Happy Holidays! It is officially 12 days until Christmas and it’s my favorite time of year! Everyone is so much kinder to one another, decorations warm my heart, and now that I’m older it’s one of the few times a year I get to see my family. Now as a young adult, I’ve realized the beauty of Christmas isn’t just about the gifts or Santa- it’s about how the world agrees to take some time off work and spend quality time with our loved ones. With that being said, I wanted to have some fun with this week’s blog.
I don’t know about you, but I am always going to a gazillion potlucks during the holidays. I thought, why not share 12 healthier recipe ideas to bring to your next party?? We are a wellness organization after all. Whether your office potluck assigned you hot entrees, appetizers, or desserts, we have you covered. Here we go:
1. Festive water: Regular water can get boring, add some fun and flavor by adding fresh slices of limes and whole cranberries for some holiday cheer! For some fizz, add sparkling water.
Pro Tip: Freeze the fruits and they will help the water stay cold.
2. Hot Apple Cider: Trying to warm up? Brew fresh apple cider and keep it in a crockpot.
Pro Tip: Serve with cinnamon sticks as stirrers for extra flavor.
3. Cheese and Veggie Platter: Serve fresh cut vegetables such as carrots or celery sticks and cheese for added protein.
Pro Tip: Use holiday cookie cutters such as the star or gingerbread man to make fun shapes with your cheese.
4. Skewers: Break out those toothpicks and layer up pepperoni or salami, cheese, tomatoes, and olives in any order! Who doesn’t love food on a stick??
5. Fruit: You can never go wrong with nature’s candy. A fresh fruit platter complements any food table. You can still cut them out in fun shapes as in suggestion 3.
6. Vegetable Lasagna: Lasagna can be a holiday meal if you believe in it! The colors, the flavors, the nostalgia will all be a crowd pleaser.
Pro Tip: For a healthier swap use zucchini or eggplant instead of traditional noodles.
7. Turkey Meatballs: Be the real MVP and bring protein to your potluck! Turkey meatballs are a great alternative to beef.
Pro Tip: Get creative with the sauce, perhaps a cranberry orange glaze or stick with traditional BBQ sauce.
The following veggies are in season so why not save a buck or two while you’re at it.
8. Butternut Squash Soup: Turn a winter staple vegetable into soup for a bowl of nutrients!
Pro Tip: Keep in a crockpot for it to stay warm.
9. Brussels Sprouts: Did you know boiling brussels sprouts is NOT the best way to cook them? Roasting them in the oven will change your life. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at a high heat; you will never go back to the boiling pot of water.
10. Green Bean Salad: Steam fresh green beans and toss with dried cranberries and your favorite nut (pistachios, walnuts, or pine nuts would go great with this.
Pro Tip: For something extra special, make candied pecans to top this green bean salad with. Roasting nuts bring out their natural oils, guaranteed to make your kitchen smell amazing! Recipe source: All Recipes
11. Christmas 7- layer Cookie Bars: Everyone will be asking for this recipe, all those textures, colors, and flavors are sure to be a hit.
Pro Tip: Cut the bars in smaller bite-size pieces to encourage mindful eating and moderation. It is Christmas after all! Recipe Source: Tablespoon
12. Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip: Serve this with graham crackers for the ultimate crowd pleaser. Recipe: Source: Food, Folks, & Fun
Food isn’t always the only thing you can indulge in this season, try fun, love, and kindness. The good news is that potlucks foster the environment for just that. Bring a dish and leave with memories.
From my kitchen to yours, Merry Christmas!
Keepin' It 100 with Willy T
As the calendar year comes to a close, I’m focusing my blog on healthy goal-setting for those who are looking to make new commitments to themselves when the ball drops at Times Square in 19 days.
To follow along with the series, here’s Part 1.
Last week, I surveyed my followers on Instagram to get a pulse on their goal-setting habits. Here’s what I found:
Q1: “Do you write out your goals?”
Q2: What is a goal of yours as you head into the new year?
A: I’ll list below some of the most common answers:
If any of these goals sparked your creative juices or you have some personal goals in mind, it’s important to frame them in a way that they’re achievable and accountable. Here are a couple quick-read resources to help you turn those wishes into goals:
I’ll focus on putting these tactics into action and share some examples from inspirational friends and colleagues.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
‘Tis the season! The closer we get to the holidays, the more we see about “wish lists.” I have plenty of wishes of my own, many of which these days are less product-driven and more internally-focused. I wish that I could run a little faster, that I would spend more time focusing on others, that I would read more books, etc…
One of my coworkers keeps a quote in his email signature that’s always peaked my interest: “A goal that is not in writing is only a wish.”
This series will not be a blog that encourages you to force upon yourself New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, I want to do the opposite. Over the course of my next couple blogs, I want to focus on healthy goal setting and transparently share with you my successes and learning opportunities. If you feel empowered to join me in setting goals for yourself, I’d love to hear about them along the way!
Now is a better season than ever to spend some time in thought and begin writing down wishes so they become achievable goals. Hopefully, it’ll help you go the extra mile at work, push you to be personally accountable, and reach successes you’ve always hoped to achieve.
So, my step one: Think. Put some serious time into thinking about your goals like you would a Christmas list. Step away from social media, grab a pen, and just write what comes to mind. Maybe it’s about goals, maybe it’s about thoughts, maybe it’s even a doodle for my creatives out there. Let some rough drafts drive you in the direction of beginning to think about writing down accountable goals you move forward.
Peace, Love, and Holidays,
Flashback to the early 2000’s, I was a pre-teen at home on summer break carelessly flipping through TV channels trying to find something to watch. I stumbled upon TLC’s What Not To Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, and was immediately hooked! I related to the real-life fashion offenders on TV because I too, had loose baggy clothing, frumpy hair, and didn’t know how to color-coordinate with my shoes. Being an overweight child and spending a lot of time with my brother, you could say I was a tomboy. I remember wearing gym sneakers with EVERY outfit even in high school, I loved comfort over style.
I recently had an interview at a local gym for a coaching position and asked Steven, what do I wear?! That experience is the inspiration for today’s blog. If you’re a personal trainer or group fitness instructor, I’m sure the same thought has crossed your mind. The short answer is, well it depends…
Usually in the fitness industry, interviews have two parts:
This is the traditional sit down with the hiring manager and questions are asked. I say when in doubt go with business casual. For men, slacks or khakis with at least a polo or collared shirt. For women, a nice blouse with pants or a dress. If you are interviewing for management, dress business professional.
Being in the fitness industry our job to help people move so it’s only natural to make you demonstrate your skills in when hiring. With personal training, this might be a mock client situation or you may be given a scenario. With group fitness, it may be a short 5-15 minute demo class or small group training. As managers, we know within the first 10 minutes if we intend to hire you or not.
Regardless, wear clothing that looks the part. Make sure you’re not rocking that busted old free t-shirt you got in college that may or may not have an armpit hole. Try for workout shorts, capris, or leggings, and a top that isn’t too revealing (save that crop top for a rainy day). Bonus points if your outfit can match a little to show you gave some thought into your demo.
I would bring this change of clothes whether or not you know if they’d like you to be active during your interview process. Be prepared!
Thanks for tuning in to the What Not To Fear: Fitness Edition (Shirt and Shoes probably required)
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. All rights to What Not To Wear belong to TLC
For the past 13 years, a worldwide fitness trends survey is conducted by The American College of Sports Medicine. Every year, health and fitness professionals look forward to this list so we can stay on top of our game for the new year. Not only is keeping up-to-date with current trends important, it is imperative to our continuing education and occupational well-being. Without further ado, I present the top 10 fitness trends below with my own little tidbits on each.
For the rest of the trends, check out the link below. Good luck with all your goals in 2019!
Thompson, W. R. (2018). Worldwide survey of fitness trends for 2019. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, 22(6), 10-17.
Keepin' It 100 with Willy T.
I know the last few weeks have been more of a travel blog, but the trip has safely come to an end! However, still lots worth updating because I saved my favorite conference for last.
The Collegiate Marketing Institute is designed to bring together marketers of collegiate recreation and student unions as a way to immerse a smaller group to focus on a niche subject matter. The ~175 attendees gathered in New Orleans to work through topics like social media management, analytics, marketing strategy, and so much more.
I had the fortunate opportunity to present with Lauren Adams on “Putting the ‘Team’ Back in Marketing,” where we shared the ways we’ve empowered our respective teams to strengthen the internal brand community as a way to positively affect performance and help meet departmental goals. If you are interested in this topic, please hit me up - I’d love to share our presentation with you!
Most importantly, this conference allowed me to reconnect with mentors and build relationships with students looking to become professionals in the marketing field. We did our fair share of New Orleans exploration, which by this point I felt like an expert in the area (haha).
As I come back to reality and settle back into normalcy, there are a few things I appreciate a little extra this week:
Keepin' it 100 with willy t
4 Cities. 3 Conferences. Too many memories to condense to 100 words. 1 fulfilled self.
The day this drops will be day 10 of my mega-conference road trip. Since my last blog, I’ve visited University of Alabama and LSU, as well as conquered (or attempted to conquer) the city of New Orleans throughout the Athletic Business Show. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last week, and I’ll highlight my fun by showing a picture (or two) of each day:
Wednesday, November 7th
Traveled from Birmingham to New Orleans with Steven and stopped along the way at The University of Alabama (rec center pictured). Our rental car got struck by lightning, and it was surprisingly underwhelming. We took it as a sign of good luck, and it’s proved to serve that purpose thus far!
Thursday, November 8th
We kicked off the Athletic Business Show by representing Fitness Asset Manager at the Expo… and rocking it! We ended the night at AB’s Social, which included a front-row seat to a cultural experience I will never forget (cue the music)!
Friday, November 9th
Back at the Athletic Business Expo! This was a unique side of “conferencing” I had yet to experience and I appreciated the opportunity to represent Globetrotter Wellness Solutions and Fitness Asset Manager.
I rounded out the evening by enjoying Steven’s session on “Building Rockstar Teams.”
Would you believe that we “stayed in” in NOLA on a Friday Night? We were poised for a big Saturday in the Big Easy..
Saturday, November 10th
We capped off the final day of Athletic Business as Steven presented (again!) on facility management.
With half of our Saturday left for NOLA exploration, we found all of the beauty! The music, the markets, the Cafe Du Monde beignets, and the Bourbon Street Madness. It. Was. Epic.
Sunday, November 11th
Took a victory lap around the French Quarter before heading to Baton Rouge for a couple days.
Got dinner with two long time NIRSA friends and special humans, Kelly and Tori. Would you believe that I forgot to snag a picture?
Monday, November 12th
GEAUX TIGERS! Toured LSU’s Award-Winning UREC and completed an intense workout. This place is incredible - If you’re anywhere nearby you need to see it for yourself! I have so much love and appreciation for my good friend Kelsey (and Kelly) for the hospitality.
Got an athletic facility tour at LSU’s Tiger Stadium, Pete Maravich Assembly Center, and all of the athletic goodness between. Even met Mike the Tiger, the (actual) Tiger that lives on campus! Very special thanks to my new friend Paige for the exclusive tour.
Tuesday, November 13th
I have to write these a day or two in advance, so I’m planning to grab a morning UREC workout and meet with some of the staff to learn about the great things they do. From here, I’ll drive back to New Orleans to cap off my mega-conference trip at the Collegiate Marketing Institute with NIRSA and ACUI colleagues Wednesday through Friday.
Again, I have endless appreciation for everyone who’s been able to make this trip happen. Peace, Love, and Keepin’ it 100,
Keepin' It 100 with Willy T.
Coming to you LIVE from the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel in Sweet Home Alabama!
Over the next couple weeks, I have a really awesome opportunity to attend three conferences in multiple cities that I’ve yet to visit. I’ll do my best to keep you posted on my social media, and I’ll find a way to make my updates entertaining :)
This week: I attended the NIRSA Region II Conference in Birmingham. Here are some highlights (photos below for some more context) -
Steph Goetz (far right) and I completed grad school together at JMU. When we were students, we’d get taken to lunch at conferences by professionals, and we promised each other that we would return the favor when we “made it.” This has now become an annual tradition, and Dylan/JP are two incredible NIRSA students. Eugene’s Hot Chicken was the perfect setting with some great eats!
This much travel is a good bit out of my comfort zone, so say a prayer and send me any travel tips you may have!
Peace, Love, and Conferencing,
Keepin' it 100 with Willy T.
As we’re just a few days away from Halloween and as I conclude this month’s Snickers Series (if you’re joining us late, here’s the theme I’m referencing), I jumped on the opportunity to highlight the biggest chocolate-aficionado that I know: Emma Kirwan. She also happens to be my girlfriend, and today marks 2 years that we’ve been dating.
According to Emma, her “Snickers” is going for a walk because it clears her head and helps her reset her day. In honor of that, I asked her the following questions on a recent walk as we prepare for Hallowellness:
Q: What’s your favorite Fall/Halloween tradition? Why?
A: Watching Hocus Pocus! It’s a timeless film that gets anyone in the mood for Halloween.
Q. What’s your all-time favorite Halloween costume that you’ve worn?
A. My all-time favorite was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz when I was 6 years old. I don’t think I took off my red ruby slippers for a few days after.
Q. What’s the most embarrassing costume you’ve dressed as for Halloween?
A. I don’t think I have an embarrassing costume I’ve worn because I was always so picky when I was younger. It was a little embarrassing the amount of times I was a witch because I got to wear cool black lipstick that I would never wear on any other occasion!
Q. If you could dress as a superhero for Halloween and get to keep their superpowers, who would it be and why?
A. Wonder Woman because she is a literal goddess. She has the strength and agility that I want to acquire. Plus she’s amazing and can do anything.
Q: Here’s a scenario: While trick-or-treating, you come upon the home of a witch. She presents you with the following conundrum. The piece of candy you choose from her selection will become the only type of candy you can eat for the rest of your life. What type candy do you choose?
A. Without a doubt, it would be a Milky Way. They’re the perfect combo of chocolate and caramel, and I could probably eat a whole bag in one sitting.
Q. Settle this hot debate: Should Candy Corn be sold year-round? Why/Why not?
A. Absolutely not!! It is only good once a year, when you’re carving pumpkins or dressed in costume. Anytime else is not nearly as enjoyable.
(For the record, I completely disagree and think Candy Corn should be sold year-round. We decided to save this topic for a later discussion - ha!)
Emma is a yogi and wellness-promoting graduate student. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Social Work from James Madison University in May 2017 and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Sport and Recreation Leadership at JMU. She also serves as the Graduate Assistant for JMU’s Office of Admissions. Her two biggest loves (in no particular order) are running and donuts. She’s a Leslie Knope wannabe and aspires to work with students and spread positivity.
Thank you to everyone who has read and supported my blog throughout the Snickers Series! A special thanks to Rachel Nicely, Mark Iturriaga and Kyle Harmon for guest-writing this month.
And to Em - Happy Anniversary: You’re the real MVP!
Creating a sense of community is key when connecting to active agers in group fitness classes. These participants want to be challenged while having a great time in class. As an instructor, balancing those two can be a challenge. Whether you are a seasoned instructor skilled in teaching active agers or new to that demographic, here are six tips for helping your participants stay forever fit.
Our principal investigator, Steven, had the opportunity to write a blog for ACE Fitness. Click here to learn Six Ways to Stay Forever Fit.
Who we are
Just a team of round pegs in a square hole changing the world one interaction at a time.
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