Tiffany, Week 10: How To Have Fun (While Getting Fit)

It’s so hard to believe we are in our third challenge already. We’re still loving our Fitbit Wireless Trackers. We are trying to get more steps and movement than the other family however these little trackers have sparked competition within Lehman Land as well! We have bragging rights to see who has the most steps in a day.

Competing against each other is fun and keeps us accountable to one another—which made me think I would write about having fun while getting in shape in this post. I should state that I’m not a fitness expert. But I do know how to have a good time. Part of that comes just from working out. For me the biggest benefit of exercise is my mood. When I don’t work out I’m a grumpy mama. I need the release of endorphins to help me deal with the daily grind.

With fun and fitness on the brain last weekend, Andy and I decided to surprise Anna and Jack with a trip to SkyZone Sports, which has an indoor trampoline park. This place was AWESOME! There were giant trampolines all over, trampoline walls, and foam pits you can jump into. You could play dodge ball or shoot hoops. We went for only an hour—and that was an amazing hour. But oh my gosh talk about a workout! Within 10 minutes of jumping around I felt like I just did 30 minutes of running. We had so much fun as a family jumping and laughing with one another. So if you’re wondering, “What can I do that is fun and going to help me get in shape and bond with my kids?” find a trampoline park in your area.

Have you ever been to a trampoline park? Post a comment and let me know what you thought of it!

Photo via Sky Zone Des Moines’ Facebook page

The Secret to Workout Success


When you start a new exercise regimen, slow and steady is the best way to make it a part of your lifestyle. It’s important to set realistic expectations and attainable goals. When the Avagliano family started their exercise regimen, the first trainer was too ambitious. Just like changing diet behaviors, adding in an exercise plan takes time. It’s important to be patient and build up your endurance to prevent injury and burnout.

Remember: Your time spent in the gym is not the only time you can work on being fit. Any chance you get to move is a chance to burn some calories: walking your dog, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, gardening, doing housework and running around in the playground with your kids all count!

Even working out ten minutes at a time is fine. Guidelines recommend adults get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (i.e. brisk walking) or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity  (i.e. running or jogging) every week and 2 days of muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

3 Ways to Save Time in the Gym

jason dobson

By Jason Dobson, certified personal and group trainer

All too often, people equate the word “workout” with “tedious,” “boring,” or “monotonous.” And that’s too bad—because if I could give everyone one piece of advice, it would be this: “You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the results you want.”

Here’s what is required, though: You have to have fun. If you don’t like your workout, you won’t be able to maintain it. Luckily, at my gym—and many other fitness centers around the country—trainers know this. They’ll help you find a plan you love, and they’ll help you fit it into the time you have.

Want more ways to make the most out of your routine? Check out these tips:

Skip The Cardio
Or at least save it for the end of your workout. I see a lot of people spending 30 minutes to an hour on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike. And while those are great ways to boost your stamina and endurance, you can burn more calories by doing resistance training instead. So don’t shy away from weights—once your start using them, you’ll see huge results. Then, if you want to hop on the treadmill, go for it—but consider it icing on the cake.

Use Hand Weights
You don’t need to bench your body weight for 100 reps to see results. If you want to lose pounds, a short, focused, intense workout is all you need. You can do this by performing total-body, 3-dimensional exercises. For example, do dumbbell alternating leg lunges, quickly followed by shoulder presses. Or, try dumbbell squats with calf raises followed by bicep curls.

Keep Moving
You don’t have to rest during your “rest periods.” (Unless you really do need the break.) Instead, try performing some pushups, jump squats, or high knees in between sets. Doing so increases the intensity of your workout—sure, you’ll be tired, but you’ll also burn more calories in less time than you ever thought possible.

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.

Tiffany, Week 9: How Hard Do You Work Out?


I felt like a slacker today because I have just over 10,000 steps. Andy, Anna and Jack have over 13,000 each. But then I need to remind myself that I did a double workout on Monday and I had my tush handed to me at the gym last night. It was brutal.

I wanted to work out with Andy, but he had a personal training appointment. So I asked if I could tag along and Wes, Andy’s trainer, said sure. Wes is a power lifter and he’s BUFF. I think he has 1% body fat on him. He worked us hardcore and then made us finish by doing hill sprints.

Needless to say I needed a little break today. Tomorrow is my PT session with my trainer, Michelle, and it’s a scheduled double workout day. First, I’ll work out during my lunch hour at the gym in my office. Then I’ll have my session with Michelle at 5pm.

Sorry to ramble…fitness is my passion. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me but there is nothing I love more than a good sweat fest. The more gross, sweaty and harder I push the more I love it! I wasn’t always a freak like this but once you get going it really is hard to stop!

How tough are your workouts? Have you ever done two in a day? Post a comment and let me know.

Peggy, Week 8: Day Two of Boot Camp

peggy avagliano

To be fair to the Island Gym, the boot camp is actually called AOS, or Art of Strength. Anyone in their twenties might refer to it by this name, although I think I will still call it boot camp. Putting in three workouts per week is a challenge with my work schedule and boot camp has only limited hours. Since I begin work at 7 am, and had two late night meetings, I had to go in Saturday morning in order to get in three workouts.

Unfortunately, on Saturday I was running the Atlantic Medical Imaging Foundation’s annual singing fashion show and basket raffle at 11 am. (AMI Foundation is a charity which provides money to various health and wellness related organizations in South New Jersey. Each year, the fashion show proceeds get split three ways: the AMI Foundation, and two charities we choose.) That meant I had to get my workout in at 7 am.

I arrived at the gym about 5 minutes before the start of the session. Today’s instructor was Shiloh. The class was small, only 5 women. He told us to start by doing 20 push-ups.

Twenty push-ups?! Obviously, this is not the program for couch potatoes! I informed Shiloh that I could not do 20 push-ups. He said I could do “girl push-ups” on my knees. Since everyone else was ready to begin when I had done 10 “girl push-ups” to their 20 regular push-ups, he decided to let me go this one time, and we began.

Boot Camp is a series of stations: giant shoelaces, called ropes; a looped rope which hangs from the ceiling, which you hold for balance while doing squats; kettle bells, which you swing through your legs and put in front of you. Interspersed between them are standard mat workouts and traditional weights. There were 6 stations and only 5 of us in the class. We did each station for 1 minute, and then did calisthenics before moving on to the next station. Some stations were harder than others. And we had to do the circuits four times! Shiloh asked us to end the class with 50 sit-ups and 20 push-ups.

After everyone else left, he told me that he’d let me go–just this once–having done about half the required amount. I went home to shower, for the Images of Springtime fashion show. Thank God, I am only the speaker, and do not have to walk down the runway.

Have you ever done a boot camp-style class? Was it tougher or easier than this? Post a comment and tell me about it.