Secrets of the Fittest Moms in Bergen County

Wellness  / 

Sure, we’re all moms (hear us roar!), but that doesn’t mean we’re comfortable sporting “mom jeans” for the rest of our lives. We talked to five of Bergen’s fittest females to find out their secrets to obtaining—and maintaining—a rockin’ post-baby bod.

Danielle Lenardo is a 45-year old breast cancer survivor from Bayonne, NJ. She was diagnosed at 29 with NO family history of the disease and is a 16-year cancer survivor. Danielle is also a pre-K teacher for the Jersey City Board of Ed, a professional figure competitor, a mother to two children, a son who is a freshman in college and a daughter who is a junior in high school. She is married to her husband and best friend for 21 years!!
"I fought and won my battle against this terrible disease and am stronger than I have ever been in my life! I believe in working hard for what I want. It is in struggle that you find your true strength. I am blessed beyond words and believe in living life to the fullest!"
Fitness Routine:

  • Weight training at least 4x per week
  • Lifts heavy but mixes it up between hypertrophy based training and strength/power
  • Includes 1-2 metcon days which is basically metabolic conditioning (metabolic conditioning is a high-paced intense workout with short rest periods)
  • 1 day of yoga when her schedule permits
  • 1-2 rest days depending on how her body feels. Danielle feels that rest is EXTREMELY important no matter what your fitness goals are. "As I get older (and wiser lol) I am realizing more and more that rest is just as important as the workout. Sometimes more is not always better."


  • Her daily diet is based off of "flexible dieting" and tracking macronutrients which are fats, carbs, & proteins.
  • Works with a coach to adjust her diet (amount of calories and breakdown of macros that she consumes) depending on her particular goals and also what she is trying to achieve/accomplish at any given time.
  • If she is prepping for a figure competition, trying to build muscle, or just trying to maintain her weight and physique, her approach is 90/10.  Basically this means that 90% of the foods she chooses to eat are whole, nutrient dense and organic whenever possible.
  • Drinks at least a gallon of water a day.
  • Focuses on gut health to keep digestion working efficiently.
  • Danielle does allow herself treats and less "clean" foods now and then. She believes that one's mental state is just as important, if not more so than the physical aesthetic appearance. "So for me that means being able to go out with friends and family and enjoy myself without guilt, while still staying on track with my fitness goals".  

Allison Levite Vercelli is a 43-year old mother of 3 active boys living in Woodcliff Lake.
Exercise Routine:

  • Varies her workouts daily, but tries to do weights focusing on back, arms and shoulders 3x a week
  • Takes barre 1x a week to sculpt
  • Some form of cardio 5x a week - that may include spin or elliptical for 30 minutes and when the weather is nice she loves to walk.
  • Probably what keeps her most fit is running after and playing with her 3 boys who are always on the go.


  • Allison is a total vegetarian (no meat, chicken or fish for over 27 years).  
  • She is mostly vegan but will occasionally indulge in ice cream or a bite of her kids dessert.

Jenny Rios Schwartz is a 36-year old attorney-turned-stay-at-home mom of two who lives in Hillsdale. She's always had an interest in fitness but after she had her two kids she decided it was more important than ever to take care of not just her family but herself too. 
Fitness Routine:

  • Exercises 6 days a week for as much time as she has on a particular day
  • Plans workouts ahead of time to be sure it happens within her day whether it has to be at 5am or 10pm
  • Over the 6 days there are 5 cardio sessions, 3 full body strength workouts including one reformer
  • Pilates class and functional strength training
  • Loves the Bosu Ball for full body workouts
  • For cardio, Jenny runs, bikes, swims, spins and does stand up paddle during the summer. 
  • Her absolute fave workout is EDG Cycle Class at Life Time Athletic Montvale - loves the intense calorie burn, extreme energy and fun factor


  • With all the time Jenny dedicates to fitness she doesn't ruin it on her plate. She keeps her diet clean and simple.
  • Lean proteins, tons of vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and whole food carbohydrates. She avoids alcohol, red meat and caloric drinks.
  • Her favorite healthy dessert is berries with a little melted dark chocolate. 
  • Her vices: coffee, pizza and not surprisingly, workout gear. 

Chaesa Alliotts is a 41-year old busy mom living in Demarest. She has three kids ages 13, 11 and 10. She works part-time, mostly from home as an assistant to her dad who is a pediatrician- which allows her to get her workouts in!
Fitness Routine:

  • Usually some form of physical activity 5-6 days a week
  • At least 4 of those days are barre classes at Body Burn Barre in Tenafly with Hillary and trains for a 1/2 hour with Daine at Retro Fitness Tenafly (and Hillary as my partner which helps) 1x per week doing interval training
  • Sprinkles in cardio a few days a week with 3-mile runs or long walks/hikes 
  • Takes 1 day to chill and do nothing


  • Eats basically everything, just not much dairy (pizza occasionally, it's her favorite)
  • Tries to focus on fruits and veggies, lean protein and all that stuff but doesn't take it too seriously
  • Stops eating when she's full and doesn't eat junk
  • And of course wine

Jennifer Falesto is a 42-year old River Vale mom of two who recently went back to work as a school teacher and gets up early to get in her workouts - she has joined the 5:30am brigade. Also a former college athlete who has always made fitness a priority in her life.
Weekly Fitness Routine:

  • Jennifer is a huge devotee of Brian Mahoney’s indoor cycle class at Life Time Fitness - she cycles with him 2-3x a week
  • She also works out on the Pilates Reformer at Life Time 1x a week
  • Weight trains roughly 5x a week (varying her workouts to hit all her body parts)


  • Jennifer likes to live a little when it comes to her diet and tries to follow the 80/20 rule - 80% of the time she eats clean, great quality, non-processed meals but she does allow 20% of splurge (she enjoys her wine)
  • Tends to favor a high protein diet
  • Tries not to deprive herself of anything - if she really craves something she has it, but then gets right back on track with clean eating
  • Being toned and healthy is a way of life for her. She is all about finding the balance between family, fitness, work and play
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