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Mind/Body Connection

Holiday Health Benefits of Meditation

Holiday Health Benefits of Meditation

Happy Holidays! I feel like with every passing year I see Christmas Trees going up and holiday commercials airing earlier and earlier! Thanksgiving is often tainted by thoughts of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday and anxious family members scoot from tables to brave the hustle and bustle of stressful outlet malls and electronic boutiques. This holiday season I am really trying to stay centered and focused on what truly matters in my life: family, friends, health and obviously all of you!  What makes me happiest is to try and eliminate stress as much as I can.  After three years of constantly being on-the-go I took time this fall to travel abroad with my mother and hubby!  I used this time to focus on my health and wellness and made as much room for self-care as I could.

Self-care is a term that is often thrown around on the inter webs and it is a practice that every daughter, son, sister, brother, mother, father and HUMAN should indulge in. Self-care means taking care of numero uno…Y-O-U.  Taking a bit of time out of your week to check in with yourself and doing something exclusively for you. The stress of the holidays are the perfect time to implement a self care practice like meditation. This article from Baptist Health South Florida along with the American Heart Association suggest, incorporating a meditation practice into your daily routine can significantly can lower several risk factors of heart disease, including blood pressure, stress, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

(Video: The Baptist Health News Team hears from Beth Ruhmann, certified therapeutic recreation specialist, about the health benefits of meditation. Video by George Carvalho)

The positives of meditation is that it is something that everyone can do. You can use your tablet, computer or phone to practice. I suggest starting your day with a bit of meditation and see how building a healthy positive habit can enhance your day. This article also states that: meditation done while sitting – may also be associated with decreased levels of anxiety and depression, and improved sleep and overall well-being, the AHA guidelines note. During the holidays we can all get overwhelmed with stress and anxiety and let go of what it is truly all about. I encourage you to try this quick video every morning this week and see how you feel. Set the stress of the holidays aside and take some deep breaths and a few minutes of your day to clear your mind.

If you enjoy practicing you may consider download the headspace app and practice any time anywhere! Learn how to breathe deep. Inhale all of the good this holiday season and exhale the bad. For more on the health benefits of meditation from Baptist Health South Florida make sure to read the full article here.

Monday Motivation Moments With TWF: 5 Thoughts to Get You Through the Week

Monday Motivation:

Make time to check in with your yourself and take time for self-care. It is of the utmost importance.

The past three years have been a whirlwind of planes, trains and automobiles. Although I would power through my days  I would often times feel like I wasn’t even living in my body anymore. I was dealing with constant fatigue, trips to Urgent Care and a longing for a routine and more one on one time with my husband. You know, the simple things in life most of us take for granted. This past month, I took some time off from all of the travel and focused solely on getting back to a place that I love.

Sure, my Instagram feed and Facebook pages only show a happy, healthy woman who is constantly on-the-go and some days I did feel like her, but as of late, I was feeling like a less shiny version of the happy girl I know and love. So what did I do? I started to really check in and ask myself what I needed. I came to the realization it was a very simple formula: sleep more, sweat often, reconnect with friends/family and eat a variety of whole nutrient dense foods.

It was a simple formula that for some can feel like climbing mount everest! Easier said than done right?  I am very blessed to be able to have more control over my schedule than your average 9-5 person, but you do have more time in your schedule than you think. If you feel you don’t, I suggest sitting down at the calendar and scheduling time for your doctors appointments, workout classes and even time with friends. I had myself convinced that there was something very wrong with my body and saw everyone from the endocrinologist to allergist. Aside from a TMJ issue, I was just simply run down, and you might be too.

For me, my first stop was to my acupuncturist. I was placed on an adrenal fatigue remedy that helped me begin to feel better almost immediately. The past few weeks I took the time to workout at least four times per week and not beat myself up when I missed a day at the gym. I focused on my nutrition and also indulged in foods that satisfy my soul. I spent time with friends and Cory and finally feel like I am back to the real me again for the first time in a long time.

Bruno Mars Calves

Bruno Mars has exceptionally large calves for his small body

On a lighter note; Cory and I went to the Bruno Mars concert at he BB & T center last night! Bruno belted out everything from Versace on the Floor to Just the Way You Are. He is an absolutely phenom and has been one of my all time favorites for years now. Yes he is very tiny, but the MAN can he dance! A mix of Michael, James and Elvis yet totally 2017. I would definitely recommend seeing him the next time he is in your city! My thought of the day is not about his musical prowess or his cute dimples, but it is about his lower half. HIS CALVES.  They are very large and muscular and I could not help but be distracted…cue my ADD. Strange I know, but I felt the need to share…my man has very large calves. LOL

Monday Motivations

Fresh Flowers make me REALLY FREAKING HAPPY.

Every Monday while home I don’t wait for my husband to walk in the door with fresh flowers (although he does…sometimes). I go to Whole Foods or Fresh Market and buy myself a simple arrangement or a beautiful bloom in a happy color. I arrange them in my grandmothers vases and single blooms in her tiny trinkets and place them around my house. Fresh blooms can brighten up any home and they always make me smile.

Neat and Tidy Home Motivation Tips

A neat and tidy space yields a more successful day.

While on the road 24/7 I had a completely meltdown last year and finally hired a cleaning lady to come every two weeks. I love her. I adore her and I now cannot live without her; however, being home the whole month meant it was no sweat to keep the house tidy and clean. I actually used cleaning as a bit of downtime doing mindless activity.

So at night, I suggest organizing and cleaning your house, apartment or room to the best of your ability. You will feel much less chaos by starting your day in a neat and tidy place. I am not saying you should become a total neat freak, but there are some serious benefits of putting all of your stuff away and getting those pesky dirty dishes out of the sink.

Motivation Time

Making time for girl-time or friends should be a top priority! Single, married or in a relationship.

When I first moved to Miami I felt like an alien from another planet. I drove a Jetta that I loved and not a “fancy car”.  I didn’t have many designer things and I smiled a lot. It was not until I walked into Inner Balance Studio that I finally met my people. I have made some incredible friends down here in Miami and we always talk about how we met our bestie was by going to workout classes or sweat related function. We like to go to fitness events and squeeze in a class here and there and always leave feeling happier and more well connected than when we showed up. So if you are feeling a bit lonely, isolated or in need of movement sign up for a class immediately. You never know who you are going to meet.



Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Nutrition and Early Detection

Diet Tips For Decreasing Your Cancer Risk

This is a very tough month for many people as October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, most, if not all of us have been effected by cancer in some way, shape or form. Did you know that many cancers diagnosed in the United States every year can be linked to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption or poor nutrition? The good news is that this means these diseases can be prevented to some extent, according to recent studies and the American Cancer Society. Obviously, genetics play a very large role as well and should not be discounted in any way.

Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains should be the when trying to achieve healthy body mass index thus decreasing your risk of developing or dying from cancer. According to this article from Baptist Health South Florida: “Avoiding tobacco, excess alcohol consumption, keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly significantly reduces a person’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer. Moreover, the same behavior can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.”  Heart disease and diabetes are also plaguing our country at an alarming rate.

Watch this video for more tips on Diet Tips to Lower Your Risk“.

(Video: Alice Pereira and Susan Nowrouzi, registered dietitians and cancer nutrition specialists at Baptist Health South Florida, outline dietary guidelines that can help lower your risks for many cancers while promoting general health.)

Not only are developing healthy habits key in keeping you healthy and cancer-free, but so are acquiring annual mammograms and self-exams. If you are like me, and have no breast cancer occurance in your immediate family and are under the age of 40 then simply get to know your breast tissue by performing monthly self breast exams.

Perform self exams by:

Placing a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. If something feels painful, lumpy or “off” then contact your Ob/Gyn for further examination.

Diet Tips For Decreasing Your Cancer Risk


BRCA Gene and Breast Cancer

If breast cancer does run in your family then consider getting tested for the BRCA Gene, even if you are under the age of 40. About 15 percent and 32 percent of women 40-44 years old and 45-49 years old, respectively, whose breast cancer was found through a screening mammogram, have a first-degree relative with breast cancer or the BRCA gene, according to the ACS and USPSTF research. According to this article: “The role BRCA mutations play, especially in younger women, is important to note,” Dr. Mautner said. “Women who are genetic mutation carriers or who have first degree relatives diagnosed with premenopausal breast cancer are recommended to start screening mammograms before the age of 40.”

If you are between the ages of 40-49 then make sure to schedule your annual screening ASAP. In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Baptist Health is offering special mammogram pricing in October to patients without insurance. Through October 31, 2017, a screening mammogram is $50, and a diagnostic mammogram is $100. The radiologist’s fee for 3D mammogram is included in the special prices. To schedule an appointment, call 786-573-6000 in Miami-Dade or Broward, 305-434-1588 in Monroe, or visit

*** This has been a sponsored conversation brought to you by Baptist Health South Florida.

Increase Your Flexibility and Improve Your Quality of Life

“Flexibility makes buildings to be stronger. Imagine what it can do to your soul.” -Carlos Barrios

Flexibility is a muscle or joints ability to move through full range of motion. Flexibility is also one of the most important components of physical fitness, but unfortunately it is often overlooked. Take a second. Think about the last time you worked up a sweat. Did you spend enough time warming up your body or cooling it down? If you a group fitness guy or gal you may notice that a few people slip out the door without adeqautely re-aligning their bodies. Stretching and cooling down may seem obsolete; however, that could not be further from the truth. Flexibility training should be a constant in your life and does not always come in the form of touching your toes.

Flexibility Training by Taylor Walker Fit

Working on flexibility can Help to:

  • Decrease Muscle Imbalances
  • Decrease Your Chance of Injury
  • Help Clear Your Mind
  • Enable your muscles or joints work to full range of motion making daily life activity easier.

You can Improve Your Flexibility by:

Working through full range of motion while weight training

Getting a Massage: Getting a massage often seems like a luxury when it is actually a necessity. You do not have to go to a fancy spa to release your knots and tight muscles, you can use a foam roller or tiger tail to help. The most important thing is that you roll for recovery or find someone who can help. There are tons of affordable massage options out there like Massage Envy and Hand and Stone. Kick a couple of those pricey lattes to the curb and you can easily get a massage once a month.

Taking Time to Stretch: This sounds simple, but stretching is often overlooked. As a former dancer stretching was always a part of my regimen. Unfortunately, I have not done it often enough lately and am starting to make it a part of my morning ritual again. I created a light stretching routine that would be perfect for you to start or end your day.

Incorporating Yoga Into Your fitness regimen: Yoga is not all about chanting and “OM’ing”. Yoga works on strength, improving full range of motion and helps provide space in the body. Find an instructor that you like and hit your Downward Dog.

Learning to Breathe: Learning to connect your breathe to movement is one of the most powerful things you can do. Not only will learning to breathe make your flexibility training more effective, but it will help you harness the power to control your mind. I always tell my clients to “breathe out on the work”. So the next time you perform a set up crunches, push-up’s or a stretch breathe out on the work or the hardest part.

Drinking More Water: Muscles are made of up 75% water. Many people are walking around parched and dehydrated. So guess what? Your muscles are essentially stuck and will not work adequately without H20. Focus on drinking at least half of your bodyweight in ounces as a marker for hydration. Be mindful of how you feel and track the color of your urine. If it is pale you are hydrated. If it is closer to amber it means you are dehydrated and need to drink up buttercup!

Give this flexibility routine a try today! You can do it on flat ground or find a step, a chair or a rock for elevation.

Video by Catarcione Productions

Overcoming Binge Eating and Obesity With Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health South Florida

Remember the big confession I made the other day? Well, I am glad I was able to get that off my chest!  I took my little chapter of unhealthy behaviors and used them as an opportunity to offer solutions for common health and fitness problems we encounter when we cannot find time to make health and fitness a priority.

Today, I have a very healthy relationship with food, but that was not always the case, and it is not the case for many people who battle eating disorders on a daily basis. In today’s post with Baptist Health South Florida we are taking on the connection between binge eating disorder and obesity.

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Confessions of a Fitness Blogger: I Didn’t Work Out For Ten Days


Hi my name is Taylor Walker and I have a confession to make: I HAVE NOT WORKED OUT IN TEN DAYS. Yup, TEN DAYS! If I am being honest, this is not the first time that life has gotten the best of my workout schedule. I am human. I am busy;  and sometimes, I am exhausted and downright lazy.

[I know, I know…enough with the excuses.]

Over the past week and a half I have taught classes where I do work up a sweat, but that is not enough to get my blood pumping and release the endorphins I rely on to keep me positive and upbeat!   Nutrition and exercise have been at the forefront of my life for the past few years and I am getting back on track as we speak. But today, I wanted to share with you exactly how I felt when I let my health take a backseat to work and play because I know many of you can relate.

 If you have been in a healthy rut this winter, let’s shake off the winter blues and spring ahead together!

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9 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness in 2017 With StellaValle

9 Ways to Spring Clean Your Workout

It is that time of year again to dust off your gym bag and get those summer bodies in check! The StellaValle sisters have made me their #WomanWarrior of the week, and I have put a list of my top three tips for you to spring clean your fitness in mind, body and soul! 

Make sure to head over to to read more on the Women Warriors #BEONE campaign and make sure to follow @StellaValle on Instagram. I will be doing an Insta story takeover and I have a jam-packed fitness fueled day.

9 Ways to Spring Clean Your Workout

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program. Get ready to spring-clean your fitness! 

Commit to Fit:

Try New Things: This spring, run, jump, lift, dance or step outside your comfort zone. There are so many fun ways to work out nowadays. Find a fitness or movement style you love and watch your commitment to fitness increase tenfold!

Do Not Complicate Fitness: People always think that fitting in fitness means two hours in the gym. It doesn’t. Use online resources like: Youtube, Daily Burn, NTC or my favorite app called: “Sweat” by Kayla Itsines. You can get fit your workout in in thirty minutes or less without ever leaving the comfort and security of your own home.

 Ease On In: Rome was not built in a day and neither was your functional fitness capacity. If you burn yourself out on day one, the chance of you sticking to a workout regimen for the long term is slim to none. Set mini goals and before you know it you will be better, faster and stronger than ever!

Woman Warriors #BeOne

 Healthy Eating Tips

 Lighten Up: With warmer temps comes the tendency to reach for lighter fair. Put the days of heaping bowls of pasta behind you and embrace spring produce items like: peas, greens, asparagus and fennel. Still want pasta? Whip out the spiralizer and swap red meat for lean proteins like turkey, salmon or a sumptuous runny egg.

Start a Habit Loop: Make spring the start to your “new year”. Start a habit loop by consuming something healthy first thing in the morning for at least twenty one days. Consume plain water, warm water with lemon or an adrenal kick-starter drink with water, lemon, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and black pepper immediately after you wake up. This will help rev your metabolism and get your digestive juices flowing. This will also help you to put your health first and make healthier choices throughout the day.

Make Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day: I know we have all heard this statement over and over again, but few of us act on it. Recently, I made sure to have more than just my morning java before heading to work or the gym. Not only have my morning workouts gotten more intense, but also, I have more energy to help me get through the day! Skipping breakfast for extended periods of time can actually lead to weight gain and other chronic diseases plaguing this country.

9 Ways to Spring Clean Your Workout

More Mindfulness This Spring:

 Take a Social Break: As a blogger and fitness model that is sometimes defined and hired based on my social numbers; taking a break from social media can be difficult, but it is necessary. Sometimes I really have to force myself to shut it down and be more present. Even if the only time I get to do it is during my hour-long sweat session. I also try to step away from the screens at least an hour before bed to get a more restful nights sleep.

Define Three words of Affirmation: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Often times during a mentally draining day, tough workout or just because, I need to hear something positive, and I use words of affirmation to help get me through. Write down your mantra or top three phrases that will help you to remain a calm positive patty no matter what the day brings!

Take 15 minutes to do Something Only For You: If I know I have a hectic day I like to set my alarm to wake me up fifteen minutes early to stretch or sip a cup of bulletproof coffee and watch the news in peace. I know finding time for yourself can be extremely difficult, but spending time alone doing something for yourself can yield a happier, healthier you. Logo


Bloating and Menopause: Helping Women Cope, With Baptist Health South Florida

Beat The Bloat With Baptist Health South Florida

Bloating. What a ‘B’ right? Bloating happens to all of us, at different times, and for all different reasons. For example, if you scarf a large Domino’s pizza you will likely feel bloating. Step onto an airplane for a five hour flight, and POOF, that belly looks like a bag of pop-chips. Even healthy things like kale, broccoli and beans can create a gassy environment that can lead to uncomfortable gut growth. Bloating is natural and normal, but can be uncomfortable and make you self-conscious. Did you know that age and hormones play a key role in the amount, and type of bloat women encounter?

As we age, our bodies begin to change. Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of perimenopause, the period of time when a woman’s hormone production changes as her body begins the transition to menopause. Changes in estrogen levels throw off the body’s production and flow of water and bile, leading to digestive disruptions. Certain dietary habits can also contribute to perimenopause bloating. The main treatment for bloating is practicing good digestive health, including eating healthy, limiting alcohol and caffeine, staying hydrated and exercising. So feel free to read on or click here for more about bloating and menopause from my friends over at Baptist Health South Florida. Also, for anyone who deals with belly bloat, I am sharing my tips for getting your gut back on track in 48 hours or less.

Beat The Bloat With Baptist Health South Florida

Tips to reset bloat in 48 hours or less:

  • Water, Agua, H20: Drink it. Love it and keep it on hand at all times. Feel free to spike it with things like lemon, ginger and mint for an added detoxifying and flavor booting effect!
  • Have a Meal Plan: Do not just grab the first thing you see. Have a plan, and fill your day with whole foods like fruit, vegetables and lean protein.
  • Cut the refined sugar and stick to the sweet stuff that grows naturally: Dates are a great natural source of sugar/carbohydrates.
  • Do The Herbal: Herbal teas can help with everything from energy and bloating to mood and better sleep. Find a blend that works to you and maybe even try to swap your morning java with green tea.

Make sure to head over to Baptist Health South Florida’s website to read tons of great articles on everything from nutrition to community outreach and medical research. Logo

Beating Acid Reflux: My Collegiate Confession With Baptist Health SF 

Say hello to College Taylor C. 2007 vs Healthy Taylor 2016

Happy “Friday Eve” my friends. I am back today with Baptist Health South Florida to discuss a condition I struggled with for years….ACID REFLUX. My pre-health and fitness days were spent dancing, enjoying large cheese pizzas and gorging on weekly trips through the drive through. I was popping little white chalky pills almost every day before splurging on two-week packs of Prilosec and trips to the gastroenterologist. After laying on my side, drinking this gross drink and watching acid pour out of my stomach, I knew I was ready for a change.  Up until this point I relied on a fast metabolism and consistent dance training to keep me in tip top condition.

By the time I was twenty five I was working a traditional teaching job, commuting to work at 6:30 AM, no longer dancing or moving my body enough, but one thing remained consistent. My crappy diet! You see, at the time I did not understand that food wasn’t just meant to be tasty. It was meant to be used as fuel. The lethargy, acne, stomach pain and constant dark circles under my eyes were all signs that I needed to make a healthy diet a priority. It took about a year to rid my system of the junk food I constantly craved. Day by day I felt healthier, stronger and my acid reflux eventually disappeared into the abyss. It wasn’t until I read this article from Baptist Health South Florida that it reminded me of how important it is to fuel your body with nutrient dense whole foods. And guess what….when you do indulge it is that much more rewarding! Make sure to read on for more tips from Family Medicine Doctor: Christopher da Fonseca, M.D. on how to rid your acid reflux naturally.

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5 Tips to Becoming a Champion-I’m Fit and Happy

How To Be  A Champion

Hi All! I have been a mad women as of late running back and forth to New York, and was knocked out sick this past week. I am finally feeling myself and wanted to share a great post from my friend Kelly-I’m Fit and Happy. Kelly was a captain of the Towson Dance Team my first two years at Towson. She is someone to admire day in and day out. Here is a little of her story and some of her tips on how to become a CHAMPION!

I spent 4 years in College .. all 4 years I danced on the Towson University Dance Team, ranked #1 in the country at the NDA National Dance Team Championship.  I learned how to become a champion as a member of the Towson University Dance Team.When I was in college, I had 3 big goals. Graduate in 4 years, be the captain of the dance team and win the Grand Championship. I achieved all 3 goals. Going to college and learning to become a champion were the best things I could have done for myself.

After dancing my heart out with my team on that huge Nationals stage and then hearing the score come through the speakers when we beat every team including all of the IVY League schools was a moment in time I will never forget.  My dream had come true. At the time, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. It is still in the top 5 happiest moments… the first being my wedding day. It was actually the first time one of the smaller division schools ever won the Grand Championship. The Grand Championship is when the 1st place team from each division competes against each other for the title of Grand Champions. We were the Grand Champions both years I was captain and we won our College Division all four years I was on the team. Towson Dance Team now has a 15 year streak as National Champions!

The feeling I had in my heart going to practice everyday, running the campus with my team, and spending long hours in rehearsal was what motivated me to go home and spend hours writing out formations and take notes while I watched the rehearsal videos over and over. I had PASSION, DETERMINATION, and PERSEVERANCE.

I LOVED my team. We all respected each other so much because each member gave it her ALL at every rehearsal. Every girl SHOWED UP. When I say SHOWED UP, I mean, NOONE EVER MISSED A REHEARSAL. We practiced as a team and we performed as a team.

Our team wasn’t strong because we had a few of the the best individual dancers in the country,  our dancers overall were phenomenal, but it was more about the strength of our team as a whole. We were  champions year after year because we had the most passion, determination, and perseverance, the best work ethic, and the strongest TEAM at Nationals. We supported each other in and out of rehearsals and we worked towards our goals on a daily basis. When we weren’t in rehearsal dancing together, we were practicing at home, and working out!

 Here are 5 tips to ensure you are doing everything you can to become a champion:

1. Remind yourself every day what your goals are and work toward them on a daily basis. I often write these goals down on a daily basis and they include short term goals that will get me closer to reaching my long term goals.

2. Make priorities and keep them. My co-captain, Kristin, and I didn’t go out much when we were captains. If we did, it was only for a couple hours. Going on our runs and hitting the gym to get in shape was more important. We basically chose Fitness over Social Hour, but still went out from time to time.

3. Don’t let anything get in your way. Sometimes peer pressure can be tough when friends are trying to get you to go out or stay out late. Don’t let others distract you from reaching your goals, stay on track even when its hard. Discipline is a good quality to have and should be practiced often. Discipline will take you places in life you’ve never imagined!

4. Don’t procrastinate! Today is going to prepare you for tomorrow so you can perform better each day. As my coach always said, “You can’t make up lost time on technique and conditioning”.

5. Don’t just do what is asked, go above and beyond! Be excellent! Give your best effort with everything you do and do it with enthusiasm!

Don’t forget to encourage, motivate and cheer-on your friends, family, and teammates while you are on your journey to become a champion! Sharing your passion and determination with your friends, family, co-workers, and teammates will be a win-win for everyone!

 Love and Championships,