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Lose Weight, Move Better, Get Stronger  with Seth Thomas

Personal Trainer in the Capital Region


Author Archives: seththomas32

Black Bean & Spicy Sweet Potato Wrap

A Meatless Monday favorite among the crew at Albany Movement & Fitness, this version is based on Jessica’s Black Bean & Sweet Potato Wrap, but we’ve also included Maggie’s Black Bean & Sweet Potato Burger option. Both feature sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, manganese, potassium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and the list goes on!

So many choices! Which recipe will you try out tomorrow?!

black bean wrap


2 or 3 small sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 medium yellow onion

1 5 oz. bag of spinach

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cans of black beans

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

12 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded

1 bag of medium flour tortillas (or corn tortillas if you’re gluten free)

black bean wrap prep - albany move fit


  1. Heat oven to 425.
  2. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork, and place in a foil-lined dish. Maggie’s Tip: You can microwave or bake them. Baking takes longer but gives them more flavor!
  3. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and oozing sugars.
  4. While sweet potatoes are baking, sauté peppers, onion, and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  5. Now add in salt and seasonings and stir well.
  6. Drain, rinse and add black beans and sauté for another 5 minutes on medium.
  7. Cook for another 4 minutes. Wilt spinach, and add.
  8. While that cooks, grate cheese onto tortilla.
  9. Add the bean and veggie mixture. Roll and enjoy!

Maggie’s Burger Option:  When the sweet potato cools, mash it and mix with the black beans. Add an egg, between 1/2 and 1 cup breadcrumbs and smokey southwest seasoning.  Mold the mixture into burgers and grill in a pan with a little olive oil. Serve on a pita with mashed avocado for a boost of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                               AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 



AMF February Challenge – Meatless Mondays!

When you think February, don’t just think roses and chocolate for your love! Think about loving your body too! With the new month, we have a new challenge to help you lose weight and get healthier! Consider going meatless once a week – Monday’s are ideal!

meatless monday - albany move fit february

Benefits of Meatless Mondays 

Reduce Heart Disease and Stroke—Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease. One study found that each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 4% decline in coronary heart disease, and a 5% lower risk of stroke.

Limit Risk of Cancer—There is convincing evidence that red meat and processed meat consumption increases the risk of colorectal cancer. There is also suggestive evidence that red meat increases the risk of esophagus, lung, pancreas, and endometrium cancer and that processed meat consumption increases the risk of esophagus, lung, stomach, and prostate cancer.

But a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may decrease the risk of several types of cancers, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach!

Fight Diabetes—Research suggests that plant-based diets, particularly those low in processed meat, can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Curb Obesity— Eating a plant-based diet can decrease total calorie consumption, which helps you obtain and maintain a healthy weight!  Several large studies in Europe and the United States have demonstrated that people on plant-based, vegetarian diets tend to have a significantly lower body weight and body mass index (BMI). This may be in part because plant-based diets are rich in fiber, which contributes to fullness, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating. Win, win!

Improve The Nutritional Quality of Your Diet—Going meatless once a week encourages consumption of plant-based sources of protein, like beans and peas. Consuming beans and peas results in a higher intake of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium. And diets high in beans and peas are associated with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

Meatless Mondays – Bonus! 

Cut Weekly Budget—Many people save money by adding meatless meals to their weekly menus because they are built around vegetables, beans and grains—instead of meat, which tends to be more expensive. Though it can be challenging to serve healthy meals on a budget, going meatless once a week can help conserve money for more fruits and vegetables :)

Help the Environment - Going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. So Meatless Monday means a healthier planet AND a healthier you! 

We’ll be posting a Meatless Monday recipe every week for the month of February, so check back here often! And be sure to share your favorite Meatless recipes on the Albany Movement & Fitness facebook page!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                                 AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 



Gluten-Free Vegetarian Lasagna

Growing up in an Italian home, lasagna always brings back fond memories. But as a gluten-free athlete (most of the time!) who is committed to Meatless Mondays, I needed a vegetarian substitute for my favorite comfort food! This Gluten-Free Vegetarian Lasagna is my go-to!


  • 1 pound zucchini, trimmed and sliced thin lengthwise
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 24 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces parmesan
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 jar pasta sause
  • 12 ounces part-skim mozzarella
  • 12 ounces gluten free lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
 vegetarian-lasagna-with-spinach - albany move fit
  1. Heat a skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Season zucchini strips with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. (The cooking time will vary according to how thinly you slice your zucchini.) Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Spray the pan again and add the spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts. Transfer to a plate lined with a clean towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg, garlic, basil, parsley and crushed red pepper. Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Coat a 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of noodles, a layer of zucchini, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Spread 1/3 of the remaining sauce and repeat the layers. End with a layer of noodles, sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                               AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 



Mason Jar Salads

Make-Ahead Mason Jar Salads are a convenient way to prep salads ahead of time. The lettuce and vegetables will remain fresh and crisp in the mason, even after days in the fridge!

You can have a healthy lunch every day if you just set aside a time each week to assemble them all in the first place. Then just grab one from the fridge and dump it all out of the jar and into a bowl when you’re ready for lunch!

You can customize the salad based on what salad toppings and dressing you prefer. But the science behind the anatomy of a mason jar salad is all about the layering.  Layer everything in the right order and nothing will get soggy!

mason-jar-salad-albany move fit


  • 6 cups salad greens
  • vegetables for salad toppings
  • proteins for salad toppings
  • salad dressing


  1. Measure the salad dressing into the bottom of the mason jar.
  2. Add the hard vegetables that will hold up to sitting in the dressing for a few days – Carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.  Cut them as chunky as will fit in the jar. The bigger the chunks, the better they’ll hold up to sitting in the dressing.
  3. Add the softer vegetables next – Tomatoes, corn, onions, avocado, etc.
  4. Add your choice of protein to the salad – Shredded cheese, cubed cooked meats, hard-boiled eggs or beans.
  5. Top everything off with the greens of your choice – Romaine, mixed greens, spinach, arugula
  6. Cover and store in the fridge for up to five days.  When ready to eat, turn the mason jar upside down and shake the contents into a bowl.


  • Keep your jar upright until ready to eat to prevent the dressing from getting all over the top layers, and creating a soggy mess immediately
  • Fun Fact: Don’t want to buy mason jars? Wash and reuse old pasta sauce jars!  Enjoy!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                                 AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 

Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole

This gluten-free recipe for Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole is also a great choice for vegetarians! Make this simple casserole up to two days before you plan to eat it, then just pop it into the oven until it’s warm and bubbly, and serve! Bring any leftovers to work for a tasty lunch the next day!  Also, you can use a jar of red enchilada sauce instead of traditional tomatillo sauce. And taco seasoning is a great alternative to Mexican chili powder.

You can feel good about the healthy ingredients in this recipe. Especially spinach, which is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese! Bon appetite!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                                 AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  35 mins

Total time:  50 mins

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I like to use olive oil)
  • 1 small clamshell container baby spinach (about 5 ounces / 142 grams)
  •  12 small corn tortillas
  • 1  16 ounce jar tomatillo salsa
  • 1  14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ teaspoons Mexican chili powder
  • 1 113 gram / 4 ounce package cream cheese, melted
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Bell pepper, large orange or red yellow, diced
  • 2 cups Corn, fresh (or frozen)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 Yellow onion, large, diced



  1. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper and corn and saute until just softened.
  2. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted, then set it aside.
  3. Spread one third of the salsa into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, and then lay down 6 corn tortillas. Top with another third of the salsa, spreading it evenly over the tortillas.
  4. Layer on the cooked spinach, followed by the black beans, and then sprinkle the chili powder evenly over top.
  5. Crumble the cream cheese on top of the beans, then top with the remaining tortillas, the last third of the salsa and the shredded cheese.
  6. If you are making the casserole in advance, stop at this point, cover tightly with foil and pop it into the fridge.
  7. When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the casserole (covered with foil) for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the casserole is hot throughout and the cheese is bubbly and browning. If you like a very browned and bubbly top, try turning the oven to broil for the last few minutes of cooking.

The 2017 Run Strong Program

RUN STRONG is Based on the Philosophy that Strength is a Skill and a Choice!

And the Functional Movement System will identify movements, restrictions and limitations that impede running progress

Run Strong is a 10-week strength program designed to improve your running performance. Led by Seth Thomas in partnership with Sara Madden, this is your chance to build a foundation of strength one brick at a time, and apply it to moving better, in running and in life!

We will use a Functional Movement Screen

to evaluate your movement prior to active participation in our weekly group training sessions. The movement patterns that are tested with this screen are key to normal function of the body. It is our responsibility as Coaches to identify functional limitations and asymmetries that can lead to injury.

The AMF Run Strong Revolution is a 10-Week Program

that begins on Wednesday, February 1 at 6:30 pm. It will include weekly classes at the Albany Movement & Fitness facility, conveniently located at 88 Railroad Ave in Albany. Led by Seth Thomas and Sara Madden, you’ll train in a small group setting, and experience how fun and motivating it is to have this level of accountability!

This is not a bootcamp class or crossfit experience. We have a quality over quantity mindset. And every week, you can expect to practice fundamental movement patterns using Primal Move and Original Strength methodologies, Body Weight, Battling Ropes and Kettlebell training!
The Run Strong Revolution is limited in size to 10 people. Cost is $250.

Price includes
• The entire 10-week program of 10 classes
• A weekly group run
• Basic access to your coaches throughout the week via email

If you want to meet and exceed your fitness goals for 2017, then this program is for you!       Ready to join the movement?!

Application deadline 1/31/17 at 11:59pm. Click here to sign up - And spread the word!

AMF Run Strong Class – Now Accepting Applications for 2017!

Application Window is now open for Run Strong 

Greetings from the end of 2016!

Do you know what my New Year’s Resolution was at the beginning of the year? To commit to a strength training routine that complimented my running goals. It fell apart as soon as I got busy… Which was about two weeks into the year!

Most people I know fall into two camps. They commit to a regular running plan, but they get derailed. Or like me, they commit to strength training and find it hard to follow through. Or both!


I believe there are a few reasons: We may not know where to start. I certainly didn’t! A quick google search reveals so many options for running plans and strength training that it is overwhelming. And even if we find a good plan, it’s hard to stay motivated without accountability! I’ve experienced this frustration first hand…

But I was fortunate enough to get a second chance at my resolution, and find that accountability in Albany Movement & Fitness. With Seth of AMF in my corner, I have become a much healthier runner. More importantly I am stronger, and move better in life outside of running. This change so positively impacted me that I decided I want to share it with others in 2017!

Sharing it!

Run Strong is a 10-week program that will include weekly classes at the Albany Movement & Fitness facility, conveniently located at 88 Railroad Ave in Albany. You’ll work with Seth Thomas, owner of AMF, amazing motivator, and teacher of movement and strength. Oh yeah, and with me too! And you’ll train in a small group setting, and experience how fun and motivating it is to have this level of accountability. Click here to see what we have in store for you!

You CAN lose weight, move better, and run stronger if you have the right plan and the right people in your corner. I’m proof of that. And I’m looking forward to meeting and exceeding our fitness goals for 2017 together!

Cheers to running strong in the New Year,         Sara Madden

NOTE:  Applications for Run Strong must be in by January 31st at 11:59pm. Make sure you sign up here soon as space is limited. And spread the word!

Run Strong Project - Push

Kavon Atabaki Teaches the Kettlebell Snatch

Thank you for tuning in to the Albany Movement & Fitness blog. In this video, the owner of Functional Fitness in Virginia,  Kavon Atabaki, teaches the kettlebell  snatch. As an instructor, this movement is one of the most difficult to teach since it requires a unique coordinated rhythm that is different than many other exercises.  Kavon beautifully teaches the snatch from the top down, but first he makes sure that the student has competency in the foundational exercises that lead up to the snatch, which include the hip hinge, deadlift, two-handed swing, single-arm swing, and the high-pull. Here are some additional cues to help you grease the groove (aka practice).

“Pour the Pitcher” – From the lock out position, if you dropped the bell straight down it would hit you on the head. So it is important that you push the bell forward a bit. This is where I use the bell to counter balance and immediately settle into my heels. Casting the bell straight out especially with a heavy kettlebell is not a good idea. Doing this will pull you forward and you will lose the necessary symmetry in your hips and torso required to perform the movement safely. Lead with the thumb from the lockout position, simply turn the wrist and think of pouring water out of a pitcher. Gravity will bring the bell down in front and you will need the confidence to attack the hinge and feed the hike pass. This move is subtle and does not require very much movement.

“Swimming” –  From the lock out position, after you Pour the Pitcher, you create an arm motion similar to the front crawl stroke, imagine bringing the bell down the midline in the body while performing the front crawl stroke. Your arm is not straight nor is it bent at a precisely prescribed angle. The elbow is softened and the degree of the angle on the elbow adjusts slightly to create movement efficiency. This arm position is unique to the individual, but it should feel graceful and be aesthetically pleasing.

“Unzip the Jacket” and “Zip It Back Up” – This last cue is reminding us to keep the bell close on the way up and the way down. In my experience teaching the snatch, it is more challenging for people to keep the bell close on the way down. The arm should not end up being straight similar to the position it is in at the top of the single arm swing. Reminding people not to cast the bell out away from the body is helpful.

The performance tips above will certainly tighten up your groove.  If you are a self-guided kettebell enthusiast, I highly recommend a hardstyle kettlebell instructor to help you nail down the groove.  Resources: Works written by Dan John, Pavel, and Mark Reifkind.

Debbie Whaley-Hayes Teaches the Kettlebell Swing

Albany Movement & Fitness has the pleasure to present a Kettlebell Swing educational taught by Debbie Whaley Hayes. She is one of the strongest and smartest women in our StrongFirst family. Although we come from the same StrongFirst community, often times the lineage of instructors that we learn from is different, making our instructional styles and cuing different as well.  No matter how good you think your swing is, it can always get better.  A new look at a familiar movement may revive your swing and help you take it to the next level.

In this video, Debbie skillfully walks us through the progressions that lead to a proficient swing, focusing on nailing down the foundation, making sure that each prerequisite movement has been sufficiently practiced prior to proceeding to the next step.  Debbie’s expertise as a fellow Functional Movement Specialist mandates that movement competency be achieved for the sake of safety prior to executing the movement.  So make sure that you can touch your toes, that you have a 2/2 on your Active Straight Leg Raise, and that your deadlift is solid before practicing the swing.  Remember:  Quality over quantity.

Thank you so much, Debbie, for being part of our blog project.  You rock!

Artemis Scantalides Teaches the TGU

The Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-up (TGU) is a fantastic movement that is useful for all ages. The movement is so important because it brings us back to the ground.  As adults we don’t spend enough time doing ground work (exercises performed on the ground). Examples of beneficial movements in this category include rolling, rocking, head nods, bird dogs, bridges, dead-bugs, creeping, crawling, and the unloaded TGU. Together these exercises help to stimulate the vestibular system, encourage the body to respond reflexively, promote mobility and stability simultaneously and take us through all of the planes of movement using the key functional postures . Getting up and down from the ground easily and pain free is a movement pattern that escapes us as a result of being sedentary or simply not spending time in these positions.

When we introduce the kettlebell to the TGU it gives us the opportunity to experience all of the benefits listed above in loaded positions. Everyone can do the TGU as long as you build it from the ground up using the exercises named above and practicing the TGU transitions  step by step.

At Iron Body Studios and Albany Movement & Fitness we determine your readiness to perform the TGU using the results of your Functional Movement Screen combined with our observations of you while practicing your ground work. The TGU takes a lot of coordination and can be very challenging for some people, therefore, it is extremely important to learn all of the steps first before adding weight.

Artemis Scantalides is the Co-Owner of Iron Body Studios in Needham, MA,, author of the blog Iron Body By Artemis,, and Co-Founder of The Female Fitness Formula Workshop

Written by Artemis Scantalides and Seth Thomas