Monthly Archives: November 2015

Best Sports Bras from Women’s Health & Drinks To Avoid Pre-Workout

As a personal trainer I spend at least a portion of every single day in a sports bra. As you can imagine I’ve become a bit of  an expert on which brands and styles offer the best support for their price! When Women’s Health Magazine asked for recommendations from professionals it was a no-brainer for me!

Steph smiling in red dress

As a private weight loss coach for women in Chicago and across the country, I enjoy contributing as a health and fitness expert for many online publications. I love helping women find the best options available to help them reach their health goals and enjoy the process along the way!

Check out a few of the most recent articles I’ve been quoted in below.

Best Sports Bra for a Workout

Click here to see which sports bra got my vote for a high impact workout in Women’s Health Magazine online.

Pre-Workout Drinks to Avoid 

It’s both important to stay well-hydrated throughout the day and to fuel up before a workout. But do you know which kinds of drinks to grab on your way to the gym and which you would do better to avoid?

Turns out there are 12 things you should never drink before a workout. Find out what they are on the Eat This, Not That website here.

Looking to Spice Up Your Workout? Check out these killer moves from SELF magazine that top celebrity trainers use for their A-List clients!

Click here to find out why (and how!) you should incorporate a slam ball into your exercise toolbox.

Step Up Your Squat Game With This Simple Tweak

Target your core more intensely and squat deeper with the single-arm kettlebell rack squat. Click here to read up on how to perform this new move safely and make those fitness gains!

Build Buns of Steel with the Pistol Squat

Celeb powerhouse Jessica Biel recently showed off this ultra-challenging move on her Instagram page. Read my thoughts on this front and back body total burner here. It’s an advanced movement, so I’ve included my recommended starter exercise to build your strength and mobility up for future one-legged squatting success!

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As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Partner Workout: Dancing Lunges with Jenny Milkowski

Women’s Weight Loss Coach and Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour partners with TV personality Jenny Milkowski to show you another fun way to ramp up your lunges. Definitely put on some tunes for this one, you’re about to get jiggy with it!

So lunges are already pretty awesome for your cardiovascular system, but when you add a workout partner you can get even more out of this staple exercise. These Irish Jig style lunges will work your entire lower body like none other. Prepare yourself for an order of that good glute burn with a side of quads and ham!

Watch the video to get the low-down on proper form and hear some high-quality buddy banter.

Side note: Kicking your dance partner is neither encouraged nor endorsed by this Weight Loss Coach 😉

Dance it out!

XO,

Steph and Jenny

As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Steph & Jenny Talking

Make the Most of Your Workout (As seen on The Jam)

Your time and your health are both precious, so every minute counts when you’re working out! Weight Loss Coach and Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour appeared on The Jam to bring you several simple ways to maximize your results before, during, and even after a workout.

Work smarter not harder, right? This phrase can apply to your workouts too! (Even though you’re definitely working hard at those!) I’ve done the research and have here a few workout secrets to guarantee you are getting the most bang for your workout minute “buck” and boost your calorie burning to the next level! Let’s compare a few common moves and snacks below and I’ll clue you in on why one is superior over the other.

Let’s start with the lower body:

What’s better? Squats vs. Lunges.

No leg day is complete without a variation of either of these incredible, calorie-torching moves, but which is better if you’re pressed for time? Lunges isolate one leg at a time, so they can often feel a little more difficult; however, squats take the cake here as they will work both legs and both glutes at the same time! A key tip to remember when you’re squatting is to really SQUEEZE those butt cheeks at the top of the move. I like to tell my private weight loss clients to act as if they’re holding a diamond between their cheeks and they don’t want to let that baby go!

Moving on up to the arms!

What’s more effective for a bicep curl? Dumbbells vs. Bands

While it might seem like a hefty dumbbell weight would provide more challenge than a resistance band, that’s simply not true when it comes to toning your arms! The reason why is simple once you see it in action. The resistance band provides tension throughout the entire movement, not just on the curl up, but also on the way down. By keeping that tension on the muscle while it contracts you’re engaging the entire length of your biceps.

Meet me in the middle, it’s time for the core!

A is for Abs! Plank vs. Crunches

It’s so important to strengthen your core. This will lead to better posture, better breathing and even reduce or prevent lower back pain. So which is a better use of your training time, crunches or a plank? If you answered plank–you got it! A plank will work the entire core: the internal and external obliques, the rectus abdominis, the transverse abdominis, etc. It’ll even hit your glutes (squeeze!) and your shoulders. You can perform a plank on your hands in traditional push-up position or down on your forearms if your wrists need a break.

What you put inside your body is as important as how you move it!

Pre-Workout Smoothie Add-Ins: Almond Butter vs. Tofu

Nut butters are a popular add-in for health shakes, but they aren’t actually the best choice for before a workout. Here’s the skinny: almond butters contain a lot of fat, which can slow you down during your activity and even cause muscle cramps! Not good! Now what’s a yummy alternative that will provide better energy to burn? You probably are used to eating tofu as part of a tasty stir-fry meal or in a savory soup, but did you realize you can also blend it into a smoothie?! Nutrient-dense, protein-packed House Foods Tofu will give you the boost you need to power through a tough workout and bonus: it’s delicious!

Don’t forget about post-workout nutrition!

Post-Workout Snack Time: Almonds Milk vs. Chocolate Milk

You drank your tofu smoothie, you did your squats, you sweat your way through that workout, and now it’s time recover with a snack. What do you grab? Chocolate milk is gaining popularity in the fitness community as an after workout  go-to for good reason! It’s got protein, it’s got carbohydrates, it will instantly go to work restoring your body’s glycogen stores that were likely depleted from that intense gym session.

Hope you enjoy making use of these workout-enhancing tips!

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As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

 

Steph recommends House Foods Tofu

Make the Most of Your Workout

Partner Workout: Tricep Toe Touches with Jenny Milkowski

Biceps tend to steal the exercise spotlight most of the time, but what about the muscles that run the length of the back of your arms? Tightening up those triceps is equally important when it comes to the overall appearance of your lady guns! That’s why Weight Loss Coach Stephanie Mansour and TV Personality Jenny Milkowski are here to show you and your best bud how to get tank top ready together!

Roll out your exercise mats cause we’re staying low to the ground with these tricep toe touches!

Begin seated, knees bent, feet on the ground with your partner mirroring you.

Now place your palms on the ground behind you with your fingertips pointing toward your glutes. Keep your abs in tight as you press your bum up and off the floor.

From here you can perform a few triceps dips on your own to warm-up.

When you and your partner are ready you’re going to lift one leg off the ground each, touch the soles of your feet together, and then proceed to dip down and back up.

That’s one rep! Try to do at least five on one side before switching legs.

You’ll feel the burn pretty instantly; have fun with it!

XO,

Steph & Jenny

As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Five Ways to Trick Yourself Out of Bed and Into Your Workout Routine (As Seen On Fox 32)

Weight Loss Coach and Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour stopped by Fox 32 to deliver her top five tips for motivating yourself to workout first thing in the morning. Find out how easy it is to trick  yourself into working out even if all you want to do is pull the covers over your head and hit that snooze button again!

Do you struggle with finding momentum to get moving in the morning? You’re not alone! My private weight loss clients  are smart and highly successful women, but even they struggle in the morning saying, “I know I should be working out in the morning, but it’s just so difficult to leave my bed!”

With these five simple tweaks to your morning routine, you’ll be rolling out of dreamland and running full speed ahead toward your fitness goals! And the best part? They won’t cost you a thing!  So what are these hacks that anyone can do?

1. Alarm Clock Anthem

Is your alarm currently set to one of the basic ringtones available on your phone? Time to change that tired noise up! Choose one of your favorite songs to wake up to, that way the first thing you hear is something you love and it will excite you to get up and get going!

2. Smell Your Way Out of Bed

Now that your ears have perked up let’s get another sense recruited: your sense of smell! Do you have a favorite scent? Keep a bottle of essential oil, a diffuser, or even perfume on your bedside table and spray a little into the air upon waking. I like an energizing citrus scent such as orange or grapefruit, but eucalyptus is also very invigorating!

3. Light It Up

Sensing a bit of a pattern? We’re going to engage a third sense here. Time to blink your way into a new day! If you have drapes, leave them open at night so the sunlight floods your room in the morning. If you are waking up before the sun, or just don’t get a lot of natural sunlight in your bedroom–flip a switch!

4. Let Go of Expectations

A lot of times you might be worried or even dreading a workout wondering how you’re going to make it through those thirty or forty minutes, and just simply let those thoughts GO! Don’t psych yourself out, just focus on the steps of getting yourself out of bed, dressed in your workout clothes, to the gym, or popping in your Step It Up with Steph DVD. Stay in the moment!

5. One-Word Visualization

This is my favorite tip and I bet it will be yours too once you start employing it! Using a one word mantra is very powerful and affirming, you can even choose a new one every single day if you want. Words like “accomplish” or “proud” or “strong”, any word that best encapsulates how you want to feel or what you want your day to look like. Pick one and give it a try!

Engage your senses, get moving, and make your dreams a reality!

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As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Steph excitedly talking to anchor

Partner Core Workout: Oblique Sculpting with Jenny Milkowski

Weight Loss Coach and Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour and TV Personality Jenny Milkowski know that a friend can make a tough workout way more manageable. Today they’ve got an ab-sculpting move to show you that will light your obliques on fire!

Don’t be fooled by the seemingly comfy starting position down on your forearms, this core move is one tough cookie. Or rather muffin…cause it targets that common “problem” area: the muffin top! Try these out next time you have a gym date with your bestie and thank us later!

Exercise is only half the equation when it comes to killer abs though, so remember to feed yourself well too. Check out my recipe book if you need a little more guidance in the kitchen!

XO,

Steph and Jenny

As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Obliques workout

Four Natural Insomnia Remedies for Back to School Season (As Seen on Fox 32)

Health and Fitness Expert Stephanie Mansour dropped by Fox 32 with practical tips to help you unwind and induce sleep naturally. One in four Americans deal with sleep problems. Since a good night’s rest is crucial for health and wellness, these four tips might just change your life.

The kids are going back to school and we’re going back to the swing of routine! Now is the perfect time to take a second look at your nightly rituals and see if they’re serving your health and fitness goals. If you struggle to fall asleep, or you struggle to stay asleep, this is the first place to start.

As a private weight loss coach, I teach a holistic path to health and wellness. The clients in my private weight loss programs for women want to lose weight and make it last, and sometimes a big part of meeting that goal is simply addressing their sleep habits. Sometimes a good night’s rest and drinking more water really is all it takes!

How to Relax and Fall Asleep Naturally

Snack Smarter at Night

Most people can’t make it without a snack before bedtime. The end goal is to slowly teach your body not to grab for sugary snacks after dinner, and to not need to eat again because it’s much easier to fall and stay asleep if dinner was the last meal of the day.

At night, your digestive system slows down so food left in your belly overnight can start to ferment and irritate your bowels or cause bloating that wakes you up.

However, if you’re used to a late-night snack, here’s a great idea I learned from my recent visit to Hilton Head Health, a wellness retreat and weight loss resort in Hilton Head. I loved their philosophy on food and their practical tips for snacking! They had a whole snack bar and encouraged eating little snacks throughout the day, and even at night after dinner before bed.

So in Chicago, I created my own version of their snacks! Grab some single serving Ziploc containers and fill them with healthy snacks like dried fruit, crackers, or cottage cheese. Store them in your cupboard so when you just have to munch, you can easily grab one of them instead of reaching for a whole bag of snacks and distractedly eating handful after handful.

Relaxing Nightly Exercises
If you’re used to working out at night, that might be hindering your ability to fall asleep. Make sure you don’t choose a workout that amps you up in the evening.

Try a gentle Pilates or yoga routine instead.

My private weight loss clients love the five-minute yoga routine on my Step It Up With Steph DVD because it’s gentle and relaxing, but also helps them release energy leftover from the day and prepares them for a deep sleep.

What’s in Your Cup?

Many of my private weight loss clients love a glass of wine in the evening. Me too! But the sugar and sulfites in alcohol often leave me feeling groggy come morning because those things impede sleep.

If you want to enjoy a glass of wine, try FitVine. It’s super delicious, low in sugar, calories, and sulfites and a glass or two won’t leave you with a grainy headache.

Warm herbal teas are always a great option at night too. Lavender, chamomile, and peppermint are all great sleep aids.

Get Cozy With It

Does your bed make you want to dive in and snuggle up? If it doesn’t, maybe it’s time for a new mattress or just some new sheets. I love my Molecule sheets because they breathe easier than normal sheets (making them a great option if you’re hitting menopause and experiencing hot flashes!) and are so soft.

Give yourself time to relax in your bedroom with some candles, aromatherapy, and scented lotion. (I love the ultrasonic diffusers by Saje Wellness!)Teach your body that it’s time to relax and go to sleep. These small indulgences reap huge rewards for your health.

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As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Partner Workout: Around the World Lunges with Jenny Milkowski

Weight Loss Coach Stephanie Mansour and TV Personality Jenny Milkowski team up again to bring you an awesome partner workout! You don’t have to travel far to get a great workout in with these around the world lunges.

Get ready to sweat with your favorite workout buddy! You will feel the burn. You will lunge low. You will . . . hold hands.

Yes, these around the world lunges are about as awesome as a trip to Paris. Oiu oiu, it’s true! OK, each has it’s own perks. This one is great for the glutes and Paris is great for the gluten-lovers. But enough  about that–on to the workout!

Get your butt, legs, and core strong with this fun partner exercise. Watch the video for great fitness tips on proper form and technique. OK, and for laughs.

Cheers!

XO,

Steph & Jenny

As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com

Clear Signs Not to Push Through Workout Pain (As Seen on Good Day Chicago)

Steph shares with Good Day Chicago five clear signs that you’ve pushed your body too far in a workout. Working out can be hard, but it should never be painful. Get these great fitness tips and step up your health today.

My private weight loss clients are notorious for their “no pain no gain” mentality as are most people when they start a fitness routine or weight loss program. My clients are high powered and successful women who are great at getting the job done and making things happen. But when they take that attitude to the gym, it’s a recipe for disaster. No pain, no gain is old school. Step up your fitness mindset with an integrative and holistic approach.

It’s possible to have an effective workout without leaving the gym super sweaty and sore. Don’t go hard to get results. It’s all about working out smarter, not harder.

Clear Signs Not to Push Through Workout Pain

1. You feel an immediate twinge of pain during a workout.

If something comes on suddenly and is accompanied by pain, then it’s time to stop your work out.

2. You hear a pop or a crack and it is followed by pain.

Sure we all get a little crackly and poppy as we age, but if you hear a weird pop or crack and it is followed by pain take that as a sign it’s time to stop working out. You might need to take a few days off even to make sure you fully heal and recuperate.

3. Pain gets worse as you work out.

Sometimes we hurt ourselves and aren’t sure if it’s “real” pain or just muscle fatigue and normal soreness. It can seem like a good idea to work the muscles, warm them up and loosen things up; however, if the pain continues to worsen while working out–stop! That’s a sign you’ve pushed your body too far and need to scale back.

As a private weight loss coach and a private fitness coach for women, I specialize in helping successful women lose weight.

If you’re looking for a life coach, a wellness coach, or a confidence coach in Chicago and beyond, you’ve come to the right place! As a certified personal trainer for women, Yoga Instructor in Chicago, Pilates Instructor in Chicagoland, and certified professional life coach in Chicago, I work with successful women across the country as a private weight loss coach for women.

For more inspiration, join our FREE 21 Day Challenge at stepitupchallenge.com