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Moira's Blog Posts

Filtering by Category: inspiration

Long & Lean in 2015?

Moira Riccio

Happy New Year!
How are those resolutions coming along?  Aaah…"New Year's resolutions" are similar to fitness~it's a personal decision, your prerogative, you need to figure out what works for you and what doesn't.

Resolutions are goals, really.  If you are serious and determined about them, write them down and post it on your dresser or (if it's weight loss-related especially;)) your refrigerator.  'Best thing to do is share your resolutions with friends so you can stick with the plan.   Strive to attain those goals but take it day by day!  Give yourself little rewards along the way~life is short, but the days can be long….

Here are my 2015 resolutions:

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My Dog Taught Me Everything I Know

Moira Riccio

It's ok to sometimes just eat & sleep
When you fall down, get right back up, shake it off, forget about it, and go on
Be very brave no matter what size
Make your own fun
Unleash your talents
Learn new tricks no matter what age
Make new friends
Sniff out opportunities
Chase after your dreams
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them (!)
At the end of the day, it is best to snuggle no matter what happened
Every day is a brand new day just to be happy

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A Horoscope to Live By

Moira Riccio

Here's my horoscope for today:

"Let the energy of the day pull you along.  Welcome change and initiate what you want to see unfold.  It's a 'take-charge' kind of a day, so don't waffle or let someone else take over.  Show your strengths and improve your weaknesses."

Cheers to that on this cold and dreary day!!

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More Energy!

Moira Riccio

That's right, exercising brings you more energy….   And, I don't know about you, but it really helps me to stay on top of it and in a good mood to deal with my life!

When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins -- "feel good" chemicals that improve your mood.  So if you feel sad or anxious, slide on your toe sox and get to one of my classes!

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Words of Wisdom

Moira Riccio

So this summer, Oprah sponsored a line of teas at Starbucks and offered her words of wisdom on the sleeves on the cardboard cups.  Every day when I order my "venti pike," I would read one of the five sentences offering advice.  Here they are…

"Live from the heart of yourself.  Seek to be whole, not perfect."    (does this mean, "condition from the inside out?"  or maybe, "Smell the roses, and blow out the birthday candles?")

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Pyramid to Fitness

Moira Riccio

                                          Your Overall Fitness Pyramid

You can do it!  We are all a work in progress…:)  Get started today and "put it in your routine."

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Winter Blues

Moira Riccio

I know, I know….  This Winter is a doozy!  Right about now, I want to put my snow scraper away for a very long time.   Brace yourselves -- more snow is predicted.  It might start to get you down, you know?  Sick of those boots?  Tired of hunching over toward the car?  Slipping on the ice?  Maybe hibernating a little bit watching the Olympics?  Me, too.


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New Year's Resolutions? How to Ditch the Bad Habits and Develop Good Ones

Moira Riccio

It's that time of year, and we are all thinking ahead~what changes can I make for the better in 2014?  Well, when you are considering changing habits, remember three things: a cue, a routine, and a reward.

Often times we automatically perform a habit simply by the certain time of day, or when our surroundings change~that's the cue.  For example, do you eat more at a certain time of the day, to unwind and relax?  Consider whether you can unwind and relax simply by eating less and/or being with family instead, giving yourself a cup of tea instead.

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How Mo Got Her Job

Moira Riccio

There's a children's book entitled, "How Santa Got His Job."  It's really funny, and tells how Santa had all these different jobs before delivering presents all over the world.  He started off as a short order cook, but ate too much of the food and was fired.  Then he delivered packages, but there were so many barking dogs that he delivered the packages down the chimney instead, getting fired again.  It is a child's story book but with deeper meaning to anyone who wonders, "Is this where I am supposed to be?"

We all make decisions about jobs, boyfriends, family and those decisions lead us down different paths, for better, for worse.  Let me just say that I can honestly say, being a Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Coach is the place for me.:)  I, of course, was born with the "gift of gab," and figuring out how to talk so fast using proper cueing techniques is key to not for everyone.  But I have been reading to my children for years, and I would make up different voices for each character I would pretend to be.  Ask me sometime about my English accent!

I am the youngest of seven children, which of course allowed me to watch others often, giving me a solid sense how to "read" people, how they are feeling or how strongly they want to workout on a particular day.

I was a waitress for years, and therefore, can prioritize and organize exercises into an hour-long session.  

I have been a minivan-driving Mom for years, carpooling to multiple places in the same day.  This takes a lot of planning and preparation~for not only the destination but the dinner!  When, and what, is everyone going to eat?  And this also adds to my talent for cueing while moving in an exercise class~driving while throwing snacks and juices boxes to the back of a minivan isn't easy, you know!

I was in corporate sales, which helped me to improve my overall communication skills.  My boss once said to me, "Enthusiasm is contagious," and he was right!

I was an injured athlete at one point as well, which will always give me the compassion for helping others to be better, faster, stronger, and healthier.

As we approach the new year, let's strive to see the positive side of things and perhaps build on that idea that we are where we are supposed to be, and can be all the better for it!

Happy New Year,

7, 7, & 7

Moira Riccio

This refers to the "three-dimensional breathing" we all need to do at least once a day (including myself!).  Take a huge breath in through the nose for 7 seconds, hold it for 7 seconds, and then release for 7 seconds.
'Great way to manage stress.  After all, the Holidays are right around the corner….

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Brrrr…cold weather got you uptight?

Moira Riccio

Yeah, that's what I said ~ "Do you feel a little "uptight," or stiff and crickety these days?  We've all been there.  Research shows that exercise is the best medicine for your joint stiffness.  According to Prevention magazine, "…exercise is the best thing for tender joints.  It builds muscle, stabilizes joints, promotes flexibility, and keeps your weight down."  For every extra pound of weight you carry, it exerts roughly 4 pounds on each knee!

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Starbucks~do you have one in your neighborhood?

Moira Riccio

Well, I hope so.   Everyone goes through different phases in life, but this coffee buzz phase is now going on three years.  My husband brought home a giftcard for Starbucks one day, and offered it to me.  (He doesn't drink coffee.  -- 'Just another way in which we are opposite)  Anyway, I started going there and have grown to love it.  Ok, I may be hooked, some would call it addicted, not sure.  Whatever it is, I have found some truly interesting conversations with the customers who stop in for their java at the same time as I do.  This is Mo's time, pouring the half n'half in just so.  And while I create my happy drink, yucking it up with Nancy & Mary (sisters), George (I am on a board with his wife), Rob (training to be a massage therapist), about the weather, then current events, and joking around.   Honestly, we are all friends now....and in fact, one time I saw one of my Starbucks friends out at a carnival with my kids, and I was a little taken aback.   "Hi Alan!"  I waved.  And my kids were like, "Who is that?!"  I almost felt as though I was cheating in a way. :o)

Then I figured it out.   You get to have a nice little chat with these people without any commitment or baggage.  You all share something in common, maybe have some connection, and then move on.  

Life has so many long-standing relationships which have their ups and downs...and you need to sometimes ride it out and hope to remain friends after a disagreement or change your lifestyle, or maybe realize that you were only close for one stage of life and not so much now.   When you see that person again, it can be awkward, right?

No worries with Mary, Nancy, Alan, George, and of course, Frank.  Just a little chat in the morning, exchange pleasantries and have a good day!  No co-worker hassles, no sibling rivalries, no heavy responsibilities.  A coffee and a smile.

May you have a little Starbucks time in your day, too!


Returning from summer vacation?

Moira Riccio

Aaaah...Labor Day Weekend,  Summer's almost over and while we all want to enjoy ourselves in the sun, relax with friends at barbecues, or just chill and grill, it's always hard to get back into the routine of exercising again.

Back to basics, my friends.  Book your next Pilates class, call a friend to join you for a Barre class or RIPPED.   Stay motivated!  The longer you wait, the harder it will be, bottom line.

You may be asking yourselves, "What does a Fitness Instructor do on vacation?  Does she eat nachos? What about ice cream?"  The answer is yes, and yes.;)  I took some time off this summer and one day stayed in my pajamas until 11am.  For this early-bird girl, that's unheard of!  I actually took it down a thousand and read a book... had a second or third cup of coffee and then went for a walk.

Squeezing in some fitness time is always a challenge for us, especially on vacation!
'Just gotta "put one foot in front of the other...?"

Here are a few ideas to get going again:

1. Set goals for yourself, monthly and weekly
2. Get the time into your routine~there's always busier people than you exercising!
3. Remind yourself, "What am I getting out of this?"  And write it down.
4. Early bird bootcamp?  Lie your workout gear out in your bathroom.  Then when you first get up you won't hesitate looking at that messy closet.
5. Give yourself a little reward, preferably not a food item.

Stay Positive~No Matter What!

Moira Riccio

'Sorry I haven't been posting the past few days....  Things got a little hectic, I have to admit and "life got in the way" of positive energy, enthusiasm and good ideas.  Yup, it happens to the best of us.   Within the past few weeks, I have been boggled down with extra activities and some schedule changes, and it was making me a little "blue."  But alas~I have snapped out of it~back to my usual upbeat, perky self ~ I know you are all relieved!!!

The real question is: "How did I do it?"  It all comes back to that saying I heard over and over, growing up, "If you don't have something positive to say, don't say it at all."  I even started saying it in my spinning classes: when we got into a difficult part of the program, "Think of all the positive things you have accomplished this week."  It really does make a difference!

Have you ever heard Oprah's advice about staying positive (and as a result healthy):)?  She recommends writing down in a journal the 5 good things that happened to you each day.  It really feels good, I have to admit!  In fact, I used to ask my kids the same question as I was putting them to sleep each night, "What was the best thing that happened today?"  (I sometimes waited up to a long minute for the response, but it eventually came!!)

My Aunt is a veteran elementary school teacher and principal (truly examining human nature at its purest), and she says she encourages the kids getting off the school bus to do the same thing.  While greeting the kids with a friendly, "Good Morning!" a sad little girls approaches her each day.  Aunt Eula suggests to her, "Sarah, isn't there something good about today?"  "No." Sarah replies.  "There must be something ~ what did you eat for breakfast today?"  Sarah smiles a little bit ans says, "Waffles with syrup."  So now each day, the seasoned teacher asks her about the waffles and then a little bit more positive feedback each day.  Eventually Sarah (it may have been halfway through the year but even so!) started saying, "Good Morning."

That's your choice (and everyone's) to remain positive or let the little things get you down....

Today my five things are:  Seeing my clients in an early-bird Reformer class,  coffee at Starbucks,
successfully getting my kids out the door for camp, reading a new book from the library, and grilling salmon to perfection!  In between all the other mundane chores I did today, when I fall asleep I only think of those.

Sleep tight,

Eat a Carrot Little Bunny;)

Moira Riccio

So I used to read this book to my children when they were young, "The Runaway Bunny."  The Momma bunny follows the baby bunny around and says, "I will take care of you no matter what."  The little bunny rebels and tries to run away ~ imagining itself as a bear, a cloud, a tree to escape the Momma, but the Momma always finds a way to the baby.  At the end of the sweet story of unconditional love, the Momma bunny says, "Now eat your carrot."

And that's what it all comes down to, doesn't it?  We all need to hold that carrot out and reach for it as a reward (even though it's food...) to give ourselves little things to look forward to.  As my friend and former roommate used to say to me, "If you don't take care of yourself, who will?"

So that's the wellness idea for the day, June 26, 2013:  Plan out your day, week, month and summer with little rewards along the way.  That's really simply a version of setting goals, whether it be watching our diet and/or exercising and feeling good about ourselves.  Look ahead on the calendar and go out to dinner with friends, take a boat cruise or stand-up paddle along the ocean, go see a concert!

We all need those carrots along the way!;)

Memorial Day Weekend ~ manage your expectations...

Diane Dixon's the official start of summer: Memorial Day Weekend!  I always look forward to this weekend for an extra day of relaxation -- connecting with good friends, riding my bike with no time commitment, walking my dog on the beach, having a cookout with my family without electronics where everyone gets along -- even though it doesn't always work out the way I expect.  Isn't that the way with so many thing?  Manage your expectations, and you will naturally be more positive about your daily experiences.

Ya, ya, ya we all want to go to the beach this weekend -- got your beach pass and towel all ready to go?  Well, it's going to be rainy, damp and cold.  How about buying a ticket to a movie that your neighbor told you was "the best she ever saw" and you are puzzled as to why she thought it was so good!   Try out a new restaurant for the big Saturday night date, and your meal is overcooked~what are you going to do?!

Take a deep breath and manage your expectations, that's what.

Throw on a fleece jacket and hike the beach in boots instead!  Step out of the theatre and shop the mall.    Order another glass of Chardonnay and say to yourself, "It's not the last time I will eat a so-so meal out at a restaurant!"

So as we prepare for a wonderful summer with hopes of rest and relaxation, remember that often times, "life gets in the way."  So try your best to carve out sometime to yourself, in one way or another, but remember ~ if it doesn't meet your expectations, there's always a positive side to it ~ the "silver lining." Step back, and turn it around for the good, to mentally "Keep the Peace."  It's all good!

Warm Wishes for a healthy, fun and relaxing weekend,

"Small Town Girl Trying to make Good in the World"

Moira Riccio

Do you watch American Idol?  Well, even if you don't, you may have heard that one of the top three finalists is from the North Shore of Boston!  We just came back from visiting the parade in her honor.... What a small town girl "trying to make good in the world."  While we were waiting for Angie Miller to arrive in her limo (no sight of Keith Urban ~ serious bummer), we soaked up the sunshine and struck up conversations with fellow fans.  We met Catherine, a seventy-five year old woman with her boyfriend -- full-blooded Italian, has two sons who live in California.  She said her finger was aching over dialing in for Angie so many times...:)  Then we stumbled upon two Moms and their daughters who had designed their own t-shirts in honor of Angie.  People carried signs, shouted out Angie's name as though she were their relative, and gasped when they saw her turn their way.  It was a small town event but one with lots of good people watching, and overall positive energy, where people were excited to see a celebrity.

So what does this have to do with wellness?  Well, after the Marathon Day bombings in Boston, it just simply felt good to be among people who had something in common, for the common good.  I truly feel as though you need to surround yourself with people who will bring you up, not put you down.  So many of us struggle with anxiety and/or stress and we all manage differently.  But it is so important to make positive choices as we grow wiser, isn't it?

Some of my best friends don't exercise at all.  They probably think I am a lunatic, let's face it.  But as long as they make me laugh and are fun to be around, who cares?   What I care about is when I still remain in contact with stagnant relationships in which people constantly complain and (although it's always good to vent) dump their problems on me.  I have come to realize that we all have busy, stressful lives -- but when we talk, don't bring me into your stress, because I have my own stress, you know?!

That's why today was a positive day that enriched my life.  Catherine  -- "spelled with a 'C,' the old fashioned way!" -- was an absolute joy to talk to and we shared a common bond with our parade experience ~ no TVs, no computers, no cars, no screens ~ just standing together on the street corners, cheering on one of our very own about to make it big in the world.  I hope you have the same type of experience sometime!

You know what they say, "You Only Live Once!"  YOLO!

Are you a Worrier or a Warrior?

Moira Riccio

That is the debate I listened to on NPR the other day, taken from the book, "Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing."  Basically you are born with your personality, but your environment alters behavior as well ~ the old "nature vs. nurture" discussion.  When I was listening to this I was wondering what type I am ~ I feel like a warrior most of the time, full of energy, but
then I do have responsibilities which perhaps make me a worrier!

So which category do you fall into?  Do you come to the gym ready to move?  Or do you want to exercise to escape from your worries?  Is it a little bit of both?   Some of us go into a fitness class wanting to be the best!  And others are just there for the camaraderie....  And sometimes you simply want to exercise in your own space (read: back Reformer in the Studio:)).

I was reading a magazine recently about a woman who was so unmotivated about exercising that she was sitting in her car, trying to move away from her bun-warmer and into the gym.  It amazed me!  I couldn't believe that people actually think that way, really....   It's not easy for me to get out of bed either, but once I am awake (workout gear is properly placed in my bathroom, ready to go~ I will admit:)) I am in motion.  I do love the camaraderie aspect of exercising, but it doesn't have to be my BFFs.  In fact, many of my dear friends do not exercise at all.

I will suggest one thing to you that is, "If you spend too much time worrying about things, such as growing old, the aging process, your kids, your parents and their caregiving, your job, your mortgage, your taxes ~ whatever ~ you will miss out on being a warrior!   Working out will help you to alleviate this stress, feel good, lose weight, improve your posture and sleep better.   Just get out of bed and try exercising with some companions for 1 week.  It gets easier every day!

Keep the Peace,

What is Your Definition of a Good Day?

Moira Riccio

What would your best "Banner Day" look like?   Would it be sleeping in?  Breakfast in bed?   Time with friends?  Treating yourself to a manicure/pedicure?  Dinner and a Movie?  No work, all play ~ or a combination?  Would you exercise?

Well, I was thinking about that today when I dropped in to CVS at lunchtime to buy a card for a friend.  I ended up (as I always do) choosing several cards, and found myself laughing out loud at a few funny ones....
For example, an Easter card illustrating a little boy looking out for the bunny wishing for candy, and his cat is sitting right next to him, wishing for the bunny to "have a limp!"  Then I went into the next aisle and noticed that Tampax were ON SALE!  I have never, ever, ever seen that....:)  I thought to myself, "You know, this is a good day!"

Whatever your day turns out to be, you really need to laugh at the little things, right?  Like yesterday, I had two older ladies step up to my bakesale.  One lady was dying to purchase the pecan coffee cake (my masterpiece!) and her sister, with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, said, "No Hazel, it's got too much sodium."  I almost laughed out loud.  But then I guess her sister was a registered nurse ~ why is it so many nurses are either out of shape or smoking?  I totally don't get that!

Have your version of a good day ~ whatever that may be.

Fitness: Helps Overcome Daily Distractions

Moira Riccio

So, alot of people ask me, "How do you do it, raising four kids?!"  Well, let me describe it to you this way ~ you know when you start driving and momentarily forget to strap your seatbelt and the alarm rings to remind you?  And, of course you already have the radio on, so it's ringing and you are trying to listen to the radio but all you can hear is the alarm?   Ring, radio, ring radio, ring, radio....

That's how it is.

And, when you shop at Market Basket and it's super crowded and you reach for butter or eggs and someone has already pushed their cart in front of you, studying the shelf for their particular type of yogurt...and you need to re-align your cart to steer around and continue to the deli.  Each aisle you seem to feel as though you are continually bumping into person after person and it takes forever to get the shopping done.  Maybe someone even pushes their cart into your heels?  In fact, you get so distracted that you drive home and you realize you forgot the salsa in aisle 4 and have a little bit of a headache.

That's how it is.

Ok, so it's really a combination of the two.:)  So, I must carry on ~ and stick with my routine, my to do list, the task at hand and enjoy those sweet moments of laughter and relaxation.  Recently I have been really chuckling with my youngest, of course, who has memorized football players numbers and teams and asks me 10/15x a day, "Mom, who does______ play for?"  Usually I do not know the answer, so he says, "Brett Favre!"  Then he tells me where he went to college and his hometown.  I know what you are thinking ~ is it OCD?   I prefer to think of it as him being smart, and just changing his focus from legos to football players.:)

So, today and every day:  Build in a little laughter yourself around the annoying co-worker or person picking their nose in the car next to you on the highway.:)   Secondly:  Exercise!  It truly helps, exercise that is, to help remove yourself from all those daily distractions.   Take a moment, put down your iPhone and get yourself into the Studio or (in the case of snow days) at-home Pilates moves to stay on your game!

Spring is right around the corner,