The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati

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Q: How do you get rid of boob fat around your armpits?
– Caroline Caruso, Miss Massachusetts Teen USA

A: Boob fat can be rather embarrassing, especially when you're seemingly fit everywhere else. It absolutely sucks when a swimsuit fits great out front but the fat around the boobs hangs on the sides like melted candle wax – not very attractive – and quite uncomfortable to say the least.

Many women believe this calls for drastic measures (lifts, tucks and/or duct tape). Don't worry, save the toolbox for home renovation. There's a very simple solution. More often than not, there's something I call "The Empty Bag Syndrome," where a loss of muscle and or fat has produced an empty bag effect on your skin around your armpits. The loose skin needs to be filled up. Personally and professionally, I'd rather it be filled with muscle.

Your armpits, although under your arms, are actually part of your upper back muscles. Your armpit or "boob" fat is actually the lack of latissimus dorsi (upper back muscle).

An effective way to build up your upper back muscle muscle and create a thinner looking waist is to perform good ol' jumping jacks. I know what you're saying: "Come on Rock, I haven't done them since third grade." And that's actually the problem. If you did them, you probably wouldn't be asking me this question! When done correctly, they give an all around full body workout that brings symmetry back to your body, because the body is working in tandem with itself.

If the gym is more your bag, strength training exercises that I recommend are the lat pull down or a horizontal row. Most fitness professionals can show you how to perform these exercises, or you can go to and receive a free Boot Camp workout.

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First, I would like to define the word "rut" and "diet" as defined by the Webster Dictionary. A rut is a settled and tedious routine. A diet is the daily intake of food and drink. So if you are in a diet rut, this could lead to deficiency in vitamins, minerals and fiber. The problem with eating the same foods everyday is that our bodies will not get the essential nutrients it needs to provide the energy we need to feel good. You can get out of a diet rut by trying some of the following ideas for breakfast, lunch, midday snack and dinner.

I recommend starting with your breakfast meal and making a list of your favorite choices from starches, such as oatmeal, multi grain Cheerios, whole grain toast, whole grain waffles or whole grain bagels. I recommend higher fiber choices over three grams at least per serving. You should rotate these choices through out the week and select a favorite fruit to go with the starch like one that maybe high in vitamin C, such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruit or blueberries. Then decide on a low fat milk choice such as 1 cup of 1% milk or six ounces of yogurt. These three categories are sure to give you some variety and will change your breakfast, especially if you only have a latte in the morning!

The lunch meal can be just as fun to change up. Try a whole wheat tortilla, stuffed with a lean protein choice like turkey, chicken or tuna fish, and top with spinach leaves, alfalfa sprouts and reduced fat mayonnaise and avocado slices. Add a fresh fruit and have a well balanced meal. This type of meal can save you from the rut of grabbing a fast food meal like a cheeseburger, French fries and a diet coke.

032607HEALTH.JPG Midday, I would suggest a snack like almonds and fresh fruit or string cheese and a whole wheat cracker choice like All Bran crackers, that run high in fiber and fill you up. Also, a yogurt can add calcium, and protein to your afternoon snack. Even chopped raw vegetables, about one cup can fill you up paired with the string cheese, would be a great snack.

The dinner meal can be a challenge for various reasons. We have a tendency to eat the same dinner menu cycle like chili, pasta, chicken, meatloaf and pizza. You need to try something new, by selecting an interesting recipe each week and trying the recipe and rating it according to how much you liked it. This is a way to build your recipe and menu ideas to get out of the rut of eating the same foods you always eat for dinner. A Web site I like to recommend is . This Web site will allow you to look at various ideas and give you a chance to get out of your rut you maybe in for dinner time. There is always fish, and there is always a meat alternative like tofu or veggie crumbles for a chili or pasta dish. Think outside of the box and you will find that variety will become a part of your daily intake, and the diet rut will be over! Spring is here and it’s a great time to have your meal at a local park and go for a walk afterwards to stop your diet rut!

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It just seems so simple. Everyone seems to know that vegetables are good for them, But most of the population seems deficient in choosing them in their daily food regimen. Green 031207_big_HEALTH.jpgvegetables are one of the very important parts of healthy eating. There are probably at least a hundred reasons to incorporate greens into every day balanced nutrition, but here are just a few to get you motivated to go to the fresh vegetable section and pick up some broccoli, spinach and green beans:

10) Green vegetables contain “phytochemicals,” which act as antioxidants and can help keep cancer-causing substances out of the body.

9) Greens, such as broccoli, can aid in digestion and keep the bacterium that is bad for you, out of your body.

8) These “phytochemicals” for leafy greens can keep you from going blind when you are older.

7) Green vegetables contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, which also helps with sight, the immune system and healthy skin.

6) Potassium, which helps to regulate the heart and muscle contraction, and calcium, which maintains strong bones, are all found in dark leafy green vegetables.

5) Maintaining an adequate amount of dark green vegetables in the diet can actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

4) Because green vegetables, such as spinach, have a higher potassium content, they may reduce the risk of kidney stones.

3) The fiber found in greens reduces the bad cholesterol in the body, reducing clogging of arteries.

2) Folic acid is important in pregnancy, especially the first trimester. Folic acid reduces risks of birth defects. And guess what, folic acid is found in green veggies.

Ok, so if you are not completely convinced to eat your green vegetables every day, the number one reason on this list, may just win you over.

1) In order to maintain a healthy sex life, you must maintain good nutrition. Along with the grains, legumes and fruits, a person must include green vegetables to keep an unobstructed blood flow, healthy hormone levels and good nerve function.

So, do your research, go to the grocery store, invest in some healthy dark green vegetables and enjoy. You are ultimately doing your body nothing but good!

Reader’s Digest,

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“Say a person consumes 2000 calories in a day. During the course of that same day works out and burns 1000 calories. Is the total number of calories taken in for the day 2000 (calories eaten) – 1000 (calories burned from exercise) = 1000 for the day?”
— Bridget, Cincinnati

Actually, no. That’s why dieticians and nutritionists go to school to learn this stuff. There are too many factors that go into this for me to explain. That’s why I recruited my friend Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD. All the letters after her name means she’s better qualified to answer this question than I am.

So here’s her answer:

Whew! When do you have time to eat when you're burning up 1000 calories in one day?

The incoming calories versus outgoing calories equation is not quite that simple. Calorie requirements will vary depending on age, sex, metabolism, activity level, stress, heredity, etc. Most individuals require at minimum, 1200 calories per day just to function (maintain heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, etc).

When you dip below your body's baseline needs, by either not eating enough or by exercising too much, your body will burn lean tissue (from muscle) as well as fat to provide enough calories to function. Don't lose the muscle you've built by under eating.

I’d even suggest visiting a local dietician to figure out how many calories you need and then work from there figuring out how many you want to burn.

There it is from the horse’s mouth.

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1. Buy a jump rope. They're inexpensive and it’s super good for you.

2. Stop buying fatty foods, such as chips, cookies and soda at the market. This will save you money. And if they aren't around, you cant eat them, which saves you calories, too.

3. Do the "half diet.” This is when you go out to dinner, go ahead and order whatever you'd like, eat half of it and take the rest home. American portions are huge anyway; this cuts the calories in half for the meal, and offers you a gourmet lunch for the next day!

4. Don't be afraid to ask for a lunch portion at your favorite dinner restaurant. Most establishments will do this for you, even if their lunch hours are technically over. This meal will mean fewer calories and fewer dollars you have to shell out at the register.

5. Drink more water. It saves tons of cash and it's so much better for you than a carbonated or sugary beverage.

6. If you’re not in the mood for water, or you need something with a little taste, try the Crystal Light "On the Go" drink mix packets. Just add them to your water bottle and you have a tasteful drink without having to reach for that soda.

7. Check our your local parks. Some are either free or just a few dollars for a year's pass and you get numerous paths and beautiful scenery to walk along, so it doesn't seem like a workout.

8. Get out your old roller blades or bike, grab a friend and go!

9. Plan an hour or so walk with your friends every week to catch up on gossip and spend some time together. You will be surprised how quickly the time goes by!

10. Check out the tennis courts, pool or track of your local school. There are usually open to the public as well, so find a time when the teams aren't practicing and vary up your workout.

11. Find the farmers markets around your area. Their prices are very competitive and their produce is so fresh!

12. If you tend to overeat, try using smaller plates for a while to get your portions back in check.

13. Bring your own tea to the office so you aren't tempted to go out every morning for coffee. Tea is much better for you, and plus, you save so much with each $5 frappulattemochachino you pass up!

*The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or substitute for professional care.

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Q: Since I run on a regular basis, I am thin and in basically decent shape. But after having four children, my stomach looks somewhat distended. Doing crunches three days a week has not helped and I am wondering if you could please advise me on what would work. I really do not want to lose any more weight, but I definitely want my stomach to be flatter. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
—Kaitlin, Clifton

A: Stop doing crunches! For the life of me, I don’t know why people keep doing something that isn’t giving them the results they want. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

Stop doing something over and over again and expecting different results. If it’s not doing what you want, realize it, own it and move on. The reason why your “stomach” as you call it, isn’t getting flat is because you’re helping it to get bigger by doing an exercise designed to build muscle in your abdominal region.

So, reality would speak to not doing that exercise. Anything that folds your body in half or twists your body will build muscle in order to perform that exercise better in the future. That’s just the way the body works.

To keep your “stomach” flat you need to do compression exercises very similar to the ones done in most Yoga and Pilates mat classes. There are many quality places that teach both, so look one up that is close to your work or home. For the record I like Pendleton Pilates but there may be one you like better.

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Resolving to exercise, lose weight, eat healthier or all of the above in the New Year? Well, you're not alone. Health clubs, specialty exercise studios and other fitness facilities can offer extra motivation. But different things motivate different types of people. The following are some tips to help you figure out which type of fitness facility is right for you, depending on your unique personality and needs.

Specialty Studios

Small, privately owned facilities are nice for those who are not interested in the big facility. At a place like Fusion Studio in Ft. Thomas, Ky., there is no intimidation, no contracts and no corporate B.S. It’s clean, friendly, easy to get to and has easy access to communicate – often in person – with the owners.

A place like Fusion is a great place for the beginning exerciser with its individualized attention. Each class is designed to accommodate all levels of fitness, so that you feel comfortable and confident. This is the kind of place where “everybody knows your name,” so you’re not just a number. You’re a person with a goal, and they truly want to help you get there. And, as for the pocketbook, the pricing is quite fair in relation to what you get.

Big Box Gyms

Fitworks and Golds – or "big box gyms" – are great for the seasoned gym rat. But, keep in mind that you won’t get much personal attention from staff.

Big box gyms are great for people watching, there is generally a good energy, you will see all kinds on the fitness floor and there is a lot of good equipment. Here, you will see plenty of cardio pieces, a wide range of weight machines –usually good quality – plenty of free weights and a group exercise schedule that offers a wide range of classes.

Fitworks and Golds are affordable gyms, best suited for the person who is comfortable walking into a crowded facility, having a lot of choices, not much direction from staff and not always the cleanest atmosphere. Fitworks and Golds is a good place to learn from body builders, fitness competitors and experienced gym rats.

Big, Helpful Gyms

A Mercy Healthplex, Tri Health Pavilion, Five Seasons, Cinti Sports Mall, and the like, don't fall into the category of "big box gyms." They are expensive, but they have excellent, knowledgeable staff with personal trainers that are college-educated and nationally certified. The facilities have many nice perks such as massage, sauna, whirlpool, locker room attendants, towel service, shampoo, etc.

At these locations, you will find a wide variety of group exercise classes with experienced, certified instructors. The equipment in these facilities is typically well maintained, clean and state-of-the-art. The members tend to be in the middle to upper middle class. It is of my opinion that because the membership fee is so steep, the staff really does their best with customer service.

I know this is the case at the Healthplex in Anderson from personal experience. There, the fitness floor is quiet, with people plugged into their iPods or wired to the TVs that are mounted from the ceilings. There is no loud, obnoxious music. The members at the Healthplex get excellent service for their membership. The Healthplex offers tennis, racquetball, indoor pools, indoor track, the presence of the hospital-located across the street, well maintained facility with a full time cleaning crew. At the Healthplex, and many other big box gyms, have an in-house childcare program with age appropriate activities and spaces that are safe for infants, small children, toddlers, preschool-age and older children. There are also kid’s programs such as tennis, athletic development training, swim lessons and swim team, gymnastics and karate. The Healthplex in Anderson is geared for families.

Web Sites:


Special Deals:

  • Fitworks: 14 day free trial membership
  • Golds Gym: Free one day VIP pass
  • Tri Health Pavilion: Free guest pass
  • Five Seasons: Free trial membership
  • Fusion Studio: First visit free
  • Revolution Spinning & Fitness: Five day trial membership and sign up for a year membership and get the first three months at half price.
  • Better Bodies Fitness Center: Free two week pass


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Q: “What’s a good well-rounded diet?”

— Jasmine Niernberger, Miss DC Teen USA

A: For the record, I don’t believe in the word “diet.” I think it’s the worst four-letter word anyone could speak, especially young women. The so called “diet” gurus have made a mockery of the wellness world with their utterly ridiculous claims and outright lies to sell what they call a “diet.”

I’m not a registered dietician or licensed nutritionist, so it’s completely beyond my scope of practice to prescribe, or even recommend, an eating plan to you. It would be actually negligent, and I wish it would be criminal for any personal trainer or fitness expert to recommend an eating plan without having the proper credentials like RD after their name.

I can only speak for what I consider a sensible eating plan for myself. My sensible eating constitutes deriving a meal of high water content food. High water content food is any food that has a water base of more than 75 percent of its structural content. In other words, if you were to run the food through a “Juicer,” juice would come out of it. Some examples are carrots, romaine lettuce, peppers, apples, etc. Two thirds of my sensible eating plan is high water content food with every meal, and one portion of concentrated food, which means there is little or no water in the food. Some examples would be beef, turkey, chicken, pasta, cooked potato and cheese. When I plan out my meals, I keep my portions the size of the top of my hand when I make a fist. I try to have at least six moderate meals throughout the day to teach my body to burn food as fuel.

Remember, if a trainer is prescribing or recommending an eating plan, please ask for their degree or credentials. This also goes for the recommending of supplemental vitamins or weight loss products. We are taking your life in our hands and that’s a big responsibility.