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Healthy Face: Mary Ann Renzelli

Presented by Healthy Bridgeport, today's Healthy Face is Mary Ann Renzelli, wife, mom/grandma, retired elementary school teacher, gardener, personal trainer, fitness instructor, yogi, golfer and owner of Strength, Balance & Yoga, Inc. Her journey to health started small, but grew to become a most important part of her life. Learn all about it and be inspired by her, her ideas and tips here:

What is your favorite motivational/self-help book?

I begin each day with a daily devotion from the book, "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. The readings are a reminder to find beauty, joy and peace in each day and in every person.

Favorite healthy meal?

I bake stuffed red peppers with lean ground beef, whole grain rice and low skim mozzarella, topped with my homemade Italian tomato sauce. In a restaurant, I order grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side.

Favorite workout?

My favorite workout is a fresh morning jog along the Bridgeport fitness trail. I start at the storage buildings, go through the woods, then loop around the soccer field twice, then back to the storage buildings. That's almost three miles. For strength, I enjoy the kettle bell. Fifteen pounds works great. I call it a mini gym as it is cardio and strength combined.

How do you fit health and wellness into your busy lifestyle?

I have always used stickers on a calendar to mark my workouts. At a glance, I can see how I have either progressed or regressed during the week. Often, doing an early a.m. on the treadmill may be necessary before work or using the stroller and taking my little guy for a brisk push around the neighborhood, then there is also a late evening dog walk worked into the day. It’s important to keep water and healthy meal bars in the car. I usually have Isagenix or Kind bars.

What is your favorite motivational quote?

"The day is what you make it. So why not make it a great one! So, rise like the sun and burn!"

How did your health journey start?

Well, about 30 years ago, a local health club had just opened. My mother's best friend Katie talked my mom into a membership and my mom also purchased a full yearly membership for me as well. I remember complaining that I had no time for it. Teaching all day and being with my family after work left no time for a gym, I thought. But since it was a gift, I decided to use the gym. After those workouts, I felt so great that I continued for many years. That led to my being a fitness instructor, personal trainer and finally opening my own business, Strength Balance & Yoga Inc., which I have had for 14 years. Like the saying goes..."Mother knows best.”

What are some easy tiny habits that you recommend people start with on their journey?

Begin slowly and take baby steps. Follow the advice of your doctor, then if allowed, begin with walking – 10 to 15 minutes. Walking is easy and enjoyable. I also advise clients to practice balance activities, such as standing on one leg, counting to 10, then the other side, a few times each day. Sit and stand up from a chair several times. This will strengthen legs. Having a fitness buddy may help one stay on track and get stickers to place on your calendar on the days you work out! Eat and sleep well and stay hydrated.

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