Business Buzz August 2018


Living Lean Moves to One Orinda Way

Longtime Orinda resident Sheena Lakhotia, founder of the Living Lean Program, recently moved from her Theatre Square location to a brand new state-of-the-art-gym at One Orinda Way. The bamboo flooring and spacious floor plan make it easy to focus on your workout – ring boxing, spinning, TRX, circuit and/or weight training. With ample parking, the gym is near BART and the freeway for easy access.
The Living Lean (LL) goal is to help you be as happy and healthy as you can be so that you are physically strong and fit. Because after age 30 everyone experiences both loss of muscle mass and a slower metabolism, weight control has to change. But the aging process can be slowed down. Lakhotia, who works with people age 7 to 85, is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She has designed a unique three-point fitness plan which focuses on individual needs rather than what she calls the “one size fits all” approach in most gyms.  
First, LL sees personal training as primary with all fitness levels tailored to each individual’s body. Does your present workout give you the results you want? LL will target your fitness routine not only to get results you want, but to ensure you like it. There are many ways to accomplish this in Sheena’s fully equipped gym, including group classes.
Second, LL will design a custom eating plan with nutritional counseling. Most people believe they are eating healthy. The question, according to Sheena, should be, “Are you getting the results you want from how you eat?” If not, it’s time to change. “It’s easy to make poor food choices,” says Sheena, “but when you connect desired results to good food choices, all that can change.”  She promises the eating plans she designs have delicious recipes for the most discerning foodie.
Third, LL provides accurate tracking of your progress with a weekly comprehensive body-fat measurement. This also includes tweaking both the fitness training and the eating plan so that you are forming new habits that you like since, if you don’t like something in either plan, you won’t do it.
As a busy mom, wife and business owner, Sheena deals with the same issues many people face: how to stay fit when traveling; what food to choose on the road; how to stick to a routine that works. With 10-year’s experience working in fitness, nutrition and motivation, Sheena brings a lot to the table. But she doesn’t do all this alone. LL has a staff of professionally certified trainers to help: Jack Prettyman, Shannon Schmitz, Philadelphia Tse and John Soto.  
LL donates gift certificates to local schools for fundraisers and other projects such as the Kids Triathlon as well as contributing to both the Orinda Community Foundation and The Orinda Association. Her monthly Fitness Tip appears in The Orinda News.
Call Sheena at Living Lean, 925-360-7051, for an appointment to explore personal training or visit online at

Southworth, Chavez and Day-Seiter LLP – Estate and Elder Law

Kristen Southworth, Nola Chavez and Kathleen Day-Seiter met when they served on their children’s lacrosse club board to secure its nonprofit status. After working so well together on the nonprofit board, they decided to have tea one day. The topic was exploring what would happen if each left their existing practices and formed an LLP (limited law partnership). Their new practice would focus on estate planning and elder law. They all agree that the way the whole partnership came together was unusual because everything just clicked into place.
Their decision was made in October, 2012, and by January, 2013, their office opened in Berkeley. They did well. In 2015, they moved their practice from Berkeley to Orinda when Southworth’s daughter informed her mom she wanted to return to Joaquin Moraga. Southworth, who lives in Oakland, had lived in Moraga for many years. The three partners all knew Lamorinda well and liked the idea of an office in the area. “The first office I looked at is the one we are in; it’s perfect,” says Southworth. Two of the partners have dogs they take for walks around town, and each really enjoys the welcoming “hellos” from locals. The reverse commute to Orinda is a breeze.
The field of elder law, a branch of trust and estate law, has been a unique specialty for about 30 years. Chavez, who lives in El Cerrito, says it is a field with job security. All of them volunteer to speak at various local groups and do pro bono work as their schedules allow.
Seiter is a board member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has an MSW in Ageing Services from UC Berkeley. After a career as a social worker, Seiter, who lives in Oakland, went to law school so she could go further in meeting people’s needs. Both Chavez and Southworth had much experience as litigators. They were ready for a change from the high stress environment that comes with litigation work.
As estate planning and elder law attorneys, the three see their role as (1) understanding what their clients want to achieve; (2) discerning how their clients want to be remembered; and (3) facilitating and preserving family harmony while working through decisions which at times can be difficult. Often, they work with parents pondering how to provide for young children in case disaster strikes or empty-nesters realizing they need an estate plan or that their decades old estate plan doesn’t reflect their current lives. Sometimes, adults have suffered the loss of a spouse or a family is in crisis because of a loved one’s illness or disability.
Any one of those scenarios present challenges, but the women work with their clients until the clients are at peace with their decisions. Documents they prepare may memorialize those decisions. Or, perhaps, the advice shared with clients about their changed circumstances and how to navigate through them is enough. This type of work brings each of the partners a deep sense of satisfaction. Because family is important to all three, they treat clients in a familial way, which is why they opt not to wear suits. Thank you notes from clients are propped up on their desks as a reminder of why they are in practice.
Their advice to anyone facing circumstances such as those noted is simple: Plan while you can and memorialize your wishes while you are able to articulate them. The time you invest in this process can avoid tragic consequences. Experience tells them that clients who plan ahead tend to preserve harmony rather than discord.
Southworth, Chavez and Day-Seiter is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at One Northwood Drive, Suite 2, in Orinda near Mechanics Bank. Anyone with elder law and estate planning questions or concerns is invited to stop by or call 925-252-8320 to set up an appointment. Visit them online at

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