl of veggies in under 3 minutes as we were in a rush. It was pre-made and quick to eat.

This is how I work with my clients – we take a look at their daily life and see what is realistic for them. Here are some snack options:

  • Pre-peeled and packed hard boiled eggs. Make 12 at the beginning of the week and peel them the morning you take them to work.
  • Pre-made bean & veggie dip with corn shells for tacos. Mix together a can of beans, corn, salsa, and raw kale. Bring this mixture to work with a few corn tortilla taco shells. You’ve got a healthy taco in less than 30 seconds, with barely any prep time.
  • Nuts. Make your own single-serving bag or buy them pre-packed from the grocery store. Look out for any added ingredients and try to stay as simple as possible. You can even mix in some baked kale with your nuts and keep them in the fridge!
  • Celery and almond butter. Cut a stick of celery in half, and smear almond butter onto each half. Place in a bag and bring with you on the go.

Do you have any other snack ideas? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


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