Time + Effort = Results



I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful weekend!! I have to give a big shout out to Allison Kroeger today who finished her second half marathon in 1:52:02!  She shaved 15 minutes off her last half marathon!
When Allison finished her last half marathon, she asked me if I thought she could run her next one in under 2 hours. I put together a 3 month training plan that included long runs, track intervals, yoga, plus some ViPR work that was specifically meant to help improve her stability and mobility.  In the end, it was her hard work that paid off today.  She was very consistent in her routine, stuck with the schedule, focused on improving her nutrition to help her performance, and the results speak for themselves.
I encourage all of you to set a fitness or wellness goal that is challenging, but attainable.  For Allison, it was all about being consistent and making some small changes along the way that made a big difference in the end.  Maybe some of you have already set your summer goals and need help with core strength or stability.  If so, let me know, I am happy to design a program for you.
On another note, I am hoping to have a small group training class at Elementus this summer.  Please let me know if you are interested, it would either be on Wednesday and Friday at 6 am or on Tuesday and Thursday at 9 am.  I would be looking for 4-5 people for each class.


Mother’s Day



Happy Mother’s Day to you all!!!  One of the things I love most about my job is the amazing connections I have made with all of you!  Another is the community of friendships that have been created in my small group classes.  I love to see women helping women, whether it be fitness tips, nutrition, parenting, career advice, offering a heads-up on what is coming in later years, no matter the topic, you guys are an amazing network of information!!
So, my Mother’s Day gift to you is offering a few tips on how to try and slide through the perimenopause and menopause years with little interruption to your daily lives.  I know many of you have arrived at this time, some of you are past, and many of you have not gotten there yet, but we cannot deny that it is coming our way.  So here is your best defense advice for beating bloating, weight gain, hormone fluctuations, hot flashes, skin breakouts, mood swings and insomnia:
1.  Cut the sugar, processed foods, wheat, alcohol and for some people, caffeine.
2.  Try to eat 3 meals a day that include protein, fiber, and fat at each meal.  Make sure your fats are healthy fats which include coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and butter.  Avocados are a great source of fat as well.  Try to fill you plate half to three quarters full of vegetables.
3.  Cut down on refined grains.
4.  Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables daily.  The single most important thing you to do to improve your diet is to increase your consumption of vegetables and fruits!
5.  Exercise!!!  Create a balanced exercise program for yourself that includes strength training, cardio, balance training, and either yoga or animal flow type workouts (or come to my class and you will get all of the above).
6.  Supplements – Thorne Research makes a great multivitamin for women over 40 (you can get it at Pharmaca).  I also recommend Nordic Naturals Essential Omega and a probiotic everyday.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT – I now have an affiliation with Elementus in Menlo Park, so if you, your spouse or kids are interested in training at a personal training facility, I can accommodate you!  Please check it out at http://www.elementusmp.com.
Thank you to everyone for your support last week.  It was one of the roughest weeks I have had physically as I was battling vertigo from a blocked ear all week.  If you have never had vertigo, I hope you NEVER get it, it is MISERABLE!!!  I am on the mend now and hoping to start fresh this week!  Looking forward to seeing you all in class!!!

Energy Gels and Sports Drinks for Kids? – I am just now catching up on older blogs!





I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!!  It seems that kids’  sports are in full swing and the weather is fantastic for getting outside and moving your bodies.  I certainly hope you have made a little time for exercise this weekend!
After my rant about food last week, it occurred to me that some kids (and adults too) may think that beyond Gatorade, those packets and blocks of carbohydrate replenishment, mainly things like GU Energy Gels and Shot Blocks to name a couple of the products on the market, are perfectly fine to eat as a snack before or during exercise.  Like Gatorade, these products are meant to replenish carbohydrate and mineral loss from EXTREME sweating during INTENSE exercise that lasts over an hour!  To put it into perspective, when I ran marathons, I would take a small piece of a Powerbar or 1 GU packet with me on a 20 mile training run that often included running up to Skyline Drive, to replenish the glycogen stores in my liver that would give me an extra boost to make it through the last 5-7 miles.  I would maybe drink a few sips of Gatorade and take 1 GU packets during the entire marathon! That is what these products are for, they are for GLYCOGEN REPLACEMENT during exercise when you cannot stop and take in real food as it would cause you to slow down and maybe even give you intestinal distress.  They are easy to ingest and easy to digest during intense exercise.
So let me give you all my reasons why these ARE NOT MEANT FOR KIDS’ SNACKS:
1.  Look at the ingredients in the image above, it is basically sugar (carbohydrate), salt, and chemical preservatives.  Maltodextrin is CHEAP SUGAR that does not have to be declared in the “sugars” section of the nutritional label, it can be listed as carbohydrate. This is why it says the product only contains 5g of sugars when in fact, it really contains 25g of sugars!  This IS NOT FOOD!!!!!  All this will do is give your child a sugar buzz, complete with an insulin spike and all the other negative effects of sugar.  KIDS DO NOT NEED MORE SUGAR!!!!!
2.  Kids believe that whatever you allow them to eat is “good for them” and safe to consume.  They need to understand why these products are on the market so they can make a better choice. As I mentioned above, these products have no real nutritional value and are just empty calories unless your child is running a half marathon, doing a competitive triathlon, or involved in some other endurance event.  Some of these products also contain a jolt of caffeine, which along with the sugar, gives your child an even larger insulin spike (NOT GOOD).
3.  Speaking of caffeine, those 5 hour energy drinks – NEVER LET YOUR CHILD CONSUME 5 HOUR ENERGY DRINKS, RED BULL, MONSTER DRINKS, etc.  The problem with these is that consuming too many can lead to DEATH!  So, if your child thinks they are safe because you (the parent) are allowing them to drink them, then what happens when they get into high school or college and need to stay up all night to finish a project and they drink 5?  What if they drink too many and get behind the wheel of a car?  What if they start mixing alcohol in their Red Bull?  Can you see where I am going with this?!  Teenagers are NOTORIOUS for making bad choices, so the more you can educate your kids on WHY these products are dangerous, the better!!!  I have cardiologist friends who refer to Red Bull as “death bull” – do I need to say more??
4.  Snacks and post exercise fuel for kids and adults should be REAL food, not food created in a lab!  Try giving your kids half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter before they exercise and a small glass of chocolate milk after they exercise.  Both options are giving your child the right combination of carbohydrate, fat, and protein needed for pre and post exercise fuel.  If you need carbohydrate during exercise, try watermelon or orange slices, both are easily digested and offer a good source of sugar!
5.  Your child could easily go through their day consuming only processed food day after day, cereal for breakfast, lunch meat, crackers, fruit snacks for lunch, snack bars or energy gels and drinks for snack, pasta with sauce out of a jar for dinner.  I know it takes more work to make sure your kids are getting real food at every meal and snack, but IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT!!
I know by now you all think I am the food police, and my family may never get another invitation for dinner again, but I am really on this journey with you, I promise!  I am completely guilty of buying my very passionate third child shot blocks a couple of times, until I realized that he kept asking for them and thought they were food!  I just try to keep the concept of “moderation” in mind with my kids, but what I have discovered is there is so much crap offered to them everywhere, that moderation is almost impossible unless we all work together to give our kids better choices.


Family Food Ideas


Happy Passover and Happy Easter to you all!  I certainly might have to borrow this idea for an egg hunt to minimize the candy eggstravaganza that usually takes place around the Easter holiday.  So, given that Passover and Easter both include food traditions, I thought this would be a good time to expand on the blog I wrote two weeks ago venting about how much junk our kids are fed.  And no, I am not insinuating that you or your kids are fed junk during your Easter brunches or Seder dinners, it’s the candy in the Easter baskets and egg hunts that is the real problem.

I really am not that strict when it comes to my kids’ diets, or at least that is what I think!  What I do not like, is the amount of really yucky processed food that they are bombarded with.  I try to discourage them from drinking and eating chemicals and sugar as much as possible.  The research on the increase in the rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer in our children’s generation is astounding.  It can be reduced drastically by being mindful of what you are eating and where it was sourced.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to your health and the health of our environment to either grow your own food, shop at your local Farmer’s Market, or purchase from local sources like Good Eggs (www.goodeggs.com).  Our kids need to see that real food does not come in a bag or a box, that it comes from carefully grown plants and humanely treated animals!
Your plate (yes, this includes your kids, too) should be at least half full of vegetables, with a small amount of protein and a small amount of fibrous grain (you want to have protein, fat and fiber with every meal and snack).  A good example is roasted chicken with salad, roasted vegetables, and roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes.  You should primarily be cooking with olive oil (preferably from California as it has been shown that other countries have been mixing their olive oil with cheaper oils), coconut oil and small amounts of butter.  You can substitute coconut oil for butter in many of your baking recipes.  I do this when I make pancakes, pumpkin muffins and waffles for my kids.  Another great option for kids is soups!  My kids really like lentil soup, tomato soup, and chicken noodle.  I do occasionally try other soups, but these are staples in our house.
So here are some ideas for breakfast, lunch, and family meals that are part of our regular mealtime routine:
Smoothies with frozen mango, pineapple, banana, and sometimes strawberries, light coconut milk, almond milk to thin it out.  Whole grain toast (Dave’s or Ezekiel bread are good choices) with almond butter or peanut butter.
Scrambled eggs (with sautéed spinach if your kids are game) with toast  and strawberries.
Egg sandwich with Ezekiel english muffin with a little melted cheese, fried egg, and a little sautéed spinach (ok, I have to admit that my kids are not game on the spinach, but you should try) and fresh fruit.
Green smoothies, my kids do like this one – fill Vitamix or other super charged blender with a mix of power greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc), add 20 oz of cold water, 2 large organic apples, 1 banana, 1 lemon, 1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, and 3-4 cups of ice.  Blend until smooth.
(Green smoothie should be served with eggs or other protein).
Oatmeal is a good choice with chopped walnuts, almonds, bananas and a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
Homemade waffles with peanut butter or almond butter and fresh fruit.  I freeze my leftover waffles and toast them after school for a snack with peanut butter and banana.  Here is the recipe I use – this make 4 Belgian style waffles.  Sift together – 1 cup whole wheat flout, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Mix together – 1 cup buttermilk (I use Clover) and 1 egg.  Melt 4 Tablespoons of coconut oil and add the wet ingredients to the dry, then add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup – whisk all together and pour over hot waffle iron.
I am not against sausage and bacon on occasion as long as they are organic and free of nitrates and other chemicals!!  We have bacon on Saturday mornings.
My kids prefer hot food, so lunches often include leftover soup, pasta or risotto from dinner the night before.  They also have potstickers (I prefer the ones from Trader Joes, but also buy Ling Ling), whole wheat pasta with sauce – either marinara or pesto.  I generally make lots of pesto and marinara and freeze it in small jars.  The marinara that I will buy from the store is Rao’s and it is very good.  Along with something in their thermoses, I include snap peas or english peas, cut up cucumbers, carrots, or peppers, and a container of fruit in season.
Dinners are usually grilled or  roasted meats, salad, roasted vegetables, or risotto with salad, whole wheat pasta with all my leftover roasted vegetables and some parmesan cheese, and soups and panini sandwiches.  I do make lots of other things, but these are the staples that generally are received with a pleasant response from my kids and not a big YUCK!
Here are a couple of my favorite soup recipes:
Here is the pesto recipe I use:
Here is a great article on healthy condiments:
And here is my favorite source for food inspiration along with Epicurious:
I hope this is helpful!  I welcome your own favorite healthy recipes and am happy to include then in another blog or on my website!  So please, SHARE YOUR IDEAS!!!!!!
Here is the schedule for the week, please let me know if you will be joining us for class.
Monday –  9:00 am at Stanford Hills Park.  
Tuesday – 6 am at Woodland School in Ladera and 9:00 am at the home of Darcy Leschly – 269 Oak Grove, Atherton.  Please park on Encino and come in the side gate.
Wednesday –  6 am at the top of Valparaiso and Hallmark Circle in Menlo Park and 9:00 am at Stanford Hills Park.
Thursday – 6 am at Woodland School in Ladera and 9:00 am at the home of Darcy Leschly, – 269 Oak Grove, Atherton.  Please park on Encino and come in the side gate.
Friday –  6 am at the top of Valparaiso and Hallmark Circle in Menlo Park and 9:00 am at Stanford Hills Park.
If you cannot make it to class, check outwww.stellafit.com for the workout of the week that you can do at home.

Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants – and stop feeding our children garbage!

For the first time since I started my business 4 years ago, I had to cancel an entire day of work as I got hit hard with a bad cold.  So, I caught up on email and read a few articles for work and then turned to Facebook to vent my frustration over the amount of garbage our kids are being fed at every event they attend.  Well, it was the most “liked” and “shared” post I have ever had!  Clearly, I am not the only one who is fed up!!  So, for those of you who missed it, here is the post:
“We could greatly improve the health and wellbeing of our children if we will just STOP feeding them so much garbage after every sports practice, game, play, school event, church, church event, recital, etc. I am astounded at the amount of crap our kids are fed – they DO NOT NEED chips and gatorade after a practice, nor do they need processed frosted cookies and juice after a school performance. It all adds up and they are getting it everywhere. Let’s all band together and insist on fresh fruit and vegetables (fresh cut veggies and guac or hummus is really tasty) and water after these events and we will all benefit tenfold! Just sayin’!”
I am not here to judge you for what you are feeding your kids, as my kids certainly do not eat a “clean” diet.  I am just asking that we all pitch in and do better for the long term health of our children and ourselves.  I have four kids, so I attend lots of events, and I have to tell you that our kids (all of our kids) are offered junk FAR more often than we think they are offered junk.  I believe when you know better, it is your responsibility to do better!!!  What scares me is that if this is happening in the SF Bay Area where fresh fruit and vegetables are in abundance year round and people are highly educated and should “know better”, what is happening everywhere else??  It is SCARY!
So, here’s the deal, basically you are “what you digest, absorb, and transfer to your cells”. (Berardi, 2012)  Everything you eat gets broken down into smaller molecules, then selectively, nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream where they are delivered to your cells.  Your cells are repaired with the nutrients that have been delivered to them.  The problem with eating too many chemicals on a regular basis is that your cells no longer are able to identify these chemicals as foreign invaders and may incorporate them into the cell structure.  This could potentially set your system up for a higher chance for cancer, besides the fact that all that junk has a direct link to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
I know many of you will argue that your dad, grandmother, great aunt, etc, ate red meat, chips and drank coca-cola until they were 97, but if so, their cells were certainly able to tolerate that kind of diet.  Most of us know the only risk you have for not wearing your seatbelt is the risk of being in an accident.  If you are not in an accident, then there is little risk of danger in not wearing your seatbelt.  However, most of you would never let your kids ride in the car without a seatbelt on, much less a car seat!  Just as you do not know when you will be in an accident, a child who looks perfectly healthy today may not be many years down the road as the cumulative effects of a bad diet start to appear as early as your late 20’s.  And most of us have no idea whether or not we will have damaged cells that start to divide uncontrollably and creating cancerous tissue and tumors.  Our best defense is a healthy immune system, a diet of mostly plant based foods, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and get screened often.


Don’t get caught up in someone’s “brand”!

What a beautiful weekend!!!  I hope you were all able to get outdoors and enjoy some form of fitness.  I do need to give a big shout out to Laura Wydler, Allison Kroeger, and Amy Friedberg who ran an impressive 10K trail run this morning!!  Go ladies!!!!!

Speaking of the fitness industry, I received Gwyneth Paltrow’s weekly “goop” newsletter this week and it featured her business partner, Tracy Anderson.  It was essentially advertising Tracy’s new workout dvd that is coming out in a few days and included a Q&A session with Tracy.  Of course, I could not help myself and had to check it out to see what she had to say. Here’s the scoop, any intelligent trainer in the fitness industry knows that to make a lot of money in the industry, you have to become a brand.  Tracy is a brand, as is Bar Method, Dailey Method, Jillian Michaels, Crossfit, SoulCycle, etc.  In order to build your brand, you need brand loyalty and what better way to build brand loyalty than to manipulate the research to convince people that to look a certain way, they can only do their method 5-7 days a week.  That is exactly what Tracy did in the interview (nothing chaps my round behind more than watching someone manipulate others for their own personal/financial gain) and guess who else benefits from this, yes, Gwyneth Paltrow.  This is HOGWASH people!  I know many of the best trainers in the industry all over the world and NONE of them are convincing anyone that they have to buy into their brand.  They are people passionate about helping others improve their lives, period.  Yes, as I have said before, your habits become your architecture, and if you want to look like Tracy Anderson, go ahead and eat 800 calories a day and workout 6 days a week for over two hours and you, too can change your body (that is her method in her metamorphosis program), but personally, this is a setup for a really unhealthy road ahead!  I do not mean to go postal on Tracy as many people follow her method and hopefully, they look great, feel great and have improved their lives.  I just want you to be careful about who you trust to help you live your best life.  Anyone telling you that you have to follow their method only is only interested in themselves.  Make sure the person you trust is someone who knows you, your goals, what you love doing, what you are passionate about, understands your relationship with food, etc. and uses that information to help create a plan that is tailored to you!

With that said, I LOVE this video that Precision Nutrition sent out this week.  It is worth watching (it is funny and will put a smile on your face) and anyone who comes to my classes will understand why I love it.  Personally, I think we should all be dancing through life (isn’t that a line from Wicked???) – just think how much happier our kids would be in school if the hallways had surround sound and all the kids danced from class to class!

Hope to see you all this week!!!


Tips for the week!


What a gorgeous weekend!!!  My tips for the week:
1.  Schedule your workouts for the week TODAY!!!  Put them on your calendar and try to balance out your workouts with cardio, strength, balance, endurance, agility, stretching, rest and recovery – you get the idea.
2.  Be consistent because that is what gets results!!!  If you want to see results from exercise, you need to be consistent with your workouts and you need to stay focused on long term goals!
3.  Address whether your current way of eating is helping or hurting your health and your fitness goals.  What small change can you make this week???
4.  Are you drinking enough water??
5.  Are you getting enough sleep??
6.  Are you moving throughout the day??
7.  Are you mentally treating yourself well???  Is your self talk sabotaging your progress??
Hope to see you all this week!!!




Spring is in the air!!!  It’s time to get up, put on your exercise clothes, and get to class!!!  Whether you are looking to lose a few pounds, tone up for summer, get stronger, feel better, prevent disease, keep your brain healthy, have more energy to do the things you love doing, meet some new fabulous people (I do have the best clients ever), then Perfectly Fit’s small group,  “Bootique Camp”  classes are the place for you!  My small group classes are “boutique style” fitness classes that are designed around the goals of the participants.  Every class can be modified to your level and needs.  If you have never been to a class, I hope you will think about coming out and giving them a try!  If you have friends who might be interested in joining a class, please feel free to forward this email.  

Other events we have coming up – a few of us are running the Capitola Half Marathon on May 18th.  If you would like to join us, please let me know.  Here is the registration link:


The 80/20 Rule



I hope you are all enjoying your President’s Day weekend!!  If you are in town Monday and Wednesday, we are having classes at Stanford Hills, so come on out and workout in the park with us!!
Adam and Micheline Kemist of On Your Mark in Los Altos have generously offered all Perfectly Fit clients a 15% discount on all purchases this year at their fabulous store on Main Street.  Just make sure and mention that you are a client of Stella’s/Perfectly Fit when you check out.  Adam is the absolute best at helping you find the right shoes for your feet!!
I love this MindBodyGreen post on practicing the 80/20 rule.  Focusing on the 80% and leaving 20% for flexibility can be a good way to reach your goals, without giving in to perfectionism.

From MindBodyGreen:

Ever think that living a healthy lifestyle is out of your grasp because your sweet tooth keeps overpowering your good intentions? Maybe your battle is with time and you feel like you’ll never achieve a life where everything is harmonious. I have one little tip that can help improve your life tremendously—in all areas.

Commit to the 80/20 rule. Focus on your 80%. Leave 20% for flexibility.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go for the 80/20 rule with food.

With this rule in mind, you can stay motivated and realistic. Choose healthy foods 80% of the time, or most of the time, and only indulge that sweet tooth 20% of the time or less. It’s a good place to start. When you make the majority of your food choices healthy ones, your body will begin to crave the healthier choices. By thinking about the 80/20 rule, you can give yourself some freedom and flexibility to be human, but you’ll be reminding yourself that most of your choices should be healthy.

2. Go for the 80/20 rule with exercise.

Only skip exercise 20% of the time. If you want to take a day off from exercise, that’s OK, but commit to exercising most days of the week.

3. Go for the 80/20 rule with your precious time.

Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and “Don’t prioritize your schedule, schedule those priorities.” Devote 80% of your day to your most important priorities. What things, if you accomplished them, would move the dial for you on your big goals?

Sometimes we can entangle ourselves in the little stuff, but at the end of the day, we don’t feel like we were truly productive. Start your day with the major stuff, and let go of the minor stuff until your more important priorities are accomplished.

4. Go for the 80/20 with your mind.

Work on that voice inside your head this year. Are most of your thoughts positive? While it would be fabulous to be 100% positive, 80% is a good place to start. Practice making your mind a positive place the majority of the time. Your thoughts determine how you feel—so why not choose the positive?

5. Go for 80/20 with your life.

Do yourself a favor this year and toss out that life balance concept, it can make you chase perfection which is unobtainable. Lean your life toward what matters to you most. Make sure the majority of your time is spent on what you value most. Doing so will make you happier and you will feel a sense of calm because what you value internally will match the external.

Think 80/20 this year. It’s a rule you’ll actually enjoy following!

Top Ten Ways to Reduce Stress Over the Holidays



Well, a Happy Chaotic Holidays to you!  That’s at least how it feels to me every December.  Why is it that people seem to become mildly psychotic as soon as Thanksgiving ends and the mad dash to New Year’s begins.  The Holidays are always a fun, exciting, and also very stressful time.  In the past two weeks I have had clients lose loved ones, had a family friend be admitted to the hospital for a second time in 3 weeks with a very serious medical condition, had a family friend involved in a fatal car accident, have clients whose loved ones are heading home to India after an extended visit, clients dealing with serious health issues with their children, etc.   On top of everything on our plates, we still have to keep up with work, kids’ schedules, and other responsibilities all while celebrating the month away.  That is why I am giving you my top ten ways to reduce stress and keep yourself healthy for the next few weeks!!
10.  Keep music playing at all times (Pandora, iTunes radio, and Spotify are great choices).
9.  Cuddle with your dog! (yes, pets and music are both shown to reduce stress).
8.  Skip around the block with your kids.
7.  Share a glass of wine with your best friends.
6.  Engage in a laughing contest with your children. (Laughter is another proven way to reduce stress).
5.  Take regular meditation breaks during the day – 5 minutes of deep breathing can do wonders for your stress level.
4.  Make time for a long run with friends – nothing better than running and working out life’s problems.
3.  Take a Bikram yoga class – holding difficult poses at some unbearable temperature should make you appreciate the chilly temps – plus, you will sweat out all that alcohol you have been consuming!
2.  Make practicing gratitude part of your daily routine.  It only takes seconds in the morning and evening to name 3-5 things for which you are grateful.
1.  Get your butt to Perfectly Fit boot camp everyday!!!!!

It is cold out there, so get out your hats and gloves, especially for the T/TH 6 am class, and dress in layers so you will be comfortable working out.  My Ladera 6 am ladies ROCKED their Thursday workout in 27 degrees last week!!!  No excuses!!!

 Housekeeping note:  For those of you who have unused classes on file, ALL CARDS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN USED IN THE LAST 6  MONTHS WILL EXPIRE JANUARY 31st, 2014, so come on out and use up those classes!!!!  You can also apply the remaining balance toward one-on-one or small group personal training sessions.
This is the last full week of classes for the year.  Next week will be a shortened schedule and then we will resume the week of January 6th.  I hope you can make it to class!!!