30 Lessons for 30: Health Lessons

4 days into my 30 Lessons for 30 series! And while I’ve already covered a wide variety of topics, there is still a lot I want to say.  After some serious consideration I wanted to talk Health Lessons today.

Now this may seem like a broad subject- and it is.  As a result my Health Lessons vary in topic but all share one commonality: being the healthiest version of one’s self.  Some of these lessons I knew theoretically and didn’t really learn until I had to apply them to my own life.  In other cases I watched people I know follow (and not follow) these tips and it had a profound impact on the outcome of their situation.

Hopefully these reminders will be good for you too- after all, how can we be the best versions of ourselves if we don’t do our best to care for ourselves?

Health LessonsHealth Lessons:

1)  Food can be your greatest friend or your greatest enemy.  Just like the old adage says, you are what you eat.  So eat whole, eat local and eat organic as much as possible.

2)  Drink lots and lots of water.  I know.  You’ve heard it a million times.  But remember drinking water not only hydrates you it also helps with physical functions.  Moreover, drinking water ensures that you aren’t drinking sugar and calorie filled beverages.

3)  Stay active.  Hate the gym?  Fine.  But that isn’t an excuse to sit around all day.  Find an activity and do it.  Your body needs activity to work at its optimum level.

4)  Sleep.  Oh gosh- someone needs to tell me to take my own advice on this one.  But seriously, your body needs sleep in order to recover from all the stressors it is put through.

5)  Be your own medical advocate!  Don’t trust others to make all the decisions, be informed and partake in the conversation.

6)  Don’t forget your mind.  It should be just as much a priority as physical health.  Take care of your mind and don’t take on more than you can handle.  Just like your body needs time to recharge, so does your mind.  So find something you do just for you.


Those are my Health Lessons!  Again, I’d love to know: what would you add to this list?


Other 30 Lessons for 30 topics include: Relationship Lessons, Fashion and Beauty Lessons and Career Lessons.  Make sure to check them out!

Presents From Puma Winners!


Are you ready???

I am about to announce the winners of the Presents From Puma  Giveaway!

Remember— winners receive a prize pack that contains a top, shoes & a bag!


I know, I am super excited to…


Remember, winners were drawn via Random.org.  You have until Wednesday July 27th to email me at alexis@northonharper.com.  If you do not contact me by that day, I will draw a new winner.

Make sure to include your sex, size (both shoe and top) and mailing address.

The names I announce will be the ones you entered under.


Okay, enough with the suspense!!!!


The winners are:

  1. Meghann
  2.  Lindsey
  3. Nicki


WOOOHOOOOOO!!!! Now email.  Right NOW!!!!!

NoH Does: Workout Wear

Don’t forget to enter our FANTASTIC Puma giveaway!!!!!!


I had a lot of fun this week on North On Harper with our workout theme!  Hopefully you did as well!  And now we are here with another installment of NoH Does. As always, this is an opportunity for me to get to share your version of this week’s theme.  Of course this week’s is Workout Wear.  I love how both our participants shared not only their (similar!) looks, but a few of their moves as well.

Check them out below:

I love Shasie of Live Life In Style.  You’ve probably seen her on NoH Does before—which makes sense, because I am a big fan!  Her outfit posts are always fun and she is such a great example of how to be a generous blogger (genuine comments, features other bloggers, etc.)  As for her look, I love the pink shorts and her yoga “warrior” pose is great!

This is Venus from this week’s post: Venus’ Beach Body.  And while she isn’t a blogger, she is a fantastic personal trainer.  You can check out her website VenusFit.com to learn more about her.  Did you notice her Vibram, Five Finger toe shoes?!  Those things are crazy!!!  Almost as crazy as her amazing side plank!

Hope you guys enjoyed this week’s NoHDoes!  Can’t wait to see what is next…


Presents From Puma

So remember way back on Wednesday when I showed you the Puma Event?  Do you think I simply posted it to make you jealous?  I can’t believe you have such a low opinion of me!  Come on now!  I am way better to you than that!

I posted it because:

TOGETHER WITH PUMA WE ARE HOSTING A GIVEAWAY!!!!! Woohoo!!!!  (That’s why all the exclamation points in the last paragraph.  The excitement was building inside me.)

Back to the giveaway- The wonderful people at Puma and I thought it would be great-great to do a giveaway in conjunction with NoH’s  Beach Body Week!  After all if I am going to talk about all this working out and getting in shape, you might as well do it in style.

(Enough babbling.  Get to the prize already!)

We are giving away a package that includes: A Bag, A Pair of Shoes & A Top!!!!!

How amazing is that?!

AND WAIT, there’s more:  I am not giving away just one prize package- I am giving away 3!!!!!!!

I know.  I can hardly contain myself.

Now Onto the Technical Stuff:

  • The contest runs until July 22nd.(I will draw winners via Random.org & will announce them the next day)
  • It is only open to people with a US address.  (As in if you don’t live here, but know someone who does who would be willing to send it to you, recruit them!)
  • Open to both women and men!

How To Enter:

  • Mandatory-  Visit Puma.com, then come back here and leave a comment telling me what your favorite item is! (1 entry)

Optional additional entries:

  • “Like” both North On Harper and Puma on Facebook.  Come back here and let me know in a separate comment.  Make sure to comment with what name to look for! (1 entry)
  • Follow both @NorthOnHarper & @Puma on Twitter. (Again Make sure to leave a comment!) (1 entry)
  • Tweet this message:  “Check out the great @Puma giveaway on @NorthOnHarper for your chance to win an amazing prize pack! http://bit.ly/l1thKM” (1 entry)
Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 23rd.  I will post the winner here and on Facebook.  Please email me at alexis@northonharper if you are the winner!  Remeber to use the email address you entered with (helps me verify that it is you!).  If I do not hear from the winners by Wednesday, July 27th an alternate winner will be chosen via Random.org.


Venus’ Beach Body

This is another one of those cases where I have a wildly talented friend who I am taking advantage of for the sake of my readers.  (I know, I am so generous.  My future kids will be insanely spoiled…)  So, in honor of North on Harper’s workout themed week I have asked my friend and fabulous Hollywood personal trainer, Venus Lau, to share a bit of her wisdom.  You can find out more about Venus (or sign up for a training session!) on her website: VenusFit.com

Venus strikes a pose.

As summer gets underway people love to ask me what the best exercises and workouts are… Well, I always respond with “that depends.”  And not on your goals because I know we all have the fantasy to look like a badass superhero that’s been airbrushed a million times.  We all see the newest fitness crazes on TV, like P90X or Insanity, and trust me I try them and like some, but for the general public… Like I said, THAT DEPENDS.  What’s the best exercises for me as a trainer and you as the gal who’s finally on their third week straight of working out (that being the miracle of the year) will be a totally different answer.  So I’ll make it more simple and go in categories that everyone should hit hard at the gym

1. FUNCTIONAL:  This refers to exercises that mimic movements in your everyday life.  Think about how you twist your core to get out of bed, do a squat to sit on the toilet, work those arms as you wash dishes then turn that core again and split squat to load the dishwasher, turn and lift that box in the closet… Yes, there are many exercises (movements) in life that we do everyday.  And we don’t even realize that we ARE getting a little exercise (go ahead and pat yourself on the back)!  So how to make your workouts more functional?  Choose multi-planar movements as you workout.  In real life we don’t walk in a straight line like marching toy soldiers.  Therefore constantly changing planes of motion as you exercise is a way better way to work your core then laying down and doing crunches.  Added bonus?  You burn more calories this way!

**Try… Starting in a regular squat.  Next, side lunge to your left.  Then rotate 90* right and take a giant step forward with your left leg finishing in a lunge.  And that’s 1!  Now repeat, being sure to go in both directions.  Too easy?  You can always make it harder by adding weights.  But the rule is always “GO AS QUICKLY AS YOU CAN CONTROL,” don’t forget the word CONTROL.

2. BALANCE: And it ain’t just your core.  Balance is very core related but a lot of people forget that it’s also structural- like a building.  Would you live in a house that was crooked or had rusty bent beams?  (Well, some crazies do in the Hollywood Hills- myself NOT included.)   First, draw your abs toward your spine and lift your rib cage.  You also want to make sure you are a solid structure from feet to head… Squeeze out your legs so they are solid this includes your thighs and butt!  Finally, role your shoulders back and down (think ballerina- just don’t go Black Swan crazy).

**Try… A reverse lunge, then come up to a 1-legged balanced position.  Make sure you lift your knee to mid-ab level and that the planted leg is totally engaged, straight, and accompanied by a squeezed out gluteus maximus.

3. STRENGTH… Here’s a tip about strength, it’s not only the number of reps you do but also the time-under-tension.  Instead of going for a certain number of reps go for time, 30-60 seconds! It’ll change up your workout and instead of trying to keep count of reps you can focus on full extensions, contractions and your breathing while you wait for the timer to go off on your watch.  The correct weight to use will be where the last 10 seconds are really tough to finish.  And remember to challenge all parts of your body!

4. CARDIO… Embarrassed to say as a trainer: this is not my favorite part of working out.  So I like to get it over with.  I’ll go full blast and do as many 10-15 second sprints in 20 minutes (can be done on cardio machine or strength training) or I’ll circuit train with the least amount of rest between strength sessions.  After all, what does cardio really mean?  HEART RATE!  It does not mean treadmill or elliptical.  I highly suggest wearing a Heart Rate Monitor and let your heart climb up and down between 50-85% of your maximum heart rate for the majority of the workout.  To find your target heart rate try this formula…

**Karvonen formula:  220 – your age – Resting Heart Rate x __% = ___ + Resting Heart Rate.  The final number is the percentage you are looking for.  Do calculations for 50% and 85% to get your range.

5. FLEXIBILITY… Also what I like to call balanced muscles.  A lot of the time when you’re super tight say in your hamstrings (back of legs) and very flexible in your quads (front of legs) it can be an indication that you over use your tight hamstrings and your quads need a little more work.  And you’d be surprised on how much flexibility you will gain when you strengthen those quads… So add a couple more exercises for the weaker muscles to play catch up!  I’m a believer that working those weaker muscles is much more effective and long lasting than static stretching (the boring stretches where you hold and count) at the end of a workout.  But I’m not discounting stretching all together.  Next time you’re stretching try squeezing out the opposite muscles to get a deeper more effective stretch.  So if you are on the floor reaching for you toes to stretch your hammies, instead try this…

**Try… sitting up straight and squeezing your quads to go deeper into the stretch, abs lifting ribcage, back flat, HOLD position and bend at hips.  THAT is a deep stretch!

Infuse these simple 5 elements in your workout and you’ll feel a better you and a much more rewarding workout that will get you ready for that bikini!

Thank you Venus!!!  And yes, that’s me- Alexis- in all the photos, wildly impressive, I know.  Even more impressive?  Venus took the photos.  She’s multi-talented!