The Official Blog of Tara Marie Segundo, M.A.

"To be successful, you must have the three C's: Conviction, Creativity, and Courage." ~Tara Marie Segundo, M.A.
September 21, 2012

Set Yourself Up for Success Tip #2


TWO: Put exercise at the top of your list. If you are truly committed to achieving your goals, you will sometimes have to sacrifice other things to make room for your fitness program.  I am not suggesting that you don’t take your sick child to the doctor, but you may have to forgo meeting your friends for drinks after work when your time is tight.

I am reminded of one of my girlfriends who is quite the social butterfly.  We laugh because she doesn’t have time to always get to the gym during the week because she has a very robust social schedule and has engagements most evenings.  I, however, rarely have time to socialize during the week because I go to the gym in the evening after work.

We all make time for the activities that we believe are a priority and the rest we do when and if we “have time.”  The truth is, everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but we all place a different level of importance on different things.  There is no right or wrong choice, but make sure that your choices are aligned with your goals.

I have worked with many movers and shakers and asked them how they make time for exercise during a busy week.  Every person said the same thing:  they schedule an appointment with themselves and keep the appointment, making it a priority as they do their appointments with CEOs and business clients.

Put exercise at the top of your list and book an appointment with yourself. Once you book the time, regard it as highly as you would any other appointment to which you are committed. You are certainly worth it.

Read Success Tip #1 if you missed it!

Shine on!

Tara Marie

Stay tuned for Tip #3!



September 21, 2012

Set Yourself Up for Success Tip #1


ONE: Stop trying and start doing.

Set yourself up mentally for success with an “I will” attitude rather than an “I’ll try” attitude.

Saying “I’ll try” to exercise is really saying, “I will exercise if everything else gets done, if I am still in the mood, and if nothing better comes up.”

Yes, unexpected things happen and our best intentions are sometimes derailed, but the mindset that you bring to your self-care is of prime importance.  If you take an “I’ll try” attitude toward your health and fitness plan, you are essentially putting yourself and your plan at the bottom of the list.

When you take an “I will” attitude, you are putting the two at the top of the list.  In other words, unless you are dead or seriously disabled, you are going to find a way to fit some form of movement into your day—no excuses—period!

One of my favorite quotes is by Pat Riley, widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time. He said, “There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out.  There’s no such thing as life in-between.”

Decide now to bring an “I will” attitude to your life.  Stop trying to do things and just do them.  Make a commitment and hold yourself to a high standard.

Every day when you awaken is a chance for a fresh start.  Decide today to be better, do better, and live better than yesterday.  Greatness begins with a quiet decision to pursue excellence.

Shine on!

Tara Marie


September 19, 2012

Vital Vitamin D Facts

If you don’t believe that being deficient in one vitamin can have an enormous impact on your body, consider this:

People with LOW levels of Vitamin D have HIGH rates of many cancers.  If I can’t appeal to your desire to stay alive, let me appeal to your vanity:

Vitamin D makes fat cells more metabolically active so you will burn body fat more efficiently.  Also, if you struggle with weight loss, you will appreciate that Vitamin D stimulates the production of Leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full!

Foods rich in Vitamin D include fortified cereals and dairy, salmon, tuna, shrimp, and many mushrooms!  Supplementation is also an easy remedy, as is getting 10-15 minutes of daily sunshine without the protection of sunscreen!

A simple blood test will reveal your Vitamin D levels so there’s no reason to be deficient!

Live with Simplicity,


September 18, 2012

The Power of Resilience

There are occasions in life that knock us down and it seems impossible to be positive in the moment.  Loved ones die, relationships break up, we experience a health crisis, businesses fail, homes are lost, people disappoint us, we disappoint ourselves, or mundane things happen that ruin our day: this is life as an adult. Much of it is no fun, and you have to get over it.

When it seems IMPOSSIBLE to put a positive spin on a given circumstance, you can still ALWAYS be resilient.

Being resilient simply means that you WILL get up when you are knocked down.  It means that NO MATTER WHAT, you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and fight your way back.  It means that NOTHING and NO ONE can break you, because you will always get up swinging.

I continue to learn the skill of being resilient, and the more I practice, the easier it gets. At this point, I still can get twisted in knots about something and indulge in a 2-day crying jag, but for the most part I am learning to take my knocks and keep going.  The secret is in the way we frame the things that happen in our lives.

I saw an episode of ABC’s 20/20 that featured 4 billionaires that all started with nothing and built an empire.  One of the consistent traits they shared was that they shrugged off failure like it was nothing and kept going. While many people let failure put an end to their dreams, these billionaires played life like it was a game of Monopoly and accepted failure as a part of being successful.

The show reminded me of a former client of mine that I’ll call John. John is a global financier and spends his day making deals with sums of money that most of us never have occasion to even think about.

As a high-powered businessman, he always checked his Blackberry between sets at the gym.  On one particular day, he reviewed his emails as I was loading the squat rack with another couple of plates. I heard him say in a monotone voice, “Oh, crap,” and then let out what almost sounded like cocky laughter.  When I asked him what had happened, he told me that he had just lost a 26 MILLION dollar deal.  He said it like he was asking me to get him another towel.

September 12, 2012

Can I Exercise If I Have Fibromyalgia?

Hi Tara Marie,

I have fibromyalgia, which makes it very difficult to exercise.  I exercise for a few days then my body gives out.  I have to rest for at least a week.  I was wondering if rebounding is a good exercise for me.

Thank you,


Dear Terri,

Thanks for writing.  I am getting more and more calls and letters from people living with fibromyalgia.  One of the best things you can do if you have fibromyalgia is exercise.

For reader’s that are not familiar with this condition, Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a chronic pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. The defining fibromyalgia symptom is multiple tender points and pain in the connective tissue of the body such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Fibromyalgia symptoms are different from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis because they do not involve the joints.  The most common sites of fibromyalgia pain are the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands.

Stress or lack of sleep can make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. Additional symptoms may include: irritable bowel and bladder, headaches, facial pain and migraines, restless leg syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes, dry mouth, anxiety, depression, impaired coordination, dizziness, vision problems, heightened sensitivity to odors, noise, light, touch and weather change.  More women than men have fibromyalgia, and the disorder is quite common—it is seen in up to 5% of the population.  Although it is tough to live with, it isn't life threatening and it doesn't cause permanent damage.

Exercise in many different forms, whether stretching, resistance training, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, etc., are known to be effective for easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The key is to start slowly and increase activity gradually. Consider the following tips:

  • Get some aerobic exercise. Choose a low-impact activity such as walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, water aerobics, or gardening. Start with just five minutes of activity three times a week, and then add another minute every time you workout. When you've built up to 30 minutes, gradually increase the number of workouts to five times a week.
  • Strengthen your muscles. Using resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines will help build strength. Move slowly, use very light resistance, and then gradually build up. This should be done twice a week on nonconsecutive days.
  • Stretch. After you're warmed up, gently stretch all major muscles for 5 to 10 seconds. Doing this in a warm shower or pool will make it easier and more comfortable.
September 6, 2012

General Food and Beverage Guidelines

I had a male client that wanted to lose body fat and increase muscle mass.  When it came to eating and drinking he was a bit of a disaster, so he asked me to write some general guidelines to help him understand the basics of what he would need to do.  I have had so many people ask me this same advice that I decided to post the information as a blog.  This client was a mid-60’s male, but it is the diet plan that I follow and it is advice that I give all my clients across the board.  Enjoy!

-Drink about 1 oz. of plain water per pound of body weight.  Staying hydrated will keep your metabolic rate running at its peak.

-Cut out soda, diet soda, etc.  Extra calories and extra chemicals do NOTHING good for your body and A LOT of damage.

-Cut down or cut out juices.  They are high in sugar and I prefer that you EAT your calories rather than drink them.

-Increase your intake of fresh or frozen veggies:  collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc. can all be purchased frozen and fresh.   I usually buy frozen since I do not have a lot of time for food preparation.

Also, eat all the brightly colored veggies: carrots, beets, squash, pumpkin, bell peppers, radishes, etc.

-Dramatically DECREASE sugars.  READ LABELS.  Sugar here and there adds up.

When you are trying to be LEAN, sugar is your enemy.  Sugar promotes an insulin response and insulin is the fat storing hormone.  Keep your sugar intake low and you will keep your insulin levels low.   You will also keep you blood sugar steady if you keep your insulin levels from spiking and dipping.

September 4, 2012

Bouncing Back After Baby!

I am 36 years old and just gave birth to my second child.  I am finding it harder to get back in shape after this pregnancy.  My first pregnancy was 5 years ago and I bounced back more easily.  Can you offer any advice on getting back in shape after delivery?

Abby in Princeton, NJ

Dear Abby,

Thanks for writing!  This is a common situation that I encounter in my practice as a personal trainer. I have worked with many new moms and have found that basic common sense paired with the following advice is very helpful. The main thing to remember is that your body will one day return to some semblance of your pre-pregnancy state, and there are things that you can do to help hasten this process.

You did not mention whether you delivered via C-section or the good old-fashioned way.  In any event, getting your doctor’s clearance before returning to exercise is a must.  Pregnancy and delivery present quite a trauma to the body, and a certain level of healing must occur before you place additional physical stress on yourself with exercise.  Once your doctor gives clearance, consider these tips to help you drop your pregnancy weight:

Breast feed if you can. Breastfeeding can help you shed your excess weight while eating your regular diet. Producing milk uses 200 to 500 calories a day, on average.  This may not sound like much, but that can add up to about a pound a week without making any other changes in your daily routine.  I know lots of moms that hate to stop breast feeding because it helps them stay lean!

Do short bouts of exercise throughout the day. As a mom caring for a newborn, you can’t expect to have long periods of time during which you can exercise.  Take advantage of 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there, to squeeze in some movement.  I had a client that had a treadmill in her home and every time she got a short block of time, she would jump on the treadmill and kick out a brisk walk.  She clocked an hour a day by doing 10 minutes here and there.  This allowed her to care for her new baby and make use of the brief breaks that she had.

Make sure every calorie you are ingesting is nutritious. If you are breast feeding, it is recommended that you do not eat less than 1,800 calories a day so you can produce milk for your baby.  If you are not breast feeding, your doctor may allow you to diet.  Regardless, your body is in recovery and you need to provide yourself with foods that offer you what your body needs to thrive.  Stick to fresh whole foods that come from nature.

With your doctor’s OK, it is safe to slowly ease back into whatever exercise you were doing before you were pregnant. Right after you deliver is not the time to launch into a brand new, physically challenging routine.  Walking (alone or while pushing a stroller) is a great form of exercise.   If you are a runner, there are some wonderful jogging strollers on the market.

August 29, 2012

Are Cables and Free Weights More Effective Than Machines for Resistance Training?

Dear Tara Marie,

Should I use free weights and cables or machines at the gym?  I always end up using the machines because I don’t know what to do with free weights.  I get really intimidated and don’t even try!

Thank you,


Boston, MA

Dear Anne,

From a professional standpoint, I prefer free weights and cables.  Machines lock you into a movement pattern that is not necessarily right for your body.  When you use a machine, you just grab the handles and press or pull or whatever the movement may be, but it does not allow you to adjust the movement pattern to your specific needs.  For example, perhaps one of your shoulders needs a slightly different angle to function safely and effectively.  A machine does not allow for this variation in your movement pattern.

The other thing that makes me err away from machines is that they require less on the part of the participant.  When you use a machine, your body does not have to stabilize itself as you would if you were using cables and free weights.  This stabilization comes from using muscles in your torso, arms, legs, etc., that keep your body properly positioned while you are working other muscles as primary movers.  All these muscles working concomitantly require more effort and you get more bang for your buck, so to speak.  Machines require only that you sit on a gadget, grab the handles, and go!

August 25, 2012

Can Diet Alone Help Me Lose Weight?

Dear Tara Marie,

I hate exercise.  Can’t I just diet and get the same effect?

Thanks, Joanne

Dear Joanne,

Oh honey, absolutely not!  Dieting slows the metabolism, and this is the last thing that you want to do when you are trying to transform your body.  The only way to maintain lasting weight loss is to cut your caloric intake in addition to adding movement to your life.  You ask if dieting alone will give you the same effect…just what effect are you going for?  I am assuming that you want to be toned, healthy and vibrant.  Excessive dieting will not yield these results.  Rather, you will end up flabby, unhealthy, and have low energy.

Dieting alone will not only slow your metabolic rate, but you will lose the beautiful muscle that you currently have, resulting in an even lower metabolic rate.  You will also systematically degrade your shape, considering all the muscle you will be losing.

Conversely, exercise revs the metabolic rate, and high intensity exercise keeps the metabolic rate higher for a longer period of time than lower intensity exercise.  You see, there is a period following a bout of exercise during which the metabolic rate remains elevated, and the degree to which it remains elevated and the length of time that it remains elevated are both determined by exercise intensity.