People choose to begin working with a personal trainer for a range of reasons; whether it is to train towards a specific goal or just for an added dose of motivation and accountability. Of course, you are going to need to put the hard work in to see results, but your personal trainer will equally need to be putting in the work to keep you motivated and keep pushing you to reach the goals you have set. Personal training can sometimes be too expensive for some people, so online personal training or small group training is another alternative. There are so many benefits of personal training, from perfecting your form to nailing your nutrition, but before you begin working with a personal trainer, there are a few things you should know.

Question Your Potential Personal Trainer

The consultation prior to deciding whether you proceed with a personal trainer is so important! This is your opportunity to truly grill them and ask questions to get a sense of who they are and to make sure they will be a right fit for you. Of course, it’s important they ask you questions too so that they understand you, your history and your goals to ensure they can create an effective regime that will bring about results. Here are some great questions you should be asking your trainer:

  • Do you have experience designing a plan for someone with my kind of goals?
  • What is it like to train with you?
  • How easy will you find it to make adjustments to my plan based on changes that may come up?
  • What do you expect of me as the trainee?

Define Your Boundaries 

Always let your personal trainer know what your boundaries are – without a doubt, your trainer is going to push you, but we all have our limits. For example, if you truly hate the feeling of being so out of breath that your chest hurts, let your trainer know this so they can plan movements that will not cause this. The same goes for how much physical contact you deem acceptable; some trainers will help reposition you if your form is not quite correct, but some people can find this invasive. If you would prefer your trainer to not touch you, always let them know this.

Don’t Feel Stuck

Many people begin using a personal trainer and over a few months, or sometimes even weeks, find that they are not clicking with their trainer in the way they would have hoped – or perhaps are finding there are no results being seen. Regardless of your reasons, just because you started with one personal trainer does not mean you are tied in for life. You can always shop around and with a bit more experience under your belt in terms of what you do like and what you don’t, you may be able to find someone better suited to you.

Buying Multiple Sessions is Not a Requirement

Of course, any personal trainer is going to want to sell you as many sessions as possible, but this is where many people find they feel trapped with a trainer; at first things may seem great and you may think you each are well suited to each other, to later find out their training style is not quite what you expected. When you are tied into multiple sessions, it isn’t so each to back out. Always start out with just a couple of sessions before buying any sessions in bulk.

Don’t Tell Your Personal Trainer What They Want to Hear

Honesty is key! It is so important that you prioritize what it is that you actually want, not what you think your personal trainer will expect of you. Many people train not to see any physical changes, but simply to feel stronger and more fit, and that is totally acceptable! Do not feel forced into claiming you have certain goals just because you believe that is what your trainer will want. Being open and communicative with your personal trainer is always best, that way, you will truly be able to work towards your goals or to simply maintain where you are at, if that’s what you wish. 

The same goes for certain movements – do not pretend to enjoy certain things if you really don’t! If you get bored of reps and sets, perhaps timed sets would be more enjoyable for you. Always discuss what you like with your trainer and which things make you feel your best; they can tweak and adapt your plan to best suit you. Think back to one of the first questions we suggested you ask:

  • How easy will you find it to make adjustments to my plan based on changes that may come up?

This question is so relevant as trainers need to be adaptable and flexible to ensure you feel motivated and pushed, while also enjoying what you do!

It can take months on end to build good habits and make them apart of a sustainable lifestyle, however, we all go through phases of losing our motivation and sometimes veering off track. Rather than scrapping all of your good habits and writing everything off completely, read this guide to help you maintain your good habits; after allowing yourself to mentally reset, you can hit everything hard again. Sometimes, forcing yourself to train or do more than you can handle can have a negative effect which causes you to give up on everything entirely; avoid this by listening to your body! 

We can jump into the deep end when it comes to wanting to get in shape; however, we usually are very excited when we first start out, and over time, this excitement dwindles. One of the biggest things to bear in mind is that you should approach any new habit with caution as burnout can ruin things, even for the best of us! Did you know that a habit can take anywhere from two to four months to form? This helps explain why after just a few weeks of going hard and not seeing any results can leave us feeling discouraged and disappointed – be patient and start small

If you are new to exercise, start with just a couple of sessions per week and then, one you feel exercise has become more of a habit for you, increase the number of sessions you do. This also applies to healthy eating, which is a major struggle for many people – and explains why diets never last! Rather than cutting carbs as that low-carb diet you may be considering suggests, start looking for healthier carbs to include in your diet, or just have smaller portions. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need carbs, they are an essential macro and we all need them! The key to balancing your nutrition is to enjoy things in moderation instead; but luckily, as carbs are perfectly acceptable to eat, you will want to opt for carbs that help keep you full for longer, such as potatoes, quinoa, brown rice and wholegrain pasta. 

When you do find that you are losing motivation after working hard to create good habits, you sometimes need to shake up your environment. We all can become complacent and sometimes complacency gets the best of us. Many of us struggle to drink the right amount of water, but a great reminder that you can put in place for yourself is by leaving full bottles of water around the house. For example, put one by your bedside, one in the office, one at the dining table, etc so that you feel encouraged to drink them. When things are not in our sight, we can sometimes lose focus; by changing your environment, you can help build more sustainable habits, as well as maintain those you have already put into place. 

If you are feeling demotivated, ask yourself, why did you start in the beginning? Sometimes reminding ourselves of why we started in the first place can help give us the kickstart we need. A great idea is to always keep your goals noted down, so the times you are feeling a lack of motivation, you can refer back to them to help inspire you again. This may sound a bit bizarre, but your mind cannot actually differentiate between things that you imagine and those that you don’t; based on this, you should always visualize the success you will achieve when you set out to achieve the goals you have set. That way, you are so much more likely to follow through and find that motivation that you had before! 

Sometimes when we get into a mental state of feeling demotivated it can be hard to pull ourselves back out of it; this is a known fact, as motion creates emotion! Even if you are not wanting to do a full-on training session, get up, get active and you will notice how your mood increases and you may find yourself discovering that motivation again. Lastly, don’t forget the support systems you have in place – whether that be through family or friends. For those that either can’t rely on their friends or family as a source of motivation, find others around you that can help; this can be in the form of reading a motivational book or listening to a podcast. 

Creating habits can be such a challenge, but consistency and dedication is key. When we lose our motivation, we need to remind ourselves why we started and how far we have come; the smallest step in the right direction can lead us down amazing paths. You will be amazed at the changes you can make in your fitness, strength and nutrition when you make small, sustainable changes in your life.

summer smoothies

It’s official, Summer is in full swing!

But unfortunately so is the heat and humidity.

If you’re too hot to cook, try one of these seasonally inspired smoothies for a cool treat that’s also good for your health! Below are a few recipes, but feel free to alter anything to your liking.

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Grape Berry Protein Smoothie

Sweet frozen grapes are an ideal complement to berries. Mix them together, and you’re in for an antioxidant-rich treat. Plus, when you blend grapes, you break down their skin which further releases the fruit’s stores of vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

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Peachy Green Protein Smoothie

Though the recipe calls for frozen peaches, you may want to swap them out for fresh — they’re in season right now! And thanks to kale and ground flaxseed, you’ll get a solid hit of fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

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Blueberry Mint Green Smoothie

There’s nothing better than mint to cool you down. Plus, this drink is packed with ultra-hydrating coconut water, antioxidant-rich blueberries and folate from kale leaves. Tip: Freeze the greens before blending so they mix more easily. Photo and Recipe: Caitlin / The Merrythought

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Orange Creamsicle Protein Smoothie

Be sure to use calcium-fortified orange juice to get a solid hit of the mineral in this ice-cream inspired drink. And don’t forget two scoops of vanilla protein powder which adds 25 grams of protein and makes this smoothie extra creamy. Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

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Mango Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Mangoes and blueberries are like peas and carrots: great on their own, but even better together. Mangoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants, while vitamin-packed blueberries have a powerhouse of phytonutrients, which help your body ward off diseases. Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

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Paleo Peach Coconut Smoothie

Don’t let the short ingredient list fool you: This paleo-friendly smoothie is packed with nutritious goods. The peaches alone have folate, iron, zinc and copper. Just coconut milk and peaches should make the smoothie sweet enough on its own, but feel free tp add a dollop of raw, unfiltered honey if you prefer. Photo and Recipe: Lisa Wells / CookEatPaleo

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Berrylicious Smoothie

This simple smoothie is great for kids thanks to its basic ingredient list and sweet flavor. Frozen mixed berries serve as its base, while one banana adds depth of texture plus a wealth of potassium. Up the health benefits even more by choosing a fiber-enriched almond milk like this blogger did. Photo and Recipe: Stacey / GluedToMyCraftsBlog

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Key Lime Pie Protein Shake

Imagine yourself on Key West, soaking up a sunset with a slice of fresh key lime pie. This smoothie is the next best thing — and for a whole lot less calories. (But alas, no sunset.) A dusting of graham cracker crumbs adds an extra hint of sweetness, and yes, that pie-like taste. Photo and Recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life By DailyBurn

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Kale Pineapple Avocado Protein Smoothie

Summery, tropical drinks are delicious, but also highly caloric. Get your piña colada fix with this smoothie, which is extra creamy thanks to avocado. A double dose of vanilla, in the protein powder and in the almond milk, make this one extra sweet. Photo and Recipe: Dre / Delicious By Dre

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Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie

While more decadent than most other smoothie recipes, this chilling concoction is amazing on hot, lazy summer days. If you want to lighten it up, swap out the sugar for an equal amount of stevia. All you need is a porch swing. Photo and Recipe: Sarah / High Heels and Grills

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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health hacks probiotic

Living your healthiest life can be a lot of work.

There is a good amount of planning and effort that goes into the classic healthy living advice: hours of exercise, meal planning, yoga, cooking, meditation. It’s a full lifestyle, but it is most certainly not effortless.

Here are three health hacks to add to your routine that you can sit (or nap!) through to reap the benefits with almost no effort.

  1. Lie down for a power nap.
    Not getting enough sleep can have a negative effect on the rest of your day. Taking a quick power nap can work magic on your energy levels. Ten minutes of shut eye or even just focusing on yoga breathing for a few minutes will leave you rejuvenated. (Of course, getting enough sleep at night is the best way to achieve optimal rest.)

  2. Take a probiotic.
    You simply take a pill and those billions of good bacteria do all the heavy lifting for you in your gut to support a healthy digestive tract and immune system.

  3. Laugh.
    Laughter is the best medicine! Laughing helps you destress, triggers the release of endorphins, and can even help you live longer.

Let’s focus in on probiotics.

Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that live in your GI tract and create the ideal conditions for digestion, helping to absorb nutrients. There are literally trillions of good bacteria that are living inside of you right now! Your GI tract also acts as a defense barrier between the outside world (aka germs) and your bloodstream. The more good bacteria it has, the harder it is for germs to get inside. If your microbiome is off, you might have symptoms ranging from minor gas and bloating to more chronic stress and mood swings. Your microbiome can even affect your skin, dental health ands personality!

Good bacteria are naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt with active cultures, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. Ideally, you’d eat these every day and have a flourishing GI gut. Yogurt is the most popular of the probiotic foods, but many of us don’t eat the rest of them enough. Therefore, taking a probiotic supplement is a simple and convenient way to help your GI tract thrive, just like a multivitamin can fill the gaps in your diet.

When you add an optimized gut to the other pillars of good health (sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress relief), then you’re using every defense you can against getting sick.

This is even more important if you’re going through a stressful time like a move or a job change or if you’re traveling somewhere that might have different bacteria in the food than you’re used to. When one pillar of health is compromised, the rest must pick up the slack, so keep them all as strong as you can when you’re well!

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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mindful eating

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are seemingly endless.

The mental and physical benefits of slowing down, breathing and quieting the mind are advertised across every form of social media, news feed and literature. But how, exactly, does mindfulness apply to food? How can we practice mindful eating?

First of all, your stomach and your mind are connected by what’s called the enteric nervous system. You know that feeling when you look up #foodporn and then your belly starts to grumble? Yup, that’s it. It also works the other way around: when you’re eating nutrient-dense food, you’re happier. When you gorge on some greasy fried food, you get an endorphin high for a bit, and then your mood plummets.

Often times people underestimate the power the mind can have over choices, emotions and physical feelings. But if these examples are not enough, try it yourself. If you pause, close your eyes, and just focus on your breath for a few minutes, you may notice your responses to hunger cues have changed. Because when you start to tune in to your mind and body, the distracting stimuli of the world fade away. Now you recognize whether you’re actually hungry, or if that was just a tasty-looking photo.

mindful eating

Mindfulness and meditation take practice, just like lifting weights.

Your brain is like a muscle that needs to be flexed and challenged often if it is to get stronger or develop a new habit. A short, simple, daily meditation practice can help change your attitude towards food and actually aid in weight loss.

If weight loss is not your goal, meditation can help you better enjoy your food, and become more aware of how your body feels in response to food.

After a few weeks of daily meditation, usually it starts to become easier to quiet your mind. Don’t get frustrated if it seems like a daunting task that never improves – this is natural and will ease with practice. You just have to let go of your goals, return to your breath, and let yourself make mistakes. It’s ok! Let the thoughts come and go.

In our always-working society, people are multitasking while eating. If you can, try to put away distractions for just 20 minutes and really think about your food. Chew it fully, place your fork down in between every bite. Focus on the flavor, the texture, and how it feels to eat each bite of food. When you’re finished, notice how you feel. Do you still feel hungry? Are you full or satisfied? By practicing mindfulness when eating, you can become more in-tune with your hunger cues. You may find you’re not as hungry as you initially thought, or that a certain food is more flavorful than you realised. Mindful eating makes you not only feel more satisfied, but also more grateful for the nourishment you’re getting and more positive after your meal has ended.

I could attempt to list all the holistic health benefits of meditation, but I will leave that for your googling pleasures. But today, challenge yourself to one meal or snack where you remove all distractions, slow down and truly taste your food.

By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your life, you’ll find you have no need for crash diets or binges; your body knows exactly how to eat.

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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marathon fuel

It’s finally April in Boston, which means the Boston Marathon is right around the corner!

If you’re one of the brave souls toeing the line on Monday, you don’t want nutrition to undo your hard months of training! Be smart in the days leading up to the race, and make sure you follow these simple ‘Marathon Fuel’ tips the day-of to ensure smooth running!

  1. Top Off the Tank.
    Midrun fueling will help maintain your energy levels over the course of 26.2 miles, but your pre-run meals are crucial. For the two to three meals before your race, choose high-carb, moderate-protein, and low-fat and fiber options.
  2. Don’t eat anything new.
    You know your body best, so in the days leading up to the marathon stick to foods you’ve eaten before and that you know your stomach can easily digest. For some runners that could mean avoiding high-fiber foods, high-fat foods, or dairy. Eating high-carb foods, such as pasta, rice, and potatoes, will ensure your glycogen stores are stocked for race day, but don’t consume a new food just because it’s high in carbohydrates.
  3. Stay hydrated during the race.
    A good general guideline is to drink 3 to 6 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. This averages out to grabbing a cup every other mile. Since the first water stop in a race is often very crowded, skip it and get a drink at the second stop.
  4. Take heat into consideration.
    The ideal marathon racing temperature is in the mid-50s, but if the temperature soars into the 70s or 80s on race day as it has in the past, you must drink more. Increase your fluid intake by sipping sports drinks, not just water. The carbs in sports drinks help restock spent energy stores. Most sports drinks will also replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat, helping you avoid hyponatremia (low blood-sodium level caused by excessive water intake).
  5. Develop a race-day nutrition and hydration plan.
    When you’re tired and miles from the finish, you can’t always make the best decisions about refueling. Develop a plan ahead of time so you know what and when you’ll eat and drink. Be sure that plan includes drinking and consuming calories within 45 minutes to an hour after the start. If you wait too long, you might become dehydrated or run out of steam early in the race.
  6. Know Your Mid-Race Fuel
    Trust me, you will need fuel. But make sure you stick with whatever gel, chew, or energy food you have been using in training runs. Whether you use gels or chews, make sure you chase them with a few sips of water. Try taking gels when you’re approaching a water stop. It may also be helpful to consume a gel slowly, over the course of a few minutes. Another way to fuel-up without GI distress, try splitting packs of six chews into two fueling stops. If you decide to have a sports drink at the water stop, try alternating water and sports drink at each fluid stop to avoid consuming too much sugar.
  7. Start your recovery early.
    Refueling after the marathon is essential to help your body recover quickly. Eat or drink about 200 or 300 calories of carbohydrates and some protein within an hour of finishing the marathon. The carbs refuel your muscles with glycogen, and the protein will help repair your muscles. Eat a full meal as soon as you are able to continue the recovery process. And remember to slowly drink fluids to rehydrate after you cross the finish line.

marathon fuel

Blog post written by Trainer, Sarah Oliver

VIM is now offering nutrition services with Trainer & Nutrition Coach, Christine Galvin!

Click below to find out how you can benefit from 1 on 1 Nutrition Coaching!

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Looking for a simple yet healthy dish to whip up after your VIM workout that won’t totally undo all your hard work or counteract all those calories you just burned?  Here’s 10 awesome bloggers from the Boston/Cambridge area with tons of healthy recipe ideas and fitness inspiration to keep you on track. Remember to check out our #RecipeWednesday posts on Facebook and Twitter, where we feature a new local blogger each week!

1) Healthy Chicks 

2) Pickles & Honey

3) Carrots ‘N’ Cake  

4) Eat Well with Janel 

5) Meg’s Food Reality 

6) Sarah Fit 

7) Food to Fun For 

8) A Cambridge Story 

9) VeganYumYum

10) Melomeals



With fall only a few days away and summer’s heat beginning to fade, now is the perfect time to get out and enjoy all that our beautiful city has to offer.  We know it’s not an easy task to say goodbye to those carefree days of backyard BBQs, strolls along the Esplanade, weekends on the Cape, and late nights of patio lounging and pitchers of sangria, but it’s time to face the inevitable: the refreshingly cool breeze of autumn is swiftly approaching.  Here are five great ways to kick those end-of-summer blues while embracing the great outdoors.  Hey, you’ll even burn a calorie or two (or 200)!


1) Go for a Bike Ride

Don’t have a bike of your own? Good thing Hubway has over 60 stations throughout Boston and Cambridge! Whether you gather a crew to ride around the Boston Common or set out on a solo mission to your favorite reading spot, biking is sure-fire way to get a low-impact exercise while enjoying the sites and sounds of the city.

For a list of local bike paths, visit


2) Apple Picking

‘Tis the season for fresh, locally harvested produce and nothing says autumn quite like a deliciously crunchy, handpicked apple.  Hop on the commuter rail and head to Belkin Family Lookout Farm for some quintessential fall fun at one the country’s oldest farms.  You’ll be happy to know that some good ole apple picking burns about 220 calories an hour!

Visit for more pick-you-own farms


3) Take a Hike

What better way to transition your mind and body into the new season than by getting in touch with nature AND working up a sweat? Put down the smartphone, step away from your laptop, and escape the stresses of city life.  Our friends at Harvest Co-Op created a Boston hiking guide to help you navigate through the numerous trails in the area that are worth checking out.  Remember to pack plenty of water and some healthy snacks like almonds or dried fruit!


4) Paddle Down the Charles River

Take in our city’s killer skyline while kayaking or canoeing down the Charles!  With rentals as cheap as 10 bucks for a one-way trip from Kendall Square to Allston, a relaxing ride down the river is a cheap way to get your fitness fix while soaking in some rays.

Check out for more info


5) Visit the Arboretum

If you haven’t paid a visit to this hidden gem nestled in Jamaica Plains, it’s time for you to see what this urban oasis is all about.  Boasting over 265 acres of luscious greenery , The Arnold Arboretum is the ideal destination for a day of hiking, biking, or a free guided tour.  It’s conveniently located right off the Orange Line and is the perfect spot to have a picnic and enjoy the fall foliage.


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