Holiday Survival Guide







Quick Tips for the Holidays: 

Your Personal Survival Guide!

Holidays don’t have to mean that healthy eating goes out the window, but they also don’t mean you have to completely stop enjoying the occasional treat that the season brings!  Below are a few tips about how to make this next month work for you!

  1. Eat slowly and mindfully. It takes 20 minutes for our brain to get the message that we are full, which is hard when you are faced with a banquet of favorite foods. Remind yourself to slow down, enjoy and savor the flavor of the food whether sweet or savory.  When we take time with our food, we tend to eat less, and we set our bodies up for a more optimal metabolism.  So, enjoy Gramma’s pecan pie. When you do, you might not need more than one slice.
  2. Eat Balanced Meals throughout the day.   It can be easy to “be good” all day in preparation for a big feast or holiday party. This often means not eating very much and consequently gorging oneself on everything set before you, including the napkins.  Be sure to eat balanced meals throughout the day that include a source of fiber, fat and protein so you don’t wind up starving by the time that holiday soiree comes.
  3. Up your veggies.   It may sound like old news, but many holiday feasts can be a big carb fest. Be sure to offer or bring fresh vegetables to have as an appetizer.  The vitamins and minerals they provide can help replenish the nutrients that sugary and refined foods often deplete and can give you the energy to have a hearty conversation with kooky Uncle Frank.
  4. Try adding a vegetarian protein dish to your menu or bring one to your next Holiday event.  Plant protein like beans and lentils not only offer a host of beneficial nutrients they contain a lot of fiber which helps you to fill up and reduce the likelihood of overeating. Skip the processed Tofurkey and try out a bean dip, a lentil soup or a spicy chili all of which provide heart health components to boot!
  5. Get creative with sweets!  Your month does not have to be about candy canes and endless sweet pies.  Molasses, dates, fresh fruit, dried fruit, roasted nuts, coconut can all serve as sweet snacks and dessert ingredients that are a step up from your basic sugar cookie.  Roast nuts in an oven on 250 degrees for 20 minutes, stuff into dates and roll dates in coconut. Yum!  
  6. Make drinks more festive and…add a little flair!  Throw pomegranate juice or seeds into Seltzer.  Make a Hot Chocolate with high quality cocoa, a milk alternative (almond milk is great), a touch of vanilla, and a sprinkle of maple syrup.  If you like, add a dash of cinnamon or cayenne or a little orange zest for an extra kick! Spicy Chai Tea is always a winner especially for those of you who like a kick in your drink.  It’s hard to go for seconds when your mouth is on fire.
  7. Keep up the exercise during this time.  Even a brisk walk or two can be helpful for boosting metabolism and increasing energy, making the need for those quick go-to carb dishes we often turn to when we’re sluggish, a little less necessary.
  8. Take time for yourself.  We can get pretty busy during this time which causes a lot of stress which can lead to less supportive dietary choices.  Be sure to have a time out or two over the next month where you can  relax, slow down and not be rushing.  You’ll be amazed at the results.
  9. Make a goal for yourself this season or before you head out to the next holiday bash.  What do you want from this holiday? How do you want to feel?  How many glasses of eggnog do you want to keep to? How can you have a healthy and joyful next month?


Mary Purdy, (MS, RDN), integrative registered dietitian, is the host of the web series & podcast “Mary’s Nutrition Show” and author of the recently published book “Serving the Broccoli Gods.” She was in private practice for 8 years and spent 3 years as adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at Bastyr University. Currently, she works full time at Arivale where she has spent the last 3 years as a Coach and Clinical Education Lead providing nutrition and lifestyle counseling to clients using personalized genetic data and functional blood labs. She has presented at professional nutritional conferences, given over 100 nutrition workshops, been featured on KUOW and quoted in dozens of magazines including Prevention, Food and Nutrition and Today’s Dietitian. She loves all vegetables except zucchini and yellow squash which she avoids at all costs. Her website is or you can hang out with her and her community at


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‘Tis the Season for Dancing

Are you ready for two Community Fitness dance parties this weekend?

‘Tis the season!

Agua E’ Lulo is on Friday evening, December 7th from 7:30-9:30 and will be hosted by instructors Nathalye and Maria who will bring their warm and welcoming energy for a dance party with Colombian flair.

Agua E’ Lulo is made up of three separate words, ‘agua’ (water) ‘e/y’ (and) ‘lulo’ (a fruit) and refers to a style of party that typically happens during the day and originated in Cali, Colombia during the 1970s.

Back in the day, Agua E Lulos were born as a result of under-aged teens not being able to enter bars and drink alcohol. They thus started organizing home parties, with drinks made out of lulo–a delicious, tropical fruit, very popular in Cali. Nowadays, Agua E Lulos are parties usually either on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, during the daytime, often in the afternoon. Another phenomenon that grew out of these parties was changing the speed on the Salsa records from 33 to 45 rpm. Muy rapido!

On December 7th, Nathalye and Maria will lead some dancing, offer light snacks and have DJ Reinier from La Clave Cubana on hand to spin tunes for us to relax, socialize and dance together. Reinier will play from the best songs of 2018 including some oldies, reggaetón, salsa and DJ’s choice. Baila! Tickets available here


The Non-Stop Dance Party with Erica Dixon will be on Saturday night December 8th from 6:00-7:30 and will feature Erica’s mix of high-energy Soca, DanceHall and Hip Hop.

Erica Dixon is a visiting instructor from Durham, North Carolina. Erica is a well-known Zumba instructor/trainer, choreographer and founder/director of Unity Mas Band in Durham. Unity Mas Band is a community organization that brings the spirit of Caribbean (think Trinidad, Tobago, Dominica) carnival to the United States by producing parades and events. Carnival is an important cultural celebration for Caribbean people. Erica describes herself as a Carnivalista Fitness Expert.

Soca is an offshoot of Calypso and Soul music and also arose during the 1970’s. Soca is the music of Carnival in the Caribbean and indeed it never stops so expect a high energy master class with great music, pulsating rhythms and positive vibes.  More about Erica and the event here.


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Thanksgiving Day Workout for Justice

Community Fitness will be hosting our annual fundraiser on November 22nd to benefit folks in the greater Seattle community. We will host five different fitness classes on Thanksgiving Day morning: BodyPump with Angie, Cycle with Danielle, Tabata with Josh, Yoga with Brenna and MixxedFit with Kat starting at 8:30 am with the final class at 10:30 am. The Yoga class will have a special focus on gratitude during the practice.

The recipient of this year’s (and years prior) benefit will be FEEST, a local non-profit for youth located in White Center and Delridge that is dedicated to empowering youth in regards to food access, health equity and racial justice.

Each class will cost $20 and all profits will be donated to FEEST. We are pleased to offer our Cfit community an opportunity to workout on Thanksgiving Day and share their prosperity with folks that might not always have the same access to high quality food and resources that we do in our part of Seattle.

FEEST, which stands for Food Empowerment Education and Sustainability Team, began in 2008 as part of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative. FEEST is a paid internship where youth organize weekly community dinners of 40-45 that cook the meal from scratch using fruits, vegetables and halal meat from local markets. These meals have supported relationship building as well as promoting cultural identity through culinary traditions. The dinner also serves as an important gathering to do education and discuss our food system, social and environmental justice, and other youth movements.

FEEST youth also design and lead food justice campaigns that have included among others, having water bottle stations installed in the Highline School District and advising the Nutrition Services Director at Highline for a dish of their choosing to be on the student menu.

We hope you can join us for this fun and meaningful fundraiser!

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Intro To Yoga

Hello CFitters!

I am excited to be stepping into the role of Fitness Director alongside Bradley this fall! Every time I attend a class at Community Fitness I am inspired and surprised by the amazing group of teachers that we have in our three studios. I love the commitment and passion that our instructors AND students bring on a daily basis to our classes. Where else is there a dance party three times a day?!

My primary practice for the past 15 years has been yoga.  I am continuously amazed by how a regular yoga practice keeps me grounded, sharp, and gives me the tools to live from a place of true health and gratitude.  We have a dedicated group of yogis at Community Fitness and an experienced and diverse group of yoga teachers that offer challenging yet inclusive classes every day. On Sunday, October 14 I am excited to be offering an Intro to Yoga Workshop for anyone who is curious about trying yoga and discovering the balance that it can bring to your life.  Please join us!

Additionlly, one of the first phone calls I made as Fitness Director, was to my teacher of over ten years; Master Yoga Teacher, Troy Lucero.  In Seattle, he’s known as ‘the Teacher’s Teacher’.  I’m delighted that Community Fitness will be hosting Troy for a series of 4 Master Classes this winter on the first Monday afternoon of each month beginning November 5.  If you want to find out where and how Vinyasa Yoga originated and how to take your practice to the next level in every way, don’t miss this opportunity to practice with Troy.  All levels welcome!

I look forward to seeing you in the studios soon! 

Intro To Yoga Q&A with Gina Skene

What are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga is an opportunity to connect with our bodies on a deeper level. We learn how to wake up muscles we didn’t know we had, stand taller, and move from a true sense of core. A yoga practice is also centered on breath which invites an overall sense of calm and well being. All of this follows you out of the studio and into the way you choose to move through life with more awareness and presence!

How does yoga supplement my existing (strength, cycle, dance, or fitness routine?

As we practice yoga, we become much more aware of our how our bodies function. We start to incorporate healthy alignment; engaging muscles that support a strong spine and easing muscles that hold tension like neck and upper back. Then it really all comes together with an awareness of breath which is key in finding your ‘zone’ in anything. This translates into focus and clarity to put your whole self into whatever activity you tackle. Speaking of… did you know the Seahawks started practicing yoga and meditating the year before they won the Superbowl?

Isn’t yoga for people who are very flexible?

No! People come up to me all the time and say, “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible enough.” Yoga is a practice of balance: strength and flexibility, connection and expansion, inhale and exhale, sun and moon. So you come to your mat and investigate how you can find balance  – in your body, in your breath and in your mind. And don’t worry, we literally practice some balance. Tree pose, anyone?

Blog Post by Gina Skene

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8 Ways to Support A Healthy Weight

Guest Blog Post By Mary Purdy, MS, RDN

Whether you are working towards a weight goal or not. The below tips are excellent for supporting your overall health.


Studies show that skipping that first meal of the day often leads to an overconsumption of foods later. In fact, did you know that Sumo wrestlers skip breakfast in order to gain weight? The body needs that signal that it’s time to rev up the motor and get busy metabolizing. “But I’m not hungry!” you say. No need for a grand buffet here. Some food – even something small like a piece of fruit and some nuts – will kickstart that process and provide that boost you need to make it an energized day.



Fiber (the part of food that our body doesn’t digest) is terrific for making us feel full and usually comes from foods that are also high in nutritional value: beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds. Good news is that when our bellies feel full and our bodies nourished with necessary nutrients, we are less likely to eat more food than we require. Our bodies need anywhere from around 30-50 grams of fiber/day, depending on your gender and your health conditions. Most of us are getting under 15 grams/day.   Start slowly, however, if you are not used to consuming this amount. It can take time for the digestive tract to catch up with this new addition.


If we eat at noon and then not until 7pm, chances are we are going to be darn hungry and are more likely to over indulge at dinner or later in the evening when our metabolism is naturally slower. Have some nuts/fruit/bars on hand to prevent those blood sugar dips that can result in making less healthy choices. A balanced blood sugar also ensures that mood is also more stable which can positively impact our eating and lifestyle choices.


One of the best things you can do to lose weight is to decrease the floury, sweet and savory foods in your diet: cakes, cookies, muffins, sugary drinks, candy bars are some easy to identify ones, but even the chips, pretzels and white breads and baguettes are ones to be mindful of. It’s possible to make and to find healthier versions of these whether it’s whole grain breads and crackers or baked goods made with whole grain flour/oatmeal and natural sweeteners. An experiment for you: Try 2 weeks with no added sugar and see if you notice a change in your taste buds. Got a sweet craving? Try dried & fresh fruit instead.


Studies show that many spices like cayenne and cinnamon have thermogenic, metabolism boosting properties. Additionally, the presence of new flavors (basil, mint, rosemary) can help diminish our cravings for the usual tastes we think we want. And, as I always like to say: “It’s hard to have seconds when your mouth is on fire from a nice dose of cayenne pepper!” If you haven’t tried smoked paprika, run, don’t walk to the store to purchase and witness your soups, potatoes and yes, scrambled eggs pop in ways you didn’t think possible.


Eating mindfully sets the body up to recognize the feeling of fullness which helps to halt eating when one is satiated. It takes 20 mins for your brain to get the signal that you are full. When we don’t take time with eating, we often miss the signal! Additionally, chewing and breathing help to naturally fuel our metabolism by optimizing our digestive function. Try setting a timer for 15-20 minutes for meals that you have noticed are being gobbled in 5.


Juices, sweetened teas and sodas can add lots of extra calories without really filling you up or providing much in the way of health benefits. Iced green tea, seltzers, plain or with a splash of juice, or just good old water with a cucumber slice tossed in, can make for great thirst quenching treats.



Olives, nuts, coconut, seeds, avocado, olive oil, are all great for keeping you more satiated! Using a “fat free” dressing? Chances are you’re going to be hungry and may end up eating more carbs to help fill you up. Fat is essential to our body’s functioning and helps add texture and carry flavor. Don’t shy away from this very important food group, just be mindful of portions.

For more weight loss tips that you may not be thinking of, take a listen to our podcast episode on 4 Weight Loss Tips: The What, When, How and Where.

This has been a guest blog post by long time Community Fitness Member, Mary Purdy, MS, RDN

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5 Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated this Summer

Guest Blog Post By Mary Purdy, MS, RDN

As the summer months heat up (finally!) your workouts may become a bit more rigorous with additional outdoor opportunities, longer days and hopefully a bit more time with which to ramp up your physical activity.  This means it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. The more you sweat, the more fluid loss there is which can leave your brain feeling sluggish and your joints achy. Drinking plain water doesn’t always have the alluring draw for many, so finding creative strategies for getting fluids in can help ensure that you maintain the hydration status which ultimately fuels your whole body.

  1. First off – If you don’t already have one, buy a water bottle/tea tumbler or “fluid receptacle” that you can toss in your bag (ahem, you might want to avoid the glass ones) and have ready at a moment’s notice to consume and then fill again with water or other beverages wherever you are. If water solo doesn’t float your boat, bring along an herbal tea bag to toss in, in order to provide a little extra kick of flavor.

  2. Make a large batch of iced tea to keep in your fridge. You probably have long heard about the benefits of green and black teas which boast health properties from cancer protection to metabolism and brain boosting potential. Many find that hot tea just feels funny in the summer months, so brew up a tea pot and throw that brewed concoction into your fridge, (perhaps with a refreshing sprig of mint!) and you’ll have an extra incentive to open the fridge and rehydrate.

  3. Spruce up water with a slice of cucumber, a squirt of lemon or orange, a splash of juice, a mini branch of rosemary, a cinnamon stick and witness your beverage go from “meh” to “wowsa!”  When things taste good, you usually want more of them. Or swap in a carbonated beverage which very often come with a hint of flavor and a burst of bubble which can make water consumption a bit more interesting.

  4. Branch out with your bevs! Have you been to the beverage aisle in the grocery store lately?  Get adventurous. Try out a fermented beverage, or a tea with floating chia seeds, or a veggie juice.  Don’t want to spend the extra $3.50? Make your own! See my recipe for what I call “Fauxbucha” which you can make for less than 35 cents. Additionally, nutrient dense herbal teas such as chamomile, hibiscus, nettle and peppermint, can offer antimicrobial or antioxidant activity. Other varieties of tea, like yerba mate, rooibos, can also be healthy and flavorful options, making them perfect alternatives to those calorie-rich and costly Frappuccino’s.

  5. Don’t forget that you can drink your fruits and vegetables!  I’m not referring to vegetable or fruit juices, but rather to the inclusion of additional water rich produce. You may notice that many of the fruits and veggies from this fall into this category. Cucumbers, watermelon, peaches are all exceptionally juicy. Snack on these mid-day, or be sure to include a couple servings at each meal.

So, drink up this summer!  (And be mindful of excessive alcohol consumption which can wind up dehydrating you.) Being consistently hydrated comes with countless health benefits and usually helps to make your body just feel good.  

Find more from Community Fitess Member and guest blogger Mary Purdy, MS, RDN at:

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Fathers Day Reflection with Tricia Madden

Father’s Day is always an incredible day for me to reflect on incredible moments I shared with both of my fathers. One (my stepdad), taught me consistency, loyalty, commitment and unconditional love; the other (my biological dad), encouraged me to fly metaphorically, love passionately, dream big and give everything even if I end up with nothing.

Unfortunately, both of them taught me something hard as well. They both spent their lives doing all of the above in addition to raising families, being a spouse and family member. All of this came at a cost, though. While they both lived extraordinary lives, they also left the earth way too young.

The pressure of their work and passion in life took precedence over spending time working on their own health. I was twenty-four when my stepdad passed of a sudden and devastating heart attack. No warning, no doctor’s giving good advice, nada, nothing. He just went one night without warning. The loss was devastating to me as he was more than a stepdad, he was the patriarch and the inspiration for so many. He won Educator of the Year in Washington State the year he passed, for his lifelong contribution.

It was just a short time later that my biological father passed without warning of the same type of heart attack that killed my other dad. This loss almost killed my own spirit because I still needed them both so deeply. I was still finding me, finding my future and paving my own path. But instead of sinking into this, it was as if their loss gave me the motivation to make fitness my lifelong passion. I was determined to share my gift to this world to help more men and women stick around longer and enable them to share this beautiful world with their families longer.

Each time a man walks into my room to workout, I imagine in my head how many days, weeks or years this workout might give that person’s family. What family event will they not miss, what birth of a child will they be present for and what advice will they be able to give those who love them when they turn ninety-five?

Father’s Day no longer brings tears of sadness for what I am missing with these two incredible dads that I had. Rather, it inspires me to build strong healthy men so they can live longer, fight disease in their own bodies and bring more to this beautiful space we share. It assures me that I will always encourage my daughter’s father to move daily, eat well and enjoy all that comes with being a dad to, in my opinion, the greatest kiddo to grace the earth.

–Tricia Madden


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Daren Wade’s Next Adventure

Best Wishes and Thanks to Daren Wade!

From Zumba Hits to Diva Pop to Zumba Jams and back again, Daren Wade has been energizing Community Fitness since 2014. His classes have been a welcoming mixture of positive vibes and rhythms that everybody can warm up to. Merengue, Reggaeton, Bollywood, Pop, Salsa—that international Zumba spirit with a Daren Wade twist. Snnnnap!

Early in Daren’s Community Fitness teaching path he received advice to be himself. One of the great things about his dance classes is how Daren let his personality shine and encouraged others to do the same.

For the past few years clients of Community Fitness have enjoyed Daren’s attitude and infectious energy to brighten their day. Zumba with Daren Wade means laughing and playing and not taking things so seriously!


Daren is pursuing expanded career opportunities at University of Washington during Monday to Friday. So, unfortunately for us — but great news for Daren — he will no longer be teaching on Monday and Wednesdays at Noon. We wish him well on his next adventure!

Some of the great memories in the photo gallery below.

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Happy Mother’s Day from Community Fitness!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers that come through our doors at Community Fitness. Mothers make the world go round!

Community Fitness honors this day with some observations on Mother’s Day and fitness…

We know how key it is for Moms to get their workout in so they can do the job that they do. Or that “me” time in yoga or dance class, when they don’t have to be responsible for anyone except themselves. On a health level exercise can assist with building energy before and after childbirth. By getting the heart pumping–all kinds of great things happen, including giving our immune systems a boost.

Once we become adults, we must do the job for ourselves that our Mothers did for us when we were small. Some people call it self-care. It is possible that our relationship with exercise can mimic a mother/child relationship by teaching us when to show up and be accountable, when to push harder and when to rest. We know how we will feel if we lay around all day and don’t get out and move—most Moms would agree!

Fitness asks the best of us. Even when it asks and we know we can’t overdo it today. It helps us honor our true self. And that is all a Mom could ever want.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Enjoy the photo gallery below of Moms and their offspring that grace our space!


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It Takes A Village

Whether it’s born out of resolutions or to sweat out holiday indulgences, most of us feel the drive to exercise more after the holidays. It’s a good time to begin something new or invigorate a prior commitment. Not surprisingly, class numbers go up after New Year’s Day. Come February, however, numbers start to go down. Throughout the year, despite our best intentions, things can get in the way of sticking to a fitness routine.

It takes a village, right? As part of our advice series, we asked Community Fitness staff to share their tips on staying motivated year round. We pass them on with hopes they will help you reach your goals–whatever they are.

Community Fitness manager Diane loves putting sticky notes around the house that say things like: “You can do this!” “You are rocking this!” or, “You are worth the effort!” She puts them in funny places like inside her sock drawer, on her car dashboard, or in a cupboard so when she opens them, voila—there is the positive affirmation!

She also suggests asking someone to help you stay accountable. Text a friend every time you work out.  If they don’t hear from you, they can offer encouragement. (Sounds like a great tool for a lot of things in life!)

Another suggestion from Diane is to make a commitment to post on your social media regularly.

You’ll find whole Instagrams devoted to this cause, people posting their daily workout as well as what they are eating. Something about declaring your efforts to the world has an effect. Make it fun, use it as a platform to share why you are working out everyday and share your joy!

Diane also likes to make a sticker chart for home. It’s silly and fun! And if you have a family or roommates, everyone can participate! You can find inexpensive sticker sets around the neighborhood at local retailers.

Studio Coordinator Claire

When Studio Coordinator Claire gets down or discouraged, she reminds herself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. “It’s a lifetime journey filled with ups and downs, so it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind of how far I’ve have come and how far I can go over time.”

Workout buddies Leah, Fran, Matt & Denise

Our Assistant Manager Fran makes workout dates with friends and family: “Even if I don’t feel like working out, I’ll still get to the gym because I don’t want to let my buddies  down. For me, the biggest hurdle is just getting out the door. A date with my peeps helps with that, and once I’m at the gym, I’m ready to dive into the workout. Sometimes we meet up for Happy Hour later in the day.” ; )

Studio Coordinator Eve

Studio Coordinator Eve takes inspiration from the Kaizen method, which is a method of using small changes to achieve big goals. What’s the smallest step you could take toward your goal? If you don’t want to go to class, could you just put your exercise clothes on or put your shoes out? (Or just come to class, we’ll take care of the rest!)

There are a lot of different ways you can approach staying on track with New Year’s resolutions, depending on what suits your style. Make it creative or something social you share with other people. Or maybe it’s a place that you come to mentally. However you arrive there, we hope that you do. Here’s to more of a great 2018!


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