Our very own Fit to Inspire nutrition expert Mara Feil explains her approach and philosophy to well-being, and dishes out her secrets to starting out her day properly!
Mara Feil is a certified nutritional consultant and certified holistic health practitioner, and the founder of the nutrition and wellness firm Stand UPP Health. Mara works to educate, inspire and support clients to make healthy decisions that evolve into lasting habits. Her specialty includes helping busy moms and time-crunched professionals manage their weight, increase their energy, and improve gut health through personalized nutritional guidance.
Below Mara answers our Proust Fitness Questionnaire!
1. What kind of fitness/exercise do you do now regularly?
I love scheduling something different every day to keep my routines fresh and exciting. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself staring at the clock mid-routine feeling bored or unchallenged.
A typical weekly routine includes 2-3 days of running, 2 days of a cardio sculpt (an amped up step and weight class) and 1 day of barre or yoga, focused on stretching and toning those small muscle groups.
2. What new sport/exercise would you like to do in this lifetime?
Kiteboarding fascinates me. It uses nearly every muscle in your body and the jumps and tricks are mesmerizing to watch. One day!
3. What is your idea of a perfectly ‘fit and healthy’ day?
A perfect morning starts with a big green juice made from kale, Swiss or rainbow chard, collard greens, lemon, broccoli and a bit of apple or pineapple, and any herbs I have left over from cooking. I like getting my workout over early and green juice gives me the perfect energy boost to muscle through. Post workout I’ll make a thick, cold smoothie with vegan protein powder, almond milk, berries, banana, chia and flax, chlorella and spirulina.
A perfect afternoon includes spending time outside with my husband, family and friends. Warm sunshine on my face makes me feel happy and blessed. A great dinner at a new restaurant or an old favorite, or a small dinner party at home rounds out a perfect day.
4. What is your biggest fitness and well-being obstacle ever?
A few years ago I fractured my tibia from running. My body sent me signals– swelling, tenderness, even sharp pain– but I didn’t stop to listen. I’d run and ice, run and ice. When my body finally had enough abuse it sent me a signal I couldn’t ignore. Had I listened earlier, I likely could have avoided nearly six months in a boot.
I learned two important lessons from that experience– when your body communicates, listen! And patience-whether in recovery, building back your endurance or anything- is a virtue!
5. What is your greatest motivation to get out the door and moving?
I repeatedly tell myself “just go”. Or “just start moving”. Even if it’s slowly at first, it’s something. Once I’m out the door and my muscles start going the hardest part is over.
If it’s an especially tough run or class I’ll set mini goals for myself, such as to get through the current song or set of exercises. I tell my clients to fixate on something other than the difficulty they’re feeling. Usually channeling your mental energy somewhere else is just the distraction needed to allow your body to take over. The mental aspect is huge!
6. What is your all-time greatest fitness-related achievement?
Becoming a better, stronger runner post-injury than I was before I got hurt.
7. What would you say to people who have not yet discovered the mental and physical benefits of a regular fitness regime?
As soon as you experience how good eating healthy and exercising feels, you’ll never forget it. Don’t take my word for it, just start moving!
8. What is the best fitness / well-being advice you’ve ever received?
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to either fitness or nutrition. You will never be successful if you tell someone they need to become Paleo or start running 30 minutes a day without fully understanding their bio-individuality. What works for one person may be poison for another.
Personalized nutrition–nutrition based on a person’s bio-individuality–is the basis of Stand UPP Health. All nutritional and wellness programs are crafted around a person’s age, gender, blood type, fitness level, schedule and wellness goals. The program is truly personalized.
9. Who has inspired fitness in you? And how will you inspire others to be fit this year?
My dad. He’s 64 years old and even after two knee replacements and various health obstacles he still makes it to the gym nearly every day. If he can do it, I can do it!
I hope to inspire my clients by motivating them to do something, anything, every day. Move your body, stretch your muscles, and work off your stress, anxiety and pent up emotion. You’ll be a better person, wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter and friend if you take care of your mental and physical health first. There’s no better place to start than with nutrition and exercise.
I tell my clients to schedule exercise every day; invariably a few days fall off. This way you’re guaranteed to squeeze in at least 4 good sweat sessions per week. By focusing on small changes, healthy habits will evolve into a healthy lifestyle and this transforms into a better body, better weight, greater confidence and a greater connection with oneself!
Mara received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition with Board Certification by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and SUNY College at Purchase, NY. She’s also trained and certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Prior to studying nutrition, Mara graduated magna cum laude from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.