challenge 3

3 Ways to Stick To Your Workout

jason dobson

By Jason Dobson, certified personal and group trainer

You’ve got a lot of people competing for your attention: your family, your co-workers, your friends. It’s easy to let time at the gym fall by the wayside, but you’ve got to commit to being fit. Here are some ways to stay on track:

Strategy #1: Choose a Convenient Time to Work Out
Don’t drag yourself to the gym in the evening if you’re exhausted after a long day at the office. If you enjoy going to the gym at night, by all means, go for it. But if you have dinner to prepare and housework to do, find another time of the day to schedule your workout. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Try exercising in the morning, early afternoon lunch break, or evening. Just to see when you feel the strongest.

Strategy #2: Exercise with Your Family
I often find that when one person starts a fitness program, others in the family will follow suit. And that’s great motivation for everyone: Just knowing that you have a loved one who is inspired by you can encourage the entire family to have a healthier lifestyle. So have fun—and don’t be afraid to start some friendly competitions between each other either!

Strategy #3: Consult with a Personal Trainer
I know what you’re thinking: I’m giving you this advice because I am a personal trainer. But the truth is, you will have a better experience in the gym if someone knowledgeable helps you get started. And it never hurts to have someone around to support you—either with helpful tips or encouraging words.

Want to start getting in shape this summer? Feel free to email me at or just stop into any of the four Island Gym locations in New Jersey. It doesn’t take much to get started—and the end results are well worth it!

Jason Dobson is a certified personal and group trainer. He is also the fitness director of Island Gym, in New Jersey. He worked with the Avagliano family during the first two months of our challenge.

Challenge Yourself: Turn Your Walk Into a Run

woman walking with headphones

Today Tiffany told us how getting a new pair of sneakers inspired her to start jogging again. If you’ve been walking regularly for several weeks, you might be itching to step up the pace, as well. Learn how to turn your walk into a run following our simple training plan.

How did you make the transition from walking to running? Share your experience in the comments below.

Tiffany, Week 8: Running With The Kids

asics gell challenge 8 Thank you Asics for the new sneakers for our whole family! We love our new tennis shoes. Anna is excited for anything hot pink, Jack loves his because they remind him of his favorite college football team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. And Andy and I are just happy to have new shoes to work out and run in! We needed shoes in a BAD way and it’s one of those things you know you need to buy, but you just dread spending the money.

My running shoes have more than 500 miles. I haven’t been able to really get out there and run because I need new sneakers and they’re expensive. But the tread on my old pair was still good so I’d been doing a lot more other types of cardio that don’t require a new pair of shoes right now. Andy’s shoes were really worn too and we were actually going this weekend to get him fitted for his first pair of running shoes, so this delivery couldn’t have come at a better time.

I’ve taken the kids out for a couple of runs in these Asics and they feel really good and support me the way my old sneakers did. The kids and I went on a run/bike ride today. They rode their bikes while I ran. The school Jack goes to is less than a half-mile from our house and it has a walking/running track. They played basketball and played on the equipment while I jogged. It was fun just having a little moment like that with them. Andy was back at home preparing dinner for us. He’s such a great cook! He’s making one of my favorites today, Chicken Picatta from Gina’s Skinny Recipes website.

If you want to know more information about what shoes you should wear to avoid injury, make sure to go to a local store that focuses on running. They will have all the top sneakers and fit you for the best shoe for your foot. Also when starting a running program, take it slow and easy. Trust me, this coming from a girl who went too far too fast and tore her patella tendon. Put me behind in my training program and landed me in physical therapy all last summer. NOT FUN.

OK I think that’s enough from me for now…Enjoy and get out there and make sure to move it with your family! I told you how I do it. How do you? Post a comment and let me know.

Photo via Asics

Challenge Yourself: Make Healthy Chicken Dinners

Chicken Parmesan

Today Peggy told us how she now bakes chicken cutlets instead of frying them. Even though she was reluctant to do so at first, she learned that baked chicken can be just as crispy and tasty as fried.

You, too, can cut calories and fat from your chicken dinners. To get inspired, try these delicious, good-for-you chicken recipes.

What’s your favorite healthy chicken recipe? Share in the comments below.

Peggy, Week 10: Try It Tonight: Oven “Fried” Chicken

Chicken Parmesan

One of my family’s favorite meals is fried chicken. We typically take chicken breasts, and pound them until thin. We coat them in egg, flour (mixed with garlic and salt and pepper), and breadcrumbs (Italian seasoning). Then we fry them in a pan with oil. I usually fry enough for two nights, and use the leftovers to make chicken parmesan the following evening with pasta.

Our nutritionist, Elizabeth Fassberg, suggested baking the chicken, using an oven fried recipe, and serving the chicken parmesan with vegetables. It would save us lots of calories and fat, but just so you know: this is not a change I was willing to make. So I compromised by serving salad and using a whole wheat pasta.

I have read about oven baked chicken for years, but I had never actually tried it before. The kids like the fried chicken, and I never thought the baked chicken would taste crispy enough. Here’s what I realized when I tried it out:

The chicken does come out crispy, if you switch to panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

One problem is that the chicken tends to be a little dry, because it is not soaking up the oil in the pan. Solution: Always make a sauce or dip to go with the chicken. A few dip options I found on the internet that work well include: making a gravy from cream of chicken soup; making your own BBQ sauce or using a bottled one whose ingredients do not start with sugar; and opting for honey mustard.

Overall, the baked chicken works well with chicken parmesan. After making the basic recipe, add the mozzarella cheese and sauce, bake until the cheese melts, and serve with pasta. Also, try making the sauce in your Crockpot over a long weekend and freezing it. You’ll save cash and it’ll taste better.

Have you tried oven-fried chicken? Post a comment and let me know what you thought.